Pundit Wire

The Speechwriting Reel: The Engineering Mind in Action

Marine-engineeringThis is a glimpse of how the engineering mind works: “I like pop music. Earnestly. Most of the greatest technicians, mix engineers, and players are working in pop music.”
Autre Ne Veut

I don’t mean to pick on engineers but they’re easy to pick on, especially by us creative types who free associate and constantly digress and of course interrupt without compunction.  Nice word, compunction. I consult for big oil companies invariably run by engineers. I wrote something for a higher up, way up, expecting to get his thoughts about the piece’s substance. His note said “You made a typo on page three paragraph three.” I couldn’t find it.

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Spock’s ‘Good Mother’

mk_leonard_3115_539_332_c1“Oh, by the way, Leonard,” I say into the phone, as breezily as I can feign, “what did you think about Diane’s belt?”

Leonard Nimoy is on location in Cambridge, Mass., preparing to direct “The Good Mother” for Disney, starring Diane Keaton. I’m the executive on the movie, on the lot, where a studio chieftain and I have just watched the makeup, hair and wardrobe test Leonard had shot. (I won’t identify the mogul, but it’s unlikely you’d know his name.)

Nimoy directing “The Good Mother.” Photo by PictureLux/eyevine

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Marijuana Legalization in D.C.: Alice in Wonderland Politics

Alice_in_wonderland_1951If anyone wants to see the Alice in Wonderland quality to our politics, here it is, all in one policy petri dish.

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The True Believer, Revisited

15916The New York Times ran a front page article on February 18, chronicling the lives of three Egyptian youths, one of whom turned jihadist and went to fight for ISIS in Syria.

The three young men were friends. All of them came from middle-class backgrounds. All of them were devout Muslims, and all of them struggled to square the strictures of puritanical Islam with the attractions of the secular world—in particular, the sexual impulses they shared as normal young men. All of them had difficulty finding work in Egypt’s uncertain economy, and all of them were disillusioned when Egypt’s army took power and suppressed the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

Photo: Harper & Brothers

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Posted in Culture, General, International, National Security, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The war to reform American medicine has been won.

LyndonJohnsonSigningMedicareBillThe transformation began with the enactment of Medicare and medicaid during the Johnson years — which allowed prices to be contained as a growing percentage of bills were paid by large entities, especially the government — and the HMO act during the Nixon years — which endorsed the idea of an efficient system where experts decided on how to treat any problem,  effectively setting limits on volume.

Once the tools were in place to control both price and volume, the rest was just fine tuning,  which is still ongoing.  The basic principles were ratified in Obamacare and are no longer under serious challenge.  The change hasn’t relied entirely on government action, but reflects private sector movement in the same direction.

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Hollywood’s necessary not-niceness

db_amy-pascal_010915_584_539_360_c1The billion people who will watch the 2015 Academy Awards got a great gift last week from Amy Pascal, the recently fired co-chair of Sony Pictures, who said this to Tina Brown at a Women in the World conference in San Francisco:

“We all live in this weird thing called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.”

Photo: Amy Pascal. Image via Sony Pictures Studios

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We Hold These Truths to be Inconvenient

CAN-ON-PetroCanada-7314MarkhamRd-FuelPump11b-2005Jun12The Congressional Republicans’ willingness to turn their backs on the sanctity of private property rights demonstrates a lack of genuine belief in anything beyond “feed the kitty.”

Among the most sacred rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution is the ownership and control of private property. It’s not quite as sacred as our God-given right to cruise Main Street with military-style automatic weapons, of course, but still pretty sacred.

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Posted in Campaigns & Elections, Political Rhetoric, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Guerrilla Warfare Against Gay Marriage

imagesThe chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.

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Posted in Civil Rights, Culture, General, Politics, Religion, Supreme Court & Judiciary, U.S. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment