URLs du Jour

2008-04-16

  • Unintended consequence du jour, where one of the folks in charge admits that they don't know what the Hell they're doing, and are too craven to fix a broken policy:
    Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he had come to realize that Congress made a mistake in backing biofuels, not anticipating the impact on food costs. He said Congress needed to reconsider its policy, though he acknowledged that would be difficult.

    “If there was a secret vote, there is a pretty large number of people who would like to reassess what we are doing,” he said.

    Here's more on that from a recent SF Chronicle article:
    In the pantheon of well-intentioned governmental policies gone awry, massive ethanol biofuel production may go down as one of the biggest blunders in history. An unholy alliance of environmentalists, agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians has been touting ethanol as the cure to all our environmental ills, when in fact it may be doing more harm than good. An array of unintended consequences is wreaking havoc on the economy, food production and, perhaps most ironically, the environment.
    "Other than that, though, it's fine!" (First link via Club for Growth.)

  • Every Obamanian at HuffPo is in full attack mode on Hillary. As I type, the headline is Sam Stein's: Hillary Clinton On Working Class Whites In 1995: "Screw 'Em". Gasp! Key quote is Hillary's input on efforts to attract "working class white Southerners":
    "Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."
    Stein reports this as big news, but it was in Sally Bedell Smith's book on the Clintons (For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years) late last year, as this Jake Tapper blogpost demonstrates.

    As they say: pass the popcorn. I could watch Democrats argue about which candidate is more disdainful of working class people all day long.

    [Update: The Minuteman makes the case that Stein is taking Hillary's comments out of context.]

  • I meant to put this in yesterday's tax-heavy post, but you'll certainly want to read a new Dave Barry article on the subject. His tax preparation method involves this bag of receipts …
    At tax time, I go through this bag, hoping to find receipts that say things like, ''BUSINESS SUPPLIES TO BE USED FOR BUSINESS -- $417.23.'' Instead, I find some ticket stubs for Shrek the Third and several hundred wadded-up snippets of paper on which the only legible printing says ''Thank You.'' Now, because I am mentioning Shrek the Third in this column, I can legally deduct the $10 cost of my ticket, plus a large popcorn, which I estimate cost $53, for a total of $63, or, rounding off, $250. But that still leaves me a little short of what I need, deductionwise.
    God help me, I'm thinking: If the IRS goes after Dave, maybe they'll use the guys that would otherwise have gone after me.


Last Modified 2008-04-17 4:50 AM EDT

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

This is a fun, family-friendly movie about a boy and his sea serpent. No, it's not a live-action remake of Beany and Cecil. I wish! But it's still pretty good.

It's set in a remote part of Scotland—specifically, Loch Ness—during World War II. Little Angus is moody and lonely in the absence of his father, but he enjoys poking around the lochshore, picking up random bits of biology. But one day he comes across this funny egg-shaped rock. Which turns out to be an actual egg. The results are pictured on the DVD box over there on the right. (No, your right.)

There are a number of complications: a British artillery squad commandeers the manor for which Angus's mom is the caretaker. A dark mysterious stranger shows up and is hired as a handyman. Angus wants to keep his pet monster a secret from the grownups, of course—this is a requirement for all such movies—and this gives rise to a number of humorous slapstick scenes.

Acting is very good, and the effects are great. The plot is more than a bit predictable, but I didn't mind that too much. (A quick check of a map of the Loch Ness area shows that the filmmakers also got a little creative with the geography, but that's OK too.)


Last Modified 2012-10-12 8:35 AM EDT