In reply to my question about Darren Aronofsky directing Noah, our own Dave Swindle says, “Darren Aronofsky Should Direct Everything.”
Well, if you’re going to go that far… yeah, I can’t argue.
I need to be blunt.
What the hell is wrong with us?
Did we learn nothing from Fort Hood? (Apparently at CNN they did not.)
We send our men and women overseas armed to the teeth with miniature drones and smart rifles and stealth fighters and guided-missile destroyers and armored fighting vehicles.
And then we bring them home and we force them to disarm.
We learned on that September morning 12 years ago that the front line in this war isn’t over there, it’s over here.
Yet we insist — insist — on making our fighting men and women sitting ducks here at home. We ask them to defend us, but refuse to allow them to defend themselves. We treat them like criminals, or even worse, like residents of Chicago.
Twelve are dead today who shouldn’t be. And they must be the last who die this way, warriors unarmed.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, senior officials leak how they desperately tried to talk Obama out of his “head-spinning reversal” on airstrikes and his decision to go to Congress. “He received swift — and negative — responses from his staff,” the Journal reports. National security adviser Susan Rice, we learn, warned that “he risked undermining his powers as commander in chief.” Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “also raised concerns.” But Obama ignored their advice and “took the gamble anyway.”
One of the Democrats’ historic strengths is that they don’t tell on their own. We still haven’t gotten the definitive insider account of the Clinton years, and likely never will. But you have to wonder if this will hold true for Wiggleroom, because stories like these indicate that a lot of people are wanting to put a lot of visible space in between themselves and their feckless, amateur boss.
Picture warnings on cigarette packets depicting the dangers of smoking make little impact on teenage smokers, a study suggests.
The UK introduced the images, which depict things such as diseased lungs and heart surgery, in 2008.
But the Stirling University study, which involved 2,800 children, found the images have had almost no effect on deterring 11 to 16-year-old smokers.
Smoking used to be seen as cool, and lots of young people (who became older people) smoked. Now it’s seen as kind of sad, and far fewer young people smoke. So do a lot fewer older people. In certain subcultures smoking is still seen as cool, and more of those people smoke. It’s pretty much that simple. Cultural change works, hectoring and nannying don’t.
As for gruesome images, kids do think those are cool. I filled my teen years watching classic movies like I Dismember Mama and The Incredible Melting Man precisely because they were gruesome.
And here it is:
The U.S. auto industry has shifted into high gear with new-car buyers snapping up vehicles last month at a pace not seen since before the financial crisis.
Low interest rates and slow-but-steady job growth are encouraging consumers to trade in cars and trucks that average about 11 years old, say auto makers, which are adding production capacity and overnight shifts to satisfy demand.
The age of the fleet is a big driver (ahem) here, after the recession killed new car sales and Cash for Clunkers drove up prices for used cars.
Looks like Lamar Alexander just picked up a major Tea Party primary challenger in the person of popular Tennessee radio host Ralph Bristol.
Look for the official announcement tomorrow morning.
As the death toll continues to rise in Egypt, most voters don’t think the United States should continue to provide military and financial aid to the country. Belief among U.S. voters that Egypt will become a peaceful and democratic nation in the near future has diminished since the Arab Spring in 2011.
Just 18% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the United States should continue providing military and financial aid to Egypt, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-four percent (54%) say the United States should not continue this aid.
What are the odds the White House, or even Congress, will listen?
Here’s the Majority Leader on Las Vegas television:
Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.
When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
Translation: All your care belong to us.
You’ve got to give credit where it’s due, even when its due to the most criminally negligent (or just plain criminal) and corrupt Attorney General in decades. So here’s a tip of the hat from me to Eric Holder:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is set to announce Monday that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with no ties to gangs or large-scale drug organizations will no longer be charged with offenses that impose severe mandatory sentences.
The new Justice Department policy is part of a comprehensive prison reform package that Holder will reveal in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco, according to senior department officials.
How does that save lives? By not putting decent, salvageable kids into the prison system, where they learn how to become career criminals. Assuming they live that long.
