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Friday, October 31, 2003

I read Liberty magazine, so you don't have to!

You may not know it, but every month a magazine appears in the Current Affairs section of the magazine rack at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders bookstore called Liberty. Liberty typically showcases various facets of libertarian and quasi-libertarian thought. Usually there's a cover story that might grab a casual browser's attention, and stuff of varying quality inside, some of which would be of interest to a broad audience and much of which would be of interest to a rather narrow libertarian audience.

Because there's only one other libertarian magazine that I know of regularly on the shelves (that being
Reason), I usually pick Liberty up when I see it. I continue to do so even after they described me personally on their front cover in March 2003 as a "strange new McCarthyite."

Anyway, if you're like everyone I know, you're not reading Liberty. So now -- in an effort to put something on the internet that isn't already there -- I will review the November 2003 issue for you, cover to cover, so you can get a sense of what people in the libertarian world (or at least the Liberty world) are talking about.

The cover: Liberty's cover is plain text on a white and blue background, non-glossy paper. Given that limitation, they usually do a pretty good job of putting something attention-grabbing on the cover. Here, for example, we have "Al Franken is a Big, Boring Hypocrite!" and "Wasn't It a Little Crowded on That Grassy Knoll?" See what I mean? Good ways to pull in readers who have no interest in liberty at all.

Inside cover: Here we have an ad for FreedomFest 2004 at Bally's Paris Resort. Apparently, it's the "intellectual feast" of the year, featuring such notables as Ben Stein, Nathaniel Branden, Dinesh D'Souza, Mark Skou-.. hey, waaay-ta minute! Haven't I been to this already? (This time, though, it's sponsored by the Reagan worshippers at Young America's Foundation.. a much better fit.)

Page 3 contains a fine table of contents. If you wanted to locate an article somewhere in the magazine, I'm sure this would help you do so. This page also contains the masthead, which has approximately one million two hundred and seventy-seven thousand names on it, many of which belong to people who have actually read Liberty.

Pages 4 through 6 contain letters to the editor. These typically express various degrees of outrage over something in a previous issue, sometimes from someone who obviously picked up the magazine with no idea that it was libertarian. My favorite letter this month says: "Please stop trains from making so much noise! People rules. James Watt Heater, Dalheart, Tex."

Pages 7 through 18 contain the Reflections department. This is where some of Liberty's 38 contributing editors give brief thoughts on issues of the day. And by issues of the day, I mean issues of the day a month or two ago when the magazine went to press. It's a lot like a blog, only a couple of months behind, and you pay money for it.

Anyway, Mark Skousen interestingly reflects here upon how Karl Marx's grave is a tourist attraction where people lay flowers and wreaths, whereas Adam Smith's grave is difficult to find, in a cemetery "sprinkled with broken beer bottles, plastic caps from syringes, and the remains of drunks and junkies."

So am I to understand that there are dead junkies just "sprinkled" about this place, not even buried? No wonder no one visits! Seriously, though, the reason no one visits Smith's grave is because capitalists are too busy being productive. "Let the dead bury their own dead" and all that.

On pages 19 through 22, the Cato Institute's Gene Healy (a University of Chicago Law alum, by the way) criticizes "Libertarian Interventionism." This is an outstanding piece on why libertarians should not trust the government to wage war any more than they trust government to do anything else. I also liked these ideas the first time when I read them for free on his weblog.

Pages 23 and 24 contain an article by Ralph Reiland on the abuse of prisoners in the US. I liked the contrast he draws between how sensitive we are to sexual harassment in the private sector, and our insensitivity toward rampant rape and violence in prisons.

On pages 25 and 26, Bo Keely tells of how he went to jail for a day because he accidentally jogged into a National Park. This is good stuff. (Ralph Reiland will be relieved to know that Mr. Keely was not anally raped during his imprisonment.)

