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Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2008, 12:53 PM
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Jews once fought and died for voting rights. Here's why some are still at it.

NEW YORK (JTA) — Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner are about the closest American Jews have to secular saints. The two Jewish civil rights workers traveled south for the Freedom Summer campaign of 1964, joining the African-American activist James Chaney in canvassing black churches. All three were kidnapped and murdered by a lynch mob.

Forty-three years ago next Friday, Aug. 4, their bullet-riddled bodies were found buried in a dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi, 44 days after their disappearance.

The hagiographies of the two Jewish men, both in their 20s, sometimes overlook the specific purpose of their trip to the Jim Crow South: registering African-Americans in Mississippi to vote. Freedom Summer was meant to directly confront efforts, legal and otherwise, to prevent blacks from voting: poll taxes and literacy tests, fear and intimidation, and as Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney found out, beatings and lynchings.

As the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, described the mission, “the inability to vote was only one of many problems blacks encountered in the racist society around them, but the civil-rights officials who decided to zero in on voter registration understood its crucial significance as well the white supremacists did. An African American voting bloc would be able to effect social and political change.”

It was the unfinished business of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney that animated 24 faith groups, 17 of them Jewish, to write a letter to Congress urging lawmakers not to fund the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — the Orwellian name for President Donald Trump’s effort to hunt down those 3 million illegal ballots that he claims illicitly cost him the popular vote. That’s Trump’s agenda, anyway. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and other commission members say they merely want to gauge the extent of the problem and propose remedies.


Cleveland Cavaliers bring in a Jewish general manager....

New Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman talks during a press conference at the Cavaliers training facility in Independence, Ohio, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (AP/Phil Long)

The team that brought you Maccabi Tel Aviv’s David Blatt as coach, led by a Jewish owner in Dan Gilbert, now has a Jewish general manager.

Koby Altman, 34, was named GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday after serving as an interim replacement for the past five weeks.

He may need some help from Hashem to keep the Cavs on the championship path, what with one of their top players, Kyrie Irving, reportedly requesting a trade off the LeBron James-powered squad after it was vanquished by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals last month.

At a news conference with Gilbert alongside, Altman noted the team’s “unprecedented success” over the past three seasons – consecutive appearances in the Finals and a title capping the 2015-16 campaign, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.


Who was she?....

Five years ago, Alice Collins Plebuch made a decision that would alter her future — or really, her past.

She sent away for a “just-for-fun DNA test.” When the tube arrived, she spit and spit until she filled it up to the line, and then sent it off in the mail. She wanted to know what she was made of.

Plebuch, now 69, already had a rough idea of what she would find. Her parents, both deceased, were Irish American Catholics who raised her and her six siblings with church Sundays and ethnic pride. But Plebuch, who had a long-standing interest in science and DNA, wanted to know more about her dad’s side of the family. The son of Irish immigrants, Jim Collins had been raised in an orphanage from a young age, and his extended family tree was murky.

After a few weeks during which her saliva was analyzed, she got an email in the summer of 2012 with a link to her results. The report was confounding.

About half of Plebuch’s DNA results presented the mixed British Isles bloodline she expected. The other half picked up an unexpected combination of European Jewish, Middle Eastern and Eastern European. Surely someone in the lab had messed up. It was the early days of direct-to-consumer DNA testing, and Ancestry.com’s test was new. She wrote the company a nasty letter informing them they’d made a mistake.

But she talked to her sister, and they agreed she should test again. If the information Plebuch was seeing on her computer screen was correct, it posed a fundamental mystery about her very identity. It meant one of her parents wasn’t who he or she was supposed to be — and, by extension, neither was she.

Eventually, Plebuch would write to Ancestry again. You guys were right, she’d say. I was wrong.


Have you heard of Boy Scouts of America v Dale?

It's a case that went to the supreme court because the plaintiff, James Dale said his rights were violated under New Jersey's public accommodations law. What happened is that the boy scouts found out that Dale, who was an eagle scout and assistant scoutmaster, was gay and fired him.

It's a great example of conservative activism on the Supreme Court, the conservative members of the court used affirmative action laws to claim that straight white boy scouts needed protection from homosexuals and a liberal majority. They then used the Right of Association to justify discrimination against LGBT folks. The boy scouts won, 5-4.


