Thursday, May 31, 2007

Noonan: President Tearing Conservative Coalition

I don't always agree with Peggy Noonan, and indeed, I don't even agree with everything she says in this column. But I agree with her larger points, which are very well stated:

"What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration... What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them... This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

"The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain... This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place."

Continuing: "The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they 'don't want to do what's right for America.' His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, 'We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up.' On Fox last weekend he vowed to 'push back.' Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want 'mass deportation.' Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are 'anti-immigrant' and suggested they suffer from 'rage' and 'national chauvinism.'"

Noonan: "I suspect the White House and its allies have turned to name calling because they're defensive, and they're defensive because they know they have produced a big and indecipherable mess of a bill."

She concludes: "Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party."

The big question is: how will we do it?

A related note of interest: the Republican National Committee has fired all of its telemarketers...it seems there's just not enough money coming in to justify keeping them on, due to "a grass-roots donors' rebellion over President Bush's immigration policy."

Mexico Helps Illegals Obtain CA Healthcare

From today's L.A. Times: "A program called Ventanillas de Salud, or Health Windows, aims to provide Mexican immigrants with basic health information, cholesterol checks and other preventive tests. It also makes referrals to U.S. hospitals, health centers and government programs where patients can get care without fear of being turned over to immigration authorities.

"'Being undocumented, we thought we didn't have the right to certain things,' said Rosalba Hernandez, 26, who came to the U.S. two years ago and lives in Panorama City... But after a visit to the Mexican Consulate last week to get her consular ID card, Hernandez now knows she can get affordable insurance and free access to some government health services."

Medi-Cal services for illegal immigrants in L.A. County came to $440 million in 2005; the statewide cost last year was more than $1.1 billion.

Of course, Mexico would never dream of picking up these costs for its citizens...

California Hershey Plant to Close

I was sorry to read today that the Hershey plant up north in Oakdale, California, is being shut down and relocated to Monterrey, Mexico.

575 Hershey employees will lose their jobs.

I toured the plant twice, most recently in 1997. It was fascinating watching the big vats of chocolate being "conched" and the assembly line turning chocolate into Hershey's Kisses.

Unfortunately, after 9/11 they stopped giving public tours, although they have maintained a Visitors Center.

President: Bill Reduces Need for Border Fence

The President has directly confirmed something that opponents of the immigration bill fear, that enforcement of the border is not our nation's first priority under this proposed law.

In an interview the President "expressed hope that the changes would reduce the need for a fence along the border with Mexico."

But I thought increased border enforcement was going to eliminate the possibility of millions more illegals needing to be "regularized" in the future? How does the immigration bill, which will make coming to the United States more appealing than ever, reduce the need for a fence?

The President, discussing the opposition of some on the border to a fence, also said, "I presume we’re not going to build a fence on places where people don’t want it."

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters.)

And then I read that the President is now going to work to eliminate greenhouse gases and wonder, what happened to the President for whom I voted?

Maybe the President should chat with the head of NASA about global warming...

As I see it, the President has been strong in three areas: the war on terror, tax reduction (although unfortunately he has also "grown the government"), and judicial picks (although in one case he had to be pushed by conservatives into correcting his pick).

Open borders? Reducing greenhouse gases?

Sigh.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tonight's Movie: The Queen (2006)

I have a longtime interest in European royalty, with the fascinating criss-crossing of relationships in the family trees due to Victoria's descendants marrying into most of the royal houses of Europe.

THE QUEEN was thus of particular interest to me, connecting my love of movies with my years of reading on the British royal family. Having been a young girl myself when Diana married Charles -- back when most of us rather believed the fairy tale, before we knew about issues like Camilla Parker-Bowles -- I was one of the many who stayed up all night to watch the wedding and followed Diana with interest in the years that followed.

In fact, when my husband and I visited London in 1987, we planned our tourist route to coincide with Diana arriving at a couple of "engagements," with a little help from the Court Circular. Seeing her was a fun "extra" amidst our days of touring historic sites. One of her engagements would prove to be rather historic: the day she visited a hospital and shook the hands of AIDS patients without wearing gloves. That made headlines 'round the world. And at the other engagement, a luncheon at Marlborough House near St. James's Palace, we saw Paul McCartney walking down the street, having just dropped off Linda at the same event...

All of which is to say that I was greatly saddened by the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage and especially when Diana passed away so suddenly. Whoever would have thought that the royal family's reaction to Diana's death would be the subject of a movie nearly a decade later? What an unusual topic for a film.

It works extremely well, due to excellent work by Helen Mirren as the dignified Queen Elizabeth, James Cromwell as a perpetually cranky Prince Philip, and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair. I had trouble swallowing Sylvia Syms' performance as the Queen Mother, but there aren't all that many people who actually know how close her characterization was, so who knows? All in all, they were very well done character studies that will merit another look in future.

The film left me with some unanswered questions -- for instance, very little was communicated about any grief the Queen might have felt about Diana's passing, other than the Queen's expressions of concern for her grandsons and seeming sad or unsettled as she wrote in her diary the night Diana died. Her tears after her Jeep became stuck later in the week might have been for Diana, due to the strain of the escalating "situation," or both. But of course, this scene was imagined, as was much of the film...so what was the reality?

Although the relationship was complicated for many reasons, Diana had been an intimate member of the royal family for many years and was the mother of the Queen's grandchildren. How did the Queen feel? Was she as strictly focused on protocol that following week as the film suggests? Or perhaps she was unable to focus on the grief she might have otherwise felt, as circumstances quickly changed from the private family mourning the Queen envisioned to a state affair? Or was Diana at that point simply an annoyance, as conveyed by Prince Philip and the Queen Mother, and her passing was not great cause for sadness?

Perhaps one day we'll have more insight into those questions than the movie's "educated guess."

THE QUEEN was directed by Stephen Frears. It runs somewhere between 97 minutes (IMDb) and 103 minutes (the DVD box).

For more on the background of actor James Cromwell, please see my post on the film SON OF FURY, which was directed by his father, John Cromwell.

THE QUEEN is available on a widescreen DVD. The DVD contains two commentary tracks. I am currently partway through the track by historian Robert Lacey (author of MAJESTY and other books on royals), and it is quite interesting. Sadly, the DVD does not contain a trailer, which is always the first thing I look for on a new DVD. It does contain a brief featurette.

This film was worth the wait, and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't yet seen it.

The Latest Immigration Bill Roundup

In "Immigration Bill Blues, Or, How I Derailed the Compromise," Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters above writes about how a question to John McCain might have led to the silver bullet which will kill the immigration bill.

Morrissey asked John McCain about President Bush removing the requirement that illegal aliens pay back taxes from the bill. McCain knew nothing about that -- which just goes to show how silly it is that he rushed to D.C. for a press conference pushing "his" bill -- and had it reinstated. But since bills which raise revenue must begin in the House of Representatives, the entire bill may be jeopardized on Constitutional grounds.

More notable immigration-related reading today:

Everything You Should Know On Amnesty, You Learned in Kindergarten by Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

Bush Hits Foes of Alien Bill: The President's comments continue to reverberate today. Paul Weyrich warns the President is splitting the Republican Party.

Bush Fears For Nation's Soul by Dan Froomkin, Washington Post. First our President rants about those of us who oppose the bill not wanting to do "what's right for America," then he warns that he's "deeply concerned about America losing its soul." He's sure got a burr under his saddle on this, is about all I can say.

Bush Finally Fires Up the Base. This RedState column is subtitled: Unfortunately For Him, It Could Be His Undoing.

And finally, Beautiful: Anti-Americanism Does Miss Universe by Michelle Malkin.

"Too Sexy For My Students"

The L.A. Times published a rather creepy column today by a former learning center tutor who was fired for sharing inappropriate material with her 12-year-old students.

