Friday, August 31, 2007

Astronomy - Neutron stars warp space-time - Provided by the Goddard Space Flight Center

Cool article about how Neutron stars can warp Space-Time!

And yes, sometimes I am somewhat geeky and studious! :) Besides, this is a REALLY COOL PICTURE. I mean artist's rendtion...:)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Toys "R" Us Recalls Stuff from...CHINA!!! My goodness! What a Surprise!

According to this Reuters article, Toy R Us has become the latest company to recall China-made products, in this instance, wood coloring cases Toys R Us sold online and at their stores between October 2006 and August 2007. Just lovely.

According to the article,

The spate of recalls has sparked concern over the quality of products made in China, and the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection will also hold a September 19 hearing on how to protect U.S. children from toys, jewelry and other imported products containing lead paint.
Here's how the hearing should go:

"Hey, fellow committee members, here's an idea: Let's start outlawing outsourcing and start having goods manufactured in the US again. This way, it's easier to keep an eye on what's going on in the factories and it'll be easier to enforce safety laws."

That's how it should go.

Here's how it will go:

"Well, fellow committee members, no one seems to have been hurt. The CPSC has stated no injuries reported, so no problem! Business as usual, China is our friend, and everything is all good. Meeting adjourned!"

Yeah, I know it's a bit simplistic, and in reality the meetings might last several days, but unfortunately, this will be the outcome. Big businesses are too powerful to allow something as unimportant as the US government to intervene in their questionable and highly suspect business practices.

It's all about the bottom line folks: PROFITS! So sad...:(

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Larry "Gay" Craig Never Been Gay

In yet another Republican scandal, Idaho Senator Larry Craig proclaimed that "I am not gay. I have never been gay." Read the article here.

Bush Fun!!

Nothing New Under the Sun!

3,000 years ago, Moses said:
"Park your camel, pick up your shovel, mount your ass,
and I will lead you to the promised land."

3,000 years later, Franklin D. Roosevelt said:
"Lay down your shovel, sit on your ass, light up a camel
this is the promised land."

Today, Bush will steal your shovel, sell your camel, kick your ass,
and tell you know there is no promised land.

Psalm 23 - Retold

Bush is my shepherd I shall not lie
He leadeth me beside the still farms and small towns.
He restoreth my doubt in the Repulican party
He guideth me down the path of untold debt for the party's sake.

My wages he will freeze but my expenses runneth over my income.
He cuteth taxes for the wealthiest surely.
Poverty and hard living shall follow the Republican party
and I shall live in a rented house forever.


Q: What did George W. Bush get on his S.A.T.'s?

A: Drool.

Ok, that's enough for now!!! :)

If you want more, click!

Time for a bit of Wal-Mart Bashing...

So someone, identifying themselves as anonymous, though I have a pretty good idea of who it is, quoted to me from the Mises Institute about how wonderful Wal-Mart has been for the economy. I responded, and noted how un-backed-up (is that a word?) the article was.

I was just perusing online and found this article on wikipedia, and article that uses actual citations for its research.

Here are some examples of the evils of Wal-Mart:

Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton once said, "I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment." You go, Sam!
Additionally, Wal-Mart's low wages have indirectly increased the costs of many social services programs, as many of its employees are forced to apply for government-funded health care, food stamps, and other programs to make ends meet. A 2004 estimate of the costs to California taxpayers was approximately $82 million per year. A report by U.S. Democratic Congressman George Miller cited that a 200-employee Wal-Mart store may indirectly cost federal taxpayers $420,750 to finance free-lunch and health-care programs for children of low-income Wal-Mart employees, tax credits for low-income families, and similar programs.
Then there's this. And this. And this. And don't forget about health insurance, which leads back up to the health-care program for children quote above... Or "imports and globalization... Oh, and here's a great quote from here, something not often brought up:
In the mid-1990s, Wal-Mart had a "Buy American" campaign, which was eventually cancelled. By 2005, about 60% of Wal-Mart's merchandise was imported, compared to 6% in 1995.
Funny, that. A "Buy American" campaign! And according to that article, 
In 2004, Wal-Mart spent $18 billion on Chinese products alone, and if it were an individual economy, the company would rank as China's eighth largest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia, and Canada.

Funny that too, huh?

Anyway, so yeah. Wal-Mart sucks!

HODS - Halachic Organ Donor Society

Enigma 4U, guest posting over at DovBear, pointed us readers toHODS - Halachic Organ Donor Society. See, most people, myself included, who are frum, believe it is assur to become an organ donor. Apparently, this is not the case. Many, many rabbis have cards from HODS, the Halachic Organ Donor Society. Some of these rabbis include two from my own community, Rabbi Moshe Tendler, Rabbi Maurice Lamm, Rabbi Norman Lamm, and a large number of others.

Check it out, and if you can, get your own Halachic Organ Donor Card. The fee is $18, and the return is the possibility of saving someone's life.

I know it's kind of morbid, but remember, when people die, all that's going to happen is their organs are going to rot away anyway. Why not actually put them to good use and save a life or two?

You Can Relax Now...:)

Ok, all you RWNJs! You can relax now! My stint over at DovBear has ended after a week of fun!

It was really funny. I posted about Jews living in Big Cities, and people got offended. I posted a viable solution to the price of kosher meat, which was to call your local wholesaler and buy from him, and people got offended. So, I figured, if people are going to be offended anyway, I might as well post something a little more controversial and did a "Chareidi" bashing post, though it was pretty toned-down for me. And funny, no one really got offended in the comments!!

