Leno kicked out while he’s ahead

Jay Leno is off the Tonight Show as of last night.  NBC wants to hand off the iconic gig to someone of the younger generation, namely, Jimmy Fallon.  Never mind that Leno is going out at #1 in his time slot.  Never mind that Leno is #1 with the younger generation (the 18-49 demographic) that NBC is trying to attract with Fallon.

But ratings are not everything in the television industry.  Nor, despite economic theory, are profits everything in the corporate world.  Those who run the entertainment industry and America’s other businesses want the approval of their peers, feel cultural pressure, and yearn to be cool.  Those things can be more motivating than money and success. [Read more…]

George Clooney after “Batman & Robin”

George Clooney is a successful actor, director, and producer.  But the turning point in his career, he says, was appearing as Batman in the worst and most critically-panned movie in the franchise, Batman and Robin. [Read more…]

UN panel tells Church to change its teachings

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has issued a statement directing the Roman Catholic Church to change its teachings on abortion and sexuality.  The document, which you can read here, begins by addressing the pedophile scandal–which certainly needs to be addressed–but then it calls for canon law to be changed to allow for abortion, to accept homosexuality, to promote “gender equality,” and to stop teaching that adolescents shouldn’t have sex.

That last point is in glaring opposition to the first part of the report–I would think the Church should come down even harder on underaged sex!  And what supporting abortion has to do with the rights of the child is beyond me.  Still, we may be seeing more governmental and quasi-governmental groups telling Christians what they must believe. [Read more…]

Getting information about a person just by staring

There is a new app that would give anyone access to  facial recognition software.  Use Google Glasses to look at someone, whereupon you will then tap into that person’s online profiles, social media networks, relationship status, arrest records, and whatever else is online.  Right now, Google is not allowing this app for use on its glasses, but the potential is there and the software can potentially be used on other devices.

This is being called “The End of Privacy.”  The app seems to have been written for guys in bars trying to pick up women.

Again, I ask, if it would be wrong for the government to violate people’s privacy like this, why is it OK for corporate America or individuals wearing geeky-looking glasses to violate people’s privacy?

[Read more…]

The next legal obstacle to Obamacare

Under Obamacare, those who don’t have health insurance coverage at work sign up for policies at online “exchanges.”  If their income level makes the policies too hard to afford, the government will offer subsidies to make up the difference.  There is a problem, though.  As the law is written, the subsidies are for people who signed up for a plan on an exchange “established by the state.”  Thirty-four states refused to set up the exchanges, which send applicants to a federal exchange.  Technically, applicants from those 34 states would not seem to be eligible for a subsidy.

But wait, you may say.  That is obviously just a technicality.  The clear intent of the law offers subsidies to everybody eligible.  Except that the legislative history of the bill shows good evidence that the “established by the state” language was put in precisely for the purpose of pressuring states to start their own exchanges.

Now this is being litigated, with several lawsuits against the IRS, which has been tasked with enforcing Obamacare.  (That is surely a misuse of that agency, but that’s what we get when the Supreme Court defines penalties and fines as “taxes.”)

But here is the point:  Even people who support some program that would provide universal healthcare should surely admit that Obamacare is not a very good way of reaching that goal, that the Affordable Care Act is too complicated, was poorly written, was passed too quickly without normal legislative scrutiny, and has too many unintended consequences. [Read more…]

The good wine

I was struck by something in the Epiphany scripture reading a few Sundays ago, about Christ’s first miracle, turning the water into wine.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroomand said to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:9-10).

So there is “poor wine” and “good wine,” a difference in quality.  (Also we see that those to imbibe “freely” become less able to tell the difference.)  [Read more…]