Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Social Singularity: An Analysis and Commentary

". . . And where the danger is, lies also the fostering power." ~Holderlin

An excellent analysis and commentary by Warren Bonesteel on a growing phenomena which I believe will prove to be the saving and fostering power for our American society, and for the world.:

Social Singularity - Free Press Opinion
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Obama announces Chrysler bankruptcy, deal with Fiat; Nardelli out soon *UPDATED

Obama announces Chrysler bankruptcy, deal with Fiat; Nardelli out soon *UPDATED

Swine Flu and Martial Law

Swine Flu and Martial Law

Arlen Specter Calls for "Rebellion and Uprising" in Republican Party to Purge Those Who Don't Want to Sell-Out Their Principles for Winning Elections....

Specter rousing the right wing umbrage:

Weasel Zippers: Arlen Specter Calls for "Rebellion and Uprising" in Republican Party to Purge Those Who Don't Want to Sell-Out Their Principles for Winning Elections....
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OpEdNews » Poll: The Great Swine Flu or the Great Flu Swindle?

OpEdNews » Poll: The Great Swine Flu or the Great Flu Swindle?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Swine Flu and other Media Hype

As super flus have been with us for some time - at least since the '80s - it seems as though Swine Flu may soon go the way of other duds ( like West Nile and Avian flu, among others). In the heyday of the Bush-Cheney Administration, SARS was eyed with suspicions on the left, whose more paranoid members viewed it as a creation of mass hysteria, in order to gain control of the unruly masses. Small wonder, then, that many on the right are now crying foul over swine flu and Obama. Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose.

CDC: Swine flu cases rise to 91 in the United States - The CNN Wire - Blogs

CDC: Swine flu cases rise to 91 in the United States - The CNN Wire - Blogs

In Memoriam : For a Perugian Student

Now that the cottage in Perugia,  Italy,  -   in which British student Meredith Kercher met her tragic end -    is being  cleaned out and prepared to rent again to students,  I wanted to post my favorite picture of Meredith,  in memory of her happier days as a carefree young collegiate  in Perugia.  Bless you,  and hold on for justice. 

Obama time for "utmost" precautions on swine flu -

Obama time for "utmost" precautions on swine flu -

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Current Outbreak of Swine Flu in the United States

Director’s Blog » Blog Archive » The Current Outbreak of Swine Flu in the United States

Specter to Switch Parties!

Specter to Switch Parties!

Scared out of your mind yet?

Orlando Sentinel - Scared out of your mind yet? by

Will Obama Make America More Like Us?

One of the books I read in the early part of this decade,  which made a lasting impression on me,  was James Fallows' More Like Us:  Making America Great Again.  What impressed me the most was Fallows' assertion that America had adopted a Confucian idea regarding education:  That it was necessary to differentiate the noble from the peasant classes.  In insisting that all must have college degrees,  millions of people have been kept from work that they are perfectly capable of doing well,  and of learning quickly on the job.  College,  if not provided by one's parents right after high school,  is a costly,  lenghty and tedious process.  It can take someone over a decade to work their way through a bachelor's degree.

I had noticed this disturbing trend in America  since the '80s (Fallows tells us it began in the '60s).  It is my hope that Obama with his Youth Corps and Civilian Corps and his insistence of "college for all"  ( with the implication that maybe it would be easier to just skip it) will further the remedial suggestions Fallows lays out in his text. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gore Vidal and Provincetown of the 1940s

Many believe that Provincetown had its hey day as a gay community in the 1970s,  but I have always been intrigued with the spirit of gay Provincetown in the 1940s,  when Gore Vidal,  Donald Windham, and Tennessee Williams were young and just entering the world of literary fame and glamor.

Williams wrote some of his best plays and short stories up in the rugged and wild Cape Cod town,  in the outer regions where the sand dunes meet the stars.  Vidal became by turns his nemesis, friend,  editor,  comrade in arms,  and a fellow gay man in a time where the closet of the subculture was their venue.

Here's to remembering those magical summers,  when brilliant and innovative minds were joining forces up in the gay mecca.

