July 06, 2004
Weird Thought

The New York Post reports Kerry chooses Gephardt as VP
Kerry announces he chooses Edwards

Now, I bet people at the NY Post are seething. They may wind up suing Kerry for making the wrong decision. Why not? Kerry has directly injured their reputation (!) by choosing the wrong guy.

All they need is a good personal injury lawyer...

(I'm sure some are bound to point out the Post didn't have much of a reputation beforehand to injure)

Posted by John at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)
Bootstraps

Its 1977 - the day after you get married, and you are standing in a hotel lobby with your new wife, and told you have to prepay your $22 bill. You scrounge your car for pennies and nickels and dimes, and still come up $2 short and have to call your bride's parents for the difference.

27 years later you're worth over $20 million and you're running for VP. (I don't believe I heard that story during the primaries. It's a good one.)

Posted by John at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
Not exactly Dewey Defeats Truman, but...

The New York Post's Tuesday Morning Exclusive:

Only problem is...a couple hours after the paper hit the stands, Kerry announced he had chosen Edwards. Copies are already on Ebay.

If Kerry/Edwards wins (please G-d, let it happen), Gephardt probably has a good chance to be named to the cabinet - perhaps to head Labor.

Posted by John at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)
July 03, 2004
Nader: White House and Congress are the Puppets of Israel


The Anti-Defamation League on Friday sent a letter to Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader protesting his recent characterization of the White House and Congress as being "puppets" of the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby.

"Reasonable people can and do disagree with American foreign policy related to the Middle East, and specifically American support for Israel. However, there is a line between thoughtful, reasoned, constructive disagreements and offensive hyperbole.

"Indeed, one may disagree with America's Middle East approach, but to assert that US policy in such a complex and volatile region is the product of wholesale manipulation by a foreign government fails to take into account important US interests that are involved," the ADL leadership wrote.

It also said that Nader's image of Israel as a "puppeteer" controlling the US "feeds into many age-old stereotypes which have no place in legitimate public


Here are Nader's words:

"What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government," Nader said. "The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show."

I don't always agree with the ADL, but I tend to agree with them here. No one says those words without knowing they are going to offend. Nader knows he has no chance of winning New York, but it appears he doesn't want Hollywood's vote either. (very bad joke, yes.) It does appear he is aiming for a different type of 'extremist' vote than he was aiming for before.

Posted by John at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2004
More on: Michael Moore and the Harry Potter Movie

I believe I found the origin of this news piece. The Spoof did the story a few days before ChiEnglish.

And since English isn't a second language for the writers at The Spoof, as you might guess, the story is much better.

Here are the last three paragraphs:

“We spoke to Michael when he was in Cannes”, said Rowling’s publicist, Wanda Martini, “and he has already come up with a totally different take on Harry.”
Ms Martini said that, although plans were still very much at the formative stage, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince would be likely to be shot in flashback in the form of a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
The supporting characters would piece together the story which would build to a dramatic crescendo with audiences not knowing until the very last second of the film about Harry’s conversion to the Dark Side and his murder of Hagrid.

Posted by John at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)
Also in the News...

Keeping in mind that they may not be the most reliable news source...

alcohol prevents osteoporosis

and

The Japanese are developing a 'sensitive skin' for Robots

Posted by John at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)
Michael Moore to Direct Harry Potter?

A Chinese newspaper says yes.

Moore to Weave his Magic on Next Harry Potter Book

The story itself is almost anti-climactic:

Sizzling in the acclaim for Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore has accepted an invitation to direct the sixth Harry Potter film.
Author JK Rowling has announced the title of her sixth novel in the fantasy series.
Moore, who won an Oscar in 2003 for Bowling for Columbine, will weave his own magic on Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
It is already being predicted to sweep the boards at the Academy Awards in 2006.

This is great satire. The only problem is...this isn't a satire website. They're trying to pass this off as real. It would have been nice if the writer of the news story had realized HP3 was just released, so even if they manage one a year, we won't get HP6 until 2007. I don't like to see errors like that in my satire, let alone 'real' news reporting. But its still fun to imagine what a Harry Potter film would look like directed by Michael Moore.

And who knows, maybe they just got the year wrong...

