Thursday, November 20, 2014

Searching for the Hirschfeld Family

My 3rd great-grandmother, Liba/Libby Schindler, had a brother named Nisan Hirschfeld.  In the 1897 All-Russia census, they were listed as living in Talsen, Latvia.  Libby and Nisan's father was named Isaac/Itzik.

According to the census, Nisan was living with his wife, Zira, and stepson, Mendel Lewensohn.

Ages in 1896-97:
Nisan, 56
Zira, 46
Mendel, 25

I don't know if Nisan and Zira had other children.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Jerry Abramson resigns, Crit Luallen to become new Lt. Governor

Kentucky Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson has resigned to take the position of Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House.

The announcement was made today by Governor Steve Beshear.  Former state Auditor Crit Luallen has been named as Abramson's replacement.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me and for our administration. Jerry and I have been friends for more than 30 years, and I chose him as my Lieutenant Governor because I knew that his extensive experience as longtime mayor of Louisville, his contagious enthusiasm and his knack for building momentum around new ideas would make him a great partner in leading our state.  But the White House noticed all those skills, too, and realized that he will take those same gifts and put them to work on our nation’s domestic agenda. He will be an outstanding addition to the President’s administration, and we will miss him terribly.”
“The challenges that face America’s local communities – such as workforce training, education, infrastructure investment, shrinking budgets, affordable housing, public transportation, and emergency response – are the issues that I’ve worked on for more than 30 years in local and state government. I’m honored to be in a position to help this country’s mayors, county executives, governors and other local officials tackle these issues and work to find innovative solutions.  “I’m grateful to Gov. Beshear for bringing me on board three years ago, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to bring jobs to our state and to strengthen Kentucky families.  My experience in the Kentucky Capitol will be vital as I step into my new role.”

Beshear on appointing Crit Luallen:
“Crit is a well-known and beloved public servant, respected by members of both parties for her resolute pursuit of clean, ethical government,” said Gov. Beshear. “She was my first and only choice to serve as the new Lieutenant Governor, and I know Kentuckians will be confident that she is more than up to the task.  I’m glad she agreed to return to state government, and I’m certain she will bring that same tenacity and grit to the Lt. Governor’s office.”

Crit Luallen:
“It is a high honor to stand here today in partnership with this Governor.  Serving as Lieutenant Governor gives me an opportunity to continue to serve Kentucky and offer my experience and perspective to Gov. Beshear and the fine team he has assembled. It will be my personal goal to help the Governor end his term in office with the state in as strong a position as possible to face the challenges the future holds.”
 The resignation and transfer of power will take place on November 13. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Saving the Horse Industry in Kentucky means to expand gambling

Kentucky's horse industry is dying a slow death. Owners and trainers will continue to send their horses where the money is--sadly, it won't be Kentucky because of the religious conservatives so afraid of expanded gambling. Just because they don't like it doesn't mean that their beliefs should be forced upon those who disagree with them.

We can't win when potential tax revenue is leaving Kentucky and going to Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio, wherever the casinos are.

2015 Kentucky Statewide Primary Election - Democratic Candidates

Governor/Lt. Governor (Open)
Jack Conway/Sannie Overly

Secretary of State
Alison Lundergan Grimes

Attorney General
Andrew Beshear

State Auditor
Adam Edelen

State Treasurer
Daniel Grossberg
Neville Blakemore

Possible candidates:
Colmon Elridge
Dee Dee Ford
Chris Tobe

State Agricultural Comissioner
Jean-Marie Lawson Spann

Southern Democrats need a New Strategy

Chris Cillizza puts it the best when he called Southern Democrats a loser in the 2014 election:
Southern Democrats: Both Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas did everything they could to run away from President Obama and insist they were their own independent voices. Ditto Michelle Nunn in Georgia.  Didn't work.  Grimes lost minutes after polls closed in Kentucky. Same for Pryor in Arkansas. Nunn wasn't able to push David Perdue (R) to a runoff. And even Sen. Mark Warner, long considered to be impregnable, found himself in a tight race with former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.  The results affirmed just how difficult it is for Democrats to win federal races in the South -- particularly in an election cycle like this one where a Democratic President is decidedly unpopular in the region. (And NBC/Marist poll released on Sunday showed Obama with a 32 percent approval rating in Kentucky.)
It may be easy to when statewide for state elections but in Kentucky, nobody has been elected statewide to the United States Senate since Wendell Ford.  In 2011, the Steve Beshear/Jerry Abramson slate won with 55.72% of the vote.

The Kentucky Democratic Party has a lot of work to do over the next few years.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Deleting an old blog posting...

It's not that often that I delete an old blog posting but I did so today...well more so, reverted it back to a draft.


My feelings on Jerry Lundergan have changed ten-fold since early 2005 when he was voted in as party chairman.  It is important that we have a UNITED Kentucky Democratic Party in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

I'll proudly cast my vote on Tuesday for Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Bill Clinton!

President Bill Clinton was on the stump for Alison Lundergan Grimes as she runs for the United States Senate.  I don't actively write about politics as much as I used to but getting the opportunity to see President Clinton for a third time in person was awesome even if it was a bit chilly outside while waiting for the rally to get started.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2013-2014 Baseball Books You Should Read

American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball by Larry Ruttman Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 2013)

The Jewish presence of baseball extends beyond the playing field.  It reaches to the Commissioner's Office (Bud Selig), labor leaders (Marvin Miller, Donald Fehr), the owners box (Jerry Reinsdorf, Stuart Sternberg), front office executives (Theo Epstein, Mark Shapiro), sportswriters (Murray Chass, Ross Newhan, Ira Berkow, Roger Kahn) and fans such as Alan Dershowitz and Barney Frank.

Their life stories and others have been compiled from nearly 50 in-depth interviews and arranged by decade.  The edifying and entertaining work is an important part of our oral and cultural history.

Everyone interviewed talks about what it was like to have grown up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, assimilation, intermarriage, future viability, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel.  They talk about being in the midst of players who have helped to make baseball into what it is today.  What their stories do, most importantly, is show the history of Jews in America's pastime.

Throwing Hard Easy: Reflections on a Life in Baseball by Robin Roberts
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 2014)

Reprinted posthumously, this edition offers a new forward by his son, James Roberts, as well as a new introduction from his co-author C. Paul Rogers, III.

Roberts made his debut in 1948 and would become one of the many inductees in Cooperstown.  Roberts wasn't just a dominating pitcher but an impressive storyteller, too.  His experiences before, during, and after his 19-year career made for an extraordinary life.  His memoir recalls his childhood, playing days, and life after retiring from baseball.

Alexander Cartwright: The Life behind the Baseball Legend by Monica Nucciarone
Paperback: 328 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 2014)

We know that Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. (1820–92) was present during the organization of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York in the mid-1800s but since that time, Cartwright has been celebrated as one of baseball's founders in the same case as Abner Doubleday.  Both, however, have seen their clain to fame come with both conjecture and controverse.  In Nucciarone's book, his complex life comes into focus.

The author seperates fact from speculation.  While Cartwright may not be the one of legend, what we get is a character that is colorful, complicated, and immense as any legend that he may have inspired.

Turning the Black Sox White: The Misunderstood Legacy of Charles A. Comiskey by Tim Hornbaker
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Sports Publishing (March 4, 2014)

Charles Albert “The Old Roman” Comiskey was a man that had precision in speech and could work a room with handshakes and smiles.  Comiskey invested some five decades in baseball and cared deeply for both the fans and the players.

He's been vilified as a cheapskate and a driving force behind the 1919 White Sox team that the the World Series.  It couldn't have been any further from the truth as Hornbaker's book shows.  Comiskey was terrorized to the core with the scandal.  Mangled versions of the truth have circulated and have been immortalized by the mainstream media.

This is a man who gave away tickets to the Boy Scouts and opposed raising ticket prices for the World Series.  He put the fans and players first.  Amongst now-common practices, Comiskey has been credited with playing first base either behind the bag or onside the foul line.

This is an elegant portrait of his long career as a player, manager, and owner and tells his story while showcasing facts that most don't know.  The truth, as is the case, needs to be told and that's what Hornbaker does.

Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time by Tim Wendel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 1, 2014)

This was a classic World Series between two teams that climbed their way to the top after finishing in the bottom of the standings in the 1990 season.  Five games were decided by just one run.  Four games were decided by the last at-bat, including Kirby Puckett's walk-off home run in Game 6. 
No World Series had seen three games go into extra innings until the 1991 World Series.

More than statistics, this is a series in which both teams took a risk, followed their guts, and played with both integrity and heart.

Tim Wendel recalls what made this series a great one game-by game.  He reaches back into baseball history to show us just what made these moments so great.  Nobody can ever forget Puckett's home run or the game four and seven matchups between Jack Morris and John Smoltz.

Wendel makes an argument that this was "the last fine time in Baseball."

Mover and Shaker: Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers, and Baseball's Westward Expansion by Andy McHue
Hardcover: 488 pages
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (May 1, 2014)

Walter O'Malley is one of the most influential and controversial owners in sports history.  For the first time ever, we have an objective, complete, and nuanced account of the O'Malley's life.  He doesn't present O'Malley has a villain or angel.  Rather, he presents O'Malley as a rational and hardheaded businessman.  He was a major force for three decades in baseball.  His managing and marketing practices radically changed the shape of the game.

He's remembered best for moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.  But what is known about O'Malley leading up to the move is either unknown or a complete myth.  Sportswriters distorted his personal story because of their hatred of him after the Dodgers moved west.

The Closer by Mariano Rivera
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 6, 2014)

There's no denial that Rivera is the greatest closer of all-time in Major League Baseball.  Nobody can list the greatest Yankees of all time without including Rivera.  Just by opening the bullpen door, Rivera intimidated thousands of batters.

In this book, he finally shares his life story and journey.  When the Yankees first scouted him, he didn't own a glove and his big toe was sticking out of his shoe.

He didn't know who Babe Ruth was, spoke no English, and never had flown in a plane.  He knew that with his love for family and G-d to guide him that he would throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to...every single time.

Rivera, with some astonishing candor, shares the stories of the championships, bosses, rivalries, the  struggles of being a Latino player in the U.S., and the challenges of maintaining deep religious values in sports.

He writes about his drive to win, the secret to his composure, how he discovered the cutter, and Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.  He writes how the lowest moment of his career would turn into a blessing.

Rivera takes us into the Yankees clubhouse and discusses the other players of the Core Four.

Friday, October 24, 2014

You Can Date Boys When You're Forty by Dave Barry

You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About by Dave Barry
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)

For the first time since 2010, Dave Barry is back with a collection of brand new essays that offer a unique look at fatherhood, family, and death.  He delivers a hilarious collection of parenting, families, sex, camels, women, brain surgery, sex with women, air travel, brain farts, and so much more.

Barry's daughter turned 13 and he turned 65.  For Barry, 65 is not the new 50.  No matter what age, Barry is still one of the funniest writers on this planet.

Barry even writes about a trip to Israel, which had me cracking up a storm.  When you've rode on camels and slept in a Bedouin tent, you know exactly what kind of experience that he had.  I can say that with 100% certainty as I went on a Birthright trip in 2007.