Friday, December 28, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 12/28/07

Mizmor l'Da-vid

LAAF-Eternal Rains of Fire

LAAF-Liberation Army Against Freedom! Not so good with the rockets red glare.

PS: Dutch safety campaign on fireworks

Jewish Apartheid

Apartheid is a term used to denote the brutal tactics of South Africa against its black population. But there is another apartheid that has been going on since the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. Almost one million Jews were expelled from Arab countries after Israel declared its statehood.

The Arab-Israeli conflict produced two refugee groups, Palestinian and Jewish, yet world attention has largely focused on the Palestinian refugees. The reason is that Israel solved the Jewish refugee problem by resettling them. Meanwhile, the Arab world has not adequately responded to the Palestinian refugee problem, refusing to permanently resettle enough of them, and using them as political pawns against Israel. Both refugee groups numbered about 900,000. Though many were peaceful or passive, many Palestinian refugees were openly hostile and violent against the notion of any Jewish state. In contrast, Jews in the Arab world identified themselves with their respective countries and posed no threat to them.

The of Palestinians left voluntarily after Arab rulers told them to wait for the annihilation of the new Jewish State of Israel. The Jews who fled Arab countries had no choice. It was either flee or die.

Today, there are very few Jews in Arab Islamic countries.

All other Muslim states are Judenrein.

In about 5 years, the Shia state of Iran will also be Judenrein and for the first time since the 7th century Islam will have succeeded in making life so intolerable for their Jewish citizens that all 23 Muslim states on planet earth—I'm including Gaza as the Pali state—will be rendered Judenrein.

Oh, the Christians in Gaza are not doing very well, their days are quite clearly numbered.

Okay, there are about 2,000 Jews hanging on by a thread in Morocco. They will be gone in one generation. Who knows what the next king's policies will usher in. There have already been terrorist attacks against the Moroccan Jewish community. The writing is on the wall.

No Jews in Jordan. No Jews in Algeria. No Jews in Tunisia. Saudi Arabia officially bars Jews from setting foot on Saudi soil. Charming local custom. Yemen, maybe 100 old and dying Jews. Syria, the same. Egypt, the same. Libya, none. Iraq, done. Afghanistan, one crazy old Jew who lives in the Kabul synagogue all by himself. Pakistan? You've got to be kidding. No Jews in the UAE.

It is illegal for a Jew to enter Saudi Arabia. Iranian Jews are facing an ever increasing threat. And all because of the creation of the Jewish State of Israel. Arab countries say that the Jewish state has taken over historically Arab lands. The irony of that statement is ludicrous. The Turks controlled this land from the Seljuk Turks(11th century to 13th century) to the Ottoman empire(13th century to the 20th century).

There has been a Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years. Jews were the majority in most cities until the 1929 Arab riots forced them out of cities such as Hebron. When the first Zionists started coming to Palestine, they bought land from the Turkish rulers. Land that was mostly swamp and desert. They reclaimed the land and built it up and in so doing, increased the economic opportunities. These opportunities were attractive to many Arabs and they started coming in.

In Israel, Muslims are elected to the Knesset. Muslim holy sites are respected. Jewish holy sites, on the other hand, face the threat of destruction once they fall into the Palestinian Authority hands. There are no Jews in Gaza and yet the terrorists still lob Kassams into the Israeli city of Sderot. Gazan Christians are leaving in droves because of the threats they face. Bethlehem, before the Palestinian Authority took over, used to have a Christian majority. And yet people like Jimmy Carter call Israel the apartheid state. It seems there is Jewish and Christian apartheid going on and the culprits are the Arab states.

Jewish apartheid has been a problem faced by the world for thousands of years. I do not understand the hatred others show to Jews and now to Israel. Anti-Semitism has never gone away. It is on the increase world-wide and even in this country it has reached a state that Jewish shuls, schools, community centers, and citizens face the threat of attacks to such an extent extra security measures must be taken.

Again, I do not understand this Jewish apartheid. I cannot comprehend the visceral hate shown to Jews and to the Jewish State of Israel. I do not understand why some people, when they see my Magen David, have a look of disgust upon their faces. I do not understand Jewish apartheid.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


One of the most common crimes against a civilian population during times of war is rape. UN Peace Keeping forces are notorious for the amount of rapes they commit. What does it mean when armed forces don't commit rape?

If it is the Israeli Defense Forces, there can only be one conclusion: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."

This is the conclusion Hebrew University doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan draws. Basically, what she is saying is that lack of rapes committed by IDF in Judea and Samaria has the same effects as if the rapes had occurred!! She also concludes that the women are not raped because they are dehumanized in the soldier's eyes.

This logic is so twisted that I cannot believe it is given serious academic credence. Rape dehumanizes the person who is assaulted. Rape is the same across the world: It is a vile act in which no regard is shown to the victim.

Makor Rishon editor Amnon Lord, who first publicized the story, wrote that not only did researcher Nitzan not consider Jewish tradition as an explanation, but neither did she "raise the possibility that her initial assumption - namely, that the situation in Judea and Samaria is just like any other situation of conquest - may be wrong."

Demographic Fears
Nitzan's paper did, however, give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.

"It is noteworthy," Lord concludes, "that Palestinian propaganda around the world frequently accuses Israelis of murder and rape. Such that this situation is unique: An army is found blameworthy of rape, and is also blameworthy of not raping."

How desparate can one become in order to prove that Israelis are evil? Does showing human decency now constitute an effort to dehumanize? Natzin's paper is just one more in a long effort to discredit Israel's decency toward others, especially Palestinians. If IDF soldiers aren't raping women than surely it has to be something other than morals.

Natzin's paper is worse than the multitude of the long string of double standards applied to Israel. The IDF soldiers have done nothing and yet her paper accuses them as if they were UN soldiers in the Congo.

New Traditions

Yesterday, I didn't go to the movies or go eat Chinese food. Instead, I spent the day reading. I stopped at Barnes & Noble and picked up a couple of books. Someone had grabbed the last copy of Stephen King's The Stand. I made do with two others: Christopher Tolkien's The Unfinished Tales and Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. As much as I enjoy reading science fiction, it perplexes me how I've never read the last.

I started the Tolkien book and it is just as fascinating as The Lord of the Rings series even though J.R.R. Tolkien's son finished some of the tales.

Yesterday was a very good day for reading. The sun did not make an appearance until late afternoon and it was too cold and windy to take photos. It was a good day to just sit back and relax inside. My son had to work. In short, a very peaceful day.

I had the option of going to my family's Christmas celebration but as last year, I didn't. I love my family and it is great to see everyone. I just knew I would feel uncomfortable in seemingly partaking in festivities I don't believe in. And there is always the explanations of why I can't eat this and that because of keeping kosher.

Next year? Who knows, maybe I'll get around to the Jewish tradition of going to the movies and eating Chinese on Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eggnog and Who

The Captain's Quarters has an interesting poll.

