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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Film Tries to Make Jewish Boxing a Hit Again

December 27, 2012 3:01 am 2 comments
Jewish boxer Yuri Foreman (on the left) and Miguel Cotto at an official weigh-in on June 4, 2010. Photo: Akira Kouchiyama.
These days, the once-proud sport of boxing has fallen on hard times. With so many weight classes and (corrupt) managers, the fighters may make millions—yet often lose their way.
Simple put, the “sweet science” is no longer a “haimische” (homey) activity.
There was a time when strong young men from quality families entered the ring—not so much for the fame and glory, but to show they could fight to help themselves and their families make it in the world. Those men had names like Leonard, Ross, Goldstein, and Rosenbloom, and in the 1920s they ruled boxing as few other groups of boxers from the same cultural group have.
Today more Jews are in management and promotion than in the ring itself, but there are a few exceptions like Yuri Foreman and Dmitry Salita (both of whom refuse to fight on Shabbat), former World Boxing Council (WBC) champ Dana Rosenblatt, and Ron Aurit (who went by the name “The Yid Kid” when he fought Sugar Ray Leonard).
James Ford Nussbaum is seeking to uphold the legacy of Jewish boxing not in the ring itself, but through the big screen. The award-winning film producer is about to release “Impact: Jewish Boxers in America”.
Nussbaum says his grandfather, Newton Ford, a candy salesman and avid boxing fan in Philadelphia, was the inspiration for the film. But while Nussbaum had an affinity for boxing in his Jewish blood, few others seemed to share that.
“The amazing thing about doing this film was that many people, when told about this project, would react in awe asking, ‘There were Jews who boxed?’” the director tells “It’s a part of our Jewish history that not many people recognize and accept.”
In fact, Nussbaum suggests, in some circles Jews boxing  is considered to be “almost a taboo topic.” He says that, despite their good upbringings, many Jewish boxers historically fell in with organized crime and other less-kosher activities, as many of their gentile fellow sportsmen did.
“Most Jews got involved with this sport to make a name for themselves,” Nussbaum points out, “and the thing that they all share in common with Irish, black, and Italian boxers and other ethnicities is poverty. They all came up from nothing and used the sport to promote themselves in a way that would excel them to a new socioeconomic level.”
As such, the director/producer poses his piece not as a film about the dark side of a dimming sport, but rather as “an incredible American Dream story of being able to come up from nothing in this country and be able to become a success.”
Over the course of two years, Nussbaum delved into the worlds of some of the best Jewish boxers from today and yesterday, including Cletus Seldin, Ron Lipton and Ed Gersh, by making time with them at home, in the gym and in the ring.
“The Jewish aspect of the sport is something out of the ordinary,” Nussbaum says, noting how many Jewish boxers still display the Jewish star somewhere on their trunks or robes.
Even so, he says, there has been what he sees as “an impressive number of boxers in the sport as well… a real diverse group with names like Bummy Davis, Slapsie Maxie Rosenthal and Barney Ross.”
Some Jewish boxers changed their names to protect their families. Many Jewish parents still look down on the sport, even if they had participated in it themselves.
“Most Jewish boxers like Barney Ross and Benny Leonard didn’t want their kids involved in the sport,” Nussbaum explains. “There are very few if any boxers that have children that continued in the sport of boxing. Most of them went on to become lawyers and doctors.”
Nussbaum got so involved in the lives of his subjects while shooting that he even required medical attention.
“One year into shooting… I injured my eye,” he recalls, detailing that his detached retina became one of his “favorite” parts of shooting the film because it was a typical “boxer’s injury.”
“It seems that I not only produced the film and directed it, but also lived a firsthand account of what the boxers go through on a day to day basis,” he says.
As he regained his own sight, Nussbaum gained even more insight into what the professional fighters he was featuring need to do to make it in their brutal, but still at times beautiful, sport.
“I had become a boxer myself,” he says, “determined to make this film and living a life that was very similar to them. I regained my sight and lived through an injury that made me feel exactly how some of these fighters feel… struggling to make this film as real and poignant as possible.”
Such experiences also drew Nussbaum’s subjects closer to him and encouraged others to seek him out and participate in the film.
“Many of the boxers in the film came to me after hearing what I was attempting to do,” he says. “They loved the idea and were so happy to learn that someone was interested in telling their stories the right way… from their perspectives.”
The finished film is set to air in more than 300,000 homes through Cablevision Systems in Morris County, NJ, and will possibly be distributed through The Jewish Channel on pay-per-view cable, but Nussbaum is also working to get it into film festivals and theaters nationwide.
“It is our hope to show and use the Jewish boxer as an example for accomplishing the American dream,” Nussbaum explains, “and proving once again that anyone can succeed in our great nation.”
Nussbaum also hopes that the film will “put an end to so much of the hatred that exists right now towards Jews and other minorities.”
“This is a part of Jewish and national history that many people are unaware of, and it is our hope to give viewers a behind-the-lens, honest rendition of what it is like to be Jewish and box in the USA,” he says.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Learning Not To Run Away-The Aftermath of Newtown From A Mental Health Perspective

