Friday, February 22, 2008

'You Will Always Have A Special Place In My Heart'

I was chatting online this afternoon with a friend who's about to die.

I'll never see her again.

I wanted to say something comforting.

This might be our last conversation.

I wanted to make it count.

I typed: "You will always have a special place in my heart. You are the last women who gave me a blowjob. As I am becoming a more observant Jew, that will be the last blowjob I'll ever have. I'm going to have to live off the memories."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

John McCain's Female Lobbyist

Last Dec. 20, I was speculating via email that John McCain’s lobbyist scandal about to break in the New York Times was a sexual one.

Here she is, Miss Vicki Iseman:


From Matt Drudge:


The NYT reports:

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s clients, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Tim Reid writes for the Times of London:

John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was last night romantically linked to a 40-year-old female political lobbyist and accused of granting her clients political favours.

Mr McCain, 71, fiercely denied a report in the New York Times which stated that eight years ago, during his first run for the White House, his aides were so concerned about his relationship with Vicki Iseman that they blocked her access to him to "protect the candidate from himself".

Mr McCain and Ms Iseman both denied to the newspaper - which has been sitting on the story for several weeks - that they had ever had a romantic relationship. The story was first alluded to on the Drudge Report website just before the Iowa and New Hampshire nomination contests, but after frantic lobbying by Mr McCain and his aides at the time the New York Times did not publish it then.

It was unclear last night what impact the allegations would have on Mr McCain, who is now on the verge of wrapping up the Republican nomination after staging an extraordinary political comeback. He had been written off in the presidential race six months ago when his campaign collapsed.

Here’s her profile:

Vicki Iseman, Partner, represents corporate and public clients on issues as diverse as government contracting and regulatory reform. Her experience includes representation of clients before Congress, Federal government agencies and local opinion leaders.

She has extensive experience in telecommunications, representing corporations before the House and Senate Commerce Committees. Her work on the landmark 1992 and 1996 communications bills helped secure cable access for broadcast television stations. Her experience in the communications field includes digital television conversion, satellite regulations and telecommunications ownership provisions.

She has been active in grassroots communications campaigns for clients, building community based support for legislative initiatives. Among others, she participated in the "Keep America Moving" campaign that educated community leaders on the allocation of Federal highway trust funds.

In addition, she has consulted for clients who are interested in government contracting opportunities. She has assisted corporations through the authorization and appropriation process. An active fundraiser, she has organized and participated in many political fundraising events.

A native of Pennsylvania, she holds a B.A. degree in Education from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.

By Bruce Dries:

From her office windows, Vicki Iseman ’90 has a great view of Washington, D.C. The Indiana native is one of the youngest people in the lobbying firm of Alcalde and Fay and one of its most senior partners.

Two weeks after graduating from IUP with a degree in elementary education, Iseman joined a friend in Washington and was hired as a receptionist. With only a few months’ experience on the job, she said she “walked into my boss’s office [the president of the company] and said, ‘You don’t really know me, but I answer the phones. I’m a college graduate and I’d like you to consider me for a secretarial or an administrative position.’” He agreed to try her out for three months. Within a year she became his special assistant.

Photo: Lobbyist Vicki Iseman is well connected in Washington.Alcalde and Fay represents clients from cruise lines and universities to airports and broadcasters. With no background in politics or telecommunications, Iseman realized she needed to know as much as possible to survive her new job. She spent most of her waking hours learning the business, and it paid off handsomely. Eight years later she became the youngest partner ever in the firm, counting among her clients PAXtv, Religious Voices in Broadcasting, Telemundo, the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation. In addition, she has met Melanie Griffith, Britney Spears, Bo Derek, and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Iseman said that the most important aspect of her job is the effect that one person can have on legislation in small communities and educational institutions. “Where my heart lies is in education,” she said. “I believe it is the great equalizer.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Join The Jewish Conversation At LimmudLA

I just got home an hour ago.
Unable to get a ride, I drove out of Pico/Robertson at 11 a.m. Friday and got to the Costa Mesa Hilton in an hour. Here's the full story of the conference with videos.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Moses Our Teacher

From Hirhurim:

In a new book titled Moses: Envoy of God, Envoy of his People, R. Mosheh Lichtenstein -- the son and appointed successor of R. Aharon Lichtenstein -- takes readers on a fascinating journey through the life and psychological journey of Moshe Rabbenu. Yeshivat Har Etzion and its affiliate Herzog College are known for somewhat radical and innovative peshat study of the Bible. However, R. Mosheh Lichtenstein is known as being less than a fan of the new approaches (see link 4 in this post). In this book, R. Lichtenstein builds upon traditional explanations of the biblical text and midrashim to fill in many of the blanks in the narrative and to psychologically analyze the greatest of the prophets. The result is breathtaking originality and creativity, built on interpretations that are familiar.

