Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AJC is the new Anti-Semite


While it is cute that the little disclaimer on the cover page states that the “American Jewish Committee protects the right and freedoms of Jews the world over,” it doesn’t protect or support the rights of Jews who disagree with their regressive political and social stances.

After reading this pseudo-academic 30 page diatribe, I have come to this conclusion: the AJC is the new Anti-Semite.

While they do point to the extremes of the left-wing Jewish thinkers, all while making a nice and shinny “think piece” for their donors, they neglect to point out that because of the work of progressive and liberal Jews the world over Israel exists and is working towards peace. They neglect to mention the ten or so people whom they quote are not mainstream progressive or liberal thinkers. They are extremists.

The authors state that “criticizing [Israeli] policies and action is, in itself, not anti-Semitic” (Page 8). However they then jump to the conclusion in the next sentence that all progressive or liberal Jews who choose to point out the flaws in Israel and its government are calling Israel a Nazi state with Apartheid like governance. Patently false.

This piece of “academia” is bias and useless as the extreme pieces it addresses to explain the “new progressive anti-Semitism.”

AJC is flawed and is acting in the long tradition of Sinat Chinam – Blameless Hatred.

I applaud JTA for putting the report into the briefing today as apposed to only the reviews in the Times and such. Thank you for providing us with the background.

In the News: Sinat Chinam in the Arts Section of the NYTimes...

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Message to the Director of DHS

Cher-dawg-

This morning I was waiting in line to waste my time taking off my shoes and making sure my lip balm was in a plastic bag before getting on my 6am flight to NYC and couldn't help but notice the lackey you had telling me I had to put my objects on the xray and have my boarding pass 'readily available.'

Besides the fact anyone on a shuttle flight at 6am has flown before and perhaps knows their laptop must be in a bin by itself, do you really need an extra person who does nothing else but tell me this when there are two very large flat panel TVs saying EXACTLY WORD FOR WORD what our TSA friend had been repeating for the 30 minutes I was in line?

Either get one less friendly and competent TSA person or cut the TVs. I have a suggestion for the funds too. Send them to NOLA to rebuild a city the government forgot about.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Shabbat Ideas – January 26, 2007

While millions face the wind of winter (finally) and Bush gave his sixth SOTU address, here are my Shabbat Thoughts for January 26, 2007.

Polyester is the New Eco-Friendly Friend
Girls Now Play Nice. No kidding, don’t kill that Bunny!
Here is a New Jewish Idea – Knitting Next MahJong

So as I froze coming to work today, it hit me global climate change really blows (sorry couldn’t resist). President Bush addressed the nation outlining some sort of plan to fix this problem by 2050 or something along those lines but man it was COLD today.

I took the corner coming out of the subway and my nose froze. I kid you not. I went to cover my face and my nostrils were solid. Mind you two weeks ago I was walking around New York City in jeans and a long-sleeve button down shirt.

So what to do about it? I don’t drive a car, I recycle everything that I can recycle in the city, I try not to buy stuff that is in Styrofoam or covered in unneeded layers of plastic, I reuse everything. I am at a loss.

The world continues to change more rapidly than is healthy. At some point I would love to see the polar ice cap, but because of all of the horrific climate issues, odds are I will miss my opportunity because there will be no more tours to the North or South Pole. (or near it, I am not trekking anywhere, just want to take a boat)

So to answer my own question, I don’t know what to do. DK asked a few weeks ago why Heebophere big wigs don’t take on climate change and dependency on oil as an issue, both religious and ethically and environmentally. I would say, it is because we have no idea how to fix it.

I am sure many of us try only to drink fair trade coffee or tea, but that is hard because it isn’t available everywhere. I am sure we all try to recycle our paper, but then again there are buildings that do not recycle paper. I am sure we would rather not use Styrofoam plates, but when Styrofoam is the only option at the event then you use it.

It is true that we could bring our own coffee or tea, carry our paper around with us and use a mess kit wherever we go. But odds are we will not. It is an issue of consumer culture. Asking people to change what they do with their money is hard, but actually to get them to stop buying things all together is near impossible. Donations are necessary but it is doubtful that isn’t a single member of the Sierra Club who isn’t also a member of the SUV club.

I believe climate change is happening and will effect not only future generations, but is affecting us today. I was REALLY cold this morning and will be REALLY hot this summer. That is a problem.

