The skies over Cairo were filled with celebratory fireworks as Egypt’s military officers removed president Mohammed Morsi, suspended the Islamic Constitution and installed an interim government presided over by a senior jurist. But these fireworks could be succeeded by a series of new fireworks that are distant from celebration.
Obviously I’ve been following the news from Egypt like everyone else. You don’t need commentators to tell you that ousting a democratically elected government is undemocratic and unacceptable. But I want to talk about Morsi’s mistakes because they illustrate a major misunderstanding of democracy.
In his “History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire,” Edward Gibbon wrote: “All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.” More to the point of American history, the Irish philosopher, George Berkley (in 1752) paraphrased John Quincy Adams’ note: “Westward the course of empire takes its way,” thus: “The first four acts already past, a fifth shall close the drama with the day: time’s noblest offspring is the last.”
Early last month a report graded each of the 50 states’ policies on how well they controlled patients’ pain. The report showed that much progress had been made over the last decade in implementing balanced policies that increase access to effective pain medications and establish a system to mitigate drug abuse. However, much more needs to be done.
HOOP DREAMS, which dates from 1994, is an extraordinary documentary which covers four years in the lives of its subjects, a pair of inner-city Chicago youngsters who yearn for stardom on the hardwood. Well, a new-to-DVD documentary, titled 56 UP, is the latest in a series of films which, in their totality, cover 49 years in the lives of their subjects. They are a group of British youngsters from various classes and backgrounds who first were filmed as seven years olds in 1964. Every seven years, the cameras have been turned back on and they have been revisited and filmed yet again. A bit of simple math tells us that 56 UP is the eighth installment in the series.
The biggest question about Eliot Spitzer's decision to throw his hat into the New York City comptroller's race isn't why he's doing it - the disgraced former governor has been dropping not-so-subtle hints about his desire to return to public life for years now.
A few years ago, the athletic shoe company Adidas had this ad slogan that went, “Impossible is nothing.” It always seemed to be worn by people who I doubt adhered to that ethic, but certainly held their favorite athletes to that standard. More to the point, the slogan itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For example, I have stared at a 10 foot basketball hoop since I was about five, all with the hope that I might someday grab it on the way down from a windmill dunk. That never happened. The closest I ever got was when we played on seven foot rims at the elementary school.
The word “equality” is woven into the fabric of the nation. Despite the clause in the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s continual efforts to preserve it, most people assume we are born with different endowments, have different temperaments, behave in different ways and, most assuredly, are unequal. In fact, the more we as a nation emphasize individuality, the more likely inequality will result.
I’m tired of hearing that lower taxes will bring new business. Politicians chant low taxes like a mantra that answers everything. Governor Cuomo offers to starve many New York communities of money for services by barring them from taxing new business.