A nice weekend.

I have a friend who ignores the news. Seriously. Me, friends with a person who doesn’t know that a second bridge is being built across the Detroit river as we speak. She relies on me to keep her up to date, and I try. Sometimes I also try her coping strategy, like this weekend. I simply could not march into summer with That Shithead on my mind, so I didn’t, only to be bombarded with Barron’s graduation photos, along with the news he’s reconsidering his college choices. You ask me, NYU seemed like a good fit for him, but what do I know? Then, on Sunday night, the president and foreign minister of Iran die in a helicopter crash. Which is one of those things that could end up being very bad, but whatever it is, it’s back to the news mangle for me.

On the other hand, I still have no idea what the Kendrick Lamar / Drake beef is about, so I guess I’m doing something right.

How was your weekend? Mine was great — nice and warm, but the house hasn’t turned into a brick oven yet, so I could throw the windows open and still be comfortable. This morning I thought I’d clean the kitchen while I was rested and caffeinated, and put on some loud tunes to keep my energy up. My neighbor responded by firing up his gas blower. It reminded me that we never heard one of those machines, not once, the whole time we were in Italy. We did see this, in Rome:

Bad photo; I apologize. But you can see that’s a twig broom, like you might see in a Halloween display. At first I thought it was a one-off, something a single garbage-truck driver accepted from his old nonna and carries to please her, but there’s one on every garbage truck we saw, which either indicates a lot of nonnas or a belief that the old ways are the best ways. They’re at least a lot quieter.

So, since I’m an empty cup at the moment, some bloggage:

I feel like all I do here is recommend pieces from The New York Times, and this is not only very long, it’s vegetables, which is to say, there’s not much dessert here. But if you have the time to take a bite out of it over the next few days, you can learn a lot about how Israel found itself in the state it’s in now:

(Settler) violence over the decades in places like Khirbet Zanuta is well documented. But protecting the people who carry out that violence is the dark secret of Israeli justice. The long arc of harassment, assault and murder of Palestinians by Jewish settlers is twinned with a shadow history, one of silence, avoidance and abetment by Israeli officials. For many of those officials, it is Palestinian terrorism that most threatens Israel. But in interviews with more than 100 people — current and former officers of the Israeli military, the National Israeli Police and the Shin Bet domestic security service; high-ranking Israeli political officials, including four former prime ministers; Palestinian leaders and activists; Israeli human rights lawyers; American officials charged with supporting the Israeli-Palestinian partnership — we found a different and perhaps even more destabilizing threat. A long history of crime without punishment, many of those officials now say, threatens not only Palestinians living in the occupied territories but also the State of Israel itself.

And as a companion piece, another long — but not as long — story, about Miriam Adelson, Sheldon’s widow and very likely to be Trump’s biggest single donor (at least in the running):

October 7 had been Adelson’s nightmare — the event itself, of course, but also the world’s response to it. The attack confirmed the existential burden placed on every Jewish person of Adelson’s generation: No one could be counted on to care about the Jewish people; the duty to protect and safeguard Israel rested on them alone. On November 21, 2023, Adelson published an essay in Israel Hayom, a free Israeli newspaper she and Sheldon launched in 2007. In the piece, entitled “Dead to Us,” she discussed the “ghastly gatherings of radical Muslim and BLM activists, ultra-progressives, and career agitators” who, in the aftermath of 10/7, sprinted right past Israel’s grief and sympathized with Hamas. “These people are not our critics. They are our enemies. And, as such, they should be dead to us,” she wrote. “Indeed, we must disavow and shame them, deny them employment and public office, and defund their colleges and political parties. Doing all this will be easy, because the stakes in Israel’s war of survival have never been so clear … If you quibble about how many babies were beheaded, or how many women were violated, in the October 7 pogrom, you’re dead to us … We Israelis, we Jews love life. And we are done with meekly counting our dead.”

I should put my head back in the sand. Instead, I’m going to the gym.

Posted at 10:52 am in Current events |

36 responses to “A nice weekend.”

