Imagine a robot hovering overhead as you go about your day, driving to and from work, heading to the grocery store, or stopping by a friend’s house. The robot records your every movement with a surveillance camera and streams the information to a government command center. Whether you make a wrong move, or appear to be doing something suspicious, even if you don’t do anything suspicious, the information of your whereabouts, including what stores and offices you visit, what political rallies you attend, and what people you meet will be recorded, saved and easily accessed at a later date.
The recent government shutdown has brought to surface the fact that acidic internal divisions are rife in American politics.
In fighting and break away factions within political parties is nothing out of the ordinary but up on Capital Hill the Republican party of 2013 are demonstrating how extremists within their fold are trying to impose their views without thinking of any consequences.
Cracks in political parties usually begin with such ideological extremities taking it upon themselves to see their goals realised and we saw that with some tea party faithful in the GOP who succeeded in making a federal shut down a reality. Implications of this may see political allegiances switching for many Republicans.
Last winter I hit the road in my pickup for a long road trip to get away from the east coast and explore the country. The rough plan was to take a meandering western route across the southern part of the United States, visit family outside of Los Angeles, make my way up through Canada to Alaska and eventually meander my way back east across the northern U.S. before returning home to Delaware. I packed my truck with my camera, about 30 books, an iPod full of music and, as a good friend suggested, a rubber ducky on my dashboard. What follows are a few of the highlights from ducky’s travels with me on the road.
Each breath caused the light to change. Paces above the men, a cut-glass chandelier trembled with their speaking. A team of artisans had crafted the light piece by cleaving glass with diamond chisels. Photons flickered like electrons through a circuit board. Standing on the silk carpet, Braeden reached for salvation.
“It doesn’t seem fragile,” he said to Chisolm while accepting the box.
To Braeden, they seemed exactly opposite. Chisolm was pale and soft with an active voice and expression. The box was dense, black, and inert.
Created by James Rubino in 1986, Followers of the All was conceived as a seven-issue mini-series that was first published as an “underground” comic in 1988. In the early 1990s, Rubino suspended publication and decided to rewrite and redraw the entire series. The first of these stories was published last year in a new series titled Archives of the Alien.
“I intended Followers of the All to portray my perception of the direction our world and our society was heading in,” says Rubino. “At the time it was originally released it seemed fantastic to some. Not anymore.”
I will be the first to acknowledge that there is much to be thankful for about life in America, especially when compared to those beyond our borders whose daily lives are marked by war, hunger and disease. Despite our kvetching, grumbling and complaining, most Americans have it pretty good compared to less fortunates the world over.
Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that all of our so-called blessings will amount to little more than gilding on a cage if we don’t safeguard the freedoms on which this nation was founded, freedoms which have historically made this nation a sanctuary for the oppressed and persecuted. And if there is one freedom in particular need of protecting right now, it is the Fourth Amendment, which has been on life support for quite some time. READ MORE.
I’ve seen a lot of horrible things. Since I was a child, I witnessed things as well as experienced them. I like to forget, but I can’t. Those memories will always be there, waiting for me to find them again, and these days, I just don’t want to be bothered. But I seem to be fighting now every single day. Take yesterday for example. I left work a bit early, and maybe I stopped too soon at that STOP sign. I nearly collided with the other car that also stopped briefly at their STOP sign, but then she backed off. I got onto the Palisades Parkway only to race against a light green car that seemed eager in merging in the spot that I was in. Finally, they moved up ahead and then got into the right lane, and I thought that was that until I reached the infamous traffic circle between the Palisades and Route 6. Then, I went toe to toe with a black SUV, who nearly went into the opposite traffic lane, just to cut me off. READ MORE.
The year was 1961. I was fourteen years old, the only child of blue-collar workers living in Peoria, Illinois. Lacking any great understanding of the winds of change that were blowing through our nation and the world, I sat transfixed in front of our small black-and-white television as John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address as the nation’s 35th president. The sound might have crackled and the picture wavered, but Kennedy’s message came through loud and clear. It was a message of hope, challenge and faith to an America that could be a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world.
Kennedy called us the “heirs of that first revolution” and spoke of rights that come not from the state but from God. “Let the word go forth,” he said, “that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”
I see no popcorn in the audience, but they’re eating something. They’re always eating this and drinking that. They always bring their crying babies, even though things can turn dangerous. Secure in their manhood, the thespian-loving daddies are confident they can protect their brood from turns in the plot.
Instead of chatting among themselves, the audience members applaud a bit and actually look to the stage as I pull a .45 auto from my tunic and shoot B (Boy) in the chest seven times.
Even to me, the sound is incredible, and I was prepared for it. The audience goes numb, and now everyone looks at the stage, except the babies, who are looking into the deep blue sky, little arms twitching.
It took Rome, the mightiest of empires, 525 years to decline: from Julius Caesar’s coup d’etat in 49 B.C. until the deposition, in the year 476, by Odoacer, a German chieftain, of Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor. Rome’s history spans some 1230 years if 753 B.C. is taken to be the date of Rome’s founding. Rome’s rise accounted for 58% of its existence. Rome’s fall accounted for 42% of its existence, a length of rise before the fall that may be unparalled by any subsequent Western empire. If 1896 is the current mid-point of America’s post-colonial existence and if the final five years of the nineteenth century will have turned out, in history’s reckoning, to have been the transition from American rise to American fall, we’ll have reached the apex precisely at the halfway mark.