Commentary Magazine


Topic: Purim

The Cylinder and the Jews

In recent years, discussion of the Jewish festival of Purim—whose observance begins Saturday night—has been linked to the nation of Iran. That has had little to do with the fact that the saga of the Book of Esther takes place in ancient Persia or that the places that are believed by some to be the tombs of Esther and Mordechai are located in what is now Iran. Instead, the association with Iran has more to do with the clear link between the exterminationist agenda of Haman, the villain of the Purim tale, and that of Iran’s present day rulers. Both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who deny the truth of the Holocaust while plotting another genocide of the Jews with their nuclear project, are easily added to the list of evildoers who have been seen as latter-day Hamans throughout the long and often tragic course of modern Jewish history.

But for those who wish to either whitewash the Islamist regime or to dismiss the legitimate fears of their existential threat to Israel (as well as to the stability of the region and the security of the West), the identification of Iran’s tyrannical rulers serves to demonize a great nation that should be understood and not confronted. For veteran Iran apologist and New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, the onset of Purim should cause us to think about other, more appealing Persians. Thus, Cohen devotes a column published today to the ancient Persian King Cyrus, whose famous cylinder is about to leave the British Museum on a tour of the United States. The cylinder that has been dubbed the first bill of human rights is proof, Cohen tells us, of the benign nature of the nation of Iran. The topic makes it possible for him to write an entire piece about the country without once using the “n” word–that in this case is “nuclear” and not a racial insult.

But this attempt to divert us from the deadly threat emanating from Iran is not only disingenuous; it misses a crucial point about the history of the nation that he is so desperate for us to love.

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In recent years, discussion of the Jewish festival of Purim—whose observance begins Saturday night—has been linked to the nation of Iran. That has had little to do with the fact that the saga of the Book of Esther takes place in ancient Persia or that the places that are believed by some to be the tombs of Esther and Mordechai are located in what is now Iran. Instead, the association with Iran has more to do with the clear link between the exterminationist agenda of Haman, the villain of the Purim tale, and that of Iran’s present day rulers. Both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who deny the truth of the Holocaust while plotting another genocide of the Jews with their nuclear project, are easily added to the list of evildoers who have been seen as latter-day Hamans throughout the long and often tragic course of modern Jewish history.

But for those who wish to either whitewash the Islamist regime or to dismiss the legitimate fears of their existential threat to Israel (as well as to the stability of the region and the security of the West), the identification of Iran’s tyrannical rulers serves to demonize a great nation that should be understood and not confronted. For veteran Iran apologist and New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, the onset of Purim should cause us to think about other, more appealing Persians. Thus, Cohen devotes a column published today to the ancient Persian King Cyrus, whose famous cylinder is about to leave the British Museum on a tour of the United States. The cylinder that has been dubbed the first bill of human rights is proof, Cohen tells us, of the benign nature of the nation of Iran. The topic makes it possible for him to write an entire piece about the country without once using the “n” word–that in this case is “nuclear” and not a racial insult.

But this attempt to divert us from the deadly threat emanating from Iran is not only disingenuous; it misses a crucial point about the history of the nation that he is so desperate for us to love.

Any discussion of Cohen’s writings about Iran and the Jews must begin (and perhaps end) with the mention of the series of columns he wrote in early 2009 in which he set out to prove that the country was a nice place for Jews to live. As I discussed in detail in the May 2009 issue of COMMENTARY, Cohen toured the country and was allowed to speak with some of the remnant of a once great Iranian Jewish community by his government minders. But in the worst tradition of blind Westerners being deceived by totalitarians he fell hook, line and sinker for the line of baloney he was sold. The result was a disgrace that invoked the memory of Walter Duranty, the Times writer who won an undeserved Pulitzer Prize for telling the West that tales of Josef Stalin’s mass murders were untrue. Despite the deluge of justified criticism to which he was subjected for this journalistic atrocity, Cohen continues to pontificate at the Times, where he inveighs against Israel and often criticizes the efforts to rouse the West to isolate the Tehran government that he served so well. Indeed, in his current column he even slams the movie “Argo”—which depicts the Iranian hostage crisis—for promoting “negative stereotypes” about Iran.

