One Jew's News and Views

archive for May 2002

Not to mention negel vasser:Obsessive-compulsive disorder linked to piety(New Scientist)

A study of Italian clergy and lay people suggests compulsive cleanliness may be next to godliness.

But the study cannot say for certain that religious devotion early in life causes OCD symptoms. It is equally likely that people with those character traits feel more drawn to a religious lifestyle and devote themselves to God.

Bush League Fraud? Halliburton Says S.E.C. Is Investigating Its Accounting (NYTimes)

The Halliburton Company says the S.E.C. is investigating a changes that the company made when Vice President Dick Cheney was its chief.

The Boy King Next Door: Jordan Punishes Net Critic (Wired News)

Jordan's first female parliament member is jailed for accusing government officials of corruption on a U.S. website. A worldwide press watchdog group is protesting the conviction, saying she was simply expressing an opinion.

Worth Noting: Almost all Park Hotel bombing plotters are dead or in custody (Ha'aretz)

The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service have arrested or killed almost all the members of the Hamas terrorist cell from Tul Karm that was responsible for the suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya on March 28. The Passover attack left 29 people dead and some 150 injured.

Oops! Drug Maker to Pay $500 Million Fine for Factory Lapses (NYTimes)

Great Peaceful Religions Watch: Religious tensions in asylum camps (BBC News)

Minority religious groups in Australia's asylum detention centres are being persecuted by Muslims, a leading human rights group says

Stop sending our tax dollars to (Redmond) Washington: Breaking through Microsoft monopoly, 10 junior highs form free software education alliance (kuro5hin.org)

On August 1, ten junior high schools in Taipei County and Ilan County will form a Free Software Education Alliance, where computer instructors and volunteers will replace Microsoft's stronghold on campus with no-cost free software in computer science education.

Fattening the Pigs: Michael Lewis.  Warren Buffet on CEO pay and bad corporate behavior. (Bloomberg)

The most interesting message Warren Buffett delivered to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. last week was that his outrage toward CEOs was growing fast.  After pointing out that chief executive officers of public companies are the only people in our economy who effectively decide what they are going to pay themselves, Buffett went on to call the attitude of the greedier members of the species ``shameful.''  Then Buffett and Munger let slip an interesting fact: They had dumped their shares in some company after they saw what the CEO was paid. ``We felt we couldn't stomach it,'' Buffett said.

Building a better, non-violent, zero-tolerance tomorrow:  School punishes kids for pretend shooting (Rocky Mountain News)

The incident and ensuing detention all stemmed from a playground game of army-and-aliens -- Connor and six other boys rolled on the ground and pretended to shoot creatures, using their fingers as pretend weapons.

At least one other student and a playground monitor thought the March 25 game displayed "violent and aggressive behavior," said Mary Terch, executive director of elementary education for Cherry Creek Schools. All seven boys were brought inside to meet with Principal Darci Mickle.

The game violated the school's zero-tolerance policy against violence, she told them. The students signed an agreement earlier in the year saying they would follow school safety rules.

They would have to be punished.

Yudel's Line: Do Mary and Darci know how to raise little boys? Just another data point in what some claim is the feminization of American education.

Spell Check Your Weblog. Radio doesn't offer this onboard, but you may find MicroSpell to your liking if you are a Windows user. [Russ Lipton Documents Radio]

Kids and the Law: Spitwad could land boy in prison (San Francisco Chronicle)

Jeffrey Figueroa, 13, admits he shot a spitwad at his Walnut Creek school last fall and that it hit another student in the right eye, requiring surgery.

But the seventh-grader and his parents said Tuesday that he never should have been convicted of two felonies -- let alone charged -- for what they call a schoolyard accident. He faces spending up to eight years in a juvenile prison.

"I feel bad about it, and I'm sorry," Jeffrey said from his Walnut Creek home.

When "M.D." Stands for Drug Money: Suit Says Warner-Lambert Promoted Drug in Exam Rooms. (NYTimes)

Some physicians, in exchange for money, have allowed pharmaceutical sales representatives to meet with patients, review medical charts and recommend what medicines to prescribe.

