Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guide to living on the wrong side of the tracks

1. Internalize that you live on the wrong side of the tracks. Your side is undesirable. Otherwise, your life will just be a series of disappointments.

2. Never expect anything of anyone who lives on the right side of the tracks.
a) This way, when they cross the tracks, you are pleasantly surprised.
b) Otherwise, see above.

3. Except, secretly, your side is really better.

4. Ignore 1. But keep 2 in mind.

5. Decide that your side is really the right side.
a) Now everyone on the previously right side of the tracks is on the wrong side.
b) Even though they are living under the delusion that their side is the right side.

6. Internalize that you live on the right side of the tracks and be happy. But:

7. Never forget what it was like to be on wrong side of the tracks, and never be like the people on the right side of the tracks.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tea Party in the USA (a parody)

I don't affiliate with the Tea Party per se (though I understand its frustrations), but when a friend suggested a parody of Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA," it was too awesome to resist.

Here are the original lyrics, and here's the official music video (though if you're like me, you already know the song well enough to skip the music during sefira)

TEA PARTY IN THE USA

I hopped off the plane at DCA with my trusty Constitution

Welcome to the land of power excess (whoa), where do I begin?
Jumped in a cab, see the Capitol dome
And the place where Obama now calls home
This is all so crazy
Everybody here's so famous
My tummy's turnin' and I'm feelin' kinda stomach-sick
Too much power with the stupids
That's when the taxi man turned on the radio
And the CSPAN voice was on
And the CSPAN voice was on
And the CSPAN voice was on

So I put my hands up
Said you gotta stop
Takin too much power now
Doin' stuff that makes me mad
Sayin' stuff that makes me mad

And I got my hands up
What'll I do?
I know I'm gonna blow a fuse
But wait - Tea Party in the USA
But wait - Tea Party in the USA
Get to the Hill in my taxi cab, everybody's lookin' at me now
Like "who's that guy with the protest sign, he's gotta be from out of town"
So I march to Nancy and Harry
With Michele(s) egging on me
Cause all I see is bad policy
Forcin' healthcare in the country

My tummy's turnin' and I'm feelin' kinda stomach-sick
Too much power with the stupids
That's when Ron Paul turned on the megaphone
And the Tea Party was on
And the Tea Party was on
And the Tea Party was on


So I put my hands up

Chant "You gotta stop"
And the crowd chants with me now
Noddin' our heads like yeah
Shakin' our fists like yeah

And I got my hands up

We're mad as hell
And won't take it anymore
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA

Feel like puttin' up a fight (up a fight)

'Fore they trample all my rights (all my rights)
The taxing gets me every time (every time)
But I muster up the Tea Party and I feel alright!

So I put my hands up

Not your ATM
I'm holding my ground
Noddin' my head like yeah
Shakin' my fist like yeah

And I got my hands up

We the People
Remember us now?
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA

So I put my hands up

What's in your wallet?
That's my wallet, lay off now (lay off now)
Noddin' my head like yeah (noddin' my head like yeah)
Shakin' my fist like yeah (shakin' my fist like yeah)

And I got my hands up
They're playin' my tune
And I hope it's gonna be okay (it's gonna be okay)
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA!
Yeah, Tea Party in the USA!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Top-down Ashkenazi discrimination

Please explain this to me:

The leader of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community, Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv called for protest measures against the Supreme Court following its ruling in the matter of ethnic separation in the Beit Yaakov religious school in Emanuel.

In a meeting with Deputy Education Minister MK Meir Porush on Thursday, the rabbi said, "This is a dreadful ruling. This should prompt a great outcry."

The ultra-Orthodox public is furious with Judges Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Hanan Melcer, who fined the school and issued a contempt of court ruling against it and also subpoenaed the parents of Ashkenazi students who stopped sending their children to the school.

Here's some background on what the ruling involved:

Ministry of Education Director-General Shimshon Shoshani issued a closure order Sunday against a temporary institution used as a school for Ashkenazi girls who have refused to study together with Sephardi girls.

The Beit Yaacov school in the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel had separated Sephardi girls from 74 Ashkenazi girls, and the High Court ruled that the Sephardi girls should be incorporated in an equal fashion and without discrimination. However, parents of the Ashkenazi girls opposed the court's decision.

Basically - a Beit Yaakov school in Israel employed various means of separating the Sephardi and Ashkenazi students. The Israeli High Court ordered the school to remove the discriminatory practices, and Ashkenazi parents reacted by keeping their daughters at home rather than send them to school with - G-d forbid! - the Sephardic students. The Ashkenazi students gathered in a "school on the side" arrangement and avoided going to school, but the High Court found this out and issued a contempt of court ruling against the school for failing to compel the Ashkenazi students to attend school. Rav Elyashiv came out against the contempt of court ruling.

Why on earth would Rav Elyashiv oppose the court's ruling? I just don't get it. Here you have a clear case of a school and parents discriminating against students, and the head of the Ashkenazi movement says the court is wrong for acting? What?

This is symptomatic of leaders being unable to acknowledge that rank-and-file members of their groups are doing things wrong (see Church, Catholic, or Union, Orthodox). Okay, so this isn't sexual abuse, but why is it so difficult for a leader to stand up and make an unequivocal statement that certain practices are wrong and need to be stopped? Rav Elyashiv is the person who could most affect the opinions of the chareidi community towards Sephardim, and instead of coming out against discrimination he is enabling it. It saddens and disgusts me.