This "journalist" couldn't
get elected dogcatcher
Charles Johnson was
doing his usual gig, checking out the Arab News editorials. This
one, which discusses the state of U.S.-Saudi relations, had a paragraph
that simply floored me.
The US and Saudi Arabia are also poles apart in their
political systems. The American system is based on perpetual elections
at all levels; in many places even the dog-catcher is elected. The Saudi
system, however, has no election. All this does not mean that the US
and Saudi Arabia cannot have friendly relations without being friends.
Both sides need a greater understanding of each other, warts and all.
The howlers you find in foreign newspapers, eh? "In many places,
even the dog-catcher is elected."
Uh, Mr. Brilliant Saudi Editorial Writer: I suggest you take a class
in American Adages 101. "He coudn't get elected dogcatcher!"
is a saying that means the candidate is simply un-electable. We don't
actually elect dogcatchers in this country.
(Of course I realize that now that I've posted that, someone in West
Tinytown, North Dakota, is going to write me a letter telling me they
elect their dogcatcher every two years, and then I'll feel foolish. But
I think I'll take my chances and stand by my opinion that the vast majority
of dogcatchers in America are hired or appointed.)
Not that I expected the writer to understand. Not after reading the sentence
that states so simply "The Saudi system, however, has no election."
It perfectly explains how the editorialist can make such a funny mistake
about the American electoral system. When you have no elections at all,
it's easy to get confused over American elections, which are, after all,
the oldest democratic elections in the world. Perhaps we should change
our motto from "In God We Trust" to "Electing Dogcatchers
Since 1787." Ya think?
By the way, I did find a sorta-kinda actual race for dogcatcher. Here's
Some people never learn, and Washington's political
elite has nothing on Soulard. After being caught red-handed buying votes
in past Soulard elections, neighborhood "pols" have done it
again -- only bigger and more blatantly than ever before.
Only in Soulard do we have Safety Committee fundraising
"elections" every year to raise money for the neighborhood,
and elect honorary officeholders, including a Mayor of Soulard, a Sheriff,
and a Dogcatcher. Each dollar raised by a candidate equals one vote.
It's true, in Soulard money talks and elections can be bought. The only
difference between Soulard elections and the real ones is that we admit
Nearly 13,000 "votes" were cast resulting
in $11,250 raised for the Soulard Safety Committee "slush fund."
This fund supports Neighborhood Watch, National Night Out, reward funds,
security fencing, improved street lighting and the support and maintenance
of our Soulard Police Sub-Station. (The Safety Committee welcomes suggestions
for safety related use of these funds.)
[...] When asked about their motivations for seeking
office, one said, "If you're too old for drugs and rock and roll,
you go into politics."
One was running because his supporters were looking
to back "someone who would do less than the incumbent is doing."
The third was running because he looked at his opposition
and thought, "Hell, these are just a couple of old guys, they'll
be easy pickin'."
Campaign financing came into question when the Cat's
Meow sponsored a fundraiser in which 1st prize was "half of what
the Mayor doesn't steal" and the drawing was to be held "whenever
we want to."
I like an article with an intentional sense of humor. But I'll take idiot
Saudi editorial writers for amusement, too. permalink
Start the war without me
According to the Asia Times, the war with Iraq has
already begun. (Via Bill Quick)
Since March, 12,000 US troops have been added to Kuwait
(8,000) and Qatar (4,000) and 5,000 Brits to Oman, bringing the April/May
total to 62,000. In late June, the Turkish foreign ministry reported
heavy air traffic of US military transport planes aimed at increasing
the number of US troops in southern Turkey from 7,000 to 25,000 by the
end of July. Also in June, a contingent of 1,700 British Royal Marines
were re-deployed from Afghanistan to Kuwait and a 250-man, highly-specialized
German NBC (nuclear-biological-chemical) warfare battalion equipped
with "Fuchs" (fox) armored vehicles has been in Kuwait since
early this year.
An additional 2,400 US troops are deployed in Jordan
and, according to Jordanian news agency Petra, are being reinforced
by another 4,000 arriving since August 12 at Aqaba for joint exercises
with the Jordanian army. Already, 1,800 US troops (mostly Special Forces)
are inside Iraq, at least since the end of March and, in fact, units
there were visited two months ago by CIA director George Tenet during
a side trip from Israel and Palestine. Another 2,000-3,000 US troops
are in semi-permanent deployment in the Negev and Sinai deserts in accordance
with old international agreements. On August 9, the Turkish daily Hurriyet
reported that 5,000 Turkish troops had entered northern Iraq and taken
over the Bamerni air base north of Mosul. These numbers add up to about
105,000 US and allied troops on bases surrounding and inside Iraq.
[...] But in part the actions go well beyond that.
In Kurdish Iraq - according to Israeli sources - US army engineers are
working around the clock to build a series of six to eight airstrips
to serve fighter planes and helicopters that will provide air cover
for invading ground forces. The airfields are strung along a western
axis from the city of Zako southwest to the city of Sinjar; a central
axis from Zako south to Arbil; and an eastern axis from Arbil to Sulimaniyeh.
Special Forces teams are involved in on-the-ground
military target identification, mapping out Scud and anti-aircraft battery
locations. They are also helping set up, equip and train Kurdish militias
and are cooperating closely with Turkish counterparts engaged in the
same activities in Turkoman regions.
US and British aircraft are probing Iraqi defenses
beyond the no-fly zones close to Baghdad. On August 6, they destroyed
the Iraqi air command and control center at al-Nukhaib in the desert
between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The center is wired to fiber optic networks
installed last year by Chinese companies. New types of precision-guided
bombs disabled the fiber optic system. The broad aim of recent bombing
runs is to thoroughly disrupt Iraqi command, control and communications
Interesting. The Asia Times is backing up what DEBKA
reported a few days ago. And the Times is quoting "Israeli sources."
Very interesting. permalink
The next generation of murderers,
The Palestinian Authority absolutely wants to live in peace with Israel.
Sure. That's why they send their children to death cult summer camps.
Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has the horrifying pictures.
children learning to slaughter Jews in their homes, at a summer camp
sponsored by Yasser Arafats Fatah organization
Najah University in Nablus has a rather unique curriculum, focusing
on essential Palestinian skills such as attacking Israeli buses with
demonstration was organized by Yasser Arafats Fatah movement,
in support of Saddam Hussein.
Follow the links. They're sickening, but true. permalink
From Stephen Sondheim's Into
No more questions
No more tests
Comes the day you say, "What for?"
We'll just move right along. (And I found out it's available on DVD.
