Monday, December 29, 2014

Out with the Old ...Welcome 2015

I promised a few friends that I would attempt to end the year on a more fluffy note. Not that I am a fluffy person by any stretch of the imagination; I am not. So in keeping with some kind of inadvertent tradition, I hereby present the year in review.

I didn’t break anything, thank G-d. I paid off the mortgage. I did a bunch of stuff to the house, including “winterizing” the sun porch and, of course, the kitchen. I turned the living room into a bedroom so FIL could remain at home, and together, we faced his end of life. He didn’t quite make it to my granddaughter’s beginning of life, having left us on the morning of Yom Kippur, quietly, in bed, just as he wanted. He missed meeting his great granddaughter by 17days. He was cremated just as he wanted, and on the weekend of the baby-naming, when the senior son came in, we buried his ashes at Fort Snelling, just as he wanted. In attendance were just us: me, his grandsons and granddaughter-in-law whom he adored, his new-best-friend Handy, and his great-granddaughter. No service, no speakers, just a 21-gun salute for this proud WWII naval officer. Just as he wanted.
 
So now, it’s just me and dog heading into 2015. Funny thing is that I’m rather enjoying this process. Instead of being terrifying…and I thought it might be…it’s been freeing. I am only responsible for myself…and dog. I think she’s having a harder time. She’s taken to dragging her bed so that it’s all the way on the side of the couch in the study and you can’t see it from the door. I’m trying to teach her to play. She can now catch a little cookie midair, but she won’t pick up a tennis ball. We have all winter to work on this, so that when the spring comes, maybe, just maybe, she’ll want to hang out with me outside. She’s misses FIL; that much is very clear.

As for politics and news, I can only say that I am disappointed beyond reason. In the 4 years since the blog was started, the proliferation of hate speech and divisive media behavior is astounding. Media outlets on both sides have chosen to publish half-truth spun in the most hateful, hurtful manner humanly possible. There seems to be less and less balance and more and more partisanism. And it’s ugly. Very, very ugly.  And it’s not just Fox News or CNN; it’s Huffington Post, the NY Post, and even the Washington Post. It’s RawStory, Politico, and New York Magazine. Journalism is a rapidly disappearing profession and become interpretive art at a time when we need it to be factual and balanced. I would rather read a string of unvarnished facts than a Rumplestiltskin version of events spun into salacious pyrite…because folks, that ain’t gold.

How can you not wonder about what we’re doing to our own society when we publish headlines that are just lies? How is that different from anti-American propaganda from China or Pakistan? Not really. It’s still propaganda even when it’s directed at our own population.  It doesn’t do anyone any favors to further divide the American people along political/racial/regional lines. I cannot help but wonder what the real reaction to the lack of indictment against Darrell Wilson would’ve have been without the 10 second news cycle. Would we have had a better understanding of the anger? Would there have been riots without the press?  I don’t know, but I would’ve been more comfortable with reporting that focused on what we did actually know about the Michael Brown shooting rather than what was speculation. At the same time, when we know exactly what happened, as in the case of Eric Garner, how was the officer not indicted?

As we head into the next presidential election cycle, I am dreading the role the press will carve out for itself. It sure as hell won’t be that of an unbiased moderator. There isn’t an organ out there that won’t manipulate the truth for the sake of ratings. Gone is the idea that a newspaper is supposed to present news. Now, they are simply in the opinion biz and everyone and everything else be damned.

So let’s welcome 2015 with a dash of disbelief, a healthy dose of skepticism, and a soupçon of unbridled optimism…because that’s about all we can afford these days.

Whatever the year brings….and it’s probably bringing my nonagenarian parents from sunny Flah-rida to Minnesnowta for assisted living….it’s gonna be an interesting year at the very least. And ever the optimist, I’m hoping for a fun ride.

The Wifely Person’s Tip o’the Week

Make a difference in your own life…read something you wouldn’t normally read.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Who Ya Gonna Blame?

