Mosby's Journal - Archives
An excavation in a part of Jerusalem known as the City of David has uncovered stone markings that date back thousands of years. Nobody has any idea what they are or what they mean. But whatever it is? It's important.
The v-shaped markings (not be confused with our other favorite mysterious markings) are on the floor of a recently uncovered room at the dig site. They are about two inches deep and twenty inches long. Nothing else has been discovered that suggests what they are or who made them. (Is it too early to suggest aliens?) "The markings are very strange, and very intriguing. I've never seen anything like them," said Eli Shukron, one of the dig's directors. They can tell from some ceramic fragments that the room was last used around 800 B.C., when the area was under the rule of Judean kings, but it is not known whether the markings were made then or long before.
ROME (Reuters) - Desperate Somali mothers are abandoning their dying children by the roadside as they travel to overwhelmed emergency food centers in drought-hit eastern Africa, U.N. aid officials said Monday.
Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, told a conference in Rome that a combination of natural disaster and regional conflict was affecting more than 12 million people.
"We are seeing all the points able to distribute food completely overwhelmed," she said, adding that a camp in Dadaab in Kenya that was built for 90,000 people now housed 400,000.
"We want to make sure the supplies are there along the road because some of them are becoming roads of death where mothers are having to abandon their children who are too weak to make it or who have died along the way," she said.
History was made on Thursday when the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system intercepted a Grad-model rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, proving its capabilities for the first time in combat.
IDF sources said that the rocket was detected shortly after it was launched in the direction of Ashkelon south of which a battery was deployed on Monday.
“This is a huge achievement,” one defense official said.
Consumer Reports said in a blog post and accompanying video on Monday that widely reported signal problems with the iPhone 4, Apple’s latest mobile phone, are a result of a flaw in the phone’s antenna design, and that it cannot recommend purchasing the phone. That contradicts earlier claims by Apple that the problems are a software issue.
The magazine said its engineers performed a series of tests on three separate iPhone 4s inside a controlled lab environment known as a “radio frequency isolation chamber.” They found that when the bottom left corner of the iPhone is touched it can sometimes lose enough signal strength to drop calls.
Consumer Reports said the tests led it to conclude that cannot recommend the iPhone 4 to consumers until Apple fixes the hardware problem. It also questioned Apple’s honesty on the antenna issues:
Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4’s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that “mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.”
Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla, violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.
Large groups of passengers surrounded soldiers and beat them with metal poles and chairs, and threw one soldier over the side of the ship. Some passengers grabbed pistols from the IDF soldiers and opened fire. As a result of the attacks, seven IDF soldiers were injured, and nine of the passengers were killed.
The ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla had publicly insisted on their non-violent intentions, however their violent attack on the IDF soldiers was clearly premeditated. They had knives, metal rods, firebombs and other items ready to us
Read more: http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/05/31/clos... /
In a forty-eight hour period beginning on Christmas Eve 2008 the Christian fundamentalist Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) killed, dismembered and burned at least 200 Congolese civilians. Soldiers raped women and girls, twisted the heads off babies, and cut the lips and ears off those they did not kill. They hacked the rest to death using machetes or axes. Child soldiers helped abduct other children.
During the same period the Israeli government and Hamas officials entered the final stages of failing ceasefire talks. War was on the horizon, but had not yet begun. An errant Hamas rocket killed two Gazan sisters; otherwise there were no cross-border casualties.
According to AlertNet’s World Press Tracker, the two-day Israeli-Palestinian stand-off was reported in the global media forty times. There were no reports on the LRA massacre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Over the next three weeks Israel’s incursion into Gaza left 926 Palestinian and three Israeli civilians dead. The global media reported these events 2896 times. In the same period, Joseph Kony’s LRA killed 865 civilians and abducted 160 children. The media reported these events a total of twenty times.
The Western media’s fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long overshadowed death and oppression in other parts of the world. Gilad Shalit and the Qassam rocket are known to many; the death of 5.9 million in the eight-nation Second Congo War is not. Recent Israeli and Palestinian elections were covered worldwide in real-time, while images of genocide in Rwanda and Sudan did not surface until it was too late. Countless articles argue media bias in favour of Israel or the Palestinians, yet few address the media bias towards the conflict itself.
The disproportionate media coverage raises several uncomfortable questions: why were the deaths of Congolese civilians at the hands of the LRA deemed less newsworthy than, in the first instance, crumbling cease-fire talks and, later, the deaths of Palestinian civilians? More generally, why is the west so consumed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what are the consequences of underreporting other conflicts? Finally, can anything be done to redress the media balance so that the rights of all humans – regardless of colour, ethnicity, and geography – are given equal weight?
ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
In 1994, Israel asserted, and the PLO accepted, that construction would continue on existing Jewish settlements. For the next 15 years, negotiations were never stopped by that building.
