A short, basic question:
Why do we never refer to our current president as Barack Obama Jr.? He seems never to have gone by that name.
Bursting of the new housing bubble:
I thought that the market was recovering, but it turns out that the only recovery is occurring in one-percenter-land. What may stun you are the numbers:
Some of these cities aren’t exactly cheap places to buy a 1%-home. In San Francisco, the median price is already over $900,000. But the minimum 1%-home? $5.35 million, according to Redfin. You’ll need enough after-tax income – if you’re not plunking down the cash you got from selling your startup – to cough up a monthly mortgage payment of $21,300. LA is second in line with the minimum 1%-home setting you back $3.65 million, or a monthly mortgage payment of $14,600. That’s the minimum. On the upper end, only the sky is the limit...
The Belgian museum shooting.
Four people -- two Israelis, a French woman, and a museum worker -- were killed by a gunman in a Jewish museum in Brussels. The killer (whose face is never clearly seen in surveillance footage) seemed very professional, very efficient; he knew what he was doing. Even people with an allergic reaction to conspiracy theories are asking: Was the shooter a hitman hired to do a job, or was he simply a nutcase?
The short version is that rather than an anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish institution in which the particular people killed are randomly chosen this may have been a targeted killing or assassination, possibly tied to the Israeli security services.
The victims were a couple in their 50s named Emmanuel and Mira Riva. From The Guardian
Israeli media reports said the Rivas were accountants formerly in government service. Emmanuel Riva worked for an official agency called Nativ, which dealt with the emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union. Mira Riva was employed by the prime minister's office – often a euphemism for the Mossad and Shin Bet secret services. Both had been posted to Israel's embassy in Berlin.
Among the many questions: Why a public
assassination, in a museum? Why not attack them on the street or in a hotel room?
The Israeli media has been hard to interpret. Stories have hinted
that this was a targeted killing, but we've had no direct statement to that effect. There is also the (to me) very suggestive fact that the killer ran out on foot and disappeared. I don't see how he could manage the trick without an accomplice driving a getaway car.
A disgusting story:
Vehemently pro-Israeli writer Caroline Glick
wants you to believe that the Pope acted in a rude manner during his trip to Israel. She blathers on about "Palestinian bloodlust and anti-Semitic depravity." The Palestinians, of course, are not motivated by any form of racism or bloodlust, but rather by the theft of their land and by decades of oppression -- the same factors that prompted the Native Americans to mount a just fight against my white ancestors. Finkelstein
talks about this.
I was amused by this example of historical revisionism:
In one of his blander pronouncements during the papal visit, Netanyahu mentioned on Monday that Jesus spoke Hebrew. There was nothing incorrect about Netanyahu’s statement. Jesus was after all, an Israeli Jew.
But Francis couldn’t take the truth. So he indelicately interrupted his host, interjecting, “Aramaic.”
Netanyahu was probably flustered. True, at the time, educated Jews spoke and wrote in Aramaic. And Jesus was educated. But the language of the people was Hebrew. And Jesus preached to the people, in Hebrew.
Hilarious. Of course, the exact opposite was true
. Aramaic was the lingua franca in Galilee; Hebrew, by that point, was primarily a liturgical language. The few untranslated examples of Jesus's words that we have are all in Aramaic. The extent of Jesus' education remains disputed.
In fact, the Pope's great "sin" seems to have been his meetings with Palestinian refugees
. In Bethlehem, he ran into an interesting bit of graffiti:
When the pope drove by, he read “Apartheid Wall” and “Bethlehem is like the Warsaw Ghetto” on the twenty-four-foot-high cement panels that make up the wall. He got out, walked to the wall, leaned his face against it and prayed.
I bet that
Existence and non-existence.
Seamus Coogan is real. I want to assure you of that key fact.
Who the hell is Seamus Coogan? Well, he's a brilliant fellow in New Zealand who writes on intelligence matters and the JFK assassination. His wildest series of articles may be found here
I mention Seamus because his existence was recently called into question by a philosophy professor named Jim Fetzer. Professor Fetzer has become a superstar in crankish circles, particularly among the 9/11 twoofers; as long-time readers know, I don't have a particularly high opinion of the guy. I once said that he's the kind of person who might believe you if you told him that Oreo cookies were imported from Mars.
Fetzer got into a disagreement with something Seamus wrote. (The actual point of disagreement
probably wouldn't interest you.) In the heat of debate, he questioned Seamus' very existence
Well, that's the job
of a philosopher, right? To ask questions about Being and Nonbeing?
Being a dabbler in philosophy myself, I thought that the best way to resolve the conundrum was to write Seamus (with whom I occasionally correspond). I asked him if he does, in fact, exist.
He has always struck me as a straight shooter, and I have no doubt that if he did not
exist, he would have the decency to say so.
The long and the short of it is this: Seamus exists. He says so himself. So that's one philosophical problem which we may now consider settled.
On the other side of the JFK issue stands staunch Warren Commission defender John McAdams, a professor of political science of Marquette University. He's also a bigwig at the Heartland Institute, which posits the nuttiest conspiracy theory of all
-- that 97% of climate scientists around the world are engaged in a scheme to "socialize" the planet.
Y'know, it's enough to make one lose one's faith in academia.