She, of course, defends herself: "I'm not sorry I read them that book, that chapter, those words. Knowing that term isn't going to hurt them. And now, no one will ever laugh at them for not knowing it."

But the critical part of the column comes much earlier, when she tells her students "Don't tell your parents about this."

Any teacher, public or private, who ever says that to a child, who is unwilling to have what happens in her presence be anything less than an open book to the entire family, is a danger who has no business being in the classroom.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Son of Fury (1942)

SON OF FURY: THE STORY OF BENJAMIN BLAKE is 98 minutes of glorious black and white bliss.

Tyrone Power plays Benjamin Blake, the true heir to a British title and estate, robbed of his birthright by his cruel uncle (George Sanders). Threatened with jail due to his uncle's machinations, Benjamin leaves England to make his fortune, in hopes of returning to claim his inheritance, as well as the hand of his cousin Isabel (Frances Farmer).

Matters take an interesting turn when Benjamin settles on a tropical island, where he not only discovers a fortune in pearls, but beauteous Gene Tierney... And you'll have to see the movie to find out what happens from there. :)

The film's superlative supporting cast includes John Carradine, Elsa Lanchester, Harry Davenport, and Dudley Digges. Roddy McDowell plays Tyrone Power as a boy.

SON OF FURY was directed by John Cromwell. (Cromwell's film IN NAME ONLY was briefly reviewed here last year.) Cromwell's wife, Kay Johnson, plays Tyrone Power's aunt in SON OF FURY. Cromwell and Johnson's son, James, is an actor -- best-known recently for his role as Prince Philip in THE QUEEN -- and James Cromwell shares some of his memories in a featurette on the SON OF FURY DVD.

Fun anecdote: My husband is pretty sure he had a nice chat with Cromwell's son, a college student who was seated next to him on an airplane flight a few months ago...his dad was in first class. Between the son's comments and seeing Cromwell after the flight, my husband put two and two together and figured out who he was...

SON OF FURY was just released on DVD in a beautiful print. It can be purchased as a single title or as part of the Tyrone Power Swashbuckler Box Set. My recent post with details regarding the boxed set can be found here.

SON OF FURY has also been released on video.

Glenn Erickson, aka the DVD Savant, has written a rave review for the boxed set in general and SON OF FURY in particular. He refers to SON OF FURY as an "undeservedly ignored gem."

This film is a little slice of Tyrone Power heaven...we all exhaled a blissful sigh at the end. Enjoy.

"Drop the N-Word Already"

Last Saturday I wrote about former White House speechwriter Michael Gerson charging that those who oppose the immigration bill are "nativists."

This argument has also been repeatedly charged by certain pundits such as Fred Barnes.

Heather MacDonald replies to Gerson's position at National Review Online: "It is not nativism, but facts and principle that lie behind opposition to the Senate’s latest amnesty proposal. Playing the nativist (read: racism) card allows propagandists like Gerson to ignore both."

Her article is timely, given the additional "piling on" today by the President himself, who charged that those who oppose the bill "don't want to do what's right for America." This followed reprehensible rhetoric by DHS head Michael Chertoff, that those who oppose the bill believe in "execution" and "capital punishment" for illegal aliens.

A side note: something that continues to baffle me is if, as Gerson claims, Hispanic illegal aliens are focused on "education and social mobility," and if, as the White House claims, illegal immigrants are "doing the jobs Americans won't do/aren't doing," then who is going to do those jobs once the borders are supposedly closed and Hispanics move up into the middle class?

It seems to me that the current illegal immigrants are either being condemned to serve as a ghettoized permanent "underclass," or we need an endless supply of future illegal aliens if Americans really won't do certain jobs. Which is it?

Hillary Sounds Like a Communist...

...touting replacing an "on your own" "ownership" society with a "we're all in it together" society based on "fairness."

Remember, this is the same woman who wanted the government to take over 1/7 of the United States economy.

This raises all sorts of interesting questions, such as who decides what is "fair"?

Hillary would do well to study the early settlers of this nation. The Pilgrims started out with the "we're all in it together" thinking and it nearly did them in, until they changed to an "on your own" society and flourished.

Cast Announced for Next American Girl Movie

The next American Girl movie, following in the footsteps of Samantha, Felicity, and Molly, will be about Kit. The Depression-era movie is slated for a summer 2008 theatrical release. The previous three films were all TV-movies.

Abigail Breslin and Willow Smith (daughter of Will) play the lead roles. Supporting roles will be filled by Chris O'Donnell, Julia Ormond, Joan Cusack, and Stanley Tucci.

As with the previous films, actress Julia Roberts is among the film's producers.

This Is Not Leadership

President Bush today said that opponents of the immigration bill "don't want to do what's right for America."

That's right, we don't simply have a fundamentally different point of view on approaching illegal immigration...if we don't agree with the President we "don't want to do what's right for America."

I can't tell you how much this disturbs me. I feel as though I am having my longtime support for the President tossed back in my face. Once again the White House resorts to demonizing those with whom it disagrees.

The President acknowledges "A lot of Americans are skeptical about immigration reform, primarily because they don't think the government can fix the problems." But instead of addressing that skepticism by proving the government can fix the problems before moving on to his desired legalization plan, he insists on an "all or nothing" approach. His plan or the highway.

First the Director of Homeland Security says those who don't believe in the immigration plan want to execute illegal aliens.

And now this from the President. Both gentlemen sound desperate. It's not attractive and certainly isn't winning me over to their side of the argument.

I have disagreed with the President on this issue, but I have never questioned his patriotism or desire to do what he sincerely believes is right for our country. I deeply resent the President questioning the patriotism and motives of those who don't believe his plan is the correct approach to illegal immigration.

Update: Carol Platt Liebau has the same take in her post "Say WHAT?": "It's hard to figure out what advantage President Bush sees in attacking those of good conscience who disagree with him. Many of them happen to be some of his staunchest allies in the war on terror, and it isn't clear how it serves him to insult them gratuitously.

"And it's puzzling that the President would save his harshest rhetoric -- not for those who would defund American soldiers, or force a surrender in Iraq -- but for those who don't believe it's wise to hand out probationary visas to people from 'countries of interest' (i.e. heavily populated by jihadists), thereby allowing them to embed in the United States, without the benefit of even a cursory background check."

Liebau makes an interesting point. The President has worked hard on a "new tone" in Washington -- sometimes to the dismay of fellow conservatives -- to the extent of working hand in hand with someone like Senator Kennedy, who regularly speaks of the President and administration in rude terms. Yet while the President is so often mild-mannered about those who are his harshest critics, he or members of his administration haven't hesitated to come out swinging against conservatives regarding Harriet Miers or immigration.

You only hurt the ones you love?

More: Mark Steyn is troubled by the President's statement as well.

David Frum: "Who are these vicious characters who do not want to do 'what is right for America'? They are for the most part the...Republicans who have supported this president through thick and thin. Is it really smart to abuse them?"

Nope.

Monday, May 28, 2007

With Gratitude

We give thanks for all those who have sacrificed so much to defend and protect our nation.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's About Time

A newly released report from the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that Northwest Flight 327, chronicled in Annie Jacobsen's gripping "Terror in the Skies" articles for Women's Wall Street beginning in 2004, was indeed a terrorist "dry run."

The article includes air marshals' accounts of the behavior of the terrorists on the plane. Small wonder that many passengers were in tears and feared for their lives.

I believe I've read all Jacobsen's articles on her frightening flight experience and subsequent research -- she later wrote a book -- and she continually hit dead ends attempting to get more information out of the government. In fact I seem to recall that attempts were made in some quarters to demean her reaction to the incident.

It seemed that the government was either in denial or was covering up to prevent general panic, when the public would have been better served by having the reality of the terrorists plotting in our midst confirmed. Or maybe the government was embarrassed they had allowed all 13 of the men to walk free after the incident?

