Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 28

Well, this takes the cake -- the House Ethics Committee voting unanimously that there is no impropriety involved in politicians steering earmarks or government contracts toward their campaign donors. Notice how nicely this dovetails with the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to make unfettered political contributions:

Voting the bums out won't do much good if there is another rank of bums waiting behind them. This is the system we have created, and I honestly don't know what it will take to change it. What strikes me about this ruling is the utter shamelessness of it -- no one is even bothering to cover their tracks anymore.

I cannot resist quoting the great George Carlin:

Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks.

Maybe we could get a song out of all this politico-criminality, since, as Peter Rozovsky points out, crime songs have a long pedigree:

Sticking with criminals, how about "The 14 Freakiest Serial Killers You've Probably Never Heard Of" -- of whom it might be said, at least they only killed their direct victims; crooked politicians go much wider than that. Thanks to Bill Crider for spotting this post, which is most entertaining. I think someone needs to do more work on The Doodler, since, as the Wikipedia entry on him says, "the slayings have faded into obscurity; very little information is currently available about these crimes"; besides, he sounds like a villain on the Batman TV series.

Michigan Senator Warren G. Hooper was assassinated in 1945 because he "had made the courageous decision to testify in a probe of rampant government corruption" -- those were the days, when a politician would actually make such a decision. The excellent blog CLEWS Your Home for Historic True Crime brings us some details of a story new to me (and the subject of a forthcoming book):

John Kenneth Muir, demonstrating once again the difference between mere reaction to a genre film, and actual criticism that brings out things in it we haven't seen ourselves, illuminates a 2009 crime thriller, A Perfect Getaway, that I liked and now, thanks to Muir, understand much better why I liked:

The location scenery (meant to be Kauai in Hawaii, but shot both there and in Puerto Rico) is quite gorgeous, which added not a little to my overall enjoyment. Tropical views go a long way with me.

Another excellent resource, The Classic TV History Blog, brings us an interview with character actor Tim O'Connor -- you'll recognize his face immediately -- who made his share of crime show episodes:

Novelist Aifric Campbell identifies ten great fictional treatments of people at their jobs -- many of which (cop, realtor, car salesman, spy) can turn criminous on a bad day:

Among notables born on this date are architects Frank Gehry and Elias Holl (Germany), Rolling Stone Brian Jones, cartoonist Milton Caniff, philosophers Jose Vasconcelos (Mexico) and Ernest Renan (France), illustrator John Tenniel, essayist Michel de Montaigne, scientists Linus Pauling and Peter Medawar, poets Stephen Spender and John Montague, children's writer Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket), Irish journalist Padraic O Conaire, film directors Vincente Minnelli, Marcel Pagnol, Otakar Vavra, and Mike Figgis, novelists Ben Hecht, Colum McCann, and Berthold Auerbach (Germany), economist Paul Krugman, Estonian composer Artur Kapp, and actors Gavin MacLeod, Tommy Tune, Bernadette Peters, John Turturro, Mercedes Ruehl, Charles Durning, and Zero Mostel. Those actors are quite a group of award winners/nominees. Let's see -- and this is not comprehensive -- Zero Mostel won two Tonys. Bernadette Peters has won two Tonys (among seven nominations), and a Golden Globe (for Pennies from Heaven). Mercedes Ruehl has an Oscar and a Tony. Gavin MacLeod has five Golden Globe nominations for television work. Charles Durning has a Tony, a Golden Globe, two Oscar nominations, and eight Emmy nominations. John Turturro won Best Actor at Cannes for Barton Fink. And Tommy Tune has won nine (count 'em) Tonys -- two for performance, three for direction, four for choreography.


Unknown said...

I hadn't thought of it, but you're right about The Doodler. He should be in a Batman movie.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for the mention and for the George Carlin quotation. I'm not sure which is the bigger American heresy: to be pessimistic, or to question the wisdom of the people.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Patrick Murtha said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! Peter, I truly enjoy your blog.