With the election over, thank God, I thought pesky telephone polls would subside. But if anything, they’ve increased. Not the “Who has your vote?” polls, or what I call “Slur Polls” — questions designed not to collect answers but to deliver attacks; polls that start out normal and then slide into insinuation: “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most disgusted, and 1 being not as disgusted as you ought to be, how revolted were you to learn of the secret slush fund of Rep. Peckinsniff …”)
Those who are certain that numbers don’t lie and that the 15 women who have come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and molesting/raping them stand as evidence of truth should be reminded that 37 people claimed to be afflicted by witches in the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. This doesn’t mean that Bill Cosby is innocent of the charges but it does mean that this isn’t a class action suit and that the details of each of these experiences may differ significantly enough to not be proof of anything. As of now, we are listening to women tell about events that happened as far back as four decades ago, a long enough time for anyone to forget or re-interpret the past. Some of these women accepted money from Cosby, often over a long period of time. Some, like Janice Dickinson, made a career out of bedding famous men and bragging about that in interviews and books. Many of these women admitted that they were hoping for acting jobs on Cosby’s popular tv show. There was never a shortage of female groupies who considered sexual experiences with entertainers as trophies for their collection or women who aspired to careers in show biz who were perfectly comfortable with the requirements of the casting couch.
You wouldn’t guess that Stephen Hawking’s inspiring and dramatic life would need embellishment by withholding pertinent information and distorting facts, yet that is precisely what occurs in the film “The Theory of Everything.” Based on his first wife’s book (”Travelling to Infinity”), Jane Hawking is portrayed as a fresh-faced, forever young martyr who manages to take care of a completely paralyzed man and three children while working on her Ph.D and vacuuming the house - all unassisted. Since we have already witnessed that once Stephen required a wheelchair, he needed to be lifted and carried to his next location, we know that it just isn’t possible that they lived without additional help yet we don’t see a nurse enter until the children are fairly grown. In truth, as of 1974, a student always lived and traveled with the Hawkings to help with Stephen’s extraordinary health care needs.
The most remarkable thing about Foxcatcher, a movie about two seriously damaged protagonists, is its refusal to offer anything resembling a psycho-babble interpretation for the unusual circumstances we have witnessed. There is no over-arching tying up of unraveled cords as frequently occurs in movies when the creators don’t trust their audience to parse the subtext accurately. Instead, the screenwriters, director and cast have all done their jobs so expertly that we have understood what the characters have thought and felt without any verbal explanations.
History will sort out whether the bitter, right-wing hatred of Barack Obama was significantly greater than the bitter, right-wing hatred of John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt or any previous president.
In early 2009, newly minted President Obama invited Republican leaders to the White House. In the spirit of good will, the GOP offered ideas about how they could work together. Mr. Obama offered a sharp rebuke: “I won.”
Two of New York’s grandest and most important landmark buildings - The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The New York Public Library - have now been trashed by commercial food and tchochke vendors. According to their mandate, The Landmarks Preservation Commission is charged with being “responsible for protecting New York City’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark status, and regulating them once they’re designated.” The officers of the commission deserve impeachment for their dereliction of duty in what are undoubtedly, the two most significant examples of great civic architecture and cultural purpose in our city.
Though it is unclear as I write this if or how the Obama Administration is going to react to the rash of murder-by-car terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, but as much as it may want to downplay them as “traffic incidents” or the work of lone nut jobs, this is clearly the Jihadis’ new tactic.
A week or so ago, a terrorist ran down a bunch of people at a light train stop in Jerusalem, killing an American baby and a young woman from South America in an act of terror the U.S. Administration called a “traffic incident,” and which barely even made the news. This was the same week that a similar attack took place in Canada, followed by another terror attack there not involving a vehicle.
The fact that the U.S. Government and the intentional press chose not to see the terror-driver attack in Israel as terrorism may be keeping authorities worldwide from connecting the dots; understanding this new tactic and addressing it.
There can be no doubt with these three terror-by-vehicle attacks in Israel — two in one day — that this is the savages’ new thing. This might be made slightly more difficult if the U.S. and international press continue to insist that there is no such thing as terrorism if the victim is Jewish or Israeli, but at this point, even the stupidest, anti-Semitic ignoramus has to get the picture.
And this time, Hamas is “taking credit” for the most recent attack, unlike the last one, in which it only glorified the baby-killer as a “martyr.”
Hamas said this second attack, was meant to “protect the city’s most sensitive and sacred site” the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.”
The third terror-by-car attack was in the West Bank, later the same day, “when a Palestinian motorist drove into a group of soldiers, wounding three in a suspected attack,” according to the Associated Press.
Bear in mind that these attacks appear to be motivated by a call by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, for his minions to protect Judaism’s holiest site from Jews coming to pray there, because, somehow, the site is “defiled” by the presence of Jews.
There has been an attempted assassination and calls by Jordan for the Jews to be kept away from this Jewish holy sites so Muslims may pray there undesturbed by the presence of Jews.
