Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Battlespace Preparation"

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit writes that what's going on with the anti-Limbaugh and O'Reilly campaigns is "battlespace preparation...to limit the ability of people like Limbaugh or O'Reilly to drive stories in the mainstream news as we get closer to the election. Expect more of this, with more targets."

Noel Shepperd writes at NewsBusters about the connection of Media Matters, which has started the smear campaigns, with the Clinton Campaign.

Rush Limbaugh's site warns that House Democrats intend to introduce a resolution against him on Monday...apparently the Democrats want to play tit for tat since they are still smarting over the firestorm surrounding the "General Betray-Us" ad.

Hugh Hewitt: "Because of its attack on General Petraeus, the MoveOn.org brand is badly damaged where it matters most --Americans who deeply esteem the military, which is the great majority of Americans. The attempt to label Rush as other than the great supporter of the military that he is is a transparent and desperate attempt to create a counter-scandal."

John Hinderaker at Power Line: "Media Matters knows that anyone who looks into its charges will know that they are bogus. But that's almost beside the point. Their objective (i.e., the Clintons' objective) is to arm fellow-liberal mainstream media outlets with excuses to ignore Limbaugh ('He insulted the troops!') and O'Reilly ('He's a racist!') as the election approaches. It's all about putting Bill Clinton back in the White House."

More analysis from Michelle Malkin.

What's astounding -- but I supposed shouldn't be -- is that rather than putting a stop to the nutty attacks on O'Reilly and Limbaugh by reporting the facts, networks like CNN have instead been stoking the fires and encouraging the crazies. Liberal politicians then respond to the false stories, the media covers their responses, and on and on the stories spin. The behavior of some in the media has been almost Orwellian, disregarding the facts and deliberately misleading the public.

New Book: My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir

The First Monday in October, the traditional start of the Supreme Court term, is being marked this year by the publication of Justice Clarence Thomas's autobiography.

Rush Limbaugh will feature a 90-minute taped interview with Justice Thomas during his radio program on Monday, October 1st. It's the first time Rush has ever featured an interview that lengthy on his show, and it's sure to be very interesting.

Power Line notes that the Washington Post seems to be shocked that Justice Thomas found his confirmation process disturbing.

More news about the book and upcoming interviews by ABC's fine legal reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg.

Patterico also has a lengthy post, focusing on Greenburg's interviews with Thomas.

It should be a fascinating book.

Monday Update: Ed Morrissey notes the interesting convergence of the publication of Justice Thomas's book with the "high-tech lynching" currently being experienced by Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly: "It has implications for this cycle, as certain organizations have apparently started an intellectually dishonest cherry-picking campaign against conservative commentators to discredit them as well."

More links regarding Justice Thomas's book have been posted by Scott Johnson at Power Line.

On Hillary's Laugh

That strange, uncomfortably loud laugh that's been employed by Hillary Clinton of late is analyzed by Patrick Healy in the New York Times.

Putting aside issues of greater substance, I have to wonder: as Americans listen to Hillary's cackle over the next year, are they really going to want to vote to listen to it for four more years?

(Hat tip: Power Line.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Anatomy of a Smear: Bill O'Reilly

During the busy week that was, I hadn't paid much attention to the smear story brewing around Bill O'Reilly, as he's not someone I usually watch or listen to.

In the wake of the phony Rush Limbaugh controversy, I took the time this morning to check out the stories on the O'Reilly smear campaign, and the collusion of Media Matters and CNN to baselessly smear O'Reilly is truly jaw-dropping.

Juan Williams -- who apparently wasn't liberal enough for NPR to air his interview with President Bush last week -- describes his original conversation with O'Reilly, and how it's been twisted in the media. Read the whole thing, it's worth the time.

Not only has O'Reilly been smeared, but Williams himself is being smeared as an "Uncle Tom" for not having taken O'Reilly to task for his non-existent slams on black people.

Power Line has a YouTube video of Williams and O'Reilly discussing the smear campaign.

More at Captain's Quarters.

The left's cherry-picking of out-of-context phrases in order to fabricate non-existent controversy is yet another new low in American political discourse.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sigh...

The ongoing attempts to remodel American culture in order to appease Muslims go on.

Incredibly, a school district in Illinois banned Jell-O from lunch menus, as gelatin contains pork products, but the ban was overturned due to protests. Other pork items, however, continue to be prohibited.

And now the district is looking at removing holiday celebrations from the calendar...

Colleges Implement Emergency Text Messaging

St. John's University in New York had a successful experience using emergency text messaging when a masked gunman invaded the campus.

"Though only 2,100 students were signed up for the program, the text message, and two more that followed, spread within seconds, which...'allowed us to manage this mini-city of 20,000 people.'"

Fascinating that it only took 10 percent of those on campus to sign up for the program in order for it to be effective, because those people immediately informed those around them of the situation.

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

This summer my daughter's university implemented a similar electronic alert system. In addition to staff and students, parents and frequent campus visitors can sign up to be part of the alert system so they'll be fully informed in the event of a campus emergency.

With today's "wired" college campus, the use of text messaging and email for such alerts is a very effective way to reach a wide number of people in a short period of time.

Feds: So. Carolina Students Part of Terror Plot

South Carolina's The State has some of the latest information on those students with explosives in their car.

The initial claim that they were simply students traveling with "fireworks" grows more absurd with each new tidbit unveiled in court documents. Our nation may have dodged a serious terrorism incident thanks to these arrests.

(Thanks to J.C. at The Shelf for passing on this link.)

Today at Disneyland: Halloween Time 2007

October is still a couple days away, but Halloween Time has begun at the Disneyland Resort...


California Adventure's entrance is decorated:


The Sunshine Plaza at DCA has temporarily turned into Candy Corn Acres:


Even the trashcans have been rethemed!


Toy Story Mania will open next summer. It is located in the Paradise Pier section of California Adventure. The steady stream of new rides is such a wonderful contrast to the Paul Pressler era!


Across the way from DCA, at Disneyland:


Beautiful fall flowers at Disneyland's Hub in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle:


The "Partners" statue of Walt and Mickey at the Hub is surrounded by pumpkins with characters carved into them -- each character representing a different land in the park. Woody, of course, represents Frontierland:


Fall comes to the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Disneyland's Main Street:


We didn't get to visit Woody's Halloween Roundup at Big Thunder Ranch today, but we will see it in October.

Update: My photos from Halloween Time 2006 can be seen here, here, and here.

Hillary: Give Every U.S. Baby $5000

Last March I wrote about the nutty idea floated in California of handing every newborn baby $500 to open a bank account -- a Socialistic transfer of wealth at its most blatant.

Hillary's all for the idea, except she wants to add another zero to the number and give every baby born in the United States $5000.

