Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Colbert, Carson and I Share Some Scary Stuff

Talking with Sharon Stone last Wednesday Stephen Colbert revealed a physical characteristic we share. While teasing about her nude photo shoot in Playboy in 1992, he said he is so self-conscious about his body that he “won’t let anybody see me without socks on (because) I have that thing where you wear socks too long and there’s no hair … where the socks pulled all the hair out. I’ve got old men’s ankles.” 

That’s me, too. My ankles, aside from being way too thin, bony actually, are hairless. They’re so white they seem to glow in the dark. I think wearing white wool sweatsocks throughout high school inhibited any hairy growth from my shins down. I never went without socks until I retired and started writing this blog and that was only because my “public” demanded I live up to the self-selected title. 

Anyway, it’s nice to know of another anklo-phobic, especially one with such a high profile.

Getting back to Sharon Stone, she has a new show, Agent X on TNT. I haven’t seen it so I can’t recommend it, or not, but Colbert screened a clip which showed Stone as vice president of the United States. What drew my attention was her hair style. If I didn’t know it was Stone I would have thought it was Robin Wright as the president’s wife, Claire Underwood, in House of Cards. It seems short-haired, stylishly coiffed blondes are today’s power women of Washington, no doubt inspired by Hillary Clinton, though one would never confuse her body with that of either Stone or Wright.

Carson and Me: During my first trip to Israel in 1966 I learned how to identify where the border lay between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors. Look for the green, I was told. Where the greenery ends is where Israel ends. Across the border the color was brown, as in sand.

Now, fast forward to early 2015 and it appears Dr. Ben Carson shares with me the lesson in border topography. 

In case you missed it (as I did back in March when he was not considered by anyone serious a serious presidential candidate, and still shouldn’t be), this is what Dr. Carson suggested to Bloomberg Politics as a way to settle (pun intended) the Palestinian question of a homeland of their own: 

“We need to look at fresh ideas. I don’t have any problem with the Palestinians having a state, but does it need to be within the confines of Israeli territory? Is that necessary, or can you sort of slip that area down into Egypt? Right below Israel, they have some amount of territory, and it can be adjacent. They can benefit from the many agricultural advances that were made by Israel, because if you fly over that area, you can easily see the demarcation between Egypt and Israel, in terms of one being desert and one being verdant (italics added). Technology could transform that area. So why does it need to be in an area where there’s going to be temptation for Hamas to continue firing missiles at relatively close range to Israel?”

Wow! And there are people who think this man should be president? In charge of our foreign affairs? 

Perhaps the most contentious international policy debate is centered on Israel’s right to exist along with the viability and border adjustments of a two-state solution of Israel and Palestine. What makes those issues so difficult is that Israelis and Palestinians do not agree among themselves on either proposition. Which brings me to a sorry state of affairs when it comes to internal disputes.

It is commonly thought that any Palestinian who openly advocates peace with Israel including territorial concessions would wind up with a bulls-eye on his or her  back, and front, and head. Such is the state of public discourse among the Palestinians.

Sadly, the same may be said, if not literally then figuratively, about Israelis and many of their American sympathizers. We just recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister murdered by a right winger because Rabin sought to make peace accompanied with a withdrawal from parts of the West Bank territory captured during the Six Day War. 

Now a vocal fringe in the Israel-can-do-no-wrong camp, inside and outside Israel, has assumed only they know what’s best for Israel and that anyone who disagrees with their vision is a traitor and worthy of public disparagement that is, or borders on, slander. 

I don’t have a solution to the Palestinian question but I have yet to hear a cogent and sustainable answer to the question of what Israel should do about the 1.3 million Palestinians under its control. Should they be expelled? Exterminated? Left to live as a conquered people with no rights to or hope of self-determination? 

Of course, courageous Palestinian leadership needs to come forward before Israel can make equally courageous accommodations. Any peace-loving person has to hope it is not too late for such a reality to transpire. In the present climate of jihad on the one side and distemper on the other, it is difficult to visualize a breakthrough in the short term. But one can always hope.

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: How bad was this back-to-back advertising placement?  

While watching the Sunday night football game an ad from Subway was immediately followed by a spot featuring a “Jared” from the Carolina Panthers, (Jared Allen) extolling the NFL with the line “football is family.” This Jared ad ran just two days after another guy named Jared, Jared Fogle, the long-time spokesperson of Subway, was sentenced to no less than 15 years in prison for child pornography and crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors.

If I worked for Subway or the NFL I’d demand a make-good.