Why Your Next Credit Card Could Be Backed by Obama - The Atlantic Business Channel

Why Your Next Credit Card Could Be Backed by Obama - The Atlantic Business Channel

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Obama and Aliens

Take me to your leader. . . 
I have a friend in Sydney,  Australia who is a believer in things supernatural and extra terrestial.  She tells me that she has read a recent article online,  put out by some believers in aliens,  who think that they just may reveal themselves now,  because Barack Obama is President!  While I have never given much thought to extra terrestial beings,  it is an interesting bit of news,  because of the psychological aspect.  Obama has a special receptivity,  and it does not go unnoticed.  He is highly unusual in his blending of machismo and softness,  stoicism and receptivity,  intelligence and unconscious sensitvity.  It will stand him,  and us,  in good stead:  globally,  nationally,  and -  according to some  -  universally. 

Excellent Analysis of Knox Statement to Court: Thoughts on the ‘Eyes for Lies’ Analysis « Lies Our Mothers Told Us

Thoughts on the ‘Eyes for Lies’ Analysis « Lies Our Mothers Told Us

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Melissa Hucakaby: A Serial Offender?

As more light is shed on the accused rapist and killer of little Sandra Cantu,  a profile of Melissa Hucakaby as a possible seiral offender is emerging.  The fact that a seven year old child who was missing for 4 hours last month and had been heavily sedated is linked indisbutibly to Huckaby  -  who was interviewed by unsuspecting police,  and dismissed,  in this prior incident  -  would certainly seem to indicate this.   I would expect other children to be linked with Cantu and this 7 year old in the coming months. 

That a Mom and Sunday school teacher,  grandaughter of a prominent pastor,  could prove to be a predator of little girls,  violating them with drugs,  commiting  forcible rape with the use of instruments  and violent  murder:  It is almost surreal.  Yet it is actual.  And there must be an explanation for such an horrific state of affairs. 

Pedophilia does seem to be passed down through the generations:  The abused child grows up to be an abuser.  That the majority do not is no counterargument to the phenomena :  A significant minority do,  and the urge to repetition was well known by Freud.   Memory becomes,  as Nietzsche says,  a festering wound.   Trauma and memory become an insane dance,  drawing on energy that is needed for healthy ego development.   It does not suprise me that Huckaby is a female offender:  Although certainly law enforcement and FBI profilers must be taken seriously when they say this is an almost unheard of phenomenum,  in any case anyone who has read 19th century psychology texts knows that governesses and nannies (most of them young females)  often violated the children in their charge.    Something monstrous happened to Huckaby,  I am sure.  But the enormity of such a tragedy is increased a thousand-fold by the fact that Cantu and other litttle girls have been destroyed by one who was herself destroyed.   It will be interesting to see the material that comes out in Huckaby's trial,  which may shed light on so tragic and horrific a crime and human outrage. 

Norman Solomon: Obama: Beyond Savior or Trickster

Norman Solomon: Obama: Beyond Savior or Trickster

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Disturbing New Allegations in Huckaby Case

It has now been brought to light that an incident involving a 7 year old child  who resided in the same mobile home park as did Melissa Huckaby and Sandra Cantu,  leads back to Huckaby,  and with disturbing implications.  The child had gone missing for 4 hours last month,  and Huckaby had been interviewed by police,  because her vehicle was involved.  The child was examined at a hospital,  and was found to have been drugged with a powerful muscle relaxer.  Two case of arson also lead back to Huckaby.

This now  sheds light on the Cantu murder:  Accident or not,  it was the work of a true sociopath.

A Return to Nationalism and Regionalism

It has been said that we are on the brink of the fourth return,  that moment when the wheel of history turns back  and regression is more conducive to "progress"  than a mad forward march.  Nationalism and regionalism do not belong to a global world order;  do not belong to oil and pharmaceutical interests driving wars in far flung places.  Multiculturalism and advanced hyper-liberalism ;   post modern, high-tech futurism and New Agism:  These run counter to the retrograde of nationalism.  And so?  A failing economy and less availability of technology will do the job for us.

Nearing 100 Days of Presidency

Nearing 100

A New Patriotism

Alan Khazei: A New Patriotism

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who is Amanda Knox? From what shadows does she emerge?

