Monthly Archives: April 2010

Arizona and the Politics of Immigration

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[The Future of Arizona in the Liberal Imagination]

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that makes it a state crime to enter the United States illegally, requires immigrants to carry their registration papers at all times and requires police to question those who they reasonably suspect are in the country illegally. It also criminalizes individuals who hire undocumented workers or willingly transport them.

Is the passage of Arizona’s recent immigration reform a response by a beleaguered state that has been under siege by the undocumented for decades as many conservatives contend? Or, is it a nativist reaction by a Republican party eager to mobilize elements of its base–and at the same time turn the Republicans into a minority party– as many liberals argue?

John Judis’ recent post at TNR (h/t Roland) is representative of the liberal perspective. Judis opines:

The bill might not have become law if Democrat Janet Napolitano had still been governor. Napolitano vetoed similar measures. And Arizona’s Latino community hoped that Brewer, who replaced Napolitano, would veto it. When she took office, Brewer was reputed to be a hard-line conservative, but faced with the reality of Arizona’s huge budget shortfall, she had begun moving to the center on a few issues. This year, she had the temerity to propose a temporary 1 percent sales-tax increase to prevent even greater cutbacks in state services.

Brewer’s tax proposal enraged Arizona’s conservative Republicans, as well as the state’s Tea Party and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and challengers have already made it the focus of their campaign to defeat Brewer in this August’s Republican primary. Brewer evidently felt she couldn’t afford to do something else that would alienate Republican conservatives—and so she signed the immigration bill…

While Republicans may pick up a few more percent of the angry white vote in November 2010, they can kiss the Hispanic vote goodbye—and not just in Arizona. That may not have meant much in 1935, but in the years to come, it could seal the Republicans’ fate as a minority party. That’s at least one price they’ll pay for being mean and crazy.

According to Judis, the bill was a cynical ploy by Arizona Republicans seeking to capitalize on the discontent of “angry white vote[rs]”. However, this will ultimately backfire as Latinos react to what they perceive as the anti-Latino worldview of the Republican Party.

Setting aside the notion of cynicism, I agree with Judis that Arizona’s Republican legislators are giving the Tea Partiers, nativists, populist and isolationist Paulistas, and other individuals critical of American immigration policy a political bone. I suspect he would agree that this is a general tendency exhibited by our elected leaders. Given their interest in getting elected to office and maintaining their position, politicians from both parties routinely appeal to their respective bases of support. If they fail to do so, they won’t get the votes necessary to win. In other words, this is not unique to Republicans but is reflective of American politics and other democratic political systems.

[Students Protest California's Proposition 187]

I also think there is recent historical evidence that these sorts of measures do lead to negative consequences for the Republicans. When California governor Pete Wilson supported a variety of measures against the undocumented, in particular California’s Proposition 187 (which denied them access to public services), Mexican-Americans mobilized to defeat the measure and throw Wilson out of office.

Some Republicans, given the demographics of the Latino community and other factors, agree this is a losing proposition. For example, conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved supports tighter boarder controls but worries about the political impacts of the Arizona law on Republicans who need the support of Latinos to win in the southwest and other states like Florida, New Jersey and Illinois that have large (and growing) Latino populations.

Something absent from much of the discussion–at least those on the liberal end of the political spectrum–is the fact that the Arizona bill is not significantly different from current federal law. Another element of the legislation is law enforcement may not use race or ethnicity as the sole reason to stop anyone and may only use race and ethnicity as a factor as currently allowed by federal law. Commentary’s Peter Wehner notes:

My own sense of the law, which is carefully written, is that it’s not nearly as draconian as its critics insist — and much of what defenders of the law have been saying about its actual meaning and effect is in fact correct. The law does not give police the right to stop anyone they want to ask for papers solely based on race or ethnicity. The charges that this law is driven by racism and that Arizona has become a “police state” are extreme and reckless. The vast majority of the people of Arizona are responding to a real and present danger — and most of the American public agrees with them (51 percent v. 39 percent, according to Gallup).

The notion of “reasonable suspicion” was codified by a 1968 Supreme Court case, Terry v. Ohio. And police agencies are acutely aware that they run a regular risk of being labeled as engaging in racial profiling. Nevertheless, Wehner opposes the law, “on the grounds that it potentially changes for the worse the relationship between the community and the local and state police and risks treating some people as guilty until proven innocent. The Arizona law, in my estimation, nudges things a bit in that direction, which concerns me.”

Fair enough. But this law would not have passed without a strong sense of public outrage regarding lackluster enforcement of existing immigration laws by the federal authorities. It is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce federal law, and it has been woefully unwilling or unable to do much in this regard, whether under President George W. Bush or President Obama. This actually goes back earlier than either Obama or Bush and even prior to Reagan, who is often viewed by nativists as the architect of the amnesty program (the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986) that set us on the trajectory we are traveling today.

[LAPD Chief Daryl Gates]

Instead of Reagan, we can blame Los Angeles. Specifically, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates who established the LAPD’s Special Order 40 in 1979 which states, “Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall not arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry).”

Special Order 40 Los Angeles was meant to encourage the undocumented to be willing to speak to assist law enforcement and testify in court. It was also intended to prevent the undocumented from being the targets of criminals who felt they were easy targets. But one unintended consequence was the development of so-called “sanctuary cities”. It is also debatable whether the intended consequences were ever realized. Thirty years after implementation, undocumented Latino immigrants in Los Angeles are still reluctant to speak to police officers and the neighborhoods where they are most concentrated continue to be plagued by gangs and high crime rates.

For most Americans, public safety is the paramount issue. One of the things that pushed moderate Arizonans towards supporting this law was the recent murder of rancher Robert Krentz by a suspected Mexican drug runner. Add to that the recent increase in drug-related murders in Mexican states that border the U.S. and the fact that the violence is also impacting U.S. towns near the border it should be no surprise that so many Americans are calling for increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

[Victims of Mexico's Drug War]

Ron Radosh on Jennifer Delton: A Fresh View of Cold War America

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This article by Ron Radosh is from Minding the Campus:

Teaching in the universities about the so-called McCarthy era has become an area most susceptible to politically correct and one-sided views of what the period was all about. One historian who strenuously objects to the accepted left-wing interpretation that prevails in the academy is Jennifer Delton, Chairman of the Department of History at Skidmore College.

In the March issue of The Journal of the Historical Society Delton writes:

However fiercely historians disagree about the merits of American Communism, they almost universally agree that the post-World War II Red scare signified a rightward turn in American politics. The consensus is that an exaggerated, irrational fear of communism, bolstered by a few spectacular spy cases, created an atmosphere of persecution and hysteria that was exploited and fanned by conservative opportunists such as Richard Nixon and Joseph McCarthy. This hysteria suppressed rival ideologies and curtailed the New Deal, leading to a resurgence of conservative ideas and corporate influence in government. We may add detail and nuance to this story, but this, basically, is what we tell our students and ourselves about post-World War II anti-Communism, also known as McCarthyism. It is fundamentally the same story that liberals have told since Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss of being a Communist spy in 1948.

This conventional narrative of the left has been told over and over for so many years that it has all but become the established truth to most Americans. It was exemplified in a best-selling book of the late 1970’s, David Caute’s The Great Fear, and from the most quoted one from the recent past, Ellen Schrecker’s Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. My favorite title is one written by the late Cedric Belfrage, The American Inquisition 1945-1960: A Profile of the “McCarthy Era.” In his book, Belfrage told the story of how he, an independent journalist who founded the fellow-traveling weekly The National Guardian, was hounded by the authorities and finally deported home to Britain. American concerns about Soviet espionage, he argued, were simply paranoia.

The problem with Belfrage’s account was that once the Venona files began to be released in 1995–the once top secret Soviet decrypts of communications between Moscow Center and its US agents—they revealed that Belfrage was a paid KGB operative, just as the anti-Communist liberal Sidney Hook had openly charged decades ago, and as turned KGB spy Elizabeth Bentley had privately informed the FBI in 1945. The Venona cables revealed that Belfrage had given the KGB an OSS report received by British intelligence concerning the anti-Communist Yugoslav resistance in the 1940’s as well as documents about the British government’s position during the war on opening a second front in Europe. It showed that Belfrage had offered the Soviets to establish secret contact with them if he was stationed in London.

Facts like these did not bother or budge the academic establishment. Most famously, Ellen Schrecker wrote in her book that although it is now clear many Communists in America had spied for the Soviets, they did not do any real harm to the country, and also most importantly, their motives were decent. She wrote, “As Communists, these people did not subscribe to traditional forms of patriotism; they were internationalists whose political allegiances transcended national boundaries. They thought they were ‘building…a better world for the masses,’ not betraying their country.”

