Opinion | Sometimes,  History Goes Backwards – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. I don’t know if you remember the Lloyd Bridges character from the movie “Airplane,” the guy who keeps saying, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking/drinking/amphetamines/sniffing glue.” We were away last week and … stuff happened. Your thoughts on what appears to be the imminent demise of Roe v. Wade?

Gail Collins: Well, Bret, I have multitudinous thoughts, some of them philosophical and derived from my Catholic upbringing. Although I certainly don’t agree with it, I understand the philosophical conviction that life begins at conception.

Bret: As a Jew, I believe that life begins when the kids move out of the house.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Great conversation, and some big laughs. Life really begins when the kids finally leave the house. But both Gail and Bret appear not to know that the Canadian oil slated for the XL pipeline is the dirtiest kind of shale oil there is, while the Saudi oil is mostly some of the cleanest. I now support the XL pipeline, but not for the reasons either of them mention. It is very bad for the environment, but it could in the short term, help the Democrats take more of the house and senate. The invasion by Russia into the Ukraine has created an emergency short term need for oil. There is a political reason for turning the XL pipeline back on, as long as we can turn it off when no longer needed.
David blogs at InconenientNews.net

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | Which ‘Radioactive Republicans’ Are We Betting On? – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Gail Collins: Bret, let’s relax and talk about long-term goals that we totally do not share. For instance, how would you feel about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour?

Bret Stephens: Why not raise the standard of living for everyone by making the minimum wage $100? Just kidding. I think the correct figure is $0.

Gail: If your goal is a self-supporting populace that doesn’t depend on government aid, you’ve got to make sure employers are shelling out at least minimal survival salaries. The current bottom line is $7.25 an hour. Nobody can live on that.

Bret: I’m taking my $0 cue from a famous Times editorial from 1987, which made the case that “those at greatest risk from a higher minimum wage would be young, poor workers, who already face formidable barriers to getting and keeping jobs.” The editorial may be old but the economic logic is right. Raising the minimum wage is a well-intentioned idea that won’t help its intended beneficiaries. It will hurt them by giving companies like McDonald’s additional incentives to move toward even more automation.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | It’s Never a Good Time for the Hunter Biden Story – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Gail Collins: Bret, here’s one question I don’t think I ever asked you before: What do you think of daylight saving time?

Bret Stephens: About the same way I feel about Volodymyr Zelensky. The light of the West.

Gail: Your ability to have everything remind you of foreign affairs is awesome.

I was sorta impressed the other day when the Senate voted unanimously to make daylight saving time permanent, year-round. What’s the last thing they agreed about that easily?

Bret: Invading Afghanistan?

Gail: I think switching back and forth is stupid. But many sleep scientists seem to think standard time — winter time — is healthier. So I’ll go with them, just to be difficult.

Bret: This is a major difference between liberals and conservatives. Modern-day liberals are often quite happy to defer to the wisdom of experts, at least when it comes to subjects like public health or economics. Whereas those of us who are conservative tend to be — skeptical. We prefer the wisdom of crowds, or markets, to the wisdom of the purportedly wise. It goes back to William F. Buckley Jr.’s famous line that he’d rather “be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory than by the Harvard University faculty.”

Gail: Do you happen to know what William F. Buckley Jr.’s position on daylight saving time was?

Bret: Given that daylight savings was initially signed into law by Woodrow Wilson, I’d have to assume Buckley would have been against it.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The first half of this conversation was brilliantly light and funny. Hail to Gail and Bret.
Then Bret had to aim is ire at Hunter Biden, and Gail enabled his despicable behavior. Since Hunter hasn’t done anything illegal, and thousands of friends and family of the politically powerful have been profiting from that position for centuries, picking on Hunter Biden is a piddling distraction of the right, particularly, to keep people from talking about the real elephants in the room, income inequality, the climate crisis, and the extinction of species to name my top three. The biggest weakness of these two brilliant and funny opinion writers, is that they appear to not have even a small environmentalist’s bone in their bodies– articulate urban restauranteurs. I prefer to defend Hunter Biden, who has a work ethic and a strong resume. As an American MBA, working for a Ukrainian gas company, was helping support a critical ally of NATO as the cold war against the Russian Federation continued. These two cocktail comics should be more grateful for his service. Chastising Hunter for selling his paintings is also an example of silliness. So much modern, abstract art is sold for so much money, its embarrassing. But Hunter is just one of thousands of painters cashing in, and his work at least isn’t as bogus as virtual currency, that has an enormous carbon footprint, and is the preferred currency of criminals.
If Hunter Biden is found guilty of committing a crime, I will apologize to Gail and Bret.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Marriott Edgar – English poet, scriptwriter and comedian – Wikipedia

