Friday, May 28, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Bad week for eniviromental craziness

Posted: 28 May 2010 04:06 AM PDT

Earlier this week, James Taranto had fun with a New York Times report that the public was becoming skeptical of global warming claims by scientists.

First he observed:

We're old enough to remember the "greenhouse effect," which became "global warming," which became "climate change," which now apparently has become "climate science."

(Some of us actually remember when scientists told us that we were headed into a new ice age.)


Skepticism, the Times implies, is a sign that people are foolish and easily misled. But the opposite interpretation is closer to the truth: Those who refuse to accept outlandish claims based merely on an appeal to authority are exercising intelligence and common sense.

Charles Krauthammer today, observes that one of the causes of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, was due to ill-considered environmental fears:

Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama's tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we've had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

So we go deep, ultra deep -- to such a technological frontier that no precedent exists for the April 20 blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

There will always be catastrophic oil spills. You make them as rare as humanly possible, but where would you rather have one: in the Gulf of Mexico, upon which thousands depend for their livelihood, or in the Arctic, where there are practically no people? All spills seriously damage wildlife. That's a given. But why have we pushed the drilling from the barren to the populated, from the remote wilderness to a center of fishing, shipping, tourism and recreation?

"Worsen conditions"

Posted: 28 May 2010 03:59 AM PDT

China's Xinhau news service has this misleading headline:

Israel to worsen condition of Hamas prisoners

Read the article and this tells you how bad Hamas prisoners would have it:

According to the bills, prisoners in Israeli jails who were convicted for joining terrorist organizations will be barred from meeting family and receiving newspapers.

What is really going on:

In an attempt to put pressure on the Hamas leadership in Gaza to release Gilad Schalit, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation this week approved a bill that, if ratified, would take away some of the amenities enjoyed by Hamas terrorists currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons, including many captured by the IDF during December 2008-January 2009's Operation Cast Lead. No longer would these inmates be allowed to enjoy the cultural edification of multi-channel cable TV. Nor would they be permitted to pursue a higher education through Israel's Open University. Access to books and visits by relatives might be curtailed. Prolonged isolation of prisoners is also being considered.

Obviously, the Geneva Convention governing the proper treatment of prisoners would not be compromised. Prisoners would continue to have access to lawyers and medical treatment.

And as long as the International committed of Red Cross doesn't insist on visiting Gilad Schalit as should be dictated by international law, it's hard to see where the international community could object to Israel curtailing some extras to Hamas prisoners.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Submitted 05/28/10

Posted: 28 May 2010 03:58 AM PDT

This week's Watcher's council submissions are up.

Council Submissions

Non Council Submissions

The poverty of gaza

Posted: 28 May 2010 01:00 AM PDT

In Defying Blockade, Cargo and Passenger Vessels Head for Gaza, Isabel Kershner of the New York Times reports:

In a sarcastic e-mail message to reporters this week, Israel's Government Press Office recommended a high-end restaurant in Gaza, the Roots Club, attaching the menu and a link to its Web site. "We have been told the beef stroganoff and cream of spinach soup are highly recommended," the office said. The restaurant would, of course, be out of reach for most of Gaza's 1.5 million residents. Israeli military officials put unemployment there at almost 40 percent.

International organizations active in Gaza paint a bleaker picture. A United Nations Development Program report published on Sunday determined that about three-quarters of the damage caused by Israel's military offensive in Gaza in the winter of 2008-9 had not yet been repaired. And a report by the United Nations humanitarian coordinator blamed the blockade for "suffocating" the agricultural sector in Gaza and said that insufficient food was now a problem in more than 60 percent of households.

Yes, international organizations in Gaza paint a bleaker picture. But is it a more accurate picture. The other day I noted a Financial Times report that mentioned that there's such a glut of luxury items in Gaza - smuggled through tunnels - that prices are falling! If Gazans are thriving without the relief organizations, the organizations have reason to deny that; they don't want to lose their or perceived usefulness.

Additionally, it's dishonest and unfar to portray Israel as being cruel for preventing building materials into Gaza, when Hamas would use construction materials to reinforce its military infrastructure:

With regard to the military networks: Hamas is rebuilding and strives to upgrade its military-terrorist wing (the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades). That includes replacing the weapons lost with new ones (including advanced weapons) by smuggling them in through the tunnels (despite Egypt's intensive counter-activities). So far Hamas has smuggled in dozens of standard rockets, hundreds of mortar shells, dozens of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and tens of tons of standard explosives and raw materials for the manufacture of homemade weapons. The smuggling allows Hamas to extend the range of its rockets and to improve its anti-tank and anti-aircraft capabilities. In addition, the tunnel system in the Rafah region is in use again and is a vital channel for smuggling weapons (as well as food, equipment and fuel). Weapons are being manufactured again, and military training and instruction have been renewed (although for the time being theIzz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are keeping a lower profile than they did before Operation Cast Lead).

