Tim Bishop’s bar mitzvah fireworks
We’ve heard of bar mitzvah party problems before – say, an $8 million dollar bat mitzvah celebration in 2005 and a jailhouse party in 2009. But Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) may have crossed a line when his campaign requested a political contribution from a constituent looking to add a spark to his son’s bar mitzvah party. According to Politico, Eric Semier, a former New York Times reporter from Southampton, N.Y., was throwing the bash for his son in May and asked for Bishop’s help to expedite government permits for a fireworks display. Three days before the big bang — which was launched from Semier’s roof and wound up damaging a neighbor’s Bentley — Bishop’s daughter, the congressman’s campaign fundraiser, suggested that the family donate up to $10,000. Despite Semier’s eventual insistence that no wrong was done, the ask may have violated house ethics contribution rules. That’s bad news for Bishop, who faces Republican Randy Altschuler in November in a rematch of an election race two years ago that Bishop won by only 593 votes. To quote a bar mitzvah party anthem from the late 90’s, “It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.”
Paul Ryan: Good for the Jews?
Paul Ryan was guaranteed “good (or not) for the Jews” coverage as soon as Mitt Romney named him to the number two spot on the GOP ticket, and the question generated a split response. Israel? Good for the Jews, said the ubiquitous “pro-Israel insiders,” as he co-sponsored all the right legislation with his fellow young gun, House majority leader Eric Cantor (most recently the enhanced security cooperation act.) Not so much, say the groups whose concern is domestic policy. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed slashing funding for entitlements that Jewish social service groups insist are critical to sustaining for the elderly. (Jews are aging at a faster pace than most other ethnic and religious groups.) It all comes down to another “good for” question: With a substantial older Jewish population in the Sunshine State, will Florida be good for Romney?
Csanad Szegedy’s odd political journey
His name may not be the easiest to pronounce, but European nationalists will remember Csanad Szegedi for a long time. Last week it emerged that the now former senior member of Hungary’s anti-Semitic Jobbik party had met earlier in the month with a Chabad rabbi in Budapest to discuss his recently-acknowledged Jewish origins. Rabbi Shlomo Koves said Szegedi was even planning a trip to Auschwitz to honor the memory of the victims and to see first-hand where the Nazis held his grandmother, Magdolna Klein. His parents, he said, never told him he was Jewish. While reconnecting to his roots, Szegedy is also fighting to keep his seat in the European Parliament, which he won as a Jobbik candidate. Once the party’s vice president, Szegedy, 29, fell from grace within Jobbik after he told Hungarian media in June about his Jewishness. Jobbik leaders accused Szegedi of offering a bribe in 2010 to keep his Jewishness a secret, which he denied. They demanded he resign from all party roles and give up his seat in Brussels – the latter of which he is yet to do.
Marika Weinberger: Australia’s pain
Avi Dichter: Deciding vote on Iran?