URLs du Jour

2009-08-31

  • Real (i.e., non-blogging) Life prevented me from even trying to attend the "Town Halls" in Portsmouth and Manchester hosted by my Congresswoman, Carol Shea-Porter, this past Saturday. But more diligent folks were all over it:

    • Amy Kane had a photo essay from outside the Portsmouth venue and further thoughts and links.

    • The Granite Groksters also posted: Doug had a couple videos; Skip took issue with tbe Congresswoman's czar-counting; Ann Marie attended in Manchester and got to ask a question on tort reform (which, as near as she could tell, fell on deaf Congressional ears).

    • Despite efforts to pack the forums with Shea-Porter supporters, there were plenty of skeptics in attendance in addition to Ann Marie. This story (with video) from Now! Hampshire concentrates on retired NYC cop Carl Tomanelli, who had the effrontery to ask an unapproved question, and was kicked out. This got national attention: Ed Morrisey at Hot Air linked, and—whoaInstapundit linked to Ed.

    • Instapundit seems to have taken a dislike to the Congresswoman, in addition to linking the Hot Air article, he also linked to a Moe Lane post with the wonderful headline "Carol Shea-Porter (D) has the political instincts of a tasered marmoset" as well as theblogprof's article with the slightly less memorable title "Fringe Kook Rep. Carol Shea-Porter Doesn't Know How Many Czars There Are. Denies There Are 35. Actually More!"

    • Drew Cline has a very complete report from the Manchester site (the one where Tomanelli got tossed, and Ann Marie attended). He draws attention to numerous Shea-Porter flubs, misrepresentations, and inconsistencies. On the other hand, he has little patience with the hecklers, who "came with no intention of listening" and "just wanted to disrupt the meeting and attack Shea-Porter." He also provides a less sympathetic view of Tomanelli's treatment.

      Probably true, and I share Drew's preference for reasoned debate. Still, I have to admit that it's a tad gratifying to see a lefty like Carol victimized by the tactics she and her fellow lefties used against the GOP a few short years ago.

    Now Pun Salad has been on Carol Shea-Porter's case ever since we noticed her misquoting Teddy Roosevelt on her campaign website in 2006. So it's nice to have her moonbattery get wider attention. If she becomes a national laughingstock, can my fellow voters finally be shamed into voting her out? Here's hoping.

  • Beating up on the LA Times is usually Patterico's thing, and he often finds fertile ground in the writings of "business" columnist Michael Hiltzik. But today it's my turn as Htltzik writes approvingly of the lefty boycott of Whole Foods inspired by the WSJ op-ed on health care written by CEO John Mackey.

    I won't rehash points I've made before (here and here and here) about the op-ed and the boycott. But this characterization by Hiltzik is worth pointing out:

    As for Whole Foods, its founder and chief executive, John Mackey, wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal this month largely attacking Democratic healthcare proposals.
    Now, as anyone who has taken the time to actually read Mackey's op-ed knows, this is a complete and utter lie. (There's a link in the webbed version of Hiltzik's column, but readers of the paper version don't have an easy way to check.) Mackey's column is nearly completely devoted to advocacy of his own reform proposals.

    Precisely two paragraphs of Mackey's op-ed are (arguably) indirectly "attacking Democratic healthcare proposals":

    With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable and they are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation or they will bankrupt us.

    While we clearly need health care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and moves us much closer to a complete governmental takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the exact opposite direction-toward less governmental control and more individual empowerment.

    That's it. The rest of the piece is only an "attack" if you think that by advocating Policy A, you are "attacking" Policy B.

    Worse, Hiltzik claims Mackey's op-ed to be "melange of misinformation and misconceptions". And (tediously) later claims it has "misrepresentations and irrelevancies". Nowhere does he bother to substantiate those claims with specific references to the op-ed; if he tried that, people might notice that he was talking through his hat.

    Hiltzik is a bad joke. The LA Times should find somebody more honest. Um, again.

  • My weekend was made more interesting (for sufficiently small values of "interesting") by my fumbling attempts to set up a Linksys WMP54GS Wireless-G PCI Card with SpeedBooster card in my home Linux desktop system. Only (as I type) $20.50 plus shipping from Electronica Direct via Amazon, a sweet deal. (It's $55.20 from Amazon direct.) But wireless is still a bleeding-edge technology for Linux, with a great deal of confusing, obsolete, and incomplete documentation out there.

    Finally, it started working. The funny part (for sufficiently small values of "funny") is: I'm not quite sure which of the many things I did made it work. Like any good techie, I'm tempted to tear everything down and see if I can get it to work again more cleanly.

    Yes: I'm thinking of doing a lot more work just so I can get back to the same point I am now.. Gee, when I say it like that, it doesn't sound like such a good idea.

  • By the way, thanks to the reader who clicked through to Amazon to buy a Babyliss Pro BABNT3072 Nano Titanium Ceramic Ionic Iron, 1". (Titanium and Ceramics and Ions and Nanotech all in the same product? Woot!) I'm not quite sure how you got there from here, because that's not a product we actually use ourselves (for a reason that should be obvious ), let alone blog-plugged. But it's much appreciated in any case.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 4:24 PM EST

Gran Torino

[4.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The IMDB trivia page claims that Clint Eastwood maintains that this will be the last movie he acts in. Sob! Say it ain't so, Clint!

Clint plays Walt Kowalski, a crusty retired autoworker living in a decaying Detroit neighborhood. Things aren't going well: (1) His wife has just died; (2) And (worse) before she died, she forced the local priest to ask Walt to make confession; (3) His curmudgeonly hardass ways have estranged him from his family; (4) A Hmong family has moved in next door, and Walt sees them as "gooks", much like the ones who he fought in Korea; (5) Gangs of various ethnicities prowl the streets; (6) His health is deteriorating; (7) One of the Hmongs, the teenage boy Thao, tries to swipe Walt's prize possession, a gleaming 1972 Ford Gran Torino.

But on the other hand, his dog likes him.

Unsurprisingly, underneath the irascible bigoted exterior is a man of bravery and character. Walt develops a relationship with the Hmong family, and tries to save Thao from dead-end gang membership.

As I type, IMDB users rate Gran Torino #81 on their Top 250 movies of all time. I don't know about that, but it is pretty good. As I pointed out at the time it got pretty much snubbed by the Oscars, yet another data point in favor of the view that the Oscars are increasingly useless.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 4:24 PM EST