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.
For a nation steeped in adherence to the prohibition of enforced religious belief and impenetrable separation of church and state, as Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: affirmed in 1947: “The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable……” (Everson v Bd of Ed’n). Political paladins of various organized religions seem to have been bent on subverting and rescinding it, in favor of one or another preferred religious belief, ever since. That bent seems more prevalent today, than at any time since its adoption.
Higher prices have been shown to encourage smokers to quit or reduce their consumption of cigarettes. Cigarette tax evasion makes cigarettes cheaper and reduces the public health benefits of New York’s excise tax, as well as depriving the state of much-needed revenue. Were the tax collected on all cigarettes smoked in New York, tens of thousands of adults would quit rather than pay higher prices, and state revenues would dramatically increase.
While watching MAN OF STEEL, the new Superman movie, I could not help but think of some of the other actors who have played the beloved superhero across the decades both on TV and in the movies. One of them was of course George Reeves, whom Baby Boomers will know as the actor cast as the title character and his alter-ego, Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent, in THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, the iconic 1950s television series. These days, George Reeves-- who is not to be confused with Christopher Reeve-- is remembered not so much as a 1950s television star but as a tabloid tragedy. That is because, on June 16, 1959, Reeves, who was 45-years-old, was found shot to death in his Hollywood home.
The recent release of a report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences entitled, “The Heart of the Matter,” has inspired much discussion in the halls of universities and the halls of Congress regarding the importance of the humanities versus the sciences in the education of our nation’s young people. As stated by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times, this report, commissioned by a bipartisan group of legislators is “… intended as a rallying cry against the entrenched idea that the humanities and social sciences are luxuries that employment-minded students can ill afford.”
I've been thinking a lot about Paula Deen, but not for the reason that you might suspect. I'm not all that interested in the way she allegedly treats her employees, he casual use of ethnic slurs, or her half-hearted apologies for the way she has behaved. All of that just confirms what I already know: that despite what five US Supreme Court justices seem to think, there is still a strong undercurrent of racism in American society.
The main difference between yesterday and today for Aaron Hernandez is that yesterday he spent the night in his own house in Attleboro, Mass, not far from the stadium where he plays tight end for the New England Patriots. And today, he’s in the custody of the Massachusetts State Police, who arrested him in his home this morning in relation to the murder of Oden Lloyd, a 27 year-old semi-professional football player and acquaintance of Hernandez. So quite a difference a day makes.