Israeli Porn Flick Ruled Not Kosher

Monsters and Critics reports that a porn flick filmed in Israel with local talent in Hebrew has been ruled to be not Kosher when they attempted to place a kosher food certification symbol on their DVD covers:

File this under violating Kashrut, Shabbat, and a few of the Commandments while we’re at it. A New Jersey Rabbi has put his foot down on an all Israeli porn film that’s using his company’s Kosher stamp on the packaging, saying the fare is downright treyf (unclean).

TMZ, Harvey Levin’s intrepid army of roving reporters has uncovered an Israeli porn flick produced by Tight Fit Productions of Van Nuys, Calif., the purveyors of “Assraelis,” shot entirely in Israel with local talent in Hebrew, which has come under attack from rabbis who say their use of a food-certification symbol on DVD covers must cease-and-desist.

The quit letter from lawyers representing Rabbi Yehuda Rosenbaum of KOF-K Kosher Certification, a New Jersey company that puts its stamp of approval on Kosher goods was sent to the principals of Tight Fit.

The porn DVD cover “claim of Israeli authenticity” is accompanied by the Hebrew letter reserved for rabbi-ordained meats, grains, and other foods.

TMZ reports that KOF-K’s lawyer says contend Tight Fit is using the symbol “illegally” in violation of State and Federal Law, and plans to sue “if the situation is not rectified as quickly as possible.”

Porn producer and owner of Tight Fit, Oren Cohen, is amused, but he’s a good Jewish boy and will comply with the rabbis’ requests. Who needs the aggravation?

Dick Cheney Controls Tim Russert

It sure isn’t new information that Tim Russert can be counted upon to use Meet the Press to push the administration line, but it is interesting to have this revealed in a court of law. Cathie Martin, former Cheney communications director, provided some insight into how Cheney’s office works during Libby’s trial today. Dana Milbank reports:

Flashed on the courtroom computer screens were her notes from 2004 about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions. Option 1: “MTP-VP,” she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under “pro,” she wrote: “control message.”

“I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used,” Martin testified. “It’s our best format.”

Best format? Are they suggesting that Russert is even more a shill for them than Fox News?

Controversial Elections of 2000 and 2004

There sure seems to be a lot of talk of stolen elections around the blogosphere today. Several blogs, such as Michael Oates Palmer at Huffington Post, note the conviction in Ohio and try to tie it into Robert F. Kennedy, Jr’s Rolling Stone article. While there are certainly flaws in the election system which need to be fixed, I already discussed how this case provides no evidence of a stolen election. Even Right Wing Nut House does a better job of covering this story than much of the reality based community.

The 2000 election also was in the news today as three of the Supreme Court justices have defended their roles in preventing the recount. Unlike the accusations of theft in 2004, there is a much stronger case for 2000 having been decided unfairly by the Court. Talk Left has already debunked many of the false statements in this article. The media consortium’s review showed that Gore would have won if there had been a full state wide recount (although he would not have won with the more narrow recount he was seeking).

Hillary Watch

Time is looking ahead to a McCain vs. Hillary Clinton race.

Kos disputes the spin that Hillary is winning in the netroots, while Blog PI examines the controversy over Hillary’s blog ads. Hillary apparently has so much cash on hand she can afford to pay right wing blogs not to run her ads!

While she has such money to burn, it looks like Hillary might be losing out on that Hollywood money to Obama. It’s not that surprising that the Hollywood crowd gravitates more towards Obama’s charisma. Besides, fighting against flag burning just doesn’t draw in the support in Hollywood.

Hillary commented on universal health care today, and criticized Bush’s State of the Union proposals:

“The problem is, his proposal would be funded by taking money away from public hospitals and the heath care safety net,” said Clinton, “That is the robbing of Peter to pay Paul that I don’t think makes sense. We shouldn’t be setting up these false choices.”

Things are going to get a lot uglier before this is over, with The Blotter resorting to digging up mud on her brother today. ABC even sent this out by email as “breaking news” this morning. If only we had a better press corp, such as one which reported on things that matter as opposed to doing the GOP’s dirty work for them.

