Monday, October 13, 2008

Chag Someach!

Our lives are not measured by the number of years we exist, but what we accomplish while we live, and by the good we may render to our fellow man.

Henry Wells -


Arthur said...

The Obama campaign is encouraging Jewish kids to fly to Florida to visit their grandparents over Columbus Day weekend. The website for the intitiative, www.thebigschlep.com, features comedienne Sarah Silverman instructing Jewish youth in Lysistrata-style tactics: Threaten to withhold future visits unless Granny agrees to vote for Obama. Here’s another suggestion: Tell them that if they don’t vote for Obama, “the goodest person we’ve ever had as a presidential choice,” it can only be because they are racists.

My guess is that Bubbe and Zaidy will not be too impressed by such bullying; nor should they be. The grandchildren will seek to prove that Obama will is good for Israel, but their identification with Israel bears no relationship to that of their grandparents. For them the Holocaust is the stuff of history books, not a living memory. Ditto the U.N. vote on Israel’s creation. They did not huddle anxiously around TV sets listening to the U.N. debates leading up to the 1967 war, when a second Holocaust seemed all too possible and 10,000 graves were dug in Tel Aviv in anticipation of war casualties. Many have never heard of Entebbe.

A 2007 study by sociologists Steven Cohen and Ari Kelman found that more than half of non-Orthodox Jews under 35 would not view the destruction of the State of Israel as a personal tragedy. The death and/or expulsions of millions of fellow Jews is something they can live with. By those standards, they probably would not see the Holocaust as a personal tragedy either.

Indifference to Israel, Cohen and Kelman found, “is giving way to downright alienation” among the under 35 cohort. Israel complicates the social lives and muddles the political identity of young Jews. Only 54% profess to be comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state at all. These are not the people to be telling their grandparents who will be good for Israel.

The grandchildren will cite Senator Obama’s high rating from AIPAC as proof of his pro-Israel bona fides. Irrelevant. Every senator with national ambitions has such a high-rating, which is based on nothing more than voting for appropriation resolutions. Far more relevant to determining a candidate’s likely relationship with Israel as president is his worldview.

Obama views talk as a universal solvent, and seems to believe that most conflicts can be solved by sitting people down around a conference table to air their grievances. That makes him remarkably sanguine about resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, which he says would be a high priority from day one of his administration. The last time an American president made solving the conflict a high priority Israel ended up with the Al Aksa intifada and open warfare.

If Obama thinks there is an easy solution to the conflict it can only come in one form: Israel’s return to its 1967 “Auschwitz borders.” He basically confirmed that in a June interview with Jerusalem Post editor David Horowitz, in which he allowed that Israel might justify “67 plus” in terms of a security buffer, “but they’ve got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party.”

Yet an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would almost surely result in a third Iranian-armed and financed adversary confronting Israel, just as previous Israeli withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza led to the takeover by heavily armed Iranian proxies in the form of Hizbullah and Hamas. Israeli intelligence officials estimate that absent an Israeli presence in the West Bank Hamas would takeover almost as quickly as it seized Gaza. From the Israeli point of view, withdrawal from the West Bank, at present, would be a classic example of Einstein’s definition of insanity – the repetition of the same action with the expectation of different results.

Obama assumes that Israeli settlements, not Israel’s existence, are the source of Palestinian “antagonism.” But Palestinian polls tell a different story. A June 5-7 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research found that three-quarters of Palestinians do not believe that reconciliation with Israel is possible in this generation, even after the conclusion of a peace agreement and the creation of a Palestinian state, and nearly two-thirds think it could only happen after many generations or never.

Nor is acceptance of Israel any greater among the senior political echelons with whom Israel is supposed to conclude some kind of peace treaty. The Palestinian Authority recently sent its warmest congratulations to child-murderer Samir Kuntar on his release from an Israeli jail and announced plans for festive celebrations in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the mastermind of the 1973 Coastal Road massacre in which 37 Israelis were murdered. Those gestures make it difficult to understand how Obama could credit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayd with doing everything possible “to address some of the systemic failures of the Palestinian Authority,” (unless ceaseless incitement against Israel is not one of those systemic failures in his eyes) .

Senator Obama’s faith in the power of words is equally dangerous with respect to the Iranian threat. In June, Obama told the AIPAC convention that face-to-face negotiations with Iran would be necessary before any military response could be justified. In the last presidential debate, he dropped any reference to military action and said negotiations must precede any strong sanctions, and must include the Russians and Chinese.

But the Europeans have been engaged in futile, unconditional negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program for six years. If Obama has a tastier carrot to offer than the Europeans, he should at least say what it is. As for the Russians and Chinese, they have made clear that their economic interests lie in supporting Iran, and that they will stymie any further U.N. Security Council sanctions.

The only result of yet another round of face-to-face negotiations, after six years of Iranian stonewalling, would be to give Iran with more crucial time to complete its nuclear weapons project and provide Ahmadinejad greater internal legitimacy.

An Obama presidency, then, would almost surely result in an Israel living within indefensible borders and in the crosshairs of a nuclear Iran. Bubby and Zaidy should tell their progeny that in Jewish tradition wisdom flows from the elders to young, not vice versa.

This article appeared in the Jerusalem Post, October 9, 2008.

Anonymous said...

Chabad Capitulates

David Hazony/Commentary Magazine

Of all the major ultra-Orthodox movements, I have always had a soft spot for Chabad. The followers of the late rebbe of Lubavitch, for all their flirtations with messianism and their unique extra-halachic practices, have always struck me as understanding a fundamental truth about religion that the others did not:

That in the modern world, one cannot bring people closer to religion through authoritarianism; that religious movements today act in a competitive environment of ideas, which means that they have to show why their way of life is superior to the alternatives, rather than just asserting the authority of one rabbi or another; that Jewish religion, even in its more stringent incarnations, has room for flexibility in terms of changing values such as the role of women in society (if not in ritual); that if one is rewarded in the world to come for every Jew one brings closer to Torah, one may be similarly punished for every Jew he drives away.

The strength of the Chabad movement has always been in the relative openness of its representatives, in their confident willingness to bring people closer by their example and welcoming spirit, rather than by the implausible insistence that their rabbis and rules are somehow better than everyone else’s.

But this week, something happened to undermine my confidence. And as usual, the problem has to do with a view of modesty that appears to countenance endless indignity to women.

The holiday of Sukkot has been traditionally seen as both the most sensuous and the happiest of holidays. The emphasis here is on beauty and esthetics. And during the time of the Temple in Jerusalem, millennia ago, it was during Sukkot that the greatest of celebrations took place in ancient Israel. Accordingly, the ultra-Orthodox today host their best parties during sukkot.

Yet this time around, women in Jerusalem will not be celebrating. Fearing the licentiousness that apparently comes with too much festivity, the major Hassidic communities have in the past decided to turn down the volume on all the celebrations — effectively excluding the women, who anyway have to stand in distant, cordoned-off areas. And this year, Chabad capitulated to the intense pressure of the others. “We will continue to follow the rebbe’s orders in all locations except Jerusalem,” said their spokesman, “where the local public specifically requested that we respect their sensitivities…. As a result of the changes we made this year in Jerusalem, women who came to our annual event in the past will be forced to stay home.”

Local public? Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and though it certainly has a more traditional flavor than Tel-Aviv or Haifa, it is still a city where secular and orthodox, Jew and Arab, may pursue their own lifestyles. Chabad’s decision to toe the line on banning women from the Sukkot celebrations is a further step into darkness.
16 Tishrey 5769

UOJ gets results said...

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating ``unwarranted and outrageous expenditures'' at American International Group Inc., which received an $85 billion federal bailout last month.

In a letter to AIG's board of directors, Cuomo demanded the company stop ``extravagant'' expenditures and recover millions of dollars in unreasonable payments, or face legal action.

Cuomo cited a $5 million bonus and a $15 million ``golden parachute'' AIG awarded its chief executive officer in March. Martin Sullivan was AIG's CEO at the time. Cuomo said the company also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ``luxurious retreats'' for executives, including an overseas hunting party and a golf outing.

``The party is over,'' Cuomo said today at a press conference on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. ``No more hunting trips. No more luxury resorts. They are not going to have the party and leave the hangover for the taxpayers.''

Osama said...


(Reuters) - For supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama it is a nightmare scenario -- his apparent lead in the battle for the White House suddenly evaporates on Election Day. The cause? Race.

As Republican rival John McCain celebrates victory, it emerges that a small but decisive percentage of white voters who had declared to opinion pollsters they supported Obama actually chose differently in the privacy of the ballot booth.

With opinion surveys making Obama the favorite over McCain less than three weeks before the November 4 election, attention has turned to the question of how many white Americans might be lying to pollsters about their willingness to vote for a black president.

The phenomenon is known as the "Bradley effect," after Tom Bradley, an African American who narrowly lost the 1982 California governor's election despite leading in polls.

His defeat surprised observers who concluded many white voters had not been honest about their intentions. Ever since, pollsters have tried to factor in the Bradley effect in elections featuring black candidates.

Those concerns weighed heavily on John Estep as he canvassed for Obama last week in the mainly white town of St. Bernard, Ohio, where he was once mayor.

"They will say in a poll, or say on the porch, 'I'll vote for Obama.' But I question how many will stick with a person of color when they pull that (voting booth) curtain," said Estep.

"A lot will talk the talk but how many will walk the walk?"

Analysts counter that since the 1970s, surveys have shown a sharp decline in the number of voters who say they would not vote for an African American for president.

Recent surveys have indicated that Obama's race is less of an impediment to voters than McCain's age. At 72, McCain would be the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency.


The analysts also note that few people who are turned off by a black candidate's race would likely vote Democrat anyway.

"The ... South is where you have a long-standing tradition of racial polarization (in voting)," said Merle Black, professor of politics at Emory University in Atlanta. White voters in the South have for decades favored Republicans while black voters nationally side with the Democratic Party.

White Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry only gained 23 percent of the white vote in Georgia in 2004 and lost the state, evidence that white voters prefer Republicans for reasons of ideology rather than race, said Black.

Race is a sensitive subject in the United States because of the country's history of slavery and racial segregation, and continued social inequality between white Americans and black Americans, who form about 13 percent of the population.

Politicians rarely address it directly and both the Obama and McCain campaigns downplay the idea the some whites might not be speaking honestly about their voting plans.

The diversity of the U.S. electorate makes it hard to quantify the phenomenon, pollsters say. An older voter in South Florida may be of the same race as a young union member in Virginia or a businesswoman in Colorado but share little else.

The Democratic primaries in which voters in the states picked the party's presidential candidate painted a mixed picture of the potential for a Bradley effect. In some states, Obama got fewer white votes than expected but in South Carolina and elsewhere it was the opposite.

Commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson said there was a potential for the Bradley effect to be decisive, and that Obama might need a 10 percent lead in opinion polls to be sure of overcoming it.

"The big question is, can the dire straits that the economy is in ... offset any penchant on the part of the white voters to lie to pollsters?" Hutchinson said.

"It depends on how deeply someone has racial bias (and if) that person feels that Obama can do something for him or her."

The latest Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll gave Obama a 4-point national lead.

Pollster John Zogby said he took the prospect of overstating white support for Obama very seriously.

Zogby tries to factor any potential Bradley effect into his polling but said he believes it will be negligible, in part because estimates of Obama's support had proved accurate during the primaries.

Even so, Zogby added a note of caution, "I don't see it as a big factor but I may learn a lot on Election Day."

Public Service Announcement said...

A Yom Kippur Resolution to Protect our Children (If you would like to add your name to the petition, please email Sherree Belsky at Aries2756@optonline.net)

Mee Lahashem Aylai

Let’s make a Kiddush Hashem and stand up for our children!

On Yom Kippur we read the part in the Torah where incest is prohibited. It is the first time in history where a code of law condemned this practice officially. It is where we all first learned about the crime. We read it right before Neilla. While for many, and for many years it has been confusing as to why we read this horrible portion with all the examples of sexual depravity at the holiest time of the year, on THIS year, the explanation may seem readily apparent. In light of the recent horrific news about child abuse that have rocked our communities and as a partial fulfillment of our obligation for Teshuva on Yom Kippur we the undersigned resolve that:

We are committed to the undeniable right of children to live and learn in a safe, secure happy environment were people they are supposed to look up to and trust are not threatening their physical, emotional and mental health and well-being.

We denounce those individuals who act so immorally and dishonorably as “sinners” against the Torah and its moral values whether they are ill or evil and must be immediately removed from their innocent prey.

We will not stand blindly, silently or helplessly while child abuse happens in our communities.

We resolve to do everything in our power to speak up and confront abuse.

We will educate ourselves and protect our children.We will offer support and/or protection to victims/survivors of child abuse.

We will follow appropriate guidelines for reporting child abuse and molestation to legal authorities.We will support legislation to make our Yeshivos/schools safe for all students.

We will work to educate our community to prevent further abuse.

Avi Shafran on erev Succos said...



Kashrut and ethics are not interwoven

In response to Cynthia Herber’s opinion article in the Sept. 26 issue (“Agriprocessors teaches that we must be held accountable all year round”), her husband needlessly turned down the gift of a pigskin briefcase. There is no halachic prohibition on deriving benefit from non-kosher animals.

(Shafran is wrong in certain ofanim like selling chazir. In his hislahavus to protect Rubashkin at all cost, his wording is very sloppy)

Ethics and kashrut, while both important Jewish fundamentals, are not interwoven. The meat of a cow properly slaughtered, even if processed in an unethical manner, remains kosher no less than an improperly slaughtered cow processed in a highly ethical manner remains non-kosher. Unethical acts are themselves decidedly not “kosher”, i.e. Jewishly proper; but they do not affect the kashrut of a resultant food.

(Again Shafran is wrong since unethical acts like certain types of tzaar baalei chaim are also kashrus problems.)

As to the labor-law charges against the Agriprocessors plant, I have no knowledge about whether the company’s owners are guilty or innocent. Neither, though, does Herber. And so Jewish ethics — clear, codified and compelling — requires us to withhold judgment on the matter.

Rabbi Avi Shafran
Director of Public Affairs
Agudath Israel of America
New York

Comments (1)

Rabbi Shafran's fundamental premise that there is no link between kashrut and ethics is essentially incorrect. There is an intimate link between kashrut and ethics, specifically when it comes to the principle of "tza'ar ba'alei chayim" - the ethical injunction against cruelty to animals. The manner in which the laws of kashrut require that an animal be slaughtered - cutting the carotid artery in one swift deep cut so that the animal dies quickly with a minimum of pain - is solely based on ethical considerations. One can extrapolate from this, that if ethical considerations come into play in determining how the animal is slaughtered, then they should come into play in determining how the meat is processed as well. There is a certain sad and distasteful irony that those who strive to defend the kashrut of the Postville Agriprocessors plant, using such arguments as Rabbi Shafran's prefer to focus on the labor issues (which are major) but ignore the animal cruelty issues which Peta has documented on film - twice! Why do they do this, considering the fact that the film documents practices that even they - basing their opinions on a strict literalist interpreation of Halacha - would have to acknowledge as a direct violation of the laws of kashrut? The only answer that I can arrive at is that in truth, they are more interested in protecting their supply and price of kosher meat than they are in protecting the ethical standards of Judaism and the image of the Jewish people as being those who are exemplars righteousness and justice in our world. All this aside,I cannot fathom how anyone who professes to be a committed Jew can even consider taking a position that any action or behavior in Judaism can possibly be divorced from any ethical considerations. Our God has always been a God of justice. How soon we forget! We no sooner celebrated Yom Kippur and already Isaiah's challenge has been discarded - "Is this the fast that I require of you?" Ritual without justice is an abomination in the sight of God. Sorry, Rabbi Shafran. Your dog just won't hunt.

Archie Bunker said...


A Beef With the Rabbis

by David Levine

November 2008 Issue


Ha'aretz said...

Last update - 13:57 16/10/2008

Jerusalem man suspected of raping girl in synagogue on Yom Kippur

By Haaretz Service

Tags: Synagogue, Israel News

Police have arrested a 24-year-old Jerusalem resident on suspicion of raping a 6-year-old girl in the toilet of a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

Immediately after the incident allegedly transpired, the girl told her parents about it.

The 6-year-old's father then approached the man and took his identity card. The father later informed police about the incident at the close of the festival, considered to be the most holy in Judaism, on Thursday night.

Rubashkin lender said...


GE under siege

For years GE Capital's profits powered its parent's earnings and helped finance its vast array of businesses. Now GE's biggest asset has turned into a liability that puts the future of the entire company at risk.

By Geoffrey Colvin, senior editor at large

Der Finifer said...

NEW YORK (Fortune Magazine) -- Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the legendary former chief executive of AIG, declined to answer questions Saturday from the New York Attorney General's office about his role in a controversial transaction between AIG and another insurer. Instead, Greenberg invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, his defense lawyer confirmed.

Ronnie Schreiber in Shea Fishman's hiding place said...


GM: Better off bankrupt

The automaker is in trouble, but even Chapter 11 would be better than hooking up with Chrysler.

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor
October 15, 2008

Jesse Jackson said...

Black American leader Jesse Jackson said that his views were distorted in an article that quoted him as saying "Zionists" would lose their influence under an Obama administration. "That is not true," Jackson told XM radio talk show host Joe Madison. "That's a fabrication."

A statement released by his Rainbow Push coalition said: "The recent column in the New York Post by Amir Taheri in no way represents my views on Middle East peace and security."

The American Jewish Committee condemned Jackson's statements, as reported by Taheri. The remarks "echo classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish power," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. "This statement, regrettably, is not the first troubling comment by Rev. Jackson regarding Israel, Zionism and the Jewish people."

Aron "Tort Putz" Twerski said...

Did UOJ arrange for last night's Presidential debate to take place at Hofstra?

I wanted to tell the crowd that Barack Osama is an honorable man but security won't let me on the grounds anymore.

UOJ Gets Results said...

WASHINGTON (AP) Paulson expresses regret for mistakes leading to biggest financial crisis in seven decades.


Many economists now believe the U.S. is experiencing its first recession since 2001, with consumers cutting back on spending amid a full-blown financial crisis and rising job losses.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke painted a bleak picture in remarks Wednesday.

"We have seen marked slowdowns in the consumer spending, business investment and the labor market," he said.

barack hussein osama said...

Many Americans have questions about Barack Obama and his views on Israel. And for good reason. His positions on Israel are reckless.

Most concerning is Barack Obama's naïve grasp of the threats against the United States and Israel.

From his opposition to legislation against labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization (barackobama.com) to his willingness to meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad without any preconditions (CNN/YouTube Debate, 7/23/07), Sen. Barack Obama has raised real questions about his judgment and experience.

Sen. Obama told a Jewish group he supports an undivided Jerusalem, only to flip-flop the very next day. (MSNBC.com, 6/6/08) Another time, Obama called his support for an undivided Jerusalem a "poor phrasing" of words. (Jerusalem Post, 7/14/08)

Obama himself has pointed out that "words matter." And they do, especially to people who care about the future of Israel. And they mattered earlier this year, when Obama stated, "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." (Politico.com, 3/13/07)

Sen. Barack Obama surrounds himself with a number of individuals and advisors who are hostile to Israel and American Jews. These men have played instrumental roles in shaping Sen. Obama's world views. They include Zbigniew Brzezinski, General Tony McPeak and Reverend Jeremiah Wright. All are known for their anti-Israel views.

Obama has not shown the wisdom, experience or strength to stand up to the people who would do us harm.

So much for Peak oil putzes said...

Crude just sank to $69 a barrel.

Israel Belsky said...

Crude is my kind of commodity!

Boris from Russia Formerly Bill from Wamu said...

MOSCOW - Talking to Russians on the street, you'd be forgiven for thinking there was no economic crisis.

TV channels gloss over the subject and state news agencies are under orders to avoid frightening language. But beyond the spin, Russia's stock markets are plunging, some grocery shelves are empty and one newspaper has even suggested its readers stash some cash — under the mattress.

The Kremlin is grappling with its worst financial crisis in a decade — feeding a liquidity crunch as banks clamp down on lending. And economists are now fretting about how deep the slowdown will be.

In dozens of supermarkets in Moscow this month, shoppers have encountered shelves empty of even the most basic items. At one chain on Wednesday, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and cigarettes were nowhere to be seen. The dessert section was empty except for a pricey brand of imported Scottish shortbread — priced at $48 — while sugar and salt were in plentiful supply.

Still, Nikita Bondarev, an academic researcher in his early 30s shopping at the Samokhval chain, said he had no particular concerns about the crisis.

"I'm not playing the (stock) market, and I'm getting my salary as usual," he said. But the sight of empty shelves, "brings up unpleasant memories of Soviet times."

This is not the early 1990s, when images of bread lines and food shortages were beamed across the world. But small businesses and even some mid-size chains like Samokhval are finding it impossible to get credit or that it is available only at exorbitant rates.

In the case of Samokhval, which has 60 stores in the Moscow area, and Mosmart, which has 54 stores and four superstores, suppliers are refusing to deliver goods because of outstanding debts, distributors said.

The problems appear to be limited to a few chains so far in a city that is still enjoying a consumer boom — fed by robust economic growth averaging more than 7 percent over the past eight years and windfall oil profits.

Still, memories of the financial collapse of 1998 are fresh in the minds of many. Savings were wiped out amid a wave of bank foreclosures fed by a crisis of confidence. And that's something the Kremlin is eager to avoid repeating.

Last week, the RTS stock exchange suffered its worst trading day on record, plunging 19 percent. The markets were hit after oil prices — the backbone of Russia's economy — slid heavily amid mounting concerns over the global economic meltdown.

But in Russia, it didn't even make the evening news on the three state-controlled channels.

Instead, they aired a meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and one of the country's richest billionaires, Mikhail Fridman, in which the two discussed the investment opportunities created by the global crisis.

Vladimir Varfolomeyev, first deputy editor at Ekho Moskvy radio, wrote in his blog that the Kremlin recently sent an order to all broadcasters banning the words "collapse" and "crisis." The word "fall," the memo said, should be substituted with "decline." His blog promptly went down.

Meanwhile, a memo circulated at the state-run ITAR-Tass news agency reportedly advised reporters not to publish "provocative reports that can cause panic."

"We're requesting you to STOP covering queues at banks and a shortage of banking funds," said the memo, circulated by several respected bloggers.

Many newspapers, which operate under more liberal constraints, have carried reports of depositors switching their savings from less-secure private to state-owned banks, while noting some smaller lenders have frozen early withdrawals of accounts.

Still, the Kremlin's message seems to be getting across.

In a poll carried out in late September by the Public Opinion Foundation, one-quarter of those questioned said they had heard nothing about the global financial crisis, while 57 percent said they were satisfied with the country's economy — up from 53 percent in July.

The survey of 1,500 people in 102 cities across Russia had a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points, according to the foundation Web site.

Ignoring domestic factors, such as Russia's five-day war with Georgia in August and growing fears of government interference in business, Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly singled out the U.S. as the chief culprit for the global financial crisis and Russia's economic troubles.

"Trust in the United States as the leader of the free world and the free economy, and confidence in Wall Street as the center of that trust, has been damaged, I believe, forever," Putin said recently.

The pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia, meanwhile, has suggested readers set aside enough cash to cover three months of living expenses — and stash it under the mattress. The advice recalls more difficult times for Russians, when confidence in the banking system was shattered.

For a government that has built its popularity on an eight-year economic boom, the prospects of a severe downturn and a long-term crisis in its financial sector are alarming indeed.

"All we have at the moment are anecdotes, so we simply don't know" how serious the problems are in Russia, said Rory MacFarquhar, a managing director at Goldman Sachs. "The scary anecdotes have just started to come out with the acute phase of this financial crisis basically starting in October. For a statistical reading ... we're going to have wait a whole month. So we're left guessing."

Still, there are signs everywhere.

Construction has been hard hit, with many projects put on hold or canceled. At Moscow's flagship business center Moscow City — a scene of feverish building activity a few months ago — there were only a few workers at the site this week.

The head of Mirax construction group Sergei Polonsky recently urged journalists in an open letter not to fan the flames of crisis.

"We are already lying on our backs, but we still have some strength left to climb back," he wrote. "We beg you to give us reasoned coverage of this sector."

Archie Bunker said...


Postville Raid Cost $6 Million but Saved Much More

By Roy Beck, Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 8:15 AM

Anti-enforcement entities are crowing about estimates that the raid on the Postville, Iowa meatpacking plant cost more than $6 million thus far to deal with only 389 suspected illegal aliens. And that does sound like a lot. But my rough calculations suggest that if all 389 are deported, taxpayers are likely to save nearly $8 million in the first year alone.

Iowa newspapers' keen interest in the cost is an appropriate inquiry, although the tone of the coverage seems to suggest that $6 million is an outrageously high price for such a small number of illegal aliens out of the estimated 7 million who are working illegally in the United States.

Of course, high-profile enforcement actions like this one are not designed primarily to reap direct financial benefits. Their main purpose is to frighten thousands of other employers from violating immigration laws.

And their second purpose is to make seeking illegal jobs less attractive for foreign nationals.

For laws to be massively obeyed, there has to be a reasonable chance that people (or corporations) may pay dearly for breaking the law. Rarely does the prosecution of any kind of corporate wrong-doing produce more direct society financial benefit than the cost of the prosecution. The point is to whip other corporations into lawful activity.

Nonetheless, when I put the pen to the paper, it looks like this expensive Postville raid will have directly paid for itself in less than a year.

Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has done the most exhaustive study ever of the total taxes paid by less-educated foreign workers and of the total amount of government services they consume. He found that the average household headed by the typical less-educated foreign worker costs taxpayers about $20,000 more in services than it pays in taxes each year.

So, $20,000 times 389 is $7.78 million net cost to fed, state and local governments for every year those workers remain in the United States.

Remove those 389 illegal workers and their families and you have nearly $8 million in total taxpayer savings in the first year alone! And you save another $8 million for every year that those deported workers stay out of the country and if the Postville jobs don't later go to new illegal aliens.

Already, 302 of those detained have been convicted of criminal wrongdoing. If only those are deported, the saving the first year would be around $6 million.


Of course, I'm doing back-of-the-envelope figuring here, but this gives us a general idea that the cost of an operation like this actually is in the ballpark of paying for itself in just direct benefits -- not counting all the illegal aliens who may be discouraged by the action from entering the U.S., all the illegal aliens already here who may be persuaded by this incident that they need to leave the country before they get caught up in some raid in their town.

The little city of Postville is not likely to reap much of that benefit, however. That is because the legal workers who are replacing the illegal aliens are mainly coming from outside Postville. The local tax savings will occur in the cities where the new legal workers used to live, because these low-paid workers (or unemployed workers) no longer will live there.

(It is important to note that average less-educated American workers and their households also cost taxpayers a net of around $20,000 each a year. The point is that they are Americans who are supposed to live within our borders. They require most services whether or not they are employed. So they cost taxpayers less if they can get a job that has been vacated by an illegal alien. And the taxpayers save all the costs of the less-educated illegal alien when he/she leaves the country.)

But because the meatpacking plant pays so poorly, every job at that plant ends up costing the city of Postville a lot of money, regardless of whether the job is filled by an American or an illegal alien.

That’s the problem with enticing and encouraging a low-wage economy. What Postville officials should be doing is lobbying for an end to illegal immigration and an end to Chain Migration because that would tighten the labor market and cause meatpacking wages to rise, and thus the taxes on these workers to rise. When Congress last cut immigration in the 1920s, meatpacking wages soared, eventually to the equivalent of more than $20 an hour.

However, if an unemployed Postville resident takes a job vacated by an illegal alien, that ends up being a real savings in Postville tax expenditures.

The big beneficiaries of the Postville raid are the federal taxpayers and the taxpayers of whatever states from which the new legal Postville workers come from. But in all, American federal, state and local governments save about $20,000 a year for every illegal household that gets deported (or is persuaded to go home voluntarily).

The key to all $20,000 of tax savings being realized, of course, is to make sure the illegal workers actually leave the country.

Fresser said...


Power of the purse

Money often a tool in domestic abuse

by Adam Kredo, Staff Writer

Message for Agudah Fressers said...

Mishlei (23:20-21):

"Do not be among winebibbers, among gluttonous eaters of meat for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man in rags."

Manchester UK said...


October 17, 2008

Plans for a £9 million family centre in Salford have come under fire from strictly Orthodox local residents and a school over issues of security and religious sensitivity.

Salford Council is in negotiations with Jewish leaders after 50 residents turned out to protest against the proposed centre, known as The Hub, at a recent consultation meeting.

Under the plans, the Talmud Torah Primary School in Wellington Street East would be in close proximity to the centre. Rabbi Joshua Waldman, who heads the 250-pupil school, is concerned that stone throwing and verbal abuse will become a problem once again if the centre goes ahead.

Sounds like a job for Ohel Treasurer David Jacobson said...

Ask the putz why the kevaros of yesomim in Queens are in disrepair.


The Board of Deputies has begun an audit of all the cemeteries it looks after in Britain to find out who owns them and who is responsible for their upkeep. It has also launched an appeal to raise the funds needed to maintain the cemeteries, hoping to generate around £50,000.

Solicitor David Marcus, the deputy for Muswell Hill, has begun researching Land Registry and other records to try to find out who owns the cemeteries, some of which are centuries old.

Cemetries maintained by the Board
Bath 1815 1946
Canterbury 1772 1930
Doncaster 1930 2001
Falmouth 1780 1913
Great Yarmouth 1846 1963
Ipswich 1796 1850
Kings Lynn 1811 1846
Merthyr Tydfil 1869 2001
Penzance 1760 2000
Sheerness 1804 1855
Mile End (Bancroft Road) 1861 1907

‘Why is it in such a state?'
A JC reader has described a scene of "utter abandonment and desecration" at the Bancroft Road cemetery in Mile End, East London.

Dating back to 1811, the cemetery was originally used to bury Covent Garden market-traders. It was owned by Maiden Lane Synagogue, which closed at the beginning of the 20th century.

Susanna Clapham discovered the cemetery by chance while investigating her family history. She was disappointed to find dozens of smashed graves and overgrown weeds.

"I can't understand why it's in such a terrible state," she said.

Jerusalem Post said...

Also Thursday, another Jerusalem resident was arrested on suspicion of raping, sodomizing and indecently assaulting his young daughter.

Police launched an investigation into the latter case after a social worker at his daughter's kindergarten noticed the girl playing unusual games with dolls.

After the arrest, three of the man's daughters from a previous marriage filed complaints to police, saying he had raped them when they were young girls.

Monsey Ganev said...


SPRING VALLEY - Residents have been talking about a federal government review of the village's Section 8 office that found serious deficiencies and resulted in the suspension of housing voucher disbursements.

Spring Valley misused $560,000 and will have to repay those funds to the government, according to the report, which also faulted the village for failing to adequately enforce housing quality standards and having undertrained and insufficient staffing.

The village didn't use HUD's income verification system, and as a result about 100 families were paying less than their share of rent, the review found. The waiting list for vouchers was not maintained according to HUD's stated admission preferences, according to auditors who said "the village was not able to explain the basis for the waiting list's order."

Spring Valley hires employees to run the Section 8 program and pays them with federal funds, but the program is considered to be independent of the village because it's overseen by HUD.

Spring Valley also oversees a Section 8 program for the village of Kaser. Kaser Mayor Bernard Rosenfeld did not return a message seeking comment Friday.

Kaser village Trustee Shlomo Koenig said he hadn't seen the report because he was off for the Jewish holidays last week, and he believed that likely to be the case for the mayor and other trustees.

HUD's Inspector General's Office also is conducting a criminal probe into the village's Section 8 program.

The office handles allegations of waste, fraud and abuse. That investigation is ongoing.

Margo's Banker said...

Switzerland Sets Bailout for UBS

Published: October 16, 2008
PARIS — Switzerland, a banking redoubt considered until recently to be literally and figuratively above the global financial tumult, succumbed Thursday and announced a bailout plan for its biggest bank, UBS.

Hit harder than any other European financial institution by losses stemming from bad investments in subprime American mortgage debt, UBS will receive a lifeline worth as much as $60 billion from the Swiss National Bank.

Osama said...

WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating whether the community activist group ACORN helped foster voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election. A senior law enforcement official confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press on Thursday.

A second senior law enforcement official says the FBI was looking at results of recent raids on ACORN offices in several states for any evidence of a coordinated national scam.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Justice Department regulations forbid discussing ongoing investigations particularly so close to an election.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, says it has registered 1.3 million young people, minorities and poor and working-class voters — most of whom tend to be Democrats.

Republican accusations about the group were raised during Wednesday's presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and GOP candidate John McCain.

Some ACORN employees have been accused of submitting false voter registration forms — including some signed `Mickey Mouse' or other fictitious characters.

Those voter registration cards have become the focus of fraud investigations in Nevada, Connecticut, Missouri and at least five other states. Election officials in Ohio and North Carolina also recently questioned the group's voter forms.

ACORN has said the "vast majority" of its workers are conscientious, but some might have turned in duplicate applications or provided fake information to pad their pay. Workers caught submitting false information have been fired, ACORN officials say.

ACORN says laws in a number of states require it to submit all registration cards it collects even dubious ones, so its workers segregate applications with missing, suspicious or false information and flag them so state election officials can quickly check them further

Mark Rothman said...


The Culprit Could Be Dead, But Local Tax Case Lives On

By Jordan Weissmann
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 13, 2008; D01

By the time FirstPay Inc. shuttered its doors and declared bankruptcy in 2003, the Silver Spring company was managing payroll operations for about 1,500 businesses and organizations. What few, if any, knew was that owner Mark Rothman allegedly skimmed about $11 million of the taxes FirstPay was supposed to pay on its clients' behalf.

According to federal court documents, Rothman orchestrated the scheme for three years, using the money for a private yacht, houses and a company slush fund. By the end, he had defrauded approximately 250 companies, the government contends. FirstPay's former clients -- small businesses, nonprofits, churches and temples -- never saw the letters from the Internal Revenue Service alerting them that they owed back taxes because FirstPay had swapped their mailing addresses with its own.

Half a decade later, some of FirstPay's clients are still battling the IRS in a messy bankruptcy case to determine who gets the last of FirstPay's assets, and whether some of the businesses that fell victim to the scam will have to pay taxes a second time.

Rothman was in the British Virgin Islands when he was declared dead in 2003 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and his family purchased a grave for him at a cemetery in Olney. However, in 2007, a federal bankruptcy judge wrote that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had opened an inquiry into Rothman and the fraud allegations, including the question of whether he was still alive.

Temple B'nai Shalom of Olney, recently featured in a Jewish Week article about its problems, owes $67,000 in taxes, and more than $100,000 with penalties. The IRS has placed a lien on its building.

"I might have seen the IRS's point if they had notified us in the beginning," said Shelley Engel, B'nai Shalom's executive director. "But three years of not paying? You don't think they could have found another way of letting us know? If you're late on a credit card, they don't just stop with those letters in the mail. They call you, they serve you if they have to."

B'nai Shalom has 429 members and maintains a balanced budget of about $2 million a year. Like many temples, it runs a nursery and religious school, as well as adult education programs. The temple initially planned to settle with the IRS and hired a lawyer to handle the process.

Before folding, FirstPay had made a final, $28 million payment to the IRS. Orenstein thinks that money should rightfully go back to FirstPay's creditors. He also challenged the agency's right to collect any more back taxes, arguing that it broke its own rules by letting FirstPay change its clients' addresses.

Maryland's federal bankruptcy court agreed in part. In August 2007, it ordered the IRS to return the $28 million to FirstPay's creditors. In his opinion, District Judge Peter Messitte called the IRS's approach "surprisingly arrogant." Despite that, Messitte said there was little he could do to stop the IRS from demanding payment in the future.

"While the IRS' disregard for its own procedures is troublesome, the Court finds no authority for it to impose any particular remedy under the circumstances," he wrote.

The IRS, which said it does not comment on specific cases, is appealing the ruling.

The FirstPay debacle is far from an isolated incident. In recent years there have been at least 11 major criminal prosecutions against fraudulent payroll operators, according to one government tally. But legislative efforts in response to the schemes have stalled. Versions of a bill that would have put tighter controls on payroll operators passed both chambers of Congress, then died before differences between the measures could be resolved. And initiatives to have payroll operators bonded have also failed to gain traction after lobbying efforts from the industry.

The IRS does have an online system that allows companies to check whether vendors are keeping up with tax payments. However, the system is poorly promoted, said Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate. She said the agency has generally resisted adding new safeguards, such as sending notices to both the taxpayer's old and new addresses when a mailing address changes.

"The IRS so far has been somewhat unresponsive to those things, and I find that somewhat disturbing," Olson said.

In the meantime, the FirstPay case drags on. If the IRS is ultimately forced to return the $28 million to FirstPay's former customers, the government says it will simply add it to the amount they owe in back taxes.

Orenstein said he is ready to challenge the IRS on that front as well. He said the agency has lost the paperwork proving how it allocated the money among FirstPay's clients, and without it, the agency has no basis for determining what is still owed.

"Their position is: 'Trust us. We wouldn't lie to you,' " Orenstein said.

Tax law experts said Orenstein's argument may be a stretch. The IRS can still pursue claims if it can show how much it is owed, they said, even if it lost FirstPay's records.

It may seem unfair, but even if they are victims of payroll fraud, companies are still legally responsible for making sure their taxes get paid, said George Yin, who teaches tax law at the University of Virginia.

"It's an awful situation," Yin said, "because the culpable company is in some sense getting off."

Shmarya said...

A friend writes:

Guess who showed his face in Boca Raton on Sukot.

It was "Rabbi" Baruch Lanner - convicted sex offender.

He was greeted by some people as royalty. Others kept their distance.

He wandered around the synagogue and I felt like warning people to watch over their children.

Lanner was in town to visit his son and family.

Boca Raton is the home of Rabbi Perry Tirschwell who was formerly Lanner's chief disciple and testified on his behalf at the trial.

The other person testifying for Lanner was Rabbi Matt Tropp.

Lanner looks like a tired broken old man.

He shouldn't be allowed to enter synagogues without a full time escort.

After all, doesn't he still deny his guilt.

Anonymous said...

CNBC predicts that hundreds of hedge funds will collapse and fold. They are already lowering their fees in desperation to stop client redemptions.

Shea Hecht said...


Mud slings over chicken-swinging rite

Ben Harris

Animal-rights activists probing kapparot ceremony in Brooklyn say the birds suffer, but Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidim counter that PETA has an agenda against ritual slaughter and Torah-observing Jews.

Published: 10/12/2008

NEW YORK (JTA) -- On the night before Yom Kippur last year, animal rights activist Philip Schein says he was physically threatened when he showed up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn for the annual kapparot ritual.

An undercover investigator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Schein long has been concerned about kapparot -- also known as kapporos -- in which chickens are swung over one’s head in a symbolic transferring of sins a day before Yom Kippur (many Jews use money in place of a live chicken).

Schein says he identified himself as a PETA member and was filming the ceremony when several people physically harassed and threatened him.

“It was just fortunate that there were police around,” Schein told JTA. “They said I have the right on a public street. I wasn’t disrupting anything. Who knows what would have happened if they weren’t there?”

Fearing a repeat, Schein grew a beard and donned a cap in an effort to better blend in with the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidim who mount a massive kapparot operation each year in Crown Heights.

Last week, shortly before 10 o'clock on the night before Yom Kippur, Schein and his wife, Hannah, also a PETA investigator, set out to monitor this year’s kapparot.

To the uninitiated, the Oct. 8 scene in Brooklyn and the ritual at its center may seem inhumane and somewhat bizarre.

Amid a carnival-like atmosphere featuring food vendors and street sellers, the largely Chasidic crowd lines up to purchase live chickens from a truck. With a wing and a prayer book in their hands, the Chasidim “shlug,” or swing, the birds around their heads while reciting a prayer before lining up to have the chickens ritually slaughtered.

It's all in full view of Eastern Parkway, a teeming thoroughfare that is the headquarters for the Chabad movement.

Organizers estimate upward of 10,000 chickens are slaughtered in the street during the ritual, which winds down at sunrise.

Chickens are placed in inverted red traffic cones after they are killed so their blood can run down. Once the chickens stop moving, which can take several minutes, they are transferred to garbage bags and piled on the sidewalk.

Processing takes place in a cramped alley behind the Hadar Hatorah Rabbinical Seminary on Eastern Parkway. With an electric saw, the birds’ heads and legs are removed. A group of yeshiva students then pulls off the feathers and passes the chickens to the mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, who removes their intestines for inspection.

Those deemed kosher -- the vast majority -- are then soaked and salted and placed in a freezer. All the chickens are then given to charity, says Rabbi Shea Hecht, a prominent figure in the Chabad movement and one of the main organizers of the kapparot event in Brooklyn.

