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Friday, February 29, 2008

"Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood" Wins Cybil Award

There’s a New Award in Town

The Cybils bloggers’ literary award unveils 2007 winners

By Staff -- School Library Journal, 3/1/2008

re you one of those people who find the Newbery Awards a tad too elitist? That’s what two women who blog about children’s literature thought when they launched the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (Cybils) in 2006. And since then, they’ve amassed quite a loyal following.

Anne Boles Levy (below), a freelance writer from Chicago, unveiled her blog in 2004, and Kelly Herold, an associate professor of Russian literature at Grinnell College in Iowa, started her book review blog, Big A little a (, almost two years ago.

Although the two had never met in person, Boles Levy emailed Herold with the idea of starting a more “middle ground” children’s lit award with a different twist: all the judges had to blog about children’s and YA literature.

Now in its second year, the Cybils on February 14 unveiled its awards for 2007. Surprisingly, the prize for the young adult category went to Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy (Houghton), a wrenching story about a 12-year-old boy who was seduced by his history teacher. The book beat Sherman Alexie’s heavily favored The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown, 2007), a National Book Award winner.

Cybils judges—who include the authors Sarah Miller and Mitali Perkins—said Lyga’s prose is “unflinching, and the result is heartbreaking and unforgettable.”

The Cybils team hands out 10 awards in different genres of children’s literature split by age group. Ibtisam Barakat’s Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood(Farrar), a haunting account of the Six Day War, won for middle grade/YA nonfiction; Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday (Hyperion), a spoof of science-fiction novels, won the sci-fi category in the younger age group; and Janice N. Harrington’s The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County (Farrar), took top honors in fiction picture books.


Here is more on the book and CONGRATULATIONS Ibtisam!

Memoir powerfully recalls Palestinian childhood

Ibtisam, 3, races through the night at the beginning of Ibtisam Barakat's book, "Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood” (Melanie Kroupa, $16).

The sounds of bullets and bombs pepper the sky. Minutes before, she has been home with her parents and brothers, about to sit down for dinner. Then her father bursts in and speaks the words she would never forget, "The war has started.”

The family packs quickly and runs for shelter, but Ibtisam has forgotten her shoes. She hurries back, but she can find only one shoe. And when she returns to look for her family, they have gone.

The day is June 5, 1967, the beginning of the Six-Day War, in which Israel occupies the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. Through gripping, poetic prose, Barakat recounts growing up in war-torn Palestine.

After a fearful search, Ibtisam reunites with her parents. To gain safe passage out of their hometown, Ramallah, into Jordan, the family forces its way onto a water tanker.

After months of exile, the family finally returns to Ramallah, only to find their home surrounded by Israeli soldiers. Unable to stand living in constant fear, Ibtisam's mother takes her four children to live at Dar El-Tifl orphanage. Life at Dar El-Tifl brings hunger, cold and fear.

Eventually, young Ibtisam and her family return to Ramallah, but even years later, the sting of war never truly leaves her. She survives with the help of a friend her mother had introduced her to as a young child, Alef, or the letter A.

With the help of Alef, Ibtisam rises to first in her class at school. As an adult, she writes, "Alef knows / That a thread / Of a story / Stitches together / A wound.”

This powerful memoir reaches deep into the gut and doesn't let go. Barakat gives readers a rare look into the life of a Palestinian refugee, and, despite the oppressive threat of violence that tinges each page, suffuses her story with hope.

Kim Ventrella


Read an interview with the author, Ibtisam Barakat HERE

Take Action Against the Slaughter in Gaza Aided With US Tax Dollars

Take Action: Israel Kills 30 Palestinians
with U.S. Weapons

Since Wednesday, Israel has killed at least 30 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including five children under the age of 16 playing soccer and a six month-old child (Ha'aretz).

Israel's Deputy Defense Minister threatened Palestinians with genocide, calling for an even "bigger holocaust" against residents of the Gaza Strip (Telegraph).

Israel killed almost all of these Palestinians in air strikes most likely with its arsenal of fighter jets-Boeing F-15's and Lockheed F-16's-and attack helicopters-Boeing Apaches and Cobra Bells-paid for by U.S. taxpayers through annual military aid to Israel. Almost all of Israel's air-to-surface missiles, which would have been used in these attacks, are produced by U.S. corporations such as Hughes, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin and paid for by U.S. tax dollars. The US Campaign opposes all attacks on civilians.

Is this how you want your tax dollars spent-to kill children playing soccer and to carry out threats of genocide?

President Bush has requested $2.55 billion in military aid for Israel in his proposed FY2009 budget. That's a 9% increase in military aid to Israel above and beyond actual spending in 2007. The budget request is the first installment of a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United States and Israel in August 2007 to increase military aid by 25% over the next decade, totaling $30 billion.

The United States should be cutting off military aid to Israel for its human rights abuses and violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts, not increasing it.


1. Have your organization endorse a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittees with oversight over military aid calling on them to reject Bush's budget request and cut off military aid to Israel.The letter and a current list of organizational endorsements are below.The deadline for signing this letter is March 4.To have your organization endorse the letter, click here.

2. Individuals can send a letter opposing military aid to Israel to the Members of Congress who serve on these Appropriations Subcommittees by clicking here.

3. Sign up to receive an organizing packet with postcards, petitions, and fact sheets to educate and organize people in your community to oppose military aid to Israel.To get your organizing packet, click here.

Sign-On Letter to Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, & Related Programs

Senate and House Appropriations Committees

Opposing FY2009 Budget Request for Military Aid to Israel


To add your organization's endorsement, click here.

We are writing to let you know that our organizations oppose the President's FY2009 budget request for $2.55 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel, which would be a 9% increase over actual spending in FY2007.This proposed increase is the first installment of a ten-year agreement between the United States and Israel, signed in August 2007, to increase military aid to Israel by 25%, totaling $30 billion by FY2018.

