Reviewer Rob Edelman takes a look at the history of slavery in cinema upon the release of 12 Years A Slave...
For sure, 12 Years A Slave is one of the best films not just of the season but of the year. However, there is one point about the subject matter explored in the film that deserves to be challenged. At the start of the Toronto Film Festival press conference for 12 Years A Slave, the film’s director, Steve McQueen, casually observed that the subject of slavery “hasn’t been given a platform in cinema.” Well, this simply is not so.
One of our nation’s founding fathers, Ben Franklin, wrote and published prolifically. In his famed Poor Richard’s Almanac, Franklin observed the propensity for some to claim great empathy and to make exaggerated promises. To that, Franklin sagely advised: “Well done is better than well said.”
Today, commentator Dr. Andrew Coates discusses the glitches plaguing the Affordable Care Act website.
When I was young I worked as a carpenter's helper here in rural upstate New York. The man I worked for, a treasure of local lore is someone who possesses generous good humor and a gift for analogy. On ladders and roofs, in the back road truck journeys to our jobs and at the sawhorses we would debate the big questions of life and also share the most pedestrian observations about farm and family life.
As part of the celebrations surrounding the recent inauguration of Dr. Robert J. Jones as the 19th President of the University at Albany, a program was presented on the topic: “Universities and Colleges as Economic Drivers.” Universities and colleges have long been acknowledged as institutions which add to the economy of their regions, particularly in terms of their ongoing recruitment of new people to the area (faculty, staff and students), with a resulting boost to the local economy – restaurants, entertainment venues, retail, real estate, and on and on. While important, this kind of economic impact is passive, deriving from the very nature of the higher education enterprise. However, universities can and, in my mind should, play a much more active and purposeful role in advancing the economic vitality of their communities.
Like many academics -- and contrary to the image of college professors as lazy scholars that take sabbaticals every other year and have their summers off -- I about have four or five full-time jobs. I direct a graduate program in bioethics, teach six courses (including two summer courses), and supervise four students each year as they complete their Masters projects.
Should we fight against the brush fires or tackle the whole enchilada? I’ve often wondered about that. People find it easier to tackle the little pieces. I’ve heard that Napoleon, retreating in Russia, broke the retreat into a series of small objectives to keep up his men’s confidence. But then we know the man in charge had his eyes on the big picture – getting out of Russia before he lost his entire army.
Good government alarm bells are ringing in Albany. Numerous news reports have accused the governor’s aides of interfering in the activities of the state commission investigating corruption in government.