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      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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The Doomsday Code

I noticed a common thread on twitter tonight was from adults who were brought up in evangelical families.  That’s because one of the “signs of the end” is that the world would turn against Israel.  Evangelicals operating within a zionist eschatological framework have been waiting for this as a sure sign that the rapture, tribulation and second coming are upon us.  Many of us who have had to tolerate this stuff for years have been aware of how dangerous this kind of thinking is.  The reason it’s dangerous is because these religious zealots will tolerate, and in some cases, even promote, all kinds of evil because the worse the world situation is, the nearer their own salvation.

George Bush starts a crazy war?  Sign of the end.

Israelis bomb Gazans to smithereens?  They’ll all start converting to Christianity pretty soon.

Plutocrats rob billions from innocent people, leaving them impoverished in their retirement years?  There’s nothing we can do to stop corruption.

It’s just a symptom of the evil system of things that we live in.  They actually seem to be glad of all the suffering because it means their own salvation is nigh and, anyway, anyone who dies before the tribulation gets a second chance!  Isn’t that wonderful??

No. It’s demented.  Let’s not kid ourselves and be respectful of these lunatic beliefs that have the potential to propagate evil behavior without any checks.

If any of you are interested in learning about the Doomsday Code and why your Christian neighbor is looking especially anxious and giddy this week, look no further than this comprehensive documentary by Tony Robinson. Robinson has a thorough understanding of the code and spells out what it means to the rest of us towards the end of the video.  It’s long but it will tell you all you need to know and what the end timers are looking for in the near future. Why, Yes!, it is scary as all get out even if it is selfish, wishful thinking on the part of some very misguided people.  Imagine having the living daylights scared out of you 24/7 when you were a kid.  These people are not safe, their religion is more unhinged than Scientology and there are a lot of them in America.

Enjoy!

 

Why hasn’t anyone asked…

… why uber rich campaign donors don’t pay their taxes with that campaign money?

Take Sheldon Adelson, please.

Sheldon has pledged $100,000,000 to help Romney’s campaign. Sheldon is a pro-Israel supporter who thinks that Israel has fallen apart since 2008 because of something the Obama administration has done.

Not true. Israel is falling apart because the more powerful Israeli political parties have been making crazy deals with the super ultra orthodox Jews in order to form a ruling coalition. These religious Jews on steroids don’t like women to sing in public and refuse to put their time in with the Israeli Defense Force. They’ve become the Israeli version of the American quiverful movement. Yeah, wrap your head around that concept. That would be like Obama and Romney making nice to Michelle Duggar and her friends. I’m sorry, the Duggars don’t have friendships, they have fellowships. Different concept altogether. You stick with your friends through thick and thin, but you can dump your fellows whenever their womenfolk raise their hemlines to the bottom of their kneecaps or cut their hair. I can assure you that the Duggars would drop their fellows in the blink of an eye if any of them didn’t adhere to their strict lifestyle choices.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, in the US, you might see the political parties not being quite so enthusiastic about supporting women’s rights to make her own reproductive decisions or even get a decent job in the little Depression. Women might be encouraged to get married or stay home instead of work or poverty might be blamed on women refusing to marry. Have we seen anything like that in the NYTimes?

In America, the effect is more diffuse. In Israel, it’s a lot more obvious because it’s a much smaller country. In Israel, your minister of health can refuse to hand an award to the woman who won it because the Jewish fundies might have a fit. Women might be discouraged from speaking in public. Or singing. You could have men in the IDF refusing to serve with women. You could have men spitting on little girls for not dressing modestly. The Jewish fundies also reproduce like rabbits. And because their numbers are increasing disproportionately in a country that can’t dilute their political strength, the other parties are having an increasingly difficult time working with them.

In THIS country, it is possible to dilute the fundie strength but we won’t for some reason. Yes, we still cling to the concept that the Duggaresque evangelical patriarchalists are admirable for their piety and respected because they hide their anti-everyoneelseism behind their worship of a Judeo-Christian diety (who biblical scholars know is an amalgamation of mesopotamian and canaanite deities. And let’s not even get started on Noah’s flood). We’re all supposed to feel guilty and dirty because we can’t live up to their vision of heavenly perfection and rely entirely on our own, while the Duggars themselves live in a socialist microcosm of their own making. And yet, they get a disproportionate amount of attention. You’d think the whole mid section of the country is going quiverful even as many quiverful women are getting the hell out of Dodge. It’s just not true that Americans are craving 12-20 children and summers without shorts or bathing suits. If anything, Americans, especially young Americans are turning away from fundamentalism and religion. How ya’ going to keep’em down on the farm after they’ve seen the Internet?

The Duggars seem to represent a certain mindset of smug, condescending selfishness that that is enviable. There is no shame in Duggaresque selfishness because they are covered by god. They sure seem self-sufficient. I’m sure the Discovery Channel pays them nothing {{eyes rolling}}. And because they are so insular with their friends, er, fellows, and community, it looks like they are in a different world even if they live in America. In their world, they don’t drive down roads that are paid by Arkansans or Americans. Those are Duggar roads. And they don’t get medical care or goods and services from people who were educated in public schools. Those people just pop up out of nowhere and do things for the Duggars when they’re needed. They’re like the people who inhabit the Necessary Room at Hogwarts. There when they’re needed, gone when they’re not. They don’t really exist with needs of their own. So the Duggars don’t have to worry about the effect of their anti-tax politics are on those non-existent people.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, Sheldon Adelson. So, Sheldon thinks that Mitt is going to do a better job of protecting and defending and carrying out Israeli foreign policy here in the US than Obama. I’ve always wondered about politicians who represent Israel in government. I mean, is that legal? Don’t they take an oath to defend the US and its constitution and antiquated notions like that? And besides, don’t we already do enough for Israel? We’re already kinda on the hook for defending it against its enemies. We’d turn any country that tried to nuke Israel into a glass parking lot. Isn’t that understood and hasn’t it been since people Obama and my age were little kids?

So, what more does Sheldon want? Says Sheldon:

Adelson, like other members of his family, had been a Democrat. But, as his wealth grew, he began to favor tax-averse Republican economic policies. He argued to an associate recently, “Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?” Three years ago, at an event in Washington, D.C., celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Adelson, who was being honored that evening, told the audience about the time he had spent with William Bush, the brother of George H. W. Bush, during the 1988 election. “He explained to me what Republicanism was all about . . . so I got to learn about it and I switched immediately!” Adelson said. But it was only after he went to war against the union that he became so partisan. He began donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican National State Election Committee.

Oo! Oo! Sheldon I have the answer to your question about why taxes should be coming out of your hide. It’s because that’s where the money is! You’re sitting on it. You could pay people more but it seems like you don’t like doing that and you really don’t like unions. You as an individual can’t spend all the billions of dollars you have on yourself. It’s just not possible. And you didn’t earn all that cash. You just happen to be the one collecting it.

So it doesn’t really have anything to do with Israel. But make no mistake, Sheldon is a lot like the American quiverful evangelicals. He also doesn’t recognize the people around him as being necessary. They just come and go, they serve him things and whisk those things away. They’re silent and efficient.

When Sheldon makes a donation to a Republican’s campaign, it never occurs to him that that $100,000,000 might be better spent making sure the silent and efficient ones can get to work and feed their families so they can continue to wait on him.

$100,000,000 could buy a lot of textbooks, math teachers and hot school lunches, vaccinations, tooth fillings and asthma medications, pothole patches, bridge repairs and policemen. But Sheldon doesn’t want to share with people who are not his fellows. He can’t control them.

He’d rather give that money to politicians.

**************************

Sarah Silverman has an offer Sheldon can’t refuse:

Um, don’t give your money to Obama either, Sheldon. Just pay your f^&*ing taxes. That’s all we ask.

Monday: The instapaper queue

Turkey Tetrazzini for dinner? hmmm...

