URLs du Jour


  • Another day, another corrupt bargain revealed in Obamacare:

    Early versions of the Senate’s far-reaching health care bill said that small businesses with fewer than 50 workers would not be penalized if they failed to provide insurance. That was before labor unions in the construction industry went to work and persuaded Senate leaders to insert five paragraphs.

    Their provision, added to the 2,074-page bill at the last minute, singles out the construction industry for special treatment, in a way that benefits union members and contractors who use union labor.

    In this one industry, the exemption from the penalty would be much more limited, available only to employers with fewer than five employees. Construction companies with five or more workers would generally have to provide health insurance or pay a penalty — an excise tax of $750 per employee.

    This "special" provision has nothing to do with health care, everything to do with using the power of the state to kick non-unionized construction firms in the teeth. The sleazy deal was actually pointed out back when the Senate passed the bill just before Christmas, but deserves wider attention.

  • Interesting article from Patrick Hynes at Now! Hampshire, reporting (entirely anonymous) folks speculating that my Congresswoman/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter is reconsidering her decision to run for the US Senate seat being vacated by Judd Gregg this year. Previously, NH's other representative, Paul Hodes, was the only other major candidate on the Democrat-side.

    I am a lousy political pundit, but that would be pretty cool: having both Congressional seats open would make them much easier for the GOP to recapture, and I don't see how Shea-Porter would fare any better against a decent GOP opponent than Hodes is doing. It would be nice to have Jeanne Shaheen be the only elected Democrat in DC from New Hampshire… But it's probably too good to be true.

    This is via Campaign Spot; I would love to read Now Hampshire! first-hand, but their RSS feed doesn't timestamp their articles, with <pubDate> tags, making it impossible for my site-reader to detect new content. (Please, guys, if you're reading this: how hard would it be to add timestamps?)

  • As long as I'm bitching about RSS feeds, consider big-time semipro blogger Patterico. His feed just stopped being updated on September 5 of last year.

  • Another pet peeve: blogrolls that contain links to websites that haven't been active for months and even years. Example: Instapundit puts a link in his "Recommended" category to my old Usenet buddy, Mike Godwin, the coiner of "Godwin's Law".

    (Which I've always secretly hoped/feared he invented in response to one of our discussions on rec.arts.books, but I can't back that up.)

    Anyway, Insty's link points to http://www.godwinslaw.org/, which used to be Mike's blog. But at some point, that URL was redirected to the Wikimedia Foundation blog. Mike now works for Wikimedia, but the blog has (as near as I can tell) zero Godwin content.

    So, bloggers: check your blogrolls every so often, OK? And if you come across a defunct site, feel free to replace it with Pun Salad.

  • If you (a) have a camera and (b) are maybe a little forgetful, you might want to take this suggestion for getting it back if and when you misplace it.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:27 AM EST

(500) Days of Summer

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

As I type, (500) Days of Summer is #224 on IMDB's list of the top 250 movies of all time. I usually say "I don't know about that", but in this case, I say … yeah, maybe. I had a great time watching it.

As the title implies, the movie covers 500 days, although does so out of sequence; each scene is helpfully numbered so you know where you are, though. Synopsis-wise, I can't do much better than the lines uttered by the omniscient narrator at the movie's start:

This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he'd never truly be happy until the day he met the one. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie The Graduate. The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent's marriage she'd only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing. Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she is who he has been searching for. This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.
Well, more accurately, it's half a love story: his half. Tom is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Summer is played by Zooey Deschanel; they're both great. They could have come across as whiny and self-absorbed—and they are, to a certain extent. But they remain sympathetic. The script is clever, and there's one wonderful scene at the zenith of the relationship, where Tom's happiness manifests itself in a production song and dance number, complete with animated bluebirds.

Things don't remain that sunny, though, and (in particular) Tom is destined for a long dark night of the soul. He's miserable, but the movie remains pretty funny.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:14 AM EST