The book consists of four sections: 1) From the burning bush to the golden calf, 2) in the wilderness of Sinai, 3) the plains of Moab, and 4) the midrash and the text -- an essay on methodology. This last section alone is, in my opinion, an important contribution to Torah literature. R. Lichtenstein explains his view of the literary character of the Bible and the further layers added on by the Oral Torah. He also addresses the human qualities of the characters of the Torah and the issue of psychologizing biblical narratives.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Religion Videos


Conservative Judaism
Reform Judaism
Shmuley Boteach

Best Pundit Videos On YouTube


Ann Coulter
Bill Moyers
Brit Hume
Chris Matthews
David Horowitz
Dennis Prager
Evan Sayet
Heather Mac Donald
Pat Buchanan
Reason Magazine
Rush Limbaugh
Bill O'Reilly

Why Bush May Yet Shock Everyone And Bomb Iran

Ron Rubin writes for The Jewish Press:

Given his swaggered walk and ineloquent delivery, George W. Bush is an easy one to underestimate. But pundits and politicians do so at their own peril, cases in point being Al Gore and John Kerry, two gentlemen who like to think of themselves as high cultivated and erudite.

Despite his simplistic veneer, Bush belongs to the thin ranks of conviction politicians – leaders like Reagan, Churchill and Lincoln, who stand on core principles. Though members of this group at times find it necessary to zig and zag in order to remain politically viable, their brand of ideological commitment stands in stark contrast to the masters of finesse and the celebrity-seekers who dominate electoral office.

Since Islamofascist terrorism is the defining issue of his presidency, and Iran is the main perpetrator of this signature evil, it should come as no surprise if Bush chooses not to end his White House term with Tehran closing in on nuclear weapons. Conscious of his legacy, he would not want the record to show it was on his watch that the Islamic Republic went nuclear, or at the very least moved irreversibly down that road.

Two elements inform Bush’s convictions – he is both a born-again Christian and a Texan. Based on this dual identity and the approaching end of his presidency, it is not all that outlandish to visualize Bush putting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on notice that the diplomatic latitude she asked of him had proved a flagrant failure. High grades from the Council on Foreign Relations fail to win encomiums from this Beltway-wary Texan.

From his Christian faith, Bush draws the conviction that while freedom represents God’s gift to humanity, cruel and evil tyrants are capable of building hells that raze civilizations. As a (swashbuckling) Texan, he sees it as his responsibility to protect the good guys from the local bullies. On both counts, Ahmadinejad must be stopped.

Though bombing Iran may seem remote (former UN ambassador John Bolton has described the prospect as nearly zero), some of Bush’s key foreign policy moves have shown his capacity to act independently of the State Department and foreign policy establishment.

It was Bush, after all, who politely shelved the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Commission on Iraq and who went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, overruling the advice of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. Likewise, while Yasir Arafat was Bill Clinton’s most frequent overnight White House guest, Bush would not even take a phone call from the Palestinian terror chieftain, again overruling Powell. In fact, Bush was so disenchanted with his secretary of state that he didn’t brought him back for his second term.

While pinpointing the moment that Bush will give the order to strike is beyond this article’s scope, constitutionally he can launch an invasion without going to Congress. A provocation might stem from another Iranian speedboat charge, or an attack on an American facility somewhere, or the use of Iranian-made explosives on the Iraqi battlefield.

Absent such provocations, the president has spent seven years already warning the world about Tehran’s terrorism.

During Bush’s recent visit to Israel, he gave hints as to how he sees the world and, indirectly, of the attack that may yet come. Why, he asked at Yad Vashem after viewing a 1944 aerial reconnaissance photograph of Auschwitz, did the United States fail to bomb the camps? The question’s message was that principled leaders do not countenance the appeasement of evil.

Leaving the museum, the president signed the guestbook “God Bless Israel.” This was extraordinary language from a man as laconic as Bush. On foreign trips he does not typically go around penning salutations asking divine oversight for, say, Saudi Arabia or Germany. With that statement, Bush did more than express support for a democratic ally. The most powerful person in the world was asking God to watch over the Jews in the Holy Land. Imagine, then, the revulsion he must feel at Iranian threats to blow this people off the face of the earth.

Finally, in a hardly noted aside during his airport arrival in Israel, Bush revealed the sense of mission he sees in his presidency. Though he had been to Israel once before, he said, he had never expected to return as president.

On the surface, a strange statement, but at the same time one that captured his understanding of the hand of Heaven. To my surprise, confessed this humble Christian, divine destiny brought me to the White House.

And for what purpose?

Based on his earlier statements, to fight terrorism and to preempt terrorism. What nation stands in the forefront of terrorism, and what nation would be its first target once armed with nuclear weapons?

Before this proud Texan and faithful Christian returns to the ranch to clear brush, possibly turning over the presidency to a successor with dubious motives, don’t be surprised if he throws all his power behind the honorable course of attacking Iran.

>>>Ron Rubin, author of “Anything for a T-Shirt: Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon, the World’s Greatest Footrace,” is professor of Political Science at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY. He is spending a sabbatical year in Jerusalem.

Confronting A Prominent Writer's Untruths

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes for The Jewish Press:

It is time to finally inter a malicious libel against Jews and Judaism that is getting increasing attention in the media, namely, that Judaism will not allow for the breaking of the Sabbath to save a non-Jewish life.