Marriott Edgar

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Marriott Edgar in pantomime dame costume

Marriott Edgar (5 October 1880 – 5 May 1951), born George Marriott Edgar in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, was an English poet, scriptwriter and comedian,[1] best known for writing many of the monologues performed by Stanley Holloway, particularly the ‘Albert’ series. In total he wrote sixteen monologues for Stanley Holloway, whilst Holloway himself wrote only five.

Source: Marriott Edgar – Wikipedia

Opinion | Christopher Buckley on the Death of P.J. O’Rourke – The New York Times

“. . .  P.J. O’Rourke’s death marks the end of a particular and an essential sensibility. He found humor everywhere and in everything, especially in his fellow Republicans. We’ve lost more than the man The Wall Street Journal called “the funniest writer in America.” We’ve lost the last funny conservative.

The boomer gen’s H.L. Mencken, P.J. was summa contra everything, but joyously. If you weren’t laughing, you weren’t listening. Along with his peers Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker, he was hyperaphoristic.

“The good news is that, according to the Obama administration, the rich will pay for everything. The bad news is that, according to the Obama administration, you’re rich.”

“If government were a product, selling it would be illegal.”

“Rich people don’t like to be in the military. The shoes are ugly, and the uniforms itch. Rich people don’t go in much for revolution or terrorism, either.”

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.” “

Review: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star in very funny, very depressing ‘Don’t Look Up’ | Datebook SF Chronicle

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in “Don’t Look Up.”Photo: Niko Tavernise / Netflix

“Don’t Look Up” might be the funniest movie of 2021. It’s the most depressing too, and that odd combination makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. Writer-director Adam McKay gives you over two hours of laughs while convincing you that the world is coming to an end.

The movie is a satire that targets anti-science, anti-intellectual and anti-logic Americans who are gullible in the extreme and brainwashed by social media. McKay’s humor is so pointed and dead-on here that it’s bracing. You almost feel like this is a movie that might change things! People might see this and realize … but no. As McKay knows, he’s lampooning a segment of the public that is beyond the reach of satire.

The story is remarkably prescient, in that it plays like a parable about the pandemic, even though the concept was announced in the media well ahead of COVID-19 and was originally scheduled to go before the cameras in April 2020. Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio play a pair of astronomers who discover that a huge comet is going to crash into the Earth in six months, wiping out all forms of life on the planet. They assume that that scientific certainty will rouse the government and the people into emergency action. They assume wrong.;

Source: Review: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star in very funny, very depressing ‘Don’t Look Up’ | Datebook

My household really liked this movie. It is very funny, and very depressing. My only quibble with this excellent review by Mick LaSalle, is that it is not about Covid, which had not occurred yet when it was written. It is most likely a broadside against the anti-science forces denying climate change and the sixth great extinction of species. It is brilliant, biting satire, and might become as famous as Dr. Strangelove, by Stanley Kubrick.

Opinion | Christopher Buckley on the Death of P.J. O’Rourke – The New York Times

” “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?” my friend P.J. O’Rourke asked me one less-than-sober evening years ago. The answer was “One — and that’s not funny!”

He was a fellow of infinite jest. I can scarcely recall, over the 40 years we were friends, P.J. saying anything that wasn’t funny.

Of all human failings, he found humorlessness the funniest. Back then, the political left was so earnest about saving the world that there was no room for laughter, which denoted a lack of earnestness. Self-deprecating humor, P.J.’s trademark, wasn’t allowed because it could undermine the mission. Saving the world was no laughing matter. One titter and the whole edifice could come crashing down.

