June 10, 2010 |
President Obama pledged an infusion of $400 million in aid for housing, school construction and business development in the Palestinian territories Wednesday, saying after a one-on-one meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that the situation in Gaza is "inherently unstable." Obama had planned the White House meeting to talk mainly about the Middle East peace process. But in the aftermath of a deadly May 31 Israeli assault on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, the two leaders ended up focusing instead on the blockade of Gaza and its effects on the people who live there.
June 8, 2010 |
The L.A. City Council wants to boycott the Grand Canyon State. When will the United Nations condemn Los Angeles for its callous pursuit of collective punishment against Arizona in retaliation for its immigration policies? To be sure, the boycott is mainly symbolic, but at least in principle the measure is aimed at hurting all Arizonans regardless of whether they support the "regime" in Phoenix. That's collective punishment. Also, why isn't the world outraged by the wholesale deprivation we're inflicting on the North Koreans?
June 6, 2010 |
Learning hard lessons from Monday's deadly raid of a pro-Palestinian aid flotilla, Israel's navy Saturday seized without incident a second protest vessel trying to reach the shores of the Gaza Strip. But even as Israel succeeded in preventing the boats from reaching their destination, it was struggling in the larger battle of defending its controversial blockade of Gaza to the outside world. Israel's handling of the high-seas interception Monday that left nine activists dead continued to reverberate.
June 4, 2010 |
Another ship full of humanitarian aid -- this one named after an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer -- is sailing toward the Gaza Strip even as the furor over a deadly confrontation between Israeli soldiers and another group of activists has yet to subside. The Cambodian-flagged MV Rachel Corrie, named after the Evergreen State College student killed while protesting Palestinian house demolitions in the Gaza Strip, is carrying 11 passengers, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan, who was honored for pressing for peace between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, and former United Nations Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday.
June 2, 2010
There's a lot still to be learned about what happened at 4 a.m. Monday in the waters off the Gaza Strip when Israeli commandos boarded a ship that was seeking to break the long-standing Israeli blockade. Did the commandos, who were lowered onto the boat from helicopters, immediately open fire, as claimed by organizers of the six-ship flotilla? Or did the passengers attack first with knives, clubs and, ultimately, guns, as claimed by Israeli officials? Were the boats ferrying novelists and Nobel Peace Prize winners and elderly Holocaust survivors, as news accounts have suggested, or seething Israel haters, as defenders of the raid would have us believe?
May 31, 2010 |
Israeli naval ships seized control of a protest flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing at least 10 people and sparking widespread international condemnation. Israeli television, citing foreign media reports, said the death toll could be as high as 16. "The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities," Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel's Army Radio. The raid set off a storm of international protest and drew condemnations from leaders of Spain, Sweden, France, Germany, the U.N., the European Union and Arab League.
April 17, 2010
Blockade Billy Stephen King Cemetery Dance Publications: 112 pp., $25
April 17, 2010 |
It's hard to write good baseball fiction. The game is so unlikely, so bizarre at times, that it's a challenge to the fiction writer's imagination to do it justice. Who, for instance, could have invented Johnny Damon's at-bat in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series last fall? He appeared to have been struck out by Brad Lidge (it was a foul tip), only to fight back and hit a single, and went on to steal two bases on a single play. From a near strikeout to third base in just a couple of pitches: You can't make that stuff up. This is the challenge Stephen King faces in "Blockade Billy," a novella (actually more of a long short story)
November 12, 2009 |
Bill Nighy's journey to mid-'60s England began in, of all places, mid-'60s England. As a teen, he left home for Paris to write, came back unwritten, then became an actor, later to play a key (imaginary) figure in the very music that transformed him as a youth. But let's start with Bill the Mod. "Mods loved black American music: Stax, Atlantic and Tamla Motown," says the actor in a quiet, cultured voice at a table at L'Ermitage. "You had a half-inch all-over haircut. You wore Ravel loafers and trousers of the cigarette type but slightly too short, and I regret to say this, and I'm embarrassed and ashamed, but with . . . colored socks."