Given that Judaism is the religion that introduced the idea that all humans are created equally in God’s image, and the rabbinical sages wrote 2,000 years ago that “even a gentile who studies God’s law is equal to the High Priest” and “the righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come” (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 13), it would seem incredible that anyone would believe such nonsense.

Yet the latest to repeat this libel is the gifted writer Christopher Hitchens, who, in his book God Is Not Great, writes of Baruch Goldstein, “While serving as a physician in the Israeli army he had announced that he would not treat non-Jewish patients, such as Israeli Arabs, especially on the Sabbath. As it happens, he was obeying rabbinic law in declining to do this, as many Israeli religious courts have confirmed…”

In our second debate on religion, held last week, I asked Hitchens to identify even one Jewish court that would uphold such a thing. As his source he cited not a court but his “dear friend,” the late Israeli writer Israel Shahak.

Research on the incident reveals the following: In 1965, Shahak sent a letter to Haaretz saying he had witnessed an Orthodox Jewish man refusing to allow his telephone to be used to call an ambulance for a non-Jew because it would violate the Sabbath. In the same letter Shahak also alleged that a rabbinical court in Jerusalem confirmed that the man acted according to the dictates of Jewish law.

From the beginning the story was curious. What prohibition could there possibly be in allowing someone else to use one’s phone on the Sabbath? Then, in 1966, the story was investigated by Immanuel Jakobovits– one of the worlds’ leading medical ethicists who later would become chief rabbi of the United Kingdomand a member of the House of Lords – and found to be a hoax.

Writing in the journal Tradition under the title “A Modern Blood Libel,” Jakobovits noted: “Dr. Shahak, challenged to substantiate his personal ‘testimony’ was eventually forced to admit that the Orthodox Jew he had ‘witnessed’ refusing the use of his telephone simply did not exist. The whole incident had been fabricated in true Protocols style. Equally overlooked was the circumstance that the Rabbinate, far from having confirmed Dr. Shahak’s allegation, had in fact ruled that the Sabbath must be violated to save non-Jewish no less than Jewish lives.”

In further refutation of Shahak’s libel, Jakobovits cited a lengthy responsum by Isser Yehuda Unterman, chief rabbi of Israel, who stated unequivocally that “the Sabbath must be violated to save non-Jewish life no less than Jewish lives.”

But such libels about Jews were, sadly, par for the course for Shahak who also alleged that Jewish children are taught “whenever passing near a cemetery, to utter a blessing if the cemetery is Jewish, but to curse the mothers of the dead if it is non-Jewish” (Jewish History, Jewish Religion) and even accused Jews of worshiping Satan.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America(CAMERA) calls Shahak “one of the world’s leading anti-Semites,” and as Jewish Press senior editor Jason Maoz noted in his Jan. 25 Media Monitor column (“The Wicked Son”), Shahak’s work is regularly referenced by neo-Nazisand anti-Semites.

Eli Beer, chief coordinator of the United Haztalah Emergency Ambulance Service of Israel, who oversees 1,100 medical volunteers, approximately 60 percent of whom are Orthodox, told me, “If someone would say we won’t save a non-Jewish life on the Sabbath, he is a liar. If he is Jewish, Christian, or Muslim we save everyone’s life on any day of the year, including the Sabbath and Yom Kippur, and I have done so myself. Indeed, as an orthodox Jew it is my greatest honor to save the life of a non-Jew, and I would violate any of the Jewish holy days to do so.”

It would behoove a scholar like Hitchens to remove from future editions of his book this slander of “many” Jewish courts teaching Jews that it is forbidden to save non-Jewish life on the Sabbath, along with other gratuitous attacks on Jews and Judaism that are misleading and inaccurate. Principal among them are his unfortunate statement that Jews are not “blameless” for anti-Semitism and his characterization of the festival of Chanukah as “an absolutely tragic day in human history” without which “the Jewish people might have been the carriers of philosophy instead of arid monotheism.”

(He also accuses Jews of plagiarizing “shamelessly” from Christianity to have a holiday that “coincides with Christmas,” even though Chanukah precedes the birth of Jesus by 250 years.)

Hitchens sees the heroic Jewish revolt against the Assyrian Greeks as that of a primitive nation fighting against superior Greek enlightenment in order to sustain its superstitious ways. But such criticism is beneath Hitchens, who consistently supported the invasion of Iraq against liberal colleagues because of his noble objection to Saddam’s brutality and tyranny.

Far from being enlightened, the Greek leader, Antiochus IV, was the Saddam Hussein of his time. And just as Arab men, women and children deserved better than to be forced to live under a vicious murderer like Saddam, the ancient Jews should be applauded rather than condemned for having stood up to the same.

>>>Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the host of the “The Rabbi Shmuley Show,” airing daily on “Oprah and Friends” on XM Satellite Radio. He has just launched his new book, “The Broken American Male and How to Fix Him” (St. Martin’s Press). His website is

First Things First

From The Jewish Press:

These pages have lately been the preferred venue for hashing out questions concerning the biblical and Talmudic view of Creation. A great deal of confusion tends to attend such discussions. The most menacing pitfall of all is when people begin mentioning particular figures, such as Darwin and Dawkins, and sparring with their contention that the processes of natural development could have occurred without being set in motion and/or guided by a supreme Creator.

Really, there is no more profound waste of time for a serious Jew than to engage such "theorists." It is just as absurd to suppose that the world existed on its own and developed through random evolution as it was when the Greeks maintained that it always existed in its present form without being created.

An honest, healthy mind, fearless of consequences, cannot look at this spectacularly complex world, made up of spectacularly complex subatomic particles, interacting in spectacularly complex couplings, without concluding it was designed to be just what it is. End of conversation.

What is interesting, not in any defensive, threatened or apologetic way, is to determine how closely the scientific information, gleaned through experimentation, mirrors the Torah concepts we have received through revelation.

First we need to establish perspective by seeing how the Oral Law processed the Bible’s presentation. One Mishna encapsulates the entire subject. It begins the 5th chapter of Avot: "The world was created by ten Divine statements. Why was this necessary? Couldn’t everything have been created in one statement? It must be to punish the wicked who destroy a ten-part world and reward the righteous who maintain a ten-part world."

In other words, the surprising part of the Bible’s Creation story is that it has phases. In purely religious terms, we would presume that the world was created at once, since an omnipotent Creator has no need for steps. Had Creation not been mentioned in Genesis, the natural assumption would be that it was done simultaneously. The purpose of the Bible story is to introduce a staged process. This somehow raises the stakes on the table of existence, making the righteous maintenance of the enterprise a more profound achievement.

Jason Maoz Joins Commentary Team

Jason Maoz, Editor of The Jewish Press, writes:

I was recently asked to become a regular contributor to Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog (go to and click on the word “Contentions” in the blog section of the home page).

The blog’s list of past and present contributors includes, among others too numerous to mention, John Podhoretz and Norman Podhoretz, Edward Alexander, Hillel Halkin, Victor Davis Hanson, Joshua Muravchik, Peter Wehner and Ruth R. Wisse; needless to say, it’s an honor to be in such heady intellectual company.

The following was my maiden post for Contentions:

The amazing implosion of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign will be analyzed and argued about for years to come. The Monitor’s own take, hardly original and admittedly based on nothing more than informed speculation, is that he simply was ambivalent about the whole enterprise to begin with.

Anyone who witnessed Rudy’s unforgettable eight-year turn as mayor of New York knows that when Rudy really wants something, he’s tenacious and single-minded about getting it. He’ll fight anyone and anything standing in his way, conventional wisdom and political nicety be damned.

And that’s exactly the Rudy we didn’t see in this campaign, from his surprisingly languid acknowledgment to Larry King in Feb. 2007 that yes, he was in the race, to his strangely subdued performance in what turned out to have been his last presidential debate in Florida last week.

It’s been suggested, by some who harbored a certain level of skepticism about the depth of Rudy’s commitment to a presidential run, that perhaps Rudy thought a tentative campaign, particularly in a year that looked, at least early on, like a washout for the GOP, would raise his profile to an even higher degree and be beneficial for business – i.e., for Giuliani Partners and his already astronomical speaking fees.

Perhaps there’s some truth to that, but lacking access to the inner workings of his psyche, the Monitor can only go back to that earlier suggestion about ambivalence. Part of him liked the idea of being president, of attempting to replicate his success in New York on a national level, but another part of him wasn’t so sure. If the presidency were handed to him, yes – but the gritty day-to-day work of campaigning for office had never been his strong suit.

That much was obvious from his first, mistake-prone and unsuccessful run for mayor in 1989 as well as his victorious second effort in 1993. Andrew Kirtzman, in his highly readable and balanced book Rudy Giuliani: Emperor of the City, described candidate Giuliani on the campaign trail in 1993:

“Other politicians could lose themselves in the moment when working a crowd, but Giuliani never lost the look in his eye that said all this was a just a means to an end…. When he spoke before a crowd he didn’t romance them or flatter them or try to seduce them. Rather, he argued his case; a lawyer making his final summation. He was all prose and no poetry.”

In 1997, Rudy could have shut himself up inside Gracie Mansion and still won reelection, such was his record of accomplishment in his first term of office and the mediocre opposition he faced in Manhattan borough president Ruth Messinger. So 1997 offered no real test of his campaigning skills.

But, certainly in retrospect, his short-lived run for U.S. Senate in 2000 was in many ways a precursor to his near-somnolent presidential bid seven years later. Kirtzman titles the chapter in his book about that campaign “The Reluctant Candidate” and describes the tenor of the campaign in the late winter and early spring of 2000 – before Rudy’s health and marital issues took him out of the running:

“…Giuliani had barely deigned to mount a campaign. While [Hillary] Clinton was well on her way to visiting all sixty-two of New York State’s counties, he’d hardly traveled outside the city. While she was honing her message, he’d barely issued a position paper. Inside his camp, meetings weren’t being held, polls weren’t being taken…. The mayor acted as though he were entitled to the Senate seat, and he didn’t seem to want it all that much.”

