URLs du Jour

2006-09-25

  • A probably unintentionally funny article at the NYT on Saturday about the censorship woes NBC is facing:

    • On one hand, they've purcased the rights to "VeggieTales", a previously video-only cartoon show, where explicitly religious themes were routinely incorporated by its chlorophyll-enhanced cast. But the network has decided that all that religious stuff needs to be cut out of the broadcast version.

    • But on the other hand, they've got a Madonna concert coming up in which the aging pop star sings on a cross. (As the always-helpful NYT puts it, "in imitation of the Crucifixion of Jesus." Gee, ya think?) The president of NBC Entertainment has been quoted as saying he has "no problem" with that. Controversy is ongoing.

    Bottom line: It's easier to get religious stuff on NBC if you prefix it with "sac-".

    But I also enjoyed Madonna's quote from the article, in reference to her stunt:

    … it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today, he would be doing the same thing.
    Yup, just can't keep that guy off the cross.

    But when will Andew Sullivan start including Madonna in his continuing diatribe against the Vast Christianist Menace?

  • One of the Democratic soundbite memes for the upcomimg election seems to be "Medicare for All!". For example, the D candidate for the local congressional seat, Carol Shea-Porter, plugs it at her website:
    There are several plans being talked about right now, and I certainly would support any bill that would alleviate the suffering, but the plan I favor is Medicare for all.
    And Paul Krugman can always be counted upon to do his bit for the cause:
    If we had a universal system — Medicare for everyone — … we'd almost certainly spend less on health care than we do now.
    The Google gives (as I type) 62,400 hits for "Medicare for All" and kicks in another 4,910 for "Medicare for Everyone". As a marketing tactic, it's pretty good, if a bit cynical. Medicare is popular and a known quantity, not like that scary "single payer" thing.

    But Arnold Kling pokes a big hole in this particular trial balloon:

    One thing about Medicare for all as that you would need taxes to pay for it. In fact, our existing Medicare system needs more taxes than we now collect in order to pay for it, and the future gap between promised spending and tax revenues is projected to be in the trillions of dollars. Medicare is the fiscal Titanic, and Krugman says that it is time to add passengers.
    Glug!

  • Heads up, Granite State fans! I'm probably the last to know that the latest entry in the Die Hard movie franchise is titled Live Free or Die Hard. Excellent! I'm there.

Munich

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

Sometimes I think I should automatically preface all these little movie notes with "Well, I just got around to seeing X."

Well, I just got around to seeing Munich. As you may have heard, it's the story of a small group of agents set out to kill those directly and indirectly responsible for the murder of Israel's Olympic athletes in 1972. Not content with being a simple thriller, there's piles of dark moral ambiguity and angst, as the good guys find out that actually going out and killing people is not similar at all to your typical Schwarzeneggerian movie plot. But overall, even if you find all the handwringing a little tedious, it's still a very competent flick, because, well, it's Steven Spielberg, after all.

The movie hits the viewer over the head with very big and unsubtle references to the "replacements" for the terrorists the good guys are killing. This very sophisticated worldview regards terrorists kind of like an infinite box of Kleenex: as one is used up, another one inevitably pops up to take its place, indistinguishable from the original. Waah! It's all so futile!

Spielberg has a little "preface" on the DVD, which (frankly) comes off as very defensive against charges that the movie was too much on the anti-revenge/moral equivalence side, and too fact-challenged. He makes much of the fact that the book on which the movie was based has "never been refuted." That's not very convincing. Wikipedia has an entry (spoiler-filled) that summarizes the controversy.


Last Modified 2012-10-23 5:58 AM EST