Monday, November 24, 2008

All the Wrong Policies - Blundering Crooks In Leadership Roles!

The notion that people in leadership positions know what they are doing and care about your welfare, must be exorcised out of your indoctrinated brain. This foolishness was imbibed to you through your mother's milk and is destroying your life. It's like melamine in the Chinese milk, it's killing you, some quicker than others.

The *D-A-A-S - T-O-R-A-H* myth, lie and distortion, is destroying the Orthodox Jewish community -- tearing its guts out and creating - group - mental illness.

These so-called, self-appointed, rabbis/leaders, know nothing about the affairs of the world or care about your welfare. -- At most -- they may be able to explain a difficult R' Chaim.

A father approached me a while back and asked if I could explain the following:

His son -- a disciple of Rabbi Shmuel Feivelson of Monsey, New York (Eliezer Eizgrau's mentor and godfather), was given guidelines by Feivelson -- for dating. One of the guidelines was --- never to open the door of the car for the female -- on a date. It lacked, he said , of appropriate behavior for a ben Torah and a Torah way of life. It was the female, that had to figuratively open the door for him -- because, he, not she -- symbolized Torah.

Further, he said, the young man had to be certain that his potential mate was put into place right from the get-go. Is there any wonder that there is a shidduch crisis - with clowns like this offering Torah-prescribed dating advice?

Soon after -- Feivelson invited himself to address the kollel that I spent my then available time at. I decided that I was going to verify this crass, demented ideology. In brief, Feivelson verified as true, what was told to me. All, except for two people of the chavrei kollel, for their own reasons, waited until he walked in to the beis midrash, started his address -- and en-mass walked out.

Now this hallucinating idiot is advising young men -- on the do's and dont's of frum dating. There are a hundred upon hundreds of these frauds masquerading as rabbis, rosh yeshivas, and school principals, offering advice on topics they are ignorant of. What's worse, that these "pearls" are disguised as "daas Torah"!

There are hundreds if not thousands of frauds masquerading as "treasury secretaries" and in other leadership positions. The Feivelsons and the Paulsons of the world -- should be locked up in a criminal insane asylum.

The stock market is down 22% since Paulson's "bailout" of his Wall St. buddies --- the greatest financial crime in American history, and hundreds of people have left traditional Orthodox Judaism since the greatest crime on American soil by Jews has been exposed --- the cover-up of rabbi sex-abuse in our schools and community!

All the Wrong Policies: Paulson Gets 'F-Minus' from Former Regulator Posted Nov 21, 2008 02:52pm EST by Aaron Task

As bad a year as the stock market is having, Treasury Secretary Paulson is having an even worse one, according to William Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri.

The professor, who was counsel to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board during the S&L Crisis and blew the whistle on the "Keating Five" in 1989, says Paulson deserves an "F-minus" for his role in the financial crisis.

"All of his policies made [the crisis] worse," says Black, citing Paulson's:

Pushing for more deregulation of the securities and mortgage businesses.
Failure to recognize the liquidity crisis in credit markets sooner.
Failure to act to stop foreclosures sooner.
Opposition to the government taking equity stakes in financial institutions, until very late in the crisis.
"And he gets the worst grade because as head of Treasury he's also in charge of banking and thrift regulation," Black continues, noting he "destroyed" rather than beefed up supervision. "I hope you like the consequences."

Black, author of "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One," says there's ample reasons why the financial markets have lost confidence in the Secretary.

He also notes Paulson steered Goldman Sachs into subprime and alt-A mortgage securities before becoming Treasury Secretary in 2006. Goldman began shorting those instruments shortly after Paulson's departure, he notes.

The current crisis is "not a hundred-year flood, that suggests it's an act of God caused by random forces," Black says. "This was one cause by bad policies, the same policies that have caused prior crises."


Former Regulator: Clear Fraud in Financial Crisis -- Why Isn't Anyone in Jail?

Posted Nov 21, 2008 12:47pm EST by Aaron Task

In the aftermath of the corporate scandals earlier this decade, investor confidence was (partially) restored by a parade of "perp walks" of fallen chieftains like Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers, and Dennis Kozlowski.

But nearly two years into the bursting of booms in housing and mortgage securities, scant few related arrests have been made — and most of those have been focused on individual mortgage brokers vs. major industry leaders.

"There is no poster child [for the housing scandal] because you need to investigate, and you need to bring cases and we haven't done either against the major players," says William Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri — Kansas City and a former federal regulator.

Black, who was counsel to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board during the S&L Crisis and blew the whistle on the "Keating Five" in 1989, says investigations have shown fraud incidence of 50% at (once) major subprime lenders like IndyMac and Countrywide.

But even though the FBI warned of an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud in 2004, they subsequently made a "strategic alliance" with the Mortgage Bankers Association, which serves the major industry players.

In this case, the foxes truly were guarding the hen house.

Black notes it was only this year that the total number of FBI agents devoted to mortgage-fraud investigations rose to more than 200. By comparison, during the S&L and Enron investigations in the 1980s and '90s, respectively, multiple task forces totaling hundreds of agents were employed.

"The DOJ has refused to emulate its successes in the S&L debacle, and even dealing with Enron, by creating a large task force that would take on the major fraud participants," Black said. "In this context, that would mean creating a large task force to investigate major, nonprime lenders."


Anonymous said...

NOVEMBER 24, 2008 Builders Make Plea for Federal Aid - WSJ

Critics Warn That Propping Up Housing Demand Will Only Prolong Market's Woes

Struggling U.S. auto makers left Washington empty-handed after weeks of pleading for a handout, but that hasn't deterred home builders from stepping up to lobby Congress for help.

But any federal assistance would require policy makers to figure out how to stimulate demand for housing -- the problem at the root of the global financial meltdown -- without artificially propping up home values.

Some economists fear federal intervention to help homeowners may instead encourage more overbuilding. Above, unfinished homes in Carlsbad, Calif.
The builders' lobby is ramping up its sales pitch for a $250 billion stimulus package called "Fix Housing First," arguing that financial markets won't recover until home prices stop falling. They are calling for a generous tax credit for home purchases and a federal subsidy that would lower a homeowner's mortgage rate.

Congress resisted a similar effort to pass a larger tax credit earlier this year, instead creating a $7,500 credit for new-home purchases that had to be paid back over 15 years, effectively extending an interest-free loan.

Builders are promoting the campaign with full-page newspaper advertisements, but face an uphill battle, with critics suggesting the proposal is too expensive and that it too heavily promotes home purchases rather than addressing loan modifications for delinquent homeowners.

The effort aims to stop the adverse feedback loop gripping the market. The cycle begins when falling home prices prompt some borrowers to default, leading to foreclosures. That further depresses home prices, hitting the banks that hold mortgage-backed securities, causing them to pull back and freeze credit. That in turn causes the economy to slow.

"The basic asset that is underlying all the financial problems that we're experiencing is highly unstable, and it's causing an ongoing hemorrhaging in the financial system," said David Ledford, who oversees housing finance and policy for the National Association of Homebuilders. "It's starting to snowball."

The homebuilders' proposal would offer home buyers a tax credit equal to 10% of the home's value, capping it at $22,000, nearly three times the $7,500 credit Congress offered to new buyers earlier this year. Builders say the earlier credit didn't work because it wasn't big enough and had to be repaid.

Builders also want subsidies for interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for government-backed "conforming" loans, which currently are around 6.2%, to bring rates down to 3% for loans made in the first half of 2009 and 4% for those in the second half of the year. Realtors are pushing a 4.5% interest-rate buy-down for new loans. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, estimates that each 1% decline in interest rates could generate between 500,000 and 800,000 home sales.

A rate reduction of about 1% on a 30-year mortgage typically costs the lender -- in this case the government -- around 4% of the principal. So a 2% buy-down on a $200,000 mortgage would cost $16,000. The NAHB estimates the subsidy portion of its proposal would cost the Treasury $143 billion.

But to some economists, "Fix Housing First" strikes an all-too-familiar refrain of "build more homes." Housing economist Thomas Lawler implores builders to "stop building." He and others argue that effectively setting a floor for home prices will prolong the pain because it will keep supply and demand out of sync.

"The government does not have the tools to rewrite the laws of supply and demand," said Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser. "By artificially increasing prices, we are encouraging more building."

Homebuilders frequently point to a similarly structured tax credit and interest-rate subsidy that Congress approved in 1975. The program gave qualified buyers a 5% credit up to $6,000 and bought down interest rates by around 1.5%, to 7%.

But a historical parallel could be misleading. In 1975, the U.S. was exiting -- not entering -- a recession, one induced by oil prices, and not a sharp run-up in housing prices. "You can offer people all sorts of credits, but if they don't have a job or income I don't know that they're going to take the bait," said Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute.

Another potential hitch is that creating an incentive to buy, but not a mechanism to refinance existing mortgages, could prompt some people to purchase a new home on more favorable terms and then bail on their existing one. However, banks -- along with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- have tightened restrictions on buying second homes to guard against such a maneuver.

Even critics of the proposal, however, worry that home prices could continue falling to below historical averages for a normal market. "The biggest question is, will there be an overshoot to the downside because of tightening mortgage credit and a declining prices on foreclosed homes," Mr. Lawler said.

Indeed, the debate hinges on how much further economists believe home prices have to adjust before they are in line with historical norms relative to income. Mr. Yun, of the realtors' group, said the NAR's "Affordability Index" shows that most markets have returned to their pre-bubble levels, though he said some of the most overheated markets still have a ways to readjust.

Already, the government has taken steps to subsidize the mortgage market by approving larger loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, which together account for more than eight-in-10 new loans.

Other critics say that while a large tax credit could motivate buyers to get off the fence, it would do nothing for homeowners unable to refinance mortgages they can't afford, which is arguably a bigger problem.

One idea with broader support -- but with a potentially bigger price tag -- is an interest-rate buy-down that would allow existing homeowners to refinance to lower rates. Chris Mayer, senior vice dean of Columbia Business School, has suggested that the government push interest rates down to 5.25% for homeowners who prove that they can afford to live in their new homes and can document their income.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

Anonymous said...

Government plans massive Citigroup rescue effort

Monday November 24, 8:25 am ET
By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

Citigroup rescue includes $20B cash injection, guarantee on billions in assets

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rushing to rescue Citigroup, the government agreed to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in possible losses at the stricken bank and to plow a fresh $20 billion into the company.

Regulators hope the dramatic action will bolster badly shaken confidence in the once-mighty banking giant as well as the nation's financial system, a goal that so far has been elusive despite a flurry of government interventions to battle the worst global crisis since the 1930s.

Wall Street appeared encouraged as stock futures moved higher ahead of the market opening in New York. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose almost 2 percent. Stock markets in Britain and Germany gained more than 4 percent in afternoon trading. Citigroup shares themselves climbed 44 percent to $5.64 in premarket trading.

"If they didn't help, the damage would be beyond imagination," said Teck-Kin Suan, economist at United Overseas Bank in Singapore.

The action, announced late Sunday by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., is aimed at shoring up a huge financial institution whose collapse would wreak havoc on the already fragile financial system and the U.S. economy.

"With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy," the three agencies said in a joint statement. "We will continue to use all of our resources to preserve the strength of our banking institutions, and promote the process of repair and recovery and to manage risks."

Analysts said a Citigroup failure would have seized up still fragile lending markets and caused untold losses among institutions holding debt and financial products backed by the company.

"It would create chaos," said Winson Fong, managing director at SG Asset Management in Hong Kong, which oversees about $3 billion in equities in Asia. "Simply put, you couldn't borrow or lend for a while. This is a nightmare scenario."

The bold move is the latest in a string of high-profile government bailout efforts. The Fed in March provided financial backing to JPMorgan Chase's buyout of ailing Bear Stearns. Six months later, the government was forced to take over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and throw a financial lifeline -- which was recently rejiggered -- to insurer American International Group.

Critics worry the actions could put billions of taxpayers' dollars in jeopardy and encourage financial companies to take excessive risk on the belief that the government will bail them out of their messes.

The Citigroup rescue came after a weekend of marathon discussions led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who is being tapped by President-elect Barack Obama as his Treasury chief also participated.

Vikram S. Pandit, Citi's chief executive officer, welcomed the action. "We appreciate the tremendous effort by the government to assure market stability," he said in a statement issued early Monday.

The $20 billion cash injection by the Treasury Department will come from the $700 billion financial bailout package. The capital infusion follows an earlier one -- of $25 billion -- in Citigroup in which the government also received an ownership stake.

As part of the plan, Treasury and the FDIC will guarantee against the "possibility of unusually large losses" on up to $306 billion of risky loans and securities backed by commercial and residential mortgages.

Under the loss-sharing arrangement, Citigroup Inc. will assume the first $29 billion in losses on the risky pool of assets. Beyond that amount, the government would absorb 90 percent of the remaining losses, and Citigroup 10 percent. Money from the $700 billion bailout and funds from the FDIC would cover the government's portion of potential losses. The Federal Reserve would finance the remaining assets with a loan to Citigroup.

In exchange for the guarantees, the government will get $7 billion in preferred shares of Citigroup. In addition, Citi said it will issue warrants to the U.S. Treasury and the FDIC for approximately 254 million shares of the company's common stock at a strike price of $10.61.

As a condition of the rescue, Citigroup is barred from paying quarterly dividends to shareholders of more than 1 cent a share for three years unless the company obtains consent from the three federal agencies. The bank is currently paying a dividend of 16 cents, halved from a 32-cent payout in the previous quarter. The agreement also places restrictions on executive compensation, including bonuses.

Importantly, the agreement calls on Citigroup to take steps to help distressed homeowners.

Specifically, Citigroup will modify mortgages to help people avoid foreclosure along the lines of an FDIC plan that was put into effect at IndyMac Bank, a major failed savings and loan based in Pasadena, Calif.

Under the IndyMac plan, struggling home borrowers pay interest rates of about three percent for five years. Rates are reduced so that borrowers aren't paying more than 38 percent of their pretax income on housing.

The IndyMac plan also was used as a model for a new program by mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for two other failed thrifts taken over by the government on Friday. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has been pressing Treasury to use $24 billion from the $700 billion bailout program to put the mortgage modification program on national footing, but Paulson is opposed to that idea.

Citigroup has seen its shares lose 60 percent of their value in the past week, reflecting a crisis of confidence among skittish investors. They are worried all the risky debt on Citigroup's balance sheet will turn into losses as the economy worsens and the markets stay turbulent -- losses that could be nearly impossible to reverse.

Citigroup is such a large, interconnected player in the financial system that it is seen by Washington policymakers as too big to fail. The company has operations stretching around the globe in more than 100 countries.

Analysts consider Citigroup the most vulnerable among the major U.S. banks -- especially after it failed to nab Wachovia Corp., which was bought instead by Wells Fargo & Co. That was a missed opportunity for Citi to gets its hands on much-needed U.S. deposits that would bolster its cash position.