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?  Did everyone get enough to eat?  I brought the desserts this year and much to my surprise, no one in my family likes Lemon Meringue but me.  I’m not complaining but I did find it weird when my sister told me that it was a summer pie and why didn’t I know that??  Not to fear, we had pumpkin as well.  And a custard fruit tart brought by someone else that was also delicious.  It went fast.

My sister and her husband are into this foodsaver gadget and they shrinkwrapped the leftovers into neat little packages.  I have to get one of those suckers.  They gave me a package of turkey (white meat, yummmm) to take home with me.  Guess what’s for dinner tonight?

Anyway, I have a lot to do today.  I need to finish reading some papers, return a coat I decided I could live without and basically take care of some other stuff that I’ve been putting off.  So, I thought I’d let you in on my instapaper queue.  For those of you not familiar with instapaper, it’s an app/utility that allows you to save links to interesting webpages so that you end up with something like your own frontpage.  It comes with a button that you put on your browser bar and when you see something you want to read later, you just click on “read later” and it saves it to your instapaper account.  Later, you can peruse your links at your leisure.  Highly recommended.  They even have a Browse section of recommended links of things you may be interested in reading based on your current selections.

So, here’s a few things in my instapaper queue:

How do you define who’s homeless during a recession?  The Atlantic

All the Angry People- The New Yorker

Estee Lauder Heirs Tax Strategies Typify Advantages for Weathy- The New York Times (I guess they don’t need my money after all.  Did you know that Estee Lauder owns Clinique, M.A.C., and Origins as well?)

Team Obama Gears Up for 2012 – The New York Times (This one is unsettling.  Milk Bars and droogs come to mind)

So, What did Lipitor do for Pfizer? Or its Shareholders?- In the Pipeline (Or, “How the finance MBA executive class screwed the pooch in pharma, destroyed research, set the shareholders up for HUGE losses later and made the entire world hate drug discovery’s guts”  It’s hard to believe a group of arrogant, hierarchical Ivy League educated individuals could botch things this badly but it’s become clear to me that the Democrats have been taking lessons from them.)

More Parents are Opting out of Vaccines – The Atlantic  (Did you know that Raold Dahl’s 7 year old daughter Olivia died from encephalitis because she was not vaccinated against measles?  True story.  It’s hard to believe there are selfish, ignorant and arrogant parents out there who would expose other very young children to that because they won’t vaccinate their own kids.  It’s immoral.)

The Branding of the Occupy Movement- The New York Times (There’s a better article on Kalle Lasn somewhere but I neglected to instapaper it.  Try The New Yorker, New York Magazine or The Atlantic)

Payroll Tax Cut will Top Political Theater- Roll Call (yes, Virginia, they *are* still playing games instead of raising taxes on the rich)

Iran: We’ll Fire 150,000 Missiles at Israel if attacked- YNet (and we’ll turn Iran into a smoking cinder if it does.  I think there was a cold war term for that)

Pakistanis burn Obama in Effigy and US Flag- Sky News Australia (Ok, now I think we know why we have marines stationed in Australia.)

Cozy Winter Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli– The Kitchn (Apartment Therapy)

Charge Separation in Molecules Consisting of Two Identical Atoms: Size Matters – Science Daily (For the hard core polarity fans)

Finally, here’s a video on Pittsburghese, which is a distinct American dialect.  The host of this video is fresh, energetic and cute, but her accent is not anywhere near as heavy as my cousins’.  Still, if you ever wondered what it meant to “red up your house”, pay attention.

She forgot to say “keller” when she really means “color”.  And is it “UM-brella” or “umBRELLa”?

Finally, “Physician, Heal Thyself”.  Digby is absolutely right about dehumanization but it’s really odd that she and the rest of the left had no problem with it when the 2008 elections made old, uneducated, unattractive, working class, racist, latently Republican, menopausal women out of Hillary Clinton voters.  I mean, when you think of them *that* way, no wonder the Obama hooligans piled on.  Who wants to sit at that lunch table?  Dehumanizing those voters made it a lot easier to ignore their votes and violate their delegates with harrassment and threats at the convention.  They almost deserved it. Right, Digby?  Right, Duncan?  Right, Jay?  If you don’t take your own side to task for acting like flaming assholes, then others might find your newfound concern with “dehumanization” a bit hypocritical.  It was an election with far-reaching consequences not only to the economy but to voting in general. (Didn’t you guys ever figure out why Obama is ignoring his voting base now?  The answer is that you let him get away with it in 2008 so he knows he can do it again.) You guys should have been a lot more vigilant.

