Monday, September 29, 2008

China and the Tainted Milk Crisis

I was just reading an article about how global and far reaching the tainted milk crisis in China is and how many people around the world are affected by it. The list of companies facing potential recalls are growing as reports of foods tainted with the industrial chemical melamine is spreading.

It's not only babies and formula or those drinking powder milk, that are at risk, it's those that are eating the hundreds, maybe thousands of food products processed with milk or protein in it. *Some of those products that folks may not even be thinking about include biscuits, cake mix, energy bars, anything that should have protein in it. Even the icing that is used on some Oreo cookies is in question (though Kraft has put out a press release that the milk used is from Australia and that all their products are held to the highest quality, no matter where they are manufactured).

How many of those products are reaching the US? Perhaps not many, but what worries me are all those other countries that those products are infiltrating into. We take it for granted that what we are eating, or feeding our pets or even brushing our teeth with is safe.

The question is will this be a wake up call? Will China and all these multinational-corporations finally be held accountable for their inaction and turning a blind's eye to food safety?


I just saw this article - hopefully this will help, at least, in bringing attention to food safety issues and international regulation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some of the Republican honeys are also ready to send Palin packing back to the Last Frontier - according to this article, Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist, for the National Review wrote "... it's become clear she doesn't know enough about economics or foreign policy to be president should that become necessary in a McCain administration."

"Writing in the National Review Online, Kathleen Parker wrote, that her "cringe reflex is exhausted" after watching the Alaska governor stumble through TV interviews and it's become clear to her that Palin is out of her league."

"No one hates saying that more than I do," Parker writes. "Like so many women, I've been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I've also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does."

"Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves," Parker writes. "She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first."

"Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing for the conservative National Review, says Parker's suggestion is "not a crazy suggestion" and that "something's gotta change."

For anyone who missed the Katie Couric interview ... OMG. Now will all you folks who are rallying around Palin, get your head out of your asses and pay attention to who you are defending.

Watch CBS Videos Online

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--
PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.
COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.
PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our-- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--
COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?
PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.

But hey, if McCain wins and Palin is in office as our VP - there is a silver lining - we actually have something to look forward to because the next four years are going to be a comic's dream. At least, us Americans and the rest of the World will have plenty of material to keep us laughing (and cringing).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Little Botox

Spam mail is something I luckily don't see very much of, because of the way my email accounts are set up. But every once in a while, some will slipped through the filters and will even occasionally pique my interest enough for me to take a peak, such as this random one

"you'll smile and thank me in a few months, I promise"

I guess what grabbed my attention was the word "Promise". Wow! Someone out there is promising ME that not only will I be smiling in a few months, BUT, I will be thankful to them for it.

The strange part of the email is that there was nothing in it. Nothing written in the body - just a promise in the subject line.

Now what is that all about? How am I supposed to know what it is, I am to be thanking this person for? And not only thanking them, but SMILING too, without more to go on. C'mon I need some more information here.

At first I thought I was going to win something, like a long needed vacation to Hawaii - oh I loved Hawaii. I can definitely see myself smiling over that, and being very thankful.

But the more I starred at those words, something seemed so familiar. A commercial maybe, no, a radio jingle. Yes, that was it. A radio jingle for a dental office that's trying to be hip and smooth.

You know the type with the those *Muzak-like tunes and the really bad Taglines. The voiceover of the "Dentist" promoting state of the art Teeth Bleaching and other breakthrough technology to spare you from pain. And if you hurry up and make an appointment, you can get some Botox or some other type of plastic surgery as a gift to compliment your beautiful new smile.

I would love to get my teeth bleach, but since I have a cap on my front tooth (clumsy bicycle accident), I can't do the bleach thing. However I do need to go to the dentist, an Endodontist to be exact, and I have been asking around for recommendations, hmm, perhaps, I might be on to something.

Yes, maybe that's what it means - this promise. That the PAIN I am suffering through now, will all go away in a few months and oh, I will be so thankful and will once again, be able to smile, smile, smile.

