Thursday, April 23, 2015

(Further) Thoughts on Israeli Independence Day

Some of the settlers the State of Israel were thieves, but an awful lot of them were honest, charitable, highly intelligent people. They were weary, and not without good reason, but they were also very motivated, and relentlessly, indefatigably optimistic.

We need some of that optimism right now. Last summer, a dastardly campaign by Hamas emboldened the IDF to reduce the Gaza Strip from an appallingly unlivable war zone to an even more appallingly unlivable war zone. In the spring, a crazy demagogue who was running for re-election treated the United States Congress like a personal platform for his campaign. When he openly admitted that he had no desire to pursue a two-state solution, the American President punished him with a barrage of mild scolding. Likud won a plurality. AIPAC continues to convince every American office holder that they can’t get re-elected unless they abet war criminals in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Settlements continue. Checkpoints beef up. Israel takes another step towards pariah status.

In all of this, there is one, tiny shred of good news: in his arrogance and stupidity, Netanyahu made it clear how fragile his position is, and how much he relies on a shrinking group of enablers in the United States to maintain it. He made it clear that most American Jews are Democrats, and can’t stand him, and he compelled adherents to “liberal Zionism” (a term often discarded as an oxymoron) to stand up and be counted.

Thanks to David Remnick, Peter Beinart, David Grossman, and Amoz Oz, liberal Zionism has never been more articulately and compellingly argued to a global audience. Thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu, it has never been easier to distinguish one’s love for Israel from the myopia of Israeli militarism. What George Wallace was for civil rights, and what Fred Phelps was for gay rights, this odious hunk of trash can now be for Palestinian statehood.

That is something worth celebrating.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Fix a Flat: with Lance Armstrong

Me: I'd rather not get into it.
My dad: They let him into your office?!
Me: Yes.
My dad: Lance Armstrong?
Me: Yes. He was here.
My dad: How can they do that?! He lied to everybody! He destroyed people who spoke out against him! What was he even doing there?
Me: You know, Dad, I'm not...disputing, but...sigh...he's a complicated guy, and he gave a lot of money to charity, helped a lot of people, and it's not as if he hasn't paid for what he did.
My dad: They let him into your office?!
Me: I'm just telling you that he was here. I saw him, but we didn't make eye contact. If it was Roger Clemens, I'd have gotten out from behind my desk and spit in his face, but...I'd really rather not get into it.
My dad: What was the video even about?
Me: I don't know. We're not supposed to talk about it until it goes online.

via Outside Online

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Los Angeles council to vote on lifting ban against mural painting

The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles began restoration work last week on John Wehrle's Hollywood Freeway mural Galileo, Jupiter, Apollo, 1983 
Los Angeles could see a renaissance of mural painting following last week’s approval by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of an ordinance that lifts a ban on the creation of murals on private property. The city council is due to vote on the ordinance on 20 August, potentially reversing restrictions that have been in effect for a decade. Continue reading in The Art Newspaper.

Saving Badass Dogs From Idiot Humans

Photo © Patricia Jones
Of the dogs who stood in front of NYC Pet on Driggs Ave. on Saturday, a surprising number had both first and last names. There was a collie-shepherd named David Hasselhoff, a basset hound-boxer named Patrick Henry, and a Calhoun hound-pit bull named Faye Dunaway — in addition to a “super mellow” beagle mix, whose dirty blonde erudition and Germanic allure had apparently compelled a previous owner to name her Carole Lombard. Though some of the dogs were still considered puppies, most were at least twice the size of a shoebox, and all of them were hoping to find adopters, as part of the weekly-to-biweekly events organized by Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. Read the full post on Greenpointers.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dave Van Ronk

I was doing some background research on the Stonewall Uprising, where a commemorative plaque was supposed to be installed this week (the ceremony has been postponed), and I came across Dave Van Ronk, a blues guitarist who was among the few people who could confirm having been at the Stonewall on the night of June 28, 1969. Now I can't stop listening to his music.