On pages 27 and 28, Jo Ann Skousen tells of how her daughter has been charged with a felony for throwing a water balloon at a parked car and splashing a cop in the process. Geez, can't these Skousen people stay out of trouble for 5 minutes? Actually, like Keely's article, this is an amazing story of what nasty bullies local cops can be when they want to.

On the other hand, I don't understand why Mrs. Skousen brings up the fact that "Attorney General John Ashcroft wants prosecutors promply to Justice Department headquarters when a [judge's] sentence is a 'downward departure' from [federal sentencing] guidelines." She suggests this means her poor innocent daughter is more likely to get harsh treatment from the judge. But unless throwing water balloons is now a federal crime (wouldn't surprise me, come to think of it), there's no reason why a state judge would care at all about what John Ashcroft wants.

Pages 29 through 36 contain an article by David Ramsay Steele on the JFK assassination. Its thesis is, "The Lone Nut theory is unpopular, but it has the advantage of being right." This topic doesn't interest me in the slightest, so I didn't read the piece.

On pages 37 through 40, we have a debate on affirmative action between Garin Houvannisian and Sarah McCarthy. Hovannisian makes typical arguments against AA.

Sarah McCarthy (taking a break from her usual Liberty role as a cheerleader for abortion) takes the surprising position that affirmative action is a good thing, now that the court has ordered that it be used to promote diversity rather than remedy past racism. She suggests: "Conservatives and libertarians who view the [Supreme] Court decision [in the recent Michigan affirmative action case] fail to recognize that a diversity standard does not exclude them. A reemphasis on diversity will likely motivate future administrators to recognize that standards require not only a variety of races and genders, but the seeking out of differing political, religious, and economic viewpoints."

This is incredibly naive. The "diversity" movement isn't about diversity per se. It's about pushing an egalitarian, multiculturalist agenda. It's about promotion of every "minority" culture at the expense of Western civilization. It's about wasting scarce resources on nonsense like "women's studies" and "African American studies" and "queer studies." Diversity of ideas is not good, per se, either. Bad ideas and inferior cultures do not deserve equal time.

Forced diversity of races through affirmative action does not create increased understanding: it breeds resentment on the part of more qualified students who are passed over because they were guilty of not being "diverse" enough.

Pages 41 and 42 contain an article by Bart Kosko called "Palestinian Vouchers." Here Kosko suggests that one solution to mid-east violence would be to give Palestinians taxpayer-funded vouchers to get higher education in the United States. Yes, that's right, an article in an ostensibly libertarian magazine proposes, in all apparent seriousness, that we start a new federal welfare program paid for by U.S. taxpayers... to bring Palestinians--as in, actual Palestinians from the Middle East--here.

When I first read this piece, I thought it must be some sort of subtle satire, but upon rereading it, I'm pretty sure Mr. Kosko is serious. He writes: "A pure principle of non-aggression (all initiation of force is wrong) will not support this or any voucher proposal because of the coercive nature of taxes--even taxes that pay for public goods such as national defense. But rule utilitarianism can support targeted vouchers if the expected long-term benefits clerly outweigh the long-term costs."

Oh, so that's why libertarians should get behind this idea: because this form of interventionism and social engineering, unlike all of the others, has "expected" long-term benefits, as detailed by Mr. Kosko in his two-page article. I understand now.

On pages 43 through 45, we learn that libertarian comedian Tim Slagle did not like Al Franken's book as much as I did. In fact, he didn't like it at all! He claims that Franken is unfunny and that he didn't laugh once reading it. If Mr. Slagle is so skeptical of Franken's talent (and so apparently sure of his own, being a career libertarian comedian), I invite him to write the libertarian funny book I want to see that exposes all of the politicians, left and right, as the scheming liars they are. You can read Slagle's review here on his website.

Then, on page 46, there's a review by Stephen Cox of a book on Islamic thought, which I also didn't read, but it looks okay, if you're interested.

