}

Newz Tidbitz

As another week comes to a close, we glean the news for timbits of interest. The most urgent story of the week comes from Reuters and The Jakarta Globe. The Chief of Police for Papua announced a policy that the police will reject applicants who have undergone penis enlargements. Certain Papuan tribe members in the Eastern island undergo procedures to lengthen their members (aka penises.) To me, it sounds like just a way to discriminate against those of Papuan tribal heritage. Can you imagine them issuing a policy against non-circumcised cadets to keep out non-Muslims (and non-Jews).

Sen. Levin sniffs finger as he grills Lloyd Blankfein

Speaking of dicks tribes, Washington DC was in the news this week as leaders of Goldman Sachs testified before a Senate committee thinking of new financial reform legislation. In a scene that reminded me of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg being scrutined by Judge Irving Kaufman… woooo… Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) lambasted Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and used some choice expletives,

Although the SEC has filed a civil case against Goldman Sach, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of NY (Manhattan) is said to be considering a criminal case against the firm or its players. Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment.

Speaking of Wall Street… this weekend, in addition to being Shabbat Emor, will witness another pilgrimage to see a high priest. It is Shabbat Berkshire Hathaway weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. Over 35,000 shareholders and stakeholders will attend Warren Buffet’s annual shareholders meeting. Many of the attendees will be Jewish. Although Omaha is known for its steaks, kosher food will be served at the Hilton Garden Inn. There is also time to visit Bethel synagogue in Omaha and their archeaology scholar in residence this weekend.

Mazel tov to Kerri Strug, former Olympic gymnast and medal winner, who was married last week, and had her wedding highlighted in The New York Times as its most socially prominent wedding. The nuptials were conducted by Rabbi Stephanie Aaron in Tucson AZ.

Speaking of Tucson, word is that a new study from Johns Hopkins has found that the ulpan method for ELLs (English Language Learners) in American primary schools works better or equal to bi-lingual education. Meaning, immersion in English outperforms bilingual education by the fourth grade.

And mazel tov to Ari Shapiro of National Public Radio, who flew on Air Force One and was granted the right by President Obama to ask the final question of the flight since it was his first time on the jet.

Speaking of jets and ulpans, did you see the graphic arts website which asked readers to convert famous world brand logos into Hebrew? Click here to see a display of the entries. To the left is Oded Ezer’s attempt to render The New York Times in stylized Hebrew letters.

From mazel tovs to embarrassments, the Village Voice, after a few years of absence, published its story on New York City’s worst landlords. Oy, you know it… the worst 10 was chock full of Jewish names, many of them prominent members of fervently religious Jewish communities. Of course, if NYC has a high concentration of Jewish residents, whether the assertion that the list of the worst 10 landlords is highly Jewish is statistically significant or not, I leave for the statisticians to determine. Michael Kaminer, writing in The Forward comments on the high concentration of Jewish names on the list.

Speaking of high concentrations, The American Jewish Committee held their gala in Washington DC, and their keynote speaker was U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. Clinton joked about living in Westchester near David Harris, the AJC head, and stated, “…we will continue to emphasize the responsibilities of Israelis and Palestinians, who must ultimately themselves negotiate a two-state solution. But there are also clear expectations of the Arab states. They have an interest in a stable and secure region. And they should take steps that show Israelis, Palestinians, and their own people that peace is possible and there will be tangible benefits if it is achieved.”

Earlier this week, Clinton and President Obama hosted entrepreneurs from MMC (Majority Muslim Countries) in Washington DC. The president called for more exchanges between Americans and businesspeople from MMC’s, vowing to engage in a “sustained effort” to reach out and listen to opinions from Muslim countries, particularly of young people. He said, “…Trade between the United States and Muslim majority countries is growing, but all this trade combined is only equal to our trade with …Mexico.” Speakers included Obama; Gary Locke, the US commerce secretary; Hillary Clinton; Arne Dunca, US education secretary; Jerry Yang, Yahoo! co-founder; Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank; and Arif Naqvi, head of Abraaj Capital, the largest private-equity firm in the Middle East. Clovis Maksoud, former Arab League ambassador to the UN, said Muslims and Arabs are receptive to Obama’s overtures, but as long as the Palestinian-Israeli issue remains unresolved, it will “hang on as a weight on possibilities.” Way to go, Clovis. No dessert reception for you.

Speaking of dessert, The Washington Post reported on that the Iraqi central government wants the US to return the archive of Jewish ritual objects and books that wer retrieved from the flooded basement of one of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters buildings. The materials were flown to Texas and freeze dried, and are now housed in College Park, MD. Iraq’s Deputy Culture Minister, Taher al-Humoud, wants the moldy items back. He met with officials of the US State Department yesterday. Dov S. Zakheim, a former Pentagon official in the Bush Administration, told The Washington Post that he is opposed to returning them to Iraq. He, as do other, feels that the rightful owners are the individual Iraqi Jewish families and institutions from which the objects were plundered.

Mahmud learns to eat bagels and say Oy.

… speaking of Muslims, a comedy scoring hit status in London and playing this week at NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival is, THE INFIDEL. The Infidel is written by David Baddiel, directed by Josh Appignanesi and stars Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff (from the West Wing). In the film, we meet Mahmoud, an average Londoner of Pakistani Muslim heritage. He works for a cab service, and maybe he doesn’t pray 5 times a day or fast every day of Ramadan, but in his heart, he is a good Muslim (though he wears the t-shirt of the soccer team not usually supported by Muslims in London, wink wink). When his mother passes away, Mahmoud learns that he was adopted, and his birth parents were very observant London Jews. The comedy equally makes fun of British Jews, American Jews, Brits, Muslims and Islamists, as Mahmoud, under a strict deadline tries to learn how to be Jewish.

And on the topic of Infidels, who says that government service doesn’t pay? Sources in DC report that Karl Rove, formerly of The White House is in contract to sell his suburban 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom brick house for $1.59 million. He purchased it 9 years ago for half that price. The listing is at WFP.com I wonder how much sage one would need to burn after the closing, and if the buyer is taking advantage of the home buyers federal credit which expires April 30?

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