The Idiot

the-idiot

Ayako and Kameda, the Idiot

Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot blew me away with its depth and complexity of emotion. Many years ago I saw David Schwimmer in the lead role in the play at The Lookingglass Theater. That adaptation left me cold. I still recall how bored my friend and I were. In spite of this bad experience I was curious what Kurosawa might do with the story.

In a nutshell, The Idiot is about Kameda, a man who due to an injury during the war is rendered an idiot. His particular cognitive “deficiency” is that he’s somewhat mentally slower and also sees the worth of every person and thus loves every individual. When he returns from the war to Hokkaido, he stays with a family and the feisty daughter Ayako, against all her wished, falls for him.

In the same home is another boarder, Mr. Kayama who though he loves Ayako, has agreed to marry a kept woman famous for her beauty, Taeko, for 600,000 yen. Taeko’s photo is up at the train station and when Kameda and Akama, another man returning to the city, see it they’re swept off their feet. Taeko and Ayako both despise Kayama for valuing money over love.

Idiot_image_1_bw_original

Both Taeko and Ayako fall for the idiot, Kameda, because he’s the only person in the story who’s honest. No one has met such an honest, perceptive person. Although these women are at their most genuine when they’re with Kameda, you know that they’ll corrupt him and that no healthy relationship is available for him. Still Kameda is thrust into a confusing web between these women, his friend Kayama, Ayako’s parents and Akama. While the film has several grasping, selfish characters, we see that they’re grasping at a virtue that they value but will also corrupt. There are no villains, just people who can’t make up their minds and whose indecision and schemes are lethal.

The Japanese actors, all Kurosawa regulars, were masters of emotion which this story requires. It’s a long film at almost three hours (cut down from over four), but Kurosawa kept me interested.

Advertisements

Politics & Gerrymandering in Illinois

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 3.31.33 PM

The problem in Illinois is that Mike Madigan, the head honcho of the Illinois Assembly, has held power for 49 years. This evil mastermind figured out that the way to wield power forever and to make millions is to win elections in a state district. All he has to do is win a small state district and through his Machiavellian tactics he can control whoever we elect as governor. He can also probably control the mayor of the biggest city in the state. Moreover, he can see to it that his party dominates in congressional winners for Illinois.

By determining the congressional districts’ boundaries Madigan controls who wins in congressional. Take a look at District 4. This should be the image used in any dictionary defining Gerrymandering. The green area is the oddest designation of a district. The communities it covers are oddly situated so that no rational person would consider them a unit, but they insure that Madigan can get the winner he wants.

gerrymander-illinois-4th

Compare Illinois’ and Iowa’s congressional voting districts. Iowa’s makes sense to anyone. Illinois’ is an image that shouts corruption, a trait many of us are sick of.

Iowa v IL Map

Gerrymandering isn’t Madigan’s only sin. He’s created rules of governing that give him as Speaker of the State House imperial power over what laws get voted on. It’s impossible for a law that isn’t approved by Madigan to even get a chance at getting passed. Furthermore, Madigan has complete control over which committees a representative can be on. There are no checks or balances in Illinois’ politics.

Yesterday the citizens of Illinois had a terrible choice for governor: either a billionaire who never held a job and was taped by the FBI as he trashed African Americans in conversation with an imprisoned ex-governor or the incumbent billionaire who couldn’t get a budget approved in two years and scoffed at his base with bills against their values. We elected the former, J.B. Pritzker who certainly has no character to win against Madigan, the real power of the state. It’s a pity that J.B. wanted the job, because his sister, who worked for the Obama Administration is probably truly qualified.

Breaking News: Shandong

The president of the university I worked at has been tried and convicted for corruption. They found he had gotten 390,757,871 yuan (roughly $57,323,781 USD) illicitly. He’s sentenced to 12 years in prison. My reading of this story doesn’t make it clear whether he’ll pay all the money back. He should. I also think this fine of $117,300 is too low. I’m strict about these things and think that his family, the adults who benefitted from his ill-gotten gains should face consequences. They should have spoken up or stopped him.

Here’s the story:

任廷琦(Ren Ting QiRen is the last name

In February 2018, according to Shandong Provincial Discipline Inspection Commission news: Ren Tingqi serious violations of law and suspected job-related crimes to conduct a case review (investigation).

After investigation, Ren Tingqi violated the spirit of the Eight Provisions of the Central Committee and exceeded the standard to use office buildings; violated organizational discipline, failed to explain the problems in organizational letters, and used his position to facilitate the selection and appointment of cadres to seek benefits for others and to collect and receive property; violated honesty and discipline, accepted gifts, and used his power to occupy non-capital. People’s property management; violation of work discipline; intervene and intervene in project bidding; violation of life discipline. Taking advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and obtain and receive property, he is suspected of taking bribes.