Besides, mandatory sentencing was always a bad idea. It sure seemed smart back in the ’80s, when we were still reeling from liberal judges letting hardened criminals off with a slap on the wrist from a damp Kleenex. But judges are supposed to judge, to use their judgement — not just act as automatons for politicians who have long since left office. If you don’t like how a judge is using his judgement, either vote them out (where applicable), or vote out the idiots who appointed them. That’s our duty as citizens, just as judges are supposed to have their duties when it comes to sentencing.
Ben Domenech was one of three conservatives he managed to find at a 500-person ObamaCare seminar, and here’s a little something from his report:
The concern over rate shock is tangible and real. My presentation focused on this issue, and the attendees responded with an outpouring of personal stories about how skeptical they are that young and healthy people will sign up. Two mothers, both liberal health policy activists, described how hard they had to work to convince their 25 and 26 year old sons to sign up for insurance at all (“but mom, it’s more than $100 a month!”). The audience laughed when I quoted from the recent piece from Timothy Jost suggesting that young and healthy people would sign up out of a sense of social obligation.
Third, there is an abiding sense of frustration that the work of implementing has been difficult and is behind schedule, but the real problem is the public relations side – for which they blame the administration. Descriptions of PR failings and frustration among the law’s supporters are everywhere. John Iglehart, founder of Health Affairs, described last night his frustration that the Obama administration has not approached the promotional efforts for the law with the same degree of investment and verve as the president’s campaign for re-election, and openly questioned whether this could prove to be the law’s undoing.
The reason Obama has given up trying to sell the American people on his health care law is that we aren’t buying. We weren’t buying it during the big push to get it passed in 2009-10, and we haven’t bought it since. The laughter from the crowd at the event indicates that not even Democrats are buying it. They’ll tell pollsters they support it — weakly — but then they laugh at the idea that young people will actually buy in.
And that’s all before next year’s sticker shock really hits home.
Read Ben’s whole report, but the feeling I get is that Hillary will run in 2016 as the right candidate to fix what Obama broke. Of course, she’s the one who couldn’t get her own massive health care takeover bill passed in 1993-94, which ought to detract from her message.
File this one under “He Knows He’s Going to Lose and Just Doesn’t Give a D*** Anymore.”
The real fun starts about 46 seconds in, when Weiner says, “It’s hard to take you seriously.”
Pot? Meet pantsless kettle.
And what do you want to bet that when the camera was turned off, Weiner tried to get her Twitter handle? “Hey, I’m running for Mayor of New York City. Maybe you could DM me for a scoop or two.”
They say a person who represents himself in court has a terrorist killer for a client, or something like that:
The military judge presiding over the court-martial of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan ruled Thursday that he can continue to represent himself, denying a bid from his legal advisors to take over his defense amid concerns the former Army psychologist is trying to sink his own case to get the death penalty.
The lawyers assisting Hasan, called “standby attorneys,” claim he is trying to get the death penalty and have said it would be “morally repugnant” to help him achieve such a sentence. Hasan admitted in his opening statement that he was the shooter, appearing to be trying to get himself convicted.
If Hasan really wants the death penalty, he ought to be able to simply cop a plea, and I’m sure the UCMJ would be happy to oblige him. No, what he wants is to put on some fancy legal theater and then get put to death. Which is more important? Probably the theater.
I’m reminded of Lee Harris’s classic 2002 essay, “Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology.” Here’s the relevant bit:
The terror attack of 9-11 was not designed to make us alter our policy, but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves: It was a spectacular piece of theater. The targets were chosen by al Qaeda not through military calculation — in contrast, for example, to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor — but entirely because they stood as symbols of American power universally recognized by the Arab street. They were gigantic props in a grandiose spectacle in which the collective fantasy of radical Islam was brought vividly to life: A mere handful of Muslims, men whose will was absolutely pure, as proven by their martyrdom, brought down the haughty towers erected by the Great Satan. What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was at hand?
In order to play up his own part in this fantasy, Hasan must be seen — in his eyes and in the eyes of his al-Qaeda comrades — to be the master, the conductor of his own trial. He will put on a glorious show, culminating in a glorious death for Allah. This has little to do with suicide-by-courtroom, and everything to do with an agent of radical Islam bending a Western institution to his will. Again.
