Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Here Comes the Sun

I don’t hide the fact that I am a Democrat and that I supported Barack Obama from the moment he was the front runner in the Democratic primaries. There are many reasons why I am a Democrat and I am not going to bore anyone with that list here. I do, however, want to make note of a few things (and perhaps some of my reasons for being a Democrat will show through).

First I want to say that although in the end I was very much against everything that Bush said and did, I was not totally in that camp. Clearly when he was running against Al Gore back in 2000 I supported Gore, however, I had more of a wait and see policy. It was very obvious that Bush was and still is a major supporter of Israel and for that I will be forever thankful. I think that due to Bush our Country will, for the foreseeable future, be a very pro Israel country. It was not until the Iraq war that I became totally dissatisfied with the Bush administration. I did give him the benefit of the doubt at first, and I really wish that the Republican right would extend the same courtesy to Obama. Everything I read from the right has been so anti Obama it actually pains me to read it at times.

If you look at Rush Limbaugh’s web site, the top headlines read “Obama Executive Orders put Politics over National Security” and “I want Obama’s Policies to Fail”. And even worse “Greg Craig, Our 44th President.” Obama has spent 2 full working days in office and this is what they have to say. Why can’t they wait and see what things are going to be like before they criticize. Of course I understand that someone like Limbaugh is partly entertainment and that the ultra left may have spouted off similarly when Bush won office. But truth be told, are we better off now than we were 8 years ago when Bush became President? I think the answer is an obvious no, and I would love to hear the reasons why someone would answer yes. Let’s wait and see what happens over the next year. When Bill Clinton became president, things were not in the best of shape, but after eight years in the White House, our country was doing the best it had been in many years.

So to my Republican friends, take a deep breath and wait and see.

Second, I am very excited about Obama’s first executive order, issued on his first full day in office. It spells out an ethics pledge that any new governmental appointee will need to sign. You can read it here.

And third, as to the closing of secret overseas prisons and Guantanamo Bay I am also happy about this. Obama said this afternoon “Our ideals give us the strength and moral high ground” to combat terrorism. Where I hear this I am reminded about what Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1775 “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

So in honor of the first days of the Obama administration….

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What the *#&%$!@ is wrong with Alaskans?

What goes on up there in Alaska? I have heard it is a beautiful place to visit and someday I hope to get there. But I will repeat. What the !@#$%^& is wrong with the people up there. First they go and elect Sarah Palin as their governor. Ok, I can almost forgive them this. Yeah she is a right wing nut who would be happy burning books in her library. But she is good looking and speaks like one of the people. I guess in Alaska all you need is love
good looks you fill in the blank.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Mark Begich, a democrat, won the Senate seat away from 6 term senator Ted Stevens (thank God). This is good news. What gets me is that there were only about 3,700 votes separating the two of them. Races like this are common in America today, but what is not common is that the person running for office is a convicted criminal (ok he was convicted on ethics charges, but still a crime). 49% of the voters in Alaska voted for a convicted felon to be their Senator. What is going on with that? I shudder to think where the Republican Party is going if they were telling voters to vote for him!

Luckily 51% of the Alaskan people are smart enough to realize that we don’t elect criminals to the US Senate. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, Independent or what. I hope that people can come away from this with a lesson learned.

Song of the day

I have been posting the songs included on each episode of Life on Mars (although I missed last week). I am including a list of last night’s songs, plus a pick for song of the day that was from last week’s episode.

On top of this, I would love people to check out two sights. My friend Wrekehavoc has been posting every day this month for National Blog Posting Month (nablopomo). She always has a theme for things like this and she has chosen blatantly bad 70s music. Check it out, it’s fun. On the other hand, if you would like to hear blatantly GOOD 70s music, go to the Life on Mars website and they have a 70s radio stream, playing great songs from the 70s.

Anyway, here are last night’s songs.

Sweet Lucy by The Propositions
Sweet Lucy

We’re an American Band by Grand Funk Railroad

Going to Make a Time Machine by The Majestic Arrows

Tuesday’s Dead by Cat Stevens

And my pick for song of the day is from last week’s episode. The episode was about race relations in the 1970s which of course is a very difficult topic, but I think they played it fairly well. In 1954 David Arkin (father of Alan and grandfather of Adam) and Earl Robinson wrote a song as a response to the landmark decision of the US Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas. This was the decision that overturned the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson and others by declaring the establishment of separate public schools or black and white students unconstitutional. It stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

The song that these men wrote was called Black and White. It was first recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1957 but became a number one hit when Three Dog Night recorded it in 1972. This song was in many ways as landmark as the Supreme Court decision, especially the version by Three Dog Night. This was a group of white people singing about racial equality in 1972. Something that till that time was unheard of. I cannot say that the song had any major impact in of itself, but I can say that it was due to people like this that helped to change the world and bring racial equality to a time when a black person can be elected President of the United States.

Enjoy!

Barack Obama and The West Wing

To this day one of my favorite TV shows is the West Wing. I think it was one of the most (if not the most) well written shows that I can recall and the fact that it was so popular in America gave me hope that the real “silent majority” in America were really, deep down, socially conscious. Yesterday the New York Times published an article paralleling the campaigns of Obama and McCain to those of the fictional Matthew Santos and Arnold Vinick in the last two seasons of the West Wing.

I won’t repeat the article here, it is worth reading. But I will say again that the fact that a show about a very liberal white house could get as popular as it did IS I believe testament to where Americans really are in their political thinking. Finally after eight years of failed conservative policy we are on the brink of finally bringing a liberal administration to the white house which will work to put our nation back on the right track. And if you are not sure, just take a look at this column from the Telegraph in London.

