This weekend I ran into several articles of note that I would like to share with y'all. I'm going to lead with the one that got under my skin the most.
As I have often said, al-Jazeera is the best source out there for straight news IMHO- but the op-eds? Wheeeeeew! And I read one of those this weekend, an interview with a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon named Mahmoud Mashwra . MM's family "fled Israeli oppression in the Palestinian territories years ago in hopes of a better life in Lebanon." Now I find that the need for that flight, and that oppression is quite as bad as all that- and please, wait for the next little while before you come at me with pitchforks- is a bit overblown. From separate articles I pass on these little tidbits:
- Over the past few decades, Arabs in Israel have steadily improved their economic lot and strengthened their civil society, securing a prominent place in the country’s politics in the process. (this from an article in Foreign Affairs magazine, with the caveat that this has been somewhat rolled back by the Netanyahu administration.)
- As recently as 2013, roughly three-quarters of Israeli Arabs (74%) said a peaceful two-state solution was possible. As of early 2015, 50% say such an outcome is possible. (From a Pew Research article.)
So does that mean that things are peaches and cream for Palestinians that hung out in Israel? C'mon, I'm not that much of an apologist. HOWever, juxtapose that situation with the situation MM and the article describe in Lebanon.
- Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are treated as second-class residents, restricted from working in most fields, banned from owning property, forced to live in run-down camps and barred from formal education.
- Palestinians cannot own businesses in Lebanon and are banned from most decent-paying professions, including medicine and law. An estimated two-thirds live in poverty. The government will not give citizenship rights to Palestinian refugees, for fear it could make them stay forever.
- Unlike Lebanese citizens, Palestinians cannot obtain free treatment at hospitals. They are also barred from most public schools. UNRWA has opened 67 schools and 27 clinics in Lebanon, but the clinics are only for general check-ups, while refugees with serious illnesses, such as cancer, must seek help from other NGOs.
Lovely life, right? But wait, it gets better:
Today, Palestinians are competing with nearly two million Syrian refugees in Lebanon for jobs and aid.
And that shouldn't be that bad a thing, as the almighty UN is funding aid for both groups, right? Alas, read on:
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) deals with aid for Palestinians, while the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) covers Syrians - and the difference in the aid provided is stark. UNHCR gives 150,000 Syrians in Lebanon $175 a month per family; UNRWA, however, can only give 61,000 Palestinians $10 for each family member every three months, spokespersons told Al Jazeera.
And why, pray tell, would the almighty UN run such a divergent aid scale? Well, I'll tell you why, and it's going to involve a direct accusation such as I have rarely leveled at any person or organization.
Because, my friends- the UN doesn't need the Syrian refugees to suffer- unlike the Palestinians. Because a happy Palestinian gives them less leverage in their eternal, Muslim-butt-kissing, anti-Israel agenda. Palestinians need to suffer for Israel to look bad.
But even though it is the Palestinians who chose to leave, the Lebanese government (aka Hezbollah and Iran) that gives them no rights, and the UN that won't help them, who do you suppose they blame?
Of course, their problems are all because President Trump said that a sovereign nation's capital should be decided by that sovereign nation and not the shameless cowardice of the rest of the world.
"After what Trump said, it's like we died," Saaf (another interviewee) said. "We lost hope. I'm sad for the future of my kids. I don't want to have any more kids, because I'll just destroy their future."
Thousands of Palestinians have held demonstrations across Lebanon over the past week, including one in Beirut on Sunday that turned violent. Protesters threw rocks and set rubbish cans on fire outside of the US embassy, while Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannon into the crowd.
At another protest in the capital on Monday, demonstrators chanted: "Death to America! Death to Israel!"
"We don't accept Trump's decision," Ali said. "So we will fight."
And that is the kind of nonsensical non-logic that we have heard against everything Trump has done in our country since he set foot in office. It isn't on Trump; it's on the Palestinians. They had how many centuries to turn the land into anything close to what the Israelis have and did nothing. The other Arabs know them for the welfare cases that they are and have no intention of giving them any reason to stay. And they are the perfect unthinking pawns the power brokers at the UN love.
That rant over, I have another (shorter one that attaches itself to what is actually a pretty funny story. This one comes from an NPR article (see? any idiots out there that want to bash me for listening to "FauxNews", this starts from YOU guys!) The article is about how "Dr. Catrin Wigley at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and colleagues analyzed six National Health Service patient information leaflets from across England for total hip replacement ", and what they came up with was, to me, damn disturbing- but I want to save that little bombshell for later.
What they did, though, was a bit of genius.
The researchers recruited 57 nearby elementary school children ages 8 to 10 to help revise the content.
And some of the changes were hilarious. I'm going to share some of what the kids came up with. For the full monty, go here, but wait until after the bombshell.
INDICATIONS FOR SURGERY:
Richard: Because your hip bone is part of your legs, and without your hip bone you will flop around.
Jaime: Because yours is rotten...it's past its sell-by date.
Mohammed: You could die!!!!!!!
