And Happy 82nd Birthday to the Professor.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This must be parody, right?
Two years after the onset of the financial crisis, the stock market is recovering and Wall Street’s moneyed elite are breathing easier again. And this means in some cases they are spending again — at times cautiously, but sometimes with a familiar swagger.Guess not.
It’s true that firms scaled back the corporate excesses, like fancy retreats and private jets, for which they were vilified as a brutal recession gripped the country. Many of those constraints remain in place, like flying commercial on business trips, or more limited private car service for employees.
But when it comes to personal indulgences, there are signs that the wallets are beginning to open up. Traders and executives say that jobs seem much more secure. Businesses whose fortunes ebb and flow with the financial markets are thriving again.
“Wall Street is back spending as much if not more than before,” said the New York cosmetic surgeon Dr. Francesca J. Fusco, whose business is booming again after a difficult few years.
Christie’s auction house says investors from the financial world who fell out of the bidding market during the 2008 credit crisis are “pouring” back in.
Expensive restaurants report a pickup in bookings. At the Porter House restaurant in the Time Warner Center across from Central Park, the head chef, Michael Lomonaco, says business is up about 10 percent over a year ago and “people are starting to shake off what happened.” The restaurant is a favorite of A-list Wall Street executives, including Goldman Sachs’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein.
Real estate agents say Wall Street executives have already begun lining up rentals in the Hamptons for next summer. Dolly Lenz of Prudential Douglas Elliman said the bidding this year was “hotter and heavier” than previous years. “There is a passion now in the market I haven’t seen in a while,” she said.
She said her clients, almost exclusively from Wall Street, were afraid to lose out. Just recently, Ms. Lenz said, she had three people bidding more than $400,000 for a summer rental in Southampton.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Each man trying to outrun his past, by returning to it: David Janssen at his warmest and most intimate; and a middle-aged Mickey Rooney, very special. "This'll Kill You" from January 18, 1966.
TV noir at its best, directed by Alex March. (With the young and luscious Nita Talbot.)
TV noir at its best, directed by Alex March. (With the young and luscious Nita Talbot.)
Posted by EJK at 1:30 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010
A piece of toilet-buildup by the name of Michael Bloomberg -- nominally the Mayor of what was once the greatest and most human city in the world -- made these announcements yesterday:
10,000 New York City jobs will be eliminated between now and the end of next yearBloomberg bleated that these "hard choices" were made because of a $3 billion budget gap -- a gap he could pay for out of his own dirty pocket and still have $15 billion left over.
6,200 of these are public school teachers (an announcement made only days after appointing former Hearst Magazines pimp Cathie Black as NYC Schools Chancellor, a woman with no experience in education or anything else human)
Hundreds of jobs eliminated from the Administration for Children's Services
$20 million cut from the already devastated library system, once the greatest in the world
Several thousand student summer jobs gone
$20 million cut from the Department of Cultural Affairs
The closing of the Department for the Aged
2,000 jobs eliminated from the Department of Parks and Recreation
The closing of two-dozen fire stations (inner city fire stations, of course)
A one-third cut in funding for public school vacation programs
Almost 1,000 jobs eliminated from the Departments of Transportation and Finance
The New York City Police Department, of course, was untouched.
And Wall Street soared. . . .
Monday, November 15, 2010
The best book so far written on the Kennedy Assassination, and the best book on John F. Kennedy himself. Originally published by the small and brave Catholic house of Orbis Press, Simon & Schuster -- amazingly enough -- bought the paperback rights and brought it out last month, promoting the book and author Jim Douglass in a wide-ranging nationwide tour.
As I wrote upon the book's initial release:
In Kennedy's murder by the forces of the Unspeakable, a contemporary crucifixion, Douglass sees meaning beyond the resulting Vietnam genocide, beyond the takeover of our society by back-stabbers, soul-crushers and ghouls, beyond the shifting of cultural meaning toward something hideously empty and narcissistic -- meaning in the symbol of a man willing to die for his beliefs, for his (in Douglass's term) "turning." One can argue with this, for at the heart of Douglass's profoundly spiritual argument, there is something anti-political: rather than viewing John Kennedy's murder as a political and economic act by men who saw themselves only in those terms, we experience it through Douglass's writing as a modern day Stations of the Cross. First Station: Kennedy refuses war with Laos. Second Station: Kennedy refuses invasion and air attacks during the Bay of Pigs; Third Station: Berlin Wall goes up, Kennedy lets it stand. Etc. It is an agony, as we follow Kennedy's turning and his movement toward the Golgotha of Dallas.