That's right, the money you work so hard to earn should instead be passed on to other people's children, at the rate of $20 billion per year.

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters.)

Rush Limbaugh: Anatomy of a Smear

The mainstream media and Democrats are erroneously asserting that Rush Limbaugh has called soldiers who disagree with the war in Iraq "phony soldiers."

The reality is Rush was speaking of someone who really was a phony soldier, Jesse MacBeth, who had claimed to have served as an Army Ranger in Iraq but in reality was drummed out of the military after 44 days. The left bought his fake anti-war stories hook, line, and sinker, and that's happened more than once during the war, witness the Scott Thomas Beauchamp scandal at the New Republic.

Rush's opening monologue today is on YouTube (subject link). Or you can read the transcript.

Sadly, a rumor is around the block before truth gets its shoes on. None of the "players" involved bothered to phone Rush or get a transcript of the show, because they didn't want to know the truth.

As Rush said today: "The Drive-By Media is as partisan as any organization out there. They hide under this notion that they are objective, but they've got an agenda. They have their narratives. They have their templates. When anything fits the narrative, whether it's true or not -- i.e., the Duke rape case -- you go with it. You run with it! You make the mess! This is why they're called the 'Drive-By' Media. You make the mess. They drive in. They shoot things up, create all kinds of mess, get in the convertible, head back down the road, and it's left to people like me to clean up the mess that they make -- and they make messes every day, over, and over, and over again."

He concluded: "Then they'll go to their favorite Democrats for a comment, they'll get some stupid comments from them and run and rerun the lies so that two years from now the truth and their lies become one and the same in the minds of people. This is their attempt here. This is because they don't want to debate the issues, because they can't win."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Film Books: Basinger and Blondell

Next month will see the release of two books of interest to cinema buffs. The first is THE STAR MACHINE by the excellent historian Jeanine Basinger. Basinger's book explores the studio system and its "star making machine" from the '30s to the '50s.

For good measure, an updated version of Basinger's book on director Anthony Mann is being released in November.

In the '70s Basinger wrote some wonderful entries in the Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies, with books on Lana Turner, Shirley Temple, and Gene Kelly. These books can often be picked up affordably from used book dealers on Amazon, and they are well worth collecting, as are the other titles in the Pyramid series.

October's other release of interest is a new biography, JOAN BLONDELL: A LIFE BETWEEN TAKES. It's by Matthew Kennedy and is advertised as the first major biography of the actress. More details can be found at TCM.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Novak: "Socialized Medicine's Front Door"

Robert Novak on the attempt by Democrats to enlarge the SCHIP children's health insurance program to the already-insured middle class.

Scary stuff...the Democrats will cry "But it's for the children!" and too many Americans will buy into it without analyzing the facts.

Violinist Eudice Shapiro Dies at 93

Eudice Shapiro led a most interesting life. She was the first woman to be a concertmaster with a Hollywood studio orchestra, simultaneously holding that position at both RKO and Paramount. She played in studio orchestras for over two decades.

She had taught at USC's Thornton School of Music since 1956 and was still teaching earlier this year. Her 50th anniversary with the university was celebrated a year ago this month.

More at the Daily Trojan.

15 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World

Kevin Yee of MiceAge serves up 15 great reasons to visit.


If only... Well, someday! :)

Judith Jones, Editor Extraordinaire

The Boston Globe has run a fascinating profile of Judith Jones, a book editor who has the distinction of having ensured the publication of both THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK -- which she found in a rejection pile -- and Julia Child's MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING.

Jones has specialized in finding and publishing some of the great cookbooks of the past few decades.

Her memoirs, THE TENTH MUSE: MY LIFE IN FOOD will be published next month.

Jones is now 83 and still working, having been at Knopf for over half a century.

Thanks to my friend Michele for passing on the Jones article!

Thursday Update: Edited to correct Jones's first name -- when I initially typed this, somehow Judith turned into Edith!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tonight's Movie: First Love (1939)

"Enchanting" is the perfect description for FIRST LOVE, an inventive retelling of the Cinderella story starring Deanna Durbin.

Durbin plays Connie, an orphan who graduates from boarding school and goes to live with her rich uncle's family in New York. Most of Connie's relatives ignore her, and her cousin Barbara (Helen Parrish) is positively mean. The servants, however, quickly take Connie under their wing and plot for her to attend a grand ball, where she dances with her Prince Charming (Robert Stack, in his first movie).

Durbin is delightful as spunky Connie. She's surrounded by a wonderful cast, including Eugene Pallete as her long-suffering uncle and Leatrice Joy as her astrology-addled aunt, plus Thurston Hall, Kathleen Howard, Samuel S. Hinds, Mary Treen, and Charles Coleman. Marcia Mae Jones, who recently passed away, is seen in the opening scenes as Connie's friend Marcia.

The movie runs 84 minutes and was filmed in black and white. It was directed by Henry Koster. Just a couple years later Koster would marry Peggy Moran, who plays one of Deanna's schoolmates in the movie. They were happily married for nearly 46 years, until Henry's death in 1988.

Deanna Durbin is now in her 80s. She has lived a quiet retirement in France for many decades.

FIRST LOVE has been released on both DVD and video.

FIRST LOVE is a treat from start to finish, a wonderful mixture of musical, fantasy, screwball comedy, and romance. Highly recommended.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Around the Blogosphere Today

So many interesting articles, so little time...

"What Did Punch Know, and When Did He Know It?" asks Thomas Lifson of American Thinker (subject link), in response to the New York Times's belated admission that they gave MoveOn.org preferential treatment and pricing for its "General Betray-Us" ad. More on this from Rick Moran: "...all the lies told by spokesmen for the New York Times have all been shown to be an effort to hide the truth from the American people."

Scientists Speak Out Against AP's Climate Change Fear-Mongering: This ties in well with my post earlier today about California Attorney General Jerry Brown buying into global warming hysteria to such an extent that he ranks it as California's greatest problem.

HillaryCare, a Precursor: Power Line's analysis of the SCHIP child health insurance bill is must reading, as is the New York Post editorial Sink This Schip.

Hillary and Health Care Prove a Toxic Mix Again: Kevin Hassett on how Hillary-style ideas led to problems in New Jersey and Kentucky. (Hat tip: Betsy's Page.)

Clinton Campaign Kills Negative Story: Those toxic Clintons again. Ed Morrissey on the significance of the Clintons bargaining with GQ to have a story spiked. Ed and Mickey Kaus are both offering to print the cancelled story.

McCain: Columbia Allows Iranian But Not ROTC?: Senator McCain makes a great point, as told by Frank James at the Baltimore Sun: "McCain appears to be the first presidential candidate to point out the irony of the university allowing the controversial Iranian leader on its grounds but preventing ROTC from returning to campus." One of McCain's children is a recent Columbia graduate.