It is disturbing that it has taken three years for this confirmation to finally be published.

A comment at Captain's Quarters: "I guess they're [DHS] too busy slamming people who want to see our borders enforced to actually worry about little things like airline security."

Sadly, that reaction sounds about right to me.

Patterico's Pontifications links to other articles on this flight if you are interested in background reading.

More from Captain's Quarters.

Happy Birthday, Power Line!

Power Line is now five years old.

Congratulations to all three gentlemen who run one of the finest blogs on the Internet.

"Rx for Breakdown"

An excellent column in the New York Post about the impossibility of the immigration bureaucracy successfully handling the proposed immigration bill.

The bill would triple the agency's work load. The agency can't keep up with the work load now -- legal immigrants are waiting years to be processed.

And that's just for starters.

The points made in the article would seem to be obvious common sense. Members of Congress have to know the background check and bureaucratic aspects of the bill won't work. (Either that or they live in a fantasy world, which is equally troubling.) A one-day background check? The article points out that the time pressure on those background checks could also push the applications of illegal immigrants ahead of those who are attempting to immigrate legally, once again favoring lawbreakers over those who honor our laws.

This is just one reason why so many of us are so suspicious that what the bill is really about is simply legalization of illegal immigrants, but not national security and permanently securing our borders.

Why Do I Love NASCAR?

As the Coca-Cola 600 begins, let me count a few reasons why...

1) The politically incorrect prayers that precede every race, where not only "God" but "Jesus" is mentioned without fear.

2) The celebration of our military at every race, most especially on Memorial Day weekend, when the Charlotte Fire Department Bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" and an Army bugler played "Taps." And the flyovers.

3) Great renditions of the National Anthem. Hard to beat Leann Rimes' perfect a cappella singing today.

4) The unabashed celebration of American capitalism and ingenuity, through both advertising and engineering.

5) Family ties (such as the Burtons) and traditions.

6) "Gentlemen, start your engines!"

7) "Boogity, boogity, boogity...Let's go racing, boys!" And all that follows.

Back to the race now...

Gary Sinise: One of the Good Guys

This weekend actor Gary Sinise, star of CSI: NY, received the G.I. Spirit Award, which honors "the entertainer who most embodies the spirit of the American G.I. and his work."

Sinise tours with the USO and has visited Iraq on multiple occasions; he visits military hospitals and has been involved with a veteran's group.

He also co-founded a group which has sent over 400,000 kits of school supplies to children in Iraq. The kits are hand-delivered by members of the U.S. military.

Sinise was recently interviewed by TV Guide about his efforts to support the troops.

Sinise's best-known film roles include FORREST GUMP and APOLLO 13...but it sounds like the "role" he plays in real life is the best one of all.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tonight's Movie: Saddle the Wind (1958)

Today we watched a "1958" double bill, following THE TUNNEL OF LOVE with SADDLE THE WIND, an engrossing "psychological" Western written by Rod Serling. It was directed by Robert Parrish and an uncredited John Sturges, who specialized in action films such as ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. I'm curious to know how much of the film Sturges worked on, and why, but thus far my research hasn't turned up any more on that subject.

SADDLE THE WIND stars Robert Taylor as an ex-gunslinger who now makes an honest living as a rancher, mentored by an older, peace-loving rancher (Donald Crisp) who has served as something of a father figure to Taylor.

As the film begins, Taylor's unstable kid brother (John Cassavetes) brings home a pretty fiancee (Julie London), a saloon singer who thinks the kid brother might be her ticket to a better life. Unfortunately, the kid brother has an itchy trigger finger and exhibits increasingly erratic behavior; he soon is embroiled in gunfights and starting a range war, leading to an inevitable confrontation between the two brothers.

The film is a bit grim, but it is very well-crafted and has a satisfying conclusion. Much of the movie was filmed on location, and the spectacular Colorado mountain landscapes are a real plus. (The occasional insertion of obviously "processed" shots into the location scenes is noticeable, though not enough to detract from the film.) Robert Taylor tends to play the same sort of stoic character in many of his '50s films, but I find him appealing and to date have always enjoyed his films.

Among the supporting cast I particularly enjoyed Donald Crisp and Ray Teal, who plays Crisp's foreman. Also in the cast are Charles McGraw and Royal Dano.

Some good Disney trivia: Royal Dano was the voice of Abraham Lincoln Disneyland's Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.

SADDLE THE WIND runs 84 minutes. The haunting title song, sung by Julie London, was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, composers of hits such as "Mona Lisa," "Que Sera, Sera," and "Silver Bells." Elmer Bernstein composed the background music. The color CinemaScope photography was by George Folsey, who was also the cinematographer of GRAND CENTRAL MURDER, reviewed here last week.

SADDLE THE WIND is not available on VHS or DVD. Vote here for it to be released on DVD. The scenery in this film would really be done justice by a widescreen DVD.

This movie can be seen as part of the film library on Turner Classic Movies.

Fall 2008 Update: SADDLE THE WIND is now available on DVD.

Tonight's Movie: The Tunnel of Love (1958)

THE TUNNEL OF LOVE purports to be a romantic comedy, but unfortunately it's more rancid than romantic.

Doris Day and Richard Widmark play a suburban Connecticut couple experiencing infertility and adoption. Their hopes to adopt are jeopardized when Widmark acts inappropriately in front of the adoption agency's social worker, and things go from bad to worse when Widmark's married neighbor (Gig Young) propositions the social worker. Due to another unfortunate incident, Widmark later harbors suspicions that he and the social worker are the true birth parents of the baby he and wife Day are adopting. Eventually there's a happy ending, but it's a labored effort to arrive at that point. (I just realized that's a bit of a pun, but the wording's appropriate!)

The dialogue is surprisingly frank for 1958, filled with conception-related talk such as charting temperatures and the "right time" to try for a baby. When discussing the adoption agency, Day perkily says, "They get some of the best babies, they're located right between Yale and Smith." (That one caused a mental double-take on my part.) There's a lot of drinking, infidelity, and negativity about parenting; Young plays a despicable first-class cad who's not only unfaithful, he hates his growing brood of children. The time Young is on screen -- which unfortunately is often -- makes for painful viewing.

I especially like both Day and Widmark, but in my opinion the material here simply isn't worthy of either of them. That the film is watchable at all is a tribute to two favorite actors.

The supporting cast includes Gia Scala as the social worker, Elisabeth Fraser as Young's ever-pregnant, oblivious wife, and Elizabeth Wilson in an amusing turn as another social worker, who can't seem to stop grinning.

This CinemaScope movie was filmed in black and white and runs 98 minutes. It was directed, believe it or not, by Gene Kelly.

THE TUNNEL OF LOVE is available on video. It next airs on Turner Classic Movies on August 11, 2007.

The trailer can be seen here.

January 2009 Update: THE TUNNEL OF LOVE is coming to DVD on April 7, 2009.

Happy Birthday, John Wayne

Scott Eyman, author of the great John Ford biography PRINT THE LEGEND, celebrates the centennial of John Wayne's birth with "100 Reasons to Love John Wayne." Don't miss it.

The Centennial Celebration at Wayne's birthplace in Winterset, Iowa, sounds really special.

Over at The Shelf, J.C. Loophole and Wolf Flywheel choose their Top 10 (make that 11, or 13!) John Wayne Westerns. It's a great list.

From the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star: "As no one else on the screen, Wayne demonstrates to a young country the old virtues it needs to remain strong and blessed."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Immigration Bill Roundup

Over the last couple days a number of interesting articles have been published by prominent conservatives who are critical of the Senate's immigration bill.

George Will (subject link) writes on "A Bill That Has Earned Its Doubters."

Peggy Noonan weighs in with "Slow Down and Absorb."

Ed Meese, the Attorney General under President Reagan, talks about the bill on video.

