Lancelot Links postsThursday March 03, 2016
Linking the Koch Brothers' Chain
Tuesday March 01, 2016
- In Nevada, Koch brothers front group, “Concerned Veterans for America,” purchases big ad-buy for U.S. Rep Joe Heck (R) against former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D), to replace U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Via Las Vegas Sun.
- The New York Times calls the Heck ad-buy the Kochs' “first political ad of 2016.” A Democratic spokeswoman says that the Kochs' support for Heck is unsurprising: “Whether it's supporting the privatization of Social Security, voting to turn Medicare over to private insurance companies, or opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Congressman Heck has spent his half a decade in Washington voting with the Koch brothers and special interests at every turn.”
- A letter in the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post points out that an anti-regulatory Op-Ed in the paper was in fact written by Thomas J. Pyle, “president of the American Energy Alliance, the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research. The group is a nonprofit that is primarily funded by the Koch brothers and their donor network. The organization slams everything solar, while promoting everything oil, gas and coal.”
- One thing—probably the only thing—good about Donald Trump? The Koch brothers don't want him.
- At the same time, they're not going to spend money to try to stop Trump. They only do that with, you know, Pres. Obama, climate change scientists, etc. Funniest line: “The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said.”
- Common-sense question from a Kansas City Star reader on Charles Koch, the head of the Koch empire: “Why does someone who doesn't need health insurance for himself or his family want to deprive it for so many?”
Lancelot Links Loses It at the 2016 Oscars
Thursday February 25, 2016
- It's two days later and do you know where your Oscar host is? And just how did Chris Rock do anyway? To be honest, I wasn't impressed. I liked the Kevin Hart joke. That's about it. The Times, I feel, was a bit kind in its review.
- What didn't work? The Jada joke—particularly bringing Rihanna into it. And the thing with Stacey Dash? Painful. But the worst, certainly the most controversial, was that Asian joke.
- VerySmartBrothas.com was less kind in its review, but what they want you can't get. They want an all-out attack at an event that's supposed to be a celebration. To be honest, I thought Rock attacked Hollywood too much for the #OscarsSoWhite thing. At what other event is the goal to shame the event? And for the zillionth time, I'd like to remind everyone that every time you say someone should have been nominated, you're saying someone else, someone probably in the same room as you, shouldn't have been nominated. Don't pretend you have all the slots in the world to play with.
- How long have I been saying this? Since my very first blog post. I'm obviously having a huge impact here.
- Meanwhile, Alex Ross at The New Yorker takes a look at the Academy using Wagner to force off the stage guys that made movies about the Holocaust, and guys trying to talk about racial tolerance.
- Meanwhile, Jeff Wells gives us 7 possible reasons why Sylvester Stallone lost supporting actor.
- This Oscars was also one of the lowest-rated Oscar telecasts ever. But let's face it, fewer people are going to see Oscar films. Plus we can all see the best bits of the broadcast on YouTube the next day.
- But here's a thought: Louis CK as host. Poor bastard.
- “Every Frame a Painting” (one of Jordy's favorites) takes a look at the reverse shots of the Coen Brothers. Also they're odd blend of comedy and tragedy. I learn new things every day.
- What was Justice Scalia doing in Texas just before he died? Mother Jones says he was with an “exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus.” Whatever gets you through the night.
- James Surowiecki on just how pro-business the Roberts court has been.
- Before the Oscars, we got the Cesars. Nathaniel at Film Experience counted down the winners.
- It's Joe Posnanski on Buck O'Neil again, but that's fine with me. At my funeral, you could read Joe Posnanski on Buck O'Neil and I'd be cool with it.
- The Atlantic wakes up to “Theeb” about a year after my review. Welcome to the party, pals.
- The best skewering of Donald Trump (a.k.a. Donald Drumpf), comes to us courtesy of John Oliver.
Lancelot Links is Not Throwin' Away Its Shot
Thursday February 18, 2016
- From November 2015: PBS' “The News Hour” on Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop musical “Hamilton.” Yes, about the 10-dollar founding father without a father.
- I didn't know this: Miranda went to the same high school as MSNBC's Chris Hayes, who interviewed him almost a year ago, in March 2015.
- A lot of encomiums in the wake of Justice Scalia's wake. But not from the man my friend Adam calls “Toobs”: Jeffrey Toobin.
- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) gives a nice speech about the unprecedented obstructionism by Mitch McConnell on the Scalia vacancy. Shorter version: Mitch McConnell is a big fat idiot, and other observations.
