Thursday, August 02, 2007

Facebook For Families

Who said Facebook was just a fun diversion?

Facebook Reunites Mother And Son

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Obama Bomba


Is Barack Obama crazier than Bush? No. But he does have a crazy idea: Send troops into Pakistan to hunt terrorists without Pakistani permission.

Sure. Invade a Muslim country that has never attacked us in order to stop terrorism. Why does that some vaguely familiar? The bonus is, Pakistan is a nuclear power. And it's about one presidential assassination away from becoming an insane warlord-led terror state like neighboring Afghanistan.

Obama's statement may have just pushed me toward Hillary and Edwards. At least they haven't been so bold to suggest initiating a nuclear war. Yet.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Abortion Contortion

One thing politicians love to do is take sides. They love to draw a line in the sand and stand on one side of it. It just makes things easier. Answering yes or no takes a lot less thinking than a rambling, nuanced John-Kerry-type response. By splitting every issue down the middle, no matter how complicated it is, our esteemed electable leaders can win over huge chunks of the populace in one fell swoop. It's hard to convince 50% of the populace... it's far easier to make a general statement that they already agree with and make that your position.

For instance, take abortion.

Politicians only take two stances on this issue:

A) Abortion is immoral and should be illegal.

B) Abortion is a personal choice and should remain legal.

By rallying around one of these two statements, candidates maximize their chances of attracting a large group to their side of the sand.

But the issue of abortion is more complicated than: Abortion is murder vs. abortion is not murder. When you talk about making something illegal, you're talking about creating a punishment to fit the crime. In our legal system, that means community service, a fine, jail, or death. As it turns out, not many abortion protestors have given this much thought:

Of course, this video in itself gives a rather simplistic view. Very few, if any, politicians have offered bills that penalize the woman who seeks an abortion. Their bills tend to punish the doctors. The reasoning is, if no doctors will perform an abortion, then no woman can get one. I'll get back to why this is wrong in a second.

But the reason why I posted the video above is to make the point that none of the women interviewed had given the issue any thought. They sat down on the "NO" side of the abortion sand, set up their beach umbrella and their protest sign, and never thought about what it means to make something illegal. They never thought about the effect such a law would have. Abortion is murder, hence, abortion is wrong. They never once questioned the agenda they signed up for. Is their particular anti-abortion chapter for punishing women or against? They don't know. They never even bothered to ask.

This is what happens when you set up two camps and eliminate the spaces in between. You eliminate critical thinking, and are left with a bunch of talking parrots.

And an America of talking parrots frightens me. It should scare you too.

I have no problem with an abortion protester if they can argue their case intelligently. It's when they fall back on, "God said so," or "Abortion is murder," that I have a problem. Because those lines don't represent any thought. They heard someone else say it. They read it in a pamphlet. They repeated it and got a cracker.

If they took the time to examine the issue, they'd realize that making abortions illegal doesn't stop abortions from happening. Back when abortions were illegal, women still got them, in horrifying ways: throwing themselves down stairs, forcing a clothes hanger up their shoozle, going to dirty mexican clinics. Perhaps pro-choice crusaders should put up those pictures next to the aborted fetuses anti-abortion protesters show. From this video, it seems like most of these protesters don't think an abortion merits death. But if abortion becomes illegal, that's exactly what many women who obtain abortions will recieve.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to be pro-choice. But I am trying to convince everyone to THINK. Illegal means punishment, in more ways than one. Not just for doctors. Illegal means rape victims have to carry a rapist's child for nine months. Illegal means a poor mother has to lose her job and go into debt to bring a baby to term. Illegal DOESN'T mean: The U.S.A. is Abortion FREE and a country God can be proud of. Drugs are illegal too. And punishing the dealers and the users hasn't stopped them.

One final thought. If you want to reduce abortions (which is a realistic and honest goal), then attempt to reduce the societal factors which can lead to that painful decision. Institute programs to help expectant mothers. Increase effective means of sex-education. Raise the minimum wage so people can afford to raise their kids. Pass fair labor laws that provide maternity leave and day care help for families. Fund adoption programs. Improve social services and the foster care system. Promote birth control and family planning. Any number of these would reduce abortions, and do it in a safe, effective way.

But I guess that just takes too much work.

P.S. Not that politicians need to play any games. They can just hack the vote.

Monday, July 30, 2007

No Fun In Belmar

Welcome to Belmar, NJ

College kids, you may want to party elsewhere. The fun police are on patrol in Belmar, New Jersey, and to make sure you're not throwing a party, they're checkin your blog.

A blogger calling himself Belmar Benny sat at his computer recently and predicted what the summer of 2007 would be like at the rental home he shares with his buddies.

"Partying 'till daylight, banging pots and pans together, tossing the kitchen table on the roof, hanging the furniture upside down from the ceiling, waking up the neighborhood with a contraption called The Horn On A Board, smashing glassware over each other's heads," he wrote.

But Belmar officials were reading his blog, promising to counter "Horn On A Board" with "Cop On Your Porch."

Monitoring blogs is the newest tactic in Belmar's effort to keep its rowdy group rentals under control in one of the Jersey shore's last party towns.

The borough's efforts are led by a mayor who patrols the street looking for trouble and backed by fines that can reach into the thousands of dollars. Police officers hand-deliver lists of do's and don't to renters, and a Web site plots troublesome rentals on a map.
Belmar Benny's blog is here. He seems like he's having a good time nonetheless.
Jewish Fantasy Baseball, Final Standings

Well folks, that's it for the Jewish Fantasy Baseball season. The MLB fantasy game goes into the playoffs this week, and despite some inspiring performances by Elohim's Team, the world's first all-Jewish fantasy squad fell just short of a berth. Weeks 12 and 13 saw two straight losses, but Team Tallis put up a fight in each contest.

The Major League Jews put a scare into the first place Red Rooks, leading them throughout week 12, from Monday until Saturday, when a huge day by Yankees teammates A-Rod and Hideki Matsui finally put Red Rooks on top. The two Yankees had 96 points combined on the week. If either had performed normally, the Joltin' Jews would have snagged an upset. Alas, Adam's Life Sluggin' Semite of the week, Ryan Braun, was only able to put together a super-human performance, rather than a super-super-human one. He finished the week with a 8 - 29, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, BB line.

Wait, did I say Ryan Braun was merely a super-human? Not in week 13. He ascended the heights of Mount Sinai and batted .424, with 3 HRs, 6 Rs, 8 RBIs and a stolen base. Kevin Youkilis had a strong week as well, smacking 2 homeruns with 8 runs and 8 RBIs. The two joined slugger David Eckstein and a strong Mets pitching staff to make a 67.5 point Sunday comeback, but the Lovable Levis fell to The Appeasers (again!), 246-214.

The final results of the first ever Chosen Team season? A 3-9 record, 1930.5 total points. 8 games back from first place, in this particular fantasy league's toughest division.

This season's Most Valuable Jew? He started the year in the minors, occupying a bench spot on the Major League Jews for the first few weeks. But when he was called up the the bemah, he made his congregation proud. Our Adam's Life Sluggin Semite of the Year Award goes to Milwaukee Third Baseman Ryan Braun.

Ryan Braun, ALSSOY

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