Citigroup was especially hard hit by the meltdown in risky, subprime mortgages made to people with tarnished credit or low incomes. Foreclosures on those mortgages spiked, leaving Citi and other financial companies wracking up huge losses on the soured investments. The company has failed to turn a profit during the past four quarters and has announced plans to slash thousands of jobs.

Anonymous said...

Anti-Semitism Arrives in Golders Green

by Hana Levi Julian

(IsraelNN.com) Anti-Semitism has begun to rear its ugly head in northwest London’s Jewish neighborhood of Golders Green.

Jewish students are increasingly being targeted by rock-throwing hate-mongers, according to a report published in The Jewish News. Concerned parents have organized a private bus to transport their children in order to keep them safe from the daily attacks on their way to school.

At the Hendon Park Café, vandals scrawled “dirty Jews” and a swastika on the walls of the eatery. A sketch of a gun and the word “kill” was scrawled alongside it as well.

The unsightly vandalism stunned the upscale neighborhood, including the outraged café owner, Jason Ezekiel, who told The Jewish News, “I was shocked when I saw it… I feel I’ve done something nice for the community. I feel, why target me? They did it at night in an area where they wouldn’t be seen. It was a cowardly act.

“I’ve lived in Golders Green all my life and this is the first I’ve seen of anything like this,” Ezekiel added. “Even the police officer I was speaking with said he hasn’t seen this kind of vandalism in many years.”

As in Israel, however, the incident was not allowed to disrupt business, nor did it remain visible for very long. Ezekiel said the graffiti was painted over by mid-afternoon, as soon as police had come and photographed the evidence, saying, “we didn’t want to encourage the people who did this; we didn’t want them to feel powerful.”

Local authorities strongly condemned the “disgusting incident of racist graffiti” in a statement issued by Barnet Police spokesman DI Alison Turner that appealed to the public to come forth with any information about the perpetrators.

Anonymous said...

As executives from the Big Three auto makers prepare to make a second pitch for a federal bailout, concern is rising in Detroit that it will be difficult to show lawmakers how they can return to profitability with sales at their current depressed level.

Their solution: Get Washington to help them sell more cars.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC may go back to Washington and urge Congress to take measures to spur consumer demand, in addition to providing the $25 billion in loans the auto companies seek.

Anonymous said...

OU Kashrus Chairman Dr. Steve Katz has left a new comment on your post "The Continuing Agriprocessors Fiasco...":


Simcha Katz / Steven Katz are the same person.

He's also a professor at Baruch College.

The question is why did Genack help him get on board with the OU after the Central treif scandal and siruv of R' Moishe Feinstein's hazmonos?

Anonymous said...
The reasont that Katz wasn't prosecuted, I hear that whoever was the head of the OU in 1985 "covered" for central Glatt.

So Katz must have done back some big favors, and the OU head owes him one.

Anonymous said...
"whoever was the head of the OU in 1985 "covered" for central Glatt"

Genack has headed the OU since 1982.

Anonymous said...
NJ Status report
ID 0100253174 REPORT DATE 8/18/2008
FILING DATE 3/03/1985
TEANECK, NJ 07666-000

TEANECK, NJ 07666-2208

Anonymous said...
Dr. Steven Katz changed his name at the OU-to Dr. SIMCHA Katz.

Some shenanigans going on at Sagemark, which is his main business, started in 1961 which trades on the Stock Exchange. The company owns several MRI and radiology centers:

The Sagemark Companies Ltd. announced that on April 29, 2008, Ron Lipstein and Steven Katz, Ph.D, comprising the entire Board of Directors of the Company, resigned as members of the Board of Directors, and Ron Lipstein resigned as the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer and as the President, Chief Executive Officer or Managing Member of all of the Companies subsidiaries. George W. Mahoney, the Company's current Chief Financial Officer, was named as the successor interim President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Company's Board of Directors. Additionally, in conjunction with the sale transactions that were concluded on April 24, 2008, the Company concluded certain negotiations with Michael Fagien, MD, the Company's Chief Medical Officer, and entered into a Termination Agreement with Dr. Fagien, terminating the October 25, 2005 Employment Agreement by and between Dr. Fagien and the Company and as a consequence thereof terminated his service as Chief Medical Officer to the Company effective as of March 1, 2008.They are taking a loss of some 10 million dollars. I don't think the SEC would let it pass. Interesting if all the maneuvering of the board is one kugel to pull out $$$ & fold up? Who knows. I wonder if the OU can handle so many scandells?

As far as Central Glatt, I wouldn't be surprised if he's using his position at the OU for his benefit. It warrants further investigating.

Anonymous said...
Sagemark is not on any regular stock exchange. OTC stocks are highly prone to fraud by manipulators including company directors themselves.


The Sagemark Companies, Ltd. does not have significant operations.

The Sagemark Companies, Ltd. Auditor Raises 'Going Concern' Doubt
The Sagemark Companies, Ltd. filed its 10KSB on April 04, 2008 for the period ending December 31, 2007. In this report its auditor, Moore Stephens, gave an unqualified opinion expressing doubt that the company can continue as a going concern.

Anonymous said...
Sagemark had another big round of resignations in 2007


The Company's prior Board of Directors, Edward D. Bright, Ted Shapiro, Stephen A. Schulman, M.D. and Robert L. Blessey have resigned.

Anonymous said...
Rutland Ave is actually in West Englewood. Katz may daven in Genack's Englewood shul.


Rabbi Genack will speak on Shabbat morning, November 22nd on Agriprocessor and the Kosher Meat Shortage.

He claims to have semicha from YU said...

Steven Katz
Associate Professor of Economics and Finance

BA Yeshiva University 1965
MS Graduate School of Engineering, NYU 1969
MBA Stern School of Business, NYU 1972
PhD Stern School of Business, NYU 1973
Rabbinic Ordination Yeshiva University 1969

Areas of Expertise:
Corporate Finance, Capital Raising, Capital Markets, Investment Analysis, Cost/Benefit Analysis

Selected Publications:
"Stock Market Behavior Around Distress and Recovery Predictions" (with S. Lilien and B. Nelson). Financial Analysts Journal, January-February 1985.
"A Portfolio Approach to Fossil Fuel Procurement in the Electric Utility Industry" (with D. Bar-Lev). Journal of Finance, 31 (3): 226-39, June 1976.

"The Differential Effects of Industrial and Utility Bond Rating Changes on Bond Yield" (with P. Grier). Journal of Business, 49 (2): 933-47, April 1976.

A Guide to the Financially Perplexed (with H. Friedman). Topics in Finance series. Variety Press, 1975.

"The Price Adjustment Process of Bonds to Rating Reclassification: A Test of Bond Market Efficiency." Journal of Finance, May 1974, pp. 551-59.

Professional Activities:
Presented cost/benefit studies in wound care at Techvest Healthcare Conference, 1999-2001 and at UBS Warburg Global Life Science Conference, 1999-2000.

Baruch College/CUNY | Zicklin School Of Business | 646-312-1000 | Copyright © 2009
One Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010 ( 55 Lexington Avenue at East 24th Street, NYC )

Kashering with a sheretz beyado said...

By: Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer

On Sunday evening, November 25th, I joined Dr. Simcha Katz, Chairman of the OU’s Joint Kashrus Commission, Rabbi Avrohom Juravel, head of OU Kashrus Technical Services, and a group of senior OU Kashrus staff for a special kashering and production at a well-established ricotta cheese company. The evening’s protocol was to kasher the cheese facility’s cholov stam equipment and to supervise an overnight production of cholov Yisroel ricotta for an OU-certified ‘heimishe’ manufacturer of upscale Italian specialty products.

Anonymous said...

Katz & Genack are also both heavily involved in transcribing the shiruim of Rav J.B. Soloveitchik.

Anonymous said...

There are rumors going around that unspecified gedolei Eretz Yisroel are warning that Yidden should get out of golus and come to Israel before calamity strikes c'v.

On the other hand, Rav Elyashev warned about unspecified sakanah that Jonathan Rosenbloom understands as danger in Israel from Iran.


Here are the warnings from some autistic people that might have koach nevuah.


And here's an interesting take on the new "Nasi"

Anonymous said...


Simcha Katz's son Elie, became the first shomer shabbos Mayor of Teaneck NJ in 2006 when he was 31 years old.

After he angered a lot of residents with his politics, he was succeeded this year by Keevie Feit and reverted to being a city councilman.

Simcha Katz's wife Pesh is a sister of R' Chaim Flom a'h, who was rosh yeshiva of Or Dovid in Sanhedria Murchevet (who was niftar a week after the raid on Rubashkin).

Katz also seems to be a shvogger of Sagemark executive Ted Shapiro.

Anonymous said...

Secretary of Bailouts

A Treasury pick who was present at the creation of the panic.

Barack Obama's widely leaked selection of Timothy Geithner as his Treasury Secretary is certainly a sign of the financial times: About Mr. Geithner's views on taxes and economics, the world knows very little. His specialty at the Clinton Treasury and as President of the New York Federal Reserve has been negotiating bailouts and otherwise navigating through financial panics.

Timothy Geithner with Ben Bernanke.
His first and primary task, in other words, will be to serve as Secretary of Bailouts. For that job, Mr. Geithner is probably the best choice short of Paul Volcker, and he guarantees the smoothest transition from the current Treasury team. He won't have to be introduced to the various Wall Street and Federal Reserve players, and he knows as well as anyone which banks are vulnerable and likely to threaten the larger financial system.

This continuity is especially important given that the credit markets have taken a major step backward since Barack Obama's election. Stocks are off some 15%, credit spreads have widened again, and bear raids are once more targeting Citigroup and other financial companies. The uncertainty over Mr. Obama's team and its direction has itself been fueling the lack of confidence, so we're glad to see the President-elect getting on with the show.

Mr. Geithner's political style is to listen first, which by itself makes him a better choice than Harvard economist Larry Summers, who would find a way to condescend to Albert Einstein. Mr. Summers is reportedly slated to run Mr. Obama's National Economic Council in the White House. The Treasury Secretary has typically been the most prominent Administration voice on the economy, but Mr. Summers is not the sort merely to play honest broker. Mr. Geithner, who once worked for Mr. Summers, will have to work to avoid being seen as second fiddle.

Mr. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, also sent a useful signal yesterday by hinting on "Fox News Sunday" that an immediate tax increase may be off the table. In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama said that his first priority will be a huge new spending and middle-class tax cut "stimulus" -- perhaps as large as $500 billion. "The main thing right now is to get this economic recovery package on the road, to get money in the pockets of the middle class, to get these projects going, to get America working again, and that's where we're going to be focused in January," added Mr. Axelrod.

The prospect of a tax hike during a recession has been a prominent source of investor anxiety. The President-elect would be smarter still if he announced that he won't allow the lower Bush tax rates to expire after 2010 as they are scheduled to do. The last thing frightened investors want to see now is a lower after-tax return on risk-taking and investment.

What Mr. Geithner thinks about taxes is something of a mystery -- and that's not the only one. As a protégé of Mr. Summers and Robert Rubin, the 47-year-old may share their view that tax rates don't matter much to investment choices. On the other hand, he hasn't declared himself in public on the issue as far as we know.

For that matter, most of his work in public life has been done in backrooms or as a loyal Sancho Panza. During the Clinton years, he assisted Mr. Summers on various international bailouts. And during the current panic, he has properly deferred in public to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke or Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Now Mr. Geithner will have to become the Administration's chief financial spokesman, so it will be useful for the Senate to sound him out during confirmation hearings.

All the more so because some of his bailout decisions have been less than successful. Mr. Geithner was the driving force behind the government takeover of insurance giant AIG -- a "rescue" that has itself twice had to be rescued with more taxpayer capital. The most frustrating part of the AIG episode has been the New York Fed's lack of transparency, both about the nature of the "systemic risk" that required the takeover and why it was superior to bankruptcy. This is another subject worthy of confirmation scrutiny, not least as an indication of Mr. Geithner's standards for future interventions.

Mr. Geithner was also on the Fed's Open Market Committee when it made its fateful decisions to keep real interest rates negative for so long, fueling the credit mania that has since turned to panic. Those monetary decisions are typically led by the Fed Chairman, but Mr. Geithner never dissented. While a Treasury Secretary doesn't directly make monetary policy, his private advice can be critical to Fed decisions. This is another area ripe for Senate exploration.

We suppose in that sense there is some rough justice in Mr. Geithner's nomination. Having been present at the creation of the current mess, he can help clean it up by avoiding some of the same mistakes.

Anonymous said...

The markets are cheering the Citi bailout?

It's just a matter of time before the tarp funds are burnt through and we pay for another bailout.

The markets ignored more critical data this morning. Median home prices fell over 11%, sales fell further ...

... and most importantly, at least 50% of REWORKED mortgages are becoming delinquent.

The morons cannot pay ANY mortgage because they cannot afford their homes period and these loans will sour on the banks in the coming months.

Anonymous said...

