Sociable

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Andrerson Cooper is Kinda Amazing.

Check out this video of ol' AC talking shop with Texas Rep. Leo Berman. Berman is one of those "I don't believe that Obama can be President and all of the facts in the world are not going to change my mind" guys.

He spouts unsubstantiated fact after unsubstantiated fact, and Cooper, the white-haired-little-bookworm, manages consistently to have the facts in his hand and at his disposal. Berman never backs down (hardly to his credit) but AC just tosses the guy around.

Instead of the American people continuing to ask about Obama's papers, we should be talking about retiring any politician who still is. He is the President. You can vote him out in two years if you want, but for now, let the guy be.


Check out the video and share your thoughts. My favorite part I think is how Cooper is working so hard not to laugh at Berman, who is on national television simply making a fool of himself. We have bigger problems than Obama's pedigree. I think that the time has come to get with the program and worry about them for a while.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

As Goes DADT, So Too Should Go Senator McCain.

By now, no one needs to spell out the obscene flip-flopping by John McCain over Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It has been well documented numerous times.

There is a new take out on the saga, which can be read here, wherein John McCain is being pushed farther and farther into a corner of bigotry and homophobia, now that the report over DADT has finally been released. He has used the fact that it was leaked many times against it, as if that were discrediting. If anything, that should have added to its credit, as it was clearly a rawer, more unedited version of what may have been released later on with kids gloves. But you know, this is John McCain. He is feeling such a high from humiliating his wife recently, maybe he thinks that he really can take on the world and win. But its looking less and less likely.

It gives me hope that so many in the service, 70%, have said that they are not concerned about serving with openly gay soldiers. That is unbelievable. This is significant higher even than the general public! 58% overall believe in repeal. In fact, it is only a few points shy of being on par with Democratic support for repeal, who weigh in at 78%.

So again, my applause to the servicemen and women for understanding that while this great nation is out there fighting for the world's freedom, there are those in this country who have still yet to attain their own. 

I do wonder though if asking the troops in the first place was the way to go. I hope that I can do this without at all diminishing my previous point. But did we take polls of white soldiers on how they felt about serving with black soldiers? Did we ask men if they would be comfortable serving with women? Is this not one of those historic times, that arise but once a generation or so, where it is truly up to our leaders to lead, and not to follow? Does it not somehow diminish the plight of the gay soldier that we have to find out, door-to-door, if they are welcome.

I can honestly say that I am always proud of our troops and I have a deep and profound sense of awe and gratitude for the sacrifices that they make every single day. This survey only adds to that appreciation. But maybe, as goes Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so should go Senator McCain with it. 

So any Sunday morning hosts, the task is yours. The first journalist, constituent, co-worker or otherwise to goad John McCain into declaring that he will resign the day that DADT is repealed will automatically become BiFocalPoint's coveted "Point Person of the Year!" Democrat, Republican or Independent, gay or straight, military or civilian, whoever you are: You will be doing this country a great service.

Friday, November 19, 2010

BiFocalPoint Point of the Month!

Alan Grayson (D-Fla) has  just won the first ever BiFocalPoint Point-of-the-Month* for taking on the expiring Bush tax cuts. Congratulations Alan Grayson!

(*-we are still working on the name. Please share your suggestions below or email them in at bifocalpoint@gmail.com. Also, this contest is by no means limited to, or guaranteed to take place, once a month. Sorry for any confusion.)

Grayson, in true BiFocalPoint style (see here, here or here) has recast the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in a new light. Rather than talking about the money that the government would be losing, he points to all of the things that those wealthy tax-cut benefited will finally be able to afford. 

These tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans will average just slightly over $83,000 a year. Not a bad chuck of change to SAVE every year. He offers several ideas for how these people can spend their new windfalls.

His first suggestion is that they could spend this money on a brand new Mercedes Benz-E Class Car, conveniently price at about $83,000. (I see an ad campaign in there somewhere!) And not just one, but a brand new one every single year!

My favorite on his list (see the full list here) though has got to be that these recently-saved-from-the-poorhouse-at-the-expense-of-their-country Americans can now finally afford 800 luxury cigars which they will then be able to light with $100 bills. Can we really say that the American dream is alive and well if one did not have this option?

So congratulations Mr. Grayson, and thank you for putting things into a BiFocalPoint persective. 

And to the BiFocalPoint world out there, what else can the uber-rich do with their $83,000-and-change annual savings? The best answers MIGHT just get read on the congressional floor by Mr. Grayson the next time he is looking to restore some sanity.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hypocrisy in Congress?

What do you even say to someone so hypocritical and oblivious to reality?

Andy Harris, an incoming GOP Congressman, who ran on a platform of repealing "Obamacare" is furious that his state covered health insurance (the health insurance enjoyed by all sitting members of congress) does not start for nearly a month after he is sworn in.

He claims that he has never had a job where his health insurance took that long to kick in. I have. In fact, I have never had a job where it did not take that long to kick in.

Regardless, it takes some straight up chutzpah/balls/guts/cajones/hypocrisy to make such a statement after being elected on such a platform.

But obviously his question must be: "what do your problems have to do with mine?!"

See the full story here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Damned Certified Mail. Must See Video.

This video was shot by a letter carrier. I am posting it here in two parts. Before you watch it-you need to watch it!-you should know that this man was ultimately fired for this interaction. That's right, the postman in this video was fired and apparently charges were dropped against the woman in question. Her name is Erika Winchester. Sorry that the videos are sideways, the poor guy was filming this while remaining a perfect gentleman under a situation that called for nothing of the sort against this woman of the klan. Watch it here:





Here is one more note on this video. If you have ever used (or ever legitimized an action with) one of her arguments, then you might just be a racist. Err, no you are definitely a racist. To the rest of you, please do not do business with this horrible woman. She deserves to be alone with her white supremacy up high and mighty. If she comes to your bank, gas station or restaurant, just remember how she treats people with whom she does business. Let her take her food to go, but do not serve her. And anyway, I hear she is a bad tipper.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Think That Meghan McCain Completely Missed The Point.

I am not one to go after children or politician's families, but I think that Meghan McCain, John's daughter, has officially stepped out of her daddy's shadow and become a figure all on her own.

She has been making a lot of news recently, weighing in on all kinds of issues. I often, but certainly not always, agree with her.

But today, while sitting on a panel for Time Magazine to help determine who should be this year's person of the year, she called out Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks. She said he was un-American (she added that she knew he was not American, but still, quite the sleight I suppose) and that he looked like a villain from a James Bond movie. Interesting assessment. See some pics here to decide for yourself.

But here is my issue. While decrying the horrors of what Assange has done, she claimed that the leaks had "changed the way Americans view the war."

