When the Supreme Court decided on June 13 that unaltered human DNA cannot be patented, it was more than a victory for cancer patients and corporate rivals in the field of genetics; it was a reason to celebrate for Dr. Wayne Grody, a professor at UCLA School of Medicine who assisted in the case that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought against Myriad Genetics.
As local pro-Israeli and pro-Arab groups hold ever larger and more heated demonstrations, relations among Los Angeles Muslim and Jewish groups threaten to go into a deep freeze. In one reflection of the changing climate, a longtime Jewish member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has blasted the group's local chapter for planning to honor a Muslim activist whom he characterizes as an anti-Israeli propagandist.
At first blush it seemed an odd thing for an observant Jew to do: Slogging my way through morning rush-hour traffic to get downtown to demonstrate against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' decision to remove a small cross from the county seal.
And yet, I felt compelled to be there. The supervisors had already capitulated, in a 3-2 vote, to a threat by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to sue the county over the cross. Surprised by the public outcry, the supervisors called for another vote to consider a so-called "compromise" with the ACLU in which the cross on the seal -- just one of a dozen various symbols of the region's history -- would be replaced by a mission. But as one clever observer noted, a mission without a cross just looks like a Taco Bell.