Archive for March, 2012

Israeli Singer

Born in Canada to Israeli parents, Kathleen Reiter made aliyah recently and won this competition:

- Aggie


Not Murder, Not Toulouse

But plenty bad enough:

Anti-Semitic graffiti was found spray-painted on a North Side synagogue and Jewish day school, in Chicago, on Wednesday, police said.

A Surveillance video shows a female spray-painting the words “Kill & Rape Jews” on two buildings and on the sidewalks, NBC news reported.

“This is evil,” said Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue.

The AJC called the vandalism, that occurred just prior to the Passover holiday “a sad reminder of the persistence of anti-Semitism.”

“All words have consequences, and we should keep that in mind as we call upon all people of good faith to speak out against the vandalism,” said Elbaum.

Hey, maybe Al Sharpton can speak out against this hate crime! Oh no, he’s busy.


Jew-hemian Rhapsody

The song has never made sense till now.

One of Queen’s greatest hits is getting a Passover twist: The iconic rock band’s Bohemian Rhapsody has been transformed into an Egyptian Rhapsody of the exodus from Egypt and a retelling of the Passover Haggadah.

The Aish HaTorah yeshiva which has its main center in Jerusalem but which has branches throughout the globe, is doing it again with a video clip they believe has the potential of going viral. One has to wonder what Freddie Mercury would have thought of the remake.

“It all started when one of the visitors to our website suggested the idea of bringing together the Bohemian Rhapsody and the storyline of the exodus from Egypt,” revealed Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, a teacher at Aish and editor in chief of the website. Rabbi Coopersmith saw the potential and together with the Aish team, rushed to create lyrics to the rhapsody melody.

“In the case of Queen, it’s a great way to revamp the song and give it an almost holy feeling. And that’s what we do: Use the internet, which is impure for a higher purpose so that anyone can enjoy it.”

Freddie Mercury impure? You take that back!


This is the Tanks We Get

It’s not every tank instructor who gives up a career in modeling to make aliyah from Brookline, Massachusetts to Israel and serve in the IDF. Sure, a lot—but not all:

Esther Petrack was on the way to being the next big thing, after competing in the reality show “America’s Next Top Model” and making seventh place, when she decided a change of pace was in order. For her, the next big thing was entirely different; she wanted to become an IDF combat soldier.

Esther was born in Jerusalem to a religious family and at sixteen, moved with her family to the United States. She made history when she became the first religious Jewish girl to compete in the “America’s Next Top Model“. She was on the fast lane to becoming a supermodel when things changed last year, during a visit to Israel for the first time in four years. Following her trip Esther decided to make Aliyah and join the army.

Upon enlisting, Esther was asked where she would like to serve. Though offered the chance to serve in administrative positions and office environments, she insisted upon the combat position of tank instructor.

“I wanted to do something I could never do in my post-army life. Tank instructor is unlike any civilian job—it’s physical, but also intellectually and mentally challenging.”


What’s the big deal about this story—besides the obvious fact of hot chicks and heavy-duty military equipment? I’m sorry, what was the question? I kind of spaced out thinking about hot chicks and heavy-duty military equipment.

Oh yeah, the Boston angle:

Sarah Lazaros was going to be late to light her third-night Hanukkah candles, but she knew the big guy upstairs would understand.

The sun had long set, but the 17-year-old Maimonides School senior still had meals to serve at Gittel’s Kitchen, the region’s only kosher soup kitchen.

The entirely student-run endeavor celebrates a decade of service this year, catering to about a dozen people each week in the basement of a Brighton synagogue, Temple Bnai Moshe.

Although the soup kitchen dishes up only kosher dairy food — donated from the Milk Street Café in downtown Boston — its services are open to all.

“We don’t check the belief system of people that [come to eat],” said Mike Rosenberg, director of community relations at Maimonides.

Rosenberg said students at Maimonides, a private Jewish day school in Brookline, are encouraged to bring the concept of chesed, or compassion for others, to life.

Esther Petrack, a sophomore at Maimonides and soup kitchen volunteer who lives on Gardner Road in Brookline, said such a rare resource is worth having “even if there is one or two people who care.”

It doesn’t sound like Esther lived in the area for all that long, which probably helps explain why she’s a hot chick not turned off by heavy-duty military equipment, especially Israeli heavy-duty military equipment.


