We had several guests. ELLIOTT TURNER brought two guests, Richard Rosetti, who is an Executive Producer for both film and TV, and Greg Jackson, a journalist. As a new hire at ABC, Greg was the ONLY journalist present at Woodstock! RAY ZICKFELD brought Marge, and BARRY MARLIN asked Evie to come along “to see what he’s been doing on these Thursday afternoons”. I then called attention to a Mystery Guest LENNY FRIEDMAN brought his second son, David, but apparently needed to be reminded to introduce him! Somehow, this led to PP RUDY ALVAREZ being asked how he got the glass of red wine he was enjoying. Seems the Faculty Club provides this bonus, but you gotta belong.
Two Unusual Craft Talks at WVRC on April 5th
NICK KAHRILAS started us off with the Pledge. Then came LENNY, ACapella, with God Bless America. I resurrected a prayer I had given at Church in 1994, thanking our Lord for all our blessings, and asking his guidance for our leaders, that they may act with wisdom and courage in our behalf. We ask to be reminded, as we face challenges and decisions of our own, to seek your help and guidance in making the right choices doing what we believe you would have us do.
Reminders and Announcements
April 10th, District Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza. Starting at 0700. We have a table, and PEGGY BLOOMFIELD can maybe squeeze you in.
April 11th, the Spring Tea, starting at 11:30 at the home of CAROL and JIM COLLINS. Contact is MARGIE DOWNIE.
April 22nd, the Brentwood Art Show, starting at 10 a.m. This is held on San Vicente, and they will have over 150 exhibitors. WLA Rotary is a co-sponsor, and it’s worth a visit.
April 26th, GOLF TOURNAMENT as the kickoff for our District Conference. All kinds of goodies are included in the fee of $150 Rick Searey, (562) 402-0670
And of course that leads to the District Conference, from the 26th to the 29th at the Bahia Resort on Mission Bay. Again PEGGY BLOOMFIELD has Applications and as a bonus, PP JOHN SINGLETON has invited all participants to stop in at his home in Carlsbad on the 29th.This means we want to be sure to reserve space with PP JOHN, so may I ask all who are going to the conference to notify me, please? (310)277-3910.
And for those with long-range calendars, the coming dates for the forthcoming Ethics Forums are October 28th (at PEGGY’S) and in 2008, January 13th, April 7th and May 12th.
Tijuana House Completed
Thirteen Rotarians, members of Rotaract, and friends, made the long trip down and back to Tijuana on Saturday, March 24th. They did complete the house as scheduled, with the help of some Manhattan Beach Rotarians. The list of our participants includes the Rotaract kids, SEEMA PATEL, KATIA VAISBERG, GABE SCHAFER, and TIFFANY, plus our Members ED GAULD, HANK HEUER, RON LYSTER, STEVE LORE, RO SHAW, KEVIN BADKOUBEHI, Prexy MIKE and his daughter WHITNEY, and his friend, Tony Birkley. A bit of Editorializing here, if I may these volunteers provided a really useful service to a family in Tijuana. For one thing, if you live in a structure with a door you cannot lock, you have to have one family member stay in the house at all times think about how disabling that would be for any family. Anyway, we owe the above thirteen people our thanks we appreciate your service, which is in the best tradition of our Motto, Service Above Self.
Calendars Help Animal Shelters
We had another guest, Marlene Casillas, who is a volunteer with the Best Friend Animal Society. She spoke about the lovely calendar with great animal photos which they produced. Their original sale was successful, but they still have some left, and she was offering them for a ten-dollar donation. The entire proceeds go to LA City Animal Shelters, where so many wonderful pets are not adopted, and thus face euthanization. Since the calendar covers all of 2007, the first three months are goners, but the photos make up for that. She did make some sales, and I’m glad she had the opportunity to be with us.
Prexy MIKE Had Two Jokes for Us
A man driving down the freeway was pulled over by the police. He rolled down his window, and asked, “Is there a problem?” “No problem at all I just observed your safe driving, and wanted to award you our five thousand dollar prize for being an exemplary driver!” The driver thought a minute, and then opined, “I guess I’ll go get that Drivers License that I have been meaning to apply for.” The lady sitting in the passengers seat chimed in, “Oh, don’t pay any attention to him he says strange things when he’s drunk” Another voice chimed in from the back seat, “I told you guys we couldn’t get far with a stolen car” Then came a knock from the trunk, “Are we over the border yet?”
Now a legal joke, since both our two Speakers are attorneys. An engineer dies, and when he arrives at the Pearly Gates, St. Peter says, “You’re an engineer you’re in the wrong place”. So he goes down but pretty soon he becomes dissatisfied with conditions in hell. He puts in Air Conditioning, Flush Toilets, Escalators and becomes a very popular man. God calls up to see how things are going with Satan, and Satan tells him how this engineer has really improved their conditions. “What”, God says, “That must be a mistake. Send that engineer up here right away, or I’ll sue.” Satan laughs uproarishly, and asks, “Where would you get an honest lawyer?”
BARRY MARLIN was our first Speaker. And before I report on both talks today, I should state that we did not provide either BARRY or KEVIN with the guidelines on how to give a Craft Talk that’s my fault, and I apologize for the oversight. BARRY began by speaking briefly about his background. He was born in Philadelphia in 1934, and wanted to become an attorney since he was old enough to remember. He also had a desire to see and learn about places all over the world, which led to his career in International Tax Law. His BA is from UCLA, as is his Law Degree. Twenty-seven years ago he married Evie, and they have happily raised a now 25-year-old daughter. His career which now covers 44 years has always been enjoyable.
Other than his tax planning service to clients, he has spent a good deal of his time battling the Government, particularly the IRS in the typically uneven combat that ensued. However, over time the playing field has become heavily tilted in favor of the Government, and this is a major concern. To summarize his present position, “The salvation of the US Constitution and the government it calls for is one of the greatest works that any one of us can undertake.”
Some specific examples:
Vietnam the President who took us into a war based upon deception in the creation of an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened. This tragedy was caused by the over-weaning greed of the military and industrial complex. which Dwight Eisenhower warned us against so eloquently.
Watergate the first Imperial Presidency based upon a tissue of lies including the mind-mumbling fear that the other side might actually win the election.
Iran-Contra the machinations of Admiral Poindexter of the CIA and its Director, George H.W. Bush, which apparently were unknown to President Reagan…
Monica an otherwise admirable President who was willing to flush his entire moral legacy down the drain by denying his adulterous activities in a place no less important than the West Wing of the White House.
Florida in 2000 how many black voters were simply disenfranchised?
9/11 vs combat death benefits remaining family members received a million dollars or more, while the Iraq war decedents receive a $6,000 lump sum, a pension of between $800 and $900 per month until remarriage, and between $200 & $300 per child under 18
Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame in an attempt to discredit Wilson, Valerie Plame is ‘outed’ as an undercover CIA agent, jeopardizing her and various networks involved.
Walter Reed here the Democrats accuse the Department of the Army of terrible mismanagement. The facts are that each succeeding Congress oversees Walter Reed, so the problems belong to the Congress, not to either party.
Other terribly wrong going’s-on:
The gathering of personal information about thousands of citizens as allowed in the Patriot Act - the firing of the eight ‘independent’ U.S. Attorneys - the overwhelming media coverage of Paris Hilton, (as an example of what?)
What I want to emphasize in these few minutes is that, if we do not pay attention to what our government is doing and where our children are going we are going to proceed to the proverbial hell in a hand basket. To the degree that you can involve your children and grandchildren in discussions of these matters rather than “American Idol” or “Desperate Housewives”, the greater chance we have of maintaining what is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave.
(Comment as I count the above examples, six of them concern Republicans, three are about Democrats, and two are just about the system itself. It’s certainly political, and not the kind of presentation we expect in Craft Talks.- but if you have never heard a Craft Talk before, it is an opportunity to express your own opinions)
Our second Speaker was KEVIN BADKOUBEHI, who was born in Iran in 1968. His family moved to the U.S. in 1980, and he has his BA from UCLA, with his law degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. His specialty is Real Estate Litigation.
KEVIN began by explaining his ethnic background. He is an Iranian Jew, also sometimes called a Mizrahi Jew. The two main divisions of worldwide Jewry are Sephardic, coming originally from Northern Africa and Southern Spain, and Ashkenazi, from Eastern Europe. The Mizrahi are more closely related to the Sephardic, although they sometimes identify themselves simply as Iranians, since they are the most ancient jewish population in the world today, outside the Holy Land.
Since KEVIN lived in Iran until he was 12, he started his schooling in a conservative orthodox Jewish school, and spent time reading the Old Testament. By the fifth grade, he had transferred to a Muslim school, where they studied the Koran. He also had many Muslim friends. Their school was next to Tehran University, so he was able to go over there whenever he choose. Note this period was when the Shah had been deposed and Iranian society was in an uproar. He found that discussing politics with the professors and students at the University to be very challenging.
Growing up in Iran provided him with a good understanding of that country’s character. Iranians have a very strong national identity, and they believe in the Shiite form of the Muslim faith in its entirety. They have a very rich and ancient culture. Iranians are most hospitable they invite you in, offer refreshments, and make you feel comfortable and wanted. The other side of this characteristic is that they strongly support Shiite fanatism. You can teach their young students that being a suicide bomber is glorious, since they have little to live for in the present world.
There were several questions, by MARK BLOCK, ED GAULD, RAY ZICKFELD, LEE DUNAGER, PP STEVE SCHERER, and again by LEE DUNAYER. The bad news is that I couldn’t hear their questions, nor the answers provided by KEVIN. This was a most interesting dialogue, and I apologize for not being able to bring it to you.
I should mention that KEVIN enjoys working out, he’s a runner, and plays soccer. In his spare time, he likes to cook and travel.
Welcome Aboard, both of you.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe