Monthly Archives: June 2005

Excuse me?

I thought Republicans were supposed to be in favor of a free marketplace.

But apparently a few are dislodging threats if George Soros is allowed to purchase the Washington Nationals. Apparently they feel only a conservative should be allowed to purchase a baseball team. According to this article, one of the threats dislodged is a review of Baseball’s anti-trust exemption.

It’s not like I have the money to purchase a team, but I would like to think if I did, I wouldn’t be precluded just because I have made my political opinions clear.

Interestingly, it appears the same Reps who are trying to stop Soros, are supporting a Conservative, Fred Malek, who is a large GOP fundraiser. Malek has an interesting skeleton in his closet:

When he was White House personnel chief, he was summoned by Nixon to discuss a “Jewish cabal” in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nixon believed Jews in the bureau were tilting stats to make his policies look bad. He wanted to know how many Jews there were in the bureau, and he wanted Malek to count them. Malek eventually complied and produced a list. Some of them were later demoted or transferred.

Eminently Brilliant

Hotel Lost Liberty

A plan to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road, Weare, New Hampshire.
Eminent domain will have to be used to obtain that property.
Who lives there? Justice David Souter.

If one were to predict on the odds, one would predict the Board of Selectmen will turn the idea down. But I am going to go out on a limb here…what do I have to lose…I’ll only make my record worse. I predict Justice Souter will be looking for a new home by the end of the year. (And I also predict at least 4 more similar letters. I don’t know the addresses, or the cities, but they’re probably not too difficult to look up.)

Supreme Court Frieze

Here’s a PDF with a picture and description of the Supreme Court Frieze

Here’s a list of all historical figures displayed in the frieze
Menes (c. 3200 B.C.)
Hammurabi (c. 1700s B.C.)
Moses (c. 1300s B.C.)
Solomon (c. 900s B.C.)
Lycurgus (c. 800 B.C.)
Solon (c. 638–558 B.C.)
Draco (c. 600s B.C.)
Confucius (551–478 B.C.)
Octavian (63 B.C.–14 A.D.) or Augustus.
Justinian (c. 483–565)
Muhammad (c. 570–632)
Charlemagne (c. 742–814) or Charles I (the Great).
King John (1166–1216) born John Lackland.
Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) or Huig de Groot.
Sir William Blackstone (1723–1780)
John Marshall (1755–1835)
Napoleon (1769–1821)

Anybody who suggests Moses’ presence in that frieze is religious, as opposed to historical, is, in my humble opinion, smoking weed. One could equally claim that the frieze suggests we are an Islamic nation. (Muhammad is portrayed) or perhaps a French one, since Napoleon is the youngest member, and thus it must be emphasizing him.

The artist was Adolph Weinman, who was born in Germany in 1870, and immigrated to the US at age 10.

Supreme Court bars Ten Commandments at courthouses

I’m not sure what my prediction accuracy rate is now at.

The Supreme Court has barred the 10 commandments
from courthouses in its usual 5-4 manner. I predicted they would allow them if they are in a neutral environment, and basically they have still left that open, only declaring the Kentucky displays unconstitutional.

(The decision on the Texas display hasn’t been reported yet.)

So I will claim I now have 11 predictions incorrect, 2 correct, and 3 outstanding.

The Texas Decision is in…and its the reverse.
Ten Commandments monuments are allowed on government property. (Just not in courthouses.)

I’m going to have to read the text of the decision, but I so did not predict this, so it looks I am at 12 and 1.

And even more important than my prediction record, it appears there will be some celebrations in some religious corners (not mine.) I epect there will be several monuments added across the country in the near future.

Religious Left

There’s a new Progressive Christian group called The Christian Alliance for Progress, trying to reclaim Christianity from the Religous Right. The more who are vocal, the better. Some news articles are suggesting the Religious Left is something new. Not so.

Here’s an article by Rabbi Michael Lerner on how Democrats need the Religious Left

Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine (A bi-monthly Jewish critique of Politics, Culture and Society) “Tikkun” means “to heal, repair, and transform.”

