Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Remembering the Thing.

Perhaps no other car has so perfectly typified its nameplate than the Volkswagen Type 181, known in the US as The Thing. Though I was just a wee lad when it was first introduced to the North American market in 1973 I recall that it was billed as the quirky, fun successor to the original Type 1 Beetle. It certainly was quirky.

Is There a First Amendment Right to Intimidate People?

A concerned old lady holding a sign would certainly not constitute intimidation, because a "person of ordinary sensibilities" would not fear bodily harm. But a huge angry crowd, hurling insults and shouting obscene slogans, that very well might be. The larger the crowd, the more intimidating it is. Intimidation can be accomplished by sheer numbers alone. But then, even a smaller crowd of demonstrators can be extremely intimidating, especially if they are known for a history of violence. Angry large tattooed bearded men holding signs saying "TEAMSTERS LOCAL 666 -- DO NOT CROSS OUR LINE!" would frighten most people away. Why? Because they would have a reasonable fear of bodily harm.

Dispelling The 'Deregulation' Myth.

A dubious and dangerous idea seems to be gaining strength — that government caused the financial crisis by giving capitalism free rein. If anything, it hasn't done enough of that.

Read the whole thing.

Tarte Tatin.

It's the peak of apple season in Yankeeland, and the best use for apples is Apple Pie and Tarte Tatin, which is sort of a semi-burned upside-down apple pie.

The Tarte Tatin was supposedly invented by mistake. I have tried to make them many times, but I can never get the hard crispy caramelization on the apples that I seek: I just get a browned upside-down apple pie - a gooey mush that sticks to the pan and makes for a mess of a presentation (but tastes good anyway).

Hard apples - not cooking apples, high heat and an iron skillet seem to be important. Some people seem to have no trouble getting it right, but I never do.

Here's a recipe. If you can make it right, it ain't too terribly bad with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the side.

The Strange History of Final Games in Stadiums Slated for Demolition.

The departure of the Dodgers from Brooklyn may be a legendary moment even for those in the borough who weren't born yet, but remarkably few turned out to bear witness: Only 6,702 showed up at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, to hear organist Gladys Gooding play "California, Here I Come." According to a contemporary report in Sports Illustrated, the sparse crowd "seemed to regard the occasion as just another ball game." (This wasn't, incidentally, the final baseball game at Ebbets: Long Island University played its home games there in 1959, and on August 23 of that year, the one and only Satchel Paige yielded the final Ebbets home run, in an exhibition game of Black and Latino stars before about 4,000 fans.) Five days later, just 11,606 showed up to bid farewell to the Giants at the Polo Grounds; when the Mets later made the big Manhattan horseshoe their home for two seasons, their finale drew an even more piddling 1,752. The wave of vintage stadiums that fell to the wrecking ball in the early '70s—Sportsman's Park, Forbes Field, Crosley Field—to make way for the "concrete donut" craze fared somewhat better, but still, none sold out their final games.

Something that was a common sight on the final days of ballparks in that era: looting.

The second reason Bill Clinton wants Obama to lose.

For many months now we have been treated to Bill Clinton’s intermittent displeasure with Barack Obama. Sometimes it has been overt, sometimes covert. Most recently, while being fawned over by the ladies at The View, he allowed as how Hillary did not really want the vice-presidential nomination after all. (This makes sense to me, by the way.) At the Democratic Convention, he delivered a far better speech than the candidate, showing up the less experienced Illinois Senator without really doing anything for his presidential campaign. In fact, he seems to speak more postively of McCain–especially off the cuff–only the other day lavishing praise on the Arizonan and defending his decision to skip the first debate to work on the financial crisis with an obvious fact most of us had forgotten - McCain had previously asked Obama for repeated, even constant debates, which the Democratic candidate refused. (The mainstream media made nothing of this, needless to say.) Indeed it seems Clinton wants Obama to lose.

The explanation for this behavior, says the conventional wisdom, is that Clinton wants McCain to win to give his wife another shot at the presidency in 2012. I wouldn’t doubt there is validity to this. But I submit there is a second reason, perhaps equally important: Clinton genuinely wants McCain to win for the good of the country.

Another Real-Life Roy Hobbs.

Regular readers of this blog will remember the profile of Eddie Waitkus I had a few weeks ago.

Bernard Malamud borrowed heavily from the Eddie's life to create the character of Roy Hobbes for The Natural, but he still needed bits and pieces to round out the character. Enter Carvel William "Bama" Rowell:

On May 30, [Bama] Rowell and the Braves were in Flatbush facing the Dodgers in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. In the second inning of the second game, facing Hank Behrman, a Brooklyn-native, Rowell launched a high fly ball to right field that struck the famous Bulova Clock that stood atop the scoreboard. Bama's blast shattered the face of the clock, raining glass down on Dodgers right fielder Dixie Walker. The ball was in play, and Rowell ended up on second base with a double that kept a Boston seven-run rally alive. The clock however, was not alive. It stopped working exactly one hour after the ball's impact, which occurred at 4:25 p.m.

Pirates Die Strangely After Hijacking Iranian Ship.

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”.

Interestingly, the symptoms are consistent with radiation poisoning. Not really sure what that means. Nothing good though.

Iran’s Oil Woes Threaten the Mullahs.

Despite the rising unpopularity at home, what worries Iran’s leadership even more is that, as history has shown them, lowering oil prices could mean having to be flexible with the West. This was first shown in the mid 1980s, when Iran was fighting Iraq. Midway through the war, many countries were calling for a ceasefire, but Khomeini didn’t listen. He was confident that his forces could go on fighting and topple Saddam. In order to finance this ambition, Tehran attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, with the hope of pushing oil prices up. This didn’t work. By 1988, the falling oil price finally forced Ayatollah Khomeini to take the painful decision of accepting a ceasefire with Saddam Hussein, something which he likened to “drinking a chalice of poison.”

The same happened in 1997. The Asian crisis of that year, which led to a crash in oil prices to less than $10 per barrel, was one of the major motivators behind Iran’s rapprochement with the West, headed by the reformist administration of Ayatollah Khatami. Low oil prices were again a factor behind Iran’s Western-friendly policy of temporarily suspending uranium enrichment in 2005. In fact one of the reasons Iran felt confident enough to stop the suspension was that oil prices started increasing sharply in August that year.

What this all could mean is that if oil prices fall to $70 per barrel or below, Ahmadinejad may find it difficult to maintain the same level of belligerence against the West. Things could get much worse for him if Obama is elected. His pledge to invest $150 billion in renewable energy could very well burst more bubbles around oil prices, thus pulling them to more unbearable lows for right-wingers in Iran — so low that the words “suspension of uranium enrichment” may turn from blasphemy into a realistic option.

Just Die. It's Your Duty.

