Friday, February 27, 2009


Roy Edroso pointed to this insanity from rightwinger Rod Dreher:
The question, though, is not whether the Sixties (or the Enlightenment) were good or bad, but whether on balance the Sixties (or the Enlightenment) were good or bad. I answer in the negative.

There's a lot wrong with that Rorschach blot. What's with that crazy guy? Why is he still considered credible enough to have a slot even at beliefnet?

I wrote a comment over there but doubt it will appear. I'll paste it here:

Dreher: "We are free -- but for what?"

Well, before the Enlightenment, most people in Europe could not read or write. Most couldn't own land. Most had to worship at a specified church where the scriptures weren't even read in their native tongue. Most had to pledge fealty to their (regional) King and (local) Lord, were conscripted to fight in whatever battles the authorities wanted one to undertake. They had little to no freedom of speech. Physics and chemistry didn't exist (and no, alchemy doesn't count). There was no such thing as democracy. Etc. etc.

And that was just the males. Things were even worse for women.

Other than that, the bulk of people were free to scrabble their whole short lives for whatever maggoty scraps the Baron would let them have.

Perhaps there was some dolt in the Dark Ages who thought that society had lost so much since the Stone Age. He may have even said "We are free: but free for what?"

A religious person who would value pre-Enlightnment religion over later practice has to me an extremely frighteningly positive view of forced religion. The Taliban aren't called "medieval" because of their mode of dress.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Governor Jindal

Jindal's cadence sounds just like Jack McBrayer.

UPDATED: It appears we're not the only ones who figured that Jindal = Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Late 2008 Movie List

I watch a fair number of movies so I thought I'd put together a list. Better late than never.

Fave Movies of 2008 -- in no particular order.

  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Can't say enough good about this movie.)

  • Doubt (Not ideally directed but has so much else good about it.)

  • Wall-E

  • Man on Wire (A documentary that does a bit more than tell a story.)

  • Encounters at the End of the World (A documentary that again gives Herzog some room to ruminate. Includes Henry Kaiser.)

  • Frost/Nixon (Much better than I anticipated. In all likelihood it'll be another fifteen years before Ron Howard makes another movie I like.)

  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Especially the first half or so.)

  • Tropic Thunder (A decent Hollywood comedy!)

  • In Bruges (Small movie about low-life criminals. Moves quickly, great dialogue: uproariously funny at times, very dark at others, and skillfully done.)

  • The Visitor (Off-kilter slice-of-lifer. Another good small movie of an entirely different sort.)

  • Hancock (An attempted blockbuster with a few feints that move it out of standard-issue territory.)
Haven't seen but really should:
Synecdoche, New York (Generally love Charlie Kaufman.)
I served the King of England (Czech cinema returns!)

Overrated by others in my estimation:
The Wrestler (A melding of two weak po-faced melodramas with a smattering of a few good behind-the-scenes wrestling bits. Rourke doesn't pull it off IMO except in the physicality of the wrestling.)
Slumdog Millionaire (Liked it ok but the raves seem overdone.)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (By-the-numbers. Saddens me to say it because I've liked Woody Allen films that nearly no one else can stomach, and I consider him my kind of genius.)
Be Kind Rewind (A wretched mess, and not in a good way.)
Changeling (Yuck. Amateurish in script, direction, and much of the acting. Also made the true story it was based on less compelling due to hyper-sentimentality, clunky writing, and staid direction.)

Good things I saw late.
[Though these are pre-2008, they were among the most memorable flicks I saw last year.]

Young Children (2006. A first-rate drama.)
Michael Clayton (2007. Not quite what one expects, pulled off with grace.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Not Quit a Glyph

How about this for a name: The War Profiteers Formerly Known As Blackwater?


No shit!

Let's have every power-suited American Psycho who signed off on Credit Default Swaps get charged with fraud (no matter what they claim the CDS were, they weren't really what was claimed).

Confiscate their homes and accounts like we do with drug dealers. Have their families fend for themselves and make common cause with Henrietta Hughes.

And have these scumbags breaking rocks in the hot sun. For years. Ideally until all the banks are fully recapitalized plus 20 years.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Entitlements" and the Left

To quote Atrios, in full:
I believe this is what we in the professional blogging biz call "trolling," but I'll bite. The Left, including yours truly, will create an epic 360 degree shitstorm if Obama and the Dems decide that cutting Social Security benefits is a good idea.
See also:

Matthew Yglesias , quoted in part (read the whole post):
I’m not sure what the administration’s thinking is, but certainly I wouldn’t be silent if he were to propose draconian cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare. On the other hand, if Obama wants to get the long-term public fiscal situation in check by tackling its main root cause—runaway cost inflation in the health care sector—I would applaud that
Hilzoy, also quoted in part (read the whole post):

Or, in short: once Obama comes out with specific proposals on entitlements, I will say something about them. Until then, my little piece of the Silence of the Left should not be taken to reflect anything more than not knowing what, exactly, he proposes. (It's certainly not that I am "afraid to express concerns", as Rep. Jim Cooper suggests in the Politico piece.) Some things that go by the name of "entitlement reform" are fine. Others are not. If Obama proposes the latter, there will be no "honeymoon" or "breathing room". But until I have some idea what, exactly, Obama proposes to do, I don't really see much point in speculating.

And if my failure to comment on this has "buoyed the spirits of reformers who would like to see drastic changes in the way Social Security works", they have a surprise in store for them.
My sentiments reflect those above.

Fortunately, I'm pretty sure Obama doesn't believe most of the patent bullshit that spews from Politico.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Deep Thought

It's too bad that the steady thoughtful hand of George Bush can't lead us blandly through the horrific suppurative minefield he led us into.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Concentrate the Mind

The US economy lost a job every five seconds in January.

+ While some reporter asked Robert Gibbs a 20-second question, four jobs were lost.

+ While James Inhofe blathered for a minute, 12 jobs were lost.

+ During an episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews, 720 jobs were lost.

There is no indication the economy has hit bottom yet.

[Calculations: January has 2,678,400 seconds (31 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds). 598,000 jobs were lost in January. 2,678,400 seconds divided by 598,000 is 4.48 seconds per each job lost. I rounded up to five seconds per job lost. This doesn't count holidays, weekends, or non-office hours.]
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