Commentary & Opinion

 

In a nation obsessed with creativity, freedom is the exalted position. For freedom gives meaning to our actions. Yet it is the defect of ideology to assume action is reducible to one simple principle, a uniquely explanatory element. In reality, freedom is a complex and composite affair.

 

 In an earlier essay I mentioned that there was no reason why pure scientists such as myself shouldn't have a say in politics -- particularly since law-making is sometimes regarded, wrongly I believe, as being just in the province of those trained in law.

 

In the little more than half-a-generation, since a young bi-racial, Harvard Law School Graduate named Barak Obama set out to prove that America was ready to embrace a complete change in race-based socio-political viewpoint, much has indeed changed, though hardly in ways he envisaged.  Especially in the interactive sense he anticipated.

It’s summertime. 

That means kids swimming in the pool, going to camp and – of course - smoking their first cigar.

Shocked?  Every year, more than 1,000,000 kids try their first cigar.  And, if the cigar companies have their way, you won’t be able to do much about it.

After intensive lobbying by cigar companies, Congress is about to vote on an amendment that would exempt many cigars from any regulation at all. 

 

Let me state at the outset that my tea leaves are no more refined than anyone else’s. However, we are in the midst of potential earth shattering events that are worthy of speculation, events that are likely to shape our national destiny for decades.

I am persuaded Mitt Romney wins the next election in large part because there isn’t a victory narrative President Obama can develop. Thirty eight consecutive months of over 8 percent unemployment is in itself a scenario for defeat, notwithstanding all of the rationalizations the president will offer.

 

Many conservatives are concerned that we have lost a sense of moral obligations, without which the state must eventually fail. They trace most of the nation’s ills to character, including the national debt, crime, failing schools and poverty to name a few.

 

From its very first use in our national history, collective bargaining by fiat has never been a fair or effective means of achieving justice or peace in American labor relations.  The overwhelming material and political power of the financial/commercial/industrial amalgam has always wielded too great an influence over the official mechanisms set in place to police the process. Knowing this, the amalgam has used every available means to destroy the most effective defense available to American workers: their unity.

 

You see the advertisements everywhere: electronic cigarettes – which don’t use tobacco – are exempt from public smoking restrictions and help those who wish to quit.  But are the claims true?

While it is true that these devices don’t use tobacco, there is little scientific evidence that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit.  In addition, since there is no regulation of these devices, the quality and safety of these products cannot be assured.

This past weekend I, along with many other extremely fortunate citizens of the Capital Region, experienced a truly memorable event at RPI’s stunning Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center – or EMPAC.   Entitled John Brown’s Body, the event commemorated the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and was a partnership of the Albany Pro Musica and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.  The music was sometimes haunting, sometimes a call-to-arms, sometimes ethereal, sometimes dirge-like, sometimes jubilant and, at all times, exquisitely beautiful.

 

An estimated 34 million people around the world are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Most of these individuals live in developing countries, but approximately 1.2 million Americans are infected. At least of third of those living with HIV/AIDS in the US are unaware of their status.

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