Israeli spymaster warns against right-wing leaders who think they are the messiah

A former Israeli spymaster has branded the country’s leaders as “messianic” and unfit to tackle the Iranian nuclear program, in the strongest criticism from a security veteran of threats to launch a pre-emptive war.

Other retired officials have also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister, but the censure from Yuval Diskin, who stepped down as head of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service last year, was especially harsh…

“I have no faith in the prime minister, nor in the defence minister,” Diskin said in the remarks broadcast by Israeli media on Saturday. “I really don’t have faith in a leadership that makes decisions out of messianic feelings…”

World powers, sharing Israeli suspicions that Iran has a covert bomb-making plan, are trying to curb it through sanctions and negotiations…Perhaps they could stop being the tail on the Israeli ass.

Diskin spoke days after Israel’s top military commander, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, told Haaretz he viewed Iran as “very rational” and unlikely to build a bomb, comments that apparently undermined the case for a strike.

The former Shin Bet chief was specifically damning of Netanyahu and Barak, who have often crafted strategy alone and whose rapport dates back four decades to when they served together in a top-secret commando unit.

“They’re creating a false impression about the Iranian issue,” Diskin told a private gathering on Friday, where the comments were recorded. “They’re appealing to the stupid public, if you’ll pardon me for the phrasing, and telling them that if Israel acts, there won’t be an (Iranian) nuclear bomb…”

Netanyahu’s former Mossad foreign intelligence director, Meir Dagan, last year also ridiculed the Israeli war option…

Anyone think Congress will have a thoughtful and serious discussion of this criticism? Think anyone in Congress or the White House would have the chutzpah to challenge the ideology of a right-wing Israeli government even though it’s an election year?


Sweet revenge — and a boatload of novacaine!

Revenge is a dish best served with novocaine.

A dentist in Poland, dumped by her boyfriend, got payback by removing all of her former lover’s teeth — leading his new lady to dump him, too.

Anna Mackowiak could face three years in jail after she agreed to treat her ex-boyfriend, Marek Olszewski, when he asked her to help with a toothache just days after he broke up with her.

“I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions,” Mackowiak, 34, told the Daily Mail. “But when I saw him lying there I just thought, ‘What a bastard.’”

Mackowiak then allegedly gave Olszewski…a massive dose of anaesthetic and coldly plucked out his teeth one by one.

She then wrapped his jaw in bandages to prevent him from opening his mouth — and then simply walked away…

He did not realize the horror of what happened until he got back to his Wroclaw apartment. “But when I got home I looked in the mirror and couldn’t f—ing believe it. The b—h had emptied my mouth.”

Olszewski, who will get implants, said his new girlfriend could not handle being with a man who did not have teeth — and dumped him…


Poisonally, I think he should check all of his body and see if she removed anything else.

Homophobic? Maybe you’re gay?

Why are political and religious figures who campaign against gay rights so often implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners?

In recent years, Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.

One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”

It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it…empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.

Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students….We identified a subgroup of participants who, despite self-identifying as highly straight, indicated some level of same-sex attraction…Over 20 percent of self-described highly straight individuals showed this discrepancy.

Notably, these “discrepant” individuals were also significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects…Thus our research suggests that some who oppose homosexuality do tacitly harbor same-sex attraction.

What leads to this repression? We found that participants who reported having supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation and less susceptible to homophobia. Individuals whose sexual identity was at odds with their implicit sexual attraction were much more frequently raised by parents perceived to be controlling, less accepting and more prejudiced against homosexuals.

It’s important to stress the obvious: Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.

I have at least one friend who will probably slip a copy of this report under Rick Perry’s front door.

You can pick your own favorite self-conflicted Republican hypocrite.

Burger King makes cage-free eggs, cage-free piggies promise

In a boost to animal welfare activists looking to get livestock out of cramped cages, Burger King will be the first major U.S. fast-food chain to give all of its chickens and pigs some room to roam.

The world’s second-biggest burger chain has pledged that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017, hoping to satisfy rising consumer demand for humanely produced fare and increase its sales in the process.

Other companies have made similar but less broad announcements this year, part of an industrywide shift to consider animal welfare when buying food supplies…

Conventionally raised eggs come from hens confined in “battery cages,” which give them roughly the same space as a sheet of standard notebook paper. Most pork comes from sows confined during their four-month pregnancies in narrow crates…

Animal welfare groups applauded Burger King’s decision.