One might think his discussion of Cyrus, the Persian conqueror that defeated the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland after their first exile, would be uncontroversial. But any attempt to identify that historical figure with present day Iran is absurd.

As Alex Joffe wrote in Jewish Ideas Daily in 2011, the notion of the Cyrus Cylinder being a Persian Magna Carta is probably more hype than history. But even if we are prepared to buy into the traditional praise given Cyrus, as Joffe points out, the desire of the Iranian regime to identify itself with his legacy is highly offensive. When the cylinder was brought to Iran for a showing, an actor wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh greeted it as part of an effort to appropriate him into the current version of Persian nationalism that is so shamelessly exploited by the ayatollahs.

Though Cohen doesn’t mention this, he plays the same game as he writes of the cylinder being an apt symbol of Iranian culture. But what he fails to mention is that when Islam swept through Persia, it eradicated any trace of the religious toleration that characterized the Cyrus tradition. The reason why the “n” word is so important to any discussion of Iran is because of the intolerance of the regime and the steady stream of anti-Semitic vituperation that flows from its media and permeates its society. It is not just that Iran’s leaders have threatened to wipe Israel off the map while working to create a nuclear option to do just that. It is that this is a government that has made Jew-hatred the singular theme of their foreign policy.

Let us hope that someday we will live to see the ayatollahs overthrown by an Iranian people that will reject their hatred and that wishes to live in peace with Israel and the rest of the world. On that day, we will do well to think of Cyrus. But until then, and especially as Iran draws closer to the realization of their nuclear goal, it will take more than the feeble writing of a Roger Cohen to prevent us from thinking of Haman when we discuss Iran.

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The Purim Parallels

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often deploys historical analogies to help other world leaders understand the mindset of the Jewish people when faced with current threats or challenges. Tomorrow is Purim, the story of which Netanyahu brings up this time of year, each year, because of certain (mostly geographic) parallels.

The story begins on an alarming note when the evil Haman engineers a decree from the king he serves, Ahasuerus of Persia, calling for the annihilation of the empire’s Jews. The story ends with the humble Mordechai saving the king’s life and Queen Esther convincing her husband the king to sign a second decree discouraging the slaughter of the Jews and allowing and enabling the Jews to defend themselves against anyone who still attempted to carry out their annihilation. Esther, who was Jewish, fasted before making this request of the king, and so we fast today, the day before Purim, in solemn recognition both of Esther’s fast and the close call. But the point of the story and of Netanyahu’s decision to give President Obama a copy of the Book of Esther have been slightly misinterpreted.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often deploys historical analogies to help other world leaders understand the mindset of the Jewish people when faced with current threats or challenges. Tomorrow is Purim, the story of which Netanyahu brings up this time of year, each year, because of certain (mostly geographic) parallels.

The story begins on an alarming note when the evil Haman engineers a decree from the king he serves, Ahasuerus of Persia, calling for the annihilation of the empire’s Jews. The story ends with the humble Mordechai saving the king’s life and Queen Esther convincing her husband the king to sign a second decree discouraging the slaughter of the Jews and allowing and enabling the Jews to defend themselves against anyone who still attempted to carry out their annihilation. Esther, who was Jewish, fasted before making this request of the king, and so we fast today, the day before Purim, in solemn recognition both of Esther’s fast and the close call. But the point of the story and of Netanyahu’s decision to give President Obama a copy of the Book of Esther have been slightly misinterpreted.

First, the story of Purim is not about the “defeat” of the Persian empire, per se. Indeed, Mordechai went on to serve in the administration of Ahasuerus, and Esther remained the queen. Nor is it a story about Jewish power—the Jews needed the king to enable their self-defense, and the prayer and material deprivation of Jewish fast days is about faith and divine providence, not proud self-reliance. That’s why the primary purpose of raising the Purim analogy is to elucidate the differences. The Economist doesn’t like Netanyahu’s use of the Purim story and is tiring of his “Auschwitz complex,” as the magazine refers to it in a post on its Democracy in America blog.