Israel uses weapons purchased through FMF to enforce its illegal 40-year military occupation and siege of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and to commit human rights violations against Palestinians in the OccupiedTerritories and against civilians in Lebanon.Israel's ongoing use of U.S. weapons to enforce an illegal military occupation and to commit human rights abuses places it in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act.

The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs must examine the President's FY2009 budget request for $2.55 billion in FMF for Israel in light of Israel's violations of these U.S. laws.We urge the Subcommittee to hold Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. laws and apply the appropriate sanctions for countries that violate its terms.As long as Israel continues to violate U.S. law, the United States must cut off military aid, not increase it.

Signed by,

National Organizations

1. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
2. Benedictines for Peace
3. Code Pink-Women for Peace
4. Council for the National Interest
5. Friends of Sabeel-North America
6. Jewish Voice for Peace
7. Peace Action
8. United for Peace and Justice
9. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Local Organizations

1. Alaskans for Peace and Justice, Anchorage

1. Foundation for Ending Apartheid in Israel, Queen Creek
2. Local to Global Justice, Phoenix
3. Progressives of the VerdeValley, Sedona

1. Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East, Santa Barbara
2. Arts and Crafts Can Do, Santa Rosa
3. Borno Realty, San Diego
4. Free Gaza Movement, El Cerrito
5. Fresh Clean Day Publishing, Woodside
6. International Solidarity Movement-Northern California, El Cerrito
7. Islamic Center of Inland Empire, Rancho Cucamonga
8. Network of Spiritual Progressives-Sacramento Chapter, Sacramento
9. San FranciscoBay View National Black Newspaper, San Francisco
10. Spectronix Research, Vineburg
11. University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara Students for Justice in Palestine, Santa Barbara
12. Women in Black, Idyllwild

1. Friends of Sabeel-Colorado, Boulder

1. Coalition for Social Justice, New Britain
2. We Refuse to Be Enemies, West Hartford

District of Columbia
1. Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Washington, DC
2. Malcolm X Day Committee, Washington, DC

1. Senior Citizens Islamic Society, Miramar

1. Valdosta Citizens for Peace in the Middle East, Valdosta

1. Art 4 Peace Photography and Art, Kailua

1. Day Star Books, Urbana
2. MuslimCommunity Center of Greater Rockford, Rockford

1. Stand Now, Attica

1. Enlighten Technologies, Cedar Rapids
2. Iowa Methodist Federation for Social Action, Des Moines
3. Iowans for a Free Palestine, Cedar Falls

1. American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-New Orleans Chapter, New Orleans

1. CarlislePeaceCollege, SandySpring
2. Friends of Tent of Nations, Cabin John

1. Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Boston
2. Students for Justice in Palestine-HampshireCollege, Amherst
3. United for Justice with Peace, Boston
4. Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety, Watertown

1. Mid East: Just Peace, Cedar

1. Environmental Justice Advocate of Minnesota, St. Paul
2. Women against Military Madness-Mideast Committee, Minneapolis

1. The American Muslim, Bridgeton
2. Women in Black, St. Louis

New York
1. American Council on Middle East Policy, New York
2. Aria Aperta, OzonePark
3. Caribbean and Latin America Support Project, New Paltz
4. Code Pink NYC-New York
5. Concerned Citizens for Peace, Hemlock
6. Dutchess Peace Coalition, Rhinebeck
7. HudsonValley Pax Christi, Highland
8. Iraqis in Exile, CliftonPark
9. Palestinian Rights Committee, Albany
10. Rochester Committee for Middle East Peace, Rochester

North Carolina
1. ActionCenter for Justice, Charlotte
2. Jews for a Just Peace-North Carolina, Chapel Hill


1. Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support Network, Cleveland
2. Palestinian American Association, Westerville

1. Songs for Peace, Ardmore

1. Al-Nakba Awareness Project/Palestine: Just Justice, Eugene
2. Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Portland
3. Families for Children of Oregon, Portland
4. Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Portland
5. Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Portland
6. Veterans for Peace-Chapter 929, Springfield
7. Whitefeather Peace Community, Portland

1. Harrisburg Middle East Justice and Peace, Harrisburg
2. Philly Poetry, Philadelphia

1. Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, Austin
2. Isquare Investment Partners, Fort Worth
3. Peace Farm, Amarillo

1. Pax Christi-Pentagon Area, Falls Church

1. American Muslims of Puget Sound, Lynnwood
2. Gaia's Blessings, Issaquah
3. Students for Peace & Justice in Israel-Palestine, University of Washington-Bothell, Bothell

1. Madison-RafahSisterCity Project, Madison
2. Pagans for Peace, Milwaukee

To add your organization's endorsement of this letter, click here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Killing Gaza....................

So now the IOF has made another "mistake". It intended to aim its' "targeted airstrike"at the Minister of Interior building in Gaza City, but it also destroyed the nearby Palestinian Medical Relief Society building and killed a five month old baby in a nearby building. Isn't striking a government office a direct act of war?

I just have no words for this latest development, NONE!

Palestinian Medical Relief Society website LINK

Link to Oxfam's statement confirming the attack on the medical building.

More on Al-Jazeera:

The body of six-month-old Mohammed Bourai carried by his father during his funeral in Gaza [AFP]

Israeli aircraft have struck a series of targets throughout the Gaza Strip, killing at least 26 Palestinians, including four youths and the son of a Hamas leader, in the past 24 hours.
More than 60 Palestinians have also been injured in the raids that intensified on Thursday following the death of an Israeli due to rocket fire a day earlier.
Read further..........

Israeli Airstrike in Gaza Destroys Medical Relief Head Office, Kills Baby

Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)
28 February 2008

Ramallah, 28/02/2008. An Israeli airstrike aimed at the ministry of interior building in Gaza City also destroyed the nearby Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) head office in Gaza and killed a 5-month-old baby in a residential building in the same area.

