Ben Sen's Blog

Politics, Culture and Religion Without Projections

Ben Sen

Ben Sen
New York, N.Y.,
December 31
I'd rather be judged on the basis of my posts than anything written in my bio. It's put down and gathered as a record of my experience and a response to what I see as the important issues in the world today. I don't pretend it's anything other than subjective. The purpose is to analyze, interpret, express opinions, challenge the status quo, open a few doors, and entertain. I heartily welcome ratings, comments and dialogue. That's what makes this media unique and valuable. It also keeps me honest and encouraged since I'm not getting paid. Take a risk and say something; it feels better. A "conversation" is essential for the growth of the individual and the collective. I have faith it extends beyond the confines of what is said here. "For it is necessary for awake people to be awake, or a breaking line may discourge us back to sleep, the signals we give--yes, no or maybe--should be clear: the darkness around us is deep." From A RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER by William Stafford


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1)  The Dems have little notion of loyalty.  I'm speaking as much of the constituency as the pols.  It's the anarchistic streak in them.  They mistake it for independence, not understanding the nature of progressive legislation is incrementalism, not ideological purity. … Read full post »

    Bob: I agree I failed in my assignment to "tell a tale of truimph that demonstrates careful planing and sly ingenuity."  I told the tale of triumph, but not the careful planning...part.

     It 's due to not having a hell of a lot to tell, but that wou… Read full post »

     How to interpret the midterms without falling into the ideological traps?

     That's the question, especially since a sucker is born every minute  and becoming one of them is not an aspiration.  It isn't enough to say historically the midterms a… Read full post »

OCTOBER 15, 2010 12:57PM

Israel: The Land of Shame

Two parts to the story: Avigdor Lieberman has declared his ultra-nationionalist agenda more clearly, moving to the right of Netanyahu to garner the paranoid vote, and Ahmadinejad has now travelled to Lebanon for the first time since he was elected in 2005 to rally the Herzbollah troops and the Shite… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 29, 2010 11:31AM

Why Don't More Muslims Read My Blog?

     Anybody who was there will never forget the day Richard Marner punched Sister Francis in the face.  It was the seventh grade.  He knocked off her black and white bonnet, revealing her nearly bald head and floppy ears.

     The entire class gasped… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 12:05PM

The Philosophy of the Midterms

     It's foolish to contend with the prevailing wisdom: all politics are local, but these midterms hold special qualities:  a) they are in the midst or follow the greatest recession since the great depression, depending on your point of view, b) they follow th… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 10, 2010 8:21PM

I Quit or A Scumbag is a Scumbag

I worked for awhile at a famous old bar in New York City.  I can't say the name and won't confirm it if you guess right.  I still have friends who work there for the scumbag who owns the place.

While I was there the owner died, the last of a… Read full post »

AUGUST 6, 2010 10:57AM

Movie Review: GET LOW

The movie GET LOW won't win an Oscar.  A year from now it will largely be forgotten by all but a few aficianados.  It's what Hollywood calls a "small movie" about real people and how "we" live.  It's box office draw won't put it in the top ten, twenty, or fifty for… Read full post »

JULY 27, 2010 8:17PM


I remember driving out to Brooklyn in the little yellow Ford Fiesta.

Something landed on the rear window and busted the glass.  I heard of a shop under the highway that sells them used.  I even had the new used glass installed and feel good about it.

It's the years when my da… Read full post »

JULY 8, 2010 8:51AM

Jon Stewart Escapes Sudden Death

Let's see if I have the facts straight:  a woman hired as a "correspondent" by the Daily Show gives an interview for the website  The actress Olivia Munn is said to describe the show as "a boys club where women's contributions are often ignored and dismissed."  (That's a q… Read full post »

Walter Cronkite had a series on Sunday called: "A World at War," if I remember correctly.  I'd watch it with my dad, but occasionally slip downstairs to watch it with my grandfather.

