“Worlds change real fast, don’t it?” her mother says.
In the short span of Dasani’s life, her city has been reborn. The skyline soars with luxury towers, beacons of a new gilded age. More than 200 miles of fresh bike lanes connect commuters to high-tech jobs, passing through upgraded parks and avant-garde projects like the High Line and Jane’s Carousel. Posh retail has spread from its Manhattan roots to the city’s other boroughs. These are the crown jewels of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s long reign, which began just seven months after Dasani was born.
In the shadows of this renewal, it is Dasani’s population who have been left behind. The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line. Their traditional anchors — affordable housing and jobs that pay a living wage — have weakened as the city reorders itself around the whims of the wealthy.
Long before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio rose to power by denouncing the city’s inequality, children like Dasani were being pushed further into the margins, and not just in New York. Cities across the nation have become flash points of polarization, as one population has bounced back from the recession while another continues to struggle. One in 5 American children is now living in poverty, giving the United States the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania.
This bodes poorly for the future. Decades of research have shown the staggering societal costs of children in poverty. They grow up with less education and lower earning power. They are more likely to have drug addiction, psychological trauma and disease, or wind up in prison.
The uncontested star of coastal tide pools is disappearing from large areas along the Pacific coast, including Monterey, where the marine invertebrates have been withering and dying by the thousands.
Nobody knows what is causing the die-off, but the killer - most likely some kind of virus, bacteria or pollutant - is widespread and extremely virulent. It has ravaged a variety of different starfish species in tide pools and in deeper water along the coast from Mexico to Alaska.
Pete Raimondi, a marine biologist and lead researcher of a team of scientists, laboratory technicians and geneticists, said he has seen 90 percent of the sea stars, as the multi-armed predators are also known, die within in an infected area in just two weeks.
“Where it has hit, it has been pretty lethal,” said Raimondi, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. “This is going on up and down the coast. … It’s going to change what’s out there pretty fundamentally.”
(CNN) — A South Carolina sheriff is refusing to lower the American flag in tribute to Nelson Mandela, saying the honor should be reserved for American citizens.
President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered to half-staff for the international icon until sunset Monday.
But Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark says not in his department.
+Scientists are focused on epigenetics and the inheritance of sperm. Stress, trauma, toxic exposure, compromised nutrition and more all affect sperm and all can manifest themselves as INHERITABLE TRAITS. Even emotional distress experienced by men is expressed as an inheritable characteristic in his offspring.
+According to a multi-generational study of more than 1,000,000 people in Sweden, the children of men who are older than 50 are more than twice as likely to be autistic.After the man is 55 the likelihood of autism increases to 4.4 times. In a 2006 Michael Gantz, of the Harvard School of Public Health and author of the book Understanding Autism: From Basic Neuroscience to Treatment (CRC Press, 2006) estimated that “$35 billion annual societal cost for caring for and treating people with autism likely underestimates the true costs.”
+They also have a greater propensity to suffer from inherited bi-polar disorder and to be schizophrenic. A 2002 study, The Economic Burden of Schizophrenia in the United States, estimated the costs of this debilitating illness to be “$62.7 billion, with $22.7 billion excess direct health care cost ($7.0 billion outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, $8.0 billion long-term care).”
+It’s also not just that there is an increased risk of illnesses like bi-polar disorders, critical genetically-borne abnormalities, autism and schizophrenia. Pregnancies resulting from sperm of men older than 35 are significantly more likely to result in spontaneous termination of pregnancies. The Wall Street Journal, in a move sure to scare the lights out of its core readership, reported that the rate of miscarriage more than doubled for men over 30 and increased by 75% for men over 40. A longitudinal study of nearly14,000 women “found that the risk of miscarriage to expectant mothers was 60 per cent higher when the father was aged 40 or over compared to when he was 25-29 years old.”
And so….we are electing people inclined to penalize women for the outcomes of their pregnancies. An entire political party has a state-by-state “personhood for fetuses” agenda.
READ THE WHOLE THING
and many other links in Soraya Chemaly’s blog post.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Monday she will dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections in an attempt to calm the country’s deepening political crisis.
Yingluck’s announcement came as thousands of anti-government protesters began marching through Bangkok in a “final showdown” against her government.
“After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve Parliament,” Yingluck said in a televised statement. “There will be new elections according to the democratic system.”
And yet, in the lusciousness of her language, my 13-year-old self found freedom and kindness and a way forward, a way to hold my head up. In the row, at one point, my mother said: “She once worked as a prostitute! And this is the role model you choose?!” I nodded, and grasped Maya to my heart — her beauteous, succulent words, her cadences singing out to me, a freed bird, winging around my cage.
In reading Maya Angelou, I became more grown-up than the grown-ups. I realized that I understood something that they had not: that pain can be visited on you at any time, child or adult, and it was within you that the answers to that pain were.
My mother loves Maya Angelou now. I didn’t win the argument back then, but I feel Maya won it for me in the long run, by living her life so beautifully. And even back then, while I may have lost the row, my mother didn’t take the book away. She and my dad were liberal, and approved of us reading anything. The end of the argument went something like, “I wish you’d read something proper” — Mum meant Jane Austen, I guess.
I say the same thing to my kids now, and when I say it, I’m pointing at Maya Angelou.
That certainly looks to be the case for one North Dakota state legislator. Here’s what State Sen. Dwight Cook said in an interview with a local radio station, which was flagged by Taegan Goddard:
Let me explain it this way, Joel, and you might feel the same way. When I find out my wife’s been shopping at a home improvement store, I get nervous. I wonder what ideas are going on in her pretty little head and ‘What’s it going to cost me?’
video is here
Venker’s idea of creating “balance” in women’s lives sure looks like… women taking care of the home, and men going out to work, the classic divide of the public and private spheres that has kept women and their concerns (like paid maternity leave) out of public life.
Forget public life, ladies; it’s not that you can’t work, or that you have to have a husband, but if you are looking for “lasting love,” then you need to understand that you will RUIN it by wanting to be financially independent.
ThinkProgress points out HERE that Venker’s solution - women should stay home and accept their reliance on men - ignores both the structural inequities that make it so difficult to balance family and work, while telling women that they should simply learn to embrace the gender roles of the pre-1960s in order to find true happiness in their lives.
She uses Pew Research to show that gender roles are alive and well in America: working fathers say that they want to be able to work full-time at a high-paying job, while working mothers are concerned with having a flexible schedule.
I had a general idea about what a mikveh was, but it wasn’t until I saw the illustration accompanying the article that I realized I had no idea what a real one looked like. My curiosity sparked, I went over to Google in search of images.
Some of the modern ones are quite elegant (I especially like the ones with spiral stairs), but it was the older ones, specifically from medieval times, that I was intrigued by (some were positively ancient like this one in Herodium that dates back to the late Second Temple period).
Anyway, one click led to another and I eventually landed at the site this Page is about. I found it fascinating once I figured out how to use it, so I thought I’d share. By the way, the mikveh that brought me to the site was the one in the Catalonian town of Besalú. I hope you enjoy exploring everything.
Routes of Sefarad is an interactive multimedia experience to discover and get involved with the Sephardic heritage
The footprints of the Jewish community in Spain span more than a thousand years. Explore this heritage in the Network’s cities and make your own searches in our illustrated interactive timeline.
Thanks to the technology provided by Google, the visitor can navigate through the layers of informations displayed in maps and timelines about the history, culture and heritage of the Jews in Spain in a single website. Routes of Sefarad offers an interactive experience about Spain’s rich Sephardic heritage.
About Using the Site
Just to save you some time, there are basically two options: Maps and a timeline.