First store I'm visiting when I get back to NJ is Coconuts.) permalink
Tony over at the Rant Factory insists on continuing
the forced-pregnancy discussion. Okay, Tony, my former slumlord pissed
me off bigtime this morning, so I'm looking for something to sink my teeth
Argument 1: Ah, no. You don't get to make a law
that says I have to carry a fetus to term if I don't want to.
Well, why not? We've made laws forcing castration. Also, in Skinner
v. Oklahoma (in 1941) the state Supreme Ct. stated that procreation
is a basic human right available to women AND men. I don't think it's
very fair to say, basically, "my uterus trumps your argument"
because, as I said earlier, the fetus is in your body but it's not part
of your body. Saying "you can't make me" is basically the
same as saying "fathers have no right to a child unless the mother
a) doesn't object, or b) needs some money. Why does having a uterus
automatically give the woman the power to affirm or deny the physical
and emotional connection between a man and his child? Choice has to
be universal, and has to apply, for both choices, to either or both
parents, regardless of the discomfort or danger. Anything else is a
sham, not to mention being vulnerable to anti-choice legislation.
No, choice doesn't have to be universal, because men don't have the babies.
You're seriously using as an example a law that chemically castrates
child molestersconvicted criminalsas an argument why
you should be able to force women (who have broken no law, by the way)
to carry to term a child that they don't want? (Said castration can also
be reversed; are you going to have a reversal of childbirth?) Sure, that'll
happenwhen the United States suddenly becomes the USSR or China.
Saying "you can't make me" is saying, "My body. My decision."
The thing about being able to use the uterus cardwell, that's where
the childbirth action takes place, Tony. When men can grow a uterus, they
can then determine what happens inside it. Choice doesn't become universal
because childbirth isn't universal.
And quoting a 1941 Oklahoma state Supreme Court opinion? Oh, come on.
In 21st century New Jersey, for instance, there is no such decision. I'm
willing to bet it's not even binding in Oklahoma. You're reaching.
Argument 2: ...childbirth is the single most traumatic
natural event that can happen to a woman's body. Even in this modern
era, women die in childbirth.
I'm very, very well aware of the physical trauma caused by going through
labor and delivery, not to mention all the stuff that happens before.
I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to say it's the single most traumatic
natural event, though... simple old age is quite a bit worse over the
long term (but I know that's not what you meant by "natural").
Okay, I didn't say that pregnancy is the single most traumatic physical
event to happen to a woman because I think it is. Medical practitioners
say that. It doesn't matter if you think it's an exaggeration. It's a
medical fact. I probably never should have brought up dying in childbirth;
it is irrelevant to the discussion, really. The relevant factor: My body.
Finally, argument 3:The ultimate reason a woman gets to say whether
or not she's going to have that baby is because she's going to have
I don't see how that applies. I do think, though, that denying men the
same choice women have, then forcing compensation based on shared responsibility,
makes a mockery of the whole choice idea. Either men are never, ever
responsible for children, or else men get the same legal powers of choice
that women get. You can't give the woman the sole decision making power
without placing the consequences solely on the woman, and I don' t think
we want a society which assumes no paternal rights at all.
It's obvious that you don't see how that applies. Men don't have
the same choice women have, because men don't have the baby. My body.
My decision. You absolutely can give the woman that kind of decision-making
power and still not place the consequences solely on the woman; that's
why we're having this discussion in the first place. Nope, it's not fair,
nope, it's not equal, and, well, tough. Life isn't fair, and life isn't
equal. My body. My decision. Not yours, not a judge's. permalink
Errors and emails
Okay, okay, I got my head handed to me for thinking Forbush Man was MAD
Magazine and not Marvel. Yeesh. I forgot! And Steven, Willie Lumpkin is
the Fantastic Four's mailman, or as he would be known today, Letter Carrier,
and no, I didn't have to Google it to find out. I know what Aunt Petunia
looks like, too, and it's nothing like Aunt May.
Speaking of hot women, I got a piece of spam today that I thought I'd
share with you all:
[TITLE] I new to the area
No you're not. This is the Internet, sweetie, there is no area. Glad
to see your grammar is as good as your brains.
Hi my name is Beth. I saw your profile on ICQ.
No you didn't. I've never been on the ICQ. Not interested. You got my
email via the Pepys Project or because Dave Winer didn't hide email addresses
in Radio comments when they were initiated. (Did I remember to say thanks
for that Dave? I'm so thrilled.)
I am new to the area and am looking for someone to
show me around.
See, now here's my problem. New to what area? Show you around where?
Show you exactly what? If this is a "You show me yours and I'll show
you mine" kinda thing, uh, well, we have the same things, and I'm
straight, so you're totally S.O.L.
If you're interested in hanging out with a cool girl
send me an email at [email protected] and we can chat on instant
There you go, boys, a present from me to you. If the email address is
legit, not only can you chat on IM with Beth The Slut (who may very well
be Chet the 250-lb. Star Trek fan living in his parents' basement), but
she can get spammed, too, as soon as the spambots catch this page. (Calling
all spambots! Dinnertime! Come and get it!)
Hope to hear from you soon!!
- _ _ -Beth
Look! A pretend PGP key, just to make you think Beth is for real. Or
is that her ICQ number? (Beats the hell out of me, I'm serious when I
say I've never been. I type 100 wpm. I refuse to chat with anyone who
can't type at least 60. And spell.) And awww, she's even blowing us kisses.
Or are the O's hugs? I forget.
Anyway, y'all have fun with Beth, and report back to me if anything amusing
happens. And remember: No glove, no love. permalink
Is it funny?
Just one rule for the time being: Is it funny?
Left of Center got a surprise
guest-host today, too: Forbush Man! Wow, I didn't know that MAD Magazine
let him do anyone else's schtick. (Michael, you never want to open a post
about the Hulk with the words, "Smash this, Green-butt!" Come
to think of it, you didn't. The phrase "Smash this Green-butt"
is a very different phrase without that comma. [snicker]) And they wonder
why English majors are always laughing. (Update: I know, I know,
Bigwig pointed out this
article on the anti-globalization-cum-Palestinian-cum-every foul
or screwy cause
in the world march on Washington the week after the "We
It's by P.J. O'Rourke, and it's utterly hilarious.
Okay, let's make it two rules: Is it non-controversial?
Matt Yglesias finally changed
his blog to a readable black text on white background. That's not
funny, just a sign that we have won another battle in the readability
wars. And I am hereby designating Matt the InstaLefty. LeftyPundit? InstaLeftyPundit?
Nah. Too much. InstaLefty. There you go. InstaLefty Matt Yglesias. Matt
the InstaLefty. Pass it on.
