Monday, March 31, 2008

Clinton's a Complete Idiot

So, over the weekend, Obama publicly said Hillary should absolutely stay in the race. Then

Hillary Rodham Clinton accused rival Sen. Barack Obama and his allies of trying to stop people from voting as some of his backers have called on her to drop out of the presidential race.
Except Obama SAID she should stay in the race! What an idiot!!

As time goes on, I have less and less respect for Hillary. She's also a lot less smart than she thinks she is. She's showing she can't win anything without playing dirty. She can't win any race based on her own merit and strengths. And Obama can. And that scares the crap out of her. And that's what causes her to play dirtier and dirtier. And the dirtier she plays, at this point, the less and less likely she is to win. And she just DOESN'T GET IT!!! People are just SICK of dirty politics, and she just doesn't want to grow up and join the twentieth century.

Funny Post I Found

A leading indicator of a doomed candidacy... Basically, all four candidates listed "vowed" to stay in their respective races right before giving up... And Hillary just "vowed" to stay in the race all the way to the convention...

Guess Who DIDN'T Win Texas? :)

Well, as it turns out, while Hillary DID win the primary in Texas, thanks to the Texas Two-Step (Primary AND Caucus), Obama actually won the state with ninety-nine delegates to Hillary's ninety-four!

Kitniyos in the Modern World

Interesting article about Kitniyos and the bastardization of this minhag by continuously adding to the list of things we may NOT eat on Pesach, including, believe it or not, peanuts, which Reb Moshe Feinstein held very strongly were NOT included in the original chumrah as they had not been discovered when this chumrah was created.

And here's a comment or two I recently made about kitniyos:

The whole concept of kitniyos was because at THAT point in history there was an issue. Obviously there hadn't been before, and having an issue then did not mean there would be an issue forever. And adding everything ON TOP of legumes is even more ridiculous because then "ein ladavar sof..." Apparently the newest one is consider quinoa (pronounced kin-wa), which is basically a grass, as kitniyos as well. Personally, I don't eat quinoa, but MANY people do, especially vegetarians and vegans, and it IS a major staple in their diets upon which they've always relied on Pesach especially because it is NOT a grain OR a legume.

Further, one of the main reasons for Kitniyos is because people are, apparently, stupid enough to confuse them with chometz when cooked or ground into "flour" or might have, at some time, been grown next to fields of any of the five chometz becoming grains. Today, how much of this really applies? At least half the Jewish nation doesn't even abide by this custom (Sepharadim and Eidot Hamizrach). Also, there are SO many things we all eat today that COULD be misconstrued as traif (fake pepperoni on real cheese pizza, fake cheese on real meat subs at kosher Subways, "milchig" ground "meat," to name but a few of MANY). Mar'is Ha'Atin regarding food is no longer an issue, even though some hashgacha organizations prohibit the use of fake pepperoni on real cheese pizzas because of Mar'is Ha'Ayin. Strangely, the one here that provides hashgacha for the Subway and for a pizza shop prohibits the pizza shop from using fake pepperoni but allows fake cheese on real meat. I'm not quite sure I understand THAT contradiction.

Further, there's peanuts, which Reb Moshe Feinstein held to be fine for Pesach and are NOT kitniyos because as a minhag, the concept of kitniyos cannot be extended beyond what was originally prohibited. The same should apply to corn (maize) as well, as this was found ONLY in the Americas and were certainly NOT included in the prohibition of kitniyos. And what about sesame seeds, which are CERTAINLY not a legume, and yet are considered kitniyos as well. Same for canola.

And even better, I can make you chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars that are 100% Pesachdik (not that you would eat from my house as I'm quite sure you consider me to be a kofer, apikores, and traif eating) and you would not be able to tell the difference between those and the chametz ones I bake (and yes, they are all INCREDIBLY delicious and I've amazed many people with my chametz tasting baked goods - they certainly beat that Manischewitz and Goodman's crap they pawn off on people every year). And yet, there's no prohibition against those at all. Why not? Or what about matza "bagels" you can get from the Pesach bakeries. Sure they don't taste anything like bagels, but they are made to look like them and one could become confused by them. After all, the issur is because of MAR'IS HA'AYIN, not Ta'am B'Peh...

At the end of the day, Kitniyos was a prohibition l'sha'ato, and it became this uncontrolled monster. And what about, as I've mentioned, Sepharadim and Eidot HaMizrach? They DO eat kitniyos and never had an issue with it, yet Ashkenazim do not eat in their houses on Pesach. Are they eating Chametz? Is there even a Chashash of Chametz? Hell, no. Yet half of the nation is deemed by the other half to not be kosher "enough" on Pesach...

And what about Teimanim, who eat matza the way it was SUPPOSED to be eaten? Basically, they make pitas. Are THEY eating chametz? Is THAT Mar'is Ha'Ayin? Why isn't it?

It's really quite arbitrary, unfortunately.
And there's Kitniyos for you. Oh, and the GR"A (the Gaon of Vilna) believed there was a Talmudic source for kitniyos, which you may read by clicking the link above. The question with that is, if his observation were accurate, would not the Sepharadim and Eidot HaMizrach also have accepted this chumrah?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More on My Realization

After thinking more about this, Perhaps the question isn't whether I should remain "frum." Perhaps the question, or rather the solution, is perhaps I should remain "frum" on my OWN terms. Shuck the idiotic chumrahs and minhagim, which I find so completely unnecessary. Actually be a "halacha" following observant Jew. If I eat kitniyos on Pesach, I'm NOT going to burn in hell or even be punished for it at all. Know why? Because it's NOT assur. Period. End of story. If I keep one day of Yom Tov, I'm not going to burn in hell or be punished at all. Know why? Because second day of Yom Tov is a chumrah forced on people. To be honest, it shouldn't be both ways with second day of Yom Tov. Until pretty recently in our history, there were VERY few Jews in Israel. Those Jews who DID live there always followed the SAME calendar the Jews in the diaspora used. When Jews returned en-masse to Israel, they all used the same calendar that had been used for fifteen centuries. Strangely, all of a sudden, it became muttar to just have one day of Yom Tov in Israel but still force those outside of Israel to continue keeping two days.

You can't have it both way. If you hold it's the same calendar, EITHER EVERYONE should have one day because we know when Yom Tov is, OR EVERYONE should keep two days because we are ALL using the same calendar. I don't care about geographic location. That's just dumb and illogical. It was when the Amoraim decided for Bnei Chutz La'Aretz that those in the diaspora MUST keep two days instead of just following the calendar and keeping one.

And that's just two issues among MANY. Perhaps it's time for me to be observant for myself, not for what a community or a bunch of stupid chumrahs and minhagim tell me to do. After all, NONE of this is true to Torah. None of it at all. And perhaps that's why about 90% of Jews simply don't observe most of it anymore. They got tired of restrictions upon restrictions upon even more restrictions.


I had an interesting realization last week. I learn Choshen Mishpat with a rav in my community with whom I have become close. He's learned quite a bit about my wife and I over the last couple of years, including my experiences growing up and our financial situation. My wife and I decided to ask him if he'd be willing to sit with us and discuss some issues, specifically about being "frum."

And he made an interesting observation, one that really opened my eyes. He said I grew up with a really BAD Jewish experience. Now, he did said not to judge Judaism by Jews (a pretty popular saying, one made even more so nowadays due to all the crap that goes on, especially in the Chareidi/Yeshivish camps).

But his comment really got me thinking. Not only did I have a crappy time in general, I had a crappy Jewish experience as well. I was ALWAYS the odd man out in the MANY places to which my parents relocated. And most of the time, I was a Lubavitch kid in an anti-Lubavitch world or a Lubavitch kid in a wealthy/rabbis' kids world where I simply didn't fit in. I was always treated like crap. And the times I wasn't, especially more recently, I was brainwashed (thank God only temporarily) by a Yeshivish element I'm glad I left.

