The RP: The Liberal Case for Israel

As loyal members of the RP Nation already know, the RP recently returned from a life-changing trip to Israel.

Last week, he filed reports on Bibi Netanyahu, Why Israel Traded 1000 Prisoners for Gilad Shalit, Fun Facts from an Extraordinary Tour Guide, and Walking in Jesus’ Footsteps.  (Click on the preceding topics to access the links).

Today, The Huffington Post has published the RP’s most comprehensive and thought-provoking post yet: The Liberal Case for Israel.

(And controversial — within the past hour, more than 150 people have commented — Join in on the fun!)

In it, the RP introduces his readers to the 21st century Israel — one that is much-under-publicized — a country with a vibrant, open, tolerant, and yes, progressive culture. Israel’s record for promoting liberal values — on gay rights, economic equality, race, and immigration — matches or passes most Western democracies, including the U.S, and far, far exceeds its intolerant and illiberal neighbors.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Palestinian flag at a gay rights rally?

It’s the iconic ironic image of the New New Left.

The sentiment’s familiar: a maltreated minority identifying with the victim célèbre of radical academia.

But the juxtaposition of these two particular causes would be absurdly hilarious if it weren’t profoundly tragic: The Hamas regime represented by that flag demeans, oppresses, jails, harrasses, assaults, and tortures gays and lesbians.

Imagine what would happen if you flew a gay rights flag in Gaza City.

(On second thought, don’t even imagine it.)

Of course, the flag waving is less likely an endorsement of Hamas than a symbol of the Far Left’s persistent preoccupation with Israel’s reluctant occupation of lands it captured in its defensive struggle for existential survival during 1967’s Six Day War.

I’m not going to use this column to relitigate that debate.

Rather, as a card-carrying member of America’s center-left — those of us who call ourselves liberals, progressives and/or mainstream Democrats — I write to share with my ideological fellow travelers a much-under-publicized reality: That Israel is not simply the region’s only democracy and the U.S.’s strongest ally; but that the Jewish State also models liberal and progressive values as well as — or even better — than any other nation today.

Click here to read the RP’s full Huffington Post column, “The Liberal Case for Israel”



Video of The RP and Lisa Borders on CNN – Promoting No Labels

The RP was back at it yesterday afternoon on national television, discussing political dysfunction and promoting the work of the national movement he co-founded to promote bipartisan dialogue and action: No Labels.

This time, he was joined on a CNN live broadcast by fellow contributing RP and fellow No Labels co-founder, Lisa Borders.  TV critics unanimously declared that Lisa whupped up on the RP, even though they took the same side of the debate.

Watch it for yourself and let us know what you think.  And if you like what you hear about No Labels’ plans to “Make Congress Work,” click here to join No Labels:

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Faith

The Politics of Faith

The Vatican makes some major changes to music and liturgy used in Catholic worship services.  While the changes reflect a better translation of Latin than previously used in English mass, some practicing Catholics are annoyed with the new language. [NPR]

For a daily review of religion and media, check out The Revealer. []

Do we need organized religion?  In a new book, Irene Panayi explores organized religion and how it can “be a lifeboat for our troubled times.” [The Sacramento Bee]



Weekly Web Gems- The Politics of the States

In some sad news for bipartisan cooperation, the friendly relationship between New Jersey's governor and the mayor of its largest city may be gone for good.

It may be the end of a beautiful (bipartisan) friendship in New Jersey, as Republican governor Chris Christie and Newark’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, are said to be no longer on good terms with one another. Earlier in Christie’s term, the two had been famously cordial, though a recent brouhaha over Christie’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in Newark seems to have highlighted a drifting apart. Explanations of this are varied, though they include Christie’s desire to cut funding to various institutions of higher education in Newark, in addition to Booker’s political aspirations– he is rumored to be considering a run agains Christie in 2013 or, failing that, a bid for the United States Senate in 2014. []

Redistricting fights have taken on a racial tone in Florida, where lawmakers are mulling Constitutional changes that would prohibit making it difficult for ethnic and language minorities to elect legislative representatives who are members of those same minorities. The chief issue here is that there is limited legal language, either state or federal, regarding what constitutes such maneuvering, and in the meantime, state legislators have been butting heads with each other and various interest groups over redistricting. Most notably, Republican State Senator Alan Hays has suggested that all Hispanic Floridians be checked for citizenship before majority-Hispanic districts are drawn, while Democrat Nan Rich has critiqued the NAACP’s efforts to keep minority-majority districts in spite of voter wishes. [St. Petersburg Times]

In California, Republicans continue to stoke redistricting fight fires, as the most recent, citizen-drawn legislative district maps are being challenged in federal court. Brought by former Congressman George Radanovich, the suit, which the California Supreme Court refused to hear last month, allege that by protecting three Los Angeles-area incumbents, the Citizens Redistricting Commission infringed on the rights of African-American and Latino voting communities. The redrawn lines preserve three African-American-plurality seats in Los Angeles County, a maneuver which the suit says costs other ethnic groups in the short run and may backfire on African-American voters in the longer run. [Sacramento Bee]

