Both parties cheerlead still more loudly for Israel’s war

From Glenn Greenwald:

The Israelis have deliberately made it impossible to know the full extent of the carnage and humanitarian disasters because they continue to prevent journalists from entering Gaza even in the face of a now week-old Israeli Supreme Court order compelling them to do so. According to Palestinian sources, there are now 700 dead Palestinians — at least 200 of them children — and well over 1,000 wounded. Those numbers are not seriously doubted by anyone. By comparison, a total of 10 Israelis have died — 10 — almost all of them by “friendly fire.” The unusually worded Red Cross condemnation of Israel was prompted by its discovery, after finally being allowed into Gaza, of starving Palestinian children laying next to corpses, with ambulances blocked for days by the IDF. Even with the relative “restraint” Israel is excercising (the damage it could cause is obviously much greater), this is not so much of a war as it is a completely one-sided massacre.

As a result, much of the world is urging an end to the war and acting to forge a cease-fire — except the United States. Here, blind and unequivocal support for the Israeli attack is actually increasing almost as fast as the Palestinian body count piles up. Apparently, it isn’t enough that we supply the very bombs being dropped on the Palestinians and use our U.N. veto power to prevent any U.N. action to stop the war or even to urge its cessation. The U.S. Congress wants to involve the U.S. further still in Israel’s war.

This afternoon, the Democratic-led U.S. Senate did just that by enacting — via a cowardly voice vote — a completely one-sided, non-binding resolution that expresses unequivocal support for the Israeli war, and heaps all the blame for the conflict on Hamas and none of it on Israel. Harry Reid — who jointly sponsored the Resolution with GOP Leader Mitch McConnell — proudly proclaimed: “When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel.” On its website, AIPAC is already patting the U.S. Senate on its head for “for conveying America’s unequivocal and steadfast support for Israel’s right to self-defense.”

Cat Wanders Into a Live Weather Broadcast

Admit it. We lost the War on Fur a long time ago. And I for one welcome our Feline overlords

BERLIN (Reuters) – A cat wandered onto the set of a live weather forecast by Germany’s leading meteorologist Joerg Kachelmann and waved its tail in front of the camera as it rubbed up against his leg.

Kachelmann had just started his two-minute forecast after the news on Tuesday when the cat appeared. Without missing a beat, he scooped Lupin up and finished his forecast while the cat pointed a paw at the weather map.

“I don’t know how he got into the studio,” Kachelmann told Reuters, adding Lupin belonged to a staffer who was out of town.

“I noticed him when he rubbed against my leg and thought people might wonder what was happening. I figured it would be easier to control the cat by picking him up. Cats get annoyed if they feel ignored. So I made sure he didn’t feel ignored.”

(via Arbroath)

Jobless Rate Surges to 7.2% in December

From the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — The final employment report for 2008 closed the books on a miserable year for U.S. workers with payrolls plunging last month by more than half a million, pushing the unemployment rate to a 16-year high.

The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, government figures showed, the most since World War II ended in 1945. Nearly two million of those losses were in the last four months alone, a sign that the recession accelerated as the financial crisis intensified, and should drag on well into the new year.

The figures will likely put pressure on Federal Reserve officials to expand their already aggressive quantitative easing steps in which cash is essentially created and pumped into the economy, and gives backing to those calling for large-scale fiscal stimulus.

Nonfarm payrolls, which are calculated by a survey of establishments, tumbled 524,000 in December, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday, the 12th-straight decline and in line with the 525,000 drop Wall Street economists in a Dow Jones Newswires survey expected. November was revised to show an even steeper decline of 584,000, the most since 1974.