daily archive: 05/04/2005
The pothead menace
A survey on drug use found that 43 percent of U.S. adults smoked marijuana at least once in their lives. Marijuana use is not prevalent in Greece and I had never been exposed to it when I was growing up and I didn't know of anyone else who had. Since our cultures are different maybe our ideas of "partying" are different as well. We also don't impose alcohol restrictions on minors and even though I have no statistics to back up my assertion here, I think that the rate of teenage alcohol and drug usage in Greece is much lower than it is in the States. I wonder why that is, why do U.S. teenagers think that pot is cool and Greek teenagers don't? Marijuana behind 45 percent of U.S. drug arrests
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Why didn't they help?
Some people still have the mistaken belief that Jews didn't fight in WWII, that they didn't resist. I know Jews fought in the Greek resistance and I have no reason to believe they didn't fight elsewhere as well. That in itself is amazing when one takes into account all the restrictions Germans had imposed on Jews only. It's shameful that the people who were the most hunted were also the people less helped. "Help us die honorably like the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto"
"Help us die honorably. We want to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto. We are ready," reads the letter, smuggled out of a Nazi labor camp near the Polish city of Lublin in the months after the Warsaw Ghetto was demolished by the Nazis.
The historic two-page letter, dated September 15, 1943, was written in Yiddish by a Jewish prisoner inside the Poniatowa camp and was recently uncovered amid other Warsaw Ghetto archive materials at the Ghetto Fighters House at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot in northern Israel. The letter is the latest indication of the major impact the four-week-long Warsaw Ghetto uprising had on incarcerated Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
After the April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, up to 18,000 Jews were brought to the Poniatowa forced labor camp, named after the nearby Polish town and located some 30 km. west of the city of Lublin.
The camp, which was originally established in September 1941 as a POW camp for Soviet prisoners, had been handed over to the SS in the summer of 1942 by the German Army for use as a forced labor camp for Jews.
The letter from the camp asks the remaining members of the Jewish underground in Warsaw for urgently needed arms.
"The human material is relatively good, but we are in a completely helpless situation," the letter, written in neat handwriting on both sides of a small sheet of faded graph paper, reads.
"In the 'merchandise' we received there is not even one 'utensil.' We appeal to you to transfer the merchandise." The letter, which is signed "Malachovsky" – similar to the code-name of the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Mordechai Anilevitch "Malach," (or angel in Hebrew) – went on to urge the Jewish resistance leaders to help them organize an assault on the camp.
"We also ask that a group be brought to a nearby community, and, at the right moment, to attack from outside, and we will attack from within."
The desperately-needed supplies never arrived, and less than two months after the letter went out, the approximately 18,000 Jewish prisoners of the camp were murdered in one day in early November 1943.
Prisoners who resisted the one-day massacre were burnt alive inside their barracks. Only a few survivors escaped the camp before it was totally liquidated.
Holocaust historians say that the letter is the latest indication of the major impact that the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had on the Jews of Europe, and points to the continuing resistance among the small group of surviving Polish Jews in the underground even in the wake of the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the obliteration of most of Polish Jewry.
"Most people erroneously think that the underground Jewish activity in Poland ended with the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto," said Ghetto Fighter House archive director Yossi Shavit. "Actually, we know from this and other archive material that the underground activity, which was centered in Warsaw, actually grew and spread throughout Poland."
The letter from the camp apparently reached the late Polish Jewish underground leader Adolf-Abraham Berman in Warsaw, who, like the few remaining Jews of the Polish capital, was in hiding from the Nazis.
Berman, one of the leaders of the famed Polish-Jewish underground movement 'Zegota,' moved to Israel after the war, and bequeathed scores of Holocaust related archive material – including the letter – to the museum upon his death in 1978.
The emergence of the document raises the question of why nobody was able to help the Jews at the camp, even though the request had been received.
Yad Vashem academic adviser and Polish history expert, Prof. Israel Gutman, said Sunday that the fact that the Polish underground in Lublin did not help the incarcerated Jews was not surprising since, for the most part, the Polish underground was not interested in nor willing to arm Jews fighting against the Nazis.
He concurred that the Jews of the camp – many of whom were transferred there from the Warsaw Ghetto – were undoubtedly influenced by the unprecedented urban uprising against the Nazis in Poland's largest ghetto.
"The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising served as a role model for other insurrections against the Nazis throughout Europe among people who drew inspiration from what happened in Warsaw," Gutman said. "The people in the camp saw themselves continuing the uprising against the Nazis."
