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Dear Mr. Blitzer, I just watched your interview with General Hayden.  As a determined and incisive journalist, you had an obligation to press the general for using, within his June 16th tweet, the photo of the train tracks leading to Birkenau.  As a Jew, you were true to your people and your history when you insisted that care be taken with comparisons made between one human tragedy and the Holocaust. As a child of survivors and a grandchild of victims, you were obviously motivated to respond emotionally to a possible casual use of Holocaust iconography. However, I believe it’s time to stop holding the Holocaust sacrosanct.  It’s time to consent that the entire period of history, from the mid-1920s until well past the liberation of the camps, must be perceived and used as a lesson of the most profound importance to our entire world today. The general has it right.  […]

The headline in The Guardian (June 16, 2018) read: 2,000 children separated from parents in six weeks under Trump policy.  As I went on, each sentence was more disturbing than the one before.  The events as reported were horrific, but – this may surprise you – the sentence that finally sank its fist into my gut was this one: A small group of reporters were [sic] given strictly controlled access earlier this week to one immigration detention centre where some children forcibly separated from their parents, or crossing the border alone, are being held. Why were the reporters given only strictly controlled access?  For the security of the children?  I doubt that.  If the government was concerned about the children’s welfare, the children would be with their parents.  So I ask again, why was access strictly controlled and why were the reporters allowed in only one immigration detention center?  Why […]

This past week I’ve received two pieces of mail from Erik Paulsen, my congressman for Minnesota’s 3rd District. The first reads: “Protecting Our Children Fighting Meningitis B” The second reads: “Getting Results for Minnesota Seniors”. In an effort to help Congressman Paulsen be honest with us and himself, I’m checking out these two affirmations by checking out his voting record. I’m looking at Vote Smart (https://votesmart.org/, a site generally considered a valuable and unbiased tool for scrutinizing our senators and congress people. Bill Moyers calls it “a bright light in an often desultory civic culture. Granted, Mr. Moyers is a Democrat but he’s also a deeply ethical man. Check out Vote Smart yourselves. You might be surprised at what is in some of these bills your elected officials spend so much time piddling on. Let’s begin with Paulsen’s assertion that he is protecting our children’s health care, specifically in the fight […]

I would very likely bite anyone who tries snatching this book from my hands. Yesterday morning, 6AM, I’m grumbling, “Don’t bother me; I’m reading!” The other evening, 5PM, I’m whining, “I hope someone’s on top of supper because I’m getting hungry.” This has been going on for days, now. I was awake at 3 o’clock this morning. The house was cold so I curled into a capsule beneath the blankets. I was also under cover so the dogs wouldn’t twig that I was awake and demand a pee and then, as morning follows evening, kibble follows pee, tug follows kibble, and so on. Forgive my awkward segue, but reality isn’t always smooth. The book I am reading is Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum. It’s not new, originally published in 1998, with an updated edition released in 2014. It isn’t that big, topping out at 630 pages (and I probably won’t […]

Dear Representative Paulsen – I write that merely to be polite as you certainly are not “dear” to me, and with a frown and a shake of my head as you represent everything I find most troubling about the current political environment.   I’ll spell it out, not for your benefit,  because I’m quite convinced you don’t care, but for my benefit.  I want to be able to say that I, at least, spoke up when our American civil liberties and quality of life were threatened.  I cried out as our Democracy died. If you were deserving of your job, you would not continue supporting a political party more invested in maintaining power than in engaging in good governance.  I’ll begin where I begin as there is nearly no end to your party’s objectionable behavior and all are nearly equally abhorant. Gerrymandering:  “Partisan gerrymandering has become a tool for powerful interests […]

Playwright, Lauren Gunderson, currently the most popular playwright in the U.S., was quoted in The Guardian, saying, “I think it’ll be hard to write this moment until this moment is a little more processed.  I think we’ll have great Trump era plays in about 10 years.”  I understand her thinking.  She may be right but all I could think was:  In ten years we may be ten years too late. In the Preface to Hate Unleashed: America’s Cataclysmic Change, Edward Dunbar, author and professor of psychology at UCLA whose specialty is hate, says, “I had been running out this line in the first few days after November 8, 2016, when Donald Trump became the president-elect of the United States: ‘Be close to those you are close to, and become active in some cause you care deeply about.’ To the writers, film professionals, and artists, I knew, I said, ‘Consider how […]

I was, once, a respiratory therapist, back in the days when I was searching for a way to support myself as an aspiring writer….  That sounds as if I’ve since become Minnesota’s Salinger or had possibly met Garrison Keillor.  I haven’t succeeded in either of those arenas although my brother did graduate from high school with Keillor and I played in the school orchestra with Keillor’s third wife’s sister but let me not put on airs which is different from being attached to a respirator.  None of this has anything to do with what I’m trying to convey here. I was a respiratory therapist at a point in my life where from I was looking for a way to support my habit, i.e. hooked on eating something and sleeping somewhere.  Also, for my twenty-third birthday, the man I had married when I was seventeen changed the locks on our apartment […]

Send Them God Damned Australian Children’s Book Authors Back To Their God Damned Kangaroo Ridden Island Have you read Koala Lou?  Night Noise?  Wombat Divine?  Wombat Divine – what a great book title! How about Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge?  One of my absolute favorite books!  I swear – all of them are right up there with Sense and Sensibility.  All of the above, except, as you might have guessed, Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen), were written by Mem Fox, award winning children’s author and educator, frequent visitor,  esteemed guest, and suspected despicable threat, nefarious menace, and unreasonable risk to the security of this great land.  Stand, if ye be patriots!  Hand on Heart!  Do not question!   Sing!  America, America, God shed His grace on thee…  And shed those friggin’ visitors, too.  We don’t need ‘em.  We don’t want ‘em. Mem Fox, invited to the US as an honored guest, was detained […]

I’m doing research for a ghost story to take place in Savannah, Georgia.  In the past or in the present?  Maybe both?  I don’t know yet.  I’m still stumbling in the dark, banging into trees that leap out at me, dragging my booted feet through the muddle, swearing at myself for ever venturing into this murky world of fiction.  I don’t write short stories.  I’m a playwright.   But I’m not having great success beginning my next play, either.  So, what the Hell… I do know the plot will revolve around the African American and Jewish communities of that southern American city.  I’m writing an email to the rabbi of Mickve Israel, Robert Haas, whose blog I came across while looking for his address. I am re-posting it here to thank the Rabbi and the other religious leaders of Savannah for their humanity and honorable solidarity as they make clear they […]

Yes, Lady Gaga!  But If I Were You – I’m Not; I Know – But I Would Have Added One More Song In her interview with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Jered Kushner’s Grandmother Rae said that if there had been an Israel during Hitler’s reign of terror, perhaps 6 million Jews would not have been murdered.    I think she was right.  So did a lot of people. After World War II, after the reality of the Holocaust hit the world’s nervous system, the stroke that signed Israel into existence was thought to be a blessing and an absolute necessity.  For the first time, in a long time, the Jews were no longer without representation, without refuge, with a nation.  And should it ever happen again, and Jews find themselves running for their lives, they will not wander the world, dying for want of few buckets of water, a slice […]