- The Chuck Hagel confirmation was a while back but I never saw this post on the 538 site until a few days ago. Generally, Defense Secretaries get 90 or more votes in their confirmation; Hagel got 58. Put it this way: the most amount of “Nay” votes for a confirmed Defense Secretary (John Tower didn't make the cut) was for Casper Weinberger back in 1981. Just two. Hagel got 41. All Republicans. It's a partisan vote but the naysayers are from Hagel's own party.
- My friend Ben had his head operated on in late January to relieve a facial convulsion. There were complications. Now he's blogging about it. Please read.
- Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times assumes the U.S. Supreme Court will rule a major provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. “Years from now,” she writes, “when the Supreme Court has come to its senses, justices then sitting will look back on the spring of 2013 in bewilderment. On what basis, they will wonder, did five conservative justices, professed believers in judicial restraint, reach out to grab the authority that the framers of the post-Civil War 14th and 15th Amendments had vested in Congress ...” (Emphasis mine.) She also takes to task Justices Scalia (for his sarcasm) and Roberts (for his suspect statistics).
- This is pretty damn funny: The comic strip “Unshelved.”
- One of my favorite actors is joining the cast of one of my favorite shows. So nice when that happens.
- That Chris Stark interview of Mila Kunis that everyone loves? Most love Kunis. The New Yorker applauds Stark.
- I've ragged on Jeff Wells in the past—he has a tendency to prejudge movies, then sticks to his guns to sometimes-absurd lengths—but he's right about “The Searchers.” It's not that great.
- Wells also directed me to this Economist article on the economic state of the movie industry. It's not all “Avengers.” I'm particularly intrigued by the graph showing rentals and sales in home entertainment switching positions since 1998: sales dominated the market back then; now it's rentals. We're not an ownership society anymore. This has its advantages. Less stuff to take to the dump, for one.
- Did you know there's a tumblr site that displays screenshots before the special effects were added? It's called BeforeFX (appropriately) and it's got some cool ones, such as Harvey Dent acting Two-Face but with a full face. Mostly, though, it's got a lot of green: the green screen that leads to green. P.S. Shouldn't they juxtapose the BeforeFX shot with the AfterFX shot? Or is that a different Tumblr site?
- In the interest of full disclosure: that screen crush post from earlier in the week? I realized I left out two recent crushes: Carey Mulligan and Mia Wasikowska. Here they are (third from left, fourth from right) on that annual “hot actresses” Vanity Fair cover, this one from 2010:
Third from left, fourth from right.