Hey, if I am offered the Botox, do you think I should take it?

A little trivia about my family. Did you know that *Muzak is two degrees of separation from me? My husband's grandfather, a world-renowned Bandleader and music executive, who has long passed away, was instrumental in the development and distribution of Muzak.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hush Hush, Voices Carry

Where are all those voices from the right wing, predominately modern Orthodox Jews condemning Palin, an evangelical Protestant, and her religion and church's views on Jewish Conversion, their support for Jews for Jesus and the other Messianic Ministries?

It's awful quiet out there for such a vocal group of constituents who will easily organize and jump on anything that at all seems to be Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel, or Anti-Orthodox religious (because for the rest of us Jews who are Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist - we are really self-hating Jews whose only connection to Judaism is lox and bagels.)

But as you can read here, if the candidate falls within their party line and conservative philosophies, then, gee, everyone is getting all upset over nothing.

"Much attention has been focused on Palin's religious views since McCain made her his surprise pick as running mate, a selection the campaign hoped would shore up his standing among social conservatives. But while many religious Republicans have embraced Palin, some liberal commentators are suggesting that her hard-line position on abortion, her evangelical roots and lack of record on Israel may turn off Jewish voters who otherwise might be open to McCain's more moderate image and hawkish foreign policy stance.

The Anti-Defamation League, which has been deeply critical of Jews for Jesus and was among the organizations calling for Democratic nominee Barack Obama to distance himself from his controversial pastor during the primaries, said it had no problem with Palin's membership in a church that supported efforts to convert Jews.

The ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, told JTA that Protestant evangelizing to Jews was entirely different from Catholics praying for Jewish conversion, which the ADL has sharply criticized. “They did not have the Inquisition. They did not go on a Crusade. They did not kill Jews for 2,000 years,”

Foxman said. “They have a belief; they're entitled to their belief.”

Besides, he said, there is no evidence that Palin shares Brickner’s views.“If you could tell me that she approves of this guy, she invited him, I’m not aware of any of that,” Foxman said. “The fact that she belongs to a church that believes in it, I don’t have a problem.”

The ADL has accused Jews for Jesus of “aggressive proselytizing with a deceptive message.”

This is a very dangerous comment, especially for the ADL to be making. Has anyone stopped to think how much creditability has just been lost over this blatantly politically partisan rubbish that shot forth from Foxman's mouth? What type of message does this send?

At least the ADL condemned Anne Coutler during her 2007 interview on Donny Deutsch's CNBC show "The Big Idea".

During her interview, Danny asked her if she could have her way, what would the US look like?

She remarked, "It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention. In fact, that's what I think heaven is going to look like. Happy, joyful Republicans in the greatest city in the world." She continued to say "Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They're Christian. They're tolerant. They defend America, they -

DEUTSCH: Christian - so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?


DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?

COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?

DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?

COULTER: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you're not.

DEUTSCH: I actually am. That's not true. I really am. But – so we would be better if we were - if people – if there were no Jews, no Buddhists –

COULTER: Whenever I'm harangued by –

DEUTSCH: – in this country? You can't believe that.

COULTER: – you know, liberals on diversity –

COULTER: - we think - we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners -
DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans," and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I'm offended by that personally. And we'll have more "Big Idea" when we come back.

DEUTSCH: Welcome back to "The Big Idea." During the break, Ann said she wanted to explain her last comment. So I'm going to give her a chance. So you don't think that was offensive?

COULTER: No. I'm sorry. It is not intended to be. I don't think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews.

We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to, you know, live up to all the laws.

What Christians believe - this is just a statement of what the New Testament is - is that that's why Christ came and died for our sins. Christians believe the Old Testament. You don't believe our testament.

The Anti-Defamation League:

"Ann Coulter may be a political pundit but she clearly knows very little about religious theology and interfaith issues," the ADL said in a statement. "Coulter's remarks are outrageous, offensive and a throwback to the centuries-old teaching of contempt for Jews and Judaism.

