Monday, June 6, 2011

I am on vacation and will be back on Tuesday, July 5.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Afrikansk-Amerikaner Finner Fjerne Slektninger I Ukraina, Norge, Sør-Afrika, Og Fiji (Sånn cirka)

Does Our Lack of "Free Will" Doom Relationships

The issue of whether or not humans have "free will," had always seemed a fascinating philosophical debate, although irrelevant to daily life. But the other day, I was glancing at the celebrity news headlines, while standing in line at Walmart, when the true significance of this subject struck me.  Lindsay Lohan was in or out of jail.  I forget which.  Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston's wedding  was on or off.  So-and-so was marrying or divorcing for the third or fourth time. 

The problem is that within western philosophical debate, either we have free will or we don't. The Eastern approach, in which "free will" is seen as the goal of enlightenment, may give us more usable insights into human behavior.   That is, we attain "free will" through training ourselves in meditative and spiritual practice, in the same way that we would go about practicing a musical instrument in order to become a more proficient musician.

No Room for Wall Street Crooks in Prisons Already Overcrowded with Blacks

The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but almost a quarter of the world's prisoners, according to New York Times columnist, Adam Liptak.  However, of the 2, 297,400 men and women incarcerated in the U.S., 38.9 percent are black and not a single one of them is a Wall Street executive,  responsible for the near collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008. Documentary film director, Charles Ferguson, made this point in his Oscar acceptance speech in February.  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Casey Anthony Trial Provokes Questions about American Legal System

Accused Mom Casey Anthony
The longer I follow the trial of Casey Anthony, the woman accused of killing her two year old daughter, Caylee, the more troubled I am by the way the American legal system metes out justice.  Not being a lawyer, I regret not having paid more attention to how our legal system functions before now.   But why does no one in that Clearwater, Florida courtroom seem to genuinely care about what happened to that beautiful little toddler?  Why should bringing a murderer to justice be more about the attorneys' acting skills, procedural tricks and adeptness at manipulating gullible juries?  There is something almost medieval about a justice system that depends on factors other than whether the defendant actually committed the crime.  In Europe of the Middle Ages innocence or guilt was determined by which of the two disputing parties or their representatives won a judicially-sanctioned jousting tournament.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thinking the Unthinkable: a One-State Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict?

It is not hard to understand the feelings of isolation and aloneness that many Israeli Jews must feel, as they watch the daily unfolding of events, which have already ousted dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, with a promise of more to come.   To make matters worse, the U.S. will never again be able to exercise the degree of influence favorable to Israel that it once had over the previous dictatorial regimes in the Arab world.  Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak, for example, had been able during his tenure in office to suppress anti-Israel public opinion within his country.

Israel's growing sense of peril has thrust the most intractable elements within Jewish society to the fore, refusing even to halt construction on settlements in Arab territory.  So, where does this state of affairs leave America, whose strategic interests are being eroded by this continued Arab-Israeli conflict?