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Can you really blame me for being a bit paranoid?
"No trust in the goyim", my father says jokingly whenever Israel is betrayed by one of our foreign "friends". He didn't teach me that, he didn't preach that to me, but this lesson was just inescapable, not only from what he told me about his life in Auschwitz, and in labor camps as a slave ("forced labor" is really a very mild term for slavery combined with starvation), but also from what he told me about his life and the life of the Jews in Poland before that, and all the Jewish jokes he told me - the essence of Jewishness, as I absorbed it from my father, is to me being prone to confront absolutely anything with humor, the Jewish type of humor which hits both ways simultaneously.
In Auschwitz too there was the block joker, that all the Jews in the block gathered to listen to and have a good laugh.
My mother doesn't have such a "innate" distrust of non-Jews. Her grandparents immigrated from Russia and settled in Argentina, where anti-Semitism was relatively very mild. They became farmers in their own small farm and she had non-Jewish friends. Occasionally some kid would call her a dirty Jew and she'd beat him to the ground (she was a tough girl :-), but generally Jews and non-Jews lived side by side in relative harmony. However, when the news about the Nazis and European Jewery arrived in Argentina, the non-Jewish farmers in the area called up a meeting. My mother's surname was markedly non-Jewish, so my grandfather was mistaken for a non-Jew and was invited to the meeting. In the meeting they were discussing how they will split the lands of the Jews between them when the Nazis will arrive to Argentina. She still trusts non-Jews for some reason.
My father's life was, of course, completely different. When he came to Israel in 48 the country was very poor and not equiped to take in the flood of Jewish refugees and immigrants from Europe and the Middle East. There was a shortage of food, and the new immigrants were placed in camps of tents since there were not enough houses. It was extremely hot, strong hot winds would occasionally blow down the tent or blow away whatever was in it, the water pipes were laid on the ground so the water was so hot it was hardly drinkable, life was miserable. But then he saw a Jewish man wearing a tzitzit, a traditional Jewish clothing, walking by free and fearless, and was overwhelmed by emotion. As a teenager in Poland his older brother was the only one who dared to escape from the ghetto, as a thief at night, and walk among the gentiles to get some food for the family, because he looked like a gentile and talked like a gentile and had no marks of Jewishness. Seeing a Jew, exhibiting his Jewishness like that, being able to walk free and without fear anywhere he liked made everything else disappear.
The Nazi camps were where my father passed from being a teen to being a young man. He was short for his age, which didn't work well for him in the selections - periodically the Nazis gathered everyone and examined their physics in a glance to decide who can continue working and who is already useless, sorta like a macabre version of American Idol, except that if you were not found fit you would be exterminated. But he was very smart and resourceful so he managed to get enough food to keep his weight over 50 Kg and always worked very hard, so he survived the selections.
One of the ways he got extra food was trading cigarettes. The Nazis gave the prisoners a small ration of cigaretted every week. Heavily addicted smokers could not quit even to save their lives, so immediately as the prisoners got the cigarettes the black market trading began. It was forbidden and if you were caught trading you could have been killed, but people were so hungry they took the chance. However, my father was smarter and understood the laws of free market, so he didn't trade his cigarettes right away but waited a few days till supply would go down and demand would go up so he could trade his cigarettes for a larger chunk of bread. Of course, it was risky since everyone wanted the cigarettes to trade them for food, so it was difficult to hide the fact that you have them and keep them from being stolen, but the benefits were worth the risk.
Near the end of the war, the allies were already closing on the Nazis, my father was transfered to a labor camp in Austria. The Nazis could not manage transportation so the prisoners had to walk there. And then everyday they had to walk from the camp to a place in the mountains where they were manufacturing ammunition for the Nazi artilery. It was worse than Auschwitz, my father says, since in Auschwitz people were exterminated every day and you would get their clothes. It was extremely cold and they hardly had anything to wear, and the clothes wore down fast because of the harsh labor. They also didn't have proper shoes, they were made to walk in this mountain area with cheap slippery wooden shoes, and if you fell down you could be shot.
But turns out there were also compassionate Nazis. Once my father, climbing in these worn out wooden shoes, started slipping and one of the Nazi guards reached his hand to his back and supported him so he wouldn't fall.
Maybe that's why my father could pity this German POW he saw in a POWs camp after the war. He was walking past the camp when the German approached him behind the fence and asked for a cigarette. He was all humble and broken-spirited and his head was down. My father was shocked since the Germans were so proud and lofty in their glorious days, they indeed seemed an outstanding nation, he said. He felt sorry for him.
