My new Think Again column is called “The Hate We Tolerate," and it’s here.

And I did this short piece for the Beast called “Was the Arizona Shooter an Anti-Semite?” and that’s here.

So, what about today in history? Let’s see:

1990 “Simpsons” premiered on Fox-TV
1978 Sex Pistols’ final concert
1914 Henry Ford introduces assembly line, for T-Fords
1784 Revolutionary War ends; Congress ratifies Treaty of Paris

1957 Humphrey Bogart
1898 Lewis Carroll


1948 T-Bone Burnett
Sometime between 1948 and 1960  Maureen Dowd
1960 Me. So buy the book, here. And there’s an excerpt up from the media chapter on Dissent‘s website, here.

Also, the alleged best song of the 1970s here, though I think I would have picked “Layla.” And my friend Susannah Heschel on “blood libel” here.


Hear Me Howling! is just the kind of thing for which I’m always looking, but almost never find. It’s a history book, a photo book and a  four-disc box set with four hours and 40 minutes of music, 72 tracks altogether of which 38 are previously unreleased. Everything you could want. Would have made a perfect birthday present, but it’s too late. Anyway, apparently this fellow, Chris Strachwitz, created Arhoolie Records in 1960, having spent the previous six years (and the next eleven) in the Bay Area, and recorded all these excellent people for his label pretty much under the radar, of which this is a history. (Great record store, too.)

Who, you ask? Well, first and foremost, Lightnin’ Hopkins. But also Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White, Skip James, Big Mama Thornton and Big Joe Williams, Mance Lipscomb, Lonnie Johnson, and Sonny Terry. Some rockers too, well sort of: Country Joe & the Fish, Bob Neuwirth, Joy of Cooking, the Hackberry Ramblers, Rev. Gary Davis, and zydeco master Clifton Chenier. What are you waiting for? It’s here.

And while we’re on the topic of valuable historical studies of blues archivists, Viking has just published, or is about to publish, Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World by John Szwed. I’ve not read it but there’s a review in the Guardian by Sean O’Hagen, who thinks it’s great. I’m going to read it, particularly after reading this view, but also because I’m pretty sure it’s ridiculously well-edited.

This just in from Gershom Gorenberg

I am trying to help a three-and-a-half-year-old Palestinian girl from the West Bank who suffers from CP get essential care at an excellent hospital in Jerusalem. The girl’s name is Dalal Rusrus. According to Dr. Eliezer Be’eri of Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, if Dalal is treated, there is even a chance that she might eventually be able to walk. If she is not treated, she will not even be able to use a wheelchair.

The Civil Administration is refusing to give her parents permission to enter Jerusalem, which makes it impossible for her to receive care. You can help by contacting the relevant spokespeople and asking why they aren’t getting permits. If the authorities know the world is interested, there is a reasonable chance that they could grant the permits to avoid the embarrassment. Please note: The girl needs to get a permit by Monday. So send an email today, and take ten minutes when you get up Sunday to make a phone call or three.

The Israeli hospital wants to help her. Israelis and foreign donors have contributed for her care. Instead of letting this humanitarian cooperation take place, the military bureaucracy is standing in the way.

After Dr. Be’eri examined Dalal in the West Bank in October, Alyn hospital invited her to come for a full examination. Two appointments were canceled because her parents could not get permits. Finally, her mother was given a permit and Dalal was given a multi-disciplinary examination on Dec. 20. 

Now Dalal is supposed to go to Alyn on Monday, Jan 17 for a preliminary treatment, and then be hospitalized on Jan 23 for two weeks. In order for the treatment to happen, permits are needed for her parents, especially for her father. The mother is caring for a 9-month-old infant and it would be extremely difficult for her to be the one to accompany Dalal. The family has no immediate relatives in the area who would be able to help out.

So what you do is write or call both of the spokespeople below and the Civil Administration health official, say that you are writing a story, and you want to know if the Osama, Sunya and Dalal Rusrus have received permits to enter Jerusalem and if not, why not. The name of the spokespeople link to their email addresses. You should include the ID numbers of Osama, Sunya and Dalal, which you will find below.

IDF Spokesman’s Office (Foreign Press Branch): 
Lt.-Col. Avital Leibovitz: 972 2-5485807/2, Fax: 972 2-5485825, Mobile: 972 57-8186248

Civil Administration, Judea and Samaria:
Capt. Amir Koren: 972 2-9977372, Fax: 972 2-9977341, Mobile: 972 50-6234081 

Civil administration health coordinator:
Dalia Basa: 972-2-9977084, or 972-2-9977022, Fax: 972-2-9977041 

Here are the ID numbers:
Osama Rusrus 909512386
Sunya Rusrus 903627057
Dalal Rusrus 420037004

You can find more information on her story at these links: 

Haaretz: Twilight zone / The long road to treatment

South Jerusalem: Saving Dalal

The American Prospect: Crossing Borders

For all further info to build the story, you can contact the B’Tselem human-rights organization’s fantastic health staffer, Suhair Abdi

Warmly, Gershom

Editor’s Note: To contact Eric Alterman, use this form.

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