We’ll Never Look Upon His Kind Again


Mullets were never cool: see proof above.

“Current TV said Friday afternoon that it had terminated the contract of its lead anchor, Keith Olbermann, scarcely a year after he was hired to reboot the fledgling channel in his progressive political image. Current indicated that he had failed to honor the terms of his five-year, $50 million contract, giving the channel the right to terminate it,” New York Times’s Brian Stelter reported this afternoon. For his part, Olbermann trash-tweeted Al Gore and the suits at Current on the way out the door…

His twit-o-tantrum:

My full statement:

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.

Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain.

In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

As long as you’re apologizing, Keith, can Michelle Malkin can expect hers any day now?

Hey, at least Olbermann has Al Gore figured out. But then, even a stopped clock…

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Clean*, Reliable**, Cheap*** Wind Power

* Except for the necessity of “rare earth” minerals, the harm to migratory birds, the visual clutter, and noise pollution.

** Except when the wind doesn’t blow—this being a case where the Left doesn’t believe in Climate Change.

*** Not now; probably not ever:

Boston utility NStar has agreed to pay a starting price for power from the Cape Wind project that is substantially above the cost of conventional energy and will slightly increase the average customer’s monthly bill beginning the first year the offshore wind farm generates electricity, according to a 15-year contract filed with state regulators Friday.

The price, 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, is the same as what National Grid agreed to pay when it signed a contract in 2010 to purchase half the power generated by Cape Wind. NStar’s deal is to purchase 27.5 percent of the wind farm’s total output. Since the Cape Wind power represents only about 2 percent of the energy distributed by NStar, it is expected to have a moderate impact on the average customer’s bill, $1.08 a month. Customers in the Boston area pay about $86 a month.

The utilities currently pay about 8 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, and NStar originally balked at becoming a Cape Wind customer, arguing the wind farm’s cost was too high. That position changed last month, when, after nearly a year of negotiations, state energy officials agreed to endorse a proposed merger between NStar and Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities if NStar made several concessions, including buying power from Cape Wind.

“We know that it will take a diversified approach using all available renewable resources to meet the state’s climate change goals,’’ NStar spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said. “We recognize that renewable energy has a cost associated with it but we see this as an investment in our state’s clean energy future.’’

The agreement left little room for NStar to negotiate the price it would pay for the energy, dictating, according to regulatory filings, that the utility’s purchase price “shall be substantially the same’’ as the price National Grid agreed to pay. NStar also committed to purchasing a comparable amount of power from another project, if Cape Wind has not begun construction by the end of 2015.

You have to admire the government’s logic: they feel they can compel a utility to pay about 133% over the market rate for electricity because the “deluxe” electricity they’re being forced to buy amounts to only two percent of the supply. I think I heard Tony Soprano make such an argument once.

The strict stipulations on prices and terms led critics to question the state’s role in bringing about the deal.

“The ‘negotiation’ around this contract was a complete sham,’’ said Robert Rio, a spokesman for the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, a trade group that has long opposed the high price tag for Cape Wind’s power. “We’ll never know what the final [price] could have been because NStar was hamstrung in the negotiation process.’’

Renewable energy proponents, however, see the deal as a coup for Governor Deval Patrick, who insisted that NStar’s $17.5 billion merger to Northeast Utilities should promote cleaner sources of energy.

That explains it: Don Deval decreed it.

But what I don’t get is how this thing is supposed to save money:

Despite the high price of Cape Wind’s power, supporters have argued that the project will help lower New England energy prices in the long run.

That’s because Cape Wind’s costs will be paid for by fixed contracts with the utilities. With no fuel costs when the turbines are rotating, it will displace power on the grid from energy sources with higher fuel costs, according to the study.

“Cape Wind would have a substantial impact in reducing spot market prices,’’ said Mark Rodgers, a Cape Wind spokesman. “That ultimately filters back to all of us electricity consumers in New England.’’

Rio, meanwhile, said he thinks that any such savings would actually be “incredibly minuscule.’’

“I don’t know if you’ll ever be able to make money on this thing,’’ he said. “It’s real fuzzy math.’’

That also sound like The Sopranos.

How can something that costs twice the market rate (and is scheduled to cost more every year, throughout the contract) ever be cheaper than the traditional sources? Unless the price of the traditional sources is artificially inflated by manufactured shortages? (Right Capo Obama?)

