Everything Everywhere All At Once

[5 stars] [IMDB Link] [Everything Everywhere All At Once]

Wow, what a great movie. If Michelle Yeoh doesn't win the Best Actress Oscar next year, I'll never watch the Oscars again. Add a Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis. Best Supporting Actor, Ke Huy Quan or James Hong? Hm, I'm torn there.

Yes (sigh) I haven't watched the Oscars in years. But if the right people are nominated, I might.

Ms. Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang. Her dysfunctional family lives in a cluttered apartment above their failing Simi Valley laundromat. While Ms. Yeoh is justly famous for her martial arts skills, her character's marital arts skills are sorely put to the test here. Her husband (Mr. Quan) is considering divorce, her lesbian daughter is dissatisfied with her mothering skills, she's been long at odds with her aging and demanding father (Mr. Hong) and (worst of all) she's in tax trouble with the IRS, specifically agent Deirdre Beaubeirdra, played very unglamorously by Ms. Curtis.

As it develops, Evelyn is seriously confused between hobby expenses (not deductible) and business expenses. (Ah, I remember the days of filing Schedule C!)

But to make matters worse, there are numerous leaks from nearby multiverses. (There's a gimmick that allows those different-multiverse Evelyns to inhabit each other's bodies temporarily.) And she's called to save the various multiverses from destruction by an unexpected menace.

Fortunately, one of those multiverse Evelyns does have major martial arts skills.

URLs du Jour

2022-04-24

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • Color me unsurprised. Eric Boehm pays attention to a famed statist so we don't have to: Fauci Says CDC Mandates 'Should Not Be a Court Issue'.

    Anthony Fauci is "surprised and disappointed" with this week's federal court ruling that overturned the mask mandate on planes, trains, and public transportation.

    That's not because the president's chief medical advisor disagrees with the substance of Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle's ruling. No: Fauci thinks the problem is that the courts have any power over public health edicts at all.

    "Those types of things really are the purview of the [Centers for Disease Control]. This is a public health issue," Fauci told CNN's Kasie Hunt on Thursday. "We are concerned about that—about courts getting involved in things that are unequivocally public health decisions. I mean, this is a CDC issue; it should not be a court issue."

    Considering how much of his life he has spent working within or alongside the federal government, Fauci's belief that the CDC ought to exist outside of the constitutional limitations applied to government actions is stunning. This is either a complete misunderstanding of the American system's basic functions or an expression of disdain toward the rule of law.

    Eric finds Fauci's wish for the CDC's power to be "stunning." I disagree. It's a relative bedrock of faith for the progressive religion that Your Federal Government is here to "solve problems". And if little things like the "Constitution" or the "rule of law" get in the way of your imagined "solution"? Well, so much the worse for those roadblocks.

    Fauci's attitude isn't "stunning". It's completely expected. Dr. Fauci moved immediately from his medical residency to the NIH back in 1968. He's been swimming in the Beltway Swamp ever since.

    I'd be surprised if a majority of Beltway Bureaucrats didn't have the same statist attitudes as does Fauci. The system selects for that sort of mentality.


  • Two names I'm surprised to see so close together. I'm pretty sure it's a first, and Hannah Frankman accomplishes it: What Chris Rock (and Bastiat) Can Teach You about Tax Withholding. It's an excellent essay, but skipping down to where she makes point promised in the headline:

    Tax withholding gives the lie to the popular claim that taxes are voluntary payments for government services rendered. If that were the case, the government wouldn’t have to concoct schemes for separating citizens from their money. People would be excited to write a check at the end of each year for the public services they were receiving – or even feel like they were getting a steal.

    But people don’t get excited about paying their taxes, and they’re not voluntary. They’re what Frederic Bastiat called “legal plunder” – the legally-sanctioned theft of property from an individual. As Bastiat explained:

    “Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. [...] Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim—when he defends himself—as a criminal. In short, there is a legal plunder.”

    Chris Rock echoed Bastiat in a classic bit about tax withholding: “You don’t even pay taxes. They take tax. You get the check, money gone. That ain’t a payment – that’s a jack.”