So the question then becomes, WHY THE HELL SHOULD I REMAIN FRUM? Being a part of a Jewish community has given me nothing but tzaros all my life. Even where I live now, I'm in a MO community, with which I've NO problem, except I STILL feel like the odd man out.

I have no real feeling for any of this anymore. I'm tired of "holding by" chumrahs and minhagim with which I vehemently disagree and for which I've NEVER been given good reasons to keep except that you have to (I'm sorry, they are chumrahs and minhagim, NOT halacha). I'm tired of all the crap that's piled on to what authentic Judaism should be. I KNOW if Moshe Rabbeinu saw what was going on today he'd die laughing so hard at what people think is "authentic" Judaism.

And a bunch of people on the right making all these chumrahs and minhagim over the years and centuries doesn't make any of those chumrahs and minhagim "authentic" or true to what Yiddishkeit should be.

But, when you start to think along those lines, you're considered to be on the "slippery slope." Except the slippery slope goes both ways. It's the two sides of the same hill. "Lo Sasur Yamin O Smol" - do NOT deviate RIGHT or left. And RIGHT is mentioned first for a reason.

More later, I guess.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hillary Just CAN'T Face Reality

She really must be living in a world of her own with no clue about what's happening around her and to her. Here's a GREAT example:

"Have you noticed the pattern?" Clinton wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Every time our campaign demonstrates its strength and resilience, people start to suggest we should end our pursuit of the Democratic nomination. Those anxious to force us to the sidelines aren't doing it because they think we're going to lose the upcoming primaries. The fact is, they're reading the same polls we are, and they know we are in a position to win."
Um, Hillary, your losing. Badly. And you're a LIAR. And it's insulting if you think we're all dumb enough to fall for your lies. Just step aside, fall in behind Obama, and start healing the rifts.

Yeah right. It's like telling the Emperor in Star Wars to become a good guy.

Obama Leading Nationally

Not that I have any faith at all in polls, but Obama is leading Hillary nationally 50% - 42%. Reasons? Because people are realizing Hillary just ISN'T capable of telling the truth. And because people are sick of the lying and the dirty politics. I suspect from this point on, Obama's numbers are simply going to rise while Hillary's are just going to continue to fall.

Life in Israel: They are obsessed with sex

Important and well-written post by Rafi G of Life in Israel. I don't agree with everything he says, especially the following:

We, as members of frum society, are quick to denounce any public display of kulah. Yet we never see a public denouncement of people who are keeping chumrohs or any public display of chumrohs. The reason we do not is because we do not want to be seen as less frum or not accepting of someone who wants to do a chumroh and come close to Hashem.
After all, it's the exact opposite of what I believe and say on my own blog, but I do agree with the rest of Rafi's message.

Meanwhile, As Hillary Fights a Lost Battle, McCain Is ALREADY Launching His General Campaign Ad

Click. This is what Obama SHOULD be able to be doing right now instead of fighting off Hillary's dirty campaign.

Here, again, Hillary is just proving herself selfish and uncaring about her party. She only REALLY cares about herself and her ego.

Twisted Hillary

You can tell Hillary is a lawyer (not that Obama ISN'T, but at least he didn't start out that way...). Now, she's claiming that pledged delegates, those awarded based on how the PUBLIC VOTED, are also up for grabs.

For the second time in three days, Sen. Hillary Clinton told reporters that the pledged delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results.

It's an idea that has been floated by her or a campaign surrogate nearly half a dozen times this month.

"Every delegate with very few exceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose," Clinton told Time's Mark Halperin in an interview published Wednesday.

"We talk a lot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected to exercise independent judgment," she said.

"And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged," she said Monday.
"You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
Clinton here is a referring to a clause in the Democratic Party's election rules that states that pledged delegates "shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them." Now, what this actually means is that the pledged delegates need to vote as the popular vote did. That's called "reflecting the sentiments of those who elected them." Hillary, though, is ignoring that part of the clause and is just saying they should vote however their "conscience" dictates, regardless of the popular vote.

This person is REALLY trying to alienate the people she's trying to strong-arm herself into leading without regard to or respect for those same people.

Of course, while she said pledged delegates should vote as they please, thus completely ignoring the clause, she is, out of the other side of her lying mouth, claiming
The Clinton campaign has said that they had not been planning to try to actively convince the Illinois senator's pledged delegates to switch sides and would not do so in the future.
Right. Because she ALWAYS tells the truth. Then, at nearly the same time,
on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, [Clinton adviser Harold] Ickes defended Clinton's Monday remarks and repeated his view that pledged delegates were free to switch their allegiance at any time.

"I think what Mrs. Clinton was trying to make clear was that no delegate is required by party rules to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged," said Ickes.
In other words, "Hey, guys and gals, you are pledged and we're not telling you how to vote, but you CAN vote for Clinton!" The hypocrisy is so thick and dense you couldn't cut through out with a chainsaw! The response from the Obama campaign? Short and to the point:
"Despite repeated denials, the Clinton campaign has again admitted that they will go to any length to win," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said again Wednesday.

The timing of the latest round of comments was not an accident, according to veteran Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.

"It keeps them in play. It makes party players understand that they're serious, and they'll stay in the game," Sheinkopf said.
In other words, despite saying they won't stoop low into the manure, the Clinton campaign is STILL stooping low into the manure. Unfortunately, in this case, no beautiful or sweet smelling flowers are going to sprout from this pile of BS.

Good job, Hillary. You've once again shown the American people you are in NO way to be trusted. Ever.

And the biggest problem with her here, and you'd expect this from extreme Republican Emperor-wannabes like Bush, is that Hillary is basically saying this process is not in ANY way Democratic. Instead, it's the road to monarchy and tyranny. She is saying, by suggesting delegates DON'T vote according to the will of the people, that the people simply don't matter, in direct contrast with her "caring and loving" campaign.

What she wants is power. Pure and simple. And someone who wants it this badly absolutely does NOT deserve it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Healthcare: Posted on My Blog at

I don't know if Barack Obama reads any of these blogs or if any of their content gets to him, but I did want to write a bit about healthcare and insurance.

I'm thirty-five years old and terribly obese (I weigh over twice what I should). We have a pretty good insurance plan through my wife's place of employment (I'm self-employed). However, there are issues. First, the insurance, actually pretty much ALL insurance companies fall into this category, refuses to cover medically supervised weight loss. It would have to come from out of my own pocket, and I just CAN'T afford it. At all. Next, the insurance only partially covers bariatric gastric bypass surgery, and as it's considered "elective," the rest of the cost ($20,000 - $30,000) would have to come from out of pocket. Can't afford that either, so the insurance company's "coverage" is really no coverage at all.

I have tried many diets, some doctor supervised (when the doctor was kind enough to give me a break and when I could afford at least something) and on my own. I have lost weight in the past, a significant amount, but it has always come back.

I am VERY frustrated at this point. I don't WANT to go through the surgery, which I MAY be able to do IF the doctor convinces the insurance company it is medically NECESSARY, not just elective or cosmetic, based on family history.

I think there's a distinction the candidates are all missing. There is a difference between Universal Healthcare and affordable insurance. We are the ONLY First World country that has no Universal Healthcare program for ALL its citizens, and frankly, that's an embarrassment and a terrible thing for American citizens, especially those of us who can't really afford GREAT health insurance. And I don't find the candidates talking about Universal Healthcare. They all talk about "Affordable Insurance," which basically means forcing everyone to pay for it as they do auto, life, or property insurance. It might force insurance companies to cover EVERYONE, regardless of health or "pre-existing" conditions, but it's NOT Universal Healthcare, and that's just wrong.

I would LOVE to see Barack Obama standing up and making that distinction and working to get every citizen of this country the Healthcare they deserve, which would lower the cost of extra insurance on TOP of the Universal Healthcare. They have a system like this in Australia - a two-tiered system - and it seems to work great.