On FOX-News, Rudy Giuliani said it was the president's fault because President Obama told everyone to hate the police:
We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.
On ABC, NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly blamed Mayor de Blasio:
I think when the mayor made statements about that he had to train his son — who is biracial — to be careful when he's dealing with the police, I think that set off this latest firestorm.
Frankly, my friend Jennifer lives in Baltimore and it's her fault. She should've known Ismaaiyl Brinsley was going to go to New York to kill two cops right after he shot his girlfriend. Not that she knew him or met him or ever had any contact or anything. But she lives in Baltimore so she must be to blame. 

Never mind that someone sold a crazy person the gun, or that both Georgia and Ohio had long rap sheets on the guy and he'd done jail time in both states. Surely they can own some of this.....or not.

Of course, there is that bothersome issue of the truth. The President did not tell anyone to hate the police. This is what President Obama said,
 “There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.”              August 14, 2014
“I also appeal to the law enforcement officials in Ferguson and the region to show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur. Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law. As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community, to distinguish the handful of people who may use the grand jury’s decision as an excuse for violence — distinguish them from the vast majority who just want their voices heard around legitimate issues in terms of how communities and law enforcement interact.”                                                                                                           November 24, 2114 
The mayor and his family
at the inaugeration
And yes, Mayor de Blasio and his wife did have long talks with their son about being a black teenager in the city. That was not to incite hate or anger; it's to protect the child and prevent him from becoming a statistic. Any parent of a teenager of color, whether that parent is white, black, Asian, Native American, or Purple-Polka-Dots will tell you there comes a moment when you have to have the talk...the one about what to do if you're stopped or, if driving, pulled over for no apparent reason other than you "fit the description." The de Blasios are no different. As the mayor told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, December 7th:

“It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country… And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cellphone, because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color."
There are real problems with guys like Rudy Giuliani and Ray Kelly blaming the President and the Mayor. They are not helping calm the masses; they are spewing hate speech. This is not a political opportunity....this is a tragedy, and there are those who will exploit it. If you are looking to blame someone for the death of Officers Liu and Ramos, let's start with Ismaaiyl Brinsley. He got the gun, he headed to New York for a little cop hunting, and he pulled the trigger. Let's not forget he also shot his girlfriend.

The bottom line is anyone who engages in inflammatory rhetoric should be stripped of public office. They are the ones who incite riots. They are the ones who deepen the fissure into a crevasse of unfathomable depth. They forget the shooter was a crazy person, a lone trigger, and a well-known violent criminal. Those things have nothing to do with the president, the mayor, or my friend Jennifer who happens to live in Baltimore. And blaming Jennifer for the execution of two NYPD cops sitting in the squad is just as crazy as blaming President Obama and Mayor de Blasio.

For the heck of it, compare the coverage of last June's Las Vegas cop executions by right wing radicals Jerad and Amanda Miller  to this weekend's murders and you will see some stark differences in how they were handled by the media. I won't go into the details here, but look it up. You probably don't even remember who they were, but let's just say their politics were extremely right of center and coverage of their acts of domestic terrorism is significantly different from what happened this past weekend. No one blamed the Tea Party for their actions even though Miller's Facebook rant most closely aligned with their agenda. There is a difference. And if you haven't noticed that, you're not living on the same planet as the rest of us mere mortals. 

So here's the deal: stop the hate speech. Stop fanning the fires. Before you post, ask yourself, "Am I helping or am inciting?" We are long past Reconstruction. We are long past the Civil Rights movement years. We have elected a black president. We are a maturing nation. It's time to start acting as citizen adults. 



Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
You might get a little bit of an understanding what it's like 
to be the mother of a black teenager. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Who We Aren't

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for hate speech, homogeneity, and,  people who only see black or white but nothing in between. I understand people have differing opinions on all manner of things, and I believe this is a healthy part of a free and democratic society. But getting your news from Facebook is not getting news; it's getting other people's boiled down, biased spin in cutesy sound bites that have nothing to do with actual facts. Some of the stuff I've seen posted on Facebook and in the comment sections of various news organs makes me wonder about the reading skills of many Americans. It's becoming abundantly clear to me...and folks, this is not news....people don't read before they post. They skim. Sometimes. If we're lucky. But they don't read and they don't question. This is a problem.

Perception is everything. If you always wear Vikings purple and gold on game day, people are gonna guess you're a Vikings fan. Team colors, gang colors, head scarves, head coverings, just about anything you wear tells someone something about your personal preferences. Same thing applies to the internet. If you say, 

both of these thugs engaged in criminal behavior many times. They resisted the authority of the police who act in the name of the citizens who hire them. The police acted appropriately by engaging and bringing these criminals under control of the law. the idiots protesting are not looking at the facts, and al and jesse and all the black sympathizers are making the point that these thugs had their rights violated, this is TOTAL CRAP....these guys were criminals ...doing criminal things and were terminated by the police.....the world is better off without them.... GREAT JOB POLICE!.....keep up the good work. 
comment from Washington Post's "Winning Civil Justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner (12DEC2014) 
are you really saying that due process does not apply...or that it's okay they were summarily executed without trial? I understand that anger is there, but is that writer really endorsing a totalitarian police state where the officers are judge, jury, and executioner? 


One cannot talk about the recent shift in our civil society without commenting on three recent events:  

  1. the response to the grand jury findings in the case of Michael Brown
  2. the refusal of the grand jury to indict after the killing of Eric Garner
  3. the exposure of the CIA's use of torture during interrogation 
Each one speaks to a separate shift in what We, the People consider to be our societal norms

First, let's establish that the killing of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner by police officers in Missouri and New York are not the same. The circumstances are polar opposites and there can be no correlation between the two other than to say they are both dead as the result of a police action. 

We will never know what really happened between Michael Brown and Officer Darrell Wilson. That encounter was not captured on camera, but the events in the convenience store were. That tape, together with the divergent testimony given by witnesses, damned Mr. Brown. Due process ended when his body hit the pavement. 

If the death of Michael Brown is unable to be explained with a reliable timeline of events, the reaction to the grand jury's refusal to indict Officer Wilson is equally chilling. In the cold, hard light of the media's cameras, Ferguson and the surrounding area exploded. Looting, fires, destruction....did any of this bring back Michael Brown? Did breaking store windows and ransacking do anything but focus global attention on acts of violence against innocent shopkeepers? What was accomplished in the rampage other than the destruction of their own community? How does this assuage the anger and frustration felt by the Brown family and their core supporters? Did it do anything to change the perception that Michael Brown and his compatriots are nothing but thugs? The riots did not change the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Wilson. The mob took over and the mob becomes judge, jury and executioner. Vigilante justice is as wrong as the original shooting. It cannot be justified. 


Take down of Eric Garner
The case of Eric Garner is entirely different. The exchange is on tape. He was a large, cumbersome man asking the police to stop harassing him. Watch the tape. Seriously. Watch it in slow-mo if you have to. Watch the officers come up from behind and take him down. Was he violent? Was he threatening anyone? Is putting up your hands to shield yourself..or swatting away a hand as you back up against a wall an act of extreme violence? Eleven times he gasps, "I can't breathe," yet the officer never release his hold even after Mr. Garner is clearly down for the count. Then watch the second video...the one less often seen. The one where he lies on the sidewalk and is treated with absolute callousness by the officers and the EMT. Is that how a human being is to be treated?

For argument's sake, does it matter than Officer Pataleo has been named in two civil rights law suits in 2013 where suspects were falsely arrested and abused...on the street in public? If Eric Garner should be damned with his pattern of selling illegal cigarettes, should conclusions be reached about Officer Pantaleo based on his past record? 

We have stood by while that which we once held so dear, the principle of due process, is violated. 

