BHL’s Extraordinary Documentaries on the Kurds

Why do the Kurds and their struggles arouse so little interest or sympathy or solidarity around the world? It is because of the doctrine of political “realism,” of which the greatest theoretician is Henry Kissinger—and, to be sure, Kissinger, as practitioner of his own theory, was the founder of America’s tradition of betraying the Kurds. The Kurds in Iraq in the early 1970s staged a rebellion against the Baathist dictatorship in Baghdad, and they enjoyed some American support. But, in 1975, Kissinger, as secretary of state, deemed the rebellion to be no longer in the American interest, and America’s support disappeared. With what consequences? The Kurds suffered terribly. Baathism flourished in Iraq. And, in time, the United States ended up at war with the Baathists, anyway.

Realism, the doctrine, affirms that, in matters of international affairs, the strong count, and the weak do not. That is because realism entertains a utopia, which is that of stability. And stability can be achieved only by a concert of the big and the powerful. It cannot be achieved by the small and the weak. Therefore realism is hostile to rebellions for freedom, hostile to small nations, hostile to invocations of morality or principle—hostile with a good conscience, on the grounds that, in the long run, the stability of the strong is better for everyone than the rebellions of the weak. Realism is, in short, an anti-Kurdish doctrine.

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The Beirut Echo Chamber

Donald Trump may have divided America, destroyed the mainstream of the Democratic party and split the GOP, but he’s unifying the Middle East. Or at least Iran. According to the New York Times’ man in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, Trump has whipped Iranians of every class, ethnicity, and political tendency into a nationalist fervor.

“Iranians listened during the 2016 campaign as Mr. Trump denounced the Iran nuclear treaty as ‘the worst deal ever negotiated’ and promised to tear it up,” writes Erdbrink. “They watched in horror when, as president, he sold more than $100 billion worth of weapons to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and participated in a traditional war dance in Riyadh.” Trump’s partner in uniting Iranians behind their leadership, the Times explains, is “the young Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, whom [Iranians] see as hotheaded and inexperienced.”

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Today on Jewcy: Sorry, Josh Gad…

You may have heard about Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the 20-minute film playing before Pixar’s Coco. Despite attempting to cash in on the ongoing zeitgeist of the 2013’s Frozen, this short has been met with controversy— as in, people hate it. You can read tips online as to how avoid seeing it in the theater. At least one Mexican cinema refused to show it altogether. (After all— imagine going to the movies to see a story about a latino child in order to sit through nearly a half hour of snowman shenanigans— literal whiteness.)

But there’s another issue with Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. It takes place during the holiday season in the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, but because Disney must pay lip service to other cultures (Walt’s racist head is rolling over in its jar!), there are brief shots of non-Christmas traditions, including, yes, Chanukah.

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Roger Waters Hits Another Wall, Losing German Broadcasters’ Backing Because of His Support for BDS

When activist Malca Goldstein-Wolf learned that former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters was slated to play Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany next June, and that the concert will be sponsored by the public broadcast Westdeutscher Rundfunkshe (WDR), she took to Facebook to protest against using taxpayer money to fund a man she labeled a “Jew-hater.” Soon, more than 1,400 people joined her, citing Waters’s strong support for the BDS movement and his advocacy for singling out the Jewish state for criticism.

WDR listened. “I sense that not many words and arguments will convince you, rather only clear action,” Tom Buhrow, the network’s president, responded to Goldstein-Wolf’s petition on the social network. “The cooperation with the concert was ended.”