An evil woman touted as "the influential medical ethics expert Baroness Warnock" says it's time for some tough love and hard death among the demented of England. Call it "the culling the herd to save some money" ethic. Warnock says, "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service."

Or, as Orin Judd so succinctly puts it: "Ever notice how "medical ethics" is nothing more than justifying murder.

We do and we also note how this is a rising trend in the "ethical" thinking of Europe. Or perhaps we shouldn't say "trend" as much as a nostalgic yearning for the past century where an interest in eugenics amongst the "leaders" of that civilization was part of the biggest butcher's bill in history.

Where have we seen this sort of "cost crisis" medical thinking in Europe before? Oh yes, that would be the Hadamar Hospital AKA the Hadamar Euthanasia Center .

When the power of the state is coupled with the ability to ration out health care (or not), there is the enivetable temptation to cut costs by eliminating some of the more "expensive" patients.

It begins by denying services to the undeserving. Why should taxpayers pay for smokers cancer treatments or liver transplants for alcoholics? They did this to themselves, goes the argument. Shouldn't scarce resources be reserved for those who are truly deserving?

Then there are the patients who have no socially useful future (in the eyes of eugenics supporters). The argument has a certain utilitarian logic: why should we waste resources on the profoundly disabled when we could be building bridges or schools with the same money?

Finally, those near the end of their lives must culled. Why have someone linger, possibly in great pain and with no hope of recovery at the cost of thousands of taxpayer dollars?

The answer is simple. We care for the sick, the disabled, and the elderly because every life matters.

Each and every life has value and not only to the one who possess it. This isn't an argument about assisted suicide, that's a topic for another day. Most of us have known friends or relatives who have faced painful ends and we may have wished that we could have alleviated their suffering with the release of death. But that death would be on their terms-not at the behest of the state because of budget cuts.

The weakest in our society will always be vulnerable to the whims of people like Baroness Warnock. Those of us who value our humanity need to vigorously oppose her and those like her at every turn.

God, Patriotism and Taxes.

Joe Biden isn't backing down from his startling claim last week that raising taxes on the rich is the "patriotic" thing to do. On Thursday he upped the ante, thundering that he also has Jesus in his corner. "Catholic social doctrine as I was taught it is, you take care of people who need the help the most," Mr. Biden preached to a group of union supporters on Thursday.

Heavens! The political left likes to score Republicans for claiming that God is on their side, but here we have Mr. Biden claiming support from both God and Caesar. If Sarah Palin tried this, she'd send the boys at the Daily Kos into cardiac arrest. We won't get into a theological debate with Mr. Biden, except to say that Biblical tax rates tended to run around 10%, not the 39.6%-plus that Barack Obama's tax plan calls for.

Call It Slavery.

Because slavery is universally ­illegal—though ­it was banned in Saudi Arabia only in 1962 and in Mauritania in 1981—its existence is subterranean. There are no reliable estimates of the number of people held in bondage. The U.S. State Department and the International Labor Organization put the figure in the millions. The State Department estimates that as many as 17,500 slaves are brought into the United States every year, from many different countries, and it is likely that trafficking within the United States involves several times as many people. As is the case elsewhere in the world, most American slaves toil in brothels, massage parlors, and other sex businesses, or as domestic servants. A large proportion of those who come from abroad arrive by perfectly legal means, often in the company of “handlers” who help them obtain tourist or business visas.

It's the one of the greatest human rights issues of our time...and almost nobody talks about it. Even fewer try to do something about it. Shame on all of us.

EPA Shuts Down Local Ghost-Entrapment Business.

NEW YORK—Citing unsafe practices and potential toxic contamination, the Environmental Protection Agency shut down a small ghost- entrapment operation in downtown Manhattan today, and had four of the business' spectral-containment specialists arrested in the process.

According to EPA agent Walter Peck, employees of the company—located in an old fire station in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York—had repeatedly refused to grant him access to their storage facility, which posed a health hazard to the surrounding community.

"The facility in question unlawfully used public utilities for the purpose of non-sanctioned waste-handling, and was in direct violation of the Environmental Protection Act," Peck said. "Additionally, this company possessed several unlicensed portable nuclear accelerators that were frequently discharged within mere feet of civilians."

Typical. The heavy hand of government intrudes once again upon the private sector. Nothing good can come of this. I'm not saying Gozer the Gozerian is going to try to take over New York City but if there is a problem...who ya gonna call?

Sarah Palin's Faith, and Mine.

I didn't like Mike Huckabee's campaign in the Republican primaries, because Huckabee argued, sometimes explicitly, that Christian voters should support him because he's a Christian. I wouldn't have voted for him anyway, but that sealed the point for me. I won't vote for any candidate because of that candidate's faith, or lack thereof. Often, I don't know anything (and don't try to find out) about the religious convictions of the candidates I support. I'm sure I've voted for candidates with a wide range of religious commitments, including some--probably a lot--with no more than nominal religious affiliations, or none at all.

Though you won't read it in the New York Times, I'm pretty sure that most of my fellow Christians follow a similar practice. We vote for and against candidates' political programs, not for and against their religious practice. That is as it should be in a society as religiously diverse as ours is.

But there's a flip side to that proposition. While my faith should never be treated like a job qualification in a political campaign, neither should its absence.

Read the whole thing.

A Plauge of Panhandlers.

Like most countries, America has always had its share of itinerant travelers, vagabonds, and hoboes. But panhandling became a more pervasive and disturbing fact of urban life in the 1970s—a by-product of the explosion in homelessness that resulted from rising drug use and the closing of state-run mental institutions, which released scores of helpless psychiatric patients back into society. Though studies showed that only a small percentage of homeless people panhandled—mostly alcoholics and drug addicts seeking their next fix—the sheer numbers of street people still meant lots of beggars. By the crack epidemic’s late-eighties peak, New York City in particular was home to a massive panhandling presence. A 1988 survey by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority found that 80 percent of subway riders disliked the constant harassment. “I was raised never to pass a beggar by, but there are too many of them and I’m sick of it,” one Manhattanite told the New York Times. “I feel like this is becoming beggar city.”

Sexy Halloween Costumes.

Apparently she's supposed to be a "Dirty Martini". Note the pimento placement.

Halloween is coming up and America's costume designers have reaffirmed their commitment to tasteful demure costumes for the ladies. Some more photos here...and here. I love this country.

Jay Tea on the bailout.

It's a kind of negative evidence, but it's persuasive to me: the Democrats have a solidly established record of being utterly and completely wrong on the whole mess. They are now acting as if the situation isn't so bad, and are still far more interested in playing their run-of-the-mill political games with the whole process. If they are still wrong (and the odds are highly in favor of that conclusion), then we are in real trouble and the bailout that they don't seem to care about whether or not it passes is probably a necessary evil.

Read the whole thing.

Jet-Setting Greens.

“Green living is largely something of a myth,” Dr. Barr told the Guardian newspaper. “There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MacArthur Fellows 2008.

