First, the weekend casualty count. One soldier and five others were wounded near Tikret on Saturday, which provoked the usual wierd dissimilarity in casualty count reports -- and this from this morning:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a U.S. soldier at a checkpoint in western Iraq, a military statement said Monday. U.S. troops returned fire, killing one person and capturing a second.
An undetermined number of attackers pulled up late Sunday to the roadblock near the Syrian border and requested medical help for a person in the car. They then pulled pistols and shot the soldier, said a statement released by the U.S. Central Command.
Troops responded, killing one person and capturing a second. At least one other assailant fled in the vehicle."
Second, Lew Wasserman.
We read the excerpts from Connie Bruck's bio in the New Yorker. Frankly, we were a bit disappointed. Lew Wasserman was the evil genius head of MCA. The man, if Dan Moldea is to be believed, who made Ronald Reagan. The man, we believe, who created the blue-print for the business organization of the nineties: that blending of technostructure and entrepreneurial scurrying, with its outrageous bonuses and its hole-ridden accounting. The conduit for the mob style in American capitalism -- which is appropriate, as the mob simply decoded and encoded the older style of American capitalism, the strike breaking formula from the 1880s and 90s, applying that violence towards the tender markets in those chemistry experiments we all love to perform on our bodies.
Richard Schickel, one time movie reviewer for Life Magazine, has a nice review in the LAT. Here are two grafs rendering a thumbnail sketch that is a pleasant reminder of what Luce magazine writers could do, unloosed on a subject:
"Wasserman was a sleek, taciturn man, except when people gave him answers he didn't want to hear. Then he became a screaming tyrant, capable of reducing grown men to tears. He would not take "no" for an answer. Or, for that matter, a busy signal. His secretary was obliged to fake emergencies so Lew could break right through to his next victim. Since power begets power, he became the man Washington listened to on all sorts of matters. There's no doubt that all his libidinal energy went into the business. He and his wife had separate bedrooms, and, according to Bruck, she had a number of discreet affairs, which her husband tolerated. Why not? He knew no stud, however adorable, could match the potency of his power.
Was some of that power derived from organized crime? MCA in its band-booking days had a rich web of connections with Chicago's gangland, and the mobsters moved west about the time MCA did. Bruck, like Kennedy before her, labors hard to link Wasserman and his company to the "outfit." We do not for a moment doubt that link. After all, his best friend for 50 years was Sidney Korshak, whose position as mouthpiece for the Chicago syndicate was a matter of long-standing suspicion. But no more than Kennedy can she document a connection. That's the way these things work -- a nod, a smile, a frown, and useful outcomes occur. It may be that ultimate power resides in the ability to make underlings anticipate its desires."