Wednesday assorted links


Reportedly, in this one-of-50 US foreign policy wrecks (Thanks Hillary!), US troops/tanks are also involved.

My opinion, Turkey wants to kill Kurds in order to keep down its Kurd separatist movement. This child murder bomber partly is an excuse.

Hillary's War.

No, Hillary's war is the one she voted for -- the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

No, that's Bush's war. This is Hillary's War because Congress refused to take any votes on anything related to foreign policy the past few years. As Secretary of State and War and the head of the Joint Chiefs, this is her war.

LOL...The O.J. would of course have called her a traitor if she didn't vote for it. At least be clever, son.

#5 "How many of these films have you seen? Let us know with the hashtag #FilmsOfTheCentury on Facebook or Twitter."

3 [all cartoons] in theater, one [partly] on TV.

See this for the greatest movie director of all time: (I vote for the surprise guest at the end) Steven Spielberg vs Alfred Hitchcock. Epic Rap Battles of History.

#2 - living on $2 a day. You can do this in the Philippines, since an average family depending on one wage earner makes about 5k USD/ 365 = $14 a day, so divide by four to seven people in an average PH family and you get $2 a day. Not live well, but you can scrape by on that in PH. In the USA? Hard to prove that, as the article says.

Is a car required in the Philippines to get a job or interact with government, say to get official papers?

The anti-regulation, anti-paperwork, anti-big government Republicans are really really big on everyone having official papers with photo ID to merely walk down the road, not to mention vote. But getting those official papers requires a car in most cases. Lacking a car, lacking papers, one is at a disadvantage in getting jobs, going to good schools, getting health care, often getting good food, housing,...

In the 60s, most of the people in poverty, except in the South, could get jobs, vote, get decent food and passable housing because they had moved to town or cities. Rural towns had attracted businesses that processed raw materials into goods and shipped down the rail line, or that were depots for the farmers, or both. Rather than bring the young to the factory as had been the case in the Northeast, the factories were spread around to employ the farmers and kids in winter and summer when farm work was light.

In cities, walking from across the tracks to the factories or to work as servants was possible, but buses depending on more than the poor, but kids, and wives shopping, and workers used the buses enough, to keep them running to most parts of town, all that the poor could go to.

Cars were not needed to live. Nor taxis. A bike made life easy.

But in the 70s and 80s, employers moved out of the cities to places that required cars. No sidewalks were built because people without cars were illegal. And most of the people with cars to get to those jobs moved to housing that required cars, no sidewalks were built to the subdivision. Buses became owned by schools just to carry kids, removing that customer base from public buses.

I note that Heritage focuses on the cheap electronics and A/C to attempt to prove the poor are well off and not in poverty.

Not on data on whether they have a car that is reliable and never breaks down.

From a 2014 survey: "About 24 percent of households in poverty do not own a
vehicle while over 98 percent of $100,000+ households own at least one vehicle."

I have a big screen TV I hauled in my wagon from a neighbor who was moving about five years ago. It's one of the 80 lb monster tube TVs. $20 plus the $40 DTV coupon plus a $50 tv antenna bought 25 years ago and I'm watching HDTV.

But I don't have a working car and get around by bike and recumbant trike, hauling stuff with a bike trailer. Limited bus service is available two miles away where I shop. No Uber. Taxi service is confused. Other than retail jobs, not much is available. Kids go to school on school buses owned by the public school, so how would school choice work.

Most people who were like me could and did live where a car was not needed every day, and then mostly for convenience and special things half a century ago. Now most people live like me with a car needed to work, have a family, etc. I gave up owning a car intentionally and find that not having a car severely limits how you live. Living without a car for a decade has not gotten easier. I haven't innovated my way to match car mobility on $1000-2000 per year.

I haven't spent probably $40,000 on a car and it's operation in the past decade. I don't think reliable car transport is possible for less.

So just car transport is over $10 per day. For a household of 4, that's $2.50 a day per person to get around in the US. And in NYC, etc, $2.50 is probably ballpark public transit fare per day.

So, what is transport cost in Philippines? Is walking or biking sufficient? A ricebanger
high end transport?

