URLs du Jour

2008-12-31

Some suggestions for your end-of-year clicking:

  • Don't forget to smooch your sweetie an extra second tonight. Not surprisingly, the French are behind this.

  • Thomas Sowell speaks wisely, as always:

    Whoever called politics "the art of the possible" must have had a strange idea of what is possible or a strange idea of politics, where the impossible is one of the biggest vote-getters.

    People can get the possible on their own. Politicians have to be able to offer the voters something that they cannot get on their own. The impossible fills that bill perfectly.

    Examples are provided, and I have the feeling we'll be able to find our own examples aplenty in the coming year.

  • Jacob Sullum has highlights from the past year's blame-shifting. (And we'll undoubtedly see plenty more of that in the coming year too.) This was the most painful:

    Stop Me Before I Borrow Again. Except in cases of fraud, people who took out risky mortgages and later had trouble making their payments should have known what they were getting into. Perhaps they were careless, or perhaps they miscalculated, assuming that home values would keep rising. In many cases they misrepresented their assets or income.

    Yet when asked whether "greedy lenders" or "risky home buyers" were "at fault" in the "subprime lending meltdown," Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin replied, "Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house." She was notably easier on the reckless borrowers: "I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars."

    Yeah. I like Sarah, but she should leave the coarse populist scapegoating to the Democrats.

  • BBSpot posts an intriguing link:

    … with the helpful mouseover tip: "Keep zooming out."

    I didn't know anything about the place, and spent some enjoyable time learning about it. For your own amusement and edification, I'd suggest you try the same. But their official home page is here. And, unfortunately like us, they're having government finance woes. Perhaps we could try one of their methods:

    Budget Box

    President-elect Obama, take note!

  • And in local news:

    A radio-collared bear being tracked as part of a University of New Hampshire professor's research project was shot and killed last month by Nottingham police after it tried to break into a woman's home.

    Despite how it sounds, the research was not about getting bears to break into houses under radio control. At least that's the professor's story, and he's sticking to it. (Via Granite Geek.)


Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:03 AM EDT

Death Race

[Amazon Link] [1.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

I'll give an extra half-star to a movie that has Joan Allen say, "Okay c---s----r. F--- with me, and we'll see who s---s on the sidewalk." You don't often hear that kind of dialogue from a multiple Oscar nominee not named Al Pacino. (In case you don't believe me or are just having trouble with filling in the gaps, IMDB has the uncensored quote.)

The premise is, that in the near future, sometime around the end of President Obama's first term, the American economy is in the toilet, crime is rampant, and the public has a depraved thirst for ever more violent pay-per-view reality shows. Hence: "Death Race", which pits convicts held in a privatized prison against each other in no-rules car races; each vehicle is equipped with enough firepower to take out the armies of any two Third World countries. And the warden (the previously-mentioned Joan Allen) will do anything to goose the ratings.

Into this scene comes Jensen Ames, played by Jason Statham, framed for killing his wife. He's coerced into taking over for masked driver "Frankenstein", after the previous inhabitant of the role got seriously killed in his previous race.

I kept waiting for the movie to rise above schlock level, but it never did. The races aren't very interesting: it's like watching someone else play a stupid video game.

In addition to Joan Allen, the acting talent of Ian McShane is also wasted in the role of "Coach", the hero's ace mechanic.


Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:04 AM EDT