How odd, that one can ponder over the accused, as though they are a mystery to be solved, or a lock to be picked, and in the end, feel that one is unravelling part of one's own personal mystery. The human psyche has its recessess, its myriad secret places. All experience is stored, as in Peakian theory: We are condemned to repetition. Odd, the little particulars that haunt us, the random details of a case, when we are questing in this way. For me, it is this: In Amanda's email home to family and friends (subject line: "Update") she describes the last time she saw her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, alive : Meredith had come out of the shower, with her Halloween costume makeup (she had dressed as a Vampire) still on, "her mouth still dripping blood". Did this image set off something in Amanda; did it act as symbol, cipher, to something else: a siren call to madness and murder?
Surely, in Freudian theory, repressed contents of the unconsious are bound to return: In dreams, in slips of the tongue, in psychotic breaks. Was this a subtext for Amanda, something she took as a challenge, an invitation, or a subconscious confession to dark feelings on the part of her soon to be victim? It is a chilling thought. One wonders how large a part this may have played, this innocuous and innocent mistake on the part of poor Meredith: the failure to remove her makeup. She could not have known she was dealing with the abyss: In Amanda, she had unknowingly encountered the rim of nightmare.

From what dark shadows of her generation's exposure to mayhem did Amanda emerge? The shadows of public crime, excessive sexual images, media and technological frenzy, divorce, television violence, substance abuse and boundless ego feeding frenzy in the dizzying array of our vast national landscape, the cartoonish vast spaces of shopping malls and highways which string our states together like so many sites on the web of the internet. Throughout their teen years, the war in Iraq raged on and America's Amandas remained untouched by it : for the most part oblivious to its meanings: Or does violence creep into the collective psyche by a kind of osmosis: Is national stance transferred by degrees, until even individuals are tainted by the dilemma the homeland find itself in?
This archetypal American girl, who played soccer and made good grades and worked hard for a trip abroad: Now accused of sexual torture and throat slashing homicide of another female: One her own age and from her own relative milieu.
Earnest Jones wrote one of the greatest treatise on the Oedipal complex of the 20th century: His study of Hamlet and the violence which issued forth from a wholesome youth, bound up with a suffocating mother, in a double bind of repulsion and dependence. Can this be the realm even which produces the damning act of an Amanda Knox?

'Tis now the very witching time of night. . . when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes forth contagion to this world. . . Now could I drink hot blood, and do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on. 'Soft, now to my mother.

Bob Jeffrey: Millennials' New Mantra: Have Less, Imagine More

Bob Jeffrey: Millennials' New Mantra: Have Less, Imagine More

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Miss California viewed with a Jaundice Eye after gay marriage question

I hate things like Miss USA contests,  because they are cheesy and glitzy and ditzy.  But it certainly is a sign of our changing times that being anti gay marriage is now  viewed as dumb and unAmerican :  Just a decade or so ago,  it would have been the opposite.    When asked by Perez Hilton  (who was seated as one of the contestant judges)  if she supported gay marriage,  she gave a ditzy "no".    Now,  she is  viewed  by many who attended as suspect,  even pernicious. Of course one may respect,  even love,  gays,  yet still support only civil unions,  like,  say.......President Barack Obama???



Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Threat From Within Our Borders

From within our borders, a threat to national security. The office of homeland security knows that an Obama victory brings a new need for increased vigilance. Right wing and White Supremacy groups are on the rise, making the dreaded thought of an Obama assassination seem palpable.

Mike Farrell: Obama Stands Nuremberg on its Head

Mike Farrell: Obama Stands Nuremberg on its Head

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Philosophy and the American Politics of Regression

Hegel in his critique of Intuitionism held that regression was part of the historical dialectical process.  Rational thought and Kantian Universalism   -  which arose from the social phase of scholasticism and faith   -   were always in danger of a regression to mere  faith,  which would attack philosophy with zeal.    Democrazation of the world presupposes  retrogression.

The politics of regression are a  deliberate backlash against "elitism"  and "liberal multiculturalism" ;  they are an attempt to return to the foundations,  which are viewed  as having become  hopelessly fragmented and lost.  The original Founding Fathers and the Republic,  along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,  are viewed as the mythical womb from whence we have been expelled into a foreign wasteland,  and to which we must now return,   or perish.

Of course not all of such longing is irrational:  Much of it makes a great deal of sense.  The problem arises when those bellowing about "The Republic"  are holding viewpoints which are diametrically opposed to it,  and supporting institutions and persons who are its arch enemy.  Morevoer,  these same  are confusing Barack Obama (  who constitutes a return)  with some liberal, elitist, post-feminist post-modernist,   Europeanized and "Swedish"  multiculturalist .  They are confounding the Hegelian historical moment,  the hero of the apex and reversal of history,  with the Clintons.   They see Obama through the lens of the 1990s.  They are trapped in the mirror of that time.  His "socialism"  is a smokescreen for his  cultural conservatism .  His "pragmatic progressivism"  is the same.

