A “career criminal” who allegedly stole two violins from the home of a Los Angeles Philharmonic musician was extradited from France on Friday to face federal charges after trying to sell the instruments to Parisian shops, the FBI said.
Meanwhile, Roman Polanski, who drugged a young girl and anally raped her, is living high on the hog in France — completely safe from extradition.
Unless evidence emerges that he too has stolen a musical instrument! If that happens, all bets are off!
This is an open thread on a hot Friday afternoon, but there are a couple of stories we haven’t mentioned this week that you might like to discuss:
Senator Barbara Boxer got an earful yesterday from Harry C. Alford, the President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerce, when she treated his testimony regarding energy policy and green jobs as equivalent to the opinions of other black organizations and individuals. Boxer seems to think the opinions of all black persons are of equal value regardless of their qualifications or supporting evidence:
Meanwhile, today, Larry Summers had his own awkward moment when he argued the economy must be getting better … because “economic depression” isn’t getting as many hits on Google:
“Of all the statistics pouring into the White House every day, top economic adviser Larry Summers highlighted one Friday to make his case that the economic free-fall has ended.
The number of people searching for the term “economic depression” on Google is down to normal levels, Summers said.”
Isn’t it great to know the Obama Administration’s economic team is on top of really important things like Google searches?
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Also, Walter Cronkite died. His death means little to me, but I know he was an important figure to some. Consider this an open thread on that topic as well — and please withhold any cheap shots.
Boy Genius of the Sorosphere Matt Yglesias and Hullaballoo’s dday rip the Blue Dogs for “inconsistently” opposing a budget-busting “reform” effort while supporting better reimbursement rates for rural hospitals than Medicare rates. The WaPo’s Ezra Klein and dday both attack Sen. Ben Nelson for saying that his constituents don’t want a surtax that would give the US higher tax rates than most every country in the OECD. Klein would also like to establish “Rules For Commenting On The CBO’s Judgments,” the point of which are to argue that anyone relying on the CBO to complain about the cost of the Democrats’ proposals should be required to declare their support for various politically-poisonous agenda items that would bring down the cost of healthcare reform.
Many of their arguments are dubious on their own terms. For example, it is not necessarily inconsistent to argue about overall costs, while insisting on a better deal for one group or another. “Formula fights” are commonplace in Congress. Klein can point Sen. Nelson to polls showing that taxing the rich is not vastly unpopular, but he fails to account for polls showing that people expect the middle-class will get stuck with the bill for healthcare reform. Klein might even want to review his own blog, where he admitted that “health-care reform isn’t simply suffering because the public is overly opposed to some of its revenue raisers. It’s suffering because the public is insufficiently supportive of its core.” Even more fundamental, Klein glosses over the fact that national polls may not accurately reflect the opinion of likely voters in Nebraska, where Nelson likely wants to be re-elected.
That last point goes to the heart of the latest round of screeching from the whine cellars of the Left. The nutroots — and the Juicebox Mafia in particular — would like everyone to pretend that we are an Ivy League debate class, instead of a democratic republic. The latter is a bit more messy, and statists have very little patience for that.
The nutroots chide the Blue Dogs for their supposed inconsistencies, but when poll after poll shows that people want healthcare reform only if they don’t have to pay a meager $500 a year for it, we see that our government fairly reflects the public mood. They insult Sen. Nelson, but I doubt that is very persuasive with Nelson, who likely has more insight into how to retain his job in Nebraska than some 20-something blogger in the Beltway. They would like to impose rules for discussing the CBO’s judgment on the Democrats’ healthcare reform plans. But it is the Democrats who want to remake one-sxith of the US economy, and have majorities in both houses of Congress. They have the power and the agenda. Thus, the burden falls on them to come up with legislation that can make it through the legislative process. The critics can say, to quote Juicebox Mafia guru Jon Stewart, “I am not your monkey.” Despite their best efforts, it is still a relatively free country. We can say whatever the hell we want.
Turns out the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (AARA) was not designed for full economic recovery, but rather to “stabilize” the downturn. That’s the word from White House officials today, who held off-camera briefings with reporters on how the AARA is working so far.
The Insiders doing Ghost on the Beach, here. I actually prefer a song called “Memory Row” but can’t find it.
The epic Songs From the Wood, performed live with skill and panache. In a college modern music class, we were expected to introduce and perform a piece of modern music to the class. I taught myself this on the piano. I’m not sure what the professor thought of that.
The classic and short-lived collection of musical powerhouses known as The Grays, doing Friend of Mine. I’ve missed a lot of good concerts in my time, but at least I saw these guys at the House of Blues. One of the few things I have done right:
BONUS CONCERT (MINI-)REVIEWS
Saw Toad the Wet Sprocket at the Saratoga Winery last weekend. Good show, although guitarist Todd Nichols was clearly sulking about something, and it showed in his grouchy performance, especially at the end. The last time I saw a band getting along this badly, it was the Jayhawks at the Troubador — and they broke up shortly thereafter.
Saw Son Volt and the Cowboy Junkies at the Wiltern last night. Meh. Jay Farrar has to be the least charismatic performer in musical history, and the band’s music has been falling off in quality since their stellar rookie effort. However, the latest album (which I have listened to only once) has promise, and some of the newer songs sounded pretty decent in live performance. However, we were disappointed that the characteristic harmonies were almost totally inaudible — possibly a function of the band’s new lineup. As for the Cowboy Junkies, my repeated entreaties to leave were ignored by Mrs. P. I finally gave up and went to sleep.
BONUS MINI-QUOTE QUIZ:
He’s chameleon, comedian, Corinthian in caricature.
Though we didn’t have a lot
(But) one was quickly bought
Then we built upon this ground something we thought was sound
But in reality was silence
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