I. T.

[2.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A Mrs. Salad pick. I think because she secretly loooves Pierce Brosnan.

Mr. B. plays Mike Regan, an entrepreneur with a burning idea: Uber for executive jets! So he's about to launch an IPO for his company implementing this idea, geared up for a stunning presentation when… oops, a computer glitch freezes everything up. But an intrepid intern, Patrick, gets on a terminal, defrosts everything with a few clicks and keystrokes, saving the day!

Mike is grateful. And ignores my shouted advice: "Patrick's a psycho, the only reason he was able to fix things so easily is because he planted the bug in the first place." Patrick is invited into Mike's home, which has a dismaying number of Internet-of-Things devices. Patrick gets the hots for Mike's cute teenage daughter.

Eventually Mike realizes what a dreadful person Patrick is. But Patrick already has his bots and viruses in place, and proceeds to make Mike's life a computerized hell. So a half-cyberspace, half-meatspace war ensues.

IT ex-professional opinion: Patrick's nefarious activities are farfetched, but not that farfetched. Definitely more sophisticated than your average Twitter-fouling bot army, or a Democrat-deceiving phishing attack, though.

Executive summary: watchable, but kind of a waste of time. Unless you have a burning need to hear an erstwhile James Bond drop numerous f-bombs. Then you should grab it immediately.

URLs du Jour

2019-11-16

  • An amusing column from David Harsanyi on Paul Krugman: Always Wrong, Never in Doubt.

    One of the nation’s leading doomsayers has been the New York Times’ perpetually mistaken Paul Krugman, who warned shortly after the 2016 election that Trump’s victory would trigger a global recession “with no end in sight.” We could file that under “post-election hysteria,” but as late as April of this year he was still telling crowds that the bond-market signals predicted “a pretty good chance of a recession sometime in the next year or so.” And he has kept this going all year:

    February 11: Paul Krugman expects a global recession this year, warns “we don’t have an effective response.”

    August 1: “Why Was Trumponomics a Flop?”

    August 15: “From Trump Boom to Trump Gloom”

    September 5: “Trumpism Is Bad for Business”

    October 3: “Here Comes the Trump Slump”

    October 24: “The Day the Trump Boom Died”

    A couple of weeks after the Trump Boom expired, CNBC reported that “October job creation comes in at 128,000, easily topping estimates even with GM auto strike.” This cycle has been going on for three years.

    (My favorite Trump-era Krugmanism, though, is when the esteemed economist explains away his bad predictions by claiming that the economy’s successes are really just driven by instances of his own political preferences playing out — “Impeaching Trump Is Good for the Economy,” “The Economics of Donald J. Keynes,” and so on.)

    Eventually, we will have a recession. And Paul Krugman will claim to have predicted it.

    As I've said before: I would dearly love to see the current and past investment portfolios of doomsayers like Krugman, and see their performance over the recent past. If they believe their own predictions, their returns have got to be pretty lousy.


  • James W. Benefiel of Dunedin, Florida read a recent WSJ story about Apple kicking in $2.5 billion to help California with the “availability and affordability" of housing in the state. He makes a cogent point in an LTE: iPad Pseudo-Tax Money Is Ingenious Progressive Coup.

    Your editorial “Affordable Rents at the iPad” (Nov. 6) describes the billions of dollars Apple and other big California tech giants are contributing to increase availability of “affordable housing” in the Silicon Valley area. So now I need to consider when I shell out $900 for my next iPhone that I will be paying a tax to subsidize the amelioration of convoluted reasoning in California that creates most of its problems. That system has invented a new concept: a free-market tax-collection mechanism for a muddled progressive state that manages to dredge in revenues from around the country and world.

    [Amazon Link]
    Bears repeating: buying Apple products helps bail out California from its dysfunctional housing policies. Facebook and Google are also culprits.

    Gee, if only someone would write a book about the craven co-dependence of statists and crony capitalists…


  • And our Google LFOD alert rang for a recent article in The Conversation by Julia Gaffield (Associate Professor of History, Georgia State University): Haiti protests summon spirit of the Haitian Revolution to condemn a president tainted by scandal.

    A radical, unlikely figure has emerged as the icon of Haiti’s months-long protests against President Jovenel Moïse, who stands accused of embezzling millions in public funds.

    That figure is Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the black Haitian revolutionary who defeated the French to free Haiti from colonial rule in 1804. By summoning Dessalines, Haitian protesters implicitly contrast the achievements of that revolution – freedom, universal citizenship and racial equality – with the disappointments of the Moïse government.

    Dessalines wrote a radical constitution that eliminated racial hierarchy, established equality before the law and instituted freedom of religion in Haiti.

    One of Haiti’s opposition political parties is called “Pitit Dessalines” – Children of Dessalines.

    When demonstrations began last year, simple stenciled images of Dessalines wearing a military hat and holding a protest sign appeared on walls across the capital. This year, at several marches, men in revolutionary-era garb have ridden the streets of Port-au-Prince on horseback. They were waving Dessalines’ red-and-black version of the Haitian flag inscribed with the words “Viv Lib ou Mouri” – “Live Free or Die.”

    Professor Gaffield eventually gets around to mentioning a small fact that the Wikipedia entry for Dessalines puts right up front: he ordered the 1804 Haiti massacre of the remaining white population of native French people.

    I'll say what Gaffield won't: replacing crooks with murderers isn't gonna go well.