“Mr Netanyahu is less attractive than Esther, but he seems to be wooing Mr. Obama and the American public just as effectively,” the Economist writes in a clumsy and undercooked metaphor of its own. The magazine faults Netanyahu for saying the following:

After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That’s why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate.

“News flash: Israel is not master of its fate,” the Economist interrupts. But neither, it says, is the United States–or Britain, Serbia, China, or Sweden. And that’s just fine. But that misses the point. It’s true that Israel isn’t, in the literal sense, the master of its own fate. Part of the lesson of Purim is about faith. But Netanyahu doesn’t mean Israel is in total control of everyone’s actions. In a January article for the New York Times Magazine, Ronen Bergman asked Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak about those within the Israeli military and political establishment who vocally oppose a strike on Iran’s nuclear installations. Barak offered a memorable response:

It’s good to have diversity in thinking and for people to voice their opinions. But at the end of the day, when the military command looks up, it sees us — the minister of defense and the prime minister. When we look up, we see nothing but the sky above us.

Another way of saying this would be the old Hebrew National slogan: “We answer to a higher authority.” The Economist calls this the “ghetto mentality,” and says Netanyahu’s gift to Obama of the Book of Esther proves “he’s still in it.” But the Economist gives the game away when faulting Netanyahu for Israel’s siege mentality, claiming “As prime minister in the late 1990s, he did more than any other Israeli leader to destroy the peace process.” The Economist elaborates:

Violent clashes and provocations erupted whenever the peace process seemed on the verge of concrete steps forward; the most charitable spin would be that the Israelis failed to exercise the restraint they might have shown in retaliating against Palestinian terrorism, had they been truly interested in progress towards a two-state solution.

That paragraph says it all. When the peace process gained momentum, the Palestinians engaged in terrorism to destroy the process. But “the most charitable spin” is that Netanyahu deserves blame for not rolling over. Even the Economist’s phrasing tells you where they are coming from: “the most charitable spin” is a dismissive way of saying “attempting to see the other side’s point of view.” But the Economist prejudges that view. It’s spin–no matter what it is, it’s spin.

Doubtless that same hostility will be displayed toward Netanyahu if one day the Economist wakes up to the news that Iran’s nuclear installations have been reduced to rubble. And that will be a sign that Netanyahu didn’t give Obama the Book of Esther as a map to the current reality. He will have been reminding the president of just the opposite: this time, the decree allowing and enabling the Jews to defend themselves won’t be signed, sealed, and delivered in a foreign capital.

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Purim 2.0(12)

In Ali’s days it comes to pass,
A scary tale, one all but farce.
Admittedly it’s not the end,
But we’ll try yet to comprehend.

The sixth and tenth year of his reign,
Despite the oil, a sad domain.
Devout was he so nought to drink,
Nor in the land were men of pink. Read More

In Ali’s days it comes to pass,
A scary tale, one all but farce.
Admittedly it’s not the end,
But we’ll try yet to comprehend.

The sixth and tenth year of his reign,
Despite the oil, a sad domain.
Devout was he so nought to drink,
Nor in the land were men of pink.

For one day he’d need to account -
Although his lands did not amount
To twenty seven and a cent,
For heaven was he still hellbent.

That is if he once and for all
Did heed the heavens’ mighty call.
His foe to devastate at last
With marvel and a mighty blast.

Ambrosia he could not enjoy
Unless those cities he’d destroy.
No virgins would be given him
Unless he blew up kibbutzim.

His title says on earth are signs
Which help the faithful shape designs.
And soon he would complete his task
And therefore in divine light bask.

Ali and he who came before
Have long sought surety galore.
And Satan Minor they’d rebuke,
A final time, with holy nuke.

And so together he did call
His trusted circle, wherewithal,
To see which from that godly group
Could push his plan, the world to dupe.

Mahmoud, and Abba and Akhbar,
Gholam and Hammed and Modar,
Another Hammed, one more too,
And Mir and Ahmad, were the few

Ahmad it was who most impressed.
And so in him Ali’d invest.
Thus from this group, this Camelot,
To Ahmad would he power allot.

