Some folks seem to think that the threat posed by the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) is being blown way out of proportion. In other words, this violent Islamist extremist group isn’t really that big of a deal.
There are two mistaken tropes about artistic genius that suffuse the screenplay of Whiplash: one is that it is enhanced by suffering and the other is that it borders on madness. This is a movie about a young drummer determined to gain immortality through his dedication to excellence; it is also a movie about a teacher rationalizing his own sadistic psychoses by pretending that abject humiliation is an effective tool for weeding out the merely talented from the truly great. It’s Rocky meets The Great Santini within the academic halls of the best music school in America.
A black woman accuses a prominent white lawyer of rape. The anonymity of the woman is protected as is that of the law enforcement official who speaks with reporters. Allthough no charges have yet been filed, the lawyer’s name and picture are splashed across the pages of the Daily News, the New York Post and the NY Times. The headline screams rape claim, and even though this man may turn out to be the innocent one in this incident , it is the woman whose reputation is protected. The assault is said to have taken place following a birthday party for Al Sharpton at which both individuals were guests. Mr Sharpton, who came to national prominence (and disgrace) with the Tawana Brawley case, had the insouciance to state “My heart is with both of them that the truth come out.” (NYTimes 10/6)
Once again, The Jews have sparked international outrage — this time by buying homes in Arab neighborhoods.
I am continuously baffled by the reaction of so many, including the current U.S. President, to the idea of Jews living in areas “the Palestinians claim for an independent state,” but who are not the least bit troubled by Arabs living in Israel proper.
In fact, were someone to even suggest an Arab-free Israel, the international hysterical gnashing of teeth would be loud enough to wake the dead Jewish Patriarchs buried all over that area.
Yet everyone seems entirely comfortable with a Jew-free “Palestine,” as if this is the only rational way for this to go. I don’t get it.
So today, Associated Press reported that some Jewish men “moved under the cover of darkness, slipping into apartments” in the Silwan area of east Jerusalem, “œin the middle of the night and changing the locks.”
In the morning, “Arab residents of Silwan found” these young Jewish men “hunkered down inside 25 apartment units,” in what the reporter described as “the biggest settler takeover since Jews began buying up properties in the volatile area two decades ago.”
So, these Jewish people bought a building in an Arab neighborhood and they felt the need to sneak in in the middle of the night, arm themselves and “hunker down” to defend their lives from their new neighbors. Yet the reporting suggests the Jews are in the wrong for legally buying housing and moving in.
This attitude only seems to make sense in the Jim Crow south, or Nazi-occupied Europe. I can think of nowhere else where some people are outspokenly and violently unwelcome in certain neighborhoods because of their religion or ethnicity.
Actually, that’s not strictly true. That kind of in-you-face Antisemitism is the status quo in most Muslim countries and is becoming increasingly common all over Europe — at least wherever there are large Muslim communities. And it seems like Muslim communities only come in the large-and-growing variety.
And somehow, these Jews buying apartments in a neighborhood hostile to their presence because they’re Jews “has sparked yet another spat between Israel and the U.S.,” AP reports.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest condemned the occupation of the properties “by individuals who are associated with an organization whose agenda, by definition, stokes tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” the story says.
So, to recap, Jews buying and moving into apartments in certain areas is considered “occupation,” while Arabs buying and moving into apartments in Israel, is considered perfectly natural.
According to the story, the problem everyone is having this time, is that the apartments were bought by an organization that has “settled hundreds of Jews amid an Arab population estimated at about 30,000 in an area it calls the City of David, where Jewish tradition holds King David established Jerusalem as Judaism’s central holy city.”
So, I guess, it’s the fact that these Jews are reminders of the actual, ancient Jewish history of the area that bothers everybody. It’s not as though these Jews are threatening to blow anyone up, as is the wont of some of their neighbors.
It’s because, the AP reporter says, “the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, home to the city’s most sensitive holy sites, as the capital of a future independent state.”
That’s worth noting.
East Jerusalem is home to the sensitive holy sites for Jews and Christians, who have both been allowed, along with Muslims, access to them under Israeli rule. This was not the case when the Muslims had control before Israel wrested their traditional Holy City from them in 1967, in a war they did not start, but did finish, decisively, in just six days.
