I first visited Haiti in 1960. I had left New York on a dismal, gray January morning and arrived in Port-au-Prince a week later aboard a cruise ship.
As predictable as death and taxes, the yearly Social Security Administration "benefits update" reached millions of Americans in mid-December. Most knew they would not be granted a raise in 2010 and that the freeze might even extend to 2011.
Parallel universes (or alternate realities in which the laws of physics are not only dissimilar but in conflict) is the stuff of science fiction and quantum mechanics. Brought down to earth, the concept takes on sinister dimensions.
As the United States discovered in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, it's easy to wage war and difficult to triumph. As witnessed in Afghanistan, where Washington is now being held hostage, a stalemate is often worse than defeat.
Used with discretion, the Internet is a fount of information. It can also be a cesspool of lies, gossip, partisan humbug and propaganda, crafted not to enlighten but to skew reality - or bury it - in the pursuit of mischief or ideology.
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica - A full-face and profile effigy of former President George W. Bush adorns the check-in area of a small guest house nestled in the rain forest on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. The caption reads: "Wanted for crimes against humanity."
The axiom that the world's destiny is in the hands of bankers and industrialists is never more evident than in wartime. The lords of capital and the cannon merchants thrive on the menace of conflict and the conduct of war. They prosper when the first shots ring out. No sooner do hostilities cease than they itch for another war, another opportunity to pillage the national treasury.