Archive for September, 2007

The University of Socialism

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

I apologize in advance if this column bores many people to sleep. Although Tip O’Neill said that “all politics is local,” arguing about potholes is not as exciting as the War on Terror. However, to get to our destinations in life, those potholes occasionally develop accidental relevance.

I received a letter in the mail the other day from the American Jewish University, formerly known as the University of Judaism. Although I graduated from the UJ in only four years, it took me about a decade to get my diploma, since they sent it around the country rather than around the block where I had my actual physical address.

This was the first time in 17 years that I had received a piece of mail from the UJ (now AJU), and it was a letter announcing that the AJU Alumni Association actually existed. More importantly, it actually was going to do things.

The head of the steering committee, a Brian David Goldberg, attended the college with me. He was as political as I was, and I figured one day he would be a senator, or perhaps the head of a powerful congressional committee. He is now the chairman of the college alumni association steering committee. In all fairness, it is tough to plan life at age 18. I knew what I wanted in life, and went out and got it, but not everybody does. Sometimes that can be a blessing.

This guy and I were not best buddies by a long shot, but the guy I knew was tenacious, hard nosed, and ambitious. He seems determined to turn the AJUAA from the joke it is into an actual real organization.

I bring this to the world because the UJ I attended was a classic example of how to not thrive as an organization. They have a very competent President in Robert Wexler (not the democratic congressman from Florida) and an equally capable head of the business department in Mark Bookman. Unfortunately, those two men are overrun by a business model that simply does not work. Like many Jewish institutions, it is liberal, aka socialistic. My memories of Brian Goldberg are that he has a capitalist streak in him. If he does, his venture to turn around the AJUAA may succeed. If he goes about it as a typical Jewish nonprofit, he will fail. Here is my letter to him.


It seems like only yesterday you and I were throwing punches at each other in class…warm fuzzy memories indeed. Ok, enough reminiscing. Let’s get down to brass tacks. It isn’t your fault that it took 13 years to get an alumni letter to an alumni living a few blocks away, but you have a big task ahead of you. I have created successful ventures from scratch, and you are basically trying to start something out of nothing.

I have always said that the UJ was academically outstanding, socially limiting, and philosophically bankrupt. The education was fine, and comparable to any accredited institution. The problem is that if the UJ had an actual mission statement, I never knew what it was. I donate to Chabad and to Hillel because I can figure out what their actual purpose is, and that they actually have a battle plan to implement it.

Is the purpose of the AJUAA to organize social functions? I am sure you are not dedicating time for sock hops and ice cream socials. So let’s assume that the entire reason this organization is rising from the grave is to make money. If the reasons are not financial, then it is a complete and utter waste and should be taken out back ‘Old Yeller Style.’

The University’s business plan has always been to hope that rich Jewish people die and leave a donation. This allowed the UJ to survive, but not thrive. It was losing money every year, and every attempt to get rid of dead weight in the budget failed because of sentimental attachments to various individuals that refused to exit the stage gracefully. Former Chairman Jack Ostrow (rest his soul) once said, ‘It’s better to have people question why you are leaving than when you are leaving.’

I bring this up because of the sentence in your letter that states, ‘The administration has decided that the Alumni Association is going to be decentralized.’ To me this reads, and please correct me if I am wrong, that the administration is saying, ‘Screw yourself, you’re on your own, we do not have the time or resources to back a losing venture that has never amounted to anything.’ Is anybody advocating that the University back the AJUAA to the hilt to give it a fighting chance? If you can make this thing succeed it will be impressive, but I wish it had more support.

Anybody can armchair quarterback, so here are some suggestions.

First of all, having steering committee meetings at 7:30am is fabulous if the goal is to limit turnout, which is ideal for National Security Council meetings. People work during the day, which makes evening meetings a more sensible option. I would avoid Monday nights during football season, but that is my personal bias…no matter. Anyway, those issues are cosmetic. The serious issues are financial.

Does the AJU have an annual fund? I received my MBA from USC, and frequently receive calls from their annual fund. Heck, the UCLA annual fund calls me, and I took one extension class there back in 1994! Setting up an internship program where college students get college credit for cold-calling alumni and other individuals could work. Work study programs put UJ students in the library and the computer center. Put them on a telephone and have them dial for dollars. For the students there on scholarships, it is the very least they can do.

Next, if you have a budget greater than zero, hire an administrative assistant. Secretaries are worth their wait in gold, and most high flying executives would be lost without their secretaries. It is impossible to focus on making money when bogged down in paperwork. Every lost phone message is lost revenue.

Next, train the people to understand that all money is good. Be apolitical at all costs. The UJ was always to the left of Leon Trotsky ideologically. It is one thing to have socialists running the political science department. It is another to have them anywhere near anything involving money. I called up a few years ago to get copies of my college transcripts. The registrar Jill L. (very pleasant woman) no longer worked there. When I jokingly explained to her replacement that I wished my grades were better, she replied, ‘Well President Bush is an idiot with low grades, and he did fine.’

Are you kidding me? I explained to her that in a very divided country, to bring up politics with a total stranger on the telephone was not only inappropriate, it was bad for business. On more than one occasion, the University of Socialism has held up a ‘republicans need not apply’ sign. Some of the biggest contributors to Jewish institutions are people who love Israel, and many of them are Israelis, Persian Jews, and evangelical Christians. Many of these people are republicans. The AJU might as well just take hundred dollar bills out and burn them.

Oh, wait a sec, we already did that. Michael Milken offered the UJ 6 million dollars, and we turned it down. Last time I checked, he was not a drug lord or a mad dog killer. He was simply a brilliant businessman who made his money in the 1980s. Profits are not the same as greed, and the Milken High School across the street is thriving thanks to him.

UJ students know who Noam Chomsky and Che Guevara are, but they don’t know who Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol or John Podhoretz are. They are Jewish intellectuals. Dianne Feinstein and Gray Davis were invited to the university. What about Bruce Herschenson, Norm Coleman, Eric Cantor and other powerful respected individuals who would be thrilled with an invitation? How about Dr. Thomas Sowell, who could teach economics better than anyone on Earth now that Milton Friedman is gone?

I talk to UJ students currently attending from time to time, and the UJ seems cut off from anybody that is politically to the right of Barbara Boxer. This is bad for business.

Brian, you may think this is irrelevant to what you are trying to do, but think about it. If the parent company has a track record of failure (failure is a harsh word, but it has not reached its potential by a long shot), then the subsidiary will most likely fail.

You need to rapidly find alumni who are going to get in front of students and give them lessons they simply will not learn in the classroom. Here are some quick lessons.

There are no ugly billionaires. There is nothing noble or romantic about being poor and struggling. Rich people give more to charity than poor people because they can. The secret to life is to find rich and powerful people and get them to like you. Rich and important people never get tired of hearing how rich and important they are. If I thought it would help me get to the top, I would find these people and kiss their hides in Macy’s window. I would pull at their trousers and ask them where they want to be kissed. I didn’t do it because I liked it. I did it because it worked. Promote yourself shamelessly and relentlessly. Nobody achieved wealth and power by being too shy to tell the world how fabulous they were. Don’t become schoolteachers or social workers under any circumstances unless you love financial mediocrity. Become investment bankers, stockbrokers, and lawyers. Not legal aid lawyers mind you, but corporate hired guns willing to defend tobacco, gun, and food and beverage companies.