My completely unsolicited advice to the judge is to keep a tight rein on Hasan’s antics, and to order a media blackout on the trial.
United Liberty has the report:
Ahmed Abu Khattala, who is suspected to have led the attack, has been charged with murder, though prospects of arrest and negotiations with the Libyan government over where he will be tried seem tenuous.
Ya think? Kadhafi had been (quietly) cooperating with the US on hunting down al Qaeda, after we pulled Saddam from his hidey-hole. The new Libyan government, such as it is, may or may not prove as cooperative.
In any case, what I’d like to see are some charges filed against some Administration officials for the negligent deaths of four Americans.
From this morning’s WSJ:
Law-enforcement officials found “a number of operational vulnerabilities” involving “black boxes” used by several departments to control the release of sensitive economic data such as the monthly unemployment rate, according to a report by the inspector general at the Commerce Department.
The report said it was possible to subvert the system, which was designed to prevent media companies from sending economic data to traders early.
But don’t worry. Your medical records will be all like totally safe with the completely secure and non-partisan IRS.
That’s the word on Twitter right now anyway.
Details as they become available, but this seems a strange move for the Amazon founder — unless he’s thinking an exclusive new Kindle app.
UPDATE: Full press release follows.
The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) announced today that it has signed a contract to sell its newspaper publishing businesses, including The Washington Post newspaper, to Jeffrey P. Bezos.
The purchaser is an entity that belongs to Mr. Bezos in his individual capacity and is not Amazon.com, Inc.
“Everyone at the Post Company and everyone in our family has always been proud of The Washington Post — of the newspaper we publish and of the people who write and produce it,” said Donald E. Graham, Chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company. “I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post (after a transaction that would be in the best interest of our shareholders). Jeff Bezos’ proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post.”
“I understand the critical role the Post plays in Washington, DC and our nation, and the Post’s values will not change,” said Mr. Bezos. “Our duty to readers will continue to be the heart of the Post, and I am very optimistic about the future.”
Mr. Bezos has asked Katharine Weymouth, CEO and Publisher of The Washington Post; Stephen P. Hills, President and General Manager; Martin Baron, Executive Editor; and Fred Hiatt, Editor of the Editorial Page to continue in those roles.
“With Mr. Bezos as our owner, this is the beginning of an exciting new era,” said Ms. Weymouth. “I am honored to continue as CEO and Publisher. I have asked the entire senior management team at all of the businesses being sold to continue in their roles as well.”
The transaction covers The Washington Post and other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, The Gazette Newspapers, Southern Maryland Newspapers, Fairfax County Times, El Tiempo Latino and Greater Washington Publishing.
Slate magazine, TheRoot.com and Foreign Policy are not part of the transaction and will remain with The Washington Post Company, as will the WaPo Labs and SocialCode businesses, the Company’s interest in Classified Ventures and certain real estate assets, including the headquarters building in downtown Washington, DC. The Washington Post Company, which also owns Kaplan, Post–Newsweek Stations and Cable ONE, will be changing its name in connection with the transaction; no new name has yet been announced.
The purchase price is $250 million, subject to normal working capital adjustments, payable at closing later this year.
Allen & Co. assisted the Post Company in the sale process.
Of course, the one thing that has escaped Bezos is showing much of a profit. We’ll see if he’s able to save the paper from itself.
So Anthony Weiner had been reduced to this:
Serial sexter and mayor wannabe Anthony Weiner appeared to be embracing his embarrassing online pseudonym and encouraged crowds that chanted, “Carlos!” and “Carlos Danger!” while marching in the Ecuadorian pride parade yesterday.
Sporting bright blue pants, a bullhorn and an Ecuadorian flag, Weiner repeatedly shouted, “Que viva Ecuador!” to the crowd as he energetically ran down Northern Boulevard in Queens with his loyal interns following.
He still has loyal interns.
Kids these days.
Tonight, he’ll attend a Cub Scout weiner roast in his honor.