“So many tens of thousands of animals will now be in better living conditions,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, which has been pushing Burger King and other companies to adopt similar policies. “Numerically, this is significant because Burger King is such a big purchaser of these products.”

In recent months, other companies have announced similar policies.

Chipotle, with just over 1,200 restaurants, made a splash during the Grammy Awards in February with its viral commercial detailing the company’s commitment to humane treatment of animals and healthy food. After the commercial created so much buzz, other companies were quick to announce new policies…


Byrdie stops traffic at LaGuardia Airport – Byrdie the puppy

Man gets down to business trying to lure back pooch that escaped from its crate at LaGuardia Airport Wednesday.

The dog was finally collared after about 10 frustrating minutes during which plane traffic at the usually jammed airport was shut down.

The pooch, a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, named Byrdie, bolted as she was being loaded on to a Delta flight to Memphis, according to Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico.

Finally, Byrdie’s owner was taken to the runway, and Byrdie came to her.

Flights were resumed – Byrdie and her person continued on to Memphis.

The fashion statement is clear – the gun isn’t supposed to be

The new Woolrich Chinos with an added hidden pocket for your gun

Woolrich, a 182-year-old clothing company, describes its new chino pants as an elegant and sturdy fashion statement, with a clean profile and fabric that provides comfort and flexibility.

And they are great for hiding a handgun.

The company has added a second pocket behind the traditional front pocket for a weapon. Or, for those who prefer to pack their gun in a holster, it can be tucked inside the stretchable waistband. The back pockets are also designed to help hide accessories, like a knife and a flashlight.

The chinos, which cost $65, are not for commandos, but rather, the company says, for the fashion-aware gun owner. And Woolrich has competition. Several clothing companies are following suit, building businesses around the sharp rise in people with permits to carry concealed weapons…

Carriers of concealed guns say the new options are a departure from the law enforcement and military look, known as “tactical,” long favored by gun owners.

The latest styles, by contrast, are called “concealed carry” or “covert fashion…”

Other companies are rushing to meet the demand for concealed-carry clothing. Under Armour, best known for its sports and action gear, will be adding a jacket and a plaid shirt with Velcro pockets for easy gun access.

Kevin Eskridge, senior director for outdoor product and design at the company…said the Under Armour apparel was catching on because of fashion but also because of its features, including moisture-wicking fabric.

“Others are making shirts with gun access but using regular cotton,” he said. With his company’s fabrics, “there’s no stink factor,” he said.

He’s wrong, of course. The whole culture stinks on ice. It’s founded on fear and hatred, paranoids who expect the next person coming down the street — who isn’t the same color, who doesn’t dress like the latest fashion statement in the world of NASCAR and bibles — might be a villain out to steal your Camaro or rape your riding lawnmower.

I’ve been a gun owner all my life. A significant chunk of time spent hunting, mostly as a handgun hunter. I grew up inside the culture of responsible gun-owners including family members who were gunsmiths and designers. None of whom were as nutty as the quasi-militia types turning millions of dollars over to the smart bastards hustling them.

U.S. to relocate 9,000 Marines from Okinawa — No, they ain’t coming home!

Click on chart to see the whole deal

The United States said Friday it would pull 9,000 Marines out of Japan as it seeks to ease a long-running standoff over the future of its huge military presence in one of its top Asian allies. The redeployment will see the troops sent to Guam, Hawaii and Australia.

Withdrawing troops was originally part of plans to move a busy US airbase on Okinawa to another area of the southern island chain but US officials decided to separate the two issues due to ongoing opposition to the base relocation.

In a joint statement issued in Washington and Tokyo, the two sides said they remained committed to move the Futenma base from its present urban site to a coastal spot.

The relocation is being heavily resisted among many locals, who want to see the base moved out of Okinawa altogether…

Still no opening up of secret treaties the United States was able to force Japan to sign as part of that nation’s unconditional surrender after the US dropped atomic bombs destroying two cities.

Japan and the United States have long clashed over Okinawa, the site of sporadic tensions with US troops. Around half of the 47,000 US service personnel in Japan are based on the strategically located island chain, which is nearer to Taiwan than it is to Tokyo…

Some activists in Okinawa have pressed for the base to be removed completely and the controversy felled one Japanese prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, who failed to fulfil campaign pledges in 2009 to renegotiate the deal.

