Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013

When we last left our intrepid blogger, she was certain that this was a sprain and nothing to be too concerned about. Ah, not so, grasshoppers. The crack radiologist who supposedly read the x-ray on Monday lived up to the description. He missed the big honkin' crack that ran right into the joint AND the bone chip spur thingee next to it. Makes me wonder if the anyone even looked at the damn thing on Monday.

I got the call early Wednesday morning that someone had actually looked at the x-ray and thought it might be  good thing if I came back. Not so fast, little grasshoppers. There was no room at the intake on Wednesday and I had to wait until Thursday before I could see an orthopedist. All this on private insurance, too. 

Thursday, Cousin Laurie came over, announced she was going to iron my hair before I set one foot out the door, then took me to the orthopedist ...who was running a bit behind. When Dr. Tigger finally bounded into the room with the new set of x-rays they'd just taken, I took one look at them and said, "Uh oh," and he said, "Nice fracture you have there."  For G-d's sake, even I saw the big, honkin' crack. How did they miss it on Monday? I'm not really sure I want to know.

So, now, I am the bearer of lovely purple cast. I go back in two weeks for yet another set of x-rays and if everything is knitting nicely, I'm outta the woods; if not, Tigger will put  plate in to shore it up. This is the 4th time I've fractured this wrist, but I have perfect faith in my ability to knit bones better than I knit sweaters. At least, I've been far more successful at the former.

When I'm not rocking back and forth in a corner feeling sorry for myself, I've been following the fiscal cliff debacle with more disgust...almost as much disgust as I feel for the gun nuts who want to arm our schools. Columbine, by the way, had an armed guard and we saw how well that worked.

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times this morning, Let's Give Up on the Constitution, by Louis Michael Seidman, calling for the cessation of devotion to that document "with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions."  He goes on to say,

The two main rival interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining the framers’ intent) and “living constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in light of modern demands), cannot be reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded in one school of thought, and some in the other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the results — by definition — must be wrong. 

Sounds a lot like orthodox Judaism v. reform….and while my visceral reaction was a resounding, “No way!” I have to tell you, the column stopped me dead in my tracks. Is my thinking too limited by my belief that the fundamentals of the Constitution are correct and should be used as a litmus test for the formation and passage of laws in this country? Can one dispense with parts of the constitution and rely on Congress to adjudicate in the best interest of the population?

As archaic and flawed as the Constitution is, and it is both, the last four years have demonstrated the answer is clearly, no, they cannot be trusted. Congress has amply proven the priorities of individual members are more fundamentally dictated by individual pocketbooks and the needs of the nation be damned. It would seem that the Constitution provides restraint where the passions of a divided Congress run amok. Is it not better to have to pass throught the hoops before an ill-conceived amendment is Prohibition...than to allow Congress full control over the passage of law?  As cumbersome as the process is, I prefer the system of checks and balances weighed against the aged and often obstuse piece of parchment we call the Constitution. I don't trust Congress enough to take away that yardstick.

On the other hand...and isn't there always another hand....the inflexibility of that piece of parchment gives rise to the ongoing brain freeze with the second amendment. The inability of Congress to entertain rational thought on the topic of assault weapons makes one long for a president decisive enought to just construct a bill and ram it could and most certainly would work both ways.

So for my New Year's resolution, I am resolving not only to lose a zillion pounds and run a marathon (not) I am promising you, gentle readers, that I am going deepen my understanding of Constitutionality. Hell's bells! If I 'm going to constantly harp about the thing, the least I can do is to get more ducks for my row!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, and wonderfully adventurous New Year!

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Don't believe everything Congress tells you...
2013 will continue to grow the economy. I have spoken.


Monday, December 24, 2012

No Intro Today.....

No intro today...

Some of you might remember that's the traditional intro to lazy, but alas, that's not quite the case today. I was minding my own business this morning, rolling the trash down to the curb, when my feet departed the ground, ending with me doing an upside down a turtle with the trash bucket on top of me. Luckily nothing came out...of the bucket, but not so lucky I used my right hand to break the fall. 

So here I sit in a Starbucks in Woodbury, waiting for the appointed hour to see the doctor with a very patient Handy Andler [that's me!] typing. Personally, I think Handy's being here is some kind of karmic reward. BIG GIANT karmic reward.

----Hold everything-----I just got a call from urgent care that they can x ray my wrist right now instead of waiting the two and a half hours. We're on  our way back.


