The Soul Of A Fighter

Soul Matters
This was an awesome piece of art on the street in downtown Washington, D.C. 



The boxer against the bright yellow background and wearing red boxing gloves that say “Soul Matters” is striking.



For many year, I had a wonderful Rocky poster with the words, “His whole life was a million to one shot.”



I emphathize with and respect the person who has to fight (practically) against all odds to overcome challenges and but through the grace of G-d and a strong fighting spirit goes forward for their chance at success.



It almost doesn’t matter whether you (fully) succeed, but rather that you gave it your best shot, fought the good fight, and put your heart and soul into it. 



Always do the right thing and pray for the opportunity to make a difference. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lowest Price Guaranteed!

Chair and Lush Carpet
So I bought a really comfy chair–everyone wants one of these. 



(Note: Pictured here is not the actual chair or store from my story today.)



Anyway, I was so happy thinking about how lush the sitting experience would be. 



Yes, the “retail price” seemed high, but I got the “Veterans Day discount” and then bargained some more. 



So I thought I probably did okay on the negotiation, especially since I was dealing with a major national brand.



Also, the contract/invoice had in writing a “lowest price guarantee“–so that if within 30 days, I found the chair for cheaper, the company “would gladly refund the difference in full”!



Sounds good, right?



But something wasn’t feeling right and when I went home I had trouble sleeping–something seemed off with this purchase and this merchant. 



So in the morning, I checked online and found the exact same chair for almost $300 less!



Well, I headed straight to the store with a printout of the lower price I had found and promptly presented it to the store manager for the refund of the difference as promised.



But instead of the glad refund, I got stonewalled and the dumbest look on the store manager’s face I have ever seen. 



He started the million excuses why he wouldn’t refund the difference in price as promised. 



First he said, oh, the chair I found was a different color–I showed him the chair online and the one in his showroom, and they were the identical color and everything. 



Then, he goes for a second attempt, saying, uh the price guarantee doesn’t apply to prices found at outlets, and I said where does the price I found say outlet anywhere? He couldn’t find anything like that. 



So he tries a third time to get rid of me, and says, the merchandise has to be advertised under “the same terms and conditions,” and it wasn’t.  I said what terms and conditions weren’t the same?  He said, well, they just weren’t the same. 



At which point, he told me plain and simple that he wasn’t going to refund the difference and that I should get out of the store. 



I won’t tell you all the (legal) details how, but let’s just say this guy was sorry for trying to do that…and I walked out with the price difference refunded. 



Buyer beware–lot’s of crooks out there trying to take your money and giving guarantees that are complete b.s. 



This is probably especially the case with many brick and mortar retailers who are having serious problems competing with their significantly lower overhead online brethren. 



Beware–Beware–Beware!!! 



I learned again today and taught my daughter to stand up for what is rightfully yours and don’t let anyone take advantage of you!  



You work for your money too and no one should cheat you out of it. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not Just Business

Park And Pay
This was a funny sign on the parking meter.



“All May Park. All Must Pay.”



Another way of saying this is like at the dry cleaners, “No tickee, no shirtee!”



This reminded me of a conversation that I was having with some colleagues about whether individuals or organizations can be evil?



(Note: True story, but I’ve embellished for the sake of demonstration.)



One colleague said, “Individuals are not bad, but people in groups definitely [often] turn bad!”



Another said, “No individuals can be bad, really bad–think of Hitler and so many others who have murdered, tortured, raped, enslaved, and impoverished–it’s the individuals that can and do turn an organizational culture bad.”



A third person replied that, “Indeed, it can be the other way around as well, where bad organizations make or encourage it’s people to do the wrong things–whether for profits, power, or punishment.”



Then someone blurted out, “Well, business is business, right?” In other words, it’s okay to do something wrong because everyone does it in business–that’s the name of the game and what you have to do to compete and survive!



Then I said sort of annoyed at what the last person said, “Business is not business–that is our test to be G-dly, moral, and ethical in all our dealings [in our personal and professional lives]”



Of course, we don’t always succeed–no one does/we are not angels–but we have to try every time, learn and grow and become better people. 



