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Thursday miscellany

The other night I watched the 1950 Judy Holliday film Born Yesterday. It’s charming for a lot of reasons — not least for it’s naive assumption that there can be something called good, honest government. But one of the characters quotes from a wonderful short piece by historical footnote person Robert G. Ingersoll. The passage, from “After Visiting the Tomb of Napoleon,” is worth repeating:

I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door and the grapes growing purple in the kisses of the autumn sun. I would rather have been that poor peasant with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died out of the sky, with my children upon my knee and their arms about me. I would rather have been that man and gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust than to have been that imperial impersonation of force and murder known as Napoleon the Great.

… or Obama the Mediocre. Or Nixon the Maladjusted. Or Bush the Preposterous. Or Cheney the Machiavellian. Or Clinton the Spymeister. Or Clinton of the notoriously bent weenie …

And so I would ten thousand times.

BTW, another Judy Holliday film, The Solid Gold Cadillac, is one of the unheralded great celebrations of entrepreneurship and honest business dealings. It’s too bad the DVD sells for such an absurd price. But the film can be downloaded inexpensively. Or Netflixed. Yes, it’s a send-up of the corporate world, just as the reviews say. But really, not anti-business; watch and see.

17 Comments

  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 2, 2010 11:47 am

    I occasionally remind people who think a “majority” opinion equals truth… that most people at one time were firmly convinced the earth was flat, and later… that the sun orbited the earth.

    What “everybody knows” is often bogus, and what the majority of the incurious and uninformed “believes” is almost always so.

  2. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth December 2, 2010 11:51 am

    Funny…RawStory’s home page comes through fine, but the service delivering the articles seems to be iffy. I finally got through to the most recent Assange story, but the TSA one has given me two different errors thus far…

  3. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth December 2, 2010 1:24 pm

    Okay, finally got through to the TSA article. Disgusting, si, surprising, no.

    How long you expect it will take before WikiLeaks winds up with content from TSA? Sure, it’s a little domestic-USA-centric for what seems to be their core purpose, but man, wouldn’t that be fun and timely?

  4. Claire
    Claire December 2, 2010 1:54 pm

    Sorry you had trouble getting there, Kevin. I checked the page after your first post and couldn’t duplicate the problem. The ‘Net. It can be funny at times. Sigh.

    Still … I think it would be excellent if WikiLeaks published insider documents from the TSA! Wish they would/could. And I don’t think at all that it’s too USA-centric for them. After all, the U.S. has been trying to impose its phony ideas of security (and its expensive nude-o-scope equipment) on countries all over the world. It would do more than just hurt Mr. Chertoff’s pockets if it turned out that the DHS knew all along that … oh, their machines were saving images … or that the radiation dosages weren’t as “safe” as they keep telling us.

    BTW, I’m not sure whether this is for real or not. It’s almost too Hollywoody to be true. But this is where WkiLeaks supposedly moved their data after Amazon bounced them

    Can’t blame Amazon too much — not after that powerful hyper-authoritarian Lieberman threatened them. Still …

  5. Samuel Adams
    Samuel Adams December 2, 2010 2:36 pm

    McDonalds got a bailout? McDonalds? What, are they “too big to fail”? Does Michael Moore know this?

  6. Claire
    Claire December 2, 2010 3:03 pm

    I don’t know. But perhaps Moore and Morgan Spurlock can discuss the matter over a SuperSize Happy Meal.

    Yeah … The thought of McDonalds asking for, let alone getting, an “emergency” loan from the Fed is so ridiculous. It makes me want to go out, spend myself into a frenzy of debt, then ask the Fed to rescue me.

  7. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth December 2, 2010 3:27 pm

    Ha! Yeah, that fortress does look pretty impressive. Maybe they’re working on a remake of Wargames? (Hell, anything that raises the consciousness of “the only winning move is not to play” concept is just fine by me. 🙂

  8. Claire
    Claire December 2, 2010 6:04 pm

    “Maybe they’re working on a remake of Wargames?”

    LOL — great minds! that was exactly my thought when I first saw the pix.

  9. Sam
    Sam December 4, 2010 10:50 am

    I dunno. Some of those photos look more like CGI. Someone running a con?

  10. captgooch
    captgooch December 4, 2010 7:42 pm

    “Hmm, wikileaks.org isn’t loading right now.” from OpenDNS

    Does anyone have the digital version [numeric version] so that a person could toss $10 to the only international freedom fighter with pockets deep enough to play in the big leagues ?

    Stay Safe all

  11. captgooch
    captgooch December 4, 2010 7:58 pm

    Sorry to keep jumping in and out I suppose I should have gotten all of my uhm … ducks together [in line] before I started my response .. huh ?