JPG - 58.7 kb
Mohammad Nasser Al-Borey, 5-month-old baby killed by the Israeli airstrike

The PMRS head office was housing the main PMRS clinic in the Gaza Strip, the main pharmacy, an ambulance, a loan centre for equipment for handicapped people and all the administrative offices. The ambulance, all the medicine and most of the equipment have been destroyed. The building itself is badly damaged and cannot be used again without extensive repairs.

The attack also hit a nearby residential building, killing Mohammad Nasser Al-Borey, 5 months, in his family home.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, president of PMRS, declared “the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza has reached unbearable levels. This latest attack destroyed a key part of the already badly hit Gazan health system. Israel has lost all sense of humanity, and the silence of the international community enables its murderous escalation against a people imprisoned in a giant jail. These relentless violations of international law must be put to an end. It is a war crime under the Geneva Convention to target medical personnel. Regional organisations and individual States have to take actions to protect the Palestinian people from Israel. This must stop, now”.

Dr. Abdel Hadi Abu Khussa, director of PMRS in the Gaza Strip, declared that “the destruction of the main clinic, pharmacy, office and one ambulance are a terrible blow to PMRS activities and will increase the suffering of the people of Gaza. We are victims of Israeli collective punishment”.

Background: PMRS’ Work in the Gaza Strip

PMRS is one of the largest non-governmental health service providers in Palestine, reaching 1.4 million Palestinians in over 490 cities, towns and villages in 2007. This was achieved through the extensive physical and human network built in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the 29 years since PMRS was established.

In Gaza, PMRS maintains four primary healthcare centres, two ambulances and two mobile clinics as well as an effective program to help people with disabilities, especially children. PMRS also runs an Individual Relief program for patients in need and a centre providing physiotherapy and assistive equipment to the disabled.

In response to the complete Israeli blockade of Gaza since January 2008, PMRS had declared a status of emergency and was stepping up its emergency program to support the needs of the people of Gaza.

Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) – – fax 00972 2 296 99 91 – phone 00972 5 99 94 00 73


Video slideshow of the massacre in Gaza (from Sabbah's blog-and produced by Haitham)

Warning, this is next to impossible to watch, in fact, impossible to watch. God help them.

The above youtube was deleted without warning to the maker, our dear friend Haitham Sabbah who created it. Read about it HERE.

The TRUTH however cannot be deleted. Now we are several days later, the IOF has supposedly "retreated" from Gaza, leaving behind a slaughter. There are no words to get across the KNOWING that those slaughtered in Gaza are children of our creator.
If you do not know this, then there is something wrong with you!

So, here it is again, let these images sink into your head and travel down to your heart and GRIP you. Imagine for just a minute, yes take a minute out of your lives and FEEL it as if these are your own children. JUST FEEL IT for Christ's sake and then do SOMETHING to stop it. Call your representatives and senators and the State Department and say NO MORE! Our country should not be sending a freaking DIME to these Zionist butchers!

OK-here we go again, the Daily Motions video was flagged as "inappropriate content" and needed registration to view it. A fellow blogger of Haitham's uploaded it again on to youtube and on to his blog

What Would You Do To Help A Muslim?

Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?

Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By 'Primetime' Encounters Hostility

Many Muslim-Americans choose to wear the hijab, a traditional head scarf. (M. Spencer Green/ AP Photo )

The Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and suicide bombings worldwide have changed not only the way we live but the way we look at those around us, especially Muslims. "Islamophobia" has entered the American vernacular, and the anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice it describes remain common.

But what if you witnessed "Islamophobia" in action and saw someone being victimized because of someone else's prejudices? What would you do?

ABC's production crew outfitted The Czech Stop, a bustling roadside bakery north of Waco, Texas, with hidden cameras and two actors. One played a female customer wearing a traditional Muslim head scarf, or hijab. The other acted as a sales clerk who refused to serve her and spouted common anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slurs.

The polarity of reactions was shocking, from support to seething disapproval. Never did we expect customers to be so passionate or candid.

CLICK HERE for more reactions caught on tape!

His Place, His Right

Our actor, Sabina, walked into the bakery in search of apple strudel. When she reached the counter, an actor posing as a sales clerk was quick to greet her with hateful anti-Muslim language.

"Get back on the camel and go back to wherever you came from," he said. "You got that towel on your head. I don't know what's underneath your dress. Just please take your business and go elsewhere with it."

"Sir, I am an American, I was born and raised here," she said.

The other customers seemed to hear the exchange but they barely looked toward our actors. When no one came to her defense, Sabina made a direct appeal to one customer.

"Sir, would you mind ordering me an apple strudel? That's why I am here," Sabina said.

Though visibly shaken by the hateful words, the man gave Sabina the cold shoulder, completed his purchase, and walked out of the bakery. "I really think that a person who owns his own business should be able to say who they sell to," he said after we told him about the experiment.

Continue reading.................................

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quick candidate fact sheet and breakdown

Energy Policy Immigration Healthcare Education Foreign Policy

1,180 of 2,025 delegates required to win nomination
Wants to end tax breaks for oil companies and use revenue from those taxes to finance alternative energy research and infrastructure.
Wants to institute a cap-and-trade system, where pollution credits must be auctioned and the revenue used to invest in alternative energy.
Wants 20% of America's energy to come from alternative sources by 2020.
Wants to increase fuel efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon for automobiles.
Believes employers should be held accountable for hiring illegal immigrants.
Sponsored the Citizenship Promotion Act of 2007 that allows immigration services to appropriate funds to offset the increased cost of processing immigrant's applications for citizenship.
Doesn't believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to work in the U.S., but wants to create a program to allow them to earn legal status, lean English and have them pay a fine before beginning the citizenship process.
Would require all children to have health coverage.
Wants to provide subsidies for citizens who cannot afford health insurance.
Promises to provide a plan for universal health coverage by the end of his first term, if elected.
Believes the health care system should emphasize prevention.
Would favor a national smoking ban if local bans fail, but said he would prefer local action.
Wants to offer students a $4,000 tuition credit in exchange for 100 hours of community service.
Wants to eliminate the FAFSA form for student aid and replace it with a check box on tax forms that would authorize tax information to be used for student loan purposes.
Clinton has proposed a similar plan.
Would vote to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind program provided funding is increased and accountability methods re-examined.
Spoke against the Iraq war in 2002.
Says he will begin removing troops from Iraq immediately upon being elected, and have all combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months.
Wants to provide $2 billion to fund humanitarian programs for Iraqi refugees.
Promises to secure all loose nuclear material within four years.
Wants to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Wants to expand the armed forces.

