It’s looking like Sean Connery Saturday here at casa de Fausta, so here he is singing – with an Irish accent,
You can read the story behind that scene, and a very nice bio of the great actor at Big Hollywood.
The owner of Venezuela’s only remaining TV channel that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chavez was arrested Thursday, raising concerns the government is carrying out a widening crackdown aimed at silencing opponents.
Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, was arrested on a warrant for remarks that were deemed “offensive” to the president, Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.
Zuloaga said military intelligence agents detained him at an airport in the northwestern state of Falcon as he was preparing to fly on his private plane with his wife to the Caribbean island of Bonaire, where they planned to vacation.
The arrest could be a decisive development in Chavez’s drive to rein in a channel that he has accused of trying to undermine his government. Globovision has been the only stridently anti-Chavez channel left on the air since another opposition-aligned channel, RCTV, was forced off cable and satellite TV in January. RCTV was booted off the open airwaves in 2007.
Ortega said prosecutors are investigating Zuloaga for remarks he made during a recent Inter American Press Association meeting on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, where he joined other media executives in criticizing Chavez’s government for limiting free speech and cracking down on critics.
Pro-Chavez lawmaker Manuel Villalba urged prosecutors on Wednesday to investigate Zuloaga for allegedly saying that Venezuela’s government is cracking down on its critics and purportedly commenting that it was a shame that a short-lived 2002 coup against Chavez failed.
“He must assume his responsibility,” Villalba told state-run Radio Nacional. Zuloaga has not yet publicly responded to the accusations.
Arresting Zuloaga shows that Chavez’s government is “acting like a totalitarian government, like Cuba,” said Alejandro Aguirre, president of the Inter American Press Association, which is based in Miami and has clashed with Chavez for years on free-speech issues.
The charges are similar to the charges against Oswaldo Alvarez Paz; As you may recall, Alvares was arrested last Tuesday on charges of
conspiracy, public incitement to delinquency and dissemination of false information.
Zuloaga was arrested for
allegedly violating a law prohibiting Venezuelans from spreading “false information through any medium,” including newspapers, radio, television, e-mails or leaflets, “that cause public panic.”
Opposition politician Wilmer Azuaje, a member of the National Assembly, was also arrested this week for allegedly hitting a woman. Azuaje says he’s innocent, the charges are bogus and Chavez has him arrested for denouncing the Chavez family’s corruption. Azuaje says another deputy told him there would be no charges if he remained quiet. He was interviewed on Globovision (in Spanish) here:
In today’s Wall Street Journal,
Why Women Don’t Want Macho Men
New research suggests that women from countries with healthier populations prefer more feminine-looking men. Jena Pincott on the science behind attraction and masculinity, and the future for manly men.
After crunching the data—including the women’s facial preferences, their country of origin and that country’s national health index—the Face Lab researchers proved something remarkable. They could predict how masculine a woman likes her men based on her nation’s World Health Organization statistics for mortality rates, life expectancy and the impact of communicable disease. In countries where poor health is particularly a threat to survival, women leaned toward “manlier” men. That is, they preferred their males to have shorter, broader faces and stronger eyebrows, cheekbones and jaw lines. The researchers went on to publish the study in this month’s issue of the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences.
Feminine-looking men? Ugh.
Must be a generational thing.
Compare and contrast:
No contest: Sean at age 79 and Jon at age 39 win over Orlando at age 33. Especially since Orlando waxes his chest hair. Yes, Jon’s only 6 years older than Orlando but Jon looks like a grown-up while Orlando still looks like a kid.
Is my preference based on my age?
Is it based on the subjects’ testosterone?
The link is testosterone, the hormone behind manly muscles, strong jaws, prominent eyebrow ridges, facial hair and deep voices. Testosterone is immunosuppressive. This means a man must be healthy and in good condition to withstand its effects on his development. Testosterone is also linked to other traits related to strength: fitness, fertility and dominance.
Or is it because of my land of origin?
Meanwhile, women with the strongest masculinity preferences tended to hail from the countries with higher disease and mortality rates and some of the poorest scores on the health-care index: Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Argentina.
The article ends asking,
So will it be considered progress if women start pursuing “metrosexuals”—impeccable guys who exfoliate, order salads for dinner and carry man purses?
Not in my book!
What do you say, gentle readers?
How’s this for a Friday afternoon story,
CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP
President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president’s budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
“An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference,” said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying.”
The federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion ($56,000 per household) when Mr. Obama entered office amid an economic crisis, totals $8.2 trillion ($72,000 per household) today, and it’s headed toward $20.3 trillion (more than $170,000 per household) in 2020, according to CBO’s deficit estimates.
That figure would equal 90 percent of the estimated gross domestic product in 2020, up from 40 percent at the end of fiscal 2008. By comparison, America’s debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 109 percent at the end of World War II, while the ratio for economically troubled Greece hit 115 percent last year.
You know you’re in trouble when your budget deficits are compared to that of Greece’s.
Hmmm… when did the Democrats take control of Congress?
Jawa takes a trip down memory lane,
Hope, change, whatever.
The other day Charles Krauthammer remarked that
We have already had a year delay in talks because of Obama interjecting the settlement issue in the first place.
Remember, for 17 years the Palestinians and Israelis negotiated, ever since Oslo, directly in the absence of a freeze in settlements. Palestinians never demanded it as a precondition.
In comes Obama, and he demands a freeze of settlements. The Israelis say, why should we make preemptive concessions in advance? Palestinians haven’t made any. And the Palestinians answer and say, “Well, if the Americans are demanding a settlement freeze, we are going to demand it as well. And in fact, we won’t even speak with the Israelis until there is a settlement freeze.”
This is absurd. That’s why we have had a year of the Palestinians essentially in a boycott of these negotiations.
So, then, Netanyahu works out a fig leaf, a compromise in which he agrees to a ten-month moratorium outside of Jerusalem for a freeze. And then all of a sudden Obama re-imposes a new condition now of a freeze in Jerusalem, which no Israeli government will ever accept.
Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. Everybody understands that in a [final peace] settlement, these neighborhoods of east Jerusalem — the ones that we are speaking about and where the construction is occurring, as well as the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem — are going to be in the Jewish state under any understanding or settlement.
For example, in the Clinton parameters of the negotiations a decade ago [at Camp David], they would be incorporated into Israel.
So, no Israeli is going to accept a preemptive concession that Jews can’t live in this area of east Jerusalem. So unless Obama changes position, talks again are at a standstill because of a blunder on the part of this administration.
You would think that’s asinine enough.
Following that, Obama came up with yet another masterful stroke of “smart diplomacy”:
Binyamin Netanyahu humiliated after Barack Obama ‘dumped him for dinner’
For a head of government to visit the White House and not pose for photographers is rare. For a key ally to be left to his own devices while the President withdraws to have dinner in private was, until this week, unheard of. Yet that is how Binyamin Netanyahu was treated by President Obama on Tuesday night, according to Israeli reports on a trip viewed in Jerusalem as a humiliation.
After failing to extract a written promise of concessions on settlements, Mr Obama walked out of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but invited him to stay at the White House, consult with advisers and “let me know if there is anything new”, a US congressman, who spoke to the Prime Minister, said.
“It was awful,” the congressman said. One Israeli newspaper called the meeting “a hazing in stages”, poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House telephone line. Another said that the Prime Minister had received “the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea”.
Left to talk among themselves Mr Netanyahu and his aides retreated to the Roosevelt Room. He spent a further half-hour with Mr Obama and extended his stay for a day of emergency talks to try to restart peace negotiations. However, he left last night with no official statement from either side.
The Petulant President could not be bothered to listen to the Visiting Prime Minister:
Newspaper reports recounted how Mr Netanyahu looked “excessively concerned and upset” when he pulled out a flow chart to show Mr Obama how Jerusalem planning permission worked and how he could not have known that the announcement that hundreds more homes were to be built would be made when Mr Biden arrived in Jerusalem.
Mr Obama then suggested that Mr Netanyahu and his staff stay at the White House to consider his proposals so that if he changed his mind he could inform the President right away. “I’m still around,” the daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot quoted Mr Obama as saying. “Let me know if there is anything new.”
And no DVDs for you, Bibi.
Pundette links to Jennifer Rubin, who believes Obama’s Humiliation of Israel May Only Be Getting Started (emphasis added)
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Obama wants an answer to his demands by Saturday so he can then present them to a meeting of the Arab League going on in Libya so that ineffectual body can endorse the so-called proximity talks in which the Palestinian Authority refuses to directly negotiate with Israel.
Yup. You read it right.
Until Saturday. You know the Sabbath,
to answer an unspecified set of demands that will allow Washington to go to the Arab League and receive that organization’s backing for ‘proximity talks’ so that maybe the Palestinian Authority may someday, sometime decide to negotiate with Israel.
But back to Rubin,
All of which points to the fact that the crisis between Israel and the United States, which many observers had thought was blowing over in the wake of the trumped-up controversy over the announcement of a Jerusalem housing project during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, is far from concluded. In fact, it appears that Obama is just getting started.
What does the president hope to achieve? Having asked and gotten a building freeze in the West Bank from Netanyahu last year, the Palestinians still won’t sit and talk peace directly with Israel. Why should they when every time Israel makes a concession, the Arabs can now count on Obama demanding more, even to the point of making an issue of something like building in existing Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, which had never previously been a sticking point for the Americans. Since Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and part of Jerusalem as recently as late 2008, does Obama think Netanyahu — or any Israeli leader — can offer more? Does he truly believe that for the first time in their history, the Palestinians will take “yes” — since Netanyahu has also already agreed to the principle of a two-state solution — for an answer?
