Category Archives: Life

Responding to Idiots on Twitter

One of @ChipAphelion‘s early critiques of Twitter had to do with the idea that the character limit inherently stifled your ability to give fully thought out, reasoned analysis and instead reduced your argument to vaguely abbreviated bits.  Obviously, he’s correct (but if his tweet count is an indication, he’s overcome that particular problem).  Anyway, he’s not the idiot I’m referring to in the title.

That idiot is Anthony De Rosa, who describes himself as “Reuters columnist, social media editor, host of Reuters TV Tech Tonic.”  This is the kind of person who calls everyone who reads his twitter profile a “dummy,” so you know the kind of antagonistic-just-for-the-sake-of-being-a-dick-because-I’m-so-edgy-and-real-and-hardcore person we’re dealing with.  The kind I fully believe needs to be ignored.  The kind that responding to on Twitter becomes an exercise in self-aggravation because you’d need 100 tweets just to really flesh out all the arguments against him, and the average Twitter user has an attention span of 1 tweet.  Nevertheless, Dani Klein (someone I have never met in real life despite the fact that we apparently live in the same neighborhood; yay, social networking!) specifically asked for people to respond to De Rosa’s inflammatory tweet:

with this:

So because I don’t want to reduce my argument to a series of sure-to-be-ignored tweets that will get lost in the noise of @ replies he’s getting, I’d rather write it out in full, clearly, for a sure-t0-be-ignored blogpost.

Let’s break this down, bit by anti-Israel, hateful, purposely antagonistic, trolling bit:

If Iron Dome is so successful…

What does “so successful” mean?  The IDF posts daily recaps along the lines of this:

that show that while Iron Dome is extremely successful, it’s not nearly perfect.  So, De Rosa’s premise that implies that Israel’s defense system is working, so really Israel has nothing to be upset about, is flawed, because it’s simply not factual.  It’s actually flawed in another way, too.  Aside from the fact that despite Iron Dome, rockets are still hitting Israel by the dozen, daily, even if Iron Dome WAS perfect, the premise is flawed.  As one response tweeted, if a criminal fired a gun at an NYPD Officer who was wearing a vest, and the vest stopped the bullet and didn’t harm the officer (not fully accurate, but for the sake of the argument, go with it), would you ignore the attempt on the Officer because the defense worked so well?  Of course not.  And you certainly wouldn’t use body armor as an argument to defend the use of firearms by criminals (unless you were a dick and troll, like De Rosa).  “Hey, let all the criminals have guns and shoot indiscriminately at police officers without any sort of repercussions, because they have body armor, so they shouldn’t care.”  Sounds absurd in that context, no?  Well, it’s just as absurd in the rockets from Gaza context, too.

…what’s the purpose of killing so many in retaliation…

Here De Rosa lets his bias show through simply in his choice of language.  You see how he categorizes Israel’s action as retaliation?  He’s attempting to delegitimize the action.  If this is retaliation, then the otherwise ridiculous notion of proportionality and equality of casualty counts come into play.  “You harmed me X, I get to harm you back X, and anything more is unjustified and unfair.”  That’s the basic premise, in De Rosa’s warped thinking, of why Israel is wrong, and he’s shown it by calling it retaliation.  De Rosa wants you to think there should be a natural limit on what Israel can do.  Almost a one-for-one type thing.   (Which, by the way, even if true, is sick in the head).

But it’s NOT retaliation.  What Israel is doing isn’t “getting Hamas back.”  They are trying to destroy a terrorist infrastructure by destroying the rockets that are fired, the launchers that fire them, the warehouses that store them, the tunnels that smuggle them and the terrorists that plan the whole thing. The people that are targeted aren’t innocents, and they are usually not even low-level foot soldiers. Those guys die because they are inevitably near exploding rockets  and targeted infrastructure sites. The guys that are targeted assassinations are higher-level planners, and are as much a part of the terrorist infrastructure as the launchers and rockets.  But, of course, De Rose wilfully ignores this point, and calls the action “retaliation” in an effort to make Israel look like the evil actor here.

