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I don’t like it but I gotta do it


The reason

Juan Cole explains it all for you:

Iran has 150 billion barrels in petroleum reserves, among the largest reserves in the world, but they cannot be exploited by US corporations because of Israel lobby-inspired US congressional sanctions on Iran. US elites, especially Big Oil, dream of doing regime change in Iran so as to get access to those vast reserves. Likely the most important US objection to the Iranian civilian nuclear enrichment program is that it could give Iran “nuclear latency,” the ability to construct a bomb quickly if it seemed to Tehran that the US planned to attack. That is, the real objection in Washington to Iranian nuclear know-how is that it makes Iraq-style regime change impossible and so puts Iranian petroleum out of reach of Houston for the foreseeable future. This consideration is likely the real reason that Washington does not, so to speak, go ballistic about North Korea and Pakistan having actual nuclear warheads, but like to has a fainting spell at the very idea of Iran enriching uranium to 3.5 percent (a bomb takes 95%). North Korea and Pakistan don’t have oil.

Heart cells

This kind of stuff is so cool:

A few weeks later, CDI ran another round of experiments that subjected my cells to drugs with known toxic side effects. First came Hismanal, an antihistamine, and Propulsid, a drug to treat gastrointestinal distress. Both medications were pulled from the market in many countries, including the United States, because they were associated with rare but potentially life-threatening heart arrhythmias. “This propensity is due to the unanticipated and unwanted side effect of both drugs blocking and disrupting the normal activity of a specific ion channel in the heart,” said a report e-mailed to me from CDI. “Both drugs had similar effects on David Duncan’s iPS-derived cardiomyocytes: a dose-dependent increase in the duration of the action potential … Prolonged action potential durations are a recognized trigger for cardiac arrhythmia that can result in sudden death.”
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Liberty walk

Miley Cyrus:

Anxiety attack

Jeffrey Lewis:

The evil-of-two-lessers argument

Declaring that Obama has done “pretty well” compared to what a Republican in the Oval Office would have done is like saying, “Obama’s not that good, but a Republican would have been downrightevil. Is that what you progressives would prefer?” More here.

Wrecking ball

Interview in today’s Guardian with Bruce Springsteen about his new album:

At a Paris press conference on Thursday night, Bruce Springsteen was asked whether he was advocating an armed uprising in America. He laughed at the idea, but that the question was even posed at all gives you some idea of the fury of his new album Wrecking Ball.

Indeed, it is as angry a cry from the belly of a wounded America as has been heard since the dustbowl and Woody Guthrie, a thundering blow of New Jersey pig iron down on the heads of Wall Street and all who have sold his country down the swanny. Springsteen has gone to the great American canon for ammunition, borrowing from folk, civil war anthems, Irish rebel songs and gospel. The result is a howl of pain and disbelief as visceral as anything he has ever produced, that segues into a search for redemption: “Hold tight to your anger/ And don’t fall to your fears … Bring on your wrecking ball.”

“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream,” Springsteen told the conference, where the album was aired for the first time. It was written, he claimed, not just out of fury but out of patriotism, a patriotism traduced.

“What was done to our country was wrong and unpatriotic and un-American and nobody has been held to account,” he later told the Guardian. “There is a real patriotism underneath the best of my music but it is a critical, questioning and often angry patriotism.”
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Christie is a coward

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a marriage equality bill. It goes to the state Senate, and if it passes, they have a Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, who’s man enough not only to sign it, but to go out and campaign for it:

That would set the stage for the measure to be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, a gay marriage supporter who lobbied fervently for the bill this week. One of his chief tasks was to sway black lawmakers, many of whom were hesitant to back an issue opposed by much of the state’s black clergy.

“Today, the House of Delegates voted for dignity,” O’Malley posted on Twitter. He later added in another tweet, “Love is an inalienable right.”

As opposed to bloviating little bullies like Chris Christie, who like to talk big and pretend to be straight shooters, but are actually scared little boys who are afraid to cross their party’s right wing:

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) — New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie fulfilled his pledge to veto a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage, setting up an override fight with a Legislature controlled by Democrats.

Christie, 49, announced the move in a statement issued late today from his Trenton office. Lawmakers sent the measure to him earlier in the day. Sponsors said they’ll work to assemble the two-thirds majority in each chamber needed to override the veto.

“For someone who has national aspirations in the Republican party right now, I think there’s not much choice but to take this position,” Ken Sherrill, who teaches politics at Hunter College in New York, said by telephone.

Christie has said he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman and that the issue should be decided by a statewide referendum. Democrats have countered that marriage is a civil right and shouldn’t be subjected to a popular vote. Legislative leaders have made the issue a priority, two years after failing to pass a similar bill supported by then-Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat.

“I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced — an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” Christie said in his statement.

Now go listen to the stirring video, in which Newark Mayor Cory Booker puts Christie in his place: “Dear God, we should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote. No minority should have their civil rights subject to the sentiments, the passions of the majority.”

And as Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who signed a marriage bill this week, told CNN:

“Sometimes the majority doesn’t always protect the minority,” Gregoire said about voter referendums in an interview today on CNN. “We were elected to make decisions.”

Dance me to the end of love

The Civil Wars cover Leonard Cohen:

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