In January 2009, the Palestinian Authority (PA) stopped negotiations because Hamas attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip and Israel defended itself. Of course, Hamas is also the PA’s enemy and the PA would be delighted if Israel destroyed that group. But for public relations’ purposes, the PA had to pretend inter-Palestinian solidarity.
Then came President Barack Obama who demanded a stop to all construction on settlements in 2009. Israel finally complied but announced that it would keep building in east Jerusalem. The United States accepted that arrangement and even highly praised Israel’s policy as a major concession.
But the PA refused to return to negotiations. Why, because the construction offended it? No, because the PA’s radical forces don’t want to make a peace deal because they believe they can win total victory and destroy Israel. The more moderate forces are too weak to make a deal because of Hamas and their own radicals, though they also have some problems with mutual compromise.
In September 2009, Obama announced that within two months there would be full and final peace negotiations in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “yes”: PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said “no.”
No Western media outlet said that the PA refusal to negotiate for—as of today—about 15 months shows that the PA doesn’t want peace. Yet they had no hesitation about saying that Israel doesn’t want peace (or at least maybe doesn’t) because Israel announced the building of apartments on the basis of a policy it has followed for 16 years, without serious complaint for most of that time.
In the world of Israeli popular culture, the most popular maternal figure at the moment is a very different kind of Jewish mother — a proud Arab Muslim who prays five times daily, calls the Koran her favorite book, obsessively puffs on a hookah pipe and proudly wears a keffiyah.
Futna Jabber is one of the five finalists on Israel’s version of the reality show hit “Big Brother,” after viewers voted week after week to keep the vivacious 37-year-old on their screens for more than three months. So popular was Futna, that she didn’t even have to worry in the last round of voting: None of her housemates nominated her for eliminations. The results of the final eliminations will be announced Thursday on the show’s finale.
From the moment she made her entrance onto the national television screen, Futna made it clear that she wouldn’t allow others to define her, declaring who she was from the beginning: “I am a Moslem Palestinian Israeli mother — but first and foremost, I am a human being.” Her greatest dream: “A real and genuine peace for my children and their friends. Inshallah
She kept her distance from the traditional reality show infighting among the residents, and set up shop in the spot where she knew from the outset that she could dominate any competition unchallenged: the kitchen. In the real world, she and her husband own and operate a small hummus joint in Jaffa. The kitchen was her turf, and if any other resident who dared to tread on her culinary turf - she immediately nominated them for elimination — and the audience complied with her request.
I thought this story would be a nice change of pace from what we usually see in this forum.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' perceptions of 20 nations that figure prominently in the news or U.S. foreign policy held quite steady in the first year of the Obama administration. Canada retained its top position in Gallup's annual country ratings, with 90% of Americans viewing it favorably, unchanged from 2009. Iran continues to rank last, with 10% this year.
This article explains it better than I can:
Cigarette smoke is a deadly delivery device for a benign but habit-forming
product: nicotine. Nicotine isn't especially dangerous -- about like caffeine.
Good policy toward tobacco use would reduce the grave harm of smoking by
replacing cigarettes with non-smoked forms of nicotine for the addicts. They
might use nicotine safely forever, if harmless delivery systems were widely
Instead, nicotine abstinence is the policymakers' only approach to
tobacco. Like other abstinence campaigns (alcohol prohibition,
sexual abstinence before marriage, just saying "no" to drugs), this one
is both moralistic and ineffective.
Obviously, nicotine use is a popular and tenacious habit. Equally obviously,
tobacco policy is a failure. Surveys show that a majority of current smokers
would like good alternatives to smoking as ways of getting nicotine. But we
will not tell nicotine users that there are safe ways to continue to use the legal
drug they crave. Apparently, our policymakers would rather see those people
get sick and die.
Alternative nicotine delivery could be easy. Nicotine replacement therapy
could work long-term. Gum and the patch are already available, but not to
everyone. Also, they are still approved only for short-term use and can deliver
only small doses -- inadequate for heavy users.
I stopped smoking about 8 months ago, I smoked 2+ packs per day for 30 years. I used the nicotrol inhaler for nicotine replacement but I went by the European guidelines not the US guidelines. In this country the medical orthodoxy insist that you cannot continue to smoke while using a NRT, this is simply not true. The European and Australian guidelines state that you can do both for a while. In my first week I continued to smoke but slowly cut down the number of cigs. By the second week I was using only the nicotrol. Now I like to use one cartridge in the morning during my drive to work. I'm on my last box so I will have to give up the inhalers in a couple months which should not be a problem, I'm still doing them just cause I like it, not because I'm addicted.
The epidemiologist who wrote the above article suggests smokeless tobacco as a substitute, which may be statistically safe, but what's certain is that e-cigs pose almost no health risk but not surprisingly the medical establishment in the US is totally against them being sold here. For them it's all or nothing, why I don't know.