The Poorman is on hiatus, but
he leaves us with these words
of wisdom: "Badly acted, not directed or edited in any noticable
way, Halloween III is an astonishing acheivement in the field of celluloid
shit." That's my boy.
Hey, Vegard, I got another
Nigerian spam email today. Should I pass it along for fisking by you?
(Mine is from BARRISTER ALI KOLOMA,which sounds sort of like colonic,
which brings you to the region where you will get it if you're dumb enough
to send these folks your bank account number. I may very well have Fun
With Fools again and present my letter for your amusement. "I came
to know of you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person
to handle this confidential transaction, which involves the transfer of
a huge sum of money." Yeah, that's why the letter is addressed to
"sir." He's being so confidential he's not even divulging my
And Laurence Simon
is doing the same-old, same-old, except he's winning the Most Tasteless
Blogger competition (it's strictly a two-man race, I'm the judge, and
no, I won't take bribes.) What, you want links? Nuh-uh. Too tasteless
for me to link to with a clear conscience. permalink
Hulk take over for Meryl today. Meryl not want to write 'bout contro--contro--tough
things. Meryl say she relaxing today and you all leave her alone. Hulk
will SMASH anyone who not leave Meryl alone! Why you still send her letters
about things she not want to write about? Hulk smash Michelle if he could
find her! Well, maybe not smash. Maybe just crush. Okay, Hulk never smash
woman, but maybe Hulk smash woman's house. Meryl say no. Car? No. Boy,
Meryl not let Hulk have any fun. Oh! Meryl say if Michelle has yip dog,
Hulk can smash dog. But Hulk like dogs! Even little tiny ones that bite
Meryl say go here
to read more on tough things she not write about. (Who this Ampersand
guy? Why he like sand? Hulk not like sand, it get in Hulk's pants and
make him itch.) And here.
(That right, Ronnie, Meryl very polite. You be polite too or Hulk smash
you.) Nice guy Dave have more
to say on God. Hulk know Thunder God, he nice most of time. Sometimes
we fight. Hulk win. Hulk always win.
Hulk tired of this. Hulk leave now. permalink
No more effing controversy
I bought ice cube trays today. Who effing cares? some of you may be thinking.
Uhwhat's that got to do with anything? the more polite of you may
be thinking. This one's going to be really boring, is what some of you
are thinking, and don't think I don't know that you're thinking that.
You may all leave the room now; when you come back I'm sending you home
with a note for your parents.
It's all about the comfort level.
There weren't any ice cube trays in my new apartment's freezer. The previous
tenants, or the ones before them, made off with them. This happens to
be the second apartment in a row where they've done that, and it's effing
annoying me. (You can thank Diane
E. for the effing effings; she's the one that sent me an email titled
"effing Scorpio" after she called information and discovered
that my phone number is effing unlisted. And I like using "effing,"
it seems less vulgar than the word for which it stands, one nation, indivisible,
oh, wait a minute. Got carried away there. Effing rhythms.)
Okay, so I'll stop for a bit.
Anyway, the ice cube trays are vital to having a cocktail. You can't
have a cocktail without ice, or it winds up all warm and watery instead
of cold and watery, and there is a huge difference between a cold watery
cocktail and a warm one. Warm ones are just, well, gross. (Thought I was
going to say "effing gross," didn't you? Ha!) And for one reason
or another, the habit I picked up from Heidi of having cocktails at ten
p.m. every night went by the wayside during my packing frenzy before the
move, my disorientation after the move, a stomach bug that hit me on and
off over the past few weeks, and, well, the fact that I have had no
effing ice cube trays since I moved here. So today, having realized
there was a Target on the way home from spending the afternoon with Heidi,
I was determined that I would not go home without ice cube trays. Which
I did not.
And tonight, I poured myself my first official cocktail of my Richmond
residency, determined that I was not going to write another post about
all the effing controversial subjects that I've been writing about these
past few days. I am going to sit here, relaxing, sipping my vodka and
Coke (which my pal Terry
has assured me is a very Irish drink, and she is my authority on things
Irish, so I believe her), and posting aboutmaking a relaxing cocktail.
My particular brand of drink grew out of two things: One, vodka is one
of the few liquors whose taste I can stand. Two, when I worked night shift,
I used to be exhausted on Saturday nights because I generally got no more
than four hours' sleep on Saturday afternoons (I wanted to live normal
daytime hours on my days off). So I'd wander into the Saturday night get-togethers
sleepy-eyed and needing caffeine. I hate coffee, so I'd drink Coke. After
a while, I decided it was just as easy to put some vodka in my glass of
Coke, as everyone else was drinking, anyway, and so my personal favorite
drink was born. My current favorite brand is Rain; it's so good I can
actually drink it straight (though I usually don't). Heidi owes me a bottle
of Grey Goose as a housewarming present; I have to remind her of that.
I'm told it's even better. VodkaDude
would probably be able to clue me in on that.
My drink seems to have become more widespread, as I rarely get the strange
looks from bartenders when I order a vodka and Coke now. Either that,
or they only give strange looks like that to twentysomething girls, and
not to cough-coughsomething women. Hm. (The answer to the question
from the guy in the back is, "Because rum sucks, that's why. And
pay attention, I already said why I liked vodka.")
So there you have it. Ice cube trays = cocktails = relaxing. Effing controversy
go away. In fact, go read Vegard
Valberg's very funny takedown of a Nigerian spam letter. We all need
a break around here, and I don't have enough vodka to share with everyone.
One last bit of seriousness
Dave Trowbridge, who is not Jewish, has joined
in the discussion on Mark Shea, Abe Zelmanowitz, and Catholicism.
About the only thing I have to add to this topic is to the commenters
over on Mark's weblog: You people need to read up on your history. A lot.
A whole lot. (And I'm thinking this may be the last word on that
Dave's opinion on the matter at hand:
Of course, Mark and Christians of a similar persuasion
may still argue that, even though faith in Jesus is not needed, it is
still his power working through people like Abe Zelmanowitz's that produces
the holiness he exhibited. And certainly, at the heart of both faiths
is the certainty of God's sovereignty over the universe, so that nothing
can be accomplished without Him. But, as I understand it, the Jewish
understanding of this dependence is far more like a partnership with
God than a "channeling" of His intentions as it is in Christianity.
