Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Useful commentary, concerning the recent Israel/Hamas crisis

The following piece, by Adam Chandler, appeared last week on "Tablet," an online Jewish-oriented publication.

The piece was posted on November 21st, the day the ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

President Obama should be applauded

Mr. Obama should be applauded for his (and his administration's) firm and repeated affirmations, during the recent Israel/Hamas crisis, of Israel's right to defend itself against the persistent rocket attacks coming from Gaza, by Hamas and other terrorist groups--attacks the administration, on November 15th, called (quite appropriately) cowardly.

Monday, November 5, 2012

October endorsement of President Obama, from The New Republic

From the Editors of The New Republic:

Why Obamaism Must Live/The case for reelection

The piece was posted on-line, on October 5, 2012 (and appeared in the October 25, 2012 issue of the magazine under the headline “Four More"):

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th

(Photograph, circa 1978, is used by permission of artist Jenny Lynn.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Convention speech

No one in American politics can give a speech like Bill Clinton.  No one can explain policy, and present political argument, as clearly, and as persuasively.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Wisconsin, and Colorado

A poem I read this week—a one-sentence poem—made me think of the recent heart-rending, and enormous, tragedies: the murders at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the movie theatre killings in Colorado.

The poem, called “History,” is by Joe Brainard (1942-1994), and is from 1974.

It reads:

With history piling up so fast, almost every day is the anniversary of something awful.

The poem appears in the 2003 book Great American Prose Poems, edited by David Lehman (published by Scribner Poetry).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thank you, to Bob Costas

I am deeply moved by the gesture that NBC's Bob Costas has said he will be making, during the broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the murder of eleven Israeli athletes and team members at the Munich Olympics. The International Olympic Committee has turned aside appeals for a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies, in recognition of the 40th anniversary.

(As one commentator has noted: "For more than three decades, the families of those killed in the attack have tried to have the Olympics honor their loved ones during the opening ceremonies. Incredibly, the IOC has steadfastly refused that very simple request.")

Mr. Costas says he will be acknowledging the anniversary, and offering a moment of silence, as the Israeli delegation is introduced.

Today, the head of the Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, held an unexpected ceremony at the Olympic athletes' village, which included a moment of silence for the murdered Israelis.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Recommended Reading

Am currently reading, and enjoying:

New Jersey Noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates (softcover, 2011).

The book (it is largely a collection of short fiction, yet there is poetry, as well) is published by Akashic Books. Akashic has published a great many titles in its geography-specific noir series. I'd previously read (and enjoyed) Philadelphia Noir, edited by Carlin Romano. Some of the other locales featured in the series are Haiti,  Brooklyn, Dublin, Cape Cod, Las Vegas, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Mexico City.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recommended Reading

1. In the Image: A Novel, by Dara Horn (softcover edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2003).

2. When You Have to Say Goodbye: Loving and Letting Go of Your Pet, By Dr. Monica Mansfield, with illustrations by Lennie Peterson (hardcover, Beanpole Books, 2011).

I have heard Dr. Mansfield, who is a veterinarian, on The Jordan Rich Show, on Boston radio station WBZ-AM. The book is geared to children, ages five and older.

3. Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, By Sharon Salzberg (softcover edition, Riverhead Trade, 2003).

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Good news, from Burger King

From Yahoo News:

"In a boost to animal welfare activists looking to get livestock out of cramped cages, Burger King will be the first major U.S. fast-food chain to give all of its chickens and pigs some room to roam.

"On Wednesday, the world's second-biggest burger chain pledged that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017, hoping to satisfy rising consumer demand for humanely produced fare and increase its sales in the process."

Burger King is to be congratulated.  (As are the other companies, referred to in the story below, that have made, or will be making, changes concerning their animal-related policies.)
One hopes that the Burger King plan can be achieved/implemented before 2017.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recommended Reading: "Down Around Midnight," By Robert Sabbag

This is a very fine book: moving, dramatic, subtle, in certain respects enigmatic. The book, by Robert Sabbag, was originally published in 2009, and is a memoir of/a journalistic exploration of/the contemplation of a 1979 Air New England plane crash, in a Cape Cod forest.

Here is the amazon link for the softcover edition of the book:

Here, too, is the link for Robert Sabbag’s web site:

(Above image: the cover of the hardcover edition of “Down Around Midnight”; photograph by Jonathan Barkat)

Monday, March 5, 2012

George Will and Matthew Dowd, on Rush Limbaugh and GOP leaders

From a story on The Huffington Post:

Conservative commentator George Will said on [ABC-TV's] "This Week" that he believes "Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh."

“[House Speaker John] Boehner comes out and says Rush’s language was inappropriate. Using the salad fork for your entrĂ©e, that’s inappropriate. Not this stuff,” Will said. “And it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh.”

Conservative political strategist Matthew Dowd said he agreed. ‪"I‬ think they don't have the courage to say what they say in quiet, which is, they think Rush Limbaugh is a buffoon," he said. "They don't think he's helpful in this marketplace. Nobody takes him seriously. If I were Mitt Romney, I would stand up and say, we need to change the political discourse in this country. Whatever words we use on the left or the right we need to change the political discourse."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Advertisers Withdraw, Limbaugh Apologizes

Radio host Rush Limbaugh—who for years has specialized in malicious attacks—has apologized for his ugly words, last week, about Sandra Fluke. Fluke, a Georgetown law student, had spoken publicly in support of contraceptive-related health care coverage at Georgetown. (She also spoke about her support for the Obama administration's policy regarding contraceptives and health care plans.) Limbaugh spent part of three programs, last week, attacking her.

Limbaugh, in his statement of apology, said: “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” (sic) This, despite the fact that he had called Ms. Fluke a “slut,” and a “prostitute.”

In his Saturday apology, Limbaugh said: “My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

Was Limbaugh’s apology sincere? Or was he, rather, seeking to avert further damage to his program? The apology, indeed, came after several advertisers announced that they were withdrawing from his show, because of his comments.

On Saturday—after Limbaugh’s apology—a statement was released by David Friend, CEO of one of Limbaugh’s sponsors, Carbonite, the on-line back-up company:

“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”