On page 47, there's a great review by Bruce Ramsey of American Axis by Max Wallace. Wallace's book unfairly smears the heroic Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh as Nazis. Ramsey does a good job of debunking these claims, and this is worth reading for any admirer of either man.

This is followed, on pages 49 through 51, by a solid review of historian Thomas Fleming's new book on World War I, Illusion of Victory, which sounds good but is still unread by me.

In the final book review (pages 52 and 53), Greg Kaza gives an interesting summary of a book that looks at how Detroit's city government destroyed ethnic neighborhoods.

Page 54 hosts the Terra Incognita department, which showcases strange news bites from around the globe. Like "Reflections," this too seems to have been superseded by what is available for free on the internet, in this case sites like Fark.

The inside back cover has an ad for some books from the Cato Institute.

More excitingly, the back cover is an ad for my former employer, the Institute for Justice, celebrating their court victory that struck down a New Orleans law against bookselling. The people at IJ are phenomenally good at PR and advertising. While I don't think those are usually good methods to educate for liberty, IJ's work is often quite good at spotlighting particular pernicious government policies and the people they affect. (Of course, they're wrong on vouchers, but nobody's perfect.)

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 10:47 PM

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

"Theft is still theft even when the government approves of the thievery."

That quote from California Supreme Court Justice -- and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee -- Janice Brown is one reason for libertarians like me to be strongly supportive of her nomination, which, unsurprisingly, is meeting fierce opposition from the usual groups on the left.

Here's Clint Bolick with more good reasons.

How is it that the Republicans can be so good, at times, with their judicial nominations when they're so bad at almost everything else?

(Link via Crescat Sententia.)

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 3:32 PM

Junk the space program.

Well, despite everything I just wrote about the people at Fox News, sometimes they're right, and sometimes, like Al Franken, they're funny.

Here's Dennis Miller on the space program.

But even when he's basically right, he's still wrong about a lot of things.

Contrary to his suggestion, the space program never "really mattered."

Regardless of the ex post rationalizations politicians and sci-fi geeks may have come up with, based on new technology that grew out of the space program, as a matter of economic law, it is certain that the billions spent on space travel would have been better spent on things consumers actually wanted.

That's why Miller is also wrong when he says that space program money should be spent on other "public works." Public works are a good way to get more useless stuff that doesn't work and we don't want in the first place.

On the other hand, I can undertstand why Miller would want more public works out there--as he shows in his column, they're good material for comedy.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 3:01 PM

Monday, October 27, 2003

The upper class comes into view.

According to Paul Fussell in his amusing and essential study of America's class system,
Class, you cannot really be a member of the upper class unless you come from old money.

The true, upper upper class is "top out of sight" rich. They are so rich that you don't even know where they live, because their vast estates are so secluded from the rest of the world. If anyone can see your house from any public road, you can rest assured that you are almost certainly not at the top of the upper class.

Tonight, however, anyone who has HBO will have a chance to glimpse some of the heretofore "out of sight" world, in a new documentary, Born Rich, made by 21-year-old Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.

Not everyone he interviews is truly upper class though. The unpleasant Luke Weil, for example, is heir to a fortune that was apparently made on video games, and that, of course, is not old money.

The behavior of some of these brats, whose trust funds will see them through no matter what, may throw some doubt on Ayn Rand's suggestion in Atlas Shrugged that an unworthy heir will lose his fortune.

At any rate, if I had HBO, and a TV on which to watch it, I would check this out.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 3:35 PM

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Florida school exercises precious freedom not to associate with homosexual teen.

this story describes, a private Florida high school presented a homosexual student an offer: work to change your condition, leave, or be expelled.

Assuming there was no contract to the contrary, they should, of course, have every right to do just that. It's an essential part of what the right to private property and freedom of association are all about.

But there is, as the article indicates, a twist here, because the school accepts state vouchers.

Will the state force the school to change its policies or give up the money? And if so, will the school cave to the state because of its dependence on the money? And what will the "school choice" advocates have to say about all of this?

I will be interested to see.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 12:04 AM

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Laughing at the liars.

