Archive for March 8th, 2011
In their quest to defeat President Obama and hold a White House Tea Party, Republicans and their corporate allies have a new youth outreach message: Don’t Vote. While our troops fight and die for the rights of young Afghanis and Iraqis to vote and our leaders call for a freedom agenda across the Middle East, our Republican opponents seek to deny those rights to young Americans here at home.
The contrast is quite striking: in the Middle East, from Tunisia to Egypt to Lybia to Yemen, millennials are fighting for the right to have a stake in their own future. And while Republicans cheer them over there, they suppress millennial Americans here at home. From New Hampshire where the GOP House Speaker says http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011701139913 you should not register to vote in your college community unless you or your parents lived there before matriculation to Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where there are photo ID bills to ban students from using in-state university- or college-issued IDs for proof-of-residency when voting and/or end same-day voter registration at the polls to the Koch-funded corporate entity American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that set up “model” legislation to disenfranchise young voters http://campusprogress.org/articles/conservative_corporate_advocacy_group_alec_behind_voter_disenfranchise/ the radical right is organized, methodical, and determined to keep young people home.
The motives for tea party Republicans are obvious: young people propelled President Barack Obama to victory in 2008 with a 22% margin and supported Congressional Democrats in 2010 by a solid 17% http://www.civicyouth.org/youth-voters-in-the-2010-elections/ margin (continue reading…)
I recently completed my first State Visit to Israel and Palestine. I did not include Gaza in the trip. Unexpectedly, I left the region with much hope for a fully sovereign Palestinian State and long-lasting peace for the peoples who inhabit that crowded land.
During my 5-day visit I met with the elder Statesman Nobel Laureate President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin, President Mahmud Abbas and senior advisers and ministers.
I was surprised by the state of peace and economic prosperity prevailing in Israel and the West Bank. Israelis and Palestinians alike are pleased that not one single attack has been launched from the West Bank into Israel in four years.
Visiting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, including walking along a “refugee” area, with the infamous concrete security wall towering above me, and shaking hands with a number of youth, I was struck by the relative calm in the area (continue reading…)
Anyone concerned about excessive government spending — and looking to make cuts to be financially prudent — would look at the biggest cost categories. Right? Wrong.
In all the talk about the outrageous salaries and benefits of teachers and government employees, how much discussion is there about the budget for the military and the spy establishment? Well, um, almost none at all.
How to explain the baffling talk gap? First off, the subject is complex and technical. (“Hmm..wonder what the Kardashians are up to….) Second, many of the details are secret. And third, we are told that this spending assures our safety — and who are we to question what the “experts” have prescribed? Of course, there are many other reasons, including the meticulous way in which military contracts are threaded into businesses in every congressional district in America.
Still, sometimes we must take off the blinders (continue reading…)
Happy Tuesday everyone, here’s my Top 5 for March 8, 2011 from Len Berman at ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* College basketball tournament week kicks off big time today with the start of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
* Texas Tech fires basketball coach Pat Knight after 3 seasons. He’s Bobby Knight’s son.
* The old backtrack (continue reading…)
This past Monday was Rare Disease Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the myriad little-known conditions that cumulatively affect more than 25 million Americans despite having very small individual patient populations.
This is an important effort. But once Rare Disease Day passed, most of us went back to our lives, leaving behind this day of awareness.
Those who did not leave it behind are the patients, their caregivers, their friends and their families. That is why, while we certainly support the goal behind Rare Disease Day, we hope that it becomes the springboard for a larger, ongoing dialogue about the challenges behind rare disease research and what can potentially be done to facilitate the development of orphan drugs (the medicines to treat diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 Americans — though roughly 80 percent of rare diseases affect fewer than 6,000 patients in the U.S.) and to bring those medicines to the patients who need them.
That’s not to suggest that no research is done in this field. Quite the contrary: according to a recent survey conducted by PhRMA, 460 medicines are currently in development for rare diseases (continue reading…)
As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, let’s celebrate the international women who work abroad. Women who made the leap, beaten the odds, and have been richly rewarded with a fast-tracked career: Higher pay raises, faster promotions and increased responsibility are the reasons to hop the on the next plane to Santiago, Stockholm or Shanghai. Plus it’s whole lot of fun.
According to a recent study by ANZ recruitment agency Hydrogen Group, women who want to further their career should work overseas. ALL of the 2.637 professional women surveyed in Global Professionals on the Move 2011 said they would recommend working abroad.
Wow — and the research that my co-author, Perry Yeatman, and I conducted in 2007 for our book, Get Ahead By Going Abroad, found similarly strong results: The trend is alive and well (continue reading…)
Feeling like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole, I walked into Mister H, the marvelous new lounge at the Mondrian SoHo hotel in Manhattan. Run by Armin Amiri (who owned Socialista and manned the door of Bungalow 8, two infamous New York nightspots) this magical little joint at Chinatown’s border evokes a Shanghai speakeasy circa 1930 — or rather, a movie set of one.
