In the well of understanding

In the well of understanding

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bailout - The Economic Dilemma

The tumult of economic woes persists as Merrill Lynch just stays afloat by brokering a deal to sell themselves to Bank of America and Lehman Brothers flounders with a definitive flourish from Treasury that it will not sanction another unholy bailout marriage at the taxpayers expense. But this latter action creates the atmosphere of a moral dilemma. If Bear Stearns deserved a 29 million dollar sweetner to cuckold JP Morgan Chase, how does Paulson explain away why Lehman Brothers is not suitably worthy? After all the government has been interventionist barely a week past in securing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I suppose the shell game does wear thin as the collapses expand and the neatly erased demarcation between Wall Street, Treasury and the Federal Reserve appears more stark. Of course, the white elephant in the room is the greater ethical query: Why is it that government can find the political will to aid and underwrite the losses of corporations yet utilizes the language of wellfare when it comes to helping Citizens Joe and Jill maintain limb and liberty and stay in their place of residence? Someone should remind the mandarins of economic prowess that even in a card game an ace every now and then does not sustainable policy make. Crumbs from the table of the rich man did not keep Lazarus from death, and all his fine linen and purple garb did not secure the wealthy man the seat of heaven. The train is hellbound, folks; and more revelations will ensue. Watch carefully or you may think that sow's ear they are pulling out of the hat really is a rabbit.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Movie Review: Tell No One, Secrets Live Under The Flesh

Brutality warps the pastoral lull of a romantic evening on an enclosed lake. Dr. Alex Beck (in the person of Francois Cluzet) is assaulted, knocked senseless and awakens to find that his beloved wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) has been murdered by unknown assailants harboring inexplicable motives. After eight years, the morose pediatrician still cannot resolve the questions and a thin thread of guilt which gilds his every horizon; but a chance discovery at that same lake begins the unravelling of a skein which implicates him as a prime suspect and throws doubt that a convicted serial killer was responsible.

Frantically, Beck begins searching for clues as to what really happened and trying to push beyond the veil of darkness enshrouding his memory from that night. He speaks with his wife's parents at their annual gathering to memorialize her death, orders a copy of the autopsy and starts piecing elements of the crime together. He receives mysterious emails which show videos of his wife, possibly in the present. Meanwhile, the investigation is reopened and another violent murder concluded. Beck, accused in both cases and forewarned that the police are about to arrest him, makes a spirited escape and is pursued. The action here is realistic and gritty: the chase on foot by the police lacks the artificial quality found so frequently in films, and once can see from the exertions of Cluzet and several principals of the force how vividly shot this segment must have been.

What is most interesting and engaging about this movie is that all of the characters - Bruno, the street punk Beck turns to for aid, the enterprising defense lawyer, the ambitious DA, the varied personalities of the police, the father-in-law - are not overly pretentious and yet fulfill their roles without a hitch. We are not overstuffed with details concerning each and there is no attempt to resolve all the loose strands, as in life such resolution is often not in the offing. The plots and subplots feel real, feel as if each person is simply living their life in the style and manner consistent with where they are in terms of it.

Fortunately, this extends itself to the principals. Cluzet is nuanced and unstudied. Even as bits of truth wrapped in lies stitched with more truths surface, Beck's morality remains constant. Where it is evident that this morality could conflict his own interest and has in the past, he persists. He cannot be other than what he is and that is a huge draw for the viewer.

Unlike other movies of this genre, it brings in an [effective] use of flashbacks and is as much mystery, romance and despair as thriller. Equal measure is given to all parts, and relationship issues - Beck and Margot at the beginning, Beck's sister (Marina Hands) and her lover (Kristin Scott Thomas) in a heightened exchange, the two police detectives, defense attorney Nathalie Baye and the DA, Bruno and his compatriot - are given full vent, forming a verite which injects believability ubiquitously through the film.

At its denouement, we are left with a bygone memory which quietly whispers that though innocence has been corrupted, it is nonetheless not forgotten.