Well, the good news is seems not to be broken but it is Christmas eve and the radiologist probably won't give it his final seal of approval until Wednesday. In the meanwhile, I am to baby this thing [Simultaneous translation: she obviously can't cook or do dishes or do housework or anything more strenuous that stirring soup.] So off to Walgreen's for a wrist brace. Would that someone had prescribed something for the screaming pain, but alas......


Okay, it's not broken so it's a little blog being slowly pecked out at the keyboard. This is significantly painful. Almost as painful as the blog entry I started last night. 

The Indomitable PK
Losing Pat Kaplan to cancer last week is a blow to our entire extended community. PK was a force to be reckoned with when it came to making magic happen. There are institutions in the town that would not be there without PK's dogged fundraising and over-sized determination that they should survive....including me. PK's mom died the night before Steve and we spent that year of Kaddish sitting next to each other at morning minyan...often to the rabbi's dismay....but much to my relief. Our personal history may have been checkered with our arguments, but somehow we managed to remain friends...supportive friends.I will miss her late night emails when neither of us could sleep. (I confess it would be interesting to be in the room when she stands before the Throne....and before G-d can say a thing, she demands, "What exactly were You thinking?") Pat's memory will most assuredly be a blessing to her family, her friends, and to all whose lives she touched. I will miss her. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Make sure you have someone on autodial for emergencies. 
You wanna be able to press a number and yell HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and know someone will yell back, "OK!"

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Second Amendment ~ Part 3: Enough is Enough

When we last left the WP’s discourse on the Second Amendment, part 1 and part 2,  20 little kids and 6 educators in Newtown, Connecticut were alive and well and starting a new school year. 

It was, however, with the firm belief that nothing was gonna change the sides of the battle even after the Sikh Temple massacre on August 5th – 6 dead...that the NRA was going to continue to hold We, the People hostage, and that we were doomed to a never ending battle between sane gun laws and the right wing gun-nut fringe. We, the People, already knew the Sikh Temple would not be the last word on shooting sprees for 2012. That one was followed by:

                  Texas A&M on August 14th – 3 dead,
                  Accent Signage here in Minnesota on September 27th – 5 dead
                  Brookfield, Wisconsin salon murders on October 2st – 3 dead,
                  Portland, Oregon mall shooting – 2 dead

and finally, the horror of Sandy Hook School – 6 educators and 20 little kids dead from multiple gunshot wounds fired by a guy with a history of mental illness with a mother (who he also killed with multiple gunshot wounds to the head) who kept semi-automatic weapons in the house…all legally purchased and registered.

Now, even the President, a guy who just signed legislation permitting people to carry handguns into National Parks, says something must be done. 

People, the Second Amendment is about militias and protecting a fledgling nation. It is not about collecting AK-47 and Bushmasters or Glocks for fun. It’s about the right of the people to form an army, not about selling sawed off shotguns from the backs of pick-up trucks behind a gun show. Saturday recorded the highest number of gun sales in a single day. What does that say about us as a nation? Frankly, the answer, whatever it is, has got to be really scary.
Bushmaster .223 assault rifle

There is no reason for anyone in this country a weapon that discharges dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds. A Bushmaster is a weapon designed to kill people, not Bambi. And it did a fine job in Newtown, Connecticut.

A lotta people still point to the assault weapons ban of 1994 that expired in 2004 as a law with no teeth and less impact. That might be because it did nothing to make illegal owning assault weapons manufactured or purchased before that date. That was locking the barn after the horse has been stolen; that law was intentionally impotent, and that is not what we need.

Now it seems some politicians are quickly backing away from their “no gun law” stance. It took the deaths of 20 kids and 6 adults trying to protect them to make some of the nutball faction decide this is worth a second look.

Remember, folks, the Lanzas' guns were LEGAL, purchased LEGALLY and registered LEGALLY. It’s not enough to license, register, do background checks or any of that bullshit time wasting nonsense. The rapid fire magazine toting guns have to be banned. Those weapons must be removed from the hall closets, the bedroom nightstands, the basement rafters and any place else some person thinks they are safely stored when, in fact, they are not. 

Oh, maybe this is the point I should mention that on December 5th, right here in Minnesota, a 2-yer old was shot and killed by his 4-year old brother while they were playing with their dad’s loaded handgun. No loaded gun kept where little kids can find them ever goes off accidentally. I know you can’t legislate stupid, but you can sure make it harder to be stupid.