I just don't get it! :)

Anyway, I'd like to publicly thank DovBear for the opportunity to post my thoughts on his blog and look forward to future opportunities to post there again. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some Comics I've Been Meaning to Post...

'Course, how will you know to if you can't read it...?

Funny thing about the artist of this comic strip: He's a die-hard Republican. But all this is the fault of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" idiocy, which basically lowers the level of education instead of tailoring for higher level and lower level. It's a good way to control the population and how much it thinks and how educated it gets, isn't it? :( I guess it's one of the good things about being frum and by default having my kid in a private school, and a really good one at that. They don't have to conform to this stupid "No Child Left Behind" program that is destroying the American Education System.

Well, at least the donuts are comforting...This artist is also a Republican, or at least a Conservative. But he, like the artist of Mallard Fillmore, is sick of the education system in this country being down in the dirt and is even more sick of the rampant outsourcing that is taking jobs away from Americans.

Here's what I find fascinating: Who, by definition, should be the "All-American" party, the one that espouses family values, is anti-flag burning, and supposedly fights for the American way of life? The Republican Party. The Democrats, us Liberal Wieners, are always so worried about everyone else. Republicans are the ones who are supposed to be worried about the US! Yet here they are, supporting Big Business to make it Bigger Business, supporting outsourcing to help Big Business grow, and destroying out Education System to keep most Americans dumb. Some party, huh?

Reflections of the Outside World...And Stargate-SG1

It's kind of ironic how the Chareidim keep heaping on the chumras, be they about Tznius, making it seem more Taliban-like than Jewish, or about Pesach, always adding to the list of what's kitniyos (Pot?! Come on!!!), or about concerts, or any other slew of things that have been reported in the news and on other blogs. All this has been, in essence, an effort to close themselves off from the rest of the world, claiming they want nothing to do with the outside world and that they don't want the outside world to affect them.

Good. If that were the case. Here's the irony, though: By becoming more and more right wing, or, in their eyes at least, "frummer" than the rest of the Orthodox world, they are more and more reflecting the outside, non-Jewish world, especially fundamentalist Muslims and Christians. They are not closing themselves off from the outside world. They are making themselves more like some elements in the outside world.

Look at the Arab Fundamentalists - They scream and shout about their religion and how it's the only "emes." Sound familiar? They make their women dress literally from head to toe in shapeless clothes. Sound familiar? Ok, thankfully, the Jewish RWNJ (RIght Wing Nut Jobs) aren't doing so yet, at least when it comes to covering up women's faces with burkhas. However, Rabbi Adlerstein, over at Cross-Currents, has inferred more than once that he won't mention who's who in the RWNJ world without upping his life insurance for fear of his life, the same way many "normal" "middle of the road" Arabs simply don't object to the fundamentalism because they like staying alive. On the other hand, Rabbi Natan Slifkin was put into Cherem simply because he mentioned theories of the age of the universe that, while mentioned by great Torah scholars of the past, are not as universally accepted or popular as say, the theory of Hakadosh Baruch Hu Bara Olam Yashan (God created an old [looking] world).

Look at the Christians - They espouse family values. That's all you hear from them, especially their politicians. But where do you hear about troubled families, messy divorces, and infidelity the most? The Chrisitian Right, especially their politicians.

Then there's Chareidi politics. Pretty much the same as that of the Christian Right. It's practically halacha to vote for the Republicans because they are so good for "family values" and for religion. Never mind the history of Christian hatred toward Jews. Never mind the Halacha that Eisav Soneh L'Yaakov - Eisav hates Yaakov. Never mind they believe the only way their "Savior" will come back will be if the Holy Land is not in the hands of infidels, and Jews don't happen to be infidels (we just need "Saving"). Never mind that that idiot Bush's White House policies and his illegal war in Iraq has caused the Arabs to hate Israel (which they see as the US's proxy in the Middle East) and Jews even more than they already did (not that they needed an excuse, but Bush gave them one anyway - is that how a "friend" of Israel acts?), making him pretty bad for Israel and the Jews, not as great as so many people, especially many in the RZ community, believe.

My wife and I are big fans of a show called Stargate-SG1, which, sadly, ended it's ten year run in June. The Episode titled "Line in the Sand" made a very poignant point about people in authority corrupting stories in religious texts to fit their own agendas. In this particular episode, one character, Tomin, had been reading from the "Book of Origin," a ficitional Bible of some very powerful beings trying to force their religion on the rest of the galaxy. In the story, the main character, Markon, did not want to accept the religion and left his village. However, he had second thoughts, accepted the Ori, and was accepted back.

The Prior, the equivalent of a priest or a rabbi, of the Ori (hence - Origin), skewed this story and instead decided that the story meant the village that took him back in was destroyed, thus using the story to achieve his own goal of destroying a village that would not accept the Ori in the Stargat episode:

"The village will be destroyed. They have been touched by evil. There is no salvation for them. Markon walked away from the Ori to satisfy his hunger. But no matter how much he ate, he did not feel full. Realizing his mistake, he ran back to the Ori. But they denied his pleas and struck down the village that welcomed him back, and the hands of the Ori enveloped all those who welcomed him back. The village was destroyed. All those who stand by and accept transgressions must be punished."

Said Tomin to the Prior, "Forgive me Prior, that is not the implication of the text. The Ori granted forgiveness when Markon realized his mistake and blessed the village with their light for showing him the way back to the Path."

The Prior roared back at him, "You DARE to question my judgement?!" "No," said Tomin. "It's just not how I was taught."

