Friday, June 28, 2013

Titan is becoming weary of ranting, alas.

This is where Titan lives and orbits

Titan is back to do his duty and will try as best he can to be less unpleasant. He  has been particularly nasty and grumpy for the last month, but lovely sister Pollyanna has been doing her best to comfort you on the other weeks.

For starters, 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. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.

We also would like to call your attention to the continued operation of the Safed library founded by Miriam's mother, Edyth Geiger, who died recently. A memorial for her marking the traditional thirty days will be held at Safed cemetery on Sunday July 7 at 1600. Donations to the library can be made via theWeb site.

The NIH in the US has announced that it is greatly reducing the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research and plans to retire those that it now owns to a sanctuary set up for this purpose over a decade ago. While the close similarity between chimps and humans has made them an excellent research tool, it has also raised major ethical issues. Titan applauds the decision of the NIH and invites you to read the entire article in Medical News Today. Here is a video of chimps in retirement.

The use of violent tactics by police in dealing with legitimate citizen protest is spreading. We call your attention to what is happening in Turkey

and in Brazil, which are just two examples. If the petitions come up with my details, just erase and put in your own. These sites are sometimes overly user-friendly. Titan also would like to call your attention to an interesting analysis of the Turkish situation from a trade union viewpoint.

Edward Snowden has given up his life, as has Bradley Manning. Manning will get a monstrous prison term and the best that Snowden can expect is the life of a fugitive in some strange country, never sure when he might be kidnapped or killed. They did it for us, the people of the world, who have had enough of Big Brother. The least we can do is petition and protest.. You might also want to consider what metadata can and cannot do and what is the extent of the real danger to your privacy.

Women are the prime victims of this catastrophe, both as patients and as the majority of caregivers. Trish Vradenburg raises a totally justified rant over the fact that research on Alzheimer is grossly underfunded. If you have a US congressman/woman who owes you some attention, let him/her know about it.

We are pleased that the Defense of Marriage Act that denied benefits to same-sex couples  and California Prop 8, forbidding same-sex marriage,  are no more and that the Supreme Court of the US has upheld same-sex marriage. We are, however, most sorry about their other decision that basically gutted the Voting Rights Act, by removing the need for nine states, mainly in the South, to get federal approval for voting rule changes affecting blacks and other minorities.  We understand that conservatives are running scared and will take any steps they can to nullify the demographic and social changes that have taken place in the US. If it had been up to Christian white males, Romney would be in the White House now. It means, in our opinion, that liberals will have to work harder on voter registration to ensure that black and Hispanic voters are not disenfranchised. We refer you to an analysis of the Court's work by Amy Goodman.

If you thought that only among rabbis can we find crooks, we refer you to the latest news of the skulduggery at the Vatican Bank. The new Pope seems determined to root it out and we wish him good luck. If Jesus could drive the money changers out  of the Temple, we can assume that Pope Francis will do his best to clean up the rot. One might have thought that child abuse was enough for both religions. Apparently money is still the prime root of evil.

Cheers to President Obama who finally stood up on climate change. As he said, we have no time for the flat earth society. US readers, please send your congress people a note in support of action on this issue. A three to five meter rise in sea level for your great-grandchildren is something you need to prevent NOW.

We call your attention to Pinki, who will toss the coin at the men's final at Wimbledon. If you share or retweet the message, a donation will be made by someone. It is a worthy cause.
Eleven-year-old Pinki Sonkar who will perform the coin toss at this year's men’s singles final on July 7 at Wimbledon
Pinki after her surgery

Titan has blasted away at the Israeli scene heavily in his recent blogs. We would like to start out this week with something positive. We are pleased that McDonald's has declined to open a branch in Ariel, a town in the occupied West Bank.
 McDonald's refuses to operate in Jewish settlement

The decision was made by the local owner who is a peace supporter. Cheers Mr. Padan. We will even consider buying a hamburger to offset the boycott of your restaurants by Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked. Whether we will actually eat it is a separate issue.

While over a billion shekels per year are spent on West Bank settlements to say nothing of a grossly inflated military budget, the situation of health care in Israel continues to deteriorate. A recent OECD study shows that the situation in hospitals in Israel is terrible compared to that in other OECD countries and that the expenditure on health care is stagnating. You often wonder why this is tolerated by the public. The people who need help most are the ones who vote for the combination of cronies of settlers, generals and tycoons who together keep them in poverty along with rabbis who deny them education in order to keep them poor and dependent on handouts. Yes M. Tullius Cicero, you were so right when you said "blame not Caesar, but the people of Rome..."

We are inundated by telemarketer volunteers pleading for money to fill needs that should be filled by the government. One is tempted to say no, let them go and bug the government, but alas too many innocents are involved. In the meantime, the corrupt, fat and overbudgeted army runs around the world appealing for money and actually getting it from stupid Jews who should know better.

Akiva Eldar, a former Haaretz pundit, writes about what appears to be a swing in Israeli public opinion to something called "the left" which means a lack of belief in the practicality of an Arabrein country between the Jordan and the sea. A poll run run by people from the so-called university in Ariel, the hamburger-deprived town in the West Bank, finds that the percentage of those defining themselves as “right wing” has declined from 57% in 2012 to 48% this year. In contrast, the percentage of those defining themselves as “political center” or “left wing” rose from 43% to 52%. Let us try to be optimistic--take a page from Pollyanna's book. It would certainly be helpful if the voice of American Jews could be heard on the side of peace and pragmatism, as noted so well by Roger Cohen in the NYTimes. In the meantime, the Israeli government quakes at the thought of a Palestinian children's puppet theater festival in East Jerusalem. It obviously needs a new source of fear since the election of a  relative moderate to the presidency of Iran has taken away one of the PM's favorite bogeymen. Titan thinks that a children's puppet show does not really hack it. Poor Bibi.  Prof. Leibowitz once defined the actions of our government as a combination of evil stupidity and stupid evil. He was  right.

The ethnic cleansing law that would drive 40,000 Bedouin citizens from their homes has passed first reading in the Knesset and given the composition of that body, will probably be enacted into law. There have been protests from around the world and we hope that the implementation will be held up. In the meantime, the general in command of Central Command has made it clear that if nothing moves on the political front, an explosion of violence is inevitable. We hope Natanyahu will listen, although a flare-up in the West Bank would suit the settlers. It would be foolish and harmful for the Palestinians. A Gandhi or Mandela is badly needed there.

 The double talk from the government about peace negotiations (not about peace itself of course) continues. Our Minister of Economics Naphtali Bennett delivered a speech recently in which he declared the two-state solution to be dead. Of course the PM distanced himself from it and Bennett himself hemmed and hawed as one might expect from such an opportunistic politician. He provided a colorful example of what was wrong with the idea of a Palestinian state:
"I have a friend with shrapnel lodged in his backside. They told him they could operate, but he would remain handicapped . So he decided to keep on living with it. There are situations when striving for perfection just causes more harm than good." 

A wonderful response appeared in Haaretz in the form of "An open letter from the piece of shrapnel in the rear end of an IDF soldier." by

Illustration by Amos Biderman
Illustration by Amos Biderman.
OK, you have had enough of the nasty Titan. We have a  few goodies for you as well. What If is silly enough to keep you happy until Pollyanna comes around again. We also are sorry to say that XKCD has a cruel side, alas:

Some of you claim that whereas Pollyanna is sweet and cultured, Titan is an uncouth boor. This is totally unwarranted. Over the eons Titan has gazed upon the beauties of the Solar System and the galaxy. He is a true aficionado of art. For example, he greatly admires the sublime creative talent of our beloved Cynthia.

 Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Jun/23/2013

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