The last time February was this cold was in 1875 when Ulysses S. Grant was president, when the first battery-powered dentist’s drillwas patented (by George F. Green of Kalamazoo, MI) and when Ferdinand Porsche was born (designer of the Volkswagen beetle). Let’s hope it takes another 140 years before we experience a repeat of last month’s frigidity. Onto March which is Peanut Month, Umbrella Month, Literacy Month and Women’s History Month among other celebrations. And don’t forget to Spring Forward this Saturday evening at 2am, which means we lose an hour but gain some daylight.
Does Shivering count as exercise?
By the media coverage and general obsession, it felt like we were witnessing the Speech of the Century. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was welcomed to the Joint Congressional Session like a King to his court and was showered with 26 Standing Ovations. The Talking Heads agreed he categorically expressed the clear and present danger of Iran. Though was his goal of altering the Iran Nuclear Agreement (approaching its March 24th deadline) reached. Personally, I don’t think Iran deserves any nuclear program, be it…medical, energy and certainly not weaponry. But that limitation would be too dictatorial for the democratic Nations involved in the negotiations. I agree with Bibi’s description of Iran’s “hide and cheat” tactics. We just can’t trust them and must believe their intent of wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and do everything in our power to circumvent their capabilities. But a different dimension to the Speech dominated the media conversation. Did the protocol of the invitation and the partisan reactions cause damage to our collective political support for Israel? All sides are to blame for this fiasco. Bibi’s motives were in question as the timing of the speech bumped up against his March 17th re-election. Repubs should not have invited Bibi without pre-dialogue with the White House. Dems should not have played into the blame game squarely questioning bi-partisan support of Israel feeding directly into the anti-Israel propaganda machine. And shame on those 60 Dems lawmakers who, after all said and done, still decided to boycott the speech. This boycott was unprecedented as never before in congressional history have 60 members missed a Joint Session. Did these legislators harm their Jewish support by not attending the speech? Historically, 70% of American Jews vote Democratic. Here are just a few of the boycotters:
Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)
Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)
Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Indepentent-Vt.)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
As a contributor to many Democratic candidates, my reluctance will come into play the next time a solicitation calls is received from Sen. Al Franken’s office. And Shame on President Obama (and his surrogates) for participating in the ” Blame Game”. He and his circle should have said Nothing and certainly should not have said he wasn’t planning to watch the speech (though he did read the transcript). Hopefully we can move on from this Saga and repair any damage done to the essential bipartisan support of Israel.
Bibi at the Joint Session
Logically (since Austin, San Francisco and Tel Aviv are the world’s friendliest Tech Cities), Apple has chosen Herzliya (a Tel Aviv neighbor) as the new home for their second largest Research and Development Center because of the immense brain power coming out of Israeli Universities (like Technion). Apple’s CEO Tim Cook travelled to Israel this week to inaugurate the project. Environmental concerns were prominent on Cook’s mind as the Herzliya glass building is one of the “Greenest” for Apple and the State of Israel.
As Apple was building initiatives for the future, the world’s arch enemy, Daesh* (in Iraq) was decimating history with the demolition of 3,000 year old priceless statues and blowing up a library filled with rare manuscripts. Back in 2002, these words of warning about the Iraq War were made by
President Bill Clinton and they couldn’t be more true…
“As a preemptive action today, however well-justified, may come back with unwelcome consequences in the future”. Aside from the nearly 5,000 US casualties, Daesh is our main unwelcome consequences from that era. It seems the evil intent and actions of these terrorist continue to escalate into even more barbarism (if that is even possible). This latest destruction of cultural antiquities is reminiscent of the Taliban’s pulverization of the ancient Buddha statues in March 2001, exactly 14 years ago this month.
* Daesh (means “trample down” or “crush”) is the derogatory name they don’t like that is given to them by the regional entities. They want to be called IS or Islamic State, of which, they are neither.
Wishing a (Refuah Shlema) rapid recovery to our USAmbassador Mark Lippert as he was slashed with a knife at a Breakfast Meeting this week in South Korea. The perpetrator has a history of attacking ambassadors to (violently) support a reunification of Korea. Also on the Korean front, South Korea just eliminated a six decade old law that criminalized adualtry. After effects included increased stock value of companies that produce Condom and The Pill… no joke:
Shine and Shame
Shine on Israel and Jordan for last week’s signing of the historic water agreement which will save the shrinking Dead Sea and quench the thirst of both nations:
Shame on Ferguson, MO as a Federal report announced this week the despicable Racial Bias against their Black community which they used to their financial benefit.
Shine on Wayne State University for honoring Viola Gregg Liuzzo 50 years after the White WSU nursing student responded to MLK’s plea for volunteers to assist with the civil rights movement, which took her life:
Shame on Ben Carson (potential Repub. Pres. Candidate) for almost everything that comes out of his month, including this week’s comments about his belief that Homosexuality is a Choice because prisoners choose it in jail. He has since backtracked, but quite frankly, I think he truly believes it.
Shine on Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland Dem.) as the longest serving woman in Congress (Nearly 40 years combined in both the House then the Senate). As she announced this week she won’t run for re-election in 2016, it will be difficult to fill her small but mighty shoes.
Shame on the Russian Machine which assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov for his outspoken comments about various Russian improprieties and for Putin’s spin on his death:
Shine on Jimmy Kimmel and his cohort of real Docs for this excellent and humorous pro-vaccine video:
Shame on German Publishers for bringing Mein Kamft back to German Bookstores (with annotations) after the 70 year ban. Not sure if it will be used as a learning tool to avoid a repeat of history or as inspiration for the demented:
Shine on China
for instituting a 1 year ban on the import of Ivory. Hopefully this test year will morph into a lifetime ban by squelching the Chinese appetite for Elephant tusk. Bravo to Prince William who this week encouraged China to extend the ban. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1729598/prince-william-urges-china-enact-permanent-ban-ivory-trade
and while I’m on the subject of Elephants, finally, Ringling Brothers have decided to “free” the Elephants from thier inhumane circus treatment by the year 2018. A bit late, but better than never:
The quintessential female voices of the 60s harmonized beautifully on this classic cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”. Enjoy the sweet vibes of Mama Cass, Joni Mitchell and Mary Travers
Though most Jews celebrated Purim on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Adar, those who were in Shushan (and in today’s era in Jerusalem) celebrate Purim on the 15th of Adar (which is today). So in honor of Shushan Purim, please enjoy this rhythmic Bruno Mars tune rebooted to the Purim story:
Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and a Happy Shushan Purim.
Bravo to Harvey Bronstein and Margot Halperin for being recognized as this year’s Federation Lifetime Achievement Honoree. The awards will be presented to them in May. Thanks, Harvey and Margot for your passion and dedication to our Jewish Community.
Condolences to the dear friends and family of Jeff Surnow z”l (age 63). An avid biker since age 50, who was tragically hit by a police car while biking in the early morning Hawaiian hours. May his memory and spirit bring comfort to those who loved him and mourn his passing.
Condolences to friends Bob and Anita Naftaly and Howard and Lisa Brown on the passing of Grace Naftaly z”l (age 101). May her long life, spirit and love bring comfort to her family during their time of sorrow.
As many know, Leonard Nimoy z”l
grew up in an orthodox home and took the clergy Tefillin wrapped fingers forming a Shin as his Vulcan hand gesture. He was talented well beyond Star Trek as he often perform as Tevye in Fiddler productions, wrote poetry and published several photography books. Less known was his declaration of Love (at the end of this) rendition of “If I had a Hammer”. You were well loved, Mr. Spock/ Mr. Nimoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvoJQlhzHyU