What is it with primary season elections these days? It used to be that primary candidates duked it out in Iowa, New Hampshire, maybe South Carolina and then a clear winner became apparent. This is how it went for Bush and McCain in 2000 and for John Kerry and Howard Dean in 2004. But since Obama and Clinton’s heated 2008 rivalry, it looks like a new kind of primary season is in order, one that takes place over the course of several months. What have we done to deserve this madness?
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may not be a household name, but the American-Israeli lobbying organization wields considerable influence over US foreign policy. On Sunday, Barack Obama spoke at AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington DC to address, among other issues, the security risk posed by Iran to the Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Obama the following day, has in recent weeks been trying to convince Obama to adopt a more aggressive stance against Iran. While I am not a fan of Ahmedinejad’s divisive rhetoric and his insensitivity toward Jews — including, but not limited to hosting a 2006 conference reviewing whether the holocaust took place – the last thing I want to see in the violence-plagued Middle East is a drawn-out war.
So I support Sunday’s “Occupy AIPAC” protest – which appears to have included young and old, as well as Jewish and non-Jewish activists – and their stern warning against a a war with Iran. Tensions in the Middle East are escalating, and if politicians in Iran and the West are not careful, I am afraid that a violent conflict may be just around the corner. I can only hope that cooler heads prevail.
This is probably the last time you’ll hear me say this: thank heaven for Mitt Romney. I by no means want the man to become president, but I have been cheering his victories including his wins in Tuesday’s Michigan and Arizona primary elections. The events of the past several weeks have been enough to convince me that we might see a Santorum-Obama match up, which has been enough to convince me to make an appointment with my psychiatrist.
After all, Santorum has been busy babbling away about how Obama does not base his policies on the Bible and how a speech by President Kennedy on the separation of religion and state made him want to “throw up,” all with the support of Megadeth singer Dave Mustaine. I understand that some Republicans don’t like Romney, but the prospect of Santorum winning a party nomination on the backs of a ragtag collective of voters who want nothing more than to squash the Massachusetts governor’s bid for President is vexing — and terrifying. It won’t be until tonight that we have a better idea who may win the Republican nomination, but for now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Santorum’s candidacy will fade into a distant memory.
THE DOVER AIR FORCE BASE MORTUARY
In the aftermath of 9/11, it became common to hear people say they would “never forget” the event. Americans from around the country showed a bounty of compassion for the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families. So it comes as an ugly surprise that Dover Air Force Base mortuary mistakenly sent some of the remains of 9/11 victims to be incinerated. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the base has been accused of mishandling human remains: in 2011, a Washington Post reporter revealed the base had directed the bodies of dead US soldiers to a landfill. The base’s mortuary manager has left his job, but the disgrace remains. The discarding of soldier’s remains in such a crude fashion is outrageously disrespectful; but when done by members of a government that claims to take 9/11 so seriously and sends troops with the stated purpose of fighting terrorism, it is doubly so.
Bigotry and intolerance in the media is increasingly frowned upon, and has ended the careers of radio hosts such as Don Imus. But shock jock Rush Limbaugh has been on the radio for decades, and in 2008 signed a multi-million dollar contract to continue spewing his vitriol until 2016. While he has been the target of ample criticism, Limbaugh has gone about his merry ways offending anyone and everyone advocating a progressive agenda, and then some. The stogie fanatic has even attacked people at the risk of making himself look like a hypocrite — for example, in 2003, Limbaugh revealed that he had been abusing painkillers following years of commentary blasting drug addicts. However, it is finally beginning to look as if Limbaugh is not invincible. Speaking on his show last Wednesday, Limbaugh referred to 30-year-old Georgetown student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” after she testified in front of members of congress on the cost of birth control. It remains to be seen what may happen to Limbaugh’s show: the radio host has distanced himself from his comments, but Fluke has not cut him any slack and on Monday, AOL became the eighth company to end its sponsorship of Limbaugh’s show.
Photo courtesy CodePink/OccupyAIPAC