William F. Buckley, Jr., writes on "Immigration Blues."

And John Podhoretz has written "Better Off Losing: Bush Can't Afford Immigration Victory."

Finally, National Review, in its new editorial, notes the irony that legal status "is a prize available only to those aliens who have violated our immigration laws." Doesn't it seem unfair that those immigrants who are going through the legal process don't receive the same immediate probationary "legal" status? Break the law, win the immigration jackpot.

Saturday Update: Don't miss Paul Mirengoff of Power Line taking on a column by former White House speechwriter Michael Gerson, in which Gerson derides conservative concerns about the bill as the fears of "nativists" (there they go again...).

Mirengoff: "I feel frustrated that the White House failed, in my view, to push this hard for initiatives I favor, or when it came to defending itself on Iraq. I'm also frustrated that the White House fails to treat seriously the concerns conservatives have about its immigration package. The tendency instead is to misrepresent or demean our concerns and, to some extent, demonize us."

Mirengoff's entire post -- including taking on the "straw man" argument of Michael Chertoff and others that the only alternative to the bill is "mass deportation" -- is outstanding.

Tonight's Movie: Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)

YES, MY DARLING DAUGHTER is the mildly amusing tale of a girl (Priscilla Lane) who wants to spend a weekend alone in a cabin with her boyfriend (Jeffrey Lynn) before he leaves to work overseas for two years. The girl's mother (Fay Bainter), a more free-thinking "feminist" in her younger years, tries to talk the couple out of this scandalous behavior. Comic hijinks ensue as various relatives chase after the couple.

The film seems a bit "talky" in places -- Priscilla Lane's character seems to speak nonstop -- which perhaps reflects the story's origins as a play, written by Mark Reed. The plot was mildly racy in its day -- as alluded to in this 1939 New York Times review by Frank S. Nugent -- though it seems tame by today's standards.

Though it's nothing particularly special, the film is worth seeing, especially if one has also enjoyed FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938) or DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS (1939). YES, MY DARLING DAUGHTER was released in between those two films; Lane, Lynn, and May Robson (who plays Lane's grandmother) were in both of the DAUGHTERS movies, and Fay Bainter also played Lane's mother in DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS. Bainter in particular elevates virtually anything in which she appears.

It's also fun looking around the family's enviable country home; the sets are great "eye candy."

YES, MY DARLING DAUGHTER was filmed in black and white and runs 86 minutes. It was directed by William Keighley. Besides directing, Keighley had a career in radio, notably as the host of Lux Radio Theater from 1945 to 1952. Keighley's wife, Genevieve Tobin, plays the much-married Aunt Connie in this film. In real life, Keighley and Tobin were married nearly 46 years, until his death in 1984.

YES, MY DARLING DAUGHTER does not appear to have been released on VHS and is not available on DVD. Vote here for it to be released on DVD. It's available on cable as part of the library at Turner Classic Movies.

The trailer can be seen at TCM here.

Did Hillary Leak Book Excerpts to the WA Post?

Last night I wrote of a couple forthcoming books on the Clintons, "Does anyone else suspect Hillary is glad to deal with these books relatively early in the campaign, so she doesn't have to discuss them closer to the primaries?"

That may have been more on-target than I realized at the time.

Ben Smith of Politico theorizes in "How to Kill a Book in 3 Easy Steps" that Hillary's campaign deliberately leaked excerpts from the Jeff Gerth book to the Washington Post so that news of some of the book's contents would be published the Friday of Memorial Day weekend -- classic Clintonian "Friday/Holiday Dump" strategy.

Last night, just before the Post published their article, a group which supports Clinton posted a 2700+ word article rebutting Gerth's book. Coincidence that the rebuttal was ready before the Post published?

The timing gave the Clinton campaign the opportunity to cut the wind out from under the sails of the publisher's marketing plan, and the campaign will sigh "Oh, that old news," from here on.

Smith: "The leak seemed calculated to catch the publishers off guard, though people familiar with each book’s publication plans said both are still on schedule. Bernstein’s book is due out from Knopf on June 5. The Gerth and Van Natta volume is due out from Little, Brown on June 8..."

As an aside, is it just me, or, reading between the lines, does Smith seem somewhat admiring of the Clintons' plotting here?

Meanwhile, Tim Graham of NewsBusters dissects the Washington Post's article.

It's a Good Day

Baja Fresh, a Mexican chain I eat at a couple times a month, no longer sells Pepsi products...it's now a COKE store!

It takes so little to give my day an extra happy glow. :)

Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island Now Pirate's Lair

Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island reopens today, renovated to tie in with the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. (As most PIRATES fans know, AT WORLD'S END opens today as well.)

The Orange County Register has more on the changes to the beloved island.

A Farewell to Tom Sawyer Island posted at MousePlanet.

The jury's out for me on this one. I often enjoy seeing the rides updated -- tying in the submarines with FINDING NEMO is a brilliant way to bring back a beloved attraction -- but I'm not sure yet what I think of PIRATES being linked with Twain. And I sure miss Fort Wilderness.

Saturday Update: More today from the L.A. Times.

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Not So Far Away...

...STAR WARS premiered.

STAR WARS first opened on May 25, 1977, and for better and worse, movies haven't been the same since.

I first saw the film later that summer. Going to see it was quite an adventure, as I took the bus -- I don't think I've been on a city bus since! -- with a friend to The City in Orange, California. The theater no longer exists, and the former location of The City is now The Block at Orange.

I wasn't sure what I thought about this very different kind of movie in the first third or so, but the rescue of the Princess and blowing up the Death Star left me so exhilarated I had to go back and see it maybe another three times that summer.

It was particularly great to have a movie score to enjoy that was so exciting and different, that sounded like it could have been written for an "old" movie. In 1984, thanks to the kindness of the president of the Original Star Wars Fan Club and particularly John Williams' wife, Samantha, my husband was able to borrow the film's score and arrange the "Throne Room" music from the film's final scene for brass quintet, to serve as our wedding recessional. Little did I know, when I first saw the film, all the wonderful ways STAR WARS would impact my life.

A review dating from the time of the STAR WARS premiere is featured above at the subject link.

The anniversary is being celebrated in Los Angeles at a weekend-long convention.

STAR WARS postage stamps are available at post offices today.

There are hints from Lucas there may be a new STAR WARS film coming, set before the last trilogy he filmed.

Fans share memories.

As a movie-going aside, my husband and two oldest children have tickets and will be in line for seats for the new PIRATES movie at the "Big Newport" in Newport Beach, CA, much of the afternoon. This is the same theater where my husband and I first saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI, and the same theater where we took the two older children to see the original STAR WARS films when they were reissued a few years ago. Standing in line for movies is a fun tradition that evolved as part of the STAR WARS phenomenon.

Capistrano School District: Indictments

Close to a year ago I posted about a brewing scandal at the Capistrano School District here in Orange County. The Orange County Registrar showed school district employees petitions for the recall of District board members, and it was charged that the district's Superintendent, James Fleming, used this information to compile an "enemies list" of families who had supported the recall.

I blogged the story here as I felt it might be of some national interest "as a cautionary example for all regarding what can happen when those who supposedly serve taxpayers are more interested in looking out for themselves."

Last summer, after Fleming retired, the D.A. seized computers from Capistrano School District offices.

A follow-up to the story: Today's papers report that former Superintendent Fleming and the former Assistant Superintendent have been indicted. Fleming was charged with misappropriating public funds, using school district funds "to influence an election, and conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public."

More from the Orange County Register.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New on DVD: Summer School (1987)

Just in time for your Memorial Day weekend viewing pleasure, this week SUMMER SCHOOL was reissued on DVD in a new "Life's a Beach Edition."

Many of us have fond memories of this film, which was an unexpected pleasant surprise back when it was first released in 1987; it was a "summer" movie which was well-crafted, funny, and had heart, with a charming lead performance by Mark Harmon.

My oldest daughter remembers it for a different reason: when she was very little she wandered into the room when my husband was watching the movie -- right at the "chainsaw" scene, which she saw before my husband could flip the channel or shoo her back out of the room. She ran from the room screaming in terror, and it took us quite a while to calm her down. For many years she had no idea what movie she'd seen in those brief seconds. Then a couple years ago we were watching the previous DVD release and she suddenly realized that this was the movie which had terrified her when she was little! It was a real "deja vu" kind of moment when she recognized it. I'd completely forgotten the incident. (P.S. She liked the movie.)

Digitally Obsessed gives the DVD a thumbs up. Extras include a commentary by Mark Harmon and director Carl Reiner.

Around the Blogosphere Today

Interesting odds and ends for your reading pleasure...

Andy McCarthy of National Review Online responds to the Wall Street Journal's pro-immigration bill editorial in "Re: WJS v. NRO." (See subject link.) More from NRO in a brief editorial. The continuing shock of Washington elites regarding the general public's rejection of the immigration bill would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Al Gore's Insolent Assault on Reason: The former V.P. threatens free speech, charging that "the clever use of electronic mass media" is able to "manipulate the outcome of elections." Ironically, as readers of Bill Sammon's AT ANY COST are aware, the media may try to manipulate elections...in favor of Democrats.

Books Paint Critical Portraits of Clinton: Does anyone else suspect Hillary is glad to deal with these books relatively early in the campaign, so she doesn't have to discuss them closer to the primaries? Not that the mainstream media will ever push her to discuss any uncomfortable issues, based on the kid glove treatment she has received during her campaigns in New York.

Bill's Ugly Buddy: Speaking of the Clintons, they have never seemed to care much where their money came from -- remember the cattle futures? -- and this article by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann further confirms that fact.

Bad Student, Great Kid: The Ugly Naked Guy has a thoughtful and moving post about one of his students, a square peg not fitting in the round hole that is school.

Ocean's 13: Initial review from Variety sounds promising. I'll admit I'm willing to put aside the knowledge that the cast is filled with far-left Hollywood liberals in exchange for two hours of mindless good summer fun...

A Sad Commentary on Society

Last month St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died in a drunk driving accident, crashing his car into a tow truck helping a disabled car.

In addition to being drunk, Hancock was speeding, using a cell phone, and for good measure had marijuana in the car.

Hancock's death was tragic...and it was, sadly, his own fault. He made a series of bad choices, and he paid the price with his life. It's a miracle he didn't kill anyone else.

Hancock's father is choosing to blame everyone but his son. He has filed suit against the restaurant which served his son drinks, the tow truck driver, and even the driver whose car had stalled and was being helped by the tow truck.

What a sad commentary on our overly litigious society -- blame everyone else, and see if you can pick up some cash while you're at it.

I hope the insurance companies involved don't pay the father off with an out-of-court settlement. This lawsuit needs to be thrown out of court at the earliest possible date.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Only Reason You'll Ever Need to Vote Against John Edwards

Senator John Edwards today said, in so many words, there is no global War on Terror, and instead called it a "bumper sticker" and an "ideological doctrine."

Someone who doesn't recognize the major issue of our times, which most threatens the future of our nation, isn't someone who can be trusted to protect our nation as President.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dennis Prager on John McCain...

...and the consequences of campaign finance "reform."

Prager's article ties in well with a Michael Goodwin column on the personal wealth of the Presidential candidates.

Mark Bittman on Hamburgers

Mark Bittman's "Minimalist" columns in the New York Times' Dining & Wine section are always fun to read.

In his latest column Bittman shares tips for good hamburgers -- just in time for Memorial Day weekend...

New on DVD: Rio Bravo (1959)

There are a number of great new John Wayne DVD releases in honor of the Duke's 100th birthday -- see The Shelf for a rundown -- but perhaps the release I've most anticipated is RIO BRAVO, one of the greatest Westerns ever made.

The new 2-Disc Special Edition includes a commentary track -- oh noooo, it's Richard Schickel! -- a featurette with Angie Dickinson, and the MEN WHO MADE THE MOVIES episode on Howard Hawks.

You just can't beat this movie, with its marvelous cast, also including Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Walter Brennan. Nelson and Martin singing in the jailhouse is movie magic.

Mike Clark had a fun column today in USA TODAY which included a list of Clark's Top 12 favorite Wayne movies. His Top 12 list, in order: THE SEARCHERS, THE QUIET MAN, RED RIVER, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, RIO BRAVO, FORT APACHE, REAP THE WILD WIND, THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY, DONOVAN'S REEF, HATARI! and EL DORADO.

Such lists, of course, can be highly personal -- I too would probably include DONOVAN'S REEF in the list because I associate it with many happy viewing memories, though it's not really a "great" film. I don't think anyone would quibble with THE SEARCHERS and THE QUIET MAN heading the list.

But -- just because movie lists are fun -- I've really got to question some of his inclusions and omissions. (If anyone else wants to play along, please join in on the comments!) FORT APACHE is an excellent movie, but Wayne's role is subordinate to that of Henry Fonda's. On the other hand, the next "cavalry" movie, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, contains one of Wayne's greatest performances and without question it would be No. 3 on my Wayne list.

The other two films that would absolutely be on my own list are RIO GRANDE (a beautifully crafted Western which only gets better with time) and ANGEL AND THE BADMAN (ditto). I would pull REAP THE WILD WIND, HATARI!, and RED RIVER or LIBERTY VALANCE off the list to make room for these -- which again shows how personal lists can be. RED RIVER and LIBERTY VALANCE are wonderfully crafted films which have received much critical acclaim, but though I can admire them, I don't warm up to them so much, with their "darker" version of Wayne.

My 15-year-old son, a major Wayne fan who rewatches the Duke's movies on a regular basis, chuckled when he saw REAP THE WILD WIND on the list. Entertaining enough, but Top 10? He immediately wanted to know, what about MCLINTOCK!?

And STAGECOACH?

Hmmmm.

"Amnesty Fraud, Part 2"

More from Thomas Sowell on the pending immigration bill.

Sowell's thoughts on the lack of assimilation among recent immigrants are worth noting, I think. Here in Southern California, wording on some grocery store coupons is printed in English and Spanish -- despite the big pictures of the products and the clear numeric value of the coupon. Is it so difficult to learn the word "SAVE" instead of "AHORRE"? What does that say about assimilation, or the lack thereof? That is simply one small example of Balkanization rather than assimilation.

Fred Barnes insisted on today's SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRIT HUME that our country's most recent immigrants will assimilate just as other immigrant cultures have through the decades, but Sowell's column -- and personal experience -- causes one to question Barnes's confidence. We see similar issues along the northern border, such as the push for recognition of "sharia law" in Minnesota, to the extent that taxicab drivers are refusing passengers and grocery clerks are refusing to handle pork products.

That issue addressed, it must be said that the insistence of some Washington elites that opposition to the bill is motivated by "people who just don't like immigrants" (per Fred Barnes) -- Monday's Special Report Roundtable, seen on video at the link, being a prime example -- is incredibly frustrating. These pundits insist that we must either deport illegal immigrants or pass the bill, which is a false choice, and they ignore the very real issues at stake, such as proving to the American people that the borders are truly closed, so that the numbers of illegal aliens don't escalate further. And for those in Washington who insist there is "no amnesty," at the very least why not acknowledge the amnesty on back taxes that the White House wrote into the bill, despite past pledges to the contrary?

Barnes and Co. are surprised by the response to the bill, which to my mind shows they are simply too insulated in "inside the Beltway" thinking. There is an unfortunate snobbery that shows through, too, as these pundits shake their heads over "nativists" -- a term Mort Kondracke has thrown around in the past on SPECIAL REPORT.

The problems which Barnes & Co. refuse to face include overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants straining our infrastructure; open borders causing a threat to national security; and special privileges for illegal immigrants, such as tax amnesty, which are not available to American citizens or those waiting in line for legal immigration. Rewarding lawbreakers, which in turn encourages others to break the law and enter illegally, is a real issue which also needs to be addressed, rather than shrugging "What are you going to do?" and insisting this bill, which is heavy on perks for illegal immigrants and light on security, is the answer to all our problems.

I heard a fascinating interview on Hugh Hewitt's show today with a reporter who has traced the paths of Middle Eastern terrorists coming across both our Southern and Northern borders. He said it's about 50-50 as far as which border they cross; they will sometimes go to Central or South America, fly into Canada, and cross from the north. Politicians ignore this threat at their own peril. (For more on this topic, see Michelle Malkin.)

Especially given that many politicians are clearly not really fans of securing the borders, Americans have no reason to believe those in Washington who say "We really mean it now" and that the bill will provide a magical fix for all these problems. There's also no excuse for such an important bill to be so many hundreds of pages long that it's nearly incomprehensible. Why can't they write a bill spelling out the new laws in, say, 10 clear pages that average Americans can easily understand and debate? I know that's a fantasy, because I don't think they want it to be easy for average citizens to understand -- rather like the Tax Code?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dr. Sowell: "Amnesty Fraud"

Thomas Sowell: "If the current immigration bill is as “realistic” as its advocates claim, why is it being rushed through the Senate faster than a local zoning ordinance could be passed?

"We are, after all, talking about a major and irreversible change in the American population, the American culture, and the American political balance. Why is there no time to talk about it?

"Are its advocates afraid that the voting public might discover what a fraud it is? The biggest fraud is denying that this is an amnesty bill."

And in conclusion: "Just as people can do many things better for themselves than the government can do those things for them, illegal aliens could begin deporting themselves if they found that their crime of coming here illegally was being punished as a serious crime, and that they themselves were no longer being treated as guests of the taxpayers when it comes to their medical care, the education of their children, and other welfare-state benefits.

"Incidentally, remember that 700-mile fence that Congress authorized last year? Only two miles have been built. That should tell us something about how seriously they are going to enforce other border-security provisions in the current bill."

Yep.

Not the Way to Win Friends and Influence People

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff mouthed off against opponents of the new immigration bill last Friday: "I understand there's some people who expect anything other than capital punishment is an amnesty."

In another interview, Chertoff said: "I understand that some people think it’s not tough enough. Maybe they want people thrown in jail for 10 years or they want people executed."

Gee, thanks, Mr. Secretary. Wonderful attempt at reasonable discourse with those with whom you disagree.

What about "Secure the borders first" don't you understand, Mr. Secretary? Isn't securing the borders supposed to be a priority for you? Pretending this bill does that is a patronizing insult to your fellow Americans.

Unfortunately, as David Frum notes, this is the same playbook we saw during the Harriet Miers debacle, when the White House lashed out against its critics, calling them "sexist" and worse.

The White House seems to have a completely tin ear about their fellow Republicans and two of the most significant issues of our time: the Supreme Court and the borders. Saying "trust us" just isn't enough, especially when, in the case of the amnesty program, we've trusted before (can anyone say "Simpson-Mazzoli"?). Fortunately, in the Miers case, conservatives ultimately prevailed and we ended up with someone who seems to be a superb justice on the Supreme Court. We can only hope for the same success on this issue.

The White House needs to work a lot harder on building bridges with their supporters, not burning them.

Chertoff should be ashamed of himself. He owes conservatives everywhere an abject apology for his nasty remarks. That was a new low from an administration I have been proud to support.

Hillary Wants Universal Preschool

California taxpayers turned back Rob Reiner's effort to institute universal preschool in California, but now we may have to fight the battle on a national level.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to start a $10 billion preschool program. And you know the costs will only go up from there.

She cites questionable research to back her proposal about the supposed benefits of preschool. The reality is benefits of preschool don't last.

There's simply no reason to milk taxpayers for another entitlement program of dubious value. Let parents keep more of their own money and spend it on preschool as they see fit.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Washington Times: "Immigration Debacle"

The Washington Times in an editorial: "The bipartisan immigration 'reform' legislation pushed by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and Jon Kyl and others...is a disaster in the making... It's a disaster for national security, for keeping Islamist jihadists out of the country, for exploding the costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, for preserving the rule of law, and for that quaint principle called national sovereignty."

"In exchange for such very modest achievements, the administration and the Senate propose to make enormous and in some cases unacceptable concessions to illegal aliens and their political patrons."

In a news article, the Washington Times reports this piece of hopeful news: "Fewer than 20 senators are publicly committed to supporting the immigration deal that hits the Senate floor today while nearly 40 are already opposed or have serious concerns..."

Richard Schickel: Criticism Is For Elites, Not Bloggers

Film critic Richard Schickel of Time magazine has written a piece for the L.A. Times disdaining bloggers, in particular criticism written by bloggers. He drips with condescension:

"Let me put this bluntly, in language even a busy blogger can understand: Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity. It is, or should be, an elite enterprise..."

"I don't think it's impossible for bloggers to write intelligent reviews. I do think, however, that a simple 'love' of reading (or movie-going or whatever) is an insufficient qualification for the job..."

"...they need to prove, not merely assert, their right to an opinion."

If you can stomach reading the entire piece, by the end Schickel compares blogging to "finger-painting." Then he describes the glory of "writing for print": "It imposes on writer and reader a sense of responsibility that mere yammering does not. It is the difference between cocktail-party chat and logically reasoned discourse that sits still on a page, inviting serious engagement."

I find it ironic that a man who insists on proving one's "credentials" did the worst DVD commentary track I've heard to date (THE MARK OF ZORRO).

So much for credentials. Not that this criticism matters, coming from a lowly blogger. :)

Tonight's Movie: Grand Central Murder (1942)

GRAND CENTRAL MURDER is an MGM "B" movie which is a fast-paced whodunit with an excellent cast and polished cinematography. Van Heflin plays Rocky Custer, a private investigator who inadvertently is also a suspect in the murder of an actress at Grand Central Station. Virginia Grey plays Rocky's wife and assistant, Sue, and Sam Levene (Lt. Abrams in two of the THIN MAN films) is the soda-addicted police inspector trying to crack the case.

The film has a superb supporting cast of pros including Connie Gilchrist, Samuel S. Hinds, Cecilia Parker, Patricia Dane, Millard Mitchell, and Frank Ferguson. The police stenographer is played by an actor named Roger Moore; this Roger Moore was not the eventual 007, but it's interesting to note that he was the older brother of actor Robert Young. Moore had a long career in bit parts dating back to the silent era.

Virginia Grey had a long romance with Clark Gable in the '40s and was said to be heartbroken when he married another woman. Grey never married.

GRAND CENTRAL MURDER runs 73 minutes and was directed by one of MGM's best "B" directors, S. Sylvan Simon. Several of Simon's films have been reviewed here previously, including SPRING MADNESS, FOUR GIRLS IN WHITE, THESE GLAMOUR GIRLS, and DANCING CO-ED.

My husband and I admired the film's photography, which included interesting upward-looking angles and background characters going in and out of focus. I looked it up and discovered the movie was filmed by George Folsey. Folsey had worked shooting films since the silents and in this period was mostly filming MGM's "B" movies and black and white films such as the musical SEVEN SWEETHEARTS (reviewed here in January). Shortly after GRAND CENTRAL MURDER Folsey would move into color cinematography of "A" films such as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE HARVEY GIRLS, and ZIEGFELD FOLLIES. In the '50s he shot SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. Over his long career Folsey was nominated for 13 Oscars; in two years he was simultaneously nominated for two films.

GRAND CENTRAL MURDER can next be seen on Turner Classic Movies on June 1, 2007, as part of "A Night at Grand Central Terminal." The other movies airing that evening are NORTH BY NORTHWEST and GOING HOLLYWOOD. Fans of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! might remember the clip of Bing Crosby and a cast of hundreds singing the title song "Going Hollywood" in the Grand Central terminal (as re-created at MGM).

Vote here for GRAND CENTRAL MURDER to be released on DVD.

The trailer can be seen here.

March 2012 Update: This film is now available on DVD-R from the Warner Archive.

The Arrogance of John McCain, Continued

Scott Johnson of Power Line has done some very interesting reporting on exactly what transpired when John McCain cussed out a fellow Senator during the negotiations on the immigration deal.

It's even worse than reported. McCain didn't simply dismiss Senator Cornyn's concerns, he told him to leave the room so that the other senators could "expedite" completion of a deal.

Cornyn said, "Wait a minute. We’ve been meeting for three months on this in good faith, and now you parachute in here this morning and tell me to leave? I think you’re out of line."

At which point Senator McCain let loose with another expletive and claimed "I know more about immigration than anybody in this room!"

Power Line's Johnson: "Two weeks ago, Senator McCain defended his reputation as a hothead on Fox News Sunday, saying he loses his temper only when he sees corruption and wasteful spending. This incident involved neither. It was instead a simple policy dispute, where he didn’t want to debate how his legislation would actually work."

This man should not, and will not, be President.

Incidentally, Power Line also reports that "The bill released yesterday does not include the provision designed to end catch-and-release."

Is there no end to the giveaways in this bill?

New Book: 150 Things to Make With Roast Chicken

I spotted a terrific new cookbook while browsing in Barnes & Noble last week. 150 THINGS TO MAKE WITH ROAST CHICKEN was written Tony Rosenfeld, a contributing editor at the great magazine FINE COOKING.

Rosenfeld provides extensive tips on roasting chickens and includes side by side recipes for roasting one or two chickens. His suggestion is to roast two birds at a time: one to eat for dinner right away, the other to use in a different meal later in the week.

Rosenfeld includes recipes for various sauces, gravies, and side dishes along with a variety of appetizing chicken recipes.

The book is relatively affordable, retailing for $14.95 (discounted to $10.17 at Amazon). I expect our family will enjoy this book -- and the meals that come from it -- a great deal in years to come.

Your Sunday Fred Thompson Reads

Salena Zito of Townhall discusses Fred Thompson's campaign, in particular the "watershed moment" of his video response to Michael Moore, which may have overshadowed last week's Republican debate.

The Tennessean has more on Thompson's campaign, "Thompson Steals Show From Stage Right." Bill Theobald writes about Thompson talking "directly to conservative voters by making extensive use of blogs, podcasts and the other tools of the new online political landscape."

And today's Washington Post has a biographical profile of Thompson by Liz Garrigan.

President: No Back Taxes for Illegals

In case you missed the news buried at the end of last night's post about Blogger problems, the President asked that the provisions he supported last year, that illegal aliens be required to pay back taxes as a requirement for "regularization," be removed from the pending bill. Senator Kennedy had included that requirement in the bill.

Mickey Kaus: Read My Flips: No Back Taxes!

I'd sure like to be an illegal alien and get to skip paying my taxes...why don't American citizens have that privilege? It's ludicrous.

Senator Jeff Sessions writes "Immigration Bill is Worse Than You Think" and points out that, among other things, employers of illegal aliens will also receive amnesty for cheating on their taxes. (Update: The Sessions article actually appears to be from May 2006.)

The President, in his desire to treat aliens "without amnesty but without animosity," not only engages in a falsehood -- I won't go into what is or isn't amnesty here, see RedState's "10 Key Myths About the Amnesty Agreement" -- but he seems to have a perverse desire to stir up animosity toward illegal aliens and those who enable them, including politicians. I am deeply, deeply disappointed in our President. Why is it that his "compassionate conservatism" is extended toward lawbreakers but not our nation's hardworking citizens?

As Senator Sessions says, the bill demonstrates "a lack of respect for the American people."

I...am...so...frustrated!!

For more, see Mark Steyn's great column, "Z Visa Stands for Zellout." Steyn is a legal immigrant to the United States so his perspective on the topic is always particularly interesting.

Update: Ed Morrissey, who has been much more open to the immigration bill than most conservatives, on the Bush Administration dropping the requirement that illegal aliens pay back taxes:

"This is a huge mistake. It's one thing (and not a good thing) to put illegal immigrants ahead of those waiting in line legally to enter our country. It's another entirely to put them ahead of US citizens. Should we declare an overall amnesty on back taxes? If not, then why do illegals get preferential treatment?"

Ed is also concerned about the requirement, linked here Friday, that waives background checks if they cannot be completed in one day. There are legal immigrants who have waited years for their paperwork to be processed. How could background checks for massive numbers of people be completed in a single day?

Ed asks of the background checks: "Does that mean that we have effectively eliminated them? Will we be giving Z-visas to MS-13 gangsters?"

Or, one might ask, terrorists?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blogger's Autosave Eating Posts?

This week Blogger introduced an "autosave" feature, automatically backing up drafts of posts every minute or so. You can also click the "save now" button manually to save drafts.

I just concluded writing a new immigration-related post and hit "save now" to save the draft, then clicked on "edit" in order to check that all the links were good.

What I found when I clicked edit was that none of my post had been saved, other than the headline and the subject link. The entire -- lengthy -- post was completely blank.

Has anyone else had this happen? Is this a glitch related to the new automatic save feature?

I found a post by someone who had the identical experience: she had manually saved the post and it disappeared. I've also been having the problem mentioned at this site, that comments are disabled until I manually go in and correct it.

I guess from now on I'm going to copy my posts into Word until they're safely posted...

For now, I leave you with just one story, at the subject link, that President Bush removed from the pending immigration bill the provision that illegal immigrants pay their back taxes.

Read it and weep.

I'm thinking of becoming an illegal alien. It certainly seems more profitable than the old-fashioned principles of working hard, following the laws, and paying one's taxes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Border Deal: The Latest Developments

Rush Limbaugh said today that the Senate's proposed immigration bill "gives up on the whole notion of legal immigration in this country."

More from Rush: "...if this goes through as is, the Republican Party in '08 could well be doomed, but so could we as a country. I have this great fear that the first thing that's going to go by the wayside in this immigration bill is the whole concept of border security, the signs are there."

Rush's take on the bill appears to be available on the "free" page of his website (linked above). He refers to it as "the Destroy America bill."

A column at American Thinker suggests this bill could open the door to "millions" of Muslims, which could cause tremendous changes to our nation and endanger national security, just as France and Britain are being transformed by radical Muslim immigrants.

Power Line is hopeful the bill is "DOA."

More: Kathryn Jean Lopez on the Right Revolt and Rich Lowry on The Senate's Rotten Deal.

Lowry: "It is an amnesty, no matter what supporters call it... But the 12 million illegals here before January would get probationary legal status immediately when the bill passes, an effective amnesty. (It's unclear why illegals arriving here after January would be excluded so coldheartedly -- what does McCain want to do, deport them all?)"

For those who insist we must "do something" about immigration and that we "can't deport" illegal immigrants: it's so simple. Just enforce the immigration laws on the books and simultaneously build the fence and put true border control in place -- not just on the southern border, but on the northern border as well. After all, when the southern border closes to terrorists, the northern border will look very inviting.

If this bill passes, it will endanger our country and cost trillions.

