Hail Mary, Mother of God.
From my family to yours: Everyone have a Merry Christmas.
New Film Ignites Debate on Ratings PolicyI'm afraid I must agree. I think if kids can handle the gruesome death of Mufasa, they can handle a couple of elderly has-been actors doin' the smoke-a-dope.
By Brooks Barnes, New York Times
Los Angeles — The romantic comedy “It’s Complicated” arrived at the multiplex on Friday complete with an R rating, ranking it in the same category as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Basic Instinct” in the eyes of the Motion Picture Association of America.
But there is no violence in “It’s Complicated,” and the bedroom scenes are decidedly tame by contemporary standards. Instead, the R rating — which experts say could limit the box-office potential of the Universal Pictures film — comes largely from a sequence in which Steve Martin and Meryl Streep smoke marijuana.
The rating has kicked up dust in Hollywood, with movie bloggers starting blistering attacks on the M.P.A.A. for being out of touch. The marijuana lobby is equally miffed. [link]
Keep the Big Tent bigBob McDonnell's landslide victory in the governor's race here in Virginia in November should be a red flag to the few remaining moderates in the party of Pelosi. If they think they can cling to the coattails of radical liberals like James Webb (whose voting record mirrors that of avowed socialist Bernie Sanders nearly down the line) and Mark Warner (ditto) they are in for a rude awakening. Americans are fed up with out-of-control government - brought on by a host of Webb/Warners - and they are in a surly mood.
By William M. Daley, Washington Post
The announcement by Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith that he is switching to the Republican Party is just the latest warning sign that the Democratic Party -- my lifelong political home -- has a critical decision to make: Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.
Rep. Griffith's decision makes him the fifth centrist Democrat to either switch parties or announce plans to retire rather than stand for reelection in 2010. These announcements are a sharp reversal from the progress the Democratic Party made starting in 2006 and continuing in 2008, when it reestablished itself as the nation's majority party for the first time in more than a decade. [link]
ObamaCare's Longshoremen RulesContemptible.
Wall Street Journal editorial
President Obama praised the Senate yesterday for clearing a 60-40 procedural vote on his health plan in the dead of night and "standing up to the special interests who've prevented reform for decades and who are furiously lobbying against it now." They're furiously lobbying all right—not against ObamaCare but for the sundry preferences in the Senate bill.
Start with the special tax carve-outs included in the "manager's amendment" that Harry Reid dropped Saturday morning. White House budget director Peter Orszag has claimed that the bill's 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans is key to reducing health costs. Yet the Senate Majority Leader's new version specifically exempts "individuals whose primary work is longshore work." That would be the longshoremen's union, which has negotiated very costly insurance benefits. The well-connected dock workers join other union interests such as miners, electrical linemen, EMTs, construction workers, some farmers, fishermen, foresters, early retirees and others who are absolved from this tax.
In other words, controlling insurance costs is enormously important, unless your very costly insurance is provided by an important Democratic constituency.
The Reid bill also gives a pass on the excise tax to the 17 states with the highest health costs. This provision applied to only 10 states in a prior version, but other Senators made a fuss. So controlling health costs is enormously important, except in the places where health costs need the most control.
Or take a separate $6.7 billion annual "fee" on insurance companies that is supposed to be divvied up by market share. This beaut doesn't claim to be anything more than a revenue grab, but at the behest of Michigan Senator Carl Levin Democrats chose to apply it to some insurers and not others. Select companies incorporated as nonprofits will be exempt, even though nonprofits typically have net income exceeding for-profit companies because they pay no taxes. [link]