Elijah and Miriam
On this first night of our 8 day (7 in Israel) holiday of Passover, many of us will be gathering with friends and family to share in the retelling (via our Seder) of the Jewish exodus from Slavery to Freedom
. This Seder is one of our traditions that help educate our next generations about our centuries old history which keeps our Religion, Ethnicity, Culture and Peoplehood relevant and alive. We learn from our past to fulfill our obligations to fight current day inequities and atrocities. We employ many unusual rituals during our Seder including placing cups on the table for Elijah and Miriam. We remember Elijah the Prophet for his heroism and fill his cup with wine to entice his presence during Passover. Miriam the Prophetess’ cup is filled with water to symbolize her guiding force of faith and righteousness which helped secure the needed water during our desert journey. We honor Miriam (sister of Moses and Aaron) as she represents women and sisters of today who dedicate their lives to justice and freedom. Also, check out this cool Passover interpretation by the Technion (MIT of Israel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baQfqoZrEvI
Barack and The Devil
Apparently an agreement has been reached and the details will be finalized by June 30th. Unfortunately, a deal with Iran is like a deal with the devil. Iran wants sanctions lifted, regional domination, the right to bear (nuclear) arms and the annihilation of neighboring enemies while the US (and friends) wants a partner who is willing to abide by the rules of inspections with limited capacity for nuclear power. Whether the deal increases Iran’s “Breakout Time” (time it will take to produce a weapons worth of Nuclear material) from 3 month to 15 years, the real Breakout Time should be Never! That would be my goal for this deal with the devil.
Terrorist and Students
147 innocent students were murdered at a Kenyan University by the Terrorist organization Al-Shabab (affiliates of Al Qaeda). They stormed into buildings and singled out non-muslims to murder. Al-Shabab is a Somali terror group that’s main goal is to make Somalia a fundamentalist Islamic State. Their recruitment arm reaches all the way to our shores where many Somali live in Minnesota. Somali terrorist also reply on piracy as in the movie Captain Phillips. When will this carnage end? Will our children’s children need to worry about terrorism?
Tsarnaev and the Victims
As the trial continues, there is no doubt of the Boston Bomber’s guilt or his mindset. He seems to show no remorse for his actions. He is a terrorist and should be punished as one. Whether you believe in the Death Penalty or not, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and those with the demented mind that killing innocent children is justifiable, need to be eliminated from all societies.http://tinyurl.com/BostonTrialUpdate
Chuck and Bill
Back in 1993 the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was a National “Act to protect the free exercise of Religion” mainly addressing Native American Religious sites. It was introduced bySenator Chuck Schumer, ratified by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. However the Supreme Court ruled it does not preside over States. So…over 20 States (Indiana being the most recent) have since flipped the RFRA on it’s head and some conservatives are using it to bless discrimination of the LGBT community based on religious aversion to their lifestyle. Or… hypothetically, an Ice Cream Shop owner who practices a religion that is against the wearing of plaid pants could (legally and under this new law) refuse to sell a chocolate cone to a plaid pant wearing customers. Discrimination of a person who is different from you has no place in our society. These laws must be amended to include anti-discrimination clauses.
Spartans and Blue Devils
March Madness’ Final Four has jumped into April Action. MSU Spartans (my Alma Mater) has reached the Final Four 8 times before and hoping to go all the way this year. Many Spartans will be on high alert for Saturday’s game against Duke. Good luck to all the athletes as Luck is all they are eligible to receive for their athletic prowess. Billions of dollars of corporate marketing is spent on these collegiate games, but not a penny can be compensated by the athletes. Their education is compensation enough but John Oliver makes some interesting observations regarding the athlete’s situation.
Most college athletes who don’t sustain an injury will at least depart campus with an education (if they were able to find time to study between games and practices), but many college students who aren’t on a sports team and who have limited financial means leave campus with a huge $$ debt (averaging $35,000). We need to fix this Hairball of a problem.
Celery and Hairballs
April Fools, Tax Day, Earth Day and Boston Marathon are some of the famous days of April but quite frankly, with the simple click of a button, you can submit any national holiday request like these existing recognitions… Fresh Celery Month, Straw Hat Month, Hairball Awareness Day and Hug Your Plumber day.
You and Rick
As a follow up to last week’s topic of allowing Lansing to label Michigan the 30th state to offer “Choose Life” License Plates, here is something you can do to help prevent this improper usage of license plate proceeds. You can ask Governor Synder to veto the bill if it comes across his desk, just as Allen Wolfe did below. You are welcome to copy and paste to make it easy on yourself. Gov. Synder’s email address is included. Thanks Allen for your activism on this important issue.
