Isaac Chotiner

That is the question asked--and answered--by the London Times, which has produced a Top 20 for readers to debate. And the list is pretty good!  20-16: Seven--Blair Witch--Memento--Planet of the Apes (original)--Shawshank Redemption 15-11: Gone With the Wind--Dr. Strangelove--Les Diaboliques--Wizard of Oz--Thelma & Louise 10-6: Sixth Sense--Usual Suspects--Italian Job (original)--Some Like it Hot--Breakfast at Tiffany's 5.Chinatown 4. E.T. 3. Casablanca 2. Butch Cassidy 1.


An aside from Mike Grunwald's very enjoyable piece in Time on the future of Florida: I felt better after talking to the bubbly [Florida Governor Charlie] Crist, who's like human Prozac. "How can you not be optimistic about Florida?" he asked. "Is there a more beautiful place on the planet?" He then recounted a story that probably won't help him in the GOP Veepstakes: "John McCain told me, 'It's tough in those Rust Belt states. You really feel a bit of depression in people's outlook. But when you get to Florida, people feel great.' [Italics Mine] --Isaac Chotiner 

Alas, The Washington Post does not tell us, but in a fun piece Rama Lakshmi explains that Hindu Nationalist leader L.K. Advani is bringing internet organizing and a message of change to the Indian parliamentary campaign likely to conclude next year: The party predicts that, like in the Obama campaign, technology will play a central role in attracting the youth. It plans to use cellphones and the Internet as important media of political communication.


Richard Stengel's soggy Time cover story on the wisdom of Nelson Mandela is just about what you would expect. Mandela's eight lessons of leadership are indeed well taken, but Stengel almost completely avoids the issue of Robert Mugabe's dictatorial rule.


I agree with Mike--who has a post on The Stump exploring the dangers of "letting McCain be McCain." The bind McCain faces is that he's a stilted candidate when scripted. But when you let "McCain be McCain," he says and does things that seem to translate poorly in the YouTube/blog era. The corollary to this is best exhibited by Matthew Continetti's helpful piece on McCain, Obama, and immigration. Continetti concludes that McCain has in essnce ceded the Latino vote to Obama, and adds: McCain could make drivers licenses for illegal immigrants an issue, but he's unlikely to do so.


Or, the Quote of the Day: I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America. --Mitt Romney, 7/8/08 --Isaac Chotiner 

Both Jonah Goldberg and Ross Douthat recommend a Claremont Review of Books essay by William Voegeli on race and American conservatism. The compelling piece does a fine job of tracing the shortcomings of conservatives like William F. Buckley on the issue of civil rights. Voegeli's central intent is to rebut the idea that: Everything that conservatism has accomplished and stood for since 1965—Reagan, the tax revolt, law-and-order, deregulation, the fight against affirmative action, the critique of the welfare state...everything—is the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree [of racism].


New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt has an extremely unconvincing piece today in support of the paper's decision to publish the name of one of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's interrogators.


Jesse Helms

After reading over the coverage of Jesse Helms' passing on a prominent conservative blog, it seems apt to quote Sean Connery in Goldfinger, and say that it is "shocking, positively shocking" that the conservative movement has trouble winning over black voters. Anyway, the two best Helms stories remain: Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into [African-American Illinois Senator Carol] Mosely-Braun in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, "Watch me make her cry. I'm going to make her cry.


Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler, a liberal blogger who many PLANK readers have probably come across, was shot three times last night during a robbery in Washington D.C. He is currently at a local hospital, where he is expected to make a full recovery. Brian is a friend or acquaintance of many of the folks at TNR; he is also an exceedingly smart and kind and generous person. We wish him nothing but the best. --Isaac Chotiner