Quillsby Quip of The Day

Says Sable Quillsby, "This Presidential race is shaping up into a rather wonderful menagerie; we have a black sheep, an old goat, a rouged bulldog and a wizened bison's head: a veritable American Animal Farm. Certainly, the plantation remains in stable hands and on course. Napoleon did you say? Bah! We've got Obamination and McSame serving in execess of 30 billion."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Absurdity in Presidential Politics: Lipstick 101

Well, politics as usual are back in the forefront of the news. Republicans, in a continued attempt to pander for a gender-specific votes, have trenched into the latest nadir of the Presidential season. It is more than dishonest to take a comment obviously intended for one purpose - the pork-barrel repackaging of McCain's economic policies to be inline with the current Bush(whacked) Administration - and slanderously apply it as a red-herring insult to your bullish running mate. One would have to inquire of Maverick McCain how this squares with the carefully cultivated straight-talking image he constantly promulgates as a hallmark of his character; but the hot winds of duplicitous, arrant, self-involved righteousness might be too deafening to penetrate. We should not forget that Governor Palin compared herself in the grand debut to a bulldog wearing lipstick. So should we logically conclude that a self-styled anthropomorphic reference is of lesser injury than another? Especially as the alleged second case was not aimed at the mulish want-to-be VP. Or is the Republican faith so amorphous that things mean only what they mean when they decided in that instance the meaning?

Oops! Now they will be saying that I called her a bull and a mule. Oh, well. Let the absurdity continue. There are a few bestiary allusions I could draw on for all the candidates but I will beg off from maligning the nobility of animals.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Questionable - A Poem

There is always
a question as to
whether I exist:
am I dreaming
this nightmare reality?
do I recognize
this brutish form?
Or am I character
in a post-modern novel?
a fiction of film?
perhaps, I am
the lingering thought
of a lost culture,
an alien seed
planted firmly in
unfamiliar soil;
sometimes I wake
in the dark hours,
wandering and wondering,
whittling away
this unfashioned clay,
trying to conceive
who and what I might be
But only the question
seems to have substance,
and so I relax
into the relapse
of the benumbed mind,
sliding tight the lid
on the crucible
of my uncertain awareness,
and drift into fantasy,
vowing to make myself
whatever I choose to be

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Obama 2008: Vainglory is thy name

Running for high office in our republic (I really choke on the word democracy as we are a republic with democratic values as opposed to a pure democratic society) has always meant men (and women) who seek the laurels of public service (yea,right! neither for the public nor of service) usually have passed their egos at GO on the way to the super ego at Park Place. There is generally a certain arrogance belying even the grandest fashion charades of self-involved humility. Not for nothing is Pomp and Circumstance hauled out and trumpeted at any significant [political] event.

In the unfolding of the Democratic Convention last week, we were treated to the latest brand of solipsistic indulgence. Obama, touting the banner of Change Incarnate, proceeded to select a consummate Washington insider as his Vice Presidential champion. Never mind that those leaders who are fresh in the political realm and inline with his bandied about mantra of hope and renewal (Webb, Kaine and Sebelius among others) were passed over for a milquetoast who barely made a splash in his own bid for the Presidency during the primaries; nor even the glacial cum ice-water drift of his campaign towards more centrist views. His choice confounds the imagination as it is nowhere grounded in reality.

If one were going to select someone who is familiar with internecine labryinths of the national politics, why not choose the woman who nearly matched you in every contest up through the run-up to the convention? Besides the stunning 18 million voters who attached themselves to her camp, Hillary Clinton can deliver purple-robed states which can swing in either direction amidst the political gales churning throughout the country. Of course, if you are focused on winning that would be the smart, if not necessarily easy on a personal level. Once again ego and emptiness trump common sense and competency.

Sure you might have to swallow your gorge and deal with fiery debates within your administration but you would be handed the silver chalice on a velvet pillow. If change were the chief momentum behind Obama's movement, it would be evident that obtaining the gold is worth the sacrifice. Instead we detect the distinct whiff of hubris cloaking inexperienced brinksmanship.

Does anyone have a handkerchief that I can borrow to avoid the stench?