NOT a MacArthur Fellow.

Well the winners of this years MacArthur Genius awards have been announced...and once again I'm not on the list.

Before we get into a long discussion about the oblivious shortsightedness of the MacArthur Foundation, and their continuing failure to recognize one of the great minds of our age, namely me, I think we consider whose fault this is.

I blame you.

My sources tell me that not a single one of you nominated me this year. Now I know I got a few nominations last year (thanks Greg but threatening the committee was probably counter productive-it's not the Emmys) and the Nobel Prize I won was nice (who knew they awarded one for blogging?) but this is the big one...and you guys need to do better.

Oh sure, I could look within my self, trying to find a flaw or two which might explain this unbelievable snub...but who am I kidding, I have no flaws. No gentle readers, the fault is yours and you're going to have to find a way to make it up to me (nothing gay please-sorry Corey).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis.

The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie ``continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. ``We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.''

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: ``It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''

Famous Tombs.

A tomb is a place for the burial of the dead. Some people consider tombs or burial sites scary for they believe that the place is a dwelling place for ghost. On the other hand, many people consider them amazing and fascinating. Here are the 10 most interesting and historically important tombs in the world.

Escape Artists.

It’s really hard to escape from prison… right? Well, maybe nowadays. But before experience and technology allowed prisons to become the fortresses they are today, it wasn’t as difficult as all that. At least, these guys made it look pretty easy. Here are a few prisoners who managed to escape multiple times.

The article is here.

The Return of Goodness.

Morality is once again on the lips of politicians and commentators. David Cameron has warned that we are "becoming quite literally a de-moralised society, where nobody will tell the truth any more about what is good and bad." He is echoed by Richard Reeves, new director of Demos, who argued in last month's Prospect that Britain's poor lack not only the material but also the moral resources to better their lot in life.

Behind these comments lies a flickering recognition that our nation's central problems are moral, not economic. But any deeper reflection runs up against a principle entrenched in the liberal mind—that individuals are sovereign in their own sphere, and that only when someone infringes on others may he be rebuked or punished. "Neither one person, nor any number of persons," declared John Stuart Mill, the originator of this principle, "is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years, that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it."

How Obama lost me.

Well....not me but rather a leftish blogger I sometimes read.

The article is here.

PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk.

VERMONT -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.

"PETA's request comes in the wake of news reports that a Swiss restaurant owner will begin purchasing breast milk from nursing mothers and substituting breast milk for 75 percent of the cow's milk in the food he serves," the statement says.

You can't make this stuff up.

Does the Constitution allow for early voting?

I have my doubts. Aparently the New York Sun agrees.

The way things are headed, by the time 2012 rolls around, the general election voting will begin before the parties have even chosen their candidates. The states have broad latitude to set their own rules on elections, but if voting this early becomes more common, Congress may want to think about trying to establish some national standards.

A USA Today article this week on the trend called it "the most extensive early voting process in history" and said it was driven by the desire of bureaucrats to avoid long lines at polling sites on Election Day. The article quoted the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Rosemary Rodriguez, as calling the early voting — which is estimated to be taken advantage of by as many as 50% of voters in some states — "a sea change" and "a little bit astounding."

The Constitution is less than clear-cut about the matter. On one hand, it says that each state shall appoint, "in such matter as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors." That gives the states broad latitude to do things however they want. On the other hand, it says, "The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States." The references to a "day" and "time" suggest an election conducted over a period shorter than the stretch between now and Election Day.

The Glenn and Helen Show: John Fund on Election Fraud and Its Remedies

With the elections only a month away, we talk to John Fund, Wall Street Journal writer and author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy.

Fund talks about high-tech problems with electronic voting machines, more mundane problems with ineligible voters and phony ballots, and the general slackness and incompetence that have made our voting system one that can only aspire to the high standards of Mexico.

The Podcast is Here.

Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

About bloody time.

Obama and Ayers.

One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's "recruitment" to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.

The Russians Are Coming.

The renewal of war in the Caucasus came as a shock to Americans because of profound self-delusions about the post-cold-war international order. Throughout China's continuing rise and Russia's resurgence, scholars, pundits, and government officials prattled on about a new "unipolar" era.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ballroom Blitz.

How to Build Your Own Bat Cave.

From rotating bookshelves installed in an hour to more elaborate escape slides, homeowners are taking advantage of high-tech opportunities to hide doors leading to private spaces.

Who Gets To Decide What's "Fair"?

Question for the ages: if Supreme Court justices throw out what the Constitution has to say when formulating rulings and substitute their individual sense of "fairness", then aren't they substituting their individual policy preferences for those of our duly elected leaders in the state and federal legislatures?

Isn't this anti-democratic? Since Supreme Court decisions can't be overruled by a higher court and become, in fact, nearly irreversible precedent for future decisions, aren't justices who rule in this fashion in effect amending the Constitution by judicial fiat? Aren't they doing an end run around the procedures outlined for ratifying amendments by the States? What if, in the case of the recent decision on child rape, it turns out the majority made factual errors?

Jamie Gorelick: Mistress of Disaster.

It's not often that one person plays key roles in two -- count 'em, two -- trillion-dollar disasters. Welcome, my friends, to the world of well-connected Democrat Jamie Gorelick.
Read the whole thing.

Anti-Theft Lunch Bag.

Stealing your co-worker's lunch is a downright contemptible act, that is, if it's perpetrated by someone other than you. But, if you've ever had your lunch stolen, you know the the frustration and anger it causes. You know the revenge and ill-will it inspires. And you know that no matter how well you try to hide your lunch bag at the back of the refrigerator, something's gonna be missing when you open it. Well, lament no more. The Anti-Theft Lunch Bag to the rescue . . .

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags are regular sandwich bags that have green splotches printed on both sides. After your sandwich is placed inside, no one will want to touch it.

Walking Away From Islam.

Hamas has an image problem, and it's getting worse. It's gotten so bad that the 30 year old son (Mosab Yousef) of one of the Hamas founders (Hassan Yousef) has not only renounced Hamas, but has become a Christian. Mosab is fed up with the terrorism/"destroy Israel" approach the Arab world has embraced over the last sixty years. Mosad notes, as have many other Arabs, that this has not worked.

The conversion angle is something Moslems are trying to keep quiet. Mosab Yousef's father pleaded with his son to keep quiet about the conversion (which took place 18 months ago). The elder Yousef knows that this is not an isolated incident. Many young Moslems are abandoning Islam. Most do so quietly.

