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September 11

Uncategorized Sep 11, 2012

A student once asked me, "What makes something sacred?"   I answered, "Something that includes memory as well as a transcendent experience.  Sacred involves a site, a moment in time, or an experience that expands human comprehension or intellect.  In other words, temporality is suspended in some form or another." The 9/11 attacks against the United States have transcended the eleventh of September in to a day of national consciousness, for  sacred stories, sacred memories, sacred sites, and sacred memorials.  The deaths of those who died in New York City, at Shanksville, Pa, at the Pentagon, and on the hijacked airplanes are now sacred moments in U.S. history.  Each person who died on that day remains as an imprint on the story of what it means to be an American. For many in the country "sacred" is a religious experience.  Prayer services are conducted throughout the country in support of those who continue a decade later with their healing...

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The Nimble Mr. Morsi-Egypt's New President

Uncategorized Sep 05, 2012

President Mohamed Morsi [1] is exhibiting surprising nimbleness on both Egypt's  domestic front as well as on the international stage.  His public dressing-down last week of the Assad government signaled Morsi's willingness to support the on-going toppling of autocratic regimes in the Middle East. Himself a product of the Arab Spring, Morsi's stance against the leader of a neighboring  Islamic state was dramatic.  Morsi directly implicated the Assad apparatus in the death of its own people and called for a transition to a representative government. Using muscular language, he denounced the actions of the Syrian government as "oppressive and illegitimate".  His words called on other Arab states to support the revolution in Syria through a tone of shared responsibility for the civilian deaths,  "The blood of the Syrian people is on our necks, and it will not stop unless there is an intervention by all of us, Morsi said". Most surprising to observers...

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Let Joe be Joe

There is an important lesson to be learned since the now infamous  "chains" gaffe.   While the Vice President made an inference that was clearly off-key and offensive as a reminder of this country's history of slavery, the reaction in the media, the political punditry, and of those of both parties provides a snapshot of American politics in 2012.  Politics in American has been reduced to sound bites and hyperbolic attention to that which can extracted for immediate sensationalism.  Political sensationalism is hardly new to the political battle.  Journalists have always looked for headline-making stories during a presidential race.  But in today's world there is no let up, no break from the barrage reporting of gaffes, missteps, mistakes, and foot faults on the court of political competition.  Every gaffe is fluffed and amplified to extract any possible sensationalism out of it. Washington D. C. knows Joe Biden and actually, likes him for his...

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It's Summer

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2012

It's SUMMER  and there are serious topics to be addressed. Serious topics abound:  the Obama/Romney presidential race is a regular sandbox fight-every week someone is throwing sand at some one else.   The U.S. economy remains precarious with uncertainty on the horizon.   Syria is a civil war waiting to become a global nightmare.  And the European monetary crisis is a slow burning fire kept under control through a bucket brigade led by the ECB and the German financial system. (Angela is a great cheerleader though.)   And the drought in the U.S. is deadly, expensive, and hot, hot, hot. Whew, those topics make August hot enough!  But it is summer and I just returned from a vacation at the beach.  There is still time for some summer fun.   Serious topics will still be with us next week. 

For now, enjoy the video.  Fun- Fun advanced robotics.  PRETTY COOL if you ask me.  Enjoy these last weeks of summer!

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Recess is Right!

Congress is fleeing Washington for what is customarily referred to as "summer recess".  Recess is right!  Congressional members have been acting like school children, unable to play fair or learn to cooperate with one another. RECESS.  Isn't that for a break after completing one's school work?  So, why is it that the standards that are taught to schoolchildren no longer apply to adults?  If our schoolchildren behaved the way members of Congress have been behaving, they would be sent home-but with a teachers note expressing the imperative to improve bad / unacceptable behavior.  To put this in perspective, let's get some figures. Let's look at all the work the 2012 Congress has accomplished before they take their "recess".  Steve Rattner, Chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, famous for his charts, compared the 1947 Congress, the so-called "Do Nothing Congress" to our current Congress.  The 1947 Congress passed 900 laws as compared to the 2012...

