Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Jews and Muslims Breaking Bread

Ronit and Jamil, a book that states, "We build bridges; we dismantle walls" is alive and well in some parts of the world. Yesterday's New York Times (5/16/2017) reports that Jews and Muslims are "breaking bread" in dinners around Manhattan and Brooklyn to help build interfaith understanding. Lonnie Firestone, a modern Orthodox Jew and freelance writer, came up with the idea. She wanted to bring Jews and Muslims together in the spirit of friendship, something she felt was crucial in the post-Trump presidency. "When you have a natural affiliation, you can advocate together, and that is what happens when you share food." She hopes this will help to combat the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. This is a way of creating a very important bond, and this is what my book is all about: PEACE!!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Circus

Before Trump was elected to the presidency, there was a program on SHOWTIME called, "The Circus." Four journalists/political correspondents followed all of the candidates into different states and surprisingly, it was non-partisan. You were not quite certain who any of the correspondents were voting for. However, this did not diminish that Donald Trump appeared buffoonish. Every other week, he did something which was quite astounding, whether it was making fun of a disabled vet, questioning the beloved vet family about their son's honor, the news report that he had not only groped women, but engaged in detrimental name-calling. He came off as a misogynist, a clown, but it seemed funny at the time, since no way could he be elected.

Now that he is president, even SNL is no longer funny, since what could be funnier than what is really happening in the White House? Every day, there is another lie--more chaos, tweets galore, insults to those who do no agree with him, a firing. His latest was James Comey, who frankly I was enraged at when he reported-a month before Hillary was slated to win-these leaked e-mails, which turned out to be insignificant, but did nothing to share with the general public the Russian collusion which was being investigated in the Trump candidacy.

Now, a day after the Comey firing (and as it turns out, the man has great integrity), today's headlines read he disclosed Trump has exposed secrets to the Russians. The man is no longer just a buffoon--he is downright dangerous. He is a danger to our environment, to our healthcare system and to the world-who now laughs at America. I laugh at this office, which I no longer take seriously. How can any intelligent person take a man who changes his mind dozens of times a day take him seriously; one who breaks promises every day of the week and needs to be placated like an infant?

This "Circus" he has created has lost its sense of humor to me. We need to dump not only him, but the whole crew who dares to call him president of the United States, an office that was supposed to have some integrity!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stories and Lies

Charles Blow, you've done it again. You write the best editorials in the NYT, because you are so on-point. And what is so great this time? The way you dissect Trump's language-or lack of. You call it degradation of language, saying he has the intellectual depth of a coat of paint. Great metaphor! "In Trump world, facts don't matter, truth doesn't matter, language doesn't matter. Passionate performance is the only ideal. A lie forcefully told and often repeated is better than truth-it is accepted as an act of faith, which is better than a point of fact." Just last week a CBS reporter was thrown out of his office for mentioning Obama and dare I say--how much he accomplished in one hundred days.

So the stories continue. And the lies. But for his supporters, this doesn't really matter.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sore Winning

Frank Bruni, a great food critic, has also become a wonderful political commentator. So good, I can not paraphrase what he has said, so I will quote directly. He writes about the smallness, the meanness of our current administration, where he wants good to happen, but nothing does. "Who among the presidents of the last half century has been so publicly cavalier about conflicts of interest, so blithe about getting away with whatever grits he could, so lavishly mean spirited and so proudly rude? Who among those presidents made so little concession to decorum? Who stooped so low on the campaign trail or in office as to ridicule a disabled journalist and make light of a prisoner of war's ordeal? Who talked incessantly about how heroic his election was, summoning more energy for self-congratulation than he ever exhibited for the praise of others? Who taunted his adversaries with such abandon? Who made such spectacle of his grievance that he invented a phenomenon: sore winning?"

Why, after a hundred days, is this okay?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Somaliland

Who are our heroes? We all have personal definitions, but mine is pretty simple. If you are willing to serve the public good and your reward is not necessarily financial; if you do some small (or large) good deed with little compensation other than the reward of public service, you are a hero. On Sunday, 60 Minutes (my favorite show) focused on one such hero, Jonathan Starr. He has formed an academy in Somaliland for high school students, and this area is one of the most under-served parts of the world. He basically takes these students off the streets, immerses them in language (they have to learn English) and then all the academics. One boy, for example, was a goat herder and now will soon be graduating from MIT. All of Starr students have gotten into great American colleges, and all the girls are driven and ambitious. These are young women who would ordinarily be married now.

As for Starr, he was a hedge fund manager who felt his life was meaningless. Now he feels his life has a purpose, and he has given these young people a purpose, too. The only sad part, one which had me in tears; the next graduating class may not get into an American university because of Trump's horrendous travel restrictions. In between my tears, I prayed that our government will do the right thing.

Monday, May 1, 2017

American StreetAmerican Street by Ibi Zoboi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I scan google I often see, if you liked RONIT AND JAMIL, you will also like AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi. This book is so different from mine, yet I understand its lyricism and language are equally compelling, and its story is relevant, poignant, authentic. A young Haitian girl comes with her mother to America, but while her mother is detained in New Jersey, Fabiola is shipped off to her cousins in Detroit, where she was supposed to be with her Mom, aunt and cousins. Relying on her spiritual guides, she learns to navigate the loss of her mother and the loneliness of being in a new culture. Freedom comes at a cost. The streets of Detroit and the American world are not any less catastrophic than her native Haiti. Fabiola is torn between so many contradictory forces, including her love for family coupled with the morality of what they are doing wrong. And there are also the challenges of the streets which become their own kind of character. I love Fabiola, her family, the daring diction with which Zoboi tells her story. A young-adult must read!

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The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: PoemsThe Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems by Molly McCully Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just finished a fabulous book of poetry, THE VIRGINIA STATE COLONY FOR EPILEPTICS AND FEEBLEMINDED, poems by Molly McCully Brown, and "wow" is all I can say. This book is based on a real place in Virginia, where people who were thought to be "lesser human" beings were brought to and experimented on. It was eugenics at its worst, and the horror of stepping into the hearts and minds of these women just sent chills up my spine. Its honesty and poignancy is stunning, and the language which drives it is gut-piercing. It is a painful read, but a must read in order to step into another's shoes.

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