Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I think I've come to the end of the road with Netanyahu.  It's taken a long time.  I've supported him because I think he has been the only viable candidate for the post of Prime Minister, and there's no doubt his almost accentless English and understanding of America has been a great help.  Begin spoke an elegant English, but he had the accent of the little Yiddishe tailor from the Lower East Side, and Americans gave him about as much respect as a tailor would get.  Shamir was almost unintelligible.  For better or worse, this damaged their attempts to get the Israeli position across to the mass US media repeatedly.  But Bibi was different.

He now appears to have lost his backbone.  It's no secret that he and Obama don't get on. There's a saying that you dislike in others what you see in yourself, and both men have outsized egos and arrogance.  Obama also doesn't like either Jews or Israel although he and his staff scramble to try and hide it.  [He is basically disinterested in foreign issues generally, unless he can lecture someone on how to improve things]

When Kerry announced that talks with the Palestinians would resume, there was a flurry of reports in international news that it was all conditional on certain preconditions [absolutely impossible preconditions] that Kerry promised the Palestinians that the Israelis would agree to, such as withdrawal to the pre-Six Days' War ceasefire lines, before even sitting down to talk. It was pretty much the usual hot  air, and the "shuk mentality" -- begin the bargaining by asking for 200%;  settle for much less.  America does not understand this form of preliminaries at all, and has a distressing tendency to think everybody is on the up and up and really means what they say.   We've been here before: each attempt at negotiations has been preceeded by much arm-twisting by the US on Israel to make "concessions" and the net result has been that never have the Palestinians budged from their original position -- that they won't even recognize the existence of Israel -- by so much as an inch while Israel has conceded things which weaken it strategically for no gain whatsoever.  This time, Kerry initially not only did not put any pressure on Abu Mazen, he attempted to give the Palestinians a massive bribe [which they contemptuously rejected, already getting massive amounts of money from the EU and elsewhere and probably fearing the US would want some accounting of where the money actually went], and only, on the orders of his Jew-hating boss, no doubt, put the thumbscrews on Israel.  And Bibi succumbed.

If the PA can demand total withdrawal from half of the State of Israel, then Israel should counter by demanding an explicit statement from the PA recognizing the existence of the State of Israel within secure boundaries, AND the total cessation of violence against Israel as a precondition to attending the talks.  The talks themselves should be negotiations on where boundaries should be placed, not on whether there should even be a Jewish State.  [Of course, the PA, dedicated to the extermination of Israel, would no more agree to this than Israel would agree to return to the 1948 cease fire lines].  But it would demonstrate [1] just how bankrupt the whole concept of talks is at the present time, and [2] Israel would be negotiating from a position of strength.

Instead, Bibi has given a clear sign that Israel is weak, and caused the families of victims of terror, still reeling from the exorbitant price paid for Gilad Shalit,  great distress, and has given the enemies of Israel a huge present. It is so unnecessary right now.  One has to wonder what in hell Netanyahu was thinking about.  Someone in the PA is kicking himself and wondering why they didn't demand even more, since the Israeli idiots were so willing to give in to their exorbitant posturing.

 Obama has one more year in which to swagger; the midterms, I am convinced, will lose the Democrats both Houses of Congress, and if the GOP can only get its house in order, have a very good shot at 2016.  Hillary has lost a considerable amount of her luster [I predicted that being Obama's lackey at State would do her no good].  Obama is going to be the lamest of lame ducks very soon -- Obamacare is increasingly obviously not going to work; Afghanistan will become a Taliban stronghold immediately after the last US troops leave in a year; Iraq is on the simmer, the "economic recovery" in the US is no recovery at all, really -- and the Islamic world is dissolving into civil war in ways no one thought about even 5 years ago.  The struggle between the Sunni and Shi'a began over a thousand years ago, and is rapidly heating up again, and what the outcome will be is uncertain [I personally am convinced the US will not be able to remain on the sidelines entirely, although they probably will have little real idea of what is going on as they seem not to have anyone in State who has learned history]  Bibi has little, if anything, to fear from Obama -- and he knows that Congress is steadfastly supportive of him.

Yair Lapid is looking better by the minute, even though I think that he's an economic tyro with a lot to learn on that front.  The Likud is in trouble.

Book Elegy -- or Is It Eulogy?

I read a book yesterday.