    It's been years since I got a W-2, and so have to cough up estimated taxes (to both Washington and Concord) four times a year. Probably has made me (even) more a libertarian.


  • Everything you know is wrong. Well, probably not everything. But if you had to rely on normal news sources, you might think the science has settled: PFAS ("per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances") are a deadly menace. At the American Council on Science and Health, Susan Goldhaber brings some pushback. Skipping down to the summary;

    It is very rare to have a chemical with so much human data that shows so little adverse effect. Multiple studies did not find an association between PFOA [perfluorooctanoic acid, a PFAS], and immune effects, developmental effects, or cancer. Yes, there are some positive studies, but a fair and accurate assessment involves examining the totality of the data and reaching a conclusion based on all studies.

    The reason why PFAS is targeted as “dangerous” is two-fold. The media thrives on scary headlines. But the government-science complex, government agencies, scientists, and academicians, have created an environment where EPA is giving out millions of dollars to fund PFAS research - there is absolutely no benefit to a scientist in pointing out that the human studies indicate that these chemicals are quite safe.

    In terms of the EPA’s proposal to classify all PFAS as “hazardous substances,” it is good that EPA has started with an ANPRM, the earliest step in the rulemaking process, giving the public extra time for comment and the court challenges, which are sure to follow. However, as a scientist, I believe it is not too late to present a more balanced review of the data, which is not nearly as scary as the headlines would lead us to believe.

    PFAS may not cause cancer, but Google confirms my memory that they have been a leading cause of scary headlines in my local paper.


  • One might say: a surprising amount of fun. Kevin D. Williamson reveals Why it’s so much fun watching Elon Musk slap Twitter in the face.

    Musk, who calls himself a “free-speech absolutist,” wants to make Twitter a more free and open platform. What has spooked many of his critics — especially those within the company — is not that he plans to make the platform a moderation-free digital Wild West in which Islamic State snuff movies are treated as though they were brownie recipes but rather that he proposes to make public some aspects of the company’s decision-making processes and some of its algorithms, creating real transparency in the operations of what is today a corporate black box.

    This is likely to embarrass Twitter, whose employees exploit the arbitrary and opaque character of its operations to pursue private social and political vendettas, e.g. trying to suppress the New York Post’s coverage of Hunter Biden’s shenanigans (which you can now read about, years after the fact, in the New York Times and the Washington Post) before the 2020 election, when they would have embarrassed Joe Biden and possibly helped Donald Trump. I wrote the case against Trump — literally: My book, “The Case Against Trump,” was published in 2016 — but it is very difficult even for me to imagine a plausible rationale for denying Donald Trump a Twitter account while the Taliban has free access to the platform. Twitter’s only reliable free-speech principle is that it shuns anything that causes California progressives to run around shrieking with their dresses over their heads.

    What Musk proposes is not taking away Twitter’s ability to regulate content on its platform but rather to disinfect that process by dragging Twitter’s inner workings out of the shadows and into the sunshine.

    It's KDW's usual pyrotechnic prose, outside of the National Review paywall. Check it out. Maybe even tweet about it.


  • I usually avoid linking to the same author twice in a day, but rules are made to be broken. Kevin D. Williamson (yes, again) writes on our favorite madcap CongressCritter. Marjorie Taylor Greene: Vote Her Out, Don't Disqualify Her.

    Item 1: Marjorie Taylor Greene, the ghastly cretin who inexplicably has been foisted upon this besieged republic by the people of northwestern Georgia, is the sort of self-serving malicious dunce who should be kept as far away from political power as possible.

    Item 2: What occurred at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was part of an attempted coup d’état — the less important part; the important part was the effort the lawyers were in charge of — by means of which Donald Trump and his cronies intended to overthrow the government of the United States, nullifying the 2020 presidential election and illegitimately installing Trump in the White House after he lost to Joe Biden.

    Item 3: Items 1 and 2 do not work together quite the way some people would like for them to.

    This one might be behind the "NRPLUS" payway. Too bad.