Charlie Bass: A Few More Reasons To Vote For Someone Else

Pun Salad tends to concentrate on its own dreadful Congresscritter, Carol Shea-Porter. But New Hampshire has two Congressional Districts: NH-02 is currently represented by just-as-bad Democrat Paul Hodes (who plans to run for the US Senate seat currently occupied by Judd Gregg).

One of the GOP candidates for the NH-02 seat is its previous inhabitant, Charlie Bass. (Hodes beat him in 2006.) He's making fiscally conservative noises about "big government" and "out of control" spending. Over at GraniteGrok, Skip gathers a bunch of reasons why conservatives might want to look elsewhere. Looking back at my archives, I have a few reasons of my own:

Charlie may have realized that his "moderation" didn't save him from his 2006 defeat. But there's no sign that his newfound fiscal conservatism is principled.

Last Modified 2013-04-22 12:52 PM EST

And Every Word We Sang

… I knew was true:

  • Both James Taranto and Matthew Hoy bring attention to the now-you-tell-us coverage of David Leonhardt, New York Times reporter. Leonhardt:
    How can we learn to say no?

    The federal government is now starting to build the institutions that will try to reduce the soaring growth of health care costs. There will be a group to compare the effectiveness of different treatments, a so-called Medicare innovation center and a Medicare oversight board that can set payment rates.

    Taranto is funny:

    It seems as though this is a pretty strong argument against ObamaCare. But we need to encapsulate it in a pithy phrase. What would you call governmental institutions that empower bureaucrats to decide when to deny medical treatment--panels, as it were, that have the authority to determine when a patient's death is necessary for the health of the fisc?

    Coming up with a suitable term is a high-powered intellectual challenge. Our thinking cap is on, and we'll get back to you as soon as something dawns on us.

    If Taranto is too subtle, Mr. Hoy will spell it out for you:

    Last year, when one iteration of the health care bill introduced us to "comparative effectiveness panels" that would decide on what sorts of medical treatments would get paid for under the new health care regime, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin referred to them as "death panels."

    That earned her a "Pants on Fire" and "lie of the year" designation from Politifact.com. The political elite derided her as a demagogue and a simpleton.

    Apologies to Ms. Palin won't be forthcoming.

  • I think Beowulf Burlington would be a fine name for the hero of a best-selling series of action novels.

  • I took the Gandhi or Angelina? quiz at Mental Floss and did about as well as I would have if I'd answered at random.

Die Trying

[Amazon Link]

The second Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. These books are fun. Nothing more. But also nothing less. There's something to be said for that.

In this one, Reacher gets involved sheerly by coincidence. Walking by a Chicago dry cleaner, he helps out a young woman with a bum knee. But nearly immediately, she's swept up by a gang of violent kidnappers; Reacher's taken too. This turns out to be rather good luck for the young woman, very bad luck for the kidnappers. Because Reacher is someone you don't want within miles of your nefarious plot.

Style: lots of short sentences. Packed with testosterone. This one's written in third person. The one before this was in first person. (Why? Well, here's why.)

Doesn't matter. There's always reason to keep turning pages, because the next action scene is, I promise, at most a few pages away. They are imaginative and usually produce an impressive body count. The plot is ludicrous, with villains that are clever and deadly one minute, inept the next. My favorite bit: the hyper-resourceful Reacher can rattle off every city that contains a Federal Reserve branch. I don't think Lee Child ever met a deus ex machina he didn't like.


Last Modified 2012-10-03 3:29 PM EST

An Education

[3.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Nominated for three Oscars: Best Movie, Best Actress, and Best Derived Screenplay. Didn't win any, but that's not too shabby!

It's a coming-of-age story, set in the London area in the pre-Beatles 60's. Young Jenny is a brilliant student, being micromanaged by her father into Oxford. Only problem is, she's bored and only sees more stultifying drabness in store for her on the path she's on. Salvation comes in the guise of David, a much older fellow who offers her a lift home in the rain. This starts off a relationship that Jenny sees as an escape from her bourgeois existence.

But David has secrets of his own. Everyone's shocked when they find out the big one. Everyone except, well me. And probably you, too. Saw it coming a mile off.

Emma Thompson has a small role, and she's always worth watching. And David has a friend with a girlfriend—I've seen her before, who is that? Ah, the credits reveal all: that's Rosamund Pike, last seen as the treacherous Miranda Frost in Die Another Day. She's good!


Last Modified 2012-10-03 3:29 PM EST