If you do wrong, you will pay–whether in this world or the next. 😉

Walk Like A Chicken

Chicken Eyes

So I’ve been reading about the use of virtual technology for the military veterans as a way to help the healing process of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


But this was something different yesterday in downtown D.C….


Using virtual reality to “See Life Through A Chicken’s Eyes”–complements of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 


So I go up and ask the attendant what this is all about. 


She says, “You can take the virtual reality tour and walk around a field as a chicken!”


She goes on, “Only we’re having some trouble with the technology, so can you come back in 20 minutes?”


Uh, okay, but 2 things:


1. Yes, I do believe in ethical treatment for everyone (including animals), and no one should suffer where we can (and should) prevent it. 


2. I did just have some chicken (only Kosher, of course!) to eat just last week (and it was pretty good), and while I am curious to see the virutal reality, I can’t make it back here in 20 minutes, but thank you!


Lesson: Treat all life compassionately, but I don’t have to walk around as a chicken to see that! 😉

Respect NOT Rape

Joy Division
BBC reports that already by age 20, 1 in 10 girls have been raped or secually assaulted. 



That equates to 120 MILLION girls globally. 



Many are then brutally murdered and shamed as we have been reading about, now with all too much frequency, in India for example, with young women being raped, killed, and then hung from trees etc. 



What is wrong with this world???



Women are our mothers, wives, and daughters–they are often amongst the most compassionate and caring of us.



This is how we treat them?



Unfortunately, rape and abuse is also a crime against many young boys. 



It is time to take a serious ethical pause and stop the violence against our children and against other adults. 



The screams and scars of those abused hang in the air as an indictment against those committing the crime as well as those that do nothing to speak out. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fighting With A Fear Of G-d


Amazing video from Al Jazeera Arabic that praises the Israeli and French militaries for respecting and protecting civilians.



This, in contrast–as Al Jazeera reports–to Hezbollah, Syria, and others extremist militants that deliberately target civilians and use them as human shields. 



We’ve heard in recent days again, how the IDF continues to go to great lengths to avoid hitting mosques, hospitals, and even trying to warn residents before an attack to save their lives. 



While mistakes happen in fighting and war, I must say how proud I am of the IDF for their efforts to act humanely under inhumane circumstances, while attacks are underway across the nation, and to always consider the moral implications of what they do. 



In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens states, that the weakness of the Israel is only through moral defeat, because the Jewish people “favors moral self-regard over normal self interest.”



Similarly, Woody Allen’s frequent humorous portrayal in the movies of Jewish introspection is funny, because it resonates so true for a people always trying to do and make right. 



Again today, we saw that Israel, not wanting to fight unless absolutely necessary, respected the ceasefire with Gaza, while Hamas outright rejected it and continued shooting off volleys of missiles indiscriminantly into Israel.



As Hamas has themselves stated about their waves of suicide bombers, rocket launches at population centers and critical infrastructure, and other dirty tactics, “We love death more than you love life.”



The IDF is an inspiring example of fighting with ethics, dignity, and ultimately a fear of G-d more than any enemy could evoke. 

Even Tolerance Has Limits

Tolerance

This torn down sign in Washington, D.C. caught my eye.

 

It’s about ending bullying and teaching tolerance.

 

This poster specifically has to do with LGBT, but the universal message of acceptance is more broad.

 

While each of us has our own beliefs, we should allow others to have theirs as well.

 

My father used to tell me basically (that within G-d’s law), “You can do whatever you want in life as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.”

 

However, I am reminded this week that not everyone lives by the same common sense and decency.

 

I read in the Jerusalem Post about Palestinian Media Watch posting a Hamas video yesterday threatening “stabbing attacks [in Israel] everywhere…[and] suicide attacks on every bus, cafe, and street.”

 

Moreover, Arutz Sheva tells how a female Egyptian lawyer “recommended that Arab men begin sexually harassing Jewish women” as a mean of fighting Israel.