PS: Cape Wind is not popular among the resident of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard; it was built over Ted Kennedy’s dead body—literally. Exactly how do the wind freaks ever see this not-so-clean, not-so-reliable, not-so-cheap resource expanding?


Secretary Obama

As in Party Secretary.

Now, you don’t need to hear me say that Obama is a communist. We throw words like communist and fascist around too freely these days.

Besides, he says it himself:

The president of the U.S. Conference of Bishops is careful to show due respect for the president of the United States. “I was deeply honored that he would call me and discuss these things with me,” says the newly elevated Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. But when Archbishop Dolan tells me his account of their discussions of the ObamaCare birth-control mandate, Barack Obama sounds imperious and deceitful to me.

Mr. Obama knew that the mandate would pose difficulties for the Catholic Church, so he invited Archbishop Dolan to the Oval Office last November, shortly before the bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore. At the end of their 45-minute discussion, the archbishop summed up what he understood as the president’s message:

“I said, ‘I’ve heard you say, first of all, that you have immense regard for the work of the Catholic Church in the United States in health care, education and charity. . . . I have heard you say that you are not going to let the administration do anything to impede that work and . . . that you take the protection of the rights of conscience with the utmost seriousness. . . . Does that accurately sum up our conversation?’ [Mr. Obama] said, ‘You bet it does.’”

The archbishop asked for permission to relay the message to the other bishops. “You don’t have my permission, you’ve got my request,” the president replied.

“So you can imagine the chagrin,” Archbishop Dolan continues, “when he called me at the end of January to say that the mandates remain in place and that there would be no substantive change, and that the only thing that he could offer me was that we would have until August. . . . I said, ‘Mr. President, I appreciate the call. Are you saying now that we have until August to introduce to you continual concerns that might trigger a substantive mitigation in these mandates?’ He said, ‘No, the mandates remain. We’re more or less giving you this time to find out how you’re going to be able to comply.’ I said, ‘Well, sir, we don’t need the [extra time]. I can tell you now we’re unable to comply.’”

Come on, even you die-hard Obama supporters have to see how duplicitous and heavy handed that is. We haven’t heard talk like that since East Germany became eastern Germany.

But Obama wasn’t done talking (as if!):

The administration went ahead and announced the mandate. A public backlash ensued, and the archbishop got another call from the president on Feb. 10. “He said, ‘You will be happy to hear religious institutions do not have to pay for this, that the burden will be on insurers.’” Archbishop Dolan asked if the president was seeking his input and was told the modified policy was a fait accompli. The call came at 9:30 a.m. The president announced the purported accommodation at 12:15 p.m.

So, from eight months to “comply”, the archbishop had less than three hours.

There’s a lot more if you’re interested, but I want to make two points. One, no matter how I may wish the Catholic Church would lighten up on contraception (as do many Catholics, who use it routinely), we have a law against such compulsion. It’s called the First Amendment. There is no War on Women (as men are part of the contraception solution—or should be); there is a very real War on Religious Freedom.

But the other point is that the Catholic Church could just retreat, and stop offering the sort of services it provides to the community—get out of the charity business altogether. Then they would have no employees to be compelled to cover for abortifacients (what a word) and the like.

Archbishop Dolan answers:

“Some Catholics . . . are now saying, ‘Fine, we’ll get out of all that. It’s dragging us down anyway. Rather than be supporting 50 Catholic schools in the inner city where most of the kids are not Catholic, and using a big chunk of diocesan money to do that, we’ll just use it for the schools that have all Catholics, and it’ll serve us a lot better.’ . . .

“I find that, by the way, to be rather un-Catholic,” he continues. “I don’t know what that would say to the gospel mandate to be ‘light to the world’ and ‘salt of the earth.’ It’s part of our religion to be right out there in the forefront, right there in the nitty-gritty.”

An insular attitude, Archbishop Dolan suggests, plays into the hands of ideologues who favor an ever-more-powerful secular government: “I get this all the time: I would have some people say, ‘Cardinal Dolan, you need to go to Albany and say, “If we don’t get state aid by September, I’m going to close all my schools.”‘ I say to them, ‘You don’t think there’d be somersaults up and down the corridors?’”

