Israel-Palestine One-State Solution: Is This Clinton, Carter, Kissinger, or Obama?

I came home this evening after a grant submission and uploading a bunch of grant reviews hoping to open a bottle of Gruet Brut and write up my account of last week’s Friday Fermentable Live!!! at ScienceOnline’09.
While sitting down, my dear PharmGirl, MD, asked me to read this op-ed essay and scrolled it such that I could not read the author. I immediately suggested that the author was Bill Clinton or Henry Kissinger.
While I was raised in an unusual form of ethnic catholicism (not Roman), I have had just as many Jewish colleagues as Muslim given where I grew up and where I have lived since. My point is that I have no dog in this fight other than to find a solution that allows my colleagues in the Middle East to live in peace and do good science in a cooperative manner (not to mention stop being bombed to hell for just trying to go out and buy some bread).

The shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

I can’t figure a way to block the author’s name without violating NYT’s copyright but please read the essay in its entirety first. To me, it’s the most sober assessment of the current situation and I would suggest that the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton consider seriously the content of this editorial.

Five years – Billy Bragg’s “Price of Oil”

Two political posts in two days. Apologies to those who come here for the science but these are the issues getting my attention and energy this week.
Billy Bragg is a special guy in my life and this song from 2002 was particularly prescient.
In memory of those lost in the 11 September attacks, the Spanish 11 March bombings, the thousands of allied forces and Iraqi people dead and injured, and all around the world whose needs have gone unmet in exchange for financing an unguided and unnecessary war. . .

Eve Carson murder suspects and the Intel Science Talent Search winner

It’s been a roller coaster of a week for Charles E Jordan High School in Durham, North Carolina. (Wikipedia history here).
As we noted earlier this week, Jordan’s Shivani Sud took first prize in the Intel Science Talent Search for her work on biochemical markers of stage II colon cancer. The Intel (formerly Westinghouse) Science Talent prize is referred to often as the “junior Nobel prize.”
Two and three days later, we learned the identities of the suspects apprehended in the murder of Eve Carson, student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Both young men, Demario James Atwater, 21, and Laurence Alvin Lovette, Jr., 17, dropped out of Jordan in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Adding to the shock of the community of the Research Triangle’s 14 colleges and universities was that Lovette was also charged in the murder last month of Duke engineering graduate student, Abhijit Mahato, in his apartment bordering the Duke campus.
When arrested for the Carson murder, Lovette was found to be in possession of a phone and iPod stolen from Mahato’s apartment. Two days prior to the Mahato murder, Lovette was convicted of breaking into a house and stealing credit cards and received a sentence of 24 months probation. Atwater was also on probation for breaking and entering, felonious larceny and, later, possession of a firearm (a .40 semiautomatic handgun) by a felon and was in court two days before the Carson murder. Not surprisingly, there is currently an internal investigation of the system by the NC Department of Correction.

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Eve Marie Carson 1985-2008

Eve_Carson_wdydwyd.jpg

Eve Carson | student body president | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This photo was taken on Monday, 3 March. Eve was shot less than 36 hours later. The entire campus, community and alumni mourn her death. She had a ethic of public service so strongly symbolized in her response to why she does what she does. [Photo by Tony Deifell]


Primary UNC-CH website

10,000 celebrate Carson’s life
Rose Hoban WUNC-FM report on celebration of life
Chancellor’s message to students following arrests of suspects (13 March)
Remarks of Eve’s father, Bob Carson
Remembering the student’s president
Eve Carson’s death stuns campus
‘Carolina, … the whole world, has lost a lot’
Many join in grief for UNC student leader
UNC-system leaders mourn loss of Carson

Slain student remembered by friends, fellow students (Athens Banner-Herald)

Duke vigil planned for Mon 24 March to honor Abhijit Mahato
Sheril Kirshenbaum – The Intersection
Morehead Scholars – Eve on her Ecuador mission (click ‘Enter’ then “The Gifts of Poverty”)

UNC student body president webpage
Photo gallery (The Daily Tar Heel)
Photo gallery (News & Observer)
Woman shot in Chapel Hill – Police seek clues to her identity (original report)


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has established the Eve Marie Carson Memorial Fund in memory of Eve Carson, our student body president, trustee, wonderful person and great friend. The purpose of this Fund is to celebrate and remember Eve Carson’s love for the University and its students. The specific use of contributions to this fund will be determined in consultation with Eve’s family.
For those wishing to make an online gift, please visit giving.unc.edu/gift, choose one of the giving options, select “Eve Marie Carson Memorial Fund” under University Designation, and select “Eve Marie Carson Memorial Fund” under University Fund.
For those wishing to mail a check, please make the check payable to UNC-Chapel Hill, write Eve Marie Carson Memorial Fund in notation line, and send the gift to Carolina, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0309.
Memorial donations may also be directed to the Clarke County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education, P.O. Box 1708, Athens, GA 30603.

