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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘summer’

‘Quarter of New York City Underwater in 40 Years’

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

“Move over Sandy, the Worst is Yet to Come” might be the headlines in New York City in 2050 if scientists’ projections are correct.

Studies that a quarter of the city will be under water by 2100 have been updated and show that the disaster resulting from climate change could come by 2050, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Summer weather in 2050 is projected to be similar to the sunny South of today, with the number of 90-degree days doubling or tripling. Aides to Major Michael Bloomberg are scheduled to study the new findings on Tuesday and come up with ideas how to deal with the crisis.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Chauncey Gardner Is Alive and Well and Living in Foggy Bottom

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

On Monday, December 10, 2012, State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, during her regular Daily Press Briefing, started sounding like Jerzy Kosinski’s memorable character in Being There, Chance the Gardener, immortalized by Peter Sellers in the 1979 movie by the same name.

Here’s a short scene from the movie:

President: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

Chance: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

President: In the garden.

Chance: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. President: Spring and summer.

Chance: Yes. President: Then fall and winter.

Chance: Yes.

Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.

Chance: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

Chance: Hmm!

President: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time. … I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

And here’s yesterday’s exchange over the Quartet meeting in Brussels this coming Wednesday, dealing with the “peace process”:

MS. NULAND: We continue to work with Congress to make the case that continued U.S. support for the Palestinian people is in our national interest, is in the interest of the peace process. But again, there are a lot of views in the Congress, particularly in light of the move at the UN.

QUESTION: Just on this, there’s a Quartet meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, envoy level. Do you expect anything substantial or significant to come out of this, or is this just kind of a stock-taking exercise in looking at how dismal the chances are to get the peace process started again?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think it’s been a while since David Hale has met with his Quartet counterparts, so I think it’s an opportunity to look at where we are and if and when we might be able to be in a position to get these parties back to the table, obviously, in light of all of the factors. So it’s – let’s say that at this stage, it is gardening, but it is important gardening.

QUESTION: Gardening. You mean like weeding?

MS. NULAND: No, it’s nurturing of the soil. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Are they actually planting? Are they —

MS. NULAND: Nurturing of the soil.

QUESTION: Are they planting any seeds? (Laughter.)

MS. NULAND: They’re always trying to plant seeds, as you know.

QUESTION: There’s more gardening? (Laughter.)

And here’s the rest of Monday’s exchange regarding freezing settlements as the surefire way of bringing peace and brotherly love to the region, which preceded the above botanical discussion:

QUESTION: On the Palestinian issue, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated today that he, in fact, called for the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel from the point where they were last and during the last negotiation session, and – provided that all settlement activity be frozen for the time being. Do you support such a call, or is that – you consider that to be conditional?

MS. NULAND: As the President has said all the way along, as the Secretary has said, we are prepared to be full partners in supporting negotiations if and when the parties are ready to enter into direct negotiations. So it always takes two to tango, as we say. So – and we’ve also called for both sides to come to the table without preconditions.

QUESTION: Do you consider it reasonable to call for resumption of negotiations from the point where they ended?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, we support any scenario in which the parties can get back to direct talks, because it’s going to be the only way to settle all of the longstanding issues between them. It’s the only way to get to the two states living next to each other in peace that we all seek.

Yori Yanover

Oh No, Not Him Again: Anthony Weiner Testing the Water?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

In one of politics most recent ignominious flights from respectability, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned his office in June, 2011, after it was exposed that he had a habit of “sexting” young women he met online with pictures of his barely clad private parts.

But if  you have consigned Weiner to the bin of history or source of tasteless jokes, you may have underestimated him.

Weiner, 47, who used to represent part of the Rockaways section of New York City which was slammed by Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago, wrote an op-ed along with Congressman Meeks, who still represents the area.  The op-ed, published in the New York Daily News yesterday, Nov 28, was essentially a call for more funding, better transportation and improved protection from natural disasters – some might also describe it as a stump speech – for a community that was devastated by the storm.

This is not the first time Weiner has reared his head since his awkward exit from office less than 18 months ago.  In fact, Weiner reactivated his infamous twitter account during Hurricane Sandy, when he issued a call for help for the besieged community.