So what do we do? Much can be said for acceptance and a belief in transcendence, a belief in Grace. But as Jack Kennedy said: "Here on earth, God's work must truly be our own." Do we let this crucifixion stand? Do we accept the vampires now in almost total control? Do we try to protect a man who may soon be experiencing his own turning, Barack Obama? [Not necessary.] Do we take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them? Can they ever be ended here on earth? Do we let Catholicism be defined by Hitler-Jugend Joseph Ratzinger, the man who led the war against Liberation Theology? Do we let Christianity be defined by Tim LaHaye and his life-haters?
Such questions. That "JFK and the Unspeakable" forces us to ask them marks the Douglass book as a rare and beautiful masterpiece, one I'll be going back to many times through the years.
The great Jim Douglass spoke of his work in a brilliant and very moving speech in Seattle, Washington, late 2008.
Posted by EJK at 9:14 AM
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Meanwhile, the Nobel Peace Laureate announces a $5,000,000,000 arms sale to the Corporate Outsourcing Cesspool known as the government of India. This on the heels of last month's $60,000,000,000 arms deal -- the largest in human history -- made with the exquisite democracy of Saudi Arabia. In US federal court Monday, Obama's minions argued for his right to murder anyone on earth (in particular American citizens) at any time, anywhere, for any reason. And Obama has lifted a 12-year ban -- a restriction which survived the Bush/Cheney years -- on US funding of Kopassus -- the death squads of his old homeland of Indonesia.
And about that Afghanistan withdrawal. . . and those Bush tax cuts. . . and the Obama Cat Food Commission. . .
Absolute fucking nightmare.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Maybe what’s happening in America today will seem funny to some other culture in some future time—how it happened that in the depths of America’s decline, Liberals, the great opposition to everything mean and ruthless in this culture, couldn’t muster up a get-together for anything better than a mock-in. Led by a clown.All of it.
I confess, I couldn’t hack it. I came to the rally–saw those two pastry chefs from the Mythbusters show get all the Liberal Elites to hold a post-modern human wave, an ironic human wave allowing all the self-conscious Liberal Elites to play like Real America, while salvaging their vanity because it was all ironic and post-modern… And to make sure that everyone knew they were not really human-waving but rather meta-human-waving, the Mythbusters duo deconstructed the human wave. And all the Liberal Elites smiled and laughed knowingly, because all 150,000 were in on the biggest inside-joke wankathon in American history. And that was it for me–I was outta there.
A century-old ideological movement, Liberalism: once devoted to impossible causes like ending racism and inequality, empowering the powerless, fighting against militarism, and all that silly hippie shit—now it’s been reduced to besting the other side at one-liners…and to the Liberals’ credit, they’re clearly on top. Sure there are a lot of problems out there, a lot of pressing needs—but the main thing is, the Liberals don’t look nearly as stupid as the other guys do. And if you don’t know how important that is to this generation, then you won’t understand what’s so wrong and so deeply depressing about the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity.
That’s what makes this rally so depressing and grotesque: It’s an anti-rally, a kind of mass concession speech without the speech–some kind of sick funeral party for Liberalism, in which Liberals are led, at last, by a clown. Not a figurative clown, but by a clown–and Liberals are sure that this somehow makes them smarter and less lame–and indeed, they are less lame, because they are not taking themselves too seriously, which is something they’re very, very proud of. All great political struggles and ideological advances, all great human rights achievements were won by clown-led crowds of people who don’t take themselves too seriously, duh! That’s why they’re following a clown like Stewart, whose entire political program comes down to this: not being stupid, the way the other guys are stupid–or when being stupid, only stupid in a self-consciously stupid way, which is to say, not stupid. That’s it, that’s all this is about: Not to protest wars or oligarchical theft or declining health care or crushing debt or a corrupt political system or imperial decay—nope, the only thing that motivates Liberals to gather in the their thousands is the chance to celebrate their own lack of stupidity! Woo-hoo!
Posted by EJK at 6:00 AM