9/28/08

Did Paul McCartney Really Perform in Israel?

Yes Paul did perform in Tel Aviv on September 25, 2008. Here is an amateur video clip from the event as proof. You can't hear Paul - it seems as if all 50,000 fans are singing along with him.

Now that Paul has played in the Holy land, the messianic age cannot be far off.

9/25/08

Is Sarah Palin Jewish?

No, Sarah Palin definitely is not a Jew.
Palin was born into a Catholic family. When she was 4 years old, her family joined the Wasilla Assembly of God, which belongs to a Pentecostal association of churches. Palin attended the Wasilla Assembly of God until age 38. When in Juneau, she attends the Juneau Christian Center. Her current home church is the Wasilla Bible Church, an independent congregation. Palin described herself in an interview as a "Bible-believing" Christian. After the Republican National Convention, the McCain campaign told CNN that Palin "doesn't consider herself Pentecostal."[Wikipedia]

9/17/08

Minnesota Senate Race: Al Franken Anti-War Ad - Coleman's Gotta Go

This is how ordinary people in Minnesota express their outrage. It is the best ant-Bush, anti-Republican ad of the season.

Hat tip to Main St USA.

MinnPost.com: Dastardly Republicans v. Nice Minnesota Jewish Boy

The son of the editor of the American Jewish World newspaper in Minneapolis was arrested and arraigned for protesting at the RNC in St. Paul. It's a travesty and a farce at the same time. But like any good Jewish father, his dad is worried.
First they came for the anarchists ...
By Mordecai Specktor | Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008

My son Max was arraigned at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center on Wednesday, Sept. 3. He's in serious legal trouble.

In the aftermath of the Republican National Convention — and the arrests of more than 800 protesters, journalists and bystanders in the Twin Cities — Max and seven others, the alleged ringleaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee, have been charged with conspiracy to commit riot in the furtherance of terrorism.

That's right, terrorism....more

9/16/08

Move On Video Ad: McCain's Oil Company Friends

Don't be naive. Vote for Obama.

Barack's Quote of the Day

Barack's Quote of the Day -- going after McCain's lobbyists...he said,
"If you think those lobbyists are working day and night for John McCain just to put themselves out of business, well I've got a bridge to sell you up in Alaska."

Source: "Obama: Believe McCain? I've got a bridge to sell you in Alaska," CNN, September 15, 2008

9/15/08

WSJ: The Jewish Republicans are Coming

Here they come!

Joseph Epstein ought to come visit our gilded ghetto of Teaneck NJ and its environs, where he will find a few remaining Orthodox Liberals surrounded by hoards of fabrent (rabid) lox-eating and yarmulka-wearing Bush-loving Republicans.

On the holiday of Purim in March, my lonely Obama lawn sign was swapped by a frum (religious) prankster with my neighbor's Hillary lawn sign as a way of telling the both of us that we were interchangably confused.

On a recent Friday night I sat and celebrated the birth of a neighbor's baby boy at a shalom zachor (baby welcoming) where we ate glatt kosher food only. The balabus (householder) welcomed me into the shabbos song singing conclave and to make me comfortable he sat me next to what he said was "the other Obama voter" - our only Reform Jewish block resident.

My misguided attempt at Democrat sympathizing political chit-chat with one of the many uber-McCainites in attendance that evening was roundly ridiculed.

These folk solidly were saying - pass the chopped liver please and vote for our heroes McCain and Palin. We believe with complete faith, they declared, that it is the 11th commandment.
Thinking Outside the Lox
By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
September 15, 2008; Page A23
Today, class, we shall take up the oxymoron, the figure of speech in which two contradictory words appear in conjunction. Here are some prime examples: amicable divorce, congressional ethics, definite maybe, military justice and Jewish Republican. Jewish Republicans may be rarer than Jewish coal miners. Let's face it, no one gazing at the crowd of the Republican convention in St. Paul last week would have mistaken it for Sam and Becky Lebowitz's grandson's bar mitzvah party.

