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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘traffic’

On the Job but Not Getting Paid?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

I’m very glad Congress and the president decided to make sure the uniformed military will get paid during the government shutdown.  That was the right thing to do.  The move averts a game-of-chicken mistake made in late 1995, when Bill Clinton was dispatching troops to Bosnia while their pay was in jeopardy.

As long as preparations are made beforehand, meanwhile, there’s enough in the trusts to make sure Social Security and veterans’ pension payments go out next month as well as this month. That’s a relief to millions of elderly who can’t just go start harvesting vegetables or sweeping floors if their checks don’t come in.  We can assume Congress will keep a sharp eye out for the potential problems, and make provision for them.

That leaves our Border Patrol, FBI, other federal law enforcement agents, federal firefighters, and air traffic controllers, some of the 80% of federal workers who will remain on the job during the shutdown.  At least some of them are reportedly being required to work without their latest-due paychecks being in the bank, until the government is “open” again.  It’s not fully clear how many or which of these workers are having to show up for work with their pay suspended.  I’ve seen reports that suggest some are being paid; other reports seem to indicate that law enforcement and essential-services people are working without pay (i.e., presumably, pay delayed, not “pay never coming”).

In any case, as happy as I am to see the EPA and other agencies off the job, I’m concerned about morale among the hard-working law enforcement and essential-services folks.  They do a tough job 24/365, and a lot is being asked of them today, and for as long as the shutdown lasts.

We can hope the shutdown will last only a couple of days.  Presumably, Congress will be looking out for these workers, and have a care for the hardships they will face if the shutdown goes longer than that.  (In extremis, much could probably be done, even within the current debt ceiling, through issuing IOUs to the Social Security trust fund.)  As with those in all professions, the younger workers – with kids, mortgage and college-loan payments, living paycheck to paycheck – will be the hardest hit.

If the shutdown does become extended, those who have the means can consider donating to organizations that provide a helping hand to these particular federal workers in their time of need.  Here are some links to get you started:

Federal Law Enforcement Foundation

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Foundation

Wildland Firefighters Foundation

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (especially for non-law enforcement personnel; air traffic controllers are members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, or NATCA, a labor union with some funding for mutual aid, as well as its own charitable foundation)

I (Heart) Public Safety Network (umbrella network coordinating various forms of assistance to public-safety programs, public-safety workers, and their families)

Note:  per the Washington Post summary at the first link, U.S. Postal Service workers should be getting paid on schedule.  Except for its annual requests for bailouts, USPS is “self-funding,” and should last through the shutdown, however long it goes.

What the Benghazi Leaks Mean, and what Difference Would it Have Made?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Imaging this: it was well-known that in 2011 the United States was facilitating the weapons supply to Syrian rebels. The weapons were paid for by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and delivered through Turkey.

We have known for more than a year about this traffic. There were two big UN Reports on this traffic.( By the way this meant that the United States was arming Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups.)

What wasn’t known was a simple detail: the United States was also collecting and shipping the weapons.

That’s it! This is what was being concealed. After all, it was openly known previously that the Libyan rebels against Qadhafi were armed by the United States.

The whole mess was unnecessary!

If it were known that the CIA guys in Turkey weren’t just watching the weapons supply but delivering it, to quote Clinton, what difference would it have made?

Would Congress have stopped the weapons’ traffic? No, they wouldn’t even do anything about the arms to Mexican drug gangs that killed Americans?

Would Americans rise in revolt? No.

Would it have cost one percent of the votes in the election? No.

Sure, some bloggers would have talked about parallels to Iran-Contra and a handful of members of Congress would have complained but the massive media machine would have ignored it and the majority of Republicans would have snored.

Did President Obama have to lie in a UN speech saying the ambassador was just there to supervise a hospital and a school? No.

Did a video have to be blamed so as to blame Americans and Islamophobia for the attack? No.

Was the cover-up necessary even to defend the administration’s “perfect” record against terrorist attacks on Americans”? No.

The expose of this arms’ supply channel would have bothered few and changed nothing. But since we knew already that the administration was helping arm anti-American, antisemitic, anti-Christian, and homophobic, and anti-women Islamist terrorists I don’t think the difference was huge.

Did the cover-up have to lead to the refusal to defend properly American personnel to prevent what they were doing from leaking out? No.

In short this program of lies and deception and cover up wasn’t even necessary. Those Americans may have been rescued and those lies might have been avoided with no harm to the administration.

I think that tells a lot about how the Obama Administration treats and manipulates the American people. And it also tells about its very profound incompetence and ignorance.

Coming Next Week: The Obama Traffic Jam

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

“Operation Unbreakable Alliance” also will be ”Operation Unbreakable Traffic Jam” next week.

Motorists as well as tourists coming into the country for the Passover holiday are advised that parts of Jerusalem will be off limits during President Barack Obama’s visit next week.

The road passing by the KingDavidHotel, which will be completely occupied by Obama and his entourage, will be closed during his entire two and a half day visit.

Parking will be prohibited on several major arteries near downtown, and the same roads will be closed to traffic at certain hours. Anyone who parks his car in a prohibited area will not find it on return unless he goes to a lot where it has been towed away.

The Israel Museum will be closed to visitors next Thursday and Yad VaShem will be closed to visitors the following day while Obama visits the two facilities.

Report: Israel’s Roads Among Developed World’s Most Congested

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

A report by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies shows that Israel has the second most crowded roads of any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country, coming in under South Korea.

Israeli roads grew 70% more crowded between 1990 and 2008.

The report stated that part of the congestion is due to poor enforcement of laws protecting special bus lanes, and said that the rise in real estate prices in Israel’s largest cities is due in part to sluggish traffic.

List of Roads Closed Due to War in South

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

As reported by Ynet: Road 34, Road 232, Road 25 and Road 241 are closed due to fighting and concern for public safety in the event of rocket attacks.

Traffic control police are directing drivers at the region.

Over Here, my Rain Is Happy!

Monday, November 12th, 2012

“I’m singing in the rain, I’m singing in the rain, what a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again!”

Before Shabbat, the Heavens opened with a symphony of thunder and lightning, and the great blessing of rain washed over the Land of Israel in answer to our prayers. Like I do every year with the very first rain, I hurried outside and danced in joy, laughing happily as the raindrops splashed on my face.

“Raindrops keep falling on my head… da da da da da da da da da da da… nothings worrying me!”

Back in the house, I opened the door to the terrace so I could hear the splattering of rain on the aluminum roof. What a wonderful sound! “What a glorious feeling! I’m happy again!” The clatter of raindrops sounded like the clinging of coins in a beggar’s cup. “Rain, rain, don’t go away – stay with us another day!”

When lightening lit up the sky and thunder shook the heavens, I recited their special blessings with exuberant joy. What a privilege to be in the Holy Land when it rains! It’s like every drop is a kiss from Hashem, assuring us that He loves us.

Yesterday, driving to Tel Aviv, it was pouring. I sang all the way! What a blessing to be stuck in a long traffic jam in Israel because of the rain! For nearly 2000 years, we’ve prayed to come home to Israel, and now that Hashem, in His infinite kindness, has allowed us to rebuild our Land, what a joy that we have long traffic jams! It’s a sign that the country is booming!  Would Moshe Rabanu have complained to sit in a traffic jam in Israel? Would Rashi have grumbled? No way!

I can’t help comparing our great joy in Israel over the rain to the recent devastating rains in New York. There it was a disaster. You want to know why? Look at this, from the Torah giant, the “Ohr Somayach,” Rabbi Meir Simcha HaCohen from Dvinsk, from his famous commentary on the Torah, the “Meshech Chochmah,”

“If a Jew thinks that Berlin (New York) is Jerusalem, then a raging storm-wind will uproot him by his trunk – a hurricane will arise and spread its roaring waves, and it will swallow and destroy, and flood forth without pity” (Meshech Chochmah, Pg. 171).