And some of those salespeople tried to influence doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that were not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, those documents show. Advertisement

This so-called shadowing program, apparently involving hundreds of patients, is just one way that Warner-Lambert tried to increase sales of a drug called Neurontin, not just for epilepsy, for which it was approved, but also for more than a dozen medical conditions it was never approved to treat, according to a federal whistle-blower case that is now the subject of a criminal and civil investigation by the United States attorney's office in Boston.

The case details marketing practices that experts say have become standard practice for many pharmaceutical companies as they spend billions of dollars trying to persuade physicians to prescribe their drugs. A recent survey of physicians in Maryland, for example, found that 37 percent said they had accepted some kind of compensation from pharmaceutical companies.

A picture named gaonofvilna.gifMitnageds and Mona Lisas: Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum

The Museum was renamed after Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the famous Gaon of Vilnius. The Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum became fully energized as it began its work, collecting information about Lithuanian Jews and the erstwhile culture of Litvakia. Today, the Museum holds permanent exhibitions on the Holocaust, long-forgotten posters of the Ghetto Theater, numerous models and photographs of The Great Synagogue, Purim dolls and other historical memorabilia.

The Museum also maintains an exhibit honoring ethnic Lithuanians who risked their lives in order to rescue and hide Jews from the German Nazis during the Holocaust period. Extensive research by Museum staff has resulted in numerous publications, including a listing of Vilnius Ghetto prisoners, a guide to the Jewish Community in Vilnius and similar restorations of historical memory. A Judaic Library is attached to the Museum. 

Last, but not least, the Museum owns many works of art by renowned artists like Max Band, Mané-Katz, Rafael Khvoles, Isaya Kulvianskij and an assortment of modern painters and sculptors. To expand its worldwide visibility through cyberspace, the Museum recently signed an agreement with the Jewish Art Network, an international Internet art gallery. The Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum receives visitors from Lithuania and nearly every corner of the globe. Until you are able to come to Vilnius, feel free to browse through the Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum courtesy of the Jewish Art Network.

A Dozen Happy Mothers Days: Teens, cop rescue 12 ducklings from storm sewer [via Romenesko's Obscure Store]

Any Texans for this Crusade? Free the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia! (Max Singer in the Jerusalem Post)

Before its conquest by Ibn Saud, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia (EP), which lies along the shore of the Arabian Gulf and which contains all of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields, was populated mostly by two groups of Shiite Moslems who were quite different culturally and religiously from their Najdi conquerors. One group was Bedouins and settled date-growers and farmers living around two groups of oases. The other was pearlers, fishermen, and traders living in coastal villages along the Gulf.


Wahhabism is an austere desert belief, based more on fanatic intensity than scholarly roots in Islamic writings and teaching. In addition to objecting to any memorials to the dead, and any freedom for women, it holds that most Moslems who are not Wahhabis are “polytheists” who should be treated like infidels, and killed if they refuse to convert to Wahhabism. They specifically deny that Shia Moslems are true Moslems and therefore insist that they have no rights in Saudi Arabia, even in areas where they had been living for many centuries before Saudi Arabia existed.

Your Petro-Dollars at Work: The Saudi-Terror Subsidy (The Standard)

Three months ago, you see, on February 18, an outfit called the "Psychological and Social Research Center for the Wounded Palestinian" ran a notice in Ramallah's Al Hayyat Al Jedida newspaper addressed to "families of the fatalities" scheduled to receive contributions from the "tenth payment cycle" of the Saudi Committee for Support of the Al-Quds Intifada. Those families, the notice advised, should "apply to the Arab Bank branch near their residence" to receive payments of $5,216.06 apiece--"in accordance with the instructions of the Emir Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Minister of the Interior and General Supervisor of the Committee."

And early last week, Israel made public a cache of documents, lately captured by its soldiers during Operation Defensive Shield, that clarify exactly what the emir's instructions entail and who those "families of the fatalities" might be. According to Saudi government spreadsheets bearing the logo of the Saudi Committee for Support of the Al-Quds Intifada, that committee's aforementioned "tenth payment cycle" included among its beneficiaries the relatives of eight Palestinian terrorist bombers, all of them specifically and explicitly singled out by Saudi bookkeepers for their participation in amaliah istishadiah: "suicide operations."

