She Was Standing There in Back of my Chair


… saying "Jimmy, don't I know your name":

  • Steven Hayward asks: Is There a Conservative Case for Higher Taxes? Read before you answer. Key query:
    [I]f you want to limit government spending, instead of starving the beast, serve the check.
  • On a related topic, Smitty makes the case against the current nostrum of a Balanced Budget Amendment right in his own post's headline: "GOP Swears Balanced Budget Amend. Will Make Congress Serious About The Job They've Blown Off For Decades."

    Or: amending the Constitution is very difficult, and rightly so. How about, just… y'know… balancing the budget?. The most that would take is a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate, and that only in order to override a veto. An amendment requires that plus a 38-state OK.

  • I don't watch network news shows unless they're covering an extraterrestrial invasion, but Peter Wehner does, and notes the national treasure that is George F'n Will. On Sunday's This Week, he asked his "progressive" co-panelists:
    The question is, has the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce been so loosely construed that now Congress can do anything at all, that there is nothing it cannot do. Let me ask the three of you. Obviously, obesity and its costs affect interstate commerce. Does Congress have the constitutional power to require obese people to sign up for Weight Watchers? If not, why not?
    Much babbling bafflement at the link. But a serious thought: If the Constitution is vague enough to allow such things, maybe we should start asking how to write an amendment to close the commerce clause loophole, rather than relying on the courts to "interpret" it the way we like.

  • Apparently, those very little candy cylinders one can get on one's ice cream are called "jimmies" after Jimmy "J.J." Walker. Dyn-O-Mite!

    No, just kidding. Jack Fowler debunks the (surprisingly prevalent) notion that they are named after Jim Crow, and are inherently racist, unless you call them "sprinkles".

    I grew up in the Midwest, which means I've always called them sprinkles, and always thought they were pointless.

  • And the title of this post is from a Dylan lyric that I've been (apparently) mishearing for the past 37 years or so. Check out the collection; I'm especially impressed at how many mishearings are actually improvements on the original.

Foreign Correspondent

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A 1940 thriller (set in 1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock; we'd never seen it before. I can't recommend it unless you're an obsessive Hitchcock fan.

Joel McRea plays "Johnny Jones", a crime reporter for a New York paper. Johnny's pretty ignorant of world affairs, but this impresses the paper's cranky boss, who's bored with the stale stories served up by his existing crack European news staff. He changes Johnny's name to "Huntley Haverstock", and sends him over there on the Queen Mary. (Is this an accurate caricature of 1930s-style American journalism? Given that the New York Times employed Walter Duranty during this time, I'd say "hey, maybe!")

His first assignment is to check out a peace organization run by Stephen Fisher; Johnny is far more interested in Fisher's daughter, Carol. Spoiling things somewhat romance-wise is the apparent assassination of a diplomat. Johnny and Carol pursue the assassin with the assistance of Scott ffolliott (sic) played by smooth George Sanders. They all wind up hip-deep in a dangerous conspiracy directed from Berlin.

Nothing in the movie is particularly believable, from start to finish. The dialog (some of it written by Robert Benchley, who also has a small role) is occasionally funny, though. Johnny gives a little speech over the radio to America at the end, urging us to get into the war. (And, you may remember, we did.)

Last Modified 2012-09-25 12:05 PM EDT