Grief will soon turn to anger in the aftermath's of what occurred in Newtown this past week with the shootings of innocent children in a small quaint community school in Connecticut.  As families and communities begin to try and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives let us remember that we must not be afraid to face the fire...our fears...and try to educate ourselves on viable solutions so that this kind of tragedy doesn't repeat itself.  Adam Lanza was a very ill and demented child that somehow obtained a gun and destroyed not just his own life but the lives of other family members within his community.  I'm reminded of the Bob Geldoff song "I Don't Like Mondays" regarding the Texas shootings that took place in the 70's when a demented  young girl decided to bring a shot gun to the local university and begin shooting.  When they finally apprehended her after the killings had stopped they asked her why.  Her response was simple.  "I Don't Like Monday's", she replied.  In the aftermath of Newtown we do not have answers to why from Adam Lanza and this must be extremely frustrating to the community and the families in order to bring some type of closure.  

Mentally ill patients, psychiatrists and social workers have been given another blow by this event establishing greater stigma's towards themselves and the freedom's they might already have worked hard to achieve within their own personal struggles but we must not forget that this is the time to act and not sit silent as victim's of a senseless shooting.  Now is the time to educate ourselves on mental health issues and learn more about what offers up the trigger factor for a young man who had "The silicon chip inside his head...switched to overload", as Geldoff poetically reveals in his song.  It is time to look for answers amoungst the mentally ill, practitioners of psychotherapy circles and social workers as they scammer to do better jobs of identifying children who are mentally disturbed.  Detection must come early and it seems only natural now to direct better testing methods early on in hopes that another senseless shooting will not place guns into the hands of those who can easily use them on innocent lives as well as themselves.  

What now will happen to the rights of the mentally ill now that Adam Lanza has taken us back 10 steps in order to mover 20 more forward?  Are we destined to become another 4th Reich isolating those who are mentally ill back into prisons and taking away their right to vote, their right to speak, their right to advocate.  Now is the time for educating communities about mental health issues and finding answers that will bring us into a new era of mental health awareness...the advent of taking off from work to have a mental health day may not be a bad idea but it is imperative that we try and funnel our communal anger towards the shooter and ask  ourselves what have I done to educate myself about mental health, the dangers in stress and anxiety holding our lawmakers, politicians and police enforcers more accountable to take part in keeping guns away from those who are mentally ill?  Placing a gun into the hands of anyone who is not mentally stable is like placing a suicide bomber into a crowded town square.  We must be relentless in understanding the problem early either in schools or at home and keep the weapons of mass destruction away from those who are able to obtain them without any kind of background check.  The system of checking handgun applicants must be reevaluated and streamlined to prevent another gun from getting into the hands of another mentally ill person.  The NRA will say guns are not the problem, people that use them are.  Then why not take the gun factor out of the equation by doing better background checks on potential owners.  That's the first answer.  Secondly, it's time to allocate more funding towards identification of potential mental health patients through the eyes and ears of mental health practitioners.  Now is not the time to cut back on mental health programs like state run PACT programs and social workers along with psychotherapists expenses for office hours.  Now is the time to allocate funding into the schools and help teachers better identify signs of a mental health emergencies so that the teachers are able to make some kind of sense out of strange and unusual behavior.  We must not start turning completely towards a state of placing "I'm Mentally Ill" stickers on every mental health patient that is out there.  It's a balancing act that must not violate the rights of the mentally ill community either.  It's time to bring about better training for mental health professionals and find ways to bring about awareness WITHOUT exploitation.

