Browsing: Friday Fun

Daily Show: GSA's lame trinkets 'a disgrace to corruption'

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Last night, the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart weighed in on the General Services Administration’s conference spending scandal and zeroed in on what may be its most appalling angle: The sheer lameness of the crap GSA bought with $822,000 in taxpayer dollars. Said an outraged Stewart: Canteens, clowns and bicycles? You’re in Vegas! Unless those canteens were filled with cocaine […], you are a disgrace to corruption everywhere. I think I’m less upset about the waste of money than I am with the waste of opportunity. […] Yearbooks! They got yearbooks! The people in government known for efficiency and cost-cutting made…

Friday Fun: Saxophones, elephants and 'AFGE and Me'

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The American Federation of Government Employees today dug up a gem of a recruitment video from its archives. Behold: “AFGE and Me.” It’s got literally everything one could hope for. Saxophone riffs paired with footage of union members playing a cheap toy sax. Elephants and horse-riding Border Patrol agents. Hawaiian shirts. Astronauts. Little kids. And best of all, a maddeningly addictive earworm of a chorus. It looks and sounds 80’s-tastic, but AFGE spokesman Tim Kauffman says it was actually made around 1994. So, who wants to make the inevitable dubstep remix?

Teenage mutant ninja rabbits?

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The Tri-City Herald in Washington state this morning reports about a sticky situation emerging at an Energy Department facility. A radioactive rabbit has been caught at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Richland, Wash., and state health workers are now combing nearby grounds for — yes — radioactive rabbit droppings. The scary thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Hanford had another mutant bunny emergency last year, and flew helicopters above the grounds to locate the radioactive poop, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. And in much less cute news, the Seattle Times reported in 2009 that Hanford was…

Friday Fun: SecDef Comedy Jam

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The Washington Post today has an amusing piece on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ penchant for corny, corny jokes about Washington. Even Gates’ loyal speechwriters try to strike the zingers — such as “Washington … a place where people say ‘I’ll double-cross that bridge when I come to it’ ” — from his prepared remarks, but Gates puts them back in. (Poor Bob gets no respect. But at least it’s better than Don Rumsfeld’s found poetry.) Give a listen to Sirius XM’s compilation of the SecDef’s greatest hits here. (My favorite part is the overdubbed guy bellowing “Yeah yeah!” At least,…

Procurement scandals, Onion-style

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Happy Friday! To ease you into your Labor Day weekend, enjoy a few headlines from The Onion, such as “Pentagon Ripped Off By Shady Weapons Dealer:” Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted losing $192 million in defense funds Tuesday when he unwittingly purchased a large number of bogus BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles from a disreputable arms dealer known only as “Steve.” “When I got the crate open at the office, it turned out the ‘missiles’ were nothing more than old sewer pipes filled with newspapers and capped with construction cones, all painted to look legit,” Gates said. That’s probably the Onion’s best…

Friday fun links: The ultimate security test, terrorist monkeys, and Stuart Smalley

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The Onion “reports” that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has come up with the ultimate way to test our national security vulnerabilities: Releasing the five most dangerous prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, into the United States to see whether we can catch them before they strike. “If the Empire State Building or Jefferson Memorial blows up, for example, then we’ll know we have to make some improvements,” she added. “It’s all part of the process.” […] DHS also confirmed that the terrorists, who vowed nothing would stop them from their ultimate goal of destroying all of America,…

BAE's robotic Taranis bomber has a mind of its own

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If you thought Hellfire-armed Predator drones were something, just wait until you see Taranis. This prototype unmanned stealth bomber, developed by BAE Systems for Britain’s Ministry of Defence, is said to be capable of operating autonomously and thinking for itself, as well as striking targets deep inside enemy airspace. It won’t ever go into service, but will allow BAE and Britain to test technologies for future aircraft. BAE stresses that despite the computer programs allowing Taranis to think for itself, ground crews would be in control of it at all times. But isn’t that what they all say? What’s really…

Former SEC lawyer sues LeBron James for $4M, claims he's his dad. Wait, what?

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In what may be the oddest paternity suit in recent memory, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer is suing basketball star LeBron James and his mother for $4 million. Leicester Bryce Stovell claims that he is LeBron’s dad, and that the basketball star and his mom have conspired to deny his paternity and shut him out of the Miami-bound player’s life. Stovell said his memory of his 1984 one-night stand with Gloria James resurfaced 20 years later. (In an astounding coincidence, that would place his sudden recall well after all hard work and late nights of raising a son,…

Today in civil service history: Charles Guiteau makes his play

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Today marks the 129th anniversary of President James A. Garfield’s assassination, which set in motion a series of events that did away with the spoils system for federal employment and laid the groundwork for the modern civil service we know today. And it all started with a certifiable whackjob and loser named Charles Guiteau. Guiteau had utterly failed as a student, lawyer, husband, newspaperman, free-love cult member, revival preacher, and extortionist before he decided he would become a Republican Party political kingmaker. But as with all those who suffer from delusions of grandeur, his triumphs were all in his head.…

NASA engineers join forces with rock band OK Go

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You may have seen the music video for OK Go’s song “This Too Shall Pass.” But what you probably don’t know is that the amazing, extended Rube Goldberg device that is its centerpiece was partly designed by a few engineers and staffers at NASA’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL engineers Mike Pauken and Heather Knight, planetary scientist Eldar Noe Dobrea, and intern Chris Becker joined forces with Syyn Labs, a group of engineers who “twist together art and technology” and were tapped to build OK Go’s machine. The results — featuring dominos, a falling piano, a Mars rover, and a TV showing the band’s…