The world stage is trembling with emerging challenges, challenges so deep and potentially fracturing that the globe may never be the same again. This is 1789, 1848, 1917 and 1941 wrapped in one momentous year. Wherever one turns, chaos reigns and, in large part, this dislocation is due to a United States’ reluctant to play its post-World War II role as the “great equalizer.” From the Middle East to the Far East, from London to the Levant, U.S. withdrawal physically and emotionally is having a profound influence on diplomatic calculations.
On Sunday, December 1, Metro-North reported an “accident occurred just before 7:30 a.m. … [A] southbound, Hudson Line train with about 120 passengers on board derailed just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx. All cars derailed.”  We now know four people died and many were injured.
One Year has now passed, since the shocking massacre of twenty children and six adults, in the unbelievable shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut school, by a single deranged young person, for no known motive or stimulus and we aren’t any closer to answers, that might explain this most horrible of inhumane acts, but everyone who promised informed or official responses , from our nation’s President, to its most respected and learned minds, seem unable to compel reactions, to match their expressed horror.
Last week, a gubernatorial commission released its $2 billion tax cut plan for New York State. The commission’s plan provides for a 2-year property tax freeze, a cut in the tax rate on corporations to 6.5 percent and a reduction in tax on manufacturers to 2.5 percent.
I often find myself in the odd position of addressing the question “why are the humanities disappearing?” In most instances my interrogators assume I will say something about the desire for vocational training in an environment where jobs are scarce. Clearly that is an answer, but a partial and unreflective response.
This rumination is being penned on Sunday, December 8th, the day following what became known as “The Day Of Infamy,” as President Franklin Roosevelt described it, on December 7th, 1941, after forces of the empire of Japan had deliberately attacked Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands, at the outset of World War II, in the Pacific. It has since been referred to, for the past 72 years as “Pearl Harbor Day.”