Sunday, June 20, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Hizbullah strikes a blow for modesty

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 04:02 PM PDT

Modesty in dress--that's a progressive value, right? The Guardian reports:

Israeli naval forces are on alert as an all-female ship prepares an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. Organisers say the Mariam - named after the Virgin Mary - is to sail from Beirut in the next few days.

However one woman who will not be on board is Haifa Wehbe, a sultry and often scantily clad Lebanese singer. Wehbe's request to join the vessel has reportedly been vetoed by Hizbullah, the militant Lebanese Shia organisation, on the grounds that her "nudity, degradation and immodest dress" would damage the reputations of all the Arab and European women on board.

Arab observers dismissed the story - in the Kuwait daily al-Siyassah - saying it was designed to smear the humanitarian mission with a connection to Hizbullah, like the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip an implacable enemy of Israel. [...]

And if that's a credible dismissal why did the Guardian report the story in the first place? The flow of the reportage would lead one to believe that it is a just knee-jerk dismissal that doesn't reflect any real inside knowledge and that the Guardian is really convinced of the truth of the headline, but worried that they will come across as too Zionist-leaning unless some dissenting voice is brought in. But who knows . . .

Crossposted on Judeopundit

My jim joyce moment

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 01:41 PM PDT

No it's not exactly fair to call it a "Jim Joyce moment." Rob Neyer explains:

Maybe that's already impossible, but I was watching the game and I've now seen the replay many times, and there's one thing I think too many people are missing ... This was not an easy call. Sure, in slo-motion and from the perfect angle, it's obvious that Jason Donald's foot touched first base a split-second after Galarraga controlled the baseball with his foot on the base. But in real time, and from Jim Joyce's angle?

Not so much.

Understand, when I call it a "Jim Joyce moment," it's not to disparage the umpire; it's to acknowledge the difficulty of what he had to do.

Today I had a camera at my son's game. There was a bang-bang play at first base and the question, "Had the ball beat the runner?" I had my camera, and happened to take the picture at the exact fraction of a second that showed, indeed, the throw had beaten the runner. The ball is settled in my son's glove and the runner is still in the air.


Proudly I showed the picture off to the opposing coach. But through that half inch diameter viewfinder he noticed something else. (We couldn't use the larger viewscreen; the sun was too bright.) My son's heel was off the ground and apparently off the base. I acknowledged that and we called the runner safe. (In the end he didn't score.)

But when I got home and looked at the play on a computer screen, my son's foot's position is a lot more ambiguous. Is it off the base? You can't tell, because you don't know how far the base extends.

One of the things I've learned about taking action shots, is that you have to press the shutter button early and hope for the best. There's always going to be a lag. Here's another play from the next inning. I was a fraction of a second too late and ...


The fielder had overthrown the ball, but you can only get a sense of the action as my son chases the ball and the runner heads on to second.

To catch what really happened on a close play, you need "slo-motion and from the perfect angle," but that isn't what umpires have to work with. And as I discovered today even if you have camera that captures the moment, it may not give you a complete picture.

When the play was made no one was looking at my son's feet. The only question was whether the ball had beaten the runner. The picture answered one question, but failed to resolve the second. Making calls in real time is not easy.

Computers for better living: syrian edition

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 12:32 PM PDT

Syria's SANA news agency is promoting its latest e-government efforts:

The Ministry of Local Administration reviewed on Saturday the applications of e-government in Syria and future plans in this regard, discussing some of Turkey's strategies and pioneering experiences in this field.

The discussion was made during a workshop on the applications of e-government on the levels of regions and localities, organized by the ministry with the participation of experts from Syria and Turkey.

Minister of Local Administration Tamer al-Hajjeh said e-government is an integral part of his ministry's strategy for institutional development, noting that the recently-formed executive team for carrying out the Syrian e-Government Initiative has begun its tasks and is working to motivate government bodies to use information technology and