I can't imagine having Hillary, Huckabee, or Romney over for a chat and a bit of eggnog. They don't seem like the type to engage in fun conversations. I can picture Hillary in her condescending voice or perhaps since this is Mississippi, her having another go at a fake Southern accent. Romney seems likable enough, just not the type to have a beer with. Huckabee reminds me of those preachers from the Christian channel skits from Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beinoni Niggun

I meant to post this yesterday before Shabbat but didn't have the chance.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


From the Sun Herald's Sound Off:

Holidays defined

• Do you realize why they call them the holidays? Because when you get on the road and get in the store and put up with people and get home and you realize all that hollering has put you in a daze. Hence, Holler-daze.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Israel: The Jewish State

Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State
Israel: The Jewish State

The above needs to be repeated a few million more times for those who just don't get it. Israel is a Jewish state for Jewish people. This simple concept seems to be a sticking for many people. Palestinian "peace" negotiators and Arab state leaders to name a few. It is ironic that those Saudi Arabians who went to Annapolis say a state should not be based on a religion. That is rich coming from a country like the Saudi Arabia where it is against the law to practice any religion other than Islam.

The latest objector for Israel identifying itself as a Jewish state is the Catholic Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah.

In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a ''political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews.''

Sounds reasonable. Except the Jewish State of Israel is already a 'political, normal state for Christians, Muslims, and Jews'. Churches, mosques, synagogues, Bahai temples, and other religious houses exist side-by-side in the Jewish State of Israel and all are free to practice their religion. There are a few exceptions. Jews cannot visit at well their holiest site. It is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock mosque.

Anyway. All this ranting and objecting about Israel being a Jewish State is just another attempt to try to delegitimize Israel's existence. Repeat after me, Israel: The Jewish State.

Pelosi Achieves a Victory!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been very ineffective in her leadership role since the Democrats now have a majority in Congress. But she, at last, achieve a victory: Green the Capitol. But this victory is limited. Those dastardly Senators refuse to give up their fried foods!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Believe

Kol Sasson is The University of Maryland's Jewish A Capella Group. In this video, they are singing Ani Ma-amin(I Believe).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Star Wars

A galaxy faces a deadly menace from far, far, away. The weapon of choice: a deadly beam of energy from a black hole in the midst of the "death star" galaxy.

Scientists say the energy beam can cut a swath of destruction but yet allow for the formation of new stars in the galaxy that is facing the onslaught of energy.

Anniversary Edition

Yesterday was the third anniversary of Haveil Havalim. This edition, as usual, has many great posts. Enjoy Haveil Havalim 145.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The past couple of weeks have been interesting. There is a paucity of Jewish things you can buy along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I had written before about my quest to find a Magen David necklace. One jewelry store had two! I finally ordered one on-line and started wearing it a few weeks ago.

Wal-mart has five shelves that are about 3 feet wide where kosher food items can be found. They also have Shabbat and Hanukkah candles! Winn-Dixie sells Challah! They are also promoting kosher food items that are available. None of the stores here sell kosher meats. I'm learning the joys of cooking with soy products like Boca's ground meat substitute.

During Hanukkah, when someone would wish me a Merry Christmas, I would respond with Happy Hanukkah. Fortunately, my experience was a lot better than this guy's. You would think people in Mississippi would be more prejudiced about things like that than some in New York. Mississippi: The Progressive State!!

One of the newer experiences I had this year was a search for Hanukkah cards. The only stores they could be found were at Wal-greens. I make an effort to thank the store's managers. And in doing so has led to some interesting encounters. Mostly, people are curious. One asked how to make a Star of David using strings of lights.

Lately, a lot of people have asked what do I do on Christmas. After watching the video below I first saw at Mark's: I now say, "Eat Chinese and go to the movies".

I'll do just what I did last year as well: go and take pictures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unequal Justice in Mississippi

On February 6, 2006, Jessie Lee Williams Jr., died at the hands of the Harrison County sheriff deputies who were booking him. Deputy Teel was found guilty on three counts and has been sentenced to two terms. Justice worked in this case and part of had to do with the policy of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department to video-tape bookings. Anyone can access the booking area of the county jail.

Contrast that openness with the actions of the Boston police. I digress. That is another issue.

Justice in Mississippi worked for Jessie Lee Williams, Jr. But Cory Maye still languishes in prison. He shot and killed police officer Ron Jones after the police barged into his home under the "no-knock rule". The police were executing a warrant for a drug dealer who lived in the other side of a duplex where Mayes and his family lived.

It is a tragic and sad story that really shouldn't have happened. A father, Cory Mayes, had no idea who the intruders to his home were. He just knew he and his little girl were in danger. It is a nightmare scenario played out time and again with the "no-knock rule". Police officers enter the wrong dwelling or invade homes with little more than the word of someone who may just be passing on information in an effort to gain a lighter charge. The "no-knock rule" reeks of injustice and is an erosion of the basic rights of American citizens.

Two families have no peace. The family of Officer Ron Jones grieves and as justice is sought to right the wrong to Cory Mayes, the Jones' family will have wounds reopened. Cory Mayes' children are growing up without him. He has to make do with sending cards and telephone calls. From reading of this case, he shouldn't be in prison at all. At least Mayes no longer faces the death penalty. But he shouldn't be in prison at all. A wrong address, police officers barging in at night, a father with a gun protecting his child from unknown intruders: is a life sentence justice?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8th Night

Sweet Charity

Americans are very giving people. And I'm proud to say that even though Mississippi is consistently ranks lowest in most charts: it's people are generous and place Mississippi in the top of the charts for charitable donations(per capita). No one wants to see people suffering and the natural instinct is to help. The caveat, "let the buyer beware", is no less true for charitable donations or governmental financial aid. There are watch-dog groups that rate organizations on how well money donated ends up in the hands of the people it is meant for. The Governmental Accounting Office does the same. After Hurricane Katrina, the GAO showed where to close to a billion dollars was misappropriated.

These watch-dogs are not trying to discourage donations or aid. They serve a vital function to ensure donations and aid are going to the people who need it. This brings us to the most unwatched aid. There seems to be accountability for how this aid is spent. Billions of dollars have been sent in an effort to improve the lives of these people and yet there is very little to show for it other than the beautiful mansions and very large bank accounts of those who pocket the money.

I'm talking about the billions of aid for the Palestinians. Whether it is aid from the European Union, the UN, or other aid, there is very little accounting of how the money is actually spent and what it is used for.

This from The Long Palestinian Money Trail should be an eye-opener to many:

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank noted recently that 'donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ― one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.' (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today's dollars, to Europeans.)

There is more at Boker Tov Audits the PA's Books.

More financial aid is given to the PA than to most of Africa. Why isn't there accountability on how this money is spent? You can go on-line and check the rating of most charitable causes and even governmental departments to see where the money goes and what it is used for. Why isn't there something like that for the aid the PA receives? What projects is the aid used for?

Monday, December 10, 2007


At last night's hanukkiah lighting, one of my fellow congregants told me about a rare version of Hatikvah as sung by Al Jolson. She e-mailed it to me and I wanted to share with you.

Click to listen

Sunday, December 9, 2007

6th Night

Tonight, the Mississippi Gulf Coast had it's first public Hanukkah lighting. Chabad of New Orleans sponsored it and my congregation, Beth Israel of Biloxi, participated. Our new shul is to be built in Gulfport. Hopefully, groundbreaking will be held in a few months. Our shul in Biloxi was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Tonight, in addition to remembering the victory of the few over the many, these lights serve as a dedication and a promise that our congregation will grow and continue to add light to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Psalm 93:

The ocean sounds, HaShem,
the ocean sounds its thunder,
the ocean sounds its pounding.