We need some leadership from our leaders. If they stop driving around in diesel guzzling busses and inefficient limos in favor of hybrids or bio-fuels, perhaps when they get up and talk about it on the campaign trail it will be believable. If our institutions stop using Styrofoam because it is a few dollars cheaper, perhaps when we teach our children about conservation it won’t seem so hollow. Change is difficult; see how much damage we had to do to the world in order to force us to change little and simple habits? But no matter who hard it is to do, we have to do it.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Obama and Islam-o-facists

"We must not let fear, fundamentalism and Fox News set our nation's agenda," Edgar said in a statement. "It appears Fox News is using a political candidate to further foment a fear of fundamentalism in hopes of dividing Americans and pitting people of faith against one another.

Faithful Americans must stand up and say no to such sinful behavior."

Oh Rev. Edgar, you say it so well! The three "F's" of American Politics.

Prominent religious officials signing the letter included Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, of the Union for Reform Judaism; Imam Mahdi Bray, the executive director of the Muslim American Society; and the Rev. Stephen J. Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention.

So when are we going to get over that not all Islamic based schools are not radical and hate filled? Not to mention, if CNN can figure this out, then anyone can!

In the News: Religious Leaders Defend Obama

Strange Bedfellows with a Hole in the Sheet

From the Forward's Campaign Confidential

Allies on Airport Security: Agudath Israel and the ACLU
Here’s another item for the Forward’s compendium of strange bedfellows: The American Civil Liberties Union is joining forces with the ultra-Orthodox organization Agudath Israel of America to protest the introduction of X-ray scanners at U.S. aiports.

The scanners beam low level x-rays through people’s clothing, and although “cloaking” software is supposed to introduce a level of modesty, it’s not clear it will be enough to satisfy Orthodox concerns.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has called the scanners a “virtual strip search.”

Hollywood Money Backs Obama

Where is the anti-Semitism here? Oh it is the non-excitant kind. Jews like liberal candidates, well at least most of them. Hillary isn’t a liberal Democrat. She is shockingly a Clintononian Democrat. So that means those liberals with money are going to support liberal candidates? Oh I see. It means that liberal Jews with money in Hollywood will support liberal candidates…kinda like New York liberals with money will do the same.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Jewconomics 101

An interesting - if not slanted - read on Jewish Theology and Economic Theory. I happened to disagree with many of the main points, i.e. that Jewish theology is in contrast to left-wing political and economic thinking. It is interesting and it tries to debunk the “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans” myth. I say it fails, but you should still read it.

On an other note I do find it interesting that this went out in the JTA Daily Briefing...they are so even handed!

In the News: Jewconomics 101

Monday, January 22, 2007

Online Orthodoxy


Here is the “Jew it Yourself” ideal! Take out the personal touch of religion leaving on the beauty of the text and the technology.

This is very interesting. We have a group of orthodox rabbis receiving full frum rabbinic ordination via the internet…

There are so many interesting questions for this one. Do these virtual rabbis engage in chavruta 2.0 or 2.1? Does their study have to stop for Shabbat in their classroom in Israel or in Germany? Did the time change really mess up the ways they learned from each other’s holiday and family custom? What does Maimonides say about online chat? Is there a kosher for Passover text twist that was played when a student had to listen to an extremely boring lecture?

Welcome to the 21st century orthodoxy.

In the News: www.RabbiOnline.jew

Friday, January 19, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - January 19, 2007

While once again I am sure no one is reading this, Bush is “surging” and we are getting really close to my bar mitzvah parasha, here are my Shabbat thoughts for January 19, 2007.

The Other "OTHER" Zionism
Progressive Jewish Org lead by Former Rabbanic Student...from HUC
The next controversal issue...ach
Art z"l

There have been about a million posts this week on Black Jewish relations. I suppose I should have written this last week but I am lazy and went with something banal and easy to come up with…so you know normal POLJ stuff. But I am a little disturbed about the trend I am seeing both on the blogs and in the real world when it comes to Black Jewish relations and the perception there of.

Back when I was in college I worked on an ADL program for Hillel. This program was designed to facilitate conversations between Jews and Blacks. Unfortunately not a single Black student showed up. The room was filled with Jews ready and willing to pat themselves on the back about how open minded we all were, but we made no effort to actually act on this open mindedness. For all our talk, we didn’t reach out and talk to black students in our classes or clubs and ask them to come to this “joint JSU and BSU” event.