Adam Lanza was a victim of a community that turned their back on his mental health needs and in turn he destroyed a community and himself.  We must not turn our backs on the many other children who suffer from an identifiable mental health disorder.  Now is the time to take action and begin steps towards early detection and testing of our children and their mental health condition and make sure we can nip an ongoing problem in the butt early before we jump to conclusions and begin taking away the rights of the mentally ill as well.  The Patients Bill of Rights should be evaluated once again and the problems of not knowing how to answer the cries of Adam Lanza must be taken into account by community members, police and politicians.  Careful monitoring and supervision are needed to protect the rights of the mentally ill and the rights of community members along with families.  Gun control must be enforced better so that no child get's their lives senselessly taken away without the chance to make a difference.

Peace and safe surfing,


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hippies to Hacktivists: The Wave of Hackers, Hacktivists and Anonymous

Hippies to Hacktivists:
The Wave of Hackers,
Hacktivists and Anonymous
James Ford Nussbaum
Understanding New Media
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Professor Lance Strate
December, 2012

“We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.”-
The Anonymous Mantra

Since the early 50’s computer scientists and code writing experts have had their ownbrand of internal fixers.  People who harbor the knowledge to be able to use their
computer skills to openly repair and mend a technical problem that is computerbased beyond the scope of what many of us can accomplish using computers andthe Internet.  They also have the power to destroy and reek havoc through their actions online.  These individuals over the years have developed in what many see ascomputer hacktivists, hackers with altruistic motives dedicated to preserving  theintegrity of the Internet and the freedom’s that are available online.  Perhaps the Hippiemovement of the 60’s has evolved online to find and define a new movement thatwe now call hacktivism and in many circles they are perceived as guardians of the new information world over the Internet….modern day Robin Hoods.  In order to understand this new breed of hacktivism we must take a closer look at the hacker and his psyche along with the ways they have evolved into a new grouping of online hacktavists who claim to be keepers of our freedoms over the internet utilizing terroristic methods online attempting to protect out freedoms of speech while preventing censorship.  From this group of cyber techs comes a whole new group that we will explore.  They call themselves Anonymous and to this day they claim to protect even more of our freedoms by singling out certain online communities that they regard as dangerous to our online Internet freedoms.  To better understand this grouping of advanced online new age Hippies we must first understand the mindset of the hacker and how they have evolved into what is now known “hacktivistically” as Anonymous.  Let this journey begin. Many hackers of today are not only fixers that have arisen from the 1969 creation of
ARPANET, the prototype for a series of computers with intercontinental connectionsdeveloped for military communications by the US Department of Defense but theyalso carry with them a manifesto or code of hacker ethics that many of them believe inand live by through their actions over the Internet.  Are they Robin Hoods of the
computer era willing to try anything for a few hours of notoriety?  Are they autisticgeniuses or angry adolescents?  Perhaps political activists?   Whatever they may bethey have taken what many of the 60’s Hippy movement accomplished in that time andbrought many of the same tactics to the playing field of the Internet where their skills
can be tunneled into devastating proportions of manipulation sometimes for the sake of a cause or sometimes just for the sake of getting that high by solving complex computer codes and unraveling websites.  They then place their banners for thousands to see and view once their pirating charade has been accomplished.  Hackers have had their own language and jargon over the net that has evolved into what many people refer to as the computer hacktivist.  Some of the terms make complete sense and follow a common profile of computer guru’s who enjoy creating havoc and chaos.  The HACKER is followed by a group that is similar called CRACKERS.  The difference lies in their motivation.  Hackers CREATE while crackers DESTROY.  Antifork, an Italian hack research group ( defines hackers with “superior knowledge, research and ultimate perfection.”  These bands of fixers require planning and organization as well as acuteness and inventiveness.  Many came out of computer science developers from MIT and University of California at Berkeley.  Their movements have been based on the OPEN SOURCE protocol of the 1990’s mostly those who knew the intricacies of UNIX based computer programming. To be a hacker you must be engaged in work that constantly challenges the user both on a code breaking level and website innovation strategy.  Most of what became the Hacker Manifesto was established by Lloyd Blankenship written immediately following his arrest and first published in January of 1986.  Anger is directed towards the STATUS QUO.  Solidarity comes by knowing you are part of a group or hacker community seeking solidarity.  The hacker emerges as being part of an underground Internet community well versed in decoding and breaking through any kind of Internet code or website. According to Raoul Chiesa and Stefania Ducci in their book PROFILING HACKERS the creed is broken down into several sub categories for better understanding.  They are: 