1,026 of 2,025 delegates required to win nomination
Believes investing in alternative energy will create new jobs by employing people to build and maintain infrastructure.
Believes Americans should do more to conserve energy.
Doesn't favor nuclear power unless costs for construction and operation go down and viable solutions for waste disposal are found.
Proposes ending tax breaks for oil companies and using revenue from those taxes to fund part of a $50 billion investment in alternative energy.
Wants to increase fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030.
Voted in favor of building a border fence between the United States and Mexico.
Opposes granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Believes the United States should do more to help Central and South American countries create more jobs for their own people.
Voted against a bill declaring English the official language of the United States government.
Voted against an amendment to a senate bill that would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving social security benefits.
Supports a guest worker program.
Believes it is a moral imperative to cover all Americans.
Proposed a universal health care program.
Wants to require all Americans to carry health insurance.
Doesn't favor a national smoking ban.
Wants to require health insurance providers to cover people regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Wants health care companies that work with the federal government to move towards electronic record keeping.
Wants to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Agreed with the passage of, but abstained from voting on, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.
The bill, signed into law by President Bush in 2007, reduced lender subsidies, reauthorized and provided additional funding for the Pell Grant program and cut interest rates on student loans.
Proposed a Student Borrower Bill of Rights which limited payments required of students based on their income and required colleges to disclose information regarding graduates' default rates and earnings.
The bill was killed in committee.
Doesn't believe there should be permanent military bases or occupation in Iraq.
Wants to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 60 days of her term if elected.
Would seek to replace military presence in Iraq with a diplomatic one.
Voted to authorize the use of military force against Iraq in 2002. Has said she voted for the use of force based on the information available to her at the time.
Voted yes on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

876 of 1,191 delegates required to win nomination
Believes nuclear power is an important part of reducing dependence on foreign oil.
Believes climate change is taking place and steps should be taken to counteract it.
Voted against drilling for oil in the Alaskan coastal plain.
Voted against terminating automobile fuel efficiency standards in 2002.
Voted against the Bush administration's Energy Policy Act of 2003.
Wants to force states to fully compensate citizens when environmental concerns limit the use of their land.
Did not support the Kyoto Treaty.
Believes companies that employ illegal immigrants should be prosecuted.
Believes setting up a temporary worker program is a key part of solving illegal immigration.
Believes illegal immigrants that commit crimes should be deported immediately.
Supports prohibiting states from passing laws that deny human services to illegal immigrants and their children.
Supports increasing the immigration quota for information technology workers.
Voted in favor of declaring English the official language of the U.S. government.
Believes there should be malpractice reform.
Believes inflation associated with healthcare is the largest issue facing the industry today.
Believes the primary issue in health coverage is keeping costs down.
Doesn't believe universal health care will work in the U.S.
Wants to give individuals a $2,500 and families a $5,000 refundable tax credit for health care.
Supports reclassifying nicotine as a drug and FDA regulation of cigarettes.
Voted to limit self-employed health care tax deductions.
Believes school districts should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to teach creationism or evolution in schools.
Has promoted vouchers and charter schools in the past.
Voted to reauthorize No Child Left Behind.
Has come out in support of the decision to go to war with Iraq, and said the U.S. should not set a date for withdrawal of combat troops.
Believes U.S. troops should stay in Iraq for the long term if American casualties are low.
Believes success in Iraq is vital to U.S. national security interests.
Voted against redeploying combat troops out of Iraq.
Voted against investigating contract awards in Iraq and Afghanistan.

249 of 1,191 delegates required to win nomination
Supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
Promised energy independence for the U.S. by the end of his second term, if elected.
Promised to set aside a federal research and development budget to fund alternative fuels, but wants to let the market decide solutions.
Wants to explore nuclear energy as an alternative to oil.
Believes state environmental regulations should not be stricter than federal laws.
Believes signing on to the Kyoto treaty would have been a mistake.
Opposes granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Strongly opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Believes employers that hire illegal immigrants should be subject to penalties and fines.
Supports building a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Believes the federal government should crack down on cities that provide sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.
Has said some anti-immigration measures stem from racism.
Opposes a universal health care system.
Believes the health care industry should focus on preventative care.
While governor of Arkansas, passed legislation, titled ARKids, to give children preventative health insurance. Claims his plan covered 60,000 children.
Has called for banning smoking in public places and workplaces, but has not called for a general ban.
Believes health care records should be portable, not stay with a doctor.
Advocates increased funding for charter schools.
Supported the Omnibus Education Act of 2003 in Arkansas, an act that allowed the state to terminate superintendents and replace the school boards of failing schools.
Supports displaying the Ten Commandments in public schools.
Supported raising teacher salaries while the governor of Arkansas.
Supports abstience-only sex education.
Believes withdrawal from Iraq is a mistake.
Does not want to set a timetable for troop withdrawal.
Believes the war in Iraq is an integral part of the war on terror.
Stated that, as President, he would ensure Israel has access to state-of-the-art weapons and technology.
Wants to expand the army and increase the defense budget.
Supported the decision to go to war in Iraq.

