Sunday, October 30, 2005


bill clinton: "democrats need to kick some ass or just go home"

via dailykos:
"You can't say, 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people then find something else to do."
can't you already hear the rocky theme playing in the background? it's time to start jogging up those art museum steps...


how it all went down

via firedoglake, here is the washington post's guess at the chain of events leading to the indictment, including conversations on airforce two between scooter and cheney about wilson and plame, held on july 12, 2003. it makes for some good reading... better than tom clancy. too bad it's real life.

Friday, October 28, 2005


scooter, you've changed!

so sad, his devious path from a lovable muppet show backstage personality to a lying lier who leaks national security secrets...

oh wait, my bad, wrong scooter.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


bush to reinstate davis-bacon wage protections

woo hoo, the democrats are finally coming up to bat. they must smell the blood in the water...

for background info on bush's original repeal of prevailing wage protection in the gulf coast, see the articles by rep. george miller or andy stern in the huffington post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


impeach cheney!

oh, the anticipation...

Sunday, October 23, 2005


nbc is planning comedy about rabbinical students

from the forward:
The Seinfeld coffee shop has long reigned as the symbol of New York Jews on television. But soon a classroom at The Jewish Theological Seminary may replace it. The NBC television network is developing a new half-hour situation comedy about seminarians in New York, written by the husband of a Los Angeles rabbi.

The show is titled "Morningside Heights," after the New York neighborhood where The Jewish Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary have their campuses across the street from each other.
i'm cautiously intrigued...


today i am a man?

ah, the bar/bat mitzvah. stumbling through torah portions, the electric slide, polyester 3 piece suits, limbo contests, candlelighting ceremonies, "today i am a man" speeches, multiplication dances, lyp synch, big hair ... the list just goes on an on. for those of you who have banished your 80s/early 90s experience from the inner recesses of your subconscious, the new york times and a new website/book called bar mitzvah disco are here to preserve your awkward adolescence for all the world to behold:
Now it is a book. A collection of more than 300 photographs culled from bar and bat mitzvahs from the 70's to the early 90's with essays by friends of the authors like Jonathan Safran Foer and Sarah Silverman, "Bar Mitzvah Disco," which will appear in bookstores on Nov. 2. It is at first glance a nostalgia tour through an era of unprecedented bourgeois tackiness. But, the authors say, it is also a cultural history, albeit one with a Duran Duran backbeat. The MTV-era bar mitzvah marked not only a transitional moment in their own lives, they say, but also one for American Jews as a whole. It was a time when an insular Old World ritual blew up into an all-American affair: inclusive, often suburban and, thanks to new Hollywood production values, unforgettably garish.

"There is this natural awkwardness that children experience on the cusp of adulthood," he said. "But it's also this kind of rite of passage for the community, which is, for lack of a better expression, becoming white. They are going from outsiders to insiders. What could be more awkward than that?"

Parents are featured in the book as well, always lavishly dressed and often posing proudly in front of banquet tables overflowing with food. Many Jews of that era, said Jeffrey Shandler, an associate professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, saw their son's bar mitzvah as a way to telegraph their social standing and ambitions.

"Part of the move to the suburbs is seen as a step to being more integrated with your non-Jewish neighbors," Dr. Shandler said. "It's not just a family celebration. It becomes a kind of mega birthday party. Parents are using this as a social occasion, so their business associates and neighbors get invited to the celebration."

For them, he said, their child's party was as much about networking and conspicuous consumption as about watching their child give a commentary on the Torah. Bar mitzvahs built around a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or a Disney theme became common. Thanks in part to the introduction of the videographer, he added, the parties started to take on the look of movie sets"
this just takes me back to november 11, 1989 ... the portion was lech lecha, the theme was football, milli vanilli was all the rage, and i could do a mean "running man," but never did quite manage the "roger rabbit".

feel free to share your memories below - just think of it as an electronic sign-in board...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


indict bush!

via americablog, it isn't merely wishful thinking any more... if bush told fitzgerald in 2004 that he had no idea who the leaker was, even though it just came out that rove told bush in 2003 that he was a leaker, that sounds like perjury to me.
Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak....

A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.

"Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," the source said.
but, at this point i'd be satisfied with cheney's head on a silver platter. (even though the rumours that have cheney resigning have bush appointing condi as vp).
As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.
when or when will the merry days of fitzmas finally arrive? i want to play indictment bingo!


cafe du monde is open

i just heard it on npr. beignets for everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2005


lulav prices drop after cartel bust

i was going to title this post, "lulav shortage shakes jewish world," which would have explained the $40 i was charged by the local jewish bookstore for my lulav and etrog on sunday. i was all ready to excuse the wilting willows, as well as the myrtle leaves that are already beginning to fall off their branches, because of the "situation," but now, according to the jerusalem post, one israeli importer has been able to smuggle out 100,000 palm fronds from under the noses of the egyptians, who had been holding out on us.
Lulav prices this year are about the same as last year after a meticulously planned lulav cartel was broken at the last minute by a lone exporter from Bnei Brak who managed to import about 100,000 lulavs from El Arish, Egypt on Yom Kippur eve.

According to sources close to the lulav market, the cartel used aggressive methods to corner the local market. Attempts to bring lulavs from Jordan were blocked. The shipment of 100,000 lulavs that eventually broke the cartel was delayed repeatedly. Initially, the shipment was held up by Egyptian officials who insisted on checking every single carton. "This was surprising because the Egyptians never do that," said an Agriculture Ministry official.

The guy was at the border crossing doing everything in his power to stop the shipment," said an Agriculture Ministry source. "But then he disappeared." In a related story, the Chief Rabbinate issued a kashrut warning on myrtle branches [hadasim] purportedly under the halachic supervision of Rabbi Eliezer Simha Weiss of Kfar Haroeh and Emek Chefer. The rabbinate said that only myrtle branches in wrapping that has Weiss's full name clearly printed without abbreviations are under Weiss's supervision.
this was predicted to be such a big problem that the u.s. congress, who apparently don't have that much going on this year, and are not taking the jewish vote for granted, tried to get involved:
“We’ve got everybody on the case, and I told them to shake a leg,” Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) told JTA, pun intended.

Ackerman has raised the issue in meetings with the Egyptian ambassador to the United States and America’s ambassador to Egypt, and says he also has put a call in to Osama el Baz, a top political adviser to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In addition, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has sent a letter to the Egyptian ambassador urging Egypt to “consider the needs of Jewish communities around the world and allow for a sufficient number of these palm fronds to be exported this year.”
what's next? will the good folks in idaho start hoarding potatoes a month before hanukkah?

and just for the record, someday, i hope that i too can become a "source close to the lulav market" ... that's what rabb school is all about ...

Sunday, October 16, 2005


and on the 9th day, there was sun

.... good day sunshine .... here come the sun, and i say, it's all right doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.

nyc in the sunshine is so much better than nyc in the rain.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


unicef vs. the smurfs

i think it ultimately makes a good point, especially when i find myself having more of a knee-jerk emotional reaction to the smurf village getting attacked by cartoon bombs than my anesthetized response to the evening news. click here for a post with links to the article and video to decide for yourself.

papa smurf we barely knew you...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


pigs are kosher

courtesy of my sister ... when is treif not really treif? save one life, and you save an entire world.

also note the nice juxtaposition between the two rituals in the article.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


2 mensches, z"l

two tireless activists for social justice in philadelphia have died recently, 90 year-old city councilman david cohen, and stefan presser, longtime legal director at the pennsylvania chapter of the american civil liberties union.

may their memories continue to be a blessing and inspiration for us all.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


toxic gumbo

yep, that's what louisiana (and probably mississippi) is right now. i hope the mainstream media picks up this story from [excerpted]:
An umbrella of environmental laws, including the Superfund law, gives the Environmental Protection Agency considerable authority -- and in some cases the responsibility -- to ensure messes get cleaned up right. And the mess in southern Louisiana, as EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson himself admits, is "the largest natural disaster we've faced."