Hecht’s prominent role in organizing the kapparot has made him a target of PETA.

After years of investigating kapparot, PETA asked the New York State Kosher Law Enforcement Division in August to open a fraud investigation against Hecht. As Yom Kippur approached, PETA also issued an action alert to its followers, which led to a flood of e-mails and faxes to Hecht’s office.

Hours before the ritual was set to begin, Hecht issued a statement condemning the PETA campaign, which he claimed had led to some “threatening” and anti-Semitic e-mails. New York City Police reportedly opened an investigation.

The Scheins’ specific objections to kapparot concern the treatment of the birds, which are transported in plastic crates stacked on large trucks and kept without food and water for hours. Though rabbis have urged kapparot centers to have adequate food and water on hand, they weren't in evidence on the night before Yom Kippur.

The Scheins also claim that the volume of birds slaughtered far outstrips processing capacity, resulting last year in some two-thirds of the birds being discarded in Dumpsters. Organizers are violating two Jewish injunctions, the Scheins say -- against causing unnecessary suffering to animals and against wastefulness.

Hecht adamantly denies both charges and says Schein made up the two-thirds figure.

“He’s a liar,” Hecht said.

Schein claims that at 7:15 the morning after kapparot last week, more than 100 crates of live chickens were still on the sidewalk. A driver told Schein they were being taken to a Chasidic community in upstate New York.

Schein says subjecting the birds to 24 hours without water on stressful transports in cramped, feces-covered cages violates Jewish law by causing unnecessary suffering.

During the kapparot ritual, Hannah Schein dressed to blend in with the Chasidic crowd as she searched for evidence of animal cruelty. She found a seemingly forgotten crate in which several birds that appeared to be dead shared space with other live chickens. She covertly documented it.

PETA is frequently accused of pursuing a radical -- and possibly anti-Semitic -- agenda because of its criticisms of kapparot and Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher meat producer.

The Scheins, both of whom are Jewish, reject that accusation, saying their work stems directly from their Jewish values.

“I feel like every ethical step I make forward in my life has a Jewish root to it,” Hannah Schein said. “Being kosher, growing up, I was trained to look at labels and always think what’s in this product and where does it come from.”

Hannah Schein admits that PETA’s ultimate goal is to abolish animal slaughter. She also believes that humans have no right to kill animals for food or clothing -- and certainly not to expiate one’s sins.

She says she takes what steps she can to minimize animal suffering.

“PETA’s a pragmatic organization,” she said. “We want incremental welfare improvements. Otherwise we’re never going to get to abolition.”

The Scheins met while they were working for Hillel, the Jewish campus organization. Hannah says she used to pray at the Chabad synagogue in Norfolk, Va. on the high holidays.

“I want kashrut to live up to what it’s supposed to be, and to be this model, the whole ‘higher authority,’” Schein said. “It’s been very frustrating. It’s been a real sort of embarrassment to see how the kosher industry has conducted itself. As a Jew, that impacts on me.”

Yet even among those Orthodox Jews who claim to share PETA’s concerns about animal treatment, there is a widespread view that the organization has pursued an unfair and misleading campaign against Jewish ritual slaughter.

“Their agenda is to wipe out shechita -- period," Hecht said last week as hundreds of chickens sat in crates on the sidewalk behind him. "No. 2, their agenda is to hurt Torah-observant Jews.”

As evidence, he cited PETA’s targeting of him as the most visible proponent of kapparot.

“If they take me down, everybody else is going to stop doing it,” Hecht said.

Hecht’s view is mirrored in the Chabad community, where many believe that PETA has a radical and fundamentally anti-Jewish agenda.

Isaac Hurwitz, a Chabad follower and attorney whose father wrote a monograph on Jewish treatment of animals, told JTA he performed kapparot at Hecht’s facility on Eastern Parkway this year specifically because it has been targeted by PETA.

Hurwitz admitted that keeping chickens in “little cramped boxes” made him uneasy, but he said it’s no worse than how birds are normally treated during transport to the slaughterhouse.

“I’m more uncomfortable with my own sins of the past year than these few moments of discomfort for the bird while I’m swinging it above my head,” he said.

Avi L. Shafran said...

Zachor al tishkach that it's only alleged at this point.


Another Congressman, weeks from an election, is accused of untoward sexual behavior, contradicting his public stance as a moral crusader. He initially says as little as possible, offers opaque denials, vague apologies to his family for whatever he did or did not do, and predicts vindication.

Rep. Tim Mahoney, Democrat of Florida.

Now, by his own logic, it may be Mahoney himself who isn't fit for the job. In recent days, he has battled allegations of a dalliance with a former staffer and an alleged payoff to stay hush, as well as a second affair with a high-ranking county official that may have gotten mixed up with official business. As ABC News first reported, Mahoney's romance with 50-year-old Patricia Allen began on a campaign stop in 2006. Following his election victory, she joined his congressional staff — but was soon moved back to his campaign staff. After terminating their relationship and then firing Allen in January of this year, Mahoney allegedly paid her and her lawyer $121,000 —along with a promise of a job at a media firm — to keep her quiet and avoid a sexual-harassment lawsuit. Allen has refused comment to ABC News.

The morning after the story broke, a glum-looking Mahoney, his wife sitting to his left, spent a minute and a half reading from a prepared statement and declining to answer questions, offering little details beyond accepting "the full responsibility for my actions and the pain I have caused" family members. "I'm sorry that these allegations have caused embarrassment and heartache," he said, moments before calling on the House Ethics Committee to investigate the "false allegations." "I want to be clear that I have not misused campaign funds, and I am confident that when all the facts come to light, I will be completely vindicated."

The FBI is reportedly investigating if any campaign dollars or taxpayer funds were used in his settlement with Allen, and a second woman, a high-ranking official in Martin County, directly north of Palm Beach County, reportedly also had an affair with Mahoney while he was in office. On Wednesday, ABC News reported allegations that Mahoney went out of his way to help the woman secure a $3.2 million hurricane-cleanup reimbursement from FEMA. (Mahoney's representative responded that the Congressman had helped many counties in Florida get reimbursed by Washington for disaster-recovery expenses, and that Martin County had been seeking funding prior to Mahoney's election.) Republicans have also accused leading Democrats of covering up whatever knowledge they had of Mahoney's trysts, the very same charge that was leveled at Republicans after Foley's behavior surfaced two years ago.

Iseman of another sort said...

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A female telecommunications lobbyist who became part of an explosive story early this year about John McCain has broken months of silence to deny the main subtext of the account — that she was suspected of being romantically involved with the Republican presidential candidate.

"I did not have a sexual relationship with Senator McCain," Vicky Iseman told the National Journal magazine.

Iseman was the subject of an article by The New York Times in February that said in 1999 McCain aides worried that the Arizona senator and the lobbyist may be having an affair. The newspaper did not publish any evidence of such a relationship.

The story alleged that McCain wrote letters and pushed legislation involving television station ownership that would have benefited Iseman's clients.

Iseman, 41, defended herself in what National Journal described as a series of interviews and e-mail exchanges.

"I never had an affair or an inappropriate relationship with Senator McCain, and that means I never acted unethically in my dealings with the senator." Iseman, who is a partner in the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay, told the magazine. "I have never even been alone with Senator McCain."

But her public emergence, coming less than three weeks before the election, also serves to remind the public about a story that had receded from memory. When the story broke, the allegations of sex and influence-peddling caused a sensation. McCain furiously denied the story and described Iseman as merely a friend.

"At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust," he said at the time.

Since then, McCain's relationship with the media has grown increasingly cool.

Iseman told the National Journal: "The New York Times set out to write a story about a 'romantic relationship' in exchange for legislative favors. ... Make the lobbyist a prostitute — pretty heady stuff. The only problem was, they were wrong on all counts."

Iseman blamed former McCain adviser John Weaver of pushing the story to The Times. After the story broke, though, McCain aide Steve Schmidt told MSNBC that "nobody on the McCain campaign believes that John Weaver was the source on this."

Weaver was quoted in The Times acknowledging meeting with Iseman while working as a strategist for McCain in 1999. He told the newspaper that McCain's political team worried that as a lobbyist close to the Arizona senator she might hurt his image as a fighter against special interests.

In an e-mail to the Associated Press Thursday, Weaver said: "I feel sorry for the woman, but my responsibility was to protect my client, which I did."

At the center of the lobbying story were two letters McCain wrote in late 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications — which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist — urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson's chief executive, Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign.

McCain did not urge the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal, but he asked for speedy consideration of the deal, which had been pending for two years. Then-FCC Chairman William Kennard complained that McCain's request "comes at a sensitive time in the deliberative process."

McCain wrote the letters after he received more than $20,000 in contributions from Paxson executives and lobbyists. Paxson also lent McCain his company's jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.

Dumb idea from Belsky said...

Like some analysts said on CNBC today, a major factor driving the bailout is that the politicians don't want voters to get angry that their kids can't get student loans. The only solution though they say is to let credit freeze up so that the greedy universities will be forced to bring tuition down to reasonable levels.


ALBANY — Students to SUNY: Raise our tuition!

The executive committee of SUNY's Student Assembly — a body that represents the system's 427,000 students — has overwhelmingly backed a resolution calling for a new policy of modest annual tuition increases.

... said David Belsky, 22, a University at Albany master's student from Queens in charge of communications for the assembly. "It's that we understand that one is necessary. And so now we're advocating for one that's moderate."

If recent history is a guide, SUNY is due for a tuition increase. It may not be moderate.

Tuition has held at $4,350 since 2003, when SUNY clobbered students with a 28 percent hike. It also was raised in 1995.

The pattern has been flat tuition for several years followed by a big jump that offsets cuts to state support, leaving the average student paying more for the same product.

David Belsky said...

Smaller versions of these pics at the news story link


UOJ is only making fun of me because he saw my picture here and he gets so carried away against Margo that he has it in for all fat people.


He also doesn't like the new suit I just bought for Yomtov at Emporio.

UOJ will have a fit when he finds out said...


Bloomberg took UOJ's advice and was willing to help the Treasury with the bailout (as was Pimco's Bill Gross who would do it for free) but R' Henoch Paulson picked his high-paid cronies from Goldman Sachs instead.

Charlie Hynes said...

I like this judge's style. I should try it on people who accuse of covering up for molesters because Ben Barber of the Iggud Haganovim gives me money.


Man jailed for sharing opinion on justice system

Monday, Oct. 13, 2008

The Walworth County judge who jailed a potential juror for comments about the judicial system said "dry words on a page in a transcript" do not show the entire picture of the man's behavior.

"You had to be here," Judge Michael Gibbs said Friday.

When asked during jury selection Aug. 12 whether he'd had a bad experience with police, David W. Jutz, 54, of Delavan responded:

"Well, it's pretty much the police will say and do anything they want to make a case, and the courts aren't really fair about it. Because if they got money, you can get out of it."

In response, Gibbs ordered Jutz in contempt of court and ordered him to spend 24 hours in the Walworth County Jail and pay a $50 fine.

"Mr. Jutz, with your attitude, we don't want you on the jury," Gibbs said. "But I'll tell you one thing, you're not going anywhere. You're going to sit here and watch the whole trial in the back of the room."

Jutz responded: "That's fine with me. I didn't know attitude was against the law."

The judge later ordered Jutz in contempt after jurors were selected and out of the courtroom.

Peak oil putz said...


Greater Ohio Ethanol files Chapter 11

Greater Ohio is just one of dozens of ethanol plants to restructure or delay launches in recent months. Just last week, a Pratt, Kan., plant declared bankruptcy.

High oil prices and government support for biofuels prompted plans for hundreds of new plants nationally in recent years. But now, oil prices are dropping, meaning ethanol prices are going with them. Corn prices are shooting up, and banks are reining in loans.

You heard it first on UOJ said...

Boruch Mordche (Martin) Vegh, the Bobover molester, went to the Munkatcher Rebbe who is known to cut deals for criminals at high levels. The Munkatcher reportedly told Vegh that he waited too long and it is too late to keep him out of jail.

Raymond Ruble said...


October 15, 2008 1:44 PM

Sidley Partner Headed to Trial for Tax Fraud

by Zach Lowe

The last of the original 19 defendants in the botched KPMG tax fraud case are heading to trial today, the New York Times reports.
Among them is Raymond "R.J." Ruble, the ex-Sidley Austin partner who made millions in the tax fraud scam. Here's how: KPMG would create the bogus tax shelters for ultra-wealthy clients, and Ruble would write letters to clients saying the shelters appeared kosher under U.S. law. Those letters were designed to shield clients form any liability.

Ruble wrote about 600 of those letters at the rate of $50,000 a pop from the late 1990s until 2003, when the scheme came to light and Sidley booted him. The firm eventually paid the IRS a $39.4 million civil fine to avoid any criminal charges.

Ruble's lawyer, Jack Hoffinger, has said Ruble is guilty only of "greed."

As the Am Law Daily reported last month, Ruble was only the first Am Law attorney caught in a growing tax fraud scandal; a separate alleged fraud surrounding Ernst & Young has already ensnared former Arnold & Porter partner Peter Cinquegrani.

Bobov 48th St said...

Bobov did not want Vegh to be gabbai but Vegh was so intent on it that he hung around every night from 7 pm until 1 am without being paid a cent.

Vegh's supporters claim he was framed by his Israeli tenant. The only problem with that story is that Vegh himself does not deny he touched the little girl when orim vee Udum Harishon.

Mikva Reid said...

Vegh may not be keeping Colmo der Homo company for much longer at Riker's Island. It's not clear how a sex offender can get into Otisville, but the Chassidish wheeler dealers are trying to get him into that country club to be with the Frankel's shul ganuvim.

Munkatcher rebbe said...

