The Farewell

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

Mrs. Salad read the synopsis, and said "I don't want to watch that." She's averse to "grandma's dying" movies. So I was relegated to watching this at my downstairs desk.

Then she asked from upstairs: "What are you laughing at?" Honest, honey: it's IMDB-billed as "Comedy, Drama". And there are some funny bits.

A Chinese matriarch gets tested for some respiratory problems, and in a development that I'm pretty sure couldn't happen in the USA, the doctors do not tell her the gloomy prognosis. Instead, the family finds out, and they decide to not tell her. But they want to get the family together one last time for her, so they arrange for a wedding for some hapless kid. Enter Billi (played by the wonderful Awkwafina), mostly American, and she's aghast at the deception. She can't really afford to go to China, but she does anyway. But will she spill the beans? Over the next few days, she's torn. And she has secrets of her own.

It's a good movie for looking at cultural differences and similarities. Apparently a universal attribute of families is to realize that scrupulous truth-telling isn't always the best recipe for family harmony. Of course, as here, sometimes things get a little out of control.

The Phony Campaign

2020-03-29 Update

Interesting development: We have a new candidate on the list, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, popping up with a small but qualifying win-probability of 3.2%. I assume this is entirely due to Joe Biden's ineffective efforts to look relevant. (Note Joe's nearly five percentage point decline in the betting markets over the week.)

I can see a dramatic scenario unfold that involves a bunch of cancelled primaries, a pile of unpledged delegates up for grabs at the Democratic Convention, maybe a few more Biden incoherencies, and voilà.

Andrew is also our phony leader, nearly two-to-one over Trump. What's up with that?

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
3/22
Phony
Results
Change
Since
3/22
Andrew Cuomo 3.2% --- 2,740,000 ---
Donald Trump 48.7% +1.7% 1,400,000 -130,000
Joe Biden 41.1% -4.9% 422,000 -47,000

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Let's welcome Andy to our standings with a recent article in Irish Central: AOH condemns NY Governor Cuomo’s fake Irish accent.

    The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) are shocked and disappointed that during a 3/11 press conference dealing with the response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the heartbreaking announcement that for the first time in 258 years the NY St. Patrick's Day parade will not take place on March 17th, that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo decided that this was an appropriate time to engage in stereotypical stage-Irishmanism. 

    Video at the link. Putting on a fake Irish accent to mock a St. Patrick's Day parade cancellation is apparently acceptable. It was only a matter of bad timing that he avoided making fun of the cancellation of Black History Month events with an an Amos & Andy accent.


  • Mona Charen's column deals with China's Lies, and Ours. Well, not "ours". Trump's. And we know about China, but:

    President Donald Trump engaged in a series of soothing statements himself. On Jan. 22, after the first U.S. case was reported, he said, "We have it totally under control." On Feb. 2, he boasted that "we pretty much shut it down coming in from China." Twice in February, the president promised that "when we get into April, in the warmer weather — that has a very negative effect on that, and that type of a virus." On Feb. 26, when cases topped 60, Trump claimed, "We're going very substantially down, not up." In South Carolina, on Feb. 28, Trump likened criticism of his handling of the pandemic to impeachment, saying that "this is their new hoax." On March 6, he continued this theme. Facing criticism for his false statement that "anyone who wants a test can get a test," Trump tried to string together a "fake news"/Ukraine theme. He said the tests were "beautiful," adding, "The tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect, the transcription was perfect, right?" Asked whether he was concerned about the virus's spread on March 7, the president said, "No, we've done a great job."

    Throughout the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, Trump praised China effusively, as The Bulwark's Jim Swift chronicled. On Feb. 7, for example, Trump said: "Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!" A few days later, he shared with Fox News his view that "China is very, you know, professionally run, in the sense that they have everything under control. I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon."

    I don't expect Trump to be an expert epidemiologist. And I expect him to bullshit. It's a bad combination when he's bullshitting about epidemiological issues that are killing Americans.


  • Megan McArdle looks at one thing Trump had right… and then proceeded to change his mind about: Why the Defense Production Act won’t get us ventilators any faster.

    General Motors has just been nationalized for the second time in 11 years.

    Well, not the whole company this time, the way it was in 2009. But President Trump has decided to compel General Motors to manufacture ventilators under a formerly obscure law called the Defense Production Act.

    For days, as disturbing reports mounted from hospitals in urban covid-19 hotspots, both Trump’s opponents and some of his supporters have been urging the president to use this authority. The president repeatedly said it wasn’t needed, then abruptly changed course as negotiations between GM and the government broke down.

    Trump had it right the first time. This is undoubtedly good political theater, but it doesn’t actually get us ventilators any faster.

    His instincts are poor, and his principles are absent.


  • At the Washington Examiner, Andrew Mark Miller looks at a recent claim from our other major candidate: Biden sparks confusion after claiming he 'became a professor' after leaving the Senate.

    Biden became vice president after leaving the Senate in 2009 and received the title of "Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor" from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. He never taught any classes, according to his own spokesperson at the time.

    […]

    Biden was present on the University of Pennsylvania campus four times to make speeches in 2017 and again in 2018. He was paid $776,527, which amounted to nearly double the average salary of the professors on campus at the time, according to PhillyMag.

    Well, in Academia it's all about the titles, so I don't agree with those who claim he's not a professor. Clearly, he is.

    I'm not sure it shows great judgment for him to draw attention to yet another six-figure sinecure for someone named "Biden".


  • And, oh yeah, Joe also got metooed. At NR, David Harsanyi looks at the controversy and wonders: Will Biden Live Up to His Own Principles?.

    Need I mention Betteridge's law of headlines?

    In the midst of the Democrats’ campaign to deny Brett Kavanaugh confirmation to the Supreme Court, Lawfare’s editor in chief, Benjamin Wittes, took to the pages of The Atlantic to argue that traditional concepts of due process were not applicable under the circumstances. Justice, he wrote, was merely an “optical” consideration, and in this case, “Kavanaugh himself bears the burden of proof.”

    This upending of liberal ideals had nothing to do with the veracity of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations — opaque, decades old, and unprovable — and everything to do with the accused party, upon whom, Wittes noted, we were about to “bestow . . . an immense honor that comes with great power.”

    We don’t know if, in 1993, presidential hopeful Joe Biden sexually assaulted a woman named Tara Reade by pressing her up against a wall and digitally penetrating her without her consent. But under Wittes’s standard, it shouldn’t matter. Indeed, that we do not know is all that we need to know. No person in America is accorded a more “immense honor” or more “great power” than the president. Surely, as with Kavanaugh, the existence of the accusation is disqualifying?

    It would be nice to see the hair-splitting arguments that claim "this is different".


  • And Slashdot reports that Great White Mother Elizabeth Warren is freeing her code to roam this vast land: Elizabeth Warren's Campaign Is Making Its Software Open Source.

    While most politicians are pro copyright maximalism and patent exclusivity, Elizabeth Warren's campaign just open-sourced a bunch of software and are proud of having used open source to save money, and build upon the shoulders of other giants. Way to go! "Our tech team worked hard to make getting involved with @ewarren's campaign as easy as possible," reads a tweet from @TeamWarren. "We leaned heavily on open source technology, and we want to contribute back. So we're open-sourcing some of our most important projects for anyone to use."

    Fortunately, they were unable to come up with any software that would convince voters she was their best choice.


Last Modified 2020-03-29 2:08 PM EDT