Was that not the point of WikiLeaks? To bring to light information, some good, some bad, all about what war really looks like. War is an abstraction to Americans, it does not really exist. Happy Veteran's day to all Vets out there (I mean that completely genuinely), but take a look at this number. In 2006 (granted a bit dated, but still 3 years into the war), 6 out of 10 Americans between the age of 18 and 24 could not find Iraq on a map. Their classmates were there and they did not know where THERE was!

So Meghan, I ask you this: Is it not possible that perhaps we NEED to look at the war differently. That does not condone what Assange did, but your current argument is totally off base. This is a great example of taking aim at the messenger. You may think that he looks scary, but he I think that he is still probably a lot more apealing than the message.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What is Going on in the World???

What is happening in the world? I am posting here two videos. Both are brawls. I mean full-out, kicking and screaming, brawls. I want you to vote on which one drops your draw lower. I am betting that it will be close.

The first video is of two hockey teams who apparently decided to replace the goals with each others head and who have giving up altogether on playing in order that there be more time for fighting. The Metallica in the background is a nice touch. Not sure if it was added on or happening throughout the game (perhaps the impetus in the first place?). I think the former (props to the editor) but who knows. Maybe the NHL gets off on this stuff.




The second video is from the Middle East. The fight is over a subject just as dear to most people's heart as sports: religion. The craziest part about this brawl, which is a few years old, is that it is not even happening between members of different religions (not as if that would make it better, but you know what I mean!). These are Christians fighting with other Christians. Watch how they use religious paraphernalia as weapons against each other. And there is one particularly nasty sideways sucker punch at one point, against a Monk!!! Maybe if church in America were like this, more people would show up. Who knows?




So, who is more crazy, American sports fans or Middle Eastern religious zealots? Vote below.

And just because we can, here is one more video for your viewing pleasure. It's the scene at a Wal-Mart on Black Friday (the crazy sale day immediately following Thanksgiving). Forget Halloween, this is what scary looks like to me.


So vote on the first two videos, and feel free to add exclamations of your own for the third (or really for any). I will tally and post the results. Sleep well and watch out for your children!


Joe Miller Stands Up For Every Voter...Who Voted for Him

I understand seeking an advantage in a political race and I understand pushing for proper following of the rules. But Joe Miller is suing the state of Alaska in order to help his still-ongoing campaign for Senate.

His issue is that because Murkowski is apparently such a complicated name to spell (is it really? are there all that many options?) the thought is that many people, who might have intended to vote for her, will not have done so technically by simply misspelling her name.

Joe Miller is suing to ensure that anyone who did not spell her name correctly does not have their vote counted.

My question is, is that really how Joe Miller wants to enter the Senate? Does he think that the voters of Alaska will take him seriously as someone they can rely on when he fights  like this against letting their vote be counted. 

I am not saying that difficult decisions will have not to be made in the next few weeks as the votes are tallied. Reps from each campaign are being allowed into the room while counting is happening. If someone draws a picture of two XX chromosomes or a stick figure with long hair, then of course that should not count for Murkowski. But if someone checks the oval and spells Murkowski with a "C" instead of a "K," does Miller really want that ballot to be thrown out?

If the answer is yes, then he might get himself to Washington. But he will never be respected by the people whom he was (technically) elected to represent.

So now, just for fun, offer us your favorite misspelling of Murkowski below.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is Tucker Carlson Now a Shock Jock?

So apparently, this week Tucker Carlson wrote several emails posed as Keith Olbermann. See the full story here.

First off, has Tucker finally given up on journalism completely and turned to XM radio or something? Whether this was a joke, a prank, or simply just a bad decision, how is anyone supposed to take him serious in the future as he sits and analyzes for America what is going on in the world?

What bothers me more about all of this is that he was not even clever about it. He used an email address, keith@keitholbermann.com, which he has publicly taken credit for owning. He could have created a new account, say on gmail or yahoo, and maybe remained anonymous. I am not sure what he was thinking.

But BiFocalPoint world, we should try and find out. Email the above address and let me know what clever retort/question/accusation or otherwise that you sent to everyone's favorite too-young-for-a-bow-tie and not-cool-enough-for-it-to-be-ironic pundit. You can post your emails directly on here, or email me at bifocalpoint@gmail.com (I promise that this email is genuinely mine). I will post the best emails that you all send. So get writing to Keith via Tucker and keep them coming. There is no limit for emails sent, or for emails posted on the cite.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Apparently Bill O'Reilly Cost Christine O'Donnell the Election.

Christine O'Donnell, immediately following her loss in the midterms, finally entered the No Spin Zone. Apparently, Bill O'Reilly had tried to get her on the show before the election and she had not found the time.

O'Reilly apparently takes it very personally when someone will not join him in the hot seat. He asks her repeatedly why she was attacked, why she lost, what happened... She tries many times to answer, but like a harsh professor who is looking for but one specific answer to a question with many options, he pushes and he pushes her. He seems to honestly believe that the reason that her campaign fell apart was because she had not come on his show (or even allowed them to bring her up on satellite) during the campaign.

Watch her face during these grillings. I cannot decide if she looks like she is going to cry or pull out her mace. She looks so uncomfortable, I thought she might actually get up and walk out.

You can watch the video here: (And sorry about the ad. It came with the video from the original site.)



So now, tell us, what do you think that Christine O'Donnell was thinking during her little No Spin Inquisition? The BiFocalPoint world is waiting.






Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peter Beinart Questions Sarah Palin's Knowledge of Geography.

Peter Beinart, of the Daily Beast, offers up a great justification for keeping NPR public. Read the entire piece here.

It gives some interesting specifics about the role that NPR plays in journalism, as compared with today's standards.

While the whole article is great, the ending is a must read, so I will give it to you here:

After claiming that the right's attacking of NPR would be justified if they were all isolationists who were against free-trade (his earlier arguments centered around NPR being a last true bastion of international news), he says this: 

"Folks like Palin want America to grow more and more economically integrated with other countries and they want America to keep invading them. That being the case, shouldn’t we keep funding NPR, so someone can tell Americans where those countries actually are?"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Keith Olbermann Suspended for Working at MSNBC, errr, for Being Liberal.

It recently came out that Keith Olbermann donated money to three democratic campaigns during the midterms.

Apparently, word got back to MSNBC and he has been suspended indefinitely without pay. Maybe him and Rick Sanchez can start a new show (at TBS? Right after Conan?). It could be called the Liberal and the Jock. Or something.

Just for some context though, don't Karl Rove and Sarah Palin, both of whom have donated tremendous amounts of money (and time and vitriol!) to Republican candidates, both take a paycheck from Fox News? What about Mike Huckabee? That is not to mention the soft money influences that are made nightly on Fox? And didn't Governor Palin go on TV and advise Christine O'Donnell, immediately following her winning the Republican primary, to use Fox News as a way to get her message out?

In fact, Media Matters just released a report that more than 30 Fox Newsers (their phrase) have contributed to Republican candidates or organizations just during the 2010 midterm election cycle.

So now I am just waiting for Sarah Palin to come out angrily about Keith Olbermann, a journalist (gasp), betraying his professionalism by giving to a political cause that he believes in. It hardly seems beyond the scope of her impressive abilities of cognitive dissonance. Until then however, here is Tina Fey resurrecting her best Palin impression of days-gone-by. Enjoy.




Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sarah Palin Got an iMac.

So today, two days after the midterms, Sarah Palin released a commercial. It is unclear what it is for, but there are some recognizable faces in it, as well as a slew of weird, weird images.

First off, the ad starts with Alaska superimposed over the nation. Then there is a montage featuring some of her Mama Grizzlies and co., mostly in positions of running for office. No Christine O'Donnell, no Carly Fiorina, no Sharron Angle, and interestingly, no Joe Miller. This makes sense as it is looking like he will not close the Senate seat in Alaska, but strange in that he is still in an ongoing election in many respects and that it was also his home state superimposed over top of our great nation (or was it really the other way around?).

The question now is, is Sarah Palin bragging? Is she launching her 2012 campaign for President (only 1 year, 363 days to go!)? The ad is called "New Morning." Presumably this is an homage to everyone's favorite Republican of yesteryear, Ronald Reagan. Watch the video here:


So tell me, and the entire BiFocalPoint world, what is it that you think that Sarah Palin is trying to tell the country. (And I know that they are the Mama Grizzlies, but the shot of the bear at the end, I mean, come on!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mr. Integrity Missed an Important Lesson From My Dad.

Joe Miller lied. Hardly a groundbreaking story.

What I want to know is why his dad never taught him (like my dad taught me) to never put anything incriminating in writing.

He could have called his bosses, or "man[ned] up" and admitted his mistakes in person. But no, he sent an email.

Now if only someone could teach the voters of Alaska to spell Murcowski, er I mean Markosi? Sarkozy?, then Joe Miller might actually be in trouble.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rand Paul Supports Crushing Opponents...By Any Means Necessary.

So last night at a debate, a member of MoveOn.org - a young woman - was forcibly thrown to the ground by at least two adult men. One of those men then went on to intentionally step on her head. INTENTIONALLY!

See the video here:


Obviously there are so many problems with this situation. But the most glaring is that Rand Paul, when asked about the incident, essentially compared the woman's passions (she was there to award Paul a fake honor through MoveOn) and the men who forced her to the ground and stomped on her.

Here is the video of him sidestepping anger at the situation:



Rand Paul should be ashamed of himself. Not because this was done in his name, that he cannot control. Rather because by taking the sidelines on this, rather than taking the high road - even if the high road means coming down on your own supporters, which sometimes is simply does - he condones it being done in his name in the future.

As far as the perpetrators of this heinous act are concerned, they were just looking out for Rand. He may not have said "thank you," but he sure as hell did not say "stop!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Iran Has Officially Joined Our Coalition.

Iran is giving bags of money to Hamid Karzai to help him run the country's government.

Republicans should love this. It means that we can continue to stay in Afghanistan and lower the cost of the war for the American people.

We get to have our cake and eat it too. If only the country baking and serving our cake weren't part of the Axis of Evil. Maybe we can get England or Israel to pack those bags. I am sure that Karzai would be happy to run his government with British Pounds. Sheckels on the other hand, maybe not.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Man, Some Republicans Are Really Rich...and Really Want to Be Elected.

So far in this election cycle, three Republican candidates have spent a combined $243 million on their own campaigns. Has anybody told them the salary of the jobs for which they are fighting? Basic math says it might not be worth it.

This nearly quarter-of-a-billion-dollars does not include outside money; this is money only from their pockets that went directly into their own campaigns.

Here is the breakdown of the three:
Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor is California, has spent $163 million. That is of course ebay money. As of now, she is down 13 points to Democrat Jerry Brown.

Rick Scott has spent over $60 million on his campaign. He is a former health care executive. Wonder his take on the health care bill? His race for Governor in Florida is currently too close to call.

And Linda McMahon, of World Wide Wrestling fame, rounds out the trio by spending just $41.5 million in her Senate race in Connecticut. While that is significantly less than Whitman, as Politico points out, it is over twice as much per voter when compared to Whitman in California. She is currently down by 18 points.

Now just for some context, here are a few things that Meg Whitman's share alone ($163 million) could have bought:
-About 5400 fighter drones. (They are about $30,000 a pop.)
 -The movie Titanic. Well almost.( Full cost was almost $200 million, but with interest and everything, I figured it was close enough.)
-The public school system of Newark, NJ over one and a half times. Or the ability to get Aaron Sorkin to write a movie about you. (Maybe it could be called The Socially Conservative Network?)
-A little less than one day of the Iraq War.
-An absurd amount of jobs in the state of California, Florida and Connecticut. (Hard data unavailable.)

Just for a moment, imagine if these three people had spent this money trying to create jobs, not the three jobs they are fighting for, but rather jobs for millions of American in their homes states and beyond.  A quarter of a billion dollars could do a lot of good in the world. Maybe more good than the best politician, no matter how well-intentioned or suited for the job, could ever hope to achieve.

Just maybe.

A GOP Lover's Quarrel? Karl Rove Being Taken Out of Context?

Apparently Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh, good friends according to one, but not necessarily according to the other, are fighting. 

Karl Rove keeps on forgetting that the Tea Party is amazing and that he actually loves it. Despite many comments to the contrary. His good friend Rush just helped him remember how important the Tea Party actually is for America.

So Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove and America thank you for all the work that you do. Keep on keeping us honest.

But just for context, here is a partial list of comments that Karl Rove has made over the last few weeks disparaging the Tea Party (and Christine O'Donnell), er... I mean, being taken out of context disparaging the Tea Party (and Christine O'Donnell). In no particular order:

"If you look underneath the surface of the Tea Party movement, on the other hand, you will find that it is not sophisticated. It's not like these people have read the economist Friedrich August von Hayek."

"It's a little unsophisticated at times, a little insistent, a little demanding."

"Derided by elitists as phony, the tea-party movement is spontaneous, decentralized, frequently amateurish and sometimes shrill."

Speaking about Christine "O'Donnell: 
"I think she's right on the issues but I think the voters of Delaware are not going to want to know just if you're right on the issues but if you have the character and record and background that gives me that you're the right person for the job."

Still on Christine O'Donnell:
Look, everybody in their life sometimes has difficulties and honesty and candor is going to be the best remedy. She can’t get away with simply saying my answer is on my website or it’s puzzling to me why the IRS would file a lien for me when I didn’t pay my tax necessary 2005.

Yep, still on O'Donnell (did these two date?):
It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.


Do you have any that I missed? Post them here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Glenn Beck Just Has a Special Way with Words.

