Some stories and deals don’t get their own post, but should get some coverage. Here are some quick takes on stories that caught my eye. Let’s hear your thoughts about them in the comments below!
Table of Contents
Featured Trip Report
ponash123’s trip reports are always a fun read, and her Guatemalan Getaway is no exception!
Violence In Israel
The violence in Israel and the response of moral equivalence is just nauseating.
Yes, the loss of life on both sides is just awful. But if Hamas didn’t launch rockets from civilian areas, there wouldn’t be any loss of innocent lives in Gaza, other than the loss of lives from Hamas’ own 400+ rockets that misfired and fell into Gaza. Shooting rockets from schools, hospitals, and residential areas is just a cowardly and horrific thing to do.
The so-called disproportionate civilian death toll is by design. If Hamas launched rockets from empty fields, the vast majority civilian death toll in Gaza would be from their own misfired rockets. Instead they can get the world to rally around their own terrorism by launching from residential neighborhoods, not only without a care for the loss of life, but that being the goal.
If someone asks why is Israel responding, just ask how would America respond if Mexico starting bombing “occupied” Texas or “occupied” California. Would America just accept rockets sending its citizens into bunkers for countless times a day?
Or in the words of Joan Rivers:
I think Naftali Bennett did a great job of putting that narrative in its place as a media hoax. There is no moral equivalent when one party wants you dead and one party doesn’t want to die.
Or as Mendy Pellin eloquently put it:
Ok, Woke Twitter, I'll make this simple:
Israel could stop these rockets in 3 minutes if they weren't concerned about hurting Palestinian kids.
Hamas is trying to kill Israeli kids.
— Mendy Pellin (@MendyTV) May 11, 2021
This must-read 2014 Atlantic article from a former AP reporter shows the AP’s absurd biases in reporting on Israel. It also says that AP reporters would see rockets being launched from beside their Gaza offices while only writing in their articles that Israel “claimed” Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. Cameramen would film civilian deaths, but would have to stop recording when it came to Hamas deaths to give the illusion that only civilians were dying.
Even Hamas now openly admits that their funding and missiles come from Iran. All while the US feeds intelligence and gives cash to Iran:
Hamas terror leader says the quiet part out loud: Iran supplies it with money and weapons it uses to attack Israel. And Biden appeasement team is in Vienna giving Iran billions of dollars and a path to a nuclear weapon. This is dangerous.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) May 12, 2021
The apparent IDF ruse to get Hamas leaders to hide away from civilians, in their network of tunnels, before blowing up the tunnels was just brilliant! I’m just surprised Hamas has never watched Fauda.
But all of this proves that the Gaza disengagement policy was nothing but a failure of epic proportions. You can’t give away strategic land to people who want to murder you, more than they want to build something of their own.
The start of negotiations has to be Israel’s right to exist. Without that, there’s nothing to talk about. Or as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel”
What can you do for Israel? Write to your representative in support of Israel’s right to defend itself and get a friend or neighbor to put on Tefilin and light Shabbos candles for peace in the holy land!
Israel’s iron dome on the left takes on the indiscriminate rocket fire from Hamas on the right:
Israel’s Iron Dome defence system and rockets launched from Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip rise into the night sky on May 14
📸 Anas Baba pic.twitter.com/vQmNuIhhJe
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) May 14, 2021
What Can We Learn From The Tragedy In Meron?
Vehachai yiten el libo. It says in Koheles 7:2 that the living shall take it to heart.
After a tragedy, we need to examine what went wrong and how we can improve.
What happened in Meron was not a stampede as some media outlets reported. And it wasn’t some grand conspiracy either, though I understand the need that people have to come up with one as a coping mechanism when it seems there is nobody to blame. Rather, it was a crush and crowd collapse. There were just too many people in too small of a space. When a crowd is too dense, the gap created by just one person slipping can have a ripple effect where holes are made as people are pushed against their will or control on top of others. The exit down a slippery ramp leading to a staircase was a disaster waiting to happen and it’s a miracle that nothing happened until now.
