— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 21, 2014
Obama’s planned action perverts the meaning of the legal doctrine
“As you listen to the president try to explain himself tonight, you are going to hear a lot about how his plan is just a sensible exercise of prosecutorial discretion — how he is just using the sparse resources Congress gives him to enforce the law in more efficient ways. It will sound unobjectionable — even appealing.
But understand, it will be lawless and an invitation to waves of law-breaking. Obama is not merely prioritizing crimes; he is equating his non-enforcement of congressional statutes with the repeal of those statutes. He is not merely ignoring some lawbreakers so he can pursue others; he is declaring that categories of non-Americans of Obama’s unilateral choosing have a right to break our laws and be rewarded for it.”
Todd McCarthy writes: Mike Nichols is such a great talker, my first desire after reading The Hollywood Reporter’s current skipping-stone account of his theatrical directing career is to buy his own 20-disc recording of the autobiography he unfortunately hasn’t written yet.
My second desire is to see Death of a Salesman before it closes.
My third is to know: Who is Mike Nichols?
As Meryl Streep attests, he always is “the smartest and most brilliant person in the room.” I spent a couple of hours with him many years ago, a memorable encounter that directly led to my first job in Hollywood — as assistant to his former partner, Elaine May. At the time, Nichols was preparing to direct the film version of The Last Tycoon, a project that eventually passed to his self-proclaimed idol, Elia Kazan, while Nichols moved on to The Fortune. This sequence of events didn’t work out well for either of them; it was the end for Kazan, and Nichols didn’t direct another dramatic feature for nearly a decade.
Nichols’ best films, in order:
ANGELS IN AMERICA (2003) Nichols’ distinct talents for stage and screen merge perfectly in this superlative adaptation of one of the great American epic plays. Jeffrey Wright and Al Pacino are out of this world in it.
CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (1971) With a terrific Jules Feiffer script (originally written as a play) and a bold visual style, this bracing study of men’s attitudes toward women is probably the director’s most probing, self-revelatory film.
THE GRADUATE (1967) Still funny and sharp-edged after all these years, it’s one of the great zeitgeist films of the ‘60s or any other era, caricatured, perhaps, but with truth and insight to support it. Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are simply sensational.
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966) Richard Burton remains the standout in Nichols’ vibrant and vital adaptation of one of the seminal American plays, with Haskell Wexler’s mobile, unflattering black-and-white cinematography still a marvel.
WORKING GIRL (1988) This key female empowerment comedy is sheer enjoyment, plain and simple, with Nichols displaying his great skill with actors by making everyone in the variously talented cast look equally good.
And therein lies the first mystery. Why did this golden boy, who had conquered improv, recording, cabaret and Broadway by his early 30s, won an Oscar for his second film and batted .750 in his first four times up to the plate — with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate and Carnal Knowledge all going for extra bases while Catch-22 was a deep fly out to left — suddenly flatline, lose “The Knack” (also the title of a play he successfully directed in the early 1960s) and retreat to Broadway? Read the rest of this entry »
Joe Concha reports; America loves streaks. For our parents and grandparents, it was witnessing (via radio or the morning paper) Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, a record that will likely never be broken. For later generations, it was Cal Ripkenplaying in 2,632 consecutive games — another record that won’t be touched.
“ABC’s story rundowns have been particularly vexing for the past month. If you recall, David Muir‘s newscast also ignored the lead-up to the midterms, not doing one story on it for months until just a few days before the election. By contrast, when Republicans were about to be shellacked in the 2006 midterms, ABC did 36 stories leading up to that election.”
There are streaks in broadcasting as well. The most notable being broken two years ago after ABC’s Good Morning America finally beat NBC’s Today Show after an astounding 852 consecutive weeks at the top, a streak spanning over 16 years.
“Gallup’s latest poll (September) in the media’s ability to report ‘the news fully, accurately, and fairly’ is all-time low of 40%. That’s down 34 points from a Gallup poll taken post-Watergate, when the press actually held those in power accountable.”
But then there are dubious streaks as well, like the one we’re currently witnessing courtesy of those aforementioned big alphabet networks.
The comments of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber have been a big story for the past ten days. Regardless of how you voted or whether you’re team red or blue, an official who worked closely with President Obama and his team on crafting the Affordable Care Act (visiting the Oval Office 19 times to specifically discuss a strategy) and later revealing on multiple occasions that the law was predicated on misleading “stupid” American voters is a story worthy of national attention and scrutiny. Those who don’t believe this are willfully blind, or as stupid as even an MSNBC panel says the White House thinks we all are.
With that in mind, here’s one more streak to chew on: Over the past ten nights, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC’s Nightly News haven’t just buried the story in some throwaway segment late in their respective programs; they haven’t mentioned Gruber or the controversy in any capacity. Some could argue the decision to omit has been made because the news cycle has been heavy on the breaking news front. Except that hasn’t remotely been the case. Read the rest of this entry »
VIENNA— Adam Kredo reports: The U.S. Senate is warning the Obama administration that it is poised to veto a final nuclear deal with the Iranians and impose harsher sanctions on Tehran, according to a letter sent late Wednesday to President Obama.
Nearly half of the Senate has signed onto a letter promising to reject a “weak and dangerous deal” with Iran as final negotiations in Vienna approach their Nov. 24 deadline.
“Your negotiators appear to have disregarded clear expressions from the Senate emphasizing the need for a multi-decade agreements requiring Iran to fully suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities, to dismantle its illicit nuclear infrastructure, and completely disclose its past work on nuclear weaponization.”
The senators warn that the Obama administration is close to inking a deal that will permit Iran to continue the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program and enable Tehran to build a nuclear weapon in the near future, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon and signed by all 43 Republican senators who backed the Mendendez-Kirk sanctions legislation killed earlier this year by the White House.