And it's not just about how we treat our own citizens. We, the People seem to have taken leave of the Geneva Conventions to permit the CIA to use torture as part of the interrogation process. The same system that does not see the death of Eric Garner as the homicide the medical examiner declared it to be, also does not see water-boarding, rectal rehydration, and naked chaining in coffin-sized spaces as torture. Although I rarely agree with Senator John McCain, he might be the only person in Congress with a right to an opinion here. He was tortured. He has direct experience. I think he kinda knows what it is, and his opinion is that the CIA and its contracted subsidiaries practiced torture methodology on detainees. 

The US signed on to the Geneva Conventions in 1882 at the urging of Clara Barton (yes, that Clara Barton) and we've been a part of the agreement ever since. 

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, last updated in August of 1949, is long and difficult to read; however, one section stands out
PART II: HUMANE TREATMENT - Art.4-Fundamental Guarantees 
2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph I are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever: (a) violence to the life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment; (b) collective punishments; (c) taking of hostages; (d) acts of terrorism; (e) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form or indecent assault; (f) slavery and the slave trade in all their forms; (g) pillage; (h) threats to commit any or the foregoing acts. 
We are obliged to behave according to its precepts.

Former Veep Cheney on Meet the Press
Look, if the CIA didn't know they were on shaky ground, why were they constantly asking the Justice Department to declare what they were doing as legal? Vice President Cheney knew exactly what he was doing and it was an end run around responsibility. And if President Bush was unaware, well, that's a whole 'nother story. These things were deliberate, planned and executed carefully; they were not instant decisions made by soldiers in the field. There is no way to excuse detaining people you already know are neither combatants nor participants, and there is no excuse for abusing human beings under any circumstance. That is anathema to us.

The fundamental guarantee of due process applies to Americans and people in American custody. We subscribe to the belief that our citizens have the right to a fair trial, one where guilt must be proven without a doubt in a court of law. The Guantanamo detainees are still on American soil, albeit in Cuba, and still entitled to the right of due process and a trial, just as Michael Brown and Eric Garner should have had.

Either We, the People subscribe to a just society ruled by law as applied to ALL.....or we don't. There is no halfway here. 

The Brown riots, the Garner homicide, and the CIA's decision to torture are all undermining the Constitution and the laws of this nation. They are very much related to the denial of civil rights and due process. To strip away the trappings of the three events is to reveal the bare bones of civil rights...and how we approach those rights for everyone. Not just whites. Not just blacks. Not just purple with pink polka dots. 

We are We, the People. Doesn't mention anything about color, class, gender, sexual orientation or even nationality. This is about how we treat ourselves and how we treat the other....terrorist, criminal, or unfortunate bystander. When we walk away from those principles, we walk away from that which has made us exceptional. That which has made us the place people want to come. That which has made us America, land of the free, home of the brave. 

We seem to have lost our moral compass. It's time to backtrack and find it before we forget who We, the People are supposed to be. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

If you can't attribute the quote, don't post it. 



Monday, December 8, 2014

Standing In The Sunlight...And Blinking

Well, there's no getting around it. It's time for the long awaited kitchen blog.

Old kitchen with horrid floor. That's the Sub Zero
of blessed memory on the left. 
When we built the house in 1988-89, we knew pretty much right after we moved in that there was something wrong with the Armstrong linoleum in the kitchen and laundry room. To make a long, dreadful story very short, Armstrong agreed that the vinyl was defective. They would not, however, replace it; they wanted $5000 to replace it, and we said no. So they sent someone to re-seal the floor.....and what he did was to remove the top layer and paste  waxit...thereby dooming me to 25 years of having to wax the damn thing. I even own a rotary-waxer. Well, the floor did not age well and it was an ongoing eyesore. I hated coming into the kitchen with that discolored thing on the floor. But life got in the way and we never quite got around to replacing it. 

Fast forward 26 years. I paid off the house and my mortgage slush fund was now available for use. My beloved Sub Zero was dying. The ovens were dying, and that damn floor......

The fellow who designed the brilliant Stanford Avenue kitchen and helped me design this one was still around. I called him. Best decision ever. Tim asked the right questions; turned out I really liked most of the kitchen. One of his designers, Sarah, worked with me on what I wanted to have happen, and got a cabinet guy to replace the under-sink doors which, were waterlogged and swollen, and then strip, clean, and restain and reseal my cabinets... which, as it turned out I really do like...and did not want to change. Keeping the budget in mind, Sarah educated me. If you ever have to do a kitchen remodel, call Sawhill Kitchens. Talk to Tim Aden, talk to Sarah Maly. Tell them I sent you. It will be the best call you can make.

The floor was next. 77 square yards of something had to go down. After a number of false starts, I went back to the people who laid the carpet at Stanford and in this house...but who were not involved in the kitchen debacle. Curt Rens of Schenider Carpet One, patron saint of crazy old ladies who cannot make up their minds, stepped into the fray. He made more stops at the house with tile samples than anyone had the right to get. I finally decided on Mannington Adura vinyl tile with grout and I could not possibly be happier. Personally, I think Curt is happy the floor is down and he can stop driving over here. A sweeter, nicer, more patient guy does not exist.

I decided to replace the Sub with a GE Profile French Door. It turned out to be a little wider than the original cabinet for the built-in and much shorter, so the cabinet side had to come off. And even if I replaced the Sub with another Sub, the new ones were also 3/4 of an inch too wide. Enter Mitch the Handyman. My friend Rabbi Shosh's husband, Mitch happens to be a terrific carpenter. I handed him a key...and he took over. And while he was at it, a chair got fixed, the deck gate was re-hung, the front door was stripped....many times...but that's an ongoing saga...and stuff magically happened. He oversaw the installation and made the adjustments for the oven cabinet as well.

But what to do about the now empty space over the fridge where the Sub condenser had been housed. Sitting in shul on shabbos, I suddenly knew what to do. Cantilever! After services, I told him I had an idea....and on Sunday, he came over and we kinda figured it all out. Using the old panel (which a certain junior son tried to appropriate) Mitch turned it into a shelf. He painted the now-exposed wall the same color aubergine over the bookcases in the den, and voilà! You can see more of Mitch's work at Chopping Block Woodcraft. And he can do just about anything! 

Old GE ovens
New GE ovens
I cannot tell you how much fun it is to have ovens that actually get to the right temperature and stay there. I was so tired of calibrating the old ovens, that I baked by feel. These puppies, though, are great. No, they are not convection. After talking to a whole lotta people, I stayed with conventional ovens. I am not sorry. I really hate putzing with cooking times and temps, so this is just fine AND there are no bottom heating elements which means I can boil over with impunity. Now, that's progress! For the record...and lots have people have asked... I worked with Barb Youngdahl at ALL, Inc for the appliances...and I highly recommend her as well. She knows her stuff inside and out. 

One thing I really want to tell you: DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I did months of homework before I decided on anything. I discovered that I couldn't find cabinets I liked better than the ones I have. I could not find hardware I liked better than my plain wooden handles. Which makes me think I really am  mid-century Danish modern. I also spent hours reading about and looking at floors. In the end, Curt's presentation of the options was pretty well-rounded and fair. He provided the information I needed, and let me struggle with the color choices on my own. Despite numerous suggestions to go with a darker floor, I stayed with a light one and love it. 

Being married for 32 years meant sharing decisions with the husband. Since he was usually more engaged about this stuff than I was, I never really exercised my designer genes except where color was involved...because that was my forte. Now, however, it's just me. I  kid you not when I admit I had no idea what my tastes were. I didn't know. I spent months just looking at pictures trying to decide, "do I like this?" It's not an easy question. I had no one with which to discuss it...except cousin Laurie who was pushing me to figure out what I liked....not what I thought her impeccable taste would tell me to like....like the table in the picture above...which is the table that she "lent" us when we moved into the house...the same one I refuse to give up because I love Danish modern furniture. 

But this is only symptomatic. For the last month, my friend Nataliya's been staying with me while she was waiting to close on her own house. It was a good transition to have someone here for whom I was not caring. With the holy days over, with FIL having made his final journey, with the baby born and thriving.....I am now beginning to settle into the new normal. I'm not quite sure what it will be like, but whatever it is, it will be what I have created for myself. This is new and unusual, a little scary, but also very exciting. 