Schrecker’s views were endorsed by former Nation publisher and editor Victor Navasky, who regularly in different articles argues that the Venona decrypts are either gossip or forgeries, irrelevant, or do not change his favored narrative that in the United States– only McCarthyism was a threat. As Navasky wrote, Venona was simply an attempt “to enlarge post-cold war intelligence gathering capability at the expense of civil liberty.” If spying indeed took place, it was “a lot of exchanges of information among people of good will, many of whom were Marxists, some of whom were Communists… and most of whom were patriots.” As for those who argue against his view, they were trying to “argue that, in effect, McCarthy and Co. were right all along.”

The lens through which McCarthyism has been seen, therefore, is one seen exclusively through the left-wing prism, which regards defense of one’s own democratic nation against a foreign foe as evil, and sees only testimony against America’s enemies as McCarthyite. What is therefore necessary is to look anew at the McCarthy era, not in the terms set by its Communist opponents, but from the perspective of examining dispassionately the nature of the entire epoch. Those who have chosen to do this, however, have been met with great opposition. A few years ago, the editors of The New York Times claimed that a new group of scholars “would like to rewrite the historical verdict on Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism.” Fearing such a development, the newspaper warned that it had to be acknowledged that it was McCarthyism more than Soviet espionage or Communist infiltration that was “a lethal threat to American democracy.”

[read it all]

Professor Delton’s article, “Rethinking Post-World War II Anticommunism” is excellent. Here is a bit:

[T]the most famous and effective anticommunist measures were carried out not by conservatives, but by liberals seeking to uphold the New Deal. It was the liberal Truman administration that chased Communists out of government agencies and prosecuted Communist Party leaders under the Smith Act. It was liberal Hollywood executives who adopted the blacklist, effectively forcing Communists out of the movie business. The labor leaders who purged Communists from their unions were, similarly, liberals. Most anticommunism—the anticommunism that mattered—was not hysterical and conservative, but, rather, a methodical and, in the end, successful attempt on the part of New Deal liberals to remove Communists from specific areas of American life, namely, the government, unions, universities and schools, and civil rights organizations. It is true that the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) helped carry out these measures, but it is a mistake to assume that J. Edgar Hoover or HUAC could have had much power without the cooperation of liberals who wanted Communists identified and driven out of their organizations.

New evidence confirming the widespread existence of Soviet agents in
the U.S. government makes the Truman administration’s attempts to purge Communists from government agencies seem rational and appropriate—even too modest, given what we now know.3 But even in those cases where espionage was not a threat—such as in unions, political organizations, and Hollywood—there were still good reasons for liberals to expel Communists. Communists were divisive and disruptive. They had the ability to cripple liberal organizations, especially at the local and state levels. Removing Communists from labor and political organizations was necessary for liberal Democrats like Hubert Humphrey, Chester Bowles, and Paul Douglas to be elected to Congress, where they supported Truman’s Keynesian economic policies, raised the minimum wage, fought for health insurance,
defended unions, taxed the rich, and laid the political groundwork for
civil rights and desegregation.

RIP: Keith Elam aka Guru, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal

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Keith Elam aka Guru passed away on Monday. Guru was the MC for the prolific hip-hop duo, Gangstarr. It would be too much to say Gangtarr changed my life, but they were definitely one of the major influences that led me to listen to much more East Coast hip-hop (along with Boogie Down Productions) than I had when I was in my teens in the 1980s. When I was 17 and 18 I was primarily listening to West Coast “gangsta” rap but the conscious sounds coming out of NYC spoke to me on a much deeper level. Gangstarr were part of that scene. While the scene has long since died, the rhymes, beats and memories remain. Rest in Peace, Guru. You will be missed.

Here is a touching remembrance written by Keith’s brother, Harry.

Also check this out, Jazz and Hip-Hop, Can They Really Mix?: Part 1 and II.

Below is a montage of Gangstarr videos. This is not meant to be some sort of definitive list, just some of my faves.

Manifest (from No More Mister Nice Guy, 1989)

Just to Get a Rep (from Step in the Arena, 1991)

Step in the Arena (from the album of the same name)

Take it Personal (Daily Operation, 1992)

Mass Appeal (Hard to Earn, 1994)

Next Time (Moment of Truth, 1998)

Skillz (The Ownerz, 2003)

It’s Gettin’ Hectic, from the Brand New Heavies, Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. I, 1992]

Loungin’ (featuring Donald Byrd). This is from Guru’s first Jazzmatazz LP, 1993.

