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To me it is the response of the officials and of society to the acts of the (apparently few) religious extremists that constitute the bigger story. I mean, each country has its share of fringe elements, the point is whether these elements are not so much on the fringe so that they are able to pull along much of the rest of society, while the civil apparatus lets them get away with it, if does not actively support them. This is what has been happening elsewhere in the region, while in Israel the government and most of the people have responded, by demanding that the laws of a democratic country be obeyed by all who live there.
Sleep is overrated...
Do you really think that Obamacare is going to be a major issue, never mind a defining one, in the presidential election?
Mrs. Clinton is also quite smart, smart enough to know that a) It is almost impossible to defeat a sitting President, however unpopular, for the party's nomination (e.g. Jimmy Carter in 1979-1980); b) The Democrats would lose most of the African-American vote, possibly for many years, if they succeed in replacing Mr. Obama as their party's presidential candidate; c) If the Democrats try but do not succeed in replacing Mr. Obama (and especially if the contest becomes acrimonious) they will still lose much of the African-American vote in congressional and in local and state elections. So any effort to replace Mr. Obama as their candidate is a no-win situation for the Democrats unless Mr. Obama withdraws "voluntarily" from the contest. But why should he? His reelection campaign so far has raised more money than all Republican candidates combined and defeating a sitting President is very difficult, especially when the opponent, whoever he may be, will almost certainly be thoroughly uninspiring.
Well, at least now I am a member of a minority group that represents 9% of the population.
Well, you know best and you live there, but I doubt very much that Iran would be willing to give any pretext for NATO to (counter)attack. The fact remains that if a NATO member were attacked the alliance would have to respond, however reluctantly. Syria, yes, it is possible it will fire its missiles, although I don't believe it has any with enough range to reach Istanbul. Besides, this would deprive Assad of any possibility of saving his own skin; Turkey might let him slip away if he offered just token resistance, although I doubt that he and is wife would find the Islamic Republic of Iran much to their liking. But I think that the Assad regime will collapse once a determined Turkish force moves in. Of course all this could be facilitated much more easily and coordinated much more effectively with competent US leaderships. But sadly, as you note, we lack such.
I should think that Turkey's formidable army, both in terms of numbers as well as materiel, should prove no match for the Syrian army, whose primary responsibility has been firing at unarmed protesters. What better way then for Turkey's new AKP-friendly military leaders to establish their war-waging credentials than a quick victory in Syria.
Don't you think that the composition of the audience reflects how chamber music was taught and enjoyed, say, 25-50 years ago? One suspects that at that time middle and upper class people with means, which would make them predominantly white, were the ones taught to play and listen to such music. The parents parents of these young people (today's middle aged audience) were able to afford to have their kids learn to play an instrument and might also take them to chamber music concerts. And unlike, say, popular music, that could be heard over the radio and so perhaps entice some people who hadn't heard it before, radio stations playing chamber music were few and far between.
Maybe if the "activists" end up spending some time in Crete they will forget about going on to Gaza. I think this is all a plot by the Greek government to increase tourism revenues by waylaying travelers.
"Has America gone mad?" - Evidently!
MIT students are known for high visibility pranks ("hacks"), which are elaborately designed and always carried out so that nobody's safety is in jeopardy. During the 1982 Harvard-Yale football game a weather balloon with the letters "MIT" appeared at the 50 yard line. The balloon was inflated with a remote-controlled mechanism and the entire assembly had been buried at the Harvard stadium sometime the night before without leaving any traces. At that time everyone, including the Harvard players and alumni in attendance, thought it was an amusing episode and the local press treated it as such. I shudder to think of the consequences to the prancksters these days.
Here's a video of the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLg2XpY0L3w
...where you will not come in contact with any Cubans, other than those authorized by the authorities. Excellent "people-to-people" contacts!
I was recently in Greece for a couple of weeks and I can corroborate Iason's comments regarding the mix of frustration, disbelief, denial, paranoia and extreme anger than many (most?) Greeks have and express against pretty much everyone. About 20% blame the Americans(!), which has been pretty constant for the past 40-50 years. Another 30% blame the Europeans, primarily the Germans. Then there's another 20-30% who are willing to split the blame between Greeks and the Europeans. And then there's the rest who blame Zionists (of whom there have been precious few in Greece since WWII), Masons, George Soros and other conspirators. It is to despair.
On another note, I had dinner with friends who, as a family, visited Istanbul recently, part of an organized tour. They were sufficiently impressed with their trip to show me a ton of pictures. Istanbul was relatively inexpensive, their hotel was very nice, the food was great, the sights were spectacular, the city was clean (at least the parts they visited) and the people friendly.
[American Jews] don't just want to blend in; they want to be part of the family.
I think you hit the nail on the head, although I would go a little beyond and argue that they do feel part of the family and furthermore the vast majority of non-Jewish Americans wouldn't think otherwise either. So when asked why support a President or other politicians whose policies can be considered less than friendly towards Israel, many American Jews will indignantly respond that they are American citizens and the interests of America, as they view them, are what determines whom they support and their indignation is real. As you know, these are people with great fondness for Israel who will always be supportive. It is an interesting twist on the "America first" theme.
"I've yet to see anyone who looks like an immigrant. I must be walking through the wrong neighborhoods. " When I was in Denmark, admittedly some years ago, the immigrants I came across were hotel cleaning staff (from Southeast Asia apparently) and taxi drivers (Middle East?).
Claire Berlinski, Ed.
One woman today--a Hungarian, actually--said something to me today that made slightly more sense. "We thought when Communism ended finally everything would be better. But it wasn't. So we gave up on everything for good." · Jun 8 at 9:00am
I imagine that that's part of the problem but not the whole thing. The Baltic states face similarly bleak demographic futures as Russia (and Ukraine), Yet arguably life in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is considerably better now than when they were part of the Soviet Ynion, and not just for the elite. In fact much of the EU, including countries in which the church still has influence, the birthrates are sub-replacement. Exept, of course, there is immigration that results in modest population increases. I guess Russia does not get many immigrants.
Indeed! The late Professor Bert Vallee of he Harvard Medical School realized that different alcohols are substrates for the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme that metabolizes ethanol when he was a young ER physician at a hospital outside Boston. Four teenagers were brough in suffering from ethylene glycol poisoning. They had started drinking scotch in someone's garage and when they ran out they drank antifreeze, which is a water solution of ethylene glycol, nowadays with color added. Two of the teenagers died and two made it. Vallee made the connection that the two who lived had a considerably higher level of ethanol in their blood than the two that died and theorized that ethanol is a better substrate for the enzyme than ethylene glycol, which turns out to be correct. So now if someone is brought into a hospital ER with ethylene glycol poisoning, he/she is administered ethanol intravenously so that the enzyme is bound up and does not process the ethylene glycol. This is a ploy that has sometimes been used by alcoholics: They drink a little antifreeze and go to the hospital where they are given ethanol.
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