The kitchen, so long in coming, was my coming out. Not out of a closet.... but out of the shadows. It will take some getting used to, but to tell you the truth, the sunlight feels pretty damn good. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Thinking about a new fridge?
Get a bottom freezer. You'll never regret it. 



Monday, December 1, 2014

The Conversation No One Wants to Have

There are palm trees swaying gently outside my folk's kitchen window. The temperature is about 80, both inside and outside the house. I think there is some kind of rule about the temperature approaching your age...which means it's still 10 degrees cooler in here than it should be. 

Truth is, the temperature outside has little impact on the folks these days, and as we were celebrating Mom's 92nd birthday today, we were also facing the reality that their days of independent living are drawing to a close. Dad is so thin despite his high-in-chocolate diet. We tried to get him some new clothes, but men's sizes are too big and boys sizes are not quite right. We did manage to get him a couple of belts to at least hold up the pants he does have. Mom's eyesight has declined and it's harder and harder for her to prepare meals, wash up, and manage the house. She gave up driving a while ago, and she is completely reliant on others for getting around...both hired and family/friends. Which is hard on her because she feels she's always asking, unable to reciprocate, and that's hard for a woman as consistently independent as my mom. 

With FIL, the choices had been easier. He was widowed (again.) Steve was an only child, and we all lived in the Twin Cities. He came to live with us because he was functionally blind, but he could go up and down stairs, manage his own laundry (something he insisted on) and take care of himself in most things. After Steve died and the oomph seemed to dissipate from his being, his living with me was never in question (okay...once...but we worked through it) and we added assistance as we needed it.

But my own folks are a different bunch of bananas. I cannot just pick up and move to Flah-rida to do what I did for FIL. And, there's that tiny bumble of joy in Minnesota who needs to know all her great-grandparents ...and there are four of them. So there is only one sensible choice and it looks like we're going to make it: we are going to try to bring the folks to Minnesota for assisted living near me. 

It's not like I'm commandeering this process. My brother is actively involved in caring for the 'rents.  The truth is, while I was taking care of FIL, he was doing everything that needed to be done for our folks because I was just plain unavailable. And now, we are both in agreement that whatever decisions are made must ultimately made by our parents because they are both perfectly sentient and pretty much on top on things. Yes, we do get to voice opinions, but my bro and I know they have the final word. 

And we are so lucky in that regard. 

Lots of my contemporaries are going through the same thing. Our parents are living longer, and when things begin to unravel, they are less willing to ask for help, much less admit they can't do it on their own. The very essence of family support has changed radically in the last 50 years or so. Families are spread across the country. More seniors opt for sunnier climes while the kids stay up north or wherever raising their own families. Hopping planes, the norm for so many years, is suddenly not so easy. When the time comes for hard decisions, long distance is a common concern. 

There is no national plan for seniors other than Social Security and Medicare, and neither of those provide for long term assisted living. Whether you're living on Social Security alone or the IRA's and the 401k's are running low because you've lived longer than anyone expected, where do you go? How do you live? Or are you just expected to expire in a corner someplace and wait for the neighbors to notice the smell?

Lots of ads on Google tell you they have the answers when, in fact, they don't. Some places are legit...and are usually dot-gov kinda places. Others look at the elderly as un-fracked shale just waiting to be harvested. Older adults unfamiliar with the net and the fraud and the shills, lacking someone to guide them through the labyrinth, are easy victims...and can end up destitute. And that can even happen to those who step up to take care for their elder-relatives. Too many people are faced with the painful prospect of having to decide between jobs and their own future security and the desperate need to care for aging relatives.

How is that okay? How is that not an immediate issue in any government debate? How is that not a plank in anyone's platform? How is this not worthy of pitchforks at the gate and protests on the Mall?

