|Large scale structure (LSS) of the local universe as seen through the far-infrared COBE/IRAS foreground dust mask. The COBE/IRAS image comes from LAMBDA and is derived from the work of Schlegel et al. (1998); see below. The 2MASS image shows the background galaxies color coded by their redshift (blue are close, red are far galaxies). See below for more details. Click here for a quicktime movie version.|
In this mode, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. As the weeks and months go by without Miriam, we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. We shall always miss her.
On December 30, we mark the 40th yahrzeit (anniversary) of the
death of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972). He was
arguably the greatest moral and philosophical figure in 20th
century Judaism, with all due respect to Franz Rosenzweig and
Martin Buber among many other great people. He was closely
associated with Martin Luther King both in the civil rights
struggle and in the opposition to the war in Vietnam. He
marched with King in Selma and returned with the famous quote,
"My legs were praying."
|Selma, Alabama 1965|
Rabbi Heschel, we so sadly need you today.
DECEMBER 25 has passed. It is the birthday of a man whose work and life changed all of ours. We refer of course to Sir IsaacNewton, born December 25, 1643, died March 31, 1727.
|Sir Isaac Newton|
|This image of the Crescent Nebula or NGC 6888 was obtained using the Wide Field Camera on the Isaac Newton Telescope. It is a three-colour composite made from data collected using filters to isolate the light emitted by hydrogen alpha (H-alpha) and doubly ionised oxygen (OIII) atoms, and coded in the image as red, green (25% H-alpha and 75% OIII) and blue. Credit: D. López (IAC) [ JPEG | TIFF | PDF ].|
We start with a call for the US government and in particular the President to get serious about gun control. One might hope that the shock of Newtown would have some effect, yet we see the deaths piling up. Slate Magazine and @GunDeaths have set up a site that tallies the deaths by gunshot in the US since Newtown. As of December 27, there had been 242 such deaths.We invite you to link to the site and track the carnage, then tell someone about it in the hope that the outrage will go viral and politicians will have to overcome their fear of the gun lobby and do something to protect human beings.
KILLING BY THE STATE
We want to register our protest along with the progressive community and Amnesty International over the execution of six people in Taiwan.
|A Taiwanese activist stands in front of a billboard reading 'say no to the death penalty' |
© AFP/Getty Images
Zeng Si-ru, Hung Ming-tsung, Huang Hsien –cheng, Chen Chin-huo, Kuang Te-chiang and Tai Te-ying were executed earlier today at different locations across Taiwan. This makes a mockery of the talk of the Taiwanese government of steps towards abolition of capital punishment. Shame!!
ON THE WELFARE STATE AND ITS DEMISE
We would like to call your attention to two interviews with Noam Chomsky
|Author, historian and political commentator Noam Chomsky. (photo: Ben Rusk/flickr)
THE DARK SIDE OF THE ARAB SPRING is still with us. Azza Hilal Ahmad Suleiman, 49, is fighting for justice after Egyptian army soldiers attacked her. The vicious attack left her with a fractured skull and she now suffers from memory problems. Please let President Morsi know that the world is aware of the aftermath of the events that brought him to power.
HOME SWEET HOME
We are pleased to note that the uproar over the abuse of women at the Western Wall has spread to the world Jewish community and that the government has started to take notice.
|Members of Women of the Wall prayed this month while wearing tallits, fringed prayer shawls, and tefillin, leather prayer boxes, both of which Jewish men are told to wear.|
POLITICS AND DISSENT
A left-wing protest in Tel Aviv last year. Photo by Tal Cohen
Carlo Stenger has summed up in Haaretz the reason why we on the left, despite our political weakness, continue to inspire hatred by the right wing politicians and what our role is. We quote :
Israeli progressives will continue to be a pain in the neck. We
will continue to uphold the values of truth, justice and
rationality out of the deep conviction that these values, while
universal, are also essential to our identity as modern Jews.
We may not have the political clout; but one of the most
important lessons of Jewish history is that, in the long run,
the pen and the word outlast brute power. "
Of course, we sometimes get an oddball at demonstrations...
Our French friends have always known that one should be optimistic and not take hard things that happen too much to heart. Mademe la Marquise certainly needed the encouragement she received.
MAN OF THE YEAR
Last week Pollyanna noted that Time magazine had, according to Andy Borowitz, nominated Mitt Romney as Man of the Year for 1912. In the same spirit, we note that the Onion has nominated a surprise Person of the Year and of course Jerry Sandusky as Sportsman of the Year.
We wind up with a comment by our sweet little Cynthia on corporate morality.