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The Attorney General’s not a crook; he’s just incompetent

A week ago, Bruce posted a piece suggesting that the Fast and Furious scandal was worse than Watergate.  Perhaps, it’s not that bad, not a question of administration malfeasance, but just one of bureaucratic incompetence.

Yesterday, Republicans grilled Attorney General Eric Holder when the Democrat testified before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.  He might have taken his cues in handling testimony from Johnny Friendly‘s (Lee J. Cobb) cronies in On the Waterfront. He was deaf and dumb about what was going on in his outfit.

Well, maybe he really didn’t know.  And if he didn’t, well, the best term to describe his leadership at Justice is incompetent.  So, he claims, he didn’t read the memos (addressed to him) detailing the “operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow straw buyers to smuggle guns into Mexico“, a program which “resulted in the deaths of more than 200 Mexican citizens and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”

Now, of course, the Attorney General is a busy man and can’t read every word of every 100-page memo addressed to him.  But, that’s why he has a big staff.  And you’d think one of his aides would alert the government’s top law enforcement official to a program allowing buyers to smuggle guns — without tracking devices — into Mexico.  Oh, yeah, and the ATF wasn’t informing the Mexican government about this program.

You’d think that when word of this program became public (or at least became known to the Attorney General), he’d fire  — or at least severely discipline — those on his staff who didn’t alert him to a program which resulted in the deaths of Mexican citizens — and a U.S. law enforcement official.  But, as Michelle Malkin reported yesterday Holder only offers a vague statement about making personnel changes and it’s not all he’s “possibly” going to do. (more…)

When Hollywood honestly defied an unjust system

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - December 9, 2011.
Filed under: American History,Movies/Film & TV

For the past few evenings while having my snack or seeking a moment’s escape, I have been working my way through The Bette Davis Collection, Vol. 3 which I bought on sale at a Barnes * Noble in Denver.  (I could have saved a few more bucks had I bought it online at Amazon.)

Although the films in this collection aren’t all of the caliber of those in the collection I blogged about three years ago, Miss Davis’s screen presence is no less compelling.  She seems capable of playing the full range of feminine emotion from demure, but cold old maid to a maternal nanny to an affectionate wife to self-centered hedonist (link each movie) and be utterly believable in each role, indeed, in numerous situations.

What struck me in the last movie, In This Our Life, that I started watching last night and finished watching while grabbing a snack after catching one of the greatest movies ever made on the big screen, On the Waterfront, was not just her performance, but the way the 1942 film, set in Richmond, Virginia, treated the black characters.

WARNING:  Plot details provided.

Here a young black man Ernest Anderson‘s Parry Clay works for the family of Davis’s family while studying law.  When drunk after returning from a bar Davis‘s Stanley Timberlake (yes, both she and her screen sister Olivia de Havilland have men’s first names) erratically driving her sports car, runs over a mother and daughter, killing the latter, she pins the blame on Parry whom, she claims, was cleaning her car that night.

And we’re made to sympathize with Parry, not her.  De Havilland’s Roy begins to doubt her sister’s story when his mother Minerva (Hattie McDaniel) provides an alibi.  The white woman trusts the young black man; she has seen him use his small income to buy law books and watched him work hard in a law office. (more…)