Commentary & Opinion

 

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.

 

It is axiomatic to suggest that if there are three Jews in a room there is likely to be nine opinions – each one shaped by a view of reality. As a consequence, there are dozens of Jewish organizations representing every political opinion and judgment under the sun. However, on one matter there was usually convergence, the welfare of Jewish life and the state of Israel.

The currently dis-United States of ours has arrived at a trying juncture, in its turbulent tribulations, to determine the actual status of its democratic durability.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood charm campaign in the U.S. has officially been launched. Now that the Brotherhood is no longer an opposition group, but a political juggernaut controlling a majority of the seats in Egypt’s parliament, a series of meetings with experts in the U.S. have been organized to convince the wary that they are far more moderate than their reputation suggests.

 

Max Frisch, the 20th Century Swiss architect, novelist, playwright, philosopher wrote of many things but on one subject, he was most intensely prescient.  Of technology, he wrote—“Technology is the knack of arranging the world, so that we don’t have to experience it.”

GANJA & HESS, which dates from 1973, is one of those films that can be labeled a forgotten classic. The reason why it is forgotten is that too few moviegoers saw it during its all-too-brief original theatrical run. But now, decades later, the uncut version of the film, which was written and directed by Bill Gunn, is available on DVD.

The word 'etiquette' reminds me of vicarage ladies discussing which way their pinkies ought to point when holding a tea-cup, but I use the word here with respect to the problem of friends who don't, can't or won't, respond.

I don't email much, and typically my 'you have mail' box may have anything between zero and three new emails each morning. I know people who apparently receive as many as 80 a day, excluding advertising! (How such a phenomenon occurs I'm not sure. They must be very talkative.)

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