Oh, and one other thing: The Israelis have also captured and now made public similar Saudi spreadsheets exhaustively chronicling an earlier, "third payment cycle" of the Interior Ministry's intifada "charity." During which payment cycle, these documents establish in deadpan bureaucratese, that slush fund provided one of its standard rewards--again, for their martyred loved one's performance of amaliah istishadiah--to the family of . . . Sufian Jabarin, the man who blew up the Number 26 bus in Jerusalem on August 21, 1995, killing Joan Davenny.

There you have it. The Saudi royal family, according to its own internal records, has just recently paid a hefty cash prize for the murder of a U.S. citizen.

Radio 8: Multi-Author Weblog Tool [Scripting News]

Sorry, Mom: Sons cut short their mothers' lives (New Scientist)

Having a son shortens a woman's lifespan by eight months - daughters lengthen it by five, according to pre-industrial data.

Dave Winer: "Is business the purpose of our civilization, or does civilization have some other purpose that business supports?"

Paolo's new myNote macro. It looks as if I am not the only one experimenting with HTML tables today. Paolo's myNote macro is very effective to add highlighted annotation to HTML rendered text. [read more] [s l a m]

Dear Reader: "If you are reading this column in the newspaper, but did not read every article and look at every advertisement in previous sections, stop now. You must go back and look at all of that material before continuing with this column.

Closed minds, open borders: Don't Fence Me In (The Forward)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been advised repeatedly by top security officials in the last year to fence off the West Bank in order to inhibit terrorist incursions, but has deflected the recommendations because of what a top aide called "political" and other considerations, Israel's leading daily newspaper reported last weekend.

According to a cover story in last Friday's edition of the weekend magazine of Yediot Aharonot, the "political" considerations refer to opposition from the West Bank settler community, which fears that fencing off the West Bank would be tantamount to relinquishing sovereignty over the disputed area.

Recommendations to wall off the West Bank were submitted by, among others, the National Security Council, director Avi Dichter of the Shin Bet General Security Service and even the figurehead president of Israel, Moshe Katzav, according to the article.

Who's in charge? TheyRule.net (Via Tom 7 Radar)

This page is about the office chairs (so to speak) that rule the world's biggest corporations. It simply allows you to draw maps based on board membership, and there are a bunch of maps already there to reveal some interesting facts. Check out the Coke vs Pepsi one, for instance.  

No, it doesn't flow: The "Glass Flows" Myth just ain't true (glassnotes.com)

A new study debunks the persistent belief that stained glass windows in medieval cathedrals are thicker at the bottom because the glass flows slowly downward like a very viscous liquid.

Edgar Dutra Zanotto of the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil calculated the time needed for viscous flow to change the thickness of different types of glass by a noticeable amount. Cathedral glass would require a period "well beyond the age of the universe," he says.

Stamp found to violate Halacha (Jerusalem Post)

The Elul stamp in the series of 12 marking the Hebrew months has God’s name in Hebrew several times.... instead of having text from the pre-Rosh Hashana Slihot prayers (as promised in the first line), it offers much of the text of the Grace After Meals.

The leading rabbi of Telz Stone, Arye Shulman, ruled that it is forbidden under Jewish law to use the Elul stamp. One also may not buy it, he said, and if you have any, you have to put them in the collection of holy texts that are taken for burial, instead of being thrown in the garbage can.


Religious personalities and issues on stamps can sometimes be a headache. When the Philatelic Services suggested a stamp memorializing the Lubavitcher Rebbe, messianic hassidim opposed the idea because they maintained that Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson had “not died.” The majority group, who accept the fact of his death 10 years ago, said it was improper for the back of a stamp showing their rebbe to be licked or the front to be canceled. Although a design had been prepared, it was never issued.

Yudel's Line: Back in YU, we once accidently printed God's name in the student newspaper. Rav Soloveitchik ruled that since it hadn't been printed with any intention of being holy, it didn't have to be treated as holy, and we were spared the need to recall the paper.

You saw this coming: God Re-Floods Middle East (The Onion)

JERUSALEM—In what theological and meteorological authorities are calling "a wrathful display of Old Testament proportions," the Lord Almighty re-flooded the Middle East Tuesday, making good on last week's threat to wipe the region clean if there was not an immediate halt to the bloodshed between Arabs and Jews.

The Lord made the decision to go ahead with His second Great Flood after last-ditch U.S.-Saudi peace initiatives were rejected Monday night.