Other than these few forays, Weiner has largely been mentioned in the news only as the other half of a power couple – his wife, Huma Mahmood Abedin, works as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Abedin, an American of Pakistani descent, was the target of criticism by a small group of conservative members of Congress who were alarmed by her alleged connection to Islamist extremists, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republicans, including Cong. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Cong. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) sent a letter to the U.S. State Department Deputy Inspector General this past summer.  In the letter, the congressmembers asked that there be an investigation into whether there has been an Islamist infiltration of the U.S. government, based upon research presented in various publications.  Abedin was specifically mentioned in that letter because her mother, her late father and her brother all were allegedly members of, or had connections to, Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

Those allegations ended up doing more harm to Bachmann and her colleagues than to Abedin, as not only Hillary and Bill Clinton defended her, but prominent Republicans such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Speaker of the House, Cong. John Boehner (R-OHIO), blasted Bachmann for conducting what they essentially called a witch hunt.

Anthony Weiner is Jewish and was widely considered one of Israel’s most ardent defenders in Congress.  Weiner and Abedin had a son, Jordan, over the summer.  The reception for Jordan’s bris was held in the multi-million dollar Park Avenue apartment the couple moved into after Weiner resigned from office.  The apartment is owned by Jack Rosen, head of the American Jewish Congress and a huge financial supporter of the Clintons.

If Weiner is considering another political run, he already has a potential campaign war chest of $ 3.9 million.

There has been talk that Weiner might be eying the New York City mayoral seat.  If so, a poll conducted this summer by NY1-Marist poll shows New Yorkers are not enthusiastic, with 58% responding that they did not want Weiner to run, and just 25% in favor.

That same poll asked New Yorkers for their take on several other potential NYC mayoral candidates, including another disgraced Jewish New York Democratic politician, Eliot Spitzer.  Spitzer fared only slightly better than Weiner, with 57% opposing his run and 30% in favor.  Spitzer, New York State’s former governor, was forced to resign his office in March, 2008, after his repeated liaisons with prostitutes was exposed.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Did Anybody Say ‘The Children of Gaza?’

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

A runaway hit twit right now is this one:

“Hamas Bumper Stickers: Baby Suicide bomber on board.”

And a joke that’s getting old already goes: Two Palestinian mothers watch their children playing and one of them sighs and says, “They blow up so fast.”

The image I picked this morning is of Arab children visiting what looks like a makeshift amusement park in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern part of the Gaza Strip last summer, during the Eid el-Fitr holiday (marking the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan).

I can understand kids playing with toy guns (although in Gaza they’re not always the toy kind). If a child is surrounded with nothing but war talk and shaheed (martyr)n talk all day long, he’s not going to be playing with a toy microscope.

What I can’t understand is how someone sees these children playing and figures, this is a good time to shoot rockets at Israeli civilians across the border, so that one thing would lead to another and in the end, a few weeks down the road, these very children’s images would be plastered across the world media, carried by their mourning fathers, torn up and bleeding.

I think all of us here, in the tiny space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea need urgent psychiatric care, but if I were the psychiatric nurse doing triage for the worst cases, I would definitely send all my psychiatrists to Gaza first.

It makes no sense. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. A population under serious confinement, left to its own devices, with issues of poverty and housing and unemployment – and with money pouring in to help (just two weeks ago the Emir of Qatar came by to deliver half a billion dollars in aid), and all they end up doing is dragging Israel into yet another massive attack to stop the rocket fire.

Compulsory therapy, that’s what I’m for. A couch on every block, from Erez to Rafah. You have to attend one individual and one group session a week, or a cop will stop you, check your therapy papers and send you to therapy prison.

Or just re-occupy the place and re-integrate it into civilized society, taking out in the process the 10 thousand or so seriously mentally ill Hamas and Jihad and Salafi zealots. It don’t look like the “disengagement” that ruined the lives of thousands of Jewish ex-settlers has done anyone in Gaza much good, either.

Think of the children.

Yori Yanover

Fight over Circumcision Dividing German Parliament

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Left-wing German MPs are threatening to oppose their government’s attempt to keep male circumcision legal in Germany. More than 50 MPs from three parties are now proposing that parents should have to wait until their son is 14 so he can give his informed consent to the operation.

Last summer, a regional court ruled that circumcision could amount to criminal bodily harm.

It should be noted that circumcision is by far less painful and traumatic to an 8-day old infant than it is to a teenage boy.

