[guest post by Dana]
Yay, Friday! Hope you have nice plans for the weekend, and take some time to just breathe. Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to include anything you think would interest readers. Please make sure to include links.
First news item
Several Jewish people have been attacked in cities across the United States this week.
Authorities are investigating assaults in New York and Los Angeles as tensions flare over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid days of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza that have left hundreds of people dead.
A man was arrested after a 29-year-old Jewish man was punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed Thursday during an incident in New York’s Times Square…The assault involved about five to six men who allegedly yelled anti-Semitic statements…The suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Waseem Awawdeh, the NYPD said, and investigators are recommending several charges, including one hate crime assault… New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the man was assaulted by protesters.
A video recorded by a bystander shows several people kicking a man on the ground and hitting him with unidentified objects. It’s unclear what happened before the video began…
In Los Angeles, police are investigating after reports that several Jewish people dining at a sushi restaurant on Tuesday were targeted by a group of pro-Palestinian men who were driving past them.
A woman who said she was dining at the restaurant told CNN that the people in the cars began throwing bottles at them and yelled anti-Semitic slurs, including the words “dirty Jew.” Five people suffered minor injuries and no arrests had been made as of Thursday…
Or as L.A. Eater hilariously put it, there was a “scuffle”:
“Scuffle” is one word for it.
How eager everyone is to diminish this. https://t.co/BcEonXr8BY
— Caitlin Flanagan (@CaitlinPacific) May 20, 2021
And then they decided, no doubt after well-deserved criticism and mockery, that it was indeed an attack. But they aren’t fooling anyone:
Also in New York City:
The attacks are not just happening in U.S. cities:
Pro Palestine protestors beat an elderly Jewish man in Canada. They also sexually assaulted a Jewish girl (whom I just spoke with). This is not normal. pic.twitter.com/aSSdW9NAHN
— Eli (@EliKohn3) May 16, 2021
Trying to smash the windows of a kosher shop and a car in North London has nothing to do with Israeli government policy. It’s an antisemitic attack. One of hundreds in the U.K. over the last week. https://t.co/rFcamwfAji
— Ben Judah (@b_judah) May 21, 2021
Per the Anti-Defamation League, they have received more reports of possible anti-Semitic incidents since the conflict broke out in Israel, with 193 reports in the week after the crisis began, up from 131 the previous week. You can see a round-up of videos showing Jews being targeted attacked here. In 2021.
Second news item
U.S. House candidate Anthony Bouchard had a relationship with and impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 18, he told the Star-Tribune late Thursday, hours after he disclosed the relationship in a Facebook Live video to his supporters.
Bouchard, who did not specify the girl’s age in the video, said he went public with the information to get ahead of the story after learning that people were investigating it in opposition to his candidacy. A Wyoming state senator since 2017, Bouchard has risen in prominence since announcing he would challenge Rep. Liz Cheney following her vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump.
“So, bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, girl gets pregnant,” he said in the Facebook Live video. “You’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story.”
Bouchard told the Star-Tribune he married the girl when she was 15 and he was 19. At the time, they were both living in Florida…The two were legally able to get married at the time…
Third news item
The White House on Friday offered Republicans in Congress a counterproposal on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan that would lower its total cost from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion, press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Psaki called the counteroffer “reasonable” and said it shifted proposed investments in research and development, supply chains, manufacturing and small-business initiatives into other pieces of legislation, such as the Endless Frontier Act and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act, or the CHIPS Act.
The new proposal also reduces funding for broadband to match the Republican offer and reduces investments in roads, bridges and other major projects, she said.
Fourth news item
A Sunday school teacher was arrested at Thursday night’s Timberlane Regional School Board meeting moments after she and several other unmasked attendees showed up to demand an end to a school mask mandate.
The meeting was planned to be held in person at the district’s Performing Arts Center, but board Chairwoman Kimberly Farah quickly shut it down before it began and required that it be held remotely.
“I didn’t want to jeopardize the health of the staff and the students,” Farah said as several Plaistow police officers and state police troopers swarmed inside and outside the auditorium.
The abrupt end to the 7 p.m. in-person meeting happened shortly after Atkinson resident Jackie Wydola watched as police arrested her mother, Kate Bossi, when they entered the building without masks as required by school policy.
Fifth news item
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, during an interview on a conservative podcast this week, compared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to continue to require members of the House to wear masks on the chamber floor to steps the Nazis took to control the Jewish population during the Holocaust.
