Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Immigrant Offspring: Correspondent and Queen

Helen Thomas and Queen Noor were in the news this week, American women of Middle East descent making career moves.

Thomas, who has annoyed ten presidents with questions at White House press conferences, made the mistake of answering one herself and ended up unemployed shortly before her 90th birthday.

Her Majesty, nee Lisa Halaby of Washington, widow of Jordan's King Hussein, was in Hollywood to promote a movie she helped make with Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" producers warning about nuclear proliferation.

An octogenarian journalist's compassion goes out to Thomas, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, despite her telling people of my birth to "get the hell out of Palestine" and relocate to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else."

Making such a remark to two men with microphones wearing yarmulkes is surely more a sign of senior misjudgment than vicious anti-Semitism, but the demands of political correctness have led to White House denunciation and Thomas' banishment after more than half a century of hard work as a journalist.

Unlike Thomas, Queen Noor was born to American wealth and privilege a generation later, her father a Deputy Defense Secretary for Truman who became head of Pan American Airways and later JFK's head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Stripped of her role as Queen Mother after her husband's death, the former Ms. Halaby has spent her widowhood working for good causes, including the best of all--avoiding global devastation by the spread of nuclear weapons.

As she goes about promoting the movie, "Countdown to Zero," the former Queen is subjecting herself to previously inexperienced indignities, mostly notably this weekend an interview with smarmy Bill Maher.

But no price is too high to help keep the world from blowing up.

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