Telemundo Reassigns Mayor's Girlfriend: Mirthala Salinas's suspension -- for reporting on L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and particularly his divorce, while concealing her role as his mistress -- is over soon, and she is being reassigned from substitute anchor in Los Angeles to reporter in the Inland Empire. No word yet whether she'll accept the demotion or resign.

New on DVD: The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection

Tuesday, September 25th, is the release date for the eagerly awaited MICKEY ROONEY & JUDY GARLAND COLLECTION.

The set includes four great Mickey-Judy musicals, plus lots of extras. A full list of the titles and extras can be found at my post from last June.

Susan King, the excellent L.A. Times columnist who specializes in classic cinema and DVDs, reviews the set here.

Priorities

So California Attorney General Jerry Brown believes global warming is "the biggest problem facing the state."

Maybe he should share that opinion with the mother of a 23-day-old infant who was recently shot to death by a gang member in Los Angeles.

Brown has paid lip service to working on the problem of street crime, and recently 31 gang members were indicted in a Mexican mafia sting.

However, considering gang violence and the other very real problems facing our state, Brown's flatly stated belief that the state's biggest problem is global warming -- something that many reputable scientists consider a non-existent boogeyman -- is more than a little disturbing.

Global warming doesn't kill people. Gang members do.

New Book: The Evangelical President

Bill Sammon, who has written several very interesting books on President Bush, has a new title on the Bush Presidency coming out this week, THE EVANGELICAL PRESIDENT.

Front Page Magazine has interviewed Sammon.

The book is previewed in articles here and here.

I've read all of Sammon's previous books and found them both informative and interesting. His most important book, in my view, was his first: AT ANY COST: HOW AL GORE TRIED TO STEAL THE ELECTION. It methodically chronicles the 2000 election and its aftermath and is an important historical record, especially given how many people still insist on the Big Lie that it was a 5-4 Supreme Court decision that ended the Florida recounts.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Steyn On Sunday: HillaryCare

The inimitable Mark Steyn: "Last week freedom took another hit. Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled her new health care plan. Unlike her old health care plan, which took longer to read than most cancers take to kill you, this one’s instant and painless – just a spoonful of government sugar to help the medicine go down. From now on, everyone in America will have to have health insurance. Hooray! And, if you don’t, it will be illegal for you to hold a job. Er, hang on, where’s that in the Constitution?"

His conclusion: "Do you remember the so-called 'government surplus' of a few years ago? Bill Clinton gave a speech in which he said, yes, sure, he could return the money to taxpayers but that we 'might not spend it the right way.' The American political class has decided that they know better than you the 'right way' to make health care decisions. Oh, don’t worry, you’re still fully competent to make decisions on what car you drive and what movie you want to rent at Blockbuster. For the moment. But when it comes to the grownup stuff, best to leave that to Nurse Hillary."

Bill Clinton, Obnoxious Boor

Former President Clinton is pulling a "John Kerry" and claiming that multiple foreign leaders are rooting for Hillary to become President.

Clinton told a crowd at a recent fundraiser "Every African leader I talked to, every single one when I was there, without any prodding from me, said, 'For God sakes, I hope Hillary wins. We don't like disliking America here.' I called the outgoing French president, and he said, 'Oh, tell me Hillary's going to win. I'm so tired of disliking America.'"

The New York Daily News couldn't find a foreign leader who would back up the former President's claim.

The sad thing is that the former President doesn't seem to realize how he's running down his own country by enthusiastically trumpeting how much we are supposedly disliked by others. And naturally, the concept of a dignified Presidential retirement has gone out the window with Bill Clinton. The thought of the Clintons and their endless soap opera potentially front and center for the next nine years boggles the mind.

As for those foreign leaders who supposedly dislike our entire nation because of our current President, I'd like to invite them to keep right on disliking us by electing a Republican President.

NYT Admits They Gave MoveOn Preferential Break

The New York Times has attempted to defend the low price they charged MoveOn.org for its "General Betray-Us" ad, insisting they did nothing out of the ordinary.

The Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, now comes clean and admits the paper did indeed give MoveOn preferential treatment, charging the "standby" ad rate while also agreeing to run the ad on the date MoveOn desired. Ads which are for definite dates are normally charged at a much higher rate.

He says the paper also violated the paper's policy against ads which are "attacks of a personal nature."

More from The New York Daily News, Power Line, and Captain's Quarters.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

USC Statistician Misses 3rd Game in 52 Years

The L.A. Daily News has an interesting profile of Ned Miller, who's been recording USC football stats for over half a century.

The last time Miller missed a home football game was four decades ago. He took today off in observance of Yom Kippur.

The Trojans looked really good in tonight's victory over Washington State.

We had rare September rain during the game -- check out the photo of the black sky with a rainbow posted at the Irish Trojan in Tennessee.

HillaryCare: Just Say No

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann on the perils lurking in Hillary's healthcare plan (subject link).

John Fund compares HillaryCare with California's ArnoldCare.

Fred Thompson has released a great video response to HillaryCare.

If we're really lucky and our nation hasn't become more socialist in the last decade -- which is an open question -- Hillary's health plan will create the same outrage it stirred up in the '90s and help torpedo her Presidential ambitions. Calling her plan "American Health Choices" doesn't make it so.

"What About Larry?"

David Bernstein of George Mason University Law School, on the UC Regents rescinding the speaking invitation of former Harvard President Larry Summers: "Apparently his sins against feminist orthodoxy were so grave that he's still not welcome to give so much as a dinner speech to the UC Board of Regents more than two years later."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tonight's Movie: The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940)

June Cameron (Loretta Young) is the "bachelor girl" author of a bestseller titled SPINSTERS AREN'T SPINACH. Timothy Sterling (Ray Milland) is a doctor whose attitude toward women might charitably be called patronizing. In THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE, a series of misunderstandings leads to this odd couple being mistaken for newlyweds, a charade Tim and June soon find they must keep alive indefinitely. This being a screwball comedy, you can guess how the story ends...

THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE is buoyed by a witty script with lots of great one-liners, delivered with panache by the leads and a terrific supporting cast: Edmund Gwenn, Gail Patrick, and Reginald Gardiner. Patrick, who usually plays icy sophisticates, is cast against type in this film as Milland's simpering, baby-talking fiancee. Milland scampering in and out of apartment windows, trying to deal with his "wife" and company in one apartment and his fiancee next door, is a classic screwball moment.

More familiar faces are scattered throughout the movie, including the late, great Charles Lane as a reporter -- this was one of 23 movies Lane was in which were released in 1940. Edgar Buchanan, Olin Howland, Irving Bacon, Mary Gordon, and Walter Sande are some of the other character actors who appear in unbilled parts.

THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE was directed by Alexander Hall, who the following year directed Young in the very amusing BEDTIME STORY, reviewed here last January. Hall's other movies include comedy classics HERE COMES MR. JORDAN and MY SISTER EILEEN.

The movie runs 89 minutes and was shot in black and white.

THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE can be seen on cable on TCM. It has been released on video. It is not on DVD; vote here to indicate interest in a DVD release. Surely there should be a Loretta Young DVD collection one day!

Loretta Young fans might enjoy visiting the official tribute site authorized by Loretta's family.

THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE is just what the doctor ordered for a relaxing Friday evening after a long, busy week. :) Recommended.

August 2009 Update: THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE is now available on DVD as part of the Icons of Screwball Comedy, Volume 2.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Random links from around the Internet for your reading pleasure...

At the subject link, Mark Davis writes about Hillarycare in "A Bad Idea Then, a Bad Idea Now." I love how Hillary is trying to camouflage her socialized healthcare plan by calling it the "American Health Choices Plan." Talk about deceptive!

Why Not Ted Olson: Robert Novak on how Ted Olson was passed over for Attorney General, in favor of Michael Mukasey. I'm unimpressed by the decision to choose Mukasey over Olson, to say the least...

Stelter Back to Blogging: Brian Stelter, who created TV Newser while a college student, followed his graduation with starting a new job at the New York Times this summer. He'll soon return to blogging as the paper's TV Decoder.

Brown Mulls Run for Governor in 2010: The subheadine about California's Jerry Brown says it all..."Attorney general says state's biggest problem is global warming." Yep, Moonbeam Brown is at it again. (Thanks to Dana for the tip on this in the comments the other day.)

Full Fat Milk Makes You Thinner: Once again, conventional medical and health wisdom is turned upside down. (Hat tip: Sallie's Stack.)

Earnhardt Finally Unveils New Number and Sponsor: Dale Jr.'s new gear may strike many fans, who are used to his bright red, as bland. Still, it's neat that his new car number, 88, was once driven by his grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt.

This Just In: Back to You is Solid: I recorded this and am looking forward to checking it out this weekend.

Tonight's Movie: Party Girl (1958)

Tommy Farrell (Robert Taylor) grew up poor but has achieved financial success as the lawyer for a Chicago mob boss (Lee J. Cobb). Farrell's life, however, is empty; he suffers pain from a crippling childhood injury, and his wife married him for his money and then walked out.

Then Tommy meets and falls in love with Vicki, the PARTY GIRL (Cyd Charisse) for whom the film is named, and he gradually turns his life around for the better. But while European doctors may be able to help him walk once more without a cane, walking away from the mob proves to be much more difficult.

Despite the film's title, the movie is chiefly a character study of Tommy Farrell, with Vicki acting as the catalyst for the changes he makes in his life. Taylor is outstanding as Farrell, winning the audience's sympathy despite his slimy lawyer tactics early in the film. The character's evolution is shown in an interesting, subtle performance, much of it conveyed with looks rather than words. (Watch the expression on Taylor's face change when Charisse is threatened by Cobb.) In fact, director Nicholas Ray does a lot with little or no dialogue in the film, such as the wordless scene when the smitten Taylor waits for Charisse to get off work and she decides to get in his car.

I adore Cyd Charisse, but I found her performance in this a bit wooden at times. Nonetheless, I always enjoy seeing her, and she does have the opportunity to display her amazing dancing talent in two musical numbers thanks to her role as a nightclub dancer. Charisse fans will no doubt quickly realize that it's her real-life husband, Tony Martin, singing the title song.

The supporting cast includes John Ireland as a threatening goon and Kent Smith as a prosecutor looking to crack the mob.

PARTY GIRL runs 99 minutes. It's been released on a pan-and-scan video. The video is not the world's best print; I suspect the color would be quite dazzling if it were to be restored for DVD. Vote here to indicate interest in a DVD release.

This movie can also be seen on cable as part of the library on TCM.

You can read more about PARTY GIRL and see a YouTube clip from the film at Something Old, Nothing New.

May 2009 Update: PARTY GIRL is now available on DVD via the Warner Archive.

A Moving Speech

Check out this article and video at the Wall Street Journal, about a dying professor's last lecture. His energy and enthusiasm for life, in the face of terminal illness, was really something...as was the photo of his childhood room.

His thoughts on Disneyland -- one of the dreams he achieved was helping design a ride for Disney -- gave it added poignancy.

Narrated clips from the lecture are included at the WSJ site (subject link). The entire lecture can be found here. (I'm curious whether or not he delves into religious thoughts at any point in the full lecture...) I suspect the video will be making the rounds on the Internet for years to come.

(Hat tip: DRJ at Patterico.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New on DVD: Brothers and Sisters

TV's Walker Family come to DVD this week with yesterday's release of Season 1 of BROTHERS AND SISTERS, a very enjoyable show which debuted last fall. I came in partway through last season so I'm looking forward to catching up with the series from start to finish via DVD. One of the great pleasures of DVDs is the ability to watch an entire series at one's own pace!

Sally Field won the Emmy last weekend for her portrayal of matriarch Nora Walker, and while her politics and acceptance speech were unfortunate, her performance in the show is excellent. (Speaking of Field's speech, I like past Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton's response. Heaton stars with Kelsey Grammer in the new sitcom BACK TO YOU which launches tonight.) BROTHERS AND SISTERS has a large, extremely deep cast, including Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths (who starred in one of my favorite baseball movies, THE ROOKIE), Patricia Wettig, and Ron Rifkin.

The addition of Rob Lowe to the cast midway through the first season was an inspired choice that gave the show the extra bit of lightness and romance it was missing. The show doesn't work for me on all levels -- quite frankly, I fast-forward through any scenes depicting the homosexual brother's "relationships," as I'm just not interested -- but it's an engrossing, well-written program.

One of the added bonuses is that it's a show which positively depicts Republicans, in Lowe's Senator and Flockhart's pundit-turned-political aide. When Field's Nora rants against the Iraq war -- in which one of the Walker sons is serving -- the other side of that issue is also presented.

My favorite part of the show, though? Nora's kitchen! What fabulous set design...I enjoy trying to spot the titles of her cookbooks. :)

The extras are described at length in a review at DVD Talk. They include a very interesting 29-minute documentary on the creation of the series. Other extras include a featurette on Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig, who work on the series with their adult children -- the men behind the camera and the women in front of it. I was a fan of THIRTYSOMETHING so it's great to have part of that cast working on BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

As a postscript, DVD sets sold at Target this week contain a "Target exclusive" bonus disc with a panel discussion by the cast at a Museum of Broadcasting evening devoted to the show.

Cupcakes!

USA Today has a very enjoyable article on cupcakes in today's edition.

The paper mentions a couple things we've covered here in previous cupcake posts: the Cup-a-Cake container -- we have a couple! they're great -- and the blog Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Meanwhile, in Long Island there is an unfortunate trend advocated by the food police: the banning of cupcakes to celebrate birthdays at school. Honestly, have the food police never heard of "everything in moderation"? It's ridiculous to mar the celebration of a child's special day by insisting on "fruit platters" and lecturing on the evils of sugar.

As Newsday editorializes: "Let Them Eat Cupcakes!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I'm Historical?

The latest creation in American Girl's series of dolls from different eras in American History is Julie...from the ancient era of 1974.

Julie wears a peasant blouse, bell-bottom jeans, a macrame belt, and platform sandals.

Julie's friend is Ivy, a Chinese-American girl.

Julie experiences her parents' divorce (that's a new one for American Girls), the ecology movement, the end of the Vietnam era, and the Bicentennial.

Given that the dolls and books are otherwise very wholesome and family friendly, I'm frankly not wild about the choice to introduce divorce into the American Girl equation. This was perhaps calculated to give those children who have been through the experience a doll to which they can relate, but I'd prefer the dolls to represent the ideal of an intact family, as a positive example to girls, than have them reading and thinking about the sad experiences of a child of divorce. Learning about other aspects of a given doll's historical era, such as the Depression or WWII, seems quite sufficient.

In any event, it's just a bit strange to have one's childhood years suddenly considered "history"!

For Trojan Football Fans

USC's official football site, USC Rips It, is a classy web production. The site includes lots of video clips and video interviews along with news stories.

The site also includes a very nice blog, Trojan Ticker, by Ben Malcolmson. The blog is updated frequently so there is always lots of "new news" to check out, including photos.

Last Saturday after the game KABC's Sports Zone did a very engaging profile of Malcolmson, a former Daily Trojan sports staffer who had a brief and improbable stint as a Trojan football player.

If you're a fan, you'll want to check out both the site and the blog.

In other Trojan news, this week's Sports Illustrated cover is a thing of beauty.

CA Global Warming Lawsuit Tossed

A year ago I posted that California's Attorney General had sued six automakers for causing global warming.

The State wanted to recoup costs from the auto companies for things like repairing flood damage, supposedly caused by global warming.

Yesterday a judge tossed the case out, ruling that it was an impossibility to know what global warming damage, if any, was caused to California by the car manufacturers.

I am repeatedly struck by how much free time state and local officials must have on their hands if they are willing to fritter away their days on frivolous lawsuits or earth-shaking issues such as how many fast food restaurants are located in a given area.

Taxpayers could certainly save a lot of money if we sent these folks home and didn't pay the salaries for the jobs they aren't doing.

L.A. Times Starts Disneyland Blog

Last week the L.A. Times launched a blog which will cover Disneyland and other Southern California theme parks.

It will be written by Brady MacDonald and seems to be part of a larger blog, the Daily Deal Travel Blog.

The easiest way to find MacDonald's posts, if you don't want to read the rest of the travel blog, seems to be to go to his personal page for recent posts. If someone finds a better way to bookmark his blogging, please let us know!

Over the last week MacDonald has posted about Halloween at Southern California amusement parks, the baby panda at San Diego Zoo, a visit to Soak City at Knott's Berry Farm, and lines for Disneyland's Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

This Is Just Creepy

Hillary Clinton on requiring participation in the newest Hillarycare universal health insurance plan: "At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed."

However, she envisions a future when "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview."

Meanwhile, what's with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt telling USA Today that "President Bush wants to achieve universal health care before he leaves office... Bush will urge Congress to join him in seeking coverage for all Americans. 'He'd like to see the larger debate begin. The very best opportunity we have may well be in the next 15 months.'"

My initial impulse was that Leavitt had to be wrong about the President's goal, which will come as news to those who voted for him, but given the President's disappointing open borders attitude and his recent nomination of an attorney general who seems designed to placate the left, who knows?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coming to UCI Law: Erwin Chemerinsky

In a reversal of last week's decision by UCI chancellor Michael Drake, liberal law professor Erwin Chemerinsky will become the first dean of the new law school at UC Irvine.

And I'm sure Erwin and others on the left, who claim to believe so strongly in "academic freedom," will be leading the fight to re-invite Larry Summers to speak to the UC Regents...not.

Update: Patterico has the news that Chemerinsky has just lost a notably stupid case, in which he argued that the Caterpillar company should be liable for the death of a woman who "sat in front of a bulldozer trying to raze the homes of Palestinian terrorists/terrorist sympathizers."

According to David Horowitz, "Chemerinsky's argument is that Caterpillar is liable for the death of Corrie because it should have known that the Israelis would use the bulldozers to violate international law."

Congrats to UCI on hiring a really intelligent, ethical attorney to head their new law school. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Book: The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak

There are so many interesting books coming out this fall! I'm looking forward to this new book on THE DISNEY MOUNTAINS.

THE DISNEY MOUNTAINS focuses specifically on the famous Disney theme park mountains, from the Matterhorn to Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and the newest Disney mountain, Expedition Everest.

The author, Jason Surrell, has previously written very informative books on the history of THE HAUNTED MANSION and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. The books were full of great photos and theme park history, and I'm hoping for more of the same in his latest effort.

The Disney Geeks have some nice photos of the book's artwork posted at their site.

Double Standards

Former Harvard President Larry Summers, who has dared to espouse politically incorrect views on gender differences between men and women, has been disinvited from addressing the UC Regents at a dinner next week.

One UC Davis professor huffed "I was appalled that someone articulating that point of view would be invited by the regents. This is a symbolic invitation and a symbolic measure that I believe sends the wrong message about the University of California and its cultural principles."

So...will the same people who have been crying foul over Erwin Chemerinsky being let go from being the dean of the new UC law school, because of his liberal points of view, also stand up for the right of Larry Summers to address the UC regents?

I'm afraid "academic freedom" only goes one way.

(Hat tip: Captain's Quarters.)

Meanwhile, UCI is bowing to pressure and trying to rehire Chemerinsky.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New Book: The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters

November 1st will see the publication of what promises to be a fascinating book by Charlotte Mosley, THE MITFORDS: LETTERS BETWEEN SIX SISTERS. Mosley is the daughter-in-law of one of the six sisters, Diana.

More from The Daily Telegraph, plus reviews at The Scotsman and London Times.

Deborah Mitford's story alone is quite interesting. She married Andrew Cavendish during World War II. When his older brother William, the Marquess of Hartington, died in the war, Andrew became heir to the Devonshire dukedom and the Chatsworth estate in England. William's widow, incidentally, was none other than Kathleen Kennedy, who would soon die herself in a plane crash.

As I wrote here a couple of years ago, Chatsworth may be the most beautiful place I've ever visited. It stood in for Pemberley in the most recent version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

On the topic of the Mitfords, I particularly liked the book THE MITFORD FAMILY ALBUM, which I purchased at Chatsworth many years ago.

I've also previously enjoyed Mary Lovell's THE SISTERS: THE SAGA OF THE MITFORD FAMILY.

All these books are great reads and an interesting slice of British and American 20th Century history.

Coming Next Week: Hillarycare, the Rerun

Oh, joy...not.

Meanwhile, Steven Stark asks "Does America Want a Clinton Monarchy?" and raises the question which isn't being asked often enough -- exactly what was Hillary's "White House experience," and why should it matter?

Stark writes: "The only experience she has that Obama lacks is that she married a guy who was elected president and, as a result, got to live and work in the White House."

He continues: "The idea that spouses gain qualifications through their partners' jobs is a radically new idea in this country. And no one seems to be debating it -- at least not publicly."

It's a debate we need to have. I suspect, however, that the complacent media will continue to ignore the questions that need to be asked.

More on this subject was posted here last July. As I said then, "If Laura Bush ran for President and cited her White House experience, what would be the reaction of those on the left and in the media?

"We all know the answer."

No Known Link to Terrorism, Hmmm?

The FBI is looking pretty silly now for having immediately said there was "no known link to terrorism" when the two men with an explosives-filled car were arrested in South Carolina last month.

The car was packed with bomb-making equipment and bullets, and even contained a videotape instructing how to make a remote-controlled detonator, "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another battle."

The FBI needs to stop reflexively making their "no terrorism involved" statements when arrests are made. It appears this is done to keep the public calm or perhaps to cover up an ongoing investigation, but the end result is that the public can't trust such statements.

Statements about terrorism links should be made after an investigation, not before.

Good for Rudy

Republican Presidential nominee Rudy Giuliani, upon learning that the New York Times had sold MoveOn.org a full-page ad at a massive discount -- thus financially supporting the "Betray Us" ad impugning the honor of General Petraeus -- demanded that the NYT give him ad space at the same price, for the date of his choice.

The paper tried to insist that the lower rates were for ads that would be run on uncertain dates, as the Times had available space, and Rudy pointed out MoveOn had their ad run exactly when they wanted it to run, and the Times should provide the same to the opposing view.

He got it.

As one pundit said, this move was classic Giuliani.

Rudy has also spoken out about the threatened "Borking" of Ted Olson.

These kinds of moves are why Rudy continues to be a strong candidate for the Republican nomination, despite not being the most conservative candidate in the running.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Borking Ted Olson"...and Erwin Chemerinsky

Harry Reid and Co. threaten to block Ted Olson if he's nominated for Attorney General, and some Republicans need to grow a spine.

I say, bring it on.

This attempted blocking -- or Borking -- of an eminently qualified candidate from an influential government position, strictly based on politics and judicial philosophy, is exactly what Erwin Chemerinsky advocates all the time. Which is why I'm having trouble getting worked up over Chemerinsky being bounced from his new job as head of UCI law school because of his own political beliefs. (The latest can be read at Patterico and the L.A. Times, which reports the law school's planned 2009 opening may now be delayed.)

A number of conservative legal figures have come to Chemerinsky's defense, partially on the grounds that without academic freedom, conservatives will also find themselves unable to hold certain jobs, but aren't conservatives dealing with that already? (Miguel Estrada is one name that comes to mind...and there are too many others.)

A side note that's been on my mind: where was Chemerinsky when there was a legal outrage perpetrated against students at his own university? He was interviewed by KC Johnson in August 2006 and said he hadn't followed the Duke "lacrosse" case closely. Why not? That strikes me as odd. Chemerinsky advocates for terrorists and Valerie Plame, but not students from his own university who are being unfairly treated by the legal system?

Friday Update: Patterico writes this morning on Republicans "preemptively surrendering" on a prospective Olson nomination.

Bail?!

My jaw dropped when I saw that a judge had set bail for Norman Hsu at $5 million.

Hsu has already run out on $2 million in bail, and may have embezzled $40 million.

What's another $5 million to this guy?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Hillary Clinton relies on Sandy "docs in his socks" Berger as a key foreign policy advisor?

The man who stole classified documents from the National Archives, hid them under a construction trailer, and destroyed them?

Of course, it's obvious, from all that is known about the case, that Berger stole the documents in order to benefit the Clintons and thus is probably in their good graces, but you'd think Mrs. Clinton would at least have the sense to know that any relationship with Mr. Berger is off limits.

According to Michael Hirsch of Newsweek: "...Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has relied largely on her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency — former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who tries to keep a low profile after pleading guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor charges of taking classified material without authorization)."

Between the Hsu funny money and Sandy Berger, it's increasingly clear that a Hillary Clinton Administration would be as ethically questionable as the previous Clinton Administration.

Not Coming to UCI Law: Erwin Chemerinsky

A couple weeks ago I was disappointed to learn that far-left liberal law professor Erwin Chemerinsky was the lead candidate to be the first dean of the new law school at the University of California, Irvine.

Chemerinsky, who was a longtime professor at the USC law school, has been teaching at Duke University the last few years.

Now comes word that UCI recently hired Chemerinsky, and then turned around and let him go yesterday because the Chancellor suddenly realized Chemerinsky's overt political views would be a target for criticism. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Chemerinsky confirms to the Wall Street Journal's legal blog that he was unhired. He said, "I’ve been a liberal law professor for 28 years... I expected there would be some concern about me. My hope was that I’d address it by making the law school open to all viewpoints."

Some comments at the WSJ site, which are purportedly from Duke Law students, indicate Chemerinsky may not have been open to all viewpoints in his classes.

While I agree these events make UCI look bad in the sense that they seem to have been clueless about who they were hiring, I think this reversal ultimately was a positive move by UCI, and very unexpected considering the campus is widely considered to be a liberal "sea of blue" in relatively conservative Orange County. Hopefully the university will hire someone who is more interested in training lawyers to follow the law than in attempting to have new law created through judicial decisions.

More from Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.

Update: Professor Bainbridge weighs in, and the L.A. Times now has a story on their website.

More from the Orange County Register.

Late Update: Hugh Hewitt has been ranting that UCI is indulging in government censorship, not hiring Chemerinsky because of what he believes. The irony in that statement is that Chemerinsky regularly advocates that exact kind of government censorship, working to prevent strict constructionist judges, who believe in closely adhering to written laws, from being confirmed to their positions -- because of what they believe.

Hugh also said that he does believe in universities firing liars like Ward Churchill. This Patterico post, quoting Chemerinsky on Justices Roberts and Alito, suggests to me that Chemerinsky and the truth do not always walk hand in hand.

Hsu Story Continues to Escalate

The Wall Street Journal has, to its credit, been digging into the source of Norman Hsu's money. As mentioned at Captain's Quarters, the good news is that it didn't come from China -- at least some of it. Hsu has apparently embezzled $40 million.

However, I continue to be very curious about a possible China connection...if you read the article it appears Hsu must have had funds from another source.

It seems fairly certain at this point that Hsu's "bundled" political donors, who didn't appear to have incomes to support their lavish political donations to Hillary Clinton and others, were laundering the embezzled money into campaign contributions.

The Clinton campaign should thus not be returning the money to those who apparently donated it, but giving the money to the FBI to deal with.

Many, many people involved in this donation scheme are likely to end up in trouble with the law.

One angle I find curious is that yesterday's L.A. Times reported that the Clinton campaign was warned about Hsu last summer but wrote off the concerns about Hsu raised by a California businessman. The businessman directly warned the Clinton campaign, as well as the Democratic Party.

The Clinton campaign finance director, Samantha Wolf, asserted in an email to a California Democratic Party member, "I can tell you with 100 certainty that Norman Hsu is NOT involved in a ponzi scheme. He is COMPLETELY legit."

How was Wolf able to offer this "100 certainty"? Did she simply brush off the concerns and look the other way because of greediness for donations? Or does she or anyone else in the Clinton campaign possibly have unclean hands themselves?

Wolf no longer works for the Clinton campaign. Interesting.

The New York Daily News raises further questions about the Clinton campaign's refusal to act on specific information about Hsu provided by the businessman. The Daily News adds that the campaign refuses to explain Wolf's departure from the campaign.

Michelle Malkin has an interesting post raising questions about how the Clintons could not have known Hsu was a fugitive, given that the Secret Service is supposed to run background checks on those who come in contact with the Clintons.

This story isn't over by a long shot...

Update: More from Ed Morrissey: "Why Didn't Clinton Team Heed Hsu Warnings?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In Remembrance

Monday, September 10, 2007

Romney Fears Thompson?

Last week I wrote about Hugh Hewitt's relentless swipes at a reliably conservative candidate from his own party, Fred Thompson.

Hewitt is a Romney man, and Romney seems to feel threatened by the new Thompson candidacy. Hewitt is out front and center spinning every story for Romney and against Thompson. I like Hugh, but he's lost a lot of credibility in my eyes, and I'm sure not listening to him as much as I used to.

Ed Morrissey (subject link) links to Washington Post and Politico stories indicating that Romney operatives may have set up a snarky anti-Thompson website.

The Romney desperation isn't pretty, and it isn't going to win over conservative voters who are unconvinced of the sincerity of Romney's conversion to conservatism.

(Side note: if only the Washington Post and Politico were as interested in finding out who's behind Norman Hsu's money as they were in finding out who was behind the anti-Thompson website...)

For more on the Thompson campaign, see Tom Bevan's new column at Real Clear Politics.

New on DVD: Grey's Anatomy, Season 3

The third season of GREY'S ANATOMY is coming to DVD on Tuesday, September 11th.

I thought the second half of Season 3 was weak; there were too many characters making too many stupid choices which manipulated -- or annoyed -- the audience. I also was completely uninterested in the "Ava" storyline with Elizabeth Reaser (despite loving her as Susannah in THE FAMILY STONE) and thought the PRIVATE PRACTICE pilot pretty dreadful. How they could take one of my favorite characters, Addison Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh), and put her in something so incredibly tedious is beyond me. The pilot was Not Ready for Prime Time.

All that said, GREY'S still had plenty to recommend it over the last year. And although some critics found it over the top, I really liked Meredith's, er, otherwordly visit. The surprise appearances in that sequence were jaw-droppingly terrific, and the climactic reconciliation between Meredith and her demanding mother (Kate Burton), however brief, was one of the program's most moving moments.

The "Seriously Extended" DVD set includes four "extended" episodes. Other extras include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and featurettes.

Hillary Clinton Returns More Hsu Money

Hillary Clinton, who originally planned to donate just $23,000 directly contributed to her by Norman Hsu to charity, has now changed her mind. She is returning a staggering $850,000 given by donors with connections to jailed fundraiser Norman Hsu.

John Hinderaker at Power Line: "...who is the elusive Mr. Hsu? What relationship, if any, does he have to the effort by the Communist Chinese government to see that Bill Clinton was elected President? Where do Hsu's money and influence come from? How, exactly, did a convicted felon become one of the top fundraisers for the Democratic Party?

"These are questions in which one might think investigative reporters would take an interest. Yet incuriosity seems to be the order of the day."

I continue to believe it's very likely Hsu and his fellow donors have ties to Communist China. The Clintons certainly have a history which makes this plausible. And yet, as Hinderaker points out, no one in the media seems very interested in checking this story out. I hope we'll be pleasantly surprised otherwise in the weeks to come.

Jane Wyman Passes Away

Jane Wyman, the Oscar-winning actress who was the first wife of President Ronald Reagan, has passed away at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. Her age was believed to be somewhere between 90 and 93.

Along with her many films, Wyman was known for playing Angela Channing in the long-running TV series FALCON CREST, which aired on CBS from 1981 to 1990. I doubt I missed an episode, at least during the first few years of its run. Hopefully it will show up on DVD before too long.

PRINCESS O'ROURKE, in which Wyman played an important supporting role, was reviewed here last February. Wyman's other notable films include THE LOST WEEKEND, THE YEARLING, HERE COMES THE GROOM (in which she and Bing Crosby sang the Oscar-winning "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"), ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS, MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, and POLLYANNA. Her Academy Award came for 1948's JOHNNY BELINDA.

In her retirement Wyman and her good friend Loretta Young were very active together in church and charitable work in the Palm Springs area. (Young died in 2000.) Wyman never spoke of President Reagan, other than to issue a statement on his death saying, "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man."

Wyman's survivors include her son, radio commentator Michael Reagan.

For more Wyman tributes, please visit The Shelf and Something Old, Nothing New.

Wednesday Update: This Friday, September 14th, TCM is clearing its previously planned schedule to air a tribute to Jane Wyman. Eight Wyman films will be aired, including JOHNNY BELINDA.

New Movie: The Young Victoria (2008)

An upcoming biographical film about Queen Victoria's early years sounds quite interesting.

Victoria will be portrayed by Emily Blunt, who played Emily in THE DEVIL WORE PRADA. Miranda Richardson plays Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent.

One of the most interesting portrayals of Victoria and Albert was in the opening episodes of the BBC's EDWARD THE KING (aka EDWARD THE SEVENTH), which was shown in the United States in the late '70s. Victoria and Albert were portrayed by Annette Crosbie and Robert Hardy. I snapped this series up when it came out on DVD.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

McDonald's Not Coming to a Place Near You?