In The Prince of the City, his fine study of the Giuliani mayoralty, unabashed Rudy admirer Fred Siegel wrote of the widespread surprise at “Giuliani’s lukewarm approach to a Senate race that had much of the country abuzz.”

Giuliani, wrote Siegel, “seemed to want the job but only if it meant he didn’t have to miss too many Yankee games or campaign too often in the frigid areas of upstate.”

Sound familiar?

Isareli TV Dinosaur Retires

Steve Walz writes for The Jewish Press blog:

Heinz Kluger a.ka. Chaim Yavin, the "Walter Cronkite" of Israel's Channel One "Mabat" TV news program anchored his last broadcast earlier this week, a position he held for 40 years. Though he was considered the model for today's Israeli prime-time anchorman, Mr. Yavin was far from a "pareve" personality.

He held onto the position way too long, becoming a prime-time fossil in the process. As Channels 2 and 10 launched their American-style news broadcasts with two anchors (one man, one woman) and high-tech studios, Mr. Yavin's broadcasts dropped like a rock in the ratings, losing nearly 50% of viewers during the past 5 years.

At a time when Channel One, a quasi-government entity like the BBC and PBS, was losing tens of millions of dollars a year, Mr. Yavin continued to earn a hefty six-figure annual income (dollar wise). He never asked for a pay cut in order to preserve jobs at Channel One.

Mr. Yavin admitted earlier this week that he was proud of politicizing his broadcasts especially thosed that bashed the settlers and their settlement movement. He claims that this was the policy of Israel Radio as well. Which means, that Israel Radio, also owned by the Israeli government, encouraged the brainwashing of its listening audience.

Though Mr. Yavin was renowned for his feisty on-camera battles with former PM Benjamin Netanyahu and ex-Likud apparatchik Ehud Olmert, Yavin reveled in his own self-importance rather than presenting journalistic facts. If Yavin was the model for Israeli journalism, then he bears some responsibility for the low-level of Israeli journalism that exists in both the print and electronic media.

Respect for longevity is one thing. But warping the truth in order to stigmatize a group of pioneering Jews who only wish to live in peace and harmony within the borders of Eretz Yisroel is self-hating political advocacy, not journalism.

Shalom and good riddance, Chaim.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Jack Lawrence Interview, April 5, 2007 Before the XRCO Awards, Jack Lawrence talks about breaking up a fight and saving a man's life.

Kristal Summers Interview, April 2007 Luke Ford interviews Kristal Summers outside the XRCO Awards at Forbidden City (Vine/Hollywood Blvds).

Sunny Lane On Set June 12, 2007 Sunny Lane has appeared a ton in the media, including ABC's show Primetime.

Bree Olson On Set June 12, 2007 Adam & Eve contract girl Bree Olson (not Olsen) talks about her life and work.

Jamie Lynn, Heather Vandeven Interview June 28, 2007 At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Luke Ford talks to the last two Penthouse Pets of the Year.

Michelle McKenzie Interview, April 10, 2007 Luke Ford interviews Michelle McKenzie outside Sardo's Bar in Burbank, CA.

Cleopatra Nile II, April 10, 2007 Luke Ford interviews fellow Aussie Cleopatra Nile outside Sardo's Bar in Burbank, CA. Cleopatra has a degree in Economics.

Cleopatra Nile, April 10, 2007 Luke Ford interviews fellow Aussie Cleopatra Nile outside Sardo's Bar in Burbank, CA.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Nick Zedd and the Cinema of Transgression Luke Ford talks to Nick Zedd and a French documentary filmmaker about the cinema of transgression.

Holly Randall Dunks Me Sept. 30, 2007 Holly Randall has inspired my writing for years. She's a spunky blonde, a photographer and a good writer. I adore her.

Humberto Fontova On Che Guevara II

Humbero was born 1954 in Havana, Cuba. He is a Cuban American author of biographies, memoirs, and political non-fiction. Here he talks about Che Guevara, his latest book.

Humberto Fontova On Che Guevara

Humbero was born 1954 in Havana, Cuba. He is a Cuban American author of biographies, memoirs, and political non-fiction. Here he talks about Che, his latest book.

Julie Simone Interview IV, Aug. 15, 2007 Luke Ford talks to actress/model
Julie Simone in a Beverly Hills park about her life and work and childhood and views on America.

Julie Simone Interview V, Aug. 15, 2007 Luke Ford talks to actress/model
Julie Simone in a Beverly Hills park about her life and work.

Julie Simone Interview III, Aug. 15, 2007 Luke Ford interviews Julie Simone about her life and work.

Julie Simone Interview II, Aug. 15, 2007 Luke Ford talks to actress/model
Julie Simone in a Beverly Hills park.

John O'Sullivan VI Aug. 21, 2007 On Three Who Changed The World

The National Review editor talks about his new book: The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World

John O'Sullivan V Aug. 21, 2007 On Three Who Changed The World
Sullivan is an editor at National Review. His new book: The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World

John O'Sullivan IV Aug. 21, 2007 On Three Who Changed The World

Sullivan's new book is "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World."