At long last laughs:
“People always say to me, they say, `Hey, Letterman,’ they say. `Why don’t you make jokes about Obama?’ And I say, `All right, I’ll tell you why. I don’t make jokes about him because I don’t want the FBI tapping my phone,”‘ he said.
Leno tapped into the same idea with a different story: “I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don’t want to get audited by the IRS, so forget that.”
Obama plans to make his own appearance on Leno’s “Tonight” show on Tuesday.
Democrats were the target of 713 jokes between January and June 2013, compared to 417 gags about Republicans, the study said.
That’s a big change from 2012, but then there was an election that year.
You can’t make this stuff up, and in today’s over-lawyered culture you don’t have to:
Israel is being named as one of the defendants in a new lawsuit over the wrongful execution of Jesus filed at the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ).
Prominent Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis argues that the evidence provided by the Bible demonstrates that Jesus was subjected to “selective and malicious prosecution” that “violated his human rights through judicial misconduct.”
The lawsuit targets Roman Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, King Herod, numerous first century Jewish elders, the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel.
Calling witnesses may prove the most difficult part of the trial.
Chattanooga Times Free Press officials said Thursday that Free Press editor Drew Johnson has been fired “after placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures.”
The newspaper said, “Johnson’s headline, ‘Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,’ appeared on the Free Press page Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama visited the city.
“The headline was inappropriate for this newspaper. It was not the original headline approved for publication, and Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline.
OK, so he operated outside of procedure — but an editor’s job is to make these kinds of judgement calls, isn’t it?
Besides, it was clever enough to warrant a pat on the back, not a pink slip.
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden left transit zone of a Moscow airport and entered Russia after authorities granted him temporary asylum, his lawyer said Thursday.
Anatoly Kucherena said that Snowden’s whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. The former NSA systems analyst was stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.
When you fear persecution by a president un-shy about killing its enemies by remote control, it’s the right thing to do.
Brian Maher has a report up at Misfit Politics that you should read all of, but here’s the gist:
I’m the mayor of Walden, NY, just starting my third term. In 2009, while attending a statewide mayoral conference, I was asked to sign a “petition” affirming my support for safer communities. I signed, because who would not be for safer communities? What I found out later is that my name was being used in anti-gun propaganda to further the personal agenda of Mayor Bloomberg.
The organization never asked for permission or asked for approval to use my name to promote their agenda. Never was any information disclosed to me about the organization being in favor of gun control or that they would use my position as Mayor to spend millions of dollars to try to take away the rights of legal gun owners. I, like several other Mayors around the country were defrauded by Bloomberg and MAIG.
The vile progressives will use any means, fair or foul, to disarm law-abiding Americans.
Here’s what Obama’s Afghanistan surge has bought us:
The number of civilians killed or injured in Afghanistan rose by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013, according to a United Nations report on civilian casualties, reversing a decline last year and signaling the challenge Afghan forces face as they take over all combat duties from American soldiers.
The Taliban continued to cause the majority of casualties as it stepped up attacks this year through the indiscriminate use of roadside bombs and suicide attacks in major population centers, according to the report, released on Wednesday by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
These are the folks we’ll probably negotiate right into the Afghanistan government.
President Obama’s diktat to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate will cost $12,000,000,000 and decrease employee coverage:
The Congressional Budget Office has released its cost estimate of the Obama administration’s one-year repeal delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate and anti-fraud provisions. The CBO expects the Obama administration’s unilateral rewriting of federal law (my words, not CBO’s) will increase federal spending by $3 billion in 2014 and reduce federal revenues by a net $9 billion, thereby increasing the federal debt by $12 billion. If President Obama keeps this up, Congress may have to raise the debt ceiling or something.
Where is that $3 billion of new spending going? The CBO estimates the administration’s action will lead to about half a million additional people receiving government subsidies, including through ObamaCare’s Exchanges.
Remember how the law’s real name is the “Affordable Care Act”?
If the Framers had had any clue to the depths to which our “leadership” would someday sink, I like to think they’d have added a provision to the Constitution. In it, any law achieving the opposite of its title would be considered null and void.