I'm still a bit suspicious of goyim. Particularly the good ones, such as the nice folks here. When you meet an anti-Semitic person you know where you stand and you know his mouth and heart are one. It's the nice goyim who are your friends who you can never know what's really in their heart or what will they do if and when put to the test, like the non-Jewish neighbors of my mother's family in Argentina.
I know it's paranoid, but can you really blame me for being a bit paranoid?
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Operation Salami Drop
This is one of the reasons I love Americans; who else would think of such a thing? Deli Owners to Send Salami to U.S. Troops
Brothers Marc and Michael Brummer figure the best way they can help support U.S. troops stationed in Iraq is to try to feed them — thousands of them.
The co-owners of Hobby's Deli hope to send salami to the entire 42nd Infantry Division, currently in Tikrit.
It'll take an estimated 23,000 salamis to reach that goal. But the first 2,000 or so of the dried meat — about 2 tons in all — was boxed and loaded onto a U.S. Postal Service truck Tuesday in the first phase of what the brothers dubbed "Operation Salami Drop."
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The people of the menorah, and the people of the swastika
At Elms in the Yard
, Rahel has a very touching post about a storied menorah.
There is a famous photograph of a Hanukkah menorah in a window opposite the town hall of Kiel in Germany. The year is 1933, and the building that the menorah faces is decorated with a Nazi flag. The photograph always makes me think of David and Goliath, except that here, David did not dispatch the enemy with one blow. Instead, it was Goliath who attacked—with unparalleled cruelty and viciousness—and David who survived, after bleeding almost to death.
I saw the photograph for the first time in A Different Light, a book about Hanukkah. Soon after I received the book from one of the authors in exchange for a copy of my CD, I read it from beginning to end and discovered the photograph, which made a strong impression on me.
Several months after I received the book, I spent Shabbat with friends of mine in a town near Jerusalem. At lunch, a woman at the table asked: “Has anyone ever seen the menorah at the home of the M. family? It appears in a famous photograph"—and she proceeded to describe the very same picture I had seen in the book. I couldn’t believe my ears. The M. family lived on the same street where I was staying, only a few houses away from my friends’ home.
After Shabbat I went to the M. family’s home and asked to see the menorah. The family graciously allowed me to look at it, touch it and hold it, and they told me its story.
Click to read the whole story
of the menorah.
Isn't it beautiful? The Nazi flag has come and gone and the swastika is in disgrace now, a symbol of Germany's moral darkness. The menorah is an eternal symbol of the survival of the Jewish people, the light unto the nations. As it should be.
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A helpful hint for Haloscan users on Blogspot
, Final Historian, Photios
and anyone else that uses Haloscan's trackbacks, listen up! There's this thing called trackback autodiscovery. It lets people with fancy-schmancy blogs who link to you automatically send you trackbacks without having to click on your trackbacks popup link and copy the url and paste it into the appropriate box in our entry, which is tedious make-work. Add this simple, tasty nugget of code
to your Blogger template, and those of us with Movable Type and WordPress blogs can send you trackbacks automatically when we link to one of your posts, instead of having to remember (and often forgetting) to do it manually. You can't screw this up, it's really easy.
UPDATE: you actually want to add this code in two places! One is inside the main front page block of code. The other is inside the ItemPage loop, which shows your individual page archive.Testing trackback autodiscovery to papijoe with this link. I did not manually put his trackback URL in, I'm trusting MT to find it.
Sweet. It worked!Testing trackback autodiscovery to Photios here
. It will probably work as his code looks ok...Yup!
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Update on Chip's son Alexander
Politics and Religion: Update: experts say "wait"
Update: experts say "wait"
So we do.
My son shows signs of brain activity beyond what the experts call "brain death". He seems to react minimally to some of the ignominious things the nurses do to him.
Our doctor thinks I witnessed the cause of some unexplained SIDS cases. The only sign anything was wrong was a seizure which consisted of a couple quick arm movements which looked like punches. Having studied my son for two months, I knew something was wrong. Within a couple seconds, his face turned blue. This, I've been told, is a classic symptom of a seizure. Instantaneous bluing of the face is not oxygen deprivation but the brain shutting down the blood flow to the face. The instant I saw blue I picked up the phone within arm's reach and dialed 911. I tried to talk to the 911 operator while giving my son mouth-to-mouth.
It was awful. The EMT's showed up in about fifteen hours (a couple minutes). Before they left the house I heard "full arrest". Nobody should ever have to hear that about their two month old son.