  1. Peter said on May 20, 2024 at 11:16 am

    An article on Israel may not have any dessert, but chances are it will have plenty of desert…

    I am very thankful there will be no verdict before next week – I want a nice three day weekend without gloating or gnashing my teeth…

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  2. Heather said on May 20, 2024 at 12:48 pm

    I have a friend from college who espouses Adelson’s view, more or less. There’s no gray, no nuance, just if you don’t support Israel, you are anti-Semitic because you side with the people who want to kill Jewish people for being Jewish. I haven’t unfriended him but I did have to hide him. The comments on some of his posts are insane–any news about potential atrocities or violence committed against Palestinian civilians is “propaganda.”

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  3. Dorothy said on May 20, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    My weekend was very nice. Our pool opened. It’s likely too chilly for the likes of me. I’ll wait a little while until the sun makes it toasty warm and I won’t turn into a human ice cube as I walk down the steps into the water.

    So I can’t believe I can report (second hand) on the new portrait of King Charles. My daughter arrived in London early this morning. She’s working the next few days and then on vacation for almost 2 weeks. She went to the gallery to see the new everyone-is-talking-about-it portrait and sent me a selfie from in front of it, and also one of it all by itself. She said photographs do not do it justice. “It practically glows” she described it. And called it ‘really gorgeous.’ I’m with those who really like it. Lots of people hate it. I think it’s progressive, fascinating and daring, and if the King likes it, who are we to dither?!

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  4. Jeff Borden said on May 20, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    My distaste for Texass is long-standing, but christ on a cracker, it keeps getting worse
    Gov. Abbott just pardoned a man convicted of murdering a man at a George Floyd protest. The trial was honest. The jury convicted him after hearing the evidence. He had bragged on social media he “might have to kill” a fee looters. He initiated the confrontation and killed a guy trying to calm him down

    No problemo, said Abbott. You are free to go! Oh, and the Texass QOP is promising to investigate the district attorney who filed the charges.

    This is what MAGAts hope to see nationwide
    They get to decide when the laws are enforced…and on whom
    100% pure fascist.

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  5. Sherri said on May 20, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    Israel-Gaza is opening divisions on the left, that’s for sure. While Adelson is not an ally of the left, there are people who normally are who share the view that Israel is essential for the existence of Jewish people, and while criticism of Israel is not automatically anti-Semitic, it’s pretty close. Shortly after the Hamas attack, we (ACLU-WA) received an email from a longtime donor and cooperating attorney saying he could no longer be involved with the ACLU, because the “ACLU ignored the aggressive left orthodoxy that makes free speech in favor of Israel on college campuses all but impossible.”

    As far as I’m aware, it’s Palestinian clubs that have been banned, Palestinian speakers who have been cancelled, and Palestinian protesters who have been arrested on college campuses, and Congress is trying to pass a bill that excessively broadens the definition of antisemitism.

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  6. Dexter Friend said on May 20, 2024 at 3:47 pm

    I criticize Netanyahu for not responding on October 7 for 7 hours, for having no security at all on the borders near the kibbutz areas. I initially thought Netanyahu wanted the October 7 attacks to happen so he could kill all the Palestinians under the guise of defense with bunker-busting bombs served up by the USA. I still believe some of this. And the settlers in the north burn olive trees, burn out whole Palestinian neighborhoods while Israel security actually turn their backs and walk away. We want and need a 2-state solution quickly and this means Netanyahu must be taken down and imprisoned . Whoever thought Benny Gantz, Knesset member and staunch Netanyahu ally would break from Netanyahu as he just did? I believe anti-Semitism is what Nazis believe, not at all like what reformists believe. Israel is here to stay, Netanyahu is not, that bastard is on thin ice.
    The American portable pier is working, but the IDF closed two entrances to Gaza on Saturday, while settlers destroyed aid stacked on trucks, saying Palestinians do not deserve to live while Jewish hostages are being held with little hope of a soon release. Nice people, those settlers.

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  7. FDChief said on May 20, 2024 at 4:16 pm

    The ugly reality is that this ethnic cleansing was baked in before 1948. You can’t be a sectarian state unless your sect is boss of everyone else’s and only the relatively secular character of early Zionism papered that over.

