Do Something!

Excerpts from Sunday's Meet the Press transcript:

MR. BROKAW: … All of this will be borne on the backs of the taxpayers. And I know that it's urgent to do something. But don't taxpayers deserve more answers…

SEC'Y PAULSON: … And we need to do something to deal with this and deal with it quickly. …

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: … And it's up to the Treasury with the acquiescence of Congress, but to do something quickly. And nobody knows exactly what they should do, but anything is better than nothing.

Obviously, we're fully in the grip of Do-Something Syndrome when such high positioned people sound like characters in Blazing Saddles:
GOVERNOR WILLIAM J. LEPETOMANE: Holy underwear! Sheriff murdered! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!
Or Animal House:
HOOVER: We've gotta do something.
BOON: He's right.
OTTER: You're right… We've gotta do something.
BOON: Absolutely.
OTTER: You know what we gotta do?
OTTER & BOON TOGETHER: Toga Party!
This is totally cheap-shot criticism, of course. I have no idea what to do either. But still…

In case you missed it, George F. Will ripped John McCain for his call to fire SEC Chairman Chris Cox:

In any case, McCain's smear -- that Cox "betrayed the public's trust" -- is a harbinger of a McCain presidency. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are "corrupt" or "betray the public's trust," two categories that seem to be exhaustive -- there are no other people. McCain's Manichaean worldview drove him to his signature legislative achievement, the McCain-Feingold law's restrictions on campaigning. Today, his campaign is creatively finding interstices in laws intended to restrict campaign giving and spending.
It is (however) considerate of McCain to find ways to not make me feel so bad if he loses.

But also interesting was Kevin Hassett's finger-pointing:

Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.
We've talked about the FMs before, but Hassett is pretty convincing. And …
Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.
Follow the link to S.190 and you'll find the sponsor:
Sen Hagel, Chuck [NE]
and co-sponsors:
Sen Dole, Elizabeth [NC]
Sen McCain, John [AZ]
Sen Sununu, John E. [NH]
I like Senator Sununu a lot, and this made me like him a little more.

Unfortunately—check the date—this bill was offered up in the heady days when the GOP controlled both sides of Congress. You can caterwaul all you want about the darn Dems, but apparently the FMs had a number of Republicans in their pockets as well.

Finally, I kind of liked this from Mr. Ross Douthat, reproduced, with links, in its entirety:

I'm refraining from commenting on what's obviously the most important story of the last week, and possibly the most important story of the next decade or more, because I have no expertise on a subject that requires real expertise to discuss intelligently, and thus nothing useful to add to the reams of commentary being produced by people who understand the situation - to the extent that anyone does - far, far better than I do. Like James Poulos, I stand ready to offer vaporous commentary on American culture and society that may or may not relate to the current crisis - but only after the crisis itself is at least some distance in the rearview mirror.

Last Modified 2008-09-24 1:42 PM EDT

Redbelt

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

A few days back, I dumped on Definitely, Maybe for its "No person would actually ever say this" dialog. It would be kind of easy to point that finger at David Mamet too. Were I a professional film reviewer, I would worry about this obvious inconsistency. Since I am not a professional film reviewer, I explain it thus: Mamet is great, and Definitely, Maybe was very very bad. Redbelt was written and directed by Mamet, and it's really, really good. Although perhaps not a chick flick.

Redbelt stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mike Terry, who runs a small martial arts studio in LA. Principles and philosophy prevent him from entering the lucrative pro fighting circuit, so he's perpetually on the edge of financial ruin, and also perpetually nagged by his wife. This is all indicated with great precision and economy. One night, a strung-out lady lawyer (Emily Mortimer) wanders in, a gun goes off, an expensive window shatters. Mike heads to a local bar to hit up a sleazy relative for a loan; there, he defends a self-loathing action movie star (played by, of all people, Tim Allen) in a brawl. This draws Mike and his wife into the glitzy world of easy-money showbiz.

You would not believe the amount of trouble that causes.

The movie also features a host of regular Mamet actors, e.g. Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon. (Also, it turns out: Al Bundy himself, Ed O'Neill, and Jennifer Grey. Totally did not recognize them.)

In the DVD extras Mamet compares Chiwetel Ejiofor's acting style to Henry Fonda's. Fine, although I would not have to cut-n-paste "Henry Fonda" from IMDB to make sure I was spelling it right.

There's a massive spoiler on (of all places) the front of the DVD box. Don't look at it if you plan to see the movie. (Too late? Sorry.) Also check out Shawn Macomber's review of Redbelt in American Spectator, which caused me to bump it up to the top of my Blockbuster queue.


Last Modified 2012-10-10 3:40 PM EDT