Ahmad the people did ‘elect’ -
Though Ali did of course direct.
And re-elect they’d later do
(If meaning says to words ‘adieu’).

Ahmad the country’s cunning chief
From tyrants’ book took he a leaf:
So rarely do his lips speak truth
Nor to the people show he ruth.

And never does he wear a tie -
The one whom no-one dare defy -
And always sporting that grey suit
And surely that white coat to boot.

As year by year new sites arose
The threat from him – it grows and grows
Bushehr, Natanz, Arak and Qom
Ahmad defends with great aplomb.

That land thus does again conspire
To wipe out Israel entire.
It’s clear thus, since once more they try
The Bible failed to edify.

No lots be drawn, we take no chance
To stop the stealthy scheme’s advance.
The world need not one more ‘j’accuse!’
And much besides it has to lose.

As things now stand, Isra’l’s been sold
For which it can its allies scold.
This farce has gone on long enough:
It’s time to call the mullahs’ bluff.

But this round too a Binyamite
Might yet frustrate their appetite.
We pray him in this season strength
So that our days can live their length.

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Mideast Peace Gap: A Tale of Two Murderers

The dustup over the badly timed announcement of the building of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem this week has rightly provoked comment about the competence of the Netanyahu government. But for all the talk about the Palestinians’ being so offended by the idea of Jews living in East Jerusalem that they wouldn’t talk peace, it bears repeating that there is no indication that Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the Palestinian Authority it controls are willing to actually sign a peace agreement with Israel no matter what the terms of such a deal might be. Palestinian political culture remains anchored in an extremist interpretation of their national identity, which views the Jewish state as inherently illegitimate and all violence against it and its citizens as laudatory.

This was graphically illustrated yesterday in Ramallah, when Fatah’s youth division gathered to dedicate a square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the Fatah operative that led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, a terrorist attack that took the lives of 37 Israelis and one American. As David noted earlier this morning, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Palestinian Authority was postponing the event that was timed to honor the 30th anniversary of this case of mass murder for “technical reasons” that may have more to do with a desire to put it off until media coverage abates (i.e., after Vice President Biden has left the country). Yet the New York Times account published today makes it clear that followers and officials of Abbas’s Fatah were by no means embarrassed by their connection with the most notorious terrorist attack in Israel’s history.

The story was in the best tradition of the fallacy about one man’s terrorist being another’s “freedom fighter.” The Times headline reflected this moral ambivalence: “Palestinians Honor Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist.” For Palestinians quoted in the piece, including Fatah officials, Mughrabi was a heroine who was “every Palestinian girl,” rather than a heartless killer who helped mow down 38 human beings, including 13 children, before being killed herself by Israeli forces. As for this being an isolated incident, as Palestinian Media Watch has reported, the drumbeat of incitement against Israel and the glorification of violence against Jews is unceasing. Indeed, as even the Times notes, “the Palestinians also named two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship and two summer camps for Ms. Mughrabi in the last two years.”

But those seeking moral equivalence between the two sides are largely undaunted. At the Times news blog, the Lede, Robert Mackey, who on Wednesday erroneously referred to East Jerusalem as “traditionally Arab,” wrote on Thursday that there are Jews who are extremists as well. He posted a video on the Times site purporting to be a Purim celebration by a few Jews living in a house in East Jerusalem. The “boisterous celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim by Israelis living in a home in East Jerusalem … appeared to be a calculated affront to their new Arab neighbors.”

That leads us to ask the Lede blogger whether he would sympathize with complaints by Jews should they witness “a boisterous celebration” of a Muslim holiday anywhere in Israel, where Arabs and Christians, as well as Jews, are free to practice their religions.

It is true that the video did include a bit where one man sang a song in praise of Baruch Goldstein, the mad Israeli who murdered 29 Muslims in Hebron on Purim in 1994. That is offensive. But for those who see this as the equivalent of Arab incitement, it is worth pointing out that this is just one Jewish extremist. No one could credibly assert that the Israeli government or the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people share his views. In fact, such despicable beliefs are completely marginal in Israel. But while Baruch Goldstein is a hero only to a tiny fragment of a percentage of Israelis, Dalal Mughrabi is a heroine to virtually all Palestinians. Rather than an illustration of how both sides are mired in mutual hate, the reaction of the Israeli and Palestinian publics to these two names actually shows how different the two cultures are at this point in time.