I disagree with everything you said and on every level. There is no amount of free stuff that will ever make you happy.
The government should not take from Peter to pay Paul. It imporverishes Peter and destroys Paul. It is wrong and arguably unconstitutional to take the money of productive citizens to pay unproductive citizens to remain unproductive. Succeed or fail but do it on your own. And if you fail and decide to take the shortcut of breaking the law to make up for your failures then you go to jail. Anything else simply encourages sloth and lawlessness.

As the saying says, there are lots of free things that will make you happy. Sun, nature, good relations with people, etc.


The celestial orb burnt me; creatures with multiple sets of legs bit me; and people are -- in the words of English columnist Rod Liddle -- Selfish Whining Monkeys. What's left?

Getting a ride to the DMV once every 10 years is so hard. Getting a ride to vote every four years is so easy. If Democrats really cared about minorities more than simply getting their votes, they would offer their tax free, federally funded buses through ACORN and other fake organizations to get minority driver's licenses instead of minority votes. Hell, the Hillary Clinton Foundation could divert some of its money from Chelsea Clinton's outrageous salary to providing some benefits for minorities, other than the benefit of having Hillary Clinton as a president which is the current product the Clinton Foundation is buying from world leaders.

You are arguing something entirely different from the article. No one is saying that poverty doesn't exist, or that owning electronics implies someone is rich enough to own a car. The article is talking about 2$ a day. You clearly don't take issue with that, noting the availability of retail jobs that presumably pay way more.

The juxtaposition of films in the list is startling. Inglourious Basterds next to Under the Skin. Brokeback Mountain and Inside Out.

Ugh, don't seriously link to Heritage Foundation "research". The $2 a day book is crystal clear that it's talking about cash income, which yes, is different from total income. Heritage spins this as some sort of elaborate deception, but there are some genuine challenges that having little-to-no cash entails, which the book talks about (i.e. secondary markets in food stamps, etc.).

If food stamp access to food is a problem, it is only a problem in areas with high utilization of food stamps. In Suburban America, in America that isn't fully low income, there are grocery stores available with a wide variety of food. So the solution is to either break up these areas of overwhelming Democrat political control, a non-starter, hand out cash to low-income folks, a non-starter, or regulate grocers in high food stamp utilization areas, a great way to produce Soviet era grocery store quality.

Hasn't the idea of food deserts been proven to be a myth?

A food desert is any place inside of an urban area that does not have a full grocery store within 1 mile. A food insecure family is any family that is unsure about any meal on any day during an entire year. You are food insecure if you spent all of your food stamps early in the month and are unsure if there is money in your checking account after buying your drugs to get your kids food. All of this according to your own reporting which you understand to have some effect on the future of food stamps, of course.

Well that's not the definition, silly. But don't worry, I'm sure everyone on food stamps is a black welfare queen drug addict who steals from hard-working suburban people and drives a tax-payer funded Suburban (see what I did there) in the Black on Black Barack Obama model.

"Hi Ms. 2.5 Gpa tier 4 social work degree, I'm Ms. Third Grade English. Once upon a times I forgots where my fud stams waz. Shuud i clik yez?"


At the end of my grocery shopping cycle I have reduced variety of groceries! I'm not black! I'm not a single mother! Should I still clik yez? I need a cure for social work degree from a no-name university probably an online University please get back to me Jan.


"Report of reduced desirability of diet without reduction in food intake" seems pretty consistent with the above?

Why is replacing food stamps with simple cash payments a problem? It would save money as the system has an administrative overhead like any shopping vouchers.

Food stamps seem to be designed specifically to stigmatise and humiliate the benefit claimant by treating them as if they were generally incapable of spending their money responsibly.

The UK, like pretty much every advanced economy, makes benefit payments in cash, well normally it is by a direct transfer to the claimant's bank account. The claimant is then entirely free to spend it in any manner they choose, it's their money.

I misunderstood this, but what is the problem really? People are selling their food stamps for cash presumably for something like drugs. If we give them the cash and they start starving then we'll be giving them the cash on the food stamps. At some point you have to cut people off. If you give your drug-addicted nephew money every week, you're just enabling him to destroy himself.

Weird argument for an MR reader to make. MR typically endorses cash welfare benefits - more efficient, less paternalistic, etc.