*TOOLKIT/NEWBIES: the techno novices that pose little know-how and
technical savvy*CYBER-PUNKS: capable of some programming writing skills that may beused for defacing websites and robbing credit card numbers whilealso spamming.*INTERNALS: used within corporations to solve complex computer codes andproblems. *CODERS:  Designers of codes that can write them to destroy Internet entities. *OLD GUARD HACKERS:   Their interest lies in intellectual and cognitive sidesof hacking.  They’re mostly from the school of the original hackers andusually don’t seek to destroy but mainly base their craft on curiousity.*PROFESSIONAL CRIMINALS AND CYBER TERRORISTS:  This groupingusually is the most dangerous and can be seen breaking into governmenthigh security agencies while reeking havoc on many government militaryinstallations.

Hackers are also usually profiled in unique ways that better identify them to law
enforcement agencies and Internet watchdog groups.  They primarily go by a setof motivational characteristics that include:  1) a dependency and compulsive need tohack.  2) Curiosity as to what can be found on the Net.  3) Boredom of offline life andgoing for the adrenaline rush they achieve by conducting illicit activity.  4) Seekinghighs from hacking into government agencies, bank and many other institutional
organizations.  5)  Peer group recognition with acceptance in their hacking communityand advancement in their hierarchy.  Finally, 6) achieving a certain type of pride andgenerosity by finding holes and uncovering them in more secure systems.  Much ofwhat is mentioned above was originally discovered and studied by the HPP-HackersProfiling Project which began between 2003 and 2004.  Much of this study was
instituted by the UNICRI-United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice ResearchInstitute. (   More and more the political activists motto that was
followed so closely by the Hippy movements of the 1960’s have found their ways intothe profiling of modern day hackers who at some later time evolve into what wemight now label as hacktavists dedicated on using their skills to communicate a
political message or gain some kind of social goal within our world.   Over the yearswe have seen this evolution take shape as the more intense and grand acts ofcyber hacking and cyber terrorism become more socially motivated.  The extendedversion of hacker identities have also been broken down into three groupings as well
known as:  1) White hats-those who hack for what they believe are good causes,  2)Black hats-Those who hack for shear havoc and chaos motivated reasons and 3) The
Gray Hats which combine their motivations for hacking for both good and bad reasons.
 According to the New York Times (Thursday, December 6th, 2012; Section B) there is
yet a newer wave of hacker that has been associated with the hacktivist group
Anonymous seeking to wreak havoc through a lucrative online crime called RANSOM-WARE.  Here the hackers have found ways to break into a person’s computer onlineleaving a message that they have caused a DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service
within a computer usually leaving a ransom message demanding that the computerowner send a particular amount of money to an online address in order to continue  use of their computers.  This Ransom ware stops a person from using their system and prevents them from being able to access valuable software and programs while online. The hostage is your PC and the hackers have developed savvy ways to take control of your computer causing the owner to seek out technicians that must completely wipe away the contents of a hard drive and sometimes cause the loss of valuable information.  This has been the latest rash of terroristic attacks taking place over the Internet with many victims falling prey right here in the United States.  This form of Ransomware has been attributed towards one of the largest and most politically hacktivistic lurkers on the Internet.  They call themselves ANONYMOUS and ride again with the mantra motto:

“We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.”-
 According to Andy Greenberg author of THIS MACHINE KILLS SECRETS, definingthe Anonymous hacktavists is as follows:  “They are more than a traditional
organization, it functions as a loosely organized movement, or even an elaborate
participatory memes (a catchphrase or image that has become inadvertently popular,
thanks to the viral quality of the Internet, and whose meaning is typically lost on
mainstream Web users.  Often serving as in jokes for Anonymous supporters, many
memes, computer games originate from discussions on bulletin boards and cyber chat
rooms.)”    Those who took part in the groups and anyone called Anonymous joined in crowd-sourced swarm attacks on whatever target offended its values, tenets like
freedom of speech and anti corporation values.
 Some of the victims over the years since the movement emerged have included TeaParty and its billionaire corporate supporters, the Koch brothers, the anti–homosexualextremist Westboro Baptist Church, Sony Corporation, Mastercard and Paypal.  Thegroup has gone as far as to attack the Church of Scientology which they believed wasbullying a smaller entity or acting with corrupt impunity.  The Anon (Anonymous)attacks have gone so far as to “flood their victims servers with fraudulent data requests that paralyzed the machines like flies choking the mouth and nostrils of a Goliath elephant”, according to Greenberg.
 The HPP of most Anonymous members appears to be revealed as young teens someas young as fifteen years old.  Police have attempted to squelch these individuals only to be greeted by Anon to recruit more and harden the groups culture of stronganonymity.  According to Greenberg Anonymous relays the activist cry, “Anonymouswants you…Get your ass behind a proxy and join the raid.” Specific raids on the Church of Scientology have gone on to warn:“Hello Scientology.  We are Anonymous.  Over the years, we have been watching you.Your campaigns of misinformation, suppression of dissent, your litigious nature, all ofthese things have caught our eyes….Anonymous has therefore decided that your
organization should be destroyed.  For the good of your followers, for the good of
mankind—for the laughs—we shall expel you from the Internet and systematicallydismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form”….”Knowledge is free…Weare Anonymous.  We are Legion…We do not forgive…We do not forget…Expect Us.”Furthermore many of the members of Anonymous carry themselves with the trademark of the Guy Fawkes mask that was so adorned in the motion picture “V for
Vendetta”, produced by Uber producer Joel Silver and his company Silver Picturesthrough Warner Brothers.  This mask has been carried and seen at many rallies ofprotest including the Occupy Wall Street Movement that took place in cities mostrecently nationwide.  The reference to Guy Fawkes is interesting as it refers to the
radical anarchist that was put to death on November 5th for his acts against government. Anonymous has somehow grabbed onto this trademark to help them identify themselves to the larger masses of Internet users and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with online.  The movement of Anonymous has been systematic while they fiercely guard their names and identities openly congregating in online chat rooms and crowd sourced documents that use pseudonyms.
 While it is obvious that hackers sometimes do their mischief just for the thrill and
excitement of the act, Anonymous attacks can be observed as having specificallypolitical motivation taking hacking to an entirely new level in an attempt to makewhat they call greater change and protect our freedoms over the Internet.  Whetheryou believe this mantra motto or mission statement the obvious still is relevant inthe listing of attacks that have taken place over the internet by Anonymous.  Hereare just a select listing of specifically motivated attacks that Anon has takenresponsibility:   (Courtesy of Parmy Olson’s WE ARE ANONYMOUS, Little Brown and Company, NewYork, 2012):


*Habbo Raids-this amusement site was hacked by Anonymous due to the fact that
they barred a two year old toddler affected by AIDS from entering their parks or
swimming pool.  Their site as taken over and plastered with Internet slang whileflooding the site.

*Hal Turner raid:  White supremacist Hal Turner had his website hacked and was
forced to pay thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills due to it.  He attemptedto sue for his bills but the case eventually ran out of steam in court.  No legal actionprevailed.


*Sarah Palin Email Attack:  September of 2008 saw to the hacking of Sarah Palin’s
website by well known Anonymous member Rubico.  His attempts to invade Ms. Palin’semail account turned out to be frivolous in trying to find incriminating information that
she might have passed on during her political career.  Her passwords and email
information were revealed publically on various websites worldwide.


*No Cussing Club Invasion-January 2009 saw to it in attacking the website of the
No Cussing Club in California run by teen McKay Hatch, a website against profanity.Hatch’s home address, phone numbers and other personal information were disclosedover the internet along with a series of hate mails and obscene phone calls that were
made to the homes of members.  Also, bogus pizza and pornography deliveries weremade using members credit card numbers.

*Iranian Protests Against the Current Elections:  Anonymous launches an Iranian
Greet Movement  Support site with the help of Pirate Bay and other Iranian hackersto protest the rigging of elections of Iranian presidential candidates.  Thousands ofprotestors took to the streets as the Iranian government attempted to censor news
about the riots over the Internet.


*Zimbabwe Attacks:  Website of the government of Zimbabwe were systematically
attacked by anonymous and flooded with spam, flames and other information to
jam their site in protest of censorship due to Wiki Leaks documents.


*Attacks on Fine Gael Website:  Anonymous systematically attacks the Irish political
parties website Fine Gael, a labor party group in Ireland replacing many of their
pages with text that reads: “Nothing is safe; you put your faith in this political partyand they take no measures to protect you.  They offer you free speech yet they censoryour voice.  WAKE UP!”

*Arab Spring Activites:  Many sites were hacked and defaced during the Arab Spring
movement as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Middle Eastern governmental websites weresingled out.  Many of these attacks coincided with what was happening in Egypt asmany demonstrators utilized Facebook to organize and rally.  Tunisian governmentofficials attempted to respond by arresting online activists and bloggers within theircountry while questioning the attacks.  The retaliation effected Anonymous directlyas their website was placed into DDoS around January 5th of last year.

*Occupy Wall Street:  Many Guy Fawkes masks were observed during the Occupy
Wall Street movement rallies that occurred worldwide in many countries.  The maskedprotestors use of these masks were a clear message that they had connections to
Anonymous and were involved with illicit hacking activity during the course of the
 The continued hacking attacks by Anonymous have once again proven that thehacktivist movement worldwide over the internet has greatly evolved from a smallgroup of techno savvy computer users that have just been using their skills for kicksnot really attempting to cause much harm and doing most of their mischief for thesensation of the hack while acting out as a band of vandalizing youth.  Hacktivism andthe Anonymous movement have evolved into a lethal and very threatening force overthe Internet evolving into a movement beyond the scope of just hackers.  Anonymousclearly has patterns and select motives for their attacks and has taken hacking intoan entirely new level using their skills the same way the Hippie Movement of the
sixties used demonstrations and riots to protest the war and other political decisionmaking that occurs inside large government and bureaucratic organizations. We have seen since the 1950’s and beyond a movement of protestors that can nowtake their politically motivated mischief to an entirely new level hoping to make change. In some ways by doing this online, the risk to human life similar to what happened during the sixties movements occurs less but there are much greater financial and technical consequences that take place due to the work of Anonymous and its bandof computer pirates.  Most of what Anonymous and many of the hactivists protest are in response to groups that are looking to censor and prohibit certain freedoms over the Internet.  In some ways this might lead to more positive and less restrictive attempts by governments to control the internet and prevent freedoms of speech

.Either way you look at it, there must be some sense of observation that Anonymousand Internet hackers hold a particular space….a particular function and role over theworld wide web in helping to control and keep the web safe for some of the billions ofusers that have taken their campaigns to the bandwidth hoping to muster up changethrough global dissemination of information that the Internet provides to us all.  Are the arrests of these individuals a test of how free the internet remains or are they signsthat the Internet may be eventually controlled by governments and politically mindedbureaucrats?  These are questions that will continue to arise as we evolve over the
Internet as a better educated and closer knit global village takes its course online.
Hackers, hacktivists and Anonymous play a large role in helping us protect some ofthe freedoms we’ve learned to nurture online and in some ways take on a GuardianAngel role to the online community.  Either way they have become the new RobinHoods of a vast movement that has evolved online and effectively learned howto use their skills to help rob from the rich and give to the poor-in some cases usingtheir political viewpoints to help guide any kind of restrictions to our web browsing
freedoms.  Until there is some kind of larger entity out there to help retain thesefreedoms, Anonymous and online hacktivists are the new and subtle voices ofour freedoms to speak without being censored.  Good or bad, they are everywhere.


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