About a year later, my campus activism got me into student government where I met one of my best friends. Many folks would say “and he happened to be black and that doesn’t matter to me at all.” But I will say that it mattered a lot that POLJF (Pissed Off Liberal Jew’s Friend) was black. We were not best buds right off the bat, we agreed with each other’s political platforms – liberal progressive student fees stuff etc. He was on in a party and I ran independently. He campaigned for me and I for him. But it was during this (ridiculous) campaign process that we got to talking.

We became really good friends over the course of the campaign and during our government experience. I would say I have about five or six good friends from college with whom I keep up regular correspondence. POLJF is defiantly one of them. I have seen him more than anyone else I graduated with.

Now after we created this friendship we started to understand each other’s personal issues. When Hillel was flag was stolen and the building was vandalized, he co-sponsored a resolution in the student senate with me. When issues of Darfur were discussed we both brought our communities to the table. When issues of affirmative action came up (again) for debate, I had his back. It was because we both knew from where we came.

This isn’t to say that I understood what it means to be a black man living in a world of whites. I could blend in. ( I didn’t but I could have if I wanted.) And it isn’t to say that he understood how torn I would be at an “anti-war” rally where the Jews were blamed for the world’s problems and told to leave Israel to go back to Germany. But we were there for each other.

That is the Black-Jewish relationship. Not the fact that over fifty years ago, a Rabbi and a Minister walked into a (lunch)bar. This gets to the core of the issue; interpersonal relationships.

I am currently reading the Honorable Barak Obama’s first book. He was a community organizer in Chicago. (Which he seems to work into every speech he has ever given) Here he works to find out what is important to the people and makes the change. That seems to work. When people care about the issues they tend to work harder. Rabbi Jonah Pessner of Boston now works with JFSJ and the Union for Reform Judaism working to create Just Congregations, in the same way, one-on-one sit down conversations to find out what is important.

When we – Jews and progressives – get up and testify to our relationships with people we should have them. We can’t say “I know what black people go through because I am Jewish;” in the same way it would be asinine to say “I know what it feels like to be a woman because I am a male feminist.” I know what POLJF goes through cause he is my friend. When we work with other “others” we need to work on the grassroots. Make grand statements based on principle when speaking for yourself and your group only. Advocate on behalf of yourself when it is just that.

The Black-Jewish relationship does not exist outside of interpersonal relationships. Similar values and such tend to make these relationships easier to come by, but values and ideals are not what the Black-Jewish relationship. It is friends who “happen” Black and Jewish.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hipster Zionist Garb - The Keffiyeh

So it is offical. The Keffiyeh is no longer a Palestinian symbol of resistance or even just a fashion statement of the psuedo-politically retarded. It is now truelly a "anti-war scarf." These folks believe they are being progressive and open by coopting a symbol of struggle against them and making it thier own...very well done!

Seems they are marketing harder now, not just Hipster Rags but The New York Jewish Week as well.

In the news: White Rock'n'Roll is to Black Jazz as Zionist Keffiyeh is to ???

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sick of Aruging - A Shocker!

So it has been a long day about Black-Jewish relations. I am sick of arguing about institutional racism and the ideas of reverse racism (affirmative action and such) and that Jews clearly have some understanding of belonging with down trodden minorities. I am just sick of it.

So I have been listening to the free (!) and sweet tones of The Klezmatics, who have been nominated for a Grammy! Mazel Tov to them! I remember dancing to their Eastern Euro Jam session many years ago at the House of the Book in Brandeis, CA. Great concert and these tunes are great too!

You can enjoy this too at www.klezmatics.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Barack (Goldowitzencohenberg) Obama

Well he isn't Jewish but he sure is exciting!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

MLKogging

So because anyone who reads this blog ever – there are a few of you and to you I give my thanks – are probably off work today and therefore will not be blogging…


So here are the things I would read if I were you.

Here is Jspot’s list and similar post.

Here is the RACs page.

Little Something from Jewbiq.

Call me Kvetcher for Justice. (environmental but still of the right idea)

Here is the New York Times… I am sure they will have something good.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - January 12, 2007

So as congress gets started, the war clearly is going longer and Chris Dodd needs a new media advisor, here are my Shabbat thoughts for January 12, 2007.

MD Keeps it all in the Family
Since when is Lieberman Bush's new budy? He has been a Republican in a Blue coat for years.
What is the Jewish Community's deal with loving Moderate Muslims? OH they don't want to kill us.
Dissing the Carter Center (First the Rabbis, Now the Board Members)
Mazel Tov to the RAC and JFSJ on the MinWage

What do President Jimmy Carter, General Wesley Clark and at the end of this post a POLJ have in common? They are called anti-Semites and they are not.

