URLs du Jour - 2014-11-10

  • In case you haven't seen it: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber bragged about the "lack of transparency" during the debate to be a "huge political advantage". ("Lack of transparency" is a euphemism for "nonstop dishonesty, occasional outright lies") And he credited "the stupidity of the American voter or whatever" for making that strategy a winning one.

    People will be offended, but I'm writing to you from a state that just re-elected Jeanne Shaheen, one of the eager participants in the obfuscation and bullshit. So to me "stupidity of the American voter" seems to be simple, blunt honesty on Gruber's part.

  • President Obama came out and asked the FCC to regulate the Internet as a "public utility". The proposal is cloaked in feel-good language about "Net Neutrality" (which polls remarkably well, for an empty slogan), keeping the Internet "free and open", blah blah blah.

    Nick Gillespie cuts through the fluff:

    Obama is old enough to remember Ma Bell, which was even worse to customers than today's cable and Internet providers. And he is smart enough to recognize the Orwellian contradiction in introducing onerous new regulatory regimes in the name of keeping anything "free." The FCC has never been particularly adept at acting in the "public interest." The less control it has over the Internet (and TV and anything else), the better off we will all be.

    It's the default "progressive" position: remove power from private hands, place it in the clutches of the almighty State.

  • The FCC was originally established to divvy up the broadcast spectrum among its corporate welfare recipients. A bad idea, but par for the fascist course at the time. In any case: that's a done deal, and one of ever-shrinking importance. So the official Pun Salad position on the FCC is not to give it more to do, but to abolish it. Some pointers that might convince you this is the only sensible policy: Matt Welch at Reason; Peter Suderman at Reason; an Investors Business Daily editorial; David Harsanyi at Real Clear Politics; and (even) Jack Shafer at Slate and Larry Lessig at Newsweek (in 2008).

  • There is P.J. O'Rourke content over at the Daily Beast, and it's highly recommended for anyone who might be feeling giddy over last week's election results.

    Extraordinary things occurred the last time Republicans took legislative power away from a liberal quack. To sum those things up in just two words, which still stir the heart of every right-thinking member of the Grand Old Party: Monica Lewinsky. Was that fun or what?

    Need I tell you to Read The Whole Thing? Didn't think so. But it's also worth clicking over just for the (I'm pretty sure) Photoshopped picture.

    [Today's illustration: a liberal quack. Get it?]

  • Dave Barry is Principal for a Day at Coral Reef High School ("Miami's Mega-Magnet"). It's not hilarious, but worth reading.

  • … and your tweet du jour is:

Still Mine

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I think I saw this movie on a list of libertarian-themed flicks (Can't find that list now, though.) So into the Netflix queue it went. True enough, its libertarian (specifically: pro-individual, anti-regulation) sentiments are clear. That theme is wrapped around a solid tale of devotion, family, and love.

James Cromwell plays Craig Morrison, a farmer and handyman, working his land outside of St. Martins, New Brunswick, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. He's strongly independent, and more than slightly cantankerous. And he is totally committed to the happiness of his lovely wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold!) They've raised seven kids, all now middle-aged, a few of whom are hanging around.

[Yes, Star Trek fans: Zephram Cochrane and the first Captain Janeway got married and moved to Canada.]

Problem: Irene is gradually succumbing to dementia, and needs a safer environment than their aging farmhouse. And she refuses to move into a home. So Craig resolves to build a smaller, one-level home that would be more appropriate as they grow old.

Unfortunately, Craig is thwarted at every turn by officious local bureaucrats who demand plans, permits, inspectors, and—above all—deference and subservience. Craig tries—he really does—but Irene's deteriorating condition, the oncoming winter, and continuing bureaucratic obstinence are limiting his options. It all heads to a courtroom scene where Craig faces the possibility of jail time and destruction of his new home.

So, yes, it's kind of like a small-scale Atlas Shrugged. There's another scene where Craig attempts to sell his farm's strawberries to a wholesaler; he's informed that new government regulations demand that farmers bring their crops in refrigerated trucks. This makes no sense in Craig's case, but rules are rules, and most of the crop goes to waste.

But the movie doesn't beat you over the head with ideology. The real story is Craig's love for Irene, and his desire to remain independent while caring for her. Mr. Cromwell and Ms. Bujold handle their roles extremely well.


Last Modified 2014-12-10 12:16 PM EST