That perception is at the heart of the Covenant they observe, which,
as the bishops rightly insist, is valid for all time, for God does not
So even though I am a Christian, I cannot, and must
not attempt to, understand that relationship in Christian terms, but
only in the terms God chose to define His relationship with His chosen
people. Instead, I must sayfor so God said almost 5000 years ago
and has said ever sincethat it is Abe's observance and understanding
of, and devotion to, the Covenant made with Abraham and his descendants
that lay behind that holy act of sacrifice and demonstration of the
love of God.
Amen, Brother Dave. permalink
Still more paternity posts
Richard Bennett gets
back to me over on his site. (I'll be back later with studies shoring
up my end of the discussion.) Tony of The
Rant Factory had me agreeing with a lot of what he said. Until I read
If 3: This is where it gets wierd... but that fetus
had its genesis in the union of two people, and the fact is that while
it's INSIDE the woman's body, it doesn't equal her body. In fact, the
woman's body has to constantly produce hormones which suppress the body's
natural reaction to a foreign organism... kill it, reject it, get it
out. Decrease in this hormone is what triggers labor. It's a woman's
body, but the fetus is a seperate thing... it's not like a toe or an
If the father wants this child, the mother should not
be able to abort it. Instead, the mother should abdicate her responsibility
legally. No child support, no rights of visitation, no contact. The
father should have to pay (and I mean PAY) a hefty sum to compensate
the woman for what is an extremely unpleasant and possibly dangerous
process. Once again, the idea that you ould be compelled to carry to
term a baby you don't want might cut down some on accidental pregnancy.
Finally, with a framework like this in place, well
known and well written, people can make intelligent decisions with some
idea of what the outcome might be. With some predictability and a bit
of equal justice, it gets a lot easier to say "you should've thought
of that before you got yourself into this."
Ah, no. You don't get to make a law that says I have to carry a fetus
to term if I don't want to. Perhaps you might want to re-read Diane E.'s
post, where she pointed out that childbirth is the single most traumatic
natural event that can happen to a woman's body. Even in this modern era,
women die in childbirth. I know of two women who died in childbirth. You're
right when you said above that it's not like it's a toe or an ear. The
ultimate reason a woman gets to say whether or not she's going to have
that baby is because she's going to have that baby.
And now, more reader mail. I simply have to print this one, it's
from Eve (okay, Summers), who takes issue to my writing this:
That's why the woman gets to decide whether or not
she wants to have the baby, and why the man has to pay even though he
has no legal say in the matter. Because of the age-old story: Men leave.
Women stay and take care of the children.
While that's undeniably true in a general and historical
sense, it's not a fair assessment of each situation, as you yourself
noted. However, there's a more solid rationale on which to assert the
primacy of the woman's decision, and it has the advantage of being universally
applicable: Women bear the biological burden of pregnancy and childbirth
exclusively. It's not fair, but biological facts don't know from fair;
they just are. So I say that as long as women bear that biological burden,
their desires regarding unintentional pregnancy should be honored, not
because of stereotypical male-female behavior.
To test our premises in the time-honored Philosophy
101 fashion, let's imagine a case in which the biological burden is
removed from the woman and the desire to nurture resides in the man.
Suppose medical science makes it possible to remove a fetus to an artificial
womb through an operation that carriers no more risk than an abortion
or a term pregnancy. If that day ever comes, I would hope a man would
have the option to do so if he wanted the child that resulted from an
unintentional pregnancy and his partner did not. And under that circumstance,
I would support his right to compel the woman to pay child support,
even if she didn't want the child. That seems fair to me, but under
the rationale you proposed, the woman in this hypothetical case would
still have the upper hand merely because men have historically been
less devoted parents than women.
And while I am tempted to end this argument on a high note, I would much
rather end it on a funny one. From reader Lauren Coats, on why there isn't
a male version of the birth control pill:
Actually, there was considerable work in the 60's and
70's on a male pill. They were all effective, too. They made him impotent.
Good Lord, isn't it over yet?
I think the new motto for this weblog will be: Damn the controversy,
full speed ahead!
Diane E. has now chimed
in on the paternal responsibility discussion, damn her! (I want it
to be over.) It made me realize that I'm quite tired of the discussion,
but not too tired to print a few more letters. Well, tomorrow, anyway.
Jeff Cooper has joined
in the discussion on Abe Zelmanowitz.
This is all rather heady stuff, and as a Jew struggling
to overcome an entirely secular upbringing (and married to a Christian)
I'm probably out of my depth in trying to comment on this. But it seems
to me that Mark is trying to have it both ways, and that it won't work.
I have no doubt that Mark meant well by what he wrote. His deep admiration
of Abe Zelmanowitz's supreme sacrifice is apparent. But Mark does suggest
that, although Abe Zelmanowitz was a pious Jew, his holiness was not,
and could not be, the product of his Judaism but rather was the result
of intervention by the Holy Spirit, a notion that Zelmanowitz himself
surely would have rejected. Strictly speaking, this may not demand of
Jews that they abandon anything, but it most certainly does seek to
appropriate the holy act for a faith foreign to the actor and to deny
any force to the actor's own deeply-held beliefs. It should be no surprise
that Jews, who for centuries have been subject to Christian proselytizing,
would find this offensive.
Not bad for a secular, intermarried Jew, Jeff. Not bad at all. (Of course,
at the end of his post rather broke the mood, but it was a pleasant surprise.)
Mark Shea responded
as well. He gets rather pissy at my and Lynn's
remarks, and downright
mad at Judith
Weiss', but hey, Markwhen you go around Catholicizing a Jewish
man's actions, then saying you're not, then saying you are, but not reallyit
does tend to offend Jews.
At least one of Joe's readers has made the mistake
of thinking I was suggesting Abe was a "Christian". I wasn't.
Abe lived and died a pious Jew. I was rather, saying that people who
don't identify themselves as Christian are not thereby necessarily uninfluenced
by the Spirit of Christ. Since my tradition teaches that it is only
through Christ that we have salvation (since he is God incarnate) then
I have to conclude that the obvious holiness of Abe's life is the fruit
of some mysterious influence by the Holy Spirit that is outside the
normal means of grace with which most Catholics are familiar. There
is room for this in Catholic tradition.
Yeah, but there's no room for this in the Jewish tradition, and that's
what's offending us, Mark. When you take your traditions and apply them
to a Jew and declare him to be under the influence of Christ, whether
or not he knows it, we tend to think of that as your saying he was a Christian.
There just isn't any other way to interpret that. And, wellit annoys
us. It may seem like a good deed to you, judging by the title of your
posts, but it doesn't to us.
