Cybthia Littleton, Apatow developing Pee-wee Herman pic
The Pee-wee Herman revival is extending all the way to the multiplex.
Judd Apatow is developing an untitled Pee-wee Herman feature for Universal that Paul Reubens is writing with thesp-scribe Paul Rust (“Inglourious Basterds,” “I Love You, Beth Cooper”). Apatow will produce through his Apatow Prods. banner, though he will not helm the project. Pic is described as featuring the iconic geek — known for his love of toys and nerdy catchphrases like “I know you are, but what am I?” — in a road pic built around “a gigantic adventure.”
“Let’s face it, the world needs more Pee-wee Herman,” Apatow told Daily Variety. “I am so excited to be working with Paul Reubens — who is an extraordinary and groundbreaking actor and writer. It’s so great to watch him return with such relevance.”
The partnership came about after Apatow saw Reubens’ recent “Pee-wee Herman Show” revival at the Nokia Theater, where it played to packed houses in January and February. The show is bound for a 10-week stint on Broadway at the Stephen Sondheim Theater starting Oct. 26.
Reubens said he was incredibly gratified by Apatow’s interest in collaborating on a pic.
“There is no one like Judd in our business — he loves comedy with emotion and heart, and he sees what we do as art,” Reubens said. “I can’t believe I’m getting this opportunity to be working with him.”
During the past year, Reubens has successfully resurrected the character he first introduced in L.A.’s theater and club scene in the late 1970s and early ’80s, when he was a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe.
Tim Burton in his feature directing debut. The success of the pic led Reubens to land the CBS Saturday morning show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” which ran from 1986-90.
Reubens’ career ascent came to a sudden halt in 1991 when he was arrested for indecent exposure in Florida.
- Johnny Depp as Pee-wee Herman?! (justjared.buzznet.com)
- The Pee-wee Herman Show Is Headed To Broadway (manolith.com)
- Pee-Wee Herman Is Jokey Smurf??? (perezhilton.com)
I was arguing with my Dad last night, who seems to have been bitten by the ‘austerity now’ bug, and who had forgotten FDR’s disastrous
David Leonhardt, Betting That Cutting Spending Won’t Derail Recovery
The private sector in many rich countries has continued to grow at a fairly good clip in recent months. In the United States, wages, total hours worked, industrial production and corporate profits have all risen significantly. And unlike in the 1930s, developing countries are now big enough that their growth can lift other countries’ economies.
On the other hand, the most recent economic numbers have offered some reason for worry, and the coming fiscal tightening in this country won’t be much smaller than the 1930s version. From 1936 to 1938, when the Roosevelt administration believed that the Great Depression was largely over, tax increases and spending declines combined to equal 5 percent of gross domestic product.
Back then, however, European governments were raising their spending in the run-up to World War II. This time, almost the entire world will be withdrawing its stimulus at once. From 2009 to 2011, the tightening in the United States will equal 4.6 percent of G.D.P., according to the International Monetary Fund. In Britain, even before taking into account the recently announced budget cuts, it was set to equal 2.5 percent. Worldwide, it will equal a little more than 2 percent of total output.
The policy mistakes of the 1930s stemmed mostly from ignorance. John Maynard Keynes was still a practicing economist in those days, and his central insight about depressions — that governments need to spend when the private sector isn’t — was not widely understood. In the 1932 presidential campaign, Franklin D. Roosevelt vowed to outdo Herbert Hoover by balancing the budget. Much of Europe was also tightening at the time.
If anything, the initial stages of our own recent crisis were more severe than the Great Depression. Global trade, industrial production and stocks all dropped more in 2008-9 than in 1929-30, as a study by Barry Eichengreen and Kevin H. O’Rourke found.
In 2008, though, policy makers in most countries knew to act aggressively. The Federal Reserve and other central banks flooded the world with cheap money. The United States, China, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Europe, increased spending and cut taxes.
It worked. By early last year, within six months of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, economies were starting to recover.
The recovery has continued this year, and it has the potential to create a virtuous cycle. Higher profits and incomes can lead to more spending — and yet higher profits and incomes. Government stimulus, in that case, would no longer be necessary.
As is often the case after a financial crisis, this recovery is turning out to be a choppy one. Companies kept increasing pay and hours last month, for example, but did little new hiring. On Tuesday, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence fell sharply this month.
And just as households and businesses are becoming skittish, governments are getting ready to let stimulus programs expire, the equivalent of cutting spending and raising taxes. The Senate has so far refused to pass a bill that would extend unemployment insurance or send aid to ailing state governments. Goldman Sachs economists this week described the Senate’s inaction as “an increasingly important risk to growth.”