A few weeks ago I wrote about why “they” hate us. It is pretty clear that there is no rational explanation for the hatred of the Jews. “They” tend not to need any rational explanation to hate us…they just do. But there are a few things that do help the cause of those folks that do hate the Jews for “rational reasons.”

There is plenty of real anti-Semitism in the world. Y-Love wrote on the horrific situation taking place in the FSU this week. He exposes that because of fear of the anti-Semitic police, Jews won’t report anti-Semitic attacks. That is bad. That is anti-Semitism.

Making statements like those General Wesley Clark’s this week on the “New York Money People” out to be anti-Semitic plays into the idea that we are trying to fight. When Jews get up in arms about statements such as these, we ONLY embroil the conspiracy theorist. “See look at those Jews, they control the media. People can’t talk about them without being called an anti-Semite. That is why I am out of job.”

Clark’s statement about the New York Money People was not politically astute but also not anti-Semitic. Many of these New York Money People are not Jews and many of these non-Jews are very interested in the continued strength of Israel. Not for the sake of Israel and its Jewish inhabitants but for the sake of the arms sales to the country that fill these money peoples’ bank accounts.

Carter is not an anti-Semite in deed. His book is bad and anti-Israel and pro-Arab and possibly even a bit sexists (the whole part about particular female Israeli prime ministers rude and chain smoking and such). It is one sided and silly. But do we call Alan Dershowitz an Arab hater for his books?

I am sick of this finger pointing. Israel deserves fair criticism and when non-Jews do it along side fair-minded Jews, why is it automatically anti-Semitism and a call for a new Shoa?

Israel, while central to Diaspora Jewish identity, is not and should not be the core of our existence. Clark brought up some great points and if we substitute the idea Iraq and Israel and wars with Brazil and Iowa and ethanol production no one would say anything.

Jews must fight because we are a minority that everyone for a very long time has hated. To quote a great 20th century thinker on the ideas of anti-Semitism:

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Hindus hate the Moslems
And everybody hates the Jews

Tom Lehrer
"National Brotherhood Week"

If Carter doesn’t want to debate the Arab-hating Dershowitz at Brandeis University, that doesn’t make him a Jew-hater. And if Clark wants to point out that Jews support Israel in larger numbers than say the rest of the country, he isn’t an Israel-hater. And if I say this and support the rights of REAL Jew haters to say and think what they want, I am not a self-hating Jew.

We should save our energy to fight the real anti-Semites and not those vilified in the papers in the US. Edicts of the radical Muslim world and violent thugs in the FSU should be fought. Yet if we continue down this road of blaming politicians in this country who slip on there statements and make correlations between money and power (what a concept) we may miss the opportunity to help our people where they really need it.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Good News From Darfur...really!

They are going to stop killing each other for 60 days! That is good.

A start! Gov Richardson of New Mexico lead the charge with other folks from SaveDarfur and now there is a cease fire for 60 days and some other good things to look forward to...

Shockingly it looks like it might be a good news day!

In the News: Darfur Not Buring

From Jspot.org on MinWage

Breaking: Min. Wage Bill Passes House. Send An Email to Your Senators Now!
by Mik Moore • January 10th, 2007 • Politics, Economic Justice, Jewish Life, JFSJ, Minimum/Living Wage

As expected, the Fair Minimum Wage Act has passed the House. The vote was 315 yea, 116 nay, 4 not voting. See how your representative voted.

It’s great that the House passed the minimum wage bill, but the hard part will be in the Senate, and then in the White House. Some Republicans are making noises that without a tax cut for small business they will filibuster the bill. Supporters of a “clean” bill (no amendments) will have a fight on their hands to keep this legislation focused on those it is meant to help - low-wage workers.

The Jewish communtiy has already done some good work on the minimum wage in recent weeks (here and here). Today, the jspot action center has launched a campaign to tell the Senate to pass the minimum wage bill “without amendment and without delay!”

Click here now to send an email to your Senator. Then fwd it to everyone you know. A strong Jewish voice alone will not be enough to ensure passage of the bill, but our voices, combined with hundreds of thousands of others being mobilized by faith and other groups across the country, can make the difference.

Bottom line: if you support a higher minimum wage, send the email today!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Somalia? Again?