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Remembering the U.N. Vote That Paved the Way to the Birth of Israel

Seventy years ago today, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of a resolution that adopted the plan for the partition of Palestine, paving the way to the establishment of the State of Israel. It was a moment of great joy for Jews all over the world. Ezriel Carlebach, a legendary Israeli journalist, was in New York to cover the vote. His recollections were translated by Liel Leibovitz):

Seven thousand Jews crowded the Nicholas Hall one hour after the historical declaration, and 10,000 more blocked the entrance to the subway. Many thousands filled the streets surrounding the UN building. The morning papers announced that Weizmann and Shertok will soon give speeches. The Jews brought ladders and climbed up to the hall’s windows. They danced the Horah down Broadway. They grabbed the coat of any resident of the land of Israel they could find, surrounded him and danced around him. The police arrived to restore the order, but eventually it handed its loudspeakers over to the crowd. Anyone from the land of Israel climbed atop the cop car and delivered impromptu talks.

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How The Dead Kennedys Embraced Juvenalian Satire to Push Political Messages in Their Songs

Polyphonic takes a look at the manner in which the iconic punk band Dead Kennedys embraced juvenalian satire in the lyrics of their very pointed songs. Wielding ridicule as an abrasive weapon, the band took no prisoners in the political realm.

I think no band has ever been so good at this rebellious satire as the Dead Kennedys. One of the greatest punk bands of all time, their brilliant lyrics wielded satire like a well honed blade and used it to push their political messages…’Holiday in Cambodia’ shows how powerful satire can be as a tool of social commentary. The Dead Kennedys had it down to a science…

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The Beautifully Melodic Sound of a Glass Armonica

In 2013, composer William Zeitler demonstrated for the Toronto Star the beautifully harmonic sound of a glass armonica, a musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. The instrument is created by spinning custom blown wine glasses of increasing sizes nestled into one another to create the delicate, melodic sound.

William is one of the few professional players in the world on the ‘glass armonica’ — an instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761 (it works on the ‘wet finger around the wine glass’ idea). William has performed on the glass armonica internationally, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and with the Blue Man Group at the Hollywood Bowl.

In 2012, Zeitner performed an original composition entitled “The Last Transit of Venus” in celebration of the 2012 Transit of Venus.

via The Awesomer

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Host Your WordPress Blog With Laughing Squid

Laughing Squid Web Hosting

You may not realize this, but Laughing Squid is also an independently owned web hosting company with a focus on hosting WordPress blogs. The revenue from our hosting services helps support this blog.

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We’ve been hosting WordPress blogs for over a decade and have an amazing support team that knows it inside-and-out. If you are looking to host a WordPress blog, that’s what we do best, so give please us a try.

Our hosting plans start out at $4 per month. If you are interested in hosting with us, you can sign-up here.

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Woodworker Makes Manly Version of the Leg Lamp From ‘A Christmas Story’ Based on His Own Leg

Woodworker Paul Jackman of Jackman Works made a manly version of the iconic leg lamp from A Christmas Story based on his own leg and documented his major award winning design process.

This leg is an exact full scale model of my own leg. The leg and base are made from maple butcher block scraps from previous projects. The lamp shade is welded from scrap lengths of rebar and wrapped in pleather attached using paracord that looks like Carolina’s boot laces. The boot is attached using a threaded brass lamp rod through the entire leg with a nut on both ends. There are also a couple of screws into the toe of the boot/foot.

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Woodworker Makes a Manly Replica of the Leg Lamp From 'A Christmas Story'

image via Jackman Works

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips

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Off the Staff, Gorgeous Visualizations of Classical Music Plotted Into Vividly Colorful Patterns

Nicholas Rougeux, a self-described “Midwest web designer, data geek, fractal nut, and animal lover” has created “Off the Staff“, an amazing series in which he visualizes and plots different classical music pieces into colorful patterns. While these patterns might seem random, Rougeux uses a specific formula, which he graciously explains.

Each dot represents a note in the score. Pitch is indicated by the distance from the center of the image, while the time at which the note occurs is given by the angle from the 12 o’clock position. The size of the dot indicates the duration of the note, and the color of the dot is different for each instrument. The colors of the dots are different for each instrument, and are selected from a complementary palette designed to reflect the theme of the piece.

Prints of these beautiful musical patterns are available for purchase through Rougeux’s site.

via My Modern Met

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