What if Glass Went Through Your Eye and You Needed a New One OR Really weird stuff that my kids say.

So I Imagewould like to introduce a new, regular addition to my blog – every Friday I will try and share some of the tiny pieces of golden weirdness that comes out my babes’ mouths. It’s hard, I have to admit that my memory is shot and many of the random, extraterrestrial-like things my kids say, I forget almost instantaneously. Also, keep in mind that what makes these conversations really strange is the context – they usually occur while brushing teeth, going to the bathroom or walking to store.

Weird tidbit #1 Kid ,“What if you got into a car accident and glass went through your eye, like this. (violent hand gesture). And you die. Can you get a new one?”Me: “Well sometimes people get a new eye, but of course not if you are dead.” Kid, in whiny voice “No fair!”

Weird tidbit #2Kid, “Do frogs have poison? Will you get poisoned if you eat one?” Me, “Most don’t, why do you plan to eat one?” Kid, “yes, maybe. I hear they taste like chicken.”

Weird tidbit #3Kid – “You know what would be really random?” Me, “What?”, Kid, “If someone was talking about cars, their favorite kind of car, how fast they go and they asked you what kind of cheese you like. That would be random.”

Weird tidbit #3, Kid, “What’s the difference between a hydrogen bomb and hydrogen peroxide?”

 

On the Anniversary of Two Executions

1000’s of people gathered in New York’s Union Square to protest on that day.

Image 

It was Friday, June 19, Jewish Sabbath, this is significant because after their lawyer argued that you couldn’t kill them on the Sabbath, the judge moved up their execution by 2 hours, before sundown, and before the Sabbath began. Cruelty and anti-semitism in one stroke. Their two young sons, 6 and 10, were not at Union Square, nor at their parents’ execution, they were at their family friends’ home.

 The newspapers were filled with a vitriolic combination of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and anti-communism. Communism was our country’s number one threat in the nation’s psyche. The Un-American committee was in full swing, people were black listed for their political beliefs, people were expected to spy on each other in the name of national security and the continuation of the “American Way of Life.”

 People were terrified of unknown and shadowy threats. The Rosenbergs – foreign, Jewish, and communist were perfect targets.

 Ethel, 38, was killed because she refused to name names. She refused to share names of other activists, not other spies, but other activists. The deals that the FBI offered her prove this. “Just name names and we will let you go free and be a mother to your children.” “Don’t let them become orphans.” “Just name names and we will only kill Julius, but you can go free.” The recently released grand jury transcripts, proved it without a doubt – the testimony at the grand jury directly contradicted secret testimony given at the trial that linked Ethel to any alleged espionage.

 Julius was killed because he was communist and Jewish and maybe gave non-classified secrets to the Soviet Union. Most evidence shows that if Julius did give information to the Soviets, it was information they already had and of very little value. Other people who gave much more to our governments’ “enemies” were not executed for their actions. Julius, at age 35, was a symbol of American fears – foreign, a communist, Jewish – this was enough to justify killing him.

Marxist Nobel Prize-winning existentialist philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre called the trial “a legal lynching which smears with blood a whole nation. By killing the Rosenbergs, you have quite simply tried to halt the progress of science by human sacrifice. Magic, witch-hunts, autos-da-fé, sacrifices – we are here getting to the point: your country is sick with fear … you are afraid of the shadow of your own bomb.

 Today, we are told that our number one threat is Islamic “terrorists” (or environmental extremists, or Occupy activists). This threat can bring down our “American way of life.”  The nation is still “sick with fear”, our daily lives filled with meaningless, color-coded terrorist threats.

 Jerry Koch, a 24 anarchist, is in jail today because he refuses to name names. He refuses  to testify at a grand jury. According the journalist, Will Potter, writing for Vice magazine, “Koch isn’t accused of this crime—or any other crime. Prosecutors told his lawyers that they think he was at a bar in 2008 or 2009, after the bombing [of a military recruitment center in Times Square where only property damage occurred], and that someone else at the bar knew about another person who was involved. Koch was subpoenaed to a grand jury in 2009—when he was only 19—and publicly stated that he didn’t know anything about it and wouldn’t cooperate.” (Will Potter, http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/jerry-koch-anarchist-grand-jury-resister-nyc/7067/).  This year, the authorities tried to make him testify again. He has refused again to answer questions about his friends, his political activities or his involvement with Occupy.

 Another American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was recently executed for the “crimes” of being foreign, Muslim, and outspokenly against the US government and the military. Yes, he espoused violence against the United States, he decided that he couldn’t remain in the US and struggle peacefully, but instead urged people to take arms up against his country. He may have been urging people to fight the US military, but as far as I know there is no evidence that he used anything other than words to make his point. While the military has claimed that he was a mastermind behind al-Qaida, they have yet to provide any proof of these claims. Of course, when you have your own private kill list, there is no need to provide proof; there is no judge, no jury and no oversight. He did not get a trial or a lawyer; he was assassinated by a drone attack.