As a leading cadre of Party members, Ren Tingqi lost his ideals and beliefs, seriously violated the Party’s disciplines and national laws and regulations, and was suspected of crimes, and did not converge after the Eighteenth National Congress of the Party, and did not stop, with a bad nature and a serious plot. According to the Regulations on Disciplinary Punishment of the Communist Party of China and other relevant provisions, after studying and reporting to the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China at the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial Disciplinary Commission and the meeting of the Shandong Provincial Supervisory Commission, and with the approval of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, he decided to give Ren Tingqi the removal of his party membership, dismissal of his public office, collection The procuratorial organs deal with them according to law.

任廷琦,男,教授,博士生导师,196010月出生,山东牟平人,19827月参加工作,19827月毕业于山东师范大学物理系理论物理专业。曾任山东科技大学校长。

2018815日,任廷琦因受贿罪判处有期徒刑十二年,并处罚金人民币80万元;对被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.5949万元予以没收,上缴国库;继续追缴被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.757871万元,上缴国库

20171110日,山东省纪委监察厅消息:山东科技大学党委副书记、校长任廷琦涉嫌严重违纪,接受组织审查

依法双开

20182月,据山东省纪委消息:任廷琦严重违纪违法涉嫌职务犯罪问题进行立案审查(调查)。

经查,任廷琦违反中央八项规定精神,超标准使用办公用房;违反组织纪律,在组织函询时不如实说明问题,利用职务便利在干部选拔任用方面为他人谋取利益并索取、收受财物;违反廉洁纪律,收受礼金,利用职权侵占非本人经管的财物;违反工作纪律,插手和干预项目招投标;违反生活纪律。利用职务便利为他人谋取利益并索取、收受财物,涉嫌受贿犯罪。

任廷琦身为党员领导干部,理想信念丧失,严重违反党的纪律和国家法律法规规定,并涉嫌犯罪,且在党的十八大后不收敛、不收手,性质恶劣、情节严重。依据《中国共产党纪律处分条例》等有关规定,经中共山东省纪委常委会会议、山东省监委委员会议研究并报中共山东省委批准,决定给予任廷琦开除党籍、开除公职处分,收缴其违纪所得,将其涉嫌犯罪问题及所涉款物移送检察机关依法处理。

提起公诉

20185月,山东科技大学原党委副书记、校长任廷琦(正厅级)涉嫌受贿罪一案,经山东省人民检察院指定管辖,由泰安市人民检察院向泰安市中级人民法院提起公诉。

检察机关在审查起诉阶段依法告知了被告人任廷琦享有的诉讼权利,并依法讯问了被告人任廷琦,听取了其辩护人的意见。泰安市人民检察院起诉书指控:被告人任廷琦利用担任烟台师范学院院长,曲阜师范大学党委副书记、校长,山东科技大学校长职务上的便利,收受他人贿赂,为他人谋取利益,依法应当以受贿罪追究其刑事责任

法院判决

2018815日,山东泰安市中级人民法院公开宣判山东科技大学原校长任廷琦受贿案,以受贿罪判处被告人任廷琦有期徒刑十二年,并处罚金人民币80万元;对被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.5949万元予以没收,上缴国库;继续追缴被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.757871万元,上缴国库。
  经审理查明:20053月至201710月,被告人任廷琦先后利用担任烟台师范学院院长,曲阜师范大学党委副书记、校长,山东科技大学校长职务上的便利,为相关单位及个人在承揽工程、拨付工程款、升学就业、调换专业、职务晋升等事项上提供帮助,直接或通过其特定关系人54次索取、收受相关人员给予的现金、银行卡、房屋等财物,共计折合人民币781.352771万元。
  泰安市中级人民法院认为,被告人任廷琦的行为构成受贿罪。鉴于被告人任廷琦到案后主动供述监察机关尚未掌握的大部分索贿、受贿事实,具有坦白情节,赃款已部分追缴,具有法定、酌定从轻处罚情节,依法可对其从轻处罚。法庭遂作出上述判决。

On August 15, 2018, the Shandong Tai’an Intermediate People’s Court publicly sentenced Ren Tingqi, former president of Shandong University of Science and Technology, to 12 years’imprisonment and a fine of 800,000 yuan ($117,300 USD) for bribery, confiscated the proceeds of Ren Tingqi’s bribery crime and turned them over to the state treasury. Ren Tingqi, the defendant, recovered 390.757871 yuan of illicit money from bribes and turned over to the state treasury.

