Archive for The New York Times

holy war

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2021 by xi'an

In a series of fascinating tribunes in the New York Times, Katherine Stewart points out the frightening anti-democratic views of the Christian extreme-right in the US. As exemplified by

“…a political system that gives disproportionate power to an immensely organized, engaged and loyal minority. One of the most reliable strategies for producing that unshakable cohort has been to get them to agree that abortion is the easy answer to every difficult political policy question. Recently, religious right leaders have shifted their focus more to a specious understanding of what they call “religious freedom” or “religious liberty,” but the underlying strategy is the same: make individuals see their partisan vote as the primary way to protect their cultural and religious identity.” K. Stewart

Holmes alone

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2020 by xi'an

From reading a rather positive review in The New York Times (if less in The Guardian, which states that it all rattles along amiably enough!), and my love of everything Holmes (if not as much as George Casella!), I watched Enola Holmes almost as soon as it came out on Netflix. While the film was overall pleasant, with great acting from the main actress Millie Bobby Brown, I found quite light and missing in scenario (mystery? sleuthing? forking paths?) and suspense. Which is not that surprising given that it is adapted from a young adult book. (Making me laugh at the PG-13 label!) And rather anachronistic in depicting the free-spirited Enola, roving Victorian London as a modern teenager, masquerading like her famous older brother, and mastering jiu jitsu. I was also disappointed in the low key appearance of  Helena Bonham Carter as an (obviously) unconventional mother and a bomb throwing suffragette… Nothing to compare with the superlative reworkings of Wells’ stories by Benedict Cumberbatch. As a side anecdote, I read a few days later that the Arthur Conan Doyle estate is suing the film makers for presenting an emotional Sherlock!

“So President Emmanuel Macron of France called me on Thursday afternoon” [really?!]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2020 by xi'an

When I read this first sentence in The New York Times article by Ben Smith, I was a wee bit suprised as it sounded more Trumpian than Macronesque. Esp. when the article continued with the French president “having some bones to pick with the Anglo-American media”… As it transpired, it is factually correct, if giving an impression of the exact opposite of the right causality arrow. The Élysée palace indeed called back the NYT journalist after the latter asked for an interview a few days earlier and that Macron agreed to it. Beyond this misleading launch, the article is much more of an opinion piece (about Ben Smith’s opinions on French politics and secular principles) than an interview. Just like most principles, the rather specific core concept of “laïcité” (secularism) can be both debated ad nauseam and turned into political weapons for all positions on the political spectrum, from extreme-left to extreme-right. It is also almost invariably presented from abroad as an attack on the freedom of religion (and lack thereof), mostly against Muslims, and almost automatically mixed with institutional racism. The article actually goes all over the place, from attributing the uncovering of a pedophile writer to The Times journalists, to seeing Macron’s position as a theatrical posturing helping his own agenda for the next presidential elections. And while I readily concede the many woes of the French society, government, institutions, like police and justice, politics, &tc., I cannot but support an idea of a model that remains universalist and therefore secularist.

will it ever get better?! [verbatim]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2020 by xi'an

“…after his defeat in the 1800 election, Adams wrote bitterly that “we have no Americans in America,” and that “a group of foreign liars, encouraged by a few ambitious native gentlemen, have discomfited the education, the talents, the virtues, and the property of the country.” Adams was so disgusted that he refused to attend the inauguration of his successor, Thomas Jefferson.” Sean Willenz, 11 November

“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.” Ted Cruz, 03 May 2016

“No sitting president — no presidential candidate, with the partial exception of Jackson in 1824 — has refused to accept the results of an election. I’m not surprised that Trump is threatening to do so, but refusing to accept the results of an election may be a bridge too far.” James T. Campbell, 11 November

“There is no enchanted village in Pennsylvania full of 50,000 Trump voters that we haven’t heard from already. It doesn’t exist.” John Fetterman, Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, 13 November

and it only gets worse [last round?!]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2020 by xi'an

““A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about [Amy Coney Barrett election] for a long time to come.” M. McConnell, 25 October

“We’re not going to control the pandemic” White House Chief of Staff, 26 October

“The International Criminal Court (ICC) plays an essential role in delivering justice to the victims of some of the World’s most horrific crimes. Its independence and impartiality are crucial characteristics of the Court’s work, which are fundamental for the legitimacy of its judgements. The sanctions announced by the United States administration on 2 September against two Court staff members, including its Prosecutor, are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the Court’s investigations and judicial proceedings. The European Union (…) will resolutely defend it from any attempts aimed at obstructing the course of justice and undermining the international system of criminal justice.” [EU High Representative] Josep Borrell, 03 September

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has defended the dignity of human life everywhere and always. He’s done it like no other President in history (…)  in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.” M. Pompeo [when signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration]

[signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration] marks another giant step backwards for the United States as it joins a list of countries willingly endangering people’s health and lives. The United States’ stance flies in the face of human rights and decades of health research. This is about people living full lives that are their own – not the lives that the government has prescribed for them,” Tarah Demant, Amnesty International

[Amy Coney Barrett] is the most openly pro-life judicial nominee to the Supreme Court in my lifetime. This is an individual who has been open in her criticism of that illegitimate decision Roe v. Wade.” Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican Senator, 27 October

“Last week, the Supreme Court acquiesced to another attack on the voting rights of all Americans. In a 5-3 decision, the court blocked a trial judge’s ruling permitting Alabama counties to offer curbside voting as a reasonable accommodation to disabled voters.” Ari Ne’eman, The New York Times, 28 October

“In this election America faces a fateful choice. At stake is the nature of its democracy. One path leads to a fractious, personalised rule, dominated by a head of state who scorns decency and truth. The other leads to something better—something truer to what this newspaper sees as the values that originally made America an inspiration around the world.” The Economist, 29 October