On Helen Thomas

On Helen Thomas–you know, when people are 90 (or 89, actually), they don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say. If she meant that Israel should be dissolved and everyone there go somewhere else, then that’s clearly preposterous. If she meant that Israel should pull back from the occupied territories and stop the building of new settlements, that’s something else entirely, and sounds like a good debating point. One that a number of Americans seems curiously unwilling to have, but that may or may not be another story. Funny that no one has asked her what she meant. And now she has been forced to resign. But Thomas’s major error here was not mis-speaking, or anything as unlikely as anti-Semitism–it was that she let her anger seep through.

Here’s the background—on May 27, outside the White House, Rabbi David Nesenoff asked Thomas if she had any comments on Israel. Let’s see, what was happening on May 27? Just the usual, actually—we hadn’t even got to the flotilla madness, which came several days later. About the only news of note, in fact, had been the story a couple of days earlier in The Guardian that Israel had offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa during the apartheid era. Denials all around afterwards, of course, but did anyone really believe the denials? Probably not, but this is just everyone going through the motions anyway. The only other story of note, if anyone noticed it at all, was the IDF indicating that they were prepared to stop the Gaza flotilla. We know how that turned out.
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Gusher Update

With considerable hoopla, BP has managed to fit a cap on the leaking pipe, which it claims is gathering gushing oil at a rate of about 10,000 barrels a day. CEO Tony “I can’t get my foot out of my mouth” Hayward claims that the cap will capture the “vast majority” of the gushing oil. BP has also ramped up spending, which is now running at about $27 million a day. The US Coast Guard is a bit less sanguine, unusual given their optimism to date, and is now talking about the Gulf being “under siege” until autumn. Which runs from late September through late December, it should be pointed out, so that could be another six months. But who’s counting? The natural comparison here is the Ixtoc I spill in 1979, which produced 140 million gallons, to date the largest spill of all time, which this may exceed. It’s good, I suppose, to remember that Ixtoc gushed for nine months. Ixtoc wasn’t deep, either—it was only 150 feet down, not nearly a mile.
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