Here's a link to my
review of Al Franken's new book at

The short version: It's funny, and will make you think twice before you believe certain members of the right, even when you agree with them.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 1:30 AM

Friday, October 24, 2003

Imagine that, looking at the "actual text"!

I like this surprisingly straightforward sentence from an
ABC News story about Justice Scalia's recent ISI talk:

"Scalia is a hero of conservatives who favor a strict adherence to the actual text of the Constitution."

And of course, he is right about the "gay sex" decision. I usually have pretty harsh things to say about Republicans in Washington in general, but Justice Scalia, like Justice Thomas, deserves and has my respect.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 2:32 PM

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Could the free market possibly be any cooler?

Seriously, could it?

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 6:20 PM

Saturday, October 18, 2003

If your son or daughter has any little friends that have died tragically...

Jack T. Chick encourages you, in this timely Halloween message, to remind them that they are going to burn in hell! (If they didn't go to Sunday School.)

I remember a Sunday evening program at my church when I was a kid, in which someone made a presentation about using Chick tracts (they've been around forever) to spread the "Good News." The most disturbing part (other than the little kid going to hell) is, it seemed altogether reasonable to me at the time. But that's growing up for you.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 6:42 PM

As usual, black "leaders" have strange priorities.

New York Times column by Bob Herbert makes a good point: the controversial game Ghettopoly may be offensive, but it's not offensive as the reality that inspired it.

I'll go a step further and observe that if the NAACP types spent half as much time addressing the actual problems of the black population--crime, illegitimacy, drug addiction, welfare dependency--instead of protesting perceived racism and federal judicial nominations, they might actually achieve something.

But as I have observed in this weblog already, a desire to see genuine achievements is not what drives those who make a living at being outraged and offended.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 2:06 AM

Friday, October 17, 2003

Obvious: Religion is dead and the state is healthy in Europe.

This New York Times article points out what everyone already knows: people in Europe are not religious. At all. None of them, except for immgrants from the Southern Hemisphere who have imported what you might call "gray market" Christianity back into the continent.

What the article seems to completely miss is that the decline of the Church came right alongside the rise of the socialist welfare state in these countries.

The average European's faith in the state is remarkable, impressive by the standards of any religion. You can show them economic reasons why various interventionist policies are sure to fail, or why the market would be superior to state planning in a given case, and like the most devout fundamentalist attending a class on evolutionary biology, they will refuse to hear any of it. They believe in government because they believe in it, end of story.

Outgrowing superstitious ignorance in the form of the Catholic faith may be a good thing--but not when you replace it with a belief in the almighty State. God may not punish the Europeans for their changed allegiance, but the hard facts of economic reality are already doing so, and will continue to do so.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 1:56 AM

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

U-Haul is evil.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Here is a
page full of horror stories plus instructions on "how to sue U-Haul."

And check out the book Birthright by Ronald Watkins. It reads like a page-turning novel as it tells the true story of how despicable U-Haul President Edward J. "Joe" Shoen took over the company by ousting his father, L.S. Shoen, the great entrepreneur who founded it.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 10:33 PM

Labor economics in one lesson.

Here's Richard Epstein with a short and sweet piece from the Financial Times on why more labor laws are a bad thing for would-be workers and the economy as a whole. The free market is, as usual, the answer.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 8:58 PM

Monday, October 13, 2003

Weekend movie roundup: Kill Bill Volume I, Lost in Translation, and Spellbound.

Kill Bill Volume I

Kill Bill is the rare movie that is probably best seen in a theater full of rowdy African-Americans.

Now, please don't misunderstand. I am not here to perpetuate the stereotype that all black moviegoers are all disruptively noisy. That's just not true.

However, there is, undeniably, a sub-category of African-American moviegoer that reacts to onscreen violence with comments such as, "Da-yum!" and "Man, if I eva' saw som'n like that, I'd say, 'Well, I'll be dipped in [excrement]!'" (Actual comment made by Sleepy Hollow audience member).

