Sunday, August 02, 2009

Weekend Roundup

I'm not as funny as Tina Fey, but I make up for it in erudition.

* * *

There was a brutal shooting at a gay club in Tel Aviv, with two dead. The gay community blames Shas, the Sephardic/Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox party, for inciting violence against their community.

The police are recommending that Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman be indicted on graft charges. Hey, whatever gets him out of office.

Likud MK Yisrael Katz, Israel's Transportation Minister, calls the Fatah draft platform currently up for a vote a "declaration of war" against Israel. I'm not convinced it's a "declaration", since it doesn't seem to change much Fatah policy. The draft endorses two states and encourages civil disobedience, but also sanctions violence, rejects Israel as a Jewish state, and demands a right of return for Palestinian refugees. It also contemplates increased links with Iran, unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state on '67 borders, or even a binational state should talks fail.

Politicians won't stop lying until lying becomes a liability.

Ann Friedman on the gendered implications of the "beer summit".

Red-heads feel the pain.

Gregory Gordon pushes an African Marshall Plan for the Congo.

Pat Boone only opposes metaphorical waterboarding.

The Australian TULIP event I mentioned earlier appears to have been a rousing success.

Frank Rich identifies the source of much of the Gates-gate flap as anxiety over America's upcoming majority-minority status. Post-racial, we're not.

Iran is putting 100 protesters on trial. It appears that they may have coerced false confessions out of them.

Finally, funny science abstracts!


Rebecca said...

I will be obnoxious and link my piece on the attack in Tel Aviv.

Barry Deutsch said...

Typo patrol: The Fatah draft platform link leads to the Lieberman graft story.

(Well, that's not a typo, technically, but it's a similar sort of error.)

PG said...

Re: politicians won't stop lying -- this assumes that political claims are easy to "fact check." If someone claims that the Democrats want to give us "Canadian style health care," I could say that's a lie because no one plans for the state governments to run hospitals and employ doctors and nurses, and to me those are the characteristics that distinguish Canadian health care from those of other countries with universal coverage. (If the federal government were the one running hospitals and employing providers, I'd consider that "British style" health care, which is at a national rather than provincial level.)

OTOH, if someone considers "Canadian style" simply to refer to single-payer, then I can't say they're lying if they claim Democrats are considering it or that Obama has said he would consider that the ideal reform albeit not one that practically can be made at this point.

If you read comment #21 on Yglesias's post, a very good point is made by commenter Al, who says that the $540 billion in new taxes refers only to the planned federal income tax increase on top earners. There IS a total of $820 billion in new payments once you include contributions by employers and payments by the self- or un-employed. Should those be characterized as "taxes"? I consider that a bit imprecise, just like characterizing any kind of single payer system as "Canadian style" is imprecise, but unless terms are defined beforehand, it's not fair to say your opponent is lying. The problem is with the imprecision of terms that our politics allows.

PG said...

The Pat Boone column is bizarre even by his standards. Apparently waterboarding has no lasting negative effects on its recipients and leads to a greater good for the majority at the expense of some discomfort for relatively few individuals. But this isn't OK to do metaphorically in a democratic system?

PG said...

Rich is less perceptive about Republicans than Stephen Colbert is. Colbert's The Word segment "He Who Smelt It, Dealt It" perfectly encapsulated the white conservative's viewpoint on racism: it can't exist in a situation until someone actually, in words, adverts to race -- and then that person is the only one who is A Racist.

Thus Sotomayor, by using the words "Latina" and "white," can be deemed A Racist, but even wondering whether racial biases played any role in Officer Crowley's reaction to Gates is deemed in itself to be racist. Crowley didn't say anything about race, only Gates did -- so Gates must be A Racist for bringing up race.

That said, even Colbert could be proud of this line:
"Threatened white elites try to mask their own anxieties by patronizingly adopting working-class whites as their pet political surrogates — Joe the Plumber, New Haven firemen, a Cambridge police officer. Call it Village People populism."