Oh damn! I knew UOJ & Boog would find out sooner or later that I cut deals for tinuf tinoyfussen.

Dr. Bungalow Putz Neuhoff said...

I am against molestation of any kind.

"Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher said...


Hey Aron Twerski, you suck!

I'm joining UOJ's Roto Rooter team.

George Stephanopoulos said...


Margo told me to declare Osama-Biden the winners in all the debates no matter how good McCain-Palin do. This strategy will make UOJ look bad when he pokes fun at the Democrats OR Torah Temimah.

New Fish Found In Skver Town said...

"Walking fish" reveals fresh evolutionary insights

By Will Dunham

Wed Oct 15, 6:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An extraordinary fish that existed 375 million years ago had unique features in its head that helped pave the way for vertebrate animals to live on land, scientists said on Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

NEWs (october 16, 2008)
Former Melbourne Jewish school teacher jailed in the United States


A FORMER Yeshivah College teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of child molestation and was sentenced to a seven-year prison term in the United States, The AJN learnt this week.

David Kramer was jailed in St Louis, Missouri, in July, after a local psychologist and the community's rabbi raised concerns about his conduct.

Former Yeshivah College principal Rabbi Avrohom Glick confirmed this week, that for a short time in the early 1990s, Kramer had taught Jewish studies to boys in years 5 to 8. It is understood Kramer was asked to leave the school, and the country, immediately following an alleged incident, which was not formally investigated.

Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges general manager Nechama Bendet told The AJN this week that the school has since implemented rigorous protocols to prevent inappropriate behaviour.

"Any allegations of misconduct would be taken very seriously by the school and immediately reported to the appropriate authorities," she said.

She added that the school was fully compliant with the Working with Children Check requirements – a government policy that helps protect children from physical and sexual abuse – as well as the mandatory reporting legislation.

There are also policies in place on appropriate communication between teachers and students within and outside of school hours, and classroom doors have been fitted with windows. In addition, students have been taught to understand their rights to be safe and to develop strategies to avoid inappropriate behaviour.

"The Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges will act without hesitation to ensure the maintenance of a child-safe environment at all times," Bendet said.

Rabbinical Council of Victoria president Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant also emphasised that schools are better equipped now to deal with complaints about teachers.

"Schools are more vigilant and teachers know what to look for," Rabbi Kluwgant said.

Kramer was working as a volunteer youth leader at the Nusach Hari B'nai Zion Synagogue in St Louis, when Rabbi Ze'ev Smason – who was leading the congregation – developed concerns after discussions with members of the synagogue.

"I met with him to tell him that he would be restricted from any further contact with youngsters within our congregation," Rabbi Smason told The AJN from the United States. "I also contacted the local government abuse hotline to register my concern.

"When my concerns ... intensified, I told him that he would no longer be welcome to attend our synagogue, nor would he be welcome to participate in any of our programs."

Rabbi Smason described Kramer as likeable and personable and said that this made it somewhat difficult to confront him.

"However, it was a no-brainer that I had an obligation to speak with him immediately upon hearing concerns expressed by families in my congregation," he said.

Rabbi Smason added that all rabbis have a legal, moral and religious obligation to protect children at risk.

"To do anything less is a dereliction of the duty we as rabbis have been entrusted with. Our children's safety comes before any other consideration."

The United States-based Awareness Centre, also known as the International Jewish Coalition against Sexual Abuse/Assault, reported details of an impact statement presented in court by the victim's father during Kramer's trial.

"This sentence sends an important and much needed message to the Jewish community and society at large, namely, there shall be zero tolerance of sexual abuse and molestation of children," the statement excerpt reads. "We, the parents, leaders and clergy, have to stand up for our children and put our children first."

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Dear UOJ,

Who would have thought that a feature documentary about America's addiction to debt and its consequences could prove to be so timely? Even before today's financial crisis unfolded, acclaimed director Patrick Creadon's "I.O.U.S.A." received three and a half stars from Roger Ebert and rave reviews from the New York Times and other critics. Imagine what reviewers would say if they watched the movie today! Click here to visit the movie website.

Now more than ever, "I.O.U.S.A." needs to be seen by all Americans. And we're taking several steps to make that happen.

Over the next few weeks, the movie will return to theaters around the country. From Pittsburgh and Baltimore to Las Vegas and Portland, OR, from Cincinnati and Detroit to Austin and San Antonio, "I.O.U.S.A." will have another run. Click here for the complete list of theaters.

And just a few weeks from now, a condensed version of the film will be posted online for all to see. So even if the film isn't coming to a theater in your community, you'll still have a chance to experience it for yourself at this critical time. In the coming weeks, we'll send you more information about where to find the movie on the web.

Together with our friends at the Concord Coalition and Concerned Youth of America, PGPF is also helping educational institutions and good-government groups around the country schedule screenings of "I.O.U.S.A." in order to provoke discussion of these critical issues among those who will be the most hurt if nothing is done to address them: young people. Check here for the latest list of campus screenings.

We're getting the message out in other ways, too. PGPF leaders have been commenting in the news media about the consequences of the current crisis and the opening it presents our leaders to change attitudes about debt and put the country on a more prudent fiscal path. To read CEO Dave Walker's op-ed on CNN.com about the difficulty Washington had in passing the $700 billion rescue package and what it means for future efforts to rescue our fiscal system, click here.

And read Vice President Gene Steuerle's column providing historical context and key lessons learned for the current crisis here.

Dave, Gene and our chairman Pete Peterson also recently added their names to an advertisement placed in the New York Times asking, "Who's Going To Pay For All This?" "The presidential campaigns have put forth budget plans under which the deficit would grow by hundreds of billions of dollars a year," the ad says.

And congratulations to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which led that advertising effort, for being cited by presidential debate moderator Bob Schieffer in his question to Senators McCain and Obama about what their plans would do to the deficit!

We've started a movement for fiscal responsibility - a movement that you and 150,000 of your fellow Americans have joined. Thank you for your continued support - and don't forget to tell your friends and family to check out "I.O.U.S.A.!"

All the best,

The PGPF Team

WJC Weirdos Israel Singer & Marc Schneier said...


Interfaith dialogue: Have we gone mad?

by Isi Leibler
March 12, 2007

Last year I wrote an article warning that whereas we all support interfaith dialogue and creating alliances with other groups, we must never lose sight of the objective and recognize that dialogue can only succeed when both parties are committed to improving relationships. If we merely mouth platitudes and make concessions in order to curry favor, this may provide a façade of goodwill but ultimately it becomes a counter-productive exercise which our enemies will exploit to undermine us.

For example, at the height of the violent global upheavals relating to the Mohammed cartoons, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) condemned the Danish newspaper publishers and called on Western countries to display greater sensitivity towards the feelings of Moslems. One may have concerns about the merits of such an approach, but it is surely disconcerting when a Jewish body promotes such a policy without either alluding to the obscene threats and violent reactions emanating from virtually the entire Moslem world, or avoiding mention of the vile Nazi style cartoons and anti Semitic propaganda saturating the global Moslem media. Ignoring these issues amounts to groveling in order to ingratiate oneself with Moslems. This impression was confirmed when the WJC's Israel Singer stated that "the row over the caricatures of Mohammed showed how conflicts can be unnecessarily provoked" and made the bizarre observation that "99 percent of Moslems reject all forms of violence... and that is why we have to take actions against lunatics within our own ranks and look for common ground in dialogue."

Now, a year later, the newly appointed chairman of the American section of the WJC, Rabbi Marc Schneier, took a further step in compromising Jewish dignity in the name of interfaith dialogue. He endorsed a gathering headed by Louis Farrakhan, one of the most notorious African/America anti-Semites, whose strictures against Jews are reminiscent of Goebbels at his worst. For example, Farrakhan describes Judaism as "a gutter religion" and praises Adolf Hitler as "a great man."

Rabbi Schneier is himself a somewhat elusive personality. Some years ago he wrote a book on Martin Luther King which incorporated a speech by King purportedly praising Zionism which the highly respected US based pro research body "Camera," subsequently exposed as a fraud.

It is furthermore alleged that at the urging of WJC officials, Prime Minister Olmert appointed Rabbi Schneier as president and Mark Mishaan as vice president of Kadima in the United States. Mishaan was obliged to resign when it was disclosed that he was a convicted criminal felon, possibly facing a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to grand larceny. Additionally, sections of Kadima USA's website had to be withdrawn from the internet after the media disclosed that Kadima USA had plagiarized portions of the Texas Democrat Party's website into its policy program.

When the World Jewish Congress convened a small gathering of its American Section in order to appoint Rabbi Schneier as Chairman, the highly successful entrepreneur Russell Simmons, head of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, participated as guest of honor. Simmons is a major sponsor of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding founded by Schneier, from which he draws an annual salary of $250,000. Although Simmons is on record opposing anti Semitism and sponsors commercials to that effect, he has been condemned by the ADL for remaining a staunch and unqualified supporter and financial contributor to Farrakhan. Foxman asked Russell how he would respond to sponsorship of an event dedicated to tolerance organized by a white supremacist.

At the WJC meeting, Simmons called for an alliance against Islamophobia and urged that the Christian right, Islamic Fundamentalists and intolerant Jews all be marginalized.

This raises the question of the propriety of a body like the WJC providing a platform for a man who brackets the Christian right and "intolerant" Jews together with Islamic Fundamentalists, supports Farrakhan, and demonizes Israel's most important backers, the Christian evangelicals. To compound the problem, the New York WJC headquarters recently wrote to the Jerusalem Post dissociating themselves from their own Israeli Section which held constructive meetings with evangelicals in Jerusalem.

But the final straw was when the WJC American Section and Russell Simmons issued a public statement supporting an "interfaith" rally convened by Farrakhan.

The summit was attended by 50,000 people. In the course of his address in which he supported "Iran's right to nuclear power", Farrakhan urged his followers to read a number of books including President Jimmy Carter's recent anti Israel book, as well as "The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews" which alleges that the slave trade was dominated by Jews, and other notorious anti Semitic tracts.

The President of Sudan, Omar-al-Bashir also addressed the audience via satellite and condemned those "putting pressure on Sudan" alleging that the "United States is exaggerating trouble in the Darfur region so that it can control the country as it has in Iraq."

After media exposure of Schneier's endorsement of Farrakhan, the WJC American section head explained that he had been unaware that Farrakhan would be promoting anti Semitic books at the rally.

The real question to be asked is how to question the responsibility of a person in such a position who can permit himself to endorse a notorious anti-Semite like Farrakhan. And setting that aside, what sort of interfaith alliances are Jews becoming involved in?

It is bad enough when fringe Jewish groups adopt policies inimical to the Jewish interests, but the situation becomes entirely intolerable when it applies to a body purporting to represent world Jewry.

There are lessons to be learnt from this debacle. Broad guidelines should be established in relation to interfaith dialogue. In the first instance, only responsible people sensitive to the interests of the Jewish people should be heading such activities. It is vital that a cordon sanitaire be imposed on dealings with unreconstructed anti-Semites of all political shades. There should also be a clear understanding that dialogue requires reciprocity and that groveling to extremists is counter productive and will inevitably result in Jewish dignity being demeaned. It is also important that Jewish agencies resist the temptations of engaging in hype and proclaiming false breakthroughs, recognizing that the objective of interfaith activities must be directed towards building genuine alliances.

Disclosure: The writer, a former Chairman of the Governing Board of the WJC, has been involved in an intense confrontation with certain leaders of the WJC. He stands by the facts quoted in this article but encourages readers to reach their independent conclusions.

Barack Osama said...


By Tom Fitton
October 15, 2008

You may recall I told you earlier about Barack Obama's controversial Illinois State Senate earmark for the "Garden to Nowhere." By way of reminder, Obama secured a $100,000 grant for a former campaign volunteer to build a garden project called the Englewood Botanical Garden. The project never happened and Obama's campaign volunteer, Kenny Smith, distributed $65,000 of the funds directly to his wife and another $20,000 to a construction company set up by his wife that is now no longer in business.

We have uncovered more evidence of suspicious Illinois State Senate earmarks by Obama, including one $25,000 grant for his wife's cousin. Here are a few of the details from Judicial Watch's documents obtained through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act:

Blue Gargoyle: Barack Obama helped secure a $25,000 grant for Blue Gargoyle in August 2000, an organization that was headed by Capers C. Funnye, Jr., Michelle Obama's first cousin once removed. (web site)

Community of St. Sabina: Obama helped secure a $100,000 grant for the Community of St. Sabina in July 2000, a church headed by Father Michael Pfleger, a controversial and radical Catholic priest and Obama campaign contributor. Pfleger made news in March 2008, for mocking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ, formerly run by Obama's personal pastor the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. (web site)

FORUM: Run by Yesse Yehudah, Barack Obama gave a $75,000 grant to the organization in 2000. Although Yehudah ran against Obama in a 1998 election, five people from FORUM donated $1000 to Obama's campaign after receiving the grant. FORUM also contributed another $5,000 to help pay Obama's debt after he failed to be elected to congress in 2000. In 2002, the State sued Yehudah for failure to account for hundreds of thousands of dollars he received from Obama's grant. (web site)

These earmarks, especially the one related to his wife's cousin, Rabbi Funnye, raise serious ethical questions. From documents obtained from only one state agency, we were able to figure out that Obama was responsible for over $3 million in earmarks from 1999-2002. Not exactly pocket change, especially when this taxpayer money is used to take care of your family and campaign contributors.

Some of these earmarks suggest that Barack Obama may have abused his office in the Illinois State Senate. We have yet to hear major media outlets ask Obama why he earmarked money for his wife's cousin.

It is never too late to demand accountability.

