Monday, October 27, 2014

"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise"*

"For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen, Before we go to Paradise"*

Not everything I post is about doom, to whit:

 To Improve a Memory, Consider Chocolate -

*G K Chesterton The Rolling English Road

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I wish I could be as saguine.

Small article, or report of a talk I suppose, In his own words: Ben Bradlee on liars,

about truth telling.

As I said in the subject, I am not sanguine about ultimate truth telling

    "In a democracy, the truth emerges — sometimes it takes years —

that is how the system is supposed to work and eventually


     I take great strength from that now, knowing that in my

     the truth does emerge. It takes forever sometimes, but it
does emerge.

I think that what Buchwald said is truer: You Can Fool All the People All the Time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kasserine Pass

Anyone remember the Battle of Kasserine Pass?  It was the first real confrontation between US and Nazi armies, the latter under Rommel's command.  We did not acquit ourselves well.

There is a point.  It was the first battle (and followed the first seaborn landing, which was also sub par).  But it was the first, and was followed by reorganization, retraining, and forward movement.  (Cue the appropriate music.)

Nothing works from the start, and no plan survives contact with reality.  Handling Ebola is no different.  (I doubt anyone thought of the issue of a staffer going off on a cruise.)

So this is to be expected. 

It would help, if leaders wouldn't say 'it's all OK', but instead said something like 'There is a plan, Here are its broad outlines.  It will no doubt have faults.  We intend to adjust.'

Unfortunately, we don't.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meanwhile in Europe...

A street scene in Schilderswijk, the neighborhood in The Hague where a Jewish resident’s efforts to erect a sukkah have sparked controversy.

I found the content of this article from, Sukkah Sparks Controversy in Mostly Muslim Dutch Neighborhood – not unexpected, which makes it more depressing.

The Jew involved was told
...he could build his sukkah only on condition that he dismantle it by 9 o’clock each night. According to Schomberg [the builder of the Sukkah] , the police had advised the city against allowing a sukkah at all, since it might invite Muslim vandalism*. (Emphasis added.)
I am old enough to recall that during the civil right movement, the excuse of potential violence was used to try and deny pro-civil right protesters parade permits.*

However it was decided, by courts in this country, that the civil authority had a positive responsibility to protect legitimate public displays of opinion, which would include religion. 

That does not appear to be the opinion of the Dutch state.  One wonders, if this issue were to come before  the European Court of Human Rights, whether it would rule that state's have a positive responsibility to protect such rights, like Google's positive responsibility to allow the past to be forgotten.

It does appear to be an attitude that divides the Muslim population from the rest of society and infantilizes it -- that you aren't really fully human, so we can't require you behave in a civil way. 

The behavior of the local Jewish leadership is not uplifting: "his [the Sukkah builder's] behavior puts the entire Jewish community in the Hague (and the Netherlands) at risk."  -- 'Who will be for me', indeed (, Pirke Avot I.15).

As a Jew, this tends to reinforce the view that Europe can never be a home for us.

As a member of 'western civilization' ("It would be a good idea" -- Ghandi), if this is as typical of Europe as it sometimes appears, I despair.

*For the record, I supported the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, so I suppose I am a fundamentalist on this issue.