November 28, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Comments on YudelLine are working again... I hope

But for how long? Aye, that's the question!

November 27, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Motorpsycho Camper: A Herzl counselor remembers Zimmerman

From the latest print issue of Moment, a letter to the editor:

I read with interest the article about Bob Dylan AKA Robert Zimmerman ("The unauthorized Spiiritual biography," August 2005) especially the part about his experiences at Herzl camp. In the summer of 1957, I was a camp counselor at Herzl. On the first day, we welcomed the campers who arrived almost exclusively by bus or car. An unusual event was the arrival of several campers on two motorcycles from Hibbing, Minnesota. One of the motorcycle campers was Robert Zimmerman, guitar slung over his shoulder, and as I recollect, the other was Louis Kemp, who wrote a recent article in Moment about his celebrity Seder with Marlon Brando. Already known as a rebel, rumor had it that Robert Zimmerman had received his motorcycle as a parental gift for agreeing to attend Herzl camp!

Robert, joined occasionally by a few other campers, spent most of his time singing and plyaing his guitar and not participating in most organized camp activies. According to my recollection it was especially hard to get him to participate in athletics. Despite being a teenager and camp rebel, he was an intelligent and friendly kid who was well-like dby his fellow campers and counselors. He remained friendly with my brother David, who also attended camp that summer, and occasionally through the years, stopped in at his bookstore, The Hungry Mind, on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. My enduring memory of Bob Dylan from that summer is of a young man sitting on the roof of one of the cabins, strumming on a guitar and singing loudly with his characteristic high-pitched nasal twang.

Joel Unowsky, Gaithersburg, MD

(Reb Yudel)

Speaking of everyone's favorite Jewish Republican

You know that when the casino boat line SunCruz was owned by Jack Abramoff and Adam Kidan, the company paid the men who blew away SunCruz founder Gus Boulis.

Now it turns out they also had the company pay the National Republican Congressional Committee (the House GOP election committee) $10,000 on behalf of Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH).

That was in exchange for Ney's putting anti-Boulis remarks in the congressional record that helped Abramoff and Kidan pressure Boulis to sell them SunCruz.

The guy who helped arrange Ney's anti-Boulis-trash-talking and the later pay-off was none other than Mike Scanlon, who later did public relations work for SunCruz, in addition to going into the Indian gaming bilking biz with SunCruz owner

Abramoff.Scanlon is the guy who just agreed to testify against, well ... everybody in the Abramoff cases.Complicated?

Hey, don't blame us! We didn't tell them to go out and live an Elmore Leonard novel.

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall

(Reb Yudel)

AmericaBlog wants to know...

Does anyone know exactly what the noble mission is? The White House thinks if you just keep calling Iraq a "noble mission" people will think it is a noble mission even if they don't know what that noble mission is.

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

November 23, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Does it Take a Texan to Make a Quagmire?

“If President John F. Kennedy had lived, he would not have sent combat troops to Vietnam and America’s longest war would never have occurred,” say Kennedy apologists. The assassination, they insist, had killed more than the president; it was responsible for the death of a generation—of more than 58,000 Americans, along with untold numbers of Vietnamese on both sides of the seventeenth parallel.

When I first began this study, I was dubious about these assertions, but as my research progressed, many of my doubts disappeared. President Kennedy staunchly resisted the relentless pressure for combat troops, but, critically important, he never called for a total withdrawal. Instead, by the spring of 1962 he sought to roll back the nation’s military involvement to the less provocative advisory level he had inherited when taking office more than a year earlier.

What strikes anyone reading the veritable mountain of documents relating to Vietnam is that the only high official in the Kennedy administration who consistently opposed the commitment of U.S. combat forces was the president.

OUPblog: November 22, 1963

November 16, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Liars, Liars, Mid-East on Fire

Kevin Drum writes about the Bush lies:

Did the Bush administration mislead the country during the runup to the Iraq war? It's true that they turned out to be wrong about a great many things, but that doesn't answer the question. It merely begs it. Were they sincerely wrong, or did they intentionally manipulate the intelligence they presented to the public in order to mask known weaknesses in their case?

