Memorial Day Reading 

Folks, if you have some reading time over the holiday, I highly recommend these two articles from the New York Times Magazine:

1. “Empire of Dust” by Molly Young, and please make sure you get to the last page because it makes the whole article worth it. 

2. “Kushnerville” on Kushner’s activities as a slumlord. If you think your opinion of this little weasel can’t be any lower, think again and read the article. 

This is really good journalism, folks. 


24 thoughts on “Memorial Day Reading ”

  1. Clarissa, may I email you about something (connected to book reviews)?
    I thought commenting on a blog would give away too much personal information.


  2. “..please make sure you get to the last page because it makes the whole article worth it. ”

    I had the same thought as I was reading it. Remember this from a couple of years ago? All the money in the world, all the resources to educate themselves and their children, and this is what they believe.

    Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s

    Hollywood parents say not vaccinating makes “instinctive” sense. Now their kids have whooping cough.


    1. The article about Kushner is also great. So much better than the bestselling Evicted because people in rental housing appear in the article as human beings and not as stereotypical lobster-guzzling, irresponsible welfare queens. Gosh, I’m still angry about that book.


  3. A comprehensive study examines the attitudes of Israeli youth and young adults in 2017; 67% of them define themselves as right-wing, 40% are defined as secular, and nearly half of the Jews are pessimistic about the future.

    while in 1998 nearly half of the country’s youth defined themselves as secular and only 9 percent were ultra-Orthodox, now, only 40 percent define themselves as secular while the percentage of Haredim jumped to 15 percent.

    The Arab youth, on the other hand, are much more optimistic than in the past—74 percent of them believe that they can achieve their goals in Israel.

    73.9 percent of Jewish youth believe that the most important problem that the government must deal with is the cost of living.,7340,L-4961121,00.html?utm_source=Taboola_internal&utm_medium=organic


  4. This woman is a relatively famous Russian blogger who writes about relationships, how to find happiness, etc. In the past you liked her post about parents and children. I read her post “Корона одиночества” and while some things sounded true, others bother me:

    She writes:

    \ Но если вы все время браковали таких мужчин и смотрели только на красавцев, на мужчин с ОЗ (объективная значимость) намного выше, вы лишали себя возможности прокачаться. […] именно понравиться им, быть интересной, доставлять удовольствие общением, будить их эмоции и чувства. Когда это будет свободно происходить, вы легко сможете привлечь и мужчин с ОЗ равной, а потом немного выше.

    Isn’t it using people without regard for their feelings? She answered that to somebody in comments:

    \ Да, а вдруг сердце разобьешь.
    Ну разбей хоть одно сначала и посмотришь.

    Обычно все “разбитые сердца” это мужики, которые обрывают телефон в негодовании “ты себя в зеркало-то видела, ты что, хочешь сказать, что я тебе не подхожу, дура?” или “дурашка, да я не обижу тебя, не бойся, ответь”.

    Вот и все разбитые сердца, если снять корону.
    Сердце разбить специально довольно сложно. Корону немножко поцарапать – да.

    A “crown” is illusions and self-lies.

    Also, when she writes:

    \ То есть женщина (если она не рыбачка) может рассчитывать на менее симпатичного, чем она мужчину, обычно постарше нее. Вот это – равная ОЗ. По деньгам он может быть немного более состоятелен. Если он намного более состоятелен, то она должна быть еще симпатичней и еще моложе. Это гендерный стандарт равных ОЗ.

    Do you agree? May be, this is true in Russia, but not so for more gender equal societies like USA or Israel?


    1. I’m sorry, I don’t speak this language. I married an unemployed undocumented immigrant on the eve of deportation 😁😁😁 because I’m all about love.

      I feel nothing but pity for people like the quoted blogger.


      1. \ I married an unemployed undocumented immigrant on the eve of deportation because I’m all about love.

        She would have answered that your “OZ” were equal because he also had a PhD. And both of you were from FSU. I think. 🙂

        In other news, this evening Israel has begun celebrating the holiday of Shavuot which “marks the harvest of the first fruits of the land and the receiving of the Torah.”

        Traditionally, Jews eat cheese during the holiday, so we bought a cheese pie and blinis ( блины) with cheese.

        Some photos:,7340,L-4969502,00.html


  5. I have just read “Kushnerville” and was shocked by the case of Kamiia Warren who was sued “for having left in advance of her lease’s expiration, though she had received written permission to leave.”

    I do not believe it was an honest mistake. The lawyers counted on her being ignorant, without a lawyer and without any “proof that she was given permission to leave Cove Village in 2010” since they sued her three years later (!), long after an average normal person throws out that form / note permitting to leave a month or two ealier.

    If it’s a true case and not the only case, why isn’t it in the public interest to sue that company? If I kill a person or rob somebody, a state will go after me without victims suing me personally. Why aren’t any governmental courts / bodies / something suing that company for millions of $$ because of trying to steal from people via lying in court? In addition, the company contributes to keeping those people in utter poverty, while America as a country is supposedly interested in helping them rise, get a degree, begin working and being independent.

    Other cases, such as pursuing “tenants who predated the company’s ownership of a complex,” are 100% legal, so hasn’t changed my opinion about anybody, but Warren’s case is something utterly different.


    1. Of course, this is being done on purpose. People like Kamiia are singled out because they will not have the time, the resources, the knowledge, etc to do anything about it. This happens all the time.

      Problem is, this is a large amount for Kamiia but a tiny one in the eyes of the law. Such complaints end up in small claims courts even there the claimant needs some understanding of the system to win.


      1. \ People like Kamiia are singled out because they will not have the time, the resources, the knowledge, etc to do anything about it. This happens all the time.

        Doesn’t some governmental agency / department exist which job includes dealing with super shady “business practices” and ensuring big business observes laws?

        \ this is a large amount for Kamiia but a tiny one in the eyes of the law.

        When you take into account the number of such Kamiias, money sums begin growing fast too.

        A country’s legal body should be able to sue such companies and collect large fines from them to be paid to the country / state for breaking laws.


        1. State legislatures are mostly in Republican hands. The federal government is too. Republicans are against increasing governmental oversight.

          In the book Evicted that I keep talking about there is a very well researched story about precisely this kind of conflict between a poor black single mother who is a tenant and her landlord who is also black and comes from poverty. It’s not very realistic to expect any government agency in the current climate to go against the landlord who does vote and pay taxes and support the renter who doesn’t pay taxes.

          The landlord, by the way, is convinced that there is too much governmental oversight already. And she does horrible immoral things to renters.


  6. The Six-Day War (1967) was the war in which Israel seized “East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank from the Jordanians, while Israel’s retaliation against Syria resulted in its occupation of the Golan Heights” [wiki], leading to the situation we have today, for better and for worse. That’s why the way we build narratives of this war is especially important and interesting, imo. I have read this opinion column which I wanted to share:

    Op-ed: During the 1967 war, Israel seized Egyptian and Jordanian operational documents with clear orders to annihilate the civil population. Nevertheless, different academics are distorting the facts in a bid to turn the Arabs into victims and Israel into an aggressor. Here’s the real story.

    The political debate over the Israeli control of the territories has led to a situation in which political opinions disrupt the factual research. The political debate is important. It’s certainly legitimate. But there is no need to rewrite history to justify a political stance. It should be the other way around: Facts should influence political views. And the facts are clear and simple: The Arab states’ leaders did not only settle for declarations on an expected annihilation, they even prepared operational orders.,7340,L-4968426,00.html

    Btw, I think that unlike the situation with Gaza, the capture of East Jerusalem and of the Golan Heights has been a blessing. The latter has the best nature – water and land – in Israel, and with Syria falling apart, ISIS would be shooting at us from those heights soon enough. The former is the most sacred place in Judaism, holding Wailing Wall.


  7. \ Republicans are against increasing governmental oversight.
    In the book Evicted that I keep talking about there is a very well researched story about precisely this kind of conflict

    I wonder if talking about such abuses and situations would have helped Democrats in the elections, or on the contrary would’ve harmed them even further.

    On the one hand, poor working class whites supposedly suffer from this not less than poor blacks. Otoh, I am unsure whether most working class Trump voters were poor enough to identify with people in Kamiia’s situation. Had I lived in America, I would’ve understood the situation better.

    In other news, if you are a little interested in Israeli history, I saw this column:

    \ As the Six-Day War’s 50th anniversary nears, declassified documents outlining the post-war debate in Israel reflect that very little about the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has changed.

    “The Six-Day War actually never ended,” said Tom Segev, a leading Israeli historian and author of 1967—Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East. “The seventh day has lasted ever since for the last 50 years. And it is affecting both us and the Palestinians … every day, every minute.”,7340,L-4969684,00.html


  8. Police investigate calls to ‘kill female soldiers’ by radical Haredim

    Radical Jerusalem Faction suspected of being behind hanging of posters around Mea Shearim urging ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students forcefully drafted into the IDF to use their weapons to ‘kill female soldiers, commanders and recruiters’; IDF spokesman says new level of incitement to murder ‘crosses a red line.’,7340,L-4970056,00.html


      1. \ Lord. Is that why they object to the army? Because there are women?

        No. Women are just an afterthought here; Haredi say they serve Israel by studying Torah and must not be drafted because of their studies and, I suppose, they are afraid of the possibility of temptation to leave religion, or at least becoming less religious after serving in IDF.

        Those are a few extremists, while the following survey shows what mainstream Haredi think (410 haredi households, conducted in year 2017) :

        \ the overwhelming majority of haredi Jews in Israel are opposed to both service in the IDF and efforts to shame and harass those who do enlist.

        Most (78.8%) say they could never agree to their son serving in the IDF, regardless of the circumstances. Only 5% of respondents said they believe their son should serve in the army, while 12% said they would accept their son serving in the IDF if he was not learning in yeshiva. The remaining roughly 4% said they could accept some alternative, non-military service to the state, including the Sherut Leumi (national service) system.

        Regarding targeted campaigns of harassment and shaming against haredi soldiers, only 11% of respondents who were familiar with such efforts said they were legitimate, while 89% said such campaigns should be condemned by the haredi community.


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