March Madness! No, I’m not referring to the complex chart of college basketball teams that vie against each other and that betting pools worth millions are set up for. Instead, I’m talking about Adar and the complexities and worries that it brings. I know that when Adar comes, one should be merry, but let’s face it, women: When Adar comes, one is worried.
There of course is the natural fear of the upcoming Chodesh Nisan. However, I’m talking about cramming what seems to be a million things into 25 hours. First, there is mishloach manos. I admire those women who come up with themes to their packages and accompany them with poems. I’m no Robert Frost, and I simply look for items that are well-priced and have different brachos [although not halachically required – ed.]. When that fails, I toss the orange that is in the back of the refrigerator, Israeli cookies that even I don’t eat, and a can of Coke in a bag. I know that’s not impressive, so I apologize in advance.
Then, when my kids were young, there was the problem of costumes. Every Halloween, I would imagine myself buying a costume for half price, but I never did. Then, when Purim was approaching, I’d panic, since I lacked all imagination and money to buy great costumes. However, once the boys were in Little League, I told them to just wear their uniforms. I bought my daughter pom poms and told her to be a cheerleader (not very Bais-Yaakovish).
Finally, there was the Main Street Purim Parade. I know that many of you want this tradition revived, but without fail, the parade was held on the coldest day of the year. It’s as if the groundhog said that spring would arrive after the Main Street Purim Parade. I still get chills recalling how frostbitten my fingers would get.
In truth, Purim is the one day I’m happy that I’m not a man; the other 364 days of the year since I would get up for the 6 a.m. davening and Megillah reading, both of which I don’t think Del Unser could have followed. Anyway, I’m sorry this letter is a little late, but enjoy your Chodesh Adar!
Caroline Shumsky is an amazing writer. Your kind words are always comforting, make a lot of sense, and are fun to read. These and many other things make you more admired and appreciated with every passing week. Your gentle encouragement gives hope to your readers to stay positive and do their best.
Thank you, Caroline.
Last year, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber promised to make public a report on fare evasion. In 2022, the MTA lost $500 million in revenue to deadbeats who refused to pay their fare.
In conjunction with the study, MTA officials would conduct discussions with all five NYC District Attorneys on the impacts of some who previously publicly committed to reduce or eliminate prosecuting those who were found not paying their fare. Law-abiding taxpayers and honest commuters who pay should not have to tolerate this theft of service.
Governor Kathy Hochul promised to conduct the most transparent administration in the history of state government. This commitment was also supposed to extend to the MTA. In the meantime, the MTA once again went hat in hand to Albany looking for several billion dollars, in addition to billions more in annual state assistance to deal with the current multibillion-dollar multi-year shortfall. A significant reduction in fare evasion during 2023 could raise several hundred million more in revenue.
Lieber has refused to commit a future date for release of this critical report. Making public this report is critical for taxpayers and riders to understand how the MTA will go forward in dealing with fare evasion.
Partisan politics has never been worse than it is today. Republicans and Democrats rarely agree on anything. So, what Florida representative Matt Goetz said on the Tim Pool podcast last month about Republican/Democratic cooperation is worth paying attention to. He stated: “Whenever Republicans and Democrats agree on something, you can be sure the public is getting (shafted).” Since this is a family newspaper, I cleaned up the last word of the quote, but you get the idea.
It got me thinking: Is this really true? There aren’t too many examples of bipartisan agreement, but let’s explore a few:
1) Social Security, in its current form, will go broke in about ten years. Yet, Democrats will not even consider doing anything to fix it. In fact, for partisan purposes, usually around election time, Democrats go on the offensive, accusing any Republican who even mentions the fact that Social Security is going broke soon, of wanting to “take away your Social Security.” Republicans as a whole (with very few exceptions) have agreed with the “kick the can down the road,” whistling past the graveyard approach, either because they actually agree with the Democrats or because they believe the electorate is too stupid to understand that Social Security needs to be reformed for it to continue. Either way, neither party is addressing this pressing issue, and the public will be paying the price for this very soon.
2) The funding for Ukraine is another example of an issue that has overwhelming bipartisan support, with only a few Republican dissenters. While there is an argument to be made that the US has strategic interests in funding Ukraine’s battle against the Russians, there’s no doubt that the industrial war complex enriches itself by perpetuating war, so we can pay contractors to manufacture war products and boost their stock value, all while dressing it up as “defending Democracy.”
As far as the general public is concerned, there are several questions worth asking: Why is protecting the Ukrainian border from infiltrators a higher priority to our politicians than protecting our own border? Why in the middle of a record inflationary cycle that has left some QJL readers wondering whether they can afford matzah and chicken this Pesach, has our President, with overwhelming bipartisan support, raided the treasury yet again by committing approximately $125 billion of taxpayer money to Ukraine? We are funding a slew of items with taxpayer money, including Ukrainian pensions. The earmarking of our taxpayer money to fund Ukrainian pensions concurrent with American 401k plans tanking under Biden’s disastrous fiscal is simply outrageous and more evidence of bipartisan support for an “America last” agenda.
3) Big Pharma has always lined the pockets of our politicians on both sides of the aisle. Last year, they spent $283 million in lobbying, designed to influence our lawmakers for favorable legislation. (For context, the National Rifle Association spent about $1.5 million on lobbying over the same time period.) The hundreds of millions spent in legal bribes is a tiny investment for the return they received on it: Our government spent an estimated $20 billion dollars funding Big Pharma’s research for COVID vaccines, relaxed all the normal regulations required to bring a vaccine to market, removed all the risk factors for Big Pharma by making it impossible for COVID vaccine injury victims to sue Big Pharma, and committed billions of dollars more in pre-approval purchases. After the vaccine rollout, our government did all the dirty work for Big Pharma, fraudulently marketing the vaccine as preventive of COVID and legislating with all their might to mandate that the entire country receive this fraudulent shot. This was all done with the approval of the Democrats and with rare exceptions, Republicans as well.
So the next time your friend complains to you about how divisive American politics have become, just remember, when Republicans and Democrats actually agree on things, it usually ends up far worse for the American public.
I would like to take this opportunity to follow up on my response to Warren Hecht’s article “Air Ball.” Warren was taken to task for his false moral equivalency between “Arab Terrorism” and “Jewish Terrorism.” Perhaps even worse, Warren did not respond to this criticism. Warren has a golden opportunity to clarify his words and do some damage control. I suggest he takes it.
I would also like to discuss recent events. It is finally confirmed that COVID did not originate in a “wet market.” It came from the Wuhan Lab in China. Fauci and the Dems have lied to us once again. The FBI also lied to us by falsely claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was a Russian hoax. Finally, we have the news that January 6 was a set-up. New videos have been released that confirm that Ray Epps and other undercover FBI plants were encouraging the riot. I have seen videos where police officers have been escorting protestors through the Capitol building. These photos have been suppressed by the Democrats and the media. Now we know why. That is why Nancy Pelosi refused to allow any security for the Capitol on January 6. The question is why anyone stills believes the Government lies that we are being fed.
Finally, I would also like to address the outrageous statements of David Pecoraro. He claims that he is a proud Jew, but he does not believe in the Torah. He labels others who do not share his woke views as hypocrites. David Pecoraro is the biggest hypocrite of them all. He claims to be pro-Jewish while he supports Omar and her brand of Nazi anti-Semitism. David should think twice before calling anyone a hypocrite.
Mr. Hecht thinks that debate should be civil, and it is wrong to demonize those you disagree with. Hard to disagree. The problem with this is that Democrats are out to destroy anyone who disagrees with them. Their goal is to criminalize anything and everything. That was demonstrated very clearly this week.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is a political hack. He is self-righteous and has a chip on his shoulder for being snubbed at what he believes is his rightful position on the Supreme Court. He wouldn’t answer a yes or no question. He is the Department of Justice. The buck stops with him. Yet, he refused to take any responsibility for any of the actions this rogue FBI agency has recently taken. He has no problem with 30 agents storming the home of a religious father of seven at dawn with bullet-proof vests and SWAT-style body armor and long guns that we are all supposed to hate. Mr. [Marc] Houck was even willing to turn himself in, but the FBI wanted to show power and intimidation.
They did the same thing at Mar-a-Lago. It’s sickening.
Attorney General Garland also had no good explanation why those protesting in front of the homes of the Supreme Court Justices have not been arrested. Clearly that is a violation of Federal law. He kept saying that it was the discretion of the US Marshals to prosecute. I’m not a lawyer, but I know that law enforcement does not make that determination. A prosecutor, a representative of the government, for Federal crimes, it’s the local US Attorney who reports to the Attorney General to make the call. What an insult to our intelligence.
He also refuses to go after and prosecute those who firebomb and destroy pregnancy centers around the country. But G-d forbid you were anywhere near Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021; you are put in solitary confinement.
Civil discourse? I don’t think so. The left is so driven by its Marxist ideology that there is no longer room for that.