"There are many words, but only one TRUTH," retorted the Prior.

And this is what's been going on in the Chareidi RWNJ world. No longer is the precept of Shiv'im Panim LaTorah accepted. Texts are skewed or misrepresented when convenient. There can be only one way, their way, and how dare someone question them or say something not in line with what they and their gedolim decree? And if you go against them, it's Cherem! Which is pretty much the same as destroying the village. Let's desroy the person.

I truly believe that these RWNJs are simply no longer Torah Jews. Let them go about their merry way, make their own lives miserable, and simply leave them to their own devices until they self destruct. The rest of the Jewish world can be there to gather in the Chareidi "kids at risk" and teach them how to be happy, normal, Torah observant Jews.

It's really time to simply discount this tiny minority of people who think they are the only Emes and start rebuilding the rest of the Orthodox world as a normal society/religion without all the craziness of the RWNJs. And if they don't like it, well, tough. Let them put the rest of us in Cherem.

I've cross-posted this at DovBear et al

Monday, August 27, 2007

Anger at Torah Leadership

An article by Rabbi Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn Direct and to the point. Maybe more Rabbonim will start to get the idea as well. One can only hope. I'd love to get in touch with this guy...

Gonzales Retires...

Quote from this Reuters article:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned from office on Monday, ending a controversial tenure as chief law enforcement officer that blemished the administration of President George W. Bush.
Hmm. Is this the ONLY thing that has marred the Emperor's (and his administration's) reign? If only...:)

Ramblings About Life in the Big City...

It's always been a source of puzzlement to why Jews, doesn't matter what type (O, C, R, Nothing), insist on living in big, giant cities, like New York and Los Angeles. I mean, honestly, what's the attraction?

I'm a big city person. I've lived in both New York and Los Angeles. In fact, I mostly grew up in Los Angeles (minus about six years in Israel). The problem with these places, aside from the obvious jokes one can make about both LA and NY, is they are TOO DAMN BIG!! But, I hate the big city. New York was awful. People there acted horribly, were quite rude, and it was way too overcrowded. In LA, people were a bit nicer, but again, there were just too many!

When a community becomes so huge as to number in the upper hundreds of thousands people, or even in the millions, that community ceases to be a community. Oh, sure, there are smaller shuls which one may join, larger ones in which one may be active. And within the confines of those shuls, certainly, there is some sense of community.

But what about community in a larger sense? A community to which everyone who is Jewish belongs? That dies when a community becomes a population. And that's the difference between a community and a population. A community, like the one in which I currently live, is close-knit, friendly, and gives you a sense of belonging. Shuls do things in conjunction with other shuls. They support each other in many endeavors.

On the other hand, a population is just that, a population. A population does not give one the sense of a community. You are invisible most of the time, unless you are within the framework of your shul or social circle.

I've never understood why Jews tend to congregate in large metropolitan areas. Certainly, with New York, which was the immigrant drop-off point, it made sense that a Jewish community would form there. But why stay? Even more relevant, why MOVE there?! Again, I understand NY has much to offer in the way of conveniences, restaurants, etc. But as someone who lived there, as someone who knows people who live there, it's just awful!

LA has become similar, unfortunately. It's even become a joke the New Yorkers like to call LA New York West.

When you lose a sense of community, you lose a sense of self as well, I believe. You lose, even, a sense of worth, unless you are very influential in many circles, and usually that means lot of money. What about all the rest who aren't wealthy?

Here's the other problem: There are so many beautiful small cities or towns where a Jewish person can settle quite comfortably and spend thousands, even hundreds of thousands, less than it would cost to live a Big City. In my new town, for instance, which has a substantial Jewish community, and even a Jewish Federation that is friendly toward the Orthodox community (don't know about New York, but certainly not the case in LA - they hate Orthodox Jews there!), a house that would have cost between $900,000 to $1.2 million in LA costs between $125,000 and $300,000 here. And in LA, the house would be smaller as it would have no basement and a tiny backyard. And it would only be three bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms. Here, it would be four or five bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, have a finished basement and nice sized backyard.

Take it even further. On our drive from LA to where we currently live, we went through some really gorgeous, gleaming towns that are just dying for an opportunity to have their community expand a bit. Even better, what about starting new communities, living in truly amazing places like the Rocky Mountains? On our way here, we passed through the Rockies. Let me tell you, I've never seen anything so beautiful in my life. From the bright night sky to the clean air, from the Colorado River to the wooded towns all along the way, all I could do was say "Ma Rabu Ma'asecha Hashem!" It was so clean, so crisp, and so incredibly beautiful. And yet, no Jews lived there. What's up with that?! If I weren't frum, or not Jewish, our drive would have ended right there. We'd have stopped, found some way to make a living, and settled there.

This is something I've always wondered. Why do Jews live in big, ugly cities instead of in beautiful places?

I've crossedposted this at DovBear et al


My kid starts Kindergarten today!! School until 3:30 PM! WOW! It's like a whole new world for me! I wish him lots of success and fun this next step along his educational journey!

And D, I love you very much!!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Republican senator: Bush should begin Iraq withdrawal

Click! Another Republican jumping (sort of) the bandwagon!! Or is warwagon?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Bubble too Insular...

Food for thought...

Finally, the Health Insurance Companies Get It ALL :(

Yes. Life is a pre-existing condition! I'm waiting for this to actually happen.
"Hello. You've reached Suckers' Insurance Company. None of your claims will be paid as you have a pre-existing condition that is automatic when you are born: From the moment of birth, you were already dying. Therefore, while you will continue to pay our premiums, we will not be able to pay any claims due to your pre-existing condition. No one is available to take your call as you are unimportant. Have a great day!" Ick.

