As the latest spate of incomprehensible gun violence registered on the ratings-starved psyche of America’s once vigilant TV-News mélange, a spluttering assortment of clueless questioners tried to play ‘catch-up,’ querying anyone within sight or sound of the mind-boggling eruption for personal recollections of its immediate aftermath. For the most part, sound-bite oriented oracles gleaned the usual first-person responses, self-concerned and unadorned by conjecture of any kind. Motive and mindset of possible perpetrators were left to other, more qualified sources to discuss and surmise. Th
Cancer takes a staggering toll on New Yorkers. More than 107,000 New Yorkers were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, and more than 34,000 died from the disease. A different perspective is that roughly 2,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with cancer and 660 individuals die from cancer each week.
Movies spotlighting characters who are fiercely individualistic always have appealed to me. For after all, we live in a culture in which conformity is the norm, in which one is expected to do what one is told without asking questions. Sometimes, cinematically-speaking, those who do ask questions become heroes. Sometimes, they become victims. But their stories are more interesting to me, just so long as those stories are well-told.
Attorney General Eric Holder is engaged in a war against states trying to ensure the integrity of the electoral system. As he noted, “The arc of American history has always moved toward expanding the electorate.”
While there is truth in this claim, it does not mean that felons, foreigners or those residing in cemeteries should be given the right to vote. However, Mr. Holder has used the power of his position to block Florida from purging its rolls of non-citizens or taking Texas to federal court over its photo ID requirement.
It’s a given that most of us, even those benefiting financially, agree our current election process is tedious and costly. In less than 200 years, it has evolved from small, exclusive meetings to a Henry VIII orgy, gulping down hundreds of millions of dollars. What our forefathers suggested be a simple process, simply isn’t anymore.
Our Constitution depends on our common sense. It says nothing about how political candidates should be nominated, merely provides guidelines to allow the development of political parties.
Despite our current national addiction to I-Pods, Face Books and Blogs, in many ways we Americans still mirror countless other cultures and countries. One such resemblance verges on superstition, in our slavish dependence on words that convey special powers; vintage expressions like “Open Sesame,” for instance… the magic password to certain nirvanas we’ve designated, that have survived time to convey special meaning.
Today’s health system often falls short in addressing the pain, physical symptoms, emotional concerns, and other chronic care needs that patients face. These needs are increasingly the norm for cancer patients and their caregivers. As medical care advances, illnesses that were death sentences a few decades ago have now become chronic illnesses that need to be managed. As a result, quality of life care needs now span over many years or even decades.
These days, Greta Gerwig is all over movie screens. She recently has been seen in LOLA VERSUS, and Whit Stillman’s latest, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, and Woody Allen’s latest, TO ROME WITH LOVE. (I must add here that, in these parts, any new Woody Allen film-- good, bad, or indifferent-- is well worth a look-see.) Anyway, what is so appealing about Greta Gerwig is her naturalistic screen presence. She is at ease in front of the camera and, once that camera rolls, it does not seem as if she is acting. She is just, well... being her character.
Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable deaths in the US. Last year, nearly half a million people died of smoking-related illnesses like emphysema and lung cancer. That’s nearly one of every five deaths, a number that is greater than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, drug and alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking also costs American taxpayers and businesses over $150 billion a year in terms of health care and lost productivity – that’s approximately $7 for every pack of cigarettes sold.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics, which suggests that physical forces are gravitating to entropy, is a perfect metaphor for the moment. European economies are cascading into the netherworld of insolvency even as governments deny the reality. President Obama seemingly defies the rule of law by issuing executive orders that bypass the Congress. Unemployment in the U.S. remains over eight percent for the 42nd straight month. And unemployment in Spain for those under 25 is at 50 percent.