Archive for April, 2006
27 Apr 2006

Atlas Shrugged To Be Filmed

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Pamela McClintock reports in Variety

Ayn Rand’s most ambitious novel may finally be brought to the bigscreen after years of false starts.

Lionsgate has picked up worldwide distribution rights to “Atlas Shrugged” from Howard and Karen Baldwin (Ray), who will produce with John Aglialoro.

As for stars, book provides an ideal role for an actress in lead character Dagny Taggart, so it’s not a stretch to assume Rand enthusiast Angelina Jolie’s name has been brought up. Brad Pitt, also a fan, is rumored to be among the names suggested for lead male character John Galt.

“Atlas Shrugged,” which runs more than 1,100 pages, has faced a lengthy and circuitous journey to a film adaptation.

The Russian-born author’s seminal tome, published in 1957, revolves around the economic collapse of the U.S. sometime in the future and espouses her individualistic philosophy of objectivism. The violent, apocalyptic ending has always posed a challenge but could prove especially so in the post-9/11 climate.

Howard Baldwin said some people have pigeonholed “Atlas” as better suited for a miniseries. That’s why he sometimes pondered turning “Atlas” into two movies. In fact, a two-part script penned by James V. Hart (Contact) for the Baldwins envisions “Atlas” as two pics, although it’s likely to be reworked.

For years, producer Al Ruddy tried to make Rand’s definitive book into a movie, attracting the interest of Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway at one point.

But while Rand was still alive, she had script approval, complicating the process. After the author’s death in 1982, Ruddy continued his efforts and, in 1999, he inked a pactpact to produce “Atlas” as a miniseries for TNT. Ultimately, the deal faltered.

In 2003, the Baldwins acquired the film rights to the novel from Aglialoro, a New York businessman, after launching Crusader Entertainment with Philip Anschutz. Hart was hired at that time to adapt.

Anschutz, however, ultimately decided not to make the movie.

The Baldwins then took the project with them when they left Crusader and formed the Baldwin Entertainment Group.

“What we’ve always needed was a studio that had the same passion for this project that we and John have,” said Baldwin,

Generally speaking, Lionsgate keeps production budgets below $25 million. “Atlas” is likely to cost north of $30 million, but the studio will reduce its exposure through international pre-sales and co-financing partners. Actors would likely take less money upfrontupfront — a common practice for the indie.

Rand’s individualistic and character-driven stories have captured the imagination of Hollywood before. Warner Bros. made “The Fountainhead,” starring Gary Cooper as the maverick architect Howard Roark, in 1949.

Oliver Stone was attached to direct a remake of “Fountainhead” for Warner Bros. and Paramount, but the project has languished in development. Along the way, Pitt expressed interest in playing Roark.

Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart? We can all look forward to the love scene with Francisco on the railroad tracks.

27 Apr 2006

The Coming Impeachment of George W. Bush

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Christopher Caldwell in The Spectator is predicting that the impending Republican loss of the House will bring Impeachment from a gesture by the democrat party’s activist extreme to actual application by a newly empowered House majority.

Until recently, the move to impeach Bush was confined to the Democratic party’s cranky fringe. The city council of Santa Cruz, California, the country’s marijuana Mecca, has urged the President’s impeachment since his first term. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has recommended an impeachment inquiry, as have Democratic parties in Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin. So have the retired Manhattanites who style themselves the Vermont State Legislature, and the village of Nederland, Colorado, a member in good standing of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns. Neil Young has released a song called ‘Impeach the President’. Being able to express one’s views on such matters is ‘what this country’s all about’, says Mr Young, a Canadian. Ramsey Clark, a veteran of both Lyndon Johnson’s cabinet and Saddam Hussein’s legal defence team, has his own impeachment website.

Ordinarily, you need a crime to remove a president from office. But the question of what one should impeach Bush for has not preoccupied his opponents unduly. Most often the charges levelled involve Iraq and the war on terror. Bush lied to get the country into war, say his detractors. He countenances torture. His plan for warrantless wiretaps of al-Qa’eda has compromised the privacy of countless ordinary Americans who receive calls in Arabic via portable satellite phone from tribal areas of the Hindu Kush.

But since last winter the movement to be rid of Bush by extra-democratic means has won converts among intellectuals — including former Harper’s magazine editor Lewis Lapham and the Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe — and in the Democratic party’s mainstream. Al Gore now seldom gives a speech in which he does not allude to the wiretaps. At a Christmas party in Finn McCool’s, a bar near the US Senate, John Kerry told several veterans of his 2004 campaign, ‘If we win back the House, I think we have a pretty solid case to bring articles of impeachment against this President.’

Get ready for an ugly 2007.

27 Apr 2006

Juan Non-Volokh Identity to be Revealed


Readers are being invited to post their guesses.


Hat Tip to Brian Hughes.

27 Apr 2006

Michelle’s Wrong on This One

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Michelle Malkin is posting this morning opposing amnesty for illegal aliens. Sorry, Michelle, I don’t agree with you for once.