Glenn Beck, the master orator, finds a new way to respond to Nancy Pelosi's agenda. See it here. It's brilliant.


See the video here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Juan Williams Does Not Trust the TSA.

Juan Williams, a Fox News analyst, recently came out in support of Bill O'Reilly's  appearance on "The View" by asserting that he gets nervous when he sees Muslims on a plane. I guess that means that he is okay with them on a bus or in a shopping mall, but not in the skies.

First question, is his problems with Muslims or with the TSA. What difference does it make who is on the plane if they got through security checks, right? I guess that Juan Williams does not trust the Transportation Security Administration.

More importantly, does Juan Williams not know, or simply not accept, that he is an African-American man living in America. Does he not know that there are plenty of people in this country (unfortunately) who get nervous when they see a black man walking down the street?

This is a fact-of-life and it is possible that nothing will change that. But to not understand that hatred and bigotry overlap, regardless of whether it is about "you" and "yours" or someone else is just near-sighted.

Juan, it is time to pull out the bifocals and see the world as it really is, connected. Hatred of one promotes hatred of anyone else.

He's no Basil Marceax.com, But this Guy is Pretty Cool.



I LOVE the facial hair, but what is with the gloves?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is this Life, or Reality TV?

It was just announced that Terry Jones, the crazy Florida preacher who was going to burn the Koran, and then did not burn the Koran, will be getting a free car from a former New York Giant-turned New Jersey car salesman for not igniting the Muslim holy book, and with it potentially the nation and the world. 

Apparently Brad Benson offered everyone's favorite mustached-crazy a car if he called off the burning. Now we have to assume that a call from General David Petraus saying that he wouldl be directly responsible for deaths on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan might have played a role in the preacher's decision. Not to mention the $200,000 bill the local government is apparently serving him for additional security regarding his church.

Regardless of why he called it off though, he is accepting the car from Benson, who after thinking if over, is going to go ahead and issue him a 2011 Hyundai Accent (I am guessing that the accent is Middle Eastern?). 

But wait, none of this is the best part. The best part is that Terry Jones (our preacher) promises that he is going to donate the car to an organization that helps battered Muslim women. 

Could he not have just held a fundraiser to buy a car for the battered Muslim women in the first place, you know, as a way to commemorate 9/11 in his own unique way. Maybe cupcakes and sparklers. America loves individuality, as long as fire and holy kindling are not involved, you know?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who Says Congress Doesn't Do Anything?

The Senate passed a bill today that will require TV commercials to be no louder than the shows that they are interrupting. I think that the Democrats might have just shored up their support with the Hulu demographic.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sacrilege with Andrew Breitbart! Where is the Outrage!

Am I the only one who caught Andrew Breitbart on television last night saying that the Ten Commandments were "a butt to masturbate to?"

Or something along those lines. What a disgusting abuse of the first amendment! Why is there not more of an uproar over this?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bill O'Reilly Doesn't Think One's Words Should Be Used Aganist Them. Not Even His Own.

Bill O'Reilly has now claimed that he too has video clips of Christine O'Donnell saying some "crazy stuff." He is choosing not to air it, for now. 

He claims that it is not relevant, but that if it should become so, he will roll it out. Which I think is completely acceptable. What I do not understand are the next couple of comments that he made in regards to the Delaware Senatorial race.

Bill O'Reilly, a professional journalist with a serious (read: high rated) television show, casually claimed in referring to the Delaware Senatorial race, that he would take the "Witch" over the "Marxist." Now I for one do not understand how it is that a "journalist" is aloud to so blatantly to vie for a political candidate and still be taken seriously as a journalist. Such nonsense would never happen over at CNN.

More importantly, Bill O'Reilly said that he faulted Democrats in the story for using Christine O'Donnell's words against her. Now of course this is insane on so many levels. If this woman had a massive resume to sift through, and all we were focusing on was some decade old quote she made on what was essentially a comedy show, then fine, I do not disagree. But we are talking about a woman who is basically a clean slate to the American people. She has been on TV many times, but she was far from a household name until her upset in Delaware last week.

How else can we judge her than with her words (and the actions that are coming out left and right about her campaign finance scandal)? And by judge, I do not mean look down upon, belittle or mock.By judge I mean understand the woman she is so that we can understand the Senator that she would be. 

Now when I first read this quote for Bill O'Reilly, I thought that I would do a quick youtube or google search and find some great moment of O'Reilly hypocrisy wherein he was using some poor saps words against him. Lord knows he does so nightly. But I didn't even have to go that far.

Bill O'Reilly referred to Chris Coons, the Democratic candidate in Delaware, as a Marxist. I was curious where that notion had come from, or if that was just his code word for Democrat. Well guess what: Chris Coons referred to himself in a student newspaper as a "bearded Marxist." 

Now Coons claims that this comment was taken out of context and he was actually speaking tongue-in-cheek about how his old Republican friends looked at him once he switched political parties. Regardless of the context, does it matter? Moments after saying that one's words should not be used against them, Bill O'Reilly used Chris Coons words against him. Maybe it is because Coons printed his words and O'Donnell said hers on television. Maybe it is because a Witch in the political process is less scary to O'Reilly than a liberal. Regardless of the reason, it is some more good old fashioned hypocrisy from the Fox News Dream Team.

But in all fairness to Bill O'Reilly, he really deserves our respect. He truly put his money where his mouth was. He did not just talk, he also walked. Bill O'Reilly, in calling Coons a Marxist, proved that he does not even hold his own words against himself. He is not a hypocrite. Every word out of everybody's mouth is in-one-ear and out-the-other, including his own. So there is no cognitive dissonance involved in ignoring himself; to be true to his word, he really had no other choice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The True Cost of War

A report came out today that American troops in Afghanistan have been shooting Afghans "for sport."
See the full report here.

Of course there is little to say about such terrible news.  I just feel it is worth pointing out (perhaps an obvious point, but certainly one worth thinking about) that the cost of war cannot always be measured on paper. While the financial costs may be massive, and the lives lost on all sides immense, what cannot ever be fully understood is the full psychological effect that the war will have on its survivors.

There is the argument that the wars in the Middle East have turned more of "them" against "us." True or not, these are not the people I am talking about.

We are giving children guns and sending them off to what is literally the most psychologically stressful job in the world. They live in a kill-or-be-killed world and clearly they are not able to turn that off just because their shift is over. It goes back to their units with them, and it comes home with them to the States. These same people have to be counted on as Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Sons and Daughters, employees and co-workers. But we have broken them. 

This is an inevitable cost of war, and does not in an of itself make war wrong or unjustified. But it should be remembered that saying that you support the troops should mean, whenever possible, never having to ask them do anything that could put their lives in danger. Supporting the troops and supporting war are not synonymous. If anything, they are polar opposites.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Democrats Might Have Accomplished Something!

It looks like all this warning against a GOP takeover of the House and the Senate has done at least one thing: soured Republicans on McConell and Boehner.

A new poll out finds that the majority of GOP voters think that the pair should lose their roles as the head of the party in the Senate and the House respectively. 

That means that should the GOP take back either wing of the Legislative Branch, the Turtle and the Tanner might not be coming with them. 

So either the Democrats succeeded in branding them as bad for America, or somehow Americans have decided that saying NO is not a solution if you want to lead. But for everyone else, keep at it.

Karl Rove is Duplicitous (?!) and Sarah Palin Comes Dangerously Close to Admitting that Fox News is Partisan

See the story here.

Christine O'Donnell won her primary and the pundits are hitting the breaks and making wild u-turns. 

Karl Rove, as I predicted in an earlier post (not about Rove per se, rather about all Republican enemies of O'Donnell) has changed tune on her abilities. 

Sarah Palin went on Fox News and instructed O'Donnell to get onto the network and start getting her message across. (Aren't there laws that are specifically based against such manipulation of the media?)

As long as Justin Timberlake doesn't take anyone's shirt off, I guess nobody really cares.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Israeli Government Office Websites Stop Accepting Payments on Holidays/Sabbath. Does That Mean I DON'T Have to Pay My Parking Ticket?

Currently, Israel allows anyone who wants to, to pay hospital fees, renew passports, extend visas and the like, to do so online. That will not change.

What will change is that people will no longer be able to take advantage of these services on the Jewish Sabbath or High Holidays. For context, it is against Jewish law to exchange money on the aforementioned days. But not all Jews follow this specific dictate (nor for that matter are all people in Israel Jewish). 

But that is irrelevant to Israel's "religious minority" who currently controls the interior, health and religious affiars ministries. 

So now, if you are a tourist, a foreign worker, a secular Israeli Jew or an Israeli citizen of any other religion, you have reason to thank Israel's growing theocratic ways. Despite the fact that you do not adhere to this law in your own life, you will now be forced to follow it in at least one capacity, thus smoothing your entry into heaven, or Florida, or wherever, at least slightly. 

It seems to me that this would be like America, the nation that invented separation of church and state, outlawing sales of alcohol on Sundays (except of course where football is concerned) or telling one religious group that they cannot build a mosque (err, I mean place of worship) anywhere that they want, assuming that all laws are followed and paper work abided by.

Thank the founding fathers that we would never have to worry about having another's religious views being forced upon is in this great nation. Not in Washington's America. Not in Jefferson's America. And praise be to Jesus Mohammad, Moses, Joseph Smith, George Clooney or L. Ron Hubbard (stated in order of relevance), not in my America.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jon Stewart Offers Interesting Analogy About Dangers of Trying to "Defeat" Terrorism

Last night, while interviewing (it begins at 3:06) England's Tony Blair, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, gave an interesting analogy on the notion of trying to "defeat" terrorism.

He said that he has cockroaches in his New York apartment. He calls the exterminator and they come and fumigate. But the cockroaches inevitably return. If he wanted to truly be rid of these pests once and for all, he could seal off his apartment from the outside world and drop a continuous stream of bug bombs inside to keep them out. But what kind of a life would this leave for him and his family?

Blair does not really respond to this analogy, but it is an interesting way to think about the problem. Of course we have to be careful about seeming to "belittle" terrorism as a problem. Senator Kerry once said that we needed to get to a place where terrorism was nothing more than a nuisance. The Bush/Cheney team had a field day promising that they would never look at terrorism in such light terms. They would hunt it down, root it out and destroy it. Well they had eight years (seven if you start counting post-9/11) and of course they never came close to reaching that absurd and unattainable goal.

And I, for one, cannot blame them for falling short. Rather I blame them for claiming that it was possible in the first place. We as a nation need to look at terrorism realistically. We need to combat it with everything we have. But, as Jon Stewart says, we will no sooner destroy every last terrorist than we will see an end to cockroaches in New York or trashy reality shows on MTV. It is just the nature of the world. 

We can attempt to invade every nation with terrorists within it, but I think that the US is now officially on that list. And I know that England is. So in the meantime, let us do everything in our power to fight terrorism without lying to ourselves that terrorism can ever truly be "defeated.:" It cannot.

Maybe it's Time Congress Went the Way of Acid Washed Jeans and Rudy Giuliani's Politcal Career

The two parties cannot even get together to agree to cover 9/11 first responders' medical bills!

It's 9/11 first responders and we are not covering their medical bills? What is going on with our Congress when even this simple act is too complicated?


See the full story here.

And maybe it is time to start considering a nation-wide policy wherein we "Vote for the Other Guy*."

(*Or Gal.)

You heard it hear first. Unless of course the Other Guy or Gal is in the Tea Party and then please feel free to vote your conscious.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rebuplicans Blocking a Tax Cut?

They claim they are stopping a tax hike for the rich.
In the process, they are preventing a tax break for the middle class.


Both of the above links take you to the same place, because both of these statements are true. Just as both of these statements are false. Obama is not trying to raise taxes, he is simply considering not renewing temporary tax cuts made by President Bush. The Republicans are not blocking a tax for the middle class, they are saying that is it all or nothing.

I would be curious to see the Democrats concede that the tax increase for individuals earning over $200,000 or for couples earning over $250,000 will not be raised. Instead, the tax cut will expire only if you earn over a million dollars a year. Five million? How about a billion? Will Republicans be willing to have voters going to the polls in November knowing that their tax cuts expired because the Senate Republicans were looking out for a true minority: billionaires.

If Democrats are trying to shape the message, this might be a strong way to go about it. Give even the upper middle class a (longer) break, but let those with a ten digit salary (or worth) pay their fair share.

US to Sell Saudis $60 Billion Worth of Military Equipment so that the Saudis Can Finally Build a Church or Synagouge

The US is on track to sell Saudi Arabia, our great oil bearing friends in the Middle East, $60 billion worth of weapons. See the BBC report here

Now let us put that $60 billion figure into prospective. According to Global Issues*, last year the US spent $712 billion on its military (that is over 46% of the GLOBAL military spending of last year!). China was a DISTANT second with $100 billion. After them was France with $63.9 billion. No one else on the list is above $60 billion. Not the UK or Russia (both close but under), not India (it's only slightly above half way to the $60 billion marker) and not Saudi Arabia. For those who are wondering, the list only shows the top 15 countries spending and Israel is not on it. They are apparently nowhere close to those kind of numbers.

(* - Feel free to read up on Global Issues here.)
For some more perspective, $60 billion is higher than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the following nations (according to CIA.gov): Lithuania, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Jordan, Cambodia, Albania, Georgia, Iceland, Jersey (a place I am not familiar with but which cannot be as bad as the New Jersey), Belize and many, many other countries.

We are selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, a country that brutally oppresses women. A country that has not even the faintest semblance of democracy. And most importantly, a country without a single Church or Synagogue. Not one Church or Synagogue!!!

So of course I am now patiently waiting for our moral authority of day's-gone-by, none other than Mr. Newt Gingrich himself, to come forward and decry this sale. When they start putting crosses on mosques, then we can talk about Tomahawk Missiles and Unmanned Drones and whatever other fun toys we will be sending their way. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia needs to play nice with its infidels.

Since this will probably happen no time soon, while you wait, feel free to read what old Newt said recently regarding President Obama having a "Kenyan, Anti-Colonial Worldview." It's a classic. 

Newt 2012!

HG Wells is Invading England!

Or something like that. "Killer Shrimp" are invading England. We can only assume that, like Rock and Roll and tight pants, they will be in America soon enough. They are eating small fish and, wait for it, other local shrimp (that's right, they are cannibals!!!). Is it possible that we are next?

See the whole story here.

But be forewarned, they ARE coming and they do not like how you have been eating their friends! So watch out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

GOP Civil War for Biden's Old Seat

The Tea Party and the GOP are battling in Delaware. The primary for the Senate race is fast approaching. Delaware GOP party chairman Tom Ross, who is supporting the more moderate and member-of-the-establishment Mike Castle, recently stated that the Sarah Palin backed Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell is "not a viable candidate for any office in the state of Delaware. She could not be elected dog catcher."

Read the larger story here.

What I want to know is how Ross, and the rest of the Delaware GOP, are going to back away from this infighting gracefully should O'Donnell emerge victorious. Can you imagine her running in the general election and having Democratic attack ads quoting the local Republican leadership attesting to her abilities, or lack thereof? If she does win the primary, it is going to be so great watching Ross et. al. have to get out there and stump for her and talk back all of their attacks. Maybe Ross will try and explain to us the great import on the role of dog catcher in Delaware. Either way, he probably cost the GOP the vote of any trained canine specialist in the state.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is/Pal Negotiations Hit Snag Over Whose Turn to Bring Hummus


Netanyahu wants to start the next round of talks, in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh, talking about security and Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state (see my substantial previous post on the topic here) while Abbas wants to talk about the borders of the future Palestinian state.

In other words, each is asking for something that the other can inherently not give. Abbas can and will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state because that undermines the 1.2 million Palestinians living within Israel's recognized borders (seriously, see my previous post here). Israel can certainly not start talks by setting borders for the future Palestinian state because that means telling a potentially massive amount of Israelis that their homes are not secure, without having anything real to show in return for their sacrifices. 

While all of these issues will have to be dealt with eventually, the talks should probably start with something simpler, like quantum physics or the two sides enduring mutual anger over the Crusades.

In the meantime, Clinton should probably bring the hummus and pita, Mitchell the falafel and Netanyahu and Abbas should both simply agree to come to the meeting without pre-conditions and with open minds. Happy Holidays to all.

America's Two Sexiest Republicans Get it on.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, of Sacramento and Kindergarten Cop fame, recently tweeted: "Over Anchorage, AK. Looking everywhere but can't see Russia from here. Will keep you updated as search continues."

Sarah Palin, for whom the jibe was clearly intended, waited a few days and retorted: "Arnold should have landed; I could have explained our multi-billion dollar state surplus and US energy security efforts. What's he been up to?"

Someone get these beautiful people in a room before the sexual tension kills us all.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/11 Freedom Rally in DC

For any of you out there in the DC area this weekend, there will be a 9/11 Rally for Freedom of Religion, Worship, and Conscience at 2pm on Freedom Plaza. That is on Pennsylvania Ave in NW DC. It should be a good day and it is important that another voice is represented on September 11th, as it is looking like it might be a scary day nationwide for good old American values.

Come if you can and post your experience on here. I'd love to hear about it. If you have pictures or videos, send them on (bifocalpoint@gmail.com) and I will post them to the site. 

Here is to freedom and equality for all...in our lifetime.

It's official, Fidel Castro is now on AIPAC's payrole.

Or something like that. I don't know what to think about this new article by Jeffrey Goldberg (see it here) where he details several days that he spent in Cuba, at Fidel's request. Apparently Fidel saw Goldberg's story about Iran and Israel and decided that this was the guy to set his record straight.

Fidel came out surprisingly strongly for Israel, which is not exactly his norm, saying that he can understand their fears after facing unprecedented levels of persecution throughout history. He even questioned Holocaust denials by the King of Holocaust deniers, Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran. He also admitted that he made mistakes during the Cuban Missile Crisis (!!!). Imagine a leader admitting to his mistakes.

My thought is either AIPAC got to him or he sees an opportunity to finally best his old friend, the US. I think that he is trying to get himself a Nobel Prize by being the one to finally negotiate a peace settlement. Or maybe he is senile. Or some combination therein. Tell me what you think Castro was thinking, inviting Goldberg to his home. Winner might just get a first class trip, all expenses paid, straight to Havana.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Peace Talks, and Talks, and Talks.

For the nth time in umpteen years, Israelis and Palestinians are sitting down together to talk about peace. What does it mean, no one yet knows. But both sides left agreeing to come back, which is always a good start.

One significant difference between these talks and the talks hosted by our last two fearless leaders, Clinton and Bush, Jr., is the fact that President Obama did not wait until the last few minutes of his term, as the ink was drying on the inauguration invitations for the next guy, to announce an attempt to make history and solve one of the world's most intractable conflicts. So that is something.

And THAT's the good news.

Netanyahu is holding his coalition together with both hands and some duct tape. He does not currently have the ability to make any significant concessions, lest his coalition, stacked heavily-although not entirely-to the right, finally take its ultimate plunge into the abyss of Israeli history books. Netanyahu is not the first Prime Minister in Israel to be given a second shot at the position, but it is hard to imagine Bibi getting a third shot at the prize in the foreseeable future.

Now we have to remember, for all of Netanyahu's edge and stance, he is also one of the only Israeli Prime Minister's to accede territory, however small (the other two being through-and-through righties Begin and Sharon). He is a pragmatist, even if he wishes that Israel, the world, and President Obama would forget it.

So Netanyahu's juggling act comes out in a repeat of his imaginative claim from last year that, new to the ether of peace talks, it would be unacceptable for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians without a full recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

On the surface, this is simple enough. Israel is the Jewish state, let whoever wants to make peace with them say it out loud. But this was not asked of Sadat of Egypt nor King Hussein of Jordan, and Israel willingly signed treaties with both of these parties.

Why ask the Palestinians, who have no (and will continue to have no) standing army, potentially no control of their borders or air space, and certainly no right of return beyond whatever is specifically spelled out under any ultimate peace plan, when the same was not asked of Sadat-the-Giant, or King Hussein, over whom Israel had no such control.