And wouldn’t you love to have seen Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid trying to push through the “Cost a Bundle and Screw Everything Up for Everyone Act”?
The Creep Factor on this one is turned up to 11:
The federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by FoxNews.com. Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.
While the program is still in its early stages, the document shows the White House is already working on such projects with almost a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
That which cannot be mandated will be nudged.
BuzzFeed has the scoop:
Anthony Weiner’s campaign did not respond Tuesday to repeated inquiries about a new set of unverified images suggesting that he exchanged sexually charged messages — and an explicit image — with a woman last summer.
The screenshots of conversations — on the nightlife site The Dirty — could not be independently confirmed. They consist of screenshots of exchanges on Facebook and the lesser-known social network Formspring between a woman (whose avatar is blurred) and a man alleged to be (and who she appears to believe) is Weiner, but who also uses the handle “Carlos Danger.”
The site’s anonymous tipster claims that Weiner continued the correspondence with her at least until August 2012, when Weiner allegedly suggested finding her a Chicago condo where they could meet.
2012 of course was after Weiner was forced out of Congress and into some very awkward promises with his wife.
Andrew Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Hardee’s and Carl Jr’s chains. He says of his employees:
Only about 6% of crew-level employees and 60% of general managers sign up for health-insurance coverage.
These low participation rates surprised me. So over the past couple of years I have asked CKE employees what motivated their decisions. Our crew-level workers tend to be younger, and perhaps unsurprisingly some told me they were unconcerned about illness or injury. Others already had insurance through a spouse or parent. A significant number said they declined coverage because they could get medical treatment “for free at the emergency room.” Among those who had signed up, many said it was because they were concerned about developing a medical condition (perhaps due to a family history of illness), and then being unable to get affordable coverage due to this pre-existing condition.
These kinds of responses are why I question the ACA’s viability.
Precisely. If O-Care can’t get young and healthy signing up for $2,500-or $3,000-a-year health insurance plans, then rates are going to skyrocket for the older and sicker.
I remember in my twenties, I didn’t usually bother to carry health insurance, except for a few years when I had a high-deductible catastrophic plan — the kind that ObamaCare has outlawed for anyone over 29. But that was enough for me, since in my 20s my health care needs, no joke, never exceeded a trips to the dentist, a couple bottles of aspirin, and a new pair of glasses each year. My friends were much the same way. Even now, after two bouts with Grave’s Disease, my medical expenses don’t justify a Cadillac plan.
But let’s go back to Puzder:
The ACA’s incentive for young workers to pay for coverage is a penalty (or tax) on uninsured individuals. The penalty in 2014 is $95 or 1% of household income, whichever is greater. It increases in 2016 to $695 or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater.
A young kid in good health, making about $20,000 a year, will face the choice of buying a gold-plated insurance plan for 10-15% of his pre-tax income — or pay a “tax” of $695. Either way, he’s unlikely to buy much health care, so it makes a lot more economic sense to pay the penalty. The emergency room is still there, and pre-existing conditions will be covered.
Theoretically, wouldn’t it be better to get people paying some money for some coverage, rather than this perverse incentive to game the new system? I have a couple thoughts on that.
Economically, basic coverage simply doesn’t funnel enough money away from the young and healthy (and comparatively poorer) to pay for the subsidies for the older and sicker (and wealthier). That is to say, the subsidies require a bigger fleece.
But I believe there’s another reason, a political one.
Have you seen what even the most basic “bronze” plan is required to cover at “no cost?” Mammograms, vaccinations, cholesterol checks, and more. Also squeezed into your mandatory coverage:
•Ambulatory patient services, such as doctor’s visits and outpatient services
•Maternity and newborn care
•Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
•Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
•Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
•Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
Plus birth control, assuming that holds up to court challenges.
We’ll have young people paying for ambulatory services, gay men paying for maternity and newborn care, Scientologists paying for psychiatry, the healthy paying for chronic illness, infertile couples paying for pediatric services… well, you get the idea.
You don’t want or need all of that covered? Tough. ObamaCare hath spoken.
