Letters from Afghanistan: installment #5

Replying to questions, why the Marshall Plan doesn’t work, and local democracy in Jawzareen

by Connor O’Steen

First off I’d like to thank you all for your thoughtful and encouraging comments on my previous installments. The first four were published while I was in Bamyan, so I haven’t had a chance to see them or the feedback until now. I admit that I had some initial worries about publishing on a blog: it’s an intimidating idea to publish copy that will subsequently be dragged across the Internet, perhaps to be eviscerated by packs of battle-hardened commentators. I think it reflects well on Scholars and Rogues that trolling is notably muted, here, and it’s convinced me that writing these letters is absolutely worthwhile. Continue reading

Bush judge rules for Congress

Today has been a good day for Congress in its efforts to reimpose some limits on Presidential power. Judge John D. Bates, a 2001 Bush appointee to the Washington D.C. United States District Court, ruled today that presidential advisers and aides must appear before Congress when issued a subpoena. Congress sued the Administration in District Court to force former White House counsel Harriet Miers and current White House chief of staff Josh Bolten to appear before Congress as required by a Congressional subpoena that was ignored. Continue reading

Conversion rates in science writing

by Djerrid

Here’s a math word problem that will give you painful flashbacks to the 7th grade:

According to Canada.com, a proton moving at 99.9999991% of the speed of light has the energy of seven mosquitoes.

Also according to that site, three-hundred trillion protons moving at that speed has the energy of a 200 tonne train running at 200 kph.

Using this information, how many mosquitoes would it take to push a one kilogram ball to a speed of one kilometer per hour?

Science reporters for news outlets have an interesting job; some of the smartest people in the world have dedicated a lifetime of work to the most complex phenomena this universe has to offer and these reporters have to distill it down to a few hundred words at an 8th grade reading level. Continue reading

WordsDay—Review: What Happened? by Scott McClellan

In 1999, Scott McClellan accepted a job working for Texas Governor George W. Bush, who was getting ready to make a run for the White House. McClellan was an idealistic thirty-year-old Republican loyalist attracted to Bush’s candidacy because of the governor’s “compassionate Conservatism” and his charisma.

By July 2003, McClellan was a member of the Bush inner circle and was promoted to White House press secretary.

In April 2005, McClellan was gone, disillusioned and disappointed in an administration he said had gone terribly off-course. “What happened?” he wondered. Continue reading

Moron.com: your destiny is… um, destining

By Ann Ivins

In the spotlight: upcoming legislative opportunity

Job Summary: Republican Senior Senator from Alaska (well, not originally from Alaska, but who’s keeping track?)

Principal Responsibilities: represent and defend the interests of the citizens of the Great State of Alaska, particularly those who own and operate logging companies, oil rigs, natural gas pipelines, nuclear waste repositories, highway construction companies and salmon fisheries.

Qualifications: Strong dedication to traditional Republican family values, including gay-bashing and sharing kickbacks with the kids. Continue reading

The Scrogue's Guide to Denver and the DNC: beer and brewpubs

Colorado has, over the past 15 years or so, established itself as a genuine microbrew mecca, and just about every place you walk into either makes their own or is serving up something produced by one of our many local breweries. We host the Great American Beer Festival every fall, and while we tip our caps to all the great micros in other places around the country, most of us around here are convinced that Denver is the best city for beer in the country.

Before I dive in, let me offer a caveat. I love beer and have tasted just about everything I’m going to mention below (and a lot more), but I have my blind spots. I’m all about the malts and aside from wheats in the warm months I rarely drink anything lighter than an amber. If you’re a hophead or love things like blondes and pilsners, I’m not an ideal source of wisdom. So, a couple suggestions. First, ask the bartender and request a taster when you see something that looks to have potential. Second, we recommend you investigate what Beer Advocate has to say. They have reviews for just about every beer in the world and those reviewers are serious brews connoisseurs.

Now, pull up a stool. Continue reading