Cluster Map

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Say Hi to Pollyanna

 Pollyanna has survived Halloween and is delighted to visit you. We are digesting the aftermath of the US elections and also have a few matters of interest for you. The Republicans now control Congress and Obama will have the same hard time during his last two years as had the previous three two-term presidents, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. When Harry Truman had an opposition Congress, 1946-48, he complained that they would have repealed the law of gravity if they could have. Certainly voters make their decisions wisely after being informed by political ads, as Mike Luckovich tells us so graphically.

Pollyanna hopes that some sanity and responsibility will creep in somehow. She also notes the transition to standard time as the season changes. This has deep historical roots.
Non Sequitur Cartoon for Nov/02/2014

For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Nearly two years have gone by without Miriam and we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.


CVT has helped more than 27,000 men, women and children rebuild their lives and become healthy, contributing members of their communities.

This week Pollyanna gets to choose a charity. She refers you to the Center for Victims of Torture. This is a Minnesota(old home country)-based  charity that functions with victims from all over the world. It has a high rating from Charity Navigator. You might want to donate to them on their Day of Give to the Max, sponsored by GiveMN, coming up next week.

IN MEMORIAM Tom Magliozzi 1937-2014 

tom ray magliozzi

Tom Magliozzi, right, with his brother Ray, who together co-hosted NPR’s Car Talk show until 2012. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

One of the two brothers of the Car Talk show died this week. Their radio show on NPR was a constant source of amusement along with good advice about cars and their problems. We listened to them faithfully while living in the  US and we continued to follow them on line from Israel. We append an obituary for Tom from the NYTimes. The Car Talk link will take you to their Web page and you can also listen to podcasts. To quote the New Yorker "As Tom might say, he is now in the good hands of “Car Talk”’s staff morticians, Barry L. Plotz and Sven Didigo, as well as the show’s Boston funeral director, Hadley Newham."


That is indeed a question raised by Hollaback, a society devoted to safety on city streets. As a promotion, the actress Shoshana B. Roberts spent 10 hours walking on the streets of New York. Her YouTube shown here gives you an idea of what it is like for a woman to walk on the street. Lilit Marcus gives it a Jewish twist in the Forward--how to deal with catcalls and the like from these oh so pious men walking around with God in their pocket. Over two thousand years ago a Phoenician king boasted that a woman could carry a sack of gold safely across his kingdom.


An Argentinian judge has ordered the extradition of 20 former Spanish officials accused of torturing dissidents during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, from 1939 to 1975, renewing efforts to pursue cases of human rights abuses beyond the country’s borders. The principle of universal jurisdiction applies to these cases. We hope the Spanish government agrees to turn these despicable men over for trial. Pollyanna thinks that the rule of impunity, by which atrocities can be committed with no fear of retribution or punishment must come to an end. It would be nice if it would happen much closer to home.


The Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras, Mesoamerican Initiative for Women Human Rights Defenders) will receive the Letelier-Moffitt award in Washington on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. This award, established in 1978 by the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), will be delivered to IM-Defensoras for its work over the last four years in defense of human rights.

  •    IM-Defensoras pioneered the use of a gendered approach in the documentation and reporting of attacks against women human rights defenders in Mesoamerica.
  •     Between 2010 and 2014 it helped improve the safety and welfare of over 100 advocates and their families and facilitated the development of 360 defenders in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, to promote the adoption of appropriate  practices in safety and self care.
 Since 1978 the Letelier-Moffitt award has served as a yearly acknowledgement of the struggle for rights in the United States and the Americas.
    "We will continue working for the full protection of women human rights defenders, for the continuation and advancement of peace, equality and justice in Mexico and Central America": IM-Defensoras Steering Committee


Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai said the money would help children in Gaza get a good-quality education. Photograph: Tt News Agency/Reuters
 Pollyanna thanks the Nobel Peace Laureate Malala  Yousafzai for donating  $50,000 to reconstruction of Gaza schools. This courageous young lady who was shot in Pakistan for advocating education for girls should be a role model for all in the struggle to provide education for girls everywhere. The wanton destruction of schools in Gaza by Israel was no accident. It is part and parcel of the callous indifference to human suffering described in a recent report by Amnesty International. It is encouraging that there still are people like Malala around who care and are willing to take risks and do something about terrible things. Pollyanna, Titan and YandA salute you Malala!


Tel Aviv derby
Tel Aviv derby disrupted by violence. Photo by Sharon Bokov
This time it is about violence at sports venues. The recent riot at the Tel Aviv derby match between Hapoel and Maccabi is a national disgrace. Soccer can be a lovely game to watch and fun to play, but when it becomes something akin to religion, something is obviously wrong. The violence did not come out of nowhere and it was not unprecedented. Certainly something needs to be done and the reaction of authority must be firm and strong.  Watch it yourself.


Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen/bpk/Art Resource Peter Paul Rubens: The Death of Seneca, 1612–1613


Mary Beard reviews new books about the Roman philosopher Seneca, one of the pillars of the Stoic school. The subject is fascinating even after two millennia. If the NYRB does not open for you, you can find reviews of the books at newyorkarts and at Dublin Review of Books.


What if? asks:What if everyone who took the SAT guessed on every multiple-choice question? How many perfect scores would there be?

—Rob Balder
As one might expect, the answer is none. It is like the immortal monkey etc. The analysis is interesting.


When our daughter Hadass was in the eighth grade and freshly back from California, she showed her English teacher and class the usage PED/XING and all were amused. Now Duane has an idea of what awaits us.
Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Nov/03/2014

Then we have the wisdom of higher management

Dilbert Cartoon for Nov/05/2014 

Of course, Catbert is not always with it:

Dilbert Cartoon for Nov/07/2014

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