Sights in the City (featuring Courtney Pine on alto and soprano sax and flute, Carleen Anderson on vocals and Simon Law on keyboards) from the same album.

Happy 62nd Birthday, Israel! (Yom HaAtzmaut/Independence Day, 2010)

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“If You Will It, It is No Dream”–Theodore (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl

Via Ynet:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a special statement for the occasion, saying, “On this Independence Day we mark two of the Jewish nation’s miracles: The miracle of revival and the miracle of building. The miracle of revival, because I an not familiar with any other nation in history that was scattered all over the world and lost control of its destiny but still managed to return to its homeland and rebuild its sovereignty there.

“The other miracle is building: What we have built in this land since the State of Israel’s inception. Israel is quickly becoming a regional economic superpower and a global technological superpower. In this world of knowledge in the 21st century our possibilities are endless: In science, medicine, technology and art. In each and every field, the forces of genius within our nation break out and create a magnificent country,” the PM’s statement read.

Netanyahu also mentioned the nation’s capital, saying, “We are not here by chance. We are here because this is our land. We’ve returned to our land, to our city – Jerusalem – because this is our land, this is our city.

Arutz Sheva has the following podcast, “Those Who Fought to Create the State of Israel

From Haaretz:

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin lit the first beacon at the ceremony, and emphasized Israel’s commitment to the unity of Jerusalem in his address.

“We will not apologize for building up Jerusalem our capital,” Rivlin said during his Independence Day speech, which focused heavily on Jerusalem and on the divisions within the city and its population.

“In an era of cultural openness, we are witnessing a dangerous process of deepening entrenchment of each group behind its four walls. This entrenchment only creates cultural and political polarization.

“Look at what Jerusalem has become in the past decade: separate neighborhoods, separate public transportation, separate shopping malls for Haredim and seculars, Arabs and Jews,” he said, referring to this separation as ghettos within the city.

“Our fear of the ‘other’ across the wall, especially in Jerusalem, whether Arab or ultra-Orthodox, goes against the Zionist spirit,” said Rivlin.

“The mentality of concrete and barbed wire; the mentality of enclosure in homogenous neighborhoods, and the mentality of escaping a dialogue with the ‘other’ is not only destructive to our social and national foundations,” said the Knesset speaker, “but also enables the rise of the very voices who today demand the division of Jerusalem.”

Rivlin also spoke of Herzl’s legacy during his Independence Day address, calling Zionism an act of courage.

“Sixty-two years after the prophecy of [Herzl's] Altneuland was realized, we, the generations of those who established the country, know very well that Israel’s salvation did not come from prophets or from diplomats,” said Rivlin, “but from those who dared to stop dreaming and start realizing the dream; in the hands of those who stopped waiting for the establishment of Israel and made the dream a reality.”

Rivlin continued, “The Zionist act is an act of courage, executed by individuals who take a leap of faith from dreaming to action.”

Rivlin concluded by saying that Israel will retian its Zionist character and make no apologies for it.

“Make no mistake, there will be no cooperation with those who demand that we diminish the country’s Zionist identity. We will not apologize: not for conquering Katamon, Jaffa or Safed, not for freeing Hebron, and not for building Jerusalem our capital,” Rivlin said.

[AFP photo]

Things I’ve Been Reading and Thinking About

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I realize things have been slow here for the past month or more. Family life is keeping me busy, which is a blessedly good thing. No complaints here. I have been getting a lot of work done on my dissertation. Another very good thing. And, at the same time, I am trying to get my foot in the door at a few publications that will remain nameless.

While traveling overseas I read the March edition of Commentary. If you are at all concerned (or interested) about the increasing tendency of Jews to forgo affiliation with Jewish organizations, in particular synagogues and day schools, I highly recommend reading Jack Wertheimer’s “The High Cost of Jewish Living“. As is evident by the title, Wertheimer contends a major element of this is prohibitive cost. Here are a few (well, more than a few) tidbits:

Adding things up, an actively engaged Jewish family that keeps kosher and sends its three school-age children to the most intensive Jewish educational institutions can expect to spend somewhere between $50,000 and $110,000 a year at minimum just to live a Jewish life.

As the various cost lines have risen, in some cases doubling over the past 10 years, the response has been predictable. Many regard day-school education as out of the question, the cost utterly prohibitive. Even within Orthodox communities, some parents feel compelled to pull their children out of day schools. Anecdotal reports suggest that some families interested in placing their children in Jewish educational settings decide not to proceed for fear of embarrassing encounters with scholarship committees. In a reversal of earlier patterns, when Jewish religious involvement was weighted toward the poor, increasingly in our own time only the well-to-do can afford to live fully as Jews, while many in the middle class are in danger of getting priced out.

