For what it’s worth, 11/18/15

I’ve been busy, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. My conservative friend Joe even challenged me on Facebook:

I’m surprised you have been so tight lipped about Paris…not a word.

OK. Word.

Joe, John Lennon said “War is not the answer,” but sometimes it is. There are just wars, like the one we won 70 years ago. That was a war worth fighting. Imagine (sorry, John) what might have happened if we’d sat it out. For sure, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

Continue reading

Advertisements

How to solve gay marriage

Roy-Moore

The chief justice of the State of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, aka Roy the Great and Powerful, has ordered — yes, ordered — the judges in every one of the 67 county probate courts in the Yellowhammer State (yeah, I looked that up) to disobey the order of a Federal District Court judge and refuse to “issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with state law.

State law in Alabama, you might have guessed, bans gay couples from getting married. Because Alabama. I’m guessing it also says something about Supreme Court chief justices acceding to the orders of federal judges and the U.S. Supreme Court judges who uphold those orders, but I could be wrong here. Because Alabama. Continue reading

Stop the plane? Not a prayer

where's waldo

Rockland County, N.Y., where I’ve lived for nearly 40 years, is home to the third largest population of Hasidic Jews in the world, trailing only the entire nation of Israel and New York City. Which explains why, in a previous millennium, when I was the Page One editor of The Journal News, the newspaper of New York’s northern suburbs, a reporter and photographer were assigned to cover what was either the bar mitzvah or the wedding of the grand rebbe’s son in New Square, N.Y.

Bar mitzvah or wedding. I’m not sure which one, because I wasn’t invited. On the other hand, I didn’t have to buy a gift.

New Square is a small hamlet (are there large hamlets?) accessed by a single road off a main road that runs through the county. Drive in a block or two and it suddenly feels like you’ve time-traveled back to 18th century Europe. Drive in on a Saturday – Shabbos – and you’re in the only car in town that’s moving. And that guy who looks like he just dropped in from Mars – thats you, because you’re the only guy in town who isn’t sporting a full beard and a long black coat and a wide-brimmed black hat. Continue reading

The Air Force banks left

The U.S. Air Force reversed course today, deciding that you really don’t have to believe in God to hop aboard a plane and drop bombs on bad guys.

Specifically, the Air Force decided that, going forward, airmen will be allowed to omit the words “So help me God” from their oath.

OMIGOD! Now that I’ve heard this, so help me God, I want to . . .

Crack open a beer and celebrate. The Air Force got it right. Continue reading

Well bully for you, Supreme Court!

Image

We’ve heard a lot about bullying over the past decade or two. And from what I can tell, pretty much everyone who is anyone is against it. We don’t bully nerds. We don’t bully gays. We don’t bully the unpretty, or the unhandsome. We don’t kick sand on the 97-pound weakling. We don’t beat up the fat kid.

Not anymore. We’ve evolved.

Or at least that’s what I thought until Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court, in its inevitable 5-4 decision along its usual 5-4 philosophical lines, declared it was perfectly fine and legal and good and wholesome and downright American to bully – yes, I said bully – people who don’t share your religion.

Well bully for you, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy.

Boy did you get this one wrong. Continue reading

Not a hero

Image

This is making the rounds now. Kid at Liberty High School in South Carolina rips up his valedictorian speech and recites the Lord’s Prayer.

They’re calling him a hero, of course. But, as my friend Marty Levine points out, “The quote in the article saying the kid showed courage missed it completely. It takes very little courage to publicly espouse a Christian view in the Bible Belt. Had he stood up for separation of church and state and used his address to explain the need to protect the standing of religious minorities? That would have been an act of courage.”

My take . . . Marty nailed it. The kid had a legal right to do what he did and definitely should not be disciplined by the school system. Fact is, they’d be making him a martyr for the religious right if they tried to discipline him. But I also think the kid has no regard whatsoever for his fellow students and the people in the crowd who don’t share his religious views.

This was nothing to be proud of.