Why DON'T ANY of the candidates propose this?

Obama's Economic Address at Cooper Union

HIllary is Grasping at Straws

Hillary's last gasps are desperate and despite the fact that she has indeed lost the popular vote and, hopefully by default, the nomination (assuming the "superdelegates" do the right thing and vote as the people voted), and despite the fact that many important figures, politicians, and commentators are calling for her to, as gracefully as possible (though she isn't all that graceful anymore), bow out of the race, through her support behind Obama, heal the rifts, and work to beat the crap out of McCain come November.

But no, not Hillary. She's too selfish and self-absorbed to do the right thing. Wonder how she'll react once she officially loses? I have a feeling it won't be with any grace at all. I just hope she doesn't cause even MORE damage to Obama and the Democratic Party.

GOP Jews' Megiallah, by DovBear

The following is an unauthorized adaption of The Politically Correct Megilla by Eric Sommer. This rebuttal is by DovBear, but at least, in his words, the politics represented here are somewhat more appealing. At least to us of the more liberal "ilk." My thanks to DovBear for graciously allowing me to post his GOP Jews' Megilla here.

Chapter I

And it came to pass in the third year of the reign of Achashverosh, King of Persia, that the King threw a great party. And it was during that party, that the King became intoxicated and after telling the assembled guests about the greatness of America he called for his wife Vashti. Dutifully, she came to his side, with a tray of cookies in her hand, but they were not exactly the kind the king's ancestors had always served so he ordered her killed. "If word gets out that my wife was less than perfectly responsive to my needs, in fulfilment of her divinely ordained purpose, all the other kings will laugh at me and my daughter might not find a shidduch," he reasoned. The next morning, Achashverosh was quite surprised to discover that most Persians still considered him "soft-on-wife-disobedience" so he swiftly authorized the execution of a mentally-deficient teenager. Problem solved.

Chapter II

It was after those events that the King missed Vashti, and wanted to find a new wife. He consulted the lobbyists and old school chums who made up his inner circle of advisers and they were unanimous in their advice: "Find yourself a sweet, twenty-something who'll keep her mouth shut and wear the feather costume when you want it," they said. Now it just so happened that in the Kingdom of Persia there lived a young Jewish girl named Esther who was very beautiful, but much more importantly, had been raised in a Jewish home, and so was completely comfortable with the idea that men were in all ways her superior. She was brought to the harem, and following a year of instruction on the finer points of serving and pleasing she was brought to the king, and crowned Queen of Persia.

Following these events, Esther's Uncle Mordecai discovered a plot to assassinate the king. He told Esther, who told the King, who ordered the arrest and execution of Bigson and Theresh, the two people involved in the plot. For good measure, the king additionally authorized the expulsion from Shushan of all persons bearing a passing resemblance to either Bigson or Theresh, along with anyone with a name (first or last) starting with the letter B or T. "Its all for national security," he explained.

Chapter III

After those events King Achashverosh attempt to promote an under-qualified hack who had loyally licked the king's rear end for many years, but after his base protested, the king elevated a man called Haman instead. "I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul," said the king. "I'm sure he can be trusted."

Haman's elevation was celebrated and praised on the pages of PaganGodCurrents, the leading blog of Shushan. Mordecai did not agree and when his dislike for Haman became known, the editors of PaganGodCurrents and other leading pro-Haman Jews subjected Mordecai to withering abuse. "How dare you," said they. "The evangelical idol-worshipers are our very best friends; moreover, Haman hates homosexuals and heaps upon them fiery contempt. Surely, this is a man Jews should support!" Nonetheless, Mordecai was unswayed: He did not kneel and he did not bow.

Haman's animosity toward gays was soon revealed to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg: He was also a degenrate anti-Semite. Once Haman managed to eliminate civil protections for homosexuals he went after the kingdom's other vulnerabe minority and asked for permission to kill the Jews, which he got. Haman sent out a proclamation to all the lands in the kingdom outlining his plan. Distressed, the Jews pointed out the genocide was expressly banned by the Constituion of Persia. Haman's lawyer, a man named John Yoo, convinced the court that what the Constitution really meant was that the King could pretty much do whatever he darn well pleased, especially in light of the ongoing people-who-look-like-Bigsan-and Theresh menace. The men and women of Shusan was outraged at this flagrant distortion of the Constitution's intent, until, providentially, Fox News reported a missing white woman had been eaten by a shark. The other cable stations picked up the story, played it 24/7, and the city of Shushan was distracted.

Chapter IV

And Mordecai knew of all that had happened, and he went shopping for shoes as a sign of his distress. And Esther sent a messenger to Mordecai to console him, but he would not be consoled. Mordecai sent word to Esther that she should go the King and ask him to stop the impending murder of all Jews. Esther replied that, genocide was the UN's problem and anyway FEMA was staffed by reliable professionals who could be counted on to manage the crises with skill and intelligence. Mordecai persuaded her as to the urgency of the matter, and she finally agreed. Mordecai suggested calling all the Jews to synagogue for three days of fasting and prayers, but Esther thought that it would be better if she took a quick airplane trip over the Jewish neighborhoods while wearing a pout on her face. And it was so.

Chapter V

And it came to pass on the third day that Esther put on the feather costume and went to see the King. The King spoke to Esther in a manner that was at once patronizing and condescending, offering to give her an increase in her allowance - up to half the kingdom! - if she'd just leave him alone, but she brushed it off, and insisted that the King and Haman attend a party she was hosting the next day. The King said he would go, but only if Esther served "guy food" and promised to keep the yapping to a minimum. Esther agreed, and the King and Haman shuffled into her party. When the King saw that Esther was serving steak, and that nothing green was on the menu, his heart filled with love, and he offered to buy Esther "something pretty." She replied that she'd much prefer that the King and Haman join her the following day at a second party. After she assured the king that all the food would be well-done to the point of being almost burnt, he agreed. Upon leaving the party, Haman spotted his old nemesis Mordechai,
which ruined his night. Haman's wife advised Haman to invite Mordecai on a hunting trip and shoot him in the face. Haman thought that was a swell idea, and he arranged the trip.

Chapter VI

That night, the King had trouble sleeping. He called for his servants to bring him the royal archives instead, and there he read that Mordecai had uncovered the politically beneficial Bigthan and Theresh plot. "We should send Mordecai to a foreign country and have him tortured," said the King, "Its possible he and the plotters were in cahoots."

Just then, Haman came in, and the King asked him what to do for someone to whom he wished to honor. Haman suggested a romantic walk among the flowers at the fake ranch in Crawford, and the King approved, with the following slight variation: "Take Mordecai," he said, "and bring him to the fake ranch and put in his hands an ax, or perhaps a machete, and while he is clearing the brush, call in a loud voice 'this is how we persuade red-state yokels that the king is an ordinary guy!'" And so it was. When he was done, Haman walked home, despondent. But no sooner had he returned home than the King's messengers arrived to bring him to Esther's second party.

Chapter VII

And the King and Haman came to drink with Esther. And it was during the party that Esther shocked the King by telling him that someone in that very room was plotting to kill her and all the other Jews. "Who is that man?" yelled the King. To which Esther replied "Haman!" To which the king replied "Oh... IOKIYAR." The King stormed out in a fit of rage that someone had dared to suggest that one of his loyal advisers was less that perfect. Meanwhile Haman fell on Esther's couch and attempted to beseech her in a manner that appeared as if he was, in fact, molesting her. When the King returned, and saw Haman on top of the Queen he raised his voice in self-righteous indignation and said. "But... but... but Clinton!"

After an awkward silence, Haman agreed to resign, but a few weeks later, after the king and the people had become preoccupied with yet another missing white woman who had been eaten by a shark, Haman announced that his original guilty plea represented a "manifest injustice" and canceled his resignation.

