Monday, June 27, 2016

Anti-Racism Erases Anti-Semitism (Tablet Magazine)

" . . . if you believe that racism by the weak against the strong doesn’t exist, then anti-Semitism doesn’t exist, either. It can’t. Why? Because anti-Semitism is a racist conspiracy theory—anti-Semites believe they are victimized by a preternaturally powerful cabal of Jews. And there are plenty of Jews today who enjoy a good measure of economic and social success, especially in relation to many Muslims, among whom the self-exculpating belief in Jewish domination thrives. So how can anti-racist campaigners who believe that racism equals prejudice plus power address—or even notice—a form of racism that disguises itself as an emancipatory politics of the oppressed?"

See here for the rest of this article by John-Paul Pagano.

Let there be light (occasionally for the worse)

For years, we had a problem with our old venetian blinds--our living room and master bedroom, each of which has two side-by-side windows, had only one venetian blind each, forcing us to put props between the slats to allow air-conditioned air to escape.  But recently, we replaced all of our blinds with separate blinds for each window.  Having separate blinds enables us to preserve our privacy and still enjoy the chilled air simply by raising the blinds in front of the air conditioners.

Much to our surprise, though, this solution has created another problem--every morning without fail, Ms. Light-Sleeper here is awakened at the crack of dawn by sunlight streaming in through the narrow gap between the blinds.

Sigh.  You win some, you lose some.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Have cell-phone charger, will stage House sit-in

Democrats are staging a sit-in on the floor of the United States House of Representatives to demand that the Republican leadership permit a vote on bills to help prevent gun violence.  I believe that this is unprecedented in U.S. history.  Much of the video coming from the House floor is being shot by the protesting Representatives themselves and "broadcast" via the internet, which is a violation of House rules, because the Republican leadership has cut off the official C-Span television/video coverage--what I'm watching on C-Span is unofficial.  Democratic Representatives, keep up the good work!

Sotah revisited (a bit late)

I recommend that you start with my previous Sotah posts, linked here.

It occurred to me last Shabbat (Sabbath), when we read Parashat Naso, that the Sotah ritual (Numbers 5:11-31) not only protected the woman from a so-called "honor killing," it also protected her future child, if any--by clearing the wife of suspicion of adultery, the ritual prevented the husband from rejecting her baby.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 12

On June 12, 2009, my mother died.

On June 12, 2016, 49 people were slaughtered and 53 injured for the "crime" of being gay.

Makes any celebration of our June 12 wedding anniversary feel more than a little weird. 

May the loved ones of this past Sunday's victims be comforted by their memories of those they lost.  And for crying out loud (literally), it's time to get high-capacity semi-automatic weapons (also known as assault weapons), which are designed for military and police use, out of civilian hands!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

My father's yahrzeit

I was looking for a psalm with my father's name in it to recite today, since today's his yahrzeit (anniversary of death, according to the Jewish calendar).  Fortunately, I got some help from a colleague.  Ironically enough, it turns out that the psalm she found is one that I say almost every day in Shacharit/Morning Service:  It's Psalm 30, Mizmor Shir Chanukat HaBayit, L'David (A Psalm, A Song for the Dedication of the House, by/for David).  Here's a handy link to Psalm 30, in case you don't happen to have a Sefer Tehillim/Book of Psalms handy.  My father's name, Ozer (a help/helper), is in verse 11.

I am grateful to my father for trying to give us opportunities that he never had.  And I've inherited his love of movie musicals.  Singing in the Rain would be a good movie to watch in his memory.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Party pooper

When it comes to politics, I'm one of those this year, in a manner of speaking.

On domestic issues, I've been a Democrat for decades.  As far as I'm concerned, the people most likely to benefit from trickle-down economics are the folks who least need to benefit, namely, the wealthy.  And many Republicans are so-called pro-life, which, from my perspective, means that any woman who becomes pregnant, even by rape or incest, loses the right to treat her body as her own and becomes merely the incubator for a baby--so many states are restricting access to abortions, and even birth control, that it's truly frightening.  Republicans also seem uninterested in ensuring universal access to healthcare, appearing to believe that only those who can afford to pay for their own treatment should be able see a doctor or pay for their prescriptions.

That said, I'm not entirely in agreement with the Democratic approach to foreign policy.  President Obama drew a line in the sand regarding the use of chemical warfare in Syria--and then, when chemical weapons were used against Syrian citizens, did absolutely nothing.  If he can't be trusted to keep his word, then all his talk about "having Israel's back" is nothing but that:  Talk.

But I don't trust the Republicans on domestic issues, and I don't trust Trump on any issues.


Stay tuned.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Another war?

I've been saying this to my husband and son for weeks now, but Hillary Clinton said it better last night:

He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability, and immense responsibility. This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes, because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.

I'm of the opinion that, if Trump becomes king, er, president, he'll drag the U.S. into another war.

Because his entire strategy--in the campaign, in business, and in his personal life--seems to be based on proving that he's a bigger man than the other guy.

Which leads me to think that the country most likely to be Trump's war target would be Russia.

After all, Trump and Putin are two egocentrics both of whom want to be seen as Mr. Machismo, and what better way could there be for Trump to prove that he's more macho than Putin than by beating the stuffing out of him (actually, his country).  Never mind the military personnel and the civilians doomed to die in this effort.  They'd be just collateral damage.


My husband disagrees--he thinks Trump will get ticked off by ISIS, and the U.S. will end up in full-fledged war with them.

Or there's always North Korea . . .

See also . . . never mind.  I just created a Donald Trump label--just click on it, and you'll be able to see all my rants on the subject at once.  That said, my personal favorite is still It's a Country, Stupid.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Is lèse majesté coming to the USA?

Let's start with the definition, courtesy of Merriam-Webster: 

Definition of lèse–majesté

  1. 1a :  a crime (as treason) committed against a sovereign powerb :  an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power
  2. 2:  a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance

Since when does American law hold lèse majesté to be a crime?

I was shocked, though not entirely surprised, to hear Donald Trump say that Hillary Clinton should go to jail for having criticized him.  I've been voting for over 40 years, and I can't remember ever having encountered a candidate for public office who had such a thin skin.  In my opinion, Trump, if elected president, will do everything in his power to limit freedom of speech and freedom of the press because he simply cannot tolerate being criticized.  Apparently, he thinks he's entitled to exemptions even from matters having nothing to do with taxes.


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