Subject: Michigan License Plate
Dear Governor Snyder,
I just heard that the Michigan Senate has approved a Right to Life licence plate where the proceeds will benefit anti-abortion efforts. This is bad legislation and bad policy. You have been a voice of reason in the past and I hope you will exercise your veto power if needed to stop this bill from becoming law.
Abortion is legal in this country by interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court of the United States. Don’t let Michigan look foolish to the world by endorsing an action contrary to the Union of which we are a part. Michigan government can not and should not be funding a private religious effort to change something guaranteed under the law of the land.
Guns and Gays
Though our Lansing Legislators are on a two week vacation, they did some legislating before they left with several House and Senate Bills. Two that caught my eye were regarding Guns and Gays. I assume the Gun Bill will pass and the Gay Bill won’t. Wishing defeat of Bill 225 which hopes to prevent documentation (photos) and database entry of gun buyers and wishing success with Bill 227-229 that hopes to repeal the same-sex marriage ban from 11 years ago. Here are the bills and if you want to see others in the hopper, check out this article: http://tinyurl.com/MiBillsInHopper
Senate Bill 225:
Prohibit gun or ammunition sellers from taking a photo of a person purchasing a gun or ammunition and eliminate the requirement to enter the purchase into a database.
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.
Senate Bill 227-229:
Laws to repeal ban on same-sex marriage, allow for no public disclosure of marriage license, and allow for joint tax filing. Sponsors: Sens. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, Virgil Smith, D-Detroit.
Trevor and Jon
Shortly after the announcement that Trevor Noah was to replaceJon Stewart, his twitter account was scanned for offensive tweets. Apparently he insulted Women and Israel. As he’s been tweeting since 2009, that means there are 6 years of tweets to review. I am reserving judgement on his insulting stance till after he’s been on the air. The remote control will be his jury.
Trevor Noah to Jon Stewart
Ron and the World
Ron Prosor is one of my heros. He is a tireless advocate for Israel and his job keeps him busy as the UN Ambassador to the only nation that racks up more condemnations than any other combined. Ron continues his voice of truth to an audience that constantly muffles their ears with the hope that one day, the view of Israel will be filtered of it’s bias anti-semitic impairments. Here is a quote from his latest speech.
“I am often asked how I can stand the tide of hatred aimed at Israel. Our response to the United Nations’ accusations is to speak tirelessly for those who are denied a voice in most of the Middle East – women, minorities, the L.G.B.T. community – and to fight daily efforts by totalitarian regimes to undermine democratic societies. Based on the fact that Israel is a thriving society, I believe we are winning. Here is the full speech:
Bravo – Wolverines For Peace, a U of M organization which advocates for the Rights of Israel. They successfully combated this week’s divestment vote (of the U of M Central Student Government) of four companies associated with Israel.
Bravo – Ken Burns and Barack Goodman for shedding light on this dreaded disease with their PBS documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.
Bravo – Sony Pictures for bringing “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” to the big screen.
Bravo – James Taylor on releasing (June 16th) an album “Before this World” with new songs (has last new album was in 2002).
Here is a very special Passover treat as dear friend, David Broza, found this breathtaking rendition of Eliyahu HaNavi which he recorded with his good friend and mentor the late Tommy Freadman at his home studio.
David plans to perform this song live on April 6th at the City Winery in NYC. Wish we could be there.
This next musical selection was introduced to me via SNL (a few weeks ago). He is young, cute, British and very talented. I love this guy, hope you do too. Here’s George Ezra:
Condolences to the Julian Lennon, his family and friends on the passing of his mother (first wife of John Lennon),
Cynthia Lennon at age 75. Julian’s video tribute to his mother is in this website.
Well wishes to Joni Mitchell who was hospitalized this week. Test are being conducted to find out why she was found unconscious in her home on Tuesday.
Now till May 3rd you have the opportunity to crowdfund this folk band (with our banjo playing daughter). Investments as small as $5 are accepted. Support at your pleasure:
Wishing you and your loved ones a Sweet and Peaceful Shabbat Shalom and Hag Pesach Sameach (Happy Passover)
Please vote “YES” on Proposal 1 on May 5th to fund Road Repairs. It may not be a perfect Prop. but its the right thing to do for our State. Its polling poorly due to misinformation and we need to change the tides so please encourage others to vote Yes.
Those supporting Prop. 1:
– Gov. Synder
– Exec. of all 3 counties (Oakland, Macomb, Wayne)
– Business leaders
– Union leaders
– State Legislators from both side the aisles
Those opposing Prop. 1:
-Attorney Gen. Bill Schuette for political reasons to help position himself as extremely conservative for his expected Governor’s campaign.
– American For Prosperity of Michigan (Koch Brother funded organization)