URLs du Jour


  • A bit over a week ago, we url-du-joured a Jeffrey Sachs article describing the Geithner-Summers plan for financial system bailouts as a "thinly veiled attempt to transfer up to hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayer funds to the commercial banks." Now, after much reflection, Sachs finds it necessary to describe the situation more accurately:
    In fact, the situation is even potentially more disastrous than we wrote. Insiders can easily game the system created by Geithner and Summers to cost up to a trillion dollars or more to the taxpayers.
    Missing, according to Sachs: transparency, meaningful oversight, and a willingness to consider alternate proposals. Why, it's almost as if they were … arrogant or something.

  • P. J. O'Rourke content at the Weekly Standard:
    As April 15 rolls around let us take a moment to recall why we Americans pay taxes: Because some of our country's good-for-nothing bums are too chicken to rob us at gunpoint. That would be members of Congress and the executive branch. How come we keep electing politicians who will tax the bejeezus out of us? Especially Democrats? At least Republicans are smart enough to lie about it.
    The answer may surprise you.

  • It's Opening Day, and there is another good reason for us free market fans to hate the Yankees.
    In dimensions and decor, the new [Yankee] stadium, handsome and comfortable, is meant to evoke the old one. But the resemblance is only concrete deep. This is not history, but a costume party, a rigging of familiar geometry. It disguises a radical departure from New York's baseball history: the embrace of public subsidy -- around a billion dollars when all the costs are added -- for private wealth.
    Via Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy who has further comments.

Find Me Guilty

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

This comedy/drama, directed and co-written by Sidney Lumet, was a box office flop, but I found it very enjoyable.

Vin Diesel—with hair!—plays gangster Giacomo "Jackie" DiNorscio, part of the Lucchese crime family. He's swept up in a mass RICO indictment and becomes one of the 20 defendants in what turns out to be the longest criminal trial in the federal courts, almost two years. DiNorscio is kind of a loose cannon. He fires his ineffectual attorney, and, rejecting plea deals, decides to represent himself.

The movie turns the gangsters into the "good guys" by showing their loyalty and camaraderie, persecuted by an ambitious, scruple-free prosecution given to anti-Italian slurs. The gangsters' nefarious deeds aren't hardly shown, just talked about by the sleazy self-righteous prosecutors. Lumet's deck-stacking is blatant, but effective.

Vin Diesel is kind of a marvel here, if you're used to his borderline antihero/thug roles: he's actually funny in the comedic parts of the movie, and effective in the dramatic bits. The late Ron Silver is great as the trial judge. Also impressive is the 4' 5" Peter Dinklage as one of the defense attorneys, whose chemistry with the 6' Diesel is fun to watch.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 8:36 AM EST