Fwiw, I would guess that many people selling food stamps are doing so not to buy drugs/booze but to buy essentials not covered by food stamps (laundry soap & quarters, other sundries) or occasional splurges (toy for child, entertainment, occasional fast food meal).

It is the standard argument against the universal basic income. Yes, Libertarians prefer the universal basic income. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by their repeated failure to win most or any elections Kama Libertarians are politically naive. The instant some sappy article is posted on BuzzFeed, sweet, or The Huffington Post about some welfare mom who's crackhead boyfriend blew all her UBI on drugs, and whose kids are now hungry because she doesn't want to feel the shame of going to a Food Kitchen comma it will be Ubi plus every paternalistic welfare system that the Liberals believe they must give to the incompetent impoverished.

Talk to text isn't good yet.

Nope comma and it makes terrible arguments period

So you agree with me on merits then? Your initial post certainly did not offer political expediency as a rationale.

Yep, drugs like insulin, hypertensive, epipens,...

Yep, because Medicaid definitely doesn't cover those. People are literally dying in the streets of Mulp's America. Meanwhile Mulp lives on Social Security, Medicare, maybe some Disability.

Every state has Medicaid for childless adults now, right? Right?

Which states do not?

19 of them, including the second and third largest.

I guess I'd have to read the book if I really wanted to know, but a major part of the article's argument is that looking at self-reported benefits is a bad approach. If you look at self-reported expenditures, ~1/4000 families actually lives on $2/day (as opposed to 4%).

The things conservatives ignore is car ownership.

I don't know if conservatives think government gives the poor a car every five years, or that you can put up a great car at goodwill for $20, or it costs $10 and a teenager to get a junk car running and ready to be registered and inspected for $20, or what.

My guess is they intentionally ignore transportation in all policy advocacy on poverty because that would mean admitting things have gotten much worse over the past half century as a result of conservative policy making specifically excluding the poor from having any access to any future.

School vouchers, Yeah!

Workers should move to the jobs, yeah! No way in hell they will help the poor! Yeah! Yeah!

On the issue of school vouchers, Democrats had a stunning Victory this week when the California Supreme Court decided not even to hear the arguments of minority students that are currently being victimized by Democrat teachers who are incompetent morons that have six figure jobs for life - as long as they keep donating to Hilary Clinton.

Democrat teachers just sit there in their mansions planning the next way to fuck over Minority children and give back to their overlord Hilary (sp.). Nevermind the case was the brainchild of a multi-millionaire in Silicon Valley and corporate attorneys, rather than minority students. There was a two month trial, but I guess it was rigged, right?

I have to tell you time and time again, your weak passive aggression detracts from any point you wish to make

Where do you earn six figures to teach? Anywhere that you can rent 1500 sq feet for less than $3000 a month?

California, you moron. Be like Jan. She knows that her political party exploits minorities, but she believes the stalinism at the end of the rainbow is worth it.

And Chi, where the democrat teachera and police union do the 1-2 school to prison pipeline. Meanwhile the NCAACP takes money from HRC to oppose Charters that are making AAs have 100% better lives. Racist fucking losers: Barkley Rosser, Jan, Nathan W., Mulp, Prio4 Approval. PS neonazi scumbags, there is room in Deutschland for you.

Sorry I don't know the salary of teachers in every state and rental prices within each of them. I feel pretty stupid for asking a question like that.

5. 100 Films That Pretentious People Think Are Good (A Few of Which Are).

I can't see how "Lost in Translation" was ranked as #21. In my objective opinion, it was a 3 out of 4 star movie and one of those stars was because Bill Murray was very good but there was a more interesting movie that could have been made. (It is great for a first time director.)

I lived in Japan in the early 90s but also in 1998 and the entire 00s. So I've seen some pretty big changes in Japan over that twenty year span, and it seemed to me that Copla's depictions of Japan were from the 90s and also how Westerners saw Japanese in the 90s.

Then again, maybe it's just me.

Coppola directed that movie like Medvedev directed Russia. By inside accounts I've heard, her directorial style is, "I don't know, what do you think?"

If Sofia Coppola didn't direct it, who did? Her dad? Some little known assistant director? The cinematographer?

I'm asking because I don't know.

In general, I find directing to be a weird job because you don't hear much about people moving up from right hand man to a director to direct themselves, even though that's a natural path in many other careers. For example, Van Dyck worked for Rubens, to the benefit of both.

For example, in golf course architecture, famous old names dominate, but eventually their guys who are actually doing the designing for them out in the field go off on their own. Subsequently, there is typically some spatting about who really designed such and such a famous golf course (e.g., the Trent Jones family) and then eventually the new guys become famous and everybody assumes they did many of the old courses previously credited to their dads or uncles or bosses. Today, for example, I see that a lot of 1970s golf courses that at the time were credited to George Fazio are now credited to his nephew Tom Fazio, who went on to be a superstar designer.

In 2001, I played one of the best new courses in California in this century with the underling who had actually designed it. The scorecard featured the names of both the boss and the employee who had designed it, so if you were a smart rich guy looking for a golf architect you could read between the lines and figure out whom to hire.

Likewise, in 2011 I read books by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Bush's book was well written, while Clinton's was a disaster of bad prose style. If you read the acknowledgements carefully, you'll notice that Bush implied exactly whom his ghostwriter was and that you should hire him if you need a ghostwriter because he's really good. In contrast, Clinton's acknowledgements emphasized that he'd written his terrible book himself and that his research assistant hadn't been allowed to help him with his prose.

But in movie history, that kind of director-protege relationship never seems to come up. Maybe it doesn't exist. Or maybe you aren't supposed to mention it. I don't know.

For example, it's often mentioned that Paul Thomas Anderson was on standby to direct during the elderly Robert Altman's last film in 2003. When I heard that, it occurred to me that that might explain Altman's comeback in old age during the 1990s ("The Player" and "Short Cuts") -- maybe Altman had hired the young PT Anderson to help him out? What better apprenticeship for a young genius than to work for an old genius? But I've found zero evidence for my surmise. Weirdly, it never seems to have occurred to anybody else.

Similarly, "American Sniper" was awfully good for an 85 year old director who had been in a dry spell since his 70s. Maybe Clint Eastwood got a lot better when he hit his mid-80s? Or maybe he had hired a hellacious young talent to assist him with directing "American Sniper?" But that possibility never seems to come up.

So I don't know.

I just returned from a job on a smallish indie in Kentucky. Even on this level ($1m), there are a ton of moving pieces, and the director's main task is knowing when to say yes and when to say no. Whether the department heads beneath him are competent is the responsibility of the producer(s) who hire them.

Takeaway being, you can put Francis Coppola's daughter in a beret and call her a director, if you like. To her credit, she did write the Oscar-winning script (so far as we know--this is another opaque area of the business). But on the scale of directors with great creative control and directors who stand around and nod a lot, I understand she is the latter.

#5 God, yes. My thoughts; exactly. What a pile of pretentious drivel.

Unless Tyler is being Straussian, this sort of list underlines how far up their own backsides most culture and film critics are. It's almost as if the only "populist" thing they can bear to list is the cartoons.

Lord of the Rings is a no-show, but the entirely forgettable Wall-E makes it? Oh yeah. I forgot. All Pixar movies are gold-dust *cough* *aptosaurus crap* *cough* And why do critics Hayao Miyazaki is so great? Is it because he is delightfully foreign and such useful signalling material? I've seen every one of his animations, and frankly many of them have terrible problems with structure and plot and pacing. The man can't tell stories unless he has a western-educated scriptwriter standing over him. Spirited Away was his last decent one though.

"All Pixar movies are gold-dust "

Up, Toy Story 3 & The Incredibles were not included. All superior to Wall-E btw. Though not top 100 probably.

Wall-E is included because of the "humans will destroy the earth" theme while Up, Toy Story 3 & The Incredibles have conservative/libertarian themes.

Finding Nemo should be not merely on the list but a top 10 movie.