Indeed, true peace will only be possible when Palestinians think of Mughrabi the same way most Israelis view Goldstein.

The dustup over the badly timed announcement of the building of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem this week has rightly provoked comment about the competence of the Netanyahu government. But for all the talk about the Palestinians’ being so offended by the idea of Jews living in East Jerusalem that they wouldn’t talk peace, it bears repeating that there is no indication that Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party and the Palestinian Authority it controls are willing to actually sign a peace agreement with Israel no matter what the terms of such a deal might be. Palestinian political culture remains anchored in an extremist interpretation of their national identity, which views the Jewish state as inherently illegitimate and all violence against it and its citizens as laudatory.

This was graphically illustrated yesterday in Ramallah, when Fatah’s youth division gathered to dedicate a square in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, the Fatah operative that led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, a terrorist attack that took the lives of 37 Israelis and one American. As David noted earlier this morning, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Palestinian Authority was postponing the event that was timed to honor the 30th anniversary of this case of mass murder for “technical reasons” that may have more to do with a desire to put it off until media coverage abates (i.e., after Vice President Biden has left the country). Yet the New York Times account published today makes it clear that followers and officials of Abbas’s Fatah were by no means embarrassed by their connection with the most notorious terrorist attack in Israel’s history.

The story was in the best tradition of the fallacy about one man’s terrorist being another’s “freedom fighter.” The Times headline reflected this moral ambivalence: “Palestinians Honor Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist.” For Palestinians quoted in the piece, including Fatah officials, Mughrabi was a heroine who was “every Palestinian girl,” rather than a heartless killer who helped mow down 38 human beings, including 13 children, before being killed herself by Israeli forces. As for this being an isolated incident, as Palestinian Media Watch has reported, the drumbeat of incitement against Israel and the glorification of violence against Jews is unceasing. Indeed, as even the Times notes, “the Palestinians also named two girls’ high schools, a computer center, a soccer championship and two summer camps for Ms. Mughrabi in the last two years.”

But those seeking moral equivalence between the two sides are largely undaunted. At the Times news blog, the Lede, Robert Mackey, who on Wednesday erroneously referred to East Jerusalem as “traditionally Arab,” wrote on Thursday that there are Jews who are extremists as well. He posted a video on the Times site purporting to be a Purim celebration by a few Jews living in a house in East Jerusalem. The “boisterous celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim by Israelis living in a home in East Jerusalem … appeared to be a calculated affront to their new Arab neighbors.”

That leads us to ask the Lede blogger whether he would sympathize with complaints by Jews should they witness “a boisterous celebration” of a Muslim holiday anywhere in Israel, where Arabs and Christians, as well as Jews, are free to practice their religions.

It is true that the video did include a bit where one man sang a song in praise of Baruch Goldstein, the mad Israeli who murdered 29 Muslims in Hebron on Purim in 1994. That is offensive. But for those who see this as the equivalent of Arab incitement, it is worth pointing out that this is just one Jewish extremist. No one could credibly assert that the Israeli government or the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people share his views. In fact, such despicable beliefs are completely marginal in Israel. But while Baruch Goldstein is a hero only to a tiny fragment of a percentage of Israelis, Dalal Mughrabi is a heroine to virtually all Palestinians. Rather than an illustration of how both sides are mired in mutual hate, the reaction of the Israeli and Palestinian publics to these two names actually shows how different the two cultures are at this point in time.

Indeed, true peace will only be possible when Palestinians think of Mughrabi the same way most Israelis view Goldstein.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Robert Reich doesn’t like ReidCare: “If you think the federal employee benefit plan is an answer to this, think again. Its premiums increased nearly 9 percent this year. And if you think an expanded Medicare is the answer, you’re smoking medical marijuana. The Senate bill allows an independent commission to hold back Medicare costs only if Medicare spending is rising faster than total health spending. So if health spending is soaring because private insurers have no incentive to control it, we’re all out of luck. Medicare explodes as well.”