The parallels to 1937 are not reassuring. From 1933 to 1937, the United States economy expanded more than 40 percent, even surpassing its 1929 high. But the recovery was still not durable enough to survive Roosevelt’s spending cuts and new Social Security tax. In 1938, the economy shrank 3.4 percent, and unemployment spiked.
So why the eagerness to put on the brakes? Greece and others may be forced to do so by (badly thought out) convenants with lenders, like the EU and the IMF. But the US has no such imperative. Why the ‘austerity now’ movement?
The reasons for the new American austerity are subtler, but not shocking. Our economy remains in rough shape, by any measure. So it’s easy to confuse its condition (bad) with its direction (better) and to lose sight of how much worse it could be. The unyielding criticism from those who opposed stimulus from the get-go — laissez-faire economists, Congressional Republicans, German leaders — plays a role, too. They’re able to shout louder than the data.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Risky Business: With Stimulus Funds Running Dry, Governments Bet On Private Sector (huffingtonpost.com)
- Walkom: G20 leaders agree to disagree (thestar.com)
Goldman got a sweet deal in the AIG bailout, so different than how the government treated the creditors of Chrysler and GM.
Louise Story and Gretchen Morgenson, In U.S. Bailout of A.I.G., Forgiveness for Big Banks
A Legal Waiver
Unknown outside of a few Wall Street legal departments, the A.I.G. waiver was released last month by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform amid 250,000 pages of largely undisclosed documents. The documents, reviewed by The New York Times, provide the most comprehensive public record of how the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Treasury Department orchestrated one of the biggest corporate bailouts in history.
The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts. [Emphasis mine.] That decision, say critics of the A.I.G. bailout, has cost taxpayers billions of extra dollars in payments to the banks. It also contrasts with the hard line the White House took in 2008 when it forced Chrysler’s lenders to take losses when the government bailed out the auto giant.
As a Congressional commission convenes hearings Wednesday exploring the A.I.G. bailout and Goldman’s relationship with the insurer, analysts say that the documents suggest that regulators were overly punitive toward A.I.G. and overly forgiving of banks during the bailout — signified, they say, by the fact that the legal waiver undermined A.I.G. and its shareholders’ ability to recover damages.
“Even if it turns out that it would be a hard suit to win, just the gesture of requiring A.I.G. to scrap its ability to sue is outrageous,” said David Skeel, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The defense may be that the banking system was in trouble, and we couldn’t afford to destabilize it anymore, but that just strikes me as really going overboard.”
“This really suggests they had myopia and they were looking at it entirely through the perspective of the banks,” Mr. Skeel said.
Regulators at the New York Fed declined to comment on the legal waiver but disagreed with that viewpoint.
“This was not about the banks,” said Sarah J. Dahlgren, a senior vice president for the New York Fed who oversees A.I.G. “This was about stabilizing the system by preventing the disorderly collapse of A.I.G. and the potentially devastating consequences of that event for the U.S. and global economies.”
This month, the Congressional Oversight Panel, a body charged with reviewing the state of financial markets and the regulators that monitor them, published a 337-page report on the A.I.G. bailout. It concluded that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York did not give enough consideration to alternatives before sinking more and more taxpayer money into A.I.G. “It is hard to escape the conclusion that F.R.B.N.Y. was just ‘going through the motions,’ ” the report said.
About $46 billion of the taxpayer money in the A.I.G. bailout was used to pay to mortgage trading partners like Goldman and Société Générale, a French bank, to make good on their claims. The banks are not expected to return any of that money, leading the Congressional Research Service to say in March that much of the taxpayer money ultimately bailed out the banks, not A.I.G.
When someone really gets around to pointing fingers, I bet they find that the Goldman-friendly senior financial people in Obama’s inner circles were leaning on things.
And I continue to believe that Sheila Bair of the F.D.I.C. is the only senior official who has the US taxpayer’s interests as her core obsession:
Even with the financial reform legislation that Congress introduced last week, David A. Moss, a Harvard Business School professor, said he was concerned that the government had not developed a blueprint for stabilizing markets when huge companies like A.I.G. run aground and, for that reason, regulators’ actions during the financial crisis need continued scrutiny. “We have to vet these things now because otherwise, if we face a similar crisis again, federal officials are likely to follow precedents set this time around,” he said.
Under the new legislation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will have the power to untangle the financial affairs of troubled entities, but bailed-out companies will pay most of their trading partners 100 cents on the dollar for outstanding contracts. (In some cases, the government will be able to recoup some of those payments later on, which the Treasury Department says will protect taxpayers’ interest. )
Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the F.D.I.C., has said that trading partners should be forced to accept discounts in the middle of a bailout.
