News Day: Obama in Cairo / Nuyorican St. Paul music / Call to killing / Scared of single payer / H1N1 in MN / Doctor didn’t have to die / more

obama official photoCouldn’t get to Cairo? Not to worry. If the medium is the message, then in this instance the speaker was the message, as the NYT concluded, “it boiled down to simply this: Barack Hussein Obama was standing at the podium as the American president.” Full text of the speech here, and the BBC has a generous video segment.

One soundbite:

I consider it part of my responsibility, as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.



Celebrating St. Paul’s Maria Isa Both the TC Daily Planet and the PiPress celebrate the talent of Maria Isa today, announcing her CD release party for her second CD at First Avenue tonight:

Ruben Rosario describes Isa’s life:

She’s a female of Puerto Rican stock who has diabetes, and her working-class parents grew up and lived in a public housing project in New York City.

Along with being a trailblazing singer, songwriter, rapper and student at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Isa also teaches Puerto Rican folkloric music at the long-running El Arco Iris Center for the Arts in St. Paul. She also teaches a weekly rap class for girls at the Old Arizona cultural center in Minneapolis.

And Justin Schell reviews her music:

The ferocious bowed bass that introduces “Street Politics,” the title track of Maria Isa’s sophomore album, immediately makes you realize she is far more than just a reggaeton artist. The mature-beyond-her-years 22-year-old, who traces her roots from Puerto Rico to the NuYorican Lower East Side to the West Side of St. Paul, is about to drop an album that expands her sonic palette yet continues to be grounded in messages of organizing and social justice.

I think I’m going to get that CD today!

“Kill men, women and children (and cattle)” St. Paul Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman was one of several rabbis asked to respond to the question “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” in Moment magazine’s current issue. His answer drew immediate, outraged response from both Jews and Muslims. The Council on American Islamic Relations-MN called on Jewish and Muslim groups to denounce Friedman, and quoted Rabbi Haim Beliak, executive director of the national educational foundation HaMifgash, who said: “The original quote and the apology by Manis Friedman suggest a debased morality and an atrophied ethical sensibility. Friedman does not speak for Judaism.” The Chabad Lubavitch world headquarters in Brooklyn also denounced the statement, saying, “We vehemently disagree with any sentiment suggesting that Judaism allows for the wanton destruction of civilian life, even when at war.”

Single payer scares Senators Senator Max Baucus apologized to single-payer health insurance advocates for barring them from testifying before his committee, reports Eric Black, but he’s still not going to listen to them. And that makes perfect sense, Black points out, since:

Just for the record, the Canadian single-payer system covers everyone, costs much less than the U.S. system and Canadians have longer life expectancies than Americans. And there are polls suggesting that the U.S. public — not the private, for-profit health care sector, just the population — is open to single payer.

2010 race Rep. Marty Seifert is leaving his minority leader post, so that he’ll have time to run for governor, and he’ll have plenty of company, reports the PiPress. The PiPress short list of GOP candidates also includes Michele Bachmann, Jim Ramstad, Norm Coleman, Brian Sullivan, Pat Anderson, David Hann, Charlie Weaver, Geoff Michel, Paul Kohls, Laura Brod and Tom Emmer. The PiPress short list of DFLers includes Susan Gaertner, Matt Entenza, Mark Dayton, Chris Coleman, R.T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Tom Bakk, Steve Kelley, John Marty, Paul Thissen and Tim Walz.

H1N1 in MN? A few days after a student in St. Paul’s Benjamin Mays school was reportedly ill with H1N1 flu virus, sixty students were out sick at Bancroft school in Minneapolis, and MPR reports that some of the students are being tested for the H1N1 virus.

Several other Minneapolis schools have seen similar patterns of absenteeism in recent weeks. Health officials are asking parents to keep their kids home for seven days, if they have a fever of 100 or more with a cough or a sore throat.

The Strib reports that a student in Bloomington’s Jefferson High has also been diagnosed with the virus.

World/National Headlines

OAS: Yes to Cuba After 47 years, the OAS voted unanimously to welcome Cuba back, though Cuba says it is not interested because the OAS is a US tool.

“Dr. George Tiller didn’t have to die” Democracy Now reports that Planned Parenthood clinic employees had repeatedly told the police about the man who charged with killing Dr. George Tiller in the weeks before Sunday’s assassination of the doctor as he served as an usher in his church. Alleged murderer Scott Roeder had repeatedly put superglue in the clinic’s locks. Other protesters blocked access to the clinic, in violation of federal law, and posted signs on the boulevard in front of the clinic, in violation of city ordinances. Local officials were reluctant to enforce the laws, writes Amy Goodman:

But Dr. Susan Robinson was adamant. She flies to Wichita every month to perform abortions in Tiller’s clinic. She said, “It is generally regarded amongst those who do clinic security, if local authorities are not responsive, if they don’t show up or they don’t vigilantly enforce the law, that it encourages the anti-abortion people to push it further and further.”

She said: “In Wichita, Dr. Tiller was constantly dealing with the same lack of enforcement. Wichita prohibits placing signs on city property. But they allow the anti-abortion protesters to set up dozens of crosses and leave them all day. Dr. Tiller went to the city attorney over the crosses, and complained that people block the clinic driveway. He told me that the city attorney said, ‘I would rather be sued by George Tiller than the anti-abortion folks.’ ”

War Reports

Iraq A bomb placed in a cafe in a Shia area of southwest Baghdad killed nine people, reports BBC, which characterized it as “the latest of several to take place in cafes in the evening,” but also noted that “May saw the fewest Iraqi deaths from violence in one month since the US-led invasion in 2003, with 124 civilians, six soldiers and 25 policemen killed by attacks, according to official figures.” In May, 24 U.S. soldiers were killed, the highest number of U.S. casualties since September 2008.

West Bank One person was killed as Palestianian Authority police tried to arrest Hamas militants, reports BBC. PA forces had surrounded a house in Qalqilya, where militants were holed up and a PA security force member was killed b a grenade thrown from the house. Six people were killed Sunday in a clash between police and Hamas militants.

Pakistan The UN is running out of funds to feed 2.6 million Pakistani refugees, and US envoy Richard Holbrooke called for European and Muslim nations to send more aid, reports BBC The US is currently providing the bulk of all the assistance to Pakistan’s refugees.

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