The Adam Project

[4 stars] [IMDB Link] [The Adam Project]

Gee, I've been watching a lot of Ryan Reynolds movies lately. What can I say, I like the guy. This was free-to-me on Netflix, and it was a perfectly pleasant Saturday night movie. Better than average. Didn't fall asleep.

As the movie begins it's the year 2050, and middle-aged Adam is flying his "time jet" far above Earth; he's been shot, and the bad guys are on his tail. He manages a nifty escape, via time travel back to the year 2022. Where he meets his 12-year-old self. Young kid Adam is in pretty sad shape: he misses his dead father (Mark Ruffalo, it turns out), he's bullied unmercifully at school, he's growing distant from his frazzled mom, Jennifer Garner.

But middle-aged-Adam has travelled back in time for a good (if somewhat audacious) reason. We're gradually informed of that. And he winds up with young-kid-Adam as a teammate to … well, no spoilers.

It's rated PG-13 for "violence/action, language and suggestive references". So (young-kid-Adam shouldn't see this movie?) There's a lot of Reynolds-style wisecrackery and (see above) I'm a sucker for that. But also murder. And… unintentional suicide?

Last Modified 2024-01-30 4:00 PM EDT

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  • Welcome to the party, pal. Robby Soave notes the momentous news: The New York Times Admits That 'America Has a Free Speech Problem'

    The New York Times published a terrific editorial on Friday that takes note of "America's free speech problem" and points to both right-wing legislation and cancel culture—enforced by an uncompromising strain of progressivism—as culprits.

    "For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned," wrote The Times.

    Robby's praise is pretty fulsome. (The editorial isn't without its flaws, see below.) He goes on to note that it "caused some liberals' heads to explode", and includes "an incomplete sampling" of such Twitter-based explosions. And they're pretty funny.

    But you can't blame the NYT for trying. I'd guess they've figured out that once Americans' free speech rights are successfully eroded, it's only a matter of time before people use the same arguments to go after freedom of the press.

  • Patterico's head didn't explode, but… he has some pointed remarks, good and bad: What the New York Times Editorial on "Cancel Culture" Gets Right . . . and Wrong. Summary: it's a well-meaning attempt to defend liberty, but it's marred by sloppy language and failure to draw relevant distinctions. An excerpt from his praise:

    I’m happy to see editors of the New York Times acknowledge the existence of “cancel culture,” because it’s a glaring problem at their own newspaper. Remember: this is a newspaper that fired a good health reporter for doing nothing but mentioning the N-word in an innocent and non-racist context. Similarly, throughout the country, our culture has too often become hostile to, not just the expression of controversial views, but also the expression of even innocent views that might arguably intersect, however tangentially, with controversial topics.

    Yeah, that's a good point. Does this mean Donald McNeil, Jr. is getting his job back?

    Paterrico's criticism centers on that paragraph Robby quoted above, the one that refers to "the right [of citizens in a free country] to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned".

    Wrong. While Americans have a right to speak, they don’t have a right to say shameful things without having people point out how shameful those things are. I have made the point many times that shaming and shunning is itself a form of speech, and the propriety of shaming and shunning is a matter of line-drawing. For instance, few people in America deserve shaming and shunning as much as Tucker Carlson. Carlson spent months questioning the efficacy of vaccines with sinister half-truths. Now, he spews a steady stream of pro-Putin propaganda so reliably submissive to the Kremlin narrative that his shameful monologues are routinely featured on Russian state television. Carlson has a constitutional right to say most of the stupid and evil things he says, but he has no right to say them without harsh criticism — which is, after all, a form of free speech as well.

    The editorial makes this mistake throughout. The entire editorial is centered around a poll that asks questions about “retaliation or harsh criticism” — as if the two concepts are equivalent. Pollsters asked respondents if they held their tongues due to fear of “retaliation or harsh criticism.Had they engaged in it themselves? How much of a problem is it that people are scared to speak because they fear “retaliation or harsh criticism”?

    Patterico's entire essay is well worth your time.

  • Pun Salad is (still) walking on sunshine. But Kevin D. Williamson notes that our policy toward Ukraine has us Walking on Atomic Eggshells. (An interesting mental image.)

    [NRPLUS] The cliché of the day: We need to find an “off ramp” for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, a face-saving way for the Russian caudillo to end his campaign of atrocities abroad and bring his troops home — at some considerable cost to Ukrainian sovereignty.

    Here is a question nobody is asking: What is the United States’s off ramp?

    The United States has the world’s most powerful military, with China a distant No. 2; Russian troops would not last six weeks in a battle with America forces. The United States has the world’s largest economy; Vladimir Putin lords over a country with an economy the size of Florida’s. Russia is a backward petro-emirate; the United States, in contrast, has the world’s most sophisticated and diversified economy — the home of Silicon Valley and Wall Street is also the world’s largest food exporter, and we produce more oil than Russia does on top of all that. In any sane world, it would be the United States that sets the terms and tempo of any conflict in which we are involved, the United States that decides to escalate or to de-escalate, the United States that makes the threats.

    But we do not live in a sane world. We live in a world in which such a figure as Vladimir Putin is permitted to control a considerable arsenal of nuclear weapons — and it is that arsenal alone that constrains our real strategic options vis-à-vis Moscow. Nuclear weapons are the reason the Biden administration turned tail on the matter of those Polish fighter jets and the reason the United States fears taking any action that might cause Putin to start treating us as a belligerent and attack NATO forces directly.

    KDW's provocative suggestion: keep up the economic pressure on Russia in order to put it on the road to nuclear disarmament.

  • One from the Google LFOD News Alert. Charlie Musick triggered it with his article at Real Clear Markets: Live Free or Die, Revisited Ten Years Later

    Ten years ago, I published an article in realclearmarkets titled “Live Free or Die – Literally.” The data in the article clearly showed that people in countries with greater economic freedom lived longer lives, were wealthier and happier. Ten years later, it is time to see if the relationship between economic freedom and these positive outcomes persists and whether economic freedom is predictive for future prosperity.

    The Heritage Foundation calculates an economic freedom index annually for almost all countries around the world based on ten factors: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom. For this article, I used the 2019 data, which is not impacted by short-term swings in life expectancy or freedom index results due to COVID-19 policies or deaths.

    The Heritage Foundation breaks down the list into five subgroups ranging from free economies to repressed economies. I compared these subgroups in both years to average life expectancy from the World Health Organization, per capita gross domestic product at purchasing power parity, and the Gallup Happiness Index. Since some people claim that supporting economic freedom is supporting greed, this year, I added data from the CAF World Giving Index to the analysis to test their claim. The average data by each group are shown below.

    Here's Charlie's table:


    Any questions?

Last Modified 2024-01-30 4:00 PM EDT