URLs du Jour

2009-07-13

  • For Granite Staters: the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance has issued their (PDF) "2009 Liberty Rating" for our state legislators.

    My reps in Strafford District 2 earned (in descending order) a D-plus, a D, two D-minuses, and an F. D-minus was the most common score, earned by 91 of the state legislators.

    My senator, Amanda Merrill, wangled a D-minus as well.

    Amazingly, this was an improvement over last year's dismal performance. But not enough of an improvement to make me vote for any of them, ever.

  • President Obama wrote (well, put his name on) an op-ed column in Saturday's Washington Post. Interesting rebuttals:

    • Keith Hennessey decries the President's historical revisionism. Keith was Dubya's senior economic advisor, so he's compelled to defend that record, but feel free to discount that. One of his points is especially on target, where he considers the President's (convenient) plea for patience, because his stimulus "was, from the start, a two-year program":
      This did not have to be a two-year program. Congress could have front-loaded the stimulus had they instead given the cash directly to the American people, as they did on a bipartisan basis in early 2008. We would have saved much of it, paying off our mortgages, student loans, and credit cards (which would not be a bad thing). We would have spent the rest much more quickly than the federal and state government bureaucracies now stumbling through their usual corrupt, slow and inefficient processes. Instead the President handed the money and program design over to a Congress of his own party, who saw it as a big honey pot rather than as an exercise in macroeconomic fiscal policy. The President’s primary macroeconomic policy mistake was allowing Congress to pervert a rapid Keynesian stimulus into a slow-spending interest-based binge.
      Indeed. Let's not forget John Kerry's honesty back in February when he explained why he opposed stimulative tax cuts: "If you put a tax cut into the hands of a business or family, there's no guarantee that they're going to invest that or invest it in America. They're free to go invest anywhere that they want if they choose to invest." Much better to leave those "investment" choices safely in the hands of Democratic politicians.

    • Bill Kristol has a shorter but even more damning indictment of Obama's op-ed:
      […] here are some words you won’t find: profits, investment, incentives, taxes, risk, enterprise or markets. Or freedom, or liberty.
      Also missing: capital/capitalism, private, regulation.

      We're in bad shape when the President can't even pay his usual lip service to free markets and capitalism.

    • At Pajamas Media, Jennifer Rubin concentrates on the bipartisan reaction to the Administration's claim to be taken unaware by the seriousness of the economic meltdown. Everyone agrees: it doesn't pass the giggle test with anyone with a memory longer than a few months.

  • Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist whose Nobel-prizewinning research could make one's head spin. (And he'd be happy to point out that your head was conserving angular momentum while spinning.)

    But he was unparalleled at exploring and explaining more mundane topics too. Check out the video where he describes how trains stay on the track. Without even a chalkboard, a 147-second masterpiece of teaching. (Via GeekPress.)


Last Modified 2009-07-16 6:13 AM EDT

Monsoon Wedding

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

Recommended by a blogger with impeccable taste, it was pretty good, if a bit soap-operaish.

It's mostly a drama with heavy comic relief. The Vermas, an upper-middle-class Punjabi family in New Delhi, are in chaos as they prepare for the arranged marriage of daughter Aditi. Father Lalit is getting stretched financially. Scores of relatives are incoming (some from Australia and America) for the multi-day celebration. But there are plenty of problems under the surface: Aditi's still into hanky-panky with her married co-worker. Her cousin, Ria, is without romantic prospects and (for some reason) regarding rich Uncle Tej with barely-disgused hatred.

Fortunately, the Vermas can rely on event planner Dubey for logistics, technical services, and general wheeling and dealing. But then Dubey notices the Verma's quiet servant girl Alice …

Random observations: (1) Although it's not a musical, people are likely to break out in song and dance at the slightest provocation. (2) Given the name, I would have expected a little more rain. (3) One of the relatives is a dead ringer for Sonia Sotomayor.


Last Modified 2012-10-06 6:05 AM EDT