A few other sites from the

Center of Concern
Call to Renewal

Makin’ things up

I was at a family event Friday night where there was a Rabbi who spoke briefly on this week’s parasha. It was a strange feeling. In the past when this happened, I had never read the weekly parasha beforehand. I said to myself, “this should be interesting, I wonder what she will say?”

‘While in the desert,” she said, “G-d sent 12 spies to scout out the land. Ten returned and said the land was filled with giant peoples who would surely obliterate them. But two, named Caleb and Joshua, said if we did everything right, and made peace with the peoples, all would be fine.”

Luckily, I was behind the video camera at the time, so no one saw my jaw drop. I must agree, I like her Torah better. But that’s not the one I’ve got. Sure, there were lots of impressionable kids in the room, ranging from ages four through ten. That might be a reason to refrain from mentioning certain things in the Bible, but is that a reason to make things up?

Here are the pertinent quotes:

The Ten: “This is what they told him: “We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”

Caleb: Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”

The Ten: But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we.” Thus they spread calumnies among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, “The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers. All the people that we saw in it are men of great size; we saw the Nephilim there — the Anakites are part of the Nephilim — and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”

Caleb and Joshua: “The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us; only you must not rebel against the Lord. Have no fear then of the people of the country, for they are our prey: their protection has departed from them, but the Lord is with us. Have no fear of them!”

Where did the Rabbi see anything about “making peace” in “they are our prey”?

I think there may be some readers who are looking at me funny. “Look at what you are doing with your poetry. You are creating new characters, and they are disrespecting the events in the Torah. What did the Rabbi do that was wrong, compared to that?”

I feel by creating new characters who were there, this gives me the right to let them view the events as a modern-day reader might. In the scenes I have covered so far, the Torah doesn’t list every individual who was there.

However, the events occured as the poetry has described them, unless I have misinterpreted some of the text. The only thing I have made up is character reaction and involvement in the events.


I am long accustomed to seeing the ‘prettification’ of the prayerbook. This began with the gender-neutral movement which changed every King, Father, etc. In one particular prayer that mentions Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it also added Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel.

But the only problem I had with this was that I could read Hebrew, and I noticed they only made the change to the English translation. If the Hebrew version of the prayer is sacred, and can’t be changed, the English translation shouldn’t be either. I later saw newer versions that changed the Hebrew too, so this made me happy. The prayerbook isn’t the Torah. And the meaning really hadn’t been changed anyway.

In college, in the local Jewish Student Group, we had a weekly Shabbat Table where we sang songs. One of these songs was called, “Eli, Eli.” It quickly became my favorite Hebrew song, for two reasons. 1) It is sung in both Hebrew and English, so it is obvious what it means to any listener. 2) It is a beautiful song. Here are the English words:

O Lord, Our G-d, I pray that these things never end: the sand and the sea, the rush of the waters, the crash of the heavens, the prayer of __. (see below)

While singing the English, it was the group tradition to sing the Hebrew “Eli, Eli” instead of “O Lord, Our G-d”. (Lord is masculine.) Grumble, grumble, but I accepted this. They also sang the last words as “the prayer of the heart.”

The Hebrew word is “Adam”. Look familiar? It doesn’t mean, ‘the heart’, it means ‘man’. They continued to sing it correctly in Hebrew. And I sang it correctly in English.


While I don’t mind this with the prayerbook, I do have a problem with modifying the Bible. I may not follow all the commandments, but that doesn’t mean the commandments should be changed. And while I may be unhappy with the way G-d gave the promised land to the Israelites, that doesn’t mean I should change it so they make peace with the inhabitants instead of destroying them.

When I get to Exodus, you won’t see Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with 3 tablets, and 1 of the 3 breaking. History of the World was hilarious. Mel Brooks probably is one of my inspirations. But you can trust that the events in this series of poems I am writing are accurate portrayals of the actual events in the Torah.