Paul Greenberg

It's as if this country were to replace the Statue of Liberty with a new one now and then, say in the style of Diane Keaton or Angelina Jolie as times and tastes change. It's no easier keeping up with France's changing images of Marianne than counting the number of French Republics. Out on the frontier here in rustic America, we prefer our national symbols to stay pretty much the same, like our republic.

It was a clue even Inspector Clouseau couldn't have missed:

When one Kevin Daly of Coram, N.Y., was charged with a DUI after colliding with a police car, he was wearing a T-shirt bearing the message:

I'm not an alcoholic

I'm a drunk

Alcoholics go to meetings

Would he had gone to some.

If at first you don't succeed ... At first Jon Corzine did his best to bankrupt New Jersey when he was governor of that fiscally troubled state. Then he moved on to MF Global Holdings Ltd., a once successful investment firm. Once ensconced there, he began making big bets on those big bonds European countries were issuing. They proved bad bets. (See Greece and all the other Europeans countries now lined up for default behind it like so many dominoes -- Spain, Italy, Portugal....)

Result: MF Global Holdings filed for bankruptcy, and Mr. Corzine left investors holding the bag -- and his worthless regrets. At least he's been consistent as both a politician and investor. A consistent failure. And on no small scale.

Mr. Corzine, formerly The Hon. Jon Corzine and even talked up as a presidential candidate at one point, graciously declined to accept $12 million in severance pay from the company he drove into bankruptcy. But it's unlikely those who had their savings invested in MF Global, which used to be a solid investment firm pre-Corzine, will be overwhelmed with gratitude.

Politeness counts: Gregory Paul Hess, aka The Polite Robber, has been caught and convicted in Seattle after a video showed him robbing a gas station with the utmost courtesy. "Sir, I'm robbing you," he thoughtfully explained, apologizing profusely for the inconvenience and promising to pay the owner back -- "if I every get on my feet again, sir." He was sentenced to 60 months in prison. He needs to serve every day -- ever so politely.

Today's vocabulary lesson: In his rave review of "Take Shelter," the Weekly Standard's John Podhoretz noted "the writing and directing of a 32-year-old named Jeff Nichols, who has come out of nowhere to make something of a masterpiece -- a perfectly controlled, conceived and paced work with a genuine intelligence built into its structure, its plotting, and its dialogue."

Nowhere must be East Coast for Little Rock, Ark.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.