We should have a list for "The Bad Pixar Movies everyone is supposed to like"

1. The Good Dinosaur
3. Toy Story 2

Toy Story 3 was schmalz and poshlost. The Incredibles was incredibly stupid, sucker-bait for people who get excited to think about the super-importance of "soccer moms" and their gluttonous husbands. However, the photo album scene in Up was genius (dare you not to cry), Wall-E and Eve were closer to Romeo and Juliet than Shaw and Ibsen and Eugene O'Neill ever got, and Ratatouille explained, to a really good soundtrack, two things that have never really been explained in cinema before (and rarely in other art forms) - the astounding degree to which a weight-height appropriate young woman who rides a moped and works alongside men at a man's job is always going to be an object of attraction, and the hitherto largely unexplored fact that there are few things funnier than a thousand cute cartoon rats trying to hide in a ceiling from a cute cartoon senior citizen Frenchwoman who kind of likes rats but does not want to admit it. (just kidding with this comment - actually they were all decent movies, people like to communicate and that is what those movies did, even rich people are often funny and interesting when they want to be). (If you want to know what they teach you about rats at vet school, don't ask me, I don't know).

Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were abysmal pieces of crap unless you are 12.

The hobbit movie were dull but you have to seriously have your head up your ass to think the LOTR films were bad.

The hobbit movies were bad because they were too long for their subject matter so the hours had to be filled with over-the-top action.

The same tendency lies in the LoTR movies, but thanks to the lack of space, Jackson has to fill it up with stuff that moves the story forward -- usually with stuff invented by a better mind than his own.

Still, the movies seem busy and confusing to me. Though as a long time reader of the books, I am just guessing that it confuses moviegoers.

I dare anyone to close their eyes and listen to the LOTR dialogue. Laughingly terrible.

Perhaps there were women voters for this list? For them, LOTR is a trainwreck. Which it was.

See? This is why I have to beat you to death with a rubber sword whilst dressed as a Noldor Elf.

Seriously though, I'll make a bet that they will still be watched in 2030 when most films on this list will be utterly forgotten.

I wasn't terribly impressed with The Hobbit movies, but the Lord of the Rings series was excellent. And saying they were 'crap unless you are 12' is a ridiculous and out of touch statement . They were popular among adults. Indeed, even critics gave them excellent reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91/96/95

Loved the LOTR books, and very much enjoyed the movies, but never even bothered to see The Hobbit. 3 movies from that one story? What a money grab. The movies are probably verrrryyyy slooooowwwwww.

They are not worth watching. You walk away not caring a bit about the fates' of the characters in the films.

To be fair, it is a difficult book to make into a movie. I would prefer to see the Silmarillion made into movie (by someone other than PJ)

I don't see how one could make the Silmarillion into a movie, way too much going on. I guess you could just focus on the Silmarils themselves. But let's be honest, the potential audience for that towering nerd-fest (I'm a fan actually) is way too low to justify the budget required.

I'm a Tolkein fanboi, and yes, the Hobbit movies were a cashgrab. The first was ok, the second was... forgettable, and I would not have watched the third save that my wife dragged me to it. It was painful.

I don't particularly care for the Lord of the Rings, but clearly the LOTR movie trilogy has been the great accomplishment of 21st Century film so far. That seems pretty obvious.

Peter Jackson's subsequent movies have given him plenty of opportunities to make clear his weaknesses, but that shouldn't distract from his accomplishment in LOTR.

LOTR was popular among _men_. Not "adults".

Finding Nemo makes list and no BIRDMAN ??

My vote for the worst movie on the list is Inception.

My vote goes to The White Ribbon. I liked it better the first time (Young Torless).

Iñárritu not being on the list at all is eye-opening. Revenant and Amores Perros would be my picks. Meanwhile the critics fill the list with turds from Spike Lee, Lars Von Trier, and others they know they're supposed to like.

The whole point of these lists is to draw interest and clicks and readers who want to complain about the list

In that case, success!

They never fail.

Yes, I'm a bit of an idiot for participating.

Iñárritu is good, but he gets plenty of Oscar appreciation already. "Babel," for example, got 7 Oscar nominations.

All else being equal, movies that get a lot of Academy Award appreciation do poorly on this critics' retrospective list.

What's the motivation for a critic living in a studio apartment in a lousy part of Brooklyn to laud a movie that has already been lauded by Academy voters living in Pacific Palisades?

