Aaron Sorkin Goes Back to the Well

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 31, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

…the same well that only lasted a combined three seasons on network.

The series stars Jeff Daniels as the co-anchor of a cable news show who must deal with a new team after his fellow host jumps ship for another job and takes most of the staff with him. Waterston will play his boss.

Olivia Munn and Alison Pill were recently added to the cast as a sexy financial analyst and an associate producer on Will’s show, respectively.

Sports Night and Studio 60 combined on a news set. No, but it’s a show about a news show so it’s completely different, right??


Update: Speaking of never-dry wells.

George Lucas

George Lucas says he already has 50 hours worth of scripts ready for a live-action Star Wars television series — but he’s waiting for a technological breakthrough to lessen the cost of shooting.

Disastrous Atrocity

Filed under:9/11,Need a Good Editor?,Sad — posted by Anwyn @ 12:03 pm

September 11 is listed in the “Major Disasters” section, subheading “Aircraft Disasters,” of son’s new almanac. It is the only hijacking in the list–the rest are accidents–and the phrasing is poor: “Two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, one went down in a PA field.” No, Almanac editors, the planes didn’t crash; they were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The one in the PA field did crash, and it’s due only to the heroism of the doomed passengers who did not allow it deliberately to be flown into yet another important American building full of people. I do not understand people who still insist on avoiding calling 9/11 what it was: an atrocity. It was not a tragedy, as many news outlets and politicians have called it. It was a disaster, as the Almanac calls it, but that does not give its true character: It was a cold-bloodedly planned, determinedly executed mass murder-suicide.

I hadn’t before said anything to my son about 9/11. He’s only seven and it happened before he was born. But he likes to read to us the lists of events and cool facts in his almanac. It really gave me a jar to hear it in a list of accidents consigned to history. Unprepared, I ended up giving him the nutshell on what happened, including the heroism of the Flight 93 passengers, but I couldn’t do it without tearing up. He listened intently, but next time he wanted to read the list to us, he sternly warned me not to repeat the story of 9/11 and not to cry. He then omitted it from the list, because the fun, for him, was quizzing us on “What happened?” in each particular disaster, and he didn’t want to hear the painful story of 9/11 again. At least he grasped that there was something different about that one.


Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 17, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

Lisa Edelstein is leaving House.

I think it’s a little weird that she would choose to leave for what has been reported as the last season of the show. Maybe her character isn’t getting enough to do since the breakup?

I’m a little dismayed, a little okay with this. House was never going to wind up the series in a happy place, and it’s oh-so-much-more realistic that he gradually forgets about Cuddy and moves on, because that’s life. However pleasant it is to imagine that people carry the torch for their true loves forever, it’s not really all that true. I wouldn’t mind a return of the “asylum” phase of the show where House was with somebody who could have been The One under other circumstances, then let her go when he saw what the real circumstances were, and/or him meeting somebody who could be The One but we won’t know because the show ends, like Veronica Mars ended, with ambiguity and on the sense that the main thing is that House, like Veronica, is still walking through it all.

It is too bad, though, when an integral character doesn’t make it to the end. But I’m interested to see how they’ll play her out.

Is Heat “Wasted” in the Winter?

Filed under:Church of Liberalism,Politics — posted by Anwyn @ 7:31 am

I keep seeing this line parroted over and over in articles about the incandescent bulb shortly to be lawed out of use:

The technology in traditional “incandescent” bulbs is more than a century old. Such bulbs waste most of the electricity that feeds them, turning it into heat.

Oh, so just because a lot of the electricity makes heat instead of light, that means it’s “wasted?”

I’m No Scientist or anything, but I seem to recall a rule, the conservation of something something, that said energy doesn’t get destroyed but converted into other stuff. So isn’t it true that if your house is a little warmer because you’re burning a lot of incandescent bulbs, it means your furnace has to work less hard to bring your house up to temp? Heat is heat, no matter the source, and likewise the thermostat works no matter where the heat is coming from. This is the stupidest argument ever for government mandate of a business & consumer decision. Yes, it’s more an issue in the summer, when we don’t want the extra heat, but we burn fewer incandescent bulbs in summer, too, since the daylight hours are longer.

But no, it’s waste, waste, waste, because that promotes the rationale for dictating our light bulbs and because reporters are cookie cutters, not writers.

