Category Archives: Uncategorized

Israel PM Netanyahu Opposes Free Speech

I recall the glorious days in the 1940s when American Jews welcomed the arrival of the state of Israel which had become the only democratic society in the Middle East. At age 80, I now face the prospect that democracy will soon vanish from the state of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended a new law which makes it a crime to support boycotts against Israel or settlers on the West Bank. Listen to his words: “Don’t get confused. I approved the law, and if I hadn’t approved it it wouldn’t have passed. I am against boycotts targeting Israel.” He fears “savage and irresponsible attacks on a democracy.” The law allows one to sue those advocating a boycott even if not damaged by such actions. The European Union issued a statement that recognized the right of Israel to pass its own laws, but expressed dismay at restrictions on freedom of speech.

We Jews have come along way from being advocates of freedom of speech, freedom of religion,and equal rights for all. Today, thousands of Jews support restrictions of free speech and discrimination against Muslim residents in Israel. We Jews once stood tall for the right to speak your ideas. Today, we have met the enemy of freedom, and we is he!

Lift The Veil Or We Lift Higher The Fine

It was Friday in the town of Novara and the woman and man left their home on the way to the local mosque. As they walked down the streets of the town a policeman suddenly halted the couple and told the woman she had to take off her veil because wearing it violated he law. Authorities said, “we just enforced a local law that stops people from covering their faces near sensitive places such as schools, hospitals or offices.” Her husband argued that while he respected Italian law it was against his religion for her to “be seen by other men.” For this heinous crime the woman will pay a fine of about $800.

I assume if Halloween is celebrated in Italy all kids wearing masks will be hauled down to the nearest jail, and fined for covering their faces. I assume if a motorcyclist comes roaring down the streets of Novara wearing a helmet, he will be halted and fined.

P.S. As a child I attended a local shul(synagogue) in which my mother and the other women sat behind a curtain while we males prayed.

Week After Christmas Puzzle!

It is the week after Christmas and the children no longer are awaiting the arrival of Santa who has come and gone. As far as we know, Santa may be heading south in a few decades when global warming forces an evacuation of the North Pole. Anyway, we pose a post Xmas puzzle. Solve the puzzle and you can demonstrate a grasp of trivia that few of your friends possess.
Following are a list of songs. The puzzle is all of the songs share on thing in common.

The Christmas Waltz
Silver Bells
Winter Wonderland
Santa Baby
Sleigh Ride
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
Let It Snow, Let It Snow
The Christmas Song
White Christmas

Solve the puzzle?

OK, here are some clues. Following are the composers of the songs

Sammy Cahn
Jay Livingston
Felix Bernard
Joan Javits
Mitchell Parrish
Walter Kent
Irving Berlin
Sammy Cahn
Mel Torme
Irving Berlin

Figured out the Puzzle?

OK, the answer is:

swej composers


There is a war in process within Yemen that already has spilled over into Saudi Arabia and poses a great threat to peace in the area. A war within Yemen poses Shiites fighting against the Sunni Yemen government and its allies in Saudi Arabia. Rebels claim they are fighting against a government that has marginalized Shiites and has failed to develop the nation’s resources. Yemen’s army presently is engaged in extensive fighting with the rebels and there are reports al-Qaeda may soon become part of the mess that is Yemen. Across the Gulf of Aden lies Ethiopia and a short distance away in Somalia where there is also an intense civil war. Americans fail to realize the Yemen war can spill over into Saudi Arabia and some day witness bombers blowing themselves up as they damage oil facilities.

The mess now includes possible Iran influence by supplying rebels with arms, a fight between the Yemen government and rebels, a fight between rebels and Saudi Arabia, an attempt by rebels to destroy their nation’s tourist industry by kidnapping foreigners, and the list goes on and on.

Who knows, perhaps in 2015, American soldiers will be fighting in the hills of Yemen. A problem is no one will have the slightest idea why US forces are in Yemen anymore than anyone has any idea what the US presently seeks to accomplish in Afghanistan.

Sweden Set For Stricter Teacher Credentials

The Swedish government is developing plans to revamp its teacher education program and have a new teaching credential. The goal is to prevent “unqualified teachers” from securing full time positions in schools. Minister for Education Jan Bjorkiund argued, “it’s wrong to hire unqualified teachers full-time and I want to put a stop to it. With certain exceptions for teachers in particular occupational subjects.” The new law will state who is qualified and who is not. He also announced Swedish teachers will have the opportunity to study abroad on 80% base pay.

The issue is what is meant by “qualified..” In America that most frequently is equated to taking teacher education courses on the assumption those who take such courses become better teachers. We need more creative ideas on what constitutes a qualified teacher that does not equate college courses with being a better teacher.

Sweden has a great idea to allow teachers to study abroad and be paid. Kudos for the idea!

Attorney General Considers Torture Probe

To those who voted for Barack Obama, it is still baffling why a candidate who promised to get at the root of corruption and violation of laws, has refused to take active steps to bring to justice those who are guilty of ignoring the Constitution. Attorney General Eric Holder, told Newsweek, that he is considering beginning a criminal investigation of the Bush administration’s interrogation practices that were used on suspected terrorists. When asked if this idea would fit into the desires of the president, Holder responded: “i hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president’s agenda. But, that can’t be a part of my decision.”

It is about time an attorney general placed the rule of law over the rule of politics. Barack Obama may insist on looking forward rather than backward, but how does that approach fit with his support for affirmative action?

Wither The Republican Party?

A hundred years ago, the Republican Party was led by Theodore Roosevelt whose progressive ideas today would undoubtedly lead to Republicans today castigating him as a “radical” or “socialist.” Theodore Roosevelt took on Big Business with his trust busting ideas, he originated the concept of conservation of our national resources, he believed in equal rights for Negroes and women, he supported labor unions, he urged transforming the Washington D.C. school system into a model for the nation, and he was the first president to actively seek to integrate immigrants into the American ethos. His famous Rough Riders was included immigrants from every ethnic group.

In the 1940s, the Republican party was led by Wendell Wilkie whose book, “One World” spoke of his desire for a world bound together. Thomas Dewey who twice ran for the presidency supported most New Deal laws and worked actively for equal rights for minorities. Senator Arthur Vandenberg led Senate Republicans in working with Roosevelt and Truman to become part of the United Nations. Even the great Republican Senator Robert Taft would today be branded by right wing kooks as a radical. During the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower consolidated the New Deal and backed the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education. It was Eisenhower who warned about the “military/industrial complex” and was probably the only president in fifty years to cut the military budget.

Today, Senator Specter has left the party because the party has abandoned its conservative ideals and its concern for human rights. Its ongoing mantra is “cut taxes to help the wealthy.” Senator Vandenberg worked closely in a spirit of bipartisanship with Democrats as did Ronald Reagan on many international issues. But, today, the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt is controlled by Rush Limbaugh mentalities of pettiness and vicious hatred toward anyone who disagrees with their belief that wealthy people are the chosen ones of God. By the way, Teddy Roosevelt violently opposed any mixing of church and state.

So, what has happened to the Republican party? It is led by men with limited vision, outdated economic ideas, and a narrowness in terms of encompassing divergent people within the framework of the American nation. Republicans, ye have tarried too long, begone and rest in the dustbin of history with other relics of lost ideas.

I am certain Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower shed a tear every night as they gaze at the motley crew of ignorant hateful people who lead their party.

Israel President Hints At Action Toward Iran

Israel President Shimon Peres employed aggressive language in discussing the actions of Iran and how their challenge might be met. In an interview with Kot Hai Radio, he said the arrest over the weekend in Egypt of a Hizbullah cell was a blow to Iran which undoubtedly funds that organization. “Ahmadinejad recruits forces against us, but there are also forces against him.” He called for unifying Arab nations which are threatened by terrorism in order to defeat Iran’s aggressive behavior. He want on to note his hope Obama will be successful in being able to negotiate with Iran, but warned that if Iran continued fostering terrorism it might require Israel to undertake military action, “we’ll strike him.”

President Peres is correct in calling for Arab nations to unite with Israel against Iran, but until Israel refuses to accept a Palestinian state and withdraw from the West Bank, there will be no such coalition. Ahmadinejad is not the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East, the president only has to look at the current cabinet of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sudan Rejects Arab Proposal For Trials

The Sudanese government rejected a proposal by the Arab League to establish a “hybrid court” to prosecute those suspected of participating in the murder of thousands of innocent people in Darfur. The Arab League suggestion was an attempt to circumvent the International Criminal Court indictment of Sudan leder Omar Hassan Al-Bashir who they charged was responsible for the deaths of over 300,000 in Darfur as well as rape and brutalization of thousands of women. The Arab League gave full support to Bashir in his refusal to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the ICC. There are reports Sudan diplomats are furious at the suggestion of a hybrid court which they claim gives credence to the ICC warrant.

Arab media claim Sudan has threatened to withdraw from the Arab League, but if they did so, there are few options in the rest of the world for friends. Sudan demands Arab nations completely reject the very suggestion that anything has gone wrong in Darfur. Most probably the 300,000 reputed dead people are really hiding out in Argentine or Israel.

Israel Threatens Action On Iran

News that Iran is progressing in its development of atomic energy has sent a shock wave of fear throughout the Israel military establishment. Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel could not by idly while Iran developed nuclear weapons. “Israel’s policy is clear: We are not ruling out any option regarding the Iranian nuclear program.” He sent a thinly clad warning to President Obama that “we recommend that others don’t rule out any option either.” Barak insisted that “time is running out” and there is need to act before time ran out and Iran had an atomic weapon.

Israeli leaders insist that something must “be done” to halt or to end the Iranian nuclear development program. Let’s assume that Israel did bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. The result, most probably, would be launching of dozens, if not hundreds of suicide bombers in Israel which would then end any hope for peace between Palestinians and Israel. Of course, Iran would continue developing nuclear energy and would hide their work and wait for time. Making threats about bombing Iran satisfies the emotional needs of Israelis, but does it also solve any problems?

Iran has indicated to Turkey it is ready to negotiate. Let the talks begin and put aside talk of war, war.