No Answer...:)

Gee. I wonder why?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Giyur and Kiruv: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Last week, Rabbi Harry Maryles of Emes Ve-Emunah posted a very insightful essay about the bigotry of the Chareidi/Yeshivish community against Baalei Teshuva. In it, he laments the treatment of Baalei Teshuva as second-class citizens - frum, but will never quite be completely accepted by the "FFB" world. Some of the comments on this post were great (including, of course, those of Yours Truly!). Some were disgusting. One of my comments quoted the famous Chazal statement "B'Makom She'Ba'alei Teshuva Omdim, Ein Tzadikim Gemurim Yecholim La'Amod" - Ba'alei Teshuva stand in a place where even completely righteous people cannot stand. The meaning of this Chazal is clear - Ba'alei Teshuva hold so lofty a level due to their Mesirus Nefesh in giving up a Torahless life and devoting themselves to Torah and Mitzvos, that even complete Tzadikim, who have always been devoted to Torah and Mitzvos, can never reach that level.

The Chareidi twisting of this Chazal was nauseating: One person, who uses the handle "Chareidi," had this to say about complete tzadikim not being able to reach the level of Ba'alei Teshuva: "I believe it was the Kotzker (might be wrong on that) who said that tzadikim gemurim can't stand there 'vaal tzi shtinkt'." Chareidi | 08.15.07 - 2:36 pm. Do I need to translate that? Essentially, it means "because it stinks [there]."

That's just lovely, isn't it?

But is the way the FFB community set up the "Kiruv" system the correct way? I'm going to have to say no. And this includes ALL of them: Chabad, Chofetz Chaim, Aish, Gateways, etc. The whole kit and kaboodle got it WRONG! You know why? Because every single one of the organizations claiming to "do Kiruv work" is being dishonest with those "being Mekareved."

New Ba'alei Teshuva are not told how their lives will be. They are not told they will be second-class citizens. They are not told it will not be easy to find a shidduch in the Chareidi/Yeshivish/FFB world. And they are not told everything they need to know about being shomer Torah U'Mitzvos. They are fed the information a little bit at a time. The feeders, these organizations, control how much a BT knows and when the BT will know it. They do so because they are thus able to control many aspects, if no all of them, of a BT's life.

Perhaps it's time to drastically change Kiruv. People who don't know halacha should not immediately be thrust into being completely shomrei Torah U'mitzvos. They should first be taught EVERYTHING they need to know BEFORE they "become" frum. I know there are issues with this, such as the fact that since the BT is already Jewish, every moment he or she is NOT keeping Shabbos, or kashrus, or whatever, is a problem because they are transgressing certain mitzvos, both negative and positive.

But I think, perhaps, if they are treated as a Ger, a convert, things might be drastically different. A Ger, correctly, is taught all he needs to know BEFORE he or she converts. This is done because the Ger needs to know EVERYTHING they can about being a Torah observant Jew.

Should a BT, who is already a Jew, not enjoy the same courtesy? Should someone who is wiling to give up his/her way of life not be told up-front what it's all about, including all the how-tos, BEFORE taking the plunge? Again, I understand the big issue here, unlike the case with a Ger, is that the potential BT is already Jewish and should be observing as much as possible as early as possible. On the other hand, when God gave the Israelites the Torah at Har Sinai, he didn't expect them to know everything at once. He commanded Moshe Rabbeinu (which, by the way, is why he is RABBEINU) to TEACH Bnei Yisrael the Torah so they could keep the Torah. The Israelites promised "Na'aseh V'Nishma" - we will do and we will hear, in that order, but that promise is more esoteric. They promised to keep whatever God had in mind for them. But the needed to learn everything they promised to keep!

How is a Ba'al Teshuva any different. Before his commitment, he kept nothing. Now, he comes and is committed to keeping Torah and Mitzvos. That is the first step. The next is to teach him what he needs to know. The last is to take that final plunge.

Remember also, doing it the way it's done now is no guarantee a person will remain frum. I know plenty of people who didn't because of faulty instruction and blatant dishonesty. If Kiruv organizations fear the BT leaving the fold if the organization is honest with the BT, then the organization is not teaching anything near to what the Emes should be, are they?

This is a theory in the workings, in development. Any thoughts on how to improve it?

Friday, August 17, 2007


OMG!!! This site is a GREAT!!!! I LOVE COMIC BOOKS!!! Did you ever want to know what super-heroes  belong to what nationality or religion? Click to find out!! Want the Jewish ones? Click here to find out!!

Thanks to Dry Bones for the tip! :)

Ah! Now I can go into Shabbos HAPPY!!! :)

Where All the Chumras Originated

There's a little known absolute fact in the Chareidi/Yeshivish world that God gave many more than Ten Commandments on Two Tablets at Har Sinai. God gave, in fact, MANY commandments on many tablets! Here, finally, we present photographic proof of this. And this MUST be why Chareidim believe all the Chumras are Torah Mi'Sinai! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition

Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition

Man, I love Ferengis!! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Right-Wing Conservative (Politically) and Right Wing Chareidi POV...

I'm talking about the cat here, folks. The cat. In this strip, he's a RWNJ (Right Wing Nut Job). And of course, this is unfortunately the case with most RWNJs...

I found this strip especially timely based on the post right below this.

