Academy Awards 2015—Best Foreign Language Film

Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:05 PM
When I tell people that, over a two-month period, I watched films from 83 different countries, the most common reaction is…a blank stare. Most people don’t even ask me what my favorites were. But I have to say that I had a wonderful time. Not only were most of the films at least “good”, but even the bad ones usually provide an insight into what is going on in another part of the more

Best Picture Nominees—Selma, American Sniper and the Distortion of History

Thursday, February 12, 2015 8:36 AM
Bradley Cooper, who portrays Kyle (and does a great job, by the way), has said that American Sniper is “not a movie about the Iraq War….It’s not a political movie at all.” I beg to disagree. Any film that does not question the rationale behind the war it portrays by default accepts the correctness of that war. read more

My Sister Died of an Overdose of Prescription Painkillers

Sunday, August 10, 2014 10:36 AM
After four years of being President Barack Obama’s “drug czar,” Gil Kerlikowske suddenly discovered the prescription drug death crisis. By this time, prescription drug overdoses had become the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpassing gunshot wounds and automobile accidents. “We weren’t paying attention to it,” he told a House of Representatives subcommittee. Tell that to ER workers and law enforcement agents around the country…not to mention Americans who lost loved more

50 Years of Keeping a Daily Diary

Monday, January 6, 2014 6:03 AM
I would not have realized how much we unconsciously edit our memories if I did not have contemporaneous accounts of each day of my life for the last 50 years. Most of these alterations are minor and harmless. But there is one false memory that had a major effect on my life. The incident began on October 16, more

Inaugural Address 2013: If I were President

Sunday, January 27, 2013 9:11 AM
Every time a President of the United States takes the oath of office and gives an Inaugural Address, it is a time for reflection about what our nation stands for. I believe it would help if more Americans considered what they would say in such circumstances. If I were elected President of the United States, this is the speech I would give at my more

11 Secret Documents Americans Deserve to See

Thursday, December 13, 2012 7:55 AM
Many documents produced by the U.S. government are confidential and not released to the public for legitimate reasons of national security. Others, however, are kept secret for more questionable reasons. The fact that presidents and other government officials have the power to deem materials classified provides them with an opportunity to use national security as an excuse to suppress documents and reports that would reveal embarrassing or illegal activities. read more
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FCC Votes 3-2 to Make Internet a Utility and Block State Laws Limiting Municipal Internet Services

New rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Thursday will result in the Internet being treated like a utility under federal law and allow local governments to develop public high-speed online service. The rules were approved by a 3-2 vote of the FCC, with three Democrats voting for the rules and two Republicans against.   read more

Prisons Increase Profits by Replacing In-Person Family Visits with Video Screens

The video chats provide less privacy for visitors with picture and sound being recorded and often reviewed by jail officials. In-person visits were usually in a separate room, but the video chats often take place in the dayroom of a jail. Sometimes family members watch while fights break out behind their loved one. Attorneys are also troubled by the lack of privacy.   read more

24 Companies with more than $1 Billion Each in Homeland Security Contracts

The leader is IBM, which has received $4.9 billion from DHS, most of it for automatic data processing systems and services. (And DHS isn’t even its biggest federal customer. That would be the Department of Defense, which pays IBM more than $6 billion). Right behind is Integrated Coast Guard Systems, which makes radio navigation equipment, at just about $11.5 million less than IBM. They are followed by Computer Systems Corporation at $4.1 billion and Lockheed Martin at $3.9 billion.   read more

Dramatic Rise in Suicide Rate for Americans 40-64, but not for other Age Groups

Using the National Violent Death Reporting System, which collects data from 16 states, Hempstead and Phillips found that the suicide rate per 100,000 among the targeted age group went from 15.5 in 2005 to 18.2 in 2010. The unemployment rate in those states increased as well, from 5.1% to 9.6%. The rise was most dramatic in Rhode Island, where the unemployment rate more than doubled between 2005 and 2010, as did the suicide rate for those aged 40 to 64.   read more
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