News feed

Four years ago, David Armano opened his home to a Romanian immigrant and her three kids (one with Down’s Syndrome.) The woman — Daniela — had lost her home due to an unpaid mortgage, was divorcing her spouse after years of abuse, and had nowhere to go other than a shelter. (More…)

The British workplace must become more accommodating to Muslim women. So went the title of a Reyhana Patel op-ed piece, in Independent Voices. Pretty common sense, no? Nothing to disagree with there. Well, not to everyone. The article was in fact attracting considerable attention from the most dubious of quarters. The commentary was quite awful. (More…)

The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf. (More…)

Since its Christmas opening in the US, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained has generated an extraordinary amount of commentary. Some love it. Some hate it. Almost everyone who sees the film has strong opinions about it. But American fixations — use of the “N-word”, depictions of torture — have overshadowed its most prominent feature: the relationship between a German bounty hunter and his black protegé. (More…)

People are still talking about Jodie Foster’s speech.  After receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, she kinda, sorta came out, confirming Hollywood’s worst-kept secret. As Alonso Durade noted, Foster has played the coy card for decades – thanks to her publicist, and the fact that “anyone who has a presidential assassin use you as inspiration rightfully gets a lifetime ‘I want my privacy’ pass.” (More…)

As a transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, I spent my first decade in the suburbs of Tucson missing my neighborhood liquor store. It wasn’t just where I’d go to buy a pack of cigarettes, or the newspaper. It was central to the culture of the neighborhood. How could our local Circle K here compare, with its corporate branding, to the color and personality of my old corner shop? (More…)

Context equals genre. Or so one might surmise, concerning Israeli noise. With labels like Tophet Prophet gaining international recognition, and artists playing to growing audiences, the idiom has touched a nerve. This is a recent development. In the mid-1980s, when ur-band Duralex Sedlex – Latin for “the law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law”–  first started, it was in an environment dominated by pop and folk rock.  (More…)

Despite the drama, it looks like a done deal. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel will likely receive Senate confirmation for their new cabinet posts. Assuming there are no last minute challenges to their appointments, there is little to look forward to. A second term Obama Administration is unlikely to take any new risks in the Middle East. (More…)

Switzerland isn’t synonymous with the left. Best-known for its banks, it’s more commonly equated with financial services, and the politics such an economic specialty suggests. Independent, historically, from the rest of Europe, the affluent, alpine, multilingual confederation is far more difficult to make sense of than its neighbors. (More…)

What is the best way to handle a legacy of extremism? This is an important question for every democratic government, but particularly in those nations where radical ideology once held sway. And Germany remains on the top of list. No matter how stable the post-war Federal Republic’s political institutions, the Third Reich is never too far from people’s thoughts. (More…)

2012 was a year of rude awakenings in Germany. The revelations surrounding the National Socialist Underground terror cell, which had been allowed to murder at least ten people (nine of which were minorities,) were followed by even more disturbing indications of incompetence on the part of the security services tasked with policing them. (More…)

The current Israeli election season has been surprisingly eventful. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu jumpstarted the process by joining forces with ex-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party. So far, it hasn’t worked. The kindest polls show the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu combo losing at least seven seats from what it has now. Say what? (More…)