 Then his 16 year old son, Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, a US citizen, was also executed by a US drone – apparently for the crime of being the son of someone who was designated an “enemy of the state”.

Today, people are terrified of unknown and shadowy threats. A cleric and his teenage son – foreign, Muslim and in another country – were perfect targets.  The Occupiers, young, anarchists, dirty were perfect targets. Who is next?

 Now we are being told that these murders with no trial, no defense, were necessary to keep us safe. Just as the spying by our government on our phone calls, emails, text messages, Skype calls, is also necessary to keep us safe. Jerry Koch is in jail because prosecutors are keeping us safe from so-called anarchist “terrorists”. Ethel and Julius Rosenbergs were executed to keep us safe. A teenage boy was killed to keep us safe.

 Funny, I don’t feel safe at all. I start to wonder who is “us” and who are “they”?  I wonder who else will be the perfect target next?

David Karp, my neighbor & a case of mistaken identifty

Image(The actual Rachel and David Karp)

David Karp is my neighbor; he lives in the same apartment building.

The other day, I returned home and while waiting for the elevator, I encountered a news reporter and cameraman. She was blond, perfectly put together, clutching an official looking CBS emblazoned microphone. She asked “are you Rachel?”

 My first name IS Rachel, but no one calls me that, except doctors and bill collectors. BUT I answered “yes, it is” – since it is. You have no idea what was going through my mind – I mean why would a newswoman be looking for me? I felt guilty, maybe I did something terribly wrong and I was about to be shamed on TV by Arnold Diaz. I couldn’t think what it could be but still – maybe in my sleep I crept out my house and robbed banks. Who knows? Anyway I said yes.

 And she said – “So you are David’s girlfriend?”

 Me – “Wait – are you talking about David Karp? The Tumblr guy? No I am not his girlfriend” – by this time I am waving my arms frantically, while the newscamera, with its big eye, is pointed right at me.

 The “news” reporter (because is this really news?) persists, “But you know him right? How cool is it that he is so rich and lives in such a humble building?”

 At this I guffawed on the inside. Oh I see, it is so cool that the rich walk among us commoners? I denied all knowledge of David or Rachel, his girlfriend and I fled the scene.

 The truth is I DID know that David Karp lived in our building. I have even said hi to him in the elevator. But I wasn’t about to rat out a neighbor – it is a known New York rule that celebrities walk and live among us and in exchange we ignore them.

 I wondered why the news camera; David moved in a while ago. Then I saw the news, he sold Tumblr for 1.1 billion to Yahoo.  This struck me as especially ironic because when the newswoman stopped me I was returning home from a strike line – a strike line of attorneys and legal workers!

 Nationwide, legal services, like most services for the poor has been gutted due to “austerity measures.” We live in two worlds, the world where the cities are broke, Head Start’s are forced to close, upeople are literally starving and Congress keeps talking about cutting more and more services. (see, http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/05/29/2073511/50-million-americans-are-going-hungry-as-congress-considers-gutting-food-stamps/). 

 Legal services attorneys are being laid off or just not hired. And in the case of Legal Services of NYC, they are being asked to take even more cuts and concessions. To put it in perspective – the starting wage of most public-interest attorneys in NYC is around $50k, while the average law school debt is between $150K-200K. The starting corporate attorney, who doesn’t know anymore than a starting public-interest attorney, is around $180K(or at least before the crash of 2008, I am not sure of exact amount now). I don’t know- they say that there is no more money for programs, for a safety net, for our schools, and YET there is money! Even Yahoo!, who lost its coolness ages ago, has money. I see the money walking down the streets of Wall Street, so I KNOW its there! 1.1 Billion for a social sharing site! It boggles the mind.

 I don’t blame David Karp, certainly he did not create the ever widening wealth divide. But it really makes my stomach hurt that some people can work so hard and contribute so much to the world and make so little while others make more money than some countries’ whole GDP.

 Anyway, welcome to the neighborhood, David. My kids go the public school that we can all see from our buildings’ windows. It is a “title 1” school which means the majority of children are from a low-income family, the majority of kids at the school qualify for free lunch and free breakfast. This is in a neighborhood where the average rent for a 1 bedroom is $3,000! We just found out that our free, after school program, Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, has lost it’s funding for next year. One look at the kids in the program, and you will see that it is a service to the working class, people of color who still manage to hang on in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Williamsburg. It is essential so that working parents can have childcare until 5:30pm – when they get off of work. We rely on it. I don’t know how much the funding is to run the program – but my guess is that it is a lot less than 1.1 billion. Just sayin’.