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Politics and Media Headlines 12/31/08

Caro's picture

Black Agenda Report

From the U.S. Artist General, via email



The heart-bound venom of it Troubles the bloodstream
like lips in the arc of a drinking fountain, moving at the gibberish of thirst

but finally the moral snakebite
is from ANY nation
whose Overkill we look the other way on...

Yesterday I got a message from someone who objected to my coverage of the Israeli attacks on Gaza because, she said, it was pro-Palestinian. Let me make this perfectly clear: I believe that BOTH sides are at fault. And I believe that armed conflicts and armed standoff don’t solve problems like the religious clashes in the Middle East, or anywhere else.

What worked in Northern Ireland was a many-year commitment to diplomacy rather than force, along with the Ulster Project, a many-year process of teaching young people on each side that those on the other side are human beings, not monsters. For a number of years my sister was part of this ecumenical project in my home town, which is only one of many towns around the U.S. that hold summer workshops for Catholic and protestant teenagers—together.

Wikipedia has a list of projects working for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We must support projects like these. They are our only hope for building a basis for long-lasting peace in the Middle East.—Caro

From: A Natural History of Peace (by Robert M. Sapolsky, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2006)
[H]umans, as primates, are hard-wired for xenophobia. Some brain-imaging studies have appeared to support this view in a particularly discouraging way… More recent studies, however, should mitigate this pessimism. Test a person who has a lot of experience with people of different races, and the amygdala does not activate. Or, as in a wonderful experiment by Susan Fiske, of Princeton University, subtly bias the subject beforehand to think of people as individuals rather than as members of a group, and the amygdala does not budge. Humans may be hard-wired to get edgy around the Other, but our views on who falls into that category are decidedly malleable.

Peace is possible (click here to watch the video)

Analysis: Gaza crisis may hurt Obama peace efforts (AP)
WASHINGTON - Israel's military onslaught against the militant Hamas movement will probably make it harder for President-elect Barack Obama to fulfill a campaign pledge of early and vigorous Mideast peacemaking, and the pre-inauguration timing may frustrate any effort he plans to establish new footing among Arab partners.
And those peace efforts ARE?????????????????????—Caro

Obama makes third trip to golf course in Hawaii (AP)
KAILUA, Hawaii - Staying out of the public eye during an extended vacation doesn't mean staying away from the golf course for President-elect Barack Obama.

McKinney to Obama: "Say Something" About Gaza Humanitarian Crisis (Black Agenda Report)
"As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel are weapons that were supplied by the United States government."
CNN has a video of McKinney’s appeal. Obama did take some time out to make a statement on his potential replacement, however.—Caro

AP rolls a gutter ball (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
The Associated Press reports: “‘That was pretty good, right?’ Obama said to cheers as he finished a round of golf near his $9 million rented vacation home near Honolulu. The woman sitting on a nearby wall shouted, ‘Better than your bowling.’… The woman's quip referred to Obama's embarrassing bowling outing in Pennsylvania, when he knocked down only 37 pins — with the assist during two frames from an 8-year-old. It was an effort to connect with working-class voters, yet he lost Pennsylvania's primary election to Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

"Disastrous"? Really? It was a trip to a bowling alley, not a failed amphibious invasion of Cuba. "Disastrous" seems a bit overheated. And notwithstanding the AP's certainty that Obama's "disastrous" bowling experience destroyed his ability to "connect with working-class voters," the man did, um, win the presidency. Seems like he must have connected with at least a handful of working-class voters along the way. Even some Pennsylvanians, who managed to look past Obama's bowling ability and give him a comfortable general-election win.
Personally, I’m reminded of George Bush talking very seriously to reporters about a previous Israeli/Palestinian conflict, immediately followed by, “Now watch this drive.” At least Obama’s not pretending to be interested.—Caro

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Carolyn Kay

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amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Sam Adams, in Portland --

... As the clock strikes midnight tonight, Portland, Oregon residents will welcome both a new year and a new mayor.

Mayor-elect Sam Adams will officially be sworn in tonight, making him the first openly gay mayor of a top 30 U.S. city. Adams won the mayoral primary in May with more than 50 percent of the vote, allowing him to avoid a runoff against his nearest opponent.


yay! : >

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Claiborne Pell, Ex-Senator, Dies at 90 --

Claiborne Pell, the quirky blueblood who represented blue-collar Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and was the force behind a grant program that has helped tens of millions of Americans attend college, died Thursday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 90.

Pell, a Democrat, died at his Newport home just after midnight, according to his former assistant, Jan Demers.

Pell was first elected to the Senate in 1960. The skinny son of a New York congressman, Pell spoke with an aristocratic tone but was an unabashed liberal who spent his political career championing causes to help the less fortunate. ...