There was an interesting piece in the New York TIMES the other day that explored the recent unease with rapid fire guns in Newtown. Apparently, owning them and shooting them near town was not exactly an unknown event. The article, In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted is worth the read. This is a town that knew there were automatic weapons in its midst, didn't like it, ….and chose not to pursue the issue.

Would things have been different if they had? No one knows, but maybe it’s finally time to find out if finally passing gun laws with teeth would. 

But even if the world's strictest gun law is passed, you will never, ever be able to say these kids and educators did not die in vain. They did. They were sacrificed on an altar of right wing hubris that should’ve been dismantled after Columbine (1999)  but was not. If We, the People do not rise up against the NRA and the rest of the pols who think owning automatic weapons is okay, we will see this parade of corpses again and again and again.

Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Now is the time to contact your congresspersons 
to let them know your stand on gun control.
Silence is not an option. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

There's A Part Of Me That Wants To Say.........

Third night of Hanukkah - Chag Urim Same'ach!

Well, while we're dangling over the fiscal cliff, I was a bit busy blowing snow. Hard to believe just a few short days ago I was reveling in the humid heat of Delray Beach and last night there was a coat dripping water on the foyer tiles. It was so bad (how bad was it?) I broke out Steve's old L.L. Bean ski coat...the big yellow one that matches Daver's....because I needed a longer coat because I was getting soaked through to the skin every time I walked out the door in mine. Blowing snow in the wind really does require snow pants and I can't find mine. 
11 pm and still snowing

Last year, I started the snow blower once...and that was just to make sure it was running. Sunday, I blew out the driveway twice, shoveled the deck once, and made a last pass on the front walkway at 11:00 PM in hopes I could get out to walk her dogness in the morning. 

Alas, not to be. The plow buried the end of the drive and I had to fire up the snow blower to get through the curf so I could put the trash out. I was doing this at 5:45 AM, but not to worry; I wasn't the only one out there. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. Snow blowing with that monster blower is a breeze. The driveway, which is a triple wide, took less than a half hour to clear. In fact, I walked the sucker across the street and did my neighbor's sidewalk in like 10 seconds. I figure it was easier the calling the ambulance since he looked like he was going to give himself the big one with the dinky blower he's got. It is such a zen experience and so relaxing that I would recommend it to anyone who wants to be one with a snowfall. That is if you can ignore that little tiny petrol smell and you remember to put your ear muffles on. 

And for a few minutes, you can concentrate on the simplicity of straight lines and NOT on the obstructionist politics continuing on in Washington. Or on the new building push in Israel. Or the riots in Cairo. Everything else just fades into the background when your only object is to move snow out of the way. 

And then, I get the paper and look at the headlines, and I just wanna shoot myself. Did we not just have an election where the electorate made it pretty clear that We, the People want Congress to cooperate and stop the obfuscation and obstinacy? Seems to me that even the minute polls on disgust level were pretty high in the 80-90% range. Were the congresspeople all lying drunk on the house floor when this was going on? Clearly, they weren't exactly paying attention.

No one party has the lock on stupidity, cupidity, and lividity; ownership here in on both sides of the aisle. Grow up, people. This is not junior high and we're not posturing about how to improve cafeteria lunches. You are playing with people's lives and livelihoods! And not for the benefit of We, the People, either. Right now, all I hear is how you need to get the deal done next week so you can go home for Christmas????????????? How about you need to get the deal done so millions of Americans can continue to pay their electricity bill AND their income taxes?

My childhood friend, Rhoda from North Bellmore, got it right in one when she posted on Facebook: 
"There's a part of me that wants to say to Obama - 
who gives a shit what they want?"

President Obama addressing Congress
We need to address the deficit. Simple things, like raising the Social Security cap, would stave off a number of disasters. Closing loopholes AND raising taxes on incomes over $250K would be an easy adjustment...but for the Norquistites who play into the hands of the greed monger. It's time to consider who is paying for the running of this country and making sure that the burden is shared equally across all economic strata. 

No, folks, this is not communism or socialism. This is social justice. This is making sure everyone pitches in according to their means. It's time to stop the bullshit and get down to business. 

