Monday, December 6, 2010

WikiLeaks, #2

A follow-up from the previous post.

I was looking last night at the WikiLeaks page on Facebook, and read a number of posts (many from other countries).

In that it is WikiLeaks’ page, it was not surprising to see many posts from people who think of Julian Assange as a great hero.

“One day soon,” one poster wrote, “we should choose a day and all use Julians (sic) profile pic as our own face book profile.”

Wrote another: “Julian Assange is a God!”

In short order, too, I came upon various anti-Israel and anti-Jewish posters.

One such poster had this for a Facebook picture: a Jewish star with a swastika contained within it.

Another ugly posting proclaimed the following (I am, unfortunately, no longer surprised by the ubiquity of this kind of thing):

“Weird that there never any mention (sic) about everything that's being done by Israel and the Jews who are running most of the governments around the world, including Sweden I'm sorry to say!”

(I am assuming that a significant amount of support for WikiLeaks comes from people who dislike the United States—and so it is not surprising that one would quickly come upon anti-Israel vitriol on WikiLeaks’ Facebook page. Anti-Americanism, and animus toward Israel, not infrequently go hand-in-hand, throughout the world.)

While I admit to being interested in some of the information recently released by WikiLeaks (such as, the evident behind-the-scenes desire of some Arab leaders to have the United States stop Iran, militarily, from acquiring nuclear weapons), WikiLeaks' indiscriminate publication of hundreds of thousands of highly-sensitive documents remains utterly irresponsible, and potentially perilous. (Assange's disclosures have certainly put lives in jeopardy—which includes his previous release of documents containing the names of Afghans serving as informants for the United States. Please see:

And then, today, Assange’s dangerous campaign continued. This, via the CBS News website: “WikiLeaks has been condemned by British and U.S. officials for publishing a secret State Department inventory of sites across the world deemed vital to American security.”

Monday, November 29, 2010


WikiLeaks is a deplorable outfit. The website’s latest publication of highly sensitive and secret U.S. documents is profoundly reckless, and dangerous.

From  "...White House spokesman Robert Gibbs condemned the release, warning that publishing the documents would jeopardize 'our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.' "

Here's a story from The Washington Post: “Hillary Clinton: WikiLeaks release an 'attack on international community.’”

And lastly, here's an interesting piece from the website of The New Yorker, by the writer George Packer. He writes, of this latest release of documents by WikiLeaks: “It will make the work of American diplomacy harder for a long time to come."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995)

Fifteen years ago today, on Nov. 4, 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a very fine man and a courageous leader, was assassinated, just after he attended a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ahmadinejad, and September 11th

The President of Iran, with his latest remarks about September 11th, continues to demonstrate how sinister he is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ahmadinejad: "the future belongs to Iran"

On Sunday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's President, said that “it is clear the future belongs to Iran.”

Ahmadinejad's words reminded me of the chilling scene in the 1972 film Cabaret, in which a Hitler youth member begins singing the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me,” at a beer garden. During the course of the song, most of the people there join in.
Before posting this item, I checked on google to see if others had written of Ahmadinejad’s words, and the film. I found a couple of people who had—including, on Monday, an essayist for “The Corner,” the column which appears on the website of the National Review; the essayist's comments then appeared on a number of other websites.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11th

After some doubt as to what would occur, Florida pastor Terry Jones’s son says that the pastor’s plan to burn copies of the Koran on September 11th will not be taking place.

The minister‘s plan to burn the Koran was not simply vile, and dangerous. It also struck me as being utterly narcissistic.

September 11th has been (and should continue to be) a day focused upon memory, and tribute:  honoring the many victims of the 2001 catastrophe.  And honoring the many acts of courage and great heroism which took place that day.

Yet Mr. Jones—in what appears to have been profound self-centeredness—was re-directing the focus of September 11th.  America (and the world) would be directing its attention to him, and his plans, and his beliefs.