A DDF member went to the scene a week later and shared just how bad the setup was even without throngs of people.
There have been funerals in Israel where this has happened on a smaller scale. Hopefully the lesson will be learned and the situation rectified. But even when authorities sign off on an event, people need to have the personal responsibility not to put themselves in a situation where this can happen.
What is the message for us?
I would never dare to assume what led to this tragedy or why bad things happen to good people.
As Rabbi Avtzon beautifully shared in this story, these are things that even the angels can’t understand, even if they’re perfectly clear to G-d.
But surely some introspection is in order.
We celebrate Lag B’Omer as the day that Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students stopped dying from a plague. Rabbi Akiva was famous for saying to love your fellow as yourself is the basis of the Torah. And yet, his students perished because they didn’t respect one another.
We’ve been through a year of plague, where everyone is related to someone or knows someone who perished. We’ve bickered about everything from masks to vaccines and said hurtful things to one another by what we think is the ideal response. Where anyone more strict than us is a fascist and anyone less strict is a murderer. Did we learn to be any kinder, to respect one another, or love your fellow as yourself?
And then on Lag B’Omer we watched 45 more souls tragically pass away.
Have we learned the lesson yet? It’s certainly nobody’s fault, but how can we overlook that they were crushed by people who physically couldn’t make space for one another?
It’s time that we learn to truly love one another as yourself and make space for other people and their opinions. We can disagree, but it can be done respectfully. Some of the comments made on this site that aren’t published, especially on contentious topics like vaccines, are so vile that they make me want to remove the ability to comment altogether. But I’d rather have respectful dialogue with readers and I strive to foster an environment of respectful disagreement.
As I wrote last week, DDF member “HelpMe” is not Jewish, but shared the agony we felt and he offered to match $500 in donations to the families of the Meron victims, which got the ball rolling to over $31,000 in donations from DansDeals readers to the families of the victims who need the support.
Another lesson though has to be the importance of life insurance.
Just before the tragedy there was a DDF post in a thread on Life Insurance saying “If death was only planned so nicely.” Mere hours later, we learned about the tragedy in Meron. We never know when our time will be up, so the least we can do is make sure our loved ones are provided for by taking out a substantial life insurance policy to cover the unexpected. Hopefully this will become something everyone does when they get married and more coverage can be added as their families grow.
If you don’t have life insurance, talk to someone about signing up now!
The Consumer Price Index jumped by a whopping 4.2% in April and it’s only expected to get worse.
Used cars are up by some 21%, gas is up, houses cost a fortune to buy or build thanks to skyrocketing lumber and labor costs. Companies making diapers, cereal, and toilet paper are warning that prices will go up significantly this year due to rising raw material costs.
Usually the fed would increase interest rates to combat inflation, but after a shockingly lethargic jobs report, they will be loath to do so.
There is a real cost to all of the stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits and we’re about to find out just how high it is.
Costco, Trader Joe’s, And Walmart Ditch The Masks, If You’re Vaccinated
In the wake of the CDC’s updated guidance on mask wearing, chains like Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart are ditching mask requirements for people who are vaccinated.
But unlike when you’re trying to fly to Iceland or Israel, they will work on the honor system and not make people prove they are vaccinated.
No, Lockdowns Did Not Cause Increased Suicides
One very common argument against lockdowns was that they would increase the suicide rate. Not only did that not happen, but the rate was the lowest it’s been since 2015.
The US experienced some 504,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019. COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in 345,323 Americans, though JAMA notes that the dearth of COVID-19 tests in the pandemic’s early days caused underreporting of total COVID-19 deaths. They also note that some diseases weren’t caught early enough to prevent death due to disruptions in healthcare and hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID-19.
The US has lost another 240,000 people to COVID in 2021 to date.
Israel Needs Direct Elections
Israel appears to be on a collision course for its 5th election in less than 3 years. It just doesn’t appear possible to get a ruling coalition with the Prime Minister being so contentious.
I’ve said for years that Israel should switch back to directly electing a Prime Minister. Doing so would remove the most contentious part of the negotiations from coalition building. By taking that off the table, it would reason that the other pieces would be easier to fall into place.
