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The Jewish Presidential Q&A August 19, 2008

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Again I was going to write part two of the previous post and move on to other things  but other things moved on me instead and I find myself asking questions about why Rick Warren felt he had the right or need to pit the two candidates against his God in this presidential election in public.  Life is imitating art too often for my taste – the current world situation has the qualities of a reality show writ large.  The political stage in this country is part of it and I have to remind myself – at least – that this is real life – not reality TV.
 
Suppose the head of the RCA – Rabbinical Council  of America –  invited the candidates to a religious inquisition at a very large synagogue?  Why not?  Jews vote from far left to far right.  What do you suppose the outcry from the general public would be “How dare they?  By what right?  It’s not their place?  Pushy Jews”.  I suspect the Jews who vote in this country realize that they have no business being in the business of Inquisition and quite frankly – in many ways – that’s exactly what Saddleback was about – a religious inquisition to see who is Godlier  (to their standards) and thus more fit to run our country.  Even the American RC Cardinals haven’t pulled this one – yet 
 
“The First Amendment ensures that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein,” as Justice Robert Jackson wrote in the 1943 case West Virginia v. Barnette.”  The 1st Amendment guarantees us the right to religion of any kind.  It does not allow religion of any kind to be used as an influence on politics if I read this decision correctly.  Why must our elected officials be asked to satisfy the needs of one group – no matter how influential they are?  (And for believers in the Almighty – keep in mind he did NOT ask any questions at Saddleback.) 
 
To put it another way – I do not consider myself a heathen  because I am not a Christian.  And I have no interest in being saved.  Jesus seemed to believe he was divine – read The Book of John – nonetheless my sins are not his to forgive – that rests with me and my God and is personal or shared within my faith with others.  Asking Jesus to be your personal savior seems like a blanket deal with far too much finger pointing involved.  If Jesus elected to die for the sins of others – he has not proven to me that it was at God’s behest.  Nor do I think it is at God’s behest that the leaders of this country have Christian bona fides.  I think it should be personal. 
 
I think Rick Warren and his ilk should concentrate on fixing what’s broken in their own lives and interfering less in the lives of other tax-payers who don’t have or want Jesus in theirs.   And I think this should revert to being a government of all the people with equal justice under the law.    Read history – anyone’s history and you will learn that religion – any religion obfuscates and makes worse almost any political situation it touches.  Politics make for strange bedfellows indeed. As Momma Gertrude used to say -“Lie down with dogs – get up with fleas”.  I reckon there were some itchy folks after Rick’s tent show.
http://www.rabbis.org/about_us.cfm 
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Family Planning is Not Abortion August 19, 2008

Posted by voolavex in sex.
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The link below and an email alert made me aware of yet another stealth attempt on our civil and individual rights under the current creature and his minions in the White House (and of course, the bunker).  Quietly and in the usual sneaky manner(sound familiar) Human Health Services is attempting to write and pass a rule that equates (as in: makes the same as; as in:  no difference than, as in no matter what your personal needs or choices are and the taxes you paid in) abortion and contraception.  Now just as boldly as the neocons lied and went to Baghdad and Afghanistan and just as blatantly as they lied about Niger + yellow cake uranium – they are  trying sneak to this one into law before the Dark Ages hopefully ends in January 2009.  This is it in a nutshell – I suggest you read the entire article through this link I have posted:
 
Reproductive rights advocates issued a collective condemnation Tuesday of a draft proposal by the Bush administration to set new restrictions on domestic family planning programs. Under the draft proposal, federally funded hospitals and clinics that provide family planning services would be required to promise in writing that they will turn a blind eye to health care providers’ views on abortion and certain kinds of birth control, such as emergency contraception.

The proposed rule defines abortion as “any of the various procedures–including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action–that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantatation.It goes on (see link) http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3672

 Now have a look at the number of countries that allow choice to take place.  Third World countries, backward countries, G-8 countries, civilized countries, countries out of control.  I have to lump this country into last three because it is all those things or has been before 2000.

http://www.pregnantpause.org/lex/world02.htm

Is there any doubt in your minds that Mrs. Laura Bush used birth control or that her twin daughters do?  I have no doubt.  But it’s no one’s business.  Have they had abortions – hopefully not – but that’s no one’s business either.  We have idiotic contradictions in our laws that should embarrass us as a country and people, yet they exist and they are still being written.  The attention to sex, pregnancy and birth however ends at the baby itself.  Which is what I intended to write about.  That’s Part 2.   Nonetheless –

We have the ever brilliantly thought out blanket term statutory rape defined this way:

Statutory Rape Is Illegal Sexual Activity Between Two People When It Would Otherwise Be Legal If Not For Their Age: In accordance with the FBI definition, statutory rape is characterized as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent.

