URLs du Jour


  • Rumors (finally) debunked: Obama's birth certificat{e,ion}.

  • Larry Kudlow points out why, for all McCain's good points, he's pretty dreadful on energy issues.
    When asked about gas prices at the pump, and whether they could go any lower, Sen. McCain said he didn’t think so because “You’ve got a finite supply, basically, and a cartel controlling it.” This is exactly wrong. There is no finite supply, or if there is we are 100 years away from it. I don’t know who has put this thought into the senator’s mind, but it is a bad thought in terms of energy and a bad thought in terms of the politics of this campaign.


    Incidentally, in the Today Show interview, the senator takes a whack at oil-company profits, suggesting they should return some of these profits to consumers. And he would consider voting for a windfall profits tax. And then he used the phrase “obscene profits.”

    This should be a great issue for Republicans. It's not hard to mount rebuttals of populist economic know-nothingism offered by Democrats. But when the head candidate has essentially Democrat-lite positions on it, it gets harder.

  • Something a little unusual for newspapers: a "reconsideration" at the New York Sun of Karl Polanyi's anti-capitalist book The Great Transformation, first published in 1944. None of its predictions were borne out, it's littered with bad history and and worse economics. And yet, it's still quite popular in academia!
    Polanyi's popularity thus represents the triumph of yearning and romanticism over science in disciplines like sociology. "The Great Transformation" ultimately offers more insight into the nature of the professoriat than it does to societies they study. As entertainment, while it has its moments of elegance, it lacks the perverse majesty and literary sparkle of other critiques of market society, such as Marx's "Kapital." Nor does it have the whacked-out crazy energy of Naomi Klein's recent "Shock Doctrine." But still those stacks of books await the undergraduates, proving that the free market in goods works better than that in ideas.
    (Via Will Wilkinson, who refers to Karl as "(the Bad One)" Heh!

  • David Ortiz found something to do while on the DL for tendon problems: he became a US citizen. I found this strangely amusing:
    Before Wednesday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he didn't know that Ortiz had become a citizen.

    "Is that why he had his sport coat on?" Francona said.

    Tito's pretty much all baseball, which is as it should be.

    The Boston Globe has a picture gallery of the events yesterday. Fans will also want to check out the Globe's gallery of Big Papi's sixteen walk-off hits for the Red Sox.

    Ortiz has 10 walk-off homers for the Red Sox. The all-time leaders for walk-off homers are Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, and Babe Ruth; they have 12 each. Our Ortiz is an awesome Ortiz.


[Amazon Link]
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Sometimes we get movies for no better reason than: Mrs. Salad likes Pierce Brosnan. But if a movie goes direct to basic cable (TNT in this case) and to DVD a few weeks later, there's almost always a pretty good reason.

Abby and Neil are a seemingly happy, successful yuppie couple with an adorable daughter, Sophie. Eventually—it takes a real long time for this movie to get going—Pierce Brosnan shows up to terrorize the couple, putting them through an array of demeaning demands and tasks. His motive is unclear, only revealed at the end of the movie.

There's a lot of shouting, not much acting.

The movie's original title is Butterfly on a Wheel, a somewhat obscure reference to Alexander Pope's poetic line: "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?", meaning, as Wikipedia says, why would anyone put so much time and effort into achieving a trivial result? That's a very appropriate title; probably it was changed so that people wouldn't ask the same question about the movie, or its plot.

By the way: hubby Neil is played by Gerard Butler, who also played King Leonidas in 300. Butler must be a great actor, because Leonidas is a total testosterone-soaked he-man, and Neil is a wimpy and effete loser.

Last Modified 2024-02-01 5:32 AM EDT