Immigration policy is a classic example of the kind of issue America simply cannot handle rationally.

It’s just like Prohibition and Drug Control. Nice people want to have a drink themselves before dinner, but you know what problems result from letting those workingmen waste their paychecks on beer down at the saloon. Of course, we all smoked a little weed in our day, but how could we walk the streets safely if we didn’t imprison vast numbers of poor minority group members for drugs? Besides, we don’t want our children’s academic success compromised by experimenting with marijuana. They might become pothead slackers. Of course, we want our lawns mowed, and we naturally enjoy the low prices resulting from the availability of cheap labor, but we don’t want all those Mexicans all over the place. Can’t they just go home to Guadalajara when they’ve finished the yard work?

We have a fine tradition of hypocrisy in this country going right back to the Pilgrim Fathers who settled Massachusetts Bay. Americans want to have it both ways. We all want the hard work and the stoop labor done by somebody else. (We’re certainly not going to do it.) And we want affordable services from cheap labor. We just don’t want all those funny-looking riff raff foreigners hanging around spoiling our views. So we demand that the politicians get to work, and pass some laws, which we still really don’t want enforced.

When –as happened with Prohibition– the law proves impossible to enforce, and the law becomes a joke, the answer is to get rid of the law we’re all collaborating in breaking, not redouble our efforts to enforce the inconvenient law.

Illegal Latin Americans working in the United States are illegal because we have unrealistic immigration quotas (which fail to recognize our national need for labor), and the barrers are just too high. What Bush thinks in private, and at present doesn’t dare say out loud, is perfectly correct. We need to legalize the status of everybody already here, and we need to change the rules to make immigration easier to do legally. And don’t give me any of that sanctimonious statist stuff about how it’s wrong to “reward breaking the law.” We Americans have lots of stupid laws, and we break them all the time. Do you always drive 55 mph, Michelle?

This is a country that has major public debates over how we handle the Korans we supply to incarcerated terrorists, and you think we’re going to kick in doors, handcuff, and forcibly expel millions of hard-working people who are here doing all of our most unpleasant jobs at the lowest wages? It’s never going to happen, and – of course – it shouldn’t happen.

26 Apr 2006

Why Don’t We Just Hang Them?

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Black Jack Ketchum 1901

Today’s New York Times editorial mendaciously asserts that the widely-adopted contemporary approach to execution featuring lethal injection, like all other forms of capital punishment, is “unconstitutional.” The editorialist is clearly historically illiterate. They executed convicted felons in every single one of the 13 states at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

The same authority ascribes cruelty to lethal injection, on the basis that Human Rights Watch has declared that “there is mounting evidence that prisoners may have experienced excruciating pain during their executions.” One wonders exacty what that mounting evidence might be, since no reports of executed murderers coming back to complain have been so far appeared in the newspapers.

But, if lethal injection is too cruel for liberals, there is an obvious answer.

26 Apr 2006

Looking at Global Warming

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Manga Author James D. Hudnall examines the problem, and concludes what’s going wrong is located not in the Earth’s atmosphere, but between the ears of a sizeable segment of the contemporary human community.

America became the pre-eminent super power after WWII with the invention of the atomic bomb. We used the bomb on two cities in Japan. Having killed so many people, so easily, had a double edged impact. It made people confident in American supremacy. It also made people afraid that it could happen to them. Then scare stories about the effects or radiation came out. Suddenly, the public came to worry that science had gone to far and we had opened a pandora’s box.

Popular culture began to churn out stories about mankind creating monsters by fooling around with science and the power of the atom. In addition to this, the holocaust forced the culture to look honesty at discrimination, which resulted in social upheavals in the form of various civil rights movements. The Vietnam war, the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and Watergate made a generation question the government. People started looking for reasons to doubt everything because the reality they had previously accepted was thrown into turmoil.

Previous to all these events, most Americans had a positive view of their society. The Europeans looked at us favorably. But things began to change.

Around this time, the environmental movement began to form. Among the many causes they championed was the reduction in air pollution. The concern was what it was doing to people’s lungs. How it was effecting the environment. At some point the theory of the greenhouse effect was born, and it was considered mostly a good thing. Because CO2, a greenhouse gas, is beneficial to plant life. But then the environmental movement became a big money making machine. The EPA was formed by President Nixon and began to grow exponentially in size. To justify this, it found more and more excuses to engage in every aspect of society. Government grants to study environmental issues soon became a great way for scientists to make a living. A whole industry blossomed around it. To justify their grants, some scientists looked for things to scare politicians, so they could keep that grant money flowing.

The Green movement is ironically named.

And to keep the green rolling in, they had to concoct crises to frighten the public with. In the 1960s it was pesticides. In the 1970s it was Nuclear Power plants. In the 1980s it was the Ozone Hole. In 1990s it was global warming.