Thank you for all the kind words. I broke down when I read all the wonderful things everyone had to say yesterday.
If you've been praying, keep it up.
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Pakistan celebrates World Press Freedom Day in style
Ah, life in Musharraf's friendly dictatorship...
On a day when the country’s Prime Minister and Information Minister were reiterating their commitment to press freedom, the Pakistani police tried all it could to prevent angry journalists from marching towards the Prime Minister’s House where they wanted to press for their demands.
The members of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) had arranged a march outside the parliament house, on the World Press Freedom Day, to protest against the “exploitative tactics" by newspapers owners.
Surrounded by dozens of policemen and commandos, the journalists condemned their employers for using “coercive" tactics against working journalists and employing them on low wages.
“We will no longer tolerate injustices," a senior PFUJ member, C.R. Shamsi said, vowing to intensify struggle for better pay structure and working conditions for journalists.
Police came into action as soon as the journalists moved towards the Prime Minister House to register their protest. They manhandled the reporters and snatched their cameras and mobile phones before dumping nearly three dozens of them in to a police van to be detained.
The protesting journalists in the central city of Lahore met the similar fate when they tried to assemble outside the Governor House. Police also resorted to baton-charge when the demonstrators attempted to cross the blockade.
They also aren't exactly rolling in dough:
Leading journalists criticized the government for suppressing the rallies and adopting coercive measures to curb freedom of the press. Those arrested had demanded pay increases and the substitution of the daily-wage system with a contractual system.
The print media in Pakistan is one of the most under-paid professions in the country, with the journalists losing out in wage battles as the government sides with the publishers. In August 2001, the government increased minimum wages, but journalists were not allowed to benefit from the move. Another country-wide wage increase is scheduled for next year.
It was the third incident in recent times of journalists being attacked by police on orders from the government.
“These three incidents reflect upon the farce of [President] Musharraf’s moderate enlightenment and civil society," opposition leader Khawaja Asif told ISN Security Watch on Wednesday.
Can we treat our journalists this way too? Pretty please?
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Saddam Warns About Iran's Interference in Iraq
Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer yesterday accused unnamed Iranian-backed Iraqi politicians of plotting to assassinate the ousted dictator in his prison cell and held the United States responsible for his safety. Ziad Al-Khasawneh said he based his information on a message allegedly sent by a former Iraqi government official he identified as Hazem al-Obeidi addressed to Saddam's Jordan-based legal team and posted on a pro-Saddam Web site. "We have received information that certain political parties in Iraq supported by Iran are plotting to assassinate President Saddam Hussein," Al-Khasawneh said. It was not immediately possible to verify the warning's authenticity or identity of its sender. But Iraqi national security adviser Mouwafak Al-Rubaie scoffed at the accusations, describing them as a ploy to have Saddam moved to another country to face an international court. "They want to make it as an excuse to transfer Saddam Hussein outside the country for him to face an international tribunal instead of an Iraqi one," he told the AP in Baghdad.
The times have changed, blaming everything on Israel and America won't work anymore. So blame it on the Ayatollahs. Plot to assassinate Saddam: Lawyer
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Javier Solana Still Has 'Hope'
Mr. Solana appears from behind the curtains to respond to the opinion polls in Holland suggesting Dutch people will, just like the French, say NO to EU.
One of the reasons for the recent NO in Dutch opinion polls was a new financial report, suggesting that Dutch Central Bank manipulated the Euro-Guilders currency exchange rates, when they introduced Euro back in 2000.
It's not a real surprise if you live among the people. EU politicians however, seem to live in a complete different world and come outside of their palaces only to downplay the issues instead of admiting to the underlying decay of EU structure.
EU foreign policy representative Javier Solana, speaking after an opinion poll suggested the Netherlands could join France in rejecting the historic document, said the “no" vote was being fueled by protests over issues unrelated to the constitution.
“I think the debate for the moment... is not against the constitution or in favor of the constitution. It is much more about the situations which are collateral to the constitution", he told reporters.
“We hope that... as the constitution referendums get closer, people will get more focused about what the referendum is about".
EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner was more combatative. “We have to fight to the last both in France and in the Netherlands".
The comments came after a new opinion poll forecast that Dutch voters would reject the constitution by a 58 percent majority on June 1.
Those figures follow a long succession of opinion polls in France indicating a “no" in a May 29 referendum, in what is generally agreed would by itself be a killer blow to the document.