“We will continue to seek to impose additional pressure on Iran in the months ahead unless Tehran abandons its nuclear ambitions and pursues a genuinely constructive path in its relations with the world.”
The letter was sent to the White House on the heels of forceful comments Wednesday by Iranian leaders insisting that the United States must bow to the country’s “inalienable nuclear rights.”
The senators lash out at Obama for completely ignoring congressional efforts to provide oversight of the deal. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on Variety:
The range of Mike Nichols’ work during his long career was reflected in the outpouring from friends and fans on social media Thursday morning following the news of the director-producer’s death at the age of 83.
Michael Bastasch reports: Want to earn money while on vacation? Go work for the Environmental Protection Agency, which paid eight employees more than $1 million while they were on administrative leave, in some cases for years, according to a government watchdog report.
“EPA claimed that John Beale’s fraud was an anomaly, but EPA has allowed a number of employees to waste millions of taxpayer dollars in the last few years through lax internal controls and substandard management.”
The EPA’s inspector general found that “eight employees totaled 20,926 hours and cost the government an estimated $1,096,868” while on paid leave. Each employee “was on extended administrative leave for four or more months,” the IG reported, adding that “four of the eight employees” were on leave for more than a year.
Not only that, the employees who took huge amounts of leave time also got automatic raises — despite their being paid to do no work.
“The EPA’s major time and attendance issues and management failures are no longer surprising, just pathetic. Reforming their policy will be top of our agenda with the new conservative majority.”
– Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter
The EPA IG’s report comes after an October 2014 Government Accountability Office report that estimated the “salary cost for EPA employees on administrative leave for fiscal years (FYs) 2011 through 2013 was $17,550,100.” GAO found that 69 EPA employees used a month or more of administrative leave — 50 of these employees were on leave for more than three months and two were on leave for over a year. These 69 agency employees took 4,711 days of leave from 2011 to 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
The Kunstmuseum Bern is expected to decide as early as Saturday to accept the estate of the late Cornelius Gurlitt.
BERN, Switzerland— MARY M. LANE reports: A small art museum in the Swiss capital is preparing to take possession of more than 1,000 artworks bequeathed to it by the son of one of Hitler’s main art dealers, unshackling Germany from an embarrassing burden that has weighed on it for a year.
Barring any last-minute legal objections, the Kunstmuseum Bern is expected to decide as early as Saturday to accept the estate of the late Cornelius Gurlitt, according to three people familiar with the museum board’s discussions.
‘When something like this falls into your lap of course you’re going to vote to take it.’
—A person at the Kunstmuseum Bern’s board meetings
That could expedite restitution for heirs of Holocaust victims, many of whom have seen their claims that the art was stolen from their families languish since the existence of the trove was publicly revealed a year ago. For some works, restitution could happen within days if the museum accepts the bequest.
Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ’s special adviser on Holocaust issues, called the prospect “tremendously welcome and wonderful.”
“It was obvious from the start, and a huge source of angst, that accepting the works would fundamentally change the identity of our museum forever.”
The collection includes masterpieces by Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Pierre Auguste-Renoir and was amassed during and shortly after World War II by Mr. Gurlitt’s father, a museum director turned art dealer for Hitler. Historians and lawyers have already concluded the trove contains several pieces stolen from European Jews by the Nazis.
The German government has been quietly urging the museum to accept the art, according to the people familiar with the discussions. Since the existence of the trove was revealed a year ago, Berlin has been under pressure from Holocaust victims’ families as well as the U.S. and Israeli governments to return all stolen pieces to their original owners.
“One of the prime pieces is an Henri Matisse portrait of a creamy-skinned brunette that a German-government appointed group of experts has already determined is looted.”
Mr. Gurlitt unexpectedly bequeathed his estate to the museum shortly before he died May 6 at 81. According to the will Mr. Gurlitt signed on his deathbed, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Kunstmuseum Bern would be required to conduct this research and restitution. Museum director Matthias Frehner has pledged that it would do so if it accepts the bequest.
If the museum were to decline the collection, it would go to Mr. Gurlitt’s distant relatives, who are dispersed in and outside Germany. While his will stipulates that they also return Nazi-looted art, lawyers say there is no way to make sure the multiple heirs conduct such research properly or efficiently outside of going to court, meaning individual cases could drag on for years.
One of the prime pieces is an Henri Matisse portrait of a creamy-skinned brunette that a German-government appointed group of experts has already determined is looted. Read the rest of this entry »
Japanese woman arrested over poisoning late husband, suspected in deaths of half dozen previous partnersPosted: November 19, 2014
Originally posted on National Post | News:
TOKYO — Japanese police arrested a 67-year-old woman whom they suspect poisoned her husband late last year, one of about half a dozen former husbands or partners of the woman who have died.
She has denied involvement in the deaths.
Kyoto prefectural police arrested Chisako Kakehi on Wednesday after cyanide was found in the body of her 75-year-old husband, according to Japanese media reports. They were married one month before he died in December 2013, the reports said.
Kyodo news service said that Kakehi had married four times, and that several partners had died within a few years of marrying her or starting relationships with her.
Kakehi is believed to have inherited more than 100-million yen ($960,000 Cdn.) in assets from the deaths, according to The Japan Times.
Cyanide has also been found in the blood of a 71-year-old partner who fell while riding a minibike in 2012, Kyodo…
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Originally posted on 9to5Mac:
A new report claims that the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, led by veteran screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, is set to change hands. According to Hollywood magazine Deadline, the film will be moving from Sony Pictures to Universal Pictures by tomorrow at the latest. Despite the studio move, production of the movie is expected to remain on the fast track.
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