Chapter VIII

That day, the King gave Esther Haman's house, and she told the King that Mordechai was her uncle. And Mordechai asked the King's permission for the Jews to rise up and kill their enemies and the king said, "Sure, why not, but I suggest you do it under the pretense of WMDs. Then, hold a press conference bragging about how you brought them freedom." And it was so.

Chapter IX

And in the twelfth month, the month of Adar, on the day when the Jews were supposed to have been exterminated, the Gedolim issued scores of pashkevils announcing that smiling was illegal, fun was the devil's work, and that pretty much everything bad could be blamed on women and their hemlines. The pashklevils further announced the creation of a new holiday, called Purim, while simultaneously insisting that changing the mesorah was impossible and that anything Jews wore, ate, said or did could be expressly traced to Sinai.

Chapter X

And King Achashverosh shifted the tax burden to the middle class, and granted the wealthy additional subsidies, deductions and incentives in homage to the crackpot idea that lowering taxes increases revenues. When the math caught up with him, he borrowed money from the Chinese, and no-one noticed. And the great deeds of Esther and her uncle Mordechai were duly recorded in the annals of Persia.

The Emperor, I Mean the Idiot, Strikes Back...

So, Bush decided to give Congress a "What-Fer" today. Let's go through the article. It's just chock full of interesting stuff!!

Bush derided calls from Congress for troop withdrawals or deadlines so that the military could focus more on the anti-terror battle elsewhere. "This argument makes no sense," he said.
Do I even NEED to say anything here? This guy just wants to warmonger as much as possible in all the wrong places. Yes, I DO understand that the situation in Iraq is bad, but it's bad BECAUSE Bush went in when he shouldn't have. And he's put us in an untenable position where he's caused far more damage than good.
Bush suggested that Iraqi officials were able to make more progress than the U.S. Congress.

"They got their budget passed," the president said. "Sometimes it takes our Congress awhile to get its budget passed.
Um. That's because you keep VETOING ANY budget you don't like and that doesn't give you what you want, Idiot!!
"Nevertheless some members of Congress decided the best way to encourage progress in Baghdad was to criticize and threaten Iraq's leaders while they're trying to work out their differences," Bush said.
There's been criticism because it's been YEARS! More than enough time to work it all out and get the government going. Perhaps at this point threatening is the ONLY way to get the Iraqis off their collective asses and start taking responsibility for themselves!
"But hectoring was not what the Iraqi leaders needed," he said. "What they needed was security. And that is what the surge has provided."
If this weren't so sad, I'd be rolling on the floor laughing my head off. The surge provided SECURITY?! Sure, there was a lull, but the last few weeks seem to negate whatever supposed "gains" the US surge made.
"They're trying to build a modern democracy on the rubble of three decades of tyranny, in a region of the world that has been hostile to freedom. And they're doing it while under assault from one of history's most brutal terrorist networks," Bush said. "When it takes time for Iraqis to reach agreement, it is not foot-dragging, as one senator described it during Congress' two-week Easter recess. It is a revolutionary undertaking that requires great courage."
B.S. It's foot-dragging. They've had help, supervision, oversight, funds, and a military at their disposal. And they've pretty much done nothing. Know why? Because it's a lot easier to have someone do everything for you than to do it yourself.
"No matter what shortcomings these critics diagnose, their prescription is always the same: retreat," Bush said. "They claim that our strategic interest is elsewhere and if we would just get out of Iraq, we could focus on the battles that really matter."
Why, yes. We COULD focus on more important battles, like in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Al Qaeda is stronger now than it's EVER been.
But, he countered, "If America's strategic interests are not in Iraq, the convergence point for the twin threats of al-Qaida and Iran, the nation Osama bin Laden's deputy has called the place for the greatest battle, the country at the heart of the most volatile region on earth, then where are they?"
Iraq is the CONVERGENCE?! Iraq had NOTHING to do with Al Qaeda until the Idiot bumbled in, ILLEGALLY, and spiraled Iraq into complete chaos. And since when is Iraq a "convergence point" for Iran?! That's ridiculous! Iran has NEVER expressed an interest in Iraq. If anything, Iran has expressed interest in nuking Israel and other Western interests.

Well, wasn't THAT a fun article? This guy is such a huge IDIOT, anything he says just gets his foot so deep in his mouth it ends up coming out his rear-end.

Doctor's Office

So, I did manage to speak to my doctor's office yesterday. I actually spoke to his nurse practitioner, who is wonderful and always very helpful. She listened to my problem and told me she would speak to the doctor and word it in a way to convince him of the necessity for me having bariatric surgery. Once he writes the letter to the insurance company telling them this is a medical necessity, basically like a prescription I need to keep me a alive, the insurance company SHOULD have no choice but to fully cover the surgery, with all evaluations (nutritional, physical, and psychological) involved.

We'll have to wait and see.

Some More Jeff Dunham

Quality's not great, but it's FUNNY!!

The Rich and Powerful Strike Again

And care nothing about the democratic process, the popular vote, or anyone "beneath" their own station... And these ones are Democrats, NOT Republicans. And maybe the concept of Superdelegates should go away. I think it's time. And, like the Electoral College, it's COMPLETELY UN-democratic.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Clinton had made the case superdelegates should exercise independent judgment about who would be the best for the party and the country.
Well, D-UH!! They have NO other leg to stand on. On the other hand, the Obama campaign is saying, and rightly so, that the superdelegates should vote as the POPULAR vote voted. Which is the correct DEMOCRATIC way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nasty Political Experience

So, I decided I'd had enough and called my congressperson's office (no WAY to get through to the congressperson herself, of course - God forbid she should speak to one of her peasants), I got a very nasty person on the phone who was very brusk with me and tried to get me off the phone within a minute of her answering because she had other calls to take (yeah, right... that's why she answered my call so quickly - because there were SO many people waiting to talk to her). Her attitude, when I started in about universal healthcare, was, "Well, what do you want from the Congresswoman?" I told her I wanted this issue to be screamed about and that, no matter how many committees she's on, obviously not nearly enough is getting done. I mentioned the difference between Universal Healthcare, which EVERY American deserves, and affordable insurance, which should be ABOVE and BEYOND Universal Healthcare. Her attitude was, "Whatever." She then went through a number of suggestions, the last of which may be a possibility, and that's getting my doctor to tell the insurance company that there are serious medical reasons for my NEEDING to have bariatric surgery, not as an elective surgery, but as a medical necessity to avoid the many serious diseases to which obesity can lead. When I said thank you, she snidely and rudely said, "GOODBYE!!" and slammed down the phone...

Lovely person. And they wonder why I wouldn't vote for this Congresswoman... Plus, she's a Hillary supporter.

The Medical Circle-Jerk

Well, here I am, back to square one with my weight. I've tried dieting more times than I care to admit. Far too many. My latest attempts have borne no fruit at all. My last semi-successful attempt was last spring, when I lost a whole twenty pounds. Beyond that, no matter what I did, I could lose no more. And I've gained plenty since then.

So, I decided to look into bariatric surgery. I've spoken to people who've had success with it. They've been very happy. Yes, it DOES mean a lifestyle change, but it's one that is forced, that gives you no choice, and that's what I need at this point. Knowing intellectually that the obesity is bad is one thing. But KNOWING doesn't mean DOING, and no matter how much I know, I can't seem to lose the weight.

Well, I spoke to the financial people at a couple oaf major locations in my city, all on top lists for bariatrics. And it's just too expensive. Oh, sure, our insurance covers it. Up to $10,000. Seems good, huh? No. Not really. The surgery costs anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 and, since it's "considered" elective, is NOT eligible for financial aid.

Which brings me right back to where I was before. Screwed. And, by the insurance company so magnanimously covering UP to $10,000, they are actually insuring themselves that most people, unless they can REALLY afford the other $10,000-$30,000, simply won't go the route of bariatric surgery.