(No, I am not going to get over it.  If it were Howard Dean’s voters who got the Hillary treatment, you’d be all over this for decades to come. “Oh, but they’re different”, you’ll say. Exactly.  I rest my case.  “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere”.  Also, Karma is a bitch.)

Friday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians! It’s been a long week for me. I’ve been trying to get caught up from missing a week of work for my dad’s funeral. Thank goodness the semester is almost over. But I must say, we had some beautiful spring weather in the Boston area this week. Today it’s cooler and overcast–a good day to stay inside and get some work done–or maybe read a good book.

So what’s in the news today? I couldn’t find much in the mainstream media about the two stories that have affected me most this week: President Obama’s order to kill a U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and the massacre of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops in 2007, recently seen in a video released by Wikileaks. But Democracy Now has good coverage of both stories.

Here is their video discussion of the al-Awaki story: Is the CIA Assassination Order of a US Citizen Legal?

Spencer Ackerman also writes about the story in the Washington Independent: Are Anwar al-Awlaki’s Ties to 9/11 Strong Enough for the Government to Kill Him?

And here is Glenn Greenwald’s latest post on our war criminal King President. (WARNING: it includes praise and video of Keith Olbermann).

CNN reports that al-Awlaki’s father is begging the U.S. government to allow him to talk to his son before they blow him off the face of the earth without a trial.

The elder al-Awlaki, an agricultural economist, said he was “distressed and disappointed” to learn that his son had been singled out for killing or capture.

“What they have decided is to hunt for Anwar al-Awlaki and kill him by a drone as they do every day in Pakistan. I think this kind of policy will only make the U.S. look more ugly to Muslims all over the world,” he said.

“The U.S. is a powerful country and has the means to reach anyone anywhere in the world, but is killing people — and especially American citizens — without legal justification the right way to show American justice and power? I think not.”

It turns out that Democracy Now covered the 2007 helicopter massacre of Iraqi civilians the day after it happened. I highly recommend watching the entire episode and got reactions from witnesses at the scene. Thank goodness we still have a few independent news sources like Democracy Now!

Finally we are seeing some justice for people murdered by “law enforcement officers” in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Judge in Danziger case sickened by ‘raw brutality of the shooting and the craven lawlessness of the cover-up’

A New Orleans police officer who fired his gun at civilians on the Danziger Bridge a week after Hurricane Katrina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, offering a chilling account of what transpired on the bridge that early September day in 2005.

The seven officers were charged on an array of murder and attempted-murder charges.
Michael Hunter, 33, became the first officer who actually participated in the shooting to enter a guilty plea. Two investigators have already confessed to playing roles in a wide-ranging cover-up of the police shooting, which injured four unarmed civilians and left two men dead.

Hunter, who resigned last week after he was charged in federal court, contends that fellow officers shot at people they should have seen were unarmed. The account of events Hunter signed Thursday afternoon, called a factual basis, provides the most specific details to date about officers’ actions on the bridge, which spans the Industrial Canal at Chef Menteur Highway.

Hunter, 33, said a New Orleans police sergeant fired an assault rifle at wounded civilians at close range after other officers stopped shooting and after it was clear that the police were not taking fire. He also says he saw another officer in a car fire a shotgun at a fleeing man’s back, although the man did nothing suggesting he was a threat to police. That man, 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who was severely mentally disabled, died of his wounds.

As part of his plea, Hunter also acknowledged taking part in a conspiracy with colleagues to conceal the circumstances of what he considered an unjustified shooting. At one point, in a meeting with other officers, a supervisor said “something to the effect of, we don’t want this to look like a massacre,” the court document says.