With regard to security systems: Hamas is particularly concerned about restoring its internal security forces, which were severely damaged by the fighting, and to strengthen its control over the Gaza Strip. Five months after the end of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas succeeded in restoring the forces' daily functioning, as can be seen by their increased deployment and visibility. The oppression of Hamas opponents (primarily Fatah) has been renewed to ensure that they do not try to regroup. In addition, new operatives are being recruited and an emergency exercise was being held to simulate emergency deployment and dealing with an Israel attack (a lesson learned from the blow delivered by the IDF at the beginning of Operation Cast Lead). Headquarters have been assigned temporary quarters, most of them in civilian locations, to find solutions, even temporary, for the problems involved in restoring the apparatuses which were attacked.

Kershner also fails to acknowledge that Hamas, by now, is partly responsible for the housing crisis in Gaza.

Nidal Eid was praised by Hamas officials as an example of anti-Zionist resistance when he managed to build a house here last year despite an Israeli blockade that barred the import of any building materials. But earlier this week, his house was the first to be demolished by the Hamas government, which said it had been illegally built on public land.

Bulldozers, accompanied by Hamas forces and police officers who beat residents with sticks, razed at least 25 houses, including some concrete structures here in Rafah, the southernmost city of Gaza.

Even as Kershner reports on the poverty in Gaza, tthere is plenty of evidnece that goods are getting through. And there's good reason for Israel to prohibit the importing of construction materials. This reminds me of Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth. Two years ago she went to Gaza claiming that it was a "concentration camp." Of course photographs of her in a fully stocked grocery store.

But Lauren Booth was an anti-Israel activist. Isn't Isabel Kershner supposed to be reporting the news? Even the information that contradicts the popular impression that Israel is starving the residents of Gaza.

Crossposted on Yourish. making MPAC-UK look moderate

Posted: 27 May 2010 11:30 PM PDT

I've taken a keen interest in recent months in comparing the two Muslim Public Affairs Committees: and MPAC-UK ( is actually a "Council.") Both have blog-like websites, and it happens to be an interesting moment for comparing the two. Both have posts, for instance, about the new Muslim Miss USA. declares "Miss USA is NO MODEL for Muslim Women":

Of course Fakih's no representative for anyone but her pitiable deluded self, but the hullabaloo and the mad rush by the kuffar to hail her as the 'example' Muslim woman speaks volumes, at least now they have revealed why they want to ban the hijab and other modest clothing options that cover Muslim women.
In contrast, the MPAC-UK article doesn't once use the word "kuffar," and it is even accompanied by a large picture of her smiling face. Their title: "Miss USA Targeted by Zio-Nazis." Isn't moderation grand?

A constant theme at MPAC-UK is that Muslims should get involved in the political process, and they are sometimes scathing against Muslims who think that "democracy is kuffar," as puts it. admits to once coming out in favor of voting, but they seem rather penitent in a recent article:

While accepting that democracy is kufr, we considered the act of voting as a lesser of two evils and considering the experiences of our brothers across Europe we felt that some participation might forestall anti-Muslim legislation . . .

Having witnessed the ineffectual and futile attempts of Muslims to influence the politics of kufr, in fact quite the opposite happened - the kufr of democracy unduly affected Muslims, led to compromises in the religion and with some even denunciation of the Divine Shariah, we have come to the conviction that political participation in democracy is not in the Muslims best interests.

MPAC-UK loves leftists who make common cause with Muslims. Perhaps the more conservative might at least espouse something that we would consider conservative economic principles? No such luck. Another recent post is entitled "Beware the evils of Capitalism." Let us end with the most jaw-dropping current post at the site: "In Praise of the Mutawwa":
There are few jobs in life that can be as rewarding as that of the Hai'ah (religious police), those tasked with enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. One can only look upon such individuals who risk life and limb with admiration as they work tirelessly to ensure that the insidious kufr of the west does not infiltrate the blessed land of the haramain.

And it's a constant battle, as those desirous of introducing evil choose ever more clever methods. For example the Harry Potter books were rightfully banned in bookstores across the Kingdom, and the covers were instantly recognizable even to those Hai'ah who could not speak or read English. However some stores would import similar books that were not as 'famous' in the hope that they would go undetected and that is where Muslims from the west helped play a role in keeping the Kingdom kufr free.

The article is accompanied by three YouTube videos showing the admirable efforts of the Mutawwa. The titles: "DESTROYING AN ILLICIT KUFFAR ALCOHOL FACTORY," "ARRESTING SORCERERS," and "DEALING WITH FREE MIXING." I don't have the patience to watch. Feel free to watch and tell me what they're like in the comments section.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

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