Despite the fact that Jerusalem has been cared for and open to all since its liberation, “the international community, including the U.S., does not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem,” the way they recognize Jordan’s annexation of most of what the U.N. meant to be the Palestinian Arab portion of the original two-state solution several decades ago, and which no one ever suggests be carved into at least part of a Palestinian state.
Forced to admit that “Jerusalem’s Arabs,” are “free to live wherever they want,” the reporter hastens to add that they “say they often encounter resistance or discrimination when trying to buy or rent properties in Jewish areas.”
This, I guess, is the closest the reporter could come to some sort of parity: The Arabs often encounter resistance in Jewish neighborhoods, while the Jews encounter international condemnation and armed resistance in Arab neighborhoods.
The story notes that real estate transactions involving Jews buying properties from Arabs often must be cloaked in secrecy, much like sales of homes to Jews and Blacks in “white” U.S. neighborhoods once were. If you’ve never seen the film Gentlemen’s Agreement, go rent it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Even this reporter notes that most of the reason for the cloak-and-dagger way these transactions are done is necessary to keep not just the buyers, but also the sellers from suffering some sort of violence at the hands of Arabs who don’t what “that type” moving into their neighborhoods.
About 500 Jews live in the area, and the newly purchased homes will allow for 200 more, according to the story.
“Until residents move in, the properties are occupied by police officers, private security guards, and young volunteers packing pistols,” AP reports. “An ad on a Facebook page for religious Jewish army veterans offered 500 shekels ($140) a day to anyone willing to sit in the properties.”
The reporter describes how Israeli police officers “disappeared down a narrow concrete alleyway, bringing a box of supplies deep into the Arab neighborhood to a second-floor apartment,” and how the “Israelis peered out from windows they enveloped in wire mesh, and would not open the door to visitors.”
The reporter also describes the reaction of a young woman whose family had owned the building, when “accused” by neighbors of selling to the wrong kind of people.
“Are you crazy?” she reportedly retorted. “How would my father sell to Jews?”
Am I the only one who sees a problem here?
ISIS is not just the terror group de jour. They are a hugely successful movement with an apocalyptic, nihilistic philosophy. When they say “convert, join us, or die”, they not only mean it, but they follow through with horrific effect.
It’s not every college girl who gets to have her claim of sexual assault aired on the front page of the NYTimes Arts Section or reported by the leading art critic of that paper. In this case, Emma Sulkowicz, the self-reported victim, has not been satisfied by the hearings that were authorized by Columbia University after she reported this rape; the assailant was found to be not responsible and that finding was upheld by a subsequent appeal. Emma followed up by attempting to file charges with the NYC police but she found this so “upsetting” that she dropped that plan.
The David H. Koch Plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has finally been unveiled and it is a beautiful addition to New York’s premier cultural attraction. Mr. Koch, a trustee of the museum, financed this roughly 65 million dollar project himself, his gift to the general public as well as to the museum. Many environmental considerations went into the landscaping of the trees - allowing both greater sun in the winter and increased shade in summer. The plantings were also designed to soften noise pollution at a plaza that attracts so many thousands of people each day. Given the very successful completion of this project in a timely fashion, as opposed to other urban projects that have labored under decades of delay and mammoth cost over-runs, we can only scratch our heads at how the city has defiled it.
President Obama would rather have been anywhere else on Earth but at that White House podium Wednesday night unveiling a new counterterror strategy for dealing with the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
We just observed the anniversary of the most lethal Islamic terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil. Thirteen years later, we still face al Qaeda, as well as various other Islamic terrorist groups including the equally lethal Islamic State.
As the media continues to pounce on the story of Ray Rice’s elevator assault on his fiancee last February, I wonder why there is no background story on who this woman is and why she married Rice after that knockout punch and rag doll drag that has the rest of us so appalled. It turns out that both Janay Palmer and Ray Rice were arrested on Feb 15, 2014 and charged with mutual assault at the Revel Casino. A month later, Rice alone was indicted by a grand jury for 3rd degree aggravated assault, the penalty for which is a possible 3-5 years in jail and a fine of $15,000. Janay Palmer married her assailant one day after this indictment.
In all likelihood, T.S. Eliot’s “Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock” is no longer part of the canon of English Literature, if one still exists. So the title quote may not resonate with people under 40, but it seems poetically accurate as to where our society is drifting and to which minutiae we are giving our judicial attention.
Readers of a certain age will remember the sordid story of Errol Flynn’s liaison with a 15 year old show-biz wannabe - not so much for that prurient behavior on the part of a fading movie star, as for the facilitating behavior of the young girl’s mother. Flo Aadland, played by Susan Sarandon is really the focus of this movie as she gives her version of events to the writer who is penning the “great love story” of an alcoholic, drug-addicted roue and Beverly, a girl reared to enact her mother’s failed dreams. As played by Dakota Fanning, Beverly is a passive, dutiful daughter who’s been working since she was three and has none of the fire or ambition associated with performers of exceptional talent. Her father recognizes her for a chorus girl at best, but Flo, like Rose in Gypsy has bigger dreams and sacrifices her home, her marriage and her child for the illusion of stardom.
The recent suicide of Robin Williams shocked the world and there has been no shortage of public speculation and amateur psychology about why he took his life. The sad fact is, as with most suicides, that no one will ever know for sure. Even experienced health professionals, with a detailed understanding of mental illness, cannot reliably predict who will commit suicide or explain why someone did after the fact.
Obama foreign policy has long resembled the old Abbott and Costello “who’s on first” routine: a dazed and confused mush of leftist ideology and demonstrable weakness. The left hand hasn’t known what the far-left hand has been doing. Or the far-left hand has had to take the left one out to the woodshed for not being appropriately apologetic or irresolute.
“The One I Love” is an example of a movie with very appealing actors (Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss) which mistakenly gives you more of them than you need, want or can absorb without an increasing sense of their becoming tiresome. Playing a married couple already in trouble and seeing a therapist, the two eventually become four in a bizarro version of “The Enchanted Cottage,” a 40’s movie with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young. Sent by their doctor to a “retreat” in order to restart their ailing marriage, the two discover that they have doppelgangers who inhabit a guest house on the property. Some reviewers have refused to disclose this, acting as if revealing this development was as much a spoiler as revealing the finale of Psycho. Hardly. For film-goers who have seen other versions of altered states of mind, of dimension and even of being, this mind-boggling puzzle soon becomes more shtick than a carefully thought-out philosophical or psychological rendering.
We live in cages of conformity, shuffling, shackled by habit and timidity. How we act, what we wear, even how we think, are limited to traveling along these set rails of behavior, and it can take an iconoclast for us to even realize it.
Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon resigned from office. I was a very young child as I watched him announce his decision to resign on Aug. 8, 1974, but I remember seeing Nixon’s face fill the television screen, full of emotion. I could not have grasped that that brief speech was the culmination of a tragic series of events that had brought down his presidency, nor could I know that I would work for him years later.
Arabs and Muslims are dying all over the Middle East — in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and almost everywhere else — but despite hundreds of thousands dead in Syria alone, it is the 1,000 or so in Gaza that grab the world’s heart, and its headlines.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my views on the subject of today’s hearing. I want to commend you, the Committee, and your staff for highlighting this issue in this public setting. In my view, it comes none too soon.
Among the handful of non-anti-Serb Balkans-observers in America, all eyebrows raised last month when the leftist ivory tower New Republic outdid its own famous fabulist StephenGlass with two new ones. A pair of Eastern Europeans named Vera Mironova and Maria Snegovaya, who penned an opinion article clunkily headlined “Putin is Behaving in Ukraine Like Milosevic Did in Serbia.”
It is hard to imagine two more unwelcome, uninvited visitors to Israel in the middle of a war against Palestinian terrorists than UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry. But even more unwelcome is that they are working together.
It amazes me that more than 5 years into Barack Obama’s presidency, otherwise-intelligent people are still wondering who he is, what he believes and why he’s doing what he’s doing. It’s not a mystery. It’s never been a mystery. Although he made a somewhat half-hearted attempt to dress up his leftist extremism when he first ran for president in 2008, his radicalism was apparent to anyone paying the slightest attention.
The 20th century job description of the United Nations was “to maintain international peace and security” based on “the sovereign equality of all its members,” and to do “nothing [to] impair the inherent right of self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a member of the UN.”
The greatest thing about movies is their ability to conflate reality with illusion, not just regarding special effects but in convincing us that actors are the characters they portray on screen. Movies made us believe that John Wayne was a war hero though he never served a minute in combat; we believed that Vivien Leigh, a neurasthenic, fragile British beauty was a southern belle with enough pluck to get her hands dirty in Tara’s soil; we believed that Rock Hudson was the ultimate lady’s man who enjoyed the many love scenes that he played with the screen’s sexiest women.