URLs du Jour


  • Mark Steyn quotes himself on why the hurry for Obamacare:
    Obama believes in "the fierce urgency of now", and fierce it is. That's where all the poor befuddled sober centrists who can't understand why the Democrats keep passing incoherent 1,200-page bills every week are missing the point. If "health care" were about health care, the devil would be in the details. But it's not about health or costs or coverage; it's about getting over the river and burning the bridge. It doesn't matter what form of governmentalized health care gets passed as long as it passes. Once it's in place, it will be "reformed", endlessly, but it will never be undone.
    That deserves to be read and re-read. The point of the exercise is to get a larger fraction of the population dependent on the state. They'll say and do anything to get there.

    This (by the way) explains the vituperation aimed at Whole Foods CEO John Mackey for his August WSJ op-ed, which dared to discuss "trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction--toward less government control and more individual empowerment."

    That kind of talk is dangerous to statism; it's unfortunate that the GOP can't speak it well.

  • If you need to bring yourself up to date on the detailed dreadfulness of the current legislation, Amy Kane is your go-to. Amy's really developed a dislike for Speaker Pelosi.

  • Twenty years ago the world got a lot freer and less dangerous when the Berlin Wall came down. In the WSJ, Anthony R. Dolan recalls how President Reagan and his speechwriters prevailed against opposition from National Security Council staff and the State Department to get the famous powerful line into Reagan's speech at the Brandenburg Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

  • Bald bears: they look even more creepy than you might guess.

  • To make up for the bald bears: here's a picture of Princess Leia and her stunt double sunbathing in their slave bikinis on the deck of Jabba's sail barge on Tatooine. Really. It is even more awesomely geeky than you might guess, and I bet a certain large fraction of my readers didn't get further than the word 'bikinis' before clicking over.

Lost Light

[Amazon Link]

I have slightly under 150 books in my To Be Read pile, and a small Perl script to pick the next one to be read. It's been giving me a lot of Michael Connelly lately; this is the fourth one since July. I'm not superstitious, but maybe it's trying to tell me something.

Lost Light is in Connelly's Harry Bosch series. In this one, Harry has resigned from the LAPD, and his pension gives him more than enough money to do what he wants. But Harry doesn't want to go normal retiree things; he's driven to seek justice for homicide victims whose cases have languished.

He takes up the very cold case of Angella Benton, a movie studio underling brutally murdered years ago. The murder was apparently related to the theft of $2 million from a movie set a few days later, at which point the case was taken from Harry and assigned to a different division, something that's grated on him. Surprisingly, although there's been no action on the case, Harry is nearly immediately warned off by an ex-partner. And he discovers a possible link to female FBI agent who went missing months later.

Soon enough, Harry's back in the familiar world of lowlifes, both inside and outside law enforcement agencies. And (also as usual), he's obsessed, dogged, and extremely competent even when mired in a hopelessly complex plot.

In an unusual move, Connelly switched from his usual third-person narrative to first-person in this book. Also, in a nice touch, the World's Greatest Detective has a small cameo: he and Harry wave to each other on page 237. (If Harry and the WGD ever joined forces, criminal activity in southern California would be wiped out. But what would they do with the rest of their week?)

Last Modified 2018-07-03 3:46 PM EST

The Thing

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This currently ranks as #165 in IMDB's top 250 movies of all time, but … sorry, I can't say much more than "OK". There's not much that distinguishes it from dozens of others.

The opening is unusual, though: a Norwegian helicopter is chasing a dog across an Antarctic wasteland, one of the passengers trying to shoot it with a rifle. You don't see that every day. The dog makes it to an American camp, the crazed Norwegians manage to get themselves killed before revealing the reasons for their behavior. That's good news for the doggie, but not so good for everyone else. As it turns out, the dog is really a disgusting alien in disguise.

And apparently, just staying a cute dog isn't really an option when you're a disgusting alien.

Pretty soon, the Americans, who are kind of irritable and fractious even when they're not being threatened by a deadly alien menace, realize they're in a bit of a pickle. The alien could have easily transmogrified itself into one of them. (And, duh, it did.) Paranoia and distrust abound, which—this is one of those irony-laden messages adored by critics—makes it tougher to vanquish the alien. There's probably metaphors going on too, but I always miss those.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:53 AM EST