Also down in New Orleans, the Republicans are holding a “Southern Leadership Conference,” and Newt Gingrich is the man of the moment. He supposedly “made a rock star’s entrance,” and then gave “a self-assured address peppered with historical allusions.” Here are some highlights:

Democrats in Washington, he said, had put together a “perfect unrepresentative left-wing machine dedicated to a secular socialist future.”

Mr. Obama is “the most radical president in American history,” Gingrich said. “He has said, ‘I run a machine, I own Washington, and there is nothing you can do about it.'”

“What we need is a president, not an athlete,” Gingrich said during a question and answer period after his speech. He added: “Shooting three point shots may be clever, but it doesn’t put anybody to work.”

Gingrich discussed passage of the health care bill, saying the “decisive” election of Sen. Scott Brown sent a message that Democrats decided to ignore in order to “ram through” the bill against the wishes of the American people.

“The longer Obama talks the less the American people believe him,” Gingrich said, citing the decline in poll numbers for the health care bill as the president kept trying to sell it to the public.

Gingrich said that when Republicans take back the House and Senate in the midterm elections they should “refuse to fund” the administration’s proposals, drawing huge applause from the crowd.

{Yawn…}

Politico notes that there was no mention of Katrina at the “Leadership Conference.”

As for the Democrats, the latest Gallup Poll shows that

Americans’ favorable rating of the Democratic Party dropped to 41% in a late March USA Today/Gallup poll, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure. Favorable impressions of the Republican Party are now at 42%, thus closing the gap between the two parties’ images that has prevailed for the past four years.

Gallup last measured party images in late August/early September of last year. At that point, the Democratic Party enjoyed an 11-point favorable image advantage over the Republican Party. Now, the favorable ratings of the two parties are essentially tied.

Lots of graphs at the Gallup link.

MABlue posted this story in the comments last night: Power Struggle: Inside the Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party If you ask me, it’s far too late. The Democratic Party already sold it’s soul to the devil–cheap.

I hate this story. It just makes me so angry!

To prevent Constance McMillen from bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a “fake prom” while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn’t much to keep an eye on.

“They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen says. “The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”
Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

Shame on the Itawamba County School District in Jackson, Mississippi and the parents who brought up the bigoted kids who shut out a young girl because she’s gay. They make me sick to my stomach. Here is another more positive story about this situation.

The West Virginia coal mining disaster continues: Crews unable to search West Virginia coal mine on Friday

Toxic gas kept rescue crews out of a West Virginia mine on Thursday and that appears to be the case already on Friday morning.

Rescue teams had to stop searching the coal mine where four people are believed to be trapped. Search crews got to a refuge chamber where they hoped the missing miners would be, but were forced to turn back when they found signs of fire and smoke. It now looks like rescue teams will not be able to physically search the mine.

But don’t worry, because Massey Energy, the owners of the unsafe mine where 25 men are confirmed dead and four more are missing and presumed dead, will make up for lost revenues by forcing workers at their other mines produce more coal.

The accident at the UBB mine in West Virginia was one of the deadliest at a U.S. coal mine in recent years. The mine, owned by Massey’s Performance Coal subsidiary, is about 30 miles south of the state capital Charleston.

Massey Energy said in the filing that it had third-party insurance coverage that applies to litigation risk.

“We believe this coverage will apply to litigation that may stem from the UBB explosion.”

The UBB mine has had three fatalities since 1998 and has a worse-than-average injury rate over the last 10 years, according to federal records.

I don’t quite understand what this is about: Israel’s PM Cancels Nuclear Summit Trip

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called off his trip to Washington next week to attend a conference on the spread of nuclear weapons, officials in his office said Thursday night, fearing Israel would be singled out over its own nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu had said he would attend the conference to underline the dangers of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, but suddenly called off the trip less than two days after he announced he would take part.

Army Radio reported that US sources informed Israel that a group of participating Arab countries led by Turkey and Egypt plan to use the summit to demand that Israel sign the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and allow its alleged nuclear capabilities to be placed under international inspection.

Perhaps it is related to the following story: Obama’s New Policy : All Israeli Nuclear Workers Now Refused US Visas‏

I hope someone more knowledgeable can enlighten me about this. I’m curious.

