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Smart Talk, June 17


Looking for a home

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was among the first to pile on long-time White House correspondent and columnist Helen Thomas, 89, who was widely criticized and ultimately retired for saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine." Huckabee said Thomas' remark was "outrageous, anti-Semitic, racist, indefensible" and told Thomas, "maybe it's time for you to go home." He cited the Bible as authority for Jewish settlements in Palestine. The U.S. and Israel endorse a two-state solution to the competing interests. But Huckabee says the Palestinians "can create their homeland in many other places in the Middle East." Get the hell out of Israel, in other words. So far, there hasn't been a similar outcry for the Fox News analyst to retire. Think Progress noted that Huckabee's Biblical citation on Jewish rights in the Middle East could mean expanding Israel to the entire area God promised to Abraham. That would include much of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Maybe it's time for you to go home to your tax haven in Florida, Huck.

Rubella makes a rare appearance

When a foreign visitor to the Walmart shareholders meeting in Fayetteville June 3 exhibited measles symptoms, health officials gave vaccinations to 142 people, mostly foreigners, as a precaution. It wasn't considered a serious health threat because high vaccination rates make the disease rare in the U.S. Last week, tests were completed and the Health Department announced that the foreign visitor had rubella and has recovered. No one else has been reported ill. Rubella is covered by the same vaccination that prevents mumps and measles. It has become so rare (only 16 cases in the U.S. in 2009) that it was the first known case in Arkansas in 10 years.

Marrying out

A new Pew Research Center poll found that 14.6 percent of all new marriages in 2008 were between spouses of a different race. That's up from 6.7 percent in 1980.

In Arkansas, that figure was slightly lower. Only 8 percent of newlyweds married a person of a different race or ethnicity. That's more than Mississippi (at 5 percent) but less than a state like Oregon (24 percent).

Researchers found education and location to be factors in "marrying out." The more educated you are, the more likely you are to marry someone outside of your race, although the differences are slight. About one in five of all newlyweds in Western states married someone of a different race in 2008. In the South, that figure was closer to one in eight.

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