Being a Ba'al/as Teshuva in the Chareidi World

I just read this very interesting and disturbing post over at Emes Ve'Emuna, Rabbi Harry Maryles' blog. He discusses Ba'alei Teshuva being treated as second class citizens in the Chareidi world. They are shunned, he says, especially when it comes to making shidduchim, rather than being seen as people who are on a much higher level than anyone FFB.

In fact, Chazal said that Ba'alei Teshuva stand in a place not even a complete tzadik can reach. Chazal put in safeguards against treating Ba'alei Teshuva like trash, and once again, because it's inconvenient, the Chareidi world ignores Chazal's wisdom. Instead, they prefer to depend upon an obscure halacha that states that all Ba'alei Teshuva have in them a permanent "Pegima" - a blemish which can never be cleansed.

This is a sick attitude. One person even had the gall to comment that since Ba'alei Teshuva are Bnei/Bnos Niddah (children born without their mothers going to the mikvah after their period and whose mothers therefore became pregnant in a state of still being a nidda), they are, OF COURSE, second hand citizens. This same person believes that there is no such thing as spouses cheating on each other on the Chareidi world. My first reaction was to laugh hysterically at this last because I KNOW people who cheated. There were two women in my Chareidi town on Israel who "opened" their doors (and other things) the male public after the husbands went to work.

This is just another piece of evidence, more indication, that the Chareidi world is no frummer than the Reform one, and perhaps even less so.

In the News Today - Restating the Obvious...Again...

In the news today, courtesy of Arutz 7:

Rudy Giuliani, pandering for the Jewish American vote has stated a Palestinian state would be a bad thing because it would support terrorism...

Democratic Congressmen, uh, pandering for the Jewish American vote, have "come the realizations that Yasser Arafat was an impediment to peace and "see hope" in the current leaders of the PA, Abbas and Fayyad. Never mind both are proven terrorist. Abbas sure looks like a distinguished older gentleman, but it doesn't change the fact he was and still is a terrorist who funded the Munich Massacre in 1972. And funny how Fayyad "accidentally" paid Hamas "employees" a years' worth of salary. But, oh, yeah, they're the answer alright. Sure. Uh huh.

Arab Gaza Not Faring Well. Gee, what a surprise!! Neither did Afghanis after the Taliban takeover... First line in this article: "A public opinion survey carried out in Gaza shows that Hamas rule there has not made its populace very happy." Surprise, surprise! Hamas sucks!

And that's today's edition of "Stating the Obvious...Again..."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chinese Toys Strike Again


Holy Quagmire, Dickman (I mean, Batman)!!

A friend just forwarded this link to a video of Cheney talking back in 1994 about why Bush Sr. was right to NOT go to Bagdad and Saddam. Check it out! Oh, and his last statement?

And the question for the president, in terms or whether or not we went on to Bagdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans was Saddam worth? And our judgement was, not very many, AND I THINK WE GOT IT RIGHT...
"And I think we got it right..." Wow! Bit of a different person from the egomaniacal nut case we have as VP now, isn't it? I just wonder what changed in the ensuing years to cause him and his boss (or is it the president, and his boss Dick?) to change the attitude to the point where they lied to the American public about the "WMDs" and started a war has cost nearly 4000 American casualties and left the US friendless and without worldwide respect. Wow.

Any Day in History

I just found a great site that will let you look up any day and it will give you that day's historical events, birthdays, and deaths.



So, not too long ago, I worked for B of A (I quite 68 days the company it took over became B of A). B of A being Bank of AMERICA. Well, early that year (2006), all B of A employees received a pin we were all supposed to wear on our shirt collars that said "Bank of America - Official Sponsor - USA." Under USA was a logo of the Olympics. B of A was the United States Sponsor of the United States Winter Olympics Team. One of my kids found the pin and gave it back to me. I happened to look at the back to see where it was made. Can you guess where the pin was made?

If you guessed the back of the pin says "Made in America," you would be wrong. On the other hand, if you guessed China, you guessed right.


Monday, August 13, 2007

"Gedolim" Going too Far...

It seems Mordechai Ben David (MBD) has cancelled two concerts he had scheduled in Eretz Yisrael based on the ban a couple of weeks ago because his own Rebbe, the Gerrer Rebbe, signed the ban as well. Interesting. MBD is probably the Gerrer Rebbe's most famous Chassid, and now the Gerrer Rebbe is taking away a large portion of MBD's livelihood. What happened to the decades before this during which MBD did perform, both in Eretz Yisrael and abroad, to separate seating audiences (MBD's policy, by the way, was to NEVER perform to a mixed seating audience)? I'm sorry, but this is going too far. Of course, the "Gedolim" don't seem to care about going too far and taking away people's parnassah, do they? So sad... Of course, it kind of makes me lose respect for MBD for being such a sheep who says "Meh."

And, don't miss this fascinating post by Rabbi Maryles over at Emes Ve-Emunah. 

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bush Starts Off by Defying the Constitution

I just found this great article by Alan M. Dershowirtz, Bush Starts Off by Defying the Constitution by Alan M. Dershowitz, "Bush Starts Off by Defying the Constitution." Talk about seeing the "Nolad!"

This is a truly amazing article! Check out these very poignant statements:

The very first act of the new Bush administration was to have a Protestant Evangelist minister officially dedicate the inauguration to Jesus Christ, who he declared to be "our savior." Invoking "the Father, the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ" and "the Holy Spirit," Billy Graham's son, the man selected by President George W. Bush to bless his presidency, excluded the tens of millions of Americans who are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing by his particularistic and parochial language.
And that's just his opening salvo! He continues:
The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that George W. Bush's America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as fully equal citizens. In effect, Bush is saying: "This is our home, and in our home we pray to Jesus as our savior. If you want to be a guest in our home, you must accept the way we pray."