In France, murder of a Jewish woman ignites debate over the word terrorism

PARIS — What happened to Sarah Halimi resembles the plot of a horror film.

In the early hours of April 4, the 65-year-old retired doctor and schoolteacher, an Orthodox Jew, was asleep in the modest apartment in northeastern Paris where she lived alone. Shortly after 4 a.m., a neighbor from the floor below, 27-year-old Kobili Traoré, a Franco-Malian Muslim, is accused of having broken into her flat. Traoré allegedly beat her to death and hurled her body off the balcony into the courtyard below.

In the days that followed, French authorities treated Halimi’s killing as an isolated incident. But Jewish leaders immediately protested, especially after other neighbors testified that they heard Traoré scream “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” while allegedly attacking Halimi, who was the only Jew residing in the building, her family said. Ever since, the “Halimi Affair” has simmered on the margins of public discourse, boiling over last week when President Emmanuel Macron promised — after months of saying nothing — “clarity on the death of Sarah Halimi.”


"The simple fact that someone killed someone else because of confession or religion is not enough,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the French Center for the Analysis of Terrorism, a Paris-based think tank. “It needs to have a certain degree of willingness to disrupt the French public order.”

For Sarah Halimi’s family, however, that she was thrown off a balcony into a public space presented a dark spectacle meant to be seen — and to pose a clear threat to other Jews. In an interview, Halimi’s brother, William Attal, 62, said that the family’s principal objective was securing public recognition of the anti-Semitism that, in their eyes, killed their mother, sister and grandmother.

As Attal put it: “I want you to understand that the fight of this family is that people recognize the Islamist, anti-Semitic nature of the assassin, who massacred and killed a Jewish woman, whom he knew was a Jew and whom he knew was alone.”

In the French Jewish community, the Halimi Affair provides what many consider yet another example of the French state refusing to acknowledge the realities of contemporary anti-Semitism in France.



Bushtits flash mob the birdbath

No Vacancy At Grand Canyon Cemetery

If you died in the Grand Canyon during the 19th century, chances are you were buried where you fell. But in the early 1900s, pioneers found a clearing about a quarter mile from the south rim amidst the ponderosa pine. Park Cultural Program Manager Ellen Brennan said it’s one of the few places that doesn’t have kaibab limestone at the surface.

“And so to be able to get a place where you can get this much depth is extremely rare,” Brennan said.

The Pioneer Cemetery is tucked beside a non-denominational church called the Shrine of the Ages. The small graveyard is filled with mostly non-traditional headstones — rocks that formed the canyon itself.

The cemetery is the final resting place for 400 explorers, scientists and Native Americans who made the Grand Canyon what it is today. And after almost a century, it’s at capacity. No more new plots.

Lots more at:

They should build a columbarium on the site.

Israeli Tennis Player Scores Upset Win At Wimbledon

Dudi Sela overcame a big deficit in world rankings — and in height — to beat American John Isner in a tight, four-hour, second-round match at Wimbledon on Thursday. Sela, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and ranked 90th in the world, beat Isner, who is 6 feet 10 inches tall and ranked 23rd, in five sets: 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Sela’s first-round match also went to five sets, with Sela prevailing in two and a half hours over Marcel Granollers of Spain.

Sela, 32, has been a mainstay on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour since he turned pro in 2002. His best year was perhaps 2009, when he cracked the top 30 in rankings and led Israel’s national team to the semifinals of the Davis Cup. He remains Israel’s top singles player.

Sela will face Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov, ranked 11th, in the third round.

Read more: http://forward.com/fast-forward/376401/israeli-tennis-player-scores-upset-win-at-wimbledon/

Hawking supports academic boycotts


Apparently one can be smart and stupid at the same time.

You misread what I wrote

Turnout is always low in the US, especially for midterm elections.

Voter suppression etc has obviously had an effect on turnout, but it's small compared with the total number of non-voters.

This last election was won by 107,000 voters in three states, and yet millions of "liberals" in those three states didn't vote. Even if 10s of thousands of votes were suppressed that still is a small fraction of non-voters.

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