Of course, his question is his bias, too.  “What’s the purpose of killing so many?”  Well, killing people ISN’T the purpose, as evidenced by all the actions the IDF takes to avoid it.  Of course, those are ignored by media members like De Rosa (or worse, turned around and criminalized, and called “psychological warfare” and “indimidation” by Hamas and her mouthpieces like Reuters).  But when you frame the question like that, you ignore all that and demonize Israel.

…especially “human shield” casualties?

And here’s the capper.  See how he puts human shield in quotes?  As if every time Israel calls for the world to recognize that Hamas uses it’s civilians as human shields, it’s not really true, it’s just what Israel calls it.

But there’s a deeper, and even worse, implication here.  What De Rosa is suggesting is that Israel should allow Hamas to get away with using civilians as Human Shields!!  What Israel does to minimize unintended civilian deaths (which he, in the same breath, dismisses and ignores) isn’t enough.  Israel should stop the operation completely because there’s just no safe enough way to do it.  Think about it: De Rosa is blaming the death of human shields on the shooter and completely absolving the one who hides behind it!

Worse yet, if he had his way, and Israel called off its military because there’s no perfect way to preserve innocents, what message does that send to Hamas?  It basically tells them that his is a perfect strategy that should be continually employed to protect it’s terrorists and installations.  Keep firing rockets at Israel, you can’t be harmed if you put a child next to you!

Of course, to an Anti-Semite, Jew and Israel hater like De Rosa, that’s exactly the perfect solution.

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“Obama Hates Israel” Suuuuuuuuuuure

From the statement of State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner:
“We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence.  There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”  (For more, see here)
Also, the Jerusalem Post is reporting (confirmed by IDF) that Iron Dome intercepted 25 rockets (as of this writing) today that were heading for major population centers.  Iron Dome was funded in large part by the US.
So, yeah, Obama is terrible for Israel.  Really hates Israel.  We’re in major trouble.
/sarcasm
Also, in case you missed it, today was an EPIC BADASS day for the IDF.  First, the official twitter feed of the IDF Spokersperson (@IDFSpokesperson) tweeted a video of the strike that killed Ahmed Jabari (Hamas’s military leader and a terrorist “mastermind” – read up about him here).
Then they tweeted this awesome threat: “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.” BAD. ASS!
So, to recap. Hamas starts raining missiles down on Israel.  Israel decides that’s enough, starts an intensive attack on Hamas in Gaza designed to take out as much terrorist infrastructure as it can.  Despite targeted attackes and killing, there were unfortunate, unintentional collateral deaths.  And yet, even so, the Obama administration unequivocally denounces the terrorism and voices clear support for Israel and today’s actions.

Disclosing Student Loan Debt on a Date

Over at Rabbi Fink’s blog, there’s an excellent discussion going on in regards to the recent article in AMI Magazine.  You should definitely read the article and definitely read Rabbi Fink’s post and the comments (including this erudite comment from a very good-looking commenter).

One thing that’s being discussed is whether the author of the article was somehow “duped” or “tricked” because his wife didn’t tell him about her student loan debt before they got married.

There’s a very tricky, very slippery slope that we’re on here when we start discussing what needs to be told to a date/shidduch and what doesn’t.  I don’t think student loans need to be part of the “disclosure statement.”

I actually think there are very few things that a person needs to “disclose” while dating.  Most things about a person you can tell by interacting with them, and therefore aren’t really issues.  Should a guy who’s acting nice be forced to tell his date “listen, I’m acting nice now, but come football season, I am most likely going to ignore you for a bunch of hours every Sunday.”?  To me, that falls under the “know the person you’re marrying,” and “ask the right questions” headings.

Less clear are the things you can’t tell.  A person who is terminally ill should probably tell the person they are dating, because health and a life together are reasonable expectations for a person (with no reason to think otherwise).