Above the thunder of the mighty waters,
more majestic than the breakers of the sea
is HaShem, majestic on high.

Let the lights we kindle shine forth for the world to see. May they illumine our lives and fill us with gratitude for those who came before us, whose will and courage, time and again, kept the flame of faith from extinction.

Latkes! Latkes!

Jack is hosting the Haveil Havalim 144 - Too Many Latkes Edition.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 12/07/07

Chicken Soup & TCM

Yesterday, I had to leave work early because of some sort of bug. With this one, I was having chills and neck pain. I go home and sleep for a few hours. The neck pain is still there but the chills are gone. Instead of trying to do a bunch of stuff last night, after I lit the Hanukkah candles, I fixed some chicken noodle soup (who knew Wal-Mart now carries kosher soup!) and wrapped myself in my favorite blue blankie and turned the TV to Turner Classic Movies. The soup, the Irene Dunne movies, the blue blankie, and sinus/cold/allergy medicine did wonders. I'm still not up to par but am able to work today. But I still will leave early because of Shabbat.

Buddhist Power Struggle

The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a range of religious groups. There are Bahais, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Buddhists. I would never have expected to read about Buddhists with a headline like this: Police Break Up fights at Buddhist Temple. The Buddhist Temple is in one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Katrina. It usually sits placidly along the same street where there is a Korean Baptist Church among others.

Glancing at it from the street, it is serene. Head monk Thien Tri should be commended for his efforts to rebuild the temple area. From the article, board members who left immediately after Hurricane Katrina are trying to horn in. Not good.

Light Up the World

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jewish Greenies

In an effort to stem global warming, an Israeli group suggests lighting one less candle for each night of Hanukkah. It defeats what Hanukkah is about. The hanukkiah is to be placed so that it can be visible to the outside. The lights serve as a reminder of winning over those who would oppress religious freedom and the lights are a reminder of the re-dedication of the Temple after it had been defiled. The lights are to blaze forth and to be seen by all.

These Jewish greenies are wrong in their approach. Lighting one less candle a night will hardly make a dent in pollution. It also defeats the purpose of Hannukah. This idea only serves one purpose: more publicity for the group that purposed it. And it distracts from the ongoing endeavours that can make a difference.

Seambiotic has a plan and it is a good one. It reduces polltion emitted by coal-burning smoke stacks and the resultant product is more a more cost-effective biofuel.

The simplicity of the idea is what will make it workable.

Israel's Seambiotic is employing algae as a biofuel that could also reduce pollution from coal power plants. Executives said the method channels carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning smokestacks through pools of skeletonema algae, which in turn converts to fuel.
Algae was said to be capable of manufacturing 30 times more oil than crops currently used for biofuel production.

Using algae to both clean pollution from coal-burning plants and to produce a biofuel will help more than calling on people to light one less candle each night of Hannukah. The candle idea makes about as much sense as having a conference on global climate(warming) change and having 10,000 people fly to it.

Nah. My lights will blaze forth each night and as I gaze upon the candles, I'll remember those days of old when the light of freedom blazed forth.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. How many other words are there for when the writer's muse has fled? Share freely!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Great Dictator

Several months ago, after watching some excerpts of Chaplin's movie The Great Dictator at various sites, I bought a copy and watched it last week. The movie was poignant and bittersweet. It captured the megalomania of both Hitler and Mussolini. It spoke of the horror of Nuremberg laws against Jews and it made a farce of how various news sources did not report the context of Hitler's speeches when he called for the extermination of Jews.

Chaplin was unique at the time. When Hollywood refused to make any movies portraying Hitler for what he was, Chaplin used his money and talent to expose Hitler. Though the film was satire, it did offer a glimpse of the horror of what Jews were facing in Germany because of the Nuremberg laws. Chaplin also said he would not have made the film if he had known true extent of Hitler's atrocities against Jews.

After the movie, there was commentary about the impact the movie had. It showed how it served as a beacon of hope to those across Europe who were in the midst of Hitler's blitzkrieg. One of the commentators stood out. The interviewee is Reinhard Spitzy, a former SS officer and member of Hitler's inner circle and he made the comment, "Hitler was no killjoy". You could see the admiration this sick individual still had for Hitler.

Chaplin was courageous for making this movie. He did it at a time when no one wanted to confront the evil Hitler represented. And that same cowardliness is going on in Hollywood and across the world today. Movie makers are afraid of portraying jihadists for what they are: murderers with a sick ideology. Instead, they portray US soldiers as the villains. They produce quasi-documentaries equating the victim of a suicide bomber to the murderer who killed.

This moral sickness extends to the news media. It also extends to college campuses. In the guise of cultural and moral equivalency: suicide bombers(murderers) are seen as being just regular people trying to overcome obstacles. Never mind the obstacles in question are Iraqi, Afghans, Pakistani, Indian, and Israeli children, women, and men. It doesn't seem to matter to these supporters of groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorists groups that the victims of these murderers are people full of hopes and dreams.

What is more important to these people full of moral sickness is to tear down those who are fighting against such blatant and inhuman murders: the United States and Israel.

Hollywood needs another Chaplin. The world needs another Churchill. The world needs someone who is willing the confront the jihadists, dictators and totalitarians the world has in its midst today. Ahmadnejad, Nasrallah, Chavez, Mugabe, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and General Ne Win are just a few. That would be the true test of courage: going against the flow of criticizing the United States and Israel and instead confronting those who are the real terrorists and violators of human rights.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 11/30/07

Israel My Beloved - Yeminte Chant

November 29, 1947

That was the day the United Nations voted for the creation of the Jewish State of Israel and a Palestinian state. Israel subsequently became a state and the Palestinians do not have one. The Arabs outright rejected the creation of any Jewish state and to this day, they refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The United Nations sought an equitable solution and it could have worked except for the stringency of Arab nations. The United Nations held its annual “the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”. Why is this solidarity held on the anniversary of the United Nations historic vote to create two nations, not by war but by peace?

Israel has largely avoided sending an representative to this annual gathering because it is largely a day to bash Israel and to keep the notion of Palestinian victim hood going. Yesterday, however, Israeli Ambassador Gillerman spoke and his words should be heard by everyone.

Below are some excerpts:

Mr. President,

Late last night, I returned from Annapolis. It was a memorable occasion, with representatives from over 40 nations – chiefly among them moderate states of the Arab and Muslim world – committed to supporting the bilateral process between Israel and the Palestinians. The air in Annapolis was filled with the hope that by working together we can realize a peaceful and better tomorrow. I have no doubt that this sense of optimism was felt by all those in attendance.

Yet, back here in New York, standing before this august Assembly – in a place so distant from Annapolis in body, mind, and soul – I cannot help but wonder whether today’s debate will contribute to the spirit, promise, and hope of Annapolis.

After all, this Assembly hall is also the birthplace of the annual 21 resolutions defaming Israel – with a litany of predetermined, impractical, and completely biased conclusions – that have only given the Palestinians a fictitious sense of reality and a discourse of rights without responsibilities, both of which render the United Nations completely incapable of playing a meaningful role in addressing the conflict.

Today – 29 of November – is perhaps the greatest example of how this Assembly continues to stifle hope and faith for peace in our region. According to the calendar of the United Nations, today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which by definition precludes Israel.


The terrorism we still see today stems from an innate refusal to recognize Israel, a refusal to recognize the Jewish state, and a refusal to recognize the value of our lives. So long as there is a denial of the existential issues, I fear, there can never be an agreement on the territorial ones.

Israellycool has the most of Gillerman's speech and a link to it.

November 29, 1947 could have been so much different for today's Palestinians. But as seen time and again, it is not peace with Israel that is sought but instead the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.

Many people claim that Israel has upsurted Palestinians from their land and that this is where the conflict lies. But it is not so.

One of early Zionism’s slogans that took hold of the imagination of the proponents of a Jewish state was “A land without a people for a people without a land.” Coined by Israel Zangwill, it evoked a desolate, empty desert where the industrious Jews could build a modern state.

Israel-bashers are fond of using this quote as proof of early Zionist mendacity, ignoring the 400,000 Arabs that lived in Palestine at the beginning of modern Zionism. To an extent they are right - certainly there were people there - but the slogan was more accurate than they claim.

Firstly, while there were people there, they weren’t “a people” - Arabs at the time identified with the Arab people as a whole, or often as a part of southern Syria, but Palestinian Arab nationalism did not appear until after the phrase was coined, in no small part as a direct reaction to Zionism itself.

Secondly, it is hard to claim that the land was anything but sparsely populated, considering that today some ten million people manage to fit in that same space. In other words, the claim that pre-state Zionism was displacing the existing Arab population is simply a lie, as the aim of Zionism was to build and grow in places where no one was living.

Before World War I, most of what is Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and other Arab states were part of the Ottoman Empire. The Romans, after brutally massacreing Jews, destroying the Second Temple, and dispersing the Jewish people, wanted to erase the name of Israel. They called it Philistia. Today, the Jewish State of Israel exists once again. The Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire no longer exist. The State of Israel will always exist. For it is the Jews of this small but extraordinary nation that have brought life back to The Land.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


At times, people can be somewhat mystified why Jews have such an attachment to Israel. It is not something quantitative. It cannot be measured. It is something in the soul. Pictures of Israel drew me to what I had always known: I belong there to live fully as a Jew. And I have not given up on the dream of moving to the little town with its vineyards nestled on the shore by the Mediterranean Sea.

And when I read posts like this one, the hope of moving there becomes even more palpable.

And another connection.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Head in the Sand

I haven't been posting very much about the Annapolis Conference. It is a denial tactic of mine. If I don't think about about, it will go away. See, every time I think about Israel having to deal with those whose one and only intent is to see her destroyed, I go into the same mode as when my ex-husband started to abuse me.

It is not a very good survival tactic but it does give me time to weigh options. Unfortunately there is little I can do about the Annapolis Conference. I can write posts about the futility of trying to negotiate peace when one side thinks of nothing but "Free, Free Palestine, from the river to the sea". One side is so blinded by hate, they would rather see their children blow themselves and murder Jews than have their children grow up.

How can peace be achieved when Palestinian school kids are being taught hatred for the Jewish State of Israel? How can anyone have any hopes of striving for peace when the Saudi Arabian delegate refuses to even shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert?

It is another useless attempt to negotiate for a peace one side doesn't even want. The Palestinians have yet to live up to any of their obligations from previous peace accords. Each time one of these "peace" camps is held, Israel faces an intifada and signs are there in Israel this conference is no different.

While this is going on, Iran steams ahead with its plans for nuclear development. Those who say Ahmadnejad is just bluffing when he threatens to "wipe Israel off the map" have their heads in the sand.

The Annapolis Conference is not over but I fear that Secretary of State Rice has her head in the sand. Denial of facts, whether an abusive husband or trying to negotiate a peace when one of the parties does not want peace, will lead to more violence.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not Enough Time

Sunday, I broke down and bought a couple of things that I needed for my camera. I bought a UV filter and a tripod. Both of these acquistions has led me to go out and test. Which means for the past three days, each day, I've taken enough pictures to fill up the camera's memory card. Which in turn means two to three hours of going through the photos and comparing the settings to see what worked and what didn't. Plus, the tripod makes it soooooooooo easy to take night photos.

I may or may not be tired of my new toys by the end of the week. Here's one that I took tonight.

I liked the patterns the lights made on the bridge supports.

Cross-posted at Photos by Seawitch

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lott to Resign?

He is supposed to be having news conferences later. A few words:

It's about time!!!

As a Mississippian, I've long been embarrassed that he continued to be elected year after year. Some of his comments have been ludicrous and frankly, stupid. The only thing I've supported him on has been his efforts to regulate the insurance industry.

Again, all I can say: It's about time!!

Update: It is official. He will resign at the end of the year. He said it was to be able to spend more time with his family. That may be part of the reason but it could just be the new rules that are to go into effect at the beginning of 2008. These new rules state that Senators cannot lobby Congress for two years after leaving office.

Senator Lott, when he first started his political career did act as though he cared for his constituents. When he first run for office, he would have barbecues which my parents took us to. But for the longest time, it seemed as though the only thing he was concerned about was his political ambitions. I for one am glad to see him go. There are many who say his leaving will be harmful to Mississippi because of his political clout. But since he made those statements at Strum Thurmond's party, he hasn't had that much clout. And the temper tantrum he throw after losing the Senate leadership did no one anyone any good. Lest of all himself.

There are others who are skeptical of his stated reason for leaving.


Dear Mr. President,

I'm sure that you receive thousands of e-mails each day and many of them are not even seen by you. But I feel I need to make the effort to let you know how I feel about the alarming statements coming from Secretary of State Condileeza Rice. You say that there should be no negotiations with terrorists and yet time after time, Israel is asked to do just that.

From reading about the upcoming summit in Annapolis, Maryland, Israel is being asked once again to make concession after concession while the Palestinians have yet to fulfill any of its obligations. It is remarkable that Ekrat, the Palestinian negotiator, protests Israel's wish to be recognized as a Jewish state. But this conference is unique in which other Arab countries are asked to participate and some may actually appear.

But what good will it do? Bahrain is openly calling for boycotts against Israel. Why should any of Syria's demands be met when they, coupled with Iran, are supplying weapons and money to terrorist groups? Those terrorists groups they arm are also the ones our troops face in Iraq.

While I agree that it is important for Arab countries to recognize Israel and her right to exist, it cannot and should not be done by putting Israel's security at risk.

Each president has dreamed of the legacy of true and lasting peace in the Middle East. But each effort has led to greater bloodshed. The current efforts will led to even more because by seemingly forcing Israel to deal with the terrorist regime of Syria and the so-called moderates of Fatah, you are negating one of your own prime declarations: never negotiate with terrorists. Peace will only come when the Palestinian Authority stops glorifying suicide bombers in its educational shows. Peace will only come the majority of Palestinians decide that their children's future involves more than becoming a suicide bomber. Peace will only come when the Palestinian Authority is held accountable for financial aid it receives. Where does all that money go?

As Golda Meir observed: "Peace will come to the Middle East when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." This has yet to happen.

You stated in your address after 9-11 that those who harbor and support terrorism will not be tolerated. I didn't vote for you in 2000 but I did in 2004. For I believed you meant what you said about terrorism. But I see now that your words do not mean anything. You would not agree to such terms in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should you ask Israel to? We are fighting the same enemy, terrorists.


Karen B

I have sent this e-mail to President Bush. You can write a similar one and send it to You can also the State Department. You can also locate and send an e-mail to your Representative or Senator.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I totally admit I read and watch tons of science fiction. From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams to The Heechee Series by Frederick Pohl and everything in between: I read and watch. There are a some characters that stick out such as Paul Atreides in Dune and Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land. And who can forgot the Marvin, the depressed and paranoid robot from the Hitchhiker's Guide.

Some of my favorite series include Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune, and Dr. Who. I appreciate PBS airing Dr. Who(the old shows) and would love to be able to watch the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. What attracts me most about Doctor Who is the concept of time as being fluid and akin to an interstate system in which different points can be accessed if you only have the key or are a timelord. The new Dr. Who show doesn't seem to have the same ummph as the old. I don't think anyone can top Tom Baker as Dr. Who.

I've been watching youtube this morning. Yeah! Four days off!! And came across a couple I liked.

Marvin: The Paranoid Android


Doctorin the Tardis

Science fiction has it all: epic battles, epic space exploration, and epic imagination on what the future will look like. But real science is even more fascinating. Echoing Life, the Universe, and Everything, tongue in cheek, scientists have been searching for The Theory of Everything. An unemployed surfer dude who also happens to be a physicist has come up with an elegant and simple solution.

Despite this unusual career path, his proposal is remarkable because, by the arcane standards of particle physics, it does not require highly complex mathematics.

Even better, it does not require more than one dimension of time and three of space, when some rival theories need ten or even more spatial dimensions and other bizarre concepts. And it may even be possible to test his theory, which predicts a host of new particles, perhaps even using the new Large Hadron Collider atom smasher that will go into action near Geneva next year...

In his post, Solomonia pointed out this interesting diagram Garrett Lisi drew up in support of this new Theory of Everything:

As Spock would say, "Fascinating".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Couldn't Decide

I really couldn't decide. Which is worse?

The Bollywood Superman:

or Star Wars Trumpet:

I think the Bollywood one stole some of the dance moves from the Star Wars Trumpet one.

You decide:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tears of a Mother

Moms throughout history have wept for their children. They can be tears of joy, sadness, or worry. Usually, they can bend a heart of stone. Moms also pray for their children. I know I do for my son. The Matriarchs and Patriarchs of Jewish are in effect our moms and dads of old. For thousands of years, they have taught us about human nature and have guided us to a closer relationship with HaShem. One of the most beloved Matriarchs is Rachel. Her tears are said to still cry for her children of Israel. There used to be a beautiful place to be able to go visit the Tomb of Rachel. The photo below shows what it looked like before it needed to be encased in a concrete bunker because of attacks by Palestinians on those who sought to visit Kever Rachel.

It is bad enough that Palestinians do not respect the holy sites of other religions. They desecrated the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and destroyed Joseph's tomb. The Waqf continues its destruction of the archaeological record of the Temple Mount.

Those were and are bad enough. But as with the Temple Mount, the Palestinians are making false claims of religious claims on Kever Rachel.

In 2000, after hundreds of years of recognizing the site as Rachel's Tomb, Muslims began calling it the "Bilal ibn Rabah mosque."20 Members of the Wakf used the name first in 1996, but it has since entered the national Palestinian discourse. Bilal ibn Rabah was an Ethiopian known in Islamic history as a slave who served in the house of the prophet Muhammad as the first muezzin (the individual who calls the faithful to prayer five times a day).21 When Muhammad died, ibn Rabah went to fight the Muslim wars in Syria, was killed in 642 CE, and buried in either Aleppo or Damascus.22 The Palestinian Authority claimed that according to Islamic tradition, it was Muslim conquerors who named the mosque erected at Rachel's Tomb after Bilal ibn Rabah.

The Palestinian claim ignored the fact that Ottoman firmans (mandates or decrees) gave Jews in the Land of Israel the right of access to the site at the beginning of the nineteenth century.23 The Palestinian claim even ignored accepted Muslim tradition, which admires Rachel and recognizes the site as her burial place. According to tradition, the name "Rachel" comes from the word "wander," because she died during one of her wanderings and was buried on the Bethlehem road.24 Her name is referred to in the Koran,25 and in other Muslim sources, Joseph is said to fall upon his mother Rachel's grave and cry bitterly as the caravan of his captors passes by.26 For hundreds of years, Muslim holy men (walis) were buried in tombs whose form was the same as Rachel's.

It seems the Palestinians are desperately trying to wipe out any and all Jewish ties to Israel. A leading "scholar" at Columbia, Nadia Abu El Haj, claims that all archaeology done by Israelis is political in nature and should be ignored because of some sort of "colonialism". Her critics have much to say:

...But politicization also derives from the impact of literary criticism and cultural studies upon anthropological method. Facts on the Ground is profoundly shaped by Edward Said's book Orientalism, which clearly rejects the idea of the objectivity of knowledge. Said's view is that science itself developed in the context of colonialism. By locating the scientific enterprise within the colonial, it becomes possible for writers like El-Haj to create labels such as "colonial science" that treat archeology in much the way old line-Marxists used the idea of "bourgeois science" to try to expunge Mendelian genetics from Soviet scientific thought. Like genetics, archeology is treated as suspect because it allegedly serves the interests of ruling groups.

It seems the Palestinians have no objectivity of knowledge and are politicizing Jewish holy sites in order to try to wipe away thousands of years of history. In Israel, Chrisitians, Bahists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others are all allowed to observe their religious practices without fear. In the areas controlled by the Palestinians, religious rights are not respected and Christians are being driven out. If ever tears of a mother are needed, it is now.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saving Israel

When President Bush took a strong stance against terrorism and refused to meet with the terrorist Arafat, I thought to myself, here's a president that gets its. Unfortunately, now that he is nearing the end of his term, he is trying to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians as past presidents have done and failed.

The problem isn't trying to get Israel to give more concessions. The problem as been and will always be the Palestinians have yet to fulfill any of their obligations from past "road maps" to peace. A terrorist attack against Israeli citizens? The Palestinians will say it is a group we have no control over. The right of return? More Jews were expelled from Arab countries when Israel was created. The Palestinians are the only refugees that have a full time UN agency dedicated to them. When Pakistan was created in 1947, 17 million people were uprooted. None are in refugee camps.

But the most glaring thing about all these attempts to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians is that both sides must want peace. Fatah has toned down its rhetoric regarding the destruction of Israel but like Hamas, it is the ultimate goal.

Secretary of State Rice, like so many before her, will call on Israel to make concessions without taking into account the Palestinian Authority has yet to achieve any of its obligations. As with Arafat, Abbas speaks words of peace to people like Rice but the Palestinian news, television shows, and Muslim clerics all preach the same thing: the destruction of Israel. And there is no end in sight. Palestinian children are being brainwashed into believing that murdering by suicide bombing is the only goal they have in life. Over the years, billions of dollars in foreign financial aid have been giving to Palestinians. And yet, the refugee camps are still open. There has been no real efforts to improve the lives of Palestinians as many of the top officials scoop out a large portion of the aid and put it in Swiss bank accounts.