Since when has Jews having access to meat, whenever and wherever, become a supreme Jewish concern. I guess as soon as a new Jewish community is established,even before a Mikvah or Shul is built, we need to round up some animals to the slaughtering line. The Texan proclaims "I want to have my gaz-guzzling truck whenever and whereever and the heimish Jew proclaims, "I want my Fleish, whenever and whereever!" My brother attends a yeshiva camp in the Catskills. This past summer, a strict psak was given regarding taking showers during the 9 days. No showers allowed period! (Rav Ovadia just came out with a permissive psak regarding this issue). My brother, understanding the chumra culture of the camp was surprised upon entering the dining room the first night of the 9 days, that yummy meat could be seen as far as the eye could see. Of course they had arranged for a siyum (something that is criticized by almost all psokim). My brother approached the posek of the camp to try and understand the reasoning behing this. the response of the posek, "Dont worry about the meat, worry about the Churban!" I dont know about you, but doesn't that sound like classic Reform rhetoric? Apparently the heimish Jew's desire for meat, is so strong that in can turn a chareidi posek into a Reform Rabbi lookalike! What happened to the Musar movement? What happened to chassidic ideas of controlling ones Ta'avas Achila? Here is a quote from the Kli Yakar on eating meat. (Devarim 12:20)
כי ירחיב ה' אלהיך את גבולך ואמרת אוכלה בשר. הורה שאין האדם הומה אחר התאות כ"א מתוך הרחבה יתירה, ואין ארי נוהם כ"א מתוך קופה של בשר לכך אמר כי ירחיב ה' את גבולך. וזה יביאך לידי הסרת מסוה הבושה מעל פניך עד שתאמר בפה מלא אוכלה בשר. ודומה זה קצת לפריקת עול מלכות שמים ולחקור איזהו מקומן של זבחים, והסבה לכל זה הוא כי ירחק ממך המקום אשר יבחר ה' כי כל הקרב הקרב ביותר אל מקדש ה' יש עליו מורא מלכות שמים ביותר כמ"ש ומקדשי תיראו ר"ל מן המקדש נמשך שיהיה עליך מורא מלכות שמים, אמנם כי ירחק ממך המקום גורם לך שרחוק ה' מכליותיך ע"כ כל היום תתאוה תאוה גם בוש לא תבוש מלומר אכלה בשר, הנני מתיר לך הדבר וזבחת מבקרך וגו' כאשר צויתיך. לא בכל עת כי אם לפרקים בעת התגברות התאוה וז"ש אך כאשר יאכל את הצבי ואת האיל כן תאכלנו. וכמו שנאמר כי יצוד ציד חיה או עוף. ואמרו רז"ל למדך תורה דרך ארץ שלא יאכל אדם בשר כי אם בהזמנה הזאת:
ביאור הדבר הוא, שאם ירגיל האדם את עצמו לאכול מן הבהמות המצויין אתו בבית שור או כשב או עז אז כל היום יתאוה תאוה וירגיל עצמו באכילתו דבר יום ביומו, אבל אם לא יאכל עד אשר יצוד ביערות ובמדברות ציד חיה או עוף שיש לו סכנה וטורח גדול לצודם אז תשקוט תאותו כי אין האכילה שוה בגודל הצער והטורח, כי לא לחנם אמר יצחק לעשו וצא השדה וצודה לי צידה. וכי לא היה לו בבית דבר הניצוד כבר ולמה חרד את כל החרדה הזאת לטלטלו במקומות הסכנה אלא שהיה מתנהג על פי הדרך ארץ אשר למדה התורה שלא יאכל בשר כי אם בהזמנה זאת ע"י צידה דווקא כדי שלא יהיה מורגל בו, לכך נאמר אך כאשר יאכל את הצבי ואת האיל כן תאכלנו. ר"ל אך בתנאי זה שלא יהיה מורגל בו ויאכלו כאשר יאכל את הצבי ואת האיל שמסתמא אינו מורגל בהם כי חיות הנה והם מחוסרי צידה ומחמת הטורח הוא ממעט באכילתם כך יאכל אפילו סתם בשר, וזה פירוש יקר ומיושב לשון אך יותר מפירושו של רש"י:
ולפי שמצינו, שבכל דבר הניצוד ממקומות ההפקר יש בו לחוש ביותר שלא יהיה דבר גזול, כי על כן הזהיר יצחק את עשיו שיביא לו מן ההפקר ולא מן הגזל לפי שאולי הניצוד היו לו בעלים וברח מהם, ע"כ נאמר כאן וזבחת מבקרך ומצאנך אשר נתן לך ה'. וכי ס"ד שיזבח מן אותן אשר לא נתן לו ה' אלא שר"ל שיאכל דווקא בהזמנה זאת כי יצוד ציד חיה או עוף ויש לחוש בו על הגזל כאמור, ע"כ אמר אשר נתן לך ה' שאפילו במצודתך לאפוקי הגזול אינו מאת ה' וע"ז אמר כאשר צויתיך. והזהרתיך על הגזל או הזהרתיך שלא תאכל בשר כי אם בהזמנה הזאת:

Anonymous said...

Time to Change the Rules Rather Than Throw More Money at the Banks

Obama has time to consider how his administration will minister to the ailing auto companies, as their demise will be protracted. In the real economy, failure takes time. Sixty days from now GM will still be there.

But the same cannot be said of Citibank.

Today, after investing almost half of the $700 billion appropriated by Congress to buttress the capital reserves of the banking system, the evidence suggests that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have not achieved their goal of easing the cost or availability of capital. Instead, the major banks are cutting back credit, increasing fees and looking for ways to further solidify their balance sheets. Unless these trends are reversed, the concerted federal action will have been for naught, the recession will deepen and recovery will be forestalled.

More capital alone is not sufficient to fix the commercial banking sector, and a new injection of funds into Citibank will not allay the fear the continues to grip the system. Like Citibank, all of the commercial banks have problem loans and problem business lines, and, traditionally, new injections of capital would provide banks with the resources necessary to work out those issues. But today, the risks are different, and more dire.

The collapse of AIG two months ago highlighted for all market participants the risks presented by derivative contracts on the books of financial institutions. AIG's demise came in a matter of days--if not hours--once its credit ratings were downgraded from the double-A level to the single-A level. On Friday, September 13th, AIG was in business. On Monday the 15th, AIG was downgraded. On Tuesday the 16th, the global insurance giant was effectively bankrupt.

In the case of AIG, the rating downgrades resulted from write-downs in its holdings of mortgage-backed securities--to comply with mark-to-market accounting rules--which depleted its capital reserves. The downgrades triggered collateralization requirements under the terms of its $450 billion portfolio of credit default swaps. Faced with demands for collateral that exceeded its financial resources, AIG was insolvent.

The lesson for the major commercial banks that face similar risks was simple: Do everything in your power to rebuild your financial strength and stabilize your credit ratings. Cut back lending, reduce outstanding credit facilities, increase fees, conserve capital, and rebuild your balance sheets. In sum, the lesson for the commercial banks is that if you want to survive--if you don't want to be the next AIG--you should not do any of the things--such as increase lending--that the Treasury is trying to get you to do.

Today, Citibank is rated AA-, which by any measure is a strong credit rating. But the markets are anticipating Citibank's demise. On Friday, Citibank shares fell 20% to $3.77 and its total market value fell to $20.5 billion, a decline of 90% from a year ago, and less than the $25 billion that the US government gave Citibank just last month. In the credit default swap market, the cost of insuring against a Citibank default rose 20% on Friday.

In normal times, a downgrade to A+ would not be a catastrophic event for a commercial bank, but these are not normal times. While there has been no public indication from Citibank of what the financial consequences of a credit rating downgrade to single-A would be, Citibank is currently the guarantor on $1.6 trillion of credit default swap contracts--almost four times the size of AIG's portfolio--and it is not unreasonable to imagine that those contracts have comparable collateralization terms. If this is AIG all over again, a downgrade of Citibank's ratings would lead to the swift collapse of what one year ago was the nation's largest bank.

But this is not just about Citibank. Over the next several days, the Treasury may announce its plans to pour billions more into Citibank. But even if Citibank survives, the Treasury will not have addressed the fear that is gripping the banks. For this, the Treasury and the Fed need to change the rules of the game: They have to tackle head-on the two issues that conspired to lead to AIG's swift collapse.

First, they should change the mark-to-market rules that have made the balance sheets of financial institutions captive of swings in asset market prices. These rules exaggerate the importance of unrealized gains and losses, and exacerbate economic volatility by undermining stability in the banking sector. Instead, consideration should be given to rules that allow for the smoothing of unrealized gains and losses over time, as is the case in pension fund accounting, to mitigate market volatility by recognizing gains and losses over a multi-year period.

Second, immediate regulatory action should be implemented, vitiating the linkage between changes in credit ratings and collateralization requirements under outstanding swap agreements. While changes in bond ratings have always had effect on an entity's cost of capital over time, the rating agencies never intended for rating actions to trigger cataclysmic events. In fact, until the collapse of AIG, the collective impact of the collateralization triggers in swap contracts was barely recognized as a material risk factor for financial institutions. Any counterparty who objects to this change should be free to void the agreement to which they are a party.

With the implementation of these two steps--changes in the mark-to-market rules and removing the collateralization provisions from existing derivatives contracts--the Treasury can immediately reduce the pressure on Citibank and on other financial institutions. Then they can focus on the real job of recapitalizing the banking system, and perhaps the banks will get back to the business of lending.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON – President Bush argued Monday that the government's dramatic rescue of Citigroup was necessary to "safeguard the financial system" and help the economy recover, and he said there could be more such moves if other institutions need help.

Bush said he approved the action, recommended by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, while flying back to Washington on Sunday evening from meetings in Peru with Pacific Rim leaders. He spoke with President-elect Barack Obama on Monday morning about the move, part of what he has promised will be "close cooperation" between his administration and the Obama camp until the transfer of power on Jan. 20.

Referring to the Citigroup rescue, Bush said: "We have made these kind of decisions in the past. We made one last night. And if need be we will make these kind of decisions to safeguard our financial system in the future."

Briefing reporters later, White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto would not identify any other firms or institutions that might be next in line for government assistance. "We would never foreshadow any specific actions involving private firms, but I think it's safe to say ... that we take threats to our financial system seriously and we stand ready to take any steps necessary to prevent systemic events in our economy," Fratto said.

He also said that the Treasury Department could rethink its decision last week to leave the final $350 billion of the $700 billion in bailout money approved by Congress for the Obama administration. Fratto said Treasury officials "wouldn't hesitate to go to Congress" for that money if it feels it is needed now.

Bush, who spoke after meeting with Paulson and other Cabinet members at the Treasury Department, said they all realize that Americans are concerned for their jobs and savings.

"We will safeguard the financial system as the first step necessary for economic recovery," the president said. "This is a tough situation. But we will recover from it."

Also while at Treasury, just across a sidewalk from the White House, Bush joined a meeting of top administration officials who are working on greater economic cooperation with China. Bush met on Friday in Peru with Chinese President Hu Jintao for talks focused in part on the global economic turmoil.

The flurry of activity by Bush, which had not been announced in advance, came the morning after the government's agreement to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in possible losses at Citigroup and to plow a fresh $20 billion into the troubled company. Bush called the company by its predecessor's name, Citicorp.

The president has repeatedly sought to defend his administration's unprecedented intervention in the financial markets in recent months, arguing against criticism from some fiscal conservatives by saying that the moves go against his free-market instincts but are necessary because of the dire times. He also has said that he was warned that the economy could fall into a slowdown worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s if the government did not act.

Analysts said a Citigroup failure would have seized up still-fragile lending markets and caused untold losses among institutions holding debt and financial products backed by the company.

Fratto said companies like Citigroup are so "systemically large" that they could "bring down not just the entire U.S. financial system but the global financial system."

"What these efforts are doing are to prevent the financial system from failing," he said. "It's never been about any one particular company. We let thousands of companies fail in this economy every year."

The bold move regarding Citigroup is the latest in a string of high-profile government bailout efforts. The Fed in March provided financial backing to JPMorgan Chase's buyout of ailing Bear Stearns. Six months later, the government was forced to take over mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and throw a financial lifeline, which was recently expanded, to insurer American International Group.

At the meetings in Lima, Peru, over the weekend, Bush succeeded in getting the nations there to endorse the action plan drafted a week earlier at an international summit Bush hosted in Washington.

That means that both the so-called Group of 20 nations and the Pacific Rim countries are now on record behind overhauling financial regulation and avoiding the temptation to erect new trade barriers during the current downturn.

Anonymous said...


From the Los Angeles Times

Foreclosures, delinquencies skyrocketing among 'prime' borrowers

Nationwide, 3.07% of prime mortgages were in foreclosure or at least 60 days late in the second quarter of this year, easily topping the previous record of 1.97% set in 1985.

By E. Scott Reckard

November 24, 2008

Anonymous said...

New York - A historic transition is planned for this coming Motzoei Shabbos, at Agudath Israel of America’s 86th national convention. The mantle of the organization’s lay leadership will then pass from one rightly celebrated and accomplished askan to another. It will be passing as well from dear friend to dear friend and from one confidant of Gedolei Yisroel to another.

Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president for the past decade – and faithful Agudah worker and executive for many decades prior – will be retiring from that post in January, and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel will be assuming it.

Rabbi Bloom, who has served Agudath Israel in one or another capacity since 1975, worked side-by-side with the legendary president of Agudath Israel, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, z”l, for nearly a quarter-century, and served as Rabbi Sherer’s “right hand man” in running the organization. Upon Rabbi Sherer’s petirah, Rabbi Bloom assumed the top executive position in the organization.


Rabbi Bloom was personally responsible for the development and administration of employment programs like Project COPE and COPE Institute; for relief projects like the Iranian Rescue Committee, Vaad L’Hatzolas Nidchei Yisroel, Operation Open Curtain, and the Overseas AID Consortium; and youth projects like Project YES (Youth Enrichment Services).

Most recently, in his role as Vice Chairman of Agudath Israel World Organization, Rabbi Bloom created Betzedek – the American Israel Center of Advancement of Justice in Israel – and Temech, a program designed to increase employment in the chareidi World in Eretz Yisroel.

Rabbi Bloom has earned the confidence of Gedolim both in America and overseas, and is expected to continue to serve Agudas Yisroel and Klal Yisroel in other roles in the future. He is a maggid shiur of Daf Yomi in his shul, Agudath Israel of Long Island, and hopes to devote more time during his retirement to limud Torah and harbotzas Torah.

Rabbi Zwiebel, too, is highly regarded by rabbonim and roshei yeshiva, and by all who have had the honor to interact with him. He joined Agudath Israel of America in 1984 after a career in private practice with one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms, and currently serves as the organization’s executive vice president for government and public affairs.

As a lawyer, Rabbi Zwiebel’s areas of professional experience include religious freedom, church-state relations, civil rights, private education and medical ethics. He has authored numerous amicus curiae briefs in a variety of judicial settings, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and has testified before various legislative and administrative bodies, including committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; and published widely in the fields of religion, law and public policy.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the prestigious National Commission on CHILDREN, and in 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed him to serve as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s conference in Cordoba, Spain on anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.

Above all, though, Rabbi Zwiebel is a champion of the concept of k’vod chachomim and respect for Daas Torah, and those ideals are what guide him in all his activities, both within and outside the Orthodox Jewish community.

As a result of the organizational “changing of the guard,” the convention’s Motzoei Shabbos Keynote Session – like all convention sessions, open to the public free of charge – promises to be a particularly moving and enthusiastic gathering. Rabbi Bloom will address the crowd, reflecting on his tenure and sharing his thoughts and hopes for the future of Agudath Israel; and Rabbi Zwiebel will present his inaugural address, paying tribute to his predecessor and laying out his vision for the organization.

The Motzoei Shabbos Keynote Session will be infused as well with words of Torah, hisorerus and hadrocho. The Boyaner Rebbe, the convention’s special guest from Eretz Yisroel, will address the gathering. Greetings from the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah will be extended by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin, Rosh HaYeshiva, Telshe Yeshiva, Chicago. And an address will be delivered by the Rosh Agudas Yisroel: Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe. The session will also include a Siyum Mishnayos l’zeicher nishmas Rabbi Boruch Borchardt z”l, Agudas Yisroel’s indefatigable executive director for over fifty years, whose activities on behalf of Agudath Israel over those decades were many and are legend.

Arthur said...

NYC Law Enforcement Launches Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign



Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

Guess who is emailing people to sign the "War on kosher" petition?

An Agudah askan in Flatbush who is a crook in business and who has even stolen a wad of money in one instance away from work knowing he could get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Wishing Reb Shmuli Bloom all the best on his retirement. I know how it feels working in a high stress environment, and feeling the pressure of UOJ. UOJ has a larger chassidus than any rebbe period. His chassidim are more relentless than anyone I've ever met.

Hatzlachah Raba to Reb Chaim Dovid on your new position! I understand his young protege from Chicago is positioned to replace him as government affairs director of Agudah. It's a tough environment especially with OU being close to the key power figures in Washington, instead of Agudah. Then again, I have learned the hard way, the environment can change from one minute to the next especially with the numbers of frum bloggers online.