Posted by John at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
July 01, 2004
The Broad and the Specific

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't always pretend to understand legalese. However, here are two paragraphs from the AP story on Saddam Hussein's arraignment:

The seven broad charges against Saddam are the killing of religious figures in 1974; gassing of Kurds in Halabja in 1988; killing the Kurdish Barzani clan in 1983; killing members of political parties in the last 30 years; the 1986-88 "Anfal" campaign of displacing Kurds; the suppression of the 1991 uprisings by Kurds and Shiites; and the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Specific charges will be filed later, Iraqi officials said. Those charges were expected to include war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. A formal indictment with specific charges is expected later, said Salem Chalabi, director of the Iraqi Special Tribunal. The trial is not expected until 2005.

To me, the "broad" charges look a lot more specific than the "specific" charges.

Posted by John at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
June 30, 2004
I'm not saying that this means anything, but it is interesting

Many readers will be tempted to scroll down to the bottom of this post, but there is a lot of interesting historical information along the way.


GEORGE WASHINGTON was the first President to write to a Synagogue. In 1790 he addressed separate letters to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, and to Mikve Israel Congregation in Savannah, Georgia, and a joint letter to Congregation Beth Shalom, Richmond, Virginia, Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Beth Elohim Synagogue, Charleston, South Carolina and to Shearith Israel, New York. His letters are an eloquent expression and hope for religious harmony and endure as indelible statements of the most fundamental tenets of American democracy. Don't forget Hyaim Solomon who helped finance the Revolutionary War These letters are available, on the net, and are worth reading.

THOMAS JEFFERSON was the first President to appoint a Jew to a Federal post. In 1801 he named Reuben Getting of Baltimore as US Marshall for Maryland. Jefferson's views on the wall between Church and State are a significant reason why Jews have prospered in the United States.

JAMES MADISON was the first President to appoint a Jew to a diplomatic post. He sent Mordecai M. Noah to Tunis from 1813 to 1816.

MARTIN VAN BUREN was the first President to order an American Consul to intervene on behalf of Jews abroad. In 1840 he instructed the U.S. Consul in Alexandria, Egypt to use his good offices to protect the Jews of Damascus, Syria, who were under attack because of a false blood ritual accusation.

JOHN TYLER was the first President to nominate a U.S. Consul to Palestine. Warder Cresson, a Quaker convert to Judaism, who established a pioneer Zionist colony, received the appointment in 1844.

FRANKLIN PIERCE was the first and probably the only President whose name appears on the charter of a Synagogue. Pierce signed the Act of Congress in 1857 that amended the laws of the District of Columbia to enable the incorporation of the city's first Synagogue, the Washington Hebrew Congregation.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the first President to make it possible for Rabbis to serve as military chaplains. He did this by signing the 1862 Act of Congress which changed the law that had previously barred all but Christian clergymen from the chaplaincy. Lincoln was also the first, and happily the only President who was called upon to revoke an official act of Anti-Semitism by the U.S. Government. It was Lincoln who cancelled General Ulysses S. Grant's "Order No. 11" expelling all Jews from Tennessee from the District controlled by his armies during the Civil War. Grant always denied personal responsibility for this act attributing it to his subordinate.

ULYSSES S. GRANT was the first President to attend a Synagogue service while in office. When Adas Israel Congregation in Washington D.C. was dedicated in 1876, Grant and all members of his Cabinet were present.

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES was the first President to designate a Jewish Ambassador for the stated purpose of fighting Anti-Semitism. In 1870, he named Benjamin Peyote Consul-General to Rumania. Hays also was the first President to assure a civil service employee her right to work for the Federal Government and yet observe the Sabbath. He ordered the employment of a Jewish woman who had been denied a position in the Department of the Interior because of her refusal to work on Saturday.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT was the first President to appoint a Jew to a presidential cabinet. In 1906 he named Oscar S. Straus Secretary of Commerce and Labor. Theodore Roosevelt was also the first President to contribute his own funds to a Jewish cause. In 1919, when he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts while President to settle the Russo-Japanese War, Roosevelt contributed part of his prize to the National Jewish Welfare Board.

WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT was the first President to attend a Seder while in office. In 1912, when he visited Providence, Rhode Island, he participated in the family Seder of Colonel Harry Cutler, first president of the National Jewish Welfare Board, in the Cutler home on Glenham Street.

WOODROW WILSON was the first President to nominate a Jew, Louis Dembitz Brandeis, to the United States Supreme Court. Standing firm against great pressure to withdraw the nomination, Wilson insisted that he knew no one better qualified by judicial temperament as well as legal and social understanding. Confirmation was finally voted by the Senate on June 1, 1916. Wilson was also the first President to publicly endorse a national Jewish philanthropic campaign. In a letter to Jacob Schiff, on November 22, 1917, Wilson called for wide support of the United Jewish Relief Campaign which was raising funds for European War relief.

WARREN HARDING was the first President to sign a Joint Congressional Resolution endorsing the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate supporting the establishment in Palestine of a national Jewish home for the Jewish people. The resolution was signed on September 22, 1921.

CALVIN COOLIDGE was the first President to participate in the dedication of a Jewish community institution that was not a house of worship. On May 3, 1925, he helped dedicate the cornerstone of the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT was the first President to be given a Torah as a gift. He received a miniature Torah from Young Israel and another that had been rescued from a burning Synagogue in Czechoslovakia. Both are now in the Roosevelt Memorial Library in Hyde Park. The Roosevelt administration's failure to expand the existing refugee quota system ensured that large numbers of Jews would ultimately become some of the Holocaust's six million victims. Fifty-six years after Roosevelt's death, the arguments continue over Roosevelt's response to the Holocaust.

HARRY S. TRUMAN, on May 14, 1948, just eleven minutes after Israel's proclamation of independence, was the first Head of a Government to announce to the press that "the United Stated recognizes the provisional Government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel." Truman was also the first U.S. President to receive a President of Israel at the White House, Chaim Weisman, in 1948 and an Ambassador from Israel - Eliahu Elath in1948. With Israel staggering under the burdens of mass immigration in 1951-1952, President Truman obtained from Congress close to $140 million in loans and grants.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER was the first President to participate in a coast-to-coast TV program sponsored by a Jewish organization. It was a network show in 1954 celebrating the 300th anniversary of the American Jewish community. On this occasion he said that it was one of the enduring satisfactions of his life that he was privileged to lead the forces of the free world which finally crushed the brutal regime in Germany, freeing the remnant of Jews for a new life and hope in Israel.

JOHN F. KENNEDY named two Jews to his cabinet - Abraham Ribicoff as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, and Arthur Goldberg as Secretary of Labor. Kennedy was the only President for whom a national Jewish Award was named. The annual peace award of the Synagogue Council of America was re-named the John F. Kennedy Peace Award after his assassination in 1963.

JIMMY CARTER, in a number of impassioned speeches, stated his concern or human rights and stressed the right of Russian Jews to emigrate. He is credited with being the person responsible for the Camp David Accords.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH in 1985, as Vice President, had played a personal role in "Operation Joshua," the airlift which brought 10,000 Jews out of Ethiopia directly to resettlement in Israel. Then, again in 1991, when Bush was President, American help played a critical role in "Operation Solomon," the escape of 14,000 more Ethiopian Jews. Most dramatically, Bush got the U.N. to revoke its 1975 "Zionism is Racism" resolution. Consider the last two officeholders:

BILL CLINTON appointed more Jews to his cabinet than all of the previous presidents put together.

GEORGE W. BUSH is the first President since Herbert Hoover who has no Jews in his cabinet at all.

Posted by John at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)
June 29, 2004
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

JK Rowling has announced that that is the title for Book Six

She is not done with the book, and there is no estimated date of publication. She does say that the "Half Blood Prince" isn't Harry or Voldemort.

(Half-blood almost has to refer to what derisively is called a "mudblood" or someone who is only half-wizard.)

I suspect it won't be a minor character

For those who wish to start making guesses...JK Rowling has stated that she considered the title for the second book, but decided crucial bits of information were better revealed in book six. Suggesting we knew the HBP in the second book, we just didn't know he was an HBP.

Here's my analysis of the possibilities:

Students:
Neville - I think he is a possibility. We know his father was a wizard, and came from a long line of respected wizards. He now lives with his grandmother I believe. I'm not sure we know about his mother.
Weasleys - not a possibility, we know about both their parents.
Draco - not a possibility, we know about both his parents

Adults (almost all of them are possibilities)
Snape - interesting possibility since most of Slytherin hates 'mudbloods'
Hagrid - definite possibility
Sirius - not introduced by book two, so unlikely
Dumbledore - possibility

Those are probably are the most likely guesses. And I would pick Neville if I were betting. Just because it appears he's becoming more and more important as the books progress. (I even think it is possible, if Rowling is a brave woman, that Neville might end up being the one to kill Voldemort in the end, and not Harry. But legions of kids would probably hate her forever if she did that, which is why she'd have to be very brave. But if she turns him into a prince in book six, it might be more acceptable to the legions. These are just guesses. I know nothing.)

Posted by John at 02:41 PM | Comments (26)
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