The name of the American humorous artist Reuben (‘Rube’) Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970), used attributively of any unnecessarily complicated, impracticable or ingenious device of the kind illustrated by this artist. Hence Rube Goldbergian adjective.—OED
But the shenanigans around the jobs bill provide an opportunity for him [President Obama] to break the mold of Rube Goldberg public policy, and to create real change for the American economy and our political process. —Ben Mangan, CEO of EARN. "Obama should channel Lincoln's steely resolve," On Jobs, SFGate, February 14, 2010.
Toyota has been stumbling so far in coming up with a robust accelerator fix; one dealer describes the current one as a Rube Goldberg solution that is hardly representative of the kind of work usually done by Japanese engineers.—Alex Taylor III, "Toyota's Tylenol moment," CNNMoney.com, January 28, 2010.
And by the time the [Bill] Clinton plan . . . got fed through the congressional wood chipper, it would probably make Rube Goldberg's craziest invention look like the Lever of Archimedes.* —Hendrick Hertzberg The Talk of the Town, The New Yorker, Oct. 7 2007.
*Comment on "Lever of Archimedes"
"While Archimedes did not invent the lever," Wikipedia reports, "he wrote the earliest known rigorous explanation of the principle involved. According to Pappus of Alexandria, his work on levers caused him to remark, 'Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth,' [meaning] there is no limit to the amount of work it is possible to do with the lever."
Archimedes' remarkable words, over the centuries, gave rise to, so to speak, more than a few drawings and cartoons: