Not Fade Away


  • As I type, Herman Cain has faded away at Intrade going from a $0.60 share price this morning to (as I type) $0.40. Not looking good for Herman. Gee, I wonder why?

  • For Granite Staters: the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance has put together its 2011 report card for our state legislators.

    My senator, Amanda Merrill, wangled a D+, the second-from-lowest score, shared by only three of her colleagues. The news for my representatives (Strafford 2) is only slightly better: B, C+, C-, D+, D-. How did yours do?

  • Andrew Stiles notes the 40 House Republicans who signed a letter last week urging the "supercommittee" tasked with deficit reduction to consider "all options". This is widely, and probably accurately, viewed as a white flag on tax-raising.

    Who are these weasels? Unsurprisingly, one is the RINO from New Hampshire's Other Congressional District, Charlie Bass.

  • Mickey Kaus points out that while Sarah Palin negatives might have made her a poor candidate, she's giving better speeches than any actual candidate. An excerpt from his excerpt:
    We sent a new class of leaders to D.C., but immediately the permanent political class tried to co-opt them – because the reality is we are governed by a permanent political class, until we change that. They talk endlessly about cutting government spending, and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt, and yet they keep incurring more. They spend, they print, they borrow, they spend more, and then they stick us with the bill. Then they pat their own backs, and they claim that they faced and “solved” the debt crisis that they got us in, but when we were humiliated in front of the world with our country’s first credit downgrade, they promptly went on vacation.
    In 2008 she was constrained into McCain's theme of blaming the "greedy" for economic woe, which was disappointing. Much better now. Whole thing here

  • Mitt Romney got some cheers for his recent fiscal proposals, but Peter Suderman just sees the same old mush when it comes to Medicare:
    The plan bears all of the now-familiar hallmarks of a Romney policy proposal. It’s vague. It’s designed for maximum pandering. And Romney was against it before he was for it.
    Hey, at least he's not obviously self-destructing. That's a low bar to clear, but one the other candidates are tripping over.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

[Amazon Link]

Progress: book Three completed in my self-forced march through the series. As expected, the ratio of dark/scary stuff to the whimsical/amusing stuff is on the increase.

Harry's back at Hogwarts for year three. The Prisoner of the title is Sirius Black, who is (despite the title) no longer a prisoner, having escaped Azkaban, the pokey for misbehaving wizards. And Sirius is thought to have misbehaved very badly, having betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort years back, and also bumping off a dozen odd folks himself. It's widely presumed that his goal is to finish off the destruction of the Potter family with the sole survivor, Harry.

In addition to this overriding menace, there's a lot of mysterious stuff going on. Lupin, the third Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in three years, is an odd bird with something to hide. The studious Hermione has a seemingly impossible courseload, but seems somehow to manage it. And Hermione's new cat, Crookshanks, has taken a decidedly hostile attitude to Ron Weasley's rat, Scabbers. The Azkaban Goon Squad known as the "Dementors" sent to "protect" Hogwarts have a decidedly negative effect on Harry.

Another dandy yarn; enjoyable, even though I'd seen the movie long before reading the book. I'm currently at work on book 4, the Goblet of Fire.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 3:41 PM EDT

X-Men: First Class

[3.0 stars] X-Men: First Class (2011) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

Why, yes, this is the second consecutive movie we watched in which Rose Byrne appeared. Good catch.

It's (yet another) X-Men movie, this one—you may have guessed—an origin story. It starts in the 1940s, when both Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr were mutant kids. Young Charles is growing up rich and privileged, when meets up with the shapeshifter Raven (who just happens to be raiding the family fridge). This gives him an early start on the Professor X road: protection and guidance of troubled youngsters with fearsome powers.

But meanwhile in Europe, Erik, being Jewish, is in a Nazi death camp. It's run by the supremely evil Sebastian Shaw, who makes the other Nazis look like wimps. Shaw also bumps off Erik's mom. It's perhaps understandable that Erik is saddled with Issues at this impressionable age.

Jump forward to the early 60s, and Erik is in a cold-blooded pursuit of Shaw, looking for revenge. Shaw, for his part, has turned his Nazi past into a more comic-book-traditional role: super-villainous head of an international criminal gang. And Charles is recruited by the CIA to gather up mutants and bring their skills to furthering American interests. Eventually Charles and Erik meet and begin their complex and tumultuous relationship, as they both need to thwart Shaw's (literally) apocalyptic schemes.

It's a big-budget extravaganza, loaded with impressive special effects, and the actors are pretty good. But the plot is rooted in Cold War history, and hints at USA/USSR moral equivalence; the real problems are caused by those pesky evil mutants. I'm still anti-Communist enough to find this grating, even set in comic-book fiction.

And as I've previously mentioned, there's something about James McAvoy (who plays Charles) that makes me want to give him a good slap.

Last Modified 2012-09-24 3:37 PM EDT