URLs du Jour


  • The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has named two universities to its Red Alert list: Johns Hopkins and Tufts. An institution can manage to get on the list due to "severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of its students or faculty members."

    So, I hear you asking: only two? So far.

    As FIRE points out, prospective students should keep in mind the question: "Why risk tens of thousands of dollars of tuition at these schools when it could all be taken away in the blink of an eye—no college degree, and no refunds?" Simply for saying or writing something to which someone in a position of authority decides to take offense.

  • For Granite Staters: the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance has issued its legislator report cards for 2007. (For people in other states: it's an excellent example.) My five House reps scored a—wince!—a C, a D+, a D, and two F's. My senator, Iris Estabrook, also grabbed an F.

    It could have been worse. If I lived in Durham, for example. The six reps scored two D's, two F's, and two "CT"s, which stands for "Constitutional Threat."

  • There's an interview with Hero Genius Brad Bird at Town Hall. Go read now.

  • And then there's just plain genius at work as Iowahawk pens another installment in his "Inspector Dan Rather" series: "The Ratings Always Drop Twice."
    I was working down in Cable Hell's Kitchen. A freelance investigative gig at HDNet, a smalltime news outfit wedged between MTV-6 and the Cubic Zirconia Channel. Not much money, but they didn't ask too many questions and they didn't have any nosy "fact checkers." I had just pulled out my hip flask for a snort of Zima malt beverage when I saw a familiar silhouette in my office door. It was short and curvy with a pair upturned perky hairflips straight out of the CBS makeup department.

    "Well, well, well. If it isn't little Katie Couric," I growled as she walked in. …

    Many guest appearances from our favorite folks.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 1:10 PM EDT

The Queen

[Amazon Link] [5.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

We're slowly working our way through last year's "must-see" movies, but I was a little trepidatious about this one. As just about everyone knows, it's the story of the reaction of England and its royal family to the 1997 death of Princess Di. And I couldn't see any way that a red-white-and-blue-blooded Yank like me could find that interesting.

But Mrs. Salad wanted to see it.

Well, more fool I. Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth II, and I don't think an Oscar was ever more richly deserved. She's onscreen for most of the movie, and I had a tough time looking away. The real Queen wouldn't have been as good here.

And, to its credit, the movie doesn't take the easy way out. Yes, both Princes Charles and Philip are portrayed as IQ-85 twits. But Tony Blair's wife, Cherie, and a number of Tony's buddies come off poorly as well—for being tediously convinced of their intellectual progressive superiority over hidebound concepts such as tradition and duty. You don't see that kind of careful characterization in support of a movie's themes very often, let alone done well.

The movie makes clear that Queen E's a pretty tough and down-to-earth admirable old bird, driving her own car when given a chance. Her flaw, such as it was, was failure to understand and adapt quickly to a massive media-driven frenzy of sentimentality. She comes away not defeated, but smarter and stronger.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 12:45 PM EDT