In Iran, the clerics that run the country are shocked at secret police reports about a growing number of young Iranians who have, in effect, abandoned Islam. This sort of thing is happening all over the Moslem world, but especially in Arab countries. The people who switch to Islamic radicalism get all the headlines, not the larger numbers who just walk away from Islam are largely ignored. In the Palestinian territories, there is also a growth in the number of Sunni Moslems who are switching to the Shia version (as championed by Iran). But many other Moslems are openly distancing themselves from the conservative forms of Islam (like the well funded Saudi Wahhabism). One reason this trend is kept quiet is because Islamic militants are inclined to kill such traitors, if the switch is done too openly. Thus the elder Yousef's plea that his son keep quiet, lest he attract the murderous attention of Islamic radicals out to impose the death sentence on apostates.

Giants of Aviation.

Talking about big planes is very much like talking about who should get the credit for man’s first flight –- it all depends on who you talk to. As the brilliant James Burke has pointed out, inventors rarely create something from nothing –- their successes are often the result of combining the partial successes, or learning from the downright failures, of other inventors. In some cases, it's just pure dumb luck.

State of the Unions.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- You just knew that when Joe O'Connell, former head of the local AFL-CIO, got on stage here with John McCain and Sarah Palin things were not going smoothly for the Obama campaign among union voters.

"I am a lifelong Democrat, an intelligent Democrat, who is supporting John McCain," O'Connell said last week as a crowd of 7,000 waved "Another Democrat for John McCain" signs and roared its approval.

Some Thoughts on the Media.

Today the profession of news journalism has lost its way. Opinion has leaked beyond the editorial pages to the rest of the newspaper. “Newsmen” publish unconfirmed rumors that support their stances and ignore inconvenient facts that don’t. Outside the office, they openly display their political preferences; there’s no attempt to maintain even the appearance of objectivity.

The incredible shrinking Obama.

His story (and he is so impressively self-aware as to have made the most acute comment on it) is temptingly open-ended, very much a page to be written on. He himself has written, most memorably: "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."

Obama's Social Security Whopper.

He tells Social Security recipients their money would now be in the stock market under McCain's plan.


How to Make a Lego Cake.

I may not be able to tell you who will win the presidential election, but I know with 100-percent certainty that my future holds a homemade Lego cake. Lucky for me, Betty Crocker has already published instructions. How to get those trademark Lego studs? Marshmallows, of course!

Thanks, Betty!

Figure in Rosenberg Case Admits to Soviet Spying.

In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. He served more than 18 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, traveled to Cuba and Vietnam after his release in 1969 and became an advocate for progressive causes.

Through it all, he maintained his innocence.

But on Thursday, Mr. Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.

And he implicated his fellow defendant Julius Rosenberg, in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets classified military and industrial information and what the American government described as the secret to the atomic bomb.

Quite an admission from the Times.

Émilie du Châtelet: More Than Just a Pretty Face.

In 1737, Châtelet published a paper entitled Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu, based upon her research into the science of fire, that predicted what is today known as infra-red radiation and the nature of light. Her book Institutions de Physique (“Lessons in Physics”) appeared in 1740; it was presented as a review of new ideas in science and philosophy to be studied by her thirteen-year-old son, but it incorporated and sought to reconcile complex ideas from the leading thinkers of the time. In it she combined the theories of Gottfried Leibniz and the practical observations of Willem 's Gravesande to show that the energy of a moving object is proportional not to its velocity, as had previously been believed by Newton, Voltaire and others, but to the square of its velocity (E ∝ v²). The formula was later shown to be Ek = (1/2) mv², where Ek is the kinetic energy of an object, m its mass and v its velocity.

In the year of her death, she completed the work regarded as her outstanding achievement: her translation into French, with her own commentary, of Newton’s Principia Mathematica, including her derivation from its principles of mechanics the notion of conservation of energy.

How to Make Your Own Solar Pannels.

What with gas prices being what they are, I thought this might come in handy.

Ike Uncovers Mystery Ship on Ala. Coast.

When the waves from Hurricane Ike receded, they left behind a mystery -- a ragged shipwreck that archaeologists say could be a two-masted Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862 or another ship from some 70 years later. The wreck, about six miles from Fort Morgan, had already been partially uncovered when Hurricane Camille cleared away sand in 1969.

Is the Media Powerless to Elect Obama?

In the voting booth on November 4, it’s likely that most members of the media will pull the lever for Barack Obama. Whether or not they put aside their professional standards and actively try to get him elected is another matter. But because conspiracy theories are fun (see VF.com’s Trig Palin parentage timeline ), let’s assume for a moment that they do. Is there any way they could effectively accomplish it? Let’s review what they’ve tried so far:

1. Fawning coverage of Obama (the candidate with a halo-like glow around him on the covers of Newsweek, Time, and Rolling Stone; Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews gushing so embarrassingly that they had to be removed from MSNBC’s anchor desk).

2. Digging dirt on Obama’s opponents (The Times’s innuendo-laced piece about McCain’s ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman; the poorly fact-checked stories about Palin’s supposed book-banning and secessionist proclivities).

3. Tough but fair investigations into McCain and Palin’s various lies, bad decisions, and questionable policies.

Those are pretty much the only weapons in the media’s arsenal, and so far none of them have really worked.

Cash-poor Obama says no to Reid.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a personal appeal to Barack Obama: Help me grow the Democrats’ Senate majority by sharing some of the $77 million you’ve got in the bank.

Obama’s campaign said no.

This is interesting. Obama has already reneged on a pledge to pay off Hillary's campaign debt. Despite breathless press reports about Obama's record fundraising, there is a tendency to ignore Obama's record campaign spending. Clearly the Obama folks have begun to realize that they might run out of ready cash at a key moment in the campaign. Mind you, I'm not being critical of Obama. Personally, I'd tell Clinton and Reid to pound sand. Still, it's a reminder that the mountains of cash that Barack supposedly has on hand is largely already spoken for.

Wonder Where They Got That Idea?

So if Americans think that Obama is somehow different from the average American, perhaps it is because Obama and his presumably well-meaning Leftist friends have been telling them that for nigh-on two years. You can hardly blame them if they’ve come to believe it.

Thoughts on Congressional Irrelevance.

One interesting aspect of the recent government bailouts has been the complete irrelevance of Congress. The operation and decision-making seems to be run almost entirely by the Secretary of Treasury and Federal Reserve. Congress appears to lack the ability, the will, and the decisiveness to play any role except spectator, as a handful of senior executive branch officials have nationalized major portions of Wall Street.

What is further interesting is that Congress is not missed in the slightest. No one is clamoring for a greater role for our elected representatives in dealing with these problems. I haven't heard anyone saying, "We really need to get Congress more involved in this. They'll know what to do."

Is This The Beginning of Global Cooling?

Many scary stories have been written about the dangers of catastrophic global warming, allegedly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels. But is the world really catastrophically warming? NO. And is the warming primarily caused by humans? NO.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama's Finance Chair Opens Hotel to Ahmadinejad Reception in New York.

If this story is true, it's poison for the Obama campaign. Can they possibly be this stupid?