26 Apr 2006

Our Future: Flying Steerage-Class (Courtesy of Airbus)

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Yesterday’s Times reports Airbus has been trying to persuade Asian carriers that stand-up flying is the next solution to enhanced profitability.

Fausta denounces the idea.

And Airbus tells CNN, no, we wouldn’t think of such a thing, not us.

Perfidious, aren’t they?


Hat tip to Franco Alemán.

26 Apr 2006

German Brothel Threatened by Angry Muslims

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The sex industry, which is legal in Germany, is anticipating a bonanza of lonely customers from abroad, travelling to attend the World Cup soccer tournament taking place June 9 to July 9. So the Pascha Brothel in Cologne, which boasts of being the largest bordello in Europe and the only business of its kind to offer a money-back guarantee to dissatisfied customers, wanting to welcome customers from all 32 participating countries, placed a 9-story tall advertising poster on its high-rise building, featuring a smiling blonde removing her bikini, above the flags of all 32 countries, captioned with a paraphrased version of the official motto: “The World as a Guest Among Girlfriends.”

Well, the sons of the Prophet were not amused. The BBC reports that Brothel-owner Armid Lobscheid told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper that Muslim groups accused the brothel of insulting Islam:

He said they had accused the brothel of insulting Islam by using the flags.

First there were telephone threats of violence, then about 30 hooded protesters armed with knives and sticks turned up outside Pascha on Friday, the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper reported.

“The situation was explosive,” Mr Lobscheid told the paper.

“Some of the people compared our ad to the Danish Mohammed cartoons,” he said, referring to cartoons which sparked violent protests in several Muslim countries in February.

German brothel-keepers are no more courageous on the average than the management of Borders, of course, so the flags of first Saudi Arabia and later Iran were obligingly blacked out.

25 Apr 2006

Mary O. McCarthy: Another Clue

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Ray McGovern

It looked suspicious to me this morning when I read Rick Moran‘s explanation of just who is representing Mary O. McCarthy. The mere presence of that particular counsel suggested strong ties to the strategic and financial wellsprings of the democratic left.

We had already seen Larry Johnson, Rand Beers, and Larry Wilkerson rush to McCarthy’s defense. And now here comes no less than Ray McGovern himself, chief spokesman of VIPs, the public face of the Anti-Bush Intel Operation, defending her on PBS.


The ever-expanding roster of Pouting Spooks appearing out of the woodwork to defend La McCarthy’s God-given Constitutional right to register personal dissent from White House policies by dispensing National Security secrets to the Press would appear further to hint darkly about the lady’s personal and professional associations and ties.

Hat tip to AJStrata

25 Apr 2006

Leftism-Which-Astounds Award

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Today’s award for Leftism-which-Astounds goes to Keith Uhlich, who reviews films non-commercially (meaning nobody pays him) on several web-sites, including Slant Magazine. Uhlich did not like Universal Studios’ new 9/11 film United 93.

First of all, he didn’t like the film’s emotional direction.

It’s pornography, really, a kind of somber sub-Bruckheimer sideshow that stokes our anger instead of stroking our libidos, all building to an inexorable and anticlimactic cum shot—a sound-deprived descent into black—that does nothing more than empty us of any kind of constructive emotion. We’re constantly told to “never forget,” but on the evidence of United 93 I have to ask what it is, exactly, we’re being asked to remember beyond a Pavlovian sort of rage that constantly and deceptively folds back on itself?

But, worse:

while the stench of death and dread permeates every frame of United 93, it is nowhere near as strong as the stink of synergy. Certainly this isn’t the first Hollywood production done in by the competing corporate and personal interests that funded it (consider the unspoken implications—both commercial and propagandistic—of the film’s last-minute title change from Flight 93 to United 93), but it is the only one I’ve come across where the families of those onboard gave it their full-on approval. Not all the families, of course. All evidence suggests that the terrorists’ relatives were left entirely out of the creative process, an action which goes a way toward revealing the film’s hagiographic bias (how easy it then becomes to turn victims into heroes and adversaries into monsters) and points up the general ridiculousness of involving the families in the first place (too many cooks spoiling an already rancid broth).

What could be worse than a film which provokes emotions of sympathy for your own murdered countrymen, and indignation at the actions of fanatical mass murders? Films ought to be instructing the audience to identify with the viewpoint of the enemy, and blaming American corporations and the US Government. NYU obviously succeeded in training Mr. Uhlich to believe that the only proper response to enemy attack is treason.

Hat tip to LGF.

25 Apr 2006

Bible Rap

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Baby Got Book — Rap, Evangelical-Christian-style. I haven’t got much use for Religion or Rap personally, but thought it was funny.

25 Apr 2006

More McCarthy Background

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Hot Air has assembled a very handy primer of background information.

If she’s innocent, it seems a curious coincidence that she’s got such a high-powered democrat party defense attorney defending her.

H/T to Michelle Malkin.

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