Also, and this may seem trivial, but either have a Halloween dance or don’t, but having a ‘Hal Levine’ dance is what I mean by being philosophically bankrupt. When I look in the mirror, I know exactly who and what I am, and the AJU must do the same.

The Golden Rule is that he who has the gold makes the rules. I did not make these rules up, but again, they work.

I know you know all this, but it genuinely bothers me that USC could track me down on business in Singapore (to ask for money of course) while the UJ takes 15 years to build a rec center because the left hand doesn’t know what the far left hand is doing.

You have a big task ahead of you. Many of the students who graduated from the UJ have feelings towards the institution ranging from outright contempt to complete neutral detachment. I personally want your venture to succeed because a stronger alumni network puts more money in my pocket.

Lastly, anybody can offer criticism and suggestions without offering help. I don’t open my checkbook to losing venture, and like any VC guy, I want to see a solid business plan and a track record of success. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.

I am willing to help in the form of free advertising. I frequently promote and when they need my help. My blog is currently the # 4 political blog in Los Angeles (check for verification), and I only started this 6 months ago. Send me a link to the AJUAA site, assuming one even exists, and I will add it to my site. If anybody who is a UJ alum wants me to promote something important to them, I am happy to do it provided it is not politically left wing. Let them screw up society without my help.

I back winners. Create one, and I will back you.

If you are wondering how I could have the time to write this lengthy letter, it is simple. This is my column for the day. The Tygrrrr Express can be found at and supported at

I am never going to be warm and fuzzy, but I am pretty d@mn effective. So either use me as a resource or don’t. Either way, good luck. You’ll need it, and it is deserved.

I wish AJU and AJUAA a peaceful Yom Kippur and a productive year.


I will leave my readers with the wisdom of two brilliant people. The first is my late grandfather, who was an Orthodox Rabbi and a businessman. He told me once that he wanted me to be successful by following in his footsteps. I told him that I did not wish to be a Rabbi. He replied, “I don’t want you to be a Rabbi. I want you to be a businessman. Never send a Rabbi to do a businessman’s job.”

The other person who helped me along was a man named Norman Lee. Before the incredibly long “College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Judaism,” existed, the undergraduate program was simply Lee College. Norman Lee gave me a merit scholarship. Boy did he understand merit. He told me, “Never be ashamed of making money. As long as you live life the right way, and you live an honest, ethical life, and you make sure to give back, make as much money as possible so you can help more people. People say wealth will not make you happy, but it absolutely can contribute to a blissfully happy life.”

Then he smiled, and in his aristocratic British accent, with his wife Sadie by his side, said one thing I will never forget.

“Eric…I’m rich…and I’m happy!”

Lord I miss that man. I hope the University of Socialism lets me spread his message to every student that passes through those doors, along with a lecture in Reaganomics.


John Kerry & the other taser incident

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

What is it with John Kerry and taser incidents? For the second time in two days, there was a discussion involving tasers, with John Kerry being too oblivious to notice.

I will spend little time discussing the famous taser incident, since Criminy Jicket summed it up perfectly. For more in depth coverage, Michelle Malkin is on top of it.

The gist of the incident is that a maggot infested type creature started screaming at John Kerry for having the nerve to allow President Bush to continue governing even though Mr. Bush won the election.

This screaming bag of filth acted in a manner similar to other Americans who have been institutionalized for similar fits of rage. The police subdued him, he played “truth or dare,” with them, and they accepted his dare to be tasered.

I am no supporter of Smarty Jones (Kerry), but as a conservative tired of seeing conservative speakers shouted down, I must support Kerry’s right to bore people to death unimpeded. What if this fellow had a gun? Had Senator Kerry (God forbid) been shot, the police would have been criticized for reacting too slowly. If the police officers were republicans, the Jayson Blair Times would have run a front page story about a deliberate plot to let him die. Instead, the police did their jobs, and subdued a lunatic. The rager against the machine was disturbing the peace, and could have instigated a riot.

The only thing Kerry seems guilty of is ignoring the entire episode around him. Fine, so John Kerry is a liberal gasbag who is self absorbed. In this case he was right to ignore the fellow in the same way that television cameras now refuse to show sports fans who run onto the field naked. Kerry may have come across as shallow, which he is, but at least Kerry inadvertently ignored a publicity hound worthy of ignoring. I would have either deliberately ignored him or organized cheerleaders to taser him again. Heck, I could have done my best George W. Bush impersonation (college version) and branded the guy on his hide myself.

However, there was a second incident that Kerry and the mainstream media ignored that was far more serious. Past and present members of the National Football League were testifying before congress, and the issues could have been brought by any Americans.

I know, a good part of my life revolves around the NFL, but this was not about wins and losses. It was about human beings trying to survive.

The NFL is being sued by former players who claim that the NFL pension system does not take care of former players. Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association Rep Gene Upshaw were testifying about the pension system, but the real heartbreaking testimony was by former players.

The NFL is now a multi billion dollar industry, but this was not always the case. In the 1960s, heroes such as Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry had to sell insurance in the offseason to survive.

Football is a violent, brutal game, and while the players play voluntarily, they deserve the same right to a decent pension as a coal miner, a schoolteacher or anybody else since that pension is promised.

Garrett Webster is the son of former Pro Bowl Center Mike Webster. Mike Webster played for the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty in the 1970s. He retired from the game, but was not able to live a normal life due to severe injuries. He could not walk or move. This brings us to the taser. Garrett Webster would have to taser his father just to be able to help him move, so that his father could get up and use the restroom. Sometimes he could not make the trip, and would live like an animal, the trip to the restroom being too painful on his once proud Superbowl and Pro Bowl body.

Again, It took a taser to help this man move. So how does this relate to John Kerry? While North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan was asking tough but fair questions at the senate hearing, John Kerry was sitting in the hearing talking on his cell phone. His cell phone? Are you kidding me? No, I am not. He then got up and walked out of the hearing in the middle of the most crucial part of the testimony.

Yes, this condescending, self absorbed man whose only talent seems to be marrying wealthy women really cares about the working man. He cares so much that he leaves senate hearings in the middle of a man talking about his dying father’s pain and inability to be given his pension. Again, do not confuse all football players with millionaires. The NFL did not explode from a salary standpoint until the 1990s. Many players from the 1930s through the 1970s are starving, often selling their possessions to survive.

How can a senator who claims to care about unions and working men ignore men like Garrett Webster? John Kerry apparently was too busy to hear Hall of Famer Mike Ditka stating, “Don’t make grown men beg. We have dignity.”

I want to make it clear that I am not taking sides in this pension dispute. I do not have all the facts. All I know is that many Americans, especially those on the left, complain that the rich get richer while good people go hungry and homeless. Rock star Bret Michaels of Poison in his song “Something to Believe In,” sings, “It just makes me wonder, why so many lose and so few win…give me something to believe in.” Where are the hordes of people protesting that some football players make millions while the players who built the modern NFL have to beg for their pensions?