Another story comes from the nation’s capital: “The Archdiocese of Washington, in a very courteous way, went to the City Council and said, ‘We just want to be upfront with you. If this goes through that we have to place children up for adoption with same-sex couples, we’ll have to get out of the adoption enterprise, which everybody admits we probably do better than anybody else. And one of the City Council members said, ‘Good. We’ve been trying to get you out of it forever. And besides, we’re paying you to do it. So get out!’”

The Church could close its schools and hospitals and make everyone happy, church and state. Everyone except those who need the Church’s services most, that is.

I don’t think it’s arguable (but maybe it is) that what the statist left seeks is the replacement of one religion (the Catholic Church—though perhaps Judeo-Christianity is more accurate) with another one: the Statist Left. It has its own tenets and its own Inquisition. And it even has its own pope: Barack I.

Woe betide you if you cross His Clean, Articulate Infallibility.


No Jews Allowed

This got my attention:

A Connecticut condominium owner has been told by the complex’s management association that she must remove a Jewish religious symbol or face fines, advocates told

What, was she pimping out some oversized menorah? She wouldn’t take down her Sukkot tent? Nuh-uh:

Barbara Cadranel, an internationally-renown harpsichordist living in Stratford, Conn., contacted the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League earlier this month to report that she had been told by the California Condo Association to remove the mezuzah — a small object inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah placed on the doorpost of a Jewish family’s home — or face fines of $50 per day, according to ADL’s Connecticut Regional Director Gary Jones.

“It’s pretty rare,” Jones said of disputes between condominium association and owners involving mezuzot. “The obligation to place a mezuzah on the doorframe or doorpost is a right in the Bible. Jewish people everywhere, including those in condominiums, post a mezuzah as a reminder of their religious obligations.”

Our Jewish readers will forgive me if I show the goyim among us (myself included) what a mezuzah looks like:

I’ll never forget the… well, not pride, exactly, but amazement my Jewish grandfather showed when I visited him once during college and he asked if I knew what the little doodad on his door frame was. I had been raised without any religious indoctrination whatsoever, so he had long since given up hope of my ever knowing the first thing about Judaism. But I had lived in New York City. “That’s a mezuzah!” I said without hesitation. (I only wondered where was the accompanying scent of cooked cabbage that filled every Upper West Side tenement I had ever been in.) Hanging out with my Jewish and Italian friends was my religious catechism in both Judaism and Catholicism. It’s a great city that way.

Cadranel told The Hartford Courtant she received the mezuzah as a gift last fall. She now feels “violated” after being told to remove it, she told the newspaper.

“I’m bullied and I’m saddened,” she told the Courant. “It’s changed my whole existence here.”

“It’s not a decorative choice, or a choice at all when a condo association or anyone says that a mezuzah can’t be put on a doorpost or doorframe. Basically, they are telling the Jewish person that he or she cannot live there.”

Attempts to reach representatives at the California Condo Association were not successful Friday. According to an agreement with its condo owners, the display of items like Christmas wreaths and crosses on doors is allowed, but the display of other items such as mezuzah on doorposts is not, the Jewish Ledger reports.

The association’s attorney has said that Cadranel was well aware of the bylaws when she purchased the unit on Aug. 31, 2010, the Courant reports.

Similar disputes have occurred at condominiums around the nation.

In the most well-known case, a Chicago couple sued after being told they couldn’t put the symbol on their door. The case dragged on from 2005 to 2009, eventually making its way to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals before the parties settled. The couple was permitted to keep the symbol in place.

The case led city officials and Illinois state Legislature to pass laws barring condominium associations from banning the symbols. Some states have enacted laws specifically protecting condo residents’ rights to put up mezuzahs.

When living in NYC, we once owned a co-op in a large apartment building, so I can relate. Oy. Such an experience would cure even Bill Ayers of any socialist tendencies.

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Don’t Tell Michelle Obama!

I don’t like her old man, but I wouldn’t wish this even on him!

A Thai cookbook has won this year’s Diagram Prize for oddest book title of the year.

Cooking With Poo is written by Bangkok chef Saiyuud Diwong whose nickname is Poo – which is Thai for “crab”.

She runs a cookery school for locals and tourists in the city’s largest slum, alongside the charitable organisation that published the book.

“We knew the whole world loved Poo but now its official!,” said Anji Barker, a senior social worker at the charity Urban Neighbours of Hope.

Can you tell it’s Friday afternoon?

