"So that business about Hillary Clinton calling Israel's settlement action "insulting" and the State Department accusing Israel of a "deeply negative signal" that "undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America's interests"? You must have imagined it." - Dana Milbank
"There may lie a more subtle development: a mood shift among Israelis and Palestinians that may signal an opportunity for serious movement toward peace. That was the conclusion I reached after visiting Ramallah and Israel last week." - Martin Indyk
israel's summer plans...
has no plans to bomb Iran right now.: "I don't believe we are at the point of making that kind of decision, nor is the Israeli government, given the state that Iran is in now as far as the development of their nuclear weapons is concerned," McCain said in response to a question on whether he would support an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Neither McCain nor Graham gave blanket support for an Israeli attack in the future. McCain said it was impossible for him to say whether he would back such an operation because it "would be dictated by so many different circumstances." Graham said he wouldn't support an Israeli strike now because "there's many options still available to us." Lieberman did not address the question directly. "We will use every means that we have to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power through diplomatic and economic sanctions if we possibly can, through military action if we must," Lieberman said." Neither Senator addressed why we have troops massed along the Iranian border in Azerbaijan and why we have three aircraft carriers with 10,000 marines on board, stationed in the Persian gulf alongside an Israeli warship and two nuclear submarines.
activity by Hezbollah along Lebanon's southern border, saying that they are laying in supplies and communications lines and are readying for another war against Israel: "Hezbollah is establishing itself with increasing strength in the villages. Every day they are collecting significant intelligence on our forces along the border and every day they are engaged in digging, building and laying communications infrastructure to prepare themselves for war."
The IDF believes Hezbollah has an arsenal of some 40,000 short and medium range rockets stored in towns and villages south of the Litani River, with many of the weapons stored in private houses. Hezbollah also has hundreds of longer range M-600 rockets capable of striking major Israeli cities. The weapons are operated by a force of some 20,000 armed Shi'a Muslim militants, around a third of which have undergone combat training in Iran, available for action at short notice."
Jordan, a longtime friend of the US and Israel, has discovered uranium under its desert sands. It has contracted with a French firm to mine the uranium and produce nuclear fuel from it, and is negotiation with a South Korean firm to build a nuclear reactor. It sees this as a solution to its diminishing water resources, using the reactor to fuel desalinization plants. Unfortunately, the US and Israel wants only one nuclear power in this area, and are trying to block Jordan's efforts. Ironically, Jordan is a signature of the nuclear non-proliferation pact, and has the legal right to develop nuclear power for civilian uses, while Israel is not, and has just been supported on this by Obama. Jordanian officials are frustrated, because instead of plowing ahead and building a nuclear plant, they have asked the US for a green light, and suddenly they are being treated like a pariah, like they are the next Iran. Of course, if the US and Israel do keep on treating them like the red-headed step-child, they may indeed create another country who will ignore them while flipping them off... And almost every other country in this region would like to develop similar desalinization plants that are nuclear fueled, because water resources are getting scarce.
Along with the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, the Israeli military met with their counterparts in the Pentagon, and brokered a deal to buy some more war toys and nuclear technology. At this rate, Netanyahu will be visiting the US on a quarterly basis... A not so humorous aside, at JFK airport someone stole a suitcase containing three 9mm Glock handguns as it went through customs that belonged to the Israeli security guards who accompanied Mr Netanyahu.. The case was later found empty at Los Angeles International airport...
rush is right...
"Folks, I'm... (sigh) I've been sitting in this chair for 21 years, and for 21 years people have been calling, asking me, "Why don't the Republicans do X?" and I do not have an answer... The Republicans, instead of talking about deficits and spending, need to start talking about growth. They need to start talking about private sector economic growth." Instead of reacting negatively to the Democrats and thinking that will let them coast to victories, while the tea party candidates soak up the extremist and crazy votes, the Republicans should take rush's advice. Instead of talking deficits and writing legislation that is more friendly to business, we need to get the big businesses to start partnering and mentoring small businesses, focus on innovation and how to get new businesses up and running easier. Part of the problem is that we no longer have a solid manufacturing base, have gone overseas for most of our current needs. But both parties are content on locking horns in Congress instead of making pragmatic and creative choices that will help our country. So, if the Republicans win some seats this November, it won't take very long when the public gets just as disgusted with their lack of positive action as they are now at the Democrats. And this November may be the death of the tea party. A few of their candidates will win, and begin to bond with the Michelle Bachmanns, and prove how out of touch they are with reality. A few rambling speeches in front of an empty chamber, not even Scott Brown sitting there for moral support, may cure them, but I strongly doubt it as long as they can see their own reflections in the mirror...
This November, California residents will have the chance to legalize the sale of marijuana. It is being hyped as one thing that could help the budget from the taxes the state would then receive. TPM quotes from a study by the Rand Foundation on whether it actually do the trick, along with a nifty map:
A new study by the RAND foundation (via Bill Bishop) looks at exactly this issue. What's their verdict?
Here's their summary findings:
Key findings include the following: (1) The pretax retail price of marijuana will substantially decline, likely by more than 80 percent. The price the consumers face will depend heavily on taxes, the structure of the regulatory regime, and how taxes and regulations are enforced. (2) Consumption will increase, but it is unclear how much because we know neither the shape of the demand curve nor the level of tax evasion (which reduces revenues and prices that consumers face). (3) Tax revenues could be dramatically lower or higher than $1.4 billion; for example, uncertainty surrounds potential tax revenues California might derive from taxing marijuana used by residents of other states (e.g., from "drug tourism"). (4) Previous studies find that the annual costs of enforcing marijuana laws in California range from around $200 million to nearly $1.9 billion; our estimates show that the costs are probably less than $300 million. (5) There is considerable uncertainty about the impact of legalizing marijuana in California on public budgets and consumption, with even minor changes in assumptions leading to major differences in outcomes.
In other words, we wouldn't expect this to save the budget anytime soon.
Meanwhile in this study comes this handy map of the regions where they like to light up. Not surprisingly, then NorCal stereotype holds true, as the darker regions indicate more pot use. Click on the image to get an enlarged version. I assume if we had a map of Colorado for this, it would be all one solid dark color...