“I thought, ‘Where would Humphrey Bogart have his last nightcap before he goes to sleep?’ Then I thought, ‘Let’s give this guy a name, Mister Hung,” says Amiri, who is also an actor, about the concept’s inspiration and fictitious host. “I also wanted to bring in a bit of Alfred Hitchcock, something dark and mysterious.”
From red banquettes to hand-screened wallpaper, Persian rugs to checkerboard floors, the stunning room is an enthusiastic collaboration between Amiri and Morgan SoHo designer Benjamin Noriega Ortiz (continue reading…)
Brisenia Flores was an ordinary American girl in a dusty border town in Arizona. Nine years old, she loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast and playing on her teeter-totter. On May 30, 2009, Brisenia was sleeping with her puppy when armed robbers broke into her family’s mobile home. After initially identifying themselves as law enforcement, one of the intruders shot Brisena’s parents (continue reading…)
New Obama Administration Procedures import troubling aspects of Afghanistan detention review to Gitmo
Among the many aspects of President Obama’s latest Executive Order on Guantanamo Bay is a requirement that detainees be assigned a “personal representative” to make their case to a newly-constituted review board. While that may sound like a nice idea, having recently seen what “personal representatives” do for U.S. prisoners in Afghanistan, I’m skeptical.
Yesterday’s order was billed by the Obama Administration as a generous addition to what the law requires, a “discretionary” additional annual review that the government will provide to prisoners it has deemed too dangerous to release and therefore detainable until (and if ever) this far-reaching war “against al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces” is over.
Given that this is an additional process of review – additional to the right of habeas corpus, or review by a federal court, that the Supreme Court has said the law already requires – it’s arguably a step forward. Although it represents an unfortunate acceptance by the Obama administration of the entire concept of long-term administrative detention based on some ill-defined concept of dangerousness, at least it gives prisoners another opportunity to defend themselves.
But is this a real step forward, or merely a dance around the requirements of due process?
The Administration’s decision to assign prisoners “personal representatives” rather than lawyers, and to allow continued indefinite detention based on classified evidence, reflects a serious limitation in the new order that parallels the problems I’ve previously pointed out about the review system in Afghanistan.
During a recent trip to Afghanistan, I and my colleague, Gabor Rona, observed a set of detainee review board hearings, or DRBs (continue reading…)
During the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy led Americans on a wild goose chase to hunt down ‘communists’ and ‘communist agents’ within the United States. As a consequence, anyone who dared to even question him, quickly became the subject of harassment as well. A virtual state of paranoia quickly spread across the nation. Many innocent people were tormented, many lost their jobs and perhaps worst of all, many felt for the first time that they were outsiders in their own country (continue reading…)
While skirmishes in Libya and uncertainty in the Middle East are nice cover for outrageous gasoline prices, the fact is the same old suspects are making a killing from sky-high gas prices approaching $4 dollars per gallon in California: big oil companies and greedy speculators.
The speculative market may have driven crude oil prices up, but that's not the price oil companies pay for the crude oil that goes into our gasoline. America's big oil companies use crude oil that they have harvested from the ground or bought much cheaper on long term contracts to refine into gasoline. You'll see the results in next quarter's profit statements: big profits from both crude oil sales and refineries that make gasoline, what's called “upstream' and “downstream” operations in profit reports
Consumer Watchdog has for years both tried to curb the opaqueness of the volatile speculative market for oil and to regulate supplies at gasoline refineries because oil companies game both systems, creating artificial shortages in the markets to jack up prices or exploiting historical events to justify obscene profits. Today's sky high gasoline prices are the result of oil companies shutting down refineries and playing the speculative markets for big gains.
The deafening silence from the White House and groups in DC loyal to the President who know better is the most astonishing thing.
Obama campaigned against oil company greed on the campaign trail but now he seems to have lost his voice on the subject (continue reading…)
Her avatar is a blond bombshell. Not that my cousin isn’t cute. But her avatar in Second Life is her fantasy self — the one who is busty, blond, who can fly — and more importantly perhaps, can walk. My cousin Michele can’t use her legs like the majority of people (continue reading…)
In a striking act of interfaith solidarity, 30 Jewish studies faculty from seven campuses of the University of California have called on the Orange County district attorney to drop criminal charges against 11 Muslim students.
The students have been charged with disrupting of a speech by the Israeli ambassador at UCI last spring. The trial is scheduled to begin this week.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
With all the turmoil and foreign affairs debate surrounding Afghanistan, it’s easy to forget about the millions of Afghan civilians still dealing with the consequences that have resulted from over thirty years of war. Families from all over the country who struggle to make a living are finding themselves caught between the crossfire of NATO forces and the Taliban. Anytime they interact or help one side, they risk facing major repercussions from the other. This dynamic has lead to increased civilian casualties and waning support for the war at both home and abroad (continue reading…)
Bruce Davidson is to receive the outstanding contribution prize at this year's Sony World Photography awards.