Dear GOP Field: Raise Taxes

Filed under:Politics — posted by Anwyn on May 13, 2011 @ 8:34 am

Your first mistake is thinking the government has to do something big to “health care” to replace Obamacare when you repeal it. You don’t. You simply have to do something small.

Romney apparently delivered a mish-mash of a speech that I have neither listened to or read, but I don’t have to right now because I don’t plan to refute him point-by-point. Apparently in bizarro-world, he thinks individual mandates are a good idea, but plans to give every state a waiver out of Obamacare anyway. Huh?

And then there was probably a bunch of gook about what he’s going to do instead. Which leads me back to that First Mistake: You don’t have to do something big. You merely have to do something small, and it’s something a whole batch of politicians would like to do anyway: Raise taxes.

I’m No Economist(TM), and I freely admit I may have this wrong. I’m a blogger who is, yes, still in her PJs today (but cut me a break, I just finished the first year of law school YESTERDAY). The fact that more people, smarter people than I, aren’t talking about this suggests I must be wrong about some part of it. But I’ll put it out there anyway:

1) Health care is paid for through, and handed out by, our employers, mostly, because there’s no income tax on that money that’s paid to the health insurance company, either for individuals or the employers.

2) Therefore employers want to offer you a big plan that covers everything, including every trip to the pediatrician every time your kid sneezes. (What? I’m not criticizing you, I’m lampooning the way I myself take my son to the doctor. A lot.) They want to offer you a “good plan” because it’s cheaper to pay the health insurance company than it is to pay you more salary. If they paid you more salary, you’d have to pay taxes on it, and so would they.

3) These plans are wasteful and encourage both a) overuse and b) overcharging. Why should the doctor’s office care what it charges for a routine visit about what’s probably a routine cold or flu if their customer isn’t paying for it? If the customer isn’t paying for it, the customer doesn’t care what it costs. So the doctor’s office will charge more than it would if it were charging you, as high as the insurance company will pay for. It’s not because they’re nefarious, it’s because the market encourages it. When the customer is not shopping carefully, the prices rise. Sure, why not? What would an oil change cost if your insurance company paid for it every time and you paid for THAT by fifty bucks per month more on your car insurance? Do you get your oil changed every month or pay $50 a time? But you’d pay for it as if you did if it was covered by insurance.

4) If we were paying for routine doctors’ visits ourselves, we’d use more thoughtful judgment in how often we went to the doctor and we’d jolly well pay attention to how much it cost. We’d shop for the best balance between a good doctor and a good price for a routine visit, not just take whatever doctor will take a payout from our insurance companies.

5) If insurance didn’t have to cover every last little routine visit to the doctor, it’d be a lot cheaper. If we paid for it fully ourselves, without our employer paying some of it, we’d make sure we had the best balance of the coverage we wanted vs. the monthly payment. We could decide between a plan with a high deductible and no coverage of routine visits vs. a plan with everything covered and a low deductible. Our employers wouldn’t be choosing for us, and they’d have to pay us more salary to make up for the fact that they no longer kicked in on health insurance.

But all of this starts with taxing health insurance payment money just like every other bit of income. That way companies no longer have the incentive to collude with the “health care” insurance companies to roll out plans that cost too much and pay out too much, we’re on our own to choose the best plan for us, and a certain amount could be added to the Standard Deduction on the IRS form to cover what we pay out for health insurance. In other words, tax it on the front end like everything else and then include it in the back end as part of the standard cost-of-being-a-living-human-in-America on the tax refund.

What’s so hard about that? It keeps our individual power of choice and smart shopping intact, it gives great incentives for the “health care” insurance companies to bring out a number of competitively priced options, and it gives great incentives to doctors and hospitals to price-compete. Win, win, win.

Dancing in the Dark

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn on May 10, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

**SPOILERS** for Dancing with the Stars, Week 8.


False Alarm, House

Filed under:Television — posted by Anwyn @ 9:53 am

Robert Sean Leonard has signed a contract for next season, which TVGuide.com calls “its eighth and likely final season.” Hmmm. That wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’d hate for the show to jump the shark, which it has somehow avoided so far even though some of the plots are getting wilder and Wilde-r, so to speak. Well, at least they won’t have to do anything without Wilson. Hurrah!

In Other News, How Can I Meet This Met?

Filed under:Heh,Need a Good Editor?,Tolkien — posted by Anwyn on May 9, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

A Mets pitcher, specifically, who named one of his bats … Orcrist.

Then the NYT apparently managed to screw up the origin of the name, but they apologized, so all good.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace