Christmas is Always Coming

Hot Sox

  • The Supreme Court declined to restrain the eminent domain powers of an arrogant local government in Kelo v. New London back in 2005. The idea was to replace a not-particularly-rich residential neighborhood in New London, Connecticut with a commercial development. The promise was "3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues."

    The neighborhood was successfully destroyed, but commercialization never happened. Gideon's Trumpet reports the latest:

    Now, we learn from the local newspaper, The Day, that following the hurricane Irene, the city has designated the Fort Trumbull redevelopment site as a place to dump vegetation debris. For a video of locals dumping that stuff on the site, click here.

    Connecticut taxpayers have thus been soaked tens of millions of dollars, not just for nothing, but for making things worse — for transforming a nice local neighborhood into a dump.

    Anyone see David Souter recently?

  • But Connecticut's immolation of taxpayer money and private property is small potatoes compared to that of Your Federal Government. Let us join the crowd noting the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Solyndra, recipient of a $535-million federal loan guarantee back in 2009, proudly hailed (then) as the first of its kind. But let's not look at the recent stories, but back at the fawning coverage at the New York Times in 2010 when President Pollyanna Obama visited a Solyndra plant under construction:

    “It really gives you a sense of what the future of manufacturing looks like,” Mr. Obama told them, adding, “We’re going to keep on building stuff here in America.”

    With its well-lighted modern spaces and high-tech computerized equipment, the sprawling plant against the hills outside Fremont was in sharp contrast to a pipe-manufacturing factory adapted from a shuttered steel mill, that Mr. Obama visited in Youngstown, Ohio, last week. But both are expanding, in part with federal money from last year’s $787 billion economic recovery act.

    Mr. Obama also said that the new jobs created at Solyndra, both temporary ones in construction and permanent manufacturing slots, were a sign that the economy is improving.

    “What you are proving here, all of you, collectively, is that as difficult as it’s going to be, as long as it takes, we will recover,” he told the employees.

    “The promise of clean energy isn’t an article of faith, not anymore,” he added. “The future is here.”

    On the contrary, Mr. President: the future is here.

    A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration’s effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.

    And let's not forget:

    The Obama administration bypassed steps meant to protect taxpayers as it hurried to approve an energy loan guarantee to a politically-connected California solar power startup , iWatch News and ABC News have learned. […]

    The loan guarantee, the administration's first for a clean energy project, benefited a company whose prime financial backers include Oklahoma oil billionaire George Kaiser, a “bundler” of campaign donations. Kaiser raised at least $50,000 for the president’s 2008 election effort.

    Crony capitalism at its finest!

  • At the Washington Post, Dana Milbank feels it's worth his typing time to inform us: Rick Perry is no libertarian. In fact (he claims), "Rick Perry is a theocrat." Oh noes! Hide the Cthulhu plush!

    Jacob Sullum is both more qualified and better able to make fine distinctions than Milbank. Libertarian-minded voters willing to vote for a Republican should read the whole thing, and maybe follow the links. Sullum's conclusion:

    As far as I can tell, by the way, no one is calling Perry a libertarian. The statement to which Milbank objected was Post reporter Perry Bacon's claim that a Perry victory "would cement the Republican Party's shift away from Bush's approach to a more libertarian, anti-government GOP." That much seems possible. After all, you can be more libertarian than George W. Bush without being very libertarian at all. So far it seems that Perry is about as good as Bush on the few issues (immigration, for example) where Bush was pretty good, no worse than Bush in any major way (unless I've missed it; let me know), and substantially better rhetorically, eschewing "compassionate" conservatism and championingfederalism, even in the area of drug policy. If there is any substance at all to Perry's Tea Party–pleasing emphasis on fiscal conservatism, Bacon's prediction could turn out to be accurate.

  • When I was a kid, my mom used to freak when she saw Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Too soon!

    Times have changed. The mail brought our first Christmas catalog yesterday, August 31. The perpetrators of this outrage: the Lakeside Collection. It's a very slick book with an upscale look, and (frankly) I'm a little tempted by the Hot Sox Therapeutic Slippers (only $6.95 per pair, pictured above).

Last Modified 2012-09-25 6:05 AM EDT

Porco Rosso

stars] Porco Rosso (1992) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

This is an older animated movie (1992), written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki before he made things like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. If you liked those, you'll probably like this, although it's lighter (and funnier) fare.

It's set in an imaginary 1920's. The title character is a mercenary pilot, tasked with thwarting the evil schemes of air pirates prowling the Adriatic. Oh, and he's a pig. Or, more precisely, a human being who (for some reason) has been cursed with porcine features.

Fortunately, the pirates aren't very evil, and not very competent. (The primary pirate will remind you of Bluto in the old Popeye cartoons.) When they abduct a bunch of little girls from a cruise ship, the girls treat it as a grand adventure, crawling all over the pirate airship. Porco rescues them without a lot of trouble.

Realizing they're outmatched, the pirates then hire a dashing, but amoral, American named Curtis to contend with Porco. Curtis also puts moves on the local nightclub sweetheart, Gina; but (as it turns out) she and Porco know each other from the old days…

I was caught up in this ridiculous, but utterly charming yarn. It was dubbed into English by the best talent Disney can hire; I was sure George Clooney was doing Porco, but it turned out to be Michael Keaton doing a very, very good George Clooney impression.

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:30 AM EDT