Perhaps, Hashem is sending a message to you. Rodfim must be dealt with, instead of being swept under the carpet. A rodef is like a cancer to the organization enabling and protecting him. Mosdos still involved in rug covering for rodfim realize your days are severely numbered. UOJ and his chassidim will strip the carpet and install new flooring.

Bracha Vehatzlachah!

Anonymous said...

Help Make Maryland Safer for Our Children

Both Maryland Senator Jim Brochin and Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg will be at the event sponsored by The Awareness Center and Child Victims Voice Maryland on Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 26 at 6:15 p.m.
Pikesville Library, 1301 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD

SEATING IS LIMITED - Reserved Seating Required.
RSVP: Yhe Awareness Center, Inc.
Vicki Polin vickipolin@aol.com

Childhood sexual abuse continues to occur at staggering levels, regardless of race, religion, culture, education and socioeconomic levels. No child is immune from this tragedy. Estimates from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and numerous academic studies indicate that one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 18, and one in six boys will have been abused by the age of 18. In most instances, the sex offender is known to the child, making reporting and disclosure for those victimized extremely difficult. The average child sexual predator will abuse 117 children in his/her lifetime. Most survivors never report their abuse. It's a fact that sexual predators count on.

Come learn about legislation that will be introduced during the upcoming 2009 Maryland General, which will increase and possibly eliminate the statue of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse to take civil action against their abuser. Increasing or eliminating Maryland’s outdated statute of limitations gives child victims of unspeakable sexual trauma the chance to speak up and hold their abusers accountable for their heinous actions.

The bill addresses childhood sexual abuse in three distinct ways: Protecting children from the devastating and long-term impacts of sexual abuse; Exposing sexual predators currently protected by archaic laws; and helping victims of childhood sexual abuse through their healing process.

This event is open to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, those who advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse, parents, teachers, public safety officials, mental health professionals, doctors, nurses and other interested citizens.

For more information on Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg:

New York Daily News

Rabbi Rosenberg Speaking Out

Photographs from the News Media event

Washington Post - doesn't mention Rosenberg by name but mentions what happened to him.

New York Jewish Week

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To the guy who wants 5000 calls to our elected officials telling them Aguda doesn't represent us:

Step back a moment and think about that.

There are so many other things that Aguda does do that are beneficial for our community. In fact, just the idea that the Orthodox community is organized at all can help our community by convincing elected officials to care about our needs. Remember, elected officials don't care about us, they care about our votes. And Aguda definitely gives the impression of lots of votes.

Aguda is a necessary evil.

As far as their response to the molestation issue, there is no question that it was dismal at best. However, other than UOJ, nobody in the Jewish community, and I repeat NOBODY, had a much better response.

Fight the Aguda all you want on this issue, but at the end of the day they provide us a necessary service. We are a voting bloc, and Aguda helps us get that message to elected officials.... in Albany and Washigton.

Aguda is a necessary evil, and I believe we are being foolish to tell our elected officials that Aguda doesn't represent us. They most definitely represent us on every other issue.

Just my two cents.

Thank you.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Thanks for your kind words above Anon. Who says we can't have an "aguda achas" with capable, talented, honest, political savvy, Yirei Hashem?

Time for the old circus clowns to get out of Dodge!

Anonymous said...

Fifer Pig-Lipa Margolis
Fiddler Pig-Israel Belsky
Big Bad Blog-UOJ
Practical Pig-Agudah

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOGS
Big bad BLOGS, big bad BLOGS?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOGS?
Tra la la la la

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG
Big bad BLOG, big bad BLOG?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG?
Tra la la la la

Long ago there were three RABBIS
Little handsome WEBBY-RABBIES
For the big, bad very big very bad BLOG
They didn't give three figgies

Number one was very gay
And he built his house of hay
With a hey hey toot
He blew on his flute
And he played around all day

Number two was fond of jigs
And so he built his house with twigs
Heigh diddle-diddle
He played on his fiddle
And danced with lady pigs

Number three said "Nix on tricks
I will built my house with bricks"
He had no chance
To sing and dance
'Cause work and play don't mix

Ha ha ha! The two little
Do little RABBIS just winked and laugh, ha ha!

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOGS
Big bad BLOGS, big bad BLOGS?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOGS?
Tra la la la la

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG
Big bad BLOG, big bad BLOG?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG?
Tra la la la la

Came the day when fate did frown
And the BLOG blew into town
With a gruff "puff-puff" he puffed just enough
And the hay house fell right down

One and two were scared to death
Of the big bad BLOGie's breath
"By the hair of your chin-ny-chin,
I'll blow you in"
And the twig house answered yes

No one left but number Three
To save the RABBI family
When they knock
He fast unlocked
And said "Come in with me!"

Now they all were safe inside
And the bricks hurt BLOGie's pride
So, he slid down the chimney
And, oh, by Jimney
In the fire he was fried

Ha ha ha! The three little
Free little RABBIS rejoice and laughed, ha ha!

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG
Big bad BLOG, big bad BLOG?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG?
Tra la la la la

Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG
Big bad BLOG, big bad BLOG?
Who's afraid of the big bad BLOG?
Tra la la la la!

Anonymous said...

20 Billion bailout for CitiBank.

Line up and get in line for yours.

Did you see Bim Bams Press Conference today? 2.5 milion jobs to be created by 2011 to build "needed" infrastruture, roads, bridges, etc.

Great idea for the Schnorrers from abroad coming here for hand outs. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Anonymous said...

Today in the US we have a whole range of people under 60 ,American born ,whose knowledge of Judaism is based exclusively on books , and those books are the Shulchan Aruch and gemora. Most of these people had parents whom I am sure were fine people but left behind the emotional attachement to echte Yiddishkayt in Europe.Here they belonged to Young Israel synagogues and became very acculturated and lost that special hergesh. In America Judaism was reduced to learning and doing Mitzvoth by rote. These people include most MO Jews the so called Yeshiva community and even some "Americane Chasidim".
On the other side we have people whose view of Judiasm was shaped by seeing how their parents acted, felt , laughed cried talked walked etc.These people tended to have a genuine Massorah. They saw Judaism as more than just book learning, and the book learning included Midrash, Chassidus, Sifre Mussar vechul. This people tend to be Chassidic and a few Misnagdim who come from European homes.And in the background of all of this loomed the Holocaust not Coney island !
To the first category -Rabbonim are "machinove" automated people who act in mathematical way, have no emotions etc.
The second category knows that Judaism is more than the dry letter of the law . The Minchas Elezar was a gadol in book learning , but you can see in his writings the high regard he had for minhogim and the folk.
As a rav and rebbe, life was more than "farstein another teysefes", he saw the tzaros of Yisroel. He wanted Mashiach more than anything and like the gedolei hachassiduth he had a varme hartz even though in klal Inyonim he was kashe kebarzel. (see Weingarten's book about the munkatcher and how he was so different in private).
But if we agree to this then the Lubavitcher Rebbe was just following in the foot steps of another gadol like the munkatcher (and may I add the Chafetz Chaim too) and the Shinover rebbe and others.. See Heschel's book on Kotzk in Yiddish where he discussed in detail the "du" familiar relationship that the European Jew enjoyed with G-D.Rebbeim davened with Zisser Tate interspersed in their tefillos. As Heschel so aptly wrote learning is G-D speaking to us, we talk to G-D when we daven.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

20 Billion bailout for CitiBank.

That's on top of the $25 Billion they got a few weeks ago - and the taxpayers via Paulson - agreed to guarantee an "unknown number of hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic assets"...

Fidel's country is looking really good.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Fresser - you said a "mouthful" - a very intuitive gedank! Todah.

Songwriter above - got a smile here. Todah!

Anonymous said...

It appears that Hikind has put
himself into a corner with his
big mouth.
He made promises which will cost
him either support of the rabbis
or from the public.
I am not a lawyer but my
understanding of the law is the
If one has knowledge of sex crimes
toward minors and knows of names
etc. He is to report this to
the DA's office.
Dov Hikind is a public servant
which means he must follow
the law as it is written
not as he wants.

Anonymous said...

to the man who says aguda is a neccesary evil

it is not while the good that they dowhile claiming to represent the jewish community may have mad a small difference in jewish life their moetzes has destroyed jewish yeshivas homes and disgraced torah worldwide

side deals in israel with aguda there telling voters what deals are cut for funding have resulted in there dismantaling of power ( see porush ) see what happens in the next elections

in america there is no question that the moetzes aided and abbetted molesters to flee and convinced parents not to report crimes ( so where is the value to this group

i for one believe if you represent orah you need to represent all of it and since aguda fails to remove criminal rabbis or rabbis who aided this fiasco and continue to proclaim that they are working for the interests of the klall (to paraphrase uoj AGUDA FRESSERS

they need to be destroyed and rebuilt by paople who truly defend the most precious jems
our children

so call your representitives and then maybe aguda when rendered impotent will realize their errors and remove the garbage they call moetzes

just for a moment look at the list

dovid cohen
ner yisroel
and together with art scroll continuing to promote pinters book on ethics is it any small wonder the jewish community leadership looks the way it does
all involved in

Anonymous said...

More housing aid sought as prices sink further
By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer 27 mins ago AP –

WASHINGTON – With nationwide sales of existing homes falling more than expected last month and the median sales price plunging to $183,000, the U.S. housing market keeps getting worse. Bracing for more bad news likely on the way, industry groups pressed President-elect Barack Obama to help stem the damage.

Meanwhile, the major Wall Street indexes surged Monday on the government's plan to bail out Citigroup Inc., a move investors hope will help quiet some of the uncertainty hounding the financial sector and the overall economy. The Treasury Department says it will invest another $20 billion in Citigroup, and the government agreed to guarantee large losses the company might absorb on real estate-related assets.

The Dow Jones industrials soared nearly 400 points, and the 891-point rise since Friday gave the Dow its biggest two-day percentage gain since October 1987. The major indexes all jumped more than 4.5 percent Monday.

Obama unveiled the top members of his economic team, beginning with New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as director of his National Economic Council. Summers led the Treasury Department under former President Bill Clinton.

Obama urged the new Congress to pass an economic stimulus bill, pledged help for the troubled auto industry and blessed the Bush administration's bailout of the financial industry. Even so, he conceded, "The economy is likely to get worse before it gets better."

From real estate agents to carpet makers, businesses dependent on a healthy housing sector are calling on lawmakers and the incoming administration to subsidize lower mortgage rates and beef up tax credits in a desperate effort to stimulate housing demand.

Spending $50 billion to lower mortgage rates would yield about 500,000 more home sales, projects the National Association of Realtors.

"If home prices overshoot downward, then it can lead to collateral damage to the economy," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the Realtors group. The cost would be "very reasonable" compared with the billions the government is spending to rescue major banks such as Citigroup, he added.

With similar goals, the National Association of Home Builders is leading a new "Fix Housing First" coalition to push for aid to the ailing housing sector. With more than 75 companies and industry groups, it represents everyone from building giants like Lennar Corp. and D.R. Horton Inc., to makers of home appliances and plastic pipe fittings.

Anonymous said...

Hikind is simply a politician, who maintains his office of Assemblyman, through winning the majority of votes in public elections.

Second, had he sat still during this long public 'show and tell' of child molestation, he would have risked being viewed as 'out of touch' and even worse by those of us decent enough to care about innocent children.

Third, he is 'Emor Harbei' (speaks a great deal), and 'Asei M'At' (accomplishes little), as far as acknowledging the problem, but not taking definitive action to keep more children safe.

Again- it's a politician's game. Yet, had a true Gavra Rabbah- whose heart would have immediately gone out to those abused children- been given the opportunity to step into Hikind's boots, much more could have been done than to collect files, and keep them secret- much more.

This whole Inyan has always boiled down to one thing- the protection of our children. There is nothing more important than making certain of that. And, whoever disputes this, is nothing less than a willing enabler of child abusers.

Anonymous said...

To the yid who write the following: "while the good that they do while claiming to represent the jewish community may have had a small difference in jewish life their moetzes has destroyed jewish yeshivas homes and disgraced torah worldwide"

Your logic reminds me of the story in Chelm, where someone had a wound on his arm - very painful - and the "sage" of Chelm told him to remove the arm ao he wouldn't feel the pain.

As I wrote in my previous post, the Orthodox community NEEDS an organization like Aguda. Nobody in his right mind can say that Aguda doesn't accomplish plenty of good with regards to our elected representatives.

The issue is Aguda's leadership on issues inside of our community - namely child molestation. We need to fight them tooth and nail (and every other jewish organization or rabbi or leader, including Hikind). I for one think that Aguda shouldn't be our leadership in the first place.

But to Albany and Washigton, they can definitely represent us on issues where they can help. School vouchers, security for Israel, security for our communities, etc. are some of many issues that Aguda DOES help. And we need them.

Aguda is definitely not our leader, but they can represent us to Washigton. If Condi Rice is not a good treasury secretary, does that mean she can't be a good secretary of state (foreign secretary)? If our treasury secretary is messing up our economy, should we bounce our secretary of state?!

Aguda, and most rabbis not affiliated with aguda, messed up on one issue. Bingo - they are not our leaders! But they can do what they still do good - represent our interests......

And we need that!

Just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

At this hour of the evening I probably should be going to sleep and not responding to the posting. I sat once in Rav Freifeld's A"H house as he was asked "how did the gedolim know that they would become gedolim?" He responded " they didn't know that they would become gedolim, circumstances chose them to choose to become gedolim" The mishnah states that in a place where there is no man to teach Torah, you should become that man. Where there is no gadol, a gadol has to step forward and accept the yoke of Yidden upon himself. Gadlus is not a popular vote or a demographic division amongst Yidden. Gedolim are not placed in this position by representative proportions. Gedolim have to be part of the fealty of the people that want to be led by them. We can spill noxious volumes about our leadership, but it is by our noses that we are pulled in their direction. What alternatives are there? When the young turks of the RCA demanded that the Rav Yaakov's and Rav Moshe's step aside; that they were better equipped to lead the Americanishe velt, who complained? We have created a generation of irrational entitlement. If you can learn a blatt Gemarrah, without Artscroll, you are a talmid chochom. We have concluded that opening a kollel or a chaburah and shnorring is better than getting a job or welfare. We have eliminated the need to think by surrounding ourselves with digests of Yiddish thought in grammatically challenged English for a fraction of the cost of banging our heads against the very pages translated. We are accustomed to having it all done for us. Why complain about our leadership, they are doing it for us. They make it easy for us to involve ourselves in charity, prayer, acts of kindness, and the like through organizational rote. Why complain about the quality of the teachers of this and the subsequent generations while scoffing at the methodology by which they are trained? Your kids will they be the teacher's of tomorrow's children? Will the Reader's Digest version of Masechtah's Bava Metziah reach the chadorim? Sounds unbelieveable!
What was Torah VeDaas really like in 1940, 1950, 1960, even 1970 that today's situation makes a shudder in people's hearts. What was YU like under the Rav, that it has disintegrated so far? What did today's leaders really learn in those institutions that have driven them, in the perception of others, so far afield from the Yiddishkeit remembered forlornly by others of the same generation? The answer lies in the mirror. The problem, the accountable party, is us. We are driven to deflect blame from ourselves and to look for other scapegoats. Mi Hashem eylai, cried Moshe Rabbeinu, who will be accountable? Who will stand up and rectify the terrible sin?
Denigrating, demonizing, diminishing, and dogging our leadership will not change the way we've become. We are accountable? We are responsible? We need to take charge and make the changes that will affect our surroundings. Our lives are affected by our environment, then we need to change the atmosphere. The stench of self-deprecation, of false anivus, is reprehensible. The gedolim didn't choose to be gedolim, they stepped up to meet the challenge and the need for a gadol. They were aided by those who knew gadlus. Who knows gadlus? Who knows big? Step up. Wasting time with trashing and not spending time growing up. Maturity. Action. Shake yourselves and let the cobwebs fall away. To get big people in the right places, you have to have big people in every place.

