URLs du Jour

2009-12-23

  • For your pre-Christmas reading: Iowahawk's production script of It's a Wonderful Bill. Too late now, of course, but I wish Lorne Michaels had taken my suggestion to hire the Hawk; this would have made a classic Saturday Night Live skit.

  • The hopelessly left-tilted Politifact deemed Sarah Palin's comment about "death panels" to be "Lie of the Year". Today, Governor Palin points out what's coming with the "Independent Payment Advisory Board". Although she doesn't actually say "I told you so"…

    At Cato, Alan Reynolds is in agreement:

    As Sarah Palin predicted, "Government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course."
    Your best strategy for surviving under Obamacare: don't get sick, or old.

  • In contrast, the real lie of the year (President Obama's "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.") is rated Half True by the worthless Politifact. We've discussed this ad nauseam, but Jeffrey H. Anderson compares that claim against the actual legislation: it's less true than ever.
    Obamacare would require Americans to buy government-approved health insurance. It would make it illegal to offer choices in insurance plans beyond the handful of very similar ones that the government would allow. It would become illegal to offer new and innovative plans. Under any of the government-approved plans, it would become illegal to pay your doctor directly for more than a certain percentage of your care. Higher deductible, consumer-driven plans would be severely altered or eliminated. By law, a greater percentage of money would have to be paid in insurance premiums, rather than directly for care. Competition and choice would diminish tremendously. One-size-fits-all conformity would rule the day.

  • Did my (short but ill-tempered) post implying that the Copenhagen climate summit was all about bringing down capitalism seem overstated to you? If so, you'll want to read Jonah, who's been listening to the rhetoric:
    Bolivian president Evo Morales was interviewed by Al Jazeera television while in Copenhagen. "The principal obstacle to combating climate change is capitalism," he explained. "Until we put an end to capitalism, it will continue to be a big obstacle for life and humanity."

    Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe proclaimed in a speech: "When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere, who gasp and sink and eventually die."

    … and more.

  • But it's science, right? Thomas Sowell has a useful rejoinder in a column looking at global warming hysteria and its historical precedents.
    Like anything valuable, science has been seized upon by politicians and ideologues, and used to forward their own agendas. This started long ago, as far back as the 18th century, when the Marquis de Condorcet coined the term "social science" to describe various theories he favored. In the 19th century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels distinguished their own brand of socialism as "scientific socialism." By the 20th century, all sorts of notions wrapped themselves in the mantle of science.
    Science is agenda-free, objective, and open. Unfortunately, "scientists" can fail on any or all of those counts.

  • It's getting to be that time of year when get-togethers with family and friends might result in unsolicited technical support calls to your personal Help Desk. Free advice: Why It's Better To Pretend You Don't Know Anything About Computers

Role Models

[2.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Role Models got decent reviews, but I was not so taken with it. It's a combination of (a) a heart-warming plot you could find in any PG live-action Disney movie with (b) liberal doses of (as the MPAA puts it) "crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity." (Some of the strongest language comes out of the mouth of a 10-year-old black kid, which is funny for about three minutes.)

Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd play Wheeler and Danny (respectively), working for the energy-drink company "Minotaur"; they ride around in their Minotaur-mobile to school assemblies, Wheeler dresses up as a minotaur, and they present an anti-drug message leavened with a strong commercial pitch for their product.

Wheeler is the typical Seann William Scott character: a not-too-bright sex-obsessed goofball. While Wheeler loves the job, Danny is getting older, sees that he's going nowhere, and is increasingly bitter and nasty. As his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) points out, he's a dick.

Danny finally snaps; as a result both he and Wheeler are fired, and they wind up looking at a likely jail term. To avoid that, they go for "volunteer" work at "Sturdy Wings", an organization that pairs up adults with maladjusted kids.

Now, see if you can guess whether (a) Danny and Wheeler, after some false starts, gradually earn the affection of their wards and (b) the kids, in turn, bring Danny and Wheeler around to feeling better about their own lives.

There's some nice stuff: one of the kids is a Live Action Role-Playing geek, and you don't usually get a look at that culture in a major motion picture. The great Jane Lynch plays the head of Sturdy Wings, and she could be funny reading the phone book. But even with that, it's not really worth going out of your way to see.

Consumer note: The original movie was R-rated; the DVD gives you the option to play the "Unrated" version which … I'm pretty sure would still be R-rated.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 8:39 AM EDT