Michigan: Go Blue in 2008 Congressional Races

The Stakeholder, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Weblog is hoping to make Michigan go even more blue in 2008. They write, “Now there’s talk that the state of Michigan, a blue state in the last two Presidential elections that somehow has 9 Republican representatives out of 15 total, may be the next to turn Democratic.” In 2006 four Democrats kept Republicans under 55% of the vote despite limited support from the DCCC.

If 2008 is another big year for Democrats, especially if led by a strong Presidential candidate, there is hope for picking up some seats. It might appear strange that Michigan has gone for Gore and Kerry, has a Democratic Governor, has two Democratic Senators, and yet the Repubicans hold a majority of Representatives. One reason is that Democrats in Michigan are heavily concentrated in the southeast portion of the state which contains both Detroit and Ann Arbor. This gives them the edge in state wide elections, but there remains a tremendous portion of the state which is strongly Republican.

Michigan also has a tradition of moderate Republicans which might still be increasing the number of people who vote Republican out of habit. With moderates no longer feeling welcome in the GOP nation wide, and with the Michigan Republican Party increasingly being molded by the types of Betsy and Dick DeVos, it might be harder for Republicans to maintain their voters in parts of Michigan.

The Ideal Job, Naked

These stories are probably unrelated, but who knows what fringe benefits come with any job. Morning Edition had a story which reported that, while four out of five people say they are not in their dream job, police and firefighters feel they have the ideal job. Then I came across this next story in which an Austrailan state defends the practice of undercover investigators paying for sex in order to prove the case.

Here’s the job description. Any doubt that these people report high job satisfaction?

One private investigator, who was not identified, told Southern Cross Radio receiving sexual services while investigating illegal brothels is “just another job”.

“It’s completely anonymous. We are undercover operators.

“We go inside the premises (and say) ‘Hi, how are you?’ and all this, and we have done it so many times that the girls feel relaxed with us.

“The girl is naked. The investigator is naked. You receive an oil massage and, at the end of it, you receive hand relief and that’s it.”

Obama Calls for Universal Health Care

Barack Obama called for universal health care in a speech this morning (text under the fold). The arguments for it are well known, as are the problems in the current system. Talking about this was the easy part. Next we’ll have to see what Obama recommends we do, beyond the easy recommendations already made by many others for electronic medical records. Identifying the problem is the easy part. Finding a comprehensive solution is far more difficult, but the details are important, as we learned with Hillary Care. (more…)

Speculation on Why Kerry is Not Running

It was inevitable that Kerry’s decision not to run would lead to speculation as to the reasons. The Politco has a plausible explanation–the big money needed isn’t there this year. Another possible factor is that, while earlier Kerry might have hoped that he had the best chance to survive as the anti-Hillary candidate, Obama’s emergence as a strong contender ended that hope.

Then there’s the more absurd ideas. AP reports that two election workers were convicted “of illegally rigging the 2004 presidential election recount so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes.” Brilliant at Breakfast offers a not so brilliant theory that this explains the reasons Kerry is not running as they revive the tin foil hat theories which have been throughly refuted in the past. While there is no doubt that the system is broken, the errors discovered just do not have much impact on the ultimate result, or Kerry’s decision. As AP reports:

Special prosecutor Kevin Baxter, who was brought in from Erie County to handle the case, did not claim the workers’ actions affected the outcome of the election — Kerry gained 17 votes and Bush lost six in the county’s recount.

This, along with other errors which might be discovered, hardly make up for the 118,000 margin by which Kerry lost Ohio. Other reports also provide evidence against the stolen election theories:

“This was not done for political reasons,” the case’s special prosecutor, Kevin Baxter, said in his closing argument. “It was so you didn’t have to do a full hand recount. Politics didn’t matter.”

Update:  With all the knocking of Kerry, here’s a view from one of his fund raisers, Robert Zimmerman:

“The ultimate irony of it all is that John Kerry made an enormous contribution to shifting the national debate on Iraq. Some of the positions Republicans attacked Kerry for in 2004 are the same ones they hold now. His advocacy of phased redeployment from Iraq and his strategies for fighting terrorism have now become accepted thinking among even some leading Republicans. Even George Will, of all people, has acknowledged that Kerry was right about how to fight terrorism.”

Josh Marshall also writes that “I think he ran a much better campaign than the conventional wisdom now allows.”