ACORN Accused of Voter Registration Fraud -- Again

Liberals in Congress have been determined to stick a huge cash giveaway to the "community organization" Association for Community Organizations for Reform (ACORN) in the government's Wall Street bailout bill. Thankfully the effort failed. It's no secret why Democrats, including Barack Obama, would want to support this group. ACORN bills itself as an organization that gives voice to the poor and disenfranchised by helping them to register to vote. However, in reality, ACORN has always been a radical leftist organization that will stop at nothing -- not even voter fraud -- to achieve its goals.

And this election year is no different. According to The Associated Press: (web site)

Nevada authorities seized records Tuesday from a group they accused of submitting fraudulent voter-registration forms -- including for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys...

State authorities raided the headquarters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a group that works to register low-income people.

Miller said the raid was part of a monthslong investigation, and he contended the group had submitted registration forms that used false information or duplicated information on multiple forms. He did not estimate how many.

It is little wonder we're seeing this kind of blatant criminality in Nevada when you consider that ACORN is relying upon prison inmates on work release to lead its voter registration program. (You read that correctly, prison inmates.) One inmate, designated a "team leader" by ACORN told ABC News that many of his fellow inmate canvassers are "lazy crackheads" just looking to make a quick buck. (web site) Now that inspires confidence, doesn't it?

Of course, ACORN -- which is partially funded by the taxpayers -- has a long history of voter fraud. As ABC News notes, "the group's track record has been marred with allegations of voter registration fraud and the criminal prosecutions of employees caught tampering and falsifying registration cards." And just how low is ACORN willing to go in its fraud campaign? "In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey," the The Wall Street Journal reports. (web site)

(I guess this makes registering the entire starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys seem tame by comparison.)

The AP notes Nevada is not the only state where problems have been reported. Authorities have launched investigations into ACORN's corrupt practices in Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri. (See any "swing states" on that list?) Overall, ACORN claims to have registered 1.3 million people this election cycle and the truth is we have no idea how many of these registrations are legitimate.

Now there is another part of this story that is particularly relevant 30 days out from the presidential election -- Barack Obama's extensive connections to this corrupt organization. Obama served as the group's lawyer, helped train ACORN staff in Chicago while serving as a "community organizer," and helped funnel large chunks of cash to ACORN while sitting on the board of the Woods Foundation and the Annenburg Challenge (the education program launched by domestic terrorist William Ayers). Guess which candidate ACORN's PAC has endorsed? That's right, Barack Obama.

This story is still unfolding, and you can be sure I'll have more for you.

Anonymous said...

NEW YORK, Oct. 17 (UPI) --
Frozen credit markets could push 125 major U.S. companies into default in 2009, business rating company Standard and Poor's said.

Archie Bunker said...

I wonder what kind of people live in DC that there are so many criminals. Hmmm ....

And why do I have a hunch they are all voting for Barack Osama?


3,000 Ex-Offenders Meet Voter Registration Deadline in Nation’s Capital

The Washington Informer, News Report, Joseph Young, Posted: Oct 16, 2008

District of Columbia residents flooded the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics in a last minute effort to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election, including people who had previously been incarcerated for felony convictions.

Five hundred voter registration applications of ex-offenders were hand- carried into the office of the Board of Elections by Peaceoholics founder Ronald “Mo” Moten, who spearheaded the drive to get ex-offenders registered to vote.

“Our voices will be heard from this day on,’” said Moten who is an ex-offender.

There are more than 60,000 ex-offenders living in the District, according to Moten. Twenty-five hundred are returned to the District each year from federal prisons, and 19,000 are in and out of the DC Jail each year.

The ultimate goal of the Peaceoholics is to register the more than 60,000 ex-offenders residing in the District registered to vote within the next two years.

“Once we do that nobody can stop our agenda, which is to make sure we are treated as citizens,” Moten said. “We want to have an equal playing field like everyone else.”

Many ex-offenders who live in the District are unaware that they can vote. According to Dan Murphy, spokesperson for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, ex-offenders have a legal right to vote in the District, even if they have been previously incarcerated for a felony or under court supervision. A person awaiting trial while in jail also has a right to vote by absentee ballot as well as a person who was convicted on misdemeanor charges.

Forty-eight states, and the District, prohibit inmates from voting while incarcerated for a felony offense, according to the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group for reform in sentencing laws.

According to the Sentencing Project, felony disenfranchisement has a disproportionate impact on African American men.

It estimates that 1.4 million African- American men, or 13 percent, are disenfranchised, a rate seven times the national average. Given current rates of incarceration, said the Sentencing Project, three in 10 of the next generation of Black men can expect to be disenfranchised at some point in their lifetime. In states that disenfranchise ex-offenders, as many as 40 percent of Black men may permanently lose their right to vote.

Boro Park said...


Oct. 14, 2008

ALLISON HOFFMAN, JPost correspondent in New York , THE JERUSALEM POST

A kosher soup kitchen in Brooklyn's heavily haredi Borough Park neighborhood reported a sharp increase in the number of parents bringing young children for free meals in September.

The shift - from just 300 children in August to about 450 in September, according to Masbia cofounder Alexander Rapaport - reflects both rising need among Orthodox Jews and diminished embarrassment about being in financial trouble as the economy worsens.

With most people cutting corners or inviting fewer guests to their tables, Rapaport said, families that had been scraping by with help from relatives are being forced to turn to assistance from strangers.

On Monday, single mothers who had received special postcards from Masbia flooded a kosher take-out restaurant to pick up free meals they could prepare at home, rather than bringing their families to a public succa.

By 11:30, Rapaport said, the owner called and said he was worried he wouldn't have enough food left to sell to his regular customers.

"A lot of people are very ashamed on a holiday to come to a public place - it's very painful," Rapaport told The Jerusalem Post. "There isn't a day that goes by that a woman doesn't call me crying." Masbia, founded in 2005, serves roughly 3,000 meals a month, mainly to single men - some unemployed or on food stamps, others looking for company while going through divorces or other family turmoil, Rapaport said.

While the influx of pint-sized guests, with correspondingly pint-sized appetites, represented only a small increase in the overall numbers, the organization has been scrambling to make accommodations, including buying extra high chairs and booster seats.

Rapaport said his workers were referring the newest patrons to city and state agencies for food stamp assistance, something most had no previous experience with.

"These children don't just come themselves, so it means a mother or a father came in with them," he said. "But they're just lost, they don't know our hours or anything."

Jewish social services agencies in New York said they had not yet seen a corresponding spike in requests for aid, but noted that many people already on public assistance were afraid they might be affected by the bleak state budget.

"People are really concerned about assistance ending," said Tzipporah Wisansky, a caseworker at the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services Brooklyn office.

The same concerns lurk in the background at private charities like Masbia, where donors have been slow to send promised checks, Rapaport said.

Yet he said there were no plans to cut back on ambitious Succot and Hol Hamoed programs, when attendance typically doubles from 160 to 300. "We try to make it nice," he said.

UOJ gets results said...

By David Glovin and Patricia Hurtado

Bloomberg News

U.S. prosecutors are adding employees to investigate New York-area financial firms for possible fraud linked to a global credit crisis that has wiped out $30 trillion of equity value in the past year.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Banks Admit Bailout Won't Work

Posted Oct 17, 2008 09:48am EDT

by Henry Blodget

So much for that story. A few days ago, when Hank Paulson called the heads of the nine families to Washington and shoved cash down their throats, he announced that the banks would use this new taxpayer cash to lend. They won't, of course. They'll hoard it like a starving family who has just been given a grocery cart full of food.

And after a few days of silence, even the banks are finally admitting that. So it's back to the drawing board for Paulson & Co.

Next steps? Find a way to force the banks to write their assets down to nuclear winter levels, so 1) private investors don't have to worry about getting sandbagged and therefore invest more in the banks, and 2) the banks know they won't be forced to take more multi-billion dollar losses. Only then will the banks begin to lend again. And at that point, the only challenge will be finding people and companies to lend to, in an economy headed straight into the tank.)

John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, said on Thursday that banks were unlikely to act swiftly. Executives at other banks privately expressed a similar view.

“We will have the opportunity to redeploy that,” Mr. Thain said of the new capital on a telephone call with analysts. “But at least for the next quarter, it’s just going to be a cushion."...

“I don’t think that the market wants to see that capital being put to work to leverage the business up again,” said Roger Freeman, an analyst at Barclays Capital, which acquired parts of the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers last month. “My expectation is it’s quarters off, not months off, before you see that capital being put to work.”...

Jamie Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan, said his bank was in a stronger position to use the money than some of its competitors.

“It’s clear that the government would like us to use the capital,” Mr. Dimon said on a conference call with analysts on Wednesday. “If you are a bank that is filling a hole, you obviously can’t do that.”

Who is "a bank that is filling a hole"? Seven of the nine that just got taxpayer money.

UOJ mischief? said...


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento County Republican leaders Tuesday took down offensive material on their official party Web site that sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to "Waterboard Barack Obama"

Henry Blodget said...

Wow, I must have said a really good vort if UOJ would even quote a convicted fraudster like me!


In 2002, then New York State Attorney General R' Elya Spitzer, published Merrill Lynch e-mails in which Blodget allegedly gave assessments about stocks, which conflicted with what was publicly published. In 2003, he was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He settled without admitting or denying the allegations and was subsequently banned from the securities industry for life. He paid a $2 million fine and $2 million disgorgement but kept millions more he earned in fees while promoting investments in stocks which failed.

UOJ participating in the autopsy said...

The credit-crunch postmortem is taking shape.

A lawyer for Lehman Brothers said in U.S. bankruptcy court on Thursday that 12 Lehman Brothers executives have been subpoenaed in criminal investigations into the collapse of the firm. Zachery Kouwe of the New York Post reports that Dick Fuld is one of them.

Federal grand juries have been convened in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. Prosecutors are examining whether Lehman made misleading statements about the financial health of the firm or overstated the value of its real estate portfolio.

The criminal investigation helps explain Fuld's careful, slowly parsed testimony before a House committee earlier this month and his unwillingness to take any blame despite the anger of lawmakers.

The preliminary investigation into Lehman, as well as those into American International Group, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac were reported last month. At the time, an unnamed government official told the New York Times that it was "logical to assume" that the four would come under scrutiny, given the manner in which they collapsed.

Fox News said...

Barack Obama says he only had limited ties to ACORN, and they began in 1995. But other encounters with the group, plus a voter-registration drive he conducted called Project Vote three years earlier, calls his account into question.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Fox Booze:

Shafran says he has limited ties to the Agudath Israel!

Shea Fishman said...

Ronnie Schreiber is overstaying his welcome in my hiding place. It's not like I'm going to let him stay here indefinitely after the Detroit auto industry implodes.


GM chief running out of time and options

By Bill Vlasic

Friday, October 17, 2008

Making matters worse is that GM is burning through more than $1 billion in cash each month, according to analyst estimates - with no end in sight.

Yudi Kolko said...

The French bastards at Le Marais told me years ago that grabbing men by the crotch is a very effective fighting tactic.


An heir to the French fashion house Hermès has been charged in a U.S. court with attacking the captain of a passenger jet en route to New York from Paris, grabbing the pilot's crotch and trying to punch him.

According to the charges, Mathias Guerrand-Hermès became so unruly aboard Air France Flight 008, which left Paris on Tuesday, that it took three flight attendants and the captain to restrain him. He was handcuffed, shackled and tied to a seat in first class, officials said.

Guerrand-Hermès, a socialite and polo player who will turn 37 on Sunday, had taken a prescription aspirin-like drug, Propofan, and "quite a bit of alcohol" and started behaving strangely about three hours into the flight, according to a law enforcement official and a criminal complaint. He is charged with one count of interfering with flight crew members, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Guerrand-Hermès, if convicted, would face a maximum of six months in prison as long as he had no criminal history.

The complaint says the episode started when he perched on the armrest of a woman's seat in his row in the first-class compartment. She roused her sleeping husband, who told Guerrand-Hermès to move away. Instead, he moved closer.

The crew was notified and asked him to stay in his own seat, but he refused, according to the complaint. The captain came out of the cockpit and approached Guerrand-Hermès, asking him to calm down and offering him another seat.

But Guerrand-Hermès grabbed the captain's crotch, according to the complaint, which was sworn out by Thomas O'Grady, an FBI special agent.

The captain pushed Guerrand-Hermès away and the head flight attendant then ushered him to another seat several rows behind his original one, the complaint said. As he neared his new seat, but before he sat down, the captain asked him to behave.

Guerrand-Hermès responded, "I am not going to behave myself," according to the complaint, and tried to punch the captain. He was tackled by the flight crew and after a brief struggle the captain and three male flight attendants were able to restrain him with handcuffs and shackles, the complaint said. He was then tied to his seat.

Guerrand-Hermès, who lives in New York, was married in 1999 in Paris before more than 450 guests. The event ended five days later in Marrakesh, Morocco, where the guests had been flown by two private planes. His father, Patrick Guerrand-Hermès, is president of the Federation of International Polo.

His lawyer, Craig Warkol, would not comment Wednesday. Guerrand-Hermès, wearing a light blue dress shirt torn under the arm, was arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn before Judge Lois Bloom, who released him on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.

Representatives of Blue Growth Capital, an investment company that Guerrand-Hermès has listed as an employer, did not return a call seeking comment.

A statement issued Wednesday by the fashion house said that "Mr. Mathias Guerrand" had no role in the company and that it would have no comment.

Rabbi Avi Shafran also declined to comment, stressing that R' Mattis Geurrand was only briefly at an Agudah camp more than 30 years ago and that no one in the organization remembers him.

Wall St Fresser said...


CEO -- Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO -- Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no
allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER -- What my financial advisor has made me.

STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

CASH FLOW-- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 per share.

WINDOWS -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @$240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Former investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse.

Worst housing data in 64 years? said...

