Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
I generally admire human rights watchdog groups, even if they sometimes show a little more enthusiasm in criticizing Israel than in criticizing its neighbors. Human Rights Watch has always struck me as a useful group in a world overflowing with human rights disasters – contrary to the views of some pro-Israel groups, which regard any criticism of Israel as blasphemy.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.(), the Senate Judiciary chairman, has attached hate crimes legislation to the defense authorization bill.
That’s good news for a bunch of Jewish groups, starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which have been pressing for the legislation – which would broaden existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – for a decade.
Submitted by James Besser on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 00:00
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
The nation’s two most famous Jewish inmates are now sharing an address: FCI Butner.
Bernie Madoff, sentenced in late June after pleading guilty to creating and operating a record-shattering Ponzi scheme that left some pensioners penniless and drove some Jewish charities to bankruptcy, was transported on Monday to the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, NC – a medium security facility near Raleigh.
As Congress debates health care reform and frets about the special interests that want to make it a lot less than genuine reform, maybe it’s a good time for lawmakers to take a good look at how Israel delivers medical services.
Talking Points Memo’s Jo-Ann Mort does here. While Mort is no fan of Israeli policies with respect to the Palestinians, she thinks its health care system has ours beat by a country mile.
If I was Rabbi David Saperstein (and that's not likely; who has that much energy?), I'd be pleased as punch that Al Franken now has “Sen.” and “D-Minn.) stuck on his name. But I wouldn't be popping any champagne corks; the 60 vote super majority the Democrats gained in theory when Franken was finally sworn in this week will be hard to mobilize in practice.
The leading activist in the fight to make the U.S. military live up to constitutional church-state protections is glad the Pentagon has decided not to allow an Air Force “flyover” as part the annual God and Country Festival in Nampa, Idaho – the first time military authorities have denied the sponsoring group’s request in 42 years.
The Sarah Palin political soap opera took its strangest twist on Friday when the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and possible 2012 presidential contender announced she was resigning as Alaska's governor before the end of her first term.
What's the likely impact on Jewish politics? It's hard to tell, although that won't stop wild speculation in political circles.