$23.3 Million Airborne False Advertising Settlement: “Created by a Schoolteacher!”

“There’s no credible evidence that what’s in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment,” said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt, who reviewed Airborne’s claims. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”

One really needn’t go any further than this money quote from yesterday’s press release out of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
With continuing investigations from the Federal Trade Commission and 24 State Attorneys General, the walls are crumbling down on the makers of well-marketed scam that is Airborne cold remedy. In yesterday’s announcement, a $23.3 million settlement was reached in a class-action suit by California plaintiffs (joined by CSPI) with the makers of the supplement, “whose labels and ads falsely claimed that the product cures and prevents colds.” (Wilson v. Airborne Health Inc., settlement PDF, 776MB)
As of the time of this posting, there is no mention of this action anywhere on the Airborne website and business proceeds as usual.

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UCLA to sue animal rights terrorists

Following the second terrorist action against UCLA’s Dr Edie London and her other research colleagues, and the outcries of support that ensued, the institution is taking bold and well-justified action. This just in from Americans for Medical Progress:

UCLA is suing to protect researchers from animal extremists
Legal action follows attempted firebombings and harassment
Phil Hampton, e-mail
(310) 206-1460
UCLA is suing extremists to stop a campaign of terrorism, vandalism and menacing threats directed at faculty and administrators who conduct or support research involving laboratory animals.
A hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 21 in Department A of Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica, when a judge will formally receive the complaint and hear arguments on a temporary restraining order. A hearing on a preliminary injunction is expected in two to three weeks. The lawsuit names three groups and five individuals as defendants and seeks a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting them from harassing UCLA personnel or facilitating their harassment. The University of California Regents, which oversee all 10 UC campuses, is serving as the plaintiff of record on behalf of UCLA.
On three occasions since June 2006, Molotov cocktail-type devices have been left near the homes of UCLA faculty who conduct or oversee research involving animals. In addition, their homes have been vandalized and they have received threatening phone calls, e-mails and, on at least one occasion, a package rigged with razor blades. Extremists have appeared at residences in the middle of the night, worn ski masks to conceal their identity and used megaphones to shout threats, obscenities and epithets.
“Enough is enough,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “We’re not willing to wait until somebody is injured before taking legal action to protect our faculty and administrators from terrorist tactics, violence and harassment.”
“It is imperative to provide a safe environment for our faculty to conduct research — research that leads to new medicines and treatments that benefit our society and is conducted in compliance with stringent federal laws and university guidelines,” Block said.
The defendants are groups known as the UCLA Primate Freedom Project, the Animal Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Brigade, as well as several individuals believed to affiliate with these groups. The suit alleges that these groups and individuals have promoted and facilitated unlawful activities directed against UCLA faculty and administrators. The Animal Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Brigade have in some cases claimed responsibility for unlawful activities directed against UCLA personnel and their homes.
The UCLA Primate Freedom Project maintains a Web site displaying the photographs, home addresses and phone numbers of targeted UCLA personnel, and the Animal Liberation Front press office regularly posts anonymous communiqués about the Animal Liberation Brigade’s unlawful activities. The FBI has identified the Animal Liberation Front, which publicly advocates violence to advance its aim of discontinuing the use of lab animals in research, as a top domestic terrorism threat.
Several of the individual defendants named in the lawsuit have recently been the subjects of temporary restraining orders and injunctions prohibiting them from harassing employees affiliated with the City of Los Angeles and private institutions.
Extremists also have targeted research personnel affiliated with other UC campuses in Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants have invaded researchers’ privacy, interfered with business practices and intentionally caused emotional distress, among other unlawful activities.
The lawsuit asks a judge to prohibit the defendants from committing violence or threatening violence against UCLA personnel who conduct or support animal research; vandalizing or threatening to vandalize their property; violating local noise ordinances; and posting on Web sites — or otherwise disseminating — personal information about the UCLA personnel. It also asks a judge to order the defendants to post information on their Web sites indicating that the restraining order prohibits certain activities relating to the UCLA personnel.
In 1989, UCLA filed suit against different animal research opponents and received a permanent injunction after extremists held unruly demonstrations outside the homes of researchers.
UCLA is cooperating with the FBI and the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force in criminal investigations of the attempted firebombings and other activities directed at UCLA personnel. UCLA and various law enforcement units are offering a combined $170,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attempted firebombings.
“The criminal investigations continue, and we are hopeful that the rewards will ultimately lead to charges being filed against those who have committed illegal acts against some of the country’s most prominent researchers,” Block said.
Persons with information are encouraged to contact the FBI at (310) 477-6565.
Representing UCLA and the Regents in the lawsuit are John C. Hueston and Wendy A. Sugg of the law firm Irell & Manella.