Anonymous said...

Jaguar Land Rover Asks for Bailout. This is Nonsense.

Jaguar Land Rover, which sells swanky vehicles to affluent folks, wants a bailout of its own (Financial Times):

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, said…that government intervention in the industry was required. Help was needed to improve liquidity in the supply chain, support continued investment in carbon-reduction technology and stimulate consumer demand, the company said.

It declined to comment on reports in The Sunday Times that it was seeking £1bn in state assistance, saying only that it was talking to the government as part of industry efforts to win support.

David Smith, JLR’s chief executive, said at the weekend that there would be more significant job losses in the UK’s motor industry, among manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

Despite that, JLR said on Sunday it was planning no further job cuts in the immediate future. “We think we’ve done enough for now,” it said. “It obviously does depend on how demand continues from here on. If it continues to fall and fall, it will be different.”

The JLR issue begs several points that are decidedly contemporary in nature:

1) JLR is owned by India’s Tata Motors, but is asking Britain for help. If the state agrees, it will effectively benefit an Indian company while stabilizing its own national economy. Why isn’t Tata’s company Tata’s responsibility? If the government steps in, will it demand some return from Tata? Britain’s national economy is at stake, but Tata, watching from a distance, could be the ultimate benefactor.

2) It is unnatural for a government to bail out a luxury brand. I assume JLR’s pretense for asking for a bailout is that the banking crisis has made it difficult to operate. Understandable, but–the company sells luxury vehicles. Banking crisis or not, luxury brands shrink during recessions. JLR needs to adapt, continue to shrink, and be put up for sale again, if necessary. The government bailing out a luxury car brand when nobody can afford it anyway smacks of Russian oligarchy.

3) The bailout makes more nationalistic than economic sense. I get the feeling that many proposed bailouts are more sentimental in nature than necessary.

Take GM. What if it fails? This has been discussed in detail in other forums, but there’s an unspoken X-factor: Foreign companies will take over vital economic machines. If this happens, profits go abroad, some say jobs disappear (I would dispute this point), and national government loses power. That’s the last thing a government wants.

On the other hand, bailing out means that government increases its power, companies maintain national ownership, and the ship stays afloat just a little bit longer. I have trouble believing that we’ll look back on this mess in 10 years and say “Remember how the bailouts saved us? Government was so wise.”

The more likely scenario will involve national bankruptcies, increased supranational oversight (an expanded IMF, for example), and mass corporate sell-offs to foreign entities. We’ll bicker about how Chinese companies have taken over our national treasures, but we’ll have food on the table.

This is not a new phenomenon. We’ve done it abroad many times before; now it’s our turn. The best avoidance maneuver would be to let companies fail and refocus resources on more promising industries–wave energy in Britain comes to mind–which the government can play a role in supporting.

Hanging onto carcasses isn’t going to get anyone very far.

Anonymous said...

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. is expected to announce a new plan on Tuesday to bolster the consumer-finance market.

Anonymous said...

The Bailout Soap Opera, Season 2 has begun. The Citi bailout is a good example of how not to bail out a bank. Rescuing banks takes precedence over other industries–including Detroit. But throwing money with minimal parameters at a bloated, inefficient ogre like Citigroup is a big mistake. The bailout is fine, the method stinks. Arnold Kling says it best:

Maintaining Citi as a zombie bank is not really constructive. I would feel better if it were carved up, with the viable pieces sold to other firms and the remainder wound down by government. In my view, getting the financial sector down to the right size ought to be done sooner, rather than later.

From my perspective, the whole TARP/bailout concept is misconceived. The priority should not be saving firms. The priority should be pruning the industry. Get rid of the weak firms, and make good on deposit insurance. Then let the remaining firms provide the lending that the economy needs.

Exactly! We need to think macro, focusing on aggregate results and industry health rather than investor relations–a concept that now refers to the government as the corporation, the public at large as investors, and the Dow as the index of government success–and pleasing well-connected banks. We have smart energy meters, Smart cars, and smart cards. Why are smart bailouts so difficult?

Anonymous said...

Yes we can!

Yes we can!

Yes we can!

Yes we can!


Anonymous said...

Another Crisis, Another Guarantee

Published: November 24, 2008

Guarantees that could not be honored thrust the world financial system into its worst crisis since the Great Depression. Will a guarantee by the United States government finally restore confidence in the American financial system?

Only a week after Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said that the government bailouts had stabilized the most important financial institutions, plunging stock prices forced the government to step in again, both to make another direct investment and to guarantee that losses would be contained from $306 billion in possibly toxic assets on Citigroup’s balance sheet.

The move sent stock prices soaring Monday, with financial stocks leading the way. But those gains did not come close to erasing last week’s losses, and left open the possibility that a renewed sense of concern about the safety of other banks could force still more bailouts in coming weeks.

One lesson may be that it is perilous for the government to even hint that it thinks it is through bailing. That can renew fear about banks, driving down share prices and forcing the government to do the opposite of what it had intended. Since the government has a printing press, it need never be short of dollars. That fact makes this guarantee much more credible than the ones, from bond insurers and other companies, that helped persuade banks and others to take what turned out to be huge risks. Many of those guarantors, it turned out, could not honor their obligations. The government feared financial chaos if there was a string of collapses.

Even if Citigroup is the last bailout, the Bush administration, whose rhetoric was perhaps more supportive of free, unhindered markets than was that of any of its predecessors, will leave a trail of socialized risk.

But that trail may not be at an end. The auto companies want billions in bailouts, and other industries are lining up.

And as the nation’s obligations rise into the trillions, at some point investors may begin to question whether a government running huge deficits can also credibly promise that the dollar will not lose its value. Such a worry conceivably could push up the very low interest rates the Treasury now pays to borrow from foreign investors to foot an ever-larger rescue bill.

But those are problems for another day. Now the priority is to keep the financial system from collapsing. The problems of recession, constricted lending markets and falling real estate prices will remain even if everyone concludes the big banks are safe.

In the latest bailout, the government injected an additional $20 billion into Citigroup, on top of the $25 billion it invested a few weeks ago. It also said that it would cover 90 percent of the losses on those $306 billion in securities after Citigroup absorbed the first $29 billion of losses.

The fact that it was necessary to guarantee so many assets — about a sixth of the $2 trillion in assets that Citigroup reported at the end of September — was another indication of both the complexity and the opacity of many of the securities that were created by financial engineers in the great wave of innovation.

The assets in question — described by the government as “loans and securities backed by residential real estate and commercial real estate, and their associated hedges” — must be valued at current market value before the guarantee kicks in, but the government and the bank have yet to agree on those values.

That phrase “associated hedges” captures the fact that Citigroup, like many others, had sought to insure itself against losses with a variety of transactions, including the purchase of insurance, only to learn that the losses were overwhelming those who had promised to pay.

The boom of the first half of this decade will be remembered as a time that financial innovations overwhelmed the capacity of both regulators and banks to assess risk.

The collapses of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, both of which were primarily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, served to focus attention on the agency, which was effectively forced out of that financial soundness regulation area after the Federal Reserve assumed oversight of several of the large companies for which it had been responsible.

But Citigroup had always been under Fed regulation, and the need for repeated bailouts there shows both that the regulation was ineffective and that even after the crisis began, the government underestimated its severity.

At first, the Fed hoped that just making more loans available to banks would reassure markets. Then, as losses mounted, the government tried capital injections. In both cases, investors first showed relief, then grew afraid again.

The newest bailout includes more than the guarantee and the capital injection. It enables Citigroup to treat the guaranteed assets as being relatively safe, thereby improving its apparent capital position.

It could need all the reported capital it can get. David Hendler, an analyst at CreditSights, pointed out that Citigroup’s other assets included $91 billion in credit card receivables, $272 billion in non-United States consumer loans, $163 billion in corporate loans and a net $104 billion in assorted derivatives. Those assets, he wrote, “are not immune to weakness in the overall economy.”

Citigroup was hardly alone in failing to understand the risks it was taking. As financial assets became more and more complex, and harder and harder to value, investors were reassured by the fact that both the bond rating agencies and bank regulators accepted presumably sophisticated models, which showed the risks were small.

Insurance on the assets was issued both by the bond insurers and by others that wrote what were known as credit-default swaps, which amounted to insurance, but were not regulated in the same way. Those who wrote large amounts of such insurance are now in trouble, either negotiating to pay claims for less than promised or, in the case of the American International Group, still in business only because of a government bailout.

In retrospect, perhaps the fact there was a demand for such insurance should have served as a warning that the risks were greater than acknowledged. But at the time, the bond insurance companies thought they would pay few, if any claims, and the A.I.G. executives responsible for writing the swaps told investors they would never suffer any losses.

As Citigroup’s stock was plunging last week, there were also big declines in the shares of the other large banks, including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. It remains to be seen whether investors will now be reassured about them as well, or will show the same level of fear that forced the issuance of the latest guarantee.

Anonymous said...

you seem to think aguda is relevant in washington and in government halls

satmar lubavitch ou are all much more connected and able than aguda

aguda has been a failure so they get 3 million in homeland security and paid 5 million in there beaurocratic offices

paying shafran for his dribble or do you think he writes anything woth reading

you need to comment on the coverup that takes place and leadership of crooked rabbanim and layman
i for one will be counted on to support an aguda run by rabbis who do not protect molesters and do not have a board of people who have been arrested and need i remind you that shick the criminal used the moetzes to save him and his deals while many people lost their shirts and allowed this to continue

so my friend sometimes whenm there is a cancer you amputate the limb and aguda is a cancer on jewish society

Anonymous said...

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Poor Detroit. The heads of the Big Three automakers had to subject themselves to two days of Congressional grilling last week while they begged for a $25 billion loan.

And what did General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), Ford (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler get? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

They were told to go home and write up a viable business plan and to show that they wouldn't be coming back for more money a year down the road. (Adding insult to injury, Motown's hapless football team, the Detroit Lions, is still searching for its first victory. Ouch.)

Meanwhile, Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), which just a month ago received $25 billion, had no trouble securing another $20 billion Sunday night. CEO Vikram Pandit didn't even have to fly his jet to Capitol Hill with hat in hand. (And oh yeah: the two New York football teams are a combined 18-4, with the Jets on Sunday upsetting the previously undefeated Titans. The Giants are also the defending Super Bowl champs. Go Big Blue!)

Anonymous said...

i also believ mt save the aguda that the jewish community would be much bettewr served by having a group of lay leaders and rabbanim who do not have friends and relatives on the payroll of these groups

look at the ou look at aguda and tell me wouldnt you rather have uoj or elio greenwald worried about your kids than kolko and belsky and mondorowitz who aguda protected.

wouldnt you rather have ou run by a vaad that was not paid by the companied who gave the hechsherwhen it was bad

how is it allowed that a rav gives a hechser on a store that sold tarfus and people still allow him to give a hechser
where has accountablity gone

if you work and had the track record of these groups you would be part of the unemployment line

what you are seeing is a breaking of the wall of silence in the jewish community the crack that has turned into a break and soon youll see the crumbling of the kolel and dayschools because the feasabilty of paying for your six kids half or more of your salary while not on medicare section 8 or foodstamps will be impossible as it already is

as someone involved in community issues the fact is that people do not have food cant pay tuition and aguda and ou and these groups have allowed this to continue unfettered and unaddressed while all the gedolim made ketanim and patted each other on their butts saying asher yatzar

so you go and drink the aguda koolaid and believe that they do some good
i believe it has become a cancer that needs a complete blood transfusion and new leadership to be effective

and remember these people allowed and aided and abbetted molesters

Anonymous said...

TOKYO (Reuters) – Who said bras are only for women? A Japanese online lingerie retailer is selling bras for cross-dressing men and they've quickly become one of its most popular items.

Since launching two weeks ago on Rakuten, a major Japanese web shopping mall, the Wishroom shop has sold over 300 men's bras for 2,800 yen ($30) each. The shop also stocks men's panties, as well as lingerie for women.

Anonymous said...

....................ok, so UOJ wants to be the godol of the generation.

So step up to the plate. Reveal yourself in all your glory.

We need gedailim!

Yes we can!

Moetzes gedailai haktanim:
Nuchem Rosenberg
Vicky Polin
Shmarya Rosenberg

UOJ, Rosh Agudas HaGdailim

And don't forget............

Yes we can! (our mantra)

Anonymous said...

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs (GS.N) plans to sell at least $2 billion of new debt that will be guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, with pricing expected Tuesday, according to a market source familiar with the sale.

The debt will mature no later than June 30, 2012, the source said. Goldman Sachs is the sole bookrunner, while Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are joint leads, the source said.

The debt is guaranteed under the FDIC's Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, and investors are watching the deal as a test case for demand under the new program.

The new debt is expected to price at 85 basis points over midswaps, plus or minus 3 basis points, the source said.

Goldman is expected to be the first firm to tap the FDIC's new program. The FDIC on Friday approved a program to guarantee to banks' new senior unsecured debt, potentially allowing the firms to issue debt with top "AAA" ratings.

The market could see roughly $50 billion in issuance per month until the deadline for debt issuance next June, Bank of America estimated in a report.

The TLGP is expected to fill a financing gap for banks shut out of the corporate bond market by skyrocketing yields.

Anonymous said...

The Nation -- Prominent writers for DailyKos, the country's top liberal blog, are launching a new site to scrutinize and pressure the Democratic Congress.

Anonymous said...

lets all remember one thing

uoj and others only got involved because totah temima a wouldnt fire kolko who lives in lakewood and still looks and who knows what else at little boys

where is the moetzes to stop kolko

answer at the aguda convention remonding all the people dont question the gedolim

last i checked as a jew you are supposed to question bad leadership

and this is for uoj

do you know what a relative of yours once said

do you know why we say all a tzaddikim vall hachasidim vall zeknie amcha really they should be mispallel for us

because they are so incompetant that we say to hashem you see this losers send us moshiach now and give us real leadership

Anonymous said...

Buffett to disclose more on derivatives
6:14 pm ET Reuters – NEW YORK (Reuters) –

Warren Buffett will provide more information on how his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc computes losses on derivatives, after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked for better disclosure.

The billionaire investor will provide the improved disclosure in his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, his assistant Jackie Wilson said. Buffett is expected to issue the letter to shareholders around the end of February.