But the United States is neither a Christian nation nor the exclusive home of any particular religious group. Non-Christians are not guests. We are as much hosts as any Mayflower-descendant Protestant. It is our home as well as theirs. And in a home with so many owners, there can be no official sectarian prayer. That is what the 1st Amendment is all about, and the first act by the new administration was in defiance of our Constitution
Then, he brings up a letter George Washington wrote the Rhode Island Jewish community,
that in this new nation, we will no longer speak of mere "toleration," because toleration implies that minorities enjoy their inherent rights "by the indulgence" of the majority. President Bush should read that letter and show it to the Rev. Franklin Graham, who told the media on the day before the inauguration that his prayer "will be for unity"; instead, it was for the Trinity. Uniting for Jesus may be Graham's definition of unity, but it is as un-American as if a rabbi giving the official prayer had prayed for the arrival of the "true Messiah," thus insulting the millions of Christians who believe Jesus is the true Messiah.
Dershowitz concludes powerfully:
The inauguration ended with another Protestant minister inviting all who agree that Jesus is "the Christ" to say, "Amen" (ironically, a word that originated in Jewish prayer or, alternatively, originally a Jewish acronym for "God, the King, forever.") Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat from Connecticutt), along with many others who do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, was put in the position of either denying his own faith or remaining silent while others around him all said, "Amen." This is precisely the position in which young public school students are placed when "voluntary" prayer is conducted at school events. If they join in prayer that is inconsistent with their religious beliefs, they have been coerced into violating their conscience. If they leave or refuse to join, they stand out as different among their peers. No student should be put in that position by their public schools at an assembly, just as no public official should be placed in that situation by their government at an inauguration.

If George W. Bush wants all Americans to accept him as their president, he made an inauspicious beginning by sandwiching his unity speech between two divisive, sectarian and inappropriate prayers.
Well, it's almost seven years later, and Bush has continuously trampled on the Constitution, which has apparently, at least to him, Cheney, and the rest of the administration, become a completely meaningless document rather than the set of laws upon which the Founding Fathers based the creation of the United States of America. How sad...

And for Further Research...

I did this Google Search using key words "Bush Defying Constitution." Check it out! This is not a person who should be President of the United States of America.

The Obvious Stated Yet Again...But WIll Anyone Listen? Probably Not...:(

According to this article from Arutz 7,

Yoram Ettinger, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations, has released a paper nixing the idea that the creation of a Palestinian state would solve the Middle East crisis.
Keep in mind, this person isn't some layman spewing nonsense. He is an expert in his field and knows what he is talking about. And he states the Arab World's attitude toward Israel has nothing to do with the Palestinians. Read the article. It's self-explaining.

One note from yours truly: Should Israel capitulate to the Arab offer of "peace" by giving away the land it conquered in self-defense over several wars, all it will do strengthen the Arabs to a point where they may be able to actually win a war against and Israel and destroy the Jewish State. This would NOT be a good thing, folks.

Arafat - Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Child Molester...

I came across this Arutz 7 article today. It seems Arafat died of AIDS, as has been suspected in the years since his death. Of course, the Palestinians say

Arafat had the HIV virus, but is holding on to the claim that Israel was responsible for his ultimate demise, in a French hospital.

Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi told the Jordanian Amman News Agency that Arafat did, in fact, have AIDS – but insisted that the HIV virus was injected into the chairman’s bloodstream, and not the result of illicit sexual activity.
Isn't that nice? Israel still gets blamed for Arafat's death by AIDS. Never mind the accounts from more than one source that Arafat was quite gay (as in homosexual, not happy...), as reported from more than one source:
A 1987 book by Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa, the deputy chief of Romania's intelligence service under Communist dictator Nicola Ceausescu, may explain how Arafat contracted the sexually transmitted disease.

In his memoirs "Red Horizons," Pacepa relates a 1978 conversation with the general assigned to teach Arafat and the PLO techniques to deceive the West into granting the organization recognition. The general told him about Arafat’s nightly relations with his young male bodyguards and multiple partners. “Beginning with his teacher when he was a teen-ager and ending with his current bodyguards. After reading the report, I felt a compulsion to take a shower whenever I had been kissed by Arafat, or even just shaken his hand," Pacepa wrote.

Senior US intelligence official James J. Welsh, the National Security Agency's former PA analyst, told WorldNetDaily, "One of the things we looked for when we were intercepting Fatah communications were messages about Ashbal [Lion cub] members who would be called to Beirut from bases outside of Beirut. The Ashbal were often orphaned or abandoned boys who were brought into the organization, ostensibly to train for later entry into Fedayeen fighter units. Arafat always had several of these 13-15 year old boys in his entourage. We figured out that he would often recall several of these boys to Beirut just before he would leave for a trip outside Lebanon. It proved to be a good indicator of Arafat's travel plans. While Arafat did have a regular security detail, many of those thought to be security personnel - the teenage boys - were actually there for other purposes."
Oh, and apparently the US discouraged Israel, according to John Loftus, in order to discredit Arafat:
Even before Arafat died, US author and intelligence expert John Loftus said on the John Batchelor Show on WABC radio on October 26 that it was widely known in CIA circles that Arafat was dying from AIDS. Loftus further said that was the reason the US kept preventing Israel from killing Arafat – to allow him to be discredited by the ailment.
Well, folks, I just report 'em as I find 'em!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Godzilla's on the loose!!