 

Then watching the news and seeing Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza shooting missiles and intentionally aiming to try to hit major Israeli cities and population centers, airplanes, ports, and other critical infrastructure like the nuclear facility in Dimona that could potentially spread radiation and kill untold numbers of people–I am reminded morality is not universal.

 

While Israel calls the residents in Gaza to vacate before an attack on then empty buildings–the terrorists that Israel is fighting try to kill as many civilians as possible–at which time, they would presumably sing, dance, and hand out candy to the kids to celebrate as is their custom.

 

Like the sign calling for tolerance that was essentially torn from the pole, we have to remember tolerance for others is one thing, but there are limits when they actively seek to harm (themselves or) others.

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

# Bring Back Our Girls

# Bring Back Our Girls

A fundamentalist Muslim terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 276 schoolgirls this week in Nigeria.

After torching their village market, killing more than 300 people, razing 100 houses, destroying 500 vehicles, and attacking their boarding school, Boko Haram is threatening to sell these innocent children.

Please speak up for those who can’t!

We need to defend human rights and support women’s and children’s rights.

No more abuse, no more discrimination, no more hurt. 😉

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

For The Love Of Animals

For The Love Of Animals

I read this incredible story in the Jerusalem Post about Denmark prohibiting Shechita (the Jewish kosher way to slaughter animals for food).

What is amazing about this is:

1) Shechita is known as one of the most humane ways to slaughter animals for food. It involves a single rapid uninterrupted stroke across the throat with a super sharp knife. One of the reasons this method is used is precisely so that the animal does not feel any pain. This is unlike other common practices for slaughtering animals which include clubbing, electrifying, shooting, suffocation, and more.

2) Denmark while prohibiting Shechita, permits bestiality/Zoophilia (human sex with animals). So bestiality, a very pagan-like practice, is legal in Denmark, even though it is prohibited under the penalty of death (for the person and the animal) in the Bible.

So animal rape is okay in Denmark. And Judeo Christian laws and beliefs are not, especially when they actually protect the animals. Uh, something is rotten in the barn here. Or put another way:

Animals in the bedroom–Oh, no, no, no.

Animals ritually slaughtered for dinner–moo, moo, moo. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ed Schipul)

Fighting Someone Who Doesn’t Care

Fighting Someone Who Doesn't Care

Today, an editorial by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal said it outright about Putin’s land grab of Crimea and his view of others’ reactions to it, “He doesn’t care what they think.”

This comes to the point of the whole matter, which is how do you fight an adversary that just doesn’t give a [you know what]?

If one side is arguing what’s right based on international laws, mores, and the ethics of human rights and freedom, how does that stack up with an adversary that disseminates misinformation [oh, are those our troops on the ground?] and thumbs their nose at the world to get what they want?

Maybe fighting fair is wonderful from a legal standpoint, but it sure looks challenging on the ground.

Putin is daring anyone to do anything…heck, he’s got thermonuclear ICBMs and a veto at the U.N. Security Council.

BTW, if a security council member is the one doing something wrong, why in those matters, do they still get a veto???

Anyway, this is a very dangerous game of cat and mouse, and if everyone fought this way, the doomsday clock would be ticking very close to midnight, indeed.

Many times in history, a Goliath has swung a big ugly sword, but even a David–and we are not a David, but a world superpower–came to the fight with a sligshot and still won.

Notice though, David still came to the fight!

We can win by doing the right thing, but we cannot run away, because as Hitler showed us–appeasement does not work!

Give a finger and next goes the hand, arm, and torso.

Now already are reports that Putin is threatening to derail the P5+1 negotiations with Iran as well.

Yesterday, I read in Businessweek about overspending, that it’s better to get a haircut now, than have a beheading later.

Perhaps, this applies to national security matters as well?

We can’t be the policeman/woman of the world, but Snowden is snug in “Mother Russia” and now so is Crimea.

(Source Photo: here)