"Why are there no libertarian countries?" asks Michael Lind on Salon.com.
He answers his own question. "Modern states have tested all kinds of political philosophies, from fascism to communism to social democracy. But not one of the world's 193 sovereign states -- not even a tiny one -- has adopted a full-on libertarian system, with very limited government, unfettered free market economy, decriminalized drugs and no welfare or public education system. ... Yet libertarians still insist we'd all be happier in a system with an absolute minimum of government..."
The list of countries flirting with libertarianism includes Singapore, where economic liberty is paired with an oppressive police state, and Mauritius, a tiny island country, which has double the infant mortality rate of the U.S. and nearly triple its maternal mortality rate.
"Would you prefer to live in either place?" asks Michael. "Libertarianism, clearly, is based on a fantasy ... an 'imaginary utopia.'"
Thank you, Mr. Michael Lind, for setting the record straight. This piece was reprinted by my favorite of all magazines -- The Week (June 21) and cited under "Best Columns: the U.S."
If you don't want to "have" to read everything written each week, subscribe to The Week, which has been a big favorite of mine since it started. Google The Week and see how to get four free issues and you decide.
I've read two books of late, fairly literate writing, where the authors use the word "disinterested" when they are meaning to say "uninterested." Then listening to MSNBC without watching, I heard one of the usually astute hosts say "disinterested" to describe President Obama sitting with Vladimir Putin. He was saying they didn't seem interested in one another.
Doesn't "disinterested" mean actually standing aside, observing, dispassionate, not involved.
The misuse of the word usually stands totally opposite of whatever one is trying to say. And I know I make plenty of other mistakes myself but this struck me. Maybe the meaning has actually changed.
I told you the other day about my longtime friend, Howard Rosenman, a guy I met long ago before I was ever a columnist.
Howard was then producing Pamper commercials but one day at lunch, he told me he had two ideas for movies. (Everybody always has two ideas for movies and they insist on telling you about them and the amateurs among them always cast the movie with a big star before they do anything else.)
However, Howard said, "I have an idea for a movie about a woman in childbirth and I have another idea for a film about a singing group, like the Supremes. Which do you think I should do?"
I was exasperated. I said, "The latter one, of course!" (Thus happened the film "Sparkle," which I always thought inspired the big musical that became the Michael Bennett Broadway hit "Dreamgirls."
Anyway, Howard did give up diapers and made a lot of films, including "Father of the Bride," "The Family Man" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." (So that's how I happened to be "acting" in the latter film; nepotism run rampant.)
Howard today is most proud of his Oscar-winning documentary "Common Threads: Tales From the Quilt," and his other award-winning efforts "The Celluloid Closet" and "Paragraph 175." He always praises his directors Rob Epstein and Jeff Friedman.
NOW comes a story about four overweight friends, fed up with dieting and abuse from Weight-Watchers. One of them takes a job in a Japanese restaurant where Sumo wrestling is practiced. He and his pals start a Sumo team, find a coach and so is born the film "A Matter of Size." It is now an Israeli comedy hit.
Carol Baum and David Permut will produce an American version with Howard Rosenman and Paramount finances with the famous Jon Turteltaub directing. The latter has just finished "Last Vegas," with an all-star cast of Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Mary Steenburgen and Kevin Kline, to be released by CBS Films. Plenty of preview talk on this one!
So with four wonderful comic actors who get the girl, even though they are overweight, "A Matter of Size" has a very good chance in the United States too.
My super-Jewish friend Howard played a priest in "Backmask." He has also acted in 'Coming and Going" directed by Sophia Loren's son, Edoardo Ponti. This stars Ponti's wife, Sasha Alexander ("Rizzoli and Isles").
Howard was also in the Whitney Houston revival of "Sparkle" and in another movie, "Should've Been Romeo" with Natasha Henstridge, Ed Asner, Renee Taylor, Kelly Osbourne and Carol Kane.
P.S. Howard, I have waited a long time for you to become rich. Now my goal is in sight!
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)
The adventures and projects of producer Howard Rosenman
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