Congress, if you cannot reach a deal by the first of the year, not only aren't you going home for Christmas or New Year's Eve, you are staying at your desks until you reach a deal, or We, the People will accept all your resignations on January 1st because clearly none of you are fit to represent us.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Getting more than 8"....of snow, that is?
Dig out about half-way through the storm, then again when it tapers off. 
It's just easier that way.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Force of Nurture at 90

I just got back from Florida....and boy, are my arms tired. My arms, my ears, my brains. Come to think of it, just about all of me is tired. It was a crazy busy weekend....Mom turned 90. She was so excited when I walked through the door, she fell over. ...Not to worry...nothing broke. 

My mother is a force of nature. Beyond all odds, she and my dad just marked their 69th wedding anniversary in November. But more about that in a bit.

My mother was the second born to Ben and Bessie Simon in Brooklyn, New York on December 1st, 1922. Ben and his brother had a butcher shop. My grandmother was a chic and fashionable socialist because her husband made sure she was. Grandpa was a butcher; there was always food on the table. But, suddenly, in 1936, Grandpa Ben developed kidney stones and, from complications that everyone has a theory about, passed away, leaving Bessie with 3 kids and no income. Of course, one might think Uncle Labeh would've helped to feed his brother's widow, but  apparently not. He pretty much left them to starve. Grandma Bessie, on the other hand, decided that would never do, so she bullied her way over to Orchard Street, got the goods, and opened a small shop in what had been my mother's bedroom. From an early age, my mother learned to make lemonade from lemons, to never say die, and to stand up to injustice. Those early lessons continue to serve her well.

A bookkeeper's job at Blum Folding Paper Box was more than just a job. She met this guy Sid there. The way she tells it, she told him in no uncertain terms that he couldn't date her and the switchboard operator at the same time. He opted for Helen Simon. The rest, as they say, is history....and her-story. He got drafted, went to basic training, came home on a furlough, got married, made my mother a camp follower in places like Louisville, Kentucky, then went overseas. Mom moved back to Grandma Bessie's until Dad came home from the Battle of the Bulge and the bridge too far at Remagen with his telegraph key still in his pack. 

[I have that alligator bag!]

They moved to Manhattan, lived a madcap Manhattan life in the same building as Shuster from Superman, and stayed there until my brother came along..and they went back to Brooklyn for bit until their radical co-op, Bell Park Gardens, was ready.

From Brooklyn to Bell Park Gardens in Queens, to North Bellmore further east on Long Island, they kept moving to bigger places for a growing family. Mom stayed home and did mom things. Oddly, my friends liked my mother. They hung out in our kitchen. She was the keeper of information. And her popularity went beyond the kitchen. The regional director of our youth group, USY, asked her to go to convention as an advisor. I was horrified. My friends were thrilled. She went.  I sulked. I made sure I was on a different bus to Atlantic City and a different floor at the hotel on the boardwalk (FYI: that's pre-casino AC) and I avoided her as much as possible...except when I needed something from her suitcase that I couldn't possibly fit in mine. 

Mom is one of those supportive moms even when you fight tooth and nail and declare everlasting animosity. Well, that's part of being a daughter. And as loathe as I am to admit it, I learned from her....and I delighted when my kids considered Bubbe's house their second home. Every summer was a month with Bubbe. Mom was running the financial end of a tennis club in those days, so the kids went to tennis camp as soon as they could hold a racquet. 

Shabbat at the Rodney
Thanksgiving was at the old Rodney on the beach in Bal Harbor. Relatives galore and mom in her element organizing stuff. Watching her with our kids was an education. Why wasn't she this nice when we were growing up? She finally explained that grandkids were a dividend, and after she's spoiled them rotten, she could just hand them back to us. Some kind of divine justice.

My mother is many things to many people. She always looks for the bright side...when she's not predicting incipient doom for my father. She loves unconditionally....when she's not explaining what I can improve at any given moment...these days, mostly my choice of shoes.  She is unfailingly patient...except when she wants the stick thing from the thing on the desk or in the drawer...she's not sure which but look and you 'll see it. She is a believer in the good of all humankind...unless you're a Republican (like my dad) in which case there's no hope for you whatsoever. People always ask how my mother is doing. I think that's because she has a Rolodex in her head and she remembers the smallest details about people and lives and and their families. 

But most of all, she's my mom. Oh, okay. She's Bruce's mom, too. And she is a force of nature and nurture. She's been the stabilizing presence in our lives. She's the rock when we need a rock, and the pillow when we need a place to lay our heads, if only for a moment. 

