Time Magazine writes about India’s resurgence of polio. It’s a good tale of the disastrous consequences of religious fundamentalism combined with mistrust of science: polio was on its way to global eradication in 2001, when clerics in northern Nigeria spread a rumor that the polio vaccine was an American conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. Now a similar rumor is spreading in Uttar Pradesh:
This year’s polio outbreak has been concentrated in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, home to over 170 million people. It is here, say health workers, that a few ultraconservative Muslim clerics have spread a myth that the polio vaccine is part of an underhanded campaign to sterilize Muslim children and lower the Muslim birth rate. Dr Hamid Jafari, the regional advisor for the World Health Organization (WHO) on polio eradication, says that the majority of Uttar Pradesh’s Muslims have got their children vaccinated, but, “in certain places, fatwas have been issued against the vaccine.” In those places, Muslims have stopped state health workers from entering their houses and administering the polio vaccine, which is administered orally, to their children.
The coalition government in Palestine that I talked about seems increasingly like a pipedream. A protest by public servants who hadn’t been paid in months turned into a series of clashes between Hamas and Fatah.
Tensions between supporters of the nationalist Palestinian Fatah and the Islamic Hamas erupted into bloody clashes in which 12 people were killed and as many as 150 were wounded in the past three days.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas tried to calm the situation and hostilities seem to have ebbed, but it is not clear for how long.
“It is a civil war,” said former Fatah minister Kadurah Fares.
With any luck, Israel will realize that ending the occupation won’t compromise its security, and, hopefully, the lack of a unifying external enemy won’t cause Palestine to completely fracture.
Russ Feingold calls it like it is about the recent anti-civil liberties legislation. He’s delightful to read because on the one hand, he doesn’t use hyperbolic terms like “suspension of the Constitution” or conspiracy theories about canceled elections, but on the other, he makes it clear why the bills are only for people who hate freedom.
Under this legislation, some individuals, at the designation of the executive branch alone, could be picked up, even in the United States, and held indefinitely without trial and without any access whatsoever to the courts. They would not be able to call upon the laws of our great nation to challenge their detention because they would have been put outside the reach of the law.
That is unacceptable, and it almost surely violates our Constitution. But that determination will take years of protracted litigation.
I still can’t find the source of the rough quote, “We can pass unconstitutional laws faster than the courts can overturn them,” but if there’s any place it applies, it’s here.