We Should All Be Paying Attention to the Antisemitism at UC Berkeley

In an ideal world, college (and higher education in general) is an opportunity to spread our wings and see the world beyond what we think it is. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in the real world, which is far more complicated.

A couple weeks ago, a controversy erupted at UC Berkeley in California. Back in August, nine student groups adopted by-laws in which they agree to not invite speakers who “hold views in support of Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel, and the occupation of Palestine.” In other words, the campus has certain sections that are judenrein.

First of all, Palestine is not occupied. Second of all, Israel is not an apartheid state. Third of all, they boiled the complex issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict into the idea that all Jews support Israel and subjugate Palestinian neighbors. None of this is true.

Recently Noa Tishby visited the campus and tried to get an understanding of what was going on. The video below speaks for itself.

Sarah Silverman responded to this news as perfectly as one can.

I wish that we would see each other as human beings first and then see us via whatever labels we use to identify ourselves. But we don’t. We rush to judgment and make a generic statement about who they are. My fear in all of this is that the students are our future leaders. Who knows where the poison they spread today will take us tomorrow.

P.S. I don’t know about anyone else, but Kyrie Irving’s apology seems a bit half-ass.

Advertisement

The Last Resort Podcast Review

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest and most historically important events in American history. 150 years after the fact, the same political, cultural, and social schisms still play a role in our everyday lives.

The new seven-part podcast, The Last Resort, presents the following question: What if California seceded from the United States? Founded by Marcus Ruiz-Evans and Louis J. Marinelli, the movement is called Calexit. Each episode examines the state’s past and the potential effects should this idea become a reality.

It’s an interesting concept, both as an idea for a podcast and an exploration of who we are as Americans. If nothing else, it asks the listener to consider difficult questions about who we are as a country and what we imagine our future will be like.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

New episodes of The Last Resort are released every Tuesday.

Reluctant Immortals Book Review

As much as many of us love our classic novels, there are often problematic elements that were not considered to be problematic at the time of publishing. It is only in hindsight (and modern eyes) that we can see that these elements require a second look.

Reluctant Immortals, by Gwendolyn Kiste, was published in August. It is set in the late 1960s in California. The gist of the novel is that Bertha Mason of Jane Eyre and Lucy Westenra of Dracula are undead immortals trying to get away from their respective tormentors. Both Edward Rochester and Dracula would love nothing more than to get back at their former paramours.

I enjoyed this book. Kiste takes two characters who have been written off by most readers and have given them the voice that they were initially denied. Granted, the original texts were written in the 19th century, when women lived more restricted lives than they do today.

What sold it for me was that Bertha and Lucy are more the victims that they were made out to be. Kiste has given them agency, and the will to survive when their individual trauma could have easily destroyed them.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Reluctant Immortals is available wherever books are sold.

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber Book Review

No one expects a politician to be perfect. But we do expect that they will have the emotional and intellectual intelligence to govern as the voters need them to. Unfortunately, those expectations are not always met.

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber, by Andy Borowitz, was published last month. Examining American politics and politicians over the last five decades, Borowitz exposes how some politicians are not what they seem to be. He starts the book with Ronald Reagan‘s 1966 Gubenationatorial election in California and ends with you know who. As the decades pass, it becomes clear that the lights are on, but no one is home.

Calling out well-known political figures such as Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Dan Quayle, he reveals how their egos, stupidity, and mistakes have caused Americans to see politicians in a not-so-positive light.

In pointing out the imperfections of the subjects, Borowitz provides the reader with the release we all need. While making us laugh and cry, he is sending the message that we don’t have to take it lying down. We can use our voices and our votes to enact the change that we want and need to see.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Profiles in Ignorance: How America’s Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber is available wherever books are sold.

By the Book (Meant to Be Series) Book Review

The haters to lovers trope is one that had been used many times, by many authors, in many different ways. The figurative beauty of this well-known narrative arc is its ability to be dynamic and uniquely moldable to a new perspective.

By the Book is the second book in the Meant to Be Series. Written by Jasmine Guillory and published in May, it is essentially a modern-day rom-com version of Beauty and The Beast. For the last three years, Isabelle has been working at her NYC-based publishing company, hoping to be noticed by her manager. In her mid-twenties, she is one of the few African American employees and starting to become disillusioned.

While on a work trip to California, she finally seizes upon an opportunity to get the appreciation she deserves. Beau is a well-known author who has been radio silent on the status of his manuscript. She decides to try to talk to him in person. When Isabelle finally meets Beau, she discovers that his reputation of being impersonal and hard-headed is not too far off from reality.

Getting Beau to open up is a bigger task than Isabelle initially expected it to be. But as they spend time together, both Beau and Isabelle learn that each of them is lost in their own way and may find what they are looking for in one another.

This book had me at hello. It was delicious, romantic, funny, and held me by the lapels from beginning to end. Guillory holds tight to the Disney narrative while remaking it in her own image. I loved Isabelle’s spunkiness, Intelligence, and drive. Beau, as the leading man, has his own troubles, making him relatable and enough of an asshole to challenge both the reader and his future other half.

Do I recommend it? Of course.

By the Book (Meant to Be Series) is available wherever books are sold.

Beauty And The Beast Ballroom GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power Book Review

To be a woman in politics is to have a backbone made of steel. It requires courage, strength, an incredibly brilliant mind, and the ability to navigate through the bullshit.

Nancy Pelosi has done this and so much more. She has broken barriers, become a controversial figure, and stood toe to toe with some of the most notorious political figures of our era. Her biography, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power, by Susan Page, was published earlier this year. Pelosi was born in Baltimore, the youngest child, and only daughter in a prominent Italian-American family. Though she was raised in an era in which girls were boxed in, her mother encouraged her to color outside of the lines.

Moving to California after marrying, Pelosi only got into politics after her children were grown. Starting at the local level, she climbed up the ladder with a shrewd mind and an understanding of the game. Page spends most of the book examining her career and the challenges (especially when going against you know who) that she has come against. Diving into the details of the last few decades, the woman we meet is one who does not shrink when coming against a man who thinks that he knows better than her.

I enjoyed this book. The reader is introduced to Pelosi as the whole woman, not just the image on the evening news. She is thoroughly human in a way that I found relatable and inspirational. Pelosi may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you cannot deny that what she has accomplished is exceptional and admirable. We need more women in this world like Nancy Pelosi.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power is available wherever books are sold.

Sarcastic Nancy Pelosi GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

Sandy Hook Part II: At Least Eighteen Children and Two Adults Killed in an Elementary School in Texas

We all remember the horror of Sandy Hook in December of 2012. The young lives lost, the adults who tried to save their students, and the heartache that will never fade.

This morning was the sequel to that day. An eighteen-year-old gunman charged into an elementary school in Texas. Among the dead are at least eighteen children and two adults.

This is the third mass shooting to make national news in the last seven days. The third occurred in a church in Orange County in California. Five people were injured and one man was killed. Closer to home, a man was killed by a stranger carrying a gun on the Q train on Sunday in New York City. The accused was caught today. When did we become so desensitized that this unnecessary loss of life that it is nothing more than another headline?

I keep thinking that it is going to get to the point in which we have to wear bulletproof vests as part of our regular wardrobe and go through airport-style security to complete simple errands.

I blame the NRA. I blame the Republicans who are more concerned with their careers and lining their own pockets than doing what is right for the country. I blame all of our politicians who are too chicken shit to speak up and save lives. I blame Fox News and other right-wing media organizations who knowingly peddle lies. I blame those who are more concerned with the unborn than the current members of the young generation. I blame those who use mental health as an excuse instead of looking for real-world solutions and once more create a sense of shame around needing help.

We need rock-solid gun control laws now. We needed them in 2012 and we needed them after Columbine 23 years ago. I don’t know what it is going to take to get this legislation on the books. How many of our children will die before we do something about it?

If you have children, hug them and tell them that you love them. It may be the last time you say it to them.

The only thing I can think of right is to vote in November. Regardless of party or affiliation, if a candidate or incumbent does not support gun control, do not vote for them. Send the message that lives are more important than power.

May the memory of those murdered today be a blessing and finally be the impetus needed to get off our asses and fix this problem for good. Z”L.

P.S. I have no doubt that certain members of the press will use the fact that the allegation that the accused crossed the border illegally to once more further their own agenda.

P.P.S The fact that the shooting in the church in California is news to me tells me everything I need to know about where this nation is going.

Flip or Flop: Fort Worth (2017-2018)

Getting into real estate as a profession is a gamble. The potential of earning more than a reasonable income is more than compelling. But, the risk is that if things go south, those involved could lose their shirt.

Flip or Flop: Fort Worth aired on HGTV from 2017-2018. A Texas offshoot of the original California-based series, the show follows married couple and military veterans Andy and Ashley Williams as they buy, renovate, and sell run-down houses. As with every show within this genre, there are always problems and the possibility of not being able to sell the finished product is always there in the background.

Unfortunately, some shows are not meant to last. As much as I enjoyed it, my opinion was not enough to keep it on the air for more than a year.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The CA Gun Law to the SC & TX Abortion Laws: Top That

The game of politics can often be ground down to the game of top that.

With a growing number of states (among them Texas and South Carolina) with the United States enacting severe anti-abortion laws, California has responded with its own law.

The proposed bill, according to a press release from Newsom, would allow Californians to sue “anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” for damages — the same injunction-skirting mechanism Texas has used to ban all abortions after six weeks, which has so far been permitted by the Supreme Court.

The lawmakers who have created and enacted these draconian pieces of legislation knew exactly what they were doing. They knew that if their bills were written in a certain way, it would be impossible for the Supreme Court (or any court) to strike it down.

Bravo to Governor Newsom. At least someone is thinking rationally.

King Brown Beer GIF by Australian Survivor - Find & Share on GIPHY

Tokyo Ever After Book Review

Many girls dream of becoming princesses when they are young. But what happens when you discover that you are a princess?

This is the jumping off point of the new YA novel, Tokyo Ever After. Written by Emiko Jean, the book was published last month. Izumi “Izzy” Tanaka is a high school senior living in a small town in California. One of only a handful of Asian-Americans students in her school, she is used to the not so polite questions and stares she receives from her her classmates.

Raised by her single mother, she never knew her father. That is, until her best friend does some digging. Izzy’s father is the Crown Prince of Japan. Before she knows it, she is in Tokyo, meeting her father and family that she never knew existed. The world of the Imperial family is an ancient one, bound by rules, traditions, and expectations that are a 180 from the middle class life she knew in the United States. Torn between the life she knew and the life that she could have, Izzy has to make a choice.

The narrative is somewhere between What a Girl Wants and The Princess Diaries. I truly loved this book and Izzy as a main character. The tension between her want to fit in with her new relations and being true to herself felt very relevant to me as a reader. I loved the details of the Imperial Palace, the images were so visceral that I felt like I was there with Izzy.

Do I recommend it? Yes .

%d bloggers like this: