Close Encounters with the Middle East

I was at my desk on Monday at 11:52. I eat out most days, but on this day I had a lecture on my calendar and my workout bag in the car. Lunch, lecture, or workout? After some teetering and the slightest of nudges, the lecture won!

Khalil Shikaki spoke for about an hour at UA Hillel on “The Gaza War and the Future of Palestinian-Israeli Relations.” Dr. Shikaki is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, and a Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 10/29/14

I saw reports this week about former Florida Governor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush thinking about taking his rightful place running for President of the United States in 2016. As Lawrence Welk might be saying from up above, “wunnerful, wunnerful!” Nothing more to say right now about another Bush in the White House—really—but I did enjoy Frank Bruni’s piece, Fathers, Sons and the Presidency, from the 10/25 New York Times. Never mind tax returns and medical exams; we need a psych exam on anyone polling above 5% in the primaries.

And speaking of presidents, The American Conservative posted Obama is… Continue reading

Nothing Too Heavy!

Not too much going on at the Supreme Court, as the justices get ready for oral arguments beginning on November 3. Before you read on, though, do take a look at Jeffrey Toobin’s October 27 article for the New Yorker, The Obama Brief. It’s a fine review of what is not evident in the day-to-day hubbub:  If not another federal judge gets confirmed—and this could happen if the Senate turns—President Obama has left his mark on the federal judiciary for many, many years.

I ran across Novels Every Supreme Court Justice Should Read by Garrett Epps for The Atlantic… Continue reading

The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

As readers know, FOODIE fits when I think about who I am. My daily routine involves checking at least five food blogs, Facebook send me to many more food places, and food rarely leaves my mind.

Now, I think there are probably two broad types, for foodies:  those whose interests lie with cooking, and those who like to eat. Plenty of overlapping, for sure, but for me I’m in the former camp. There’s a chef in me, albeit one who doesn’t want to work as hard as chefs do, and one who gets just how difficult it is to make… Continue reading

Fear and Trust

I’ve been watching and listening as the 2014 campaign unfolds. It’s not pretty, to the eyes or the ears.

If you’re a liberal like me and you’ve written checks from time to time to candidates and groups like Act Blue and MoveOn, your inbox gets a deluge of emails every day. Once in a while an email brags about success; mostly, though, they share “sky is falling” imagery, with a $1,000,000 this and $7,000,000 that (being spent against one of the good ones), plenty of mentions of Boehner and the Kochs, etc. Apparently, it’s working, for the Democrats have raised… Continue reading

Hooky … and Meal Memories!

I’m playing hooky from a piece on Ebola in the United States. I tried for three nights, and it’s just not in me. Too many moving parts and too much evidence that we’re not all on the same time, wanting the best possible outcomes!

So for a while I’ve been thinking about a post or series of posts about my favorite things. The Sound of Music—“My Favorite Things”—is a mild impetus, but it’s a very mild one. Candy bars have come to mind—in my dreams I own a candy store in a really cool small town like Trinidad or… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 10/22/14

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee died on Tuesday afternoon at his home in Washington. He was 93.

Many people tell us:  “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” Mr. Bradlee was blessed in many ways, and he delivered, and then some! I never met this journalistic giant, but I rely on good friends who knew him well for confirmation that I missed out, big time!

Having contact with charismatic people is one of life’s guilty pleasures. We don’t talk about those situations, to avoid pomposity or self-aggrandizement, but we know they’re special circumstances. I’m blessed to have some contact… Continue reading

My Monday Afternoon

Monday afternoon, I attended a lecture at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe spoke for two hours, with a final one-hour panel—I had to dash—led by MRW reader Gary Stuart. For lay readers, it takes someone special for me to give up an afternoon, drive to Tempe, walking onto the ASU campus, etc., and this one was an easy call! (Three hours of continuing education credits—the early departure left me with two—factored into my decision to attend.)

The lecture grew out of Professor Tribe’s new book, Uncertain Justice:  The… Continue reading


I read Yeah, the GOP Is Evil and Will Win — But the Midterms are Meaningless by Salon writer Andrew O’Hehir early on Saturday, then I read it again. It’s dense and not very clear, but I think I get his point.

Mr. O’Hehir begins by referencing an earlier piece, where he argued that, despite an era of “extreme and perhaps unprecedented executive power,” President Obama cannot get anything done. He tells us the Congressional Democrats have as their mission being “less pathological” than their counterparts, and that the Republicans’ appeal “rests largely on racial panic, xenophobia and anti-government paranoia,”… Continue reading

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