But larding up even the most basic plan with all this pork was just that: Pork. Obama and Pelosi and Reid were able to gin up medical professional support for the bill by promising more coverage for more services. Maybe I would never have seen a shrink before, but hey, now it’s so cheap!
What were once an indulgences are now benefits.
So on top of young people’s non-compliance, there’s one more way ObamaCare is set to explode costs.
And what is that drumbeat I hear in the distance? Ah, yes — the call for single-payer.
That’s from WPRO’s Top Ten (Bottom Ten?) list of Detroit’s troubles:
The city’s unfunded liabilities top $18 billion.
The city owes money to over 100,000 creditors.
Nearly 80,000 buildings have been abandoned and many are unsecured.
Population of Detroit has fallen from 1.86 million in 1950 to 700,000 today.
Some 47 percent of properties are delinquent in paying their taxes.
Police take an average of 58 minutes to respond to calls.
Only 8.7 percent of violent crimes are solved and Detroit has the highest crime rate in the U.S. of large cities.
Manufacturing jobs in the city have slid from a peak of 200,000 to just 20,000 today.
Only 7 percent of the city’s eighth graders are proficient in reading.
Only 8.7 percent of violent crimes are solved and Detroit has the highest crime rate in the U.S. of large cities.
But according to Paul Krugman, Detroit’s just a victim of free markets.
Try as they might, the liberal Democrats in Denver haven’t sucked all the fun out of Colorado. Not yet:
The town of Deer Creek, Colo., is looking to begin offering “drone hunting licenses” and actually paying rewards to anyone who presents proof that they were able to bring down an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the United States federal government, according to reporting by Denver TV station KMGH.
Phillip Steel, the man who drafted the ordinance, as well as other supporters, say it will provide a new source of revenue for the town, but Steel concedes that it’s not exactly like Deer Trail has a drone problem. In fact, he’s never seen one over the town.
“This is a very symbolic ordinance,” he told KMGH. “Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way.”
If English Common Law were keeping up with the times, every court would understand that “a man’s airspace is his castle.”
Honestly though, if Steel thinks we’re merely “heading” towards a surveillance society, then he needs to spend a little less time scanning the skies for drones, and a little more time reading the news.
Anyway, here’s to hoping my little town of Monument does something similar. But if they do, I won’t say, “cheers.” I’ll shout, “PULL!”
According to this week’s very weak retail sales report, Food-service sales fell 1.2% in June, the largest decline since February 2008 and the year over year change in “eating out” rose by just 3.1% – the lowest annual increase since June 2010. But at least all those empty restaurant seats have a record number of waiters catering to the non-existent clients which on the surface should mean the speediest service in history.
Looks like the restaurant hiring boom may be going bust.
From the J-Post:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied on Tuesday an official’s remarks that Israel had agreed to resume peace talks based on the borders of a Palestinian state being drawn along lines from before a 1967 Middle East war, and agreed land swaps.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, said “the report is untrue,” calling Reuters with the statement after initially declining to comment on what the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Three points for the soft-headed dreamers out there who think that all Israel needs to do is return to her ’67 borders and then all would be fine.
• Israel’s Arab neighbors were happy to try and push Israel into the sea back before 1967. It was those failed efforts that caused Israel to occupy lands outside of the ’67 lines.
• For safety reasons, Israel simply must hold on to at least small bits of the West Bank, especially now that the Arab world is devolving away from nation-states and into tribal, religious, and ethnic fiefdoms. The days of strongmen maintaining order within their own borders is over (See: Iraq, Syria, Egypt).
• Israel can’t let go of Golan, because it gives them strategic depth in rugged terrain over an historic invasion route. And anyway, who is there is Syria with the authority to take it back? Baby Assad? A “nice” rebel group? Al Qaeda? Fuggidaoubbit.
Surely, there’s room to negotiate. Israel tried — tried — to give the Palestinians 93% of everything they wanted about a dozen years ago, only to have Arafat rebuff them, then go on to launch another terror campaign. But they need an honest negotiating partner, and that’s one thing SecState Kerry can’t seem to rustle up, no matter how many trips he makes to the region.