The reason it is so difficult for Jews to vote for Republicans is largely historical. The GOP for many years seemed the party of the large corporations, the excluding country clubs, the restricted neighborhoods -- all institutions dedicated to keeping Jews out -- so that even now the Republican Party is associated, in the minds of Jews of a certain age, with anti-Semitism.

I have Jewish friends who believe in free markets, are deeply suspicious of big government, view the general bag of leftist ideas as callow if not dangerous, yet would sooner tuck into a large plate of pigs' feet than vote for a Republican for president. They just can't bring themselves to do it.

Like most Jews, I grew up in a house that was Democratic and devoted to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The reason for this devotion is that, in opposition to the isolationists then known as American Firsters, FDR, an internationalist, saw the need to go to war to stop the Nazis, who were systematically murdering the Jews of Europe. Only much later was it learned that Roosevelt could have saved many more European Jews by enlarging immigration quotas, but his policy was instead the mistaken one of trying to save the Jews by winning the war as quickly as possible. As we now know, the war wasn't won quickly enough.

Owing to the overwhelming Jewish support for Roosevelt, few were the Jews who openly declared themselves Republican. As a boy, in the early 1950s, I knew only one: a man named Hyman Skolnick, the father of a friend, who was an executive for a Jewish-owned scrap-metal company in Chicago. An immigrant, Mr. Skolnick had an inborn gravity that derived from what I took to be his high competence and mastery of facts. I sensed that he was a man who, if you woke him at four in the morning, could tell you, within $20, the exact amount of the gross national product as of the hour.

I did not meet another Jewish Republican until the early 1960s, when I met Irving Kristol -- who, after a career as a Trotskyist lasting for roughly 27 minutes while he was a student at the City College of New York, did not impede his philosophical and temperamental conservatism from steering him toward the GOP. For this Irving Kristol was considered, stupidly, by Irving Howe and other Irvings and not a few Seymours, a great heresiarch, nothing less than a traitor to his people.

The Democrats' record on things Jewish is finally not all that strong. Joe Kennedy, the so-called founding father of the Kennedy clan, was pro-Hitler and famously anti-Semitic. Jimmy Carter, in his sentimental idealism, has called Israel an apartheid state, comparable with South Africa. I always thought that Bill Clinton, in his vanity, would have done his best to convince the Israelis to give up the West Bank and the East Bank, and toss in Katz's Delicatessen on Houston Street at no extra charge, in his eagerness to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Despite all this, Jews cling to the Democratic Party. The Democrats, they claim, remain the party most interested in social justice, and it is incumbent upon Jews, who have known so much injustice in their own history, to be on the side of social justice.

The only Democratic administration in the past 50 years that may be said to have made good on a program of social justice was that of Lyndon Johnson, himself today much less admired, by Jews and others, for his efforts in this line -- the civil rights voting acts, the war against poverty -- than despised for his policy in Vietnam. As for social justice, who is responsible for more of it, on a world-wide scale, than Ronald Reagan, in his helping to bring an end to tyrannous communism?

I only voted for my first Republican candidate for president in 1980, when I voted for Reagan. Even then I did not so much vote for Reagan as against Jimmy Carter. What made me vote against Mr. Carter was his vapidity and weakness. I remember a photograph, on the front page of the New York Times of Mr. Carter, in jogging gear, after having fainted during a run on the White House lawn, being held up by two Secret Service men. My God, I thought, this pathetic man, with his hot-combed hair, cannot be the leader of my country. I have voted for Republicans for president ever since, with the exception of 1996, when I found I could not vote for either Bob Dole or Bill Clinton, and took the high (if somewhat lumpy) ground of not voting at all.

I shall probably vote for John McCain in this year's presidential election. But I am not locked in on my vote, and if the McCain-Palin campaign gets dramatically stupid, I could go the other way. I make no claim to be an original political thinker, but, unlike so many of my co-religionists, I feel a nice sense of freedom, knowing that I am able to think, so to say, outside the lox.