So what are you reading this morning? Post your links in the comments, and have a fabulous Friday!!

Thursday Morning at The Confluence: Browsing at Nini’s Corner

Nini's Corner Newstand, Harvard Square

Nini's Corner Newstand, Harvard Square

In your mind’s eye, join me for a leisurely morning browse through the Nini’s Corner newstand in Harvard Square. Before the internet, it was great place to find local, national, and international newspapers and periodicals. For now the monsoons have stopped and Harvard Square is warm, sunny, and welcoming. We can buy a selection of newspapers, grab a cup of coffee and a muffin, and find a comfortable place to sit outdoors and catch up on what’s happening in the world. Many thanks to MABlue for sending along some recommended links.

Sotomayor Confimation Hearings

Legal experts’ views on the Sotomayor hearing

At Stake in Hearings Are Post-Sotomayor Nominations

After three days of testimony, Judge Sotomayor appeared to have made no major mistakes that would jeopardize her confirmation in a Senate dominated by Democrats. So both sides are trying to use the Judiciary Committee hearings to define the parameters of an acceptable nomination in case another seat opens up during Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Charlie Savage is such a good reporter–a real throwback.

Franken Stumps Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was breezing through her third day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee when she was tripped up by, of all people, the junior senator from Minnesota, Al Franken.

The comedian, in his second week on the job, noted that Sotomayor had, earlier in the day, said she was inspired to become a prosecutor by watching “Perry Mason,” who, in all his TV episodes, lost only one case to the nefarious Hamilton Burger. Franken’s question was deft and devastating: “What was the one case in ‘Perry Mason’ that Burger won?”

For the first time all week, the future justice was stumped.

[….]

“Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?” he asked with incredulity.

I remember that case. But I think Perry Mason won it on appeal.

Coburn might have some “splaining to do”

Of Pride and Prejudice: Latinos celebrate a milestone that Judge Sotomayor’s critics struggle to understand (h/t MABlue) Continue reading

Sunday: Israel/Palestine rears its ugly head again

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947  How far back will we go?

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947 This map?

The issue that caused the “Great Schism” on The Confluence (or the excuse anyway) is back in the news.  Rahm Emanuel has signaled to the Israelis that there will be conditions on our support.  From Mid-East Peace Pulse:

Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; “In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister.”

He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place.”Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory,” the paper reports Emanuel as saying.  In other words, US sympathy for Israel’s position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel’s willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Obama is also not going to be taking last minute invitations to have a talk over drinks with the Israeli Prime Minister next time he’s in DC for an AIPAC conference.  Our protection of Israel from the Persian meanies in Iran seems to be contingent on Netanyahu bargaining in good faith. (H/T Corrente)  Plus, Obama is easing up on restrictions of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.  I’m not sure how far the pendulum should swing in this regard.  After all, Hamas has links to terrorism and Israeli’s do have a legitimate concern for their safety.

Or this one?  Pick one quickly.  We havent got all day.

Or this post 1967 one? Pick quickly. We haven't got all day.

On the other hand, electing an right winger like Netanyahu sounds like an attempt by Israelis to move the Overton window as far hardline as possible in anticipation of a change in US policy.  Maybe they think they can reach some homeostasis by pushing ferociously back to where they started at the end of the Bushie administration.   But it looks like the US is saying the jig is up and we will be expecting compliance from Israel for a two state solution regardless of who is prime minister.  I have a feeling that recitations of past horrors inflicted on the Jewish people may be met with “Tell it to the chaplain”.  There may be an expiration date on emotionalism.  Israelis can still make legitimate claims about the threat of terrorism but inhumanity cuts both ways these days.

Sounds like Hillary and George Mitchell have their work cut out for them.

In other news:

From the files of No $%@! Sherlock, it has come to the attention of some Washingtonians on the Democratic side that Obama is not a fighter:

Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date — on budget items, for instance — are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight?