Clicking on the “Begin Exploring” button on the homepage will take you directly to the maps version. Hovering over the menorah icons used as markers will show you a thumbnail photo & city name; clicking on it will take you to a map of that city with an info pane on the left that you can collapse to get to the map controls and zoom in closer to see the other map icons. The collapsible “Browse Places” pane on the right contains different things depending on where you are.
As far as I can tell, the icons that look like little crowns signify “districts”, the ones that look like castles are Christian churches, the flags are for public places (like markets & streets), and the menorahs are for specifically Jewish places like synagogues, businesses, private homes, etc.
This totally threw me off because it’s centered on 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain by Ferdinand & Isabella, which is basically the end of the timeline as all the Jews either converted to Christianity or went elsewhere, mostly to North Africa and south-eastern Europe Did you know that upon hearing of the expulsion, Sultan Bayezid II dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring Jews to safety in Ottoman lands? I didn’t. Things sure have changed. *sigh*
So anyway, back to the timeline. You have to use the little tan colored left/right arrows under the slider thingy on the left to move back through the timeline. Each item opens a pop-up containing info and an image (some also have maps).
In both the maps & timeline there are words & phrases in the info panes that look like a clickable links, but aren’t—they’e “tooltip” type definitions that you just hover over. This annoyed me to no end because my first instinct is to click (and I do so quickly), which produces no result whatsoever unless you move your mouse pointer on/off the text slowly enough to trigger the hover behavior. Grrrr.
Things I Learned About Mikvot
- Men use them too
- Most oceans, lakes, and rivers qualify
- They cannot be portable--they must be built into the ground or as an essential part of a building (I'm not sure why, maybe someone can tell me?)
- Intentions & prayers accompany the ritual, just like Muslims' wudu & ghusl
- They are used for immersion of utensils when acquired from a gentile (I assume this is for reasons of keeping kosher, since even with new utensils there's no way to know what they might have come in contact with)
- The oldest mikveh in Europe is in Sicily (see here and here)
I still have one question though. It seems obvious to me that men & women would use the mikveh separately, so I assumed they’d also have separate facilities, however that seems to not always be the case (added emphasis mine):
In accordance with Orthodox rules concerning modesty, men and women are required to immerse in separate mikveh facilities in separate locations, or to use the mikveh at different designated times.
Can anyone confirm this? Also, if I misunderstood any of the other things I read, kindly point it out and provide the correct info.
Update: Confirmed by Lord of the Pies (Alouette). Thanks!
In most large communities there are separate facilities for men and women, the women’s facilities being more luxurious.
In small communities where there is only one mikveh, men & women use it at designated times, men during the day and women in the evening.
One Last Thing
In my web travels I also found out that there’s a Worldwide Mikvah Directory. Who knew? It’s interesting that with 370 mikvot, the Untied States has far more than any other country. As a matter of fact, if the numbers I’m seeing are accurate, then it appears we might have more than all the other countries in the world combined. That’s pretty impressive. Also of note, it seems that fully half of them are located in & around the NY/NJ/CT/PA area.
The Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion)
The Mikvah (Chabad.org)
First New World Synagogue Rediscovered (in Brazil)
Manhattan Journal; Tale of Past Jewish Life, Told in Tile (believed to be the oldest extant mikveh in NYC)
Update 2: Content rearranged for clarity.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just published a blockbuster story that’s today’s must read: Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used “rogue” tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.
In our estimation the most explosive allegation made in the report is that the agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used mentally disabled people to run their stings.
In cases across the country, ATF agents recruited mentally disabled men to promote their “businesses” and recruit other illegal gun purchasers. In one case, the paper reports, the agents running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced Aaron Key, 19, and described as “mentally disabled,” to get a tattoo of a squid on his neck to promote the store.
Key agreed and agents posted pictures of him to their fake Facebook page. When the sting came to an end, Key was sentenced to 18 months in prison for “selling a sawed-off shotgun and arranging for prostitutes to come to a party being thrown by the undercover agents.”
This is the whole investigative journalist’s article.