More on Barak and The Anti-Semitic Reuters!

Reuters got in on the action and reported the story below in this today as well.

Interesting turn of phrase Reuters had about Barak's peace attempts back in 2000:

Barak failed to make peace with the Palestinians during his brief tenure as prime minister despite a lengthy Camp David summit with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Hmm. Note the verbiage here: "Barak failed to make peace..." Did Reuters already forget what happened nearly seven years ago?! Barak offered that terrorist piece of crap Arafat 98% of what Arafat wanted for the Palestinians. Barak was willing to go further than any Israeli leader before or after him. Arafat's response? A second, even more deadly than the first, intifida that has still not ended seven years later.

This is Arafat's legacy in death: Death. And poverty for his people. And who gets blamed? "Barak failed to make peace..." What happened to Arafat's responsibility in all this? Mr. Nobel Peace Prize winner? Amazing how Barak got blamed for failing to make peace with a terrorist who never, ever wanted peace in the first place. Proof? This was the best deal Arafat was EVER going to get. His response: F**K YOU, and so began unprecedented bloodshed in the State of Israel.

But still, it MUST have been the Jews' fault. It must have been Barak who failed to make peace with the Palestinians, not the other way around...

Ehud Barak - Feeling Guilty?

Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime Minister, current Israeli Defense Minister and Chairman of the Labor Party, said something very right wing yesterday! He said Hamas is just "bunch of murderers," and that there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah. Heh! His remarks, according to this Arutz 7 article, were

so right-wing that even a Knesset Member of Yisrael Beiteinu, the party headed by Avigdor Lieberman, congratulated Barak for his words.
Awesome!! Barak continues:
"The Israelis have healthy intuition," Ehud Barak said, "and they can no longer be fed fantasies of an imminent agreement with the Palestinians... No agreement can be made with the current Palestinian leadership, and Olmert's meetings with [Fatah chief] Abu Mazen are just packaging and air, nothing more."
Ok, if a left-wing Israeli politician is saying this, maybe the idea that peace really won't be possible with a people who want to destroy Israel is finally sinking into Israeli political minds. On the other hand, the "right-wing" leadership of Israel's government, including moderate right-wing Ehud Olmert, seem to think peace is possible! Things are really becoming topsy-turvy over there!! Another amazing statement by Barak:
"We are interested in the peace process and the American summit [scheduled for November," Barak told his fellow party MKs, "but we are still realistic. Our primary responsibility is to the citizens of Israel." He also said that the checkpoints in Judea and Samaria would not be removed, despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's promises to Abu Mazen.
Of course, Barak later denied his public remarks...Click the link above to read the whole article at Arutz 7.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

So, Where Have YOU Been?

In case it wasn't obvious, yes, I've driven across the country!

Heh. Had to correct. Forgot I'd been to Tooches. I mean, Texas...:)

Create your own visited states map

Ok, so I'm not that well traveled...:) Maybe I need a vacation!!

create your own visited countries map

Hattip: DovBear

Direct and to the Point...

Today's Dry Bones,(1979) by Yaakov Kirschen, is a golden Oldie, and is even more poignant today than it was almost 30 years ago. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Justification? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Justification. We Are De Federalies...


Headline from Today's Arutz 7: Olmert Agrees to Speed up Talks to Establish PA State

According to this Arutz 7 article, Ehud Olmert, even though he vowed not to rush into discuss "final Palestinian Statehood status," has, in typical political word-breaking, done just that: He is rushing to discuss final statehood status with the Palestinians. Remember, he is doing so with known, proven terrorists (Abbas and his pack). These "moderates," as the press likes to call them, are people who (Abbas specifically) have orchestrated many terrorist acts against israel and Israelis (like the Munich Massacre).

I'm not sure what the motivation here is. The last time Israel came anywhere near discussing "final status," back in 2000, a second, very deadly Intifada broke out, one which has still, seven years later, not ended. Arafat then gave his blessing for the wanton killing of Jews for no reason, even though Ehud Barak offered him about 98% of what Arafat wanted. What the Palestinians didn't understand then, and I see no reason for that to have changed in seven years, is that politics is the art of compromise. Everyone gets a little of what they want, and little of what they don't want. The Palestinians want it all, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the rest of Israel as well. Keep in mind, the Palestinians still have not removed the "destroy Israel" clause of their charter. So, why Olmert thinks there can be peace with these people is beyond any reasoning.

Perhaps Olmert wants to make his mark before he leaves office (whenever that's supposed to be). Perhaps Bush is pressuring him because Bush is going to need to claim SOMETHING positive about his eight year illegal presidency. Of course, when Clinton tried to push, we got a huge mess in Israel that will never be cleaned up! Why should this be any different.

Plea to Mr. Olmert: Please, don't get into any agreements with the Palestinians. They WILL turn around and stab you in the back with it. Don't be a fool. And don't be fooled.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sinking Ship...:)

Hey! That's our government!! Hmm. Sounds about right...:)

Tough Love...

And this, dear readers, is how our Republican GovernMENTAL leaders support our troops, as opposed to the Democrats, who really want to get them home as soon as possible...

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's Really Hard to Find a Shidduch in New York...:)

There is a new show premiering on Fox in January. Here is the description:

New York City homicide detective John Amsterdam is cursed with immortality because he stopped the murder of a Native Indian girl in 1642 by stepping in front of a sword. Due to this act of kindness, the Indian girl rescued Amsterdam from the stab wound by making him immortal, but warns that it is a curse that will only be lifted when John meets his true love.
Apparently, he will fall in love with a doctor in 2008. So, fret not all you singles in New York. It took this guy nearly four hundred years to find a shidduch, but he does find her...