And I suppose that’s as good as any a place to start: what are the reasonable expectations a person has?  I don’t think (to take the example of the guy in the article) you can see a person who has an “ivy league” education and reasonably assume that person has no debt.  He/she/you might be lucky.  But especially in today’s educational economy, where the cost of higher education is so high (sorry), I actually think student loan debt should be assumed.  But even so, it’s not a terminal condition that needs to be “disclosed.”  I don’t think it’s fair to make any assumptions about a person’s financial condition that they should have to “set you straight.”  If it’s an issue, and you don’t mind being uncouth, ask: “whoa, college and law school; tuition must have really set you back.”  If he/she doesn’t take the cue and say “well, I’ll be paying it off for the next 20 years!” and you really want to know, ask for a 1040.  How deep do you go?

If a boy shows up to date wearing a nice suit, does he have to disclose “hey, listen, I know you might like this suit; FYI, it cost $600 in Brooks Brothers and I used a credit card”?  I say no.

Which brings me back to the AMI article and student loan debt: the reason this became a problem is exactly because the assumptions the author made were unreasonable and unwarranted.

“Too Hot” To Work Here

If you’ve seen today’s Daily News, you’ve likely seen the cover story about the lawsuit filed by a woman against a company owned by Orthodox Jews, where she claims she was fired for being “Too Hot.”  Or maybe you saw it on Above The Law.

I have three reactions to this:

1. There should be no such thing as “too hot.”  Who fires an attractive women just for being attractive.  If that’s what happened, these people are dumb.  (Note, I don’t think that’s what happened.)  We should be encouraging hotness in the workplace. [I’ll finish the rest of this post just as soon as I get back from mandatory sexual harassment training.]

2. If she really was fired for, let’s say, dressing inappropriately (even if to the more exacting and nitpicky standards of Orthodox Judaism), then it behooves her employers (not as a legal obligation, but a religious one) to let her go in a way that allows her to maintain some dignity and does not cause her to publically file a lawsuit that, let’s face it, is salacious and juicy and people will use to mock/ridicule Orthodox Jews/Judaism and therefore causes a chillul hashem.  However, as it seems to me in this case, that was unavoidable.  This woman seems like a fame-whore.  The kind who joins a website that helps people get on reality TV.  The kind that hires Gloria Allred.  It’s possible that the lawsuit and the stupidity was unavoidable.  Which brings me to my legal argument.

3. This is Bullshit (that’s a legal term of art).  A private employer can set whatever standards or dress codes it wants for its offices.  That’s not religious or sexual discrimination.

The woman, Lauren Odes, is quoted saying, “I am Jewish as well and don’t feel any employer has the right to impose their religious beliefs on me.”  Well, you know what?  They do.  They are a private employer, and if you want to work there, you have to live by their dress code.  B&H is closed Shabbos.  Is that “imposing religious beliefs” on all the employees that might want to work on Saturday?  Of course not, and even suggesting it makes me feel dumber.

The article suggests that she wore to work the same dress she wore to the press conference, and is in the pictures of her on the Daily News website.  To my eyes, it’s borderline but not problematic.  But my eyes don’t matter.  The skirt doesn’t cover he knees, the sleeves to cover her elbows, and the high belt certainly accentuates her bust.  I might not agree with these criteria, but I certainly support an employer’s right to impose them.

A lot is made of the fact that this was a Lingerie factory/distributor.  That’s entirely irrelevant.  It’s an office.  You work in an office, you dress appropriately for that office.  I am sure nobody is walking around the main corporate offices of Victoria’s Secret in lingerie.  It’s an office, a place of business.  She’s not a model at a photo shoot.

Finally, and kind of circling around to my first point, this woman clearly has an inflated opinion of herself, and I have very little doubt that she (i) fabricated or embellished her story and (ii) gets a HUGE rush out of saying, over and over, the words “too hot.”  Please, honey, you ain’t too hot for squat.