Ronnie Schrieber has a new
blog and has added
his two cents to the discussion, including an opinion on my link
to what I described as an example of interfaith understanding:
As for Meryl's example of "real interfaith understanding",
I'm more than a little uncomfortable with these joint tenancies (there's
a building shared in Ann Arbor by a temple and a church) because in
an attempt to "understand" while avoiding conflict important
differences between the two faiths are glossed over. Furthermore, I
have no doubt that part of the motivation of the church in offering
their sanctuary was to give witness to their beliefs and try to draw
Jews to Jesus. They would be denying their faith if they said differently.
And I think that's about all the controversy I can take for one day.
I think tomorrow, I'm just going to stick to writing a new Cattales, which
hasn't been updated in ages. Well, okay, not really. I found a knock-your-socks
off news article to parse for us all.
Oh, but before I forget: Shelley,
Heidi, my friend whose in-laws live in Arkansas, tells me that just about
any drugstore in Missouri has something called Chigger
Rid. Best of luck with that, eh? permalink
Readers reply on fathers' rights
Win Fitzpatrick reminds
me that the principal reason men don't have a say in abortion is that
ultimately, it's the woman's body. Not that men don't take care of the
children and women do. He's right, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise.
I was adding to my reasons from the first post. And now onto the mail.
(Note: the letters were long and some had to be edited for brevity. I
tried to keep the flavor of the author's points intact.) Michelle Dulak
First, you are not presenting the woman's full range
of options here. A woman who gets pregnant can, of course, abort; and
if she does not want to abort or to raise the child, she can relinquish
her parental rights at birth.
You're quite wrong that the "keep it in your pants"
line never comes up in these discussions. Ten years ago I used to read
a Usenet discussion group on abortion regularly, and "Don't wanna
have to pay child support? Then keep it in your pants" was constantly
used there. (Sometimes he is told to get himself permanently sterilized
instead; I can't tell you how many men in that forum were off-handedly
advised to "get snipped.") It was generally countered from
the anti-abortion side by "Well, don't wanna have a baby? Then
don't spread your legs."
What you actually say is "If the man doesn't want
to risk paying for a child, don't have unprotected sex." But "protection"
can fail, of course. Condoms can break, or fall off. Or be retrieved
from the trash and used for self-insemination. This is rare, to be sure,
but it has actually happened, and child support has been upheld. There
was even a quite astonishing case in which a man wearing a condom got
a b***j** from a woman (there was no vaginal intercourse at all), she
later used the condom's contents to inseminate herself, and child support
was upheld against him. (I thought this had to be a joke, but I tracked
it down online some time back and it seemed to be a genuine case. Not
sure if it was subsequently overturned though. It damn well should have
And there have certainly been a good number of cases
in which men have been lied to by women who claim they are on the Pill,
or have an IUD, or are sterile. Your response to this fraud is evidently
"tough luck; should've worn a condom anyway." But we are talking
about payments that routinely run into the six figures. Calculate, say,
$500/month over 18 years, which I'm guessing would be a smallish judgment.
Child support should be pegged to the legitimate costs
of raising a child, not to the size of the father's bank account (as
it often is); it should be promptly adjusted if the man's financial
situation changes, as if he is laid off or imprisoned (as it often is
The fact is that while we use the apparently gender-neutral
term "reproductive rights," almost all of them are in practice
rights of women and not of men. Think about it. If a woman wants a child,
barring infertility, she can get herself pregnant (naturally or artificially)
and have one. Single women and lesbian couples can raise families. Single
men and gay male couples generally can't; they find it difficult to
adopt, and surrogate motherhood is a terrible legal and ethical tangle.
So women, but not men, get to start families outside of a long-term
If, on the other hand, they choose not to have children,
women also have the edge. Their birth control options (as you said)
are much broader; they can abort if they find themselves pregnant anyway;
and they can unilaterally relinquish their parental responsibilities
at birth if they so desire. They have a right to a slice of the biological
father's income under almost all circumstances, whether he has consented
or not, whether his relationship to them was solemnized or not. If the
relationship dissolves, they win custody of the children pretty much
whenever they ask for it. Nothing (usually) then prevents them from
moving to the other end of the country and thereby forcing the father
to see his children only rarely and at great expense.
I can't think of a single area in which men have greater
reproductive freedom than women do, unless it be that a vasectomy is
a less complicated operation than a tubal ligation.
Birth control and abortion are attempts to relieve
women of the huge burden that pregnancy and motherhood place on us by
nature; but by leaving women all the advantages of being able to give
birth or not, while not trying to give any compensating rights to men,
the current regime leaves the playing field hopelessly slanted in favor
of women. I'm not sure what can be done about it, but coming up with
some form of male relinquishment of parental rights and responsibilities
would be a start.
As for presenting the woman's full range of options, it wasn't the topic
at hand, and everybody reading these posts already knows the options available.
I didn't see the need to discuss them.
The reason women get to have all the advantages in this particular area,
Michelle, is that they're the ones who give birth. Until there are artificial
wombs, the playing field by necessity must be slanted toward women.
As for fraudulent births leading to parental supportthat bothers
me, as well, but I wasn't talking about deceptive practices. Just simple
pregnancy resulting from lack of birth control on either side. I have
no figures for women who get pregnant through deception, have you? I have
no idea how prevalent it is, do you? The same goes for accidental pregnancy:
Yes, the system isn't perfect, but that's the risk a couple takes when
they have sex. As for the child support possibly running into the six
figures: Yeah, it sucks, doesn't it? So if a man gets the judge to make
child support a laughingly low amount, the mother's still stuck paying
for the upkeep of the kids. The need doesn't magically go away. Then there
are all those studies about women's incomes going down after divorce,
while a man's goes up. Interesting, that. The one who has to take care
of the kids winds up with less money. But I digress.
Michelle, we don't have to come up with some form of male relinquishment
of parental rights and responsibilities. That's the problem that needs
to be solved here. That's what I started writing about in the first
Richard Bennett writes:
What a sad pair of articles you've written on men,
women, and children. I hardly know where to begin. Oh, well, gotta start
"Keep your knees together" was the old timey
argument against abortion, birth control, and sex education. We've come
a long way since that was considered an intelligent riposte, which you
should recognize when using it's masculine form, "keep it in your
You clearly know nothing about child support, and would
be better off not trying to comment on it until you've learned the basics.
For starters, it's paid monthly, not weekly.
Finally, the idea that men leave and women stay is
contradicted by at least two significant pieces of research:
1) Women file for divorce twice as often as men. In
these cases, the man loses out on custody, but it wasn't really his
doing, was it?
2) Studies of childcare practices among the American
middle class show that mothers and fathers of school-aged children who
both work (that would be the majority of married parents) spend equal
amounts of time on child care.