Berkshire as of Sept 30 had a $6.73 billion paper liability on derivative contracts tied to equities.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has said it has contracts whose values depend on where four stock indexes, including the Standard & Poor's 500 .SPX>, trade between 2019 and 2027. Berkshire has said it could theoretically owe as much as $37.04 billion on the contracts.

Worries about Berkshire's ultimate exposure have been one reason that shares of the insurance and investment company have fallen 42 percent from their record high last Dec 11.

In June, the SEC had demanded that Berkshire produce "a more robust disclosure" of factors used to value the contracts. The regulator completed its review on Oct 7, four days after Berkshire said it did not need to buy equities underlying the contracts.

Berkshire obtained about $4.85 billion of upfront premiums on the contracts, a sum Buffett may invest as he wishes. The company has said it would have to post collateral of far below 1 percent of assets if Berkshire's credit ratings were to fall. The company ended September with $281.7 billion of assets.

Class A shares of Berkshire closed Monday down $2,500 at $87,500 on the New York Stock Exchange. Their record high is $151,650.

Anonymous said...

CHICAGO (Reuters) – President-elect Barack Obama promised on Monday to jolt the faltering U.S. economy with a costly stimulus package next year and introduced the team that will help him navigate the global financial crisis.

Obama, who warned again that the economy would likely get worse before it got better, declined to put a price tag on the two-year stimulus proposal which other Democrats have estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars.

Anonymous said...

Can any of you lawyers out there let us know if this brand new website that opened today can get sued by matt drudge for infringment of copyrite, this site is a copy of drudgereport.


Arthur said...

It is so ironic that a Japanese person, from a country we and our allies
defeated when they were allies with Germany, wrote so brilliantly about the fatal
problems that have been facing Israel since the end of the war in
which they were allied with those who wanted to annihilate Jews! This is a
brilliant assessment!

A Japanese View of the Palestinians
By Yashiko Sagamori

If you are so sure that Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history, I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:

When was it founded and by whom?

What were its borders?

What was its capital?

What were its major cities?
What constituted the basis of its economy?

What was its form of government?

Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?

Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?

What was the language of the country of Palestine?

What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?

What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the
approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US
dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese Yuan on that date.

And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and
when did it occur?

You are lamenting the low sinking of a once proud nation. Please tel l me, when
exactly was that nation proud and what was it so proud of?

And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call
Palestinians are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over or
thrown out of the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity
that give s them right for self-determination, why did they never try to
become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six
Day War?

I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day Palestinians to the
Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won't work here.

The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have
never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today.
Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with milita ry means,
they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it the Palestinian people and installed it in Gaza, Judea, and
Samaria. How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the West Bank and Gaza, respectively?

The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a
tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so called Palestinians have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel, and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled.

In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and acce pt their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel's ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?

Anonymous said...

From Boogs "Catch-22" Department.

All of you who want Johnny come lately Blowhard Hike-hind to do the right thing and report "names" to the DA. Consider this:

Who the F--k is the DA?


Charlie (I got my Black Yarmulke ready) Hynes, AKA The Black Hole of Calcutta. Those complaints/names will never see the light of day nor be acted on.

And the "Beat" goes on.

Anonymous said...

Read Caroline Glick's article at www.jpost.com. The Obama squeeze on Israel has begun.

Anonymous said...

Agriprocessors hit by repo man
By Trish Mehaffey

The financial problems looming over Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville continues, as Monday truck drivers told The Gazette some of the company trucks and tractor-trailers were repossessed over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (AP) New government program will help companies issuing credit cards and making student loans.

Anonymous said...

Citigroup’s government rescue signals depth of banking woes

San Francisco Business Times - by Mark Calvey

The government’s decision to potentially absorb hundreds of billions of dollars of losses on loans and other assets languishing on Citigroup’s books is a sign that trouble at the nation's largest banks is becoming wider and deeper than regulators initially assumed.

And it's trouble that may get worse before it gets better. The industry’s woes may worsen in the months ahead as the economic downturn takes a greater toll on consumers’ ability to repay loans and the quality of commercial real estate mortgages, which will further erode the value of securities backed by such loans.

Citigroup’s problems have been thinly veiled, given the tap dance the bank and regulators performed in an effort to keep the New York bank’s purchase of Wachovia on track even after a private buyer, Wells Fargo, stepped forward with a higher price as part of an offer that didn’t require assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Citi was also seen by some as the major bank needing government help when the Treasury Department debuted a program in which it required nine major banks to accept direct government investments in their companies.

In addition to loan problems contributing to about $20 billion in losses over the previous four quarters, the bank has deep-rooted problems in integrating the many pieces stitched together over the last decade or so.

With investors pummeling Citibank’s shares toward $2 last week, the government stepped in Sunday night with a plan to rescue what was once the nation’s most powerful bank.

Under the rescue plan unveiled by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, Citigroup (NYSE: C) and the government have targeted a pool of about $306 billion in troubled assets. Citigroup will assume the first $29 billion in losses from the pool and 10 percent of losses beyond that point. Additional losses from the pool will be dumped on the nation’s taxpayers.

The government will also receive warrants to purchase shares in the bank as part of the plan in which it will invest a further $20 billion into Citigroup on top of the $25 billion invested in the bank as part of the Treasury’s direct investment.

“With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy,” the Treasury Department, Fed and FDIC said in a joint statement Sunday.

Citigroup’s Citibank is a significant player in the San Francisco Bay Area banking, with about 1,500 employees and 108 branches in the 10-county region. Citi has a total of about 3,100 employees in the Bay Area. San Francisco is also home base for the president of Citibank California, Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann.

Under the terms of the bailout, Citigroup cannot pay a dividend on its common stock of more than a penny per share per quarter for the next three years.

It would not be surprising to see a public backlash emerge over the Citibank rescue plan, specifically in not requiring a change in the top management nor the sale of parts of the bank. The rescue plan emerged even as General Motors, (NYSE: GM) Ford (NYSE: F) and Chrysler are being criticized for coming to Washington for a federal bailout with no plan in hand for how their businesses will be restructured for long-term survival.

The Citibank rescue is also likely to come under criticism for privatizing profits made from the bank’s high-risk bets, but placing losses on the taxpayers’ shoulders.

President George W. Bush already said Monday that there could be similar plans based on the Citigroup rescue for other financial institutions needing help.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (AP) Fed announces purchases of up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets to deal with financial crisis.

Anonymous said...

Citigroup on the Brink, Despite Government Rescue - The End Draws Near

by: Dividend Inc November 25, 2008

The term that is the basis of all discussions in elementary economic modeling, especially when comparing two factors, is ceteris paribus. Ceteris paribus means "with other things the same" and represents the best guess as to what is likely to occur provided all thing remain unchanged. Let us take an overly simplistic view of the situation with Citigroup's (C) government rescue plan and determine the potential outcome ceteris paribus.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in an article by David Enrich, the federal government has agreed to absorb $277 billion of $306 billion of losses that Citigroup has identified as "troubled" assets. Additionally, the Treasury is adding $20 billion on top of the $25 billion recently injected into Citigroup as part of the TARP plan. Remember, the $277 billion is separate from the $700 billion bailout package. Again, this current approach with Citi is counter to the early arguments that there needs to be a comprehensive solution, not an individual approach, to the bailouts after the fall of Fannie (FNM), Freddie (FRE), Lehman, Merrill (MER) and WaMu, which spawned the TARP plan to begin with.

Now, let's look at only the off-balance sheet portion of Citigroup. The off-balance sheet portion is called an asset by Citi but isn't included on the books. The off-balance sheet items are valued at $1.23 trillion. I don't know why Citi wouldn't include these items on its balance sheet, but if the U.S. government is any indication, then the off-balance sheet is probably more like liabilities instead of assets.

If the government is going to front Citi $277 billion (a whopping 40% of the total TARP package for only one company), then that would leave $953 billion remaining on the off-balance sheet portfolio. If we split the $953 billion in half and conservatively assume this portion is "troubled," then we have a figure equal to $476.5 billion. Remember when Merrill Lynch auctioned off $30 billion of CDOs or "troubled" assets back in July 2008? Here's what Bloomberg.com said of that auction on July 29, 2008:

In yesterday's statement, Merrill said it agreed to sell $30.6 billion of collateralized debt obligations -- the mortgage-related bonds that have caused most of the firm's losses -- for $6.7 billion. The buyer is an affiliate of Lone Star Funds, a Dallas-based investment manager.

At the time, Merrill was only able to get $6.7 billion, a loss of 78% or $0.22 cents from every dollar originally invested. Therefore, my assumption of a 50% loss for Citi isn't so far fetched.

Ceteris paribus, this leaves Citi with at least $476.5 billion in losses to write down at some point in the future. This assumes that the economy remains in a slight recession, that earnings are the same, that the dividend for this company has been all but eliminated, that there are no further losses in the housing market. All things being equal, Citi is in for hard times. However, if we take 78% of the entire $953 billion, then we get a total loss of $743 billion, a sum exceeding the amount of the entire TARP program even after a $277 billion direct injection to Citi from the government.

Clearly our government under Bush/Obama has severely underestimated the extent of how much damage has been done to our financial system. Along with the lack of knowledge that has been demonstrated, the only policy reaction is to have a blank check approach to dealing with the problem. This is what I meant when I said that chaos will ensue when and if Bank of America (BAC) falls below $14.00.

As I write this at 12:15pm Monday, Fox Business News host Liz Clayman just said that she went to her Citigroup ATM twice last weekend and the machines said that no money was available to customers. Clayman later joked that if Citi is really in good shape after this bailout then it needs to refill its ATMs. Wow!

Anonymous said...

This is one venue that Pesach Lerner can't deny access to R' Yudel Shain with phony excuses.


Representatives from at least four Jewish organizations have scheduled a public discussion on the connection between ethical work practices and kashrut.

The discussion, which has been an especially hot-button topic in Jewish communities since the May 12 immigration raid at kosher meatpacking plant Agriprocessors, seeks to determine if, outside of specific religious laws regarding the actual slaughter and inspection of meat, kashrut is an overall matter of religious obligation.

Those scheduled to speak at the forum are:

Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive and Rabbinic administrator for the Orthodox Union Kashrut Division
Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president for the Rabbinical Council of America
Shmuly Yanklowitz, co-founder and director of Uri L’Tzedek, a grassroots social justice organization

The forum will take place Dec. 9 in New York City on the campus of Yeshiva University.

Anonymous said...

Economic Tumble Worse Than Expected in 3rd Quarter- AP

The government says the economy took a tumble in the summer that was worse than first thought as American consumers throttled back their spending by the most in 28 years. The Commerce Department's updated reading on the economy's performance showed gross domestic product shrank at a 0.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. That was deeper than the 0.3 percent rate of decline first reported.

Anonymous said...

The market rocketed higher Monday for the second straight session, sparked by the government's plan to bail out the troubled Citigroup . The financials were obviously leaders; the KBW Bank Index (BKX) was up almost 18%. That of course brought out the bottom-callers all over again because the leadership was in the financials. The only problem was that it was news-driven and not a rally ignited by fundamentals. If this had happened on a day with no news, then I would have been impressed. News-driven rallies aren't what investors should be looking for; they should be looking for strong emerging sectors that are rallying from an improving fundamental outlook. Unfortunately, the fundamentals are not changing for the better in the financial world, and they're likely to get much worse.

Anonymous said...

Child sex abuse claims divide Orthodox community

NEW YORK (AP) — It started as a radio program discussion about a taboo subject: child molestation among members of the insular world of Orthodox Jews.

Since he broached the subject on his radio show this summer, says a state assemblyman, dozens of people have come forward with stories about children being molested in the Orthodox community, which strictly follows Jewish law.

Dov Hikind says as many as four people a day have come to him over the past three months with painful accounts of secrets often kept for decades, accusing more than 60 individuals.

Hikind says he would eventually consider unmasking accused sexual predators but wants to focus now on setting up a broader framework for addressing the issue.

His campaign has set off a firestorm in the Orthodox community, where people are reluctant to involve secular authorities. One rabbi said he got death threats for speaking out.

"In our community, people don't talk about the things that they've come to my office" and revealed, said Hikind, himself an Orthodox Jew.

Among other faiths, the subject has meant turmoil in recent years for the Roman Catholic church. For decades, church leaders often transferred predatory clergy among parishes without telling parents or police. Victims have won millions in settlements from dioceses.

Members of a polygamous offshoot of the Mormon church have been charged with assaulting children in Texas. Children have been removed from the Arkansas compound of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries amid allegations of beatings and sexual abuse.

Hikind said he won't breach victims' trust by disclosing his private exchanges to prosecutors — or to a lawyer who subpoenaed him in a civil case against a school accused of concealing abuse.

However, he has been working on devising mechanisms within the Orthodox world for reporting sex abuse and sharing information on school staffers' previous positions. He aims to present a plan to rabbis this winter.

Studies have found Orthodox Jews account for as much as 10 percent of Jews nationwide, and a far greater share in parts of the New York metro area. Some 37 percent of the more than 516,000 Jews in Brooklyn are Orthodox, according to the UJA-Federation of New York, a Jewish social-service group.

Critics have said sex abuse claims are sometimes handled quietly in Orthodox rabbinical courts, rather than being reported to authorities.

However, some sexual abuse cases involving Orthodox Jewish schools have spilled into the secular legal system in Brooklyn.

In one case, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko was charged with sexually abusing boys at an Orthodox school. He admitted no sexual wrongdoing but pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge. Kolko was sentenced to three years of probation and has been dismissed from the school, said his lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz. The school's lawyer didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Six former students are suing the school, saying it covered up Kolko's misdeeds. Their lawyer subpoenaed Hikind this month, seeking to find out whether he learned anything relevant to the case during his impromptu fact-finding.

He said lawyers were assessing how to respond to the subpoena.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Dowd said he was willing to safeguard victims' identities but is determined to pursue whatever information Hikind has.

"I don't question his motivation, but at the same time, I don't accept it as a reason" not to provide information that could expose child molesters, said Dowd, who won $11.4 million in damages last year for two people raped as teenagers by a Catholic youth minister on Long Island.

Hikind said he encourages people who confide in him to talk to the authorities. But none will, he said, for fear of ostracism.

One rabbi and psychologist told Jewish media outlets he was hounded into quitting a task force on child molestation, days after Hikind appointed him to lead it in September; the panel is going on with other members. Another New York rabbi told the Daily News this month that vicious fliers and death-threat calls scared him into shutting down a sex abuse victims' hot line he had set up.

Some victims' advocates see little point in collecting information without bringing in law enforcement.

"The only way things are going to be cleaned up" is with authorities' involvement, said Vicki Polin, the founder of The Awareness Center, a Baltimore-based nonprofit group that works with victims of sexual abuse in Jewish communities.

But others praise Hikind's campaign.

"We can't achieve solutions without the public spotlight," said Elliot Pasik, an Orthodox attorney who represents plaintiffs in rabbi sex-abuse lawsuits unrelated to Kolko.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Peltz's AP report says that 37% of Brooklyn's 516,000 Jews are Orthodox.