Lowering the Age of Marriage Will Reduce Rapes

I really, really, REALLY hope this guy is a crackpot.  I mean, I KNOW he’s a crackpot, but what I’m hoping is that everyone realizes he’s a fringe lunatic and nobody actually listens to him.  Because if this dude’s organization is a legit lobby, and has the ability to influence Israeli legislative policy, then we’re all fucked.  Because this might be the worst change in the law since Obamacare (Zing!).

Seriously, though, among some of the insaner things this guy is saying, is that letting THE GIRLS get married a year earlier (just so the guys can have sex, apparently) will reduce the amount of Rape in the country.  That’s right, Chareidi Israeli boys are must be wound-up, pent-up balls of sexual frustration, because it seems “they rapin’ errybody out here.”  I know what you’re thinking (because you didn’t click the link and read the article): “really?  no, he didn’t say that.”  But he did:

[Crazy wacko] said that lawyers are currently examining the legislative aspect of the bill, “We will curtail rape cases and violation of the law by allowing marriage a year earlier.

 “This one year is significant. Nowadays boys and girls cannot have relations, and we will allow this by letting them marry, while encouraging and guiding them,” he said.

See?!

Then, of course, there’s the misogyny that’s already been pointed out, like this gem (paraphrased: “women stay home”):

The purpose of changing the marriage age, according to a haredi source, is “to change the haredi view that has been prevailing in recent years, according to which girls must acquire an occupation before getting married. This approach is mainly held by interested persons such as directors of seminaries and different school who want as many girls to join their institution.

 “The haredi press is also guilty,” the source added, “Because it promotes an agenda that says women must be educated. This is very unfortunate and is promoted not by rabbis, but by businessmen that control the education apparatus.” (Emphasis added)

But wait, it gets better.  Then this guy goes all Larry Summers (except without the science to back him up, or the positive intentions):

“The woman is not the reason, she is the emotions. A woman isn’t reasonable; she is emotional and the man possesses the reason.”

I guess that is something I can sort of agree with: Bitches be crazy!

Been a while since I could break out the “Rants” tag and the “Stupidity” tag, but I think this definitely fits the bill.

HT @DovBear via Twitter

Lost Convenience

I just got my firm’s benefits enrollment package for next year, and there was one change that really stuck out to me as ridiculous:

Starting January 1, 2011, in order to use FSA dollars to purchase over the counter medicine, you will need a prescription.

Think of the look your doctor will give you the first time you ask for a prescription for Tylenol.

This is completely ridiculous.  (Just to be clear, I am not blaming my firm, this is not their decision.  It’s either statutory or imposed by the benefits adminsitrating company).

How is this going to be administered?  Will the teenage idiot behind the counter have to ask everyone that buys Tylenol if they have a ‘scrip in order to use FSA dollars?  Will the purchaser have to send a copy of the scrip into the company to verify each purchase?  Does the perscription have to specify an amount?  Can I keep reusing the same perscription?

Who came up with this utter stupidity, and what functional purpose could it possibly serve?!

Losing an Hour/Gaining an Hour

When I was younger, switching from DST to ST meant “gaining an hour of sleep.”  The theory behind this is, go to sleep at a set time, wake up a set time, on the night you switch, there’s an extra hour between those set times.

Now that I’m older and have kids, the very real flaw in that “logic” comes through: who the hell sleeps until a set time, especially on a Sunday?  Not my kids, that’s for sure.

So on a regular day, my kids wake up sometime between 6:30 and 7am.  Roll the clock back, and that won’t change.  Except now it’ll be between 5:30 and 6:00.  Ugh, I DO NOT WANT to wake up at 5:30 on any day.

Not to mention my body being extremely used to, uh, evacuating certain waste materials, at a specific time, then that’s just going to make my Sunday very, very loooooooooong.

Factor in now, that my kids will start getting tired and cranky and ready for bed an hour (on the clock) ahead of schedule, then keeping them up until “bedtime” will be annoying as well.

This is like imposed jet lag.

Can we just do away with changing the clocks at all anymore?  I’m not a farmer, I don’t need to shift an hour of daylight from the morning to afternoon and vice versa anymore.  Just pick one time and stick there.

Changing the clock sucks.