Jonah Wennstrom,  in January 2008,  writes his piece,  and entitles it,  Obama the Conservative :    In it, he speaks of Obama's resounding speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004,  and how it stirred the blood of conservatives.  Why is he being confused with a radical socialist,  a neo-feminist,  and a promoter of a radical gay agenda?  Obama,  the Real Conservative  ran an October headline in the online Daily Beast:  Why is this missed by supposedly intelligent people on the right?  Having ears,  they do not hear.  Hearing Obama ,  they do not comprehend the meaning of his words.  James Madison and Edmund Burke are not in conflict with him;  they are one with him.  So why the howling?  It is nothing less than the sound of the will to regression,  the desire for dissolution and annihilation.  

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Limbaugh's Racial Obsession Makes Perfectly Good Sense

Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Limbaugh's Racial Obsession Makes Perfectly Good Sense

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Threats of Secession and Other Recent Republican Rhetoric

Lincoln Mitchell: Threats of Secession and Other Recent Republican Rhetoric

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Huckaby: Abuser Was Abused?

Deborah King: Huckaby: Abuser Was Abused?

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Tea Parties and Heated Exchanges About Fascism

"Show us your real birth certificate!" ,  they bleat at our president,  stirring their resentment into a petty stew.  The anti-Obama sentiment spins out its web of delusion, bigotry,   half-truth,  and the phantasms of the  over-heated brains of libertarian blog masters.  

Sean Hannity has a re-enactment of a historical moment ,  the true meaning of which he clearly cannot grasp.  Whither are we tending?  It is  anyone's guess,  but the morons have taken to the streets, and are storming the White House with their tea bags.  God help us. States refuse federal stimulus money even as the infrastructure of their bridges collapse,  killing their own citizens.  

 It is vanity and worse than vanity.  It is collosal folly,  the delerium of those without historical understanding,  who have no substance in their assertions,  and who lack the grace and dignity to air their views tactfully.    Right wing insurgency is on the rise.  Let us hope the flood waters do not drown us.  

A Muppet in Times Square

Martin Huxter made it into New York .  Saw him in Penn Station and sat eating and drinking with him in Houlihan's for about 4 1/2 hours on Sunday night,  with my son,  Andrew,  and my niece,  Danielle.   Had phone and email conversations with him the rest of the days.

 The Muppet is an elusive creature,  easily alarmed,  and one must  be most careful  not to startle him with any sudden movements (these make him jumpy).    He has been known to snarl when you praise him too often.    This is all counterbalanced ,  though:   He is also graceful and charming,  full of satirical wit and sociological satire;  his conversation is smooth and delightful:  Just what one would expect from a savvy film critic and cultural commentator.    My niece and son were  wowed by his  tall litheness,  his liquid  eyes and long fingers,    the white suede shoes, white silk etched shirt,  with navy blue  smart London cropped  jacket,  (he wore the shirt hanging below the jacket,  Jude Law style;  very nice)   and the South London accent.  (Of course we stupidly got NO pictures of him.)  My son now has a new salutation:  "Praise be unto the British Muppet.".  I will leave it to the creature to write his own impressions of his visit.  He flew Continental Airways and stayed at the Hilton on 42nd St and the Park Central on 7th Av.  He will be back in August with Tony Peake, for the conference.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Florida to Seek Death Penalty in Anthony Case

The Prosecutors on the Casey Anthony case have reversed their former decision not to seek the death penalty for Casey Anthony,  the 23 year old mother accused of slaying her two year old daughter.  Anthony may need new counsel because of this development.

In my opinion,  this was probably an accidental killing by a young single mother.   The true criminal behavior was in the cover up.   In any case,  in a capital felony premeditation is key.  Either premeditation,  or some detail -  such as extreme cruelty of manner of homicide  -  which makes the crime particularly heinous.

