A Christmas Present from Jeanne Shaheen

Over the weekend—you may have heard—Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska got won over to supporting the ObamaCare bill by dubious restrictions on abortion coverage and (probably more importantly) the promise that Medicaid expansions in his state would be paid for at the Federal level, rather than by his state. (Does this mean that ObamaCare will be renamed OmahaCare?)

I've never been prouder to be an ex-Nebraskan (1961-1973).

As the Weekly Standard points out, Senator Nelson was a "cheap date," being bought off with $100 million; this is peanuts compared to what Vermont got ($600 million) and Massachusetts got ($500 million).

But of course, the ultimate cheap dates were the 54-or-so Democrat senators from other states who got $0 million each for their votes. This includes New Hampshire's own Jeanne Shaheen. Her vote could have stopped this monstrosity; but despite all her promises, she meekly went along with the rest of her party.

To appreciate just how big the lump of coal Jeanne and her 59 pals delivered into our collective Christmas stocking this year, read this Wall Street Journal editorial in its entirety. Sample:

The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
The editorial provides plenty of examples that demonstrate how poorly thought out the bill is, and how utterly corrupt the process that brought us to this state.

Amy Kane has a masterful collection of links on the topic, including the WSJ editorial. If you're not there already, they will move you into mad-as-Hell territory.

The Naked City

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This DVD from Netflix was out of the Criterion Collection, which means it's of major cinematic interest. (It also means topnotch audio and video quality, something you don't always get from Netflix.) And here's the deal: it's one of the earliest movies (and may be the earliest movie) filmed on location in New York City.

At the beginning of the movie, we see the crimes: in the wee hours, a shadowy pair knock out a woman in an apartment, then prepare to drown her in the bathtub. Later that morning, one of the perpetrators drowns the other in the East River. The homicide detectives of Manhattan's 10th are soon on the case. Chief among them is Dan Muldoon, played by Barry Fitzgerald with an Irish accent as thick as you'd hear in Dublin. (Imagine a leprechaun crossed with Dirty Harry.) He commands the investigation, paying special attention to newly-minted detective Jimmy Halloran (Don Taylor). They are relentless. Netted early is Frank Niles, played by the great Howard Duff, a shameless but inept liar.

Anyone interested in what NYC looked like shortly after the war will want to check this out. Well over a hundred different locations were used; many street scenes were filmed without the knowledge of the crowds.

The movie is irritatingly narrated throughout by the movie's producer, Mark Hellinger. (Including the opening credits, which aren't seen onscreen.) The novelty wears off quickly.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:38 AM EST