The notion that Jews are religiously inferior or imperfect because they do not accept Christian beliefs was the basis for 2,000 years of church-based anti-Semitism. While she is entitled to her beliefs, using mainstream media to espouse the idea that Judaism needs to be replaced with Christianity and that each individual Jew is somehow deficient and needs to be 'perfected,' is rank Christian supersessionism and has been rejected by the Catholic Church and the vast majority of mainstream Christian denominations."

Hey ADL - what is that about the Catholic Church? They don't believe what about Judaism?

Interestingly enough, Dennis Prager, a conservative talk show host, commented that although, as a practicing Jew, he obviously did not agree with Coulter's comments, they were not anti-semitic. He noted that: "There is nothing in what Ann Coulter said to a Jewish interviewer on CNBC that indicates she hates Jews or wishes them ill, or does damage to the Jewish people or the Jewish state. And if none of those criteria is present, how can someone be labeled anti-Semitic?"

Hmm, he may have a point. But what about those Jews for Jesus?

And just four years earlier in 2003, The Jewish World Review published her article, The Party Ideas about Democrats and their ways of trying to get a vote. Somehow, in her rant, she throws in about Democrats and Jews.

"In addition to having a number of family deaths among them, the Democrats' other big idea — too nuanced for a bumper sticker — is that many of them have Jewish ancestry. There's Joe Lieberman: Always Jewish. Wesley Clark: Found Out His Father Was Jewish in College. John Kerry: Jewish Since He Began Presidential Fund-Raising. Howard Dean: Married to a Jew. Al Sharpton: Circumcised. Even Hillary Clinton claimed to have unearthed some evidence that she was a Jew — along with the long lost evidence that she was a Yankees fan. And that, boys and girls, is how the Jews survived thousands of years of persecution: by being susceptible to pandering. "

Quite frankly, I don't understand the connection and why it was even brought up, other than her just rambling on. How is anything she is saying here related to the Jews, well, let me rephrase that ... Democratic Jews, i.e., LIBERAL Jews? I can definitely see why Jews (Democratic Jews) would be offended and call her anti-Semite.

However, not everyone agrees. In this article by Ben Shapiro , an orthodox Jew, he's defending her. Here is another example of defending an anti-semantic rant by turning it around and finding that what she says does indeed have merit. Why is this writer defending her and allowing this wolf to step inside sheep's clothing? Yes, one may be able to extract some opinionated truth from what anyone says, but does that change the persons core beliefs and character? No. Shapiro is a conservative and is choosing to ignore Coulter's anti-Semitic rant, simply because he dislikes liberals.

I actually don't disagree with some of his message but to go so far to limit it to just Democratic Jews is ignorant and arrogant. Can he, or any other person who holds his beliefs, truly claim that Republican and Right-Wing Jews, don't do the same thing, so do a lot of other ethnic groups, regardless of their party, regardless of their piety or cultural bonds? And if we are talking about voting base on ethnicity or religion, what about voting for Catholics, or Mormons or wait a minute, an Evangelical? Do they not do the same thing? Why stop at just the Jews?

Fast forward to recent events. Obviously, McCain and the Republican camp hold the opinion that women also do the same thing, thus McCain's gender choice for VP.

But boy are they underestimating women! Unlike ethnic groups, most women aren't going to vote base on the gender of the candidate. We are not stupid and most of us, don't vote for such a simple reason. We may vote for purely shallow qualifications such as how popular they are, but so do men. They may vote because of one or two issues that push their buttons or motivate them, but so do men. They are not voting for McCain because he choose a woman for his running mate. They are not choosing McCain because they think McCain supports women in higher office. For if he did, he would have chosen a female candidate that is an intelligent, well-established, well-respected, and rich in experience and policies such as Condoleezza Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchison and many more other qualified female Republicans.