If there was cause for concern a decade ago about how, as Gerald Bubis put it, Jewish families would respond when “cost becomes a barrier,” the affordability of Jewish living should be a central issue on the Jewish communal agenda today, given the staggering surge in costs coupled with the current economic climate. With some noteworthy exceptions, it is not.

Most federations of Jewish philanthropy have neither the resources nor the will to make affordability a priority, and other types of organizations don’t even pretend to pay attention.

As if skyrocketing costs were not enough, there is also the tendency of mainstream Jewish organizations to prefer universalist and nonsectarian charitable endeavors than helping our own. The article continues:

And just at a time when Jewish communal institutions are failing to attend to the needs of Jews at home and abroad, the hot trend in Jewish philanthropic and organizational circles, incredibly, is to channel ever more of their resources to nonsectarian causes. Preachers in every corner of the Jewish community are intent on urging the faithful to drop their parochial concerns for the welfare of fellow Jews and instead think globally. How can Jews worry about their own, they ask, when so many unfortunates in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia are suffering even worse afflictions? Last May, at my own institution, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the commencement speaker exhorted newly ordained rabbis and cantors, along with graduating educators and communal workers, to do nothing less than focus their energies on eliminating poverty and injustice from the world, even as she gave short-shrift to the impact of the economic downturn on Jewish needs.

“What is required, first,” declared Ruth Messinger of American Jewish World Services, “is that we embrace those with whom we do not share a faith or a neighborhood, a country, a language, or a political structure. We must bend our minds and our voices, our energies and our material resources, to help those most in need, both at home and abroad.” In today’s American Jewish community, this kind of talk is hardly an exception: representatives of every denomination have discovered a Jewish imperative to “repair the world” (Tikkun Olam), a commandment unknown to Jews for most of their history but that now, in the view of its most outspoken advocates, is preeminent…

One could ask, of course, why this effort to repair the world cannot also extend to aiding fellow Jews? Proponents of Jewish service learning express great confidence in the sufficiency of resources in the Jewish community to address all needs—a demonstrably incorrect assessment, as we have seen. Alternatively, they will say that young Jews do not want to be bothered with their fellow Jews. If we are to attract anyone outside the committed core, they argue, programs must direct young Jews to nonsectarian causes, bearing out the truth of Cynthia Ozick’s dead-on observation that “universalism is the parochialism of the Jews.” And so, based on these rationalizations, an entire set of organizations under Jewish auspices now seeks to rally Jews to help everyone except their own co-religionists.

I also read a fairly recent copy (Winter 2010) of Dissent. I especially enjoyed Michael Walzer’s short introductory comment on internationalism:

I consider myself a left internationalist, but definitely not a world citizen. The difference is important. Internationalism connects me to leftists in other countries, who are or should be working for the well-being of the poorest and most vulnerable of their fellow citizens. I am engaged with them in what I think of as a characteristically leftist way: I support their politics, but I also criticize some (and sometimes many) of the things they do. What they do matters to me; I want them to get things right.

But I am not a world citizen because there is no organized “world,” no global state, in which citizenship is possible—certainly not democratic citizenship. The people who run the world, insofar as it is run, don’t regard me as one of their fellows, and, in turn, I don’t regard them that way either. The UN sometimes pretends to be a kind of world government, but it isn’t that, and the pretense is dangerous because it suggests that things are being taken care of when we all know that they are not.

The only political agency that can “take care of things,” that can provide security, welfare, and education, is the state. The least well-off people in the world today, the most desperately needy people, are those who live in failed or failing states, who are the prey of warlords, predatory gangs, ruthless entrepreneurs and speculators—all of them uncontrolled by any political authority. So those of us who have effective and decent states ought to be patriots, at least in this sense: that we should be committed to the common political work of sustaining and improving the states that we live in.

As a Jewish American, I have an additional reason for patriotism—for the United States is surely the best diaspora home that the Jews have ever found. That fact makes me a strong defender of American pluralism. I want this country to be as open and welcoming to other immigrant groups as it has been to the Jews (that is indeed a condition of its continuing to be a good place for the Jews).

Norm disagrees.