I wonder if the prosecution can actually prove that this was a premeditated murder?  Or:     Is this  charge  Ms. Anthony's punishment for being narcissistic and unrepentant ( or at least refusing to show a public display of such)?   It is her general sociopathic nature which is viewed as dangerous (probably rightly so).    One wonders also about unmarried mothers who are barely out of the teen years,  in a culture of instant gratification and narcissism such as the media and advertising encourage. Is there something about being young,  on the loose,  with no husband,  no real home or ties,  which runs counter to maternal instincts,  muting them?  Does this foster a proclivity for reckless behavior and apathy?  The facts would seem to indicate so.

 At the same time,  there is currently the case of Melissa Huckaby,  the 28 year old mom and  Sunday school teacher who likely will also be given the death penalty,  charged with the sexual assault and murder of an 8 year old neighbor girl.  Something seems very amiss with this generation of young women:  21 year old University of Washington student,  Amanda Knox is also charged with sex assault and slashing the throat of her British roommate,  Meredith Kercher,  in 2007.

Obama is Well Trusted as Nation's Leader in Turbulent Times

Politico calls him  "perhaps the most trusted figure in American politics".

Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama and the New Wave

Shiloh Musings: Israel, Be Prepared For The Obamas' New America

Shiloh Musings: Israel, Be Prepared For The Obamas' New America

American Prophesy: Words from Blake, Washington

William Blake:  Seer,  Poet,  Orator. 
 Author of America:  A Prophesy   1790

. . . A dragon. . . appear[s] to Americans upon the cloudy night. . . 

America faints!  . . . Empire is no more. . . the fiery joy
Urizen perverted to ten commands . . .
renew the fiery joy
and burst the stony roof
America is darkened
and my punishing Daemon
has terrified. . . 
I was thinking of George Washington's vision,  as well.  This has been interpreted as foreseeing a second revolution,  followed by a second Civil War,  with America invaded by Europe,  the East,  and Africa.  Washington was spoken to as a "Son of the Republic",  and told that all the nations of the world would join against the Republic,  and  shown in a vision that the "light of a thousand suns"  and "great folding black clouds"  would enfold Washington's country.   Prophecy makes its own mood of anxiety,  of course.  I cannot know whether the sense that there is some impending doom is merely personal,  further inflamed by dwelling on this prophetic literature,  as I have been lately. 

Our Pragmatic Bi-Partisan President

Obama is scoring big hits with his pragmatism,  but in the case of catering to pro-lifers,  he may be erring on the side of unity.  He is certainly proving himself to be one who has the capacity to span the conflicting partisan ideologies,  yet  in excess this may work  to his detriment.  He may have a difficult time of it,  if he continues in this venue. . . I am researching some of what is going on now with his bridging of pro-life and pro-choice,  and will provide a synopsis in the near future.

For now,  something interesting from Drew Westen at today's Huffington Post:

Associated Press: Indian Ocean Hostage Crisis Major Victory for Obama and Liberals

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Narcissism and Our National Moment

It is impossible to assess an individual apart from the culture to which he belongs.  Although pathological narcissism is considered to be a psychopathology,  as set forth within the framework of the APA's DSM IV R,  I consider narcissism to be a continuum existing to degrees within all persons.  At a certain extreme,  it becomes all encompassing and comprises pathology.  Generation X is said to display the traits of narcissism to a marked degree.  At first glance,  this seems unfair,  as the parent generation,  Boomers,  seems far more so.  But when one considers the chameleon aspect of Generation Xers,  as set forth in the book by Bernard Carl Rosen,   Masks and Mirrors :  Generation X and the Chameleon Personality,  one is to a large degree enlightened.

 The Boomers are the cause of this narcissism.  They transmitted it via apathy.  Narcissism is a manouver,  an adaptive stance,  used as a survival tool by the neglected.  Its mark is chameleon behavior:  a constant blending in with the environment,  and mirroring of others.  Loyalty and ties are spurned.  Novelty and adaptability are admired greatly.

What is disturbing is that a nomadic generation - thus,  through no fault of their own  -  are now at the helm of our nation.  Their skills are pragmatism and cynicism.    Obama is their elder brother.  He himself is a Jones,  caught between Boomer and X ( as am I).  The clashing of his ideology with their own  -    although his is not dissimilar to theirs in many of its aspects  -  will bring about a national alchemy.  But there is a danger therein,  which comes even with the fostering power.  How can this generation achieve their true stature and attain to their formidable heights,  if in doing so,  they may blend their earnest desires as well as the baser part of their narcissism  with global movements which are dangerous to democracy?