Mr. Epstein is the author, most recently, of "Fred Astaire" to be published next month by Yale University Press.

The Jew and the Carrot in the New York Times Magazine!

She is in the NY Times Magazine "Lives"!

Hooray to Leah Koenig -- of the best Jewish blog in the world (for today) The Carrot, blog on Jewish life, food and sustainability.

And by the way you know that this reminds us of the Shalom Auslander narrative,in his "Personal History" called "Playoffs" where the characters walk a long way on Shabbat to attend a hockey game! Koenig is so much more serious and meaningful -- really...
Lives
Wedding March
By LEAH KOENIG

When it arrived in my boyfriend’s mailbox last summer, the invitation to the September wedding of a college friend immediately posed a problem. “It’s on a Saturday,” he said, scanning the R.S.V.P. card. “In Maryland.” Saturday meant Shabbat — the day of rest when Sabbath-keeping Jews like him (and more recently me), abstain from driving, using electricity, spending money and engaging in the 39 types of “creative work” identified in the Torah. Dancing after the ceremony was fine. Traveling there by car was not.

Still, my boyfriend was determined to go while following Shabbat’s laws. The nearest hotel was four miles from the wedding. We could arrive Friday before dark, he reasoned, wake up late and walk to the midafternoon ceremony with time to spare. “Sure,” I said, when he asked if I would go with him. “Sounds like fun.”

As the day approached, my excitement about our journey began to build. I remembered a line from my days as an environmental-studies major: “Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation.” Was that Gary Snyder or John Muir? No matter. We’d walk the terrain that Shabbat afternoon and pray with our feet! When the day arrived, we set out from the parking lot of our hotel with enthusiasm and plenty of time to make it.

Less than a mile into it, however, it was clear that our route was not meant for walkers. The few existing stretches of sidewalk dwindled away, swallowed by the hot highway. Cars hurtled around sharp bends. But we continued, past gas stations and car washes. Past enormous housing developments and swaths of undeveloped land with For Sale signs sticking like birthday candles out of the soil. Make a wish! Buy your dream home!

One mile became two. Under the sun’s glare, the relaxing Shabbat evening we’d spent in the hotel slipped away, and so did my poetic sentiment. Freckles of sweat dotted across my boyfriend’s T-shirt as he trudged a few steps ahead of me. I thought about my slinky black dress, now crumpled in his backpack. Kicking a pile of dusty stones, I drained my water bottle, irritated that I’d neglected to bring reserves. The “not purchasing stuff on Shabbat” rule was still new to me.

“Maybe we could knock on one of the houses and ask to fill up,” he said. But the homes gave off an impenetrable air, like fortresses with cul-de-sacs. The manicured lawns were absent of children. There were no women in wide-brimmed hats aiming garden hoses at the begonias. Living in New York City for four years, I have grown accustomed to the clamor of pedestrians on the sidewalks. But the only people we passed were two young Hispanic women heading toward one of the houses from a bus stop. “They must be cleaning ladies,” I said aloud, alarmed by my assumption and the suspicion that I was right.

Around Mile 3, a rummage sale on the side of the road appeared like an unlikely mirage. “Did your car break down or something?” asked the man sitting in a lawn chair, surrounded by bric-a-brac. We assured him we were fine, throwing him shoulder-shrugging smiles. How, in exurban Maryland, could we explain that we were actually walking on purpose?

My thirst was starting to get serious when we heard the faint sound of drumming. It was celebratory, slightly militaristic. An S.U.V. streaked by trailing colored streamers; a high-school football game was nearby. We practiced asking for water as we approached the outdoor stadium. “Should I explain that it’s Shabbat and we can’t pay for a bottle?” I asked. My boyfriend said, “No need to answer that question if it’s not asked,” showing far more experience than I with moving through the world as an observant Jew. The woman at the gate raised her eyebrows, but she took the empty water bottle from me to refill it.

