Electricity & Lust

Reads of the Week

Posted in Reads of the Week by Sam Unsted on July 2, 2011
  • A long profile of now-former CIA director Leon Panetta, focusing mostly on the difficulties he faced from the lingering impact of Bush administration interrogation techniques. Panetta comes across as a pragmatic and committed character, both of which should come in handy as he takes on his new role as Defence Secretary for Obama. As a companion piece to that, Jane Mayer’s exposé of CIA interrogation techniques give more insight into the problems Panetta faced and the acts that took place under the Bush administration.
  • I’m on a bit of a Woody Allen kick at the moment, though this Peter Biskind profile is perhaps a little too forgiving of Woody given some of the movies he’s made in the past decade. It did, though, raise a point about the sheer number of fantastic movies Woody has made in his career, enough to put him alongside the likes of Scorsese, Kubrick or Fellini in my mind. Just a sampling for the memory of movies I would consider genuinely classic: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Zelig, Hannah and Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives, Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Love and Death, Broadway Danny Rose, Manhattan Murder Mystery. There’s lots of crap too, but that’s a pretty good number of superb films to be going on.
  • George Packer’s outstanding recounting of the crimes and trial for Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon hedge fund, provides a pitch perfect example of the kind of greed and cynical regard for human nature that drives the kind of financial crime we have witnessed in the past few years.

Political Weekend

Posted in Links, Politics by Sam Unsted on May 25, 2008

Just a reminder for those who do enjoy the political linkage, check out the Slate Political Gabfest and KCRW’s Left, Right and Center podcasts. Both are excellent. For the British politics, try the BBC’s Weekly Political Review.


Gordon Brown is being put under pressure appoint a viable successor as deputy.

Allegedly, ‘Blair-ite’ left-wing figures are plotting and have approached someone to consider taking the job.

The leading candidate at the moment is Miliband.

What about Alan Johnson though?

John Rentoul says only Labour can really be blamed for this.

It should also be noted this week that our government rejected restrictions on IVF (which really pissed off The Daily Mail and therefore must be good) which would have discriminated against lesbian and gay couples seeking adoption and we voted to keep the current upper abortion limit at 24 weeks.


One must-read this week, George Packer’s excellent piece from The New Yorker on the fall of conservatism in America.

He’s been getting a few responses since publishing the essay.