    Here is what is over there for anyone interested:

    There are four ways to donate:

    1. Donate to Julian Assange Defence Fund
    2. Online Transfer via Credit Card
    3. Bank Transfer [option 1: everyone]
    4. Bank Transfer [option 2: tax deductible in Germany]
    5. Paypal via Wau Holland Foundation
    6. Postal Mail

    1. Julian Assange Defence Fund

    Please donate directly to the Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund. These funds will be used exclusively for defence costs

    To donate please do an electronic bank transfer (EFT) to:

    PostFinance
    SWISS POST
    Account number: 91-765019-6
    IBAN:CH55 0900 0000 9176 5019 6
    BIC:POFICHBEXXX
    Account name:Assange Julian Paul, Geneve
    Address::Swiss Post
    PostFinance
    Engehaldenstrasse, 37
    3030
    Bern, Switzerland

    2. Online Transfer via Credit Card

    Using our friendly credit card processing partner Datacell Switzerland.
    [ https://donations.datacell.com/ ]

    3. Bank Transfer – Option 1: via Sunshine Press Productions ehf:

    Skulagötu 19, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
    Landsbanki Islands Account number 0111-26-611010
    BANK/SWIFT:NBIIISREXXX
    ACCOUNT/IBAN:IS97 0111 2661 1010 6110 1002 80

    4. Bank Transfer – Option 2: via the not-for-profit Wau Holland Stiftung Foundation:

    This support is tax deductible in Germany
    Bank Account: 2772812-04
    IBAN: DE46 5204 0021 0277 2812 04
    BIC Code: COBADEFFXXX
    Bank: Commerzbank Kassel
    German BLZ: 52040021
    Subject: WIKILEAKS / WHS Projekt 04

    5. PayPal via Wau Holland Foundation

    We don’t accept paypal donations anymore. And here is why:
    [ http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/paypal_announces_it_will_no_longer_handle_wikileak.php ]

    6. Via Postal Mail

    You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to:

    WikiLeaks
    (or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country)
    BOX 4080
    Australia Post Office – University of Melbourne Branch
    Victoria 3052
    Australia

  12. Claire
    Claire December 5, 2010 8:03 am

    captgooch,

    Thank you for doing all that hunting and posting. Since WikiLeaks has been so up-and-down lately, as commercial operations abandon it and attackers go after it, here (via Wendy McElroy) is a site that tracks where Wikileaks and its mirrors can be found: http://www.gonzotimes.com/2010/12/how-to-access-wikileaks/.

    Keep those IP addresses handy …

  13. George Potter
    George Potter December 9, 2010 9:36 am

    Claire —

    Your mention of BORN YESTERDAY reminded me of a movie recommendation I’ve been meaning to make. I was turned on to it by our ‘mutual friend in Missouri’ and he and I spent one fine day analyzing it and rewatching scene after wonderful scene:

    THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE (1948) Starring the immortal James Cagney, William Bendix, and (in an absolutely STUNNING, tour-de-force performance that has been shamefully ignored for too long) James Barton. Adapted from William Saroyan’s Pulitzer winning play, directed with grand style and energy by H.C. Potter, and shot in glorious black and white by James Wong Howe.

    Without exaggerating, I think it may well be the most entertaining, funny, and un-apologetic statement of libertarian philosophy I’ve ever seen. I recommend it unreservedly. 🙂

  14. Claire
    Claire December 9, 2010 12:09 pm

    Thanks, George (and good to “talk” with you again. I just Netflixed The Time of Your Life and moved it to the top of my queue.

    I also see there’s a 1976 remake. Know anything about the quality of that?

    I loved William Saroyan when I was an adolescent and first discovering good literature. Saroyan, Steinbeck, and John O’Hara (to a lesser extent) were my big eye-openers to the whole world of good writing (outside of science fiction, which I’d discovered to my wonderment a few years earlier). If this is a decent adaptation of his work, I’ll love it.

  15. George Potter
    George Potter December 9, 2010 12:44 pm

    Nope, Claire — no clue on the 70’s remake. There was a ’58 staging with Jackie Gleason (and James Barton reprising his brilliant role) that both our friend in MO and myself are eager to see.

    It’s the Barton role that truly flabbergasted me — a genial storyteller, always broke, who pays for his beer with tall-tales and stories. I’m not so pretentious not to recognize my own self when seen on the screen. :p He’s credited as a ‘Cigar Store Indian Fighter’ and his introductory scene is one of the most fantastic combinations of physical acting and brilliant line readings I’ve ever seen. I’m glad you netflixed it — the free download I mentioned above, while watchable, sort of ruins Howe’s glorious deep-focus cinematography.

    And wonderful to talk to you again as well. 🙂

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