But he didn't. And how sad it is that despite McCain's running mate's lack of experience, lack of political knowledge, the fact that she governs in an unprofessional, biased and corrupt manner (resembling more of a high school student government based on popularity and loyalty than an actual grown-up State government), and who allows her church and religious beliefs to dominate despite our founding fathers separation of Church and State - despite all of the is, Right-wing religious and non-religious Jews, will defend and support her 100%.

Just for the record, I am not anti-Israel, or anti-orthodox or religious, and definitely not a self-hating Jew. I am upset, well more like disgusted that so many will not step up and speak against a person who obviously is not qualified to serve as a VP, nevermind, the President AND is dangerous to Jews, Jewish Continuity, and Jewish Laws (her abortion stance - pro-life 100% without exceptions.) They are keeping their voices purposely quiet and to me, foregoing their strong Jewish convictions and common sense, for spite and for political allegience. Forget about Obama. Don't vote for him. But don't vote for the McCain Palin ticket because they are Republicans or Conservative. Choose one of the other candidates, if voting in the election is a must.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Country's Financial Crisis

Admittedly, I don't really know much about economics, Wall Street and other finanicial theories, trends, analysis, etc. But I am smart enough to realize that what's going on in our country right now, and the value of our dollar is of serious concern, not only within the United States, but it's ripple affect around the world.

Prior to the rise in gas prices these past few years, I really never thought about the connections. The price of our food, the price of services, the price of clothing, shelter, activities for our kids - anything and everything that is directly and indirectly related to transportation and the price of fuel. This may sound naive and spoiled to those who live outside of the US in which this may a normal part of their economics and standards of living, but it's really kicking us in the butt. The housing and mortgage crisis is making me nervous, even though our payments are relatively low and there really isn't any reason for us to move into a new home. I am thankful now that we didn't bite off more than we could chew and like so many others, bought a home that realistically is way out of reach (even if a half a million dollars for a house is average).

I am really worried that the average American doesn't get it and aren't worried enough to speak up and voice their concerns, anger, and desire for change that will benefit our economics, our health, our labor and consumer rights and the environment. That we will continue to wait and do nothing until it gets so bad that common sense loses ground and rash decision making and approving plans and decisions that have short-term solutions, takes its place. That corporations continue to benefit from corporate welfare and the people are left to suffer from their greed and poor managment.

However, I do think there are exceptions, especially in the case when the lack of financial intervention from the government, will harm thousands of people by losing their jobs, their pensions, and much more. There should be consequences to those whose greed created this mess and regulations put into place to monitor and to protect the labor force and our economics as a whole. Unfortunately, our government in the past, has done little to punish those that are responsible but hopefully that will change as our financial crisis continues to spiral downward.

What brought me to write about this - well it was a headline, The Feds Play Sugar Daddy that I just read on and last night's episode of Charlie Rose, with his guest Hank Greenberg, former chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), the world's largest insurance and financial services corporation. It really put what's going on right now into perspective, at least for me.

An Interview with Sarah Palin - A Spoof

Ah ... this and the SNL skit ... just brilliant.

I loved living in Alaska. I attended high school in Anchorage and that time in my life was by far, the most amazing experience of my adolescent years. Literally, the very last minute before my father left to make aliyah to Israel and less than a month before starting my junior year, I changed my mind and decided to join him on his new adventure. I have mix feelings about that choice but in the end I know I made the right decision, at least, with regards to my relationship with my father. I always thought I would return to Alaska, but I never did.

I'm glad that Alaska is in the national spotlight because maybe Americans will stop and think about what a beautiful treasure we have there, one not to be exploited and threatened, despite if many of it's non-native residents (and native) feel different.

Alaska is a very special place and I hope that both the environment including wildlife, habitat, natural resources, etc., and the many indigenous tribes that still thrive there, are allowed to continue to be preserved and protected.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eyes Wide Shut

This clip is from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and is so right on when it comes to the Republican hyprocrisy, especially in their pityful attempt to support and defend, John McCain's choice for VP - Sarah Palin. How can they actually be spewing this crap and really believe it? But then again, after reading so many comments on various blogs in support of her nomination, I shouldn't be all that suprise - but somehow I still am.