    Once the inevitable happened and the religious fanatics took power the inevitable result was the polite fiction was trashed and the knives came out.

    Unsurprisingly an equally vicious hatred had matured within the Arab enemies.

    So there’s now no solution from within. Neither side wants anything but blood. And there’s no external Power willing to do the ugly and bloody chore of beating both into submission.

    So there IS no solution. There’s just ruin and merciless hatred.

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  8. Brandon said on May 20, 2024 at 4:49 pm

    I still have no idea what the Kendrick Lamar / Drake beef is about, so I guess I’m doing something right.

    It’s been brewing for about a decade, but flared up in the last two months.

    Wikipedia has a very good overview.

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  9. Jim G said on May 20, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    My version of not knowing what the Kendrick Lamar / Drake beef is about: Apparently Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker said something really really stupid. I’m glad not to know what he said, but it must have been a doozy.

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  10. basset said on May 20, 2024 at 11:54 pm

    OK, now I have to go look up who Kendrick Lamar and Drake are…

    Rappers. Figures.

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  11. alex said on May 21, 2024 at 7:52 am

    I don’t know anything about Kendrick Lamar and Drake, nor do I care, but I assume their rivalry was invented by publicists to sell records. Their music couldn’t possibly sell itself, at least not to my ear.

    I’m caught in an endless cycle of doom scrolling, but I’ve got paid subscriptions that I cannot let go to waste. I get the WaPo and the Times for real news and I subscribe to the local rags in order to support local journalism, even though the latter is thin gruel and shares space with the ravings of cranks and idiots, some syndicated but most unpaid.

    I cut the cable many years ago and haven’t watched any subscription TV in the last half of my lifetime, but I finally gave in and I’m trialing an Amazon Prime membership since I do so much shopping there. So I guess my next step is to get an Amazon Fire Stick and see if it makes me a couch potato who can’t get enough escapism (perhaps like the 80 percent of people in my state who don’t even bother to vote).

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  12. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2024 at 3:29 pm

    Alex, I haven’t found a whole lot to watch on Prime, but you can get add-ons like Max or Apple+ or Paramont+. We’ve enjoyed the Apple+ the most. Our daughter pays for youtube without commercials, where we watch Colbert.

    Most days I’m too busy for doom scrolling; between sessions with our trainer, volunteering, swimming, taking someone to the doctor, etc. Most days I’m also too busy for fun stuff like sewing. Now I have to go to physical therapy because I’ve developed tendonitis and arthritis in the ankle I broke last year. I’m really hoping for less pain and better mobility.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2024 at 4:33 pm

    Oh, and I meant to add, there’s no better cure to my little pity party about my own pain than sitting in the waiting room at the orthopedist. All varities of suffering were exhibited, up to and including amputation.

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  14. Sherri said on May 21, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    Since I’m cranky about reading about how endless shrimp did in Red Lobster, let’s review what happened to Red Lobster. They were sold to a privet equity firm for a couple of billion. Their biggest asset that could be stripped was that the restaurants mostly owned the real estate. So the PE firm immediately sold the real estate, pocketing the proceeds, and leaving the restaurants with a brand new expense: rent! That PE firm then sold Red Lobster off to another PE firm, which snacked on whatever was left on the carcass.

    If endless shrimp were causing the problems, they could have ended the promotion. That business reporters can’t figure this shit out drives me crazy.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2024 at 6:15 pm

    Sherri, we were just talking about that! Darden is based locally so we’ve had a lot of coverage in the paper. Today’s story was eight paragraphs, with that little tidbit tucked into one sentence towards the bottom. And you know someone got a bonus for that idea, and some business school is studying it right now as great thinking. Effing capitalism.

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  16. Dorothy said on May 21, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    Alex give Line of Duty a try. It’s a boffo UK cop drama and my family absolutely loves it. Start at the first season. Use closed captioning because the Scottish, Irish and British accents are difficult to understand. But it’s worth it.

    Mike and I don’t watch much tv during the day since we’re retired. Maybe the news at lunch time; I’ve watched the first half hour or so of TODAY for a long time and it’s a hard habit to break. Otherwise we have music on. Shows like Line of Duty are for evenings. We’re watching Shogun – the new one – and really liking it.