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Iraq as Prelude for Afghanistan. (Or...Bigfoot is a Myth)

The Middle East remains a region of consequence for the entire world as the catastrophe in Syria unfolds and the gamesmanship between Israel and Iran continues.  Both conflicts hold radiating consequences for the E.U., Russia, China, the U.S. and an endless number of nation-states.  While the world watches, events ratchet up. Yet there is another conflict in the center of the region that signals a real danger for the United States in particular.  Of even higher consequence for the U.S is the uptick in violence in Iraq.  The deadly bombings[1] in July alone demonstrate a real and potent threat to the fragile balance of power in Iraq.  Should Iraq devolve in to all out chaos once again, it will also threaten the investment the U.S. made in a country slated to be the first democracy in the Middle East. What is at stake for the U.S.?  The U.S. was the agent to overthrow Saddam Hussein and to facilitate the workings of the existing Iraqi government. ...

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Paid To Do Nothing

535 congress voting washington Jul 17, 2012

Can you imagine there could be a job where you got paid to do nothing?  What a dream! Surely such a job does not exist;  not in reality. But such a job does exist and 535 people are doing that job today.  There are 435 U.S. Congressional Representatives and 100 Senators who are depositing their paycheck in to their bank accounts all while admitting that they are not doing their job. The reasons are many.  "It's because we don't have a majority in both chambers."  "It's because of the Democrats."  "It's because of the Republicans."  "It's the middle of a presidential race.  We have to wait until November."  " It's because of the polarization between the two parties."  "It's the president's fault for not having the right strategy."  "It's just how things are in the nation's capital."  It's the gridlock in the beltway."  "It's the unfortunate political reality."  It's...   It's...  ...

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Add My Voice to a Change in the Gun-Purchase Laws

 I am adding my voice to the growing chorus of public leaders who are calling for changes in the gun-purchase laws.  Let us be clear, the majority of people are not asking to strike down the right to possess a firearm as granted through the Second Amendment and nor am I.  Rather what is being discussed in the public arena is an intelligent and rational argument for restrictions on types of weapons and availability of weapons and ammunition's on the internet. The AR-15, the weapon used in the Aurora attack against theater goers, is an assault weapon.  An assault weapon is a quasi technical term for "killing machine".  It has no other purpose.  It is not a sportsman gun.  It is not for target shooting.  It is not even for practice and proficiency.  It is nothing other than a machine to kill. As for the availability of ammunition online, well the word ammunition itself derives from the French "la munition" referring to "the material" for war...

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Political Headwinds Around The World

The victories of the Socialist candidate (Hollande) in France, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate (Morsi) in Egypt, the PRI candidate (Neito) in Mexico signal global exhaustion after a decade of transnational economic decline and an international focus on fighting terrorism.  People are in the mood to focus on matters at home.  Political parties that more closely speak the nationalistic language are winning around the world.  In the face of uncertainty, people want to hear a leader who uses traditional references and beckons to the future from a place of familiarity. As Obama and Romney fight it out for the November vote, each would do well to read the political headwinds around the world.  The American public is no less fatigued than the people in France, Egypt, or Mexico.  The candidates must find the will to reject the polarizing rhetoric when speaking of the ideals within the American way of life.  Both Obama and Romney have the responsibility to...

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Events in Egypt. To Be Continued...

The unfolding events in Egypt have given rise to wide-reaching punditry and speculation about what each and every movement means.  And such is the reality of the information age. Regardless of how quickly information is made available through the internet, individual movements in and of themselves are no way to interpret historical events.  History must be interpreted through a linkage of events, through an understanding of the context of the times, and most importantly, through the "lived outcome" of those who are directly impacted.   Interpretation must be slowed down so as to observe the process.  In the case of the Egyptian results announcing the election of Mohammed Morsi to the office of president there is much yet to come, much more.  For those who live in the United States one has only to consider the example of Bush v Gore in 2000.   Today  June 25, 2012 the story in Egypt is being told through the lens of the two most powerful...

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