And this weekend, she was the birthday girl, surrounded by her friends in shul and later at a small dinner party in her honor. My brother and I were actually in the same room at the same time...a rare occurrence even though we talk on the phone weekly. At that table sat my dad, his sister, my mom's younger brother and his wife, close friends from Delray Beach, and worth a special mention - the son of our first next door neighbors in Bell Park Gardens. As Artie's mother, Juliette (z"l) babysat my brother so I could arrive, my mother would babysit Artie so that his sister could arrive in the same room at the same hospital two months later. 

Helen Simon Schwaidelson is many things to many people, and loved by them all.  
But to us, she is Mom.

Happy 90th, Mom. And here's to many more. 

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Take a moment to appreciate your parents.
Remember: without them, you wouldn't be here. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

TRIANGLE vs TAZREEN: A Tale of Two Fires

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory went up in flames. 146 workers died in the fire, from smoke inhalation, and from jumping or falling to their death. Here are a few useful factoids worth noting:
  • The Triangle Shirtwaist company occupied top three floors of the 10 story building.
  • Immigrant workers worked 9 hours a day during the week and 7 hours on Saturdays, earning between $7.00 and $12.00 per week.
  • The oldest victim was Providenza Panno, age 48.
  • The youngest victim was 11 year old Mary Goldstein.

101 years later, on November 25th, 2012, the Tazreen Fashion factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh went up in flames. At least 111 workers died in the fire, from smoke inhalation, and from trying to escape via the staircases in the building.  Here are a few useful factoids worth noting:
  • The building was 9 stories high, with most of the workers on the first five floors. The top three floors were under construction and unoccupied.
  • Although most workers were gone for the day, more than 600 were working overtime.
  • Workers were paid approximately $37.00 per month, the government mandated wage....which is about $9.25 per week.
  • The factory had a history of safety violations and had previously been coded “orange,” a warning grade, by Wal-Mart.

One would think that impact of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire would have a greater impact on American work and safety ethic. And I supposed that government regulation within the United States insures that sweatshops are few and far between. They are not gone here…we all know this….but they are no longer standard parts of the working landscape. Outside the US, however is another story completely.

The American appetite for mass produced brand-name-luxury-goods-at-on sale-prices sends scouts out looking for the next cheap labor pool. I defy you to find mass produced clothing made in the US. It was just a few months ago that Ralph Lauren was taken to task for producing the hideously ugly Olympic uniforms overseas. But I stray from the point. 

One can argue this demand employs millions of workers worldwide. But does having a job in a slave factory at slave wages make having any job okay? As an “advanced” society, what exactly do we owe those workers? 

A lot of people will say we owe them nothing. They working conditions should be monitored by their own government, not ours…and that is correct. However, if the contract holder is an American firm or retail chain, do we not have an obligation to make certain the workers are treated fairly and paid a decent wage. BUT…is our idea of “fair” and our idea of “decent wage” a uniform standard?

Does any of this bother you? It sure as hell bothers me. For the record and to be PERFECTLY clear, I will not set one single foot inside a Wal-Mart. Their idea of ethics and my idea of ethics are diametrically opposed. I try to shop locally whenever possible. And when I do shop, especially for soft goods like towels and clothing, there are some countries I will NOT support. China is first on that list. And there is a method to the madness.

The criteria is “how good a trading partner is the country on the label, and what do I know about their human rights record?” The corollary becomes, “Is this manufacturer known for being human rights cognizant?” This is like being kosher. You know what you’re supposed to eat and not eat. Reading food labels is a way of life, so it’s not exactly a quantum leap to read clothing labels. This is my private little revolt, but at least I am cognizant of what I am buying and where my very hard earned dollars are going. 

The workers of Bangladesh and other places where clothing is contracted deserve a whole lot more than sweatshop conditions and a $1.00 an hour wage. They have the right to clean and safe factory floors with ample exits and safety training. As long as they are an integral part of our consumer chain, they should be able to have hopes and expectations just like American workers. If you insist on off-shoring your contracts, at least act like a responsible citizen abroad. 

Orange carding the factory is not enough. Telling the brokers you will not contract to a substandard manufacturing facility is a non-negotiable point. Explaining to your shareholders that ethics are more important than profit will be a challenge, but it can and must be done. 

Tell your customers. People want to feel good about what they buy. Up the ethical standard…and then advertise the hell out of it. Raise the bar. Set the example. Do what’s right for everyone. 

Do what’s right for everyone….and there will be no more Triangle Shirtwaist or Tazreen Fashion fires. 

The Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Have ethical issues with a company's trading practices?
Vote with your feet and your wallet.
Someone else actually wants your business.

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Settlements, No Jews, No Peace

You might have heard that Target Corp headquarters had a little incident on Friday. Seems someone called in a report of what sounded like gunshots being fired on the 10th floor. In the scheme of things, security did everything right. There was confirmation that something that sounded like shots was heard by multiple people, and then then announcement that everybody should close their office doors, barricade themselves in, then wait for the all clear.

Well, like most modern businesses, few people actually have doors, so employees, including my daughter-in-law, hustled into conference rooms and barricaded those doors. Again, this was the safe thing to do and no one will argue the wisdom of being safe rather than sorry even though the sounds turned out to be a worker using some sort of pneumatic tool (think nail gun) near an air vent and yes, it sounded pretty much like gunfire.

I was blissfully unaware of any of this when my daughter-in-law called to tell me she was okay. “Is there some reason you wouldn’t be okay?” I asked cautiously. She told me what happened, adding she thought it was odd that I hadn’t tried to call her. We laughed the relieved-it-was-all-a-big-nothing laugh, and then I said, “Let’s play a game.” 

"Okay." I suspect she knew where I was going.

“What if," I asked, "you lived in Tel Aviv?” 

“I’m ahead of you; I already thought about that. This would’ve been part of my reality.”

That lockdown was about 3 hours. Israeli civilians have been under a non-stop rocket barrage for several years. In 2011, over 680 missiles and rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. In 2012, thousands have been fired….more than 100 today, November 18th, alone. These missiles and rockets are not aimed military targets; they are aimed at schools and parks and apartment buildings. But until the past week, Israel’s response has largely been silent.

No other nation on the planet would be expected, requested, demanded to stand silently by while they are under attack. Did the British just stand around during the Blitz with all the lights on waiting for more? Did Paris just throw open the gates to the Germans and welcome them with, "Entrez, mon gars! We'll just conveniently line up so you can shoot us!"  Why is Israel expected to do nothing?

There are those who claim settlements are the obstacles to peace, but let’s just be clear about that particular fiction:
·         In 1948 there were NO settlements and NO peace
·         In 1967 there were NO settlements and NO peace
·        In Gaza today, there are NO settlements, not a single Jew, and there is NO peace.

As long as the Palestinian charter states Israel is an illegal entity and teaches its children that the destruction of Israel is their primary goal, Israel will continue to question Palestinian commitment to the peace process.

According to the NY Times:
The onslaught continued despite talks in Cairo that President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt said Saturday night could soon result in a cease-fire. Mr. Netanyahu said he would consider a comprehensive cease-fire if the launchings from Gaza stopped.

There has been no let up to the missile and rocket launching, no indication that Hamas is going to stop lobbing bombs at Israel. In fact, the Hamas propaganda machine today announced that they “missed” suicide bombings and that they would resume them.

And what exactly do they think is going to happen?

Let’s be real clear about a few item:
1.   Jerusalem and the country around it has been the heart and soul of Judaism for almost 3000 years. Text references in Torah, Tanach, Talmud and other contemporaneous text describe Israel as a nation and Jewish homeland.
2.    Archeological evidence supports the existence both the first and second Temples.
3.    Even during periods of exile, there were Jews who remained in the land.
4.   Israel and Judea the twin Jewish states were ruled at varying times by Egypt, the Hellenes, the Persians, the Romans, the Caliphates, varying Crusaders, the Ottomans, and the British. At no time did Jews abandon the land.
5.    By the time of the British Mandate in 1947, large tracts of land had been purchased (as in bought and paid for) by Jews and Jewish organizations returning to the land they called home. Farms and settlements were established on those tracts.
6.   Even the name isn’t Palestinian – “Herodotus wrote in c. 450 BCE in The Histories of a 'district of Syria, called Palaistinê" (whence Palaestina, from which Palestine is derived)” He went on to describe the population as predominately Jewish.
7.   Palestinians as a recognizable ethnic group did not exist until the 1834 Arab Peasants Revolt against conscription in the Egyptian army.