Kill Bill provides plenty of opportunities to say something along those lines, and you really can't blame anyone for taking advantage of them. A cinema screen has not been so awash in blood since the Overlook Hotel opened its elevator doors, as Uma Thurman's character slashes her way toward revenge against all those responsible for slaughtering her wedding party and putting her in a coma four years earlier.

The movie's getting a lot of attention as, supposedly, one of the most violent ever to receive an R rating. As noted above, there sure is a lot of blood flying (and arms, and legs, and heads, and...), but it's too over-the-top to be disturbing in the way that other famously violent films, such as A Clockwork Orange, are.

The presence of a lot of blood does not mean that the violence is realistic. I have never seen an actual limb or head severed, and hope that I never will, but I somehow doubt that blood sprays out from the resulting wounds as though from a fire hose, or that human beings even contain as much blood as Miss Thurman's victims seem to. It's all rather reminiscent of the dismemberment scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a room full of vanquished foes is asked by the heroine to pick up its limbs and leave, and most of them do) or the doggie bag scene in Dumb and Dumber.

Quentin Tarantino fans expecting the sharp dialogue of Pulp Fiction may be disappointed. This movie is all about outrageous action, paying homage to spaghetti westerns and various types of exploitation films, pop culture references, and not much more. I have not been to a "grindhouse" theater, and definitely did not visit any during the six months of the 1970's that I existed, but I have no trouble believing that this is a combination of all of the sorts of things I would have seen there if I had, only better.

There is also, as you may have heard, an anime (that's Japanese animation, for my older readers) sequence, and it is longer than you would expect. Oddly enough, the violence seems somehow more painful and realistic in this part, and animation is probably used to make the material more palatable compared to the, er, cartoonishness of the rest of the film.

Uma Thurman certainly elevates this material, and the determined look on her face helps hold our interest during the stretches (some a bit too long) when her samurai sword is not doing the talking. While there is not much of a plot, there is enough of one that, when Volume I comes to its abrupt halt, you realize just how far away the February release date of Volume II is.

Lost in Translation

Sadly, sometimes this happens: You read so much about "the best movie you'll see all year" before you see it that the film in question could never live up to
the hype. That's what happened to me with Lost in Translation, although I doubt that I'd feel much differently if I'd seen it cold. It's not bad, but I can't call it great.

It has a lot to recommend it. There is some very funny material, especially in the beginning as Bill Murray's character films his Japanese whiskey ads. The acting from both Murray and co-star Scarlett Johansson is top-notch, just as all the other reviews you've read indicate. The cursory outsider's look at Japenese culture is amusing and interesting.

I'm just not that crazy about the story. Murray is a middle-aged actor whose 25-year-old marriage isn't going so well and whose career is without direction. Johansson is a young Yale grad whose 2-year-old marriage isn't going so well and whose career is without direction. They wander around Japan moping about this, apart for much of the movie. Then they get together briefly, share a few friendly conversations, and that's just about it.

In the first place, I had trouble caring about these two at all, because all they do is mope about their hotel, and make no effort to make their visit to Japan more interesting for themselves. If your life is so rotten, quit your whining and get out there and do something about it!

I don't need every movie I see to have sympathetic characters. About Schmidt, one of the best movies of last year, certainly didn't. But that film didn't really expect you to care about anyone, and instead taught an important lesson. This movie, on the other hand, depends upon you feeling for these two, and I didn't, for the most part. I did feel a stir of emotion at their parting scene, but I think that was just because it was a well executed scene, not because of anything that had come before.

The other problem was that the film didn't seem to spend much time building the relationship between the two. They went out a couple of times, spent one late night talking, and that was about it. I didn't understand why their attachment was supposed to be so strong after such a brief time together.

I wanted to love this movie. Praise for it has been so strong that I believe I must give it another chance, and I will. You should give it a chance too--it's worth it, at least for the funny stuff (and the talented and pulchritudinous Miss Johansson).