Kill the Jews, Steal their Lyrics: The Stones of Freedom (Palestine-net.com)

"Stones of Freedom" written for the Children of Palestine to the tune of "Chimes of Freedom" (Dylan)
To listen to the song (mp3) try: http://www.chez.com/lmcg0008/soff.mp3

This song is dedicated to the Children of Palestine
Lyrics by Lawrence McGuire

The Stones of Freedom

In the burning streets of Bethlehem deserted and forlorn
Standing with our stones of freedom waiting
As prophetic swells of sirens ripped all silence from the air
We sang our freedom song and started throwing
Throwing at the soldiers, whose guns we do not fear
Throwing at the deadly tanks rumbling far and near
And at all the mindless money that put the soldiers here
We sang and sent the stones of freedom flying ....


( Lawrence McGuire is a novelist who lives in France. His latest most recent book is The Great American Wagon Road. He can be reached at: blmcguire@hotmail.com)

Psycho Killers: Talking with the chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association in Cairo ( Damian Penny on FoxNews.com )

The good people at Middle Eastern Media Research Institute have uncovered an interview and an opinion piece with Dr. 'Adel Sadeq, chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and head of the Department of Psychiatry at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo.

Here are some excerpts:

"...As a professional psychiatrist, I say that the height of bliss comes with the end of the countdown: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. And then, you press the button to blow yourself up.

When the martyr reaches 'one,' and then 'boom,' he explodes, and senses himself flying, because he knows for certain that he is not dead… It is a transition to another, more beautiful world, because he knows very well that within seconds he will see the light of the Creator.

He will be at the closest possible point to Allah… None in the [Western] world sacrifices his life for his homeland. If his homeland is drowning, he is the first to jump ship. In our culture it is different..."

This is the head of a university psychiatry department.

"There are no Israeli civilians. They are all plunderers. History teaches this… I am completely convinced that the psychological effect [of the attacks] on the Israeli plunderer is [the realization] that his existence is temporary… They have become completely convinced that their existence in this region is temporary….

On the strategic level, there must be a pan-Arab plan in order to reach our goal. The goal of all of us is to liberate Palestine from the Israeli aggressors. To use words that some people no longer like to use today: 'We will throw Israel into the sea.' This phrase, by the way, is the truth. Either they will throw us into the sea, or we will throw them into the sea."

Did I mention that this is a psychiatrist? 

"The real means of dealing with Israel directly is those who blow themselves up. According to what I see in the battle arena, there is no [other means] except for the pure, noble Palestinian bodies. This is the only Arab weapon there is, and anyone who says otherwise is a conspirator."

Next time you hear about Palestinian "conspirators" and "collaborators" getting lynched, remember that line.

The Q tag.

I'm experimenting with less well-known structural elements in HTML, including the Q tag, which is supposed to be used for inline quotations. (You'll need CSS to do it right -- particularly with microsoft browsers.) [diveintomark]

That Old Pre-Clinton Lifestyle: US joblessness hits eight-year high (BBC News)

Claim: Cafeteria workers put boy in freezer [Romenesko's Obscure Store]

Turner CEO says: If you avert your eyes, you are stealing! [kuro5hin.org]

"...And viddy films I would. Where I was taken to, brothers, was like no cine I'd been in before. I was bound up in a straight-jacket and my gulliver was strapped to a headrest with like wires running away from it. Then they clamped like lidlocks on my eyes so I could not shut them no matter how hard I tried. It seemed a bit crazy to me, but I let them get on with what they wanted to get on with. If I was to be a free young malchick in a fortnight's time, I would put up with much in the meantime, my brothers..." -- Alex, from A Clockwork Orange

Well, first they trained us not to question the idea that a legal fiction has a right to free speech. Now, the unthinkable: If you *don't* listen to your corporate-state consumo-programming, you become a criminal!

In response to a question on why personal video recorders (PVR's) were bad for the industry, Jamie Kellner, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, responded: "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial ... you're actually stealing the programming."

Mars mission dangers set out. Toxic chromium in dust that could creep into living quarters is a surprise risk for astronauts who may one day visit Mars [2002.05.01 (Wednesday)

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Pearl Harbor 2001: Spinning the House of Sin (Happy Fun Pundit)

Info on Saudi plans to advertise their side of the story, featuring a contact number for their advertising agency.

© Copyright 2003 Larry Yudelson.
Last update: 12/12/2003; 11:52:00 AM.