Let me also be perfectly clear: the Israeli government is not blameless in the ongoing  violence. They’ve have their share of the responsibility and they have brought some of this down on their own heads. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

If Hamas was serious about wanting a solution for the Palestinians, it would be part of the peace process. However, if Hamas is going to continue to launch rockets and missiles into Israel…especially from locations with the bounds of hospitals, schools, and other human shield locations, they must be equally prepared for the consequences. Israel has the absolutely right to defend its populations, Arab, Christian, Baha'i,  and Jew alike, from attacks originating in Gaza. To do anything less would be gross dereliction of duty.

See the tiny speck of red? That's Israel

Oh wait. I forgot. We're talking about Jews living in their own country under their own flag.  Here's an idea. Let's build a wall around Israel and call it a ghetto. Then the rest of the world would be happy to support that plan.

Either way, we're gonna live in our own country, under our own flag, in the place we've called home for 3000 years. Get used to it. And every Jew in the world will retain the right to finally go home. To our own country. Under our own flag. 

We already did the crematorium thing once. We're not doing it again. Got it?

The Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Jews have survived as a unique people for some 3000 years.
Don't expect that to change. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

And Now, Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Life....

Well, campers, color war is finally over and yes, the blue team won. The winners will go to their new or renewed offices and the losers will go wherever they want..except 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that's just fine with me. 

From the "Things I Just Don't Quite Get file:  

1: Power companies from non-Sandy areas sent trucks and crew to Long Island to help repair the power grid. LIPA (that thing we used to call LILCO) initially sent them away. Turns out, the unions didn't want strangers helping. Huh? Are these people challenged in a new and unusual way? No wonder people are rising up all over the island.

2: The Minnesota Republican party didn't quite grok the idea that since most everybody in the state knew they were bankrupt and facing eviction from their offices for non-payment of rent, this might be viewed as a fiscal credibility issue.3: Most of the Romney campaigns aids found their campaign issued credit cards turned off at the moment the man conceded defeat, leaving some of them stranded.  Draw your own conclusions,  but that was not a nice thing to do to people, a lot of them kids, who worked their asses off for that man.  But, as my mother would say, "Class will out."

While we’re on the subject of a complete lack of class, I would turn you attention to a little teapot with a tempest called Mendota Heights.

My little city is just that, a little teapot of town: quaint, charming, idiosyncratic, fiscally conservative, …did I mention little? It has a lovely little city hall, a lovely little city council, a lovely little planning commission, and some lovely little parks. The town pretty much runs itself because we have professional city manager and  city council that pretty much works and plays well with others. Two years ago, Sandra Krebsbach was elected mayor by a sweeping margin of 36 votes. She, of course, ran again this year.  Her opponent was an affable gent named Ultan Duggan who has a penchant for writing his committee reports in verse. And unlike the mayor, he seems to actually listen to all sorts of people in our town ... not just the ones in his own claque. 

Mayor Krebsbach's qualifications, or rather the lack thereof, are not in question here; her understanding of the democratic process is.

Madam Mayor, when asked for election night feedback by that august media outlet, The Mendota Heights Patch, said:

I think it’s a campaign that didn’t need to happen. Normally the mayor is not challenged, the city’s been doing well. And Mr. Duggan was in a safe spot, he’s in the middle of a four-year term [on the city council], and I think he just wanted it.

Excuse me?  

Opposition happens to be part of the process. I don’t know about all you voters out there, but this voter found Madame Mayor’s statement to be particularly offensive. Kinda goes with her performance as mayor, which is more noblesse oblige than actually working toward the common good. I would encourage my readers from around the world to take a moment to write to Mayor Krebsbach about how the democratic process works....even in America. Please; feel free to send her an explanation on how one runs for and gets elected to office. Seems she thinks she's exempt from opposition. 

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, winter is a'coming. Now that the election is over, there were things to get around to doing... like hauling in the ladder to change top hat  flood bulbs in the kitchen. Spartacus also replaced the flaming heating element in the oven all by herself. This required advanced use of email to secure a new element, picking it up at the appliance part store, as well as advance use of hex-head screwdriver. There were no electrocutions and the oven works fine, thank you very much. I have also mastered how to remove goo from the rear end of a ceramic towel bar holder that separated from the wall. Clean and now drying, it will be re-installed on the morrow with the appropriate amount of new goo carefully smeared with a putty knife I already owned and didn't have to buy.. And yes, the snow blower is ready to go. 

