Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 12th, 2009

Obama Won’t Have to Kiss AIPAC’s Ring — Progressive Alternative to Hawkish Mideast Policies Emerges

By Alexander Zaitchik, AlterNet. Posted January 12, 2009.

A new wave of progressive Jewish activists are challenging the dominance of AIPAC and other hawkish groups on Gaza, Israeli settlers and even Iran.

Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has pushed to the fore with ferocity one of the great campaign debates of 2008: How will Barack Obama approach the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? The president-elect has stated repeatedly that achieving a final settlement will be an administration priority, but beyond that oft-expressed campaign commitment swirls a constellation of increasingly urgent unkowns. Will he choose a Mideast envoy with at least a shred of credibility on both sides? Will he negotiate with Hamas? Will he spend the needed political capital to revive the rotting corpse of the peace process? Is resuscitation even possible?

Normally, a very constricted beltway political wisdom on Israel, as embodied by AIPAC, would set and guard the parameters of the debate over these questions. But the landscape of organized Jewish political power in America is changing. Even as John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt were coming under heavy fire for their 2006 analysis of the traditional American Israel Lobby, a liberal pro-Israel countermovement was forming in utero. Today, that movement is not only walking and talking, it is mounting a vigorous challenge to the dominance of traditional groups like AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League. Together with a growing number of voices within the foreign policy community, it is pushing Obama to initiate a strong and fresh approach to the region during his busy first 100 days.

As we wait to see how this debate shapes up, it’s worth revisiting what we know about Barack Obama. In his personal life, he has exposed himself to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide like few other incoming presidents. At the University of Chicago, he cultivated a friendship with the Palestinian-American scholar Rashid Khalidi, through whom he also came to know the late Edward Said. He visited the slums of Ramallah in the West Bank on his own initiative, after which he told an audience in Muscatine, Iowa, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.” During the primaries and presidential campaign, these facts fueled the hopes of Palestinians and Americans hungry for a more balanced approach to the region. It also became grist for Republican (and Likud) fear and smear campaigns that warned Obama was an Israel-hating stalking horse for Hamas and a kissing cousin of Louis Farrakhan.

MORE HERE

Read Full Post »


Santana w/Everlast- Put Your Lights On

Read Full Post »

Researchers Focus On Vaccine Freedom

ASHLAND, Ore., Jan. 9, 2009


(AP) There are so many parents in this free-spirited, unconventional small town who won’t get their kids vaccinated that federal researchers are paying money just to hear their side of things.

On Saturday, 80 locals will get $50 apiece to talk about their worries over the risks of childhood shots.

“One of the basic tenets of my decision-making is mistrust of the government, a mistrust of the pharmaceutical companies, and mistrust of the big blanket thing that says this is what everybody has to do,” says Tracy Harding, an organic farming consultant and mother of two.

“I get the public health standpoint,” she said. “I am still questioning (vaccines’) safety.

Nationally, there is a budding movement of parents who are getting exemptions from laws requiring children to get vaccinated before attending school. The exemptions are one explanation the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives for a spike in measles cases. The government recommends as many as 10 vaccines before a child is 6, plus boosters along the way.

Dr. Ben Schwartz, an adviser to the National Vaccine Program, said the meeting in Ashland is one of three where the government is paying average citizens to give their views to inform officials charting the direction of vaccine research for the next five years. A similar meeting was held in Birmingham, Ala., and another is set for Indianapolis, both sites with more mainstream views about vaccines.

But Ashland stands apart from the mainstream.

The town of 20,000 on the flanks of the Siskiyou Mountains in southwestern Oregon has always been different. In the early 20th century it was on the Chautauqua lecture circuit, and the sulfurous waters of Lithia Springs drew visitors looking for a cure for what ailed them.

Today, it has one of the highest rates in the nation for vaccine exemptions – 28 percent and rising in kindergartens, compared with about 4 percent statewide. One alternative school has 67 percent.

A liberal outpost in a conservative region, Ashland likes to go its own way. The city has its own water and electric utilities, and was a pioneer promoting solar energy, high-speed Internet, and dog parks. It has serious debates about whether to cut down trees to expand the library or whether to allow a woman to ride her bicycle naked in the Fourth of July parade.

For years, Dr. Jim Shames, a physician who prefers a down vest to a lab coat, has argued the benefits of vaccines with Harding, his next-door neighbor.

As Jackson County’s chief medical officer, Shames would like every child immunized. Ashland always has some whooping cough around, which can be devastating to babies, but has seen no spike in measles. Still, Shames fears the community is vulnerable because so many international visitors come to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University.

Shames has been working with nursing students from Oregon Health & Science University on a pamphlet that would promote immunization.

While doing interviews for that pamphlet, nursing student Shauna Gargus, who had her own two kids vaccinated, found many parents distrust mainstream medicine. They tend to believe their friends rather than medical research. Their biggest single fear is that the shot for measles, mumps and rubella could cause their children to become autistic, despite solid scientific studies that show no evidence of that.

“The fear is real for parents, and it overshadows the research,” she said. “This is my hometown. This is where I grew up. I care about the community here. I just really would like to not make this a browbeating issue.”

Harding is suspicious of the need to inject so many vaccines into small children. She stopped vaccinating her son, Frank, after his first shot as a baby triggered hours of crying. Her daughter, Stella, got a tetanus shot, but that is all.

Until now, Tyre Dawn has depended on organic food and plenty of playtime outdoors to keep her 4-year-old son, Lukyan, healthy. But she is planning to open a preschool in the spring, and with so many children around, she is now rethinking her policy.

“It is essential in these times for everyone to look more closely at the choices they are making,” she said.

Jennifer Margulis moved here with her husband and three kids from Massachusetts, where her mother is a cellular biologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Though she chuckles at some of Ashland’s personality quirks, she embraces the city’s strong sense of community and many people’s distrust of mainstream medicine.

“I never questioned the efficacy or intelligence of doing vaccines until I was in the hospital with my newborn daughter and a doctor tried to get me to give her hepatitis B vaccine,” she said. “Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease. I knew I didn’t have hepatitis B. I knew my husband didn’t have it. I knew there was no way she would come in contact with anyone with hepatitis B.

“You have this tiny, frog-like baby and they want to shoot her up with things.”

Afterward, Margulis’ pediatrician supported her choice. “I decided it was my responsibility as a parent to research each and every vaccine to make an informed, intelligent decision, not to just follow what doctors told me,” she said.

Read Full Post »

Kate Winslet WINS the Golden Globe for Best Actress Drama

Thank you so much!

Aah!! Aaahh!!!

Thank you so much!!!!

Oh my God!!!!!

Read Full Post »

Tina Fey’s Golden Globes Speech To Critics: Suck It! (VIDEO)

Huffington Post |   January 12, 2009 08:06 AM

Tina Fey won best actress for “30 Rock” at the Golden Globes and gave one of the funniest speeches of the night.

After saying what a fan she has always been of the Hollywood Foreign Press, Tina had a message for her critics. “Suck it.”

See red carpet photos

See Sacha Baron Cohen’s speech

See Tracy Morgan’s speech

<<<WATCH  HERE>>>

Read Full Post »

President George W. Bush gestures during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, in the pressroom at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

President George W. Bush gestures during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, in the pressroom at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Bush speaks in probable final press conference

RAW STORY
Published: Monday January 12, 2009

In what will probably [be ] his last press conference with the press, President George W. Bush is speaking to gathered media this morning.

>>>WATCH HERE<<<

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: