January 23, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.


In Sunday’s NY Times Magazine, the homework assignment from hell.  “What does Newt Gingrich Know?”  by Andrew Ferguson, who endeavored to read each of Newt Gingrich’s 23 books . . . and lived.  A great piece about a man who is a true legend in his own mind.


“As I write, a stack of books tilts Pisa-like on my desk, each volume written by Gingrich and various co-authors. I got out my tape measure the other day and discovered that the stack is precisely 15¼ inches high — a figure that does not include the various revised and expanded editions that I have had Whispernetted into my Kindle, . . ”





THE NEW YORKER: Uglie Olde England

In this week’s New Yorker, a searing story by Lauren Collins about the town of Luton, which is blazing trails in the new frontier of Euro-racism. Unemployment, underemployment and culture have played parts in creating a festering mutual hate.  Muslims, for their part, contribute as well. Avery good read. Abstract here:

LETTER FROM LUTON about the English Defence League and the rise of the Islamophobic right in Great Britain. In February, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, delivered a speech on Islamist extremism to the delegates of the forty-seventh Munich Security Conference. In Cameron’s [Read more…]


Just in time for the annual rite of kids going off to camp and hating it because, well, they’re kids, comes “Postcards from Camp” by Simms Taback. Simms is a great magician of kid lit, blending some tough reality with a guiding common sense, deep love for kids, all tied together with great warm humor. A kid’s first year CARE package will not be complete without this.

The concept is not unlike the trilogy of  Griffin and Sabine, but concise to the subject, Postcards captures the terror of camp as well as the process of discovery.  The conceit here is that both father and son are gifted graphic artists and can create beautiful cards for each other (in the Taback manner) to deal with the various issues that come up. So the conversation goes on on the front of the cards as well as the the back.

Of course, you don’t KNOW how HOT it is in the city!!!!

[Read more…]


With the first GOP debate tonight we begin our quadrennial exercise in self examination (or self abuse) known as the presidential campaign.  And they’re off.  Here’s my cover for this week’s National Journal.  Thanks to Ron Brownstein, editor and Jan Zimmeck AD. The stage is set, we have the candidates, wait . . . don’t tell Perry and Christie. And the woman from Alaska . . . I mean Arizona.

Here are some head studies done for the cover:


[Read more…]

HAMZA al-KHATIB by Wesley Ryan Clapp

Every US president, starting with Richard Nixon and ending with Bill Clinton has paid Damascus, the capitol of Syria, an official state visit. This tradition came to an end with Bush the Lesser, the invention of the Axis of Evil, and the implementation of his doctrine. For Bush, problems in the middle east do not concern Israeli occupation of Arabic land, but stems from terrorism. And according to the Bush doctrine, terrorist groups are tied to petty Arabic despots, allowing them to continue oppression over their people. This of course continues the cycle that because these peoples are oppressed, terrorists are made and continue to attack targets.  Since democratic governments tend to be friendly to Israel and the west, the administration took action introducing and forcing “democracy” into the region, rather than help solve the occupation issues. The results of this of course have been a complete failure, simply furthering the tragedy and disaster befallen the Iraqi and Afghani peoples.
Now with Obama, the doctrine has shifted to one where the people of the middle east are allowed to elect any government they choose, just as long as the administration approves. If the US does not approve of the power, than sever penalizations and sanctions are made against the nation. So, is Syria a democracy according to the US western standards?
Is this a good thing?
Especially since it finally appears that evolution is growing from within the nation itself. The praying on frustrations of Arab youth, by both their own governments and governments abroad, seems to be sparking revolution across the region. The recent mutilation and murder of 13 year old, Hamza al-Khatib, by his own government, has only served to further move Syrian peoples against Bahsar al-Assad and his security forces. Socially, economically, educationally, and politically, the future promises progress for Syria, and Hamza al-Khatib is a symbol of that promise. Syria deserves a better future. And though true democracy is an unattainable ideal, the Arab world has already demanded that Libyan Colonel Moammar Qaddafi step down, along with Yemen’s Ali Saleh. It seems only a matter of time until popular demands against Bashar al-Assad reach the same intensity. To these young Syrian revolutionaries, I say the sky only is the limit. Peace between the Arabs and Israel is inevitable. Political progress, political modernization, more democracies, more freedoms, are inevitable. Even at this very moment, with mandates out of the ICC, and the coalitions in Brussels and Antalya, and the defections of Syrian troops, I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the end for al-Assad. My hope is that the leaderless Syrian uprising might find itself headed by a young, peaceful symbol who promises results previously unknown to the nation and to Arabia, as they continue to cultivate their Spring.


Wesley Ryan Clapp (His website HERE):
“Born in California, Raised in Illinois, Cultivated in Connecticut, Defined in NYC, Currently Based and Re-Branded in Mexico City DF.
I am delirious in my hunger to taste all the flavors of life in and through art, food, music, flesh, and in soul. Usually, I find myself in a constant state of flux, refining my senses not just to observe the moment, but to thrill to it! Most importantly, I am generally never afraid to appear the wildly foolish bumbler in pursuit of that fleeting effervescent moment of transcendence, when mere stimulus turns into inspiration. My ultimate goal is to befriend individuals who subscribe to an ethos of unapologetic hyperbole in opinion, wardrobe, and sensation. All I have to offer is the potential of rescuing ourselves from becoming self-appointed cynic-before-the-facts by plunging untrained into life. Let us challenge those around us to prod the gift of vision and art into a ritual sharing of the drug called wonder, the kind of sharing that elevates spiritual bonds from friendship to lovers.”