The real highlight of the week was the trip over to Eclipse Music in West Saint Paul to see Misha's new Ibanez AFJ85 hollow body with a vintage sunburst finish before it was shipped to Milwaukee. When Grandpa Sieg heard he was trying to put together enough for a new guitar, he decided this was something he wanted do. And so he did. And this is it: 
It's good to hang out in a music store when you're a kid. When you go back to order a real working musician's guitar, the guy that humored you back then is all smiles when he hears the kid turned pro. It was a cool moment. 

 "If you're going to be carpenter, you need a good hammer."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Erev Elections: Get Out There And Vote

Here’s the straight skinny:

There are two candidates:

One candidate believes in civic responsibility, civil discourse, and a government that fulfills its mission when it holds an umbrella over its citizenry when bad stuff falls from the sky. The same guy believes the planet is fragile and needs protection from human endeavor. The same guy who believes education and innovation go hand in hand. The same guy who believes a woman has the right to equal pay for equal work AND that women are smart enough to know how to manage their own bodies.

The other candidate thinks 47% of We, The People,  are freeloaders. The same guy who thinks civil rights aren’t for everyone. The same guy who wants to repeal legislation that protects in environment from overuse and abuse. The same who wants to turn health care over to competitive insurance companies. This is the same guy who thinks women should not be in control of their own bodily functions.

I don’t know about you…but I don’t think there’s much of a choice here.

·I believe I know what to do with my own body.

·I believe civil rights are for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or level of personal wealth.

·I believe the planet needs to be protected and given the opportunity to heal from the abuse we have heaped upon it.

·I believe if you want to live you, you need to be paying your fair share of taxes.

But whether you agree with me or not………….

it's your civic duty.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain for the next four years.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scariest Day: Halloween or Election Day

It was kinda fun Sunday morning, watching GOP pundits explaining Mitt Romney's latest shell game. Watching Carly Fiorina defending her political idol was like watching a spinning class: the wheels are going around furiously but nobody is getting anywhere. One of the outstanding moments came when Ms. Fiorina said:

But-- but I think if-- if you-- if you want to talk about being factually accurate, it is factually inaccurate to say that Governor Romney was against the rescue of the auto industry. If you read his entire op-ed, you guys are journalists I assume you believe that words are important. ….. And what he says in that op-ed is that he believed that the government should have provided financial guarantees. The difference between Governor Romney’s approach and President Obama’s approach is who gets to stand first in line to get paid off.
Rachel Maddow’s response was spot on:
What-- what government-- what government-- what government?”

That happens to be an excellent question. Not a single bank or financial institution was in a position to "bail out" anyone, much less the behemoth auto industry. And had the auto industry had gone under, would anyone like to venture guess as to what the unemployment figures would look like today? 

Scary stuff, no?

Maybe it’s not so accidental that election day follows closely on the heels of Halloween. Last year, I wrote what I thought was a mildly funny blog entry  on who the candidates should be for Halloween and the thing took off like  rocket. I got a ton of mail on it.  I just went back and looked at it again for reference. 

Okay. Romney could as the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. However, the constant changing of positions has taken on a new   aura during this last hurrah hurricane. Makes him seem more Gene know what I mean. A little fancy footwork ... Swinging in the Rain?

Since no one seems to remember Rudy Kazootie, Ryan should go as Alfred E. Newman. "What? Me worry?" is perfect for Mr. Ryan. He doesn't worry about anything; not the country, not the tax revenue stream, and  certainly not the health of this nation's natural resources.

As much as I really do like Joe Biden, he  just has the smile of The Mask. It's so big and so wide across his face that no matter how infectious his laugh, all he needs is a little green pancake and he could out do Jim Carrey. But he would be a nice Mask:. "Non-smokin'!"

Last, but certainly not least, President Obama needs  little levity. We got a glimpse of it with the horse and bayonet remark, but he need to do something....while still preserving parity. Going as Martin Luther King or Malcolm X just doesn't set the right tone. No. POTUS needs to go as Fred Armisen. Yeah. Go as a white guy who plays a black guy. That would be perfect.

As for the rest of us, the campaign regalia says it all. Wear a ROMNEY RYAN hat or t-shirt and go as an outsourced job. After all, his stuff is made where the labor is cheap and the profits are plentiful: China.

At the the Obama campaign had the great good sense to make sure their product not only says MADE IN USA, but carries a Worker's United label as well.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you happened to have been married on 
November 3rd, 1943,
this Shabbos could be your 69th wedding anniversary