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Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Socialized ‘Sicko’

“One of the systems ‘Sicko’ suggests as a template for a remodeled American health care is the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). …

“Viewers are taken to London’s Hammersmith Hospital, held up as a shining example of socialized care, where doctors are well-paid and patients well looked after. [Michael] Moore ambles through the corridors interviewing patients that acclaim the NHS’s ‘free care,’ and express horror at the barbarism of the American system. …

“Moore uncritically praises institutions with which many locals have ever-declining levels of faith (only 4 percent of Britons surveyed think the system ‘has enough money and the money is spent well’), that will likely alienate his non-ideological foreign fans. …

“But as P.J. O’Rourke once commented, if Mike thinks health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.

Michael C. Moynihan, writing on “Michael Moore’s Shticko,” June 22 at

Mighty outraged

“ ’A Mighty Heart’ … drew fire over a screening designed to promote religious tolerance.

“Paramount Vantage initiated the … event — a screening followed by a panel discussion at the Sherry Lansing theater — soliciting input from Muslim, Christian and Jewish [groups]. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU) ended up co-sponsoring. …

“However, a Jewish activist decried the leanings of several of the participants, likening CAIR’s involvement to ‘David Duke co-sponsoring “Schindler’s List.” ’

“ ’The only reason they like this film is because it’s about a dead Jew,’ said Allyson Rowen-Taylor, who has been involved in [groups] such as the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us. The activist found out about the event from a friend who’s a member of the Academy and immediately expressed her outrage to Judea Pearl, father of the late [Wall Street Journal reporter] Daniel Pearl. …

“ ’A Mighty Heart’ has drawn controversy from the moment [Angelina] Jolie was cast to play Mariane Pearl, a woman of Afro-Cuban heritage. The production relocated from Pakistan to India amid protests.”

Diane Garrett, writing on “Where ‘Heart’ goes, controversy follows,” June 21 in Daily Variety

Country boy

“Having been born in Ryan, Okla., (population 894), I’ve always been a country boy at heart. Despite my urban career, I’ve always felt more at home on the range — that is why our family frequents our ranch outside of Houston. I’ve always considered myself an average, traditional American, who (like most others) believes in God, family, country, a strong work ethic and mama’s apple pie. …

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