In the cases where you have an old-timey stay-at-home
mom, who exactly do you suppose it is that makes this situation possible
from a financial point of view? And if a situation like this breaks
up, do you suppose it's easier for the wage-earning parent to acquire
childcare skills or for the childcare parent to acquire wage-earning
skills? I'd vote for the former.
I don't know why you were so snippy about this issue,
so I'm inclined to write it off to ignorance.
Ah, Richardis the bloom off the rose so quickly? And to think,
you used to agree with me... But to your points.
I do know something about child support; merely because some of
it is paid in monthly installments doesn't mean it is only paid
monthly, and that was, well, kind of a dumb thing to fixate on.
1) The statistic that women file for divorce is completely different
from the statistic that women initiate the divorce. What are the stats
on the latter, please?
2) Name those studies, please, because I've read the complete opposite
My brother is currently staying at home due to a variety of circumstances,
and taking care of his eleven-year-old son while his wife works. He's
compiling a list of expenses that they've saved by having him home for
childcare, as well as taking care of all the domestic chores plus the
yardwork, the pool, and keeping the household finances. It works out to
quite a large amount of money, more than most people can afford to pay
someone to do all those things. And guess what? Stay-at-home moms do most,
if not all, of what my brother the stay-at-home dad is doing. (As an aside,
nearly everyone he comes into contact with thinks he stays home doing
nothing all daythe typical canard stay-at-home moms have had to
deal with for decades.) So although the stay-at-home parent isn't receiving
a paycheck, let's not pretend s/he isn't working. And let's not pretend
that the paycheck-bearing spouse is the sole reason the other can stay
at home. There are several factors involved.
Snippiness: Right back atcha, bubelah. (Actually, I left that paragraph
in because your style cracks me up. I know it pisses off a lot of people,
but somehow, I'm not one of them.)
Okay folks, there are a few more letters (some of which even agreed with
me), but I'll publish them later. This post got a little long. permalink
What's in a name?
Every so often, a metablogging trend hits that I actually care enough
about to venture an opinion. (We are an insular, egotistical lot, we bloggers,
and we simply love to talk about ourselves.)
This one is the practice of blogging anonymously or with a pseudonym.
Steven den Beste started
the furor with some licks at Demosthenes, who responded
with about as much verbosity as was thrown at him.
Without really meaning to insult everyone who has taken part in this
debate, I'm simply amused by it. I've seen this argument over and over
again in the online community, having been online since 1986. The way
I figure it, it's your choice. I bought the domain of yourish.com
back in the days when you could still buy your internet name domain (not
that I was particularly worried another Yourish would snap it up; there
are perhaps 50 of us in the country). The domain name sort of makes it
incumbent on me to use my real name here. Plus, I've always hated being
anonymous. It drives me crazy pretending to be something that I'm not.
I've always sucked at game-playing in social situations for that very
reason; if I can't just be me, and be rather direct, I just can'twell,
whatever I'm supposed to be doing. My close friends have caught on to
all of the code-words I employ when I'm trying not to give away my opinion.
If I say something is "neat," one says, "Oh, you don't
like it." I don't play poker, because only a blind person can't read
my expressions and tell my mood from them. Subtle is a word rarely used
to describe me.
Under those circumstances, I'd last about three days as an anonymous
But still, the current debate strikes me as, well, a waste of bandwidth.
Name yourself or don't name yourself, I don't care. If I like your writing,
I'll read you. If I don't, I won't. No one's online opinion is ever going
to have as much weight as my offline friends' do, unless it's a blog written
by an offline friend. It's like reading a newspaper column. I don't know
anything about Tom Friedman beyond his name and what I read by him, nor
do I really care to.
But I've got to say this: I've been dying to use this story ever since
I first saw any blogger get into a debate with Demosthenes. In Harpo Marx's
autobiography, he describes a few bon mots that he heard during
the Algonquin Round Table years (he was a silent member). Alexander Woollcott
asked the Round Table folks if they'd like to hear him make up a sentence
with the word "Demosthenes" in it. Of course they all said yes.
"Demosthenes can do is bend, and hold the legs together."
My kinda guy, Mr. Woollcott. permalink
A real example of interfaith
Mac Thomason linked to this
article in the Birmingham News (yes, that Birmingham). It's
about a Southern Baptist church making a home for the congregation from
Temple Emanu-El, a Reform Synagogue that underwent 14 months of renovation
Temple Emanu-El members hugged, kissed and touched
their sacred Scriptures as they were passed along through the crowd,
watched closely by law enforcement officials.
Since June 9, 2001, Birmingham's Reform Jewish congregation
had worshipped at Southside Baptist Church, which had welcomed the members
and covered its gold-colored cross during Jewish services to avoid offending
anyone. On Saturday, Temple Emanu-El held its final Sabbath service
at Southside Baptist and gave a standing ovation to thank church members
for their hospitality. The cross was not covered during the service.
The Rev. Steve Jones, pastor of Southside Baptist,
said that during the 14 months of sharing worship space, the Jewish
congregation may have shed some of its associations of the Christian
cross with the persecution of Jews. "I think it came to represent
something new, not something oppressive," Jones said.
"It was an indication of a growing comfort level,"
Rabbi Jonathan Miller, spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El since 1991,
said of the cross' being left uncovered.
Miller said the Jewish congregation developed a deepened
relationship with the church. "For us, it was a necessary place
to meet," Miller said. "But it helped us grow spiritually
and helped us look at the Christian world not as an adversary but as
a spiritual partner."
Members of both congregations took part in the procession
and in services at the church and the synagogue.
"It's given us a greater depth in our own faith,"
said Jesse Bates, a member of Southside Baptist Church.
"We have shown that people of different
faiths can worship together in love and fellowship," said Jack
Aland Jr., a member of Temple Emanu-El. "We discovered some friends
we didn't know we had."
Now that is a "shining
example of interfaith understanding," Joe. Without intruding
on either worship.
The Jews and Baptists are looking forward to more joint
programs, such as a Scripture study on Wednesday nights this fall that
will look at the Hebrew Bible and its influence on the New Testament,
Jones and Miller said.
The relationship between the church and temple has
changed both congregations for the better, they said.
"So much goodwill has come from this," Jones
"It has helped people grow and see beyond their
horizons," Miller said.
Vimru: Amen. (Let us all say: Amen.) permalink
Having a look around
There's an article in Ha'aretz by Terje
Roed-Larsen, he who said in April that Jenin was "horrific
beyond belief" and insinuated that the bodies were piled as high
as an elephant's eye in Jenin, on the road to a two-state solution and
peace. Tell mewho put the pod under his bed? What, suddenly he's
the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and he's
talking about both sides' responsibilities? I say we commence a
special UN investigative committe into who kidnapped Larsen and replaced
him with this guy.
