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DoTheRightThingPresident Obama anticipated the response in Ferguson, even referring to it as “good television,” in his address to the nation after the grand jury’s decision was announced.

It’s hard for young people to grow up in America, especially when ‘adults’ mistake the wrong thing for the right thing.

Faulkner-Hamlet (2)The United States continues to be a place where new things need to look old, and old things (and people) need to look new.

For example, this 2003 copy of Thomas Jefferson—Basic Writings has a dust jacket made to look old (see brown spots). It sits next to a 1940 first edition copy of William Faulkner’s The Hamlet, considered by many to be an important work in American literature—but with a dust jacket that one ABAA book dealer recently wrote was “too ruff…to be able to resell.”

What would Faulkner say about that? Perhaps: “I told you so; blame the damn Snopes, with their snap-on bow ties, acting like Sartoris!”

One shouldn’t disregard shabby volumes. In his introduction to “Nostromo” (Doubleday, 1924), Joseph Conrad writes that his inspiration for the work came from “a shabby volume picked up outside a second hand bookshop.”

Sotheby's-RothkoMrsPaulMellonThe 43 Masterworks from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon (1910-2014) were all sold at Sotheby’s last evening. Two paintings by Mark Rothko were featured in the Collection, including Yellow, Orange, Yellow Light Orange (1955) which sold for $36.5 million.

In 2012, another Rothko painting Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) sold for $87 million at a Christie’s auction (the addition of Red was worth an extra $50 million).

Given that American Abstract Expressionist Art has long been used by the CIA and U.S. State Department, as a tool (weapon) in U.S. foreign policy, it’s fitting that this post falls on Veterans Day. Mr. Rothko took his own life in 1970.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

CarNYC-Mustang2014USMC2014United States Marine Corps Birthday — November 10, 1775.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Progress-SorelToday New Yorkers are faced with voting for the incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) or his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino. Both are proud of their Italian heritage as is the Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn and Queens, Nicolas Dimarzio, who commented on the election in his recent Tablet column saying that his grandfather, who wanted to give him a voting lesson, said “Go into the booth, when you see an Italian name pull down on the lever.”

For voters who seek leaders guided by truth and the common good, rather than ideology and special interests, this election is especially problematic. Governor Cuomo has said that New Yorkers who oppose abortion and same-sex marriage ought to move out of the state. And, if elected, Rob Astorino said he would support fracking.

In his column, the Bishop suggested that corruption in government is directly attributable to low voter turn-out — and therefore encouraged Catholics to vote.

The Bishop failed to address the fact that the candidates in this election, with misguided views on progress, are both Catholic, and perhaps symptomatic of the failure of the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. over the years to properly form their flock for true progress.

‘Progress’ Artwork: Edward Sorel, 1976


Halloween2014cPhotograph: Stephen Wise


Americans2014“We’re #1!” (“I am King!”) is not the key to sustainability, nor a good legacy. Better to let the Lord be The One.


IndianOn October 12, 1492 Admiral Christopher Columbus, leading a squadron of three Spanish ships, anchored off an island (in the Bahamas) which he later named San Salvador.

After 522 years of ‘progress’ in the Americas, some are realizing that the best hope for humankind is a return to some of the Old World ways.

WeRoll“That’s how we roll.” President Obama

Photograph: Stephen Wise


CGI2014-ObamaCGI – September 23, 2014

While addressing the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama called for building up civil society. He said “when people are free to speak their minds and hold their leaders accountable governments are more responsive and effective.”

The story in the U.S., since the Spanish-American War (1898), has been the disconnect between the government and the will of the American people, as well as the lack of accountability for government officials who violate their office. The Obama administration is no exception, having acted unilaterally without Congressional approval, and without UN Security Council approval in bombing targets in Syria. But more importantly, as with past presidents, acting without regard for the will of the American people. This is not to say that that majority is always right, but in the words of Aristotle regarding the “whole”: “to be beautiful a living creature, and every whole made up of parts, must not only present a certain order in its arrangement of parts but also be of a certain magnitude.”

ISIS is evil, but ISIS was created by U.S. foreign policy with help from Saudi Arabia. Evil can’t be overcome with more evil, which is what a unilateral U.S. response amounts to (the U.S. strikes are a sham anyway given Saudi involvement).

After years of being deceived and disregarded, the American people are now too damaged and disconnected from truth and each other to be able to reform their government.

Mr. Obama talked about preserving democracy and keeping Americans safe. But his actions have done the opposite. By anyone’s definition of democracy (an honest person knowing the facts would have to conclude) the democracy experiment in the United States has failed — with the U.S. now acting as a barbarian on the world stage.

Photograph: Stephen Wise



Stephen B. Wise


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