Because Capra was such a Hollywood success, he might be assumed left-wing. But in many matters, he took the John Wayne worldview. Late in life, Capra said he left Hollywood because "hedonists, bleeding-hearts and God-haters" had taken over. His choice of a dam for Smith's filibuster is telling. Today, liberals despise dams, which alter the ecology, never mind that they generate emission-free power. In the 1930s, liberals adored dams, which were actively backed by Franklin Roosevelt (Grand Coulee Dam and Hoover Dam were among leading achievements of FDR's public-works programs to fight the Depression), and were the centerpiece of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which during the 1930s was liberalism personified. Conservatives of the time were suspicious of dams, because then conservatism wanted to preserve wild lands, and dam-building was central to Stalin's Five-Year Plans. There are few public-policy subjects on which left and right have exchanged positions as emphatically as dam-building.
Whatever Capra's politics, "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life" number among the best sentimental movies ever made. Thus horror struck me with the news that a big-budget sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life" is in development. There's already been a sort of sequel, the 1990 TV movie "Clarence," about subsequent adventures of George Bailey's guardian angel. "Clarence" was excruciating. Who will star in the sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life"? Perhaps Johnny Depp as George, Clair Danes as Mary Bailey and in a gender-bender, Lily Allen as Clarence.
It's a Good Thing Mr. Smith Didn't Live to See This: If consumers try to use bitcoins to replace U.S. currency, politicians of both parties will be furious. They are, however, pushing for legal approval to accept bitcoins as campaign donations.
Taxpayers Not Fleeced! This should have been headline news -- the Cleveland Browns, not Ohio taxpayers, are covering the bulk of the cost of a spruce-up of FirstEnergy Stadium.
Politicians tend to assume that if they don't cave to money demands from NFL owners, the sky will fall. But the Florida legislature just said no to more subsidies for the Miami Dolphins, and now the Browns are doing the decent thing and covering capital costs themselves. Anytime a wealthy NFL owner demands public handouts, as is now happening in St. Louis, politicians should follow Nancy Reagan's lead and Just Say No.
Kuechly Update: On the final snap of the New England at Carolina game on "Monday Night Football," officials picked up a flag in the end zone on Luke Kuechly of the Cats, sealing Carolina's win. Six days later, Miami leading Carolina 13-3 with third-and-goal on the Panthers' 5, Kuechly was flagged for helmet-to-helmet hit in the end zone, which would have given the Dolphins first-and-goal at the 1. Officials picked up the flag, without explanation -- though the call seemed correct to your columnist, and the Fox announcers said they thought the flag was correct. Miami settled for a field goal, and went on to lose by four points.
As the saying goes, Who does Luke Kuechly know?
Couldn't Make This Up: Swedish regulators have required the famed Ice Hotel -- built entirely from frozen water -- to install fire alarms.