And yet, the insurance STILL won't cover ANY medically supervised weight loss.

This is called CIRCLE JERK. And yes, I DO know what the term LITERALLY means. I'm referring to being jerked around and feeling like I'm just going around and around in a never ending loop. Or circle.

Which brings me back to this post.

Oh, and in speaking with my congresswoman's office, well, you kinda get the idea they don't really give a damn either...

VERY To The Point...

This commentary appeared in yesterday's issue of the New York Times, and I'm going to quote it in its entirety here because it's SO to the point:


The Long Defeat

Published: March 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton may not realize it yet, but she’s just endured one of the worst weeks of her campaign.

First, Barack Obama weathered the Rev. Jeremiah Wright affair without serious damage to his nomination prospects. Obama still holds a tiny lead among Democrats nationally in the Gallup tracking poll, just as he did before this whole affair blew up.

Second, Obama’s lawyers successfully prevented re-votes in Florida and Michigan. That means it would be virtually impossible for Clinton to take a lead in either elected delegates or total primary votes.

Third, as Noam Scheiber of The New Republic has reported, most superdelegates have accepted Nancy Pelosi’s judgment that the winner of the elected delegates should get the nomination. Instead of lining up behind Clinton, they’re drifting away. Her lead among them has shrunk by about 60 in the past month, according to Avi Zenilman of

In short, Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects continue to dim. The door is closing. Night is coming. The end, however, is not near.

Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance.

Five percent.

Let’s take a look at what she’s going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

For the sake of that 5 percent, this will be the sourest spring. About a fifth of Clinton and Obama supporters now say they wouldn’t vote for the other candidate in the general election. Meanwhile, on the other side, voters get an unobstructed view of the Republican nominee. John McCain’s approval ratings have soared 11 points. He is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Americans. A month ago, McCain was losing to Obama among independents by double digits in a general election matchup. Now McCain has a lead among this group.

For three more months, Clinton is likely to hurt Obama even more against McCain, without hurting him against herself. And all this is happening so she can preserve that 5 percent chance.

When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.

Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance? Are leading Democrats so narcissistic that they would create bitter stagnation even if they were granted one-party rule?

The better answer is that Clinton’s long rear-guard action is the logical extension of her relentlessly political life.

For nearly 20 years, she has been encased in the apparatus of political celebrity. Look at her schedule as first lady and ever since. Think of the thousands of staged events, the tens of thousands of times she has pretended to be delighted to see someone she doesn’t know, the hundreds of thousands times she has recited empty clichés and exhortatory banalities, the millions of photos she has posed for in which she is supposed to appear empathetic or tough, the billions of politically opportune half-truths that have bounced around her head.

No wonder the Clinton campaign feels impersonal. It’s like a machine for the production of politics. It plows ahead from event to event following its own iron logic. The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.

If she does the former, she would surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice. Her campaign would cruise along at a lower register until North Carolina, then use that as an occasion to withdraw. If she does not, she would soldier on doggedly, taking down as many allies as necessary.

In other words, if she continues on this path of trying to win a LOST, not losing, but LOST battle, all she's going to do is take down the Democratic Party with here and lessen Obama's chance of beating McCain come November. Is she REALLY THAT selfish? Yes. She is. Hillary has SUCH a HUGE ego, she can't see past it for the good of her party and for the good of her country. That doesn't make her a patriot. It makes her a traitor, because allowing McCain to win would be a betrayal to her country.

Why Hillary REALLY Bothers Me...

While I DO think she would make an OK president, not a GREAT one, I just DON'T trust her. Why? Because she just CAN'T get herself to tell the truth. Instead, she makes excuses, often lame ones, to get around owning up to the truth. The Bosnia thing is the latest one.

About a week ago, Obama gave a very personal and, I felt, honest speech about interracial relations and how we must come together as a nation, regardless of race or creed. He basically put the issues about his pastor to rest, denouncing the offensive remarks Reverand Wright has made (and the critics basically said, "Well, he didn't DISOWN him...").

Then, comes along the Bosnia thing with Hillary. She claimed, apparently at least four times over the last few months, that when she visited Bosnia in 1996, she came under fire and had to dodge sniper bullets. Basically, she was full of crap, and it's been proved.

Instead of admitting to the American people she had lied, KNOWINGLY lied (after all, you can't change the story THAT much and not absolutely KNOW you're lying),

she admitted that her claims that she dodged sniper fire during the Bosnia trip as first lady were untrue.

"I made a mistake, that happens. It proves I'm human, which, for some people, is a revelation," Clinton said, as the controversy raged, distracting from her claims of high-level foreign policy experience.
I'm sorry Hillary. That's not a mistake, human or otherwise. That's lying, pure and simple. A mistake is saying something like, "I think Smith's bakery is on Main Street," when it really turns out to be on Pico Blvd. In a different city. Lying is saying, "I came under fire when I landed in Bosnia and had to dodge sniper bullets!!!" when the reality was that
television footage from the trip showed Clinton being greeted by smiling officials on the tarmac as she got off a US military plane.
With no mention of sniper fire, mind you. All was peaceful.

A MISTAKE? No. A BALD-FACED LIE is more like it.'

Instead, she decided to reawaken the whole Pastor Wright thing. Again:
She used that same news conference [where she admitted to "making a mistake"] to discuss Wright, after a week of choosing not to comment on the issue.

"I think, given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor," Clinton said.

"We don't have a choice when it comes to our relatives. We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the church we attend."
So, not only had she not commented at all for about a week, she instead decided to bring it up when SHE came under fire. This is dirty politics at its worst.

So, why CAN'T Hillary just own up and say she lied? Because that would REALLY hurt her cause. Badly.

And that's what bothers me about Hillary. She just can't be honest.

I would love to see a news conference with her looking directly into the camera and admitting to the American people she had lied, plain and simple, and that she's sorry for doing so. Even her husband (after the proof came out) was able to do that. Why can't she?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not Getting It

I think a mentioned a bunch of posts ago that one of the reason the Idiot is SUCH an idiot is because he simply doesn't get it. He DOESN'T know what it's like to NOT have money. So he doesn't really feel the pain of people with such troubles and therefore does nothing for them. Neither he not anyone in his family has any serious maladies, so he vetoes stem cell research. It's a Republican thing, really. If it doesn't affect me, says a Republican, it can't really be important. And if it does, in many instances, it must be my fault for not living the "good" Christian life.

But, sometimes, you DO get a Republican who does manage to see the need for things like stem cell research (even if they DID support stupidities like "trickle-down economics"):

In 2006, [Nance Reagan] lobbied in favor of legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a position McCain (whom Reagan endorsed today - editor's note) shares, but President Bush vetoed the bill. President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
See, she was affected by something that could have benefited from stem cell research, and she realized it DOES have merits. The Idiot, on the other hand, just blunders on through without a care in the world.

I DO find it ironic, however, that Bill Clinton wasn't wanted at Ronald Reagan's funeral because he completely disrespected and dishonored the office of president, according to the Republican camp (even though the economy mostly flourished under Clinton [OK, NAFTA WAS a HUGE mistake...], there was NO war, and he left office with a balanced budget and a SURPLUS in that budget), while the Idiot was an honored Republican guest who, while he had no "shenanigans" in the White House, has nevertheless managed to make a complete mockery out of what it means to be president, has completely destroyed the United States' international reputation and respect, has trampled on the Constitution like it was a rag, has ruined the economy, and has a GARGANTUAN deficit in the EXTREMELY UNbalanced budget, and has all around treated the US and her non-upper class citizens like we're his peasants.

Now, Then, When Was the Last Time a Candidate Offered THIS?

Dinner with Barack Obama...

The Idiot in the White House: Economy's Slow, But It's OK and Everthing's GREAT!!

The rest of the world: Not so much...