I finally got around to seeing the year-old documentary, Spellbound, about eight kids who go to the national spelling bee in Washington, DC.

The spelling aspect is interesting--they learn words that even most highly educated people will never have any reason to know, and at any rate their skill is somewhat obsolete in the word processing age.

But what is more interesting are the kids' family backgrounds. The movie makes a strong anecdotal case for immigration: three of the kids were born of immigrant parents, two from India, one from Mexico.

The Indian father of one boy was most impressive to me. He came here from India, presumably with little or nothing, and had obviously become very wealthy. He hired tutors to review words in English, Spanish, German, and French with the boy, so he would know them all. He himself systematically reviewed 7000 to 8000 words each day with the boy. And, for good measure, he hired 1000 people to pray for the boy's victory during the Bee, and promised to feed 5000 more back in India if he won.

He had the right attitude, saying, "It is impossible to fail in this country." He added (paraphrasing now): "If you work hard, you can get rich and achieve anything." While it is not quite true that "hard" work is what will make you rich (otherwise, we should all get to work digging ditches and wait for the money to start coming in), it is true that applied effort, and smart work, will make you rich.

Various members of the university audience responded to his comments, however, with hisses. The audience also laughed in mockery of teachers who made comments such as, "I always like to see Indian students in my class because they are all so driven and hard working. I haven't had one yet who wasn't!" No doubt my fellow students were shocked by the casual utterance of this "stereotype." Of course, these teachers were simply reporting on real life experience, and not pretending, like PC academics, that members of various races and cultures don't widely share certain characteristics beyond skin color and facial structure.

Contrast the Indian man's attitude with the attitude of the mother of the black girl from Washington, DC. Rather than reflect upon the value of achievement, and doing everything in her power to help her daughter succeed, we see her instead smoking a cigarette, complaining about the economy, and complaining that the newspapers report on black crime, but don't report enough on her daughter's success.

Those who fret over the ostensible problem of Mexican immigration might be given pause by the case of the Mexican-American girl depicted here. Her parents entered the country illegally, and to this day her father apparently speaks no English. Yet there is his daughter outdoing all of her peers in their native language, and surely poised to make a positive contribution to society.

If all of that doesn't interest you, then you should just watch Spellbound because it's G-rated educational fun, and surprisingly funny. Unlike many movies (such as Kill Bill), it will make you feel better about your fellow Americans, and young people in particular.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 4:10 AM

Friday, October 10, 2003

You be the judge: Is Catherine MacKinnon nuts or just acting silly?

As I sat in the audience waiting to hear Catherine MacKinnon give the University of Chicago Law School's prestigious Dewey Lecture, various people wondered aloud what she might talk about.

The advertised topic was "Women's September 11." The friend seated next to me speculated that she would examine changing attitudes toward women in the macho post-September 11 culture. I suggested that her thesis would instead be along the lines of, "For a woman in our society, every day is September 11."

"That occurred to me," my friend said, "but I don't think so. That would just be too... too..."

"Distasteful?" I offered.

"Yeah, that's it."

"I don't think she's above that," I replied.

Well, guess who was right?

Miss MacKinnon said that September 11 was an "exemplary day of male violence," but of course, every day is a day of male violence, in her own mind.

There is, she said, an undeclared "war against women" in the US. She also analogized violence against women--which she wildly insisted is "practically legal" in the United States--to terrorism.

In the midst of all this, she trotted the same old stuff we've come to expect from her, like the bogus statistic that "by conservative estimates," one in four women in America is a victim of rape (debunked
here), and the notion that the very act of filming pornography, even when consensual, is an act of violence against women (debunked here). She decried the fact that people in an ordinary war between men are allowed to defend themselves, but women who kill their husbands are on death row.

Her legal argument (because this is a law school, and we need to pretend that Miss MacKinnon's "scholarly" work is about something more than feminist propagandizing) was that we should change international law to allow a country to wage war against any other country that harbors men who commit acts of violence against women.