Obama's National Finance Chairperson and bundler billionaire Penny Pritzker organized his Barbra Streisand fundraiser held this week in Hollywood. Pritzker also served as finance chair for Obama's Senate run, and supported him during his time in the Illinois state legislature.

There are reports that the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be the special guest of some liberal American religious leaders next week at a dinner in New York honoring the Muslim holiday Ramadan. The dinner will be held at at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York owned by the Pritzker family.

Today, Rush Limbaugh reported that Penny Pritzker is hosting this event with Ahmadinejad at the Grand Hyatt in New York City...

Toccata & Fugue In D Minor.

A little J.S. Bach.

In A More Enlightened Age We'd Have Called These People What They Are...Mentally Ill.

http://view.break.com/565864 - Watch more free videos

Todd Zywicki Corrects Keith Olbermann.

I happend to catch the very beginning of "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann. His lead story was on John McCain's statement that if he were President he would "fire" Chris Cox as Chairman of the SEC, explaining that the Chairman of the SEC is appointed by and serves at the will of the President.

Olbermann sarcastically commented that McCain needs to learn about constitutional law and that it would be "unconstitutional" to try to fire the head of the SEC. He says that MSNBC's legal advisor (I missed his first name and I don't really watch NBC or MSNBC but I think it is somebody named Williams) told him this, referring to a "1935 case where the Supreme Court held that it would be unconstitutional to fire a member of an independent agency."

Well, no. Actually, he's not even close.

It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Finally something all Americans can unite behind.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

I've seen the ones in bold.

A Trip to the Moon (1902)
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Les Vampires (1915)
Intolerance (1916)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

Broken Blossoms (1919)
Way Down East (1920)
Within Our Gates (1920)
The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Orphans of the Storm (1921)
The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)
Dr. Mabuse, Parts 1 and 2 (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)
Nosferatu, A Symphony of Terror(1922)

Haxan (1923)
Foolish Wives (1922)
Our Hospitality (1923)
The Wheel (1923)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Strike (1924)
Greed (1924)
Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
The Last Laugh (1924)

Seven Chances (1925)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Battleship Potemkin (1925)
The Gold Rush (1925)
The Big Parade (1925)
Metropolis (1927)

Sunrise (1927)
The General (1927)
The Unknown (1927)
October (1927)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Napoleon (1927)

The Kid Brother (1927)
The Crowd (1928)
The Docks of New York (1928)
An Andalusian Dog (1928)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Storm over Asia (1928)
Blackmail (1929)
The Man with the Movie Camera (1929)
Pandora’s Box (1929)
The Blue Angel (1930)
The Age Of Gold (1930)
Earth (1930)
Little Caesar (1930)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Freedom For Us (1931)
The Million (1931)
Tabu (1931)
Dracula (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)
City Lights (1931)
The Public Enemy (1931)
M (1931)

The Bitch (1931)
The Vampire (1932)
Love Me Tonight (1932)
Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
Scarface: The Shame Of A Nation (1932)
Shanghai Express (1932)
Freaks (1932)
Me and My Gal (1932)
Zero for Conduct (1933)
42nd Street (1933)
Footlight Parade (1933)
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Duck Soup (1933)
Queen Christina (1933)

Land Without Bread (1933)
King Kong (1933)
The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
Sons of the Desert (1933)
It’s a Gift (1934)
Triumph of the Will (1934)
L’Atalante (1934)
The Black Cat (1934)
Judge Priest (1934)
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Thin Man (1934)
Captain Blood (1935)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
A Night at the Opera (1935)

The 39 Steps (1935)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Top Hat (1935)

A Day in the Country (1936)
Modern Times (1936)
Swing Time (1936)
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Camille (1936)
Sabotage (1936)
Dodsworth (1936)
Things to Come (1936)
The Story of a Cheat (1936)
Captains Courageous (1937)
Midnight Song (1937)
Grand Illusion (1937)
Stella Dallas (1937)
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The Awful Truth (1937)

Pepe Le Moko (1937)
Jezebel (1938)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Olympia (1938)

The Baker’s Wife (1938)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Stagecoach (1939)

The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939)
Babes in Arms (1939)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Gone With the Wind (1939)

Daybreak (1939)
Gunga Din (1939)
Ninotchka (1939)

The Rules of the Game (1939)
Wuthering Heights (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Rebecca (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
Pinocchio (1940)
The Mortal Storm (1940)
The Bank Dick (1940)
Citizen Kane (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Sergeant York (1941)
Dumbo (1941)
High Sierra (1941)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Now, Voyager (1942)
Casablanca (1942)
To Be or Not to Be (1942
Cat People (1942)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Fires Were Started (1943)
The Man in Grey (1943)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
The Seventh Victim (1943)
The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Ossessione (1943)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
Laura (1944)
Gaslight (1944)
Henry V (1944)
Ivan the Terrible, Parts One and Two (1944)
Double Indemnity (1944)

Murder, My Sweet (1944)
The Battle of San Pietro (1945)
Spellbound (1945)
Mildred Pierce (1945)

The Children of Paradise (1945)
Open City (1945)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Detour (1945)
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Brief Encounter (1946)
Paisan (1946)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
The Stranger (1946)

Beauty and the Beast (1946)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Killers (1946)

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Great Expectations (1946)
Notorious (1946)
Black Narcissus (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Gilda (1946)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Out of the Past (1947)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Odd Man Out (1947)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Secret Beyond the Door (1948)
Force of Evil (1948)
Spring in a Small Town (1948)
Red River (1948)
Rope (1948)

The Snake Pit (1948)
The Lady from Shanghai (1948)
The Paleface (1948)
The Red Shoes (1948)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Louisiana Story (1948)
The Heiress (1949)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Gun Crazy (1949)
Adam’s Rib (1949)
Whiskey Galore! (1949)
White Heat (1949)
The Reckless Moment (1949)
The Third Man (1949)
On the Town (1949)
Orpheus (1949)
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Rashomon (1950)
Winchester ‘73 (1950)
Rio Grande (1950)
All About Eve (1950)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Los Olvidados (1950)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Ace in the Hole (1951)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)
The African Queen (1951)
Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Quiet Man (1952)
Forbidden Games (1952)
Angel Face (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
To Live (1952)
Europa ‘51 (1952)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

The Big Sky (1952)
High Noon (1952)
Umberto D (1952)
The Golden Coach (1952)
The Bigamist (1953)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Madame De… (1953)
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Wages of Fear (1953)

The Naked Spur (1953)
Pickup on South Street (1953)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
The Big Heat (1953)

M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)
Voyage in Italy (1953)
Tales of Ugetsu (1953)
Shane (1953)
Beat the Devil (1953)
Johnny Guitar (1954)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Les Diaboliques (1954)
Animal Farm (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
A Star Is Born (1954)