John O'Sullivan III Aug. 21, 2007 On Three Who Changed The World
He talks to David Horowitz's Freedom Center on his new book: The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World

John O'Sullivan Aug. 21, 2007 On Three Who Changed The World

Emma Cummings Interview, Sept. 2, 2007 Luke Ford talks to Emma Cummings at the PAW bowling night fundraiser.

Darryl Hanah Interview II, Sept. 2, 2007 Darryl Hanah talks about her life. She's tall and slim and blonde and beautiful like her namesake. Her childhood was horrific.

Darryl Hanah Interview, Sept. 2, 2007 Darryl Hanah talks about her life. She's tall and slim and blonde and beautiful like her namesake. Her childhood was horrific however.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Obama Should Be Treated Like Any Other Candidate

Jonathan S. Tobin writes:

Thus, when Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote last week about the troubling facts about Obama’s membership in a Chicago church whose pastor was a friend and supporter of Louis Farrakhan, the racist and anti-Semitic head of the Nation of Islam, he raised a question that some people didn’t want to hear.
In response to queries about his closeness with Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose Trumpet magazine once lauded Farrakhan as a man who “truly epitomized greatness,” Obama subsequently made it clear that he didn’t agree with his church and strongly condemned Farrakhan. The candidate repeated his disgust with anti-Semitism in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in King’s own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
That was more than enough for the ADL. And though some might still ask why he belonged to such a church (would any candidate get away with belonging to, say, a country club that practiced or advocated discrimination?), the case seemed closed.
However, what was equally interesting was the response to Cohen, a liberal anchor of the Post’s Op-Ed page, from some on the left.
Novelist Michael Chabon wrote on that merely raising any questions about Obama and Farrakhan was itself illegitimate, even if the facts of this case were not Internet rumors. For Chabon, simply putting the words Obama and Farrakhan in the same article was “fear-mongering” and using the tactics of “propagandists of hatred.” Chabon seemed to feel that anything written about a black that might alienate him from Jews was part of a racist mindset.
So for all the distance we have traveled toward King’s vision of a colorblind society, it appears that some view any questions about a black as inherently tainted by prejudice. This is the same sort of false sensitivity that turned an otherwise unexceptionable statement from Hillary Clinton about the roles played by King and President Lyndon Johnson in passing civil-rights legislation into a controversy.
But if Obama is to be elected president, he can’t be treated as a racial icon who must be treated with kid gloves and spared the examination to which other contenders must submit.
Jews and anyone else who oppose him simply because his father was a Muslim from Kenya offend the spirit of American democracy. But Jews like Chabon, who insist that not even reasonable questions about his associations should be raised, are just as wrong. There are good reasons for Democrats to like Obama, but there are also serious worries about him.

Sports and the Orthodox Jewish Fan

Joseph Schick writes for The Jewish Press:

On Sunday night, many observant Jews will be among the hundreds of millions of people watching the Jets fan’s nightmare as the Giants play the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Many Orthodox Jews are sports fans, as is evident by the number of us at sporting events and the prevalence of kosher food stands and even minyanim (prayer groups) at numerous stadiums and arenas. Tamir Goodman’s high school basketball feats were closely watched by Orthodox Jews, who continued to follow him in college and in his professional play in Israel and now with the Maryland Nighthawks. Last season, one of the Internet’s most respected analysts of the New York Rangers was The Hockey Rabbi, a self-identified "Chassidic Jew who loves my family, G-d and the Rangers."

Clearly, sports, probably more than any other leisure activity (if watching the Mets collapse and decades of Jets futility can be called "leisure") is something that many observant Jews take an interest in. This includes many people who take halacha and Judaism very seriously.

Of course, we who are religiously observant believe – or should believe – that Judaism is the essential aspect of our lives. Is following sports an acceptable form of recreation? Are there positive aspects to being a sports fan? Is it bitul Torah (wasting time on a mundane matter), albeit perhaps in a benign form? Is it avodah zarah (idolatry)?

Rabbi Gil Student of Yashar Books and the Hirhurim blog once said that "movies are often halachically objectionable but at times they can have artistic value. Football is simply a bunch of men pummeling each other." Those of us who appreciate a perfectly executed slant pattern feel differently. Community leader Azriel Ganz wrote about baseball, "There is nothing like a beautiful night at the ball park, especially when you are with your kids." For those of us who are sports fans, that rings true. In light of that, how does sports fit into our lives as religious Jews?

As Dr. Jeffrey Gurock detailed in his book Judaism’s Encounter with American Sports, nearly all of the Orthodox Jewish world has come to the recognition that playing sports is beneficial, though there has been controversy about yeshivas and day schools fielding competitive sports teams.

If my own experience is any indication, however, the frum world is ambivalent about the idea of being a sports fan. When I was in third grade, my yeshiva suddenly banned the possession of baseball cards – a prohibition that I was soon surprised to learn was intended to also cover hockey, basketball and football cards. A year or two later, that same school took my class to a Harlem Globetrotters game at Madison Square Garden.

'Mazel Tov On Your Date'

Cheryl Kupfer writes:

I am coming to the conclusion that that if a bocher and a girl actually go on a date – a mazel tov to both sides is warranted. It means that each had successfully passed an intense, all encompassing inspection and scrutiny that would be the envy of any secret government agency. Getting “approved”, and considered worthy to go out with someone, is getting to be a cause for celebration!