14 of 1,191 delegates required to win nomination
Doesn't support tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies and believes they should fund research and development out of their own profits.
Believes nuclear energy is the cheapest source of energy.
Voted to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
Voted against the Bush administration's national energy policy in 2004.
Voted against implementing the Kyoto protocol.
Voted against a moratorium on offshore oil drilling.
Voted to allow permits to construct more oil refineries.
Believes alternative energy sources should prove their viability in the free market.
Believes the U.S. should end birthright citizenship.
Believes immigrants that overstay their visas should be deported.
Doesn't support an amnesty program for illegal immigrants.
Believes English should be the official language of the U.S. government, but that local governments should decide the issue of bilingualism for themselves.
Voted for building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Voted for a bill that increased the number of immigrant visas for skilled workers.
Opposed the Homeland Security Bill on the grounds it authorized federally-enforced smallpox vaccinations for all citizens. He said he felt the government should not have the power to require immunizations.
Opposes a universal health care system.
Voted against expanding SCHIP.
Voted to remove restrictions on the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for drugs covered under medicare.
Believes the federal Medicare entitlement should be abolished.
Wants to institute a tax credit for homeschooling and private schools.
Said he is committed to guaranteeing parity for home school diplomas and advancing equal scholarship consideration for students entering college from a home school environment.
Voted against a bill cutting Pell Grant interest rates from 6.8 to 3.4 percent and providing $84 million in grants for institutions that serve primarily black and Hispanic students.
Voted against the No Child Left Behind Act.
Wants to abolish the federal Department of Education.
Voted against authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
Advocates an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Stresses a strict constitutionalist stance concerning the use of force, meaning he has stated the President cannot decide when to go to war, it takes an act of Congress.
Believes Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium for fuel.
Has said the U.S. went to war with Iraq under false pretenses.

Sources:,,,,,,,, Delegate counts are from the latest associated press tallies, and do not include superdelegates. For a more complete picture of delegate votes, visit the AP website at


Cattle Keepers Make For Leaders of Cows

The writer below has come up with a great answer as to the psychology of what makes Bush tick.
Forget "sheeple", our country has been herded like a bunch of cows to the slaughter pen.

I left the link to the cattle ringtone just in case you want to have your phone moo like all of those who have followed this president down the path of destruction of our country, and that includes every single Democrat who has gone along with funding the war in Iraq and signed off on every single law which has destroyed our civil liberties! You might want to forward the link to your congressman and senator with a little note. You've heard them moo, and you want them to become responsible elected officials if AT ALL possible!

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Uganda: Why Some Cattle Keepers At Times Make Bad Democrats

The Monitor (Kampala)

Nicholas Sengoba

Those who know him very well, claim that the "most powerful man on earth," US President, George Walker Bush who was in Africa last week to say his farewells, is a proud and an avid Texan rancher.

They allege that he loves his animals so much so that when he meets presidents known to keep cattle like himself, Bush always asks about their cows, wives and children (in that order) and compares notes thereafter.

It is known that many cattle keepers bond so well with their animals to the extent that a great number feel that the quality time they spend with the bovines, is more fulfilling than that with human beings.

There is a possibility that if a cattle keeper LIKE GEORGE BUSH opts for politics as a calling, his experience with cattle will have a huge bearing on his outlook as far as mode of governance and democratic credentials is concerned.

Because animals do not verbally communicate the need for milking, medical attention, feeding etc like humans, cattle keepers develop an intuition to provide "unsolicited" help and care.

Politically they are known to appoint themselves as "fighters for the oppressed" to rid them of "bad leaders and dictators." Bush did so in Iraq. Not withstanding the fact that they go on to "single handedly" decide the future of the "liberated," the way a hunter determines the "sharing" of the prey.

Likewise, because they think and decide for the cows, they develop a false sense of superiority and it is not rare to hear them pronouncing the supremacy of their "vision" and opinion as opposed to that of others which is considered "obscurantist."

Just as they do not discuss with the cows but only "command" them on what to do, herdsmen in politics are known to love monologues as opposed to engaging in dialogue. They take great exception to alternative views to their own and are likely to describe them as "insults."

This spirit is what prompted Bush to historically claim that "you are either with us or against us!" It is from this that they are usually accused of harbouring "dictatorial tendencies."

In equal measure the cattle keeper solely determines what to do with the produce (meat, milk, hides and skins etc.) of the animals from which he benefits without considering the say or concerns of his animals.

Presidents from this setting have a menacing penchant for treating national resources as personal property which they use as and when they wish, for the sake of patronage and self preservation.

Some critics in the USA feel that many aspects of Bush's war on terror are a veiled pursuit of a personal vendetta against people like the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, using national resources.

Since cattle are vulnerable and defenceless in the face of predators like lions, hyenas etc, cattle keepers develop a fierce militant and protective streak to ensure safety for their charges. They carry a staff or rod (and in modern times, guns) which they use to defend the animals and at times "straighten" any of the cows that goes astray.

In leadership situations, the use of force and coercion is never a distant option in sorting out matters of contention. In the end their history is littered with healthy records of wars, invasions, rebellions and concomitant human rights abuses.

From the background that the cattle keeper disposes of his animals when and as he sees fit, it is worth noting that many critics in the Muslim world claimed that the victims of the aerial bombings and the hanging of Saddam Hussein were like "helpless cows being mercilessly slaughtered on a farm."

Given that cattle never chose their keeper and that the cattle keeper simply "imposes" himself on the cattle, leaders with this background are likely to have a controversial and an uncomfortable history when it comes to being "democratically chosen" to lead their charges.

Added the fact that most cattle keepers consider it a "bad omen" to count their animals, coincidentally it is often difficult to ascertain the votes they get in an election, like it happened to Bush in Florida. Many of their elections are accompanied by cries of "rigging."

Seeing their herds grow tremendously is second nature to cattle keepers. This quest for growth is carried along to the economies of many nations run by presidents with a cattle keeping background which usually experience impressive sustained growth even when the majority do not feel the impact. Or when the cost to the environment and education (wetlands plus forests and school land gifted to investors respectively) is high.

For the sake of quality and harmony, good cattle keepers do not usually mix their herds with goats, sheep and pigs. When it comes to politics, the pursuit for "homogeneity" leads some presidents with cattle keeping roots to excessively rely on people of one political shed, religion or 'tribe' earning disparaging remarks regarding "sectarianism" and "tribalism."

Funny though, they say you can tell the company a man keeps by the way he behaves. If some cattle keeping politicians often make lousy democrats, blame it on the cows.


Take the Nakba Quiz!

Test Your Knowledge with this First Quiz of a Series Related to the Nakba. Try it!

Can Art Unite?

I applaud any effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together, and am curious about the curriculum, because no matter which way you look at it, Israel oppresses the Palestinian people either in the occupation or within Israel itself.

Beverly: Camp seeks to bring together Israeili and Palestinian teens

By Cate Lecuyer
Staff writer

BEVERLY — Thirty-two years ago Debbie Nathan stood in Israel on the banks of the Jordan River, and waved across the border to the Palestinian guards sitting in their towers.

"I'd make eye contact with the guards and they'd wave back," she said. "It just fascinated me at the time. What makes an enemy? What makes a border, or a boundary?"

Nathan plans to find out by bringing 30 Israeli and Palestinian high school students to summer camp at Endicott College. Using art therapy, she hopes to help them penetrate a deeply embedded cultural loathing that stems from more than a century of fighting over land that both groups claim as their own.

"They hate each other, but they don't know each other," Nathan said. Her new nonprofit, Artsbridge, aims to change that.

Using sculpture, painting and digital media as an ice breaker, the idea is Israeli and Palestinian kids will work on projects together, and start talking to each other without politics getting in the way. Nathan hopes to raise $200,000 for the program.

"We're confident we'll be able to get foundation and government money after the first year," she said.

She's working with schools, YMCAs, and peace organizations in both countries to find kids that aren't necessarily open to becoming friends with an established enemy, but are capable of thinking for themselves.

"I'm looking for kids that have a clear image of the problem and solution, but when you ask them questions, you can see they're not just giving you pat answers without thinking about it," Nathan said. "I'm looking for kids who are curious."

Nathan is also working with Yousef Al Ajarma, who moved from Israel three years ago, and will serve as a camp counselor.

"I know their culture, and how they live. Maybe I'll know some of their families also, I don't know. But I'm one of them." He has also recruited a woman friend who's originally from Palestine, and hopes their relationship can serve as a role model for the campers.

What separates her program from other initiatives, Nathan said, is that the kids who participate will then go back to the schools and YMCAs, and mentor other kids.

"What we're doing is creating a cycle," Nathan said. "This needs to be a slow, deep-rooted process that will last."

To make a donation, send a check to: Artsbridge, Inc., 204 Lafayette St. Salem, MA 01970, or email Debbie Nathan at


LINK to Arts Bridge

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Get Those Prejudices Out in Plain Sight

By Bob Ray Sanders

Many of my students at Texas Christian University eagerly raise their hands when I ask how many of them are religious. Most are proud to proclaim their faiths. Then I watch them bristle — some becoming noticeably angry — when I suggest that most religions, on their face, are bigoted.

"Especially Christianity," I quickly add, further inflaming the mostly Christian students who are now so aroused that their shyness gives way to utter disdain for their instructor.

"Besides," I'll say, "what can be more bigoted than saying if you don't believe what I believe, you're going to hell?"

Needless to say, what follows is a passionate discussion about the role of religion in our lives and how that plays into our relationships with people of different faiths, races, nationalities and genders.

In a class called "Race, Gender and the Media," open debate about subjects that most Americans don't like to talk about is exactly what I'm seeking.

I think it is better to talk about those issues than to ignore them — something I haven't been able to get across to many readers who chastise me daily for bringing up matters that make them uncomfortable.

Too bad.

I also wish I could get more Americans talking about these touchy issues, especially faith.

This presidential campaign has made religion (and race) part of the political dialogue this year, although I'm not sure we are discussing it openly and honestly.

Frankly, I don't think one's religion should matter in a political campaign unless candidates make their own faith an issue. In that case, it is fair game, and we've seen that happen in local, state and national elections.

But to question someone's devotion to country, the Constitution or the nation's mores because of his or her religion ought to be out of the question. Of course, it is not — especially these days, when more and more individuals are eager to put their religion in your face and dare you to denounce it.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign had a lot of problems, but the truth is that many people simply would not or could not vote for him because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some said it out loud; many others simply said under their breath, "I can't vote for a Mormon to be president of the United States."

Republican Mike Huckabee's candidacy still has wheels (though very wobbly ones at this point) because evangelical Christians love his ministerial campaign approach and would love to see another born-again president in the White House.

And of course there's Barack Obama, the Democrat with a Kansan mother and a Kenyan father. Although he has long been a Christian, for months the Internet has been swamped with messages about his being Muslim who was trained in an Indonesian school where he was taught to hate America.

That's all a lie, of course, but plenty of people are ready and willing to believe it. He actually has to spend time addressing that issue while on the campaign trail.

But what if he were a Muslim? Should that make a difference?

It certainly would to far too many Americans.

And even when people realize that they've been wrong about his faith, many then look for something wrong with the United Church of Christ he attends in Chicago. It's too liberal, they say, and its pastor borders on radicalism.

Again, religion shouldn't have anything to do with this presidential campaign.

I simply want someone who is intelligent, moral and principled, who possesses good leadership qualities and has vision and compassion — no matter his or her faith.