But Louisiana environmentalists, who for decades have battled oil companies and government agencies to improve the human and natural health of their polluted state, say EPA's tests are insufficient and its health warnings inadequate. "They read like 'Hints From Heloise,'" says Rick Hind, legislative director of the Greenpeace Toxics Campaign. National critics stress that EPA failed to comprehend the pollution that arose after the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11 and may be repeating the same mistakes in the Gulf Coast.

"That entire area has to be cleaned up before people move back in," says Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "You could have tens of thousands of people getting seriously ill."

The Exxon Valdez polluted Alaska's Prince William Sound with 11 million gallons of oil. But mopping up crude in the variegated Louisiana landscape will be far more difficult than it was in Alaska, where the oil was confined to one place. To date, according to the Coast Guard, 70,000 barrels of oil have dispersed into marshes and evaporated, while 55,000 barrels remain to be cleaned up. The fate of 2,000 underground tanks of petroleum products remains unknown.

Oil is not the only toxin that saturates Louisiana and threatens the health of residents returning to New Orleans and adjacent parishes. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality reports that muck covering the area is contaminated with human waste and bacteria, including E.coli, a fecal bacterium. It estimates that between 1,000 and 5,000 railroad cars have been damaged by Katrina, including some carrying chlorine or sulfuric acid. The EPA says water may be polluted by arsenic and lead from paint and the batteries of 350,000 submerged cars. Shattered homes and businesses are contaminated with asbestos and mold.

The oil spill is clearly the final indignity after a brutal storm. But environmentalists fear that the real story isn't getting out.

"So far, from what we've seen, we don't really have any reason to believe that what we're being told is really the whole story," says Hocevar. "If you don't look, there's nothing to see," he continues. "We have an administration that has been cutting back on the EPA investigative enforcement." According to a 2004 report by the Environmental Integrity Project, the number of civil lawsuits filed by the federal government under the Bush administration dropped 75 percent from the number in the last three years of the Clinton reign. Eric Schaeffer, the former head of the EPA enforcement office, who oversaw the project, told the Los Angeles Times, "If you're a big energy company, you're basically on holiday from enforcement."
the story just goes on and on. it's not good folks - another example of the the fox guarding the henhouse, and the media being asleep at the wheel.

Friday, October 07, 2005


google twins?

ever wonder about all of those other people out there who share your name? the mysterious people who appear on your computer screen when you decide to google yourself at 3:00 in the morning? are they benign phantoms, or evil secret twins?

apparently, besides being an alumni of avodah, in my secret life, i moonlight as a hit DJ in florida, a fire-fighter in the bronx, a methodist minister in saskatchewan, a go-kart racing champion, a fbi academy cadet who was featured on good morning america, a farmer near gonzales, texas, on the strongsville, ohio high school hockey team, and an employee at a synagogue in manchester, england.

man, no wonder i've been so tired lately...

Saturday, October 01, 2005


my pot of gumbo

wwoz is the best radio station in new orleans, with a mix of jazz, blues and other local music. they have a streaming broadcast off their website - check them out and support them, as they're trying to get their actual fm transmitter back up.

i'm intrigued, and trying to be optimistic about the newly formed "rebuild new orleans" commission. scott cowen from tulane is on the panel, and i think he's a good guy, and there seems to have at least been a nominal effort to balance the members 50/50 black & white, with a "community activist" as one of the co-chairs. but there's only 2 women, and it doesn't have a lot of class/socio-economic diversity. if anyone has any better info on it than the nytimes and times picayune articles, let me know.

good luck gettting getting $$ from the "fema nazi" (a la seinfeld). you missed your deadline! no $2000 for you!

delay's been indicted, scooter's been implicated, and now this latest headline that buying of news by bush's aides is ruled illegal, duh. the onion's headlines seem more real each day. what else do we need to convince america to trim the bushes?

and finally, 2 interesting articles in citypaper locally about food. one is an expose on the disorganized state of emergency food providers in philadelphia, and their failure to include food stamp outreach and advocacy at their pantries and kitchens. the second is about the reluctance of philadelphia restaurants to participate in gov. rendell's "buy-local" program.

c'mon, y'all, it's time to wake up.