Many groups like International Solidarity Movement are hypocrites. They say they support the Palestinians but all they seem to do is support suicide bombers. They say Israel check points, the security fence and other measures are forms of apartheid. Yet most of these groups do not protest when the Lebanese took more drastic actions against Palestinian refugee camps than the Israelis have ever done. Nor do they decry the violation of human rights that Hamas commits against Palestinians on a daily basis. Nor do they condemn the Palestinian terrorists who throw Molotov cocktails, shoot at Israelis, stab Israelis, or launch Kassam rockets into Israel. Clearly something is amiss.

The biggest joke though is the UN Council on Human Rights. Insanity reigns supreme at this supposed watch dog of human rights violations. Israel was again singled out for permanent indictment. Never mind Sudan and its genocidal campaign. Never mind Arab countries that do not give women rights. Never mind prisoners that are tortured in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere. And what of the human rights of Israelis to be able to live without the threat of Kassam rockets, suicide bombers, Molotov cocktail attacks, stabbings, stonings, and gun attacks?

Yid With a Lid is hosting this weeks Haveil Havalim. It is the Saving Israel Edition.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 11/16/07

Who Is Ron Paul?

Yesterday, after reading The Ron Paul Campaign and It Neo-Nazi Supporters, I brought up the subject of Ron Paul with someone. It was sort of alarming that Ron Paul wasn't known to this person. What is even more alarming is the number of young people who seem to be drawn to Ron Paul's supposed Constitution stance.

He also seems to attract a lot of attention from white supremacists and neo-nazis. From the American Thinker post:

The white supremacists do more than raise funds. Blogger Adam Holland reports:

"one of Rep. Paul's top internet organizers in Tennessee is a neo-Nazi leader named Will Williams (aka ‘White Will'). Williams was the southern coordinator for William Pierce's National Alliance Party, the largest neo-Nazi party in the U.S."
Pierce is author of the racist "Turner Diaries". When the Lone Star Times exposed the $500 Don Black donation, Williams responded on the national Ron Paul meetup site,

"Must Dr. Paul capitulate to our Jewish masters' demands?"

The mild responses to Williams' MeetUp post make a sharp contrast to the hatred and invective with which Paul supporters respond to Medved or any other writer questioning Paul's refusal to disassociate himself from his racist supporters. Any other campaign would presume Williams' expression of anti-Semitism was a dirty trick by an opposing campaign. Williams would have been hurriedly denounced and booted out of the campaign. Not Ron Paul.

Williams has also organized at least one other discussion, "the Israel factor revisited" on the national Ron Paul MeetUp site. Again the measured tone of the remarks by Ron Paul supporters in the comments section contrasts sharply with the invective Paul supporters rain down upon bloggers who oppose him. Paul's campaign relies heavily on MeetUp sites to organize. Over 61,000 Paul supporters are registered on MeetUp as compared to 3,400 for Barack Obama, 1,000 for Hillary Clinton, 1,800 for Dennis Kucinich and only a couple of dozen members for most other candidates.

On the white-supremacist Vanguard News Network, Williams links to Paul's "grassroots" fundraising site and organizes other racists to "game You Tube" to advance a specific Ron Paul video to the top of You Tube's rankings. Writes Williams, "Everybody here can do this, except bjb w/his niggerberry." Holland points out, "BJB" stands for "burn Jew burn". BJB's internet signature is, "Nothing says lovin' like a Jew in the oven."

Most candidates tend to run very quickly from supporters such as these. Ron Paul has not made any statement distancing himself from these hate filled groups. David Duke supports Ron Paul. I have to wonder at Ron Paul's silence on supporters like these. Instead of running from support from such abhorrent people and views, Ron Paul's campaign has as its internet director Will Williams who used to be the southern co-ordinator for the National Alliance Party.

To me, Ron Paul is a kook. He is a marginal candidate at best and rightly so. To not denounce the support of vile, hate filled, ignorant racist groups, says a lot about Ron Paul. Does he agree with the sentiment of one of his internet director's signature of "Nothing says lovin' like a Jew in the oven"?

On October 26, Michael Medved wrote a letter asking Paul if he welcomed the support of neo-nazis, white supremacists, 9-11 "truthers", Holocaust deniers, and other paranoid groups. Paul has yet to respond. At times, silence can speak volumes.

Update: I have moderated comments. Comments will not show up until after my approval.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Making Aliya

This past Saturday at Shabbat morning services, I made my first aliya. While standing there with the Torah reader, the gabbai, and the person who said the birkhot before me, I experienced what it means to be the guardian of the Torah.

I touched the Torah scrolls with my tallis and bring the tallis to my lips. I say the blessings thanking HaShem for giving us the Torah. I listen as the Torah portion is read and know the gabbai and everyone in the congregation follows closely to ensure it is read correctly.

The words on the scroll jump at me. And I feel humbleness in knowing this has been the way for thousands of years. I catch a glimpse of what l'dor v'dor means. And it us up to each of each to continue.

I say the final blessing and the rabbi, who had been our previous student rabbi and was here with a group of students to help in Katrina relief, asked if this was my first aliya. I say yes and a song of celebration is sung.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why Can't They Be Defeated?

They are everywhere. They attack on the streets. They attack municipalities. They attack toddlers. They try to invade homes. They have no respect for human life. In this post, I've written about the menance. In this post, Jack has tried to alert to world to this growing problem. And as Tim Blair has noted, they are taking over England.

After watching the video below, you will see just what we are up against.

What can be done?


A lost baby seal wanders inland for a mile before meandering to the Tracy Animal Shelter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Worried About High Gas Prices?

Try this:

Dirty Little Secrets

I usually try to remain upbeat when talking about rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You see more and more of them as the FEMA parks are emptied out. They are the ones you tend not to make eye contact. They are the homeless. Some are drug addicts. Some are alcoholics. But most are working poor who can no longer find affordable housing. Some are the elderly who live on fixed incomes.

Before Hurricane Katrina, an apartment could be found for $400 a month rent. Now you are lucky if you can find one at $800. Many of of the low-income housing was decimated by Hurricane Katrina. Biloxi's Back Bay Place was set to open just before Hurricane Katrina. All the units had to be repaired and two years later, it is now open.

Food prices, housing costs, and fuel costs are putting on more pressure. I haven't looked up the statistics but someone who was transferred to here from Las Vegas said it is cheaper to live in Vegas.

Part of the problem of rebuilding low-income housing is NIMBY. Time after time, I read about city council meetings where homeowners always say the location is not appropriate.

The Mississippi Development Authority wants to use $600 million to expand the Port of Gulfport. Proponents say 5,000 jobs will be created. But where will the people needed for those jobs live?

Hurricane Katrina literally wiped out volunteer programs that people could once turn to. Back Bay Mission is up and running. But many, like Feed My Sheep still have no place to help.

Most of the FEMA parks are to be closed sometime next year. As each FEMA park has closed, there are more homeless. Biloxi has done a Herculean task to reopen its subsidized housing. Gulfport lags far behind and the problem is exacerbated by not in my backyard thinking. People tend to think of low-income housing as a haven for drugs and crime. In fact, the majority who live there are the working poor.