But if we're going to discuss religion during this election year, or any year, let's do it honestly and openly rather than murmuring rumors under our breaths.

Just let your bigotry show rather than trying to disguise it.

  • Bob Ray Sanders is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  • Source
  • Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Sunday Offering #48: Please Get Checked for Prostate Cancer

    This is not the type of thing I usually write about on this blog, and it may seem an unusual posting for "Sunday Offerings", but just to let you all know, there is a human being here that posts things. And this human being wants to take a moment to veer from the usual to reach out to my readers about something you should all know about, both men and women.

    That is prostate cancer.

    My father just turned 80 last month. Almost two years ago he was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer. Just like most cancers, there are different stages and degrees, and what I have learned through this experience with my father is that it is a very complicated issue. What I've also learned, as with any cancer, early detection is ESSENTIAL. It ONLY takes a blood test to determine if your psa number is abnormal. That's all, a simple blood test.

    The AMA recommends men start getting these blood tests at age 45. I cannot possibly in a million years tell anyone reading here how important this is, because when prostate cancer metastacizes to the bones, which is a common spreading of this type of cancer, it is HIDEOUS.

    By the time my father's cancer was detected, it had already spread to the bones. That was two years ago. He's been on the best treatments known, but they have not worked. Granted he is older, but this same thing happens in younger men also.

    New Years Eve of this year, my father reached down to pick up his cat and felt a sudden excrutiating pain in his shoulder. He normally goes to the Veteran's Hospital 80 miles away, but this was an emergency, so he went to the local hospital. They x-rayed his shoulder and told him nothing was broken. Then a couple of weeks later, he had an MRI of his shoulder at the Veteran's Hospital who also told him nothing was broken, no torn rotator cuff, it was just arthritis.

    They prescribed cortisone shots for inflamation and follow up physical therapy which he went to this last Tuesday. The therapist took one look at his arm and ordered an x-ray of his arm, not his shoulder. My father's arm was broken, for two months broken, without any doctors picking up on this until this point. It was a spontaneous fracture, just from reaching over to pick up his cat. But it gets worse, he also has the cancer in both of his hips and femurs (upper legs) and his rib cage. So any sudden movement that isn't just right, could result in spontaneous fractures there also. And they won't heal, because cancerous bones do not have the ability to heal properly. There are some drugs for this that MIGHT help, but unfortunately, you cannot count on them working.

    This is not something that can be ignored for ANYONE reading here. When you hear the term,
    "prostate cancer" you might not be aware of what it can mean or just how absolutely important it is to be checked for this on a regular basis.

    PLEASE, if you haven't been checked, or your loved one hasn't been checked, make an appointment NOW.

    Again, early detection is essential, because NO ONE would want this to happen to themselves or a loved one, no one.

    Link to National Prostate Cancer Coalition for essential information.

    Youtube: David Emerson of "Faith-Love-Hope-Win", speaks on Kansas City Lice on August 10, 2006. David shares his battle with Prostate Cancer, the need for men over 40 to be tested and the foundation's upcoming golf tournament. (this video is from Oct. 2006, you can go to the website for updates on David's situation and learn much more about prostate cancer)

    Canadian Peacekeeper Killed By Israel Was A True Hero

    On February 6, I posted this post, "Canada Finds Israel Guilty of Peacekeeper's Death" Why hasn't the American MSM picked up on this?

    Some Canadians have picked up on it, and have written letters to

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR | comment | Peacekeeper a true hero
    Peacekeeper a true hero

    Feb 23, 2008 04:30 AM

    Still no answers on bombing of UN post

    Column, Feb. 21

    Thank you to Thomas Walkom for continuing to bring to public attention the tragic and inexcusable death of a true Canadian hero, Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener. Hess-von Kruedener was killed in Lebanon in 2006 by an Israeli attack utilizing overwhelming and specifically targeted destructive force against an unarmed UN observation post. That he was killed while serving his country and the world community in the capacity of an observer who had placed himself in harm's way to do what he could to mitigate the horrors of war as experienced by a civilian population is an outstanding expression of Canadian military heroism.

    I am proud of our country's tradition of military heroism and proud to support the exceptional men and women of the Canadian Forces who continue that tradition. That the government of Stephen Harper has chosen to largely ignore Hess-von Kruedener's heroism and has refused to strongly condemn the Israeli action that caused his death is a sad expression of political cowardice that displays a remarkable lack of support for our troops.

    Tony Jenkins, Kingston

    Kudos to Thomas Walkom for this much-needed exposé of the Harper government's lack of concern for Israel's killing of Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, a brave Canadian soldier and dedicated UN observer.

    Imagine the outrage that would have erupted in the House of Commons and throughout Canada if the perpetrator of this inexcusable crime had been Hezbollah or the Lebanese armed forces. Shame on the Conservative government and other parliamentarians who refuse to condemn Israel and instead choose to look the other way.

    Gary D. Keenan, Vancouver, B.C.

    Where is the outcry from other media outlets, from the opposition parties and from all those Canadians with "Support our troops" bumper stickers? Will we let Cynthia Hess-von Kruedener stand alone in challenging the Harper government's whitewashing of the Israeli attack on a UN post that killed a Canadian peacekeeper?

    Church groups, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israeli peace groups report daily killings, home demolitions, harassment and land theft by Israel with no response from the Harper government or the Liberals.

    Linda Belanger, Ottawa

    The failure of this Canadian government to hold the Israeli government accountable for the death of Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener is appalling. Canadian forces, who will in all probability be serving in future world hotspots, deserve to know that their government will hold other governments accountable for the safety of our troops in their sphere of influence.

    As a minimum, our government should institute sanctions against the government of Israel until all matters concerning the death of Hess-von Kruedener are answered to its satisfaction.

    David Green, Wasaga Beach, Ont.

