I just want to say one word to you – just one word –

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Film-noir isn't dead its just reinventing itself. Certainly comedy has changed since Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant chased a leopard in Bring Up Baby in 1938, why not widen the the genre that is possibily the most American of film genres, bring on suburban high-school film-noir Rian Johnson's Brick, reviewed here by Michael Atkinson. You don't have to strach the surface very hard in high school or suburbia to see a world of existentialism. In high school especially one of the most self-asked questions is about the real me versus perceptions and actions, the what is my place in the universe moments that tend to punctuate the average week. Though by the time the high-schooler becomes the suburbanite, the question sometimes becomes how did I get here and is this all there is.The official site for Brick and the Quicktime trailer.

We're given little reason for hope at the outset, with a found corpse and a brooding loner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) contemplating grief and guilt. Flashing back, Gordon-Levitt's Brendan, bitterly nursing heartbreak like a good Bogart, is lured into his ex-girlfriend's drug-dealing-hophead troubles with a single mysterious phone call; thereafter, he reconnoiters, figuring out "who she's been eating with," how deeply she was involved with local drug kingpin The Pin (Lukas Haas), and why she was killed. Every step of the process is a deft shadow of noir logic—just showing up at the right party, or beating the tar out of the right thug, sends unspoken messages to "the right people," and Brendan's relationship with the SoCal high school's law-and-order dean (Richard Roundtree) wittily echoes the shamus-cop intercourse of scores of postwar thrillers.

Stalinism Forever

We are using Stalin's methods again, this time to fight terrorism. I am writing for this American newspaper on a subject that one can no longer write about in Russia — islamskiy terrorizm, or Islamic terrorism cases. There are hundreds of such cases going through the courts in our country. Most of them have been fabricated by the government so that the special services can demonstrate how "effective" Russia is in fighting terrorism and so that President Vladimir Putin has something with which to impress the West.

Close examination of these cases shows that many interrogation records have been tampered with and that the documents containing so-called honest confessions were obtained through the torture of innocent suspects who are being punished for the crimes of Chechen separatist Shamil Basayev.

Looks like Putin and Bush have more in common then having a top down authoritarian approach to government.

Ex-DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty in Lobby Case

A former top aide to Representative Tom DeLay pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he accepted thousands of dollars in illegal gifts, including money funneled through a consulting firm he set up with his wife and travel by private jet to California, in return for influencing legislation on behalf of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Tony Rudy, a aide to Representative Tom Delay, leaving Federal Court in Washington after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
Related Text: Charges and Plea Agreement (pdf)

The plea agreement by the aide, Tony Rudy, a lobbyist who was Mr. DeLay's deputy chief of staff from 1998 to 2000 and one of his closest advisers, makes Mr. Rudy the second former DeLay aide to admit wrongdoing in the corruption investigation centered on Mr. Abramoff.

I'm genuinely cautious of the fallacy of guilt by association. People that you see everyday can hide certain kinds of nefarious behavior for years; when that behavior is exposed that certainly doesn't mean that you knew or participated. Yet as Josh Marshall points out, the people that are being charged and convicted around Delay weren't just friends, they worked together, they all had common goals. So run down the list.

Key DeLay-wired lobbyist Jack Abramoff — convicted felon.

Michael Scanlon, former DeLay aide and spokesman — convicted felon.

Tony Rudy, former DeLay deputy chief of staff — convicted felon.

Ed Buckham, former DeLay Chief of Staff and pastor — implicated in Rudy's plea, up front costs for lobby shop funded by Abramoff clients, helped funnel Russian oil-KGB money to DeLay, Inc.

Spokesman, Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief of Staff. A few aides here and a few aides there, and pretty soon you've got a whole org chart.

It is possible that Delay had no clue what those closest to him were doing. Let's say that is the case, then maybe what Delay is guilty of is incredibily negligent oversight of his staff. So even under the best possible light is Tom Delay really qualified to represent the people of Texas or be House Majority Leader.

MR. MCQUIRE
Ben – I just want to say one word to
you – just one word –

BEN
Yes, sir.

MR. MCQUIRE
Are you listening?

BEN
Yes I am.

MR. MCQUIRE
(gravely)
Plastics.

They look at each other for a moment.

BEN
Exactly how do you mean?

MR. MCQUIRE
There is a great future in plastics.
Think about it. Will you think
about it?

BEN
Yes, I will.

from the screenplay THE GRADUATE by Buck Henry