Sunday, April 17, 2011
Both Magdeburgerjoe.com and Rudistettner.com have been in existence since January of 2008. Both sites have followed an eclectic path, poth poliically and topically. The fact that both names are easily misspelled, as well as other technical issues have limited the growth of both sites. In response to this, a new site has been in existence since November of 2010. It is called GlobeTribune.info, and it can also be reached by the url "globetribune.com.
Globe Tribune.com will supersede Magdeburgerjoe.com and Rudistettner.com, which will both remain on line. Magdeburgerjoe.com and Rudistettner.com should really be considered the forerunners of GlobeTribune.Info.
The graphics of GlobeTribune.Info look a lot more like a news web site. Despite this, it will continue to encompass the mission of RudiStettner.com and MagdeburgerJoe.com, with an editorial policy against cutting and pasting articles from elsewhere, and instead introducing content with leadovers to original sources.
We will be producing a lot more articles than RudiStettner.com and MagdeburgerJoe.com, with the help of additional authours and editors. This is a promise we have kept since November, during which time our circulation on GlobeTribune.Info is well over double what the combined circulation of Magdeburgerjoe.com and RudiStettner.com were.
In short, this announcement does not mark the end of RudiStettner.com or MagdeburgerJoe.com, but a new chapter in the life of both sites.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Shahbaz Bhatti was so sure that he would be assassinated for his work defending Iran’s minorities that he videotaped a statement in anticipation of an assassination he believed was inevitable. The 42 year old Roman Catholic was a cabinet minister in charge of defending Pakistan’s minorities, a task that consumed his life.
Bhatti’s car was riddled with gunfire in an attack that was tied to his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are so loosely interpreted that any non Muslim who explains his faith to a Muslim could be charged under the laws. Already, Punjabi governor Salman Taseer, has been assasinated for his opposition to the same blasphemy statutes. Pakistan was founded as a country in which Muslims would not be discriminated against. Even Itself is divided between Sunni and Shia, as well as other smaller sects. Although Pakistan has a Sunni Muslim majority, it has a significant minority of Shiites. If one adds secular and more modern Muslims to the picture, the need for religious tolerance becomes self evident, as it was to Pakistan’s first President, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who stated as follows.
Click here for articles and videos on GlobeTribune.Info
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Bernard Nathanson, one of the most captivating spokespeople to have joined the right to life movement passed away Monday in New York City of cancer. He was 84 years old. By his own estimation, Nathanson performed over 75,000 abortions, including one upon his own girlfriend back in the 60′s.
Nathanson founded NARAL, (National Abortion Rights Action League) in 1969 and operated an abortion clinic in New York City in the 60′s and 70′s. He went through a process of soul searching that led him to dramatically change sides on the abortion question.
Click here to read the rest of the article on GlobeTribune.Info
Mixed Emotions and the Music of Nadim Mohsen [Videos]
February 22, 2011
I found one tweet that recommended a video by a musician, composer and poet from Lebanon named Nadim Mohsen.
Click here to read the complete article on GlobeTribune.Info
Saturday, February 5, 2011
For three years, I have been writing on Magdeburgerjoe.com and its sister site, Rudistettner.com. Back in November, I launched GlobeTribune.Info, a news site with a more "newsy", professional and less personal layout.
One bit of advice I got from James Johnson over at Indyposted.com is that there is a great deal of value to social networking. At my own cost, I ignored his advice for a long time, preferring to concentrate solely on writing. I was persuaded by one of my children to follow his advice. I therefore opened up a Facebook page under my professional name of Rudi Stettner. Since opening it up, I have sent out invitations to be friends on Facebook to people whose interests might overlap those on GlobeTribune.Info. There is a Jewish component to my audience, a political section and a world music section, to mention a few interest groups that I touch on. I send out friend requests on this basis.
I run my Rudi Stettner Facebook page as a way to keep people up to date on my articles. I am promoting myself as a writer. Anything that is related to my professional persona is what I put on my Facebook page. I may in the future have a Facebook page under my private name. My wife and children keep me up to date with family news and pictures, so at the present time this is really not necessary.
Aside from promoting myself as a writer, the only things I'm selling are my political views and the (so far) small ad revenues I get when people click on Google Ads on my site. My dream is that some day, someone will buy a 60 million dollar mansion through a Google ad on my site. So far that has not happened.
The biggest pleasure of writing on my sites is touching the lives of strangers who I will most likely never meet. Even on a day when I only get a handful of "hits" I get a rush from seeing that someone in Senegal, Croatia or Vietnam has taken the time to read my articles. This gives me the feeling that a common person can reach around the world and put his or her ideas out for consideration. It is a phenomenon unique to our age.
Any time I send a "friend" request as Rudi Stettner, it is in my capacity as a writer. It is important to make this known. Being a married grandfather, I like to make sure this is understood. When I was young, asking someone to be your friend meant exactly that,or sometimes a little more. Any guy my age who went up to a girl young enough to be his daughter and asked her to be his friend was a dirty old man. There is plenty of strangeness out on the internet. If I get an e mail saying "Who r u?? or something like that, I will identify myself and include the url to this article. I'd rather be writing articles, or shopping for a new topic.
That is another valuable side to Facebook. People put up articles, videos and other items that jump start my creativity. I have a quota for articles. The less time I spend looking for a topic, the quicker I can get to work on my daily quota.
I hope this explains the "Rudi Stettner" Facebook page to friends and family who wonder why I am not more chatty, and to strangers who wonder who I am.
PS The picture on my Facebook is of Emperor Franz Joszef II. It is not my picture. I look like a walrus with a mustache.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Anyone who lives in a western democracy is inclined to feel some sympathy with the revolutionary currents in the Arab world. The idea of toppling a dictator captures one's imagination. In my adult lifetime I have observed the overthrow of dictators in Haiti, Romania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Without violence, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and quite a few other nations have turned away from dictatorship and embraced free elections and human rights.
There is a misconception about a dictatorship, that a country can be filled with wonderful people and that the dictator inflicts suffering upon the people. The reality is far more complex. In East Germany, more than 20 years after the fall of communism, people are still dealing emotionally with the fact that they were spied upon by neighbours.
In Haiti, when Baby Doc was overthrown in 1986, the same society that produced the foot soldiers of the Duvalier dictatorship also produced brutal warring factions. Today, there are those who look back with nostalgia upon the "kinder gentler" brutality of the Duvalier dictatorship.
After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, there are those who long for the austere stability in the days when the USSR stretched uninterrupted across 12 time zones. There are still people today who view Stalin as a hero. Millions of Russians wanted to be Communist Party members, and the 5% or so of the population who made the grade enjoyed varying degrees of perks for being the "revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, America has found that overthrowing a dictator is fairly easy. What is far more difficult is for the people of Iraq, Afghanistan or any other authoritarian regime to learn the ways of free men.
The political culture of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and other countries in the Arab world gave rise to brutality and to dictatorship. Any regime that replaces the ones now in place will employ the same people. In Egypt, the government of Mubarak turned a blind eye to pogroms against Christians, as well as the rape and kidnapping of Christian girls. Any government that follows that of Mubarak will still be dealing with the same climate of intolerance that has developed over centuries in Egyptian society.
It will be good to see change come to the Arab world, where the winds of revolution blow so strongly today. But that change must be internal as well as external, if it is to do any good at all.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
There are different ways of dealing with crime in the news media. At one extreme is the "True Crime" approach, in which lurid headlines are splashed across the front pages and gruesone details shared with readers and viewers. The other extreme is to leave such items out of the news entirely.
I recall a headline years ago in which a man from my town was murdered. The headline in the local paper only reported that he "died unexpectedly. The editors felt that dragging out the young man's death across the pages of a town newspaper would put a local family through additional agony.
There are other reasons for glossing over crime stories. Some editors feel that such news is "beneath their dignity". Specialty newspapers and broadcast media can argue that crime is "not on their beat".
There is a middle approach. Some crime stories are brutal and sensational, yet an abberation from human nature. When I read a crime story, I ask myself whether I am indulging a morbid curiosity or whether I am either taking the pulse of society or learning to protect myself and my family.
A crime story in which details of a scam or an attack are divulged enables readers to be watchful and not fall prey to criminals. People need to be reminded periodically not to open their doors to strangers, not to give their social security numbers to people on the phone and other common sense precautions. A crime story can drive such a lesson home to readers.
A recent story about second graders in Oakland California who were acting out sexually in class with a teacher present raised a multitude of questions about whether children are being exposed to too much sex too soon. It might well lead to practical discussions in many homes about monitoring television and internet use.
There is a place for reporting crime stories. There is also a way to write such stories so they educate the public
Monday, January 10, 2011
Back in 1998, a youth center for “at risk ” orthodox Jewish youth known as Our Place opened up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Because of its grounding in Jewish tradition, it opened in two separate locations for boys and girls.
Unfortunately, there are all too many children from orthodox Jewish homes who are out on the streets, on drugs or out of school. Aside from the standards specific to the Jewish community of sabbath and kosher laws, these boys and girls served by Our Place are often engaged or at risk of engaging in manifestly self destructive behaviors.
Our Place opened its doors with games, food and where accepted, counseling. It is a safe, supervised environment. Those who find it within themselves to go into drug rehab, further their education or whatever else is appropriate to better their situation are given resources to assist them. There are people who are now in school, a job or happily married who were able to arrive at these joyous milestones in their lives because of help they received at Our Place.