Humorlessness has crept in its petty pace to the right, where it is conducted with North Korean-level solemnity by the bellowing myrmidons of MAGAdom. A sense of humor, much less self-awareness, are not traits found in cults of personality. If Tucker Carlson has said anything advertently funny, witty or self-knowing from his bully pulpit, I missed it. Maybe you had to be there.”

P.J. O’Rourke Wrote With High, Cranky Style in a Shrinking Tradition – The New York Times

“During the 1980s and ’90s, his heyday, P.J. O’Rourke owned one of those bylines — like Nora Ephron’s, or Michael Kinsley’s, or Calvin Trillin’s — that made many readers, including this one, tingle with anticipation.

O’Rourke, who died on Tuesday at 74, came bombing in from the right side of the political spectrum, which made him doubly interesting. He was that rare conservative who appeared to be having a better time, and doing better drugs, than everyone else. He was well-read; he was, it often seemed, the only funny Republican alive.

His books — “Holidays in Hell” (1988), “Parliament of Whores” (1991) and “Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut” (1995) among them — often collected his journalism. Their author, these books made clear, liked to get out of the house.

Some of his best writing was about the open road. One early piece was memorably titled, “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.” In 1980, for Car and Driver, he drove cross country in a blood-red Ferrari 308GTS.”

David Lindsay:

It is nice to learn about this guy. He was certainly careless behind the wheel, or a big liar.  I liked the entire column, and the following comment

Tucson, AZFeb. 16

I have one of O’Rourke’s quotes as a signature on my email: The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it. –P. J. O’Rourke I would say he’ll be missed, but I’ve been missing him for a couple of decades already. His earlier writing was much sharper than anything he’s written lately. And though he never converted me to conservatism, he was the only one who could make me take a hard look at my own ideology and make me laugh at the same time.

318 Recommended

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | When the Storming of the Capitol Becomes ‘Legitimate Political Discourse’ – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Gail Collins: Hey Bret, the new jobs report looked pretty good. Would you say Joe Biden is starting off the Winter Olympics season with a triple salchow?

Bret Stephens: Gail, I’m having trouble imagining the president in a sparkly ice-skating unitard.

Gail: You’re right, don’t want to go there.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
I had trouble with this column. It has become the practice here for my sweetheart and me to read Bret and Gail out loud, she reading Gail with a flare, and I do a fine Bret. I thought this piece was such a sleeper, it wasn’t worth our time and energy, but then, we did it anyway, and it sprang to life. One item I notice in round two was the following, after Bret roundly criticizes the CDC ang government for a failed fight against the pandemic. Gail appears to let it go, but soon after:
“Gail: I know the social distancing rules are very hard on the theater owners, but as a consumer I do appreciate knowing that if I go to a movie or play or concert there’s going to be some space between people. And the vaccine — not sure Biden can do anything more short of having resisters tackled on the streets. But sane conservative commentators have a special duty to encourage their viewers and readers to do the right thing. And lace into the anti-vax folk.”
Gail is so subtle and diplomatic, that she had just cut Bret down to size so that he was bleeding, and maybe dead, and perhaps needed smoke up his you know what, but it was so late and soft, he might not have even noticed.

Gail and Bret | Nothing’s More Fun Than Picking the Next Supreme Court Justice. Right? – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

Bret Stephens: Gail, President Biden has announced that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen Breyer. Is this a good idea, politically speaking?

Gail Collins: Bret, let me rise above that and say it’s a good idea, national-welfare speaking. The Supreme Court has so much power — more in some ways than any other body in government. And obviously you want it to reflect the makeup of the country.

Bret: So why not, say, an Asian American jurist?

Gail: We’ve only had two Black justices, and five women, in American history. There’s a lot of territory to make up for.

Obviously this can’t be the end of the inclusion story. Also obviously, you can’t ignore the fact that Biden really did need to rally Black voters. Not much danger of losing them to the Republicans, but the enthusiasm/turnout factor is important.