Or maybe you should fret...Or move out of New York. Unless you want to wait four hundred years to find your Bashert...

Good Shabbos!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Taking Away the Free Love In Taliban Judaism...

Well, apparently concerts given by Yeshivish/Chareidi performers are now banned as well, according to this article by Arutz 7. This concerts is in commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

A damper was placed on the event, however, in the form of a rabbinic ban appearing in the hareidi-religious press. The ban is signed by leading rabbis including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the Gerrer and Bezler Rabbis, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevy Vozner, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg, and more. .

The Rabbincal statement reads: "We trembled at hearing about the terrible breach in our camp of 'music evenings' and 'concerts' in which musicians sing before men and women sitting together, Heaven forefend, and even not together. All Torah leaders have in the past clearly forbidden these events, even when men and women are separate."

The rabbis say the ban applies to men, women and children and of course the performers. Newspapers are not permitted to advertise these events, according to the ad, and musicians who sing "in front of men and women together" must not be invited to sing at other events.
OK. So, separate sitting, which is probably all that's available at a concert like this, doesn't mean anything any longer. Very much a change from when I was a kid and went to a Mordechai Ben David concert at the site where they were breaking ground for the new and very Chareidi city of Emmanuel in Shomron (where, by the way, I lived for nearly three years) and where there was indeed separate seating. Hmm.

Does this mean one may no longer go to a wedding where there is exclusively separate seating as well? After all, most weddings have a band and a singer singing for both men and women and both men and women actually dance to the singing... Hmm.

Next quote:
A source close to one of the above rabbis told Arutz-7 he was unsure of the grounds for the ban. He opined that it could be because of the mixing of the genders outside the event...
...As opposed to at a wedding where people are outside that event as well. Perhaps husbands and wives should start arriving at these events in separate cars and the events should take place in two separate rooms, or even buildings, in order to be sure men and women don't mingle...

Of course, the article does provide a caveat to this ban:
One source said he believes one of the rabbis signed this ban several years ago, and that it was not presented to him again. Others expressed a lack of confidence in the entire system of "signed rabbinic decisions," in that it is not clear how the situation was presented to the rabbis. There have even been cases of rabbis who said their names were "signed" on various announcements without their permission.
The producer of the event, Moshe Ben-Zimra, responded to this ban, and he responded well:
Men and women will be totally separated at the event, including separate entrances, and everything is taking place under the supervision of great rabbis. I greatly respect the rabbis who signed the ban, but they were misled by their underlings whose purpose is simply to liquidate Hassidic music in Israel. The rabbis don't realize that this event is kosher and maintains the laws of modesty. Over 10,000 people have already bought tickets, and they can rely upon the Torah rabbis who support separate and modest events of this nature.
Well, so much for men and women intermingling outside the event. Men and women are going to have SEPARATE ENTRANCES!!

So, what is it with Chareidi obsession with sex, anyway? It's obvious all these silly bans are about it. Did these rabbis really sign this ban? Did they know what it was really about? We all know about the Rabbi Natan Slifkin fiasco. We all know there is a problem with "signed" Rabbinic decrees.

It seems to me these people, whether the rabbis themselves or their underlings who actually seem to be holding the power and controlling the rabbis, are determined to take away any avenue of enjoying anything in life. What's next? Separate Chuppah for Choson and Kallah? Maybe via a webcam? Oh, wait, webcams and the internet are assur as well...

Hashem Yishmor...

Hooray for Outsourcing!! NOT!!!

In other news today, Mattel has had to recall about 1.5 million Fisher-Price toys manufactured in China because they may contain lead paint. This is on top of the pet food thing a few months ago and other lead paint issues from China in June. Hmm, maybe it's time to STOP OUTSOURCING TO CHINA AND BRING JOBS BACK TO THE US WHERE THEY BELONG!!!   See the article here...

I spoke to a rep from Mattel who was very nice and forthcoming. My kids don't have any of the dangerous toys, but she was kind enough to offer to mail the information packet with pictures of the toys to me. I will post the pictures when they arrive by mail. If you have kids or know someone who has kids or you know someone who knows someone who has kids, please make sure they know about this...The toys would need to have been purchased between May 1, 2007 and August 1, 2007.

This has been a public service announcement from Am Kshe Oref...We now return to our regular programming...

I think It's Time for the US to Butt Out of the Affairs of Other Countries...

According to this Reuters article, Condi is once again in Israel to push for peace talks and Palestinian statehood. You know, the last time the US stuck its nose where it don't belong (regarding Israel, not the rest of the US's worldwide screw-ups), the Palestinians started a new intifada that has still not ended. And that was when Israel offered the Palestinians about 98% of the land they wanted for a state.

So, what do US officials think? They'll just go in like knights in shining armor and "fix" all of Israel's problems with the Palestinians? These officials don't seem to understand the depth of Palestinian hatred toward Israel and the Jews. Remember, "moderate" Abbas was the architect and funder behind the Munich Massacre, and the Palestinian charter, of which Abbas is still in charge, still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, despite repeated promises to change it...

Today's Dry Bones...

Today's Dry Bones, a Golden Oldie from 1992. It's fifteen years later, and funny (ok, not so funny) how things haven't improved much. In fact, if anything, thanks to the doofus in the White House, things are much worse, both for Israel and for the US. For more Dry Bones, visit the Dry Bones Blog.