Monday, November 12, 2007

My fifty favorite movies...

...of all time:

50 A Taste of Honey B&W 61 __ 1:40 Not the song
49 Carmen Jones col 54 __ 1:45 Dandridge/Horne
48 The Thin Man B&W 34 __ 1:33 Dick Powell & Myrna Loy
47 In Old Chicago B&W 37 __ 1:35 Ameche/Faye
46 Cain Mutiny col 54 33 2:05 Worst casting
45 Hud B&W 63 __ 1:52 Patricia Neal44 Meet me in StLooey col
44 29 1:53 "I don' wanna move to StL"
43 Days of Wine/Roses B&W 62 __ 1:57 Lemon/Remick
42 Devil's Desciple B&W 59 __ 1:25 Kdouglas:
41 Night Tide B&W 61 __ 1:24 Dennis Hopper
40 Snakepit B&W 48 23 1:48 Olivia deHaviland
39 Born Yesterday B&W 50 __ 1:43 Holiday/Crawfor
38 Young Philadelphians B&W 59 05 2:16 Paul w/o blue eyes
37 Heartbreak Kid col 72 41 1:44 Interesting
36 Vertigo col 58 24 2:00 Kim Novak
35 Boys' Town B&W 38 __ 1:38 Tracy/Rooney
34 All The Kings's Men B&W 49 38 1:49 Brod Crawford
33 West Side Story col 61 31 2:35 Marselaise effect
32 High Noon B&W 52 21 1:24 "He's comin' inta town now, jeb"
31 Lolita B&W 62 __ 2:32 VW jump
29 Sargeant York B&W 41 23 2:14 My father took me in 1941
28 Invasn of Bdy Snatch B&W 56 29 1:20 Don't check laundry after this
27 My Darling Clementin B&W 46 __ 1:37 Fonda/Mature at OK Corral
26 Ace In The Hole B&W 51 05 1:51 KDouglas
25 Anatomy of a Murder B&W 59
24 2:40 The UP at its best24 Run Silent Run Deep B&W 58 05 1:33 Manitowoc WI
23 The Tin Star B@W 57 05 1:32 Hanoi Jane's Dad
22 Champion B&W 49 __ 2:39 KDouglas
21 Bad&Beautiful B&W 52 __ 1:58 KDouglas/Gloria Grahame
20 MutineyOnBounty B&W 35 24 2:15 Laughton/Gable
19 Lost Weekend B&W 45 24 1:41 Ray Milland on 3rd Ave/NYC
18 Gone w/ Wind col 39 24 3:39 Don' kno nothin bout birthin babies
17 Witness 4 Prosecut B&W 57 31 1:54 Laughton/Lanchester/Deitrich.TyPower
16 Wages of Fear B&W 53 30 2:36 NitroGlycerin
15 WizardOfOz col 39 33 1:41 Over the Rainbow
14 New Faces of 1952 col 54 06 1:38 Ertha Kitt, Alice Ghostley
13 Yankee Doodle Dandy B&W 42 23 2:06 Cagney
12 The Graduate col 67 34 1:45 "No, this is completely baked..."
11 Medusa Challenger col 77 __ 0:25 Joe Montgna on our Outer Drive Bridge
10 The Hustler B&W 61 32 2:15 "I'm shootin' pool, Fats...."
09 Little Big Man col 70 26 2:30 Saw in Sweden
08 Harold & Maude col 71 26 1:31 Ruth Gordon
07 Trouble w/ Harry col 55 18 1:38 Hitchcock in Vermont
06 One Two Three B&W 61 05 1:55 Jimmy C for 1:53 - no dancing
05 Horse's Mouth col 58 27 1:36 Greatest final scene
04 Shane col 53 34 1:58 "Kin you shoot, Shane?"
03 My Fair Lady col 63 36 2:50 Been better w/ Andrews?
02 TreasureSieraMadre B&W 48 30 2:06 "We don' need no stinking bahdges..."
01 Casablanca B&W 42 25 1:42 Marsellaise

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Social so-called security

Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-large of National Review Online (, also syndicated in, among others, The Los Angeles Times) had a post on Social Security on their TheCorner blog, Tuesday, 10/30 03:16 PM 2007 "The Burden...of Social Security." I send him lots of stuff, he never responds, he didn't disappoint this time.

Here's what I sent:

You: "But it's very hard to imagine a political realignment so profound that it would yield an America without something like a Social Security card and an old-age pension, for at least the poorest old people."

Me: I know you know better, but it would be nice occasionally to read an NR pillar like yourself, rather than coming up w/ a sentence like that, come right out and say that there is nothing in the Constitution remotely justifying an old-age/poor peoples' pension system run by the Federal Government. If we can stretch the preamble's 'promote the general Welfare' and Article I section 8's 'provide for ... the general Welfare' clauses, why even have a Constitution - just elect an all powerful King once and for all and be done with it.

There is a perfectly fine tool to try and put this mess in the Constitution, Article V's amendment process. But do you really think a system like we have now would ever be approved by 2/3 of both federal houses, and 3/4 of all the state legislatures? Somewhere along the way the people would realize that some things are best done federally (military) and some things not (education, welfare.)

Like education, welfare under the Constitution is a local, or state, responsibility. Education would have certainly been a lot better off if left there, and welfare? I know things were tough for the elderly in the old days, but both sides of my family came from the poorest of European 19th century immigrants and needed to work very hard to support themselves and their families, and they all eventually died, but none at unusually young ages (a great-great grandfather was 103,) and none of starvation (the Swedish grandmother probably died from eating too much of what she loved: cheese.)

So what do we have now, w/ our Federal systems? I live in a pretty nice nabe in Chicago, but I can't walk a block to the McDonald's in the AM, nor either of two huge supermarkets two blocks away, without passing a half dozen fit looking pan handlers, and another half dozen struggling geezers (and I fit from that description myself) struggling to afford even a daily senior coffee at Micky D's solely on their federal pension.

You: "Moreover, even Milton Friedman would have conceded that the whole point of the automatic deduction from your paycheck is that it's less intrusive — or at least feels less intrusive."

Me: That 'automatic deduction' is actually a direct tax on the employer (and I understand - I may have read it in NRO - that Friedman, if he didn't know it right off, was reminded of it by Rose every day of his life 'til the day he died.) Oh, they keep telling us that "it's our money", but it is an absolute fact that since it's 1935 inception, not a single wage earner (distinct from the self-employed) has ever paid a penny into the so-called Social Security fund. Absolute? I suppose there were a few million people who felt a slight reduction in their first pay envelope after August 14, 1935, but at one per cent, it was the old cameltoe under the tent flap story. And back then, w/ people losing their jobs all over the place, the ones that had that deduction felt lucky to deserve it.

Now the employer didn't say much about this, because 1) there were so few of them, and 2) they could pass on the tax quietly to their customers (and the same for the self employed.) So the feds were able to suck vast sums near-painlessly from the soft underbelly of a growing economy.

But the pain comes in the fact that since nobody feels the money going to the feds, nobody gives a damn what they do w/ it, either. Apply the same technique to the federal income tax and the problem is multiplied ten-fold.

The only thing that counts is the employer-checking-account to employ-checking-account transaction. If the individual taxpayer was forced to write a check on his account to the feds once a month, how long do you think bridges to nowhere, farm subsidies to millionaires, earmarks, would last? If it ain't "intrusive" nobody's gonna care.

But yet another plus for the feds is that this system builds a guaranteed voting block to keep the whole stinking mess going. And it's a voting block that thinks they are getting something for nothing!

The final crime? All those SocSec 'deductions' coming in are immediately spent, on anything but pensions - they go into the general fund. They're up to their ears in 'bonds', but follow them far enough, you will find the statement: "The Unites States taxpayer, will pay to...."

Amendment XXVIII: "Taxes levied by the Federal government on individual citizens must be paid directly to the government by the citizens." RIP Milton Friedman.

Arn Nelson in Chicago (The Democrat-occupied west bank of Lake Michigan - Illinois 9th CD, repped by Nancy Pelosi's evil twin, Jan Schakowsky.)