While prices of everything have gone up, wages have gone up as well. The increase in wages, many times, still does not make up for the increase in the costs of living. The lack of low-income housing, the higher costs of living, the decimation of the support system to help those in need, and not in my backyard are the Coasts dirty little secrets. And no one wants to look the homeless in the eye. They are non-entities and someone elses problem. I fear there will be many, many more homeless in six months time as the FEMA parks shut down.

Before Hurricane Katrina, I never really saw the homeless. Now, there are too many to ignore.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

# 140

Life in Israel is hosting Haveil Havalim #140. Lot of new bloggers and some very interesting topics.

Veteran's Day Thank You

Since our country's founding, there have been men and women of every generation who have stepped up to preserve freedom. Today and everyday, I thank them.

This was my Dad's favorite day. He felt great pride when asked to be part of the color guard on Veteran's Day. Below is a picture of my favorite vet. It was taken while he was deployed at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in the early 1970's.

My Dad was the most recent in my family to serve our country's call. He was in the US Army for 16 years and a Seabee for 4 years. He had two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Seabee. There have been others in my family who have served. Some served during the War of 1812. Some served during the Civil War. One was at Little Big Horn. Some served during World War I. Others served during World War II. I am proud of each and every one. I am thankful for all those who are now heeding our country's call.

Thnaks to all who served. And thanks to all who are serving. Today, reach out and thank a vet. Go to a parade. Donate to Project VALOUR-IT.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 11/09/07

Broken Glass

Once upon a time, I was a cathecist and taught 7th grade students. I wanted to teach about Kristallnacht. I was told the subject was "too heavy". The world needs to remember. To forget means that it can happen again. Students in Venezuela are being shot at by Chavez's thugs, Sudan is conducting an ongoing genocide, monks in Burma being murdered for peacefully demonstrating, China tortures people on a daily basis, as does Egypt and Cuba, support is given around the world for Palestinian suicide bombers, and the UN can find only one country to single out time and again for human rights violations: Israel.

It is moral depravity. And anti-Semitism is on the raise. More often than not, it is cloaked under the guise of anti-Zionism. Today marks 69 years since Kristallnacht. It is time for a reminder.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

First Frost

This morning, frost was on the ground and on the rooftops. Last night, the temps were just slightly above freezing. I still have yet to turn on my heater. I've been employing passive solar heating. And it didn't cost a penny.

The way my home is placed, it receives a lot of sun during the day. Simply by opening all the blinds and curtains on the south, east, and west sides, the sunlight streams in and heats up the house.

During the summer, it is the opposite. What has hurt me the past couple of years is the trees that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina. I keep watching my oaks and they are recovering but it will be few more years before the shade will once again help keep done cooling costs.

But in the meantime, I'll enjoy the heating savings. There are many things people can do to keep fueling costs down and conserve energy without changing lifestyles dramatically. If you commute by interstate like I do, the most fuel-efficient speeds for driving are between 45mph and 65mph. I read about this a couple of years ago but cannot find the link. But I do know that by traveling between 60-65 in my commute, I can go 412 miles without having to refuel. Going over 65, I have to refuel at 389 miles. I kept track of it to see it would really work and it does.

Conserving water doesn't take all that much effort either. Do not run water constantly when brushing teeth. Same for dish washing. And I think I'm going to try something I read in the comments sections at Tim Blair's: By using a hose attached to the washing machine and redirecting it, I can use that water for my garden.

By reading this, you might think I'm some sort of green nut. But it is not the case. Being a single mom, I've learned how to save costs and I also believe that each one of us should do our part to conserve natural resources. It can be done with simple, yet effective changes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Firing For Effect-Project VALOUR-IT

"You may fire when you are ready Gridley."

Commodore George Dewey

It's time for the Navy team to begin firing for effect!! The numbers so far raised for Project VALOUR-IT speak well. Alas, there is one team, MY NAVY TEAM, that is far behind. This cannot stand!! Time to take off the gloves and go full full steam ahead for the Navy team.

It's time to call out the battleships, the carriers and engage!!!

Negative Ads

The Mississippi elections are over. Hopefully, the fields of political signs will be picked up soon. No more political pitches over the phone! And no more negative political ads! How bad were the negative ads?

From the Sunherald Sound-off this morning:

Sick of nasty ads

• I am so sick of nasty political ads on TV that I am looking forward to the ads of feminine hygiene products.


Last Friday, my son turned 21. He is now legally an adult. This past year he has made some decisions I'm unhappy with. But he is no longer a child and he will have to learn from them. The one I'm most unhappy with was his desicion not to continue with college. He has a new job and he says he is thinking about going back to college. Anyway, I've been remembering when he was younger. Every morning, when he started kindergarten, he wanted to hear the song The Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. Coast 102 usually played the song in the morning and on those few occasions when it wasn't played, I'd call in and request it. This was a morning ritual for about two years.

Another radio station played it the other day. It's funny how songs can bring memories.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

For Your Consideration

Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina demolished Gulfport, Biloxi, D'Ibervile, and other cities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her destruction was seen far inland and 85% of the state of Mississippi was affected.

On the Coast, many police stations and fire departments were washed away by Katrina's storm surge. As was Highway 90 in many places from Waveland to Pascagoula. There was no electricity, the communication system was in tatters(cell phones and land lines were useless), the water and sewage systems were not working. 65,000 homes were destroyed outright and later, 35,000 more homes had to be demolished.

Out of this chaos came help. Kessler Air Force Base suffered major flooding and 30% of the base suffered damage. This video shows the extent of the flooding.

In Gulfport, the Naval Construction Battalion Center suffered 30% damage due to wind. But it didn't stop the men and women at those bases from helping us out.

The Seabees from the NCBC provided the skills and helped Gulfport repair the vital water and sewage system. You could also see them repairing those Coastal schools that were left standing. The Marines stationed at there were out as soon as the winds died down and rescued many people stranded in trees and what was left of homes.

Kessler redirected its water supply so that people like my Mom and sister in Biloxi could have drinking water.

The National Guard provided much, much more. Imagine living in a county of 200,000 and only one traffic light working(3 days after Katrina. They directed traffic, they handed out water, ice, and MRE's, and they provided security.

From my home, I could see and hear the Coast Guard helicopters going toward the Biloxi River on rescue missions.

Without the strong military presence, the chaos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast would have so much worse.

In an effort to thank the men and women who so serve our country, I want to bring to your attention a unique program: Soldier's Angels: Project VALOUR-IT. This program provides laptop computers and the Department of Defense provides the voice-activation software for our men and women who are in military hospitals recovering from wounds. I'm part of the Navy/USCG team and a fundraiser is being held through Veteran's Day. In June 2007, the 1,000th computer was handed out at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. Please help us so those who are military hospitals can remain connected to family, friends, the outside world, and gain new technology skills.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Hurricane Katrina: Kessler Air force Base-Biloxi

I could never picture Kessler Air Force Base being under water during Hurricane Katrina. I knew the hospital at Kessler was heavily damaged as was the Commissary. But I still couldn't picture it in my mind. Since my Dad had been in the Navy, I had base privileges until I turned 18. Kessler Air Force Base was familiar to me. Even after watching the video below, it is still hard to believe:

The Commissary has been demolished and it will be rebuilt in another location. The hospital has reopened but still not at full capacity. The video briefly shows Larcher Chapel. That is were my congregation has been having Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services since Hurricane Katrina.

