Pundit Wire

This Happened March 20, and It Could Happen to You

stealing-294489_640Land line rings at 3:00 p.m.  Usually I’m out at that hour, but I happen to be on a brief pass-through at my house, and I take the call on the fourth ring.

“The Internal Revenue Service is filing a lawsuit against you for non-payment of $6000 in taxes.  You must call the following number…”

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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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The New, Improved Payday Loan?

payday loanWhat would you say if I offered a $500  loan that would require that you repay me with $920 less than six months hence?

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President Putin Addresses the Nation

putinOn 4 December Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his ‘state of the nation’ address to the Federal Assembly and an audience of over 1000 people. So, how was it as a speech?

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Safety in Numbers

Washington-20141009-00083I don’t mean it in a smarmy way:  everything is numbers these days, it just is. Undergraduates looking for a pretty sustainable livelihood should become “M&E” specialists – monitoring and evaluation.  If I were a donor I, too, would want to know what I am getting for my money.

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Encore for Proprietary Medical Schools?

Medical Schools Conventional wisdom holds that America faces a growing physician shortage and that one way of responding is by creating new medical schools.  Starting a new school is an expensive proposition which may explain the modest number that has opened in the past decade.  But now the private sector may be coming to the rescue by creating proprietary – or profit-making – schools to train physicians.

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So What’s the Problem?

healthcare If the good news we’ve been hearing about American health costs in the past few months turns out to be the new norm – it’s too early to tell – then much of today’s political debate is wildly misguided. Consultants predict 2014 will see abnormally low inflation, again. Medicare spending per beneficiary is dropping more than previously anticipated. And new tools provided by Obamacare to constrain costs could accelerate these trends.

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Gas Exports and Liberty

DSCF1077 On my last visit to Budapest about a year ago, I was treated to a dramatic illustration of the power that Vladimir Putin’s Russia exercises over its former satellites through their dependency on imports of Russian natural gas.

Near Hungary’s parliament building is a park called Liberty Square. The park was created to honor the Hungarian patriots who died in an unsuccessful rising against Habsburg rule in 1848-49. But the park also has two other monuments to Hungary’s liberators.

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