Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moneyball Trashed

I have not seen the movie "Moneyball," but I want to.  Unfortunately, I rarely see first run movies these days.  But I read the book and liked it a lot.  I thought Michael Lewis was smart and insightful in his theme and analysis.  And I have heard good things about the movie.  Everyone I know who's seen it has given a good review.  So, my expectations for the movie were high, whenever I get around to seeing it....until now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thank You James Fallows

For exposing another example of shoddy journalism.


The familiar lament of a disfunctional Washington without explanation.

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Wellington Dr,Chevy Chase,United States

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

False Equivelancy

Jeffrey Sachs has a new book that I love without reading it, because its title communicates a point I believe fervently.  The book is titled The Price of Civilization and it makes the point that government and the taxes that support it are the price we pay for living in a civilized society and it's a price worth paying.  Fundamentally, it is a repudiation of the "no taxes, ever, ever, ever" of the Republican party.

But Paul Thomasch in his article about the book starts in piece this way:
In "The Price of Civilization" he contends that as Democrats and Republicans bicker over how to reignite the faltering U.S. jobs market, both sides have it wrong and that what is needed is greater investment in education, better health care, more civility and fewer Gulfstream jets.
Helloooooo??  What about that indicts "both sides?"  He says both sides get it wrong and then lays out the Democratic prescription.  What is up with that?  It looks to me like the familiar technique by pundits, writers and other commentators whereby they have to declare "both sides" wrong so they can establish themselves above and apart from these bickering politicians.  But when they do that they effective absolve the true perpetrators of any blame, i.e. the Republicans.

I will grant to Mr. Thomasch the possibility that Sachs book is the offender, not he.  But I wish people like him would simply call it like it is and not try to rise above it all.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Martin Sheen and The Way

I was very tempted to go to see Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez discuss their new movie, The Way.  It's a spiritual film that reflects Sheen's pretty devout Catholicism.  I admire him, even if his acting is occasionally over the top and self righteous.  I think his heart is in the right place.

Here's an account of the event I missed at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.  I didn't go because they were not going to show the movie, but rather show a trailer and discuss the movie.  I didn't think that would be particularly fruitful unless and until I had seen the movie, which I plan to do.  Still, it sounds like it was a good event.

But imagine my surprise to learn this about him:

Sheen also gave the audience a brief history of his own spiritual growth. He explained that he was born Ramón Estévez. When he moved to New York to pursue acting, he found himself faced with racial discrimination and decided that he needed a stage name.

He chose the last name “Sheen” after Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, whom he described as having an “extraordinary presence” in his household when he was young.

“I grew up watching him,” Sheen said. 

“I thought of him as this magnificent actor,” he explained, recalling the archbishop’s sharp sense of humor.

“He had this fire in his eyes that was a reflection of his passion.”

Anybody reading this who is younger than about 50 probably doesn't know who Fulton Sheen was, but he was a phenomenon in the 1950's and 1060's,  a Catholic bishop with a prime TV show that was top in its time slot, even beating out comedian Milton Berle (someone else you probably don't know).  My parents watched him religiously, so to speak.

I'm sure Bishop Sheen would be flattered to have Martin choose his name.  Not sure he'd be as happy has having Charlie also share his name.