Single-Family Home Starts in U.S. Fall to 26-Year Low (Update1)

By Bob Willis

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Housing starts in the U.S. fell more than forecast in September as construction of single-family homes plunged to the lowest level in 26 years, indicating the three-year real-estate slump is intensifying.


Related Video and Graphics

Zandi Says Housing Starts Heading to Post-World War Two

(WWII ended in 1945)

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...


WASHINGTON (AP) The United States says North Korea has stepped up disablement of its nuclear reactor.

Pesach Hotel Fresser said...


October 14, 2008

Hotels Join the Airlines in Fine-Print Fees

WE all know how difficult it is to make a business trip these days, with pared-down airline capacity, higher fares, crowded planes, tight connection times. But who knew it would be such a problem to cancel a business trip?

Recently, I had to reluctantly cancel plans to attend the Boyd Group aviation forecast conference, held Oct. 5-7 at the St. Regis, a Starwood hotel in Aspen, Colo.

The conference rate for two nights at the hotel was $414.29. I called the hotel to cancel on Oct. 4, a day before check-in time, and was informed that the cancellation fee would be — $414.29.

“That reservation had to have been canceled as of the 21st of September to avoid the forfeiture of two nights, so at this time the canceling will result in the forfeiture of the two nights,” the reservations clerk said.

Yep, there it was in the small type on the second page of my reservation printout. They had me. I had to cancel two weeks in advance or pay the whole enchilada.

Usually, I stay at one of the convenient midlevel chain hotels, like Hilton’s Hampton Inn, that accommodate a lot of business travelers. There, and even at four-star business hotels, canceling a reservation is no big deal. Usually, you can do it on less than a day’s notice — and your credit card isn’t charged.

So why did the St. Regis in Aspen charge my American Express card the full $414.29 promptly on Sept. 21? After all, it’s sleepy October in the Rockies, well before ski season.

“We work really hard to ensure that our guests understand our cancellation policies, and of course we are sympathetic to those who have to cancel things at the last minute,” said Jenni Benzaquen, a Starwood spokeswoman.

Stiff cancellation fees are “now more commonplace,” said Scott Booker, the chief hotel expert at Hotels.com, the online hotel site of Expedia Inc.

“As a consumer, you have to really look out for that kind of stuff,” he said.

Mr. Booker said that hotels are looking to raise revenue with “not just cancellation fees, but extra-person fees, resort fees, parking fees and Internet fees.”

With more business trips likely to be canceled or modified at the last minute in the current uncertain economic climate, it is increasingly important to read the fine print. Had I known that the St. Regis in Aspen confiscated the full two-day rate, I would simply have made a reservation elsewhere.

Years ago, after business travelers complained loudly about the proliferation of fees, many hotels reduced or eliminated some of them. But that is changing again and extra fees are coming back, Mr. Booker said.

“It’s kind have been floating under the radar a bit because the spotlight has been on the airline industry,” he said. “But it’s definitely happening in the hotel business as well.”

Mr. Booker said that 24 to 48 hours before check-in time is usually the deadline for canceling without charge at hotels that do charge a cancellation fee. Hotels .com does business with about 70,000 hotels worldwide and, for those who book through the site, “we will act as an advocate in your behalf” in negotiating with a hotel over any disputed charge or fee, he said.

Joe Brancatelli, who publishes the business travel Web site Joe SentMe.com, said that some hotels had become more aggressive in adding extra charges. “Hotels saw the airlines getting away with it, and they’re just doing what airlines do,” he said.

Airlines, of course, have been raising or adding fees, including fees for changing an advance-purchase restricted ticket.

For my aborted trip to Aspen, I’d booked on Continental from Newark to Denver. The round-trip advance-purchase fare was $375. Reusing the ticket later will incur a $150 change fee, leaving me with $125 to apply toward another ticket.

From Denver to Aspen, I’d booked a round-trip flight on Frontier Airlines for $159. The cancellation fee on Frontier is also $150.

Of course, I could have done what the airlines want us all to do, and paid extra for a fully refundable ticket. On Continental, for example, that unrestricted fare was $718 on Monday round trip from Newark to Denver.

How much did my change of plans cost? Plenty. Including the hotel and the airline change fees, the total came to $714.29.

Abe Foxman teams up with Belsky said...


ADL installs new board, officers

Anti-Defamation League has added new members to its regional board and installed officers.

Newly elected board members are Martin H. Belsky ...

Sruly Singer mit chazzonus said...


October 12, 2008

Jessica Dori Rosenthal, the daughter of Karen and Mitchell Rosenthal of Norwood, N.J., is to be married Sunday evening to Garret Scott Bedrin, the son of Diane and Gerald Bedrin of Franklin Lakes, N.J. Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner is to officiate at the Estate at Florentine Gardens in River Vale, N.J., with Cantor Israel Singer participating.

Another Margulies Putz said...


Joseph Margulies will talk about his role in coordinating the litigation challenging the Bush administration's post-9/11 detention policy at the ABA’s Chicago headquarters, 321 North Clark Street, on October 21 at 5 p.m.

Hatzolah said...


WESLEY HILLS - A 55-year-old man was hit by a car and killed early yesterday as he walked home on Route 306. The driver left the scene without stopping, police said.

Martin Gluck was apparently walking to his home on Pearl Drive in Wesley Hills at 12:30 a.m. when he was hit by a car just north of the intersection with Willow Tree Road, Ramapo police Lt. Brad Weidel said.

An anonymous caller contacted Hatzolah ambulance at 12:37 a.m. to report that a man was lying along the side of the road. The ambulance corps notified police.

Investigators don't know if the person who called Hatzolah was the driver who struck Gluck. They hope to talk to that person to try to get more information.

"Our investigative team is sure that whoever struck this individual knew that they had struck a person and committed a fatal hit-and-run," said Ramapo police Lt. Brad Weidel.

Gluck was transported by Hatzolah ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Gluck had lived in the Ramapo area for some time. He had family in Brooklyn.

The victim had made a purchase at a gas station on Route 306 and was walking toward Pearl Drive when he was struck.

There was a lot of pedestrian traffic Wednesday night in Ramapo because many residents were celebrating the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Gluck was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a black jacket.

He was not using a reflective sash that has been distributed to synagogues in the area in an effort to cut down on pedestrian accidents.

Police are looking for witnesses to the fatal hit-and-run.

Investigators said that Gluck was to be buried in the Orange County community of Kiryas Joel.

Ezra Merkin said...


Cravath, Schulte Roth Involved in GM-Chrysler Talks

As preliminary merger discussions between General Motors and Chrysler continue, The Am Law Daily has learned that New York's Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Schulte Roth & Zabel are advising the two ailing auto giants.
Sources familiar with the talks say that Schulte Roth M&A partner Marc Weingarten is advising longtime client Cerberus Capital Management. The New York-based private equity firm bought Chrysler from Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler for $7.4 billion in 2007--roughly $30 billion less than Daimler paid for the company in 1998.

Weingarten was named a Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in April 2007 for his work representing Cerberus on its purchase of a 51 percent stake in GMAC, the previously wholly-owned financial services arm of GM formerly known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation. (Business reports have speculated that GM could exchange its remaining 49 percent stake in GMAC to Cerberus for Chrysler.)

G & Sons said...


The original G & Sons shopping center in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn is up for sale. It contains approximately 51,700 sf and is currently vacant. Massey Knakal Realty Services has been retained to arrange for the sale of the center at 4802-4822 New Utrecht Ave. The asking price is $9.25 million.

Jason Maier, Massey Knakal broker and exclusive agent on the sale, tells Globest.com that the sellers are the children of the original owner of G & Sons department store—the Bausk Family Trust. The eldest daughter, Gittel Bausk is the primary trustee for the property.

Maier explains that after G & Sons went out of business National Wholesale Liquidators took over the site and "had a pretty good 10-year run with a NNN lease on the building." But due to a change in legislation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Maier says, NWL was forced to bring all of it current stores up to code and was forced to shutter a few locations "and 4802-4822 New Utrecht Ave. was one of them."

He continues that the property "has now been vacant since 2006 and was locked up by a failed investor who tied the property up and failed to close. Now Massey Knakal has the listing and will be focused on exposing the property to all the national retailers, investors, developers and beyond."

Maier expects to see all kinds of interest in the property. "There will be investors and developers of all kinds looking at the property from every aspect of refurbishment to redevelopment," he says. "We have received calls from grocery stores and major discount store operator’s--national and local. We have also seen many new schools built in the area over the last seven years and this site could easily suit that type of use as well."

Maier says that "the sheer size and scope of the property give any owner, user or developer one of the rarest opportunities in Boro Park. The building is also ideally located, he says. "Every interested party I have spoken to thus far understands that this is a one of a kind opportunity; there just is not product of this size and scope in such close proximity to the 13th Avenue shopping district and train stations."

Gershon "the shvindler" Tannenbaum said...

I'm happy that my pal Simcha Felder gives me so much importance.


Many witnesses waited for hours to speak in the City Council chamber.

At this point, as Councilman Felder called out the names of witnesses

No. 6: Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, spiritual leader of a congregation in Borough Park, Brooklyn, spoke in favor of extending term limits.

Igor Lieberman said...


Cops nabbed a thug after he threatened and robbed two teen girls in Borough Park.

Igor Lieberman, 20, allegedly walked up behind the girls, 17 and 18, near 45th Street and 17th Avenue at 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

The suspect announced he had a gun and demanded the teens' cellphones, said cops.

Officers found him with the stolen phones, along with a hypodermic needle, police said.

Anonymous said...

NEW YORK (AP) -- A pediatrician has been charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old male patient in his Upper West Side Manhattan office.

The district attorney's office says Dr. Jaime Cortes was charged with criminal sex act and sexual abuse. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The 47-year-old physician pleaded not guilty Friday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court. He is due back in court on Oct. 23.

Prosecutors says Cortes began soliciting the child for sex when he was 10. They say Cortes bought the boy cell phones, gave him money, and sent inappropriate text messages and photographs to his phone.

Cortes also has offices in Brooklyn and Queens. Prosecutors say an employee in his Manhattan office reported the physician to authorities.

Leib Tropper said...

Yasher Koyach to Larry Gordon for using the 5 Towns Jewish Times to protect & promote Rubashkin and now me too.


Beis Din In Detroit Affiliated With Eternal Jewish Family

Federal raid in Lakewood said...


But the guy is an Arab. Follow the link for the 2nd in depth story of what he's been up to.

Keystone Cops said...

The government's effort to boost bank lending to end the credit crisis is hurting one of the areas critical to the nation's recovery: mortgage rates. In the past week, the average mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed home loan has jumped more than one half a percentage point to 6.74%, according to Bankrate.com. That might not sound like much, but it is the biggest one-week rise in the normally stable lending rate in 21 years. Some economists say mortgage rates could soon top 7%, a level they have not seen in more than six years.

"Certainly the moves the administration have made so far are not directly attacking the financial issues that affect American homeowners," says John Vogel, a finance professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. "We need to refinance million of homeowners into affordable mortgages, and if rates go up that makes that job just much harder to do."

Hamptons Fresser said...


I understand that Marc Schneier is a controversial weirdo but these schmos trying to stop the Westhampton eruv are just a bunch of self-hating Jews who are using Schneier's meshugassin as an excuse.

They are a bunch of super-wealthy ex-Manhattanites, 5 Towners & Great Neck expats who hate the sight of Orthodox Jews who make them feel too Jew for the Hamptons WASPs they are trying to impress.

The bogus group calling themselves "Jewish People opposed to the Eruv" are led by the who's who of former CEOs.

Hal Kahn, former CEO of Macy's & Judith Lieber Inc

Jack Kringstein, former CEO of Herman Kay clothiers.

Arnold Sheiffer, former media executive

These lowlives openly complain that eruvin attract frum Jews to buy homes and that they don't want another Lawrence or Great Neck where the stores close on Shabbos.

Hamptons Eruv said...


The Jewish anti-Semites are even reaching out to Verizon & the utility LIPA to sabotage their cooperation with the frum Jews.

I don't think these morons realize, as they spend huge amounts of money on lawyers (including that phony YU professor Marci Hamilton), that Gov. Patterson is a friend of the shul.

What a Hypocrite said...


Kringstein's family who still own Herman Kay clothiers have gotten in big trouble with the NYC DOB for illegal construction that endangered the public.

Read this article on how pedestrians could have been crushed to death on the sidewalk outside their building.

UOJ should deal with US Navy Chaplain Capt. Neil Block said...


Jewish Leader Says Victim of Anti-Semitic Attack Playing 'Jew Card'

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Monday, October 13, 2008

Some members of the Jewish community are calling for the immediate removal of a retired Navy captain who represents the interests of Jewish soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia Army base that they said made light of anti-Semitic attacks on a soldier.

Three weeks ago, Pvt. Michael Handman, 20, was lured into a laundry room at the Fort Benning Army base by other soldiers, knocked unconscious and beaten while he lay on the ground. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where he was treated for a concussion, facial wounds, and oral injuries.

Last Friday, following a military police investigation, commanders at Fort Benning decided decided not to seek a court-martial against the soldier responsible for the beating and have chosen to resolve the incident as a personnel matter rather than a crime.

The beating, first reported by The Public Record, took place about a week or so after Pvt. Handman wrote a letter to his mother, Randi Handman, informing her that his drill sergeants used anti-Semitic slurs against him because he wore a yarmulke with his military uniform.

In an interview, retired Navy Captain Neil Block, the Jewish Lay Leader at Fort Benning, seemed to place blame for the brutal attack and the prior incidents of anti-Semitism on Pvt. Handman for naively believing that wearing a yarmulke would not invite ridicule by his fellow soldiers.