“The thing we still don’t know about him is what he is willing to fight for,” said Leonard Burman, an economist at the Urban Institute and a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. “The thing I worry about is that he likes giving good speeches, he likes the adulation and he likes to make people happy.”

So far, he said, “It’s hard to think of a place where he’s taken a really hard position.”

In some of his earliest skirmishes, Mr. Obama eventually chose pragmatism over fisticuffs.

So funny that the left blogosphere worked so hard to push back the Republicans and elect Democrats who would finally act like Democrats and what did we end up with for a President?  A shmoozer who hijacked the Democratic party and has jettisoned all that Democratic stuff to ride out four years of the worst economic crisis we’ve seen since the Great Depression by catering to the Blue Dogs.  It sounds like some Democrats in the party who caved to the Obama faux juggernaut last year are starting to realize that he is going to seriously damage the party’s reputation.

Obama has taken a pragmatic approach because he doesn’t want to get into a partisan fight- with his own party.  This man has been given every opportunity to turn around the hardass, mean-spirited policies of the Bushies and he chooses to sit on his hands and deal pragmatically.  Where is the big Change™ agent?

Markos Moulitsas has a lot of explaining to do.

Thursday: Where in the world is Hillary Clinton?

SOS Clinton with Shimon Peres- Caption this picture

SOS Clinton with Shimon Peres- Caption this picture

Our intrepid Secretary of State is hitting her stride this week with visits to the middle east and Europe.  You can follow her itinerary using this Google interactive map.  Yesterday, she met with Mahmoud Abbas and declared our commitment to a two state solution as well as recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate Palestinian government:

“The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.”

She has been meeting with government officials in Israel as well to reopen the borders with Gaza to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid.  And while she has affirmed our “unshakable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel”, she has also been critical of the efforts of the mayor of Jerusalem who has been tearing down houses belonging to Palestinians.  Such efforts are “unhelpful” to the peace process.

The photos of these meetings are remarkable as a study in gender roles and how she seems to be throwing the book away in that regard.  She looks confident, uses direct eye contact, appears to be fully engaged and isn’t afraid to break down the physical barrier between people.

Hillary and George Mitchell in Israel

Hillary and George Mitchell in Israel

I can remember some anthropologist’s study of Congress from years back.  The researcher was able to pick out the alpha Congresscritters by watching how many people came up to them and touched them.  It sounds weirdly primitive.  Can we see the same kind of phenomenon with Hillary Clinton?  The NYTimes had a picture of her meeting with Mahmoud Abbas where the two are very much within one another’s space bubble.  But it looks comfortable and collegial, not pushy.  What I think we are witnessing is the next evolutionary stage in winning the gender wars.  Hillary is a self-actualized *person*.  Maybe this has been the issue with people who have had to deal with her in the past and have become her worst enemies.  She doesn’t appear to operate in gender space as much as person space.  That kind of thing can be profoundly disconcerting to others who are operating within prescribed gender boundaries formed by years of conditioning.   It might be the case that Hillary looks so comfortable in Israel because the culture has had to put aside gender in the political realm in order to survive.  They have had successful female leaders in the past and could very well have them again.

We’ll get there too someday.  Sometimes evolution happens rapidly.  By physically demonstrating the characteristics of leadership, Hillary may be our catalyst.

In other news:

Planet Money has an interesting interview with Sean West of the Eurasia Group who seems to be a WORMy type.  His argument is that Obama and Geithner are politically savvy.  They are trying to make everyone think they aren’t nationalizing the banks when they really are.  That whole thing where they swapped $45 billion in preferred stock for $5 billion in common stock and an agreement that the US wouldn’t have a controlling share in Citigroup?  It was all a wiley political trick, says West.  They are cleverly fooling the bankers into taking our money so that we can make them think we aren’t owning them by not insisting on anything in return.  Damn, they’re geniuses!  I never would have figured that out.  And I guess that Sean West sounds like a kool-ade drinker and administration apologist out of the goodness of his heart.  It probably has nothing to do with who pays his salary.  Hokey-dokey!

Barbara Bush has a heart? Who knew?

Glycerol monolaurate blocks AIDS infection in monkeys.