The case for manipulation is pretty strong. It relies on several things, but I think the most important of them has been the discovery that the administration deliberately suppressed dissenting views on some of the most important pieces of evidence that they used to bolster their case for war. For future reference, here's a list of five key dissents about administration claims, all of which were circulated before the war but kept under wraps until after the war:

Read the details

November 13, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Forward Newspaper Online: New Film Peers Into the Teenage Jewish Closet

Forward Newspaper Online: New Film Peers Into the Teenage Jewish Closet

The movie focuses on the story of Shulamit Izen, a gay student at The New Jewish High School (now Gann Academy), and how she brought the issue of homosexuality to the forefront of discussion and sought a place for herself and for other gay students in her school. Initially a personal account of Izen reconciling her sexuality with her faith, the film quickly shifts focus and portrays her struggle to form a gay-straight alliance.

As Ariella Wortzman, another student portrayed in the film, says, the issue was "not just 'I'm gay; create a space where I can be gay.' It's 'I have needs. I have things that I want to talk about. Create a space where I can be open and where I can talk about things that matter to me.'"

An exemplary moment comes when Izen reflects on her encounter with the school's headmaster, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann. "I wanted to tell him my story," Izen tells viewers. But, "I left the meeting feeling really defeated... what I got from Rabbi Lehmann was that I can't be holy and gay."

A key voice in the film, Lehmann strikes an interesting balance between his role as an administrator and his personal ambivalences. Lehmann admits feeling uncomfortable when Izen first approached him with her story. At other times he comments on the things that a headmaster must take into account when approaching an issue that divides the community. However, in the end it is perhaps Lehmann who articulates the film's theme most precisely and most eloquently by noting that "the core of our tradition is to bring together those conflicting opinions not in an attempt to somehow resolve them or create harmony, but to actually live in the tension of those differences."

(Reb Yudel)

Village Voice at 50

New York Magazine looks at the Village Voice as it turns 50 and a new owner comes on board. Will the paper we haven't read in a decade be able to reinvent itself?

Word of bad morale at the Voice, however, brought [new Village Voice owner  Michael] Lacey up short. Although no slouch with the downsize scythe himself (mass-firing tales are legend in the New Times canon), Lacey shook his head at stories of layoffs.

“You don’t get rid of good people just to save money. They’re too hard to find. You don’t discourage them. You want a lively newsroom, some action. Sturm. Drang. That place seemed dead.”

He couldn’t seem to get over David Schneiderman, his new partner, referring to himself as “a numbers guy.” He liked Schneiderman and had learned not to underestimate him. But “a numbers guy? . . . Sounds like death. I can’t even balance my checkbook.

“It’s so sick the way most of the business runs. The top editors don’t edit. Never touch a piece of copy. What do they do all day, think beautiful thoughts? The way we do it, the editors have to write too. They should never forget how hard it is, the fucking agony of it. I make myself write and report. It kills me, but I do it.

”Then, loud enough for the other diners to turn around, Lacey declared, “God help me, I’m in a business of weenies!”

Can New Owner Michael Lacey Make the Village Voice Relevant Again?

technorati tags:

November 11, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

Yossi Klein Halevi reflects on Rabin's 10th Yarzheit

In assessing the role of religious Zionism in creating this culture in which assassinations have become a permanent part of Israeli political thinking and planning, it seems to me that the religious Zionist community passed one test and failed another.

It passed the test in that their sons (in the army) went into the settlements in Gaza and pulled out friends, in many cases relatives, and participated in an act that most of them considered political madness. Nevertheless, they did so because of their profound commitment both to Jewish unity and to preserving the integrity of the Israeli army. And they revealed a level of maturity and of loyalty to democratic principles which needs to be emphasized.

The test that religious Zionism has so far failed, and it is a significant failure, is that the leadership of the community, as opposed as they are to political violence, did not make clear to their young people that however appalling it is to dismantle settlements and to destroy organic communities that were sent by successive Israeli governments to Gaza, there is one scenario that is far more devastating to Israel's ability to survive - and that is, God forbid, another political assassination. I don't know if Israeli society could survive another, similar trauma and still remain intact.

