Jewish activism

Liberal Legislative Outlook Is ‘Daunting’

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

With more than 60 House seats and 650 state legislature seats changing hands and decades-long office holders of all political stripes losing their jobs, we’re still coming to grips with what happened in last week’s congressional midterm elections, let alone what it means for the future.

In A Divided Government, Forging A Centrist Agenda

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The tectonic plates of power underneath the nation’s capital are radically shifting in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. Everyone in Washington — from the White House to industry associations to public interest groups and more — is still assessing the fate of the issues they care about in light of the new lay of the land, and the Jewish community is no exception. The good news is, for many of the issues that we care about, the shift from one-party rule to divided government offers opportunities, albeit with challenges, too.

Communists, 'Self-hating Jews' and other sure-fire conversation enders

One predictable but unsettling result of the blogging revolution is the revival of the kind of agitprop writing that I thought went out of style with the demise of Khrushchev and Mao and Radio Moscow.

I write one and I read dozens of blogs every day, but I have to tell you: there's a certain kind of commentary – whether it be a blog or a talk show diatribe - I immediately dismiss as propagandistic drivel, and it usually has to do with language.

Let me give you some examples of words meant to incite, inflame and evade real discussion and debate.

The Chosen: Jewish Members in the 112th U.S. Congress

11/05/2010

NEW YORK (JTA) -- The following is a list of the 39 Jewish members -- 12 senators and 27 representatives -- who are expected to serve in the 112th U.S. Congress, which is set to convene in January:

U.S. SENATE

Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)*

Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)**

Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.)

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Al Franken (D-Minn.)

Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.)

Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)

Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.)

Which Jewish group is the big winner in Facebook activism?

Social media is the new currency of political activism. And which Jewish group has the most in the bank?

No, it's not the AJC or the ADL. Take a look at Facebook for the answer: it's Americans for Peace Now (APN), which currently has 17,039 Facebook users who “like” the pro-peace process organization.

Two Sides to Every Debate - And I Want My Side to Win

11/04/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

The East Bank of the East River is where I’ve lived for the past twenty years, in a territory known as Brooklyn, which began as Native American land and was then settled by the Dutch. George Washington and his troops beat a hasty retreat from the British in the park where I run. It is now among the most sought after places to live in New York City.

Rabbi Andy Bachman

What Jon Stewart's "Restore Sanity" rally tells us about liberals

I was trying to figure out exactly why Jon Stewart's “Restore Sanity / Keep Fear Alive” rally in Washington on Saturday made me so uneasy, and then the Daily Beast's Peter Beinart neatly put his finger on it.

On one hand, the good spirits and humor of the rally – look at sideshows to get a good chuckle – were a welcome balm after months of vicious attack ads and years of talk-show venom, most of it coming from an increasingly extreme right.

Plenty of Jews On Board With California’s Bid to Legalize Marijuana

10/27/2010
JTA

OAKLAND, Calif. (JTA) -- Ed Rosenthal has been working to legalize marijuana in California since he moved to the state in 1972.

Vindication may finally be at hand for the Bronx-born former yippie.

On Nov. 2, California voters will consider Proposition 19, a ballot initiative to legalize the cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, and empower local governments to regulate and tax its sale.

Changes at ADL

Today brought the news that Jess Hordes is retiring after more than two decades of service as ADL's Washington director.

I've always felt a special affinity for Jess; he took up his position about the time I started writing a Washington column for Jewish newspapers, and he was more than helpful to a rookie trying to make sense of  the convoluted world of Jewish politics.

Don't ask, don't tell, don't do anything at all in the Senate

Just in case you need more evidence of the paralysis gripping Capitol Hill, consider yesterday's successful effort by Senate Republicans to block debate on legislation repealing the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy on gay soldiers.

And the threatened filibuster wasn't even on a vote on the bill itself; instead, GOP lawmakers effectively prevented it from even being discussed.

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