Sure, it’s self-serving. But after 4 elections, it’s the definition of insanity to keep trying the same thing. Systemic change is needed.
If You’re Stoned In France, You Can Get Away With Murder
Sarah Halimi was murdered by Kobili Traore, as he screamed Allahu Akbar, beat her, and threw her out of her apartment’s window.
His defense was that he smoked marijuana before the murder. Shockingly, France’s highest court agreed that under French law, he could not be held responsible for his crimes.
So if you do want to get away with literally anything in France, just do it while you’re stoned.
Pfizer’s CEO Shares His Parents’ Escape From The Nazis
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has helped the world begin to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jerusalem Post tells the harrowing story of how his father and mother managed to escape from the Nazis.
And now some 70 years later, he teamed up with a German company, BioNTech, to create one of the most popular and efficacious COVID-19 vaccines.
But the mRNA vaccines won’t end with COVID. Pfizer and Moderna are going to use it to fight other viruses and even cancer. The jumpstart in mRNA development may turn out to the the ultimate COVID-19 silver lining.
China Admits Their Vaccine Is Not Very Good
China rushed out several COVID-19 vaccines, but their top disease control official admitted that they’re not very effective. He also praised mRNA vaccines after spending months downplaying them.
Goodbye To The T-Mobile Gogo Workaround
For a long time, you have been able to use Gogo WiFi on flights by just entering a T-Mobile number, even if you didn’t have T-Mobile.
Alas, those days have come to an end. You now have to receive a PIN code on your phone in order to verify your account.
Did you use this trick while it worked?
Goodbye To The Etihad A380
Etihad’s A380 was revolutionary with first class apartments and a butler equipped residence with a private bathroom and bedroom.
I didn’t find the first class service to be as polished as Emirates and the shower was not nearly as nice as Emirates, but it was still a great experience with a large suite.
Indeed, Etihad is the only airline that did something similar with first class to what Airbus imagined in their model A380 in Toulouse:
View this post on Instagram
Alas, it appears that Etihad’s A380s will be a COVID-19 victim. Etihad’s CEO previously said that it was very likely that they would retire their A380s. And now they have been removed from Etihad’s fleet page and cabin page.
It sure seems like we’re quickly coming to a world where only Emirates, Singapore, and perhaps Qantas will still operate the super jumbo.
Delta’s Hold Times Have Become Absurd
Delta long vaunted operational excellence has been under pressure. They have gone through several holiday meltdowns with hundreds of cancelled flights. And their hold time has ballooned to as much as 41 hours…for a Platinum elite member!
While United has fast and easy Twitter and SMS options, Delta has no easy way to reach someone. For an airline that prides itself on operational excellence, that’s just unacceptable.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian should take a page out of Jeff Bezos’ playbook and call customer service during an executive meeting to prove the point that their hold times were unacceptably long. Bezos waited 4.5 minutes and was livid. Delta’s executives may want to pack their pajamas.
Abusive To A Delta Employee? You May Lose Your Miles
People misbehaving on planes have increased by orders of magnitude since the mask rules came into place.
Delta has updated their program rules to say that abusive behavior will lead to a closure of your SkyMiles account. That includes threats, profane language, insults, slurs, or destruction of Delta property.
On the same note, I heard from a reader who in frustration let a F-bomb fly at an AMEX rep and had all of his cards shut down!
So, think twice before you lose your temper at anyone, but especially at someone that can strike back at you for abuse.
Hyatt Is Coming To Vegas In A Big Way
Hyatt already has a unique partnership with MGM, but you don’t get all Hyatt benefits when staying in MGM properties and Hyatt has no full service hotels in Vegas.
The Rio has 2,510 rooms. One of its towers will become a whopping 1,501 room Hyatt Regency. It’s expected that several other full service Hyatt brands will also be part of the project!
Man Sues Hertz For Failing To Produce Receipt That Could Have Saved Him From Jail
How crummy is Hertz?
