The AP recently revealed a spying operation by the New York City police on Muslims and Muslim institutions. What should we think about that?
Several years ago I arranged to teach a course on Privacy Law because I wanted to figure that out. I read, studied, corresponded with experts in the field and chaired a committee to come up with solutions. Here is some of what I’ve come up with.
For those public broadcasters who always ask the question: “Is classical music dead or doomed?” in interviews before every concert they air, this commentator has a simple coherent answer: “Only if you will it!” Most Public Broadcasting execs seem privately convinced but too chicken to say, what they already believe. So they ask the question, praying someone else will intone the answer they seek. Theirs’ is a suspicion fallaciously raised, ever since ‘Classical Music’ was born. In truth, as the inimitable ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong used to put it: “There’s only two kinds of music… Good and Bad
We love to complain about the lack of a coherent national energy policy. It’s a perennial complaint no matter who is in the White House or which party controls Congress. We blame the oil and gas companies and their hold on our politicians. If Congress had the people’s interests at heart, the story goes, we’d have a rational energy policy in this country that would emphasize efficiency, wean us off the dirty stuff and shift us to clean renewable energy.
In the beginning, the country’s public radio stations decided they needed an organization to provide them with world and national news. Probably based on As It Happen from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio (NPR)’s All Things Considered was started. If the member stations all kicked in, it was theorized, together they could afford a formidable news-gathering operation. Today, WAMC alone pays the network more than $800,000 a year. That’s a lot of money. It’s worth it, but it’s a tremendous burden considering all the other things we do here.
Despite the ever-shrinking number of smokers, cigarette use is still a top public health priority. And despite the incredible gains that have been made, the carnage caused by smoking still takes an enormous physical and financial toll.
Into this debate comes a product that advertises itself as a way for smokers to reduce the harm caused by cigarette use and a way for smokers to comply with smoking bans in work and public places.
That product is the “electronic cigarette” or e-cigarette.
Lately, I’ve been seeing and savoring quite a few foreign language films: titles that have not enjoyed across-the-board theatrical releases in the U.S. This lack of theatrical exposure is not because these films are lacking in quality. They are in fact engrossing and provocative.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1980s, at a time when HIV/AIDS was decimating the gay community. AIDS has since been rendered a chronic but manageable illness with the development of effective antiviral drugs (at least for those who can afford them), but at that time a diagnosis of AIDS was considered to be a death sentence.
Writing in the New York Times (4/8/12) Ross Douthat argues “that religious common ground has all but disappeared.” The existence of a Judeo Christian center that helped bind the teeming nation together is in retreat, he claims. In a nation as divided as ours, religious polarization is inescapable as the race to the presidency has already suggested.
Tasked with helping draft a constitution for India after World War II, B. N. Rau traveled abroad speaking to jurists. In Washington, Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter advised Rau not to include a due process clause in the Indian Constitution. Instead India should have a clause simply requiring that no one be charged with a crime but by the law of the land. That was the meaning of the Magna Carta in 1215 which said:
No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned … or in any way destroyed … except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
In 2001, after receiving a solicitation letter in the mail and then viewing a TV interview of Walter Cronkite, Honorary National Chairman of the Interfaith Alliance, this commentator became a member. The idea of religious and lay leaders of many faiths joining together to ensure utmost support for the constitutional certainty of both religious freedom and church/state separation was an irresistible inducement. When I later learned of the formation of an affiliated unit, in New York State, I became an avid supporter.