Monday, February 28, 2005

Much ado about much ado

The Oscar show was pretty bland, when it came down to it. Not sure it was Rock's fault, as Tom Shales noted, it's probably because most of the movies were not of a genre generally considered "fun." Scorsese really deserves an Oscar, maybe not for The Aviator, but for SOMEthing. That said, I'm always happy when genuine good guys like Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman are recognized. Freeman is a treasure -- he's come a long way from The Electric Company.

My only concern about Rock was not that I thought he would go "dirty," but that when it came down to it, he was kind of cruel to some actors in his opening monologue. Oh yeah, I know it's all jokes, but it could have been a little lighter -- and probably funnier. HOWEVER, I thought in general, he did a great job, came across as the pro he is, and that's great. A lot of his quips were clever, and he's just fun to watch. Maybe it's not his thing, but Drudge is reporting this morning that the ratings for this year's show were the highest since 2000. So, good for Chris.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Taxes aren't funny ...

Or cute, or whimsical or fun. I just heard, for the the hundredth time, a radio ad for TurboTax, in which a perky couple talk about how easy and great the software is, finding deductions they hadn't thought of, and ending with a cute refrerence to the "little tax deductions jumping on the sofa." Gag me.

The fact is, if it weren't for the grotesquely complicated tax code with which our leaders have saddled us, there would be no need for software such as TurboTax. This company has every right to make a product designed to help people deal with a complex problem, but when will it dawn on people that taxes don't NEED to be so complex (not to mention unfair) that individual taxpayers need a computer or an accountant to figure them out? Here's an alternative ad for TurboTax.

HUSBAND: Honey, please keep the kids quiet. I'm working on our taxes.

WIFE: Sorry, Dear. You've been working on that for three weeks. I thought you were all finished.

HUSBAND: Are you kidding? This stuff is incomprehensible. I have to spend at least a half hour researching each deduction, just to make sure we're entitled to it. It takes forever.

WIFE: Why don't you call the IRS for help?

HUSBAND: Because they lie, honey. Either that or they don't know what they're talking about. Remember last year, they told us 80% of our Emily's (name changed to avoid an audit) college education was deductible?

WIFE: Yes.

HUSBAND: Lie. Lie. Lie. That's why we owed another $500 instead of getting a refund. Bastards.

WIFE: Isn't there a better way? I mean, short of leaving the country?

ANNOUNCER: Now there IS a better way. Now there's TurboTax, the tax prep software that will put your taxes in order, as near as we can tell, in no time. Find all the deductions and credits possible, because the IRS is bound to deny a couple of them. Beat those bastards. With TurboTax.

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Only in my dreams, unfortunately.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Enough Rope Alert

In an article about Richard Perle's recent misadventures in My Way News, there's this quote from the head of the DNC:
Dean also said the Bush administration has ignored the mounting threat in Iran and North Korea. 'We picked the low hanging fruit in Iraq and did nothing' about the other, more dangerous regimes," he said.

Dean heads a party that has been serially incorrect about the Iraq War outcomes and other foreign policy issues ever since 9/11. I don't think they can afford any more uninformed analysis. Somebody's going to catch on when it turns out our strategies with Iran and North Korea have been right as well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Protesting Too Much About Social Security Reform

Pete DuPont in OpinionJournal nails it. Read the whole thing, because he points out how hypocritical (and wrong) all the carpers (AARP, Pelosi, Harry Reid) really are then, the money quote:
Ultimately the argument isn't about investment accounts, or stocks or bonds or 'gambling' or 'insecurity.' It is about socialism versus individualism, about Attlee's social justice and Hillary's common good and Chomsky's economic solidarity. AARP CEO William Novelli is in favor of allowing the government to invest Social Security surplus funds in the stock market, but against allowing individuals to do so--exactly the socialist argument, that government should control the distribution of the nation's wealth.
When you increase an individual's wealth, he becomes less dependent on government, and his attitude towards government changes. Socialists can't allow that, for it erodes their fundamental principle that social justice can only be achieved when important segments of the economy are under government control.

You cannot trust people who insist you are not smart enough to manage your own money.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Chris Rock and the Oscars

The hubbub about Chris Rock is painfully silly. The comment he made, "Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f**king," was, I believe part of his last HBO special, and is intended to be a JOKE. You know, a joke? Like I tell a joke and you laugh, because there's a certain absurdity in the logic?

I have been at times a fan of Sean Hannity, but he's going after Rock pretty hard on his radio show as I write this, and he's wrong. He doesn't know the context and he really doesn't get Chris Rock, who is one of the funniest guys around. Sure he's kind of dirty, but he also has some great insights, and dammit, he's funny as hell. Please don't pillory this guy for being who he is.

According to Drudge, some Academy insiders are expressing "concern," about Rock hosting the upcoming Academy Awards Show. Well, they could have expressed the same concern many, many weeks ago because this comment about abortion clinic pickups is not that new. Rock may not have been the best pick for the Oscar hosting job -- he may also be a GREAT choice, who knows? -- but to pretend you didn't know about his humor until now rings pretty hollow, and is unfair to the guy to whom you just offered the job. He wasn't hiding anything, that's for sure.

As for Rock's comment that abortion is "beautiful;" in context, this is a joke about how to pick up willing women, not that abortion is good, or bad for that matter. Is that so hard to understand? For Hannity it apparently is, or else he simply doesn't care to approach this intelligently. Chris Rock does not deserve this kind of treatment.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Andrew on the SOTU Address

Check out his entire real-time take, certainly, but here's one of the best quotes:
That Iraqi woman in the balcony brings a lump to my throat. I've thrown much criticism the way of this president because of missteps in the occupation. But it remains true and undeniable that without him, Saddam's tyranny would still be in place, terror would still have the initiative, and hope would be dim. His obstinacy is better described in this context as alloyed with something more profound: steadfastness. This president deserves the applause. And his insistence on no artificial time-table is exactly right. No surrender.

Andrew is taking a much-deserved hiatus, and I will miss his great commentary and analysis, even when I don't agree with everything. Andrew Sullivan has really proven the blogosphere to be an intellecually stimulating aspect of the web, not just a buncha bad writers. Here's to you future Andrew. Keep writing somewhere.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Finally, a more rational look at Social Security from the left

Bob Kerrey, whom I don't always agree with, wrote today in OpinionJournal. The shrill faction of the Democratic party should catch a clue from this guy. Shouting and lying about the crisis won't help us solve it.

Re: 24

Yes, I'm addicted to 24 this season. Great show. Now I find out Dave Barry is too. Check out his take on last night's episode at Dave Barry's Blog

Hitch on why Iraq is not Vietnam

More from my favorite lefty. Why the American left should stop trying to relive their (dubious) glory days.