This is a story of trying. It is a story of passion, and a story of tragedy. 

It is a story of a man. A man who couldn’t resist the urge to come back for one last go-round in his field. A man who tried to relive the old days, and could never do it. A man who would go back to his ranch, and say he was done, and then think to himself “Hell, I could do it again.” A man who, even with better resources, could never quite recapture the magic that enraptured his loyal fans. And in the end, he drove them away, because he could not quit. 

And it is two men, but it is one story.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1245686/Star-Wars-set-Avatar-style-makeover-earn-studios-billions.html

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2010/01/will-brett-favre-be-back-next-season.html

For background:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Favre#Minnesota_Vikings_.282009.E2.80.93present.29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Lucas#Film_career

In his Monday Morning Quarterback column today, SI’s Peter King says: “I think [Favre]’s the most charismatic and interesting player I’ve covered.” I think he’s right. Favre doesn’t really seem to have it in press conferences interviews, but if you watch footage of him in the locker room or on the sidelines, you can still see it come through.

This charisma also probably explains why Favre has often been excused by sportswriters, fans and even coaches and GMs for the various disasters he has been responsible for on the field. There was less of it this time, but when Favre threw the game away to the Giants in the NFC Championship game two years ago, the general feeling wasn’t “He let his team down” but rather “Oh, what a terrible way to end his career.” (Everyone foolishly figured it was the end of his career.)

Charisma is, obviously, an important quality for a quarterback, just like it is for any leader. Sadly, unlike elections, football games cannot be won solely by the presence of a charismatic leader. If they could, Eli Manning’s team would never have beaten Tom Brady’s team

Paul Krugman writes

“Suppose, for example, that Congress took the advice of those who want to ban insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history, and stopped there. What would happen next? The answer, as any health care economist will tell you, is that if Congress didn’t simultaneously require that healthy people buy insurance, there would be a “death spiral”: healthier Americans would choose not to buy insurance, leading to high premiums for those who remain, driving out more people, and so on.”

If this went on long enough, eventually it would mean no one would have health insurance. It would destroy the health insurance industry. They’d come asking for a bailout. The government could be forced to take them over. The government would now control health insurance. It would be impossible to abolish this program once created, so it would be a de-facto public option, even once the industry recovered . Ta-Da!

As John Hodgman would say, you’re welcome.

Kathleen Parker asks: “Who is likely to be the first female president of the United States?”

Well, at the moment, the most likely is Sarah Palin. But, as Parker observes, even this is not likely. And the answer to this question, naturally, goes back to the Great Male-Female Charisma Gap. Palin has some charisma, but I doubt if it’ll be enough to win a general election. And there are, it seems, precious few women who possess the charisma that is needed to win. Poor Mrs. Clinton had Nixon-esque anti-charisma. 

I’ll say this, though. I think charisma is-at least partially-a genetic trait. So, I figure the most likely candidate for first female President is probably Malia Obama.

“A restoration, if you will, of the power and authority of the president.”–Dick Cheney, on actions taken in the Bush administration. (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/books/review/Bazelon-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print)  

Progressives, or Liberals, if you prefer, are shocked at the failure of Pelosi and Reid to pass a health-care bill sooner–before the election of Scott Brown all but destroyed the bill’s chances. Some of them are blaming the President. They don’t really expect Congress to be able to do this; they realize they need a strong leader to make Congress pass the thing. 

The reason I mentioned Cheney is that the Progressives went on and on in absolute terror and revulsion at his philosophy of executive power. They also claimed that the many disasters that were a hallmark of the Bush years were a result of his ideas. But I have always wondered–even when I quit supporting the Bush administration–if Cheney was right–if Congress was simply ineffective by nature, and  a strong executive is needed. 

The Obama administration, contrary to what you might hear, has taken a far less extreme position on executive power, and what has it bought them? 

A Bradley Smith  writes in the WSJ, regarding the recent Supreme Court ruling:  

“Already, 28 states representing 60% of the nation’s population allow corporate independent expenditures in state races. These states, including Virginia, Utah and Oregon, are hardly mismanaged. Rather, they are disproportionately among the fastest growing, best governed states in the country.

(Italics mine.)

By what statistic does he find they are “among the best governed”?