Monthly Archives: March 2009

Madoff Guilty Plea To Come–MadoffSurvivors Still Antsy

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

MadoffBernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty to illegally amassing over $64 billion dollars in court tomorrow.

Here’s the AP‘s account of Tuesday’s courtroom scene:

Madoff, who wears a bulletproof vest, arrived at court more than three hours before the hearing as authorities tried to diminish the chance he would face a confrontation with investors. Several lawyers for investors showed up as spectators, but the courtroom was largely packed with members of the media.

Asked by the judge if Madoff would plead guilty Thursday, [Madoff’s lawyer Ira] Sorkin said: “I think that’s a fair expectation.” [U.S. District Judge Denny] Chin asked Sorkin if Madoff would plead guilty to all 11 counts.

“Yes your honor,” Sorkin answered.

There was never any real doubt that Madoff would get away with the Ponzi scheme he had orchestrated, but what is suprising about the guilty plea is that Madoff is prepared to enter the plea without a plea deal.

That means Madoff could be subjected to the maximum sentence for his case, a whopping 150 years.

Not that even 200 years would satisfy the investors who lost fortunes because of Madoff’s misconduct. A group of them, the “MadoffSurvivors,” wrote to Judge Chin this week, asking to postpone Madoff’s sentencing until a more thorough account of his finances has been completed.

Moment Columnists Frum and Gorenberg Duke it Out

Gershom Gorenberg and David Frum recently spoke on bloggingheads about Israel’s future and the importance, or lack thereof, of its settlements in the West Bank.

Gorenberg and Frum

Inglourious Basterds Trailer is out; Tarantino Still Insane

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

Here’s the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s newest bloody assortment of moving pictures. This one’s called Inglourious Basterds and includes Brad Pitt and a whole bunch of dead Nazis. Oh, and it’s a remake of a 1978 movie by the same name (but spelled correctly).

We’re not really sure what to say about it past that (we’re still reeling from the trailer) so we’ll just put it up and let you ITM readers have it out.

“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” And Its Young Jewish Heroine

By Marista Lane

Norah: “There’s this part of Judaism that I like. Tikkun Olam. It said that the world is broken into pieces and everyone has to find them and put them back together.”

Nick: “Maybe we don’t have to find it. Maybe we are the pieces.”

Nick and Norah

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” recently came out on DVD. For those who haven’t seen it, you might be surprised by the positive, open-minded young Jewish main character, Norah Silverberg (Kat Dennings).

Not only does she openly divulge her Jewish heritage, she also willingly expresses her enthusiasm for it. Small hints are given throughout the movie regarding Norah’s Jewish background, even as it is not explicitly revealed until a pivotal moment involving her love interest Nick (Michael Cera).

While the film mostly focuses on the chemistry (or awkwardness) between Nick and Norah—as well as their mutual music obsession—there are hints throughout the movie to Norah’s identification with Judaism. She attends a prestigious Catholic private school (only because her best friend goes there) but asserts her connection to the Jewish faith in other ways. She has a semi-relationship with Tal, one-third of a wannabe Israeli band, and she asserts that being Jewish is just as much a part of her, if not more so, than anything else. By sharing that with Nick, she shows that it is a deeply invested part of who she is.

It’s a good way for Hollywood to sneak in a good Jewish role model in a film directed to the youth.

Originally based on the eponymous novel by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, the movie was released on DVD on Feb. 3 by Sony Pictures. It’s rated PG-13 for teen drinking, sexuality, language and crude behavior.