    I’m up late! Had a quilt guild meeting on Morse Road that went until 9. Had to walk two dogs when I got home. Mike got home 20 minutes after I did – he took a knife making class at a woodworking shop. No tv tonight – time for bed.

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  17. LAMary said on May 22, 2024 at 9:25 am

    While I assumed the shrimp story was BS, it made me think of my brother Garry. He loved shrimp and he was a big guy, about six five. We lived in northern NJ and had a house on the end of the north fork of Long Island about 125 miles away. On the trips back from Long Island to NJ we’d stop to eat at a Swedish smorgasbord restaurant. Garry would just eat shrimp. Mountains of it He’d wipe out their shrimp bowl and ask for more. One day on the way home the restaurant was shuttered. Closed forever. We all blamed Garry.

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  18. Icarus said on May 22, 2024 at 10:23 am

    and some business school is studying it right now as great thinking.

    The Red Lobster PE got the idea from Sears’ PE. Sears’s real estate was worth more than the stores so they purposely refused to modernize and sold off parts of the company (Kenmore used to be great) until there was nothing left.

    Vulture Capitolizism for the win!

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  19. Bob (not Greene) said on May 22, 2024 at 10:51 am

    Icarus, I was coming here to say the same thing. This was the Sears/Seritage model for destroying a once-iconic brand.

    Convey all the property to a real estate investment trust (which the brand’s owners also control) and then lease back the property to the company until you bleed the whole operation dry. And when the stores begin to fail, just downsize them and find new tenants to fill the void until you downsize the original brand into nothing.

    And then you sell the property for a tidy sum. In the case of the Sears anchor store at a mall that was in my coverage area, Seritage ended up selling the old Sears anchor property last year for $11.1 million to another PE firm.

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on May 22, 2024 at 11:26 am

    I have long thought that the Middle East conflict was one of the only huge, ongoing controversies where “both-sidesing” is entirely appropriate. And that carries over into the Gaza war.

    If all you can talk about is Oct. 7 and how Jews can depend only on each other for protection, get the fuck away from me. The same goes if all you can talk about is Israel’s war crimes and you think Hamas is just the shit. Acknowledge the other side’s sufferings and your own side’s crimes if you want me to take you seriously.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 22, 2024 at 11:42 am

    It was only a matter of time…Putin poodle Tucker Carlson is getting a show on Russian state television. Sickening.

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  22. Suzanne said on May 22, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    Yes, Bitter, yes on the Israeli/Palestinian mess. Both sides are right & both sides are wrong simultaneously. The leadership of each side doesn’t give a flying fig about their own people but will destroy whoever stands in the way of them staying in power.

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  23. ROGirl said on May 22, 2024 at 1:03 pm

    The latest (and last) season of Curb Your Enthusiasm had a scene at an all you can eat buffet where Leon kept going back for more food, and the owner cut him and Larry off forever.

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  24. Sherri said on May 22, 2024 at 1:53 pm

    The Brits, the French, and good old Woodrow Wilson draw their share of blame for setting up the situation in Palestine, as they decided that self determination didn’t apply to black and brown people as they were partitioning the world in Versailles. The British were given control of Palestine, with the Balfour Declaration of a home for the Jewish people included. Then, after WW2, as they were shedding themselves of the empire they could no longer afford, the Brits basically walked out the door and left a mess, like they did in Pakistan and India, that we still have today.

    I say this as a hopeless Anglophile, who loves reading about the Empire. What can I say, we’re all complicated people. I can love the British Museum, be happy that I saw the Parthenon Marbles, and believe that the Parthenon Marbles should be repatriated.

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  25. Sherri said on May 22, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    Okay, I’m used to being told that I’m a little different, that I don’t have a normal view on things, but now twice in the last week I’ve opened Spelling Bee and immediately seen a pangram, only to be told that it’s not a word. “Embolize” and “Cavitated” seem like perfectly normal words to me, especially since there’s a word in today’s Bee that I’ve never heard of (I just put letters together in word shape, and it was accepted!)

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  26. Dexter Friend said on May 22, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    Auburn, Indiana had a Rax Roast Beef. I worked evening/night shift in the nearby factory and went to Rax for a takeaway plate from the good buffet. Two men who had transferred in from the Toledo plant saw this and began going too. An example…the Salisbury steak. Good size pieces, these guys would each take 4 of them, and heap their plates with all the other good stuff. One day the manager came out and not too nicely told them they were out of line. A loud argument ensued. Next week, the steam tables were covered by parchment paper, empty, shut down forever.
    Trump made a statement that in a week he would lay out his policy on contraception restrictions, then his handlers made him walk it back. Hell, it’s documented by Trump’s whores, he always goes bareback. I know for sure Karen McDougal said this on 60 Minutes; I saw the show.

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  27. basset said on May 22, 2024 at 4:02 pm

    Sears… replaced a lost wrench the other day, Ace Hardware now carries the Craftsman line and this one looked pretty much like my twenty-plus-year-old set except for one little stamp… “made in India.” Kinda doubt they still have the forever warranty, too.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on May 22, 2024 at 4:37 pm

    tRump is supposedly a notorious germaphobe who made it a point to never shake hands before he entered politics. I thought it was astonishing that he went raw dog on a porn performer, who likely had sex on camera with scores of men. He’s such a fucki g sleazy creep.

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  29. David C said on May 22, 2024 at 5:21 pm

    Funny old world where embolize and cavitated aren’t words but the spell check here flags them. They’re both in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Maybe spell check only has a pocket dictionary like I had in sixth grade.

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  30. Dave said on May 22, 2024 at 5:39 pm

    Lots of people were upset in the comments about embolism not being an accepted word. I play that and Wordle about every day, I had a huge streak going until JOLLY destroyed it a week or so ago.

    My brother worked with a man who regularly went to a Chinese buffet that was located in either Heath or Newark, OH. He took full advantage until one day the owners told him that he hadn’t bought the table and wouldn’t be welcomed back. They didn’t close but they closed it to him. Somebody always ruins a good thing.

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  31. Mark P said on May 22, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    Tucker Carlson’s minions are denying that he has some kind of deal with Russian state media. Apparently they broadcasted some older Carlson clips on state media, but so far at least, TC hasn’t defected.

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  32. Dave said on May 22, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    I see that Nikki Haley has announced that she’ll vote for the Orange Blob. Guess she, too, has low standards and a lack of character.

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  33. Deborah said on May 22, 2024 at 8:22 pm

    I do not understand these republicans who cave to Trump. They lose all credibility it seems to me. Are they all just craven opportunists? Never mind I know the answer to that.

    I wonder what Nikki was promised?

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  34. Suzanne said on May 22, 2024 at 9:53 pm

    Haley hopes that by showing sufficient loyalty to Trump, he will consider her for VP. If he does, she will bring all those Haley voters who can’t stand Trump with her, ensuring a victory. Watching all these VP wannabes’ extreme groveling at Trump’s feet is truly disgusting.

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  35. alex said on May 22, 2024 at 10:43 pm

    Haley was never all that convincing as an anti-Trumper and now I suspect she’s just hedging against the retribution Trump’s promising to inflict upon his enemies. (I also suspect no one who voted for her wants to vote for Trump even if she says it’s okay by her.) But I doubt she thinks she has any serious chance of being veep, or would even want the job, having resigned mid-term during Trump’s last administration because of his habit of capriciously and publicly contradicting and undermining her. She’s just a coward who’s bending with the current political wind to protect her own political future, and I hope she doesn’t have one.

    And Alito — talk about flying your freak flags. It’s truly hard to be shocked about any of it anymore. The neo-fascist takeover is already here and thank you, mainstream media, for finally noticing.

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  36. brian stouder said on May 22, 2024 at 10:52 pm

    Regarding Nikki and groveling, the metaphor that immediately springs up (at least to me!) is a cheesey porno-movie…..”Oh DONald!! Give it to me!!!” etc etc. Pardon me – I’m feeling nauseous all of a sudden

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