And since I am talking about the West Wing I had to add this little thing. The last episode of the 2nd Season contains what I think was the greatest moment in dramatic television. The you tube is below, but I want to set the stage for it for those who did not watch the show. President Bartlett is in his third year of his first term in office and was contemplating not running for re-election. He suffers from MS and that was kept from the public. In the midst of all of this and the tribulations of being president, his secretary, Mrs. Landingham purchased her first car ever and while she was driving it for the first time, she was killed by a drunk driver hitting her car. She was probably one of the two most important people in his life and he knew her since he was a boy.

The scene below is right after her funeral at the National Cathedral.

Here is the translation of the latin:

Gratias tibi ago, domine
Thank you, Lord.

Haec credam a deo pio, a deo justo, a deo scito?
Am I to believe these things from a righteous God, a just God, a wise God?

Cruciatus in crucem
To Hell with your punishments

uus in terra servus, nuntius fui; officium perfeci
I was your servant, your messenger on the earth, I did my duty.

Cruciatus in crucem (with a dismissive wave of the hand) eas in crucem
The Hell with your punishments! And to Hell with you! (literally, “may you go to a cross”)

One more month

One month from tomorrow Americans will go to the polls and choose our next president. I have not made any secret of the fact that I support Barack Obama. Here are three videos about Obama and the Jewish Community.

 

Barack Obama

I get very upset when people, republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, say things like “I don’t like either choice for President”, or “I’ll vote for the lesser of two evils”. I cannot believe the number of people I have spoken with who say they just may not vote this year. Aside from being a defeatist attitude that I can do without, it is also naïve and uninformed.

I am very happy to say that I am voting for Barack Obama, and I want to explain a few reasons why. First off, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter at the beginning of the primaries (well actually John Edwards, but it became very clear early on that he was not going to win). I felt that she would be better suited to get things done, but alas, more people preferred Obama.

But now that the candidates are set, Obama’s message is one that I agree with totally, and fully support. I want to talk about a couple of areas of his platform as it would be futile to try and cover it all.

As an American Jew, I feel the need to discuss Jewish issues first. In actuality, I don’t believe that so called “Jewish issues” should be how I choose the president of the United States, but when speaking with friends and neighbors that is what seems to come up, especially at Synagogue. What are “Jewish Issues?” First thing that always comes to mind is Israel. Is Obama good for Israel and is he good for the Jews? That is what people keep asking. Well, I want to say that the answer to both is unequivocally YES.

Let me look at the last part first. Is Obama good for the Jews? When I hear this question, I cringe. What does it mean? What is good for the Jews? In America, it seems to me; whatever is good for America is good for the Jews. We are privileged to live in the greatest country that has ever existed on this planet. We have more freedoms and more possibilities that any Jews ever had; anywhere, anytime. There is nothing that I can imagine that would be good for America but bad for the Jews or vice versa. The two are forever intertwined. Is Obama good for America? That is easy. Our country and our planet is facing threats that were unfathomable in past times. Climate change, energy crisis and unaffordable education and health care are issues that every American should be using as their tests to choose the next president. People who see these issues in cyclical terms need to open their eyes and see what is happening right in front of them. Only Obama and the democrats will work towards a future that we will be proud to live in.

With five justices of the Supreme Court 70 years of age or older it is quite possible that the next president could be appointing as many. Of those five, three are on the more liberal side of the court and the appointment of conservative justices in their place will forever change the course of this country. I will not speculate what could change, but it is a very frightening thought in my mind.

Is Obama god for Israel? I choose to answer that second, because for the most part I find it an irrelevant question. I am an American and I vote for a president first and foremost based on how good he or she will be for America. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s only real ally there. It is impossible in my mind to foresee ANY president break the bonds between Israel and the United States. Israel needs the United States and the United States needs Israel. So I find using Israel as a litmus test for electing a president to be very distasteful.

There you have it. I am proud to be an Obama supporter and pray for his election in November.

Thunder in Winter?

or: We interrupt this blog for a small rant

Early this morning at about 4 am, Avi came into our room and crawled into our bed. This does not happen too often anymore and usually we wither don’t even know because we stay asleep, or we just let him come in the bed, roll over and go back to sleep. This morning was one of those times when I woke up. It seems that around this time there were some major thunderclaps in our area.

Thunder in winter? Say it ain’t so! Whats going on here? Until this winter I cannot recall any thunder in the winter. Apparently, thunder needs a warm area in order to form. The cold ground and snow usually make it almost impossible. According to wikipedia, there are approximately three reported instances of thunder snowstorms each year and they usually are around the Great Lakes.

So what is up?

The powers that be in the united states seem to want to, at best, ignore climate change, and at worse deny its existence. I think that the evidence is quite hard to ignore or deny, but our politicians (with some exception) seem to do just that. I realize that “An Inconvenient Truth” is alarmist and shows worse case scenarios, but even with more conservative estimates, our planet is warming and if we do not make major changes right here, right now, there will be terrible consequences in the future.

Obviously we all can do our part. Change to fluorescent bulbs, recycle better, stop using petroleum products in our home etc. Did you know that most dish detergents are petroleum based? Clearly it is impossible to stop all petroleum use, but we can slow it down. If every American family switched to cfl bulbs, we could reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds.

Unfortunately, while this helps, and will push the inevitable farther into the future, it is up to us as responsible people to make sure our government is doing the right thing. We all know that science has eradicated smallpox and people generally do not get polio anymore. Why not fix global warming? I have no doubt in my mind, that science can do almost anything, given the proper time and funding. What we need is leaders who understand that what they do today will truly impact the future. When it is time to vote in November, I hope that most Americans will keep this in mind.

This has been a short rant. We now return you to regularly scheduled blog.