When I heard Milton Friedman had died, I rejoiced. And then I read that he was 94 and died in the bosom of his loving family. Surely he, if anyone, deserved an earlier and more uncomfortable death? The father of the Chicago Boys and godfather of Pinochet?
And now Robert Altman is dead, at 81. Why couldn’t he have lived to 94? Then maybe we could have been spared 13 years of Friedman, quite apart from the obvious benefits of Altman sticking around until 2019?
I’m a big fan of Altman’s, although I confess I’ve never seen some of his films, like McCabe and Mrs Miller, and barely remember others, like Popeye and Gosford Park. When I use the term Altmanesque, it means more than one thing. There are the big movies with lots of characters and interlocking plots, if they’re plots, like MASH, Nashville, Short Cuts, Kansas City, Cookie’s fortune, and my personal favourites, which got pretty short shrift in the NYT obit, A wedding and Pret a porter. But then there are those amazing films with five characters and one set – Streamers and Come back to the five and dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. Of course the dude also made what I think of as conventional films like The player.
According to the Times’s obituarist, Rick Lyman, Altman is responsible for these immortal words, “What is a cult?...It just means not enough people to make a minority.”
This morning I found this appeal from American Friends of Magen David
“In light of the increasing missile attacks on Sderot, we call for immediate support from MDA and its supporters to help us build out emergency facilities. We need help more than ever.”
Eli Moyal, Mayor,
MDA paramedics race t the scene to care for the wounded every time a rocket strikes.
American Friends of Magen David Adom is building a new, reinforced, state-of-the-art MDA station in Sderot.
In any case, where do they get off with this amazing level of cynicism? One or two precious Israelis injured a year and pull out all the stops, state of the art facilities, paramedics rush to the scene. But a few hundred metres away, dozens are slaughtered weekly and the most they can hope for is that the beneficent occupiers’ 155mm shells miss the ambulance and the paramedics who rush to their aid. Maybe they will even condescend to open the border crossing to allow some medical supplies in for a few hours.
There used to be an old saying. They taught it to us in school. ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Nowadays, you might prefer to say, ‘28.35g of prevention is worth 435g of cure’, or perhaps more euphoniously, ‘a gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure.’
In this light it would benefit the poor North African immigrants cynically sent off to live in the desert adjacent to
Monday’s NY Times is scandalised over the new UN Human Rights Council. This is the result of the touted UN ‘reform’ that was supposed to fix the discredited Human Rights Commission. Now, all of a sudden, it’s ‘a weak-kneed compromise from which the
The council is new, but its deliberations have already fallen into a shameful pattern. When it comes to the world’s worst and most consistent human rights violators, like
So, notwithstanding the expressed opinion of all those ‘members of the international community’ who have ratified the basic human rights Covenants and pay lip service to the Universal Declaration, the Times’s editorialists, in their wisdom, have decided that the UN body purported charged with enforcing those instruments has been remiss in focusing on ‘economic and social questions’, as if these were not at least as important in international human rights ‘law’, and indeed, in reality, as ‘individual and political rights’.
I squandered a significant portion of my life writing letters to governments pointing out where their actions departed from their commitments under these treaties they had signed. So I am not about to repeat the litany of individual and political rights denied the long suffering people of the
But when it comes to criticizing
And, now, in case you hadn’t noticed, it turns out that
‘Armed attacks against its citizens and soldiers’ [my emphasis]! If