O-Bits: Triple Feature Saturday


If you believe the GOP, their tax “reform” bill (or as we call it, the Plutocrat’s Dream Act of 2017) has the support of “137 Economists.” That strikes us as a hop, skip, and a degree from Trump University away from Joe McCarthy’s claim of up to 200 “known communists” in the State Department” (or, if you’re feeling a little less generous, Senator Johnny Iselin, thundering over the 57 Communists in “The Manchurian Candidate”). The Intercept has tracked down (or tried to track down) all of them, and has found a few discrepancies. More than a handful are no longer working, a few are employed by right-wing think tanks, and at least one gets a check signed by the Koch Brothers, who damned well better support this tax bill—they paid for it, and practically wrote it. No, the signatory that catches our interest is Gil Sylvia, of the University of Georgia. Just one problem. There is no Gil Sylvia at the University of Georgia. There never was. Of course, cynics amongst you will claim this is just more proof of GOP chicanery, more proof that they have no real interest in honestly dealing with the country. And that’s entirely possible. But we here think that, given the Republican insistence on repealing the Estate Tax, or as they insist on calling it, the “Death Tax,” the actual dead are coming out to support it.

We’re big fans of courtroom drama around here—we figure anything where life or death can hang in the balance is worth our interest. But things got mighty Shakespearian at the Hague this week, when  Slobodan Praljak, a Bosnian General before the International Criminal Tribunal  For The Former Yugoslavia decided to take sentencing into his own hands. When the verdict was announced the 72-year-old looked directly into the courtroom  camera and shouted “Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict.” He then drained a small brown bottle, announcing “I just drank poison. I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.” We don’t know if Dick Wolf is planning a “Law and Order: Den Hague,” but know if he was, would end with one of the prosecutors making a dark quip, something along the lines of “well, that’s one way to appeal the verdict.” Duh-DUN

On the other hand, in Max Fleischer’s classic “Minnie The Moocher” cartoon, ghosts can be sent to the electric chair, so maybe not. (Is this a stretch? You bet. But it’s Betty Boop and Cab Calloway! We’ll accept any excuse to post that…

Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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