Happy 91st Birthday, Stetson Kennedy

Stetson.jpgFolks are probably wrapping it up in St. Augustine at this hour, but I just wanted to send out happy 91st birthday wishes to the Old Lion, Stetson Kennedy.

Anastasia Books invites the community to a birthday celebration for Stetson Kennedy during the First Friday Art Walk.
Kennedy, the 91-year-old civil rights activist, folklorist and environmentalist, authored four books on civil rights and the Florida classic “Palmetto Country,” a social history of Florida’s ethnic cultures and folklore in the 1930s.

(More at his MySpace site with “Stetson Kennedy” by Florida folk music patriarch, Frank Thomas.)
We’re blessed to know the legend and some of his family. He continues to inspire us all.
Happy Birthday, big chief!
(Image courtesy of Florida Artists Hall of Fame.)

Release of Tripoli 6 / Benghazi 6!

I woke this morning to BBC reporting that the six Bulgarian nurses and doctor charged erroneously with transmitting HIV to over 400 Libyan children have been released and are safely home in Bulgaria.
Orac and Revere here at ScienceBlogs covered the upholding of death sentences against the six that opened the procedural door to their release.
It appears that the wife of new French prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Cecilia, played an important role over the last 48 hrs in negotiating the terms of release together with other EU officials. The terms are only just beginning to emerge, but it appears that the Libyan High Judicial Council made its decision after the equivalent of $1 million was pledged to families of each of the 438 children affected with HIV at the Benghazi hospital. (“An EU official told the BBC that the payout was made from the Gaddafi Foundation, a charity overseen by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam.”)
However, commentators on BBC Radio this morning questioned the wisdom of the EU reopening diplomatic ties with a nation that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of its critics in Libya and elsewhere. This discussion will no doubt expand in the coming days.
Many thanks are due to Revere at Effect Measure for raising awareness of this case with a great many science bloggers. The high-profile support of Nature’s Declan Butler is also deserving of great praise. It will be interesting to learn what others think of the impact of the scientific press and blogosphere in contributing to international attention to this case.
Thankfully, justice has played out and the scientific facts have won. However, nothing will diminish the pain and suffering experienced by our international medical colleagues over the last eight years whose original admission of guilt was secured by methods of torture.

Sickening outcome in Tripoli Six sentencing

Terrible news this morning, but not entirely unexpected given the complete ignorance of science in the case of medical personnel charged with intentionally infecting children with HIV in a Libyan hospital. The defendants have again been sentenced to death.

Luc Montagnier — the French doctor who was a co-discoverer of HIV — testified in the first trial that the deadly virus was active in the hospital before the Bulgarian nurses began their contracts there in 1998.
More evidence for that argument surfaced on December 6 — too late to be submitted in court — when Nature magazine published an analysis of HIV and hepatitis virus samples from the children.
Using changes in the genetic information of HIV over time as a “molecular clock,” the analysts concluded that the virus was contracted before the six defendants arrived at the hospital — perhaps even three years before.
Idriss Lagha, the president of a group representing the victims, rejected the Nature article, telling a press conference in London on Monday that the nurses had infected the children with a “genetically engineered” virus. He accused them as doing so for research on behalf of foreign intelligence agencies.

As most readers know, “Nature magazine” is the journal, Nature, one of the most prestigious, high-impact scientific publications in the world.
One would have thought that more political pressure could have been put on Libya given the preponderence of evidence supporting the innocence of the medics.

The long trial of the six foreign medical workers has held up the efforts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s to rebuild ties with the West. Europe and the United States have called for their release, indicating that future relations with Libya would be affected by Tuesday’s verdict.

The defendants, a Palestinian physician and five Bulgarian nurses, still have the right to appeal to the Libyan Supreme Court.
Stay tuned here and elsewhere on ScienceBlogs and in the blogosphere for information on how we still might be able to help avoid the execution of these medical colleagues.