If anyone uttered that same sentence with the roles reversed, the resulting worldwide righteous indignation would be epic.
But Antisemitism is cool these days.
It’s not just Jews under attack, however. There were the two attacks in Canada, the ax attack against some cops in New York and the beheading of a woman in Oklahoma — each of which has radical Islam in common. So, no matter what our government tries to say, these are not random, unrelated attacks.
So, now that we know the loony-toon Islamists have taken to using their cars as weapons, wouldn’t it make sense to deny them legal access to vehicles?
I know I’m going to be called names for making this suggestion, but under any other circumstances, it would be clear that this group should be made to turn in their drivers licences and all motor vehicles registered to them should be confiscated. And I don’t just mean in Israel and the Palestinian-Arab occupied territories — I mean everywhere there are radical Islamists — which is, basically, everywhere.
Israeli police said they plan to set up barricades near train stops to prevent the attacks, but we could be more effective by removing the temptation to drive into people by removing the vehicles from the terrorists.
Hamas, the A.P story says, praised the violence as a “glorious operation” and called for more, because attacking a bunch of unarmed, unsuspecting people waiting for a bus really makes you a man. Murdering infants is terribly taxing. Right.
All this murder and mayhem by the Arabs, which has drawn no international condemnation whatsoever, is taking place while the U.S. and the European Union are bent all out of shape over Israel’s announced plans to build housing in East Jerusalem.
In this world, construction brings condemnation, cold-blooded murder does not. Apartments “seriously call into question Israel’s commitment to peace,” A.P. reports — as opposed to the Palestinian’s slightly more violent approach. That’s just fine, I guess.
Nothing shows commitment to peace like mowing down pedestrians with a minivan.
I can’t seem to shake the feeling that we’re all down the rabbit hole.
I vote at P.S. 6 on the upper east side of Manhattan, in a neighborhood with no bodega in sight between 5th and 2nd avenues yet the posters outside the school and all along the block said Vote Here and underneath, Vote Aqui. Below that, in fainter type was the same information in Chinese. In other words, we no longer expect Hispanic voters who use the same alphabet as English to understand the four letter word “here” even when used in context on Election Day at a polling station. This is even worse than translating SALIDA when EXIT is universally printed in bold red above a door frame. Mayor De Blasio has just designated a $150 million appropriation to improve some of New York’s ineffective schools but Vote Aqui is a prime example of one of the causes of failing in school - the patronizing soft bigotry of lowered expectations for minorities.
Tucked inside the first section of today’s WSJ (11/4) on page 7 is the followng headline: “For Ebola Survivors, Sex Carries Added Risk.” In the article we discover that the virus can live in sexual fluid for as much as 90 days after people are cured of the disease. We learn that Doctors Without Borders warns discharged patients to use condoms and other African clinics give survivors certificates that emphasize NO SEX FOR 90 DAYS in capital letters. Apparently, here in our own country the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued similar warnings. Why has the general public not heard of this? The NYTimes devotes two full pages to a discussion of ebola in its Science Section today - not a mention of this topic; nothing about it on the tv talk and magazine shows.
Sometimes, the truth of a situation appears in small details before the big picture emerges. Poker players learn to scrutinize their opponents for their “tell,” the reflexive movement or twitch that an individual isn’t even aware of making. So, Disgraced, the Pulitzer prize-winning play now on Broadway, opens onto a set of an expensive, upper-east side penthouse apartment with French doors leading to the terrace, a coffered ceiling with expensive lighting and a corridor leading to the rooms beyond. This is clearly a classic Park Avenue apartment yet everyone who comes to visit knocks on the door as if this were Jerry Seinfeld’s apt on the upper west side. What, no doorbell? Even in a building with a doorman buzzing upstairs to announce a visitor? Even dinner guests dressed for a formal evening? Knocking?
When my nephew was in St. Vincent’s hospital after being run over by a murderous driver, he was in a lot of pain. I went to the nurse’s station to ask if someone could come to check him out and was angrily told by the head-nurse that they were all busy tending to my nephew’s roommate, a gentleman who had AIDS. Her meaning was clear: in the hierarchy of patient needs, AIDS always trumps fractured bones. Two days later, it was the AIDS patient who was released while my nephew was dead from lack of attention to a blood clot that wasn’t caught in time.
Ankara’s seemingly shocking — but welcome — move reportedly allowing Iraqi Kurds to transit through Turkey to reinforce Syrian Kurds battling the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) for the city of Kobani, Syria, doesn’t mean the Turks are “all in” on the ISIS fight.
What are we to make of sexual behavior on campus? On the one hand, schools do their best to facilitate sexual activity between adolescent students by providing co-ed housing and bathrooms, frat parties and an atmosphere encouraging them to feel like independent and mature adults. Until the students realize that they aren’t, and that like all other relationships in the real world, sexual ones are fraught with misunderstandings, complications, differing interpretations and ulterior motives. At that point, the school steps in and attempts to act as judge and jury as to what happened between two individuals who have contrasting accounts of an experience that one calls rape.
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.