Let me also say the following:  in New York, tomorrow, protests/rallies will evidently be taking place. One side will be protesting against the planned mosque and Islamic center, to be built not far from Ground Zero. The other side will be rallying in support of the mosque.

I would hope these events can be postponed, and that September 11th can be observed as it has been observed in previous years: in reflection, in prayer, in gestures of remembrance, and in acts of public service.  September 11th should not be a day for protests, rallies, ideological confrontation.

Recommended Reading

The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth.

Roth’s novel is a compelling, inspired work—imagining what life might have been like for America, and for American Jews (with a particular focus upon one family from northern New Jersey, the Roth family, and its youngest son, Philip), had Charles Lindbergh become President of the United States, in 1940. It is a superb novel, by one of America’s finest writers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Timothy Egan, Aug. 25th on-line piece, New York Times

Please note, in particular, Mr. Egan's critical (and astute) comments about radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Charlottesville, Virginia

A piece appearing on  "5 Great Cities For Retirees," from

The first place listed is Charlottesville, Virginia. For years Charlottesville has appeared in lists of/stories about attractive and distinctive American cities.  I lived there from the spring of 1995 until the start of 2001.  It is a wonderful place, and I think often about how much I enjoyed living there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recommended Reading

1. The novel A Pale View of Hills, by Kazuo Ishiguro.

2. The Seventh Well: A Novel, by Fred Wander.

3. One More Year, stories by Sana Krasikov.

4. An Ornithologist's Guide To Life: Stories, by Ann Hood.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NAACP's Benjamin Jealous, and recent Tea Party story

I like the comment by Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, at the end of this recent story (7/19/10) concerning Tea Party figure Mark Williams.  Jealous said: "Good riddance, Mark Williams."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Update to previous post, and Ron Rosenbaum essay from April

An Update to the previous post:  The North Iowa Tea Party billboard referred to in the post was replaced, yesterday, by a public service billboard.  Another Tea Party message, evidently, will soon appear in its place.

In the previous post, the AOL writer referred to a Ron Rosenbaum essay from April, in which Rosenbaum addressed the matter of language used by a number of Tea Party critics of President Obama and his administration.

In his essay in Slate, titled "The Tea Party's Toxic Take on History," Rosenbaum wrote:  "Listen to Tea Partiers on cable news—or read the signs they hoist or their Internet comments—and you frequently encounter the flagrant abuse, the historically ignorant misuse, of words such as tyranny, communist, Marxist, fascist, and socialist." 

Rosenbaum's essay is excellent.  It can be found at this link:

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Gulf catastrophe

The ongoing oil spill is utterly heartbreaking, and sickening.

Like many, I still cannot understand how a company the size of BP didn’t have in place not only one, but two, or three, backup plans, in the event of a catastrophe.

The National Audubon Society ( is one of the groups involved in addressing the disaster.

Here is a link, concerning its Gulf-related efforts; there is a link, on that page, if you'd like to make a donation concerning the group's work related to the spill.

Here, as well, is a link concerning the work of another group involved in the Gulf, the National Wildlife Federation:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dana Milbank, on Helen Thomas and Hezbollah

From Dana Milbank, in his Washington Post on-line column “Rough Sketch” (June 9, 2010):

The good news for Helen Thomas: She finally got somebody to defend her position on Israeli Jews.

The bad news: It's Hezbollah.

Thomas expressed "what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs," said Hezbollah, a group of murderers and thugs.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Gaza ship

That people behind (and supportive of) the Gaza flotilla were hoping for violence is clear.

This is from a May 28th press release, from the group “Gaza Freedom March,” days before the raid by Israeli soldiers:

“A violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement, drawing attention to the blockade.”

They wanted violence—just as Hamas, which began its firing of thousands of rockets at Israel after Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, wanted Israel to attack, in response. Israel did respond, forcefully, in the winter of 2008-2009.


On April 29th, I posted a link to a column by Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News, in which he wrote, critically, of a speech by the Palestinian figure Hanan Ashrawi.