Again, I personally am not taking sides, but why are unions so unwilling to represent those that are not in sympathetic lines of work? Why are men like John Kerry so willing to speak about how important helping those in need is, yet so unwilling to follow through in terms of at least listening to these very people?

The answer is simple. It is never about doing right with these limousine and lear jet (thank you Sean Hannity) liberals. It is about preening for the cameras. It is about making speeches. It is about Hollywood actors sleeping outside to feel like a homeless person rather than inviting one into their mansion. It is about presidential candidates talking about poverty while building 30,000 square foot homes, while owning businesses that evict poorer neighbors from their homes. It is about Hillary Clinton decrying the politics of personal destruction while refusing to condemn human filth like that traffics in smearing honorable soldiers.

I can understand why John Kerry would turn a blind eye to some young savage baboon ranting and raving to get 15 minutes of fame. I cannot understand how John Kerry can show complete indifference to congressional testimony that affects human lives. The next time he compliments the Green Bay Packers at “Lambert (it’s actually Lambeau) Field,” it will not seem so funny.

I hope that Good men like Roger Goodell and Gene Upshaw can figure out a way to preserve the integrity of their pension system. They have every right to be concerned about abuse of the system by fraudulent claims. Players who took illegal drugs, or suffered injuries unrelated to football, are not entitled to aspects of the pension (unless the drug use or reckless behavior was sanctioned by the teams, as opposed to off field unrelated behavior). However, the NFL does not consist of millions of people. It is a few thousand at most. Separating the legitimate cases that require financial assistance from the fraudulent cases is a serious matter.

Making sure that elderly crippled men that cannot walk, feed, clothe or bathe themselves receive honorable treatment from their employer that they fought, bled, and scored touchdowns for is a serious matter.

Making sure that a man does not have to be tasered to be able to tell that he is still alive is a serious matter.

It is so serious that the (dis) honorable senator from Massachusetts might wish to stop talking about caring and start actually caring by sitting down, being quiet for once in his windsurfing and windbagging life, and just listening.


My Interview With Jackie Mason

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I had the pleasure recently of getting to know Jackie Mason through his trusty associate and technological genius Steve Sabaugh. Although I sent the questions by email as I always do, Jackie responded to me digitally. I was going to transcribe the video and turn it into a written format, but he has such an enjoyable presence that I decided to leave it as is. Also, transcribing is tedious work, I don’t have a secretary, and a lawsuit against Jackie for carpal tunnel syndrome was not a sure thing, even if I went before a left wing judge.

On 9/11 I met Jackie Mason for coffee. The interview had already been completed, so this was more of an informal get together. Jackie, Steve and I (in addition to a friend of Jackie’s who joined us) sat around talking about anything and everything, from politics to women to donuts. It was heartening to see that many Jewish republicans in the same room. Jackie and Steve have a relationship that is a comedy routine itself. They argue back and forth, but when all is said in done, beneath the jibes (there were plenty), there is a healthy degree of respect and admiration.

Jackie even spoke to my father on my cell phone for a few minutes. I called up my dad and asked, “Dad, have you got a sec?” He said he did, so I told him, “I have a friend who wants to say hello to you.” When Jackie asked what my dad did professionally, my dad stated that he was retired. Jackie didn’t miss a beat, challenging my dad. “You’re retired and your son needs to ask if you have a sec? Of course you have a sec. You don’t do anything.” I got nervous when Jackie and my dad commiserated that I was still single, but thank the heavens neither of them brought up my slightly longer than nice Jewish boy standards hair.

Although it is occasionally tough to hear the questions, Jackie repeats them in his answers, which is helpful. Jackie is also not shy about letting me know when my questions are not up to snuff. I was not expecting as the interviewer to be a target of some of his jokes, but I have to admit, he is as quick as he is funny. He is also very deep on certain issues as well. 

For those of you who have trouble with the link, stop being lazy and just cut and paste the thing. If I am forced to transcribe it, I will put in subliminal messages asking you all to elect me President for Life…actually, not a bad idea.

To say that Jackie Mason and his sidekick Steve were generous with their time would be an understatement. For further updates about the world that is Jackie Mason, including his upcoming comedy show in March, go to

Despite his unwillingness to do Caddyshack 3, he remains the Ultimate Jew, a good republican, and one of the all time great comedians. In addition, his family and my family are both proud of him and expect more big things from him.



To, with luv, Osama

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I was disturbed to accidentally come across this letter from Osama Bin Laden to


Cc: Daily Kos, Huffington Post


As you may have noticed, it has been a rough few years for me. Living in a war zone without the rule of law…it’s worse than Detroit, although I hear the Lions are doing better.

Anyway, I am deeply concerned that your organization is making some of the same mistakes I did, and I want to warn you not to overreach.

Things started out great for me. I was a hero, and after a brief period of unity in the USA, your organization took the lead in blaming President Bush for 9/11. I was thrilled that somebody had the courage to speak the truth.

We were doing well in Al Queda, and killing westerners and Jews and other infidels made me more popular than my favorite Seinfeld character, the Soup Nazi. Then I made a mistake. I overreached. I ordered my supporters to start killing other Muslims, including Sunni Muslims. This tactic has backfired. Now I have 90% of the people in the Islamic world against me. Some of them even hate me more than Jews, although at first those people were just stoners. I have lower poll ratings than Nancy Pelosi, who may I say, looks sexy in a burka, and would make an excellent 24th wife. I was going to buy her the Jayson Blair Times as a Ramadan present.

Anyway, back to my point. Your organization has gone too far. It was one thing when you attacked George W. Bush. Blaming him and all republicans is a successful strategy. Heck, you even managed to throw in some antisemitism in your rallies, which warmed my heart. The Neocons are Jews, and they control the world after all. Yet you went too far. You started attacking moderate democrats such as Joe Lieberman. Then you went after liberals, even attacking Hillary Clinton.

I must commend you on your bravery, since I must confess she does scare me. However, your not being afraid of her shows what courage you have. Unfortunately, the American people are confusing your bravery with lunacy, and if you do not tone down your rhetoric, you will be seen as wack jobs.

You really messed up when you called General David Petraeus “General Betray Us.” Don’t get me wrong, your linguistic skills are on par with one of my heroes, Noam Chomsky. Also, I hate David Petraeus as much as you do. He is trying to kill me. Yes, I am safely in Afghanistan and he is in Iraq, but he is killing all of my men. I can’t wage jihad all by myself. The bottom line is any man that can lead a successful counterinsurgency is not going to be afraid of a few blubberers in congress. I used to call them bloviators, but when I found out Bill O’Reilly liked that word, I banned it from being spoken by any of my men since I hate him as much as he hates me, and as much as you hate him as well.

You need to be more stealth in your attacks. It took us years to convince Bush and the Jews to plan 9/11. It was difficult. Yet we are losing the war against America because we are getting killed on the public relations front, despite a brief military victory on 9/11.

Your problem is public relations. You need to be more friendly. Be less strident. Smile more. You can be seething with irrational rage inside towards anybody and everybody, but put on a moderate face. Hillary Clinton does it every day. Learn from her. Attacking your fellow comrades in arms who despise republicans as much as you do is counterproductive. Trust me on this one, I know.