Jaime: The surgeons might accidentally make a mistake and cut out the wrong thing.
Sarah: Set off metal detector...
PRIOR TO THE PROCEDURE
Lilly: What is not allowed - Coca-Cola, fries, chocolate... stop eating foods that are hot, when this happens go to the doctor.
Amelia: Stop smoking or your blood will turn black.
Ava: We are going to cut the side of the muscle with a sword and put the metal thing inside after we grate it and put cement inside. Then stitch.
Okay, so are you ready for the bombshell? This came right after the first quote and "total hip replacement"...
...and found that the average readability level was age 17, even though the average Brit reads at a 4th-grade level.
Good Lord, I read at a fourth grade level in FIRST grade! Are they serious that the fate of the Empire on which the sun never sets rests in the hands of a bunch of people still stuck on "Judy, John, Jean, Spot and Puff?"
Next up, 24/7 Wall Street named off the 19 worst companies to work for based on average employee reviews. The vast majority are off site customer call centers, including the #1, who has among their clients "50% of the Health Care Services in the US". I thought I might let you in on some of the ones you might actually be aware of...
19- RGIS Inventory Services
18- Jo-Ann Fabrics (!)
17- (Bob, you'll love this!) Frontier Communications
15- The Children's Place
14- LA Fitness
12- Brookdale Senior Living
10- Xerox (!)
8- Hertz (the article points out that other rent-a-car companies score significantly higher)
6- Dish Network (HA HA HA HA!)
5- Sears (does THIS shock anyone?)
2- Kraft/Heinz (less than one in four employees approve of the current CEO. How will they ketchup?)
And that #1 I mentioned before is called Alorica. So next time you have a call center problem, just ask the server, "Are you with Alorica? You poor dear."
And finally, 19 must be the magic number today, because I have a list of 18 healthy habits to quit doing (plus a bonus. I took particular pleasure in this one.
-Using a standing desk: A recent long term study found no lessening of the odds of dying from standing as opposed to sitting.
-Using toilet seat liners: C'mon, you really think that armor piercing germs will break into your butt that fast?
-Eating low-fat food: "An eight-year trial involving almost 50,000 women, roughly half of whom went on a low-fat diet, found that those on the low-fat plan didn't lower their risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or heart disease. Plus, they didn't lose much weight, if any."
-Using the BMI measure for obesity. Studies show that BMI has several holes in the theory that make it basically useless. Are you listening, Dr Wuest?
-Avoiding gluten. Unless you are celiac, you do yourself no good avoiding it. More idiot scare tactics.
- Almond milk. There are plenty of articles out there to tell you it is barely worthy of the name "almond", let alone "milk".
-Juicing. Because, dimwit, juicing removes the fiber you need and keeps the sugar you don't.
-Hand sanitizer: Soap and water kills more germs- and things like Norovirus are immune to sanitizers.
-Egg whites. " A growing body of research shows that for the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol (from foods you eat) doesn't really have much of an effect on your blood cholesterol."
-Holding your breath after someone sneezes or coughs. People actually do that? Hahhahah!
-Mega dosing Vitamin C for colds: Again, this one SHOULD be old news. Your body takes in just what it needs of a vitamin and pees out the rest.
- "Ear Candling"- "The practice of ear candling — yes, ear candling — involves putting a lit, cone-shaped candle inside your ear." Supposed to help with removing ear wax, by what physics that would work IDK. Certainly seems a Darwinian population solution to me.
- Taking multivitamins- the article says most of us get what we need in our regular diet. I say, they haven't seen MY diet, so I'll keep on with 'em.
- MSG: This is the ingredient that supposedly gives you "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome". I love the article's take on this: " Eating too much, regardless of the amount of MSG, is the more likely culprit here." So back off, Tubby!
-Not cracking your knuckles: Studies seem to show no evidence that it hurts your knuckles, and every indication that it indicates that your joints are properly lubricated.
- Detox diets: "No one needs to detox. Unless you've been poisoned, you already have a superefficient system for filtering out most of the harmful substances you eat. It's made up of two toxin-bashing organs: the liver and the kidneys. " Again, seems pretty logical.
- Using a recumbent bike instead of a regular one: We have a recumbent bike. I can attest the only thing it does is destroy your knees.
- Avoiding the microwave. Brain surgeons of society try to tell you that nuking food destroys nutrients. No, heating destroys nutrients, and since you nuke something for a lot less time than you fry, roast, bake, etc, it stands to reason that you preserve more nutrients this way.
And the Bonus is on flossing. I'll just let the article, from Business Insider, close this out...
The US government has recommended flossing for nearly four decades. But according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a set of recommendations the agency sends out every five years, all of the recommendations have to be grounded in scientific evidence.
And flossing is, well, not.
In its report, published in August, the AP says it used the Freedom of Information Act to request evidence for the benefits of flossing from the Department of Health and Human Services. AP never received that evidence. Instead, it got a letter from the government acknowledging that the effectiveness of flossing had never been studied.