Actually, I read a LOT of books, but it's been a while since I picked up an honest-to-goodness physical, dead-tree book.  For the past couple of years, just about all the books I read are on my Kindle.

The Kindle has been immensely liberating for me, because I no longer have to wait up to 6 weeks for a book I've ordered via the internet to arrive, nor fight with Customs and/or the VAT folks after I've shlepped to the Post Office to pick it up.  The British Council, which ran the only English-language lending library worth visiting, packed up all its Israeli branches a few years ago, which left the local literary giant, Steimatsky's, in firm control of the English book market.  It charges very high prices for a very narrow range of books, mostly of the best seller or romance varieties.  There are also a couple of second-hand book stores downtown, but my reading tastes are usually at odds with the stuff they offer.  Further, adding ebooks to my Kindle avoids the shipping costs which can double the price of a book ordered from overseas.

My reading patterns have been affected by both the audiobook and the ebook.  I look for good dramatic readings of stories in audio -- strict narratives, such as most nonfiction, I find boring in audio, even in the hands of the best readers [and most tend to read books without dialogue in a monotone, and often much too rapidly to absorb the material].  It is also difficult to go back to a portion that you particularly want to remember.  But audio allows me to do other things, such as housework or handicrafts without visual interference.  As time goes by, I find myself watching less and less TV.  There's less worth watching, in spite of there now being so many channels I can't keep track of them all.

I tend to buy non-fiction for my Kindle.  I'm a history buff anyway; always have been.  But, over time, nonfiction "holds up" better than most fiction, I find.  I can reread a history book where a single reading of a fictional work usually leaves me with such a good memory of it that rereading is superfluous [I've never understood how people can read certain favorite books umpteen times -- by the third time I'd read Lord of the Rings, I'd memorized large sections without meaning to]  Besides, it may be a crass consideration, but when one has a limited budget, and reads fast, one wants more "bang for the buck".  I confess I check the length of both an audiobook or a "normal" book because why pay a considerable sum for something that I'll finish fast?

The first thing I noticed when I hefted the first volume of Jonathan Sumption's history of the 100 Years' War was how heavy it was [it was in trade paperback].  I'd forgotten that, and since I broke my wrist about 5 years ago, I feel the weight more.  A Kindle, or an iPad, is light.  The next "surprise" was when I realized I couldn't enlarge the typeface.  I've been wearing glasses for over 20 years, but I used to pride myself on not minding small type [again, a thick book with small type contains more than a book of the same page length with big type, so longer to finish and savor.  I've always been a "big book person"].  Then, I had to remember to use a bookmark.   I had to turn on the porch lights, thereby making myself a prime target for everything flying and biting.  There wasn't any search function to find a reference I suddenly wanted.  Yeah, there was an index, but it wasn't as comprehensive as the Kindle search.  How odd, I found myself thinking.  And, at that point, I realized how much I'd changed because of the change in technology.  Recently, I'd begun emptying my overstuffed bookshelves because either I'd decided a book would never be read again, or I had it in Kindle form.  Gone are the days when I dithered for long minutes, prior to leaving the house for a doctor's visit, etc. trying to decide which book to take with me, or adding kilos to suitcases when going on vacation.

There are still books not available in ebook form that I have no choice but to read in their physical form, such as Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy".  But the future has arrived, and I for one, am not sad to see it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Bob Gorrell
Creators Syndicate Inc.
Jul 25, 2013
Convinced, as I am, that Obamacare's good intentions are smothered in badly written law, I just hope I survive long enough to see the Act in full implementation. And then, repealed. I've written before that health care reform is essential in the US, but it needs to be divided up into a number of different topics, and each aspect tackled separately. For example, there's no point in insuring an additional 40 million people if there aren't enough people working in health care to take care of them. Even now, there are areas of the country without enough doctors, and the nurse shortage is pretty universal. Tort reform is another essential if we want costs to decline; doctors are now forced to practice defensive medicine and that costs mucho $$$, a good deal of it unnecessary.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

"Train Wreck"

Gary Varvel
Indianapolis Star
Jul 8, 2013
Frankly, I hope someone goes to court to force implementation of the law, so Obama can't get out of seeing what he's done. US healthcare needs reform, but Obama's juggernaut isn't the way to do it.

But Morsi was "Democratically Elected"!

Bob Gorrell
Creators Syndicate Inc.
Jul 8, 2013
Of course, that depends on how you define "democracy".