The 77-year-old American's work has included following a Brooklyn gang in the 1950s and chronicling the civil rights movement in the early 1960s.
He will get the award at a 27 April ceremony in London, with an exhibition of his work opening a day earlier.
Tate photography curator Simon Baker hailed Davidson as “one of the foremost photographers living today”.
Mr Baker, who selected works for the exhibition along with Davidson, said his work showed “the rare combination of absolute commitment to his subjects and a sophisticated visual sensibility” (continue reading…)
Op-ed columnist Ross Douthat has written an argument for the NY Times called “Why Monogamy Matters” — he says that women with minimal or virginal sexual experience are the happiest women in the land. Wheeeee!
Upon the story’s publication, pink-cheeked schoolgirls in braids floated across the national horizon, clutching bouquets of daisies, giggling over something they couldn’t quite recall. Happy. Happy! That’s what little girls are made of (continue reading…)
As Patton’s tanks battled their way through Europe at the height of World War II, a humble sign stood guard in the U.S.-British supply headquarters in London. Its words filled the room with the ancient fable:
The warning was not lost on the logisticians and planners responsible for ensuring that the troops had the essentials for the fight — that tanks had spares, that soldiers had food and that guns had ammo. The weight of knowing that a missed shipment or shortage could cost lives and compromise the war effort inspired the utmost diligence and care. As the generals understood, the Allied victory turned as much on consistently doing the small things right as it did on grand maneuvers (continue reading…)
There are 192 countries that are recognized members of the United Nations. Women have the right to vote in only 67 of them. That means in 65 percent of the world’s nations, women’s voices are silenced in the creation of the laws and policies that govern them (and their children). Most of us know that women make up more than half of the world’s population (continue reading…)
When asked to name the worst part of our day by happiness researchers, we consistently name commuting as at least one of our least favorite activities. And yet, many of us choose long commutes (the average American commute is 50 minutes per day; nine out of 10 are by car). It’s an inconsistency that has troubled academics.
Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer say too many of us make an unequal tradeoff: they call it the “commuting paradox.” According to economics, people should be compensated — either economically or emotionally — for the burden of their commute, but Frey and Stutzer found that “people with longer commuting time report systematically lower subjective well-being.”
The rewards associated with longer commutes — a bigger house, a higher salary or better schools — don’t fully compensate for the sacrifices we end up making by working so far from home (e.g., less time with family, and health issues like back pain, higher cholesterol, weight gain and anxiety).
Why do we make the mistake of choosing long commutes if they tend to make us less happy? It turns out that our focus and judgement are off.
Long Commutes Are Because Our Focus Is Off
One possible reason for our error in judgement is what psychologists call a weighting mistake, or a focusing illusion (continue reading…)
PLAY > SKIP: New Music for the Week of March 8
That sound you hear is the first shot across the bow from the major music labels. If any of you ever wondered how you’d handle a week where R.E.M., Avril Lavigne, the cast of “Glee,” Lupe Fiasco, and three-fourths of Oasis all simultaneously released albums, here’s your survival guide.
MUST-PLAY PICK OF THE WEEK: Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On.”
PLAY: R.E.M., Collapse Into Now
From the first chords of the opening track “Discoverer,” it’s clear that R.E.M. gives a crap again. After ten years of being lost in the legacy-band wilderness, R.E.M (continue reading…)
Read Guy Kawasaki’s new book. Now.
This is a man who breathes buzz. Others talk about how to create product lust, marketing momentum, and runaway sales (continue reading…)
This year, March 8th marks the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. In my homeland, Iran, women have continued to stand up to tyranny, rejecting discrimination and dictatorship with a resounding NO.
Women were in the forefront of the uprising in the summer of 2009, when the Iranian youth called for unseating the misogynous clerics and establishment of democracy in Iran. It was no coincidence; the symbol of the uprising was a young girl, named Neda, who died with open eyes while in search of freedom, as the whole world was watching (continue reading…)
The International Community Should Condemn Attacks On African Migrants and Refugees in Libya and Urge Libyan Forces not to Block Departures
On Monday March 7, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed a steep drop in the number of individuals leaving Libya, and expressed their concern that Libyan forces may be preventing people from leaving Libya.
Last week, UNHCR had reported that more than 90,000 people had fled from western Libya into Tunisia and another 80,000 to Egypt since antigovernment protests in Libya descended into violence in mid-February. The overwhelming majority of these individuals are reportedly migrant workers. Some are refugees from other countries who had been staying in Libya. During a single 24-hour stretch last week, an estimated 9,000 people crossed into Tunisia (continue reading…)