The Consumer Confidence Index has been weakening since July, and is watched because lower consumer confidence tends to result in lower consumer buying, which is a drag on the economy.


"Consumers' outlook for business conditions, the job market and their income prospects is quite pessimistic and suggests further weakening may be on the horizon," she added.
Hmm. Could it be than when people aren't making enough money to keep up with the cost of living, or when they are put out of work because of outsourcing, or when job prospects SUCK more and more, that people just AREN'T GOING TO SPEND ANY DAMN MONEY?!

Hmm. Yeah. It COULD be.

Final on Rabbi Adlerstein

Rabbi Adlerstein DID in fact respond to me via email. It was not for publication. But he DID respond.

Thank you, Rabbi Adlerstein.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rabbi Adlerstein WON'T Own Up to His Own Statements...

So, to follow-up on my putting Rabbi Adlerstein on the spot, here and here, I'm sorry to disappoint, though I'm not terribly surprised, that not only did my second comment, putting Rabbi Adlerstein on the spot about "rabbi" Don Segal, not get answered, it didn't even make the moderator's cut.

It must be so nice that when a tough question comes along, one they'd prefer ignore and completely NOT acknowledge at all, all they have to do is delete the comment.

I call it cowardice and not taking responsibility.

So, I reposted on Cross (Loving)-Currents:

Dear Rabbi Adlerstein,

I’m not sure I understand why my second comment, a response to your own comment to me, was deleted. Perhaps it was by mistake, so I’m going to re-post it:

With all due respect, Rabbi Adlerstein, I’m sure you’ve read about Rabbi Don Segal and his remarks about the massacre (see here if you haven’t.. Apparently, Rabbi Segal is a major figure in the Yeshiva world and his comments have been verified. Yet to say what he said was indeed beneath contempt. And even the YATED denounced this statement. I’m just curious why, since this is such a off-the-wall statement, why Rabbi Segal wouldn’t be considered “beyond the pale.” This is no more a correct thing to say than a Reform Jew claiming Torah is man-written and not in any way from Hashem. So, again, why is Rabbi Segal not “Beyond the Pale?” Is it because he’s considered Orthodox? How is a statement like this NOT “beyond the pale?”

I’m not asking these questions because I’m obstinate. I’m asking because I want to know, I REALLY want to know, why Rabbi Segal’s comments, and therefore Rabbi Segal himself, would NOT be considered “beyond the pale?” Why is it only people to the left but not the right who are considered “beyond the pale?”

If you hesitate to answer here, I’d be happy to converse with you via email. I can be reached at (my email address, which is available on my profile...)
Just gotta wait and see, but I have the feeling this comment's going to be deleted as well...

Updated: I added the following comment:
Oh, and before my comment gets deleted again by the moderators, I'd like to remind you of your own comments policy: "The moderation of comments is not intended to stifle debate, but to keep it constructive. Comments entirely critical of positions taken by our contributors and of the Orthodox center to right-of-center ideologies we represent will be published. We believe in a way of life that can survive scrutiny and critique. It will be our job to respond."

I firmly believe Rabbi Segal's comments were very DEStructive, not CONStructive and would very much like to hear why and how his comments could be defended. Simply deleting my comments is NOT in keeping with your policy of constructive critique, and is certainly not in keeping with your belief   "in a way of life that can survive scrutiny and critique. It will be our job to respond."

Thank you.
Let's wait and see what happens. I'll comment more here if my comments get deleted again...

Bush "Sympathetic" About War Toll...

Said the Idiot (yet again):

"One day people will look back at this moment in history and say, "Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come."
Um, no. Sorry, Georgie. What we'll all be saying some day is this:
"Can you believe we're STILL in Iraq?! It's a hundred years later (at least it might be, according to McCain, on the off-chance he gets elected in November 2008), and about a million casualties (or more) later, and we STILL haven't left!!"
Or, if by some miracle we ARE out of there (and we will hopefully be PRETTY quickly once a Democrat is in office):
Y'know how Vietnam and Korea were really dumb, unnecessary wars? Boy that debacle in Iraq beats those by an infinite factor! What a stupid war!! There were NO WMDs, no Al Qaeda there, and Bush, that idiot, who is now acknowledged by all as the worst president this country has EVER had, went in all gung-ho to clean up his daddy's mess (of not killing off Hussein in 1991), found no WMDs, and Al Qaeda flourished there!! What a waste of American and Iraqi lives!
Or this:
Can you believe that idiot Bush thought we'd all be thanking him for starting a completely unnecessary war in Iraq? Can you believe he thought, by having this war, which allowed Al Qaeda in, that he would lay a "foundation for peace for generations to come?!" What an idiot! All he did was create more and more bloodshed!
That, I think, is what we'll be saying in years to come. And FOR years to come.

And Nancy Pelosi was pretty much to the point:
"Americans are asking how much longer must our troops continue to sacrifice for the sake of an Iraqi government that is unwilling or unable to secure its own future," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said the cost to the U.S. reputation is immense, and the threat to the economy at home is unacceptable.
And Condi will STILL be apologizing for the passport file breaches!

New Utter and Complete Nut Case in the Blogosphere...

Have you SEEN THIS NUT JOB?! He's about as nutty as a fruit cake, probably nuttier. Make that definitely nuttier. By infinite orders of magnitude. He makes people like ed (of Dov Bear and Maryles comment threads infamy) look sane and normal! He's pretending to be Jewish, which is really funny, and apparently anyone who in any way supports Israel is a complete Right Wing Nut Job (including Yours Truly!!!). :)

I posted a couple of comments, but I'm done looking at this blog. I just wanted people to be aware of this nut job out there and to NOT take him in any way seriously. I posted a comment to see what he would say, and he COMPLETELY ignores facts that are in front of his face. So read him, if you like, but don't get upset. He's just not worth it. I didn't.


What I should have mentioned, and has been pointed out to me in comments, is that this guy is MOST likely a yanking everyone's chain. After all, NOBODY can be THAT insane stupid. Even George W. Bush isn't THAT dumb... I think. :) And I DID say that in the comments in this crazy blog. However, he DID seem to piss off some other bloggers (like Rafi G), and he does go on crazy tirades on other blog threads.

But, in the end, he probably IS yanking chains. But even if he's not, and either way, it is a good opportunity to see how far people out there WILL go to put Israel and Jews in a bad light.

Good job, Tyrone.

And, in the Spirit of Purim...

The BURQAS are coming! The BURQAS are coming!!! :)

Hattip: Rafi G

Media Stupidity

This is where the media goes stupid (OK, one of MANY ways). Is it REALLY necessary, every time someone involved in one candidate's campaign or another has a screw-up, regardless of its severity, for the media to after it like it's hot news? I mean, COME ON!! So this guy got arrested for drunk driving and is going to plead guilty. Congratulations! Isn't there something more important to report, like the fact the George W. Bush is now responsible for the murders of four thousand soldiers and up to nearly ninety thousand Iraqi citizens? Isn't that just a LITTLE MORE newsworthy?

George W. Bush: Murderer

U.S. toll in Iraq hits 4,000 as four soldiers killed U.S. Further, 82,349 to 89,867 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives in the conflict, according to a "widely respected" tally by Iraq Body Count.

So, in the Idiot's blood lust, close to 100,000 INNOCENTS have lost their lives.

In other words, the Idiot is responsible for more murders of American people than Bin-Laden was when he sent the planes crashing into the World Trade Center.

Great guy. Just a great guy.

And Cheney's reaction (to the war being deeply unpopular, and probably to this as well?


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Headline Siting...

Forecasters warn of flooding in Ark.

Heh heh.

This Is DEFINITELY My Son... :)

This Happen to You? :)

What's in a Name?