I am getting up there in years, and waging war has left me physically and mentally drained. I could use a good health care system, which rumor has it your organization cares about. Yet when I turn on my black and white television (you try getting cable in this part of the world), all I hear you guys do is yell and scream. Again, learn from my mistakes. Come across as reasonable. Persuade Americans that you are normal.

We have similar goals, which is to bring about the destruction of America as a religious nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. True, I would prefer a Caliphate, but my buddy Saddam ran an atheistic Marxist state, and he was doing fine until he was caught and hanged. We can quibble over the details later. Right now we need to stop America from infiltrating the world. Did you know that Islam forbids gambling, illicit sex, and drinking alcohol? Your decadent nation corrupted the Saudi hijackers that killed your people. The night before they killed all those Americans, they were in the casinos, getting drunk and playing with hookers. This is tragic.

You need to focus your attention on trying to destroy republicans, and George W. Bush in particular. Otherwise, he will spend less time battling with you and more time looking for me. I can’t even take time out for a romantic encounter with any of my 23 wives or 165 goats without worrying that some jingoistic American soldiers will come and shove an American flag up my rumpus.

Anyway, I need to get back to my cave. Also, can you have some of your top fundraisers such as this Hsu fellow send me some money? My credit cards are not working. I think I keep getting my pin number wrong.

Anyway, good luck in what you are doing. You have my support emotionally.

With Luv,


P.S. Call me Sammy. If I can call you Betty you can call me Al. I do love Paul Simon. Also, where does a guy get some of those bow ties? Please check Ebay for me. Oh, and death to the infidels in America, that being the Jews, Christians and republicans.”

Man, that guy is more frightening than Howard Dean…even if he does scream less.


NFL 2007–Week 2 Recap

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

My plane from New York landed me back in Los Angeles at 11:45am PST. It is for these reasons I live not terribly far from the airport. I made it home in time to watch the 4th quarter of the early games, and catch the Raider-Bronco debacle in its painful entirety.

Silver and Black sobbing aside, here is the week 2 NFL recap.

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants–Yes, the Giants are injury wracked, but can football fans everywhere stop writing Brett Favre’s epitaph? Three more touchdown passes place him on the cusp of the touchdown record. The Packers are 2-0, and # 4 apparently has some gas left in the tank. He is the all time wins leader as well. 35-13 Packers

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers–It is too early to tell if the Steelers are that good or the Bills are that bad. Perhaps a bit of both. Although the final score was lopsided, this was a typical grind it out win. The Steelers managed only four field goals in the first half, but a methodical offense and a stifling defense led to the game being broken open when the Steelers eventually cracked the end zone. 26-3 Steelers

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans–The Titans have a lot of heart, and Jeff Fisher is a major part of that. Adam Vinatieri made three of four field goals, as the Colts survived a late game rally by the skin of their hooves. 22-20 Colts

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers–This might be the shocker of the day, especially for a certain columnist that had the Panthers contending for the Super Bowl. The Texans are 2-0 for the first time, and the game was not as close as the score indicated. With the Texans up 24-14, a fumbled kickoff return by Carolina went the other way to salt away the game. 34-21 Texans

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams–The 49ers might be the worst 2-0 team in a long time. Their fans are on the verge of being insufferable. This is not the 1980s. The 49ers survived two games against two bad teams, although Marc Bulger did pass for 368 yards. The 49ers were outgained by almost 2-1. A 56 yard field goal attempt by the Rams could not make it past the crossbar. Frank Gore ran well, and the 49ers are 2-0 for the first time in almost a decade. 17-16 49ers

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns–This was one of the most wild and woolly games ever played. Three years ago the Bengals defeated the Browns 58-48, with a defensive touchdown capping off an offensive deluge. Bottom line, this game was another thriller. Carson Palmer had six…yes six…touchdown passes…and lost! Browns quarterback Derek Anderson had five touchdown passes. The teams combined for almost 100 yards of offense. Chad Johnson had 209 receiving yards. The Browns almost gave the game away by failing to put the final nail in the coffin. Leading 48-38, and 1 yard away from a 17 point lead, the Browns had to settle for a field goal and a 13 point lead. Carson Palmer’s last furious rally was snuffed out on a diving interception with 21 seconds remaining. Again, defensive plays made the difference in a game with very little defense. This might end up as the game of the year after the season ends. 51-45 Browns

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers–I have been saying for months that despite getting to the NFC title game, the Saints were only 10-6 last year. They are not that special. Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway put on solid performances as the Buccaneers built a 28-0 lead and cruised to a relatively easy win. The Saints are 0-2, and this should not be that surprising. 31-14 Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars–This was Jack Del Rio football. A virtually non-existent offense combined with a jack hammer defense did just enough. As I said last week, while the league can survive without Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons should look forward to 2008. 13-7 Jaguars

Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins–The Dallas Cowboys are a very talented team. It will be interesting to see how they deal with adversity, but right now there is none. Tony Romo made some throws that would have made Houdini proud, and Terrell Owens has never been a question mark in terms of talent and ability. 37-20 Cowboys

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions–Neither team wanted to win this ugly effort. Both kickers missed field goals late in the game. The Vikings had the ball in overtime, which allowed them to give the game away before Detroit had a chance to do so. They fumbled deep in their own territory, Detroit recovered, and normally reliable kicker Jason Hanson atoned for his earlier miss. 20-17 Lions in overtime

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals–The Walrus, aka Mike Holmgren, saw his team’s destined path to a fourth straight NFC Worst crown temporarily derailed today. Yes, teams play down to the level of their competition, and no it isn’t fair to judge the 2007 Cardinals based on 125 years of futility. The difference between good and bad teams is often miniscule. 2006 could have been different had Pro Bowl Kicker Neil Rackers defeated the Bears. 2007 could be different. Seattle fumbled late in the game deep in their own territory, and Rackers nailed a 42 yarder at the gun. 23-20 Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears–Devon Hester has only played 21 NFL games, and he has eight return touchdowns. Put him in the hall of fame. He broke another return today, although the Bears will continue to be seen by this column as overrated when their prime offense is special teams. The defense of the Bears remains phenomenal, and yes, they did get to the Superbowl with very little offense, but Kansas City is not a good team. The defense could not do it all last week, and they need help from the offense. 20-10 Bears

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens–Maybe the Jets were not having their plays stolen. Maybe they are just predictable. A late Jets rally fell short when future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis was intercepted in the end zone. The Ravens are winning ugly, with solid defense and little offense. That is pretty much the Raven way. 20-13 Ravens
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos–For more information on the game of the day, go to

The Raiders won this game, although it will never be reflected in the record books. I truly believe the team is cursed. Not since Marcus Allen went to the Chiefs have the Raiders suffered as many painful losses as they have since Mike Shanahan took over the Denver head coaching job. Am I the only guy tired of hearing him basically say that Al Davis is worse than Al Queda?