Here’s another good column by Bykofsky, about the raid by Israel on the Gaza-bound ship.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Recommended Reading

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, By David Shields (Knopf, 2010).

For a full review of the book, please click on this link:

Georges Simonon, and Maigret

I’m at the post office most days, because I get my mail there (at a P.O. Box). Next door is the local branch of The Salvation Army. A few years ago I discovered they have a nice used-book selection, and since then have bought a lot of books there.

Here are two of them; both are part of the Maigret series, by Georges Simenon. I hadn’t read any of Simenon’s books before these, and enjoyed both very much.

Recommended Reading

“Hojoki—Visions of a Torn World,” by the poet Kamo-no-Chomei.

The book was written in the year 1212. The translation in this edition (Stone Bridge Press,1996) is by Yasuhiko Moriguchi and David Jenkins.

“Poet, reporter, social philosopher, monk, Kamo-no-Chomei is one of the great noble and solitary figures in all of Japanese literature, his incomparable Hojoki as relevant today as it was eight hundred years ago…”--comments, from the back-cover, by Sam Hamill.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aharon Appelfeld

A new book by the Israeli novelist Aharon Appelfeld, Blooms of Darkness, was published last month:

I have not yet read it, but expect to do so soon.

Appelfeld is an extraordinary writer. While his current work is situated during the Holocaust, his novels often take place as the Holocaust is approaching, or take place in its aftermath.

Says Philip Roth: “Aharon Appelfeld is fiction’s foremost chronicler of the Holocaust. The stories he tells, as here in Blooms of Darkness, are small, intimate, and quietly narrated and yet are transfused into searing works of art by Appelfeld’s profound understanding of loss, pain, cruelty, and grief.”

Here is a link to one of Appelfeld’s best known works, Badenheim 1939.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Robert B. Parker

The very talented novelist Robert B. Parker was best-known, certainly, for creating the character of Spenser, the Boston private detective. Mr. Parker died in January, at age 77.

After he passed away, I re-read his first novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, published in 1973; I’d originally read it thirty years ago. It was just as enjoyable, revisited.

I think my favorite books by Mr. Parker are his earlier Spenser titles—in addition to The Godwulf Manuscript, books such as The Judas Goat, Mortal Stakes, and Looking for Rachel Wallace come to mind.

Mr. Parker was a skillful—and wonderfully entertaining—writer.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chomsky, America, Israel

I was browsing through Facebook recently (if you're not careful, you can waste a lot of time doing so), and looked at the page of someone I knew decades ago. In her list of favorite Facebook pages, she included a page about Noam Chomsky.

A number of people (largely on the left, though I am sure he has a significant number of right-wing fans as well) think of Noam Chomsky as brilliant; they regard him as a hero.

I am not in that camp. I think of Noam Chomsky’s ideas as being morally blind, dangerously misguided, frenetic, imbued with distortion.

His animus toward the United States, and its foreign policies, is tiresome, relentless—and routinely offensive. (In a November, 2001 interview, for example, he referred to the United States as "a leading terrorist state.") His obsessive hostility toward the state of Israel—rooted in a cartoon-like apprehension of the Middle East conflict (his views of the United States are similarly cartoon-like)—I have long found repellent.

Also repellent: an event currently underway, worldwide, known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

Here are two essays about the latter subject. The first is from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. The second is from Canadian columnist Leonard Stern.

Monday, February 15, 2010

USA Network commercial

The following YouTube video is a USA Network commercial; it concerns the network’s telecasts (which begin today) of the Westminster dog show.

There is a nice pairing, in the commercial—of lovely black and white video images of dogs, and Lady Gaga’s terrific song,“Paparazzi.”

(Apologies: the audio is unfortunately too low.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Disaster in Haiti

There are, obviously, a great many organizations raising funds to provide relief to those affected by the disaster in Haiti.

Here is a list of groups providing aid (and links to their websites), via

In addition: if you’d like to find out more information about a charity you may wish to donate to, please see: