Molly Ivins' column published in today's Chicago Tribune raises some good questions about why we can't ask good questions about our policies toward Israel:
For having the sheer effrontery to point out the painfully obvious—that there is an Israel lobby in the United States—[researchers] have been accused of being anti-Semitic, nutty and guilty of "kooky academic work." Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who seems to be easily upset, went totally ballistic over the mild, academic, not to suggest pretty boring, article by Mearsheimer and Walt, calling them "liars" and "bigots."
Of course there is an Israel lobby in America; its leading working group is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby," and it attempts to influence U.S. legislation and policy.
As she points out, Israelis are pretty harsh critics of their own government (and ours); why can't Americans criticize the Israeli government, too?
Let's sum up: The administration's energy and foreign policies have helped create a dire shortage of oil and prevented creation of alternatives. Yet, Bush is "probing" rising gas prices. There are only two possible conclusions: either he does not understand the connection, or he is lying about not understanding the connection.
"Energy experts predict gas prices are going to remain high throughout the summer, and that's going to be a continued strain on the American people," Bush said....
Under pressure from GOP leaders, Bush is taking a tough public line with the U.S. oil companies that are recording record profits and paying hefty salaries and retirement packages to executives.
Remember Upton Sinclair's wisdom: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
This story directly connects to two important milestones for today. First, as of 1pm Eastern time today (17:00 UTC), there are no more than 1,000 days left in the Bush administration. Let's start the countdown; it's our own "thousand points of light."
Second, as many people know, today is the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The Russian and Ukrainian governments are still cleaning up from it, yet nucular—sorry, nuclear—energy is starting to look more environmentally friendly than its principal competitors, oil and coal. This suggests that our problem isn't from where we get our energy, but how much we use. What a concept.
A man who lived in a block of apartments thought it was raining and put his head out the window to check. As he did so a glass eye fell into his hand.
He looked up to see where it came from in time to see a young woman looking down.
"Is this yours?" he asked.
She said, "Yes, could you bring it up?" and the man agreed.
On arrival she was profuse in her thanks and offered the man a drink. As she was very attractive, he agreed. Shortly afterwards, she said, "I'm about to have dinner. There's plenty; would you like to join me?"
He readily accepted her offer and both enjoyed a lovely meal. As the evening was drawing to a close the lady said, "I've had a marvelous evening. Would you like to stay the night?"
The man hesitated then said, "Do you act like this with every man you meet?"
"No," she replied, "Only those who catch my eye."
As many predicted, and as the perpetrators denied, Soldier Field has lost its landmark status following its destr--er, renovation in 2003, former Interior
Secretary Gale Norton announced as one of her last official acts on Friday. Says Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin:
If you obliterate a building's form, the government's decision suggests, you obliterate its meaning. Norton wisely ignored the arguments of those who claimed that Soldier Field retained its historic significance, irrespective of how it looked. Perhaps they would like to drop a steel-and-glass box inside the White House.
I'm reminded of Archimedes, I think it was, being skewered by an invading Roman for no apparent reason.
Just perfect for Earth Day.
I'm even wearing vegan shoes that the Vegan Fashion Scout found for me.
It's unusual to find such rousing agreement between left and right, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has gotten it. The Economist says "George Bush is a fool for keeping Donald Rumsfeld in his job" (though I can think of other reasons):
Getting rid of Mr Rumsfeld is no guarantee that things will get better. But keeping him ensures that they will get worse. Mr Bush made a huge mistake in not accepting Mr Rumsfeld's offer to resign in the wake of Abu Ghraib. Every day he keeps him in his job he compounds his mistake and weakens his presidency.
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, on the other hand, finds a reason to keep him:
Should the president fire Donald Rumsfeld? That's like asking if Disney should retire Mickey Mouse. Why get rid of someone who represents everything important about an institution—particularly if doing so leaves those things unchanged? No, President Bush should keep Rumsfeld as a perennial symbol of the administration's essential characteristic: hubris.
Finally, Josh Marshall has a good explanation why Bush can't really fire him:
If Rumsfeld goes, you need to nominate someone else and get them through a senate confirmation. That means an open airing of the disaster of this administration's national security policy. Every particular; all about Iraq. Think how much they don't want that...
Two happy thoughts in conclusion: First, the general election is only 199 days away; and second, there remain fewer than 1,005 days and 1 hour in the Bush administration.
I thought of this lovely poem around 5:30 this morning.
I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still
When suddenly a tiny bird
Perched on my window sill,
He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles
Began to slip away.
He sang of far off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his very trilling,
brought up the morning sun.
I stirred beneath the covers
Crept slowly out of bed,
Then gently shut the window
And crushed his fucking head.
A journalist assigned to the Jerusalem bureau takes an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. Every day when she looks out, she sees an old Jewish man praying vigorously. So the journalist goes down and introduces herself to the old man.
She asks: "You come every day to the wall. How long have you done that and what are you praying for?"
The old man replies, "I have come here to pray every day for 25 years. In the morning I pray for world peace and then for the brotherhood of man. I go home have a cup of tea and I come back and pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth."
The journalist is amazed. "How does it make you feel to come here every day for 25 years and pray for these things?" she asks.
The old man looks at her sadly. "Like I'm talking to a wall."
Josh Marshall reports that newspapers are reluctant to say that convicted felon George Ryan is a Republican:
As we mentioned earlier, the AP really, really didn't seem to want to mention that George Ryan, the former Illinois governor convicted of corruption today, is a Republican. The AP waited until the very end of the article to note that Ryan is from the GOP.
Time never got around to mentioning it. ... While failing to mention the party affiliation of the guy who got indicted, they did manage to have this as the second sentence of the article ...
On Monday, former Governor George Ryan, 72, became the third of the state's last six governors to be convicted of political misdeeds, and the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated.
It's almost a tour de force of party ID bamboozlement.
Our home-town paper, the Chicago Tribune, identified him as "the Kankakee Republican" in the sixth paragraph.
It's just like Rush says: liberal press bias.
So the leader of China is visiting Washington this week.
Who, you may ask?
Yup. That's the guy.
(Sorry. I couldn't resist.)