March 27, 2014 |
Matt Taibbi begins his sixth book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," with a simple formulation: "Poverty goes up; Crime goes down; Prison population doubles. " It's a snapshot, a way to represent what Taibbi sees as the through-the-looking-glass reality of contemporary America, where rule of law has been subverted by, on the one hand, corporate greed and, on the other, a kind of institutionalized abuse of the poor. Such a landscape, he suggests, brings to mind the last days of the Soviet Union, which operated out of a similar sort of mass hypocrisy until, in 1990 and '91, "people were permitted to think about all this and question the unwritten rules out loud, [and]
June 7, 2013 |
The trailer for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is out, providing a first peek at one of the summer's most counterintuitive bits of casting -- potty-mouthed comic Andrew Dice Clay in a dramatic role opposite Cate Blanchett , Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale. In the film, Blanchett plays Jasmine, a wealthy New York woman who is snookered by her Bernie Madoff-like husband (Baldwin) and heads west to move in with her sympathetic sister (Hawkins) in San Francisco. Clay, as Hawkins' blue collar ex-husband, provides the Brooklyn-accented exposition in the trailer, reminding Hawkins, "When your sister had all that money, she wanted nothing to do with you. Now that she's broke, all of a sudden she's movin' in. " In another scene in the back of a car in New York, he's snoozing on Hawkins' shoulder.
September 16, 2009
"Tough stand on Malibu home," Sept 12, and "Bank fires exec who allegedly used home," Sept. 15 If the allegations in The Times are true, then I've got to hand it to this senior VP who, when faced with a choice of foreclosed Wells Fargo homes in Merced, Stockton, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, chose instead a multimillion-dollar beachfront home in Malibu. When looking for our next home, you can rest assured that I will contact this most perceptive Wells Fargo executive. How could I go wrong?
October 30, 2013 |
Noted healthcare economist Suzanne Somers received a full screen's worth of valuable Wall Street Journal online space the other day to deliver her judgment on the Affordable Care Act . Before we get to the substance of her argument, let's acknowledge that her piece has added to her worldwide fame . It may not do great things for the Journal's reputation, though. Somers, last seen hawking exercise equipment and cure-all elixirs in infomercials and her website, declared the act to be a "Socialist Ponzi Scheme.
July 5, 2012 |
With virtually all of his prime-time and late-night rivals airing reruns Wednesday night, CNN's Piers Morgan had the airwaves to himself on the Fourth of July. The British host chose to commemorate Independence Day with a special called “Pride of America.” The show featured interviews with several American athletes who will be competing later this month at the Olympic Games in London. On a more meta level, it was also a glimpse ahead into the soft-focus stories of personal triumph that form such a major part of television coverage of the Games.
April 28, 2009 |
Mary Schapiro, the new Securities and Exchange Commission chief, was certain to take a get-tough stance at the agency -- after Bernie Madoff, what other choice did she have? But in addition to all the steps she's taking along those lines -- a new enforcement director, streamlined rules for launching investigations, new procedures for following up on the 2,000 or so hotline tips the agency receives daily -- the SEC also is trying to make itself more transparent.
July 6, 2012 |
On Thursday night, Rachel Maddow had some harsh words for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, calling his campaign a “totally incoherent mess” in response to the Supreme Court's decision in favor of “Obamacare” last week. The ruling has put Romney, whose overhaul of Massachusetts' healthcare system provided the model for Obama's plan, in the difficult position of defending his record while criticizing his opponent's. So far, says Maddow, he's been doing a pretty terrible job. As evidence, the host played footage from a 2008 Republican primary debate in which then-candidate Fred Thompson (remember him?
October 31, 2011
A roundup of entertainment headlines for Monday: Months after Amy Winehouse's untimely death, a new album "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" will feature 12 previously unreleased songs. ( The Sun ) Ali Williams, the actress who shares a smooch with Justin Bieber in his "Mistletoe" video, says the kissing was "just a job. " ( MTV ) Michael Lohan, Lindsay Lohan's dad, is denied bail after allegedly contacting his former fiancee Kate Major, violating a no-contact order.
November 1, 2011
A roundup of entertainment headlines for Tuesday: After a mere 72 days of marital bliss, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are calling it quits. ( Los Angeles Times ) So what went wrong for these two crazy kids? ( People ) But these short-lived celebrity marriages have Kim Kardashian beat. ( Los Angeles Times ) The father of "Glee" singer Charice Pempengco, who plays Sunshine Corazon, was stabbed to death in her hometown in the Philippines. ( Associated Press )
May 22, 2013
Re "Skilling doesn't deserve a break," Column, May 19 Jeff Skilling, the chief executive of Enron when it defrauded investors before its collapse in 2001, still believes he has the power to extort or bribe his way out of jail. It scares me to think that he might just succeed in having his 24-year prison sentence reduced significantly, confirming that justice is negotiable. Let's drop all pretense here: Skilling is trying to pay his way out of jail, and if he succeeds, he will have reduced our justice system to rubble.