“Let’s Seize This Moment”

In his State of the Union Address, last night, President Obama talked about “jobs” being his “biggest priority.” This was after he said that the “worst of the storm is past.” Mr. Obama’s view of reality is short term. The actions of his administration during the past year, while easing the pain for some and not holding others accountable, have been artificial and won’t address the root…

One Year Later

Our Culture of “Self-Destruction,” has not been turned around under President Obama, but rather continues with a vengeance. The capacity of Americans to go against their own interests — as well as those of their neighbor, their children and their grandchildren seems limitless. Photographs: Stephen Wise

The Struggle Continues

CORE — Congress of Racial Equality held a dinner in New York last night, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King National Holiday. Guests included: Rabbi Shea Hecht, Chairman of the Board of NCFJE (National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education), who gave the invocation and Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, who was given the Martin Luther King…

“Never Give Up The Ship”

Today is the one year anniversary of Sully landing U.S. Air Flight 1549, on the Hudson River. I am especially thankful for having had the chance to meet Sully last May at Book Expo America, in the Javits Center — not far from the “impact” area on the Hudson. He signed a brochure of his book “Highest Duty” for a relative of mine with cancer: “Bob,…

The Americans

In 1955-56, the Swiss born photographer, Robert Frank traveled around the U.S. documenting life as he saw it here. From his images, a book titled “The Americans” was published in 1959. In capturing the “bonds” and “bombs” flyers near the Protection sign in this photograph, perhaps Frank is commenting on the “material mindset” — that would ultimately guide the future here. Rather than fulfilling our nature, a material (spiritless) humanism…

“What Have I Done?”

So much talent, so many opportunities and gifts squandered. What have we done to ourselves and others? Hopefully Bernie Madoff has asked himself that question, along with Tiger Woods, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and all of us. But the errant voices in our society tell us: “no fear, no apologies, and no regrets ” It’s been said before but it bears repeating — “morning…

Irrational Exhuberance

After watching numerous women/girls lose themselves over Ryan Seacrest and the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, it seemed appropriate to find a Shredding Truck on the scene — a fitting way to end this year and decade. Photographs: Stephen Wise

Christian Realism

In today’s New York Times, David Brooks has a column titled, “Obama’s Christian  Realism.” In it he asserts that Mr. Obama’s Oslo speech was a “pitch perfect” retooling of Christian Realism for “a new world.” Actually, Mr. Obama’s speech and more importantly his actions, are far from the Christian vision of “reality.” But he’s not alone, for much of the 20th century and all…

Vanishing Society

At the recent “New York National Conference,” a gathering of real estate deal makers from around the U.S., it was painful to watch an ice sculpture, of the Statue of Liberty, melting in the middle of one of the receptions. It seemed so symbolic of what is happening around the country today. The U.S. is at war with herself. Not so much the Republicans versus the…

The NASTI Meeting

This week the National Association of State Treasurers is holding what they describe as an “issues” conference in NYC. It comes at a time of increased financial difficulty at the state level, throughout the country. Twenty-five of the fifty state treasurers were on hand to hear talks on managing their public funds — including alternative investment and debt options. The states are in a situation…

House At War

On the eve of President Obama’s announcement to deploy 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, it is worth reflecting on the central role that “war” has played in shaping the culture of the United States since World War II. A military mindset, including the art, business, and science of war can be seen everywhere in American society — from board rooms, to playing fields, psychology books, children’s games, fashion, even Christmas decorations….

Preserving Liberty

At a press conference in front of the Veterans Affairs Center in NYC last week, Senators Schumer and Menendez announced a plan to seek $75 million in Government funding, to assist the growing number of homeless veterans, now estimated at 10,000 in the New York Metropolitan area and 400,000 nationwide. Also last week, it was announced that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase,…

Signs of Life

On this Veterans Day, I had a chance to speak with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on a Manhattan sidewalk. In the course of our conversation, I asked him if he had any regrets about supporting the War in Iraq. He said that he did. Then I asked him if, given what has happened, he would do it again? He blamed the “intelligence” but said, knowing what we know…

Veterans Day

This is a photograph of Lance Corporal James Blake Miller USMC, taken by L.A. Times photographer Luis Sinco, after the battle for Fallujah, Iraq in November 2004. Miller survived the Iraq War, and lives in Kentucky. An early supporter of the war, he now asks: “What have we gained as a country? What have we actually accomplished other than the loss of some damn fine people?” If…

“This Is The Moment”

At this year’s LIMRA Conference — an annual gathering of Insurance/Financial Services Executives — the meeting was kicked off with a rousing adaptation of This is The Moment, from “Jekyll and Hyde.” The theme of the conference — “the new rules of engagement,”  covered everything from: Capital Deployment, Disribution and Risk, to Regulation, Consumer Attitudes and Behavior. The mood was grim though, with one speaker after another…

“I Trusted Him!”

Nine months ago, President Obama was handed a collapsing country. But he was also handed the good will of most of the American people, and the world. In addition to good will, he was given the right to print and borrow trillions of dollars, and to change the accounting rules — in the hope of buying time for the country to get on its…

Inside Out

President Obama spoke yesterday at the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative –going on in NYC, across town from the U.N. As he has it the past, Obama emphasized that real change needs to come from the bottom-up. One has to wonder how likely that is to happen, especially given the large numbers of people — rich and poor — who still throw their candy and cigarette wrappers on the…

Teaching Moment

Hopefully our own experiences help us to see the consequences of being dishonest. If our “conscience” is alive and somewhat healthy, we know that with disordered living and repeated lying we become impoverished. Over time, the “self” collapses into non-being, tending toward nothingness — with the result being: diminished wisdom, hard heartedness and a lack of courage. The anger and hatred directed at Mr. Obama are logical (though unjust) consequences…

Into The Night

On this 9/11 it’s good to reflect on what has happened in the U.S. since that 9/11. Is the country better off today? Or (as Lou Reed would say) is she being “swallowed by the night?” The election of a black president can certainly be seen as progress. However, in so many other ways the country is devolving — going backwards and seems intent on self-destruction.

Light & Life

“To you from failing hands we throw–the torch; be yours to hold it high.” Lt Colonel John McCrae

Labor Pains

On this Labor Day in the United States, our hearts are heavy knowing that over six million jobs have been lost in our country since last Labor Day. But even worse than the job loss is the sense of hopelessness and despair that many people are experiencing. The lack of wisdom and abundance of corruption among our leaders only make it worse.

Colony Collapse Disorder

In recent years, scientists have worked to identify the root cause for the elimination of one third of the bee colonies in the U.S.. It turns out that there are numerous causes including: fungus, virus, and pesticides, which have been culled together under the name: “colony collapse disorder” — CCD. One doesn’t need a PhD to recognize that “colony collapse disorder” is also happening among the humans living in the U.S., albeit…