The other shorlisted titles were Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World, The Mushroom in Christian Art, A Taxonomy of Office Chairs and A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two.

Last year’s winner was former dentist Michael Young’s Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way.

Genghis Khan dentistry—now, that I would wish on Obama!

PS: Oops! I missed a few!

Voted in second was Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh.

While Scott D Mendelson’s The Great Singapore Penis Panic and the Future of American Mass Hysteria came in third.


Happy Land Day!

What do you do on Land Day, but share the land—in the form of rocks, boulders, etc.

Land Day turned violent Friday when Arabs began hurling Molotov cocktails and stones at soldiers near the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem.

The riots began after Friday afternoon Muslim prayers – often a starting point for violence – when dozens of masked Arab youths began rioting at the checkpoint.

Soldiers responded with teargas and deployed the “Skunk” – a vehicle loaded with canons spraying a noxious-smelling liquid. A machine that transmits high frequency sound waves was also employed.

All very humane, naturally, but I wonder if the Israelis couldn’t have gotten into the spirit of the day by employing a byproduct of the land: lead.

They may yet get their chance:

Meanwhile, Jordanian news sites reported some 20,000 people are gathering in order to take part in the massive march towards the Israeli border. According to reports, 4 rabbis from the extreme anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect were marching with them.

The stridently pro-Hizbullah Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported 120 Hamas-provided buses will be transporting protesters to the Israeli border to participate in the “Global March on Jerusalem.”

And this isn’t even Nakba Day, which comes in seven weeks! Talk about your proliferation of holidays! But then, every day is a good day for the Daily Humiliation of the Palestinian (Arab) People™.


You Know The Feeling At The End Of The Month When The Bills Are Piling Up And There Isn’t Enough Money To Pay Them?

Imagine a little 17 trillion dollar surprise!

Senate Republican staffers continue to look though the 2010 health care reform law to see what’s in it, and their latest discovery is a massive $17 trillion funding gap.

“The more we learn about the bill, the more we learn it is even more unaffordable than was suspected,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republican’s budget chief in the Senate.

“The bill has to be removed from the books because we don’t have the money,” he said.

The hidden shortfall between new spending and new taxes was revealed just after Supreme Court justices grilled the law’s supporters about its compliance with the Constitution’s limits on government activity. If the court doesn’t strike down the law, it will force taxpayers find another $17 trillion to pay for the increased spending.

Elections have consequences.

- Aggie

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At Least We Paid Taxes on the Swiftboat!

Really, John? You really want to wade in that Mekong Delta of charges and countercharges?

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has lent his name to a fundraising solicitation that raises the specter of millionaires and billionaires funding an outside effort against President Obama.

“When I was the Democratic nominee for president in one of the closest and toughest elections in history, a group of billionaires did something unprecedented,” Kerry wrote. “They wrote million-dollar checks to fund lies about my service on what were called “Swift Boats” in Vietnam — and in so doing, they turned the boats my crewmates and I served on into a new political shorthand for the most vicious smears imaginable: ‘swiftboating.’”

In 2004, an anti-Kerry 527 group formed to raise questions about his war record and air ads against the senator, then running as the Democratic nominee for president. Its’ spokesman, Jerome Corsi, would go on to become one of the leading proponents of the ‘birther’ conspiracy that falsely suggests Obama was born in Kenya or elsewhere.

Kerry points to a $3 million dollar donation to a pro-Romney super PAC by Houston construction magnate Bob Perry as the next round in an outside effort against Obama.

“One man. Three million dollars. And that’s just the start,” Kerry writes.

“I know all too clearly that these guys will do or say anything to win. They’ll stop at nothing. But forewarned is forearmed. Their multi-million dollar smear tactics were new in 2004; in 2012 we know their playbook, and shame on us if we don’t tear it into shreds. Join me and we will stop the ‘swiftboating’ of President Obama,” Kerry emails.

Not really true, John. Your fellow senator, John McCain, a Republican and Bush supporter (who by the way served in Vietnam), condemned the Swift Boat campaign as “very, very wrong”. But then, how would he know, strung up as he was in the Hanoi Hilton throughout the war?

And isn’t it a little bit, heh, rich to complain about fundraising when Obama has outspent all the Republican candidates combined?

Not to mention complaining about fundraising in a letter seeking to raise funds.

But that’s our senior senator. He not only looks French, he speak nuance as well.


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