“When he told me that he was going to wear a keepah (the Hebrew word for yarmulke) I said God bless you, but be prepared, there’s a consequence to it and you’re going to be challenged,” said Block, who has been the advocate for Jewish soldiers at Fort Benning for the past eight years. The military uses volunteer Jewish lay leaders due to the shortage of rabbis at the nearly 1,000 Department of Defense military installations around the world.

“He has a drill sergeant who has never seen a keepah in his life and treated him less than mommy and daddy would and made some derogatory comments about his faith," Block said.“This whole thing is an issue of overreaction. Should his drill sergeants have known better? Yeah. But they didn’t. I was at a party where people talking about Jewing somebody down. It goes on. Does it make it right? No. But it’s basic training. You can’t control 100 or so soldiers. I mean everybody uses the “n” word now and then” to refer to African Americans.”

In addition, Block suggested that Pvt. Handman used his “minority status” as a Jew to play the “Jew card,” in other words, a “victim.”

“Any young Jew who uses his minority status to play the system is villainous,” Block said. “There’s that element that I am being discriminated against.”

Block said he takes his Jewish faith seriously and there has never been anything “amiss” at Fort Benning on the scale of what Pvt. Handman has alleged.

Block became involved in the matter after Pvt. Handman’s father, Jonathan Handman, contacted Mikey Weinstein, the president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a nonprofit government watchdog group that aims to keep a close eye on the military to ensure its adherence to the law mandating the separation between church and state.

Weinstein spent a decade working as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate (JAG), was formerly legal counsel in the Reagan White House and was General Counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot.

"The moment we were contacted by the father, Jonathan Handman, MRFF did what it always does in these ever more frequent, tragic matters of unbridled, military-sponsored Christian religious oppression; we moved at light speed to ensure the victim's immediate safety. Next, we demanded that the victim's chain of command comprehensively and fairly investigate and punish those responsible,” Weinstein said.

Indeed, media coverage of the incident after Weinstein’s involvement led the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey, to make a personal phone call to Fort Benning last week to inquire about Pvt. Handman’s safety, the Pentagon confirmed Monday.

The anti-Semitic attack on Pvt. Handman received widespread media coverage following The Public Record’s initial report, which angered Block who believed the incident was blown wildly out of proportion. Last weekend, Block fired off a harshly worded email to Weinstein accusing him of creating a “disaster for us as Jews in and of the military” due to Weinstein’s alleged failure to verify or substantiate the information.

“If you really wanted some perspective instead of merely spewing regurgitated invective and uninformed opinions delivered as verity, it might have been well to contact me for some insight, verification and reality checking,” Block wrote. “Your reflexive assumptions that hate and discontent permeate the military relative to us Jews is publically prejudicial, uninformed and inane. Unfortunately, your public media approach to dealing with these kinds of issues gives you some sort of authority, which you do not deserve. You give comfort and sanction to those who would really try to marginalize us and an excuse for those of us who don’t or won’t measure up and use our ethnicity as their excuse.”

In an interview Monday, Weinstein said he was “alarmed” that Block has chosen to trivialize the anti-Semitic attacks on Pvt. Handman and "is blaming everyone but himself and the Army for this immense travesty, perhaps he will next castigate Private Handman for illegally using his head as a battering ram/jackhammer to smash against the innocent clenched fists of his fellow soldiers.

“Mr. Block displays a truly alarming and willful reckless disregard for the truth of this tragic Army hate crime and subsequent cover-up. His egregiously transparent, self-aggrandizing and self-serving screed that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) did not immediately gather all salient and germane facts attendant to this civil rights crime and, further, that MRFF is “creating a disaster for us Jews in and out of the military” is blatantly untrue and quite beyond the pale,” Weinstein said. “The incontrovertible facts speak volumes for themselves. Mr. Block is apparently the current reigning Poster Child for Army religious predator apologists.”

Weinstein added that “Block's wretched "Jim Crowesque", callous assessment that everybody uses the word "nigger" sometimes, reveals quite all of which the world needs to know about this sorry excuse for a volunteer military religious leader. MRFF is not requesting, but demanding his immediate dismissal by Fort Benning before he can do any more harm.”

Prior to Weinstein’s involvement, Jonathan Handman sent a letter to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Republican of Georgia. Chambliss immediately contacted the Pentagon to investigate. The Department of Defense sent Chambliss a detailed letter two weeks ago confirming that Pvt. Handman was the victim of anti-Semitism.

“Based on [Private] Handman’s statement and the seriousness of the allegations, the command immediately initiated a commander’s inquiry,” stated a Sept. 26 letter sent to Chambliss by Samuel Selby Rollinson, the Department of the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff. “Based on the inquiry, the Army found that two [non-commissioned officers] inadvertently violated the Army Regulation concerning the free exercise of religion by requiring the Soldier to remove his yarmulke and by using inappropriate terms when referencing the Jewish faith.

“While the actions of the NCO’s were not meant to be malicious, and were done out of ignorance for regulations and cultural awareness, this does not excuse their conduct. The command intends to reprimand both NCO’s for their conduct; require them to present formal blocks of instruction on what religious are authorized for wear; and finally, the battalion chaplain will instruct all cadre members on the Army policy concerning religious accommodation.”

The reprimand of the drill sergeants took place four days before Pvt. Handman was beaten. Block believes there is no connection between the two incidents and he claims the Army has 100 sworn affidavits stating that the beating of Pvt. Handman was not motivated by anti-Semitism.

“To extrapolate and say that the beating was connected to anti-Semitism is just wrong,” Block said.

Block also recently interviewed the drill sergeants after they were reprimanded for referring to Pvt. Handman as “Juden,” “kike” and “fucking Jew.” During the Holocaust, Jews wore yellow Stars of David with the word “Juden” inscribed on the star.

“Young Mr. Handman asked his drill sergeant if arrangements had been made for soldiers to attend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and his drill sergeant said ‘Yes Juden you needn’t worry. Arrangements have been made.’”

Block said his interview with the two drill sergeants led him to believe that “these are two absolutely contrite individuals who did not understand what they were saying.”

“One of the drill sergeants spent time in Germany,” Block said. “Juden is the German word for Jew. To some Jews it may have a pejorative impact. But it’s a legitimate word in German.”

Block said his email to Weinstein was obviously shared with members of the Jewish community who have been sending him emails over the past several days accusing him of being insensitive and demanding he step down or be removed as Jewish Lay Leader.

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, who maintains the popular Jewish affairs website JewsOnFirst wrote a letter to Block Sunday stating that he intended to immediately write to the “Jewish Welfare Board which oversees the services rendered to Jewish Armed Forces personnel.”

“I will, in turn, ask the Union of Reform Judaism to review and investigate your hurtful behavior as "Jewish Lay Leader" at Fort Benning. I want to see that you are swiftly removed,” Rabbi Beliak wrote.

Block said he has received numerous other emails from members of the Jewish community accusing him of being a “self-hating Jew” and a “poor excuse for a Jew,” and unfairly turned him “into the story.”

“They’re accusing me of all kinds of dastardly things,” Block said. “I am the champion of Jewish rights in the military.”


Jonathan Handman said his son was lured into a laundry room at the Fort Benning Army base by other soldiers, knocked unconscious and beaten while he lay on the ground.

Michael Handman enlisted in the Army earlier this year. He wears a yarmulke with his uniform, which apparently led his drill sergeants to refer to him as a “fucking Jew” and a “kike” and a demand that he remove the yarmulke during dinner, according to his father. The soldier recently wrote a letter to his mother Randi recounting the anti-Semitism he has endured by his drill sergeants and members of his platoon since arriving for basic training at Fort Benning.

“I have just never been so discriminated against/humiliated about my religion,” Michael Handman wrote his mother. “I just feel like I'm always looking over my shoulder. Like my battle buddy heard some of the guys in my platoon talking about how they wanted to beat the shit out of me tonight when I'm sleeping. It just sucks. And the only justification they have is [because] I'm Jewish. Maybe your dad was right...The Army is not the place for a Jew.”

Weinstein and MRFF exposed a pattern of anti-Semitic Biblical teachings by chaplains at Fort Leavenworth. He also signed on to help defend former Army Chaplain, Rabbi Jeffrey Goldman, a Toronto native, who was taunted by senior military officers at a prayer breakfast one morning in May 2001 as his chaplain colleagues had placed Nazi uniforms and swastikas on the wall of the officers' club at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Handman and his wife, Randi, continue to worry about their son’s well being.

“I feel like this was written from the movie “A Few Good Men” and we all know the outcome there,” Handman said, referring to the 1992 Tom Cruise blockbuster about Marines accused of murdering a colleague. “That is what terrifies me. I do not want to bury my only son.”

Alexander Lazaroff said...


Exclusive: Top Federal Postal Cop Retires in Wake of ABC News Investigation

Official Gambled at a Casino During Conference He Arranged at Nearby Resort

October 17, 2008—

Two weeks after being questioned by ABC News about his travel expenses and gambling habits, the head of the US Postal Service's Inspection Service abruptly announced his retirement.

Alexander Lazaroff announced his retirement earlier this month saying, "after 37 years of federal service, I feel that it's time for me to begin a new chapter in my life." He made no mention of the ABC News questions nor of an ongoing investigation of his travels by the Postal Service's Inspector General.

The Inspector General investigation of Lazaroff followed complaints from his own inspectors to Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) that the chief inspector squandered postal service money to arrange travel to resorts and other locations near casinos.

Grassley says Lazaroff's departure will not stop the Inspector General's investigation.

An ABC News investigative team recorded Lazaroff at a casino in Phoenix in late September, during a conference he arranged at a nearby resort.

Lazaroff spent two hours at the casino and was seen leaving in a white stretch limousine provided by the casino, Casino Arizona.

Asked six days later by ABC News whether he had been at the casino, Lazaroff said he could not recall.

"I'm not sure, I'm not sure," he told ABC News.

When shown pictures of him at the casino, Lazaroff then recalled the evening but insisted he went to the casino on his "own time" and did not have a gambling problem.

"I don't have any debt as a result of gambling, I am not a high roller," Lazaroff said.

(Click here to watch Brian Ross interview Lazaroff)

Postal Service officials were reportedly taken aback at his failure to recall the evening of gambling and a short time later agents of the Inspector General's office contacted ABC News for further information.

Senator Grassley had initially asked for the Inspector General's investigation following a series of anonymous letters and whistleblower complaints to his office.

"He lives in Philadelphia, works in Washington and he's never moved," said Grassley. "Quite frankly, how can he do his job as postal inspector and the administrator he is, when he's never in the office?"

Grassley said there have been a number of new allegations referred to the Inspector General by employees who felt free to act once they knew Lazaroff was leaving.

Allegations of Government Waste
As the head of an agency with more than 1,700 inspectors and a yearly budget of $464 million, Lazaroff had drawn attention for his frequent absences from the office.

He told ABC News he was on the road "70 percent of the time" because he felt he could accomplish visiting more Postal facilities across the country and around the world.

"I think I travel a reasonable amount," Lazaroff said.

According to Postal Service inspectors, Lazaroff, who was promoted to the top job two years ago, spent at least five times as much money traveling as any of his predecessors.

Lazaroff told ABC News his travel budget for the last two years was around $100,000 although sources in his office said the figure was actually closer to $300,000.

"When stamps are $.42 each," said Grassley, "and they're going to face a $2.5 billion shortfall, we should not have people in the postal service traveling so much."

Postal inspectors had also complained to the Inspector General that Lazaroff put pressure on subordinates to hire friends as private contractors.

Lazaroff denied the allegation and said he did little more than recommend people he knew to be qualified.

Another issued raised by Senator Grassley was reports that Lazaroff had retaliated against suspected whistleblowers.

"He threatens them as an administrator can threaten underlings," Grassley said.

Lazaroff denied the allegations, which he blamed on "disgruntled employees."

The US Postal Inspection Service rarely gets the credit it deserves, according to federal prosecutors who work with all federal law enforcement agencies.

Postal inspectors are charged with investigating scams and thefts through the mail and are often called in to work on complicated financial cases in which documents have passed through the mail.

Postal inspectors helped bring down tele-evangelist Jim Bakker, pursued the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and were deeply involved in the anthrax investigation.

A Question of Judgment?
Until the ABC News interview, conducted at the Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Postmaster General John E. Potter had been highly supportive of Lazaroff and his spokesperson, Gerry McKiernan, sought to downplay the allegations.

McKiernan told ABC News earlier this month that an "internal" investigation had already cleared Lazaroff and that the Inspector General's report would also find no wrongdoing.

McKiernan also said the complaints against Lazaroff were due largely to "disgruntled employees" who objected to management changes Lazaroff had implemented.

Thursday, Potter praised Lazaroff saying he "has demonstrated a powerful focus on operational excellence and an unwavering commitment to this organization." Potter, or his deputy, according to postal inspectors, had approved all of Lazaroff's many travels.

Senator Grassley said the matter raised questions about the Postmaster General's judgment.

Touro Putz said...

New York, NY - The plot is thickening at Touro College, with more arrests and charges involving former officials, teachers and students who allegedly sold or bought degrees and grades, officials said yesterday.

Two ex-administrators, already accused of selling grades and diplomas, were slapped yesterday with 40 new charges of forgery, bribe receiving, falsifying business records and violating education law.

Former Manhattan-campus admissions honcho Andrique Baron, 35, of Elmont, LI, and former Brooklyn-campus computer bigwig Michael Cherner, 51, of Brooklyn, allegedly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from students who wanted to change their bad grades to A's - or even purchase fictitious degrees.

Semyon Lev, 56, was also arrested and charged with selling grades after he took over for Cherner.

The three employees were among 21 arrested in the case, including students who bought grades and city public school teachers who bought phony master's degrees at about $4,000 each they did not earn.

The yearlong probe snared four teachers who allegedly claimed advanced degrees that allowed them to collect an additional $10,000 in salary.