Subject: The Shabbas Goy Addendum
From: Henry W. Hocherman
Date: Mon Apr 3
With all due respect to Culturebox and her Talmudic consultants, the concept of the Shabbas Goy is entirely permissible according to even strict orthodox doctrine. What Dr. Bleich probably meant was that a non-Jew could not receive instruction from an orthodox Jew to perform a forbidden labor on the Sabbath if the instruction was being given on the Sabbath. But the tradition of the Shabbas Goy encompasses the situation where a non-Jew received his or her specific instructions as to what to do (turn a stove or a light on or off on a Friday night, launch nuclear weapons, etc.) before the Sabbath begins. Then, once Shabbas starts, the observant Jew needn't give any further instruction to the non-Jew at all—and the Shabbas Goy merely performs the tasks previously requested without any Sabbath involvement in such instruction on the part of the Jew using his or her services. Thus, a President Lieberman who instructed his non-Jewish staff before the start of the Sabbath on any tasks whatsoever would be acting within the bounds of the strictest interpretation of Judaic law in doing so.
The foregoing is based not only on eleven years of yeshiva study of my own, but my intense desire, at the age of 12, to be President of the United States someday (an ambition long since abandoned, you'll be glad to know). You can bet that I researched that sucker, insofar as Jewish law was concerned, until I had the subject down cold.
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Subject: Who Speaks for the Maids?
From: Fray Reader
Date: Sun Apr 2
Culturebox and the vast majority of the Fray responses seem to be written entirely from the vantage point of people who can afford to hire maids, who probably do occasionally hire maids, and who apparently feel personally aggrieved by her critical article. Respondents ignore Ehrenreich's points about the "Brazilianization" of the economy, and class lines that are emerging from this disparity. One even goes so far as to decry Ehrenreich's "arrogance," and to claim that maids choose their work because they find it personally satisfying.
That is a cruel farce. As Ehrenreich explains in her article, industrial maid work cannot easily be done for more than several months to a year because of the enormous toll it takes on the body. Full-time cleaning is painful, disgusting, and unremunerative. To ignore the poor conditions and pay of cleaning jobs, to call Ehrenreich "annoying" for drawing attention to them, to declaim the right to employ maids and work them at the pay levels now current thanks to the laws of supply & demand just because one can afford to do so, is not only socially irresponsible but also morally ugly.
Maids and their employers belong to the same communities. Unfortunately the choices available to both groups are not the same. Why is this no longer disturbing for the vast majority of respondents?
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Subject: The Irrelevance of Dubya's Education Policy
From: Joseph E. Britt
Date: Tue Mar 28
I didn't see any recognition by the Texas Monthly staff that a governor's education policy, however successful, might not be terribly relevant to the conduct of foreign relations and management of the economy. Yet the next president is very likely going to spend much more time in each of these areas than in education, which is almost entirely controlled by state and local authorities.
Finally, I had to laugh at the comment that a dropped "g" at the end of the word "asking" identifies Bush as a Texan. Here in Wisconsin we have a very successful governor who uses only two "g's," the one in "governor" and his middle initial. I promise you that no one will ever mistake Tommy Thompson for a Texan.
Subject: The United States' Own Cartel
Re: " Readme: Oil Crooks"
From: Peter Scheer
Date: Thu Mar 30
From the perspective of Riyadh, there's little difference between the collusion of OPEC states and the daily price-fixing activities of the U.S. When it comes to antitrust laws, American governments at all levels—the feds, the states, and local communities—are not just repeat offenders, but perpetual offenders. Cartels can attempt to fix prices (and often fail), but governments fix prices all the time and with devastating effectiveness. In the U.S. today, the federal government continues to fix many prices in the agricultural sector, while nearly all states fix prices for milk, in-state telephone service, and electricity. When it comes to the federal government's interaction with foreign sovereigns, Uncle Sam's behavior is nearly as felonious. Consider, for example, U.S. anti-dumping law, which is used to block imports simply because they are priced below domestic producers' costs.