The answer of course is because they can. Well, if they are less concerned with peace than constituency that is. Time Magazine's Karl Vick just wrote an interesting, if not perfect, cover story about why Israel has moved on from peace (an excerpt can be read here). The question here is really less about Israel than about Netanyahu. Netanyahu does not have the coalition to allow him to make serious concessions. Requiring Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state as, well a Jewish state, is tantamount to asking them to take their beating and say "uncle" all the same.

Before you go jumping to the comments section to tell me that I hate Israel and/or that I am ignorant and/or that I should die, and so on, give me a second. Please. In any real peace, a peace that can be accepted by either leader and brought back to the people without outright riots and secession, both sides are going to have to make serious concessions. Israel is going to have to dismantle SOME settlements and outposts, accept SOME leniency with Palestinian borders and find SOME way to allow the Palestinians to claim Jerusalem a shared city, even if mostly only on paper.

For the Palestinians, they are going to have to accept that some settlements are not settlements, but permanents, that they are never going to receive any real semblance of the Right-of-Return, that they are (at least for now) not going to have an army or any real control over their borders or their airspace, and that Jerusalem is never going to be as "theirs" as they had hoped.

This is going to be painful for both sides. Decades (nearly a century) of war, and hardship, and talks, and brutality, and vitriol, and anger, and everyone is going to be unhappy. But that is what compromise is. If everyone cannot be happy, then everyone needs to be the least amount of unhappy as possible.

When all is said and done, the best case scenario for a future Palestinian state is going to be hard-to-swallow, difficult-to-sell and a work-in-progress state that might never stop being a work-in-progress. It IS going to be noncontagious and indefensible. It IS going to be a shard of what the Palestinians feel is their deserved state. But, God and Allah and Jesus and Glenn Beck and whoever-you-choose-to-bow-down-to willing, it is going to be a state.

To then ask the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, despite the fact that within it their are over a million Palestinians (about 1/5 of the population of Israel) and that the Palestinian state will be full of people who still wear necklaces with keys to their old homes in Haifa, Jaffa and so on (cities that will certainly remain a part of Israel), is akin to kicking them while they are down.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, I understand the sentiment. You have been fighting so long for the Jewish state. Essentially you are asking someone to tell you that you were right, that your brother and your friends did not die in vain, that your life's work mattered, that you, and your people, are real and legitimate.

But it is never going to happen. Just like you are never going to accept the Right-of-Return for a significant number of Palestinians, they are never going to lower their head and grant you this victory.

But honestly, that is not really the point, is it? You are not demanding this for the Palestinians or for the Israelis. You are doing it for your coalition and for President Obama. If you somehow defy the odds and reach peace, your coalition is doomed to fail. If you cannot give a good reason for reaching peace, you are going to piss off on angry, dumped-on American President who has been getting beaten up from every side recently and may (he just may) decide that you are a battle worth fighting.

And who knows what happens then.

To all of those of you who have been waiting patiently, you can now tell me to die, and all that fun stuff. I will try not to take it too personally.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm on Twitter and Sarah Palin Does Not Want to Know What I think.

I just created my Twitter account. Follow me on there. My handle is, you guessed it: BiFocalPoint. (Are you seeing a trend yet?) You will get all of my humor, my sass and my wit without all of those pesky characters (letters, numbers and punctuation, not people). Nw wtch me lrn 2 abrevi8!

The first person that I followed on Twitter was, naturally, Sarah Palin. Why go to CNN when I can just create a Twitter profile. It is all that anyone talks about these days. She is the news.

I clicked on follow her, and within just a few minutes, her Middle America hospitality (which I know a lot about being from the South) returned the favor and followed me right back. For a minute there, I thought that I might have been special.

But our love was not meant to be. Apparently she monitors that thing pretty closely and did not like my Joe Miller is HOW Conservative? post. I was hoping for a signature Sarah punchline for my little game, but alas, it is not to be. At least not tonight.

She stopped following me!
Just like that. Not even a warning or a :(

So internet world out there, its official. I did not wake up this morning prepared for it, I did not savor every moment of the days leading up to it, but it is official nonetheless: I am part of the problem. Which makes me sad. Won't someone out there write something out there to cheer me up. Preferably a story about Our Lady of Alaska, and definitely nothing that you would not want your mother to read. I look forward to it. The best story get immortalized... in my heart. So lay it on thick.

See you in the blogosphere.

Alaska's Joe Miller is so Conservative...

How conservative is he you ask?

Well forget about his Tea Party credos. Shortly after officially winning the Alaska GOP Senatorial primary, he admitted that Alaska has long been reliant of Federal money but foresaw what would happen to the State as the Federal coffers started to go dry.

His solution is as follows:

"We have to be prepared for that, and the way to do it, of course, is to progressionally transfer holdings of the federal government to us."

So the correct answer is:

Joe Miller is so conservative, he won't even USE the word Progressive (or any derivation therein). Congrats to all of you out there who got the right answer. Have another "correct answer" for how conservative Joe Miller is. Post it here. Wittiest answer gets all-out props on the BiFocalPoint...for at least a week. Guaranteed.

We Must Protect Ground Zero at All Costs!!!!

Ground Zero is under siege, that much is evident.  Unholy people are trying to take over the neighborhood, previously pristine, and taint it with their filth. Did you know that right now, at this very moment, it is possible for a man with the flu to walk right up to Ground Zero and spit on the ground. The very area could become contaminated indefinitely.

But this is America and there is always a way. We will protect this hallowed spot for our children and our grandchildren at any cost, won't we? If so, then there is really only one feasible solution and I have it for you. That is right, you heard it hear first. Others WILL co-opt my idea, but just remember that BiFocalPoint saved Ground Zero, and the nation that loves it, from terrorists, fanatics, abortionists and salmonella. My solution even solves that disgusting point of Mayor Michael Bloomberg that the area is not sacrosanct; it is currently surrounded by bars and shops selling pornographic materials. In America!!!!!!

Well, not for long. Soon enough, anyone who wants to visit Ground Zero will do so with the help of the Coast Guard or with a swim suit and snorkel.

If we could pick up Ground Zero and move it someplace safe, of course we would. Someplace flat where we could keep an eye on it from every direction. Preferably somewhere in the Main Land, where it could be observed and protected by good, hard-working Americans. And not by, ugh, New Yorkers. But that is ridiculous. Obviously. It would almost certainly be damaged in the move.

My next thought involved a Plexiglas bubble and a lot of duct tape, but I would not want to make it impossible for good, strong-valued Americans to ever again be able to enter this sacred area. No, that would be punishing us all for the crimes of some. That could never work.

I considered watch towers and armed guards, but then you would presumably need bathrooms right there at the site. At GROUND ZERO!!!!!! Unthinkable.