Gramps  lay totally  supine on his "divan" his head in a cloud of blue pipe smoke watching the twelve… Read full post »

JUNE 23, 2010 9:08AM

Visiting Mom at the ALF

Life is just a bowl of cherries, don't take it serious, it's too delirious

Jimmy Durante, as often sung by my mother

When dad died,  mother retired six months later and moved into their summer house in Northwestern Michigan, about 50ty miles South of the Upper Penninsula.  The plan had been… Read full post »

MAY 27, 2010 2:10PM

David Bromwich Vs. Ben Sen

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.  He's written many books of literary criticism and writes often for publications such as THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS and the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS on political topics.  The following blog is based on his article in the Ma… Read full post »

MAY 7, 2010 4:12PM

Mom and Her Sisters

I saw them that day

the three sisters from Old Detroit

just as it was on a cold morning on their way to school.

We were in Florida for Easter

walking in line down the sidewalk on the way to the family dinner.

The three of them shoulder to shoulder again… Read full post »

APRIL 29, 2010 1:16PM

The Boomers Vs. Tom Brokaw

I was born in the "first wave," of boomers--the same year the boys started to get off the boats after the big war.  Dad was a vet, a bona fide member of the "greatest generation."  While he didn't see combat, he served with honor.  That was the primary credential.  Nobody knew… Read full post »

APRIL 15, 2010 3:13PM

Israel: Not the Same Old Same Old

The response of the Obama administration following the confrontation with Vice President Biden during his first trip to Israel was not a fluke.

Neither was the testimony by General David H. Petraeus linking events in the Middle East with the "hostile environment" met by the US around the world.&… Read full post »

APRIL 9, 2010 10:20AM

The Horrifying Price of Denial

My father had a younger brother I'll call Al.  His actual name was much more distinctive, but I'll leave it at that.

Al was an anomaly in the family.  He was tall, maybe six two or three.  My dad was maybe five-six.  Nobody knew where the gene came from--in those days most… Read full post »

MARCH 19, 2010 6:24PM

Why I'm No Longer a Roman Catholic

     When I was a boy during the fierce Michigan winters, I looked out my bedroom window when I got up at seven.  The window glass was covered in frost, but I could see below the empty rectangular space in the snow where my grandparents parked their car.  They'd left for… Read full post »

If anybody thinks Netanyahu didn't know or at least suspect members of his coalition were going to start building the settlements in East Jerusalem, or if those who gave the orders didn't do so purposely at the time of Biden's visit, they haven't been paying attention to Israel for a long t… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 23, 2010 12:50PM

Are You Ready To Fly?

     I had a stop over yesterday at the airport in Atlanta and remember it was the first airport I ever flew into.  It was with my aunt Barbara, herself a flight attendant, on a trip to Miami over fifty years ago.  I recall seeing a sign on a bathroom door "Colored… Read full post »

JANUARY 22, 2010 3:29PM


I heard last week with considerable pleasure that Camille Paglia was "gone" from  I'd followed Ms. Paglia closely during the Presidential campaign with some initial agreement, then confusion, disbelief, repugnance, and eventually complete disinterest.

Alas, I learned earlier this week… Read full post »

DECEMBER 17, 2009 6:05PM

The Great Ken Macrorie Is Gone

What you love well remains, the rest is dross.  E. Pound 

You never heard of him, probably, unless you're a writer and had the  good fortune.

I met Ken in a Little Red School House at the bottom of a hill on the campus of Western Michigan University.  Ken brought in a… Read full post »

DECEMBER 9, 2009 4:53PM

The Act of Memory

Rain in New York City

(Not a Weather Report)

I remember the rain the first time--vaguely.  During the months after we arrived from Kalamazoo.  The days fast and full, so much to see and learn, so little time to ourselves.

That morning, the windows didn't light up on East 6th Street. … Read full post »

I spent more time than usual reading and watching the news this weekend on the fallout from Obama's decision to escalate in Afghanistan.

I found it appalling.  Even Frank Rich was a disappointment.  It seems to happen this way once they start looking to the Generals and ex-generals for inpu… Read full post »

That's what the decision in Afghanistan amounts to.

If he didn't make it "his war," and pulled out the troops quickly and two weeks later there was a suicide bombing at a schoolhouse in Kentucky his presidency would be over, all that he is attempting to accomplish would be thrown in… Read full post »