Derech HaMelech

The Weekly Raid From Galus

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama Likens His Bowling Game to Special Olympics

Mary Ann Akers - Washington Post
President Obama seemed relaxed and in good cheer tonight during his appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." But there was one misstep that surely made his advisers wince.

Leno asked the president whether the White House bowling alley had been "burned and closed down" in light of Obama's gutter ball embarrassment on the campaign trail last year.

Obama replied, "No, no. I have been practicing . . . I bowled a 129."

The audience roared with laughter, and the late-night talk show host assured Obama "that's very good, Mr. President." To which Obama interjected, "It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something."

The audience laughed. But the White House didn't let the comment linger without clarification.

"The president made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters flying aboard Air Force One after the taping of the show, according to a transcript released by the White House. "He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world."

Also on the "Tonight Show," Leno asked the president when he would finally be making good on his famous campaign promise to reward his daughters with a puppy, which so far hasn't surfaced.

"Listen, this is Washington. That was a campaign promise," the president deadpanned to much laughter.

The president said he was "teasing," and explained that as soon as he returns from the NATO summit in France in Germany early next month, the "dog will be in place."

Leno asked if the dog would be a "Portuguese Water Head," referencing first lady Michelle Obama's recent suggestion that the first family was leaning toward a Portuguese Water Dog. The president laughed and said, "It's not a 'water head.' That sounds like a scary dog. Sort of dripping around the house."

But the first dad gave absolutely no hints about what kind of dog - or puppy - it will be. "We're going to get a dog that is -- that I think the girls will have a great time -- I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it. You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

And according to the schedule the president described, his girls will have their new furry friend by Easter.

What kind of person, let alone the President of America, mocks the Special Olympics? If anyone else except for King Messiah Obama had said this, he'd be forced to step down, or fired.

The truth is, they'd probably beat him badly in a real game of bowling.

What I don't understand is how Rep. Wilson calling President Obama a liar turned into race-card pulling by at least one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who said Wilson's outburst was a sign of disrespect of the nation's first African American president, and I quote:

"I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods again,'' Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said. "That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked.''

Soooo, its OK to make fun of people that have special needs, but disagreeing with someone's health care plan is now considered racist in need of public apology (which, BTW, will be the second time he apologized as the President already accepted his original apology, which was immediately after the incident)? Hmmmmm.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Heroin: The Enemy In Afghanistan (from NPR)

By Richard Farrell — Morning Edition
Published September 3, 2009 11:26 AM

I'm a heroin addict and I feel as if a piece of my heart is going to war in Afghanistan. I'm not using any more, but this war and my addiction are horribly intertwined.

You see, my 23-year-old son, William, is a member of the United States Navy's elite Mobile Unit 11. The unit is heading for a newly constructed base in Afghanistan. And the enemy they'll face has everything to do with heroin.

The Taliban funds terrorism with millions of dollars from the opium trade. Afghanistan supplies most of the world's heroin.

It has been 22 years since I methodically unwrapped a tiny plastic bag of heroin, tossed the white powder into a cooker and fired it into my veins. I remember sitting in detox — shaking with panic attacks, gagging, trying desperately to survive just another minute. I used to have nightmares about a 6-foot needle chasing me in and out of the shadows.

Now, because of William's mission, I feel heroin nipping at my heels again. The panic attacks are coming on strong. I do my best to forget that my boy is going to war, but the nightly news reminds me. In reports of American soldiers, young boys, killed by roadside bombs, I see William's face instead, and instantly my brain rewinds to when he was 12. I watch him run wild on a football field in Lowell, Mass. Then I see his boots hit the ground in Afghanistan.

I'm deeply troubled, wondering if my son will be trying to wipe out the crop that nearly killed me 22 years ago. Guilt rattles my brain like a BB in a metal boxcar. Back then, I was an involuntary "customer" who helped create a demand for the drug. I was the last link in a system that produced and distributed heroin — the very system my son William will be trying to break.

Last night, my detox nightmare came back. This time, though, it's not a needle full of heroin chasing me. Instead I see an AK-47 gorilla rifle's bullet, a roadside bomb tucked neatly under loose gravel, or a rocket-propelled grenade moving quickly through the air, but slow enough that I can see the trace from where it came. It's after my son William. I wake up just before it takes him out.

Some mornings, the thought of the future brings me to tears. Heroin snatched away William's childhood. Heroin's power destroyed his family. Now, 22 years later, in a very different way, heroin has another chance to break my heart. And frankly, I'm not sure if I'd recover this time around.

Some observations

Over the past few days, I have been deep in meditation about certain recent occurrences:

1. Why didn't WWII end the way that Quenten Tarantino envisioned it? What's the lesson of the Holocaust for the world in general and for Jews in particular? For those not familiar with his new movie, "Inglourious Basterds" ( However, be forewarned that this article will give away the plot, so click away at your own risk....

2. Adam Michael Goldstein AKA DJ AM, a 36 year old Jewish kid from my hometown of Philadelphia, who was making $25,000 a night spinning records at celebrity and commercial parties, was found dead in his $2 million dollar SoHo apartment of an apparent drug overdose on Friday night, after 11 years of continuous sobriety. (,2933,544579,00.html) I am reminded again that no matter how long an addict has clean, the disease of addiction never sleeps and is constantly waiting for an addict on the other side of the street, so to speak, for when he MAKES THE CONSCIOUS DECISION TO RELAPSE. Although I had never heard of DJ AM before he died, I still am saddened by his death on so many levels - as a fellow Jew, as a human being and as a drug and alcohol counselor who has seen more than my fair share of deaths in my 30 years here on earth due to the disease of addiction. I am really at a loss for words about this topic. Yet I keep on thinking about how ADDICTION IS NOT A JOKE - RECOVERY IS A GIFT FROM G-D THAT CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED, as is life, for that matter.So I ask everyone please, to go home and hug your kids, your family and (if you don't do so already) learn to appreciate every moment you have on this earth and thank G-d everyday for the gift of life that He gave all of us.