When we finally “pulled in” to the small farm where the wedding guests were gathering, I felt my dreamy naturalist euphoria return. “We made it,” I said, grinning. My boyfriend said, “Thank you.” I went into the bathroom, splashed more water on my face and neck and changed into my miraculously unwrinkled dress. Outside, I found him looking handsome in dress pants and a tie, coming from the bar with a drink for each of us. We quietly agreed not to bring up our walk to the other guests. The walk was ours, but the day belonged to the bride and groom.

Later that evening the late summer sun set, signaling both the end of Shabbat and the party. We hitched a ride with a guest back to our hotel — back past the stadium, the cul-de-sacs and the gas stations. I strained my eyes in the darkness, trying to catch familiar glimpses of the landscape now blurring by at 40 miles an hour. It took us more than two and a half hours to get to the wedding that afternoon. The drive back took 10 minutes.

Leah Koenig is a freelance writer and editor of The Jew & The Carrot, blog on Jewish life, food and sustainability.

9/14/08

Times: Palin Choice is a "Mission: Irresponsible"

The unqualified veep republican candidate repeats the mantra that she is focused on the mission. We have had to say from minute one that it is McCain's "Mission: Irresponsible" to have chosen such an ill-prepared person for his running mate.

Wait! We are not the only ones who think this. The editors of the New York Times agree.

Please read this and stop supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin and Big Oil. Start supporting the people of America.
Gov. Palin’s Worldview

As we watched Sarah Palin on TV the last couple of days, we kept wondering what on earth John McCain was thinking.

If he seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment. If the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly irresponsible.

It was bad enough that Ms. Palin’s performance in the first televised interviews she has done since she joined the Republican ticket was so visibly scripted and lacking in awareness.

What made it so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications.

The idea that Americans want leaders who have none of those things — who are so blindly certain of what Ms. Palin calls “the mission” that they won’t even pause for reflection — shows a contempt for voters and raises frightening questions about how Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin plan to run this country.

One of the many bizarre moments in the questioning by ABC News’s Charles Gibson was when Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, excused her lack of international experience by sneering that Americans don’t want “somebody’s big fat résumé maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state.”

We know we were all supposed to think of Joe Biden. But it sure sounded like a good description of Mr. McCain. Those decades of experience earned the Arizona senator the admiration of people in both parties. They are why he was our preferred candidate in the Republican primaries.

The interviews made clear why Americans should worry about Ms. Palin’s thin résumé and lack of experience. Consider her befuddlement when Mr. Gibson referred to President Bush’s “doctrine” and her remark about having insight into Russia because she can see it from her state.

But that is not what troubled us most about her remarks — and, remember, if they were scripted, that just means that they reflect Mr. McCain’s views all the more closely. Rather, it was the sense that thoughtfulness, knowledge and experience are handicaps for a president in a world populated by Al Qaeda terrorists, a rising China, epidemics of AIDS, poverty and fratricidal war in the developing world and deep economic distress at home.

Ms. Palin talked repeatedly about never blinking. When Mr. McCain asked her to run for vice president? “You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission,” she said, that “you can’t blink.”

Fighting terrorism? “We must do whatever it takes, and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.”

Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd.

This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.

In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.

9/11/08

Fact: John McCain is Not a War Hero

A little non-Talmudic straight talk from Tzvee.

John McCain is not a hero.

Hero: A man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength; "RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of Britain."


I have read the record of McCain's service in the navy. He nearly blew up an air-craft carrier, he got shot down, he confessed and collaborated with the enemy. These are not things that a hero does. They do not show a "man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength."

The facts of McCain's biography show me a man undistinguished, a man of limited courage, a man lacking nobility and a man of visible weakness.

In my book an undisputed hero dies for his country or a noble hero leads his troops to victory (not to defeat) in a noble war (not in Vietnam).

It's not disrespectful to characterize a person accurately. McCain graduated at the bottom of his class. McCain left the navy as a captain after he was told he would never make admiral.

To me McCain seems like a screw-up, not a hero, like a smart ass, not a person qualified to be the leader of the greatest country in the world.