It seems that more than ever friends who have kids in the “parshah” have been complaining about how hard it is to get a “yes” –for a first date – even for their sons. It’s not so much that they aren’t getting names or suggestions, it’s just that by the time people “check” – more often than not they are told that the shidduch isn’t “shayach – it’s not appropriate.”
It’s a puzzlement for many and they scratch their heads in wonder because, on the surface, the “couple” is compatible in so many ways. So why the rejection?
After hearing a comment this past Shabbat, while enjoyinglunch with several friends and new acquaintances, I’ve begun to understand how this sad state of affairs has come to pass.
What I heard is that some people, when redd a shidduch with a family they are not familiar with– hire a private detective to get “information.” I’m glad I didn’t have food in my mouth at the time, because I know that my jaw dropped considerably at this news.
Immediately, the image of a bespectacled, heimeshe couple talking to a beefy, hard-nosed detective popped into my mind. I imagined a tichel and robe wearing woman shouting, as the detective walked away with a list of what to check out, “ Make sure you note what brand of gefilte fish she serves, and if she uses silverware or plastic.”
I would have laughed - except I felt too sad. Interestingly, the last time I had simultaneous conflicting feelings was when I had the flu many years ago, and I was hot and chilled at the same time.

Obama Policy Adviser Raises Israeli Concerns

Aaron Klein writes for The Jewish Press:

JERUSALEM – While officials here largely maintain a policy against interfering in U.S. presidential politics, some Israeli security officials quietly expressed "concern" about an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

The officials noted that Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority president Yasir Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.

Malley’s contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat’s refusal to make peace for the talks’ failure.

"We are noting with concern some of Obama’s picks as advisers, particularly Robert Malley who has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hizbullah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the

facts," said one security official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official stated he was not authorized to talk to the media about U.S. politics, noting Israeli officials are instructed to "stay out" of American political affairs.

In February 2006, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament and amid a U.S. and Israeli attempt to isolate the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority, Malley wrote an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun advocating international aid to the terror group’s newly formed government.

"The Islamists (Hamas) ran on a campaign of effective government and promised to improve Palestinians’ lives; they cannot do that if the international community turns its back," wrote Malley in a piece entitled, "Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory."

Malley contended the election of Hamas expressed Palestinian "anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success."

Malley said the U.S. should not "discourage third-party unofficial contacts with [Hamas] in an attempt to moderate it."

Hamas is responsible for scores of deadly shootings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers. Hamas’s official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.

This Week In 'The Jewish Press'

Chumi Friedman writes:

"Rabbi Bechhofer’s concerns are certainly well placed. But as Rabbi Rakeffet recently said, "over the years my knowledge of baseball made hundreds of kids into bnei Torah ... you have no idea the effect it has on younger students when the rebbe knows baseball… In the kid’s mind, who can be like the rebbe? He’s from a different generation. Suddenly the rebbe opens his mouth to talk baseball and he’s one of the kids. Now he can teach Torah." " - From Sports and the Orthodox Jewish Fan
"While America’s economy and financial position in the world are extremely important concerns, we also subscribe to the Bush belief that these depend on how the war on terror fares. Failure to deal with the Islamist threat will result in a reevaluation by a number of countries concerning future alliances. Russia and China are military and economic powers waiting in the wings as replacements, and looming on the horizon is a resurgent – and potentially nuclear – nuclear Iran. " - From The Jewish Press lead editorial
"Lacking is the valuable interchange of people-to-people encounters, so vital to creating reconciliation and overcoming hatred. As more casual tourists include the Holocaust sites as part of their overall tour of Poland, it is critical that their experiences reflect the truth of the past, as well as present-day efforts to come to terms with it." - A New Approach to visiting Auschwitz
"For most of us, “we support the troops” does not constitute a preamble to antiwar statements. Rather, we support the troops because we know how important it is for good people to stand firm against evil. It seems a significant number of our children and grandchildren understand that as well." - Do you know where all the Flower Children went?
"Dr. Norman Hollenberg, a Harvard professor, found that some of the Kuna Indians, who live in Panama, had lower blood pressure, less hypertension and suffered from less cardiovascular disease than their relatives. The difference between the two groups was that the Indians who still lived on the chain of islands consumed three to four cups of cocoa a day, while their relatives who had moved to the mainland, stopped drinking cocoa." - Chocolate and blood pressure reduction - who knew!

Finally, exclusively in our print edition (available at newsstands or by calling 800-992-1600 ext. 344: Chaos over Jerusalem, Personal Perspectives, and a Starfish.

Who Is Ron Paul?

Elliot Resnick writes for The Jewish Press:

Largely unmentioned in much of the presidential election discourse is Texas Representative Ron Paul. This despite the fact that he apparently is the most searched candidate on the Internet and that he recently set a fundraising record by raising six million dollars in a single day.

Who is Ron Paul?