In other words going all the way with a senior when you’re a junior in high school is a crime and vice versa.  This doesn’t allow for any circumstances that would mitigate such an act.  And there are circumstances that do mitigate it.  And we all know it.

No amount of self-righteous pontificating ever really keeps it from happening.  The archaic term “unwed mother” used to be a designation for knocked up teens who were in loooove.

Shotgun marriage is legal – including the gun in many states – a forcible marriage to legalize the possible statutory rape and remove the stain of “unwed motherdom”.  Is all this getting tiresome?  It goes on and on and on.  Completely neglecting the medical and hormonal facts of adolescence and puberty and the sexual images that are rammed down the throats of kids in general by the media and make “criminal sex” look really really fun.  {This by the way has nothing to do with rape – the criminal act of attacking and forcing a person to submit to sexual intercourse of any kind.}

So why are we all being forced by some tax payers to relinquish our right to choice anyway?  Even Antonin Scalia finds this a problem (he, a Catholic with 9 children). Why are abortion clinics unsafe at any semester and why is my uterus their business? 

Ask the fanatics of the Religious Right.  The Guardian of Heathen souls in danger of Satan. For the record, I don’t think any of these far right religious fanatics and would-be oppressors really care if anyone burns in hell.  Yet they seem to devote more time to hell than they do to the Savior (theirs, not mine) though and without rotten souls to feed the fires they could soon find themselves stuck with what?  You couldn’t have the Rapture without Armageddon and if we all went upward – who then would be to blame for anything.  The Masons,  I guess.  Damn, even the Catholics discontinued Limbo – realizing no doubt how stupid it sounded to anyone with a pulse. The point is that ours is most definitely not a secular government and it’s engine is the Religious Right.  And we all know just how pious and deeply spiritual our politicians particularly when it comes to dipping the old wick.

Our sexual laws are confusing and in some cases Middle Eastern in their scope.  Now they are attempting to lump birth control into law as illegal in terms of federal funds at the very least and when and where does it end?

My advice:

Don’t have an abortion.  Absolutely do not have an abortion if you find the idea horrible.  Don’t do it.  No one is forcing it on any woman who wants to be pregnant under any circumstances.  Choose to have your baby.  Do it.  Rich, poor, young, old – have your child.  That is what the overwhelming majority of Pro-Choice advocates believe.  There are no pro-abortion groups in this country.  Why would anyone want to force a person to have an abortion if she didn’t want it. It’s her choice – which seems, somehow, more reasonable than bombing a clinic and murdering medical personnel to save the unborn.  And in the spirit of accepting personal responsibility for one’s actions – why not allow those women who do regret their choice at some point, to seek consolation in prayer or in a psychiatric office and get on with it. But as wrong and awful as trying to force an abortion on someone – why make that same person act out their woe and anger on an innocent baby because they didn’t want to have a child?

I do not even try to fathom the mentality of these self-righteous selectively violent people who love these babies so much, but I do know that if this rule about abortion and contraception are smuggled onto some other bill or law being written – I will have list of all the countries that do allow choice and I may just move to one of those.  FYI – Canada does and it is a lovely place to visit.

 

Part Two of this post will be later this week. I’m really angry about this one.

I Want Condi August 13, 2008

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I never thought she could speak Russian. Who said she could. I am an India maven and I can’t speak Hindi – although it would help – but the Raj took away the need. How can you be a Russian expert if you have no clue about the language. It’s easy for Bush to love Putin because he has no clue what kind of asshole they are calling him in Russian. Neither does Condi. The Russian language is the spoken product of Russian thought. Boris and Natasha spoke better Russian. I live in a Russian area and Russian is the lingua franca. They always sound mad. Georgia is lucky Condi didn’t try to “fix” it or they would be back in USSR. I bet she thinks Georgia is next to Alabama. She has been to Georgia – Atlanta. I love this post. I love it. He speaks the truth.
More on Russia Georgia War
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Inflammation at Tiffany’s August 6, 2008

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Tiffany & Co made gift giving and jewelry buying a no brainer in 1974 when they signed Elsa Peretti to their company and started what became a very engaging habit for me since then.  I am not a jewelry lover per se (fancy diamonds and Mikimoto pearls notwithstanding) but Elsa’s perfect silver designs spoke to me in two words “Buy me”.  And I did. In New York and Los Angeles.  The prices were ridiculously low even for the times – it was easy to go to the Elsa case and buy something for $20.  From the age of 14 I bought my daughter Tiffany for every special occasion.  My best friend and I made countless trips there in 33 years answering Elsa’s simple call.  Corporate owners came and went and until about 1998 it beat out Disneyland for the happiest place on Earth.  And then something happened and they broke my heart (and my one stop jewelry shopping).

It started with the chains which got noticably short –  not shorter because there were few long ones on anything anymore . What might have hung gracefully mid-chest was now sitting around the clavicles.  Then came the crummy silk cord; replacing in many cases any chain at all.   Years back their long, finished silk cord came  in a range of colors – I still have two.  At first this new cord just tied and good luck if it fell off. I believe now it may have a clasp – not much of an improvement but I assume there were complaints.  Repairs and reshines?  These also used to be gratis or inexpensive for customers.  Now there’s a price chart.  And on the subject of prices – I wish I knew where to start .   At this writing silver is a little over $16.00/oz –  and slowly going down.  This is the everyday low price for anyone who buys silver today.  And while the prices of Elsa increased- she stayed affordable.  True they clopped along with times but the place was still packed with 20-Somethings buying Elsa -affording Elsa – Elsa with integrity- a little piece of style icon we could all afford.  Even when Avon ( you know Ding Dong) owned it, the bean crunchers seemed to be reasonable; balancing prices with the joy of lots of happy customers. And then one day not too long ago, a big holding company knocked it over and threw out the welcome mat, inscribed with GREED in big letters. Selection narrowed, prices soared (and after all silver is silver – Tiffany shoppers are paying for style and hallmark) and then, as if nothing worse could happen – quality changed.

 
So this brings us to Summer of 2008 when a thoughtful gift from the big T came my way.  Elsa too – by chance – the giver had no clue.  I wore it immediately until I started to notice red,  itchy bumps along my hairline and right when the piece lay on my breast bone.  So I scratched for a few days -it never occurred to me it was the pendant.  Why would it?  I never itched from Elsa before.  When it stopped being uncomfortable and became sore and I looked into the mirror, I saw the piece was discolored from chain to pendant.  This in a span of four days.  When I took it off I noticed there was some minor roughness to the piece itself and I started to research how this may have happened.
 
Ever worn cheap earrings?  They usually have silver looking stems that are actually mostly nickel.  Nickel is what cost cutting jewelry makers use to make silver workable – it’s cheap and plentiful.  Quality jewelers usecopper to alloy silver to make it sterling and for it to be marked sterling it must .925 silver.  Pure silver is too soft to shape.  And copper is used because it is non-reactive except in extraordinary cases. Platinum and titanium may also be used – but the low end alloy is nickel.   Many people are allergic to it – the reaction is tiny bumps, red spots and itching – fast.  Even without scientific analysis (and this is not CSI) it was not hard to conclude that there was  substantial nickel in the alloy – which of course considerably ups the profit and I guess many people wouldn’t notice.  I noticed and I was not happy.
 
Customer service at Tiffany in Beverly Hills is no longer the pleasure it was once.  Less than a decade ago one could go in with a problem and some really professional and charming person would fix it.  One way or another.  Along with the above changes – customer service has become quite sucky.  I brought my little pendant to the desk and explained the situation without any ruffles or flourishes – just offered it as a bad piece and said I felt terrible because it was a special gift and what did they think?  They thought I was crazy.  The person who handled my query informed me that it was merely tarnish and that once it was polished it would be fine.  That “silver does tarnish and it was tarnish.”  The word got into the conversation far too many times.  What began as a conciliatory approach quickly got heated.  When this happens – and it’s rare – I like to unload my purse on the counter and establish territory right away.  So that’s what I did as I asked for a second opinion.  When it arrived, the word tarnish was conspicuously absent.  The second opinion giver and I chatted amiably about alloys, copper, nickel, allergies, quality assurance and the fact that coincidentally I too worked with silver often and knew what I was talking about.   The Tarnish Lady said nothing.  She didn’t look happy at all. She asked me if I wanted to exchange it for another but I demurred and said I would go back to the case and see what else I could find.  And so I did.  Slim pickins’.
 
What have I learned from this?  That even revered companies eventually become corporations driven by greed.  That a new generation will not have anything to compare so why not cut corners and hence quality and get all you can from a $16 oz of silver.  And hope there are not too many complaints.  Tell them it’s tarnished.  Look intimidating. Sadly this has concluded my business with Tiffany after 34 years.  I have the old,  really good  stuff and I am grateful for that.  The Tiffany mark has became tarnished in recent years; as have the items on which it is stamped.  Let there be eBay.  Let there be buyers.  At this point I personally think the silver in the copies may be even better. And I no longer care much at all.