China needs to create 25 million jobs a year, every year, to keep people working and to keep China’s Communists in power. That became a huge problem when Western economies collapsed in 2008, bringing an end to China’s export-driven growth — they simply ran out of new buyers for cheap widgets.
No problem! Stimulus! Beijing re-directed billions of investment dollars to building cities without any residents, airports without any airplanes, high-speed trains without any passengers, soccer stadiums without any teams, and ports without any ships.
Fortunately, we have WaPo’s Brad Plumer and asset manager Patrick Chovanec to explain everything in clear, simple language:
BP: So why do banks and other lenders keep pouring money into these projects? It sounds like lenders don’t care if they invest in projects that don’t pan out.
PC: Here’s one concrete example. The way many investments take place and are rolled out is through private loan management vehicles, which will often promise 12 percent returns or higher on assets. When people go to the bank to buy these products, they think, hey, this can’t fail. The implication is that the state-run bank or government will stand behind these instruments. This belief is widespread. That leads to an incredibly distorted investment market, where no one’s looking carefully at the risk. Too much investment is based on the perception that the government is the guarantor of everything.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this before about anything at WaPo’s WonkBlog, but in this one case you’ll want to read the whole thing.
The Senate remains the Senate — for now:
U.S. Senate Democrats backed away on Tuesday from a potentially historic crackdown on filibusters in exchange for a Republican commitment to stop using them to block some long-stalled nominations made by President Barack Obama.
But Reuters being Reuters, I want you to read the next graf:
Their agreement, reached after days of talks and jockeying for political position, will allow Obama to fill out his second-term team with top administrators to lead efforts to protect workers, consumers and the environment.
Obama to appoint top administrators to protect you from evil, over strenuous Republican objection that almost forced Harry Reid to go nuclear!
But he still might:
“They (Republicans) are not sacrificing their right to filibuster, and we for damn sure aren’t sacrificing our right to change the rules” to ban them, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, declared after tense negotiations.
Reid will use whatever suits Reid at any given moment. Kind of like Reuters.
Voters view the U.S. coal industry more favorably than the Environmental Protection Agency and are closely divided when asked if the Obama administration’s ultimate goal is to kill that industry.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Likely U.S. Voters view the U.S. coal industry at least somewhat favorably. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 29% hold an unfavorable opinion of it.
Remember when it was the EPA’s job to clean and protect the environment, rather than to shovel money to favored interest groups while suffocating its political opponents with countless harmful regulations?
Yeah, me neither.
After nearly a dozen years of blogging outrageous stuff from American politics, I should be beyond outrage myself. But no. Not after readin Edward Wyckoff Williams just now in Salon. Here’s a sample, but I suggest you take any prescribed blood pressure medications before reading any further:
The day before a jury delivered an acquittal in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith gave a national press conference to appeal for a peaceful reaction to the verdict — regardless of its outcome.
Eslinger, who is white, said “We will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law.”
The veiled threat of an aggressive police response to imaginary civil unrest belies the very logic that led to Trayvon Martin’s death to begin with. For, you see, African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus — yet they are always subject to its military might.
Sanford police coyly “tolerated” the actual killing of an unarmed black child, but yet refuse to “tolerate” any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer.
This is the new Jim Crow realized.
There are so many lies, evasions, half-truths, and just plain old-fashioned racial hatred in this piece, I hardly know where to begin. My first thought it simply to treat pieces with the quiet contempt it deserves — by ignoring it.
But just George Stephanopoulos set up the whole “War on Women” premise during that GOP debate to help win in2012, the vile progressives will parade over Martin’s corpse if that’s what it takes to win in 2014.
This ain’t over yet. Not by a longshot.
Well this is embarrassing:
The first senior U.S. official to visit Egypt since the army toppled its elected president was snubbed by both Islamists and their opponents on Monday.
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns arrived in a divided capital where both sides are furious at the United States, the superpower which supports Egypt with $1.5 billion in annual aid, mostly for the army that deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi two weeks ago.
Remember when President Obama travelled to Egypt in 2009 to give a big speech to make the Arab world love and respect us again after eight years of bumbling by that stupid cowboy that everybody hated?