On foreign affairs, he is a non-interventionist, believing that America should trade with everybody and have entangling alliances with none. He wants to shut down dozens of American bases around the world, which, he says, drain America's economy and does nothing to endear itself to the world.

Some have criticized his desire to cut off aid from Israel. But as Paul says, he plans on cutting off all aid to that region and, currently, the Arab states and entities receive three times what Israel gets.

Besides, Paul argues, Israel would be better off not being dependent on American aid. He believes, as I do, that Israel is too subservient to America and runs to seek America's permission for every war it fight and every peace deal it signs.

On the domestic front, Paul is a libertarian, which means that he maintains that aside from assuring the security of its citizenry and establishing courts of law, government should stay out of people's businesses.

He wants to abolish the IRS (the income tax only dates from the 1910's) and replace it with nothing. As a congressman he has never voted for a tax increase or for an unbalanced budget.

He also wants to let the young generation opt out of social security. To me, there is no greater insult than the government taking your own money away from you "for your own good." Paul doesn't discuss social security much nor does he discuss whether he favors eliminating the welfare state entirely or just vastly reducing it. (Perhaps this is because, as Paul has said, the president, as opposed to Congress, has little direct authority over these matters.) But as someone who formerly ran on the Libertarian ticket, his leanings should be clear.

What Paul is most famous for (among those people who have heard about him altogether, as the media have done a good job at giving him minimal coverage) is his opposition to the war in Iraq and his contention that America's presence in the Middle East fuels Al Qaeda's hatred of this country.

A long story needs to be told here, but for the present, voters should consider whether the Arab terrorists, however crazy they are, would have attacked America if we had stayed out of their affairs these past 50 years.

Some would argue that America needs to be involved in the Middle East to protect its interests. But was America's intervention in Iran in decades past to its benefit? Was its support of Saddam Hussein in his earlier years to its benefit? Is stationing American troops in Saudi Arabia to its benefit?

(Nonetheless, a decent counter argument can be made and that's why Paul's position on this subject is not one of my favorite.)

Concerning the Iraq War, voters should consider whether they really want American troops to continue to die for the next 100 years as McCain said may be possible.

And this leads me to a final aspect of Paul's philosophy which is of great appeal among supporters: his respect for the Constitution. If, he asks, the Iraq War was so important, why didn't Congress declare war as the Constitution instructs it to? Good question. On this issue at least, I think we can all say, "Amen."

I've Launched!

G-day mate,

Here's my guide to the best videos on Youtube in the following categories:

Academy Awards
Air Supply
Amanda Bynes
American Idol
Amy Winehouse
Angelina Jolie
Ann Coulter
Antonio Villaraigosa
Atkins Diet
Bad Credit
Barak Obama
Ben Affleck
Bikram Yoga
Brad Pitt
Britney Spears
Brooklyn Storage
Car Insurance
Cheap Airfare
Chicago Houses
Chris Benoit
Christina DeRosa
Clay Aiken
Clint Eastwood
Credit Cards
Credit Relief
Credit Reports
Credit Score
Dallas Condominiums
Dallas Cowboys
Dana Jacobson
David Carradine
Debbie Gibson
Debt Consolidation
Debt Refinance
Dennis Prager
Disney World
Eddie Izzard
Elijah Kelley
Elton John
Evan Sayet
Fidel Castro
Film Editing
Galilea Montijo
Global Warming
Hannah Montana
Heath Ledger
Heather Mac Donald
Heidi Klum
Hillary Clinton
Home Loans
Investment Property
Jack Nicholson
Jamie Gold
Jay Leno
Jay Z
Jennifer Garner
Jessica Alba
Julia Allison
Katherine Heigl
Katie Holmes
Kelly Clarkson
Kerry Howley
Kevin Blatt
Kim Kardashian
Las Vegas Condominiums
Lindsay Lohan
Luke Ford
Mac Air
Mac Book
Maria Sharapova
Marla Maples
Mary Hart
Matt Damon
Michael Jackson
Michelle Williams
Mickey Mouse
Mike Huckabee
Mischa Barton
Mitt Romney
Monty Python
Neil Strauss
New York Giants
Nikki Blonsky
New Zealand
Orlando Condominiums
Orlando Vacations
Pamela Anderson
Paris Hilton
Perez Hilton
Plastic Surgery
Rachael Ray
Reason Magazine
Ron Paul
Sacha Baron Cohen
San Jose Condos
Sarah Silverman
Shmuley Boteach
Skip Bayless
South Beach Diet
Super Bowl
Taylor Swift
Tel Aviv
Texas Hold 'Em
The Carpenters
Tom Brady
Tom Cruise
Travis Barker
Uwe Boll
Valentine's Day
Vanessa Hudgens
Vince McMahon
Viral Marketing
Warren Beatty
Zac Efron

Christina DeRosa Interview IX, Feb. 1, 2008 Luke Ford interviews Christina DeRosa at her apartment about her life and acting (Entourage, Marco Polo). The final segment.

Christina DeRosa Interview VIII, Feb. 1, 2008 Luke Ford interviews Christina DeRosa at her apartment about her life and acting (Entourage, Marco Polo, The Metrosexual).