I Said Your Mouth's Moving Fast

… and your brain's moving slow:

  • President Obama devoted his weekly address to bemoaning the First Amendment, specifically that it lets organizations he doesn't like (corporations) say things he'd prefer that ordinary people not hear (political ads). Specifically, he whined about the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case and Congress's failure to pass the "DISCLOSE Act".

    The Campaign Freedom blog rebuts here. Among their points:

    • The President evaded any mention of unions, although they were also freed up by the Citizens United decision.

    • The President was explicitly fear-pandering and xenophobic, referring to "shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names" and "foreign-controlled corporations".

    • The President focused on the (onerous) disclosure requirements in the legislation, ignoring the actual restrictions it made on previously-protected speech.

    There was also blatant misrepresentation, as Obama claimed that DISCLOSE was "supported by Democrats and Republicans". In fact, only two Republicans voted for DISCLOSE in the House. The opposition was actually more bipartisan, as 36 Democrats voted against. (In the Senate, it failed to get a single Republican vote.)

    The blogger also notes the Presidential glibness: "The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide." It's one of those which-would-be-worse situations: whether Obama doesn't realize how ominous those words are, coming as they do from the nation's chief executive, or whether he does.

    If Dubya had said such a thing, four or five New York Times columnists would have imminent-fascism aneurysms in print within 24 hours. But it's Obama, so…

  • I've criticized Scott Adams (Dilbert) in the recent past, but let me be fair: his weekend article in the Wall Street Journal about his efforts to build a "green" house had me laughing at a number of points. He's got a knack for cheerful cynicism and self-deprecation.
    As a rule, the greener the home, the uglier it will be. I went into the process thinking that green homes were ugly because hippies have bad taste. That turns out to be nothing but a coincidence. The problem is deeper.

  • Things I couldn't make up if I tried: AwesomenessReminders.
    With AwesomenessReminders, a real person will call you every day to tell you how much you rock. If you're not around, we will leave you a voicemail.
    Only $10/month!. Or, if you send me $5, I (also a real person) will call you (once) and tell you that you really should not be responsible for handling money. (Via Marginal Revolution.)

The Big Steal

[4.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The second part of a double-feature DVD from Netflix. This 1949 flick has Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, and it's directed by Don Siegel of Dirty Harry fame. And it's a lot of fun, despite (consumer note) the lack of actual Big Steal content in the movie itself.

Set entirely in Mexico, it opens as a steamer docks in Vera Cruz. Onboard are Duke Halliday (Mitchum) and Joan Graham (Greer), but also Vincent Blake (William Bendix!), who, for initially murky reasons, is out to get Mitchum. And both Duke and Joan are after Jim Fiske (Patric Knowles); he's Joan's ex-boyfriend, who's scammed her out of $2000, and Duke has his own reasons (which I won't spoil). Soon everyone's off on a merry chase across dusty, but colorful, Mexican roads.

The commentators call this a mixing of film noir and romantic comedy; I think that stretches the noir category a bit more than I'm comfortable with, but that's OK. Romantic comedy fits, though: Mitchum and Greer keep up an amusing banter, they "meet cute", initially dislike each other, and wind up mutually smitten. The running time is a brisk 71 minutes, so don't blink or you'll miss something. It would make a pretty good double feature with Out of the Past.


Last Modified 2012-10-02 4:02 PM EDT