The constitution, which aims to prevent decision-making gridlock in the expanding EU, must be ratified by all 25 member states and a rejection by a major state such as France would stop the process in its tracks.
European Commission chief Jose-Manuel Barroso, speaking as EU foreign ministers haggled over medium-term budget plans, said it would make no sense to change plans.
“From a reasonable or rational point of view no one can expect the European Union... to stop, waiting for the last referendum to take place", he told reporters.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot also downplayed the new poll in his homeland.
“People are not stupid; they understand what is at stake, they will vote ‘yes’", he suggested, adding that recent Dutch opinion polls had been mixed and contradictory.
“What we are doing, the French government and the Dutch government, is giving the population the correct information and we’ll see as we give more information more people will vote yes".
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier meanwhile said that other EU states should continue to take steps to ratify the constitution, even if his country votes no.
Some have suggested that, since a French rejection will effectively kill the constitution, it would be pointless for other countries to continue to waste tax-payers’ money.
Others argue however that something may ultimately be saved even if the constitution itself is rejected.
“Implementation of the constitution requires ratification by each one of the EU’s 25 countries", said Barnier. “So we have to go through to the end with these processes of national ratification".
With so much disfunction and disarray in the high level of a political system, and leaders who are only trying to save their own political careers, I am reminded of only one thing: "Last Days of The Third Reich". EU downplays new poll gloom over constitution
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A notion of trust
On Holocaust Memorial Day, Caroline Glick reminds us where the blame lays.
The war made it clear that almost everybody agreed that the Jews had no right to live.
That goes straight to the bone.
Other people have some choice of options – their attention is solicited by this issue or that, and being besieged by issues they make their choices according to their inclinations. But for "the chosen" there is no choice. Such a volume of hatred and denial of the right to live has never been heard or felt, and the will that willed their death was confirmed and justified by a vast collective agreement that the world would be improved by their disappearance and their extinction.
– Saul Bellow, Ravelstein, 2000
Yom Hashoah is a day of collective Jewish mourning. We have other days when we mourn – most prominently Tisha Be'av, when we mourn the loss of the First and Second Temples and of our sovereignty.
As a day of mourning, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day is distinct in that it is not a fast day. We don't deny ourselves things on Yom Hashoah. We eat. We drink. We go to work.
There are explanations – handed to us by generations of rabbis – for the destruction of the ancient Kingdoms of Israel. We were persecuted back then by the Greeks and the Assyrians and the Romans, but we too played a role in our own destruction. We had some power over our fate.
The Holocaust was unique from those other catastrophes that befell us in just how little it had to do with the Jews. We were not actors in the Holocaust. We were objects acted upon by the nations of Europe which, as Bellow wrote, did in fact agree that it would not be too objectionable to anyone if the Germans were to go ahead and exterminate the Jewish people.
In March a dispute between Holocaust survivors and Yad Vashem generated a modicum of domestic media attention. It seems that Jews who saved other Jews want to be recognized by Yad Vashem in some way. These Jewish heroes – now approaching death – argued that since the non-Jews who saved Jews are recognized as Righteous Gentiles, they, who at much greater peril saved far more Jewish lives should also be distinguished officially for their valor.
Yad Vashem rejected their request explaining that from its perspective, a Jew acting heroically to save another Jew is obeying an existential imperative. The murder of one Jew is a wound that every other Jew absorbs. In contrast, the Christians who saved Jews in the Holocaust were exercising a choice. Therefore, said the officials at Yad Vashem, those Christians should be specifically and individually acknowledged for their efforts.
There is something telling in Yad Vashem's argument. It cuts to the heart of something that has nothing at all to do with the Holocaust. It speaks about what it means to be a Jew. We have a responsibility to our fellow Jews because the fortunes of all of us are connected inextricably with the fortunes of each individual Jew. Try as we might, there is nothing we can do to escape this reality.
BUT AGAIN, the Holocaust, in and of itself, tells us nothing about Jewish identity. It only tells us about the rest of the world. The Jews of Europe did not decide to die. They neither seized territory nor did they plant bombs in German cafes. The Holocaust was a German initiative, carried out by Germans and millions of collaborators from France to Greece to Poland to Lithuania. The decision to prevent the Jews' escape from Europe to the Land of Israel belonged to Britain.
The group that really ought to be taking the Holocaust to heart is not the Jews, but the Europeans who two generations ago descended to the depths of human depravity by either conducting the extermination of European Jewry or enabling it.
