Rabbi, Where’s The Ammo?

September 6, 2009 at 10:51 am (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

Not withstanding that “thems put in charge” of doling out spirituality always drop the perverbial ball, I’m guessing the gelt [money, mula, green] to buy the Shul’s artillary didn’t come out of the Reb’s pocket.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/go_ahead_make_my_high_holiday_hLuhUCAbI9z2DATpOzJkIO

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So, I gotta ask: If a Bar Mitzvah Boy misses a passage at this Shul, does he risk a warning shot fired into his stomach?

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Swine Flu Warning…

September 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

Folks,
Medical experts agree. There is no need to panic about the threat of a widespread, deadly ‘swine flu’ pandemic, but proper precautions should be taken:
1) Cough or Sneeze only into the sleeve of a garment (instead of into your hands), and,
2) Frequent hand wash with soap. Always wash hands thoroughly when handling or preparing food.
But if by chance flu symptoms appear do not go to work, and don’t venture out in public, unless the need is extreme, until symptoms abate and your health returns to normal.
And for Heaven’s sake do NOT let symptoms progress to the point where all chance of recovery are lost. In other words, try not to let things go this far before seeking medical treatment:
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swine flu

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Isreali Sense Of Humor At United Nations Makes It All So Very Clear

August 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm (News & Politics)

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United  Nations Assembly which made the world community smile.

A representative from Israel began: “Before beginning my talk I want to tell  you something about Moses.  When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, ‘What a good opportunity to have a bath!’  He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water.   When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them.”

The Palestinian representative jumped up furiously and shouted, “What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren’t there then.”

The Israeli representative smiled and said, “And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech.”

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Obama Keeps Bush Wiretap Policy In Place

July 16, 2009 at 2:20 am (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

A resounding, “what the fuck? Over”

I feel much as I did when we Democrats took over Congress and the Senate. Nancy Pelosi, against all odds, gave into the statis quo. I’m saddened by the Party’s aparant blase faire attitude. Nary a word of indegnation from anyone… and I continue to be sickened by the lack of seperation of Church and State in our [not really] otherwise fine Nation.

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People Care 4 Day Care Pictures…

July 9, 2009 at 9:49 pm (Alameda, News & Politics)

… of and from our new office.


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Ted Kennedy, Before You Kick It…

June 11, 2009 at 12:32 am (Life & Death, News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

… riddle me this:

Do you ever check in with Gwynn, Mary Jo Kopechne’s mom? Just wondering. It’s been years, and now that you, too, are in pain…

Hey, I hope that didn’t sound mean spirited, given your recent brain troubles [all that Kennedy inbreeding at work?], but I’ll bet you a bottle of your evil father’s smuggled Scotch [I’ll put up a Bill Buckner baseball card] that MJ is mentioned in the first paragraph of your obituary. Nice legacy, meat.

mary jo

Aside, I understand that some good is coming of all of this. You seem to be loosing some of that wall of flesh that precedes and follows you into a room. Just in time for spring boating, and all the easier to carry on a hot summers day.

Over and out, Camelot.

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Judging The Judges

June 8, 2009 at 8:11 pm (News & Politics)

This is the full version of a column that will appear in The Gazette shortly.   The version to be published was cut down, I am told, for reasons of space:

JUDGING THE JUDGES

By

Arthur Joel Katz

President Obama’s first nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, was accused by some dim-witted Republicans of being a racist.    In a speech in 2001, she said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”   The statement is absolutely correct and shows no racism whatever.

If Judge Sotomayor had said that a wise Latina would often reach a better conclusion than a white male, perhaps this ridiculous charge might have stuck.  But that is NOT what she said.    She made the distinction life experience.   She had been brought up in a public housing project in the Bronx.  She was comparing that experience to that of a white male “who hasn’t lived that life.”   Her point was that life experience does make a difference.   That view was expounded by   Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, both highly conservative, during their confirmation hearings.   Each testified extensively as to their backgrounds and argued that their backgrounds would influence their judging.

The notion that the best judges are those who more or less mechanically interpret the law, as if law was a series of mathematical equations that could be worked out by anyone who could read the symbols, is a myth.