They failed to produce a return receipt that showed Herbert Alford returned a car at the same time he was accused of murder.
Only after Mr. Alford sat in prison for 5 years did Hertz come up with the requested receipt.
Mr. Alford is now suing Hertz.
I guess I’m just a bit surprised that a car rental return receipt proves innocence. Anyone can return a car, it’s not like an ID is required to do that! If that’s a valid alibi for murder, people can well, get away with murder.
But either way, shame on Hertz for failing to provide the receipt in a timely manner.
The Great Rental Car Shortage
Car rental agencies sold off their fleets last year to raise capital and stay in business. They didn’t anticipate things turning around so quickly, but they did.
And now unless you are eligible for corporate rates, renting a car may cost more than your flight and hotel combined.
Still, it’s worth checking rates through sites like CostcoTravel and Autoslash daily as rates can fluctuate wildly. You can also use Turo to rent someone’s private car, though you credit card insurance won’t cover you in case of an accident.
Travel Deals, Points, Miles, And a Jewish Burial
Is it time to open the DDF detective agency?
Baseball’s Former Commission Calls Out Manfred Over All Star Game Move
Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent writes in the WSJ about the dangerous path Rob Manfred is taking by politicizing baseball.
But hey, at least you don’t need an ID to go to a baseball game. So I guess that makes MLB less hypocritical than American and Delta, both of which require ID to check bags for their flights. Well, is requiring ID racist or not?
A Water Bottle From A Spirit Flight Solves A Murder Case
Some 35 years ago Roger Dean was murdered in his home. While the murderer left behind a ski mask with a hair in it, there was no DNA database back in 1985. By 2020 though, investigators were able to narrow down the suspect list and law enforcement followed Michael Jefferson onto a Spirit flight, where they got the water bottle he discarded without him knowing.
The DNA test matched and Mr. Jefferson now faces first degree murder charges.
I’ve heard of murder mystery dinner parties, but murder mystery flights is a level of in-flight entertainment I didn’t expect from Spirit!
Are You Ready For 3D Printed Steak?
Israel’s Redefine Beef has raised $29 million to begin mass printing vegan steaks.
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) February 17, 2021
And yes, it will be kosher and parve!
Are you ready to eat a 3D printed steak? Ready or not, it will be coming to a steakhouse near you!
Carry An EpiPen…Even When You Don’t Think You’ll Need It
Osher Deri was highly allergic to dairy, but figured that going to a kosher meat restaurant was a safe place to go without carrying her EpiPen.
Sadly though, the restaurant in Rosh Pina ran out of parve whipped cream and sent an employee to go buy some more.
Osher uploaded a picture of the dessert to Instagram, took a bite, and went into anaphylactic shock.
Forget Nickel And Diming, Try $770 Million For Extra Legroom
An Australian comedian rocked Twitter when he showed his receipt for an extra legroom seat, for a whopping $770 Million.
Hopefully he’s using a Quinfecta strategy for all those points!
Woman Who Didn’t Know She Was Pregnant, Gives Birth On Flight To Hawaii
Luckily for her, there were 3 NICU nurses and a Doctor onboard.
I just want to know more about the not knowing you’re pregnant for 29 weeks. Can someone explain to me how that’s possible?
Are Cryptocurrencies A Ponzi Scheme?
Of course the major difference is that Madoff’s victims didn’t know it was a ponzi, while everyone knows that crypto is a slot machine. While stocks climb and crash based on profits, the crypto market climbs and crashes for no reason other than people going long or cashing out based on nothing.
As the greater fool theory states, it’s value is hoping that a greater fool will pay you more than you paid. It’s a fun way to gamble I suppose, but don’t risk more than you can afford to lose!
Think Twice Before Attempting To Carjack A Tesla
- You probably don’t know how to open the handle.
- The driver can accelerate faster than you can threaten him with a gun.
- Smile! You’re going to be caught thanks to the Tesla’s cameras.
Secure Your Amazon Account, Or Your Kid Will Do This
He was using his mom’s laptop for remote learning when he figured out how to make the $2,619 order from Amazon.
