Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

[4.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

So Mrs. Salad and I decided to stretch our legs a bit, and went to see this at the Regal Cinemas down in Newington. Why, I remember the days when we had to traipse down to Peabody or Lawrence MA to see first-run flicks. And they didn't have reclining chairs in stadium seating. Also, the special effects were cheesy.

And don't get me started on the popcorn.

Where was I? Oh, yes. This movie is a lot of fun. It takes up where the previous one left off, with a shaky quintet of Guardians taking on dangerous missions for hire, like defending a trove of some sort of space batteries against a rampaging monster. This is meant to illustrate (a) the team's bungling-but-eventually-successful approach to dire threats, but also (b) how the team gets exposed to some of those threats, when the thieving Rocket filches some of the batteries they were just hired to protect.

So the Guardians now have another entire planet pissed at them, but they escape with the unlikely help of Kurt Russell. Slight, trailer-level spoiler: he's revealed to be Peter Quill / Star-Lord's father! But is there more there than this joyous reunion seems to be? Hint: yes.

It's a mix of hilarity, action, and gooey sentiment. Fortunately, the hilarity is very hilarious. (Although I'm easily amused.) Everybody's good, although the very end is a little dragged-out. Dave Bautista, playing Drax, seems to be having a lot more fun this time out; he has some of the best lines.

URLs du Jour


■ In these insane times, will Proverbs 25:12 provide a dollop of wisdom?

12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
    is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.

Hm. "Like this gold thing, or this other gold thing?" I'm not impressed with the style. But today's Getty illustration is definitely a rebuke to a earring-free, but listening, ear.

■ So, you may have heard, because everyone's talking about it, including the WSJ editorialists: Trump Bids Paris Adieu. Particularly apt is this aside about "leadership":

[…C]laims that the U.S. is abdicating global leadership [are] overwrought. Leadership is not defined as the U.S. endorsing whatever other world leaders have already decided they want to do, and the U.S. is providing a better model in any case. Private economies that can innovate and provide cost-effective energy alternatives will always beat meaningless international agreements. To the extent Paris damages economic growth, the irony is that it would leave the world less prepared for climate change.

So much of the pro-Paris argument relies on the notion that we can regulate, tax, spend, and (above all) plan our way to prosperity. That's not the way to bet. And by the time such arguments would have been revealed to be Obamacare-style lies, it would have been too late.

■ Oren Cass at City Journal does not regret that We’ll Never Have Paris.

Even before President Trump had completed his announcement that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, howls of disbelief and outrage went up from proponents of the agreement. But the critical dynamic underlying the 2015 Accord, willfully ignored by its advocates, is that major developing countries offered “commitments” for emissions reduction that only mirrored their economies’ existing trajectories. Thus, for instance, China committed to reaching peak emissions by 2030—in line with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s prior analysis. India committed to improving its emissions per unit of GDP—at a rate slower than that metric was already improving. President Obama, meanwhile, pledged America to concrete and aggressive emissions cuts that would require genuine and costly change.

Which was why (a) other countries were so eager to sign on; (b) Obama realized that he could never get this "treaty" ratified by the Senate.

■ At Cato, Patrick J. Michaels presents The Scientific Argument against the Paris Climate Agreement. (Yes, there is one.)

[…] The Paris Agreement is based upon a fundamental misconception of climate history and science. The objective is to hold temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, and to “pursue efforts” to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The key misconception is that all of the warming since the Industrial Revolution — 0.9 degrees Celsius — is a result of human activity.

And much of it, Michaels argues, is not.

■ Keith Hennessey asks: Is the Paris Agreement QTIIPS?. Which is:

QTIIPS stands for Quantitatively Trivial Impact + Intense Political Symbolism.

As for the first part: the "models" don't predict a substantial effect from the Paris deal, even if fully implemented. But:

QTIIPS policy changes rest on the assumption that the first step is likely to lead to that theoretical quantitatively significant outcome. Most supporters of the Paris Agreement would privately concede that it is only a modest first step, and would then express hope that it could/will/might/should lead to further progress in the future. Opponents of the agreement would share their fears that this first step could/will/might lead to an eventual outcome they fear.

But this shared assumption, of a first step or slippery slope, could easily be wrong. If the Paris Agreement were never to have led to a more significant next step, then a key premise of the fight is wrong. The intense political symbolism and the fierce battles waged over both President Obama’s and President Trump’s relatively small policy moves would then be unsupported by strong policy arguments.

It's an interesting argument.

■ Ron Bailey at Reason has an equally sane take (with graphs, so it's science): Trump Announces Withdrawal From Paris Climate Deal. What Happens Now?

Make the heroic assumption that the climate models are right: What should be done? In an article for Foreign Affairs, the eco-modernists over at the Breakthrough Institute advocate policies encouraging the innovation that would make carbon-free energy cheaper than that provided by burning fossil fuels. This might include, among other things, the entrepreneurial development of radically safer and cheaper nuclear power.

My own solution for any problems that might arise from man-made climate change (and for most other challenges faced by humanity) is to adopt policies that boost technological innovation and wealth creation. For details on what that would entail, go here.

Bailey is credible on both science and economics, a rare combination in the debate.

■ And then there are the naysayers. The Federalist compiles 15 Over-The-Top Reactions To Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Climate Deal. Number one:

Billionaire and faux environmentalist Tom Steyer said withdrawing would be a “traitorous act of war.”

Does the argument get better from there, or worse. You be the judge!

■ Julie Kelly at NR combs over the same ground: The Left’s Unhinged Freakout over Trump’s Paris Accord Withdrawal. She has Steyer too, but also:

Celebrities who still haven’t learned that their endorsement of anyone or anything usually yields the opposite of the intended effect also weighed in on Trump’s move. Hollywood’s most prolific climate celeb — the bed-hopping, jet-setting, yacht-cruising Leo DiCaprio — said he hoped Trump would make the “moral” decision to stay in Paris, then tweeted shortly after the president’s announcement that “today, our planet suffered.” Unhinged showgirl Bette Midler tweeted that Trump’s exit gave “BigOil a windfall” and that “there has never in US history been such a destructive megalomaniac in the WH. Thank you to US press and other numbskulls who put him there.”

Bette Midler also claims we are entering a despotic age, but that's not stopping her from appearing in a revival of Hello, Dolly, to which a ticket will set you back (as I type) up to $1430. No, I didn't leave out a decimal point. A despotic age can also be a profitable one.

Last Modified 2017-06-25 6:03 PM EST