Greene, in a conversation with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody Real America’s Voice TV show “The Water Cooler,” attacked Pelosi and accused her of being a hypocrite for asking GOP members to prove they have all been vaccinated before allowing members to be in the House chamber without a mask.
“You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” Greene said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
Sixth news item
On May 6, an armed Fort Jackson trainee allegedly hijacked a school bus in Richland County, South Carolina, holding 18 children and a bus driver against their will. All the children were kept safe and the suspect, Jovan Collazo, now faces dozens of charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping.
And bus driver Kenneth Corbin is being hailed as a hero, with South Carolina Senator Mia McLeod introducing a resolution to honor and commend Corbin “for enduring courage in a life-threatening situation and offer heartfelt gratitude for his heroism,” CBS affiliate WLTX reports.
But Corbin said it wasn’t just him — the kids on the bus also helped thwart the suspect too.
“The kids started asking lots of questions to the suspect,” Sheriff Leon Lott, of Richland County, said during a news conference. “The suspect got a little frustrated.” …Corbin said the suspect had all the kids move to the front of the bus. “That’s when especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking questions.”
“They asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one,” Corbin said. “They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘No.’ They asked, ‘Are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘No. I’m going to put you off the bus.'”
“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘Enough is enough already.’ And he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off,'” the bus driver said.
Seventh news item
A group looking to oust Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon over his progressive criminal justice policies has been cleared to begin collecting the thousands of signatures needed to trigger a recall election.
The Los Angeles County Registrar approved the petition drive by the Recall George Gascon campaign, which must collect roughly 579,062 valid signatures – 10% of county voters — by Oct. 27, the agency told Fox News.
“They can now begin public circulation and signature gathering,” a Registrar spokesman said Thursday.
The drive comes amid mounting criticism of Gascon months after he was elected on a progressive platform to hold police officers accountable and create a more equitable criminal justice system in the country’s largest prosecutors office.
Desiree Andrade signed up to be an organizer with the recall campaign over Gascon’s prosecution of her son’s killers. Her son, Julien, 20, was killed in 2018 and his body was thrown off a cliff.
Under Gadon’s sweeping reforms, special circumstances charges against the three suspects were dropped, meaning they could be eligible for parole after serving 25 years in prison instead of a life sentence without parole.
“I felt at that that I was slapped in the face,” Andrade told Fox News upon hearing the news of the dismissal of charges during a Thursday interview. “Here you have a district attorney that took an oath to serve and protect the community and that’s far from what he’s doing right now.”
Eighth news item
Employees aren’t eager to go back full time. In an anonymous survey, the Los Angeles Times Guild found that only 1.4 percent of respondents want to work in the office five days a week. The most popular alternative was coming in two days per week (31 percent); almost as many people (28.2 percent) said they’d prefer not to be there at all. “I do all the work that I need to do, but if I do it in six hours then I don’t feel like I need to just be like, sitting there,” De León told me. “Whereas, when you’re in the office, there’s more of that performative aspect of work where you kind of have to look busy even if there’s nothing to be busy with.”
The biggest factor in not wanting to return to the office full time: commuting. A respondent to the LA Times survey remarked that “my therapist and I determined that my commute was a major contributor to my anxiety issues”; another described the trek as “soul-crushing.” Someone said it didn’t make sense to spend fifteen hours per week commuting when “there are no good stories to be found at my desk.” Matt Pearce, a technology reporter at the LA Times and president of the guild, called the survey “a damning indictment of what commutes do to workers; how much it hurts their physical and mental wellbeing; how much it impedes their family life; and in fact, how much it impacts their productivity.”
A linguist friend once told me that language is always in a state of flux, or perhaps more artfully, like a lava lamp:
“In fact, however, the most useful analogy to keep in mind is that a language is like a lava lamp. The “lava” slowly swirls and clumps and rises and falls in its fluid in an eternal, mesmerizing flow. Although constantly changing, in no sense is the clump of lava decaying—if one piece is beginning to drip or split into strands, we can be sure that a few inches away, other pieces are joining together. At any given point, we do not see the present configuration of the lava clump as somehow “better” than the one thirty seconds ago—the joy is in the infinite variations that the clump can take while at all times remaining consistent in its expressive motility. DIFFERENT SPINS”
― John McWhorter, Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English
Have a good weekend.