Land of the Not Quite as Free as Before

  • Matt Mitchell of the Mercatus Center notes the bad news from the Fraser Institute and their most recent report on the Economic Freedom of the World. Based on 2009 data, your United States slipped badly, now in tenth place. The video at right (no, your right) shows how the measure has risen and fallen over the past few decades.

    Earlier this year, Mercatus measured economic, social, and personal freedoms in the 50 states. New Hampshire was number one—woohoo!—but with the overall trend for the country, that could be like bragging about being the tallest building in Wichita, Kansas.

  • Your humble blogger contributed to the WSJ's Best of the Web Today yesterday. This headline to a Boston Globe article:
    Harvard Connection Could Aid, Hinder Warren
    made its occasional "Out on a Limb" category.

  • Steve Martin provides Oscar-hosting advice to Eddie Murphy. Sample:
    People always say it's a disgrace that neither you nor I have ever won an Oscar, but they're just being correct.

  • Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought this was pretty funny, a bad-lipreading of Rick Perry's campaign ad.

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:54 AM EDT

The Naked Spur

stars] The Naked Spur (1953) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

Why yes, I did watch two 1953 movies in a row. Good catch. This one's a Jimmy Stewart western. It was Oscar-nominated for "Best Writing, Story and Screenplay". I see at IMDB that one of the writers, Sam Rolfe, went on to write a couple Star Trek episodes (one TNG, one DS9).

Jimmy Stewart plays the hero, Howard Kemp. Howard's very flawed. (It's a modern western.) For initially obscure reasons, he's obsessed with capturing bad guy Ben Vandergroat, played by Robert Ryan. Circumstances force him to take on a couple partners, a grizzled and unlucky prospector, and a brash semi-psychotic ex-soldier. And when they finally catch up to Vandergroat, it turns out he has a lovely travelling companion, Lina, played by Janet Leigh. That makes five people, an unwieldy bunch. They encounter the usual obstacles, mainly Indians. (It turns out the ex-soldier behaved badly with a young tribal woman.)

But in addition, Vandergroat turns out to be adept at finding the weak spots in everyone's character, and leveraging them into dysfunctional behavior. (Everyone's pretty good, but Robert Ryan is very good. He really seems to be having a good time with Vandergroat's character.)

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:27 AM EDT