    Military investigators' conclusion that the death of UN monitor Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener during the 2006 war in Lebanon was due to a deliberate attack by Israeli forces is disturbing. But there are parallels with the attack on the U.S. intelligence ship Liberty during the Six-day War Israel fought against the Arabs in 1967.

    In that incident Israeli forces killed 34 American sailors and wounded 173. As in the present case, Israel claimed the attack was unintentional and Israel's position was accepted, although there was abundant documented evidence that the attack was deliberate.

    President Lyndon Johnson hobbled an inquiry and silenced surviving crew members of the Liberty with threats of court-martial and imprisonment. But now that Hess-von Kruedener's death has been fully investigated and blame placed squarely on Israel, is Stephen Harper going to accept this atrocity without a whimper? At least a strong protest and a demand for compensation should be lodged.

    Stewart Brown, Peterborough

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    US Muslims, Catholics Join Hands

    As a Catholic, who is the mother of a Muslim born daughter, this is wonderful news. We simple people know what should be done, and that we are all one...............

    US Muslims, Catholics Join Hands & Newspapers


    The agreement is meant to uphold freedom of religion, expression and thought while fighting religious and ethnic intolerance.

    CAIRO — Muslim and Catholic leaders in New Jersey have signed a landmark agreement to fight religious and ethnic intolerance and promote understanding about their faiths, The Courier-Port reported on Thursday, February 21.

    "History is being made," said Zia Rahman, managing director and trustee of the Muslim American Community Association in Voorhees.

    "Things have unfolded in a much better way, by the grace of God, than I had envisioned."

    The agreement was co-signed by Bishop Joseph Galante, the head of the Camden Diocese, and Rahman on Wednesday, February 20, at the Voorhees Islamic Center.

    It is meant to uphold freedom of religion, expression and thought while fighting religious and ethnic intolerance.

    The agreement also aims to bolster cooperation and understanding between Catholics and Muslims in South Jersey through the establishment of a joint committee and institute.

    "[This is a ] significant step toward deepening respect and understanding between the two faiths," said Bishop Galante.

    A joint committee has worked for months to forge the agreement.

    "It takes a lot of patience and prayer and some negotiation," said Deacon John Brasley, the ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Camden Diocese.

    "It really takes a lot of listening and understanding to reach this kind of agreement."

    The relationship between the Camden Diocese and the Voorhees Muslim community began about eight years ago.

    "They're people of deep faith and prayer," said Father Joseph Wallace, ecumenical and interreligious affairs director for the diocese.

    "They reach out in many ways to all the religions in their communities."

    The document is the second of its kind in the US.

    Muslim and Catholic leaders in Rochester Diocese, New York, signed a similar agreement in 2003.


    Afsheen Shamsi, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) branch in New Jersey, welcomed the new agreement.

    "It's wonderful that people of faith should get together and talk about what we share in common, the values we share in common and how much our religions have in common," he said.

    The activist believes it will help the public realize that Muslims have much in common with Christians and Jews.

    "It's a wonderful step toward peace and will hopefully bring many good things."

    Hate crimes against Muslims in New Jersey rose by 9 percent in 2007.

    There was also 25 percent increase in civil rights complaints by New Jersey Muslims.

    Since the 9/11 attacks, American Muslims, estimated at some six million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was targeting their faith.

    "I think it's a big milestone," agreed Rubina Ahmad of Voorhees, a coalition member.

    He says the deal will allow Muslims and Catholics to work together on issues like education and poverty.

    "It's going to take us many steps forward.


    Hat-tip to Clo, SHUKRAN!

    Tell Me, Where Do The Children Play?

    "I know we've come a long way,
    We're changing day to day,
    But tell me, where do the children play?" Cat Stevens

    Demonstration in Azzoun against the planned destruction of a children’s park

    February 22nd, 2008 | Posted in Reports, Qalqilya Region

    At 10am, February 21st, a demonstration took place at the children’s park of Azzoun. Approximately 50 children came together with their teachers, other Palestinians, internationals and Israelis to play and have fun together in what is now left of the park. About three weeks from now, on March 15th, the park is due to be demolished.

    What was a day full of playing in the sun for the children from the kindergartens of Azzoun, was also a protest against the upcoming demolition. Local leaders, Israelis and international activists gave speeches as a mass of demonstrators waved flags and held up signs protesting the demolition order.

    After the demonstration the gathered people marched together down to what used to be the main gate of the village, but for two weeks now has been closed by the army. There the peaceful and non-violent demonstration continued at the top of the roadblock, where it was approached by both army and police vehicles. No problems occurred and the demonstration was allowed to continue for about half an hour uninterrupted.

    The children of Azzoun are indeed suffering from the Israeli occupation and for them the park is a fragment of joy in very dire circumstances. Regular army incursion into the town expose them to violence from a young age. Poverty is common in Azzoun as the closure regime has devastated the local economy. The Israeli army regularly declare curfew in the town, most recently just a few days ago.

    The parks construction was near completion when on the morning of February 22nd, 2006, bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers arrived and demolished half of the park - which consisted of two swimming pools and changing rooms.

    The justification given by the Israeli army for the demolition was that the park lacked a building permit for that specific ground, an area which falls within Area C, thus under Israeli civil and military control. Building permits for Area C are notoriously unattainable, applicants being denied by the Israeli authorities-run Civil Administration, even when building on private land. In a recent Peace Now report, it was shown that 94% of housing permits have been denied over the last seven years. (1) The Israeli army had, prior to the demolition, given orders to stop the building several times, but despite that, the village decided to continue, strengthened by the knowledge that the building was taking place on Palestinian land.

    An Israeli lawyer is working together with Azzoun municipality on the case, and has succeeded in getting the demolition postponed until March 15th, 2008. She is now planning to take the case to the Supreme Court, in the hopes of overturning the Israeli army imposition of an illogical and inaccessible building permit, a legal barrier which in this case is serving as a barrier to children’s recreation.


    Do your children have playgrounds?