Maybe she should be thinking about a run for the Presidency.
- How do you tell the Polish one at a cockfight?
- He's the one with the duck.
- How do you tell the Italian?
- He bet on the duck.
- How do you know the Mafia is there?
- The duck wins.
Chris Mooney is at the center of a growing debate about the gap between scientists and the public on critical issues, like climate change, energy alternatives, nanotechnology, and dozens of other contentious areas of research. Mooney cites Anthony Leiserowitz, who has dug deep into our psyche about climate change:
Chris Mooney, Do Scientists Understand The Public?
Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University, a leading expert on climate change and public opinion, made this point crystal clear in his presentation. Leiserowitz has classified Americans into six now- famous groups based on reactions to the issue; as of January 2010, his results were as follows: “alarmed” (10 percent), “concerned” (29 percent), “cautious” (27 percent), “disengaged” (6 percent), “doubtful” (13 percent), and “dismissive” (16 percent). (Disturbingly, the last group has grown dramatically from just 7 percent in 2008, as climate-science denial has experienced a strong resurgence.)
As Leiserowitz’s results suggest, we understand the public very well on cli- mate change. We know Americans are thoroughly polarized and view the issue through partisan lenses—which explains why better informed and educated Republicans are more likely to reject modern climate science, whereas better informed and educated Democrats respond in precisely the opposite fashion.
At the same time, the session also showed that despite the seemingly irre- versible political polarization of the public around climate change, there is much greater potential to achieve solutions if the issue is reframed around new energy innovations. Americans are broadly in favor of advancing energy technologies, regardless of their political affiliation. (This finding neatly explains the recent trend in leaving the word “climate” out of the title of various pieces of energy legislation in the U.S. Congress.)
If we are going to throw our weight behind a variety of energy innovations, from wind farms and solar installations to smart meters and electric cars, now is the time for scientists and social scientists to work together to anticipate the kinds of public resistance that may emerge to aspects of the new energy future. The American Academy session did just that. To give but one example, the session featured a revealing presentation, by Roopali Phadke of Macalester College, about the growing anti-wind energy movement, which is motivated by a set of aesthetic concerns about the marring of landscapes that scientists and the wind industry have often treated lightly or callously. Phadke suggested that the American anti-wind movement is “growing at a rapid pace” and is mobilizing around a common platform of concerns. Statements by opposition leaders also suggest that future campaigns are less likely to take the form of polite protests and may consist of more “direct actions” against wind farms. (Incidentally, controversies over wind power installations recall a lesson from the nuclear waste saga: don’t spring a wind farm on a community unawares.)
Happily, social science research is already in progress on how members of the public are responding, or are likely to respond, to new energy innovations —for while Americans express strong support for these innovations, all humans also have a tendency to resist change when it is thrust upon them quickly, as some of these technologies may be.
Moreover, whether old or new, energy systems require large facilities, which have to be put somewhere. Thus, while the public may support less carbon- intensive fuels in theory, there may also be great resistance to attempts to ob- tain large volumes of natural gas from newly reachable shale resources, often located in parts of the country (Michigan, the eastern United States) that are not accustomed to major extraction endeavors. Similarly, capturing carbon dioxide and removing it from the atmosphere sounds wonderful in theory— but then it has to be stored, likely underground and perhaps in close proximity to a community that feels uncomfortable with the idea.
Ensuring a new energy future does not merely require an understanding of the potential for resistance to new sources of power, or new technologies for environmental cleanup. We must also understand how members of the public make energy decisions on an individual and household level, where dramatic efficiency gains (and emissions reductions) are possible. If there was one ex- tremely heartening theme from the American Academy meeting it was that this, too, appears to be a major growth area for research. As Jan Beyea, an independent scientist, put it after a presentation on public adoption of smart meters, smart appliances, and new auto technologies: “Almost every study I cite is 2009. This area has exploded… . This is the time to be in it, and I hope we can head off some of the problems ahead of time.”
I am dubious about scientists — if it it possible to consider such a large and unorganized collection of people as a coherent moiety — being able to use a better understanding of the general population’s prejudices about climate change or nuclear power plants toward some directed end.
If marketers were involved, they’d say, with regard to climate change for instance, ‘let’s figure out how to convince the ‘cautious’ to be ‘concerned’. But scientist own divisions will stop them from embracing marketing across the board, or even in narrowly focused domains.