Back to Rush Limbaugh: "The Republican leadership is destroying the movement that Reagan built. We've gotten No Child Left Behind. We've gotten the McCain-Feingold bill, which legitimized infringement on free speech, the First Amendment. We've gotten massive new farm subsidies, and a massive new prescription drug program. We're just growing the government here. It will be worse when the Democrats get in charge, if you think it's bad now, but all of these virtues, all of these aspects of our belief system are assaulted in this bill that is coming out of the Senate...

"This is, along with the war on terrorism, this is the battle of our time, because these two issues -- the war on terror, which the Democratic Party has already surrendered the United States to defeat -- are going to define America for generations."

Saturday Update: An editorial by Fred Thompson: "The Immigration Bill: Comprehensive or Incomprehensible?"

The Arrogance of John McCain

Senator John McCain made clear yesterday that he could care less about hearing from the lowly public regarding the immigration bill: "We all know that this issue can be caught up in extracurricular politics unless we move forward as quickly as possible."

Today McCain also made it clear he could care less about input from his Republican colleagues. He dismissed Senator John Cornyn's concerns about the bill's "enforcement" provisions and illegal immigrants' judicial appeals with a couple of curse words.

It's been an open secret for years that McCain is unable to control his temper.

I wonder how long it's going to take McCain to realize that he's not going to win the Republican nomination, and how will he react then?

Noonan on Thompson

Peggy Noonan devotes a column to Senator Fred Thompson. The entire thing is a great read. Among her thoughts:

"He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign. It's a guerrilla campaign... It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about.

"Right now Mr. Thompson has the best of both worlds, an air of fearlessness and nothing on the line. He hasn't committed. He's not in. He can take a chance and be himself because he's not afraid, and he's not afraid because he has nothing to lose."

This last point is something that I've been thinking about. Thompson is not being "careful" in the style of those declared candidates who, at this early stage, are simply trying not to mess up. (Unless you're John McCain, in which case your campaign is over.) As I mentioned the other day, I like that Thompson is willing to "mix it up." I can't imagine a declared candidate, for example, having the nerve to release something along the lines of Thompson's video response to Michael Moore. Thompson is using modern technology to publicize his refreshingly old-fashioned conservativism, saying, in essence, "This is who I am. Are you interested?" If we are, great, and if not, he's got a life. He'd probably be a great President, but unlike some people (Mrs. Clinton, for example), his future happiness is not predicated on retaining or gaining political power.

I disagree with those who think Thompson needs to get in the race now if he's serious. He's running a very cagey campaign by remaining outside the early, endless campaign season. I may well end up feeling differently if ultimately Thompson disappoints us and doesn't run, but for now I'm quite content with his "guerilla campaign."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tonight's Movie: The Mating Season (1951)

Maggie (Gene Tierney) and Val (John Lund) marry after a whirlwind romance and are blissfully happy, even more so after they hire a wonderful cook, Ellen (Thelma Ritter). There's just one wrinkle -- unbeknownst to Maggie, Ellen is actually Val's mother! When Maggie's obnoxious mother Fran (Miriam Hopkins) comes for a visit, things really get complicated...

I won't try to explain more, but it all makes perfect sense if you watch the film (grin). This movie is great fun. Tierney is absolutely gorgeous (her wardrobe was designed by her then-husband, Oleg Cassini), and I've always had a bit of a soft spot for John Lund (among other films, he was in DUCHESS OF IDAHO and IF A MAN ANSWERS, reviewed here last year). Thelma Ritter was nominated for both the Oscar and the Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Ellen. The supporting cast includes Jan Sterling, Ellen Corby, and Larry Keating.

THE MATING SEASON was directed by Mitchell Leisen. Leisen's films include great screwball classics such as EASY LIVING and MIDNIGHT, as well as REMEMBER THE NIGHT, reviewed here last December. The film is in black and white and runs 101 minutes.

Sadly, this film does not appear to be available on either DVD or VHS. It richly deserves a DVD release. Vote here for it to be released on DVD.

THE MATING SEASON can be seen on Turner Classic Movies and is next scheduled to air on July 9, 2007. The trailer can be seen here.

Border Deal: How Bad Is It?

I've been following the news about the Senate's border deal today with alternating anxiety and anger. While Captain Ed doesn't think the bill is all that bad, Hugh Hewitt (subject link) says that the deal would cut the border fence promised in last year's bill in half. That is completely unacceptable.

Although the bill is not yet published -- RedState is concerned that will not happen until after the vote -- the fear seems to be that any employer enforcement or border security provisions have been severely diluted. I am reserving final judgment until we definitively hear what's in the bill, but this evening I'm feeling sold out by both the President and the Republican members of Congress who support this bill.

National Review says "No to Bush-Kennedy." (What is it that causes the President to continue to make bad legislative deals with Ted Kennedy -- a man who obviously loathes the President?)

From National Review: "Bush-Kennedy includes some enforcement 'triggers' that increase resources at the border and establish an employment-verification program before amnesty or the new temporary-worker program can take effect. But there is no requirement that these measures be proved effective before the full implementation of Kennedy’s wish list, and the reform does not include critical provisions to prevent identity theft and the use of fraudulent documents. Granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens without first securing the border and ensuring a reliable system of workplace enforcement invites millions of others to follow their example in the hope of being granted amnesty during the inevitable next round of immigration reform."

More from NRO: "As bad as the status quo on immigration policy is, it is preferable to this bill. Recent improvements in border security have apparently reduced the number of illegal crossings, and well-publicized raids on workplaces can be expected to have a chilling effect on employers who are in violation of immigration laws. But we suspect that this increased enforcement was largely designed to win passage for amnesty and a guest-worker program, and will end once this goal is achieved."

I'll never understand how a President who is otherwise so strong on national security is so oblivious to the threats posed by open borders and illegal immigrants. Did we learn nothing from the recent plot against Fort Dix by a terrorist group including illegal immigrants?

Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney have spoken strongly against the bill. Rudy Giuliani issued a more ambivalent statement.

John McCain strongly supports the bill and is pleased to take some of the credit. As usual, he disdains those who don't agree with him -- if he likes a bill, it's "bipartisan," and the rest of us should just live with it, in McCain's eyes. I believe I can safely say any chance of McCain winning the Republican nomination, if there was a chance, is now finished. The lone bright spot where the Senate Cave-In is concerned? Scott Johnson of Power Line, who had had an open mind on McCain's candidacy, says today "I'm opting for Anybody But McCain."

Michelle Malkin has links and more links.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Border Deal: Disaster in the Making?

Read Power Line (subject link) and also don't miss Amnesty No! by Michelle Malkin.

White House Backs Off Alien Safeguards will get your blood boiling: "The Bush administration, trying to win an immigration agreement with Democrats, is backing away from safeguards designed to target businesses that hire illegal aliens and to prevent a repeat of the rampant fraud that resulted from the 1986 amnesty."

Unbelievable.

It's time to phone Republican Senators.

Around the Blogosphere Today

Some very miscellaneous stories of interest which I came across today:

Cataracts Key to Monet's Blurry Style (subject link): Fascinating article and photos. (Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Sad, Tormented Life of Empress Who Dreams of Invisibility Cloak: The Times of London on Japan's Empress Michiko. For more, see my March post, Stressed Japanese Royals.

160 Books on Must-Read List for Boys: Britain's Education Secretary has published a large list of boy-friendly books to encourage boys to read more for pleasure. I've just started checking the list out so I don't have opinions on it yet.

Minor Moonlighting Mystery: Something Old, Nothing New explains why the background music for an episode on the Season 1 DVD of MOONLIGHTING is all wrong...but right.

Sandy Berg(l)er Forfeits Law License: Sadly, this is one of the few penalities he's paid for stealing highly classified documents.

MSNBC vs. Fox: Check out the video montage put together by National Review's Media Blog comparing the inane debate questions asked by MSNBC with the substantive questions asked by Fox News. No wonder Democrats won't debate on Fox, the only reason could be they can't handle serious questions...

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