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
La Strada (1954)
The Seven Samurai (1954)
The Wanton Countess (1954)
Silver Lode (1954)
Carmen Jones (1954)
Sansho the Baliff (1954)
Salt of the Earth (1954)
Artists and Models (1955)
Guys and Dolls (1955)
Pather Panchali (1955)
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
The Mad Masters (1955)
Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955)
The Ladykillers (1955)
Marty (1955)
Ordet (1955)
Bob the Gambler (1955)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
The Man from Laramie (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

The Phenix City Story (1955)
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Night and Fog (1955)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Sins of Lola Montes (1955)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
The Burmese Harp (1956)
The Searchers (1956)
A Man Escaped (1956)
Written on the Wind (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Giant (1956)

All That Heaven Allows (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Wrong Man (1956)
Bigger Than Life (1956)
High Society (1956)
The Ten Commandments (1956)
12 Angry Men (1957)

The Seventh Seal (1957)
An Affair to Remember (1957)

Wild Strawberries (1957)
The Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Throne of Blood (1957)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
The Unvanquished (1957)
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Mother India (1957)
The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Man of the West (1958)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Cairo Station (1958)
Gigi (1958)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
Vertigo (1958)
Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
Horror of Dracula (1958)
My Uncle (1958)
The Music Room (1958)
The 400 Blows (1959)
North by Northwest (1959)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Eyes without a Face (1959)
Ride Lonesome (1959)
Black Orpheus (1959)
Shadows (1959)
The World of Apu (1959)
Breathless (1959)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Pickpocket (1959)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
Rio Bravo (1959)
The Hole (1959)
Floating Weeds (1959)
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
The Adventure (1960)
The Young One (1960)
The Cloud-Capped Star (1960)
The Housemaid (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Revenge of the Vampire / Black Sunday (1960)
Peeping Tom (1960)
The Apartment (1960)
Spartacus (1960)
Splendor in the Grass (1961)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
La Jetee (1961)
One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Lola (1961)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
The Night (1961)
Jules and Jim (1961)
Viridiana (1961)
The Ladies Man (1961)
Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
Chronicle of a Summer (1961)
The Hustler (1961)
West Side Story (1961)

A Dog’s Life (1962)
Cleo de 5 a 7 (1962)
Dog Star Man (1962)
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
L’eclisse (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Lolita (1962)

Keeper of Promises (1962)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

My Life to Live (1962)
Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)
The Birds (1963)
The Nutty Professor (1963)

Blonde Cobra (1963)
The Cool World (1963)
8 1/2 (1963)
Passenger (1963)
Contempt (1963)
Hud (1963)
Winter Light (1963)
Flaming Creatures (1963)
The Great Escape (1963)
Shock Corridor (1963)
The Leopard (1963)
Barren Lives (1963)
Mediteranee (1963)
The House is Black (1963)
The Haunting (1963)
An Actor’s Revenge (1963)
The Servant (1963)
Goldfinger (1964)
Scorpio Rising (1964)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
Marnie (1964)
My Fair Lady (1964)
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
The Red Desert (1964)
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Before the Revolution (1964)
Gertrud (1964)
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Black God, White Devil (1964)
The Demon (1964)
Vinyl (1965)
The Shop on Main Street (1965)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The War Game (1965)
Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
The Battle of Algiers (1965)
The Sound of Music (1965)
The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)
Alphaville (1965)
Chimes at Midnight (1965)
Repulsion (1965)
Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Pierrot Goes Wild (1965)
Faster, Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
Golden River (1965)
The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965)
Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966)
Blowup (1966)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
Daisies (1966)
Come Drink with Me (1966)
Seconds (1966)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Persona (1966)
Masculine-Feminine (1966)
Balthazar (1966)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967)
The Graduate (1967)
Playtime (1967)
Report (1967)
Hombre (1967)
Belle de Jour (1967)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Week End (1967)
The Godson (1967)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Point Blank (1967)
Wavelength (1967)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
The Red and the White (1967)
Marketta Lazarova (1967)
The Jungle Book (1967)
The Fireman’s Ball (1967)
Earth Entranced (1967)
Closely Watched Trains (1967)
Vij (1967)
The Cow (1968)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Planet of the Apes (1968)

Faces (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If… (1968)
Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
The Producers (1968)
David Holzman’s Diary (1968)
Shame (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Targets (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
My Night with Maud (1969)
Lucia (1969)
A Touch of Zen (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Satyricon (1969)

Z (1969)
The Conformist (1969)
Easy Rider (1969)
High School (1969)
In the Year of the Pig (1969)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Andrei Rublev (1969)
The Butcher (1969)
The Color of Pomegranates (1969)
Kes (1969)
Tristana (1970)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
El Topo (1970)
Woodstock (1970)
Deep End (1970)
The Spider’s Stratagem (1970)
Little Big Man (1970)
The Ear (1970)
Patton (1970)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Performance (1970)
Gimme Shelter (1970)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
The Bird with The Crystal Plumage (1970)
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970)
Wanda (1971)
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Sorrow and the Pity (1971)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)

Walkabout (1971)
Klute (1971)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Red Psalm (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
The French Connection (1971)
Shaft (1971)
Dirty Harry (1971)

Murmur of the Heart (1971)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Straw Dogs (1971)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Cabaret (1972)
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
High Plains Drifter (1972)
Sleuth (1972)
Deliverance (1972)

Solaris (1972)
The Godfather (1972)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
Fat City (1972)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (1972)
Frenzy (1972)
Pink Flamingos (1972)
Superfly (1972)
The Sting (1973)
The Mother and the Whore (1973)
Badlands (1973)
American Graffiti (1973)
Papillon (1973)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
Mean Streets (1973)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
The Wicker Man (1973)
Day for Night (1973)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Sleeper (1973)
Serpico (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Turkish Delight (1973)
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
Fantastic Planet (1973)
Amarcord (1973)
The Harder They Come (1973)
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
Dersu Uzala (1974)
The Conversation (1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Mirror (1974)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Chinatown (1974)

Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Wall (1975)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Fox and His Friends (1975)
India Song (1975)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Manila in the Claws of Brightness (1975)
Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Nashville (1975)
Cria! (1975)
The Travelling Players (1975)
Jaws (1975)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
Carrie (1976)
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
All the President’s Men (1976)
Rocky (1976)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Network (1976)

Ascent (1976)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
1900 (1976)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Star Wars (1977)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

The Last Wave (1977)
Annie Hall (1977)
Last Chants for a Slow Dance (1977)
Stroszek (1977)
Man of Marble (1977)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Killer of Sheep (1977)
Eraserhead (1977)
Ceddo (1977)
The American Friend (1977)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Soldier of Orange (1977)
Suspiria (1977)
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Grease (1978)

Days of Heaven (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Shaolin Master Killer (1978)
Up in Smoke (1978)
Halloween (1978)
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Real Life (1979)
My Brilliant Career (1979)
Stalker (1979)
Alien (1979)
Breaking Away (1979)
The Tin Drum (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Being There (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Life of Brian (1979)

Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Jerk (1979)
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Manhattan (1979)
Mad Max (1979)

Nosferatu: Phantom Of The Night (1979)
Ordinary People (1980)
Atlantic City (1980)

The Last Metro (1980)
The Shining (1980)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Big Red One (1980)

Loulou (1980)
Airplane! (1980)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Boat (1981)
Gallipoli (1981)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Body Heat (1981)
Reds (1981)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Three Brothers (1981)
Man of Iron (1981)
Too Early, Too Late (1981)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1981)
E.T.: The Extra-Terestrial (1982)
The Thing (1982)
Poltergeist (1982)
Blade Runner (1982)
The Evil Dead (1982)
Tootsie (1982)
Yol (1982)
Diner (1982)
Fitzcaraldo (1982)
Gandhi (1982)
The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)
A Question of Silence (1982)
Fanny and Alexander (1982)
A Christmas Story (1983)

El Norte (1983)
Videodrome (1983)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
The Big Chill (1983)

Sans Soleil (1983)
The Last Battle (1983)
Money (1983)
Utu (1983)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
The Fourth Man (1983)
The King of Comedy (1983)
The Right Stuff (1983)

Koyaanisqatsi (1983)
Once Upon a Time in America (1983)
Scarface (1983)

The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
Amadeus (1984)
The Terminator (1984)

Paris, Texas (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Ghostbusters (1984)
A Passage to India (1984)
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
The Killing Fields (1984)
The Natural (1984)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Ran (1985)

Come and See (1985)
The Official Story (1985)
Out of Africa (1985)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Back to the Future (1985)

The Time to Live and the Time to Die (1985)
Brazil (1985)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

The Quiet Earth (1985)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
Vagabond (1985)
Shoah (1985)
The Color Purple (1985)
Manhunter (1986)
Stand By Me (1986)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
The Fly (1986)
Aliens (1986)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Down by Law (1986)
A Room with a View (1986)
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Platoon (1986)
Caravaggio (1986)
Tampopo (1986)
Peking Opera Blues (1986)
Salvador (1986)
Top Gun (1986)
Sherman’s March (1986)
The Horse Thief (1986)
Brightness (1987)
Wings of Desire (1987)
Project A, Part II (1987)
Babette’s Feast (1987)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Withnail and I (1987)
Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Goodbye Children (1987)
Broadcast News (1987)
Housekeeping (1987)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Moonstruck (1987)
The Untouchables (1987)
Red Sorghum (1987)
The Dead (1987)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
The Vanishing (1988)
Bull Durham (1988)
Ariel (1988)
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Akira (1988)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (1988)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The Naked Gun (1988)
Big (1988)
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Landscape in the Mist (1988)
The Decalogue (1988)
Die Hard (1988)
A Tale of the Wind (1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Rain Man (1988)

The Story of Women (1988)
The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Alice (1988)
Batman (1989)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
My Left Foot (1989)
The Killer (1989)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Roger & Me (1989)
Glory (1989)

The Asthenic Syndrome (1989)
Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
Say Anything (1989)
The Unbelievable Truth (1989)
A City of Sadness (1989)
No Fear, No Die (1990)
Reversal of Fortune (1990)
Goodfellas (1990)
Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
King of New York (1990)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
Europa Europa (1990)
Pretty Woman (1990)
Archangel (1990)
Trust (1990)
Close-Up (1990)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990)
Total Recall (1990)
Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
Boyz ‘n the Hood (1991)
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
Delicatessen (1991)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991)
Naked Lunch (1991)
The Beautiful Troublemaker (1991)
The Rapture (1991)
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
JFK (1991)
Slacker (1991)
Tongues Untied (1991)
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
Strictly Ballroom (1992)
The Player (1992)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Romper Stomper (1992)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Unforgiven (1992)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Candy Man (1992)
A Tale of Winter (1992)
Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992)
The Crying Game (1992)
Man Bites Dog (1992)
The Actress (1992)
Farewell My Concubine (1993)
Thirty Two Films about Glenn Gould (1993)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Short Cuts (1993)
Philadelphia (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
The Puppetmaster (1993)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
The Piano (1993)
The Blue Kite (1993)
The Wedding Banquet (1993)
Three Colors: Red (1994)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Clerks (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
The Lion King (1994)
Satantango (1994)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
The Last Seduction (1994)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Wild Reeds (1994)
Chungking Express (1994)
Crumb (1994)
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Through the Olive Trees (1994)
Riget (1994)
Dear Diary (1994)
Casino (1995)
Deseret (1995)
Babe (1995)
Toy Story (1995)
Strange Days (1995)
Braveheart (1995)
Safe (1995)
Clueless (1995)
Heat (1995)
Zero Kelvin (1995)
Seven (1995)
Smoke (1995)
The White Balloon (1995)
Cyclo (1995)
Underground (1995)
The Brave Heart Will Take the Bride (1995)
Dead Man (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Pillow Book (1996)
Three Lives and Only One Death (1996)
Fargo (1996)
Independence Day (1996)
Secrets and Lies (1996)
Breaking the Waves (1996)
The English Patient (1996)
Gabbeh (1996)
Lone Star (1996)
Trainspotting (1996)
Scream (1996)
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Happy Together (1997)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control (1997)
The Butcher Boy (1997)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Kundun (1997)
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Funny Games (1997)
Taste of Cherry (1997)
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Mother and Son (1997)
Titanic (1997)
Tetsuo (1998)
The Celebration (1998)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Buffalo 66 (1998)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Run Lola Run (1998)
Rushmore (1998)
Pi (1998)
Happiness (1998)
The Thin Red Line (1998)
The Idiots (1998)
Sombre (1998)
Ring (1998)
There’s Something About Mary (1998)
Magnolia (1999)
Beau Travail (1999)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Taboo (1999)
Rosetta (1999)
All About My Mother (1999)
Three Kings (1999)
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
Audition (1999)
Time Regained (1999)
Fight Club (1999)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
American Beauty (1999)
Attack the Gas Station! (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Nine Queens (2000)
The Captive (2000)
In the Mood for Love (2000)
Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Streets (2000)
Gladiator (2000)
Kippur (2000)
A One and a Two (2000)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Amores Perros (2000)
Meet the Parents (2000)
Signs & Wonders (2000)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Traffic (2000)

The Gleaners and I (2000)
Memento (2000)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Amelie (2001)
What Time Is It There? (2001)
And Your Mother Too (2001)
Kandahar (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Piano Teacher (2001)
The Son’s Room (2001)
No Man’s Land (2001)
Moulin Rouge (2001)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Fat Girl (2001)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Pianist (2002)
Talk to Her (2002)
City of God (2002)
Russian Ark (2002)
Chicago (2002)
The Barbarian Invasions (2003)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Governments Fund the Darnedest Things.