The problem is that scientists are not the right people to be advancing science: we need marketing geniuses, not Nobel laureates.
- If scientists want to educate the public, they should start by listening (washingtonpost.com)
- Confidence in climate science remains strong, poll shows (guardian.co.uk)
- How engaged should scientists be in policy? (scienceblogs.com)
- What is Mooney going on about now? (scienceblogs.com)
- Scientists From Mars Face Public From Venus (Dot Earth)
Scooped at the 11th hour by a trio of French Industrialist, the averted closing of Le Monde may seem like collecting antique watches, or moving the pieces into place for the coming elections. However, the context for Le Monde’s near closing holds some lessons for US media:
The Economist, Le Monde gets a new owner
A second reading is that Le Monde’s troubles reflect those of the newspaper business at large, which seem particularly acute in France. The internet, an ageing newspaper readership, declining ad revenues and free papers have battered the market for the printed word, despite government subsidies. Strong printing and distribution unions make newspapers in France costly and unreliable to produce. And France has a weak national newspaper culture anyway. People sitting on the Paris metro are more likely to have their noses stuck in a book (or a free paper) than a daily they have bought. Regional papers, filled with news about municipal fêtes and goings-on at the town hall, have far higher circulations than the national press. Le Monde made such problems worse with over-staffing and bad business decisions, such as the launch of costly supplements.
Note that even with government subsidies — which some have been calling for here in the US — an iconic newspaper like Le Monde was about to fail. And while our citizens might not be reading books in the subway (although I see some of that) they certainly are spending more time watching TV than buying papers.
Matt Taibbi spits in the eye of the news bureaucracy who have turned on Michael Hastings — the gut who wrote the McCrystal exposé in Rolling Stone — like David Brooks ay the NY Times, and now, best of all, Lara Logan/ Logan claimed on CNN’s Reliable Sources that Hastings had broken an ‘unspoken agreement’ that journalists are not supposed to “embarrass [the military] by reporting insults and banter.”
Anyone who wants to know why network television news hasn’t mattered since the seventies just needs to check out this appearance by Logan. Here’s CBS’s chief foreign correspondent saying out loud on TV that when the man running a war that’s killing thousands of young men and women every year steps on his own dick in front of a journalist, that journalist is supposed to eat the story so as not to embarrass the flag. And the part that really gets me is Logan bitching about how Hastings was dishonest to use human warmth and charm to build up enough of a rapport with his sources that they felt comfortable running their mouths off in front of him. According to Logan, that’s sneaky — and journalists aren’t supposed to be sneaky:[…]
“What I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he’s laid out there what his game is… That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do, who don’t — I don’t go around in my personal life pretending to be one thing and then being something else. I mean, I find it egregious that anyone would do that in their professional life.”
As to this whole “unspoken agreement” business: the reason Lara Logan thinks this is because she’s like pretty much every other “reputable” journalist in this country, in that she suffers from a profound confusion about who she’s supposed to be working for. I know this from my years covering presidential campaigns, where the same dynamic applies. Hey, assholes: you do not work for the people you’re covering! Jesus, is this concept that fucking hard? On the campaign trail, I watch reporters nod solemnly as they hear about the hundreds of millions of dollars candidates X and Y and Z collect from the likes of Citigroup and Raytheon and Archer Daniels Midland, and it blows my mind that they never seem to connect the dots and grasp where all that money is going. The answer, you idiots, is that it’s buying advertising! People like George Bush, John McCain, Barack Obama, and General McChrystal for that matter, they can afford to buy their own P.R. — and they do, in ways both honest and dishonest, visible and invisible.
They don’t need your help, and you’re giving it to them anyway, because you just want to be part of the club so so badly. Disgustingly, that’s really what it comes down to. Most of these reporters just want to be inside the ropeline so badly, they want to be able to say they had that beer with Hillary Clinton in a bowling alley in Scranton or whatever, that it colors their whole worldview. God forbid some important person think you’re not playing for the right team!
Meanwhile, the people who don’t have the resources to find out the truth and get it out in front of the public’s eyes, your readers/viewers, you’re supposed to be working for them — and they’re not getting your help. What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? Is it worth all the bloodshed and the hatred? Who are the people running this thing, what is their agenda, and is that agenda the same thing we voted for? By the severely unlikely virtue of a drunken accident we get a tiny glimpse of an answer to some of these vital questions, but instead of cheering this as a great break for our profession, a waytago moment, one so-called reputable journalist after another lines up to protest the leak and attack the reporter for doing his job. God, do you all suck!
