I found it surprising that in all the media coverage concerning Chris Harper Mercer, even after showing a brief interview on camera with his British absentee father, there was almost no mention of his mother with whom he lived. It took several days before I found out online that Laurel Harper is a black woman who works as a nurse, who shared a one bedroom apartment with her son along with her interest in firearms and shooting ranges. After reading about her ongoing efforts to control her neighbors’ voice levels, her building’s insect infestation, the behavior of pets - all in the name of protecting her fragile son from external annoyances - I wondered what she was thinking as she tallied up the count of 14 weapons available to her “Asperger” son who had already proved unable to get along with people, with school or with the army.
Among the flurry of support that the latest Muslim provocateur — 14-year-old faux-clock-bomb maker Ahmed Mohamed — received earlier this month was a posting by facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, reading, “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.”
In a recent article in The New Yorker entitled “All Scientists Should be Militant Atheists”, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss penned a scathing essay disavowing any relationship between science and religion.
How many times has it been said or written sarcastically of us Balkans heretics that “The place she wants you to worry about for terrorism is not in the Middle East or Pakistan, but in the Balkans. She wants you to think that Bosnia/Kosovo is the next Afghanistan.”
When a woman accepts a job working for an orthodox Jewish congregation, she knows what values that synagogue espouses and stands for. Alana Schultz worked at Congregation Shearith Israel for 11 years - more than enough time to know full well that Orthodox Judaism frowns upon pregnancy before marriage. Nevertheless, she waited until she was 5 months pregnant and unwed before revealing her condition to her supervisor and several weeks later was fired despite having married in the interim. Typical of today’s default conception of women as victims, this woman has sued the congregation for discrimination, raising some interesting questions.
In the spring of 2011, I heard about a dazzling young conservative, the former solicitor general of Texas, who was running for a soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat. Brilliant and charismatic, he was a Princeton and Harvard Law graduate who seemed to relish rubbing that pedigree in the faces of Ivy League liberals who couldn’t fathom why he wasn’t “one of them.” But Ted Cruz would never be “one of them,” and that gave him the makings of a conservative superstar.
When it comes to villains in works of fiction, nothing beats the Mob - dapper, well-coiffed men, with colorful nicknames and powerful underworld connections, who exude a dark romanticism in movies like The Godfather, Casino, and Goodfellas.
A teenage boy brings a ticking mechanical object with wires, screws and electrical components hanging from it to his high school. He shows it to his engineering teacher and explains that it’s a homemade alarm clock; that teacher calls it “nice” but advises the boy not to show it to other teachers. Ignoring this advice, the boy brings his invention to his English class where it beeps, is revealed to the English teacher who wisely notifies school authorities who immediately call police. So far, this sounds like exactly the type of reaction you would want from any school or public facility in a country that has already lost too many people to the unsuspected acts of terrorists, malicious students and mentally ill individuals. The clock is confiscated and the boy is suspended from school for 3 days.
A series of press releases is now hitting the newswires worldwide, bringing major hope to the refugees hurdling via the Aegean from Turkey to Greece, via Serbia to Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and all the way to Sweden, France and the United Kingdom. The Islamic Republic of Iran, whose Government is proud to represent the entire Islamic Umma, and who has just received 150 billion dollars via the Iran deal, has magnanimously offered to absorb all the three million refugees now frustrated at the borders of several European countries. The Supreme Guide ordered the earmarking of 15 of the 150 billion dollars, a mere 10%, to be granted for the resettlement of the refugees, not just from Syria but also from any parts of the Middle East and North Africa, in multiple regions inside Iran, including on the beautiful less inhabited coasts of the Caspian sea and the southern coasts on the Indian Ocean. The Islamic Republic gesture would in one shot solve the entire crisis of the refugees by absorbing them as migrants among their brothers and sisters in Iran.
Of the myriad of mind-blowing flaws contained in the Iran nuclear deal — a subject that has dominated the foreign policy debate across the country this summer — there’s one angle that hasn’t gotten enough attention.
A weekly column in the Sunday Times Magazine concerns questions of ethics which are addressed by three experts at least partially selected for the diversity they’re meant to represent. With first names like Kwame, Kenji and Amy, we can see immediately that this troika come from different races and ethnicities. In a rare example of e pluribus unum, all three moral mavens responded in unanimity to this week’s question which concerned the following dilemma.
With her denials that any classified information was sent or received on her smart phone, one can reasonably ask: So, how did Sec. of State Hillary Clinton get her classified messages? How did she discuss matters of highest national security?
One often hears New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before one sees him. His booming voice precedes his physical presence, announcing his arrival with the self-assurance of a seasoned executive. He will never be mistaken for a church mouse.
Liberals applaud the new contract designed to protect women on campus from rapacious men by insisting on consenting signatures for every step of the mating dance. They applaud the trigger warnings that have been implemented in our educational institutions to warn the young and innocent that politically incorrect words may appear in some of our greatest works of literature and traumatize them. Yet when it comes to thrusting the young into the midst of topless hustlers in a part of town that abounds in stores and entertainment designed specifically to attract children, liberals are strangely blasé. In the SundayTimes lead editorial of Aug 22nd, the writer opines: “….being shirtless in the city is perfectly legal….the people who flock around the painted women in Times Square do not seem terribly offended. And those who are can walk away.” Columnist Michael Kimmelman labels the mayor’s statement that he finds this exhibitionistic hustle inappropriate for one of the busiest squares in NY as “prudish grandstanding.” And, in an interesting twist reversing the emphasis of who is being victimized, Ginia Bellafante informs us that the painted ladies of Times Square are part of an old NY tradition: “The people soliciting there with their clothes off…are mostly immigrants. Many speak little English….The women didn’t fear getting kicked out of Times Square necessarily: they feared getting deported.”
In what appears to be an attempt to soften the terribly frightening developing enmity between the state of Israel and the United States over the latter’s insistence on going forward with the badly flawed “Iran deal,” a recent Associated Press article seriously downplays the danger posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Jewish state and the rest of the world.
Reportedly there was a fierce firefight with the terrorists at the Abu Sayyaf compound, including the Islamic State’s use of “human shields.” But not only were our troops able to get the target, they were also able to whisk Abu Sayyaf’s wife off to Iraq.
The Law of Unintended Consequences isn’t written into the statute books, or taught in law school, though maybe it should be because it rules over our lives with a stronger hand than almost any ordinance.
When Carly Fiorina speaks, people lean in to listen. It’s not just because she speaks in measured, almost soft, tones. It’s because she projects an extraordinary calming presence, even when discussing the most dangerous threats and vexing problems facing America today.
From the truncated shots of the actors in the opening scenes, we know we are in the hands of a director who believes that pretentious cinematography is a signifier of deep thought. We have been alerted that Israel, the mise en scene of this movie, is a fractured society comprised of many polarities: military culture vs poetry; Ashkenazi vs Sephardi (the Israeli version of racism); marriage vs divorce; innocence vs perversion - all of which will be played out during the course of the film.
Given my hobby as a connoisseur of really bad Republican candidates — I once wrote a prayer, begging God to allow milkman Jim Oberweis to run for office yet again, and it worked — I could not pass up the chance to handicap the field of Republican presidential hopefuls. Only 10 will be onstage at the first Republican debate in Cleveland this Thursday. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t examine them all.
It turns out the Iran nuke deal is a lot like the guy or gal you spy across the room at a dimly-lit party who from afar seems quite alluring — that is, until you get closer and realize the object of your affection isn’t what you had hoped for.
Phoenix, the name of a cabaret in post-war Berlin, serves additional duty as a metaphor for the protagonist’s rebirth and for the beginning of Germany’s national resurgence. Nina Hoss plays Nelly, a Jewish concentration camp survivor whose face was shot and shattered and whose post-war plastic surgery has rendered her difficult to recognize. This is a plot point that pivots the movie’s action and character revelations and unfortunately, it’s too unbelievable to sustain the set-up. Nelly reconnects with her husband who, believing her dead, doesn’t recognize her, even though her face shows all the surgical bruises and scars that suggest exactly what has happened to her. He hatches a scheme to dress and style her as if she were the “real” Nelly so that the two of them can claim the money owed her by the German government. During this crash coaching, it becomes clear that this woman has not only uncannily mastered Nelly’s handwriting but miraculously, fits into Nelly’s shoes. This last Cinderella factor is too over the top for us to continue suspending credulity in the husband’s failure to see the obvious. Imagine the prince, upon seeing Cinderella’s foot glide effortlessly into the glass slipper, simply scratching his head and saying “that’s strange.” It takes the most obvious symbol of the camps for the husband to have his “aha” moment which comes at the movie’s end.