Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama Administration and Iran--A Purimspiel

Dare we add that the civilized world, led by the United States, appears to be failing the test?

Some 2433 years ago, King Achashverosh, Ruler of the Persian Empire, comprising 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, was persuaded by his Grand Vizier, Haman, to issue a decree of extermination against the Jews. The entire Jewish world population at the time resided under his rule. As related in Megillat Esther, the Book of Esther, neither Achashverosh, nor Haman knew that Queen Esther herself was a Jew, the niece (and according to Jewish tradition the wife) of Mordechai, the leader of Persia's Jewish community. In an incredible turnabout of events, (clearly orchestrated by divine will, although the Book of Esther is the only book of the Bible in which no mention of God occurs), Esther and Mordechai foil the plan to exterminate their people, Haman is hung on the very gallows he built for Mordechai, and the Jews take arms and destroy their enemies on the day that Haman had chosen by casting lots ("purim") for the genocide of the Jews. On Saturday night and Sunday Jews around the world will celebrate Purim by reading and hearing the Book of Esther, making gifts of money to the poor, sending gifts of food to their neighbors, and feasting.

One month later we will read the Pesach (Passover) hagadah at our seders. The hagadah tells us that Pharoah and Haman were not isolated incidents, but rather "in every generation [our enemies] have risen up to destroy us, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, has saved us from their hands." Certainly today as well the Jewish people have no dearth of enemies who wish to destroy them. Foremost of these is the Iranian Islamic regime led by the Achashverosh and Haman of our time, supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who only this week regaled his hosts in Damascus, Syria with a description of a new Middle East without Israel.

In response, as recounted in today's Jewish Daily Forward, the Obama Administration is pressuring Israel to refrain from military attacks against Iranian nuclear weapons development facilities, even while it has once again extended its deadline for implementing stronger economic sanctions against Iran.

One custom of Purim is to put on "Purimspiels," farcical plays. The feckless efforts of the Obama Administration to curb the Iranian nuclear program would be a fitting subject for a Purimspiel, except that the situation is too dire to be funny.

When Mordechai told Esther she must go to King Achashverosh and beg for her people's lives, she hesitated. The King had secluded himself in his inner court, and had not called her into his presence for 30 days. For anyone, even the Queen, to come before him in the inner court without having been summoned, "there is one law for him ... that he is put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter."

The Obama Administration would do well to heed Mordechai's response to Esther: "If you remain silent at this time, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from some other place, but you and your father's house will perish; and who knows whether if it was not for a time like this that you came to power?"

Happy Purim!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan on the Financing of Obamacare

Watching this clip will take you 6 minutes or so, but it will also tell you an awful lot about what is wrong with Obamacare:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ancient Fortress may be the Wall of Solomon's Jerusalem

Hard on the heels of the announcement of a 10th century BCE Hebrew inscription on a pottery shard found near Elah [see the Hedgehog post dated Jan. 11, 2010] comes another important discovery relevant to the accuracy of the Biblical narrative regarding the Kings David and Solomon. Israeli archeaologist Eilat Mazar announced today that recently excavated fortifications in Jerusalem date back 3000 years to the time of King Solomon. If she is correct, the the finding would indicate that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C. Consequently, like the Elah shard, this discovery would substantiate the accuracy of the Biblical narrative, and weaken the arguments of the revisionist archaeologists who posit that David's monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era.

The fortifications, including a monumental gatehouse and a 77-yard (70-meter) long section of an ancient wall, are located just outside the present-day walls of Jerusalem's Old City. Ms. Mazar appears in the photo above standing at the foot of the wall exposed by her dig. Additional photographs and a news account, as well as a video interview of Ms. Mazar regarding her discovery may be found at Israel National News here.

It will be interesting to see if the architectural features of the gate house resemble the six-chambered gates discovered in the 1950s and 1960s by Israeli archaeologist and general Yigael Yadin in Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer. Yadin theorized that the similarity of those three gates provided evidence of a strong central kingdom that had constructed fortifications in all three cities based on a standard design.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I know, I know--cold weather does not negate the possibility of climate change. But I also recall how the Global Warming Activists jumped at the opportunity to blame Hurricane Katrina on global warming. In fact, some--such as MNBC's Ed Schultz on The Ed Show--have even attributed this winter's storms to global warming, on the theory that climate change means more weather volatility. It's a wonderful position, because whatever the weather data, it can be offered as substantiation of global warming.

Still, all-in-all, it has been a bad month for global warming activists. First, the key claim in an influential report on climate change by the United Nations IPCC (co-winner with Al Gore of the Nobel Peace Prize)--that the Himalayan glaciers could vanish by 2035--was exposed to have been based purely on speculation and not supported by any scientific research data. Here is the news story from the UK's TimesOnline.

Then, on February 13, the BBC published an "e-mail interview" with Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has been at the center of the "Climategate" row over hacked e-mails. In the course of the interview, Mr. Jones conceded that the Northern Hemisphere may well have been warmer during the Medieval Warm Period of 1000 years ago, without a trace of industrially generated carbon dioxide. Moreover, he admits that there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995.

Why is the British press so much more aggressive than American mainstream media in questioning the climate change orthodoxy? Is it that they are less invested in the story? Or is it perhaps because of the welcome prospect of vineyards returning to England, as in medieval times?

(Hat tips to Al Levine for the photo and also Don Surber at the Daily Mail.)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ahmadinejad Says Iran Has Become Nuclear. Why Does the White House Express Doubt?

Today Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced that "the Iranian nation has become nuclear," with the production of its first highly enriched uranium. However, at the White House, Obama Administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs downplayed the significance of the announcement, stating "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching."

Is the White House dismissing the Iranian claim because it is indeed bogus, or is it because the Obama Administration wants to deflect criticism that its vaunted policy of engagement with the Iranian Islamist regime has proven completely bankrupt? While the Obama Administration has fiddled, setting and then repeatedly extending deadlines for implementation of sanctions, the mullahs have inexorably advanced their nuclear weapons development program. While Obama has equivocated regarding the Iranian dissidents, the mullahs have instituted ever greater repression, staging Stalin-like show trials and executing political opponents. Once again the Obama Administration attempts to wage diplomacy as a public relations exercise, with no substance, and therefore predictable results.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Courtesy of Arutz 7 Israel National Radio. Link to Quiz Part 1. Link to Quiz Part 2. Good Luck!
[HT: Doris Wise Montrose at Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.]

Monday, February 01, 2010

Study Shows Abstinence Education Delays Onset of Sexual Activity

The advocacy of abstinence in sex education is regularly pilloried as ineffective and unenlightened by the Left and mainstream media. (Yes, I know that "the Left and mainstream media" is a redundant phrase.) Now the Washington Post reports that the first carefully designed study to evaluate the controversy over abstinence education has shown that sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can convince a significant proportion to delay sexual activity. Watch for a furious attempt to discredit the study.