Well, she does anyway.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Matt Taibbi’s Lara Logan Takedown: ‘Lara Logan, You Suck’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Lara Logan; Or Why Bimbos Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Cover War (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)
- See-BS: Col. Lara Logan (marccooper.com)
- The McChrystal Affair: Lara Logan Is Wrong — but Matt Taibbi Is Full of It (dailyfinance.com)
- CBS’s Logan Zings Hastings: He’s ‘Never Served His Country the Way McChrystal Has’ (newsbusters.org)
Tom Friedman praises the efforts of Prime Minister Salam Fayyal of Palestine to build a strong economy, like the Palestine Securities Exchange, which has out performed the sotck markets of other Arab countries this year:
Tom Friedman, The Real Palestinian Revolution
The expansion of the Al-Quds Index is part of a broader set of changes initiated in the West Bank in the last few years under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the former World Bank economist who has unleashed a real Palestinian “revolution.” It is a revolution based on building Palestinian capacity and institutions not just resisting Israeli occupation, on the theory that if the Palestinians can build a real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy it will eventually become impossible for Israel to deny the Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
“I have to admit, we, the private sector, have changed,” said Hulileh. “The mood used to be all the time to complain and say there is nothing we can do. And then the politicians were trying to create this atmosphere of resistance — resistance meant no development under occupation.”
Fayyad and his boss, President Mahmoud Abbas, changed that. Now the mood, said Hulileh, is that improving the Palestinian economy “is what will enable you to resist and be steadfast. Fayyad said to us: ‘You, the business community, are not responsible for ending occupation. You are responsible for employing people and getting ready for the state. And that means you have to be part of the global world, to export and import, so when the state will come you will not have a garbage yard. You will be ready.’ ”
Meeting in his Ramallah office two weeks ago, I found Fayyad upbeat. The economist-turned-politician seems more comfortable mixing with his constituents in the West Bank, where he has quietly built his popularity by delivering water wells, new schools — so there are no more double shifts — and a waste-water treatment facility. The most senior Israeli military people told me the new security force that Fayyad has built is the real deal — real enough that Israel has taken down most of the checkpoints inside the West Bank. So internal commerce and investment are starting to flow, and even some Gazans are moving there. “We may not be too far from a point of inflection,” Fayyad said to me.
The Abbas-Fayyad state-building effort is still fragile, and it rests on a small team of technocrats, Palestinian business elites and a new professional security force. The stronger this team grows, the more it challenges and will be challenged by some of the old-line Fatah Palestinian cadres in the West Bank, not to mention Hamas in Gaza. It is the only hope left, though, for a two-state solution, so it needs to be quietly supported.
The most important thing President Obama can do when he meets Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, on July 6 is to nudge him to begin gradually ceding control of major West Bank Palestinian cities to the Palestinian Authority so that Fayyad can show his people, as he puts it, that what he is building is an independent state “not an exercise in adapting to the permanence of occupation” — and so that Israel can test if the new Palestinian security forces really can keep the peace without Israel making nighttime raids. Nothing would strengthen Fayyadism more than that.
I think activities of this sort are the best chance to assure the Israelis that a two state solution is possible. By embracing an active nationhood — with strong functioning public services and a growing business sector — Israel may see a reflection of themselves instead of the hated other.
Pizzelle (pronounced with ts sound, like “pizza”) (singular pizzella) are traditional Italian waffle cookies made from flour, eggs, sugar, butter or vegetable oil, and flavoring (often vanilla, anise, or lemon zest). Pizzelle can be hard and crisp or soft and chewy depending on the ingredients and method of preparation.
Pizzelle were originally made in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. The name comes from the Italian word for “round” and “flat” (pizze); this is also the meaning of the word pizza. Many other cultures have developed a pizzelle-type cookie as part of their culture (for example, the Norwegian Krumkake). It is known to be one of the oldest cookies, and is believed to have developed from the ancient Roman crustulum. Pizzelle are known as ferratelle in the Lazio region of Italy. In Molise they may be called ferratelle, cancelle, or pizzelle.
Pizzelle in hand
The cookie dough or batter is put into a pizzelle iron, which resembles a waffle iron. The pizzelle iron is held by hand over a hot burner on the stovetop, although some models are electric and require no stove. Typically, the iron stamps a snowflake pattern onto both sides of the thin golden-brown cookie, which has a crisp texture once it is cooled. There are also several brands of ready-made pizzelle available in stores.
It is also common for two pizzelle to be sandwiched with cannoli cream (ricotta blended with sugar) or hazelnut spread. Pizzelle, while still warm, can also be rolled using a wooden dowel to create cannoli shells.