I've never understood why, every time some Christian RWNJ like Ann Coulter makes a stupid, anti-Semitic statement on national TV, the venerable Cross-Currents (no link, I don't like or support them...) bends over double backward to prove what was said was not REALLY anti-Semitic. Toby Katz has a long history of doing so, as does Yaakov Menken, both regular contributors to Cross-Currents.

Then, it came to me! Look at the name. CROSS-Currents! How does a (not only Jewish, but) Yeshivish online publication choose such an incredibly STUPID name for itself?! Of COURSE their going to defend the Christian RWNJs! Unfortunately, that seems to be what the Jewish RWNJs (Toby Katz, Yaakov Menken, and company) do best! They basically defend the CROSS and, by default, Christianity!! And they're not doing that, they defend the other, even more to the Right, Jewish RWNJs when those far Right RWNJs make stupid comments and remarks.

Sad. Very sad.

Great Op-Ed in the Washington Post

I'm just gonna quote the whole thing here. Why? Because it's written by a Conservative who is sick and tired of Bush and Cheney and ALL of it is relevant. The author, recently became disenchanted with Cheney (not QUITE sure why it took SO long...) because, Cheney, when reminded the vast majority of the American people are sick of the war in Iraq, responded with a one-worded "So?"

Dick Cheney's Error

It's Government By the People

By Mickey Edwards
Saturday, March 22, 2008; Page A13

For at least six years, as I've become increasingly frustrated by the Bush administration's repeated betrayal of constitutional -- and conservative -- principles, I have defended Vice President Cheney, a man I've known for decades and with whom I served and made common cause in Congress. No longer.

I do not blame Dick Cheney for George W. Bush's transgressions; the president needs no prompting to wrap himself in the cloak of a modern-day king. Nor do I believe that the vice president so enthusiastically supports the Iraq war out of a loyalty to the oil industry that his former employer serves. By all accounts, Cheney's belief in "the military option" and the principle of president-as-decider predates his affiliation with Halliburton.

What, then, is the straw that causes me to finally consign a man I served with in the House Republican leadership to the category of "those about whom we should be greatly concerned"?

It is Cheney's all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public's disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: "So?"

"So," Mr. Vice President?

Policy, Cheney went on to say, should not be tailored to fit fluctuations in the public attitudes. If there is one thing public attitudes have not been doing, however, it is fluctuating: Resistance to the Bush administration's Iraq policy has been widespread, entrenched and consistent. Whether public opinion is right or wrong, it is not to be cavalierly dismissed.

I recently had the opportunity to address a group of high school students visiting Washington with Presidential Classroom, an organization that teaches citizenship and encourages participation in the public sphere. One of those students asked me what, in my 16 years in Congress, had been my most difficult decision.

It was not a question that required much reflection -- in 1990, as chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on foreign operations, I played a leading role in gaining congressional authorization for the Persian Gulf War.

The decision to go to war, I told the students -- to send young Americans off to battle, knowing that some will die -- is the single most difficult choice any public official can be called upon to make. That is precisely why the nation's Founders, aware of the deadly wars of Europe, deliberately withheld from the executive branch the power to engage in war unless such action was expressly approved by the people themselves, through their representatives in Congress.

Cheney told Raddatz that American war policy should not be affected by the views of the people. But that is precisely whose views should matter: It is the people who should decide whether the nation shall go to war. That is not a radical, or liberal, or unpatriotic idea. It is the very heart of America's constitutional system.

In Europe, before America's founding, there were rulers and their subjects. The Founders decided that in the United States there would be not subjects but citizens. Rulers tell their subjects what to do, but citizens tell their government what to do.

If Dick Cheney believes, as he obviously does, that the war in Iraq is vital to American interests, it is his job, and that of President Bush, to make the case with sufficient proof to win the necessary public support.

That is the difference between a strong president (one who leads) and a strong presidency (one in which ultimate power resides in the hands of a single person). Bush is officially America's "head of state," but he is not the head of government; he is the head of one branch of our government, and it's not the branch that decides on war and peace.

When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple "So?" he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.

Mickey Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, served in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993. He is the author of "Reclaiming Conservatism."
Bush and Cheney have repeatedly and unapologetically ignored this concept of "rule of the people," upon which the Founding Father's, and reaffirmed by Abraham Lincoln with the Gettysburg Address, based this country and its Constitution. If Conservatives are starting to realize this, and I hope more and more continue to do so, it's obviously time for a drastic governmental change, or rather a return, to the ideals upon which the Founding Fathers and later generations, built this country and made it great.

And Rabbi Adlerstein Responds... Sort Of...

So, Rabbi Aderstein did sort of respond to my question about "rabbi" Don Segal being "beyond the pale:"

I don’t know anyone who speaks for “mainstream” Judaism. I don’t even know what the term means anymore. If you mean the more RW elements of the yeshiva world, Yated would be a better indicator that an isolated voice here or there who turned out to be the exception that proved the rule.

My own view on any such statement (and I would exercise the usual caution before assuming the accuracy of any media reports)? Clearly and unequivocally beneath contempt.

Comment by Yitzchok Adlerstein.
Hmm. Do you see a real response here? I sure don't. Basically, Rabbi Adlerstein pretended not to believe "rabbi" Segal had made his comments, or at least exhorted readers not believe everything we read. And, suddenly, he doesn't know what "mainstream" Judaism might be. Interesting. I mean, according to his beyond the pale articles (see links below), isn't ANYONE from middle right to far flung fascist right within "the pale?" At least that's what he seemed to imply when he wrote those articles. Has he changed his mind? I also found it interesting that he mentioned the Yated, which, for once, actually spoke out AGAINST "rabbi" Segal's idiot remarks about the Merkaz Harav Massacre.

Rabbi Adlerstein did, however, provide some lovely apologetics and did avoid the issue. So, I asked again:
With all due respect, Rabbi Adlerstein, I’m sure you’ve read this. Apparently, Rabbi Segal is a major figure in the Yeshiva world. Yet to say what he said was indeed beneath contempt. And even the YATED denounced this statement. I’m just curious why, since this is such a off-the-wall statement, why Rabbi Segal wouldn’t be considered “beyond the pale.” This is no more a correct thing to say than a Reform Jew claiming Torah is man-written and not in any way from Hashem. So, again, why is Rabbi Segal not “Beyond the Pale?” Is it because he’s considered Orthodox? How is a statement like this NOT “beyond the pale?”
Well, for now my more direct question is still awaiting moderation, and there has, so far, been no response. We'll see.

My wife thinks, probably correctly, that Rabbi Adlerstein totally regrets posting his beyond the pale article and its follow-up...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lo Sasur Yamin O Smol

Wolfish Musings had a very interesting post about the possuk "Lo Sasur Yamin O Smol" - do not deviate right or Left. Here are the pertinent parts:

Rashi, on the verse of Lo Tosur, quotes the Sifri, which states that you have to listen to the sages even "if they tell you that right is left and that left is right." Well, that is one way of looking at it. Then, there is also theYerushalmi's way of looking at it. The Yerushalmi in Horiyos (1:1) seems to state just the opposite. It states:

יכול אם יאמרו לך על ימין שהיא שמאל ועל שמאל שהיא ימין תשמע להם ת"ל ללכת ימין ושמאל שיאמרו לך על ימין שהוא ימין ועל שמאל שהוא שמאל. (one might think should [the Rabbis] tell you right is left and left is right that we should listen to them, the verse, "to go right or left" comes to tell you that [you should listen to them only] when they tell you right that is [really] right and left that is [really] left.
I would love to quote the entire post as it is ALL very pertinent. Point? Not everything a rabbi says is emes and backed up by Torah, especially if it's contrary to reality, and most especially when what some rabbi, like Segal, says something that is pure evil, like when he blamed the murder victims of Mercaz Harav for their own murders because of their "bad" "Hashkafas."

Mercaz, Purim, and the Aish Kodesh

So, Rabbi Adlerstein over at Cross-Loving-Currents posted this article about The Mercaz Harav Massacre, Purim, and Aish Kodesh. I posted the following comment, which I'm SURE will be pulled from the comments as soon as the administrators read it:

Yashar Kochacha on a very nice and well-written article. I do have one question. You mentioned we are ALL Mercaz Harav, and that, in the name of Achdus, we ALL suffer from this tragedy, regardless of “Hashkafa” or sect. Would you say, then, that someone who doesn’t feel this way, someone who blames the victims themselves for their own murders because of their “bad” “Hashkafas,” would be considered by the rest of mainstream Orthodox Judaism to be "beyond the pale?"
It'll be interesting if Rabbi Adlerstein answers this question. And, in case you missed it, I'm talking about "rabbi" Don Segal, who made horrible remarks about which I blogged here and here. Since it IS Erev Shabbos AND Purim, I'll give Rabbi Adlerstein a few days to respond...

OK, Now It's REALLY Getting Effed Up!

McCain joins the breached file fray! Something VERY fishy is going on here...

Special "Guest" Post from My Conservative Friend, Abe

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We adminstered the rite and gave her the Hex.
Her belly split open like a packed sack of corn
Her Husband was happy, he remarried the next morn.

"Sotah Water"(tm) will be offered by all Orthodox Bais Din of Competent Jurisdiction to address the pressing needs of Orthodox Husbands whose suspicions have been arroused by their unfaithful wives.

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** has not laundered your tallis in months but finds time for extended shopping trips to the local Super Sol
** takes the scenic route to the Mikva with the same cab driver every month,
** Spends Mitzvah Nite studying the Laws of Jewish Mourning, rather than fulfilling her conjugal duty, then its time that you consult with your local Orthodox Rabbi to convene a Sotah trial.

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"Look!" Hillary says. "It Happened To ME TOO!!!"

Apparently, whenever something seems to happen to Obama, it just HAS to happen to Hillary as well. This isn't the first time. Last month, during the CSU debate in Cleveland, after Obama very beautifully articulated how he felt about Jews and Israel (and he feels VERY positively about us and has received MUCH support from the Jewish community), Hillary just had to go on record about how wonderful she thinks the Jewish people are. Oy.

Now, she's done it again... Oy.

D-UH! Oops!!!

Sorry! Said Condi to Barack. In case you hadn't heard, a few people over the last two months have breached security and looked into Obama's passport file, a highly illegal action as it COMPLETELY breaches a person's privacy. So, Condi had to swallow it and apologize. Problem is, this didn't happen yesterday. And it didn't happen once. It happened on January 9, February 21, and March 14. And only now did this come out.


A VERY Good Endorsement for Obama

Bill Richardson Endorses Obama... This is a very good thing. I find it stupid and tasteless that Obama has been dropping in polls (not that polls mean anything) because of things his pastor said. Yes, Wright has said some stupid things, racist things, even anti-American things. But OBAMA did not say these thing and he denounced AND rejected those idiotic comments.

This will be a good boost for Obama. Now, if we could just get Edwards on board...

And how about this: Obama and Richardson (an African-American and a Latino) running for president/VP (respectively) on the same ticket. Talk about CHANGE!!!

Unfortunately, to win, Obama will probably need WASP (male or female makes no difference at this point) as a running mate.

*SIGH* Another Kol Koreh... :)

Ready for yet ANOTHER ban? And this one isn't even signed, which means there simply must have been TOO many people jumping in WANTING to sign! :) 


Hattip: Dov Bear

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Halloween! I Mean, PURIM. Yeah! PURIM!! Happy PURIM...

I'm just gonna quote the whole article. It's too funny to leave anything out. I just have two questions: Is McCain's age catching up with him? Is he REALLY fit to be president?
McCain: Purim = Halloween?
by Mark Murray (MSNBC)
When McCain made a foreign policy gaffe in Jordan on Tuesday, it was Sen. Joe Lieberman who quietly pointed out the mistake, giving McCain an opportunity to correct himself in front of the international press corps. In Israel yesterday, NBC’s Lauren Appelbaum reports, Lieberman once again intervened when McCain made an incorrect reference about the Jewish holiday Purim -- by calling the holiday "their version of Halloween here."
McCain made the incorrect statement during a press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak after touring the Israeli city of Sderot to view buildings damaged by Hamas rocket fire. McCain was discussing the numerous rock attacks on the city. "Nine hundred rocket attacks in less than three months, an average of one every one to two hours. Obviously this puts an enormous and hard to understand strain on the people here, especially the children. As they celebrate their version of Halloween here, they are somewhere close to a 15-second warning, which is the amount of time they have from the time the rocket is launched to get to safety. That's not a way for people to live obviously."
Purim is not the equivalent of an Israeli Halloween, Appelbaum notes. The holiday -- although a joyous one -- commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from mass execution. When Sen. Lieberman had a chance to speak at the press conference, he placed the blame of the mistake on himself. "I had a brief exchange with one of the mothers whose children was in there in a costume for Purim," Lieberman, who is Jewish and celebrates the holiday, said. "And it's my fault that I said to Senator McCain that this is the Israeli version of Halloween. It is in the sense because the kids dress up and it's a very happy holiday and actually it is in the sense that the sweets are very important of both holidays." 
"Could I just say that I understand this is the holiday of Hadassah, otherwise known as Esther," McCain later said. Those in attendance quickly made light of the mistake. 
McCain’s mistake wasn’t a big deal. But what is interesting, Appelbaum points out, is Lieberman's role during this trip. In two days, Lieberman has intervened twice in front of the press -- once helping McCain with a correction on Sunnis/Shiites and once putting the blame on himself regarding the description of Purim.

I also think it's kind of funny that McCain called Purim the "holiday of Hadassah" and had to expain "otherwise known as Esther." How many non-Jews out there know Esther's alternate name was Hadassah? Also, Hadassah happens to be the name of Joe Lieberman's wife, and Joe probably told that to McCain, and McCain probably assumed, again incorrectly, that Hadassah is the more commonly known name of Esther. Sheesh!


Hattip: My friend Jeff in LA.

Obama Would Take on Oil Companies...

Is Obama the ONLY candidate who is alarmed by the oil companies and their stranglehold monopoly on the market? It would seem so. Yes, he may tap into the gargantuan reserves that are sitting doing nothing but collecting dust, and Conservative (who like to conserve everything but money on stupid, illegal wars, big government and big business) will try to cry foul, but it's probably the only way to get the price of gasoline lowered to where people can afford to go to work!

For All You Right Wingers Out There Who Think We Have Such a GREAT Healthcare System...

About 47 MILLION Americans have no health coverage (neither private NOR government provided. Republicans like to say it's great, but Democrats have a slightly different opinion. Also,

The non-profit Commonwealth Fund said in November Americans spend double what people in other industrialized nations do on health care, but have more trouble seeing doctors, face more medical errors and are more apt to go without treatment.

Those findings came in a poll of 12,000 people in the United States, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

British researchers said in January that the United States rated worst in rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations.

In the Harvard survey, 26 percent of respondents said the United States is better than other countries in providing affordable health care access to everyone, and 21 percent felt the United States was better in controlling health care costs.
Are you noticing what that says? 26% of respondents think US healthcare is better. That's a pretty low number (I think it's even lower than the Idiot's current approval rating!)

So, while there may be shorter wait times to see a specialist, you first have to be able to AFFORD it!!

I know there are some of you out there who are of the opinion not everyone deserves government provided healthcare. I'd like to see you say that if YOU were in that position. And if you're Jewish, this attitude is particularly disgusting.

And to the "anonymous" person who commented on my previous post, did you Conservatives examine THIS issue from all angles and come to the conclusion that it's OK for 47 MILLION people to be without health insurance? We're talking, keep in mind, about roughly one sixth of this country's population. That's just embarrassing, when other industrialized countries provide FOR their citizens.