From March 2005 to October 2017, the defendant was appointed President of Yantai Normal University, Vice Secretary of the Party Committee and President of Qufu Normal University, and President of Shandong University of Science and Technology. The total amount of money, bank cards, houses and other property obtained or received from the relevant personnel, directly or through 54 times of their specific relatives, is RMB 781.35 2.771 million.

The intermediate people’s Court of Tai’an held that the act of defendant Ren Tingqi constituted the crime of accepting bribes. In view of the fact that the defendant, Ren Tingqi, voluntarily confessed most of the facts of bribery solicitation and acceptance that the supervisory organ had not yet grasped after his arrival in the case, he had a frank plot, the stolen money had been partly recovered, and he had a statutory and discretionary circumstance of lenient punishment, and could be given a lighter punishment according to law. The court made the decision.

NEWS

 815,山东泰安市中级人民法院公开宣判山东科技大学原校长任廷琦受贿案,以受贿罪判处被告人任廷琦有期徒刑十二年,并处罚金人民币80万元;对被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.5949万元予以没收,上缴国库;继续追缴被告人任廷琦受贿犯罪所得赃款390.757871万元,上缴国库。

  经审理查明:20053月至201710月,被告人任廷琦先后利用担任烟台师范学院院长,曲阜师范大学党委副书记、校长,山东科技大学校长职务上的便利,为相关单位及个人在承揽工程、拨付工程款、升学就业、调换专业、职务晋升等事项上提供帮助,直接或通过其特定关系人54次索取、收受相关人员给予的现金、银行卡、房屋等财物,共计折合人民币781.352771万元。

  泰安市中级人民法院认为,被告人任廷琦的行为构成受贿罪。鉴于被告人任廷琦到案后主动供述监察机关尚未掌握的大部分索贿、受贿事实,具有坦白情节,赃款已部分追缴,具有法定、酌定从轻处罚情节,依法可对其从轻处罚。法庭遂作出上述判决。

On August 15, the Shandong Tai’an Intermediate People’s Court publicly sentenced Ren Tingqi, the former president of Shandong University of Science and Technology, to 12 years’imprisonment for bribery and a fine of 800,000 yuan; confiscated the proceeds of Ren Tingqi’s bribery crime and handed them over to the state treasury; and continued to recover. Defendant Ren Tingqi received 390,757,871 yuan of illicit money from bribes and turned over to the state treasury.

From March 2005 to October 2017, the defendant was appointed President of Yantai Normal University, Vice Secretary of the Party Committee and President of Qufu Normal University, and President of Shandong University of Science and Technology. The total amount of money, bank cards, houses and other property obtained or received from the relevant personnel, directly or through 54 times of their specific relatives, is RMB 781.35 27.71 million.

The intermediate people’s Court of Tai’an held that the act of defendant Ren Tingqi constituted the crime of accepting bribes. In view of the fact that the defendant, Ren Tingqi, voluntarily confessed most of the facts of bribery solicitation and acceptance that the supervisory organ had not yet grasped after his arrival in the case, he had a frank plot, the stolen money had been partly recovered, and he had a statutory and discretionary circumstance of lenient punishment, and could be given a lighter punishment according to law. The court made the decision.

McDonald’s Hot Coffee Suit

For the whole truth on the legendary lawsuit against McDonald’s watch the video above. As with all the Adam Ruins Everything videos’ Adam Conover will see that the scales fall from your eyes and the truth comes to light.

I’m not kidding, you should see this and spread the truth.

The Kill

emile-zola-the-kill

Émile Zola continues his stories of the Rougon-Marquart clan with The Kill (La Curée), which tells the story of Aristide Rougon, who is introduced to readers in The Fortune of the Rougon-Marquart’s as a slothful (accent on full) son of the matriarch of this clan. Aristide changes his name to Saccard when the gets to Paris. He hits his well connected brother to get a cushy government job with loads of status. He’s disappointed at first with apparently low level job till he realizes that he will get all sorts of information on city plans that enable him to make real estate deals, quite questionably ethically ones, that will get him a fortune. Saccard is slimy for sure, but the house of cards he sets up is compelling. As a reader, I was just wondering when this all would fall.

Along with Saccard, his second wife Renée is equally questionable ethically. She’s materialistic, superficial, self absorbed and incapable of loyalty. The marriage was arranged to get Renée out of trouble. Her early life was pitiful, but by the time of the story she’s in control and for much of the story rather powerful and independent. Her undoing is her relationship with Saccard’s son.

The writing is beautiful and this portrait of a corrupt society feels real and moves quickly. It was fascinating to learn about the corrupt real estate market of 19th century France. Wall Street didn’t invent financial malfeasance..