4. Of course, the chances of peace in the middle east would be greatly enhanced if non-sectarian institutions were strengthened. The problem, not disclosed in the linked article (or the first installment of it), is disproportionality: Sunni Muslims constitute more than 85% of Muslims worldwide, Shiite Muslims less than 15%. To expect the overwhelming majority of Muslims (i.e., Sunni Muslims) to accept inferior or even equal status with Shiite Muslims is preposterous. And that applies anywhere, including in Iraq and Iran where the Shiites are in the majority; indeed, Iran as much as Israel is surrounded by enemies. In Syria, Sunni Muslims are in the majority (indeed, it's an almost perfect reflection of Muslims worldwide, 85% Sunni and 15% Shiite (Alawite)), and the first installment of the linked article argued that if sectarian division were at the heart of the civil war in Syria, why didn't the Sunni Muslims in Assad's army defect and take up arms against the Shiite (Alawite) government of Assad. My comment to the first installment was that the Sunnis in Assad's army are conscripts and not volunteers. Moreover, the civil war together with the western embargo rapidly destroyed Syrian's economy, making the conscripts and their families dependent on military pay for survival. If that wasn't enough to discourage defection among the Sunni conscripts, next came allegations, supported by the western media, that Assad's army (i.e., Sunnis) committed atrocities against civilians, assuring that, once the Assad regime is defeated, the Sunnis in Assad's army would face certain death along with the Shiites (Alawites). I appreciate that the linked article is attempting a better narrative for the conflict in Syria and Iraq. But it's only a narrative, and mostly fiction.

See item 3. ISIS, which is an extremist Sunni Muslim organization, is a greater threat to Turkey (a majority Sunni country) than Assad because of the increasing radicalization of Sunni Muslims (promoted by our friends in Saudi Arabia); indeed, the Kurds have posed a greater threat than the Shiites (Alawites) in Syria. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Why anyone in the US sees Saudi Arabia as an ally or friend or even a bad dictator that it's pragmatic to do business with is beyond me.

From 2009 to 2014, it was clear that under an anti business, anti fossil fuel, bad president, the US does not need Saudi Arabia, and neither does Europe need them or Russia, because setting the price of oil to $100 a barrel will bring forth plenty of energy from just the US soils and the EU soils.

I am happy the export ban has been eliminated, but I want a $100 war tax on every barrel of imported oil. Phase that tax in over 5 years, and it will generate very little tax revenue, but a few million American jobs within two years.

If the EU fails to follow through, they will get $10 oil to compensate for the refugees and wars that follow. If they impose the tax, they will fund defense until they have fracked to independence, and by then the Persian Gulf and Africa will be focused on building economies without oil, or they will be killing themselves with cheaper and cheap weapons. Or China will have invaded and sent everyone to re-education camps to be purged of religion and ideas about family ties and land ownership.

Well what do you know. Multiculturalism doesn't work anywhere.

Plenty of monocultural places for you to move to. Win win.

Multiculturalism works in the US because there's still a substantial Anglo-European majority around to enforce it.

Where will you go when it doesn't?

Also, doesn't the US count as 'anywhere'?

#5 ... No Slumdog Millionaire?

Someone tell them they left out a film starring _coloured_ people. The critics will be mortified.

Wait...that one kinda suggests money might make you happy? Sorry. Not the kind of message we want to send to the plebs here!

Private prisons are a symptom of the problem which is created fully in the public sector: voters want to imprison many criminals and for a long time, politicians pander to these voters, legislatures enact impractical sentencing guideline and sometimes immoral laws, executives enforce these laws despite prosecutorial discretion, judges hand down sentences, the public unions of police and prison guards lobby against reform, and public prison agencies fight accountability for cultures of civil rights violations. all of this happens in the public sector and all of it happens with the Democrats stamp of approval. The only thing Democrats dislike about private prisons is that they make a profit doing what the government would otherwise do at the same or higher cost.

#5: Ip Man 1, 2, and 3 are missing.

4. Author's point about the government not being sectarian, or not being that sectarian, is BS. Author points out the SAA is majority Sunni, of course it's majority Sunni, the majority of the country is Sunni and people are forced to join. And the various token Sunnis in the government, that's the common pattern when you have a smaller group ruling over a larger one. In European colonialism, apartheid-type policies were rare. Usually, local elites were trained and co-opted by the Europeans, yet the colonies were, until the very end, dominated by Europeans and ran with a European mentality, with much discrimination against the majority of natives who were non-favored. Many of the Sunni collaborators cited in the article are married to Alawites or other Syrian minority groups, further alienating them from their own ethnic group. Intermarriage of the local elite with a smaller, conquering group is a common pattern throughout history.