Others don’t like it either. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services actuary say it will increase health-care spending by $234B. And Sen. Bill Nelson says its a “non-starter.”

Ten senators write a letter complaining to Harry Reid about the deal, which doesn’t seem like it’s a deal at all.

Rasmussen tells us that Harry Reid trails all GOP challengers: “For now at least, his championing of the president’s health care plan appears to raise further red flags for the Democratic incumbent. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Nevada voters oppose the plan, while 44% favor it.”

Maybe that is Obama’s problem too: “Excluding the Rasmussen and Gallup overnight tracking polls, there have been seven major national surveys released this week. President Obama has recorded an all-time low job approval rating in six of the seven.”

Not good: “The last person to know that Sen. Max Baucus wanted a divorce may have been his wife of 25 years. It appears that Wanda Baucus was in the dark even as a member of Baucus’s staff — Melodee Hanes, the woman who is now his live-in girlfriend — was plotting out the senator’s life without a wife.” And it turns out Hanes got a political appointment at the Justice Department. Maybe it is time for him to go. “Say what you want about Republicans, but they have a much better sense than their opponents of when it’s time to grab one of their own and throw him off the sled to the wolves running behind.”

Makes you wonder what Chris Dodd was thinking when he asked for his help: “Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is ‘getting the living hell beat out of him, the living bejesus beat out of him.’”

An inconvenient poll: In the latest Ipos Public Affairs poll, 52 percent of adults think global warming isn’t happening or is happening mostly because of natural patterns while only 43 percent think it is due to human activity.

A very smart move Republicans should support: “U.S. President Barack Obama told lawmakers in private talks this week that he supported moving forward on stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.”

If you loved Orin Hatch’s Chanukah tune, just wait until we get to Purim. No, really, he’s thinking about it.

Robert Reich doesn’t like ReidCare: “If you think the federal employee benefit plan is an answer to this, think again. Its premiums increased nearly 9 percent this year. And if you think an expanded Medicare is the answer, you’re smoking medical marijuana. The Senate bill allows an independent commission to hold back Medicare costs only if Medicare spending is rising faster than total health spending. So if health spending is soaring because private insurers have no incentive to control it, we’re all out of luck. Medicare explodes as well.”

Others don’t like it either. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services actuary say it will increase health-care spending by $234B. And Sen. Bill Nelson says its a “non-starter.”

Ten senators write a letter complaining to Harry Reid about the deal, which doesn’t seem like it’s a deal at all.

Rasmussen tells us that Harry Reid trails all GOP challengers: “For now at least, his championing of the president’s health care plan appears to raise further red flags for the Democratic incumbent. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Nevada voters oppose the plan, while 44% favor it.”

Maybe that is Obama’s problem too: “Excluding the Rasmussen and Gallup overnight tracking polls, there have been seven major national surveys released this week. President Obama has recorded an all-time low job approval rating in six of the seven.”

Not good: “The last person to know that Sen. Max Baucus wanted a divorce may have been his wife of 25 years. It appears that Wanda Baucus was in the dark even as a member of Baucus’s staff — Melodee Hanes, the woman who is now his live-in girlfriend — was plotting out the senator’s life without a wife.” And it turns out Hanes got a political appointment at the Justice Department. Maybe it is time for him to go. “Say what you want about Republicans, but they have a much better sense than their opponents of when it’s time to grab one of their own and throw him off the sled to the wolves running behind.”

Makes you wonder what Chris Dodd was thinking when he asked for his help: “Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is ‘getting the living hell beat out of him, the living bejesus beat out of him.’”

An inconvenient poll: In the latest Ipos Public Affairs poll, 52 percent of adults think global warming isn’t happening or is happening mostly because of natural patterns while only 43 percent think it is due to human activity.

A very smart move Republicans should support: “U.S. President Barack Obama told lawmakers in private talks this week that he supported moving forward on stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.”

If you loved Orin Hatch’s Chanukah tune, just wait until we get to Purim. No, really, he’s thinking about it.

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