Limestone Tourist Park - Bedford, Indiana.

The Great Idea: Turn a small Midwestern town into a tourist mecca for lovers of limestone block.

The Great Big Problem: Limestone block is not as big a draw as you think.

Cost to Taxpayers: $700,000

More Here.

Star Trek Enterprise Bottle Opener.


The Gentleman’s Guide to the Calling Card.

In the 19th and early 20th century, social interaction was a richly cultivated, well-mannered affair. The tool that facilitated these interactions was the calling card. Calling cards streamlined introductions and helped remind people of new acquaintances and needed visits. The calling card also served as a way to brand your social identity. The way your card looked and felt or the way you handed it to someone communicated your standing and relationship with the receiver. While the calling card had gone the way of top hats and knickers, they’re starting to make a comeback. What follows is a brief history of the calling card and how men today can resurrect this tradition to create some stylish panache in their social interactions.

Meanwhile Outside Diminished Expectations HQ...

Click to enlarge.

On ACORN and Vote Fraud.

The "get out the vote" drives conducted by ACORN typically involve many duplicate and fictitious voters, as well as votes cast by dead people.

Given that Obama's connection with ACORN goes back at least to
1992, and that he even trained ACORN activists in their nefarious tactics as part of his "community organizer" activities, it may not be enough for McCain to win — he will have to win by such a large margin that the Dems can't overturn the results

The Perils of Women's Studies.

The comedic potential of academic feminism will not be unknown to regular readers of this site. Some of you may have fond memories of Dr Sandra Harding, an alleged “feminist philosopher of science,” who claims that Einstein’s theories of relativity are “gender-biased” and thus disreputable. Ms Harding famously described Newton’s Principia as a “rape manual” and claimed that rape and torture metaphors could be used to usefully describe its contents. Before you snigger too much, it seems Ms Harding’s worldview is not entirely without influence.

Read the whole thing.

Eddie Waitkus: The Real Roy Hobbs

The 1984 movie “The Natural” with Robert Redford is one of the better baseball movies made. It is based on Bernard Malamud’s offbeat novel of the same name when. 38-year-old Roy Hobbs breaks into baseball as a rookie with a passion, hits gigantic home runs, and transforms a last place team into a winner. The story was inspirited by the shooting of Eddie Waitkus, a 29-year-old baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, when a deranged woman invited him into her hotel room for the purpose of murder.

Eddie, however, was the second major league baseball player ever to be shot by a fan as you may remember a recent Chatter from the Dugout column that described on how Billy Jurges, a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, was shot by a young lady who wanted more than just a casual companionship. While Jurges knew his assailant, Waitkus was shot by an unknown stalker who for several years had become overly infatuated with him from afar. Coincidentally Waitkus and Jurges were infielders, were either Chicago Cubs or had played with the Cubs, the two shootings occurred in Chicago hotels, and they both survived to play again.

Obama Charges Guests $28,500 to Hear Streisand,...Here at Dimished Expectations-No Charge.:

Shamelessly stolen from Theo.

Yes We Can...Slience Our Critics!

This is not free speech. This is not "people expressing their opinion." This is people expressing Obama's opinion. This is a powerful politician arrogantly abusing that power to try to silence his critics, without even bothering to hide behind Media Matters or Kos, because he knows he can get away with it.

This is wrong.

Why Did Fannie And Freddie Make So Many Unsound Loans?

Because Obama's buddies in ACORN pressured them to. And then (as the video in a previous post noted) Fannie's CEO called Barack Obama a member of the "family" and thanked him for pressuring him to make unsound loans.

Which you now have to subsidize.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Living Room Candidate.

Campaign commercials through the years.

Above is the famous "Daisy" ad from 1064. It ran only once but it planted the seed that a vote for Goldwater was risking nuclear Armageddon.

More here.

McCain’s Scandal

The enduring scandal of the McCain campaign is that it wants to win. The press had hoped for a harmless, nostalgic loser like Bob Dole in 1996. In a column excoriating Republicans for historically launching successful attacks against Democratic presidential candidates in August, Time columnist Joe Klein excepted Bob Dole — not mentioning that Dole had been eviscerated by Clinton negative ads before August ever arrived.

The press turned on McCain with a vengeance as soon as he mocked Barack Obama as a celebrity. Its mood grew still more foul when the McCain campaign took offense at Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” jab. “The media are getting mad,” according to Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz. “Stop the madness,” urged Time’s Mark Halperin, exhorting his fellow journalists to fight back against the McCain campaign’s manufactured outrage.

How 'Kilroy Was Here' Changed the World.

At one of the country's most prolific shipyards in Quincy worked James J. Kilroy — a rivet inspector who, like everyone in his trade, was paid by the number of rivets he checked and recorded his day's work on the machinery itself with a chalk mark. To avoid having his marks erased and moved by unscrupulous workers continuing his line of rivets, Kilroy began inscribing "Kilroy Was Here" on the machinery, historians say.

The dire need for ships overseas meant that most were launched into action before the workers' marks, including Kilroy's, were painted over or covered up.

American GIs began noticing the puzzling phrase scrawled on outgoing ships almost immediately, often tucked into hard-to-reach spots. At first, sailors treated an appearance of "Kilroy Was Here" like a kind of talisman, certifying that their ship had been properly checked and would be protected against the enemy. GIs later adopted Kilroy's standard and began tagging the places they'd visited across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Poll: McCain Fast Approaching Obama Among New York State Voters.

New York is on its way to becoming a battleground in this year's presidential election, with Senator McCain rapidly dissolving Senator Obama's lead in the Empire State, according to a new poll.

The poll by Siena Research Institute, conducted between September 8 and 10, found that Mr. Obama holds a 46% to 41% lead among likely voters, barely outside the survey's 3.9% margin of error. This represents a decline for Mr. Obama, who led by 8% in the same poll in August, 13% in July, and 18% in June.

Just to be clear, there is absolutely no way for Obama to win the Presidency should he loose New York. He's going to have to spend a ton of money, in the nations most expensive media market, just to hold on to a state that should have been a cakewalk.

Update: The cancer has spread. Now it's New Jersey too.

ACORN, Fannie Mae and Motor Voter.

OK so ACORN helps people who were barely qualified or totally unqualified get housing. So what would they be doing? Finding landlords who would rent to them? Well no. Landlords want to get paid. Fannie Mae had no such scruples. Ever hear of NINJA mortgages? Funny name, huh? It stand for No Income, No Job, No Assets. Just the kind of reliable folk honest lenders are looking for. People with a credit score of Zero.

Help with getting poor people mortgages was only one service ACORN provided. Another was help with elections. I wrote a little about that in Election Fraud Control. Let me quote a little from that piece. The question I'm asking is who you might need to be on the look out for when it comes to voter fraud?