More reckless demagoguery from President Obama.
During a taped interview broadcast Sunday night on CBS' 60 Minutes, Obama blasted banking executives for opposing tighter regulations on Wall Street and for awarding themselves multimillion-dollar bonuses after they had repaid federal bailout money.Well, thank goodness he voted against it! Oh, wait, he didn't.
"I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat-cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama said.
The original link is from USA Today, and they are not shy about quoting someone who points out the blindingly obvious:
High unemployment is creating a political problem for Obama's team and "they're trying to make political points whenever they can," [banking consultant Bert] Ely said.During the campaign, Obama decried the "same old Washington games", but he's playing one of the oldest: when you're out of ideas, find a scapegoat to divert attention.
Charles Lane makes
a lot of sense:
With unemployment stuck around 10 percent, President Obama has pledged "to take every responsible step to accelerate the pace of job growth." Here's a thought: Instead of trying to "create" jobs by tweaking this tax break or increasing that spending program, why not stop doing things that destroy jobs?His three specific recommendations are right out of the loony-libertarian (i. e. Pun Salad's) playbook:
- End federal protectionism and price supports for sugar.
- Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act.
- Reduce the federal minimum wage.
You wouldn't be surprised to get those recommendations from (say) the Cato Institute or Reason, but (amazingly) Charles Lane is a member of the Washington Post editorial page staff, and that's where his article appears. What's next? Will the WaPo start competing with the Wall Street Journal for right-wing/libertarian readers? Cool!
Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy, Harvey Silvergate
is promoting his new book, Three
Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Today's topic is so-called "honest services"
fraud, a little gotcha in federal law that (during a recent Supreme
Court session), Justice Breyer observed could make lawbreakers out of
an estimated 140 million Americans every single working day.
Silvergate is a relatively rare figure: an ACLU-liberal guy who consistently champions civil libertarianism. Good for him.
If you get warm-n-fuzzies when you spend a little extra
for picking up "Fair Trade" coffee at your local store,
you may not want to ruin them by clicking here.
Also at Marginal Revolution, Professor Tabarrok has a Paul
Samuelson Memorial Blog Post: Asteroid Deflection as a Public
Good. Professor Samuelson wrote Pun Salad's college econ textbook;
fortunately, the damage was short-lived.
At the Freakonomics blog, Stephen Dubner
posted a brain-teaser last week: name goods and services
that are legal when done for free, but quickly become illegal
when money changes hands.
There's an obvious one—at least for those of us with minds in the gutter—but there's a big one that not a single one of the very smart commenters to the original post mentioned. See if you can get it before Eric Morris tells you what it is.
As I type, Anatomy of a Murder clings to a spot on IMDB's best 250 movies of all time, at #244. It had its fiftieth anniversary this year.
It's Jimmy Stewart's movie, and (to a lesser extent) Lee Remick's. Jimmy plays small-town lawyer Paul Biegler, recently voted out of the prosecutor's office, content with fishing in the waters of Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula. Biegler's semi-retirement is shattered when he's roped into playing defense attorney for an Army lieutenant Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara). Manion shot (five times) a bar owner who had allegedly raped and beaten Mrs. Manion (the aforementioned Lee Remick). But what really happened? And (more importantly) can Jimmy Stewart play enough legal angles to generate reasonable doubt about the sanity of the perpetrator?
Jimmy and his co-workers are the only remotely likeable characters in this movie, and I found myself rooting for him. Lee Remick does a remarkable transformation, as she's introduced as an obvious drunken slut, de-floozied for the trial, popping back again into her normal promiscuous mode at the end. (She was outrageously overlooked by the Oscars, but got a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.) There are a lot of other great actors here, including George C. Scott, Eve Arden, Arthur O'Connell, and Orson Bean.
Even though Lee Remick was snubbed, the movie still got 7 Oscar
Jimmy Stewart's character smokes those repulsive Italian cigars
later made even more famous by Clint Eastwood in his spaghetti
the IMDB, the movie was actually
filmed in and around scenic Ishpeming and Marquette, apparently during the
approximately three-week window of decent weather they get each year. My
guess is that the cigars were necessary to dissuade the mosquitoes.
The DVD has the movie's original trailer, which is pretty good, with
director Otto Preminger hamming it up with "Robert Traver" (the
pseudonym of Michigan State Supreme Court judge John D. Voelker), who
wrote the source novel.
The movie was pretty racy for 1959; it even was banned in Chicago.
There's nothing that, nowadays, couldn't appear in your average
gritty prime-time TV crime drama. This ages the movie: some things
are meant to "shock" the audience, but go right over the heads
of modern viewers.
Whoa, Duke Ellington has a cameo, playing the piano
with Jimmy Stewart. He did the (Grammy-winning) soundtrack.
A non-cameo role, that of the trial judge, is played
by Joseph N. Welch, famous in real life for the "Have you
no sense of decency" shootdown of Senator McCarthy in 1954.
He's good, also getting a Golden Globe nomination.
I was persuaded to put the movie in my Netflix queue by
Kurt Schlichter's recent
appreciation at Big Hollywood. If you're not convinced
by me, he might do the trick.