Is Trump Serious About Sending Migrants to Sanctuary Cities?

President Trump seems to be in favor of bussing detainees from the U.S. border to sanctuary cities in the U.S. like San Francisco. Is this a genuine policy proposal? Or a spiteful stunt? More at Vox.

This won’t help his Administration’s legal case in any lawsuit against sanctuary cities. And it would increase the likelihood that these migrants will remain in the U.S. for years under city and state protection. This is all too typical of the Trump White House’s self-defeating immigration policy record—like refusing to compromise on Dreamers, making immigration the main 2018 election issue, and shutting down the government over the wall.

…even if the proposal was crafted as a politically cynical move, it doesn’t explain why Democrats wouldn’t eagerly invite more illegals or undocumented asylum seekers into the districts and cities that are supposed to be the most welcoming. Pelosi had said herself Thursday, “Of course there’s room and there’s a need” for more immigrants showing up at the border. Okay, but not in San Francisco!

By any historical standard, the proposed White House plan to try to inflict some kind of damage on districts hospitable to immigrants by busing masses of detainees to those locations and setting them loose — like an “infestation,” a favorite characterization of this White House about immigrants from Mexico and Central America — would have unleashed a torrent of intense and sustained high-volume coverage… Instead, the din of incessant political noise can be expected to quickly obliterate any effort to give this latest development what would, in the past, have been its proper due as a screamer of a headline.

Will Netanyahu’s New Government Go Along with Trump’s Peace Plan?

President Trump has been extremely supportive of Israel since being elected in 2016. His recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan, however, were presented as stepping stones towards the release of his peace plan for Israel and Palestine. Will Netanyahu’s new government be as amenable to Trump’s demands as it was to his favors?

There’s a real chance the blueprint will be so tilted toward the positions of the Israeli right wing, and so biased against the Palestinians, that even Netanyahu’s most right-wing coalition partners will agree to some minimal concessions under the assumption that the Palestinian Authority will reject it anyway. But if the administration turns out to be sincere in promising a fair plan benefiting both Israelis and Palestinians, a pure right-wing coalition in Israel could become an obstacle for Netanyahu and Trump’s “peace team.”

Although he’ll be able to put in place legislation to keep him at arm’s length from the possibility of ending up in jail like his predecessor as prime minister, Netanyahu also knows that in this government he is likely to find himself a prisoner of the far Right when US President Donald Trump finally unveils his “deal of the century.”

Brace yourselves: The next elections might not be that far off.

…it is hard to see how Jared’s [peace plan] is not stillborn… Bibi is not going to accept a Palestinian right of return to Israel, or a sharing of the Holy City with a Palestinian state ruled by a successor of Yasser Arafat… As for Trump, he is the most popular man in Israel. And he is not going to force Bibi to do what Bibi does not want to do and thereby imperil his major political gains in the U.S. Jewish community.

Will Hindu Nationalism Win the Day in India’s Election?

The world’s largest democracy is headed to the polls. Will India elect Narendra Modi for another term? The Prime Minister is accused of pushing a Hindu nationalist agenda to cover for shortcomings in his economic policy.

Like other social media superstars, he has sold his followers a shiny fantasy that obscures their mundane reality… On the face of things, Narendra Modi has failed variously and spectacularly as India’s prime minister. After pledging to create millions of jobs, he has, according to a leaked government report, presided over a dramatic rise in unemployment among young Indians.

Mr. Modi may ride a surge of Hindu nationalism to re-election when polls close May 19. But he’s still a long way from reaching his goal of making India a global power, or catching up to China, whose citizens are nearly five times as wealthy as Indians in per capita GDP. If Indian voters give him a second chance, perhaps he’ll fulfill the promise of his first victory.

While Modi is doing his best to present his victory as inevitable, the outcome is uncertain. Compared with five years ago, the opposition is more unified, and Modi must contend with an anti-incumbency streak among Indian voters. Farmers have accumulated grievances, and their preferences remain an X-factor. Still, opinion polls suggest Modi will win reelection when the results of India’s multiphase general elections are announced May 23. With six weeks and almost a billion votes to go, anything is possible.

What Does Tiger Woods’ Victory Mean for Golf?

Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters on Sunday was golf’s ultimate comeback. In a time of tough news and national divisiveness, the return of Tiger to the top of his game is a nostalgic throwback to another era. More at New York Times.

