Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chimp’s Sex Calls May Reflect Calculation -

Though human vocalizations during intercourse have not been much studied, they do have “a quite elaborate acoustical structure, which suggests some kind of communicative function,” said Dr. Townsend, who is at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Copulation calls are not a feature of public life in Western societies,...

New MoveOn ad

Monday, June 16, 2008

Big City - A Young Man From Omaha, Who May Perfectly Represent Brooklyn
...Thanks to his Egyptian father, who left the family when Yosef was young, and his maternal grandfather, who was of African descent by way of Panama, Yosef looks African-American (though his family prefers to describe themselves as Jews of color, believing their culture to be exclusively Jewish). Yosef moved to Crown Heights only a year ago, until then having lived in Omaha, where his mother’s maternal family, German Jewish merchants, had settled several generations earlier. ...

Yosef was obviously sheltered from too much scrutiny from the outside world, but the surprising combination of his race and his particular form of religious observance fazed no one in Omaha — for all the average person knew in Omaha, all Hasidic Jews were of African descent, his mother said. When friends from Nebraska first visited New York, they were fascinated to meet some white Hasids for the first time.

Bahrain names Jewish ambassador

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Bahrain names Jewish ambassador:
Bahrain's king has appointed a Jewish woman as the country's envoy to the United States.

Houda Nonoo said she was proud to serve her country 'first of all as a Bahraini' and that she was not chosen for the post because of her religion.

She is believed to be the Arab world's first Jewish ambassador.

Ms Nonoo, 43, has served as a legislator in Bahrain's 40-member Shura Council for three years and is head of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch.

'It is a great honour to have been appointed as the first female ambassador to the United States of America and I am looking forward to meeting this new challenge,' Ms Nonoo told the Associated Press news agency.

Her family is originally from Iraq, having moved to Bahrain over a century ago.

Bahrain has one of the world's oldest and smallest Jewish communities. It was, at one time, home to as many as 1,500 Jews. Today the community has a synagogue and numbers around 50 people....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kosher??? From Arthur Waskow:

Unkosher meat, unkosher politics

The Rubashkin meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, which has been the biggest supplier of allegedly kosher meat in America, has violated many moral, ethical, and legal codes of conduct -- American and Jewish. It has tortured the animals it is supposed to kill painlessly and has exploited its workers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants who were fearful of complaining. It has even had the chutzpah to collect union dues from some workers and then pocket the money instead of passing it on to the unions.

Rubashkin is under serious criticism from major parts of the Jewish community. Yet even some who have called for a boycott of this unkosher meat have praised the Rubashkin family's "charitable" donations. Leave aside the fact that any such donations come from the super-profits made possible by oppressing humans and animals alike; when I asked for evidence of those charities, I was told only they were claimed by those within the family's (Lubavitch) community , and that some signers of the boycott call would not sign without it.

Finally the Federal government has stepped in.

To do what? To imprison hundreds of allegedly undocumented workers and - with rare precedent - to charge hundreds with criminal offenses rather than, as usual in such situations, simply deporting them. As for the owners - so far, no action at all.

Perhaps this failure of Federal authorities to act against the wealthy violators while destroying the lives of the powerless workers is rooted in the conventional deference to the rich. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the Rubashkin family has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to one political party - the one that happens to be running the Federal government at the moment. (Maybe these are the undocumented charitable contributions?)

In any case, this needs to change. I hope that many many of you our readers, of ALL religious and ethical traditions and beliefs, will write your local newspapers not only to support a boycott of this meat - unkosher in every sense - but also to press that Federal authorities take vigorous action against the owners to the full extent of the law, while dropping criminal charges against workers caught in this oppressive bind.