Jews and Muslims together; vet neglect; the easy life in Greece

14 Jul

A small assortment of items:

I discovered a rare, interesting and encouraging case of Jews and Muslims uniting. Both are working together against a regional court ruling in Germany that outlaws circumcision, equating it with bodily harm, a criminal act.

While the court ruled in a regional case with only regional authority, hospitals across Germany are reacting by banning the procedure.

Jews and Muslims, who circumcise their male children, see this as an attack on religion and have found common ground.

From the New York Times:

            “The often very aggressive prejudice against religion as backward, irrational and opposed to science is increasingly defining popular opinion,” said Michael Bongardt, a professor of ethics from Berlin’s Free University who added that the ruling reflected a profound lack of understanding in modern Germany for religious belief.

 

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Prolonged wars drain the treasury because killing is expensive. Equally expensive, with no end date, is the post-war cost of curing – and the difficulty of actually doing an effective job.

In June Bloomberg Businessweek  reported that:

  • 1.3 million disability cases were filed with the Veterans Administration in 2011, a 48 percent increase from 2008.
  • 905,000 cases are awaiting action.
  • 14,320  VA employees must handle the load.

There really is nothing new in this. Since the Revolutionary War, it has become routine for the government to abandon soldiers once they no longer are needed.

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Eating ice cream with a Greek national, I learned a little more about why that nation and its economy cannot climb out of its fiscal swamp. The Greeks just aren’t working very hard, especially in the summer.

Perhaps we all knew this, or at least thought it. But my friend made it clearer, telling me how the Greeks take a fairly long siesta after a hearty and leisurely lunch (the day’s main meal). They nap from 2:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., when they return to work.

A light dinner generally is eaten around 10.

In the summer heat, however, only the merchants who service tourists go back to work after the nap.

Once I recovered from the realization that Greece is basically a part-time nation, I looked at my friend – a U.S. resident undergoing a great deal of stress from multiple layoffs in her family – and asked, “How in God’s name can you leave a place like that?”

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Many clever lines in Woody Allen’s new movie, To Rome with Love.

Here is a rough paraphrase of one. It’s Woody’s character, a father speaking against his daughter’s new boyfriend, a left-wing Italian lawyer who he thinks is a communist.

“I understand being a leftist. I was a leftist when I was young. But I was never a Communist. Never. I couldn’t share a bathroom.”

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