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Tennessee stud

Today is Doc Watson’s birthday. Happy birthday, Doc! He’s 89:

High-rape culture

Hmm. Sounds uncomfortably close to the U.S.

The girl with faraway eyes


If you can’t say anything nice

There’s an ongoing argument among bloggers about Andrew Breitbart, and whether we’re “stooping to their level” by saying what we actually think about him. Well, here’s what I think.

Wars split families. Benjamin Franklin refused to let his own son out of prison to see his wife while she was dying. What a terrible, unfeeling man. Or not.

This is also a war – of ideologies, class and culture.

Are those who say mean things terrible people for declining to whitewash Breitbart out of respect for his family? The real question is, why is his family more worthy of concern than the families once helped by ACORN? (Hint: It’s the same reason I joke that Apple-loving progressives would be a lot more concerned about Foxcomm workers if we described them as factory-farmed chickens.)

The very problem with the Village – the moneyed, connected, inbred establishment – is that that they value their personal relationships above all else, and use those personal relationships to justify and excuse all kinds of political and economic horrors visited upon the rest of the world, things that have serious ripple effects.

This is why we ridicule them. Isn’t that the point? Their emotional relationships render them incapable of connecting those dots between what they do and the results out in the real world. They live in the bubble.

For example, the top management at the Times loved Judy Miller and, I’m sure, they would have cried at her death. How many Iraqis are dead because of that relationship? Am I a monster if I don’t especially care, or if, even worse, I snicker? I don’t think so. I just use a much broader, more external measure of her worth.
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Country comfort

I loved this album. Yes, she’s one of “those” Taylors. Kate Taylor covers Elton:

Sunny side of the street

The Pogues:

Cheeseheads battle billionaires

I hope it’s clear to most Americans what the recall battle in Wisconsin is about, and that it’s really being fought on a national scale. More here.

Wichita lineman

Johnny A.:

Obama and Israel

Steve Clemons is a serious and respected policy guy and a truly nice man. A lot of people I know trust him to tell it like it is, so when I read this, I was shocked at how vehement he is in condemning Obama’s Israel policy. Go read the rest:

But what Obama seems not to understand in the well-meaning description of his attempted Iran strategy is that he is actually creating a railroad track to disaster. He conveys in the interview a disinterest in containment, suggesting that Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon changes the world and triggers a rampant and dangerous proliferation in an unstable part of the global neighborhood.

Not all nuclear bombs are the same. Israel’s 200 plus thermonuclear warheads are not simple fission devices and have a destructive capacity that could seriously end Iran as a functioning state. Iran, even if it were to produce a nuclear warhead tomorrow, would have none of the destructive capacity that Israel could rain down on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Anthony Cordesman, David Albright and others have done extremely important and useful, admittedly Stangelovian analyses of what a back-and-forth firing exchange of nuclear weapons would mean for both states. As Cordesman told me recently, Israel would survive fine — Iran would be devastated.

Many analysts believe that Iran’s appetite for either a nuclear weapons capacity or a Japan-like “near nuke” capacity (meaning it has the potential but does not actually build the systems) would help provide Iran with a shield behind which it could protect itself while then continuing to operate global, transnational terror networks with impunity. Perhaps this is true — or perhaps three decades of paranoia about American calls for regime change in Iran have hard-wired the place to want anything that solves its security dilemma. I see both tracks as having merit.

That said, what Obama is doing in this interview and in his needy solicitation of American Jewish community and Israeli citizen support is the opposite of where he started his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg: :”I…don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are.”

But he did. Obama essentially is saying in this interview that Iran is one of the top five foreign policy concerns of his since moving into the White House, that he is attempting to organize a pressure-based effort to cause pain for Iran’s leaders and move it to a different course, and that he won’t accept failure — that he will squeeze and surround and bomb (if needed) Iran to compel it never to acquire nuclear weapons. That’s not strategy. Obama is overplaying the endgame and creating expectations that if sanctions don’t work — which they often and usually don’t — that he will bomb the country. This is irresponsible and harmful to American and Israeli and broad Middle Eastern interests.

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