Where does that leave us? We cannot move it, we cannot enclose it with plastic or men. There is but one obvious solution. The time has come, once and for all, to build a moat around Ground Zero. It is really the only acceptable way to keep this spot, which saw so many Americans fall in the name of honor and pride, forever pristine and virgin from the slime and the filth of that disgusting city within which it happens to stand. No, New York is simply not good enough for Ground Zero.

We will build a moat, and much as its neighbor the UN, it will be a sovereign entity. When we go to the polls every two years, we will vote, as a nation, on its upkeepers. Any one who wants to visit will plead their case to the public and referendum will decide for whom the single drawbridge descends. Those in Washington will have no power on this sacred place, it will be unsullied by their unscrupulous ways.

The time has come to protect Ground Zero from the world. The moat must be built. Grab your shovels, your axes and your children and get to work America! Before New York allows it be just another nameless construction site, burdened motionless with red tape and bureaucratic incompetence and surrounded by encroaching filth on all sides.

Ground Zero belongs to us. Let us dig deep and let us dig wide so that no one can ever take that away from us. The time has come. Ground Zero, we are coming to save you.

Some light reading on Sarah "Barracuda" Palin

Click here to read a fascinating piece on the woman we all love to love. Or hate, fear or mock. Whatever the case may be, this article will help you get inside the head of the Thrilla from Wasilla, the Sasser from Alaska, the Queen of Mean and the always the Prom Queen. Parents be warned, while scant, there is a bit of salty language. But nothing vulgar. It's long, so get your popcorn ready in advance. It's a worthwhile read.

Monday, August 30, 2010

1 in 4 Americans is really kind of a lot, isn't it?

A new poll says that 26%, essentially one-in-four, Americans think that Sarah Palin is ready to be President. Just to be clear, 1 in 4 Americans think that she is ready to be the President - finger on the button, Commander-in-Chief - of the United States of America. Most reporting of this poll was done in the context of ONLY one-in-four, but to me, one-in-four Americans is A LOT of people. We are talking about approximately 75 million people who think that Sarah Palin, the woman who could not complete a term as Governor, is ready to take control of the country. 

Just for some perspective, I did a quick google search of "1 in 4 Americans" and here are a few things that came up.

1 in 4 Americans did not read one book last year. (As of 2007, but I would not imagine that has changed significantly since then.)

1 in 4 do not know from whom we declared our Independence.

Another dated one, but at the beginning of 2007, 1 in 4 Americans thought that Jesus' second coming would take place before the end of that year.

1 in 4 (teenage girl) Americans has a Venereal Disease. 

And of course, the clincher. I will not link this one, because it is EVERYWHERE, but 1 in 4 Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim. I never understood this one, after the massive scandal that erupted over Obama's Preacher at his long-time Church, but who am I to judge.

I was looking for context, I think that I found some. Please feel free to ad more to this list.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's a First: Netanyahu Does Not Condemn Call for Genocide

 


Netanyahu is not alone amongst Israeli society in decrying Palestinian enticements to terror. When Palestinians recently planned to rename a square after a woman who had hijacked an Israeli bus, killing dozens, Israelis were understandably livid. This was all the proof that Israelis needed that ALL Palestinians were terrorists, not just those involved in the heinous acts. Fair or not, it is easy to follow Israel rationale as they move from point A to point B.

Over the weekend Ovadia Yosef, the founder and current chief spiritual leader of Shas, raised a bit of a ruckus. Shas is the political movement of the religious Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews of Israel (meaning essentially, Jews of Eastern descent). During a Shabbat sermon, he claimed that Abu Mazen and the Palestinians, along with all of the enemies of Israel, should perish. He was of course dramatic and biblical, claiming that a plague should strike them down. Now let us be clear, this is not like Dick Cheney rising from his defibrillator to decry liberals and terrorists, this is like Pat Robertson taking the air waves to tell his followers that 9/11 was caused by homosexuality and feminism. The call to arms, while all in the interpretation, cannot be pretty.

Now, the first thing that comes to mind is Israel's immediate reaction to anyone talking about their own destruction. A serious discussion is raging in America today about Israel's right, and ability, to eliminate Iran's nuclear program. Jeffrey Goldberg's recent Atlantic cover story is a serious account of the situation in Israel as to the probability and justification of just such an attack.

The argument against this comparison from some is obvious, Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, only one or two of which would be needed to wipe out the Jews in Israel at least for the foreseeable future. But is there anyone who doubts that Israel lacks the capabilities to do just this to the Palestinians in the region, should they so desire. PAY ATTENTION, I am not saying that they will, would, or even that they remotely want to. I am merely saying that they can.

Should Iran one day, in the near or distant future, gain the technological know-how to wipe Israel off the map, they know that it would be to their detriment. Should they choose to take the suicidal step of launching a nuke at Israel, either by missile or by proxy, they know that Israel has the ability to respond. If there was nothing left in Israel but dust and ash, Israel could still launch a nuclear warhead from a submarine directly at Tehran. Israel is gone, and Iran follows closely behind.

Does Israel have the same concern of Mutually Assured Destruction should they decide that the Palestinians have been a pain-in-their-tuchus (Jewish for ass) long enough and that it is time for them to go once and for all? Of course not. As far as PR and tourism and economy and diplomacy are concerned, it would almost certainly be a disaster for Israel, but would it mean the end of the Jewish state? Not necessarily.

Now the reason that I raise this comparison is not that an 89 year old Iraqi born Rabbi made a crazy claim asking God to strike down the Palestinians. Forget the fact that when this man speaks, he is seen by many, including 11 members of Shas who currently sit in the Netanyahu government, as orders from the highest of places. He is a spiritual Commander-in-Chief, if you will. But still, my concern is not that he said it, rather how Netanyahu reacted to it.

Now let's be clear, Netanyahu "distanced" himself from the statement, about that there is no doubt. Netanyahu's office released a statement saying that "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's remarks do not reflect Netanyahu's views, nor do they reflect the stance of the Israeli government."

Great! It is good to hear that Netanyahu does not personally believe that all of the Palestinians should be struck down by plague. I suppose the next question one would need to ask were should this far-fetched plague to happen, might it not be out of even God Almighty's hands to keep it from spreading to the Jews who live, work and travel alongside these Palestinians on a daily basis?

Netanyahu is not a zealot or a nut. Obviously he does not agree with the statement. But is he really okay with the fact that 11 members of his coalition government see the man who made this comment as their spiritual leader? Can he really count on receiving their support next week, as peace talks resume after such a long overdue absence, when their Rabbi and leader says that the people on the other side of the negotiating table should be smote by plague from God. 

How can we hope to have peace when such a large contingency of Netanyahu's government comes from a party that is openly calling for a plague on the Palestinians. Can we at least get these guys Hazmat suits so that they can sign their names to their Knesset attendance sheet in the meantime.