This is really funny!!!

What a sell out you are Senator McCain. I'm so disappointed in you.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


As parents, we are always being told that the best way to discipline a child is through consequences and staying consistent, and for positive behavior, give praise and rewards. But face it, behavioral management is tough and challenging no matter how many books we read or how many specialist or experts we follow or listen to, or when in our sane moments how we can rationalize, analyze and/or intellectualize why they do what they do (neurological, didn't get their meds, they are immature, tired, hungry, ___)

They also say - stand behind your threat. Do not threaten your child with a consequence that is unreasonable, unrealistic, or something that you don't plan on following through. We are suppose to think clearly and realistically, always be a few steps ahead of the game. For example, if you and your child is in the store for an hour and all they have are their crayons and paper, don't threatened that if they misbehave you will take away their crayons and paper - why - because now you are stuck with a child with absolutely nothing to do for the rest of that hour and that will perpetuate the boredom and add to more bad behavior. And who loses here - the parent.

We're supposed to not punish them with something that will allow them to continue getting rewards such as "go to your room". What happens if we send them to their room - are they really being punished? No. We are supposed to give out consequences that we know will really have an impact on them - something that they really cherish and will miss. For my daughter, I am the prize. I am the reward and the consequence. Nothing else works! NOTHING ELSE WORKS!!!

I am at my wits end because she will continue with the behavior until I get really, really angry. I can calmly but firmly tell her that if her behavior continues she will lose a privilege or a favorite poster, etc. and that does not stop her. I can try to reason with her by pointing out the value of what she is losing compared to her desire to be in control or in the right is not worth it; that she would rather lose something so precious than to actually stop and follow my directions and yet she will acknowledge it and this does not stop her. She will keep at it, pushing the envelop, nagging, having a tantrum, ignoring my requests despite the consequences.

When I do step in and follow through, she gets really upset, begs for me not to do whatever it is that I said I would do, that she will never do it again or she will stop the behavior, anything for me to not follow through. But I do and because she is mad now, she will continue with a new tantrum with slamming doors or doing whatever she thinks will get my attention. So now I go back to her and give her another consequence - and again, the cycle continues but gets worse because now the oppositional behavior is escalating and when I try once more with another consequence its almost a joke to her. Nothing matters - its all about the control.

I am trying very hard to not allow myself to get out of control with my temper when it get to this point but as I mentioned previously, it's the only thing that really works withher. It truly takes me to lose my control for her to finally wake up and stop. So, I need advice as to what really works - what consequences should I use to have it work, because the whole praise, positive reinforcements and consequence are not?

Now mind you, it's different when she is on her medicine. Almost all these negative behaviors she exibits are only there when her hyperactivity is set loose (not to say they are always in the open, they aren't but when they do come out, she's truly unable to manage it or noticed the difference in her personality.)

It makes sense to ask why don't I just continously keep her medicated? It's because I feel bad AND she must learn to manage her behavior, to recognize the differences in her personality and body language, and to take responsibility for her actions. I feel cruel and it's extremely frustrating for me (and I guess for her as well) to purposely let her spiral into this other person. But what are my options? How is she supposed to truly learn and begin to internalize the approprate behaviors when in a hyper state if she is on her meds? Truly, after she takes her medicine, this whole different person comes out - a person who seems to have already internalize these values and recognizes some actions and changes in her behavior/emotions (though not quite everything - still have problems with the owning up to her actions).

What consequences can I give her that REALLY mean anything to her? She's definitely the type to wait until the very last second of a count (1, 2, .....3) before she stops. Again, testing the limits, pushing the envelope, I have memories of her doing this as early as 18 months (oh those terrible 2's and 3's were a nightmare).

So advice? I need some!!!