Is this number correct? That would mean 190,000 frummies.

There must be at least 200,000 just in Boro Park, Flatbush & Williamsburg alone.

There are less illegal aliens in the post-9/11 world ober ettliche zeinin nuch du who gave their pappirin to a look-alike to leave with. Yes this does go on and some of them regret it because now they are trapped and can't leave without being arrested or smuggled out.

Anonymous said...

Paulson to change course again with Bailout money:


Paulson is turning out to be the Donavan McNabb of the financial markets: Fit to be "Tied".

Let's get Laurel and Hardy in there.

They could not do a worse job.

Anonymous said...


Manure Value At Historic Levels

Anonymous said...


Tue Nov 25 2008 09:04:22 ET

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center.

Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."

He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.


Anonymous said...

Rogers: U.S. Dollar is Doomed

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 9:22 AM

By: Greg Brown

The dollar is doomed, thanks to Washington, says commodities bull Jim Rogers.

U.S. government leaders have got it backwards, and their policies risk the dollar’s long-term role in the world economy, Rogers warns.

“They think that if you drive down the value of your money, it makes you more competitive, now that has never worked in history in the long term,'' Rogers told Bloomberg TV.

The dollar has rallied in recent months, but that trend will not hold up, he says.

The buck will eventually lose its status as the world’s reserve currency, then go downhill fast as fewer people see it as the default safe haven for wealth.

“It will be devalued and it will go down a lot. These guys in Washington, they want to debase the currency,'' Rogers says.

The dollar rally seen so far will last until next year, then collapse. Roger says he’s buying yen recently.

Both Templeton Asset Fund chairman Mark Mobius and Swiss Fund head Marc Faber see demand for U.S. dollars as untenably high.

The rush to buy Treasurys has increased demand for greenbacks. Once that cools, the need for dollars will decline, warns Mobius.

As Treasury rates drop to 1 percent, Mobius expects investors will sell their dollars, weakening the currency significantly.

Faber considers asset markets "terribly oversold" because investors are going overboard into the dollar and Treasurys.

"What you could see in the next three months is a very strong rebound in asset markets, in equities, followed by a selloff in bonds and eventually a selloff in the dollar," Faber told CNBC.

Anonymous said...

Feds unveil 2 programs to provide $800 billion to help unfreeze market for consumer debt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has introduced a pair of new programs that will provide $800 billion to help unfreeze the market for consumer debt which Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calls vital to supporting the economy.

Paulson says key markets for consumer debt such as credit cards, auto loans and student loans essentially came to a halt in October. He says the new programs are aimed to get lending back to more normal levels.

Paulson says all the government programs have been aimed at supporting the lending that is vital to the economy.

Anonymous said...

Homebuilders: Bail Us Out First

Monday, November 24, 2008 2:52 PM

By: Greg Brown

Even as the automaker CEOs slink back to Detroit to mull over how to explain their demand for $25 billion, the country’s homebuilders are asking for 10 times that amount right now.

They want generous new tax credit for home buyers and for the government to artificially lower mortgage rates to goose up sales. Total cost: $250 billion.

Builder lobbyists are hitting the newspapers with full-page ads asking for voters to support the deal.

"The basic asset that is underlying all the financial problems that we're experiencing is highly unstable, and it's causing an ongoing hemorrhaging in the financial system," David Ledford of the National Association of Homebuilders tells The Wall Street Journal. "It's starting to snowball."

The builders want a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the home's value, maxing out at $22,000. That’s triple the $7,500 credit Congress already gave buyers earlier this year. In that previous offer, though, the money had to be repaid.

Builders also mortgage rates to fall to 3 percent from the current 6.2 percent for loans made during the first half of the year and to 4 percent for loans in the second half.

The National Association of Realtors figures each 1 percent drop would mean between 500,000 and 800,000 home sales. The homebuilders calculate the cost of this part of the plan at $143 billion.

“Housing is at the center of this crisis," Ara Hovnanian, chairman and CEO of K. Hovnanian Homes, told Bloomberg TV this week.

"A lot of focus has been on foreclosures. But that is not going to solve the problem. There is a problem of supply and demand. Supply will be out of balance until we can stimulate demand."

Leah Gayle said...

The median home price will have to fall to $125,000 to work the over-valuation out of the system. I have a chart to that effect, which actually was constructed quite generously - ignoring the large dip due to the Great Depression and WWII and presuming house values since then have been generally undervalued. If you like, I can post the chart with the trendline at UOJ group.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Looking forward, Ahavah.


Anonymous said...

Hank Paulson, Master Backpedaller, Announces Yet Another Plan

Another day, another bailout plan revision. The Financial Times covers the details. One quote in particular caught my eye:

Hank Paulson, speaking at a press conference after the moves were announced, called for patience as authorities moved to deal with the current crisis.

The Treasury secretary said: “It is naive for any of us to think that when you’re dealing with a situation of this magnitude that a bill could be passed or a single action taken to make all the issues go away. Our focus is on stability and strengthening the financial system and we now have the tools and powers we need to work with others.’’

Uh, Hank? Didn’t you insist on a one-size-fits-all bailout bill just a couple of months ago? Wasn’t that bailout bill supposed to be executed in several phases to ensure its efficacy? Wasn’t there supposed to be just one bill?

Paulson’s politicking outweighs his efficacy.The way the government sold the bailout bill is not the way the bill–or bills–is panning out. The initial bailout bill promised that the government would buy up toxic assets, hence the “Troubled Asset Relief Program.” Instead, Paulson is cushioning banks’ falls by guiding the through loopholes and giving them money.

Seeking Alpha’s Edward Harrison aggregated Paulson’s many bailout moves into a comprehensive list. Among the items:

Banks have gone to the Federal Reserve with dodgy assets and received trillions of dollars in loans at low rates (Fed Funds is 1% now) in return. However, the Federal Reserve refuses to reveal what assets it is taking on.

Money center banks received $125 billion in equity capital under TARP.

Regional and local banks received another $125 billion dollars in equity capital.

AIG (AIG) has received $40 billion in equity capital and a line of credit of $150 billion.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs (GS) (and American Express) became bank holding companies in order to secure low cost funding.

Troubled assets? What troubled assets?

Some smarmy producer needs to turn this into a reality TV show.

Paul Mendlowitz said...

No end in sight!

FDIC's list of 'problem' banks swells to 171 with bank profits plunging 94 pct in 3rd quarter

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the list of banks it considers to be in trouble shot up nearly 50 percent to 171 during the third quarter -- yet another sign of escalating troubles among the institutions controlling Americans' deposits.

In the second quarter, 117 FDIC-insured institutions were on the list. Now, at 171, the number of institutions on the FDIC's "problem list" is at its highest level since late 1995.

"We've had profound problems in our financial markets that are taking a rising toll on the real economy," said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in a statement, adding that Tuesday's report "reflects these challenges."

Total assets held by troubled institutions climbed from $78.3 billion to $115.6 billion -- a figure that suggests that the nation's top 20 banks aren't on the list, even though they are getting slammed, too, by the growing credit crisis. The FDIC does not reveal the institutions it deems troubled.

On average, about 13 percent of institutions on the FDIC's list end up failing.

Banks that don't make the list can end up collapsing anyway -- the two biggest bank failures over the past year, Washington Mutual Inc. and IndyMac Bancorp, had not been on the FDIC's list of troubled banks. Wachovia Corp., which nearly failed before it got bought by Wells Fargo & Co. in October, had not been on the list, either.

Nine banks failed in the third quarter, decreasing the FDIC's deposit insurance fund to $34.6 billion from $45.2 billion in the second quarter.

The FDIC also said Tuesday that commercial banks and savings institutions suffered a 94 percent drop in third-quarter profits to $1.7 billion from $27 billion in the same period last year. Except for the fourth quarter of 2007, it was the lowest quarterly profit since the fourth quarter of 1990.

Many of the nation's banks, hit by defaults in subprime mortgages last year, are now struggling to stay afloat amid a widespread credit crisis that is causing defaults to rise in nearly all types of debt, ranging from prime mortgages to credit cards to commercial real estate loans to small business loans.

Recently, community banks -- defined as those with assets under $1 billion -- have started to show similar stresses as their larger counterparts, the FDIC said.

The U.S. government has been guaranteeing and buying more and more types of debt in an effort to keep the financial system functional.

Late Sunday, Citigroup Inc. got a government backstop for $306 billion worth of mortgages and other assets. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve agreed to buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets.

Arthur said...

I realize that we are searching for the answers to much more serious questions but never the the less...

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are almost dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they already know there is not enough money?

Why does someone
believe you when you say there are four billion stars; but have to check when you say the paint is still wet?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

If people evolved from apes,
why are there still apes? {answer: Because We are the Smart Cousins of the Dumb Ones still on their way up!}

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses
are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, 'It's all right?' Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, 'That really hurt, why don't you watch where you're going?'

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

And my FAVORITE......
The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

Anonymous said...


The operators of Oorah Catskill Retreat, a Gilboa recreational summer camp for New York City-area Jewish children, are moving to buy the former Scotch Valley Ski Area and associated Deer Run resort complex, Oorah officials said Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Who will bail out the Federal Gov't?

Bim-Bam is on course to destroy the USA from within.

Change you can't believe in.

The Bim-Bam Identity.

Anonymous said...


When Shluchim Come Marching In: Gala Banquet Concludes Chabad-Lubavitch Conference

Anonymous said...

November 25, 2008

Regarding New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind

By Vicki Polin

The Awareness Center - November 25, 2008


Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16).

It saddens me a great deal to see how a few Jewish leaders in the orthodox world appear to be manipulating community members into believing they do not have to report heinous crimes to child protective services. Orthodox children deserve the same rights and protection as other children in the Unitied States of America.

I personally believe that Assemblyman Dov Hikind is wrong and is violating the civil rights of children from Torah observant homes. Each day that goes by that he refuses to work with law enforcement officials means another child is being sexually victimized.

One has to realize that turning over the names of alleged sex offenders and also those who were allegedly sexually abused to child protection workers does not mean that the names will be made public. It only means that there is a possibility that those who perpetrate crimes against our children may be prosecuted and those who have been sexually victimized will be offered “REAL” help.

As Jews, we all have moral responsibility to protect our youth. We all must consider ourselves as mandated reporters -- meaning if you suspect a child is at risk of harm you make a hot-line report (to child protective services in your state). Leave the investigating to those who have the specialized training and can conduct forensic investigations. Dov Hikind does not have this sort of training nor does those he “works” with.

Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC is the founder and CEO of The Awareness Center (which is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault). Vicki is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor who has been working in the sexual violence field for just under twenty-five years.

Leah Gayle said...

Ok, an article is up at UOJ Group. Take with a stiff shot of whisky, LOL. Shalom!

Paul Mendlowitz said...

Anonymous said... 10:41 pm
At this hour of the evening I probably should be going to sleep and not responding to the posting.

I want to afford you the recognition of an extremely insightful gedank.


Anonymous said...


Hike-hind has his cajones being held in a vise-like grip by the satu maries and other of his tinof-tinofsim constituents so he will not be co-operating. Holding on to Pubic [sic]office and power are more important to him.

This is not the first time Hike-hind has miscalculated, only this time his refusal to co-operate will result in the blood of young innocents staining his hands. What betrayal! What a feckless piece of s--t.

"Change" you can believe in.

Time for UOJ to step in.

Leah Gayle said...

OK, I did a quick update to the article, because the first version which I already had uploaded and just selected after glancing at it was not the one I intended to use. The one I wanted was on my pegboard, and I was looking at it while I was writing. I thought I had uploaded it at some point, but couldn't find it when I realized I had used the wrong one, so I re-scanned it and it's now posted. The older one I had stored online actually gives a worse result. I appended it at the bottom of the article for comparison.

Sorry about that. Shalom!

Arthur said...

Consumers Union Calls on Congress & President-Elect Obama
to Enact Reforms To Address Causes of Current Financial Crisis

New Safeguards Needed to Protect Consumers and Taxpayers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, urged Congress and President-Elect Barack Obama today to enact regulatory reforms to address the causes of the current financial crisis and to ensure that taxpayers and consumers are protected from its deepening impact.

“The $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan provided the financial industry with much needed capital, but it does nothing to address the root causes of the current crisis,” said Pam Banks, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union. “Today’s financial mess is the result of bad business decisions on Wall Street and the failure of our regulatory system to rein in bad lending practices and protect consumers. Congress and the new administration must work to stem the current tide of foreclosures and enact reforms in the mortgage and credit markets to reduce the likelihood that this ever happens again.”

Banks added: “The Treasury Department now says it’s going to shift the focus of the plan to consumer credit, instead of buying troubled loans from financial institutions. The desire to unfreeze credit is understandable, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of consumers facing foreclosure. We’re also troubled by the fact that the plan requires the President to nominate an inspector general, and Congress has to appoint an oversight panel, but six weeks after the plan was approved, most of the watchdog positions are still unfilled.”

Consumers Union identified the following key priorities for the Obama Administration and the incoming Congress to address the causes and impacts of the current financial crisis:

Enact comprehensive mortgage reform: Reforms are needed to prevent the lending practices that misled consumers about the true cost of loans and ultimately triggered the foreclosure crisis and the subsequent collapse on Wall Street. Those who arrange or make loans should have a fiduciary duty to put the interests of borrowers first and provide only suitable financial products. It should be illegal to offer a loan to someone with no demonstrated ability to repay it at its peak interest rate or to pay loan brokers extra money to make higher priced loans. Congress should end practices such as abusive prepayment penalties and yield spread premiums. Loan pricing must be simplified so that borrowers can understand the true cost of a mortgage. If something goes wrong with a loan, everyone who got a fee or holds a share of it should be accountable.

Reduce foreclosures: Foreclosures hurt families who lose their homes and all homeowners by driving down housing values. Lenders are benefiting from a multi-billion rescue; federal officials should require them to systematically modify loans for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Instead of kicking people out of their homes, the aim should be to keep them there and help strengthen surrounding neighborhoods already hit by foreclosures. There should be a 6-9 month moratorium on foreclosures to allow adequate time for homeowners to secure effective loan modifications. Finally, Congress should allow court-supervised restructuring of mortgages to help consumers keep their homes.

Curb abusive credit card practices: Many financial institutions that will benefit from the federal rescue are the same ones that have engaged in abusive credit card lending practices. The Federal Reserve Board is expected to issue rules by the end of 2008 that should rein in some of the most abusive lending practices that can unfairly trap American families in credit card debt. Congress should make sure consumers get all the protections they need so we can avoid even more financial chaos.

Protect consumers through effective oversight: Consumers need effective regulation of financial services products, including the establishment of an independent commission to oversee the safety of financial products. Financial industry regulators must place an equal priority on consumer protection as they do on the safety and soundness of the financial institutions they regulate. The new Administration must put a stop to “wait and see” conduct by federal regulatory agencies. Congress and federal banking agencies must also restore the ability of states to develop and enforce consumer protection standards in financial services. Moreover, efforts to engage in global coordination in financial services must result in the selection of the highest consumer protection standards, not the weakest ones.