(Note: This post was guest blogged by my oldest daughter, aka gategirl, who is a sophomore at USC. USC is in the area affected by the proposed legislation discussed below.)

Los Angeles lawmakers apparently don't have enough to worry about these days. Their latest campaign for social justice is to help the poor, oppressed people who are forced to eat fast food! To do so, officials are talking about placing a ban on the building of new fast-food restaurants, a ban which could last as long as two years.

A councilwoman stated "The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there." Run that by me again. If people don't want fast food, then they won't eat fast food. Businesses do not grow and succeed by selling products that people don't want.

I understand the logic of supply forcing demand, but to insist that the entire population of Los Angeles is eating fast food under duress is a bit mind-boggling.

Also amusing is this excerpt from the article: "In just one-quarter of a mile near USC on Figueroa Street, from Adams Boulevard south, there are about 20 fast-food outlets." Have they considered the fact that there is a huge market of college students right across the street from these eateries? The high concentration of fast food merely reflects the market of customers. There are also roughly 20 fast-food counters at my local mall for the same simple fact: there are customers who want to be served.

Aside from the simple supply-and-demand arguments, one must also consider the potential effects of this proposed "health zoning." This bill will stop investment in South Los Angeles. Fast-food restaurants will not be allowed to bring their business in the area. Other, healthier options may step into the void, this is true. But people may decide to drive an extra few miles to find that elusive McDonald's, perhaps on the other side of the city line.

Restricting businesses from investing is not necessarily the healthiest thing for South Los Angeles.

Steyn on Sunday

Mark Steyn on 9/11: "This year, the anniversary falls, for the first time, on a Tuesday morning...you'll remember 'where you were' when you 'heard the news.' But it's harder to recreate the peculiar mood at the end of the day, when the citizens of the superpower went to bed not knowing what they'd wake up to the following morning."

He really zeroed in on something there. For me, one of the things I recall most vividly about that day is how strange it felt when we finally went to bed very late that night. Before we fell asleep we heard airplanes, and for the first time in my life, it was a disturbing sound...then we realized it must be military planes taking off from a local air base.

Whoever would have thought that the sound of an airplane late at night would be scary?

As always, Steyn's a must read from start to finish.

Tonight's Movie: Rogue Cop (1954)

Robert Taylor is excellent in the title role as ROGUE COP, an engrossing film noir from MGM. Taylor's Chris Kelvaney is a police detective on the take who is caught between a rock and a hard place when his underworld boss (George Raft) puts a hit out on Kelvaney's kid brother Eddie (Steve Forrest). Like his older brother, Eddie is a cop, but he refuses to be bought.

The film grabs the viewer's attention immediately, as the opening credits roll while police are shown at work, without any soundtrack music. Taylor is sometimes known as a rather stoic actor, but he conveys a world of emotions as the weary, guilt-ridden cop who realizes too late he chose the wrong way to get ahead. I've developed quite a liking for Taylor, who was also excellent in WESTWARD THE WOMEN and SADDLE THE WIND, both reviewed here earlier this year.

Janet Leigh plays the woman with a past who is loved by Eddie but who in turn finds herself attracted to Chris. ROGUE COP was Janet Leigh's last movie under contract to MGM. In her autobiography she wrote that Robert Taylor was "a beautiful man, always modest and self-effacing."

The deep supporting cast includes Anne Francis playing Raft's alcoholic mistress. Vince Edwards, Olive Carey, Alan Hale, Jr., Russell Johnson, Ray Teal, Roy Barcroft, Richard Deacon, and Carleton Young also appear in the film.

This 92-minute movie was directed by Roy Rowland. John F. Seitz received an Academy Award nomination for his black and white photography.

ROGUE COP is not yet available on DVD or VHS. This relatively overlooked title really deserves to be in the next film noir set from Warners. Vote here to indicate interest in a DVD release.

ROGUE COP can be seen on cable on TCM.

The trailer can be seen here.

Happy Admission Day, California!

157 years ago today, California was admitted to the United States of America.

New Book: For Love of Politics

Sally Bedell Smith is a superb biographer, so I was very interested to learn this morning on FOX NEWS SUNDAY that she has a forthcoming book on the Clintons. FOR LOVE OF POLITICS: BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS will be released on October 23.

I've read three of Smith's previous books, which were all excellent: REFLECTED GLORY: THE LIFE OF PAMELA CHURCHILL HARRIMAN, DIANA IN SEARCH OF HERSELF, and GRACE AND POWER: THE PRIVATE WORLD OF THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE.

I'll be watching for reviews on this one. It will be interesting to see what new insights Smith has about this power-hungry couple whose marriage at this juncture appears to be one of political convenience.

Dario Franchitti to NASCAR

This week a formal announcement is expected that this year's Indy 500 winner, Dario Franchitti, will be coming to NASCAR in 2008.

Franchitti will be leaving open-wheel racing to drive the No. 40 car for Ganassi Racing.

Franchitti is married to actress Ashley Judd.

Update: Franchitti won the Indy series title today.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Have You Seen These Reels?

(Note: This post was guest blogged by my oldest daughter, aka gategirl.)

Those who know me know that I'm a bit of a sci-fi junkie. So it's little surprise that I recently became an avid fan of the British sci-fi show, DOCTOR WHO. DOCTOR WHO, which is extremely popular in Britain, is about a man called simply the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his blue-box-of-a-spaceship with a couple of companions. This show originally aired in the '60s.

Due to complex science-fiction laws, multiple actors could play the Doctor without any of the audience so much as blinking, giving the show a life span of a couple decades. Recently, the show was revived again, and it is now airing in the U.S. on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Being my mother's daughter, I was naturally curious about this early incarnation of my latest addiction. So I poked around online, trying to find DVD sets. Strangely, given the recent craze for putting old television shows on DVD, there were few to be found. After a bit of research, I discovered the horrifying answer to this mystery: many of the original reels of DOCTOR WHO were purposely destroyed by the BBC.

In the 1970s, the BBC, not understanding the need to preserve television shows for posterity or rerun value, especially black and white shows, began to destroy footage from old TV shows in order to clear out space for storing newer shows. The result: hundreds of TV episodes from dozens of shows -- including DOCTOR WHO -- were destroyed, lost forever.

A small glimmer of hope remains. As fate would have it, some episodes of shows have been found in vaults in various countries, due to foreign distribution. Slowly, full copies are being pieced back together, but the damage is still tremendous. At least 108 episodes of DOCTOR WHO alone are still MIA.

And so, the call goes out. One website, Missing-Episodes.com (subject link), has posted lists of TV shows and episodes that are missing, hoping that someone out there will stumble across a dusty old copy of a show that managed to survive these decades. If you, or anyone you know, has any information concerning these episodes, please contact an archival authority immediately!

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