The Raiders have a horrible offense. The defense is fine, but they get gassed late in games because they have no support from the other side. Forget a good offense. Even an adequate offense would be enough to have won this and many games. The Raiders fell behind 17-3, and Josh McCown did throw one touchdown pass to Jerry Porter to cut the gap to 17-10. However, the defense added a safety, and an interception return for a touchdown. A two point conversion put the Raiders up 20-17 in the fourth quarter.

Shane Lechler’s punting was magnificent, but the Broncos went on a late game drive, although the defense stiffened inside the five yard line. The Broncos tied the game at 20 apiece, and the Raiders had over two minutes and all three timeouts.

At this point I have to scream at the top of my lungs that Dante Culpepper is a much better quarterback than Josh McCown. Yes, McCown had one nice 21 yard run, but he passed for only 75 yards, and three interceptions. I watched preseason, and am in shock that Culpepper is not starting. McCown ran a terrible two minute drill, wasting an opportunity. In overtime, another Raider game was marred with controversy.

From the Immaculate Reception to the Tuck Rule to the touchback that was called a safety, I truly think the referees also blame Al Davis for 9/11. Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 52 yard field goal to win the game, and as the players were walking off the field, the kick was disallowed because Mike Shanahan had called timeout before the kick. Bill Cowher tried calling a timeout at the last possible second against the Titans in a playoff game, and it did not work, costing the Steelers the game. I hate being the type of guy to blame the refs, but at some point when the other team is walking off the field acknowledging defeat, a hard fought victory should be the end of it.

A second field goal attempt by Seabass hit the upright. Denver converted a 3rd and 11, and the Raider defense finally broke after an entire day without any help. What separates 8-8 teams from 2-14 teams are games like this. Denver is a wretched 2-0 team, but there are no moral victories. A 159 yard running day by Lamont Jordan was wasted. The Raiders can beat the Browns at home in Week 3, and if they fail to do so, may go 0-16. The Raiders won this game 23-20, but the history books will say otherwise. Mike Shanahan will announce that God (him) defeated Satan (Davis), but his smugness notwithstanding, the Raiders had every chance under the sun to win. The Raiders must immediately start Culpepper. 23-20 Broncos in overtime

The Sunday night game featured the San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots–I have said more than once that even Norv Turner needs two years to destroy a 14-2 team. He is off to a good start. Yes, the Patriots are a great team, but the Chargers should have had the revenge factor going for them. The Patriots had a chip on their shoulder as well, chafing at the idea that there entire run of success was tarnished. They rallied around the dishwater, aka Bill Bellichick, and raced to a 24-0 halftime lead. The teams traded touchdowns in the second half, as the Patriots thrashed the Chargers. Offensive guru Norv Turner has a team that has scored 14 points in each of its first two games. That will defeat a team with no offense such as the Bears, but the Patriots as good as ever. Oh yeah, and Randy Moss is pretty good.  38-14 Patriots

The Monday Night game had the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles. I am not sure if Andy Reid is truly letting the outside pressures involving his sons affect his coaching, but if it did I would have zero criticism for him. He seems to be on top of things, and he can’t make the players make the plays when it counts. Field goals aren’t going to cut it. Joe Gibbs had to have been pleased with the running of Clinton Portis. A late Eagle rally died in the red zone, but time will tell if this 0-2 start is a temporary inconvenience as it was in 2003, or if the Eagles are in real trouble. 20-12 Redskins   


Successful Socialism

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

For those who do not know, I have always preached that socialism is a colossal failure, and that capitalism is a spectacular glorious success. Capitalism creates and spreads wealth, and socialism creates and spreads misery.

The pilgrims experimented with socialism in the 1600s. It failed. They then tried capitalism, and lo and behold, it worked. This has been the case with both philosophies in the ensuing 400 years.

Yet I am forced to admit by the overwhelming evidence in front of me that there is one aspect of society where socialism has succeeded. The National Football League is a socialist model, and it works.

Former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens Owner Art Modell once remarked that the NFL Owners were “32 republicans who vote socialist.” He also ruefully remarked that, “The President can bomb a nation with a simple bare majority, but NFL Owners need a 3/4 majority to go to the john.”

One does not need to understand anything about football itself to understand the NFL business model.

First of all, the league has a unique revenue sharing arrangement. Revenues from the ticket sales to the games are split equally between all 32 teams. Additionally, the NFL makes most of its money not from people attending the games, but from television. The NFL has a multibillion dollar television contract, and that is also split equally between all 32 teams.

The ramifications of this revenue sharing is that small market franchises such as the Green Bay Packers can compete with large market franchises such as the New York Giants.

There are some chinks developing in this model, but they are being dealt with. Revenue from luxury boxes is not shared equally, but in due time every franchise will have luxury boxes, nullifying that advantage. Also, some franchises, such as the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, have owners who own not only their teams, but the stadiums those teams play in. This is critical with regards to advertising revenue. If the NFL has an official contract making Coca Cola the official league beverage, no team can promote Pepsi. However, while Jerry Jones as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys cannot promote Pepsi, Jerry Jones as the owner of Texas Stadium can.

However, even if some owners make more than others, the NFL has one other element of socialism that works…a hard salary cap. Each team is allowed to spend the exact same amount on players. There is a minimum that must be spent, since some owners would prefer to field losing teams in order to line their pockets. The minimum forces them to try and compete. The maximum forces teams to make hard choices. Individual players can still earn astronomical salaries, but at the expense of their teammates. The term “capanomics” refers to teams that try to temporarily circumvent the cap using creative accounting methods, but when that credit card bill comes due, teams have a fire sale known as “salary cap hell.”

Major League Baseball is raw capitalism. Several years ago, the New York Yankees had a player payroll of 200 million dollars. The Montreal Expos had a player payroll of 9 million dollars. You read that correctly. Why should someone play for one million for the Expos when the Yankees would pay 20 million? The result is that the Yankees are perennial contenders for a championship, and the Expos now cease to exist.

The main issue then becomes why this is all relevant. How can one endorse capitalism in business yet endorse socialism in professional sports? Isn’t this hypocritical?

No it is not. The ultimate goal is successful ventures. One cannot have liberty and equality. They are in direct conflict. In American society, especially in business, liberty is the key. The profit motive is a powerful incentive. People do not want to work harder unless they believe they will be rewarded more for that hard work. If I can get the same pay as my neighbor for doing less work, perhaps personal pride or ego would allow me to work hard. However, if I choose the lazy route, my neighbor has no recourse.

In professional sports, equality is the key to success. Some mistake the NFL for being obsessed with parity, aka mediocrity. However, the correct phrase is not parity. It is competitive balance. Parity would mean having each team finish around 8-8. This is the type of socialism that destroys most societies. Competitive balance is what brings the phrase “any given Sunday” into the American lexicon. An 0-6 team can go on the road and defeat a 6-0 team. Every week in the NFL something like this happens. The 1998 Rams went 4-12. The 1999 Rams won the Superbowl. The irregular becomes the regular in the NFL. Mismatches on paper become shocking upsets, as ESPN uberannouncer Chris Berman reminds us that, “That’s why they play the games.”

So why can’t the rest of the world take socialism and make it work the way the NFL has?

The answer is that the world does not have an undisputed governing body to enforce regulations and punish cheaters. It is why the Kyoto treaty went down in flames. It is why the European Union, filled with socialist nations, is failing. The stronger nations do not want to be dragged down by the weaker nations. One can argue that the stronger nations could lift up the weaker nations, but if even socialist countries do not believe this will work, what does that say about socialism itself?

The NFL has two powerful elements. The first is labor peace. The unions and management work together on many issues. There has not been a work stoppage in two decades. Gene Upshaw, the head of the NFL Players Association, often testifies side by side with the NFL Commissioner on league matters. They socialize together. Brinksmanship is rare, and getting a deal done to ensure labor peace is paramount. It helps that the revenue sharing agreement forces owners to be united. Contrast this with baseball where the owners have incentives to cheat each other, so they do. Negotiations between the players and owners makes Fallujah look like a walk in the park.

The second element of the NFL is a strong commissioner. For the last four decades, from Pete Rozell to Paul Tagliabue to Roger Goodell, the NFL has had a commissioner whose word was and is law. Any player or owner that breaks the rules is punished, often severely. Michael Vick was one of the greatest players in the league. He broke the rules, and was suspended from the game. Bill Bellichick is one of the greatest coaches in the league. He broke the rules, and was fined and docked draft picks. Nobody is above the game of football itself. Some would consider the commissioner authoritarian, but the leader of the NFL can be fired. Also, the leader of the NFL cannot use the military to crush dissention.

The main reason socialism fails is because for it to succeed, everybody in the collective must buy into it. Money and other perks are given up in the present for a brighter day in the future. Since past experiences prove this brighter future to be a fraud, skepticism sets in as people begin to see the benefit of cheating. It has failed in the past, so people believe it will fail in the future, therefore it is sabotaged in the present. To try and ask people to ignore history and have blind faith in a system that has never succeeded is to ask people to go against human nature.

However, the NFL has a history of financial success. Owners may grumble from time to time about sharing revenues, but deep down they all believe in the system. There is simply so much wealth that the idea of jeopardizing that golden goose is heresy to owners that even briefly consider it.

The only criteria in judging a system should be results. Intentions are worthless. Results, in the form of metrics, are what matter.

The world should embrace capitalism because it works. It is often described as the worst system except for every other one. It is why France, Germany, China and virtually every other nation previously mired in economic stagnation, bureaucracy and mediocrity wants to try some form of American style capitalism.

Capitalism should be the order of the day in business because it has succeeded where socialism has failed, which is virtually everywhere. Where liberty is paramount, which is again virtually everywhere, socialism should be reduced to the ash heap of history.

May the National Football League be the one place on Earth where socialism is allowed to reign supreme, because it is the one place where equality is the desired result, rendering the universally disgraced philosophy a complete success.


Rosh Hashanah Prayers For Peace & Truth

Friday, September 14th, 2007

As the Jewish world celebrates the second and last day of Rosh Hashanah, I wish and pray for peace…and for truth. Without these, there is nothing left that matters.

While I might be the only person on Earth to relate 1980s singer El Debarge to Rosh Hashanah, his lyrics to the song, “The Rhythm of the night,” echo the holiday’s intent perfectly. Debarge tells us to, “Forget about the worries on your mind…you can leave them all behind.”

I did take two days off from work, but I have been unable to pull away from everything. I can’t do it. I would say I tried, but not that hard. There is simply too much going on in the world, and I want to soak up information as quickly as possible. When reviewing various occurrences, I pray that peace and truth emerge triumphant.

On the political front, General Petraeus spoke to the nation, followed by President Bush in a prime time address. I am concerned about the vitriol directed at these men.

First of all I want to say that while I detest liberalism as a philosophy, I do not detest the liberals themselves. I believe that their beliefs are poison, and that liberalism destroys societies. However, I simply refuse to hate another human being simply because they have different beliefs than me. I hate Hitler. Everyone else is nowhere close. When President Bush is compared to Hitler, it enrages me. For those who refer to Hillary as Shrillary Or Chillary, that is one thing. For those who call her Hitlery, please just stop it.

No, I do not hate Hillary. I disagree with her. I want her to live a happy life with Bill and Chelsea nowhere near the White House. I refuse to dehumanize her.

Yet many on the left simply cannot give President Bush that same common decency. Some will claim that they hate him because of the Iraq War, but this is often dishonest. They hate him because of the 2000 election. This hatred causes them to oppose anything, everything, and anyone connected to him. General David Petraeus was referred to as General Betray Us. This is disgusting. How can a man universally praised for integrity be called a liar simply for being connected to a President that his critics dislike?

I asked this because I voted for President Bush. Does that make me a hatemonger and a liar? I look in the mirror and see a man who loves children, animals, and the elderly. I have given up vacations to other exotic world locations because I use vacation days to spend time with my 99 year old grandmother in Brooklyn. One day she will not be around, and then I will visit the rest of the world. My grandmother is an FDR democrat, and she seems to think I am a good person.

Disagreements are healthy, but hatred is not. Some of the best people I have ever met in this world have been Muslims. They don’t hate Jews. They hate terrorists, whatever stripe they wear.

There is conflict in this world, but the good gets ignored. I ran into some Chinese people yesterday. They instantly recognized me as a Jewish person. They wished me a Happy New Year. I was thrilled by these well wishes. I ended the converstion by saying, “xie-xie,” which is Chinese for “thank you.” They were surprised and pleased that I said something to them in Chinese.

So many people in this world think that nobody understands them or cares about them. The tiniest gesture can make peoples’ days. We can overcome cultural gaps, yet political differences often seem unbridgeable.

I worry about this because there can never be peace without truth. If we do not trust those we deal with, we cannot deal with them.

The left needs to stop despising the President not just for his sake but for theirs as well. At some point, be it 2008, 2012, or 2016, the democrats will win the White House. How can they expect their president to be treated with civility? The argument will then become “who started it?” It does not matter. We can declare the political well poisoned for eternity, or the democrats, as the party out of power, can simply stop the viciousness on their side. Then the republicans will have to do the same. If we give our word to do so, we have to honor that word.

I think about the issues of peace and truth in sports as well. When the Raiders play the Broncos, I get passionate. When the Broncos quarterback goes back to pass, I yell, “Get him! Nail him! Kill him!” I then want to see him belted down hard. I then after that want to see him get up safely. We take for granted that this will happen. Tell that to Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett. On a routine play, he went down and did not get up. For 24 hours in the hospital, there was a chance this young man would die. By what might be a minor miracle, this young man might walk again. He might be a quadriplegic. His career is finished, but at least he is alive.

The Jets and Patriots are embroiled in a dispute over a cheating scandal. The blood is so bad that the coaches can barely shake each other’s hands after a game. No, football is not Fallujah, but have we gotten to the point where men cannot legitimately congratulate their opponents for a job well done? The players kneel in prayer after the games together. Maybe they know that they are one play away from a possible career ending injury, and that their opponent today could be their teammate tomorrow.

This is one example where the politicians could learn from the athletes. Sparring is acceptable, but it must stop when it gets beyond policy.

I disagree with virtually everything Barbara Boxer stands for, but if I saw her in the street, I would say, “Senator…Happy Rosh Hashanah.”

The hebrew word Shalom means, “hello.” It also means, “goodbye.” Yet, its third meaning is “peace.” The concept of peace is so vital. Yet people who claim to be peaceniks are often the most hostile and virulent towards those that do not support their vision of how peace can be carried out. It is one thing to get in a circle and sing “Kumbaya,” or “If I had a hammer.” It is another to hurl rocks or even epithets at people who support President Bush and the War in Iraq. Doesn’t supporting peace extend to being peaceful towards conservative republicans?

Many people oppose the President and the War. I respect them, and see them as patriots who disagree with me. Where I draw the line is those that call war supporters liars and murderers. The rebuttal to the President’s speech contained a line claiming that the President did not lay out any rationale for his point of view. Of course he did. It is one thing to disagree with the rationale, but to claim it does not exist is to say that I have been supporting something for irrational reasons. It invalidates me as someone capable of having intellect, reason and logic.

The goal is to make the world a better place. Whether we are soldiers, politicians, or private citizens sparring on my blog, we must remember that since the ends are the same, we cannot impugn those that have different means to get to those ends, without hard evidence that those means truly fall under the category of “evil.”

If Jews and Muslims can develop common bonds while celebrating Yom Kippur and Ramadan, and if Raiders and Broncos can watch football together, then liberals and conservatives can knock off the hatred and simply have spirited but respectful disagreements that lead to bonds of trust, which is the first step towards peace.

Shalom…and shalom.


The Rosh Hashanah Dilemma

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

To Jewish people everywhere, I wish you a peaceful and happy Rosh Hashanah. To Jewish people everywhere, I apologize for typing this on Rosh Hashanah. I hope you are not reading this on the High Holy Days.

My internal battle to be a better human being and a better Jew is never ending.

Jews are not supposed to work on Rosh Hashanah. I took two days off from work. However, we are not supposed to do anything that we normally do. For one, the bulk of our time should be spent in shul, also known as synagogue or temple.

I was not raised orthodox, although I have a deep respect for religious traditions. So many religious and secular people are at each other’s throats, and I respect those who obey the traditions as well as those who do not. However, some people refuse to obey traditions because they say those traditions themselves are archaic. Nonsense. Religion requires discipline, and I have shortcomings. It requires sacrifice, and I am lazy. I do not obey some of my own traditions, but I refuse to blame the traditions themselves for my inability to follow them. The traditions do not need to lower their standards or bend with the times. I need to raise my standards.

I remember one time on Passover, my friends and I went to Dennys. We were not allowed to eat bread, so when we were brought turkey plates with stuffing, we asked the waiter to take back the stuffing. He offered us cornbread, rolls, and other bread, and was confused that we refused them. He stated the bread was free. We did not wish to give a long explanation. We ate no bread that night.

My father, a secular man, found this to be a worthless gesture. We were trying to feel good about ourselves, and we should not have been eating in a non-kosher restaurant to start with. The plates were not kosher, and the turkey was not kosher either.

My grandfather, an Orthodox Rabbi, disagreed. He recognized that we would have eaten the stuffing had it not been Passover. He did not condone being in Dennys, but he stated that every little bit does matter. We did the right thing, and gradual positive change is better than an all or nothing approach, especially if it leads to nothing.

One dilemma I have always had is the Sabbath. God wants me to honor it and keep it holy. Since the National Football League is on Sundays, this is not normally a conflict. However, the playoffs also occur on Saturdays. It is not an easy choice, but I watch the games.

However, the High Holidays are more serious. In 1993, the Raiders played the Chiefs on Monday Night Football, which was also on Yom Kippur, the Holiest day. I decied to tape the game and watch it 24 hours later. This was not easy for me. I avoided all newspapers for the whole time. After 24 hours, as I was about to watch the game, somebody accidentally saw me and told me the score. They had assumed I watched it. Why God, why?

On several occasions ESPN announced Chris Berman started NFL Primetime by wishing the Jewish audience members a happy Rosh Hashanah, and then playfully saying, “For those of you watching this broadcast on the east coast, you should be in temple right now.” My friends and I on the west coast laughed heartily at that.

The spirit of the law says I should not be watching football on Rosh Hashanah. However, the letter of the law simply states I cannot turn on the television, since creating electricity is considered working. I could turn the television on before the holiday, but leaving it on for two days straight is not feasible. Several years ago I did what any rational person would do. I found the temple across the street from the sportsbar, and found out when the services were, and when the games were on. I ran back and forth like Mrs. Doubtfire, switching my Yamulkah (skullcap) with my baseball cap. I had my respectable shirt and necktie on in temple, and kept removing it to have only my Raiders shirt on in the bar.

Did I say rational? No, this is what idiotic people do. At some point, I had to start making choices. I had to stop kidding myself. Perhaps one day I will.

Wednesday Night, September 12th, was the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. I was not in temple. I was on a Jdate. Yes, two Jewish people skipped Temple to go on a date. I will refer to her as the “New York Nightingale,” and say that the date was a fabulous experience. I am not proud of ditching temple, but I want to find somebody special to lead a Jewish life with. God helps those who help themselves, and while I may not have done right according to God, I did what was right for me. Based on the quality of the evening, I would have much bigger regrets about missing out on meeting her than being in Temple, since all I would do in Temple is pray that I meet a special woman (in addition to praying for my family of course)!

I have decided that if I am too busy to blog, I will skip it for a couple days. However, if the breaks in the service are long, and I have free time, I might start typing away. The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, is easy to figure out. Jewish holidays are not from midnight to midnight, like Christmas is. We go from sundown the night before to the next sundown. Therefore, I can type before sundown before Yom Kippur starts, and then the next day wait until after sundown.

The problem with this is that I spent more time trying to figure out loopholes in the letter of the law then I did in actually obeying the law! Also, Judaism, unlike American law, highly values the intentions and spirit that the laws were intended for. Yom Kippur is a day about atoning and apologizing for bad behavior, and even typing this column is another thing to apologize for in what seems like a never ending list.

No, I am not one of those stereotypical, angst ridden Jews. Actually the opposite. I feel guilty for not feeling guilty enough. I do as I d@mn well please, which is certainly not going to endear me to the Big G (God, not Greenspan).

All I ask God for is to look after my family and friends, and to not shove a flamethrower up my rumpus any time soon. Somewhere out there is a bigger screwup than me. I drive too fast, but always make sure one car is driving faster than me. However, wishing for somebody to do something diabolical to let me slide down the list does not cut it. God does not play the lowered expectations game. He does not grade on a curve. I have to make myself better, regardless of what others do.

I picture John Cougar Mellencamp singing “Check it out.” He sings, “Time to settle with my neighbor. Time to question my own behavior.”

By the time people read this, I will be in temple. I had better be. As for my Jewish friends, I hope they wait until after the holiday to read it. As for my Muslim friends, I do not know what the rules are concerning Ramadan and the blogosphere. I often have to eat my words, but only figuratively. However, Christian America should read these words. I could use the traffic. Oh great, another shameless self promotion, which is being added to my Yom Kippur list.

May God look after his children, the Jewish people, and all the children of the world. May God look after my family and friends. May God look after good people everywhere, and love good people even if they disagree in part or in whole about God himself.

