The latest Stallone/Schwarzenegger action flick, unimaginatively titled Escape Plan, seems intent on reminding people that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger still exist. With the exception of The Expendables and its sequel, which both limped to good international box office totals, Stallone hasn’t been in a hit movie in two decades. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t had anything resembling a blockbuster (minus the third Terminator film) since 1996’s Eraser. The good old days were a long time ago.
The Governator keeps coming back—because retirement is for sissies.
[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] I get that self-avowed “neo-imperialist” historian Niall Ferguson relishes his gig as academia’s most celebrated colonial nostalgic/conservative reactionary. But this is too much: I just read the transcripts of some lectures [Newt Gingrich] gave in the 1990s on “Renewing American Civilization.” They positively fizz with historical insights and brilliant brain waves.
Some of the most interesting developments in health care policy these days aren’t taking place in Washington. They’re taking place in Sacramento and the rest of California, where public officials, private sector leaders, and activists are working to implement the Affordable Care Act. Remember, under the terms of the law, states must must do everything from setting up new insurance exchanges to slapping regulations on insurers.
There was something hollow about the hubbub last month over the revelation of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s split. As one of the weirder new clichés lately to invade the language puts it, we were shocked but not surprised. Nothing is less earthshaking these days than infidelity: According to current statistics, up to 50 percent of men and 40 percent to 45 percent of women cheat. No, the real scandal was not that Schwarzenegger had been unfaithful; his misbehavior had long been public knowledge.
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] In his seemingly endless quest to write about the most trivial and minor subjects imaginable, The New York Times' "public editor," Arthur Brisbane, penned a column yesterday on filth. According to Brisbane, 'The culture is headed for the curb, and The New York Times is on the story." What Brisbane means is that society is going to the dogs, and his beloved newspaper is following along. Now, you might say to yourself that of all the problems that ail this fine newspaper, a preponderance of sex-drenched, vulgar reporting is not near the top of the list.
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey taped her farewell show yesterday at the United Center in Chicago. In front of 13,000 spectators (13,000!), a host of celebrities made surprise guest appearances, including Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Maya Angelou, Will Smith, and Madonna. (Also present was former California first lady and Oprah pal Maria Shriver, who took the opportunity to get in a jibe at her estranged husband Arnold Schwarzenegger.) For 25 years, Winfrey has been the most popular talk show host in the United States, and one of the most powerful women in the country.
Politico's Kenneth Vogel reports on the Koch brothers' campaign to push back against media characterizations of them as secretive billionaires funneling vast sums of money to make the political system more congenial to rich people in general and carbon polluters in particular: Inside the resort at the beginning of the conference, “there was an atmosphere almost of paranoia,” said Gary Ferdman, a Common Cause official. Ferdman had reservations at the resort and stayed there Thursday and Friday night.
When Dmitri Medvedev became Russia’s president in 2008, he projected a very different image from that of his predecessor. Vladimir Putin is a buff former KGB agent who is fond of rugged pursuits, such as hunting and fishing, and is frequently photographed engaged in them without his shirt on. Medvedev is an elfin St. Petersburg-trained lawyer who enjoys chess and photography, practices yoga daily, and is the proud owner of the complete recordings of Deep Purple on vinyl.