Protect retirement: Americans need a retirement structure that ensures a well funded public Social Security system, private sector pensions, and consumer protections for individual retirement savings. Congress should not privatize Social Security but work to ensure that the system remains public and solvent. Congress should ensure that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is well managed and well capitalized. Consumers deserve more complete and accurate information about the risks associated with investment products. In addition, a comprehensive, pro-investor reform package must provide accountability standards for those who advise and manage retirement investments.

Protect taxpayers: Taxpayers should not have to pay for lobbying fees or excessive salaries or bonuses for executives of companies that need financial help from the government because they engaged in risky and unsafe practices. Every bank or other company who sells bad assets to the government, issues shares to the government, gets a government guarantee, or otherwise benefits directly or indirectly from tax dollars must be held to a high standard of conduct. Congress and the regulators also should require greater transparency of risk management and other business practices for all businesses that benefit from the bailout or from other government support.

Gail Hillebrand: 415-431-6747
Pam Banks: 202-462-6262

Anonymous said...

check out the article on seminaries on theyeshivaworld.com - great point

Paul Mendlowitz said...

R' Arthur,

Please forgive me -- I do not want to put that piece up. I do not see a toelet - It would be counterproductive to what we do here.


Arthur said...

All is forgiven

Paul Mendlowitz said...

I don't care what the chevrah say about you R' Arthur, there are a few good Chabadniks :-)

Anonymous said...


A group of A-list celebrities who appear in a new photography book wearing shimmering jewels (and not much more) have become caught in a tussle between an Israeli diamond mogul, an international poverty relief organization and a couple of highly irritated public relations firms.

It all started a couple of years ago when 23 female stars, including Mary-Kate Olson, Susan Sarandon, Kate Hudson and Vanessa Williams, agreed to take their clothes off for a good cause. Timothy White, a celebrity photographer, enlisted them as subjects for a coffee table book called “Hollywood Pinups.” White’s proceeds from the book were to be donated to the aid organization Oxfam.

What Oxfam representatives say they did not know is that Lev Leviev, billionaire diamond merchant and major donor to the ultra-Orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement, was also enlisted in the project: He provided the gems draped across the stars’ scantily clad bodies.

Leviev has become a controversial figure in recent years for his use of diamond mines in Angola and what detractors say is his extensive involvement in housing construction for Jewish settlers on the West Bank. This January, after articles in Women’s Wear Daily and other publications reported that Leviev was an Oxfam donor, the organization announced on its Web site that it had not and would not receive money from the mogul, citing Leviev’s involvement in the Israeli settlements.

“Lev Leviev began talking about Oxfam as an organization that he supports, and we had no idea who the guy was,” said Adrienne Smith, an Oxfam representative.

In September, Smith said, she was informed by the organization Adalah-NY, an anti-occupation group that has been fervently protesting Leviev, that the diamond merchant’s claim to affiliation was probably based on their “Hollywood Pinups” connection, a link as thin as a string of jewels.

So where does that leave the celebrities who posed for the book?

They have been informed of whence their diamonds came, Smith said. Oxfam has put up a new statement on its Web site denouncing Leviev, and a picture of Kristen Davis, a star of “Sex and the City” — and an Oxfam ambassador — wearing Leviev jewels has been taken off Leviev’s Web site (the reasons for the removal of Davis’s picture are unclear). And the PR organizations that represent Leviev, White, and the celebrities in the book are very, very annoyed.

Anonymous said...

Miami, FL - More than two years after a valuable pink diamond mysteriously went missing, Stafford Jewelers has won a lawsuit worth nearly $7 million to compensate for the loss.

The judgement was handed down by a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The jury awarded Miami Township-based Stafford Jewelers at least $6.9 million in compensatory damages and lawyers’ fees because of the loss.

The lawsuit, filed in October 2006 by John Stafford, president of Stafford Jewelers, claimed that a $1.5 million pink diamond he sent to a potential buyer disappeared. The intended recipient in New York — Julius Klein Diamonds LLC — said it never received the 5.56-karat stone.

Julius Klein Diamonds was preparing a response to the decision.

The stone had been sent in February 2006 and sealed in a series of envelopes, bags and boxes. Stafford bought insurance for the stone from Jewelers Mutual Insurance through Brink’s. The following day, Stafford said he was informed by Julius Klein Diamonds that his package had arrived open and empty.

In his affidavit, Stafford claims he was led to believe that the diamond was reported missing to the FBI and the New York Police Department, but later learned that no reports were filed.

In court documents, Julius Klein Diamonds denied all of Stafford’s allegations and said the box was empty when it arrived in New York. Since it never received the diamond, the firm says it never could have lost or stole it.

According to an investigation by Brink’s, the package carrying the diamond arrived unopened and showed no signs of tampering.

The jury found in favor of Stafford, deciding that Julius Klein Diamonds was unjustly enriched by its acquisition of the valuable pink diamond without compensating Stafford Jewelers, that the company wrongfully converted and exercised dominion and control over the pink diamond and that the company was found liable of civil liability for a criminal act (theft).

Lawyer Dianne Marx of Dayton-based law firm of Sebaly Shillito & Dyer represented Stafford Jewelers in the lawsuit.

“The jury sent a strong, strong message that this kind of conduct absolutely will not be tolerated in our society,” Marx said.

Arthur said...

I just received the document you requested as a PDF file.Please let me know your emergency email address so I can forward it to you.Somehow I lost it.

Anonymous said...

"the Torah forbids homosexual acts,"
So why the f**k has your organisation protected the likes of kolko/mondrowitz, and continues to protect & promote such vile behavior, by fighting every bill that ever came up for legaslation regarding homosexual activities with kiddies.

Avi, Why dont you take a long vacation, like forever, so we dont have to hear your verbal diahria and dreck.

Jerusalem Post
Married‚ and the mob

From the agitation and anger of the crowds, the din of the car horns and the shouts of "Civil rights now!" and "Bigots!" one would have been forgiven for thinking that the protesters were denouncing some horrific assault on human freedom.

But no, the demonstrations - and church vandalisms and business boycotts - were in protest of California voters‚ passage of the November ballot measure known as Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Any two Californians can, as before, register as "domestic partners" and have the very same rights and responsibilities as married couples under state law. All Proposition 8 sought to do was preserve in law what the word "marriage" has meant for millennia.

Those, though, who were unhappy with the electorate's decision wasted no time in taking to the streets of dozens of American cities and towns to rail against the audacity - the bigotry, as they proclaimed it - of considering gender germane to marriage.

IN SOME cities, tens of thousands turned out for raucous rallies; in many instances, epithets were hurled at counterdemonstrators and even uninvolved bystanders. Although protesters claimed the mantle of the American civil rights movement, several black observers of the Los Angeles demonstration had what has been called the "N-bomb" dropped on them by infuriated demonstrators - a presumed tribute to the fact that blacks voted 2-1 in favor of the proposition. A San Diego family with a "Yes on 8" sign on their front lawn had their car's tires slashed. A San Francisco area group launched a campaign to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon Church because of its support of the marriage initiative. Graffiti was spray-painted on a Mormon church near Sacramento. A group of about 30 activists from a group called "Bash Back!" stormed into a Lansing, Michigan church, unfurled a rainbow flag at the pulpit and proceeded to disrupt services by banging on cans and shouting.

Some, even among those who assign meaning to traditional morality, are not greatly bothered by the push to expand the meaning of marriage. They are content to let people call things whatever they want, and regard the societal push to revamp social mores as benign. The vehemence, violence and general obnoxiousness that characterized some of the protests, though, should give them pause.

AS SHOULD Scott Eckern's forced resignation.

Eckern was the artistic director of the California Musical Theater. He no longer holds that position because anti-Proposition 8 activists uncovered and publicized the fact that he had made a contribution to the other side's campaign. Eckern explained that his donation stemmed from his religious beliefs as a Mormon and expressed sadness that his "personal beliefs and convictions have offended others" and caused "hurt feelings."

But neither his words nor resignation were enough to mollify the mob. An award-winning composer called Eckern to tell him that he would not allow his work to be performed in the theater with which the ex-director had been associated; and an actress called for a boycott of the institution.

It seems clearer than ever that gay activists are not, as was once thought, interested only on being left alone, or, as was later thought, on being granted the same privileges as others. They are fixated, in fact, on creating a society where traditional religious perspectives on homosexuality and marriage are regarded, in law and in social dialogue, as the equivalent of racial or ethnic bias.

The scenario of religious people - and institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques - being branded as bigoted simply for affirming deeply-held religious convictions is around the corner. And eventual prosecution of the same for voicing those convictions is only another corner or two away.

What began as a plea for "rights" is rapidly, and noisily, morphing into an assault on freedom of speech and conscience.

Jews who take their religious tradition seriously will not allow the shifting sands of societal mores to obscure the fact that the Torah forbids homosexual acts, and sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony. They know, further, that the Talmud and Midrash teach that a saving grace of human society throughout the ages has been its refusal to formalize unions between males.

Which made a scene at one of the recent protests particularly poignant. Rebecca Kaplan, a newly elected Oakland, California city council member, told those gathered outside City Hall how upset she was with the passage of Proposition 8. According to a news report, she "roused the crowd by blowing a shofar, a ram's horn blown as a wind instrument in biblical times. She said it represented a call for solidarity."

Only it doesn't. It represents a call for teshuva, the Hebrew word for repentance, literally "return" - to the teachings of the Jewish religious tradition.

The writer is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America

Paul Mendlowitz said...



Anonymous said...


Exclusive: Obama's Close Ties With Chabad

Anonymous said...

Which Upper West Side rabbi is single?


November 24, 2008 --

WHAT'S a date with ice skating queen Oksana Baiul (above) worth? To an Upper West Side rabbi, $2,500. At the other night's Spicerack Fashion Show to benefit orphans of the Tikva Children's Home, host Ray Ellin auctioned off a dinner date with the Ukrainian, who was celebrating her 31st birthday. The winning bidder, a 40-something rabbi, said, "Well, I'm single, it's for charity, and she seems like a nice Jewish girl. I guess I'm the luckiest guy in my congregation." Although Baiul was raised as a Russian Orthodox Christian, her maternal grandmother was Jewish.

Anonymous said...


The walls seem to be closing in on Charles Rangel. He's been busted this year for using congressional stationery to solicit donations for the Rangel Center at the City University of New York, for keeping four rent-stabilized apartments, not paying taxes on his villa in the Dominican Republic, and taking a tax cut on his property in Washington. And now the Times' David Koceniewski, who has doggedly reported the House Ways and Means Committee chairman's every indiscretion, has busted him consorting with the man you see at left.

According to the Times, official records show that Rangel's position on a tax loophole for Nabors, an oil-drilling firm, changed drastically after meetings Rangel conducted with Nabors president Eugene M. Isenberg.

Over sweet rolls and coffee, Mr. Kies asked Mr. Rangel if he would maintain his opposition to the efforts to take away the company’s loophole. Mr. Rangel said he would, Mr. Kies and Mr. Isenberg said in interviews … Eleven days later, a check for $100,000 from Mr. Isenberg was cashed by City College.

Wow. We'd ordinarily say that a politician ought to know better than to consort with a man with such a slick-looking do. But then again, with Rangel's own pompadour has been raising eyebrows for a long time.


November 25, 2008

The Congressman, the Donor and the Tax Break


Representative Charles B. Rangel has helped raise $11 million for a City College of New York school of public service to be named in his honor. In recent months, as questions have emerged about his fund-raising, he has insisted that he has kept his efforts to attract donors scrupulously separate from his official duties in Congress.

But Congressional records and interviews show that Mr. Rangel was instrumental in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company last year, while at the same time its chief executive was pledging $1 million to the project, the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at C.C.N.Y.

The company, Nabors Industries, was one of four corporations based in the United States that were widely criticized in 2002 and 2003 for opening offices in the Caribbean to reduce their federal tax payments. Mr. Rangel was among dozens of representatives from both parties who bitterly opposed those offshore moves and, in 2004, pushed unsuccessfully for legislation to make the companies pay more tax.

But in 2007, when the United States Senate tried to crack down on the companies, Mr. Rangel, who had recently been sworn in as House Ways and Means chairman, fought to protect them. The tax shelter for the four companies was preserved, saving Nabors an estimated tens of millions of dollars annually and depriving the federal treasury of $1.1 billion in revenues over a decade, according to a Congressional analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

Anonymous said...


ALBANY - The head of the State Liquor Authority charged yesterday that a top aide to Gov. Paterson tried to "intimidate" him into renewing liquor licenses for nine posh restaurants owned by the influential Ciprianis after two members of the family pleaded guilty to income-tax evasion and paid a $10 million fine.

"There's no question there was an attempt to intimidate me," SLA Chairman Daniel Boyle told The Post, as he discussed the authority's 2-1 vote in August to renew licenses controlled by such famed establishments as the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, Harry Cipriani at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel and Cipriani Wall Street.

Boyle cast the only "no" vote when the three-member SLA board decided not to revoke the Cipriani licenses.

The board's two Democratic appointees, Noreen Healey and Jeanique Greene, sided with the Ciprianis. Attempts to ask Healey and Greene for comment were unsuccessful.

Boyle said he was told in May that former state Sen. Carl Andrews - Paterson's $171,000-a-year special assistant - wanted to discuss a liquor license held by Lola's, a Manhattan bar not owned by the Cipriani family.

But Boyle said at a meeting Andrews quickly brought up the Cipriani licenses.

"I stated that for us to only take a fine from people who have a lot of money would not be fair to people who have less - we need to be consistent in our approach," Boyle said he told Andrews.

But Andrews, he said, coldly responded, "Can I offer you some sound political advice? Speak how you feel, but vote on what you need to do.

"People here are who you answer to," Boyle quoted Andrews as saying, leaving "no doubt" the Paterson administration wanted the SLA to leave the Cipriani licenses intact.

Boyle said there were other examples of pressure.

He provided The Post with a copy of a memorandum written by Authority Counsel Thomas Donohue in which Donohue says that Warren Pesetsky, a Cipriani lawyer, revealed to him on July 23 that he had insider information that that a new SLA commissioner appointed by Paterson would vote in favor of the Cipriani licenses at an Aug. 6 board meeting.

Anonymous said...

That could be Maury Kelman who bought the date with Oksana. He's a single RIETS grad and attorney in his 40s who hangs out at OZ. He's pretty to the left in the modern orthodox spectrum and he's a good looking guy. He tries to be an activist of sorts and he's easy to access which is why Jewish Week likes to quote him.

Anonymous said...

Let's hear Arthur's take on Butt-man.

Will he stick up for an avowed Meshichist?

Anonymous said...

>The scenario of religious people - and institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques - being branded as bigoted simply for affirming deeply-held religious convictions is around the corner.<

Didn't Shafran get the memo that since we can't get rid of Moslems so easily once here, the best thing to do is at least pretend they don't exist and not give them a sense of inclusion, since they generally want to destroy the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

UWS: Can't be Maury. He is married.