The point is illustrated in a book of mock decisions of the British High Court called The Common Law, written by the British humorist A. P. Herbert.  Herbert “reported” as a case in which the plaintiff claimed he had been libeled by the Defendant who had taught his parrot to say terrible untrue things about the Plaintiff.  The Defendant claimed that it didn’t matter what the parrot said because it was all oral.  In Britain (and in most U.S. States) something said is slander, not libel, and slander requires the showing of damages to bring a suit.  The Plaintiff argued, however, that the whole idea of requiring writing in a libel case was that it had a certain permanence, and the parrot was still alive thereby providing the requisite permanence.

The case was heard by a three judge panel.  The first judge began his opinion, which in the British custom, was read from the bench, “The law is clear . . .” and held for the Plaintiff.  The second judge also began with “The law is clear . . .” and held for the Defendant.   The third judge also said “The law is clear. . .” but dropped dead before he could state which way he decided.

As the great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”    The mechanical view is today argued people who do not understand—-and for the most part don’t care—-what the Constitution means by what it says.   They want every Supreme Court decision to come out their way no matter what the constitution says or the cost of their interpretation.

Take the abortion issue, for example.     In the famous case of Roe v. Wade, the Court did not legalize abortion; it simply held that under the Fourteenth Amendment that right of a woman to control whether she has a child or not is a civil right that a state or the federal government cannot deny.  It should surprise no one that the Court found a right like abortion to be protected by the Constitution.   It, like the Right of Privacy which, presumably, protects us from the government snooping in our bedrooms, among other things, was found by the court to also be protected.

Neither abortion nor the Right of Privacy is specifically mentioned in the constitution.    However, the Fourteenth Amendment does specifically provide,” No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens . . ., nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  The Court found the right to an abortion and the Right of Privacy to fall under the definitions of this Amendment.  It also found that the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the people their rights even though not enumerated in the Constitution, also applies.

Did the background of the judges lead to those decisions?  Almost certainly.  How could those rights not listed in the Constitution be found to have been retained by the people unless the judges who found them had actually lived among “the people” and understood public attitudes?

The civil rights movement is clearly a beneficiary of the notion that judges are influenced by their life experiences.    In 1896, the Supreme Court decided Plessey v. Ferguson, which held that “separate but equal” facilities could be used to segregate blacks from whites.  Although that case applied to railroad accommodations, it became the protector of inferior education offered blacks in segregated schools.  The decision, by a 7-1 majority,  came at a time when the Court had not had a single black man (or for that matter, a woman) sat as a judge in its whole history.  Obviously, a court made up of all white male judges, in 1896, could be expected to have little sensitivity with the  plight of black people who  were then still generally  considered to  be part of an inferior race, even in the North.

Then, in 1954, the Court unanimously decided in Brown v. Board of Education that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and, accordingly, segregation in schools, and essentially elsewhere, ran afoul of the equal protection of the laws protection provided by the Fourteenth Amendment.  The nine judges who decided that case had lived through an era in which equality of all races was increasingly seen as an important value.   What had changed from 1896 to 1954 was not the wording of the Constitution, but the life experiences of the judges.

Finally, the answer to “strict constructionists” is provided by the most famous of our Chief Justices, John Marshall, whose decision in the case of Marbury v. Madison held that the Supreme Court had the right to find unconstitutional the actions of the congress or the President.    There is no provision in the Constitution that gives the Court any such right, a fact which evens a “strict constructionist” acknowledged.  As he put it—-either Justice Alito or Justice Scalia, but I forget which—the Supreme Court simply “stole” the right.

Bravo to President Obama for appointing Judge Sonia Sotomayor.   She is a brilliant woman with 17 years of experience in the Federal Judiciary.   She is full suited to take a seat on the Court as any Justice now sitting.    The fact that she is Hispanic may provide the Court with the kind of diversity it needs.  And if the Republicans know what they are doing, they’ll stop their nonsense and get her confirmation done without delay.

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Twenty-five U.S. Military Officers Challenge Official Account of 9/11

May 22, 2009 at 12:01 am (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Remembering Will Rogers

May 1, 2009 at 10:19 am (News & Politics)

Will Rogers, who died in a plane crash with Wylie Post in 1935, was probably the greatest political sage this country has ever known.

