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This is also represents my first foray into video work: I wrote and produced this. Big props to Brodzilla for giving me the project and also to Marc and Sean for guiding and advising me through the editing process.

My dinner with Barack

I received another e-mail from Barack Obama a few days ago, and this time the subject line made me blush: David, can we meet for dinner? It took me a while to summon the composure to respond

I’m so tired

I would give anything for even a two-hour nap. Arghh.

Right on

These kids are probably somewhat privileged to begin with, but I’m happy to see them take on the industry:

Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s widely accepted practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit on Wednesday asserting that the production company had violated minimum wage and overtime laws by hiring dozens of such interns.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of “Black Swan,” had the interns do menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns.

“Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work,” the lawsuit says. “In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.” Workplace experts say the number of unpaid internships has grown in recent years, in the movie business and many other industries. Some young people complain that these internships give an unfair edge to the affluent and well connected.

This is why we can’t have nice things

Gin and Tacos:

We have numerous examples of major pieces of infrastructure literally crumbling around us – our power grid, the water and sewage systems in our major cities, our highways and bridges, and even our slowest-in-the-world internet/telecommunications network – and yet all anyone can do is whine about taxes, get hard-ons for austerity, and wonder why everything isn’t repaired to their liking.

Federal funds for highway and bridge projects come from a gasoline surtax, one which hasn’t been raised (not even to meet inflation) since Bill Clinton raised it an astonishing four cents in 1996. Since raising taxes is, you know, completely off the table, states have had to repair an aging and increasingly creaky highway network with a pool of money that, in real terms, is shrinking annually.

We are very much a country clinging to faded glory, and I don’t think there is a better symbol of where we are right now than dilapidated Cold War era bridges. They’re falling apart and all we can do is fill comment sections with bitching and moaning about big government, tax-and-spend libruls, and how the problem would already be solved if the government didn’t spend so much on (insert thing that does not directly benefit the person using this rhetorical tactic). When we finally take time out from congratulating ourselves on being the #1 super-greatest country in the history of the world to recognize that, frankly, this place is turning into kind of a dump, it will already be too late.

The obvious

IIRC, didn’t we bail these people out to keep jobs in the U.S.? Or did I miss something?

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. is discussing adding as many as 10,000 jobs in the U.S. in negotiations with the United Auto Workers union on a new four-year contract, according to three people familiar with the talks.

The job-creation discussion is part of high-level negotiations between Ford and UAW President Bob King over wages, benefits, and employment gains in the new contract and is still subject to change, said the people, who asked not to be identified revealing internal deliberations. As many as 4,000 of those jobs may come from Ford shifting production of the Fusion midsize sedan to the U.S. from Mexico, one of the people said.

Frank Luntz

Alan Grayson on the Republican’s classic misuse of language.

Fit for trial

I have never been able to understand the rationale behind this. You were mentally ill when you committed a crime, but let’s make you sane so we can hold you accountable?

Arghh

Got about two hours’ sleep. Took melatonin, which made me sleepy — but did not make me sleep.

‘We have not learned that lesson’

Shocker, right? Ron Suskind’s book spells out all the infighting that made sure the Dodd-Frank bill was regulation in name only:

Regulation and other oversight measures have not been strengthened enough to avoid another financial company failure the size of Lehman Brothers Holdings, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Anton R. Valukas, examiner of the Lehman downfall, told the conference of the Council of Institutional Investors in Boston.

“I don’t see that things have changed greatly, and we cannot have another Lehman Brothers,” Mr. Valukas said Tuesday.

“The lesson we learned form Lehman is we have not yet learned that lesson,” said Mr. Valukas, chairman of the law firm Jenner & Block firm and, as examiner appointed by the U.S. trustee to the Lehman Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, author of a 2010 report on the company’s demise.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other regulatory changes have not been enough to prevent such a massive failure, he said.

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