May God give me the strength to figure out who and what I am so that next year on Rosh Hashanah I will either write a column and shut up about it, or to the delight of many Jewish people I admire, not write a column at all.



9/11/7–Sean Hannity’s 9/11 Freedom Concert

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Show me a person who states that talk about 9/11 is overdone, and I will show you a person that was not affected by it. As a Brooklyn Born, Long Island raised individual, 9/11 will be with me forever. It would take me several forevers and a day to talk about everything I experienced on 9/11/7, since for me it was a day filled with experiences.

I deliberately arranged a flight to New York so that I would be in the air at 8:46am. I was saddened by the fact that only 12 people were on the plane, and even more concerned that there were maybe 100 people at JFK airport when I landed at 10am. Half of these 100 people were employees. The mood was somber, and yes, discouraging.

My spirits were lifted later in the day when comedian Jackie Mason met me for coffee. We spoke for 90 minutes, and he even spoke to my father on the telephone for a few minutes. My dad is a fan of his, and he and Jackie both agreed I need to find a nice Jewish girl and get married. Thank heavens  Jackie did not mention to my dad that I was unshaven, or they would have talked for hours. My meeting with Jackie could have gone on for another hour, but I actually had to leave.

What could possibly cause a simple man myself to walk away from a Jewish republican comedian that I admire? A date with destiny. I had my ticket to Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert.

Everyone should check out to see what a worthy cause it is. The proceeds from the various concerts that the Freedom Alliance puts on go to the families of 9/11 victims and fallen soldiers.

To be at Great Adventure on 9/11 at such an inspiring event is beyond thrilling. Great Adventure was packed to capacity, and despite thousands of people, I somehow managed to wriggle past everybody to end up in the very front row. I had a necktie of the three soldiers, which I waved in lieu of an American Flag.

Rudy Giuliani spoke poignantly about 9/11, and he received a rousing and totally justified ovation. Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter tossed red meat to the crowd. Colonel Oliver North introduced three young teenagers that were excelling in college thanks to scholarships provided by the Freedom Alliance.

If that was not beautiful enough, a live feed to Iraq allowed family members speak to soldiers currently serving in Iraq. The crowd laughed when a mom became concerned that her son had not received his care package. The soldier laughed as well and let his mom know that she had nothing to worry about, and that he liked the package.

While the speakers were electric, the heart of this concert was music. Lee Greenwood sang several ultra patriotic songs. He closed with his signature song, “God Bless The USA.” The crowd was instructed to all turn on their cellphones, creating the appearance of candles. This was sheer magic. Perhaps I am just a crybaby by nature, but fighting back tears while everyone sang, “I’m proud to be an American,” was a difficult thing to do. Who am I kidding? I almost bawled.

Leann Rimes wowed the crowd with her deep voice, and her unpretentious manner. She thanked the crowd repeatedly.

Montgomery Gentry exploded with energy. Montgomery himself fought back tears as he talked about the song “Clouds,” which was written to cherish the memory of his son, who died in an auto accident five days before his third birthday.

As expected, the shining star of the evening was Sean Hannity. I have always admired him, not just for his political views, but for his clear understanding of what America is up against. His book “Deliver us from evil,” clearly explains that evil exists, and must be confronted. His detailed description of the Holocaust is painful to read, but he understands it more precisely than many Jewish people.

Sean Hannity is just as much a soldier in the War on Terror as anybody stationed overseas, although he might deny this. His full throttled support of our soldiers, and General Petraeus in particular, is a welcome departure from the naysayers.

A dear friend of mine at the Republican Jewish Coalition actually pulled some strings to get me backstage, where I met Sean Hannity, Oliver North, and Montgomery. Montgomery claimed he was “just a country boy,” but he is so much more. 

I felt conflicted internally because September 11th was one of the worst days in American history, and yet here on 9/11/7 I was having one of the best days of my life. Yet given how awful I felt being in an empty airport, I would rather feel fantastic.

I also want to express that I remembered how republicans were mocked at the 2000 GOP Convention when they locked arms and sang, “God Bless The USA.” Such overt displays of patriotism were never “hokey,” and certainly do not seem hokey in a post 9/11 world. I will never criticize those who prefer keeping their patriotism private. I respect their right to live with quiet dignity. However, I will never apologize for being a loud, brash, flag waving, cheerleader for all that is America. That is how I express myself.

I liked Sean Hannity before I went to the Freedom Concert on September 11th, 2007. After the concert, I can truly say that he is a great American. He has to be. Only a great American could get so many wonderful ordinary citizens to trek in bad weather, stand outside for hours, and have rocket fuel sent through their veins in the form of unbridled and unrelenting optimism.

The Freedom Alliance is a fabulous organization, and the Freedom Concert is a spectacular event. Although Sean Hannity did not sing, freedom did ring, loudly and proudly.

Thank you Mr. Hannity. Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you on September 11th, 2008, along with the many great Americans who love, support and honor our troops.



Permanent Flame–9/11/7

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I began blogging on March 11th, 2007. On my 6 month anniversary, I decided to replay “Permanent Flame.” A final verse was added today. 

As You read this, know that at 8:46am on 9/11/7, I will be on a plane to New York. This flight was arranged deliberately. I wear the red, white and blue of America on my t-shirt, and these colors don’t run.

Permanent Flame–In memory of the United 93 Heroes

March 31st, 2007 at 4:13 pm (POLITICS, MUSIC) · Edit










1a) September 11th, 2001

Started so normal, ended so wrong

American airplanes, turned into guns

Fired on our towers, that stood proud and strong


1b) Black clouds from New York…to the Pentagon

60 years after 1941

American steel…will never yield

Look at the hole, in the Pennsylvania field


1c) Beamer and company, saw America attacked

Our Capitol saved, because they fought back

Ordinary people…scared but so bold

Rose to the challenge…told the world “let’s roll”




2a) Some blamed the US, but nothing we did

Justified the murder, of innocent kids

Since then we’ve had Bali, London and Madrid

We try to save the world, across the global grid


2b) 2002…Afghanistan

Liberated a nation, routed the Taliban

2003…war in Iraq

Saddam in jail…democracy on track


2c) September 11th, 2004

36 months, since the start of the war

Less people airborne, scared to the core

What can we do…we must do more




3a) An ordinary man…I see in the mirror

But now I understand…the picture is clearer

Only total victory…in the war on terror

Will make America…for all our children better


3b) Our soldiers fight…because the cause is right

So our children are safe…when tucked in at night

Donate your dollars to police…and those who firefight

Money left over…go book that flight



4a) September 11th, 2006

Chargers vs Raiders…I got my tix


Don’t worry mom and dad, I’ll be ok


4b) I need to do this, it helps heal the pain

I’ll get home safely, so don’t be afraid

I’m only one link in an American chain

If others join me, we can take back the plane


4c) So call up United, Delta and Southwest

Show all the world our American best

Take back our freedom…take back the sky

For our fallen heroes…American Eagles let’s fly



Chorus (2x)



May God Bless the USA…again…Let’s roll.

September 11th…2007

En route to New York…I point to the Heavens

The war we will win…and evil we’ll sever

September 11th, 2000-Forever

America Forever!