Tuesday, May 23, 2006


At a time when the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza are teetering on the brink of a collapse, Israeli growth - 6.6 percent GDP rise in the first quarter of 2006 - has returned to the torrid pace set before the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising.

It's also a recognition of a growing separation between the Israeli and Palestinian economies - and Israel's receding fear of attacks. Tourists are filling up hotels. Private spending jumped 10.3 percent in the first three months of the year and the real estate market is heating up. Earlier this month, US investment guru Warren Buffet announced a $4 billion buyout of an Israeli metal tool cutting manufacturer, the biggest foreign investment in Israel.

A wave of suicide bombings that once scared off businessmen has been brought under control, and foreign investors are recognizing the long-term resilience of Israel's economy to the waves of conflict with the Palestinians. The trend seems to lend credence to a mantra of a former finance minister that Israel's high-tech, export-based economy is more sensitive to the US Nasdaq stock market than violence in the West Bank city of Nablus....

Per-capita income - a measure of the standard of living - is 17 times higher in Israel than among its neighbors from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. That gap is forecast to widen as an economic boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority pushes up poverty levels and as foreign investment fuels Israeli prosperity...

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Dysbindin-1 gene (DTNBP1) - The Intelligence Gene: "Psychiatric researchers at The Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have uncovered evidence of a gene that appears to influence intelligence. Working in conjunction with researchers at Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics in Boston, the Zucker Hillside team examined the genetic blueprints of individuals with schizophrenia, a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by cognitive impairment, and compared them with healthy volunteers. They discovered that the dysbindin-1 gene (DTNBP1), which they previously demonstrated to be associated with schizophrenia, may also be linked to general cognitive ability.... The specific role of dysbindin in the central nervous system is unknown, but it is highly present in key brain regions linked to cognition, including learning, problem solving, judgment, memory and comprehension. Scientists speculate that dysbindin plays a role in communication between brain cells in these regions and helps promote their survival. An alteration in the genetic blueprint for dysbindin may ultimately interfere with cell communication and fail to protect brain cells from dying, with a resulting negative impact on cognition and intelligence."

An old truth rediscovered: "More boys are highly gifted than girls, but boys also show up more often at the low end of the intelligence scale. Those are among the findings of a study by Douglas Frank, math/science chairman at the Schilling School for Gifted Children, who analyzed national test results and looked at IQ differences in boys and girls. "Guys are always more variable," Frank said. "If they're more variable, that means you're going to have more at the extremes." His findings correlate with what the Schilling School has found since it opened in 1997: Boys have always outnumbered girls at the K-12 school, which requires students have an IQ of 130 or above. The Sycamore Township school has consistently enrolled about two to three boys for every girl. There are eight girls among the 32 students there now."

Jimmy Carter Is Right: Amend the immigration bill to require voters to show ID: Amid all the disputes over immigration in Congress, one amendment is being proposed that in theory should unite people in both parties. How about requiring that everyone show some form of identification before voting in federal elections? Polls show overwhelming support for the idea, and there is increasing concern that more illegal aliens are showing up on voter registration rolls. But the fact that photo ID isn't likely to pass shows both how deeply emotional the immigration issue has become and how bitter congressional politics have become with elections only 5 1/2 months away. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican whip, is proposing the photo ID amendment. He notes that Mexico and many other countries require the production of such identification in their own elections, and that the idea builds on the suggestion of last year's bipartisan election reform commission headed by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker.

From a recent speech by Australian Prime Minister Howard: ""Without American leadership, the trials and tragedies of recent years could be but a prelude of darker days to come," Mr Howard said in an address yesterday to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. "With American leadership, we can build a better world - not just for us, but for all." Sharpening his call for the US to play a greater role in global affairs, Mr Howard told the council: "To the voices of anti-Americanism around the world, to those who shout 'Yankee go home', let me offer some quiet advice: be careful what you wish for."

The right approach to the abortion problem: "Responding to an issue that Jews often refer to as "the demographic threat", a non-profit Jewish group is encouraging poor, pregnant Jewish women who might be considering having an abortion to go ahead and have a child instead. Set up 29 years ago by Eli Schussheim, a surgeon, the Efrat organisation offers women $1,000 of support for a year, including diapers, a crib and baby clothes, if they decide to give birth rather than terminate their pregnancies"

The family vs. the state: "The original idea of 'compassionate conservatism' was for government to achieve goals using as partners faith-based organizations and other nongovernmental associations. If that idea ever takes off, I believe it will be a disaster. My line is that 'Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and private-public partnerships absolutely corrupt the private sector.' There is nothing compassionate about government subcontracting out to private entities. The only real compassionate conservatism is conservatism that shrinks the role of government. Compassion should start with families and expand through voluntary associations. Government programs, everywhere and always, undermine families and weaken voluntary associations."

What's a self-made individual?: "Why do we hear so much criticism and ridicule of the self-made individual? One reason is that people who would want to be leaders of others, people who like to rule others, people who want to impose ideas on others find the self-made individual an obstacle to their program. People who think for themselves do not fall for the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones and similar charismatic figures who are eager to run the world for the rest of us. So they hope to demean the idea that we can think for ourselves and guide are lives pretty well without their intervention."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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