- Pres. Obama actually has a piece on SCOTUSblog on the subject: “A Responsibility I Take Seriously.” laying out what he's looking for in a SCOTUS justice: 1) supremely qualified; 2) someone who interpets the law, doesn't make it; and 3) someone with real world experience, who, in particularly gray areas, won't rely on the law's footnotes but that experience.
- Even the usually staid NY Times Op-Ed has had it with the GOP and reports, “Senate Republican Lose Their Minds On a Supreme Court Seat.”
- Reagan scholar Jacob Weisberg on how the modern GOP is betraying the legacy of Ronald Reagan in the name of Ronald Reagan.
- Nice piece in the Times on how the journalists in “Spotlight” view the experience of seeing themselves on the big screen.
- The Post has an advantage: “Spotlight”'s managing editor, Marty Baron, is now the Post's managing editor. So he wrote his own piece about the experience. Colleagues seem to think Liev Schreiber's Baron was pretty good. “He nailed you,” people said. After two hours. Really, both pieces are in praise of actors as well as journalists.
- Reporter Julia B. Chan of revealnews.com counts down the favorite movies about journalism by journalists. Or at least the few hanging out in her office. My top 3 is their top top 3, just in a different order.
- And from the Dept. of Here's Why We Can't Have Nice Things: an excellent New Yorker profile on the man behind the gossip-site TMZ, Harvey Levin.
Saturday January 30, 2016
- News you only get in Minnesota: The man who inspired the Peanuts character Linus, has died at the age of 90.
- Video you only get in Seattle: A pod of Orcas spotted in Elliott Bay.
- This story about Rod Carew's recovery from a massive heart attack should be a Minnesota one, but I came across it in The New York Times.
- Former EW movie critic Owen Gleiberman has a book out, “Movie Freak: My Life Watching Movies.” Jeff Wells turns to the second-to-last chapter.
- My nephew Jordy, 14, recently posted his top 10 movies of 2015.
- “Zoolander 2” might suck but Ben Stiller's female viagra ad is hilarious.
- Why do preseason predictors keep thinking the Kansas City Royals won't do well? They thought that in 2014 when the Royals won the AL pennant. They thought that last year when the Royals won the World Series. They think it again this year. Royals fan Joey Poz tries to break it down.
- People who know me know I'm obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical “Hamilton.” Brilliant. Historical. Historic. And a documentary about it is going to air on PBS! Yes! When? In ... September. Aw, man.
- But! If you saw the Grammys the other night, you saw the opening number. And if you didn't, here it is. Starts slowly (Burr!) but picks up.
- And it all began, at least publicly, nearly seven years ago at a White House poetry jam session, when Miranda performed that opening number. Back then it was a concept album. But Miranda kept writing like he was running out of time.
- Speaking of: RIP Justice Scalia. What a mess you left behind. But I like this humanizing portrait, “Driving Mr. Scalia,” by Dean Miller in The Spokesman-Review.
- Here's another humanizing portrait: from Stephen Colbert.
- SCOTUSblog cut through the post-Scalia GOP rhetoric nicely, with a history lesson.
- Finally, my president weighs in.
All previous entries
- Movie mashups used to be a thing, then kind of went away, at least for me. But this one's worth it: “50 Shades of Mr. Bean.”
- OK, this one too. It's two of the three guys singing “Please Mr. Kennedy” in “Inside Llewyn Davis” (Oscar Isaacs and Adam Driver) against the backdrop of their “Star Wars” battles.
- Well, what do you know? Another one: Turning “Dumb & Dumber” into an Oscar-worthy drama.
- Stop me if you've heard this one: A man in Renton, Wash., brings a gun to a movie theater for a showing of Michael Bay's “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” in case some nut starts shooting up the place. And he winds up shooting up the place.
- My man Rick Perlstein admits the rise and rise of Donald Trump threw him for a loop, but his thoughts on the phenomenon are clarifying, particularly why former GOP candidates, as demagogic as they might have been, always put on the brakes. And maybe why Trump hasn't.
- Jonathan Chait is also good in his piece: The Trump Party vs. the Republican Party. Particularly this thought: “A Republican presidential candidate might run on Willie Horton and opposing same-sex marriage, but after being elected, he was expected to turn to reducing the top tax rate and deregulating business. Cultural appeal was the means, and economics the ends. What conservatives fear is that Trump might upend that delicate, unstated system by turning the means into the ends.”
- I use the term “auteur whore” for critics who love anything a particular director does; Jeff Wells uses a Wall Street metaphor: when do you purchase or dump director stock? I like it. I have to say, I'm still holding on to my Michael Mann stock, despite “Blackhat”; it was still more interesting, more dense, than most movies. And I go long on the Coens and Jacques Audiard. Anyone else? Vinny? Reed? Bueller?