The story has a sweet ending though. A GoFundMe page raised more than enough to pay for them and then some.
Think Twice Before Skydiving Here
They have been investigated and sued over and over again, and yet, they’re still in business. Just be sure to do your research before choosing a Skydiving outfit…
This Is Some Impressive Drone Flying!
Here is a look behind the scenes:
Peter Santenello’s YouTube Series On Hasidic Brooklyn Is A Gem
Mainstream media coverage on Hasidic Judaism always gets it wrong. It’s not even trying to understand it, other than offensively labeling it as “Ultra-Orthodox” and as something alien.
Peter actually tries to embed himself in the community, and gives a refreshingly honest report of what it’s all about. Kudos to him for an impressive effort in trying to understand the dynamics of the various communities and giving people a fresh look at how they operate.
Kudos to Shloime Zionce, who is also on DDF as bluestrings, for his work with Peter on the series!
Share your thoughts on these stories or post a comment about what other stories that I missed!
Catch up on what you missed!
- 3/10/21 News Roundup: Vaccines, Yudi Dukes, Mandalorian, 0% Mortgages, Shomer Shabbat Airlines, Frontier Near Miss, Cats On A Plane, Antisemitism, And More!
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- 12/13/20 News Roundup: Vaccine Wars, Rules For Thee, Another 2 Year Old Kicked Off Flight, Delta’s Loophole, Work From Hawaii, Basic Economy Rooms, And More
- 11/2/20 News Roundup: Saved By A Whale, COVID Lockdowns, NYC Quarantine Fines, Peace In The Middle East, The Return Of The 737MAX, And More
- 10/9/20 News Roundup: COVID-19 Second Wave, Flights To Nowhere, Skymiles Mortgage, Airlines Banning Food, Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Home Makeover, Faked Death, And More!
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- 8/5/20 News Roundup: COVID-19 Updates, United 232 Survivor’s Guilt, Hyatt Woes, All You Can Fly Deals, El Al Meals At Home, Corona Cruises, Hyatt In Hana, Clorox Wipes, Lost Baggage, And More!
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- Sunday News Roundup 3/8/20: Flight Tampering, eBay Bans, Centurion LAX, United Refunds, Airline Bunk Beds, Amazon Grocery Markets, Record Flight Times, And More
- Sunday News Roundup 2/23/20: Flight Denied Entry To Israel, E-PASS Transponder, Venice #Bonvoyed, MLB, Points Scam, Drone Dome, $10K Bump, Cuba Trip, And More!
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- Sunday News Roundup 2/2/20: Coronavirus, RIP Kobe, Something Smells At American, Super Bowl Saturday, Stuck In Iran, 15K Lie-Flat Transcon, And More!
- Sunday News Roundup 1/19/20: Pilotless Flights, El Al Diversion, Mobile Boarding Passes, MLB Cheating, Handy Credit Card, United Backdoor Link, And More!
- Sunday News Roundup 1/5/20: Kosher Thailand Hotel, Mexican Jail Mileage Run, Jeopardy GOAT, Fugitive Ex-Nissan CEO Escape, EgyptAir Coverup, And More!
- Sunday News Roundup 12/22/19: #KosherAntarctica Cruise, The Residence, AA Shutdowns, TWA, Amazon Israel, NY Small Claims Change, United Cape Town, Backdoor Marriott Links+More!
- Sunday News Roundup 12/15/19: Jersey City Terror, TLV Hotel, Bonvoyed, Protect Your Ring, Check Your Passwords, And More!
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- Sunday News Roundup 11/17/19: 12 Quick Takes On Aviation And Travel; Dubious Marriott Claims, TWA Ice Rink, A380 Failure, Mileage Ban, And More
- Sunday News Roundup 11/3/19: 9 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation And Travel; Airbnb Scam, Cathay’s Tel Aviv Plans, United Plays Dirty, 747 Farewell, LAX Uber Disaster, And More
- Sunday News Roundup 10/27/19: 11 Quick Takes On What’s Going On In Aviation, Credit, And Deals That You Should Know About