Whenever something goes wrong, politicians demand someone get fired. If the Democrats are in charge the Republicans demand someone get fired and vice versa. There’s an Ebola outbreak in Africa and one person treated in a Texas hospital died, so fire the head of the national Center for Disease Control in Atlanta! Ambassador Stevens was killed in Benghazi so it must have been Clinton’s fault. It’s easy to strike a pose of moral outrage, blame and action – fire so and so; it was on her watch. But then what?
In the year 1900, in what this pundit believes to be one of the most cogent and powerful essays, Theodore Roosevelt claimed that no one is justified in doing evil for reasons of expedience. Alas, in little more than a century later, expedience is fueling a return to the most vicious and inhumane practices of this self-proclaimed ‘democratic republic’s’ self-scarred history, in a succession of prejudicial efforts, to deny African-Americans and others of similar color, access to the civil rights ostensibly enjoyed by everyone else. Conservative Republican officials and others of their ilk, at every level of government, from local through county, state and federal, are eagerly involved in this hateful denial, made even more detestable by their own outspoken claims of innocent ignorance.
As the brutal election season wraps up, the nation – and the world – received another dire warning of the growing dangers of global warming. While the issue has been almost non-existent in the nation’s political debates, there is no doubt that it is the most important issue facing the world.
The Vienna-born Erwin Schrodinger had sent papers on many topics from the trenches during his sevice as an artillery officer in WW1 – as mentioned in my essay of 2 weeks ago. By the mid-1920s he had been an important contributor to the new and revolutionary world of the quantum – along with Einstein and others.
This weekend’s cultural highlights include a political drama, an unusual art installation, a music documentary, an orchestral concert, an African-American dance performance, and a spooky, Halloween-themed play.
Just last week, an eight month- long investigation of academic fraud involving student- athletes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of our nation’s most prestigious public universities, was released. This investigation, led by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a longtime official at the U.S. Justice Department, revealed a well-orchestrated, long-standing and widespread corruption of the academic program at Chapel Hill. In brief, the Wainstein Report described a “shadow curriculum” that had been developed by the departmental manager and the chair of the African and Afro-American Studies department to ensure the academic success of “at risk” student – athletes.
It is something of an old saw to contend that if a woman says “no,” she means “maybe.” If she says “maybe” she means “yes,” but if she says “yes” she is not a “lady.” Similarly if a man says “yes,” he means “maybe,” if he says “maybe” he means “no,” but if says “no,” he could not possibly be a negotiator in Vienna for the Obama administration.
Whenever I speak about Israel and Palestine, I get angry and anguished letters from both sides. I understand. The world is going to heck in so many ways – growing population, destroying our environment, killing each other – why not have a few dreams about the good life in the Middle East. Dreams are much more fun than reality. Only a few have the strength to look with clear eyes and at both sides.
I hate mosquitoes, having endured my share of sleepless nights itching from their bites and being startled by the maddening drone of their speeding wings. I reserve my greatest antipathy for those giant mosquitoes that sport long, ugly legs and tubular bodies. I am not fooled by the seeming frailty of their translucent wings, which move three hundred to six hundred times per second. They lift and land their owners with the impunity of a rogue pilot, treating every surface of the world like an open runway and the surface of skin like the unlocked door of an unguarded blood bank.