March 19, 2010 archive

“You Don’t Have to be Jewish…”

Just a little off beat Big Apple history that I wrote for La Vita Locavore after reading a rye bread recipe.

After an enjoyable read of a Special Wednesday Edition of Sunday Bread- NY Rye I started thinking about just how such an Old World staple got identified as “good Jewish or New York style Rye”. New York claims many foods that were not invented in the Big Apple but rye bread is really about as European as it gets.

Not only is rye the most popular type of bread in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Poland, Slovakia, and Russia, it has been a staple since long before the discovery of the Americas. In a bread timeline, dark rye even made it to the British Islands as early as 500 AD. “Since the Middle Ages, rye has been widely cultivated in Central and Eastern Europe, and is the main bread cereal in most areas east of the French-German border and north of Hungary.” A year and two days ago I wrote a cute little diary called The Irish and Our Potatoes that mentioned the Holy Roman Empire being upset when those first Spanish explorers came back with starchy spuds to compete with the Staff of Life. By that time the “Body of Christ” being threatened by the lowly potato was mostly rye bread.

I remember a time when rye bread didn’t seem the least bit Jewish. It didn’t even seem like New York bread because I walked to either the French or the German Bakery, watched the fresh bread go through the automatic slicer and always ate both ends as I walked home. I remember when rye bread began an association with the Brooklyn Jewish community and it is a cute story, a progressive story even.

Rye bread going Jewish had much more to do with Madison Ave. than Flatbush Ave. It was and still is an advertisement. Rye bread is a New York City tourist attraction. The Stage Deli advertises their slogan next to a mile high fresser in the hotel magazines.

At the competition, the late great Leo Steiner, co-owner of the Carnegie Deli, the corned beef cornball comedian and the public face of Jewish food who was was eulogized by Henny Youngman as “the deli lama” and a man who “made New York taste good,” appeared in one of the great New York nostalgia commercials. In that television commercial, from behind the Carnegie counter Leo Steiner sold Levi’s Real Jewish Rye by saying in an accent that would make Jackie Mason jealous “It makes a nice samwich.” Perhaps that is why Jackie Mason defected in the 7th Ave. Pastrami Feud.

This story of progressive advertising began long before the Carnegie vs. Stage wars, back in the days when Leo Steiner was still working in his parents’ grocery store in Elizabeth, N.J. It was in 1961 when rye bread converted to Judaism.  

Friday Philosophy: the difference between rights and luck

I spent the morning reading a 97-page pdf so that you don’t have to. It’s a Motion in Aid of Litigants’ Rights.

Yesterday, Lambda Legal went back to court here in New Jersey, filing a motion seeking marriage equality.  The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered equality on October 25, 2006, in a case referred to as Lewis v Harris, but made the mistake of telling the legislature to implement that equality, which it has failed to do.’

Civil unions are a failed legislative experiment in providing equality in New Jersey–marriage equality is the only solution.

–Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director

Afternoon Edition

Good afternoon. I’ll be your editor through the weekend, keeping you informed and entertained. This is also an Open Thread.

Obama backs “framework” to revamp immigration

Reuters) – President Barack Obama, under pressure to keep a campaign promise to revamp U.S. immigration policy, embraced a “promising, bipartisan framework” on Thursday offered by two senior senators.

Obama said the proposal by Democrat Charles Schumer and Republican Lindsey Graham, which features a new identification card for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want a job, “can and should be the basis for moving us forward.”

Lt Choi Pleads Not Guilty, Trial in April – Breaking

Yesterday, Lt Dan Choi and a fellow veteran had themselves handcuffed to the White House fence to peacefully protest the Obama administration’s empty words and lack of action on ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”   This disgraceful policy allows over 600 military servicemembers per year to be tossed out of the military merely for sexual orientation.  They were arrested and held overnight in jail, incommunicado.…

Protesters also staged sit ins at Speaker Pelosi’s offices in San Francisco and Washington DC.

A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi’s office said, this morning, that “they didn’t have the votes” to do anything this year.

Robin McGehee of Fresno, CA, of GetEqual,  who was at the arraignment in Washington, DC, is reporting that Lt Dan Choi and Capt Jim Pietrangelo,  have been arraigned before the judge this afternoon, and have pled Not Guilty.   They have now been released from federal custody and will go to trial April 26.

“We will not admit guilt in our fight for equality”

“We may have been caged up physically, but many are caged up in their heart.”

– Lt. Dan Choi  March 19, 2010

Americablog also had witnesses there yesterday and disputes another version of events being put out by another LGTB group.…

Joe Sudbay:

Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo should be released from jail today. They were arrested yesterday after handcuffing themselves to the fence in front of the White House to protest Obama’s inaction on repealing DADT. The President plays a key role in that legislation, but despite a vow to do it in the State of the Union, the White House isn’t moving. It was the first time I’ve seen civil disobedience up close. And, it was intense. To think it’s come to this with the Obama administration. But, it has.  This week, Barney Frank made it abundantly clear that the White House really needed to speak out on its desire to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. That was Monday. No word from the White House, which says everything. There is no plan, despite the promises. It seems that everyone in DC knows that, but not everyone will admit it.

There is a plan, Joe.  They’re going to ignore you until you make yourself heard, which requires many different ways.  Just like with ending the mid east war expansions, getting everybody into a real health care system and not just a junk insurance plan, or forcing the banks to stop stealing people’s life savings, or making the government do something about carbon emissions besides more Nukes, or preserving a woman’s right to chose to bear children.

So don’t let somebody tell you it’s better to use your time to make phone calls on behalf of OFA instead of reading, writing, talking, blogging, protesting, photographing, communicating, and badgering incumbents and candidates.

We’ve (anybody who needs equality, and that is all of us, rich, poor, all colors, all genders, all faiths) got a plan, too.



updated to add link to my diary yesterday, and the americablog link

Red Scare

The impotence of the Democratic Party’s Left Wing in attempting to affect the content of the party’s health care reform legislation has produced triumphalist rhetoric from DLC enthusiasts and discouragement verging on self-loathing among “progressives.”  The once-proud Leftist contingent has been reduced to whining queries about how “Rahm,” the President’s Chief of Staff, can simultaneously be so mean (“fuckin’ retards”) to those on the Left while solicitously offering compromise after compromise to Blue Dogs and even Republicans.

This defeat for the Democratic Left has led to some self-examination of tactics.  Glenn Greenwald lays the blame for the irrelevance on an inability to convince power brokers that Lefties were serious about not supporting a bad bill:

Until they can not only imagine it, but in fact project it in a political negotiation, progressives will remain irrelevant outside of Democratic primaries, when they will receive a plethora of campaign promises sure to be abandoned by pols. Cuz that is what pols do.

We need more than a critique of tactics.  If the Left is not careful, we may begin to adopt the view promoted by the corporate media and the Democratic Party’s leadership that Leftist ideas and policies are themselves irrelevant and hopelessly unpopular.

The irony is that the opposite is the case.  From a longer historical perspective, it becomes clear that Leftist views, especially radical Leftist views, are so potentially attractive that they are labeled as anathema by the power elites.  For more than a century, any idea, no matter how violent or rebellious, can be advocated and promoted in America except for Leftist ideas.  In fact, the Radical Right has been allowed, sometimes invited, to wage terrorism against citizens and even parts of the government while that same government expended considerable resources to harass, imprison and murder Leftists for exercising Constitutional rights.

What is the truth?  Do Leftist ideas really hold no appeal for the average American, or are America’s corporate and political elites really scared of Reds?

Psycho Talk! HCR = “That great war of yankee aggression”

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Paging Ed Shultz, psycho talk in the wingnut isle.

    Screw going to 11. The Conservative Freak Out continues to go to infinite and beyond.

    Witness Rep. Paul Broun as he flat out rewrites history in a disgusting attempt to compare Health Care Reform into something scary, such as that “Great war of Yankee aggression”. In the reality based world, we call that THE CIVIL WAR!

    Watch . . .

BROUN: If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States – the Great War of Yankee Aggression.

    So Ronald Reagan will replace that Yankee agressor President Grant on the $50 bill because Reagan’s accomplishments (cough – Jack Shit- cough) are greater than FREEING THE SLAVES?

    Holy revisionist history, batman! WTF?

More below the fold . . . .

Big Tent has yet to back up…

his views…

…it is my view that President Obama has been a nearly flawless foreign policy President.

…with any over-arching foreign policy justifications, like, Why are we there in the first place?  What’s our right?  Why do we persist?  What did they ever do to us?

If one wants to call US foreign policy “flawless,” one needs a half-way decent defense of such questions, no?  Is BTD willing to put his implicit foreign policy theories on paper for the rest of us to read?  (If I am missing such justifications e.g., 9/11, al Qaeda, WMD, New World Order, please let me know.)

I need to hear some specifics on “flawless [interventionist] foreign policy.”  Bring it!  BTD has got a Basketball Jones for interventionist foreign policy, and it’s time to bring the ball to the hoop for a slam dunk, or two!


No one can reasonably dispute that the entire industrialized world is crucially dependent on oil, for better or worse.   If you’ve ever seen a rat during morphine withdrawal, un-groomed, greasy hair standing on end, teeth-chattering, paw tremors, wet-dog shakes, hyper-stress-responsive to the mildest stimuli, metabolically crashing, you can extrapolate the physiological horrors of morphine withdrawal and multiply them billions of times across humanity to get a sense of what sudden oil withdrawal would be like.  There’s nothing pretty about it.