In the same light, the Torah giant, Rabbi Yaacov Emden, writes in the Introduction to his famous siddur, “The Beit Yaacov,”

“When it seems to us, in our present peaceful existence outside of the Land of Israel, that we have found another Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem, this is to me the deepest, most obvious, most outstanding, and direct cause of all of the awesome, frightening, monstrous, unimaginable destructions that we have experienced in the Diaspora.”

In the meantime, I’m yours truly, just singing and dancing in the rain.

Another Season In The Books/A Remarkable Brother-In-Law

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

What an unusual postseason it was.

The Yankees looked inept against the ferocious Tigers and the Tigers in turn looked toothless against the San Francisco Giants as they were swept in the World Series.

Until the World Series, it was a very successful year for Detroit. The team drew over three million fans during the regular season and downtown was humming before and after Tigers games.

On the last Sunday of October, when the Tigers went down to defeat in Game Four of the World Series, I attended the World Series of dinners.

I dodged the football traffic as the Detroit Lions were playing at home in Ford Field, only about 30 feet beyond the left field scoreboard at the Tigers’ Comerica Park home.

The afternoon football traffic was just leaving and the evening baseball traffic was just arriving as I went a few blocks further to Detroit’s largest hotel (adjoining the General Motors headquarters) for the annual dinner of Yeshiva Beth Yehudah. It’s the school I attended, the school my daughter graduated from, the school all my grandchildren went or go to.

I had harbored thoughts of leaving the dinner early in order to be parked in my favorite chair in time for the first pitch. But it wouldn’t have been fair to the guest speaker, former first lady Laura Bush. After all, I stayed last year for Vice President Joe Biden.

Mrs. Bush was a big hit and told of her three trips to Israel with her husband – two while he was president and one when he was governor of Texas. She also told of her father being in one of the military units that liberated a concentration camp and the effect it on him. He had photos he saved for the rest of his life.

As a former teacher and librarian, she bonded with the audience of over 2,000 (the largest Orthodox dinner of its kind) and I was glad I stayed to the end. The dinner ended at 8:07 p.m. – about the same time Game Four started. I made it home for the second inning and got to see nine innings as the game went 10 innings before Detroit’s great baseball season ended too early.

It will be a most interesting off-season, though. Especially in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. While the Tigers just need a bit of tweaking here and there, the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees need major overhauls. You can expect all the aforementioned teams to go after free agent Josh Hamilton, who hit 43 homers for the Texas Rangers.

But pitching stops good hitting, as San Francisco Giants fans know.

* * * * *

My brother-in-law was the most talented man I ever knew.

Rabbi Samuel Kunda, z”l, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 67. Illness robbed him of much of his unique creativity during his 60s, but his jovial personality, terrific smile and ever-present chuckle remained part of his DNA.

He was – if you’ll pardon the comparison – the closest thing to a Jewish Santa Claus there was.

Rabbi Kunda’s relationship with youngsters made him a popular yeshiva rebbe before he became an internationally known producer of Jewish educational materials for children and their parents.

Shum, as my sister, Naomi, a”h, called him when others were out of earshot, left us with numerous tapes, books and pictures and songs. His artistic talent adorned the walls in my home and sukkah for decades, but he never got around to the project I wanted him to tackle – “Boruch Goes to Ebbets Field.”

Samuel had his own memories of going to the fabled ballpark of the Brooklyn Dodgers and seeing his favorite player, Duke Snider, hit a home run.

With his talent and imagination and Dodgers players with names of Duke, Pee Wee (Reese), Campy (Roy Campanella) and Preacher (Roe), “Boruch goes to Ebbets Field” would have been a big hit.

Shmuel also experienced Tiger Stadium in an unusual way. On one of the family visits here in the 1980s, I took them to the Tigers’ old ballpark when the team was on the road and we had a picnic and ballgame.

Casey Kunda managed all of the kids and even hit an inside-the-park home run and circled the bases twice before allowing one of the kids to tag him out. He made sure the kids always won.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/another-season-in-the-booksa-remarkable-brother-in-law/2012/11/07/

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