It was widely reported a few days ago that the US bombed Somalia to kill Al Qaeda suspects. It is now being widely denied. But it also seems that still no one cares. I wrote last week that is was just to convenient that Ethiopia was bombing the crap out of the Somali Islamists, but then again no one cares about what I say so it makes sense that I write about Africa. When is the United States population going to expand its focus out of the Middle East to see China rising, Africa falling apart and Europe taking over the super power position? I sure hope soon.

In the News: Deny, Deny, Deny!

General Business


So this is kinda interesting…

Business in Israel is all about war…and we complain the media only shows Israel fighting.

Perhaps it is because it is a booming business?

Al Gore Was Wrong


While the internet is still working just fine, his newest claim of “Global Warming” is caput!

Today was the first snow of the 2006-2007 Winter in NYC!

It was really cold and really wet.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Respect or Lack thereof

Once again I am forced to talk about respect and the idea that we in the Jew blog world must treat with said respect. While I have a great deal of respect for those who write about ideas and propose new concepts for the Jewish world. I do not understand why we need to call each other names.


I do not expect to have people think I am any sort of opinion maker, but I do expect to have those I have spoken to regarding an opinion or an idea to pay me similar respect. My blog is not important but the ideas I talk about are real.

Mobius called me a “crazy.” I might be crazy but I don’t need to be called that by the king of Jew blog world.
why are there so many crazy people on the internet who believe if you don’t fawn at their feet (that you don’t even know are there) that you’re engaging in censorship? Comments here

Mobius treat me with respect and don’t make me look like a smuck on the most read blog in the Heebosphere.

I do care about your next big idea and my problem with that idea. I just would hope that you would give me the respect that I give you. Don’t read my blog. Don’t comment on it, even though you have. I respect what you have to say as an individual and a leader of the Jewish community and that is why I take the time to read your long statements on why you think you are always right. At least have the decency not to badmouth me on your blogs.

From a Committed Community Activist

When you are lost at what to say, and you think the world is coming to an end in a cloud of poison gas, you can always be sure a friend can send you a little message to brighten your day.

you know what saying I HATE
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. in fact, it is the only thing that has."- Margaret Mead
a) oh well, that's exciting, because if the KKK decides to take over, it's in the bag
b) that's bullshit
c) everyone quotes it because they think they're thoughtful and committed and they have a small group of friends when in reality, nobody likes their pea-brained ass.


Until later...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - January 5, 2007

While I am once again pretty sure not many people are reading this here are my Shabbat Thoughts for January 5, 2007.

Very interesting…Good read on why throwing money at a problem doesn’t work – Hat Tip to Am Echad
Very funny… Orthodox Plurailism from THE JEWISH PRESS oh please!
Zeek Still not Gay but full of “Homo-Heebs”
Wait a minute, progressive Jews are organizing online? Say it isn’t so oh wise j. weekly!

I did a ton of writing this week for work, mostly on stories of people doing good stuff. You know making history come alive for kids, saving a poor family after a fire, leading programs for people with disabilities. And I got to wondering about the age old story of saving the drowning man from the river.

Here is the story for those of you who don’t know – I will make it brief:

Two friends were walking along a river when they noticed someone had fallen. They went to help him out and said, “Oh no! That is not good. People shouldn’t fall in the river.” They kept walking only to have to repeat this life saving situation about 10 more times. One friend said “I am going upstream to figure out what is happing so I can stop this craziness.” While the other friend said, “I will stay here and pull the people out to safety.”
While clearly for anyone who has worked in advocacy training, you will identify with the “upstreamer” and look down upon the “downstreamer.” Whether we say so or not we tend to intellectually side with the person upstream and tend to act with the person downstream.

So where do this ideas meet? The ideas must come together as we work towards a better world. Duh. And I suppose anyone reading this could rightfully say “who the hell are you to tell me what to do?” Ok so I go deeper.

The upstreamer works hard to get his point across without really doing anything. His letters to congress or the mayor will be tallied and put into a pile. His press conferences will be attended by interested media outlets and then be forgotten in the next day’s clippings. Then if the upstreamer actually does what he tries to do, millions upon millions of people will live a better life because they didn’t fall into the river. Mind you, over the past six years or so, that has been a very big if.

Yet the downstreamer will go out and save a life. Pulling an individual out of the water put themselves out there to “do” actual work. They may not change the system but they have saved a life. Their impact is small on a grand scale but huge on a personal one.

As congress now has shifted to the most Democratic and most Jewish congress EVER, we have a chance to actually do both. It is very important that each of us finds a way to be both an upstreamer and a downstreamer.

Take a minute to support the 100 Hour Agenda. Write a letter supporting Minimum Wage increases with either the Religious Action Center or Jewish FundS for Justice. You can pick. Take a few minutes to support Equality of Marriage in your state. You can do that with the Human Rights Campaign. Take a minute simply to call your state and federal reps to tell them what is on your mind. Their staff will take down the message for sure and pass it along.

But also take the time to talk with the guy on your street corner that you see every day. Remember to put a plastic folk in your to-go leftovers from dinner, to make the donation of your food a full meal. Remember to correct the kids who say “that’s so gay” and make sure they know what they are saying.

It is the start of a new year, a new congress and a new book of the Torah. In this weeks parashah, Jacob dies and he is reassured that his sons believe in him and his faith. The ideas that Sh’ma are central to Judaism’s ability to grow and flourish forever and ever as one big and crazy family. We live in a society where we must be both upstreamers and downstreamers to be able to flourish forever and ever.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Denying Denial

A Report from the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies titled "Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey-2006" said that the trials of big bad dudes like David Irving have helped curb Holocaust denial.

Huh. Really? Pretty sure that these laws and trials did the exact opposite. Did the Wyman Institute just sit in the corner with its proverbial fingers in its ears during the largest state sponsored Holocaust denial conference ever to take place? Perhaps the state of denial is stronger in the Jewish community than once thought.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

So reading through my wonderful set of Google news alerts – which really should be called Jewoogle news alerts – I see that the omni-brilliant group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis has told women they can no longer attend schools of higher learning. Good times!

Ha’aretz reports that this is a “huge blow” to the economic situation of these communities. WHAT ARE THE MEN THINKING HERE? They are going to have to get jobs and study Torah!?!?! How can that be possible?

But as for the step forward, thanks to the keen news watch of Rabbi Andrew Bachman I read about the fact that Tzipi Livni may make a run for the Prime Minister of Israel. Ynet asks “Is Foreign Minister Livni future leader we've all been waiting for?”

I don’t know perhaps she is the answer to all the problems of Israel…I wonder how she would do if she didn’t have a higher education? Think she could protect the state so people could continue to study and not provide for their family? I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Be All You Can Be, Even if You're Gay


We're Here We'er Queer and We have rank in every other army but the one in the US! Not such a great rally call but I will keep working on it...but maybe I don't need it...

"A former U.S. military chief of staff cited Israel’s experience in recommending allowing gays to openly join the military," reports the JTA. Seems like there will be at least one more way for the radicals right-wingers to hates us at the end of today.

Huh! Imagine a world were we all can kill each other equally! It seems General Shalikashvili wrote something in the New York Times about it too...what a world!
I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

In the News: Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military

Monday, January 1, 2007

Justice and the Pursuit Thereof

Most people have seen worse things in private than they pretend to be shocked at in public.
Edgar Watson Howe
US journalist (1853 - 1937)

Two days after we saw Saddam Hussein swing at the end of the noose of “justice” and we are shocked by the brazen use of violence to bring closer to those tortured at the hands of the man who once inhabited that limp body awaiting funeral, I wonder what has been accomplished.

While it seems trite to discuss this topic again, I am personal upset about the fact that I was interested in seeing the man hang. I am disappointed in myself. Hussein, the demonical tyrant and enemy of the United States, Israel and the people whom he terrorized for decades, is now dead and I watched it on YouTube.

It can be said with all fairness there were thousands of witnesses to the horrors preformed in the name of this man, hundreds of mass graves and probably millions of people without hands or eyes or feet due to him, it can also be said his trial was a sham. It was an exercise in reprisal. So was it just to take his life as punishment?

Regardless of the answer, every major newspaper is reporting headlines that read something to the effect of “Hussein Cold, Civil War still Hot.

I am conflicted on how to feel about this death. If there ever was someone who had it coming, it was Saddam Hussein. But it has changed nothing. Jews for centuries have been the people who were “if ever there were a people who had it coming” folks. Killing lots of Jews or even just the one who had been caught talking to the non-Jew in the town square also didn’t change anything. And it would seem that even in “justifiable” cases of the death penalty – such as with Hussein or Eichmann – nothing is resolved.

I watched this execution with bated breath, knowing full well that the door would open and Hussein would fall and twitch and then be dead. One more person is dead due to the war on Iraq. Iraq is no safer without Hussein, but he is dead and his death was called justice.

So let us pursue justice in the name of death. When does it become apparent that when we have to stop and question the death of such a man that we should stop pursuing death in the name of justice?