A lot of the base housing was damaged and had to be demolished. New housing is going up.

I believe the plane that is in the video is one of the ones that used to line Larcher Ave. and was not in service.

A Favor

I didn't even know it had been selected as a finalist until I read Soccer Dad's post this morning. Photos by Seawitch is a finalist in the 2007 Weblog Awards. It is in the Best of the Rest. Please vote. Thanks!

Some others I'll hope you will consider:

Blackfive for Best Military Blog

Day by Day for Best Comic Strip

Army Wife-Toddler Mom for Best Diarist

Treppenwitz or Mom in Israel for
Best Middle East or African Blog

Likelihood of Confusion for Best Law Blog

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for Best of the Top 250

Israel Matzav for Best of the 251-500 Blogs

Bookworm for Best of the Top 1001-1750 Blogs

Jack at Random Thoughts for Best of the Top 2501-3500 Blogs

# 139

Mom in Israel is hosting Haveil Havalim 139.

What is Project VALOUR-IT?

The old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words:

Project VALOUR-IT grew out of an idea to help those like Bryan Anderson.

The laptop was the first step to the road to recovery. It proved that he was going to be able to do all the things that he did before.

Be part of this. Join a team,(the Navy/Coast Guard is a very good choice). Write a post or two. Use the donation on the sidebar.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Shabbat Shalom! 11/02/07

It's Beautiful!

The new Biloxi-Ocean Springs is beautiful. And with it's opening, all of the Mississipi Gulf Coast communties are reconnected. And no more detours!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


The Coast Guard is one of the most visible branches of the US military. Everyday they are out there rescueing stranded boaters and stopping those who try to smuggle drugs. They were also resonsible for the rescue of around 50,000 people in 4-5 days in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

They are also in Iraq. It was with great pleasure I learned that the Navy and Coast Guard were teaming up for this year's Project VALOUR-IT fundraiser.

The Navy/Coast Guard: a winning team. Be part of it by by joining our team. An unstoppable combination with your help. If you have a blog, post about Project VALOUR-IT. Or click on the donation button on the sidebar.

Project VALOUR-IT provides laptop computers for our wounded to use in military hospitals. The Department of Defense provides voice-activation software. These laptops allow our men and women access to family, friends, and the world. They can also be used for training of new technology skills.

No Brownie Points

I've been looking forward to driving across the new Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge for 26 months. But because of Wayne Brown, the Southern District of Transportation Commissioner, wanting to be re-elected, ordinary citizens like myself must wait until around 7:00pm to be able to drive across the bridge. I can understand the first responders, the antique cars, etc being allowed to go across first. What I can't understand is why the ribbon cutting couldn't be done around noon.

This bridge marks a major, major sign of progress and yet the people the bridge is intended for seem to be left out of the loop. I wanted to take a victory lap with others along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And I still will but it will not be the same at night. When crossing the Bay St Louis bridge on the day it opened, you could see the smiles on the faces of the other drivers. Even being inside cars, the joy could still be shared.

Others I've spoken with said wait until Friday but that would not be the same.

Perhaps Brown scheduled it this way his books produced at taxpayers expense will be distributed.

MDOT has done a remarkable job in getting both bridges open ahead of schedule. There is no denying that fact. But today, I'm left with a bitter taste in my mouth because of the way this opening has been scheduled.

And it is something I'll remember come election day this Tuesday.

Update: I was able to listen to most of the ceremonies and was able to watch the wreath ceremony and the ribbon tying ceremony thanks to WLOX while at work. It was beautiful.

Today's the Day!

Since Hurricane Katrina, I've seen this sign:

Today, the new Ocean Springs-Biloxi(sorry MDOT, that is its name, no matter what you call it) will open to traffic. I'll be crossing it later and will more than likely be a big, big traffic jam. It is one I and thousands have been anticipating for 26 months. Pictures later.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Am Yisrael Chai!

Am Yisrael chai: the people of Israel live! Od avinu chai: Our forefather still lives!

An hour away from the horror of Auschwitz, Jews in Poland are rediscovering their heritage:

Slowly but energetically, the circle of worshipers made its way around the interior of Krakow's Kupa synagogue, their voices rising ever more forcefully in song and prayer.

Stirred on by the inspiring melodies of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, they briskly joined hands and thrust their feet forward in unison, filling the large and airy space with a dynamic, yet gentle, fervor.

"Merciful Father, draw Your servant closer to Your will," they sang, as the words of the 16th-century Yedid Nefesh hymn cascaded throughout the room. "Illuminate the world with Your glory, that we may rejoice," they chanted.

Just as Jews have been doing for centuries, the celebrants welcomed the figurative Sabbath bride with a mixture of pomp and elation.

But this was no ordinary Friday night service.

Over 65 years ago, this very same house of God had been stormed by the Nazis. They ransacked the interior, destroying the synagogue's furnishings with the aim of erasing the name of Israel from under the heavens.

There is something within the Jewish neshama that cannot rest until it is acknowledged. After years of denying my own, there was an uneasiness in my life. At Mount Sinai, each Jewish neshama was given a spark and it will not and cannot be denied. Even today, with Iran threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, with resurgent anti-Semitism across the globe, and threats by assimilation: Am Yisrael Chai.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Join the Navy/Coast Guard!

As of this post, the Navy/Coast Guard Team is a tad behind. Heck, even the Air Force team is beating us!

You can do your part to help Project VALOUR-IT. On June 3, 2007, at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital the 1,000th laptop was given:

Valour-IT stands for Voice-Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops. It was inspired by a soldier, Captain (now Major) Chuck Ziegenfuss, who two years ago was exactly where you are today and who remains in the Army--he was a tank company commander whose hands were severely damaged by an IED. He had been writing a blog during his deployment and used his two functional fingers to ask for help getting voice-to-text software after he was wounded. The response was huge and we realized there was both a need and a desire to fill that need. We've now given out nearly 1,000 laptops in the last 20 months.

This program did not develop because a big donor dropped a lot of money that made all this possible. Rather, it came from individual donations of thousands and thousands of people--from literally five dollars to 5,000, adding up to over a million dollars in twenty months... all because they love and appreciate you and want to help you during this difficult time. They want to make sure that if you have injuries that prevent you from using a keyboard, you can still stay connected to your deployed buddies and the family members who couldn't come here to be with you, so you can use the computer just like anyone else does. And if you will be transitioning out, we want to be sure you have the opportunity to take classes and develop the skills that you will need to be successful in your new career.

So each laptop is more than just a computer. It's a physical representation of the incredible amounts of love, support and gratitude people have for all you have done. Please remember that whenever you see it. Thank you for everything.

Join a team, the NAVY/COAST GUARD TEAM and post about it. Donate by using the blue donation button on the sidebar.

At the post Little Green Footballs did on Project VALOUR-IT, a couple of com mentors shared very easy and doable ways to help out:

A very practical way to help out:
Every Halloween I put out a coin toss bucket and Project Valor poster on my porch. Then I donate the proceeds the next day. Last year I raised a little over $200.00 from my neighbors. Y'all should try it!

A way for kids to get involved:

This is a great program! Last year my daughter organized a fund raiser at her middle school and the 7th and 8th graders raised enough for two laptops. I would encourage others to do the same.

Join now!