But I was surprised by the inclusion of James B. Rule’s “The Military State and the Democratic Left“. I realize Rule hits all the right notes for Dissent’s social democratic readership (or at least much of it) but much of the article rests on a common assertion made by liberals and progressives with little understanding of the way the world works. I know that sounds rude, but it is true. The basic argument is if the United States would dramatically reduce the cost and size of the military, we could spend the money on [insert favorite liberal program here].

One question I have for Professor Rule is, given his perspective that the United States is run by a powerful elite, why is he convinced that if the defense budget was cut to the degree he desires, the resources freed up would be allocated towards his liberal wish-list of schools, health care, etc.?

No evidence is offered to support this claim. It is simply an assertion of the author. Again, I suspect his perpective is shared by many Dissent readers, but it simply doesn’t stand up to any sort of critical scutiny. After all, if the U.S. (and other capitalist countries) are ruled by a self-interested elite, why wouldn’t those funds go towards some other presumably nefarious endeavor that benefits them at the expense of us?

To other topics:

Have you seen the video at Wikileaks that has the innacurrate title “Collateral Murder“? It is chilling to watch. But to my eye, the attack–while both tragic and sad–appears to be justified. At the start of the video (I don’t know how much has been edited) a man is identified as carrying an rocket-propelled grendade launcher (RPG). Apache helicopter pilots are given authorization by commanding officers to shoot, which they do. They also attack a van which arrives to pick up survivors. It turns out the “RPG” was actually a camera. However, military officials say and RPG and AK-47s were recovered from the scene.

Websites coming from a radical-left or progressive perspective have condemned this as an intentional targeting of civilians. I disagree. It does appear that the man with the camera was holding some sort of weapon. The Apaches were providing air support for ground forces on patrol that had been involved in recent skirmishes. The job of these Apache pilots was keeping American personnel on the ground out of harms way. When commanded by their superior officers to engage, they needed to obey. This is not due to their being cold, killing machines, as is sometimes claimed. They were trying to protect their fellow soldiers.

Pray for the twenty-nine West Virginia miners who lost their lives and their families. Then get active. Amending Joe Hill’s famous phrase, don’t only mourn, organize.

In the nuts and crackpots department, I recently heard an interview with Dr. John Hall on progressive radio station WBAI. The doctor was discussing his recent book, A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America.  What is satellite terrorism? According to the author, a continuation of the CIA’s mind-control experiments that started with MK-Ultra. The specifics include the utilization of satellite or ground based microwaves and “particle beams” to harass hapless victims in their homes.

Moving from the kooks, here are some more substantial finds from across the Net:

I debate Shalom Libertad on the utility of the term “social filth” over at Bob’s place.

Ray Cook (you really should be checking out his blog, great stuff!) on Israel and International Humanitarian Law.

Elder of Ziyon on the Syrian scuds for Hezbollah.

Roland (But, I am a Liberal!) Dodds demands Justice for Du’a Khalil.

Adam Holland is shocked by the far-left/far-right connections with Cynthia McKinney and surprised by these same connections with journalist blowhard Chris Hedges. Not sure why any of this is news to him.

Martin in the Margins caught the first episode of David Simon’s new program, Treme. Read his assessment here.

Mod writes Of Plots and Monsignors.

Noga (Contentious Centrist) discusses “Those Far Right But Very Wealthy American Jewish Organizations“. You know the ones…

Kelli Strom (Airforce Amazons): Liberte ou la Mort.

Snoopy (Simply Jews) discusses Judith Butler and the hazards of higher learning.

Sultan Knish on Karzai’s Gambit and Obama’s Betrayal.

Michael Totten also has a piece on Syrian scuds and Hezbollah.

***Blogs no more***

I noticed some dead links (or people who have not posted for 6+ months) in my blogroll: Beer N’ Sandwiches, Encounters, LeftHawk, Iranian Freedom*, and New Zionist. All have been removed. If you are the author of any of these blogs and end up posting some new material, please let me know and I will be glad to add you to my blogroll again. If anyone happens to know if Ganselmi, the blogger behind Iranian Freedom, is OK please inform me. I hope all is well….

Back from India

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We are back from India. Chennai for bro-in-law’s wedding and then some time in  Kerala to relax. I don’t post personal pics so no wedding images to share. But here are a few pics of the place where we stayed in Samudra Beach (including one above), a pic of Kovalam Beach and a couple lobster pics.

[Lobster, Kerala style: coconut milk, curry leaf, etc.]

[Kovalam Beach]

[Lobster, American style: grilled with lemon butter]