The "Just War Tradition"
On December 27, 2008, after sustaining eight years of rocket attacks, Israel launched a military operation against Hamas in Gaza. How are we to evaluate the Israeli incursion from a moral and ethical perspective?
As in any moral evaluation of a war, we must begin by distinguishing the "Why?" from the "How?" "Just war" theory distinguishes between jus ad bellum and jus in bello - between the moral justification for war and the moral justification for actions taken during a war. The decision to wage a war or to embark on a military operation is made by a government, by politicians. The implementation of that decision in the field, however, or the "How?" is determined by the military echelon. Generally speaking, a government is not to blame for the behavior of soldiers, and soldiers should not be blamed for the decisions made by the political class.
To ask "Why?" is to invoke several principles that belong to the "just war tradition." The first is the right of self-defense. From an external point of view, from the perspective of the relationships between states, a state has the right to defend itself against attack. From the internal point of view, namely from the perspective of the relationship between a state and its citizens, a government has the duty to defend its citizens. A state must protect its citizens from acts of violence because it must preserve the conditions that enable it to exist; foremost among them is the preservation of the lives of its citizens. A democratic state is therefore under an obligation to defend its citizens' lives. Thus the state has a right vis-à-vis the enemy and a duty vis-à-vis its citizens. This is the distinction between a state's right of self-defense, which relates to what is beyond its confines, and a state's obligation of self-defense, which relates to what is within its confines. Both are applicable in our case, since beginning in 2001 over ten thousand Kassam rockets and mortars were launched from Gaza into Israel, endangering the lives of the citizens under attack.
Second is the principle of last resort, which dictates that if a dispute can be solved without resort to military force and inflicting casualties, then the parties are obligated to do so. The use of military force is justified, in other words, only if all other alternatives have been exhausted. Here, too, Israel is presumably in the right, for rather than launching an offensive immediately after the first Kassam rocket struck Sderot, the country waited eight years, during which it pursued other solutions, both military and political. Israel's long abstention from any large-scale military response in the face of this aggression presumably meets the principle of last resort.
Third, the probability of victory principle dictates that a military operation may be launched only if it has a reasonable chance of successfully achieving its aims. Such operations may not be initiated merely as a symbolic gesture of bravery. If there is no chance of victory, the use of military force is mere bloodshed. Yet here we must distinguish between classical wars like World War II and the Six-Day War in which victory meant the elimination of a military threat, and asymmetric counterterrorism or counterinsurgency warfare against a non-state entity, like the type Israel faces against the terrorist militias of Hizbullah and Hamas. In the latter, victory means significantly improving the security situation in the southern part of Israel by damaging the enemy's armaments infrastructure and crippling its ability to carry out terrorist activities. Here again, last year's incursion into Gaza met the pertinent condition.
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah this week announced the publication of a new political manifesto, outlining the goals of his movement. The document is the successor to Hizbullah's first manifesto, published in 1985, and many regional analysts have hailed it as reflecting the group's "Lebanonization."
This term is intended to mean that the new manifesto represents the abandonment of the movement's core Shi'a Islamist outlook, and its acceptance of a new role as an influential player in Lebanese domestic politics. However, this view is excessively optimistic. The new manifesto reveals that Hizbullah's strategic goals are unchanged.
The new manifesto suggests that Hizbullah circa 2009 is a far more confident and comfortable player in Lebanon than it was in its earlier years. The reason for this, however, is not because the Shi'a Islamist movement has adapted itself to prevailing Lebanese realities. It is because Hizbullah has successfully imposed itself upon these realities, and hence may now proceed at its own pace.
RAWABI, West Bank - Dusk has fallen on a terraced hillside, and workers clearing the red earth hurry to finish planting trees in the twilight, their labor the initial step in the construction of the first-ever planned Palestinian city.
The city, with a construction price tag of some $350 million, already has its city limits registered, a name - Rawabi, Arabic for "hills" - and funding from the government of Qatar. It's located about five miles north of Ramallah.
The project's Ramallah-based developers, who plan to start building soon, hail the project as a prized and much-needed example of Palestinian economic development. Israeli officials are among those citing it as a symbol of Palestinian progress.
"At the heart of this, it's about building a nation," says Bashar Masri, chairman of the board of the Bayti Real Estate Investment Co., which is running the project. "We have dreamed about a liberal, advanced state with a higher standard of living, and this project is part of those aspirations."
The ten most recent threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums.
FL GOP tries to close state pension system to new workers, yet take THEIR pension at 2X accrual rate
FL GOP denies $51 billion federal Medicaid to poor, yet order cheap health care for themselves
Happy Mother's Day
I love DU2!
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R) ran company now accused of Medicaid fraud (Rick Scott redux)
Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart dis-ease
By No Elephants
The ten most recommended threads posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums in the last 24 hours.
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