Perhaps, the 13-point ultimatum is just another attempt to topple Netanyahu’s coalition. But there is no reason to believe that Netanyahu’s partners — and the vast majority of the Israeli people — will not support him, especially when the issue at stake is the unity of Jerusalem. It is unlikely that Israelis will clamor for surrender to Washington in light of the fact that the man making these demands is an American president whom they rightly regard as hostile to their nation. But after Israel says “no” to Obama, does Obama dare escalate his diplomatic offensive against Israel further, even as his administration’s efforts to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability appear stalled? Obama has nothing to gain in continuing on this path, but then again, there was no point in starting this ruckus and choosing to humiliate the only democracy in the Middle East in the first place. Is Obama capable of stopping before this train wreck of a policy creates even more mischief in the region, as well as for Democrats seeking Jewish support this year?
Paul Mirengoff doesn’t think Obama can influence the Israeli public,
Thus, the Haaretz poll actually confirms that Obama lacks the standing with Israeli Jews that he likely needs seriously to influence Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. As important, he lacks the standing he likely needs to convince the Israeli public that the U.S. takes the threat Iran poses to Israel seriously enough.
The poll Paul’s referring to was taken before President Obama abused Prime Minister Netanyahu yet again.
Nile Gardiner notices how
The ritual humiliation of the Israelis is an absolute disgrace, and yet another example of how the Obama administration views its allies with indifference, contempt, and at times outright hostility. It is extraordinary how far the Obama team has gone out of its way to grovel to state sponsors of terrorism, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Muammar Gaddafi, while kicking America’s friends in the teeth.
For now, U.S., Israel Reach Basic Agreement on East Jerusalem Housing, by which
As part of the “list of understandings” reached between the Obama administration and Netanyahu, Hefez said that while “The construction policy will not change. . . . Israel is prepared to make additional steps in order to advance peace talks” with Palestine.
Of course, you would be right to ask, “what additional steps are the Palestinians prepared to make in order to advance the peace talks?”
About the only thing Israel can do to please Obama would be to change its name to Venezuela.
Go read it.
There will be no podcast today since I woke up with a migraine, which hasn’t gone away yet.
You can listen to the most recent podcasts here
Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform “a miracle” and a major victory for Obama’s presidency, but couldn’t help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.
“We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama’s) government,” Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president’s hand against lobbyists and “mercenaries.”
And he said it was remarkable that the most powerful country on earth took more than two centuries from its founding to approve something as basic as health benefits for all.
“It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence … the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago,” Castro wrote.
You mean, like this? Or like that Spanish gastro-enterologist/oncologist with a full operating room Fidel had to import in order to get his surgery?
In any case, Fidel didn’t let the opportunity go to waste and also called Obama “fanatic believer in capitalist imperialism… who says stupid things.”
ObamaCare simply can’t buy Obama Fidel’s love.
James Pethokoukis has the reasons,
Don’t fund healthcare by taxing capital
Washington will have difficulty producing a stranger bit of public policy than raising investment taxes to pay for healthcare reform. Remember, the consensus critique of the U.S economy is that it’s been plagued by too much consumption and debt. O.K., fine. So the answer is penalizing savings and investment? Really? Pure Bizarro economics for that and a number of other reasons:
The five items are,
1) It will hit the middle-class eventually.
2) It is an expensive way to raise government revenue.
3) It creates an accidental industrial policy.
4) It moves the tax code in the wrong direction.
5) It puts politics over sound policy.
For an explanation of each item, go read the post.
Betsy points out,
If you believed all the sweet words from the Democrats about how only good things will come from their health care proposals, think again. This bill has provisions that will stunt job growth.
According to Heritage, under the reconciliation bill, if Company A lays off an employee with a working spouse, this could generate a $3,000 tax penalty for the other spouse’s employer, unless Company B also lays off the other spouse.
We’re not making this up. This byzantine legislation is a job-killer that will destroy small business, the major creator of new jobs. Some 77,000 businesses in the U.S. have 50 to 200 workers that could face the $2,000-per-employee tax penalty. An additional 116,000 businesses have 35 to 49 workers.
This nonsense will stunt economic growth and worsen the economic downturn by actually providing financial incentives to not hire people. It’s not worth the trouble. Businesses that might have expanded will stop at 49 employees. Those already considered a “large” business will face a minefield of taxes and penalties due in some cases to events beyond their control.
Of course, you need to understand unintended consequences and the Democrats are betting that people won’t see the link between cause and effect.
The same article Betsy links to states,
That $3,000 penalty is on top of the $2,000-per-worker penalty for all workers beyond the first 30 for such companies not offering a “qualified” health plan or paying 60% of employee health premiums. Such companies would be faced with a $3,000 penalty for hiring a single parent, the very kind of person desperately in need of employment.
Nancy is doing it “for the children.”