 Narcissism is prevalent in American Generation Xers and in their global counterparts:  Witness the worship of accused killer and sexual sadist,  American university student Amanda Knox,  in Perugia as well as all over Italy.

There is a very real possibility of a global menace,  a statism and a rising quasi-fascism;  These the offspring and consequence of a rising floodtide of organized youth and labor,   at once the potential  spawner of the greatest evil and the highest good.  Obama has and continues to  tap into this source,  but will he know how best to shape it to his purposes?  A question for the historians,  and futurists:  What if this moment fails?

Sam Vankin,  PhD,  who is author of Malignant Self-Love,  a treatise on narcissism,  has done an on -paper analysis of Barack Obama:  his childhood,  youth,  family experiences,  generational cohort,  etc.  His diagnosis:  Classic narcissism.  It may be so.  It may even be a spur and a whip to Presidential greatness.  In any case,  it is in accord with the times.  Narcissus had an Echo,  and Obama's has been the voice of legion:  "Yes,  we can."   It will be interesting to see where psyche, culture, and nation all collide in the alchemical moment,  where the bar is raised,  and with Hegel,  we jump:  hic salta!  Let us hope that the hero overcomes tyranny and hypocrisy,  and that America moves in a line of ascension,  and not regression.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Obama Over the Internet: Cyber-Security Act of 2009 Raises Questions of Civil Liberties

This article and comments reveal questions about the President and his cyber-security act:

Internet Infrastructure : Hanging on "a Wire and a Prayer"

Few realize the way in which a terrorist attack could cause devastation,  without deaths,  bombs and explosives,  but by attacking the internet.  Reading this article and pondering a web sabotage is important.

And yet equally important is the protection of a free democracy from over-zealous Presidential powers.  Civil liberties groups were concerned with the breakdown of civil liberties under the spying possibilities of Bush's Patriot Act.  Now,  the Cyber-security Act of 2009 raises the same questions under  a Barack Obama administration.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Blueberry Nights

I watched this for a second time the other night and I really, really like this film. It's a very unconventional romantic drama, in the way that it concentrates on the (eventual)couple's time spent apart, rather than their time together. The Cafe owner (Jude Law) that Elizabeth (Norah Jones) becomes close with tells her the story of the big bowl of keys. Customer's that have left their keys behind after having had too much to drink, also left a story for Jude's character to tell. That's really what the film is about. How we're all making impressions on each others lives, we become entangled with others and often we don't even realise how much. It's in this message that the film really appeals to me.

When we're gone, all that's left is the memories we leave behind in other people's lives.

Elizabeth writes to the Cafe owner she became entangled with in the first 15 minutes of the film. She is asked "Why not just pick up a phone?"

She explains that somethings are just better explained on paper. There is a real glimpse into the decline of romance in modern day times due to technology. The greatest romances include travel, separation, longing, suffering, letters and stories being told. With the invention of social networking sites today it's so much easier to stay in touch with people and also to find people who we sadly lose. This is a great and wonderful thing, but I believe it comes at a price of great story telling.


It was the greatest night of my life, we spoke for hours, we laughed and soaked up every minute of each other's company. Then suddenly, we were separated in the crowd and I couldn't find her. I was heartbroken. I made a promise to myself on the way home that one day I would find her. Half an hour later I looked her up on Facebook and found her, I sent her a message and heard back from her immediately. Then I ate some pie.

You see? Not quite as romantic is it!

But back to the film, Norah Jones and Rachel Weisz look EXACTLY THE SAME!! It's sneaky to put them in a scene together, even when they cross paths they can hardly believe it. Elizabeth gets into several adventures on her travels, forever becoming a part of the lives of several other people who are dealing with their own prolems. She arrives back to the cafe a year later, a better perspective on love, life and anything else that matters. The film is a journey and it's an enjoyable journey.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Huffington Post: Obama Tough on Iran

Today's Huffington Post has an article by Heilbrunn,  which makes the interesting point that Obama,  by refusing to see (as did W Bush)  Iran as an all encompassing evil,  a pernicious monolith,  is not being "soft"  as the right would try to say,  but is acting in the best interests of our nation and the global community.  By being fair to Iran,  and approaching it without preconceived notions,  Iran will prove to us,  and the world,  what its true intentions are.  This is Obama's pragmatism;  this is the best of his ideology and strategy,  in action. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bachmann: Expanding Americorps really "Re-Education Camps"

Conservative Michelle Bachmann is warning that Obama's Service Act and the expansion of Americorps will lead to "brainwashing the nation's youth"  and re-education camps.  This paranoia is rampant among the right.  Why should this be so?  There is some repressed guilt at work,  methinks.

In the Shadow of Right Wing Extremism

 Pittsburgh Cop Killer Not a Lone Wolf:  His Name is Legion

This article from is compelling:

British Author Anthony Peake Coming to America

Awaiting the Cheater of the Ferryman:  Quantum Theory,  Cognitive Psychology,  Near Death Experience and Classical Philosophy will be heard  by FDU and APPA members 

It is official now:  British lecturer,  theorist and author Anthony Peake will be guest speaker  at Lenfell Hall,  Fairleigh Dickinson University,  Madison,  New Jersey on Tuesday evening,   August 4,  2009.  There will be a reception in his honor in the Italian  garden,  with a buffet ,  as well as a book sale and  signing in the Great Hall.
Peake is author of two  robust Amazon selling  books on the secret self of the binary mind,  and the profoundly compelling meaning this carries for the individual,  in this life,  and at death.  ( Is There Life After Death?:  The Extraordinary Science of What Happens When We Die 2006;  The Daemon 2008).  Creating a synthesis of philosophy and Near Death Experince,  supported by quantum physics and cognitive science,  Peake serves up a fascinating afterlife theory hailed by the Journal of Near Death Studies'  Professor Greyson as "one of the most innovative and provocative" he has seen.   Peake is IMHO one of the great minds of the 21st century.  His Cheating the Ferryman Thesis is at once  classical and futuristic,  and among the most stunning and relevant consciousness manifestos I have encountered.  
August 4 will be President Barack Obama's birthday,  and what better date for an innovative pioneer like Peake to grace the Americans with his presence?  En Avant!
 Hosting will be APPA member and Director of GnosisArts Multimedia Communications,  Eric Bryant ,  and Susan Marie Kovalinsky.  For more info about attending the event,  call 973-598-8459 or email

Monday, April 6, 2009

Obama Wants Partnership With Muslim World

In a decisive break with eight years of Bush and Cheney,  Obama told the Turkish Parliment that he seeks partnership with the Muslim world,  and is not at war with them.  This is real Change with a capital 'C',  and is a decidedly Christian stance (seeking to understand and aid the enemy).  It is also a shrewdness:  How to disarm the enemy?  Be his friend.  

Declaring that a bond should be forged between Americans and Muslims and that this bond would be the surest way to rid the world of fringe elements is sound ideology.  It is progressive pragmatism;  it works.  Of course,  it does not flatter the petty egoists who love their "war on terror".  But it is an inconvenient truth.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Iowa Supreme Court Rules "One Man, One Woman" Definition Unconstitutional

The importance of language and its meanings cannot be over-emphasized:  That the Iowa Supreme Court has chosen,  unanimously,  to rule that "one man,  one woman"  no longer defines the state of matrimony,  and is in fact unconstitutional,  will have major implications,  for that state,  and for the nation.  The heartland state has struck a blow to the traditionalists.  So much for an end to the culture wars.

This ruling does not constitute a minor reform by any means.  It will have vast consequences,  which will not show up fully for decades.

One astute blogger pointed out that the ruling may have been fueled by economic concerns:  Bridal shops and banquet halls can expect business to pick up shortly.

Andrew Sullivan must surely feel vindicated:  After suffering massive setbacks in the 2004 elections,  gay marriage is back in the saddle again.  We just have to beware of "unintended consequences".  And there will be some,  for certain.  

A 20-Something American Sees Amanda Knox in Courtroom

 I decided to share this link to a young American woman blogger's first-hand  experience of seeing Amanda Knox today in the Perugian courtroom,  as it is so vividly and descriptively written:  

follow the day&reach for the sun: "The Amanda Knox/Raffaele Sollecito Murder Trial"

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Iowa's Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage a Constitutional Right

Today the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa has declared same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right,  striking fear into the midwestern region's Christian community.  This constitutes a major victory for gay rights,  counterbalancing California's proposition 8. 