As we begin this exploration of the next phase, my bro and I are hoping that reality will sync up with the 'rents' wishes. Having them in close physical proximity to me....and that baby....will solve many problems... and spawn a few new ones, but we're a unified front to take them on. We'll all figure it out together. And we have each other's hands to hold in the process.  

I just can't stop thinking about the ones who aren't as lucky as FIL or my folks. 



The Wifely Person Tip o'the Week

Hug a senior today ...
especially the ones who are responsible for your very existence on this planet.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Blood Everywhere

I had planned to write about the kitchen tonight, but I cannot. It seems so frivolous when held up against the events of this past week. The kitchen can wait. 

I grew up with the myths and legends of both ancient and modern Israel. I know about revisionist history, two sides to every story, and how the truth lies somewhere in the middle of it all. But I also know a bit about the long term history of that strip of land, and the most important aspect that too many people refuse to admit is that Jews have lived here continuously for over 3000 documented years. Just as the French have lived in France, the Celts in Ireland, the Welsh in Wales, the Swedes in Sweden....the big difference is we have written history....like the Egyptians in Egypt, the Syrians in Syria, the Persians in Iran. We were a literate people very early on. And if the Five Books of Moses have a lot of improbable tales, it also provides the foundation for law in much of the Western World. Jews built Jerusalem and put the Temple there. In fact, 2 Temples. The place on which the Mosque of Omar sits is, was, and always will be The Temple Mount.  Not the Church Mount or the Mosque Mount....the Temple Mount because even the Koran recognizes that the Temple was there first. Before Islam was even created. This is not a mystery shrouded in the mists of time; this is well documented history even without the spin. Of course, it is tough to miss those walls.

(Photo: Kobi Gideon, GPO/Flash 90)
But on the morning of November 18th, as a group of Orthodox men were saying shacharit Amidah  in a study hall in Har Nof, on the western...not the eastern....side of Jerusalem, two men came in with axes, knives, and guns. They attacked a group of guys in tallitot and tefillin, standing in prayer. What was their crime? Being Jewish?  What about Zidan Sayif? His crime? Being a police officer who rushed in to save lives at the cost of his own. He was not a Jew living in Israel. He was a Druze living in the same land his family has always lived in, living as free citizens of the State of Israel. 

Just like every other indigenous people in any other country, Jews have a right to live in their own land. 3000 years of documented history is a clue. That the only sovereign states to have ever existed on that land were three Jewish states....First Kingdom, Second Kingdom, and the State of Israel....is a big clue. Israelis of all kinds have a right to be safe in their homes, safe on their streets, safe in their schools, safe in the malls, safe in their houses of worship whatever they are....as do the Palestinians. Israel affords citizenship and civil rights to Jews, Christians, Muslim, Baha'i, whatever. It's a Jewish state with a Jewish calendar, but how is that different from Italy operating on a Christian calendar, or Indonesia using a Muslim calendar to mark its communal holidays and holy days?  It's not. 

What is different is that the stated goal of Hamas is to kill every last Jew in Israel.  What's another dead Jews amongst friends, right? 

The world will continue to turn a blind eye to the bloodshed in Israel and the Arab world until some madman gets a bomb and threatens to glass over everyone else. We ignore this at our own peril. Throw Israel under the bus, and you no longer have a democratic partner in the ME. Hand over more land to Hamas, and be prepared to add another brick in the wall of the new caliphate. 

Why do groups like the BDS movement think that's an okay thing? Do they think they're gonna get a better deal under Hamas? They won't. They'll be treated like Jews and Christians no matter what they say or protest or claim. They don't get it. In fact, most of the world doesn't get it. 

We are the canary in the coal mine. If they round us up and shoot us all in the head, it's not gonna stop with us. The Christians will be next. The "other kind" of Muslims will come after that. And the blood will run in the streets. 

Reasonable People of the World, Unite! It's past the time to start saying no. Here, there, and everywhere. Y'know, there are a lot more of us than them. If we all stood together, we could change the world. 

What we cannot do is remain silent. 


The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Don't go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. That's all.