This is not to say that all Syrian Sunnis support ISIS or the so-called "moderate rebels." The moderate rebel factions have not been able to get many of the local Sunni Arab men to join up and remain heavily dependent on foreign fighters. And the author is correct to note a movement of people from rebel to government held areas, though this does not indicate support for the government any more than the movement of whites out of California indicates that they disagree with the liberal policies that ultimately drove them out. Never underestimate people's ability to make a mess out of their own homes and then go to yours and tell you you're doing everything wrong. The author repeatedly emphasizes how "well supported" with foreign money and weapons the fighters are. Although they have received support, it cannot counteract the fact that the Syrian government has a real army and a real state budget behind it. Any serious analyst of the Syrian Civil War will tell you that the SAA has the advantage in military equipment and soldiers. The local Sunni militia groups won because they received the support of the people. The majority of Sunni Arabs may be apathetic as to who wins the war, but as with any group, a few dedicated members can steer the apathetic majority in their preferred direction.

What America ought to be doing is nothing. These Middle Easterners are people who take millennia to forget a grievance but will forget a favor in seconds. When they attack us, we need to hit back, hard, but otherwise let them sort things out by themselves. Trump 2016.

Why can't we use the nuclear weapons?
Trump 2016.

Because the target gave money to the Clinton Foundation, and needs to be able to give more money.

#4 Isnt it ironic? it was not so long ago that US was telling Russia dont bomb Al-Nusra (i.e., Al-Qaeda). They are supposed to be "moderate rebels"... Yeah right.... I think by now, anybody with more than two brain cells, can connect the dots about who is behind ISIS...

#1 And you call yourself an economist? Its obvious that private prisons are a very bad idea. Even if it only affects 10% of the prison population it doesnt mean we shouldnt care.

Its not obvious at all. Your handle seems misleading.

Government employees are not superior to private sector ones, rather the contrary.

It just creates bad incentives. The prison industrial complex is huge, even if it is only a small share of the incarcerated. The prison companies spend millions lobbying for the most punitive criminal justice policies possible. They have no incentive to push for policies that are most effective at reforming felons--just locking the up longer and more cheaply.

Where is your evidence of such lobbying?

Willitts, don't incentives matter here?

The prison guard Union in California actively campaigned to pass their 3 strikes and your out law.

Jan specifically said 'The prison companies spend millions lobbying'. I assume it's meant as a cheap shot against private companies. Since yes, it's clear that both the prison guard and the police Unions have lobbied for punitive criminal justice.

As Volokh pointed out, they do have more accountability- easier to fire a private company than government employees. You can actually hold them to certain standards and let them experiment. I am okay with some number of private prisons existing for this reason.

Normally the private and public sectors deal with very different issues, so I don't really understand why anyone would think we can make generalizeable statements like that.

But anyways, in the matter of prisons, it seems rather more likely that corners will be cut with negative effects on quality (say, maltreatment which increases the probability of recidivism) in the private sector. If I were wrong, I don't think we'd even be having this discussion.

"If I were wrong, I don't think we'd even be having this discussion."

Yeah, you couldn't possibly be wrong.

Some people can see the difference between a statement that says "I think..." and "anyone who thinks otherwise is a retard."

If there are no problems with these prisons, they why is it an issue? Assuming that reported concerns are not complete fabrications, for example that one of the main presidential candidates made this a key issue for him and never got called an idiot about it, maybe ... we wouldn't be talking about it if there were problem.

See the Volokh Conspiracy article. Research doesn't seem to find big differences in quality

5. "Best films of the 21st century? Mostly a good list, though as usual it is does not conform to my personal opinion at the very top"

There. Fixed that for ya.

5. 'Boyhood' seems out of place. I'd have preferred 'Bernie' for 21st century Linklater.

5. Wow, the past 15 years have sucked for film.

2002 is when I mostly stopped watching movies at age 32. I saw Martix 2 and regretted going - the draw was the super cutie who wanted me to watch it with her. She said in Japanese "You were squirming the whole movie." Yep, and at the end vowed not to see Matrix 3. "A Sunspot on a Shiny Mind" or whatever that was called was pretty good, but I think the last time I entered a movie theater.

I still watch movies on occasion - just saw "The Big Short" yesterday and liked it - but overall novels written before 1950 are more interesting.

This tired bit again. Todd, you know that for centuries people have been telling anyone around them who will listen that the stuff they read/watched/listened to/enjoyed when they were younger was so much better than the crap the kids today like. It's trite and pretentious.

I didn't say anything about movies being better in the 20th century than the past 15 years, but I'd take any 15 year period from 1950 to 2000 than the past 15 years. I did say that I usually stick to novels written before 1960 (I'm currently reading a sci fi novel written in 1973) but that is partly because it is easy to find the classics written before then.

I’d take any 15 year period from 1950 to 2000 than the past 15 years


Interesting wager....I agree after say 1960 or so the movies started to get really good, and they have been getting less good on average lately. But it's posturing to declare that nothing is worth your time today. Even if the average is weaker, there's always at least 1-2 movies a year worth seeing.

Which would give you a list of 20-30 movies. Something I could agree with.

I agree there are always at least 1 or 2 movies worth watching. I finally got around to watching The Big Short a couple of days ago and liked it.

I know these kinds of movies don't make 'best of' lists, but some of the all-time best comedy movies have been made this century, including Borat, Step Brothers, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Tropic Thunder, and of course Anchorman, which may be a top 5 funniest movie ever made.

Profit motives to throw people in prison are dumb. If it's not gone full retard yet, it may easily do so later. The shareholders knew they were taking a risk, and the guards who have demonstrated ability to not make things worse among prisoners can easily be rehired in whatever would be phased in to replace these operations.

(I suppose ... maybe the government will buy the prisons? I guess the shareholders will be stuck in a bad negotiating position. I don't think many people are in the market for that kind of building. No doubt, there will be some pork on the way out the door to shut them up.)

Also, the focus on federal prisons understates the problem. Because, as you mentioned, only 19% of prisoners are federal. The rest are at the state level.

Let's do a little math at this idea of 1 in 13 in private prisons isn't a big deal. That's about 200,000 people. At a per diem of $50 per prisoner, we're talking $10 million a day. Or, $3.5 billion a year. Even at a very conservative estimate of 5% margins, that's $175 million in profits a year. OK, we all know more than that much money is on the table. At a 5% real discount rate in the long run, that would be running well into the 20s of billions of dollars.

Which would be all well and good, if it weren't for the fact that this represents a huge stack of resources to help increase their revenue flows, for example by lobbying for longer prison sentences or a higher share of prisoners (the second of which wouldn't be a problem, unless they were dong a crappy job).

I'd like to see a comparison between the BBC list and the same critics' top 10 lists from those years. At this point I think it's most interesting to see what once-praised movies have already been forgotten. Some notable omissions: Traffic, In the Bedroom, Ghost World, Django Unchained, Kill Bill, The Departed, True Grit and anything from Alexander Payne. Some unsurprising omissions: the majority of Best Picture winners. It's genuinely surprising to me that Drive and Adaptation aren't on the list, though.

#5 - Top Ten:


Oops there aren't ten in the top ten.

1. Aside from the knee jerk aversion to private corporations, private prisons roil the blood of democrats for three main reasons. First, because they don't involve public sector unions. Second, because the US Supreme Court has restricted constitutional torts against private prison authorities. Third, cost minimization leads, in their view, to cutting corners in inmate care.

You're assuming too much political savvy on the part of progressives.

Progressives hate private prisons for two reasons: 1) they axiomatically believe incarceration of convicts is an inherently governmental function and 2) they assume privatization and outsourcing to contractors means zero accountability i.e. that private prisons can do whatever the hell they want to inmates--assault, rape, murder--without consequence.

Underlying all of this is a first principles disagreement between liberals and conservatives: progressives believe the purpose of incarceration is rehabilitation; conservatives believe it is retribution.

#5. What BS. The best film of the 20th century was Grease.

Banal choice. It was Grease 2, starring Michelle Pfeiffer

The libertarian case for private prisons is really that fewer things should be illegal. Not that we should outsource misguided policy to the private sector. I want the government to be very bad and inefficient at locking people up.

This debate about private prisons is frankly ridiculous.

#5: 89. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008) was surprisingly good

Comments for this post are closed