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Adam McKay’s Vice with Christian Bale and Amy Adams Gets Trailer and Poster

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Adam McKay’s Vice Starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams Gets Trailer and Poster

Annapurna Pictures

Adam McKay’s Vice Starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams Gets Trailer and Poster

Three years after he hit paydirt and a bonanza of critical acclaim for The Big Short, Adam McKay is back with Vice, which is being billed by distributor Annapurna Pictures as “the untold true story that changed the course of history.” Written by McKay, the film follows the rise of Dick Cheney (played by Christian Bale) and how he shaped the American landscape, as well as the world, as vice president to George W. Bush. According to a recent Variety article, Bale’s performance demanded that he cut off his hair, bleach his eyebrows, and gain 40 pounds. Naturally, there’s already talk of an Oscar nod for the actor, as well as for Sam Rockwell and Amy Adams, who star in the film as Bush and Cheney’s wife, Lynne, respectively.

Meet Depressed

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<em>Meet</em> Depressed
<em>Meet</em> Depressed

My reaction to the announcement that David Gregory would be the new host of NBC’s flagship Sunday morning political hour, Meet the Press, was not unlike my response to the news that he would be replacing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews for MSNBC’s primetime election coverage earlier this year. In short: ugh. It’s not that I think an obvious partisan like Olbermann or an aggressive commentator like Matthews should be anchoring straight news, but Gregory’s brand of milquetoast reporting is only slightly more incisive and compelling than the giggly, vanilla style of coverage doled out by Anderson Cooper every night on CNN.

Truth and Reconciliation

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Truth and Reconciliation
Truth and Reconciliation

Six months ago, Slate compiled a Venn-diagram of presidential offenses that laid out and color-coded the crimes for which members of the Bush administration could potentially be prosecuted. As an exercise in wishful thinking, the diagram had John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales hitting the criminal jackpot, racking up charges of clandestine wiretapping, illegal Justice Department hiring and firings, involvement in the C.I.A. tapes scandal, and condoning coercive interrogation. On the lesser end of things, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleeza Rice all kept their hands relatively clean, sanctioning only coercive interrogation, or as those of us unversed in Newspeak like to call it, torture. Looking at the diagram, the administration’s ability to normalize the scope of their crimes comes off as nothing short of incredible. While the call to prosecute Bush often seems like a pipe dream promoted in liberal college towns and on blue-state car bumpers, as Scott Horton observed in his December 2008 Harper’s cover story, “this administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law itself.”

Bad Housekeeping

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Bad Housekeeping
Bad Housekeeping

When Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in 2006, she famously vowed to “drain the swamp.” It was a cute metaphor, but to actually drain the swamp she and her fellow Democrats in Congress would have to get their hands dirty. This week, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of finding former Bush advisor Karl Rove in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify before the panel, but the AP reported that Pelosi would not decide whether to bring the measure to a final vote until September. The delay, likely due to Congress’s summer recess, wouldn’t be so alarming if Pelosi hadn’t already refused to follow through with almost every other pursuit of justice regarding the Bush administration’s flagrant disregard and contempt for the rule of law.

Pelosi appeared on The View this week to promote her new book, Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters. The message, apparently, is to know your power but not to act on it. When co-host Joy Behar asked why Pelosi ruled against the impeachment of George W. Bush, she claimed there is no evidence “that this president committed these crimes.” Quite the contrary, Mrs. Pelosi: A new book by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, cites a secret Red Cross report stating that the C.I.A. was guilty of using torture and that high-level administration officials who approved the use of those techniques could be tried for war crimes; earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the President does not have the authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps on American citizens as part of the criminal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; an internal Justice Department investigation determined that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales aides Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson violated federal law by politicizing the hiring of U.S. attorneys (though the report apparently only cites civil violations, not criminal); and then, of course, there is the outing of covert C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame, and on and on.