After he was elected on his pledge to kick the United States military off Okinawa – Obama showed him the treaties and ordered him to shut up

Around 5,000 of those leaving Okinawa would be heading to Guam, with the remainder going to Hawaii and Australia where Washington is “establishing a US Marine Corps rotational presence”, the statement said…

The agreement is part of the same old foreign policy which has the US maintaining troops in 176 countries because of all those other countries that supposedly threaten us by NOT stationing their military all over the globe. In other words, Obama is just as much of a hypocrite and liar about fighting for peace as any other Democrat politician. And their Republican twins.

We’re the only nation that still threatens war on a global scale.

Why are young American women more ambitious than men?

In a headline that calls out for attention — “A Gender Reversal on Career Aspirations” — the Pew Research Center reports that two-thirds of young women now say “being successful in a high-paying career or profession” is one of the most important goals in their lives.

While it may not be surprising that these women express more ambition than their mothers and grandmothers, it is surprising when they also display more ambition than their male peers. Is this a sign, then, that we are witnessing “a gender reversal”? Or does it represent a kind of denial — on the part of young women and men — about the obstacles they will ultimately face at the workplace and in life..?

Yet…young people are not only postponing marriage, they are also far more likely than earlier generations to believe it is better to stay single than to enter or stay in a dissatisfying relationship. Moreover, while young women see marriage as desirable, they do not believe it is essential to their own happiness or to becoming a parent…

Women are particularly aware of how hard it is to sustain a relationship, especially in the context of persistent work-family conflicts and rising financial uncertainty. An egalitarian partnership may be the ideal, but most young women see self-reliance through paid work as essential to their survival, offering the option to choose the right relationship, maintain a measure of autonomy within it and go it alone if nothing better comes along…

Men’s prospects have dimmed in finding the kind of stable jobs and careers their fathers and grandfathers took for granted. With the uncertainties of the new economy, where few jobs offer lifetime security, men’s scaled back aspirations are as understandable as women’s rising goals. Men, too, are caught on the horns of a dilemma, torn between the difficulty of establishing a steady career and strong pressures to define their worth by the size of the paycheck.

As women’s career aspirations rise and men’s tumble, this declining gender gap should serve as a wake-up call. Younger generations want to combine the personal pursuit of challenging, well-rewarded paid work with the pleasures and responsibilities of a committed family life. In fact, earlier Pew surveys found 73% of Americans believe that women’s employment has been a “change for the better,” while 62% say that sharing the responsibilities of paid work and rearing children is “more satisfying than a more traditional marriage.”

RTFA. Combine this analysis with the number of women beginning to surpass men in collegiate training, learning – and we may well be seeing the start of something new in the character of our society.

I’ve actually witnessed something similar, a parallel in Eastern European countries as education freed up many young women from traditional definitions. I remember a party I attended after an opening night at the Warsaw Opera notable for a drunken lout, the male spouse of the lead soprano – who also had a second career as a physician. His friends referred to him in a newly-current phrase as “the husband of the wife”.

Shiny new Loonies rejected by some machines

New Loonie and new Toonie

Toronto’s parking machines don’t much like Queen Elizabeth’s shiny new face…

The Royal Canadian Mint’s newest batch of 2012 loonies and toonies are manufactured with multi-ply plated steel technology. As such, they weigh a little bit less than their alloy predecessors, and the city’s parking machines don’t recognize them. The Mint made the switch because the coins have more security features and are cheaper to produce.

But what’s less expensive for the government is more costly for purveyors of coin.

For the Toronto Parking Authority, upgrades to the 2,978 machines are expected to cost $1 million…

The necessary software and mechanical changes to the pay-and-display machines should start next week, and TPA president Gwyn Thomas expects the work will be completed by the summer….The Calgary Parking Authority is already in the process of recalibrating its 770 machines. The software was purchased from the service provider and the labour is being done in-house…

Upgrades are a fact of life for the city’s parking meters. In 2007, the TPA paid $10 million for credit-card reader upgrades for the fleet. The upgrade was meant to reduce card fraud, but because of the processing technology, uncollected and declined transactions nearly doubled in 2008, an audit later found. A $7 million upgrade followed.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Mint said the vending industry and “coin acceptance mechanism manufacturers” have known about this for two years.

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the individual operators to initiate the changeover of equipment, the necessity of which we have communicated for several years,” Alex Reeves wrote.

That sentence is as convoluted as some of mine.

I can see all of my geek cheapskate friends in Toronto doing the standard search, right now. Trying coins from all over the world to see if something a lot cheaper works just as well.

Best hit I ever had was bringing rolls of 10-zloty coins back from Poland to the Connecticut city where I worked in the 1970’s. They worked as well as a quarter in parking meters and cost me less than a penny apiece.