But in this era of unimaginable attacks that rip through
the bodies of innocents, the fabric of communities and the tattered
remains of a peace process, I feel we must reiterate it. At the same
time, we must stress that there is a way out of this madness, one that
also follows a long standing UN position - a negotiated agreement that
creates two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace
When it comes to the bloodshed that stretched from
the campus on Mount Scopus to the hills of the Galilee, let me be clear
- terrorism has absolutely no justification on any level. Only one word
describes indiscriminate attacks against men, women and children - murder.
Terrorism has wreaked havoc on Israel and must be stopped.
The Israeli people need to know that when they board
a bus, visit a cafe, mark a religious holiday or, yes, even go to school,
they will not be victims of heinous acts of violence. Moreover, terror
attacks have also been extremely counterproductive for the Palestinian
people. They have deepened the occupation of their land, which remains
the core of this conflict.
Oh. Phew. He's still there. Terror attacks have been counterproductive
for the Palestinians. Yeah, it really sucks, the way that terror attacks
can set back your plans to conquer all of Israel.
Joe Katzman responds
Scott Koenig, whose site the Indepundit
is the repository of all things McKinney, has sent out a
letter to Dr. Mohamed S. Omeish, the Vice President of the American
Muslim Foundation. It should be interesting to see the reply to questions
Do you believe that Hamas and Hezbollah are sponsors
Do you support Hamas?
Do you support Hezbollah?
Do you believe it can ever be justified for a military
action to intentionally target innocent civilians? If so, under what
I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for answers, Scott.
Diane E. takes
on the the warblogger-watch crowd, morally blind leftists, the complicity
of American Muslim groups, Atrios, and, well, even the people who post
in comments threads. In doing so, she coins a new term:
One left-wing blogger emailed me: "I am thoroughly
enjoying the whacking that Atrios/Eschaton was giving you. You deserve
every word of it."
Amen, anonymous bro.
For the record, I don't think I've been taking a whacking.
But that's the way radical leftists talk: there's always the threat
of the truncheon about them. On the contrary, I believe I am offering
the possibility of moral self-reckoning. Atrios has responded to my
questions by staggering forth, sinking his sword into his own midsection
and committing blogger-kiri. I mean no disrespect to hara-kiri which
is, after all, an ritual of honor.
There is nothing honorable about moral blindness.
Bogger-kiri: I'm going to define it as something you would rather do
than mess with Diane.
Gary Farber read the Saudi response to "What are We Fighting For,"
and found the reply signed by 153 Saudi intellectuals to be, well, about
what you could expect.
We see secularism as inapplicable to Muslim society,
because it denies the members of that society the right to apply the
general laws that shape their lives and it violates their will on
the pretext of protecting minorities. It does not stand to reason
that protecting the rights of the minority should be accomplished
by violating the rights of the majority.
The rights of the majority to suppress minorities,
that is. Ya folla? Thus, the rights of the minority to, say, practice
Christianity or Judaism in Saudi Arabia are protected by protecting
the rights of the majority to forbid the rights of the minorities.
I had no idea Kafka was actually Arabian, but it's
a richer culture than many imagine.
I won't bother pointing out the rest of the endlessly
self-serving illogical, outright threatening, bullshit, in this "How
We Can Co-Exist," but I will say that reading it is again educational.
This is the "liberal," "moderate" Saudi response.
It threatens more terrorism, in numerous ways, if they are not agreed
Plus, he says I'm kewl.
(He'd better watch our or he'll owe me a million billion jillion gazillion
dollars.) Dudedid you read the part where I get male escorts? You
want male escorts? I wouldn't borrow it word-for-word if I were you.)
It got far too serious around here lately. So I made it even more serious.
I stole it directly from Bill Quick
and jiggered it around a little. I think mine is much more interesting
than his. (Bill's is really boring.) I think mine is much more interesting
than anyone's, actually. See if you agree. permalink
Blogging from Israel
For some reason, I don't think I've ever posted about these three Israeli
bloggers, a mistake I am now rectifying. (And I'm adding an "Israeli
bloggers" section to my links page.)
Imshin has a biting wit that
makes me laugh out loud more often than not, and I love her directness
and sense of irony. It reminds me of someone... Here's an example:
You know, I wonder about these people. They seem to
be living in a time warp. Maybe theyre right to disagree
with the notion that Zionist emigration to Israel is any kind of 'solution'
for Diaspora Jews, anti-Semitism, or racism. After all, Jews were
doing just great beforehand, especially in the wonderfully enlightened
Western Europe. But thats all water under the bridge.
Right now there are over five million Jewish victims
of that mistaken notion, living in Israel, seeing it as their home,
many of them third and fourth generation Israelis, many of them speaking
no other language but Hebrew. A large percentage of these victims
of that mistaken notion were forced to escape their homes in Arab countries.
Together these victims of that mistaken notion, no matter
which country they were forced out of (call me strange but I also see
Holocaust survivors as having been forced out), have built a home and
a life, without having to apologize for being different, for the first
time in two thousand years (and you know, whatever they say, Jews in
Arab countries had to keep their heads down too).
So what next? Oops, sorry! Mistaken notion! Its
back to Libya, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Poland (Poland??? Motti, what
did you do with that Polish dictionary, your Great-Great-Uncle Yankel
gave your father?) and so on, for you lot. Oh, and girls, make sure
to exchange that belly-button ring for a nice big piece of black material,
covering everything but your eyes (it could prove helpful if youre
lucky enough to miss the massacre at Teheran Airport).
Gil Shterzer gives compelling
play-by-plays of what happens during major terrorist attacks. It brings
the attacks home when you read items like this:
A short time ago there was an explosion in the Hebrew
University at Har Hatzofim Jerusalem. At least 7 people killed, 65 injured
15 of them in serious condition. The explosion happened in a cafeteria.
Im a bit worried because I have friends that
study in that university.
It seems someone planted a bomb and it wasnt
a suicide bomber this time. There a lot of Arab-Israeli students in
the university and the police is checking whether one of them sneaked
the bomb pass the security guards.
Ill update later.
Of course, Gil writes about many things, and he can be hilarious (his
post on a Palestinian terrorist was accompanied by a picture and the description,
"He's really ugly!").
Tal G. was the "first"
Israeli blogger; he got a quick leg up from Yahoo and his website address
quickly entered the blogosphere because of posts like this:
There are roadblocks up in Jerusalem. Today they're
serious: my very innocent-looking wife T. was pulled over.
