I wanted to make a small note on the passing of several icons of culture. First, Ed Bradley, who always distinguished himself as a gentleman throughout his life as a reporter. The passing of Bradley and earlier of Peter Jennings seems to mark the end of the era of broadcast television and of more civil and urbane news reporting. I'll miss both the figureheads and the genre as it was. Bradley also hosted an NPR program Jazz at Lincoln Center, worth checking out if the archives are available online.
Second, Milton Friedman died at 94 this past week. There are few economists that can lay claim to the level of influence and intellectual energy of Milton Friedman. In this century, the other great influencer was John Maynard Keynes. Friedman may not have been right about everything, but he managed to direct the course of history in his lifetime.
On a slightly less somber note, I had a chance Saturday night to see the newest James Bond film, Casino Royale. In the US, at least, Bond reruns seem always to have been on television, with the Connery and Moore eras dominant. The old James Bond has been killed off. Casino Royale is a complete re-invention of the character, carried off well by Daniel Craig. The new Bond is darker, more reckless and the film itself has a more developed realism. The Craig Bond is aggressively targeted at a female audience with a perhaps ironically dulled carnal appetite. The film is the best in years, perhaps ever, with the primary drawback being the relentless brand advertising.