Obama Budget Resolution Success Must Be Striking Fear Into Republican Hearts | Capital Gains and Games

Obama Budget Resolution Success Must Be Striking Fear Into Republican Hearts | Capital Gains and Games

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Andrew Keen - The new culture wars

Andrew Keen - The new culture wars

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The Culture War Is Finally As It Always Should Have Been

Enclave: Contra Corker: The Culture War Is Finally As It Always Should Have Been

Ridicule for the Ridiculous: Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Obama Indicted by "Grand Jury"

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Obama Indicted by "Grand Jury"

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Everyone Loves Barack

 This is funny!  Like the character Sebastian Venerable in Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer,  Obama seems to attract all:  Including Gordon Brown ( link below).  One of my favorite lines from the play is:  . . . men,  women,  children;  animal,  mineral,  vegetable;  everybody loved Sebastian. . . and this would appear to apply to Barack Obama as well!

Gawker - Gordon Brown's Man-Crush on Obama - Gordon Brown

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Public Not Buying Media Attempts To Blame Obama For Recession: Poll

Public Not Buying Media Attempts To Blame Obama For Recession: Poll

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Narcissism and the culture war

 Published in 2004,  this essay is still timely and relevant: 

Narcissism and the culture war

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Amanda Knox: A Question of Culture?

When Christopher Lasch wrote his work,  The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations,  he   -  along with many others in books and essays,  including Alan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind    -  spoke of increasing narcissism and the pathology of selfishness:  giving rise to increased  promiscuity,  divorce,  triviality, bisexuality and pornography,  titillation,  and rising violence and alienation.

How much,  one wonders,  has this culture produced an Amanda Knox?  It is worth exploring,  as too often psychology individualises pathology,  rather than looking to culture as the nexus from whence the individual arises,  and by which he is formed.  Lasch believed that narcissim was a compensatory stance:  The individual,  lost in a world of trendiness and lacking any truly biniding ties or civic spirit,  becomes narcissistic by default,  and this defensive strategy is not true self respect,  but its opposite.  How clearly Amanda herself would appear to have become defensive and predatory.  Lasch linked these states;  again,  how telling!    Can Amanda,  after all,  be judged wholly apart from the culture which formed her,  and of which in Perugia,  she has become a reluctant and hostile representative?

Freud stated that before transitioning into healthy womanhood,  "the little girl is a little man".  Did Amanda remain " a little man"?  Was her development thwarted and hindered by the effects of divorce,  a too-young stepfather,  and a ravaged culture,  complete with a hypersexualized and thrill-seeking media?  Might this be the explanation for her desire to take part in a macho predatory sexual attack on a another young girl (whom she should have felt protective of)?  In the end,  Amanda poses a puzzle not only for the psychologist,  but for the sociologist as well. . .

Whispered to those Who Care: "Secession": Obama Birth Certificate Meme Losing its Hold

 I have always agreed with those who feel that the will of the people would over ride this,  even in the worst case scenario.  Better to amend the constitution to accommodate said "usurper"  than to over- ride majority rule.  This is the wrong place to drive the wedge in :  The wrong place.  Global world order and Europeanizing  of our nation  may indeed be the signal to raise the alarm,  for the republic is threatened with relative death.    But surely,  surely one can see that if anything,  these trends in and of themselves  would make them inclined to amend on this score.  There is a better way.  (  Whispered to those who have ears to hear:  Secession. . . ) 

I have always held the opinion that Lincoln and his "union"  was the darkness of the federal government and its powers rising up,  and that power of which the new America may someday perish.  "The United States"  as a monstrous entity under the control of the federal government and presidential powers :  Is this not precisely the opposite of the Jeffersonian ideal of free states comprised of free and equal men?  Is secession possible?  Did not the South desire to leave the Union?  To govern as they saw fit?  And Lincoln would stand for no such thing?  

  About the futile birth certificate meme:  Below,  a piece from Huffington Post:

Major Conservative Site Decries Obama Birth Certificate Conspiracy Theory

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Obama Adored in UK: London Protests Aimed at Arrogant Banks

A British reporter has told MSNBC that Obama is almost "universally adored"  in Great Britain,  and not since the likes of "Clinton at his height. . . or JFK"  has a US president been so loved by the British.  He was stressing that the London protests occurring this hour were aimed at the arrogant banks and their mismanagement.  Indeed,  windows were smashed at the Bank of Scotland as the reporter spoke to our correspondent. 

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