Winning his fifth Masters on Sunday, Woods thus also secured his fifteenth win of a major. It was his first in 11 years. The beauty of Woods’ performance in Augusta, Ga. is made more special by its uniquely American character. Because it’s a story of redemption — of a player who just a few years ago seemed like he might not ever win a major again, and whom some foolish souls ruled out.

It was the modern version of Bobby Jones’s 1930 celebration in the streets of New York. Genius, by definition, is an extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity, and it is nearly the only way to explain what has happened over the last 730 days. At the 2017 champions dinner, between bites of Danny Willett’s mini cottage pies, Woods gasped that he was toast. Now? The only toast is one raised to the greatest winner in golf history.

However good you are at golf, it is a game of great frustrations and dashed expectations, repeated confrontations with your own limitations. Which is why the fans wanted to believe in him, wanted to think there is at least one man, Woods, who is good enough to overcome everything life has thrown at him. So they hoped for him and wished for him even after he made bogeys at the 4th and 5th.

Is Passover Prep Bringing You Down?

Passover has many positive qualities – but what Pesach host cannot but dread the approach of a holiday so associated with intense cleaning and nonstop cooking?

Cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and it’s never quite kosher enough, while my other obligations teem over, like a steaming tea pot screaming at me to take them off the stove. I want to take the rabbis who made these rules, hold their head between my hands and scream at the top of my lungs. I am furious at how these men, who would never withstand the rigors of modern fatherhood — never mind the demands of Jewish moms like me — are dictating my time.

To achieve the standard of clean that eludes me the rest of the year involves a deep dive, planned and executed with the precision of an FBI raid. Five weeks before the holiday of matzah and funky sponge cake, the monumental task begins of turning my house upside down and inside out. I’m an old hand at this, having made my first Pesach in 1977 as a newlywed dumb enough to shock herself badly while cleaning an electrical outlet.

If you’re getting anxious just thinking about the holiday, keep in mind that Pesach only happens once a year, and it usually goes much faster than we expect. We spend so much more time worrying about it and building it up in our heads than actually experiencing it. We have to remember that this holiday is a blessing. It’s when God directly intervened to free us and ensure we could reach our potential and become the Jewish nation. That wasn’t the only miracle of Pesach. It’s also the most celebrated Jewish holiday, and even the most disconnected Jews go home to their families to sit around the seder table and learn a little bit of Torah.

Can “Game of Thrones” Stick the Landing?

The return of Game of Thrones for its eighth and final season has fans filled with excitement and worry. After all, ending a beloved show can be as fraught as landing a rocket. Will the writers be able to pull it off?

But what if whatever grand, sweeping finish the Game of Thrones TV writers have in mind lets fans down? Does that retroactively diminish the shock and excitement of the hatching of Daenerys’ dragons, Tyrion’s multiple trials, the Battle of the Blackwater, the “Red Wedding,” the Hodor/”hold the door” origin story, or any of the other moments that convinced adult fantasy fans around the world to keep their HBO subscriptions active?

It shouldn’t. The journey is the journey, and is often more rewarding than the destination.

Communal experiences can be exhilarating and unifying. But they can also exclude and distort. Maybe, though, we can use the end of “Game of Thrones” to ask what all those think pieces failed to think about when they were thinking so uniformly about the one thing. Our cultural conversation will be richer if, after our long sojourn in Westeros, we can take this opportunity to travel to some other places.

HBO’s fantasy epic is staring down the quandary that faces all true water-cooler shows, and has been especially pressing in this so-called Golden Age of television… “Sex and the City” and “Breaking Bad” both whiffed, the former by going full fairy-tale, the latter by allowing its meth-cooking high school teacher to reinvent himself as an action hero even after acknowledging that he was a monster. “The Shield” succeeded by delivering an incomplete reckoning to crooked cop Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) that highlighted both the value of his pursuers’ persistence and the difficulty of achieving accountability. And “The Sopranos” achieved immortality and launched a thousand speculations with its now-infamous cut to black.

Today’s Hot Issues

Is Trump Serious About Sending Migrants to Sanctuary Cities? Will Netanyahu’s New Government Go Along with Trump’s Peace Plan? Will Hindu Nationalism Win the Day in India’s Election? What Does Tiger Woods’ Victory Mean for Golf? Is Passover Prep Bringing You Down? Can “Game of Thrones” Stick the Landing?