Sadly, Europe has avoided serious self-examination and instead has turned the Holocaust into a fetish. Holocaust memorials spring up like mushrooms after the rainfall throughout the continent. But what do they signify? A sop to Holocaust-obsessed Jews, they are used to teach Europeans that nationalism is bad. Speaking in 2000, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said, "The core of the concept of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance of power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states."
But this has nothing to do with the causes for the liquidation of European Jewry. It was not Polish or American nationalism that led to the Holocaust. The balance of power between Britain and France had nothing to do with the Holocaust. It was genocidal anti-Semitism, nurtured by 2000 years of Christian mythology, embraced by a post-Nietzschean Germany, and accepted relatively enthusiastically by the overwhelming majority of the rest of Europe that caused the Holocaust.
There is something deeply distasteful and viscerally disturbing about the spectacle of dozens of leaders of anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian governments coming together at Auschwitz or the UN General Assembly or Westminster Cathedral and self-righteously bowing their heads for our exterminated brothers and sisters. It is particularly odious given that the nihilistic moral relativism that played such a role in enabling the Holocaust remains the order of the day in the societies these leaders now govern.
Israel exists and Jewish communal organizations in the Diaspora exist both to cultivate Jewish life for the benefit of Jews, and to protect Jewish existence from manifestations of anti-Semitism. Jews cannot convince anti-Semites not to hate us anymore than a deer can convince a wolf not to hunt it. That work must be done by the societies that committed and enabled the Holocaust.
Israel has a duty to recall the Holocaust for what it means to the Jewish people to have lost a third of our members. But we have nothing to gain from joining the Europeans in their bizarre Holocaust rituals. It is neither our right nor our responsibility to wash Europe's hands of our brothers' blood.
Indeed, what that blood tells us most of all is that in the postwar world, we cannot allow ourselves to be enchanted by odes to brotherly love or utopian dreams. We can only defend ourselves, in our land, with our military and with our economic creativity, because the notion of trust perished at Auschwitz.
Our World: The Holocaust fetish
(thank you annie, a thimbleful of cognac to you)
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Designer pill bottles at Tarzhay
Target turns old pill bottle design on its head
Target pharmacies this month rolled out a flattened bottle with easier-to-read labels and plastic rings that can be color-coded for each family member.
To make it all fit, Target flipped the bottle on its head, so it rests on the cap, making the label that wraps over the top visible from above. A card with information about side effects slips into a slot aimed at keeping it with the pills. Bottles for liquids get a receptacle for oral syringes.
Besides reducing the chance of errors with medications, Target is hoping the redesigned bottles will help it grab customers from other pharmacies.
Don Downing, an associate professor in the University of Washington School of Pharmacy and a former pharmacy owner who has consulted on pharmacy safety, said it was "about time" the traditional pill bottle got an update. He said Target's redesign is the first by a national pharmacy in some 40 years.
The idea came from visual arts graduate student Deborah Adler after her grandmother Helen took pills belonging to her grandfather, Herman. They took the same medication, with different dosages. Adler said she realized the traditional pill bottles could be improved. She discovered that its last big change had been the addition of safety caps in the 1970s.
She first took her design to the Food and Drug Administration with an eye toward adopting a national standard. But she said she discovered that, besides the cap, the FDA regulates little about the bottle. So she went to Target, figuring a retailer known for design prowess would be receptive.
"I thought they, versus CVS or Wal-Mart would be more willing to take a risk and be innovative," she said.
They were. Target bought the design from Adler and kept her on as a consultant to tweak it.
"Before that, we never really thought much about medicine bottles. Obviously no one else did either," said Minda Gralnek, Target's creative director.
Target customers generally get their introduction to the new bottles by choosing a color-coded ring. In homes where more than one person has a prescription, the rings are intended to help family members keep their pills straight.
Richard Stone, picking up a couple of prescriptions at a Target in northeast Minneapolis on Monday, said he was all for the revamped bottles. He and his wife have three or four medications each, and the new bottles help, he said.
"I've got the blue, she's got the red. It makes it easier to tell which is which," he said.
Pat Howell, another customer, said she chose green for her prescription — to match her lime green Volkswagen Beetle. "It's my favorite color," she said. Plus, "They're much easier to use, and it's a lot easier to read."
Doris Partyka of Minneapolis said she likes how there is more information on the bottle itself. Before, the information was on a sheet of paper. "I'd rather have it on the bottle than on a big piece of paper that you used to lose," she said.
It's too bad her first idea was "I wonder if the government wants it!" but I'm glad she eventually found a private company willing to innovate. Hooray for (good) design! Oh, here's the picture:
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