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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 12/17/20

Good morning!


Last month I wrote about films based in Paris. Howard Rodman suggests another film called Les Misérables. It is by Ladj Ly and won the Jury Prize at Cannes, which Howard describes as:

“a taut, violent, moving tale of the Parisian suburbs — les banlieus, populated by the people you don't see in the typical movies about Paris — those of sub-Saharan African or Maghrebi descent. It's based on a real-life occurrence of police violence which took place in Montfermeil in 2008. The film's title is a tip of the hat to Montfermeil, where Victor Hugo lived, and where (fictionally) Jean Valjean met Cosette.”

Ed Nahmias suggests Emily in Paris with Lily Collins on Netflix. He calls it a “simple story filled with great scenes of Paris and sharp fashion on display.”


As I’ve stated numerous times in the past, the “defund the police” mantra is an unnecessarily provocative and divisive phrase. What is needed is better police training, real work toward police being community members and guardians, and de-escalation of force.

I am proud to know David Hochman and Bradley Mindlin, both co-founders of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Foundation. The organization is meant to educate the sheriff’s deputies and the public about de-escalation of force. The first event, held at the First AME Church, was sponsored by USC. This is a multi-month program offered to sheriff’s deputies.

The Children’s Institute, Inc. (“CII”) has been working for some time with the Los Angeles Police Department in the Watts neighborhood, supporting community policing. CII is building a new Watts campus, designed by Frank Gehry, which will house the Watts Gang Task Force, which has brokered peace in the community for nearly 15 years, and the LAPD Community Safety Partnership, a nationally recognized model for relationship-based policing. You can learn more about the many good works of Children’s Institute here:


Thank you, Geoff Gold, for pointing out a few more “words of the year”:

“Here’s the deal” (really a phrase, but popularized by Joe Biden)

“Defund the police” (sadly, a poor description of a different idea)

And the ever-popular “Covfefe”….!!!!!


As the same Bradley Mindlin noted, words, especially those coming from our leaders, have power and meaning. A word here or there can have profound effect (think broccoli consumption affected by Bush 41’s comment). But other words are unnecessarily inflammatory and do little to dial down the heat in our political dialog. Not all conservatives are trying to arm for the next civil war and not all are racists. Similarly, not all liberals are trying to abort all babies, up-end our democratic systems and convert the economy to a government-run monopoly. But when outlandish claims like these are made—by both sides—it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to find common ground and work toward compromise. In Bradley’s words, “let’s tackle the system and not each other!”

Have a great day,


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