The problem, of course, is that in Miss MacKinnon's world all men are guilty (or at least potentially guilty) of violence against women, so it's not clear who could invade who. She suggested that all-female armies might be part of the solution.

Why a school that is and has been home to so many great rational thinkers perceives a need to give a forum to someone such as Miss MacKinnon, and pretend that her ideas have any serious merit and that she is worthy of respect as a "scholar," I do not know.

But the show must go on for entertainment purposes, and to provide rational folk in the audience an opportunity to rehash the primary issue that they always ponder during any such performance, and that is, who is more out of touch with reality, the speaker or the politically correct crowd that eggs her on?

You be the judge.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 7:03 PM

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Are the movies getting worse all the time?

I see rather frequent complaints that the movies just aren't as good as they used to be.
Here, for example, is director Syndey Pollack saying things have deteriorated since the 1970's, when, allegedly, "Movies didn't have to make as much money."

I do not have the precise figures in front of me, but I think that this must be incorrect, adjusting for inflation, at least in the case of movies that don't involve a lot of special effects. As this same article notes, movies can now be made for next to nothing. Independent productions like El Mariachi and The Blair Witch Project didn't even need to make $100,000 to be successes. The profusion of multiplexes and the rise of video rental have given people more opportunities to see more movies, including low-budget art house films, than they ever had in the 1970's.

Maybe Pollack is just upset that more people didn't go see the last movie he directed, that acclaimed masterpiece, Random Hearts. Apparently all those people Pollack accuses of having "short attention spans" and needing constant explosions and titillation, were too busy watching that summer's biggest hit, that brainless, blow-em-up action film, The Sixth Sense.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 9:58 AM

Sunday, October 05, 2003

From one big government-loving family to another.

Former President George Bush
will present Ted Kennedy with his 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service. Previous recipients include that great "servant" of the public, Communist Mikhail Gorbachev.

How can any Republicans maintain with a straight face the belief that their leaders support limited government, when they demonstrate, both through their actions in office and through symbolic gestures such as this one, such unity with the worst avowed statists?

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 1:56 AM

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Unlucky coincidence for Rush Limbaugh.

There are a great many things on which I disagree with Rush Limbaugh, and even when I agree with him, I'm often annoyed by his weak arguments. But, while I don't follow football at all, I don't have trouble believing that he was right when he made his controversial ESPN comments, and
Slate sportswriter Allen Barra thinks so too (link via

Of course, Slate publisher Microsoft will not force Allen Barra to resign for his comments, and Barra will not draw fire from much of anyone. Why? Because he's not Rush Limbaugh, arch-enemy of the left.

It strikes me as most suspicious that these two controversies about Limbaugh emerged at the exact same time. As Matt Drudge has reported, the National Enquirer sat on its drug abuse story for two years, and just now, entirely coincidentally, decided to run it.

It would appear that Mr. Limbaugh has made too many powerful enemies over the years, and now they may be seizing an opportunity to take him down.

As someone who first started thinking about ideas and issues at age 12 because of his show (though I have long since outgrown it), I hope he fights through this and comes out ahead for his trouble.

UPDATE: John Leo has some good thoughts on this, and on Arnold, too.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 6:45 PM

Thursday, October 02, 2003

The El stops here.

If you ever use, or think you might want to use, Chicago's El (elevated train/subway system), then you might want to save this guide to every stop, from the Chicago Maroon:

The Red Line
The Blue Line
The Green Line
The Purple/Yellow Line
The Brown Line
The Orange Line
The Loop

Some of my fellow University of Chicago law students tell me that they have never taken the El anywhere. I take it all the time. As you can see, it does go just about everywhere, and I like it because I can get things done (like reading) which I could not do if I were behind the wheel of a car.

- posted by J. H. Huebert at 12:11 PM

Copyright 2004 J. H. Huebert.