McCain's accomplishment in the military - in my mind - is way inferior to the records of many military men who served as president. To me he is no John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, no Teddy Roosevelt, no Ulysses Grant, Andrew Jackson, William H. Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Franklin Pierce, Benjamin Harrison, James Monroe, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, William McKinley, Harry S Truman, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush or James Buchanan.

These are my views. It is not my opinion but a fact that nowhere will you find hero defined as a person who "chooses" to stay incarcerated by the enemy as a prisoner of war longer than he needs to because he wants to show solidarity with other captured soldiers. That to me is not a display of "courage, nobility or strength." That to me is the act of a fool, an idiot, a showoff, or worse.

I do agree with Wesley Clark that McCain's record does not support his qualifications to assume the mantle of leadership of our country - though Clark is muddying the waters and diluting his criticism already in an interview this evening with Dan Abrams on MSNBC.

Here is what some others are saying, via Politico, "Is McCain's War Record Fair Game?
Politico: McCain Camp Outraged After Wesley Clark, Liberal Bloggers Target Candidate's Service In Vietnam, Time As POW" -
...Sunday, a widely read liberal blog accused McCain of "disloyalty" during his captivity in Vietnam for his coerced participation in propaganda films and interviews after he’d been tortured.

"A lot of people don't know… that McCain made a propaganda video for the enemy while he was in captivity," wrote Americablog's John Aravosis. "Putting that bit of disloyalty aside, what exactly is McCain's military experience that prepares him for being commander in chief?"

"Getting shot down, tortured, and then doing propaganda for the enemy is not command experience," Aravosis wrote in the blog post, entitled "Honestly, besides being tortured, what did McCain do to excel in the military?"

McCain's camp responded sharply to the Americablog posting Sunday night.

"The American people know that John McCain's record of service and sacrifice is not a matter of debate. He has written about and discussed his service as a POW extensively-often in excruciating and painful detail," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers. "The American people will judge harshly anyone who demeans or attacks that service."...

Is Cindy Hensley McCain Jewish?

Some right wing extremist web sites say that she is. The Associated Baptist Press says she is a Baptist:
Cindy McCain... is an official Baptist. She was baptized at the Phoenix church [North Phoenix Baptist Church] in 1991, two years before [Rev. Dan] Yeary became pastor. The couple has attended faithfully since, the pastor said, as have their children -- although they too have not joined or been baptized.
Yeary said McCain and then-pastor Richard Jackson had a conversation about membership and baptism when Cindy McCain joined the church. Likewise, Yeary said he continues to talk with the senator about his membership. Yeary did not reveal the details, but said the dialogue is ongoing.
“You have to be baptized by immersion to be a member [of North Phoenix],” Yeary said. “John and I have dialogued about that. … John is an Episcopalian, and he and his family attend North Phoenix Baptist Church when he is in town.”
Neither McCain’s Senate office nor his presidential campaign responded to an ABP reporter’s request for clarification about why he has not chosen to join North Phoenix Baptist.
In an interview last year with InsideCatholic.com, an on-line Catholic forum, McCain said he attends North Phoenix Baptist because he likes Yeary's "message of reconciliation and redemption, which I'm a great believer in." He added: “… I'm grateful for the spiritual advice and counsel that I continue to get from Pastor Dan Yeary."...
Over the years, Yeary said, the McCain family has “called me at times of family challenge,” such as illnesses and hospitalizations. Yeary performed the funerals for both of Cindy McCain’s parents. Her father was a wealthy beer magnate, serving as the West Coast distributor for Anheuser-Busch.
When Cindy McCain spoke at her father’s funeral, Yeary said, he got a glimpse of her public role. “This lady would be a very poised, confident, effective first lady. Her testimony rang true,” he said.

Sarah Palin - a pit bull with lipstick

This is what a pitbull with lipstick looks like. Hey, don't blame me. The visualization came directly from the bizarre candidate and hockey mom Sarah Palin. She cracked the joke in a nationally televised political speech to America. Blame her.