Don't know if this is true, but a strange poster on
the street says that Knesset Member Michael Kleiner is going to visit
the Temple Mount today or tomorrow.
Tal also has commentary on the daily life in Israel, the worth of various
Israeli newspapers, and the political situation.
Reading all three blogs gives you quite a picture of what day-to-day
life is like in a constant state of undeclared war. Each of the bloggers
discusses whether or not to go out for simple things that Americans and
frankly, the people of nearly every other nation take for granted.
I was thinking last Thursday night, as I sat in the open-air amphitheatre
in Dogwood Dell in Richmond, waiting for a Sondheim show to start, that
in Israel, they couldn't. They simply couldn't have a play in the midst
of a park. Too open. Too insecure. Too easy to bring a bomb in a bag to
a place where everyone had coolers and tote bags and picnic baskets. Too
dangerous. Too deadly.
It made me realize that I needed to introduce the Israeli bloggers to
more people. Here they are. permalink
Readers speaking out on responsibility
Folks are sending in some emails about the recent
regarding fathers' rights vs. women's choice. I'll be publishing them
later today or tomorrow, so if you're sending one, it will be helpful
if you put a line in your email indicating if you'd like your letter published,
and if so, how you would like your name referenced (first and last, first
And may I say that I'm very pleased at the civil tone of all the responses?
I have great readers. I've known that a long time, but you keep on showing
me over and over again. permalink
Abe Avremel Zelmanowitz: A thoroughly
Lynn B. and I are having
some serious problems with a post
by Mark Shea, wherein he decided that Abe Zelmanowitz was not only
a hero, but indeed, managed to "save" himself in the Christian
way by staying with his paraplegic friend and ultimately dying with him
on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center.
Although I'm sure Mark had no intention of offending, his words are deeply
offensive to many, many Jews. I'm certain he's going to be shocked to
read my reaction to his, as Lynn said, well-intentioned post. But good
intentions do not absolve him from being told how wrong he is on Abe Zelmanowitz.
And yes, I think it extremely likely this man is in
heaven. For some Christians, this is problematic since there is a common
notion afoot that the only way to be saved is to make a verbal profession
of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. I think there
are other ways in which a human person can open himself (often without
realizing it) to the grace of Christ (mostly since I experienced it
myself). This man appears to me to have lived "greater love hath
no man" in a way that most of us just chatter about.
[...] No, I'm saying that there is no satisfactory
answer for the ability of a fallen human to sacrifice himself for love
as Abe did except the grace of God. Since my Tradition teaches that
all such grace comes to us through Christ, I can only conclude that
that Abe's soul was under the influence of Christ, whether he realized
it consciously or not. Like Emeth in The Last Battle, he might have,
for all I know, had all sorts of innocent, wrong and misinformed notions
about a name called "Jesus" that had no more relation to the
real Jesus than a bad cartoon of a person has to the person. Such notions
are not culpable. But what was happening at his core looks very much
like a man who was trying to listen to the Spirit. My hope is that when
Abe got to heaven, he looked our Lord in the face, laughed his head
off in surprised recognition and then set to at the heavenly banquet
with all the other saints. I deeply believe heaven will be both a huge
surprise and like coming home to what we've always most deeply believed
Mark is clearly struggling with the notion of a person
who is not a Christian making a truly selfless sacrifice and also with
the idea of such a person being allowed into heaven. And he resolves
this dilemma by concluding that Avremel Zelmanowitz, a devout Orthodox
Jew, somehow, without knowing it, must have been, at least in some small
part, a Christian.
Now, I never knew Abe Zelmanowitz. But I do know a
few Jews, Orthodox and otherwise, and Ive spent more than a small
part of my life studying Judaism. And I can assure Mark that he will
have to find a different way to resolve his dilemma if hes going
to be truly honest with himself or with the spirit of the man whose
hereafter hes taken it upon himself to contemplate. Joe called
Marks ruminations a shining example of interfaith understanding,
without denying or glossing over the conflicting principles of either
faith. I have to disagree. Marks comments reflect an appalling
but all-too-common lack of interfaith understanding and
totally ignore one of the most basic conflicts between Judaism and Catholic
She is referring to Joe
Katzman's post that says
Of course, this also raises issues.
[...] Mark, a Catholic, doesn't have a problem with
that. Indeed, it becomes the bridge and resolution for a Christian problem
- if Abe didn't accept Jesus, how can he be saved? What follows is a
shining example of interfaith understanding, without denying or glossing
over the conflicting principles of either faith.
No, it's not. It's a shining example of the cluelessness some Christians
have about the Jewish faith. By insisting that Abe was under the influence
of Christ without even knowing it, Mark manages to effectively say that
Abe's entire life as an Orthodox Jewwhich is an extremely difficult
life to lead, by the way; I'm Conservative and that's tough enoughup
to that time was a complete and utter waste of time, since he could only
be saved by accepting Christ. It didn't matter that Abe's actions were
the results of a lifetime of studying Jewish law, commentary, and philosophy,
and it didn't matter that as an Orthodox Jew one of the defining pillars
of his faith was that the Messiah has not yet arrivedit must have
been Christ that influenced him to stay with his friend and ultimately
sacrifice his life for him. This is the subtext of Mark's words, though
he may not have meant them as such. And this is the key to what offends.
I have heard words like those many times before, and let me tell you,
I am not flattered to be told that a Jew is acting in a Christian fashion.
(Although it is more than a little ironic, when hearing that, to reflect
exactly how Jewish most Christian traditions are.)
Abe was a Jew, Mark. He lived a Jew, he died a Jew, and if there's an
afterlife for him, my guess is it's the Jewish afterlife. He chose to
be buried in Jerusalemnot Bethlehem. He asked his rabbi this:
"A few days before the terrorist attack,"
Yankel Zelmanowitz related Monday, "Avremel attended a Sabbath
shiur [lesson]. The rabbi spoke about sacrificing oneself for the love
of God. Avremel told the rabbi: 'You speak of the great historical heroes,
like Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, but how can a simple Jew
like myself show his love of God?' The rabbi made some suggestions,
but Avremel was not satisfied, so he asked the same question once again.
The second reply didn't satisfy him either, nor did the third. But a
few days later, he got the reply."
"How can a simple Jew like myself show his love of God?" Abe
asked. A simple Jew. He was a hero. A Jewish hero. Kindly
don't nominate any more Jews for sainthood; we're happy enough just being
told we're good Jews. And Abe was one of the best of us. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser
Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin
Laden's diary and The
Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.