The help that has been extended to around 8000 kids at Our Place has been possible due to a mix of government funding and private donations. Government funding for Our Place has dried up completely. Private donations are way down, because of the troubled state of the US economy.
By any reckoning, Our Place performs a valuable function. By combating drug use and other social ills, it serves the needs of the larger society. Looked at from a Jewish perspective, it gives children who are close to or over the edge a solid psychological foundation upon which to build a Jewish life. Because it is culturally sensitive to orthodox Jewish life, even a young adult who is no longer observant can speak with someone who understands how he or he grew up.
Before he led the Jewish people out of Egypt, Moshe was a shepherd. A small sheep became separated from his flock, and Moshe went out and brought it back, instead of writing it off as inventory shrinkage. In the merit of rescuing that sheep, Moshe was seen by G-d as being worthy of leading the Jewish people, in Egypt and out of exile.
The people who run“Our Place” share with Moshe the conviction that not one Jewish soul is expendable. The comparson between Moshe and the stray sheep he rescued on G-d’s behalf is an obvious one. The children who have left Judaism are not ours to write off. They are G-d’s children and it is our duty to assist the able shepherds who seek these children out. If we are worthy of the heritage of Judaism’s greatest prophet, the doors of Our Place must remain open.
Click here for link to original article in Globe Tribune.Info with video and links
Friday, January 7, 2011
A regular part of my weekly grocery order involves requesting a home delivery. The cashier asks me for my phone number and confirms my address when it appears on the computer screen. I Don't much care about my privacy,being a dumpy middle aged man. Unfortunately,a lot of other people get asked the same question, even in the check cashing store. I know of two instances where a female got a call from someone who eavesdropped as she was giving over personal information. Neither woman welcomed the attention.
There is a simple solution to this problem,one that the programmer for a business computer could ttake care of. Instead of indexing customer information by the entire phone number,why not index it with the last four digits of the phone number and the first three letters of the customer,s last name,or the customer,s initials?
A customer named John Michaels might tell the cashier that his customer number is JMI 1279. For extra measure, the cashier might read a password off the screen and ask if it belongs to him. That would protect the privacy of the customer from eavesdroppers. Amazingly enough, I have even heard customers in check cashing places asked for their phone number through the bullet proof glass at the cashier's window.
Another solution might be to have a local merchant's card with the address indexed on it for deliveries and other customer service purposes. Merchants could offer people with the card discounts to encourage them to shop locally.
In most instances, computer systems have enhanced shopping and customer service. There still is, however, room for improvement. I hope shopkeepers will take heed.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Inspirational music is a major seller in the English language. As a Christian country, most of the music that is based on faith and religious inspiration draws on the Christian biblical canon. In many homes, such music is seen as a way to enjoy the uplifting effects of music without some of the questionable influences that have affected some mainstream popular music.
Observant Jews are likewise hesitant about the unfiltered influence of popular music, and seek to enrich their lives with music that is supportive of rather than contradictory to the tenets of their faith. Jews have been in America since the 1600′s and since then have become a fully participating part of American society.
It is only logical that Jewish music should absorb some input from surrounding genres. Since the 1960′s in particular, there has been a flowering of music that draws its inspiration from Jewish tradition, from the Jewish biblical canon and from the oral law that has its roots in Jewish scripture. Some music is in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino or other Jewish languages, and other music is in a local language such as English.
Of the English language songs, there are some that are specific to a Jewish religious framework, that deal with specifically Jewish practices, or address life with an infusion of Hebrew and Yiddish that make such songs less accessible to listeners who are not familiar with Jewish tradition. Other songs are entirely in English and deal with issues of faith and a relationship with G-d in a manner that is more universal. Many orthodox Jewish musicians make both specifically Jewish and general interest music. Matisyahu is the most famous example of a singer who performs both types of music. There are many more musicians in the Jewish community whose music is of a quality that makes them worthy of consideration by a general audience. One of many such musicians is Hiam Naiditch, a young man who belongs to the Lubavitcher chassidim and maintains an appreciation of popular musical styles. He generally performs with an acoustic guitar, rather than with a full band. He composes both his own lyrics as well as the music. I am pleased to present his latest song “Illuminated”. The lyrics to the song are below.
Skies are grey,
shadow things don’t cry
Thoughtless things, they sway,
immune to all the lies,
[My] Soul’s not still as I’m trying
The earth You make where i’m lying,
All these things I’ve been trying
And when I stand tall,
You’re walking beside me
What I wish for,
I hope for,
I pray for you to see
A light has found a way,
A light has found a way
To my heart, yeah
And when I stand tall…
Posted by Magdeburger Joe at Sunday, January 02, 2011