Here is the correct link for the Supreme Court and Health Care blog:

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The Supreme Court and Health Care

If anyone is interested in a summary of the arguments before the Court please visit the following link:

The Supreme Court and the Health Law Cases: ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s O

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As I watched the solid production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE last night at the Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway, I could not help observing how each of the leading characters handle conflict.
I will discuss STANLEY, the part that made Marlon Brando a star, shortly

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THE KREUTZER SONATA, currently playing in New York City’s Cafe La Mama, is a chilling theatrical event based on Leo’s Tolstoy’s novella of the same name.
What makes this experience so rivetting and compelling is the protagonists’s conlfict over his murderous impulses and action towards his wife. Although acquitted for his crime by a jury of his bourgeouse peers – wealthy powerful men – he still cannot find find peace within himself. Why? Because he is unsure what really happened – did he overreact to the events in front of him even though at times he can rationalize his actions. Was his wife unfaithful? At times the answer is of course, even without seeing actual adultery he knows he was cuckolded wasn’t he? Why can’t he get his wife’s admirer and musical companion out of his mind? Why is he going to see him perform a piece of music he hates? Lady and King MacBeth you are not alone in your guilt and hallucinatory fears.
One’s moral code maybe buried deep within, yet thankfully it cannot be done away with as easily as the overt target of one’s murderous and misaginistic rage.

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Conflict As A Driver of Action

The current film J EDGAR is a stark example of unresolved conflict management. Although in his lifetime he revolutionized the FBI and successfully gained enormous power and influence, he was a man conflicted within himself who often projected this internal struggle and hatred upon the landscape of the world in which he lived. He sees threats, violence and conspiracy where none exists. His overwhelming insecurity drives him to manufacture success and take credit from others accomplishments.

Although the film has no narrative tension it does portray a manipulative politician who pursues power under the guise of a rationalized “good deed/mission/fight” Perhaps this is an unwritten law of political life – I hope not.

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Mike Daisey Is Not Afraid To Open His Eyes

Daisey’s creation, THE AGONY AND ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS is a sly work. He slowly and hauntingly shows us how via our dependency and fascination with electronic things, we all are part of a global community. We all are taught to be curious and inquisitive. However when do these behaviors led us to places we dare not go? Go see the play and see how he has made some hard choices. Bravo Daisey and company.

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Separating Parents and Their Daughters

I recently had the experience of viewing two new films; MONEYBALL (2011 directed by Glen Miller and written by Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin) and A SEPARATION (2011 directed and written by Asghar Farhardi).

The difference between the way adolescent daughters facing separations between their biological parents is quite striking. Certainly the circumstances for these young adolescents – approximately 12 years old – are not the same; one set of parents are divorced; the other are temporarily separated perhaps leading to a permanent one. Yet the portrait of the daughters’ responses and handling of these difficult circumstances could hardly be more different.

In the Hollywood film MONEYBALL, the daughter appears to be an enthusiastic smart youth who is also a songwriter who composes a piece about her dilemma, which she also beautifully sings. She is open, clear and articulate.

The Iranian daughter, who actually witnesses much of the parental conflict throughout the film, is portrayed as a serious student with a curious mind who tries to please both of her parents.
However throughout much of the film, she looks like she is deeply conflicted and can barely contain her sadness.

Has a Hollywood film ever portrayed a similar situation to such a searing and devastating affect as in the Iranian film? Perhaps, but one has to credit A SEPARATION for portraying the potentially damaging impact of martial conflict on children like I have never seen before. A hard situation beautifully dramatized.

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Ah …Almodovar!

I do not want to spoil the experience of his new film THE SKIN I LIVE IN for anyone. However I just wish Almodovar had incorporated some of the character complexity which Arthur Miller distilled in his Eddie Carbone of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE. Had he done so the movie would have been truly remarkable. Any thoughts?

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“The “Odd Couple” — Steve Jobs and Health Care as a Right for All”

I urge all to read this column by my colleague and friend Miles Zaremski


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The Fool Within

This entry refers to the recent production of King Lear presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music  (BAM) and the Donmar Warehouse Theatre of London England

Seeing Derek Jacobi ‘s rendition of King Lear is a rewarding experience and seeing the play again prompted me to reflect on the issue of self-awareness.

This seasoned professional has a soaring vocal and emotional range that is rare among contemporary actors. He brings to the Lear role an honesty that beautifully displays all the contradictions, narcissistic demands, wounds and physiological manifestations of psychological panic and despair that any adult theatergoer can relate to.

In addition to Jacobi, the actor, one of the production’s few strengths is the portrayal of the relationship between Lear and his fool.  In all previous productions viewed these two characters are at odds from their first interaction. Lear’s quicksilver temper is focused as rapidly at the fool as it is on Cordelia and Kent.

In this otherwise mediocre production, Lear displays a dependency and a seeming “need” for his fool that I have never experienced before and which somehow helped me understand his childishness – as if the fool was part of himself – his shadow self.

The fool’s entrance provides immediate jocular interaction and seems to comfort the king and relieve his temper – as if the experience is “all in fun.” It’s as if the king is saying to the fool, you are joking as always, and this is what I need and want!

Of course what the fool is also doing is voicing the unspeakable, the unsaid and a more truthful perception of the situation at hand.

Only as Lear’s panic and disappointment grow does he find the fool’s comments difficult to accept. And yet he still longs for his companionship which generates yet another conflict for the king.

This ambivalent relationship reminds me of the internal dynamics we have within ourselves.  Can we objectively look at ourselves when we think of doing or actually do destructive or foolish things? I hope so.

Since most of us cannot afford professional fools as former rulers did (and possibly those who could afford them would not want them) we have little choice but to supply this function ourselves. However the reality is that we all resort to “bad behavior” once in a while and use the denial mechanism of  “ that’s not me” as well.

Its good to realize that we don’t need to be royalty in order to keep ourselves amused, to laugh at ourselves and to keep at least one foot, however fleetingly, in reality. Our ability to see ourselves as we fluctuate from moment to moment is one aspect of our own insight. Hopefully, unlike Lear, we don’t need someone else to keep us going with humor, agonizing insight and awareness of ourselves.  Maybe we are not as vulnerable to madness because of this. Unlike Lear we have not “scarcely known ourselves” for a good long while.

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