Still more redistricting fighting, this time in Wisconsin, where two cases are in court deciding whether upcoming recall elections should take place in new or old legislative districts. Republicans, who drew district lines that reach appropriate population levels and, unsurprisingly, favor that party, argue that it is unconstitutional for recall elections to be held along old lines, leading to a situation in which people will voting for or against someone who will not represent them in the state legislature after next year. Democrats, meanwhile, argue that the new map is unconstitutional, and that many people who voted for one person in the previous election will not be able to vote for or against that person again if the new maps are utilized. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

They couldn’t all be about redistricting. New York’s elected officials are at odds as to whether or not the state legislature will be called back into session this year, with some Senate Republicans and Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo saying it most likely will next month, while party leaders on both sides deny that this is likely. The cleave over a new legislative session to address pressing budget concerns is indicative of intra-party splits in New York, most notably that between Cuomo and his more liberal party rank-and-file. [NY Daily News]

KYians: The Sacred Women’s Circle — A Goddess Retreat

Sunday, Dec. 4th: The Mind Body Studio, 517 Southland Dr, Lexington


Saturday Jan. 7th:  The Om Place, 815 Quisenberry Ln, Winchester


Join this fantastic circle of women for a day of gentle yoga, chakra meditation, understanding your aura, Nia dance, writing, and Ayurveda, as we reconnect with the inner Goddess that resides in each of us.

The Women’s-Circle Retreats are a light-hearted, profoundly insightful, replenishing, time-out from stress.  Here, in the company of other fantastic women, we remember how to tap into pure calm from deep within, and to carry that as wisdom and balance into our daily lives.

This will be a day of laughter, movement, play, and stillness, in the company of others who share a similar desire to feel great and to

live  from a place of happiness!

To reserve your space in the class, mail a check for $70, include your name, phone & e-mail, to Lisa Miller, C/O The Cntr for Wellness Therapies 2040 Regency Rd, suite A, Lexington, KY 40503

Questions? Lisa Miller, RYT/ Chopra Center for Wellbeing Instructor:

(859)227-4101, or

Bring a lunch, journal & colored pencils, water bottle, & dress comfortably.

The RP’s BREAKING News: The Politics of the Media

Canadian magazine Adbusters did not start Occupy Wall Street, but its editor, Kalle Lasn, did create the #occupywallstreet hashtag and feed the cultural message of the movement. [NY Times]

Artur Davis: Has Occupy Wall Street Accomplished Anything?

Occupy Wall Street is, in its current state, visible, noisy, and not terribly relevant. How can you stay relevant when the first major policy item on your agenda – student loan forgiveness for the unemployed and the low-income – is already law, and the second–substantial tax hikes for the wealthy – has already been claimed by one of the major political parties?

Two other gripes with OWS: first, every modern progressive movement has derived its moral authority from its efforts to elevate some marginalized class of Americans. This is the first left leaning movement whose rhetorical goal is to pull one class of Americans down to size. It is self-consciously divisive in a way that blacks, women and gays never were.

Finally, while the 99 percent is a glib, clever phrase, it literally links the interest of a hungry child in the Mississippi Delta to those of a six figure accountant whose mortgage is underwater. If you are going to mimic the symbols of Dr. King’s Poor Peoples Campaign, at least have the depth to say something specific about poor people.

(Cross-posted, with permission of the author, from Politico’s Arena)

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: Politics of the Planet

An appeals court keeps grizzly bears on the “threatened list”. []


The Arab Spring continues with the President of Yemen stepping down. []


As reported here months ago West Hollywood passes a ban on fur in the entire city. []


In “politics of not the planet” scientists release a list of the most livable planets. []

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech

This week we are back talking about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) again. Now it appears that Microsoft is opposing it, a very good sign. [CNET]

Opposition to the proposal is also gaining international traction. Check out this blog post from Sweden. [.SE]

Just an FYI, back in June the United Nations declared access to the Internet a human right. [The Atlantic]

One last bit on SOPA: Nancy Pelosi and Ron Paul both recently expressed their opposition. [ars technica]

Switching gears now – take a look at Canada’s new $100 bill. Very fancy. [LA Times]

A student at MIT is developing a lie detector to be used for the Internet. Genius. [The Next Web]

A cell phone with a 2.5GHz, quad-core processor?! This could be the HTC Zeta. [engadget]


The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Food

The Politics of Food

Is talking politics over Thanksgiving dinner a no-no?  With some ground rules, it may not be. [CNN]

Here’s an open letter written by health care professionals to the CEO of McDonald’s with a simple plea: stop marketing junk food to kids. []

For a visual potluck of culinary inventions with links to recipes, check out this site. [TasteSpotting]

You may know that BPA exposure is linked to plastics, but a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that canned foods are another source of exposure. [NPR]

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show