Enjoy the following:

1.  Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

2.  Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

3.  There are 2 theories to arguing with a woman…

neither works.

4.  Never miss a good chance to shut up.

5.  Always drink upstream from the herd.

6.  If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

7.  The quickest way to double your money

is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

8.  There are three kinds of men:

The ones that learn by reading.

The few who learn by observation.

The rest of them have to

pee on the electric fence

and find out for themselves.

9.  Good judgment comes from experience,

and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

10.  If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd,

take a look back every now and then

to make sure it’s still there.

11.  Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole

lot easier’n puttin’ it back.

12.  After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.

He kept it up until a hunter came along

and shot him.

The moral:
When you’re full of bull,

keep your mouth shut.


ABOUT GROWING OLDER…

First ~ Eventually you will reach a point

when you stop lying about your age

and start bragging about it.

Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things

seem worth waiting in line for.

Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers.

Not me, I want people

to know “why” I look this way.

I’ve traveled a long way

and some of the roads weren’t paved.

Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied

and would like to go back to youth,

think of Algebra.

Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

Sixth ~ I don’t know how I got over the hill

without getting to the top.

Seventh ~ One of the many things

no one tells you about aging

is that it is such a nice change

from being young.

Eighth ~ One must wait until evening

to see how splendid

the day has been.

Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful,

but being old is comfortable.

Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and

beat the ground with sticks,

it was called witchcraft.

Today it’s called golf.

And finally ~

If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble,

you won’t have anything to laugh

at when you are old.


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The New Jewish Dictionary for 2009

March 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm (News & Politics)

The New Jewish Dictionary for 2009.
Jewbilation (n.) Pride in finding out that one’s favorite celebrity is
Jewish or that your offspring is marrying a Jewish person.

Torahfied (n.) Inability to remember one’s lines when called to read
from the Torah at one’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. (OR from the Hagadah at
Passover)

Matzilation (v.) Smashing a piece of matzo to bits while trying to
butter it.

Bubbegum (n.) Candy one’s mother gives to her grandchildren that she
never gave to her own children.

Chutzpapa (n.) A father who wakes his wife at 4:00 a.m. so she can
change the baby’s diaper.

Deja Nu ( n.) Having the feeling you’ve seen the same exasperated
look on your mother’s face, but not knowing exactly when.

Disoriyenta (n.) When Aunt Linda gets lost in a department store and
strikes up a conversation with everyone she passes.

Hebort (v.) To forget all the Hebrew one ever learned immediately
after one’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Jewdo (n.) A traditional form of self-defense based on talking one’s
way out of a tight spot.

Mamatzah Balls (n.) Matzo balls that are as good as your mother used to
make..

Meinstein – slang. “My son, the genius!”

Mishpochadots (n.) The assorted lipstick and make-up stains found on
one’s face and collar after kissing all one’s aunts and cousins at a
reception.

Re-shtetlement (n.) Moving from Brooklyn to Miami and finding all your
old neighbors live in the same condo building as you.

Rosh Hashana-na-na ( n.) A rock ‘n roll band from Jewish Brooklyn .

Yidentify (v.) To be able to determine Jewish origins of celebrities,
even though their names might be St. John , Curtis, Davis or Taylor.

Minyastics (n.) Going to incredible lengths and troubles to find a
tenth person to complete a Minyan.

Feelawful (n.) Indigestion from eating Israeli street food, especially
falafel.

Dis-kvellified (v.) To drop out of law school, med. school or business
school as seen through the eyes of parents, grandparents and Uncle Sid.
In extreme cases, simply choosing to major in art history when Irv’s
son David is majoring in biology is sufficient grounds for
diskvellification.

Impasta (n.) A Jew who starts eating leavened foods before the end of
Passover.

Kinders Shlep (v.) To transport other kids besides yours in your car.

Schmuckluck (n.) Finding out one’s wife became pregnant after one had a
vasectomy.

Shofarsogut (n.) The relief you feel when, after many attempts, the
shofar is finally blown at the end of Yom Kippur.

Trayffic Accident (n.) An appetizer one finds out has pork in it.

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