When I think about the future of democracy in Israel, my fear is the state of mind of a generation of religious Zionists who are among our best and most dedicated young people. They're the ones filling the commando units, the officers' corps. They're the ones who travelled the Diaspora looking for Jewish communities to reach out to. And yet, their commitment to democratic principles is, I would argue, thin.

The Globe and Mail

November 8, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

The long, sorry career of an unindicted co-president

James Carroll reminds us that Cheney has been dicking us since days of Tricky Dicky:

At world-shaping moments across a generation, Cheney reacted with an instinctive, This is war!

He helped turn the War on Poverty into a war on the poor.

He helped keep the Cold War going longer than it had to, and when it ended (because of initiatives taken by the other side), Cheney refused to believe it. To keep the US war machine up and running, he found a new justification just in time.

With Gulf War I, Cheney ignited Osama bin Laden's burning

purpose. Responding to 9/11, Cheney fulfilled bin Laden's purpose by joining him in the war-of-civilizations.

Iraq, therefore (including the prewar deceit for which Scooter Libby takes the fall), is simply the last link in the chain of disaster which is the public career of Richard Cheney.

(Reb Yudel)

Yudelson embraces monotheism, pluralism, Rome

Not me, my mom. But I'm proud of her:

Jews and Catholics from Rochester are on a mission to Rome.

They are marking the anniversary of an historic proclamation promoting harmony between the Vatican and non-Christian religions.

Those involved left Rochester for Rome Monday morning. Their visit will help mark the 40th anniversary of the church's deal to promote unity among all religions.

B.J. Yudelson of the Jewish Community Federation is among those flying to Italy.

"We live in a pluralistic society,” she said. “I think we all worship and were created by the same god. I think it's important to relate how we all do it yet we're all brothers and sisters at some level."

Bishop Matthew Clark and Rabbi Alan Katz are part of the Rochester contingent that will spend five days in Rome.

R News: As It Happens, Where It Happens

November 7, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

The iGeneration Gap - Moving On
Technology has exacerbated the gulf between today's parents and kids in ways we need to notice. It's easier now for kids to function in their own closed societies, leaving them oblivious to adult culture.

People over age 40 grew up with just a few TV channels. We watched TV news -- at 6 p.m. it was the only thing on -- and soaked up the adult worlds of information and entertainment because that's all that was available. Now kids have their own worlds, their own channels.

I live in Michigan, and two days after Hurricane Katrina hit, I drove my 16-year-old daughter and her friend home from the movies. I mentioned Katrina, and this friend didn't even know there was a hurricane. She's a lovely girl and an A student, but for days, she had chatted online, watched her own TV shows, and saw no news of the tragedy. Her parents hadn't thought to tell her.

Samantha Landau says she mentioned new Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to fellow students in her 11th-grade advanced-placement history class and most had no idea who he was.

Baby boomers knew newsmakers from their parents' and grandparents' generation because families watched Walter Cronkite and Ed Sullivan together. But most 20th-century legends are "dead brands" to kids today, youth marketers say. To them, historical figures are last season's reality-show contestants.

November 6, 2005

(Reb Yudel)

New York Times: Republican Tool

Why I Canceled The New York Times

This paper now has the dubious distinction of being an accomplice to the selling of a war entered into under false pretenses; enabling the election of the war mongers who prosecuted this war by delaying the investigation of Plamegate until after the 2004 election by pandering to an out of control reporter who spearheaded your paper's role in spreading faked intelligence; all but ignoring the Downing Street Memos which proved the administration lied; and now, downplaying the importance of a crucial -- and heroic -- action to get Americans the truth.

Truth, by the way, used to be the pole star which guided the New York Times. Under your reign it no longer is. And that is why I, along with hundreds of thousands of others, are canceling our subscriptions, and why the younger generation considers your paper irrelevant.

He-said, she-said reporting is neither interesting, nor informative. Biased reporting such as your paper has been exhibiting lately, is worse -- it's boringly predictable, and it misinforms.

The press was granted special status in the First Amendment because the founding fathers believed an informed citizenry was vital to a functioning democracy. That special status came with a codicil -- the duty to report the truth (not, as the Times seems to think, the duty to protect reporters who assist in spreading lies).

This month, I gave $5 of the $37 I saved by not buying the Times to AmericaBlog