URLs du Jour

2016-12-31

The final UDJ post of the year brings us…

  • Dave Barry's Year in Review, an annual must-read, is available! He makes a point diligent readers have seen here:

    [T]he American people, looking for a leader, ended up with a choice between ointment and suppository. The fall campaign was an unending national nightmare, broadcast relentlessly on cable TV. CNN told us over and over that Donald Trump was a colossally ignorant, narcissistic, out-of-control, sex-predator buffoon; Fox News countered that Hillary Clinton was a greedy, corrupt, coldly calculating liar of massive ambition and minimal accomplishment. And in our hearts we knew the awful truth: They were both right.

    2016: you need to laugh to keep from crying, and Dave's the guy to help you do it..

  • Was the election hacked? Find out the exiting answer from Ricochet's Jon Gabriel: "The Election Was Not Hacked".

    Despite the histrionic claims of the press, the election was not hacked. The Democratic National Committee’s lousy IT security allowed someone to access their emails which were then leaked. Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta fell for an age-old phishing scam that was as believable as getting millions of dollars from a Nigerian prince. Using the spotty media understanding of cybersecurity, they can claim that the DNC and Hillary’s campaign were “hacked,” but the election decisively was not. And the press knows it.

  • Or if you prefer an Iowahawk-style takedown of the hacking claim, the Twitchy folks have gathered his recent tweets on the issue here. Sample:

    Also at the link, for no extra charge: a twelve-tweet thread where a (slightly) more serious Dave explains to an NPR listener what actually transpired.

  • And Philip Greenspun asks a question too few others are: "Why is the U.S. government retaliating against Russia for allegedly poking into a private email server?" Can any New York Times reader clarify that?

  • Ah, well. Enough about "hacking". At the Federalist, Matt Shapiro quantifies the gut feeling anyone who's been following Politifact's fact-checking over the past few years already knows: they're hopelessly biased along partisan lines. But he also notes an interesting twist:

    […] PolitiFact’s analysis of Trump reinforces the idea that the media has called Republicans liars for so long and with such frequency the charge has lost it sting. PolitiFact treated Mitt Romney as a serial liar, fraud, and cheat. They attacked Rubio, Cruz, and Ryan frequently and often unfairly.

    But they treated Trump like they do Democrats: their fact-checking was short, clean, and to the point. It dealt only with the facts at hand and sourced those facts as simply as possible. In short, they treated him like a Democrat who isn’t very careful with the truth.

    I didn't expect that, but Shapiro's analysis is persuasive.

  • Reason's new editor, Katherine Mangu-Ward, is doing a pretty good job so far. Here she notes the problem Democrats are only just now starting to "get": when executive power is stretched for "good", the next guy gets to use that power too:

    Every time Obama made a recess appointment, or issued an executive order on gender-neutral bathrooms, or limited the comment period on a new regulation, or denied a Freedom of Information Act request, or disregarded state marijuana laws and sent in federal law enforcement, or allowed the IRS to investigate his ideological opponents, he made it easier for President Trump to do the same. He knew what he was doing, and he did it anyway. Likewise, George W. Bush knew what he was doing when he used the post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to launch a protracted, decade-long multinational war, began indefinitely housing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, issued signing statements that waved away restrictions on torture, and much more.

    So 2017 will be … interesting. Hope we'll be around to see the whole thing.

Hell or High Water

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

As the Boss said: 57 channels and nothin' on. Except more than 57. Unless you follow college football, and care about whether Florida State beats Michigan. (They did, by one point.)

Or if you haven't already seen "The Trouble With Tribbles" enough already. (I had.)

So: to the Netflix DVDs. We turned off Original Captain Kirk and put on New Captain Kirk. If Chris Pine keeps turning in performances like this, he might convince me he has a pretty good acting range.

Pine and Ben Foster play lowlife bank-robbin' brothers down in Texas (the movie was actually shot in New Mexico). For initially undisclosed reasons, they're taking down branches of the Texas Midland Bank, getting away with relatively modest sums. On their trail is a pair of Texas Rangers, an about-to-retire white grizzly (played by Jeff Bridges) and his ethnic sidekick (played by Gil Birmingham).

About to retire? Oh oh.

The Foster brother is an ex-con, and kind of a loose cannon (like Donald Trump!), prone to impulsive and violent behavior. Pine's character is clearly the level-headed one, and his purpose in the escapade is gradually revealed.

Oh, heck, I'll tell you a little: the tedious plot motivator is that banks are out to screw the little guy, and the only decent way to get out from under is to play a little Robin Hood scenario. Given the facts as they are (eventually) presented, it seems it would have been pretty easy to accomplish the same goal legally. But maybe I missed something.

Katy Mixon has a small but important role as a slutty diner waitress. Where had I seen her before? Mostly in ads for her new ABC sitcom, "American Housewife". She's good in this, but not good enough to make me watch something called "American Housewife".