The US has been on escalating doses of oil for a long, long time, feeding our dependency.  Obama certainly didn’t invent our foreign policy.  It has been US policy for a long time, explicitly since the Carter doctrine and in reality well before that, to meddle aggressively, some would say “defend ourselves” in the oily parts of the world.  Given our crucial dependence, it’s not a priori criminally insane.  In a state of nature, it would be no different from defending one’s place at the watering hole.    Indeed, there are no laws in Nature, and no justifications are required.   But we don’t claim to exist in a state of nature.   We humans claim to live in a realm of social contracts.

Our foreign policy of defending ourselves (and perhaps others, as well) at the watering hole, however justifiable that may or may not be in the realm of social contracts, recently appears to have morphed into a flat-out “exterminate the brutes” campaign.  One could vigorously and convincingly argue that our recent aggressive adventures in the oily parts of the world is demonstrably well outside the bounds of any perceived or known social agreements.

I’d just like to see an intelligent, measured response from someone who sees the policy as flawless.


the patron of workers, fathers, carpenters.  Myself I call him the patron saint of little old ladies who have old houses.  A saint barely mentioned in the New Testament but remembered richly and deeply in the tradition of the Church.

Many people made me – carefully and with precision.  That I may have disappointed their hopes for me has naught to do with them – we all live in the world which often crushes us.  And in the long run, I’ve turned out well – okay.

Those people – my maternal grandmother, my mother, my aunts, my youth’s closest friend all had devotions to St. Joseph – thus so do I.  My mother had a framed photo of him in our kitchen – and often spoke out loud to him during the day – thus so do I.  My friend had a statue of him in her home and at her wedding put her bouquet in front of his statue instead of the Blessed Mother – quite the stir in church.  I try to keep fresh flowers before his picture (it was my mother’s) during the summer and Fall and also take roses from my garden to his statue in Church.  My son was born in St. Joseph’s Hospital.

One of my favorite St. Joseph stories is a Garrison Keilor one.  Jesus said to Joseph:  I don’t have to listen to you – you’re not my father.

On this date, Italians have a St. Joseph table.  My Aunt Tee always had one full of really good food – no process stuff and good wine.  Now, I think:  how did she afford it – it’s not easy to have parties now or then.  But she found the money – and anyone who wanted to come came – door open all day.  God rest her soul.  I grew up in Little Italy in Chicago – there was a gentle sort of competition amongst the Irish (St. Paddy’s Day) and the Italians (St. Joseph) as to celebration in the City.

I have studied theological theory and understand that many people consider hagiography a superstition.  It is what it is – but I have an obligation to my family and my traditions.  More importantly, I believe in my own way.  I’m off to purchase Zeppolini, a traditional pastry for the Feast Day.  And I think I’ll have a day off from blogging and worrying and fretting and being angry – and just let the good Saint protect me as I go about my garden work.  This short diary is a thank you to him.  We are both of us among friends here.

So to all on Docudharma – Happy Saint Joseph’s Day.  A man pictured as old with a beard and a lilly (we get the Church’s politics).  Now his image is more of a young, handsome strong man who transcends the politics of the Church and represents a good man who worked hard to keep his family safe during difficult times (as all times are) and who cherished his wife and son.  


March 19 2003, Remembrance!

On That Weekend VVAW & VFP, and others, Veterans in DC

We had already started the planning and reserving the venue for the ‘teach in’, Saturday, and March of Wreaths on Sunday only weeks  before, not knowing the ‘shock and awe’ would start only a couple of days prior to.

Docudharma Times Friday March 19

Friday’s Headlines:

Toyota used ‘game plan’ to escape early recall

Bolivia creates a new opportunity for climate talks that failed at Copenhagen


School Suspensions Lead to Legal Challenge

House leaders announce $940 billion health-care compromise bill


Johann Hari: The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil

Adolf Hitler ‘wanted to use cricket to train troops for war’, new book claims

Middle East

Iran’s atomic ambitions cause impasse at disarmament talks

Iran protests: Is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei winning?


The mysterious case of the Grey Lady of Bagram

Success of secret two-child policy could force Chinese rethink on family planning

Latin America

Colombia rejects U.S. extradition request

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


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Blue-plate: Baked asshole, used beans, and a thistle salad.


The world’s five biggest AAA-rated states are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohesion”, according to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s. The US rating agency said the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are walking a tightrope as they try to bring public finances under control without nipping recovery in the bud. It warned of “substantial execution risk” in withdrawal of stimulus.

Here’s the sanitary definition of “austerity measure” from the Financial Times:

Austerity measure:

An official action taken by a government in order to reduce the amount of money that it spends or the amount that people spend. [1]

-Financial Times Lexicon

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