Jewish Press News Briefs

IDF to Recruit 8,000 Haredim Each Summer

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The State’s response to petitions taken up by Israel’s Supreme Court regarding the IDF Haredi recruitment program reveals a plan to enlist yeshiva students en masse into the army starting in the summer of 2013, Ynet reported. The revised draft law will apply to all 18-year-olds, so that in two years some 14 thousand Haredim will be drafted.

At the same time, absent alternative legislation to replace the Tal Law, which expired a few months ago, tens of thousands of 19-30-year-old Haredim will receive a final exemption from military service.

The petition was filed with the high court by the Movement for Quality Government and other organizations.

The state’s response also reveals that the IDF has already begun the process of sorting yeshiva students born between 1994-1995, whose past legal definition used to be “Their Torah is their profession.” According to the recruitment program adopted by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, if the Tal Law is not replaced, these Haredim are expected to enlist as early as next summer and serve three full years.

The plan is to stagger their recruitment, to allow IDF manpower officials to study the process and draw conclusions, with the expectation that by 2015 full Haredi recruitment will be possible.

The IDF planners have been looking at placing the recruits in four combat battalions, including three battalions that will be established exclusively to absorb Haredi recruits. In addition, recruits will be tested for service in technological facilities, as well as non-military service in the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Public Security, the police and the GSS (General Security Service or Shabak)..

Jacob Edelist

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Dear Rachel,

With the start of the school year, various publications have featured articles on how to make sure our children are off to a good beginning and get the most out of their school environment. Concerns range from how to promote effective communication between students and teacher in order to maximize a child’s learning potential, to minimizing tension and hassles.

Yet I’ve noticed that one subject is not talked about, and it happens to be something that can affect our children for the duration of their childhood and beyond. For the record, I speak both as a young mother of small children and as one who’s been in their shoes. I’ve also heard from others on this vital issue that gets no “airtime.”

The topic, I admit, is of a personal nature and may be too delicate for discussion in an open forum, at least for some. As a longtime reader of Chronicles, I am quite confident that you, Rachel, will agree with my contention – that the state of a child’s physical hygiene can impact his or her overall health for years to come.

To be perfectly candid, my concern centers on the development of good toilet habits. Almost any parent will testify to the frustrations of potty training their little ones. Part of the painstaking process involves emphasizing the urgency of heeding nature’s call, as well as impressing upon the little rascals the importance of cleanliness.

Then comes the start of school, or preschool, such as nursery, kindergarten and what have you, and all our training with regard to hygiene goes the way of the water in the commode. When my almost three-year old started nursery, I was impressed with the list of items parents were asked to send along: a box of tissues, a box of wipes, a spare pair of undies and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Fast forward to summer and day camp for my four year-old. No list. Hey, no problem. The camp fee was exorbitant enough to have them cover the necessary provisions. How naïve of me! While I had taught my son to wipe himself with each visit to the bathroom, I soon began to notice that he stopped bothering. His excuse: “There is no tissue in camp…I just shake it and pull up my pants.”

When I asked him how he cleans himself when he really needs to “go,” he shrugged off my concern with, “I don’t ‘go’ in camp.” That same summer my cousin who lives in a different borough confided that her eight year-old twin boys complained about their day camp’s lack of toilet paper, tissues and paper towels.

I once took the initiative and broached the subject with my nieces and nephews some years older than my own kids. They shyly divulged that “nature” had to wait till they got home. One niece confessed to holding in her bladder the entire day for she could never see herself using the “yucky” toilets in school.

Rachel, I understand that schools exist to focus on the brain, but don’t the intelligent adults running our schools know that the mind cannot function normally while it is preoccupied with a sense of physical discomfort?

In my humble opinion, being too embarrassed to confront this issue is simply no excuse.

Health is Priority Number One

Dear Health,

It is hard to believe that “embarrassment” is the culprit in today’s culture where just about anything and everything is out in the open. While children may be more prone to be embarrassed, in all likelihood they as well as the grownups find themselves much too preoccupied with other things to pay any attention to what they must see as a nuisance more than anything else.

You, on the other hand, have it right – this problem can end up creating headaches down the line. Just a couple of for instances: Girls who continuously delay relieving their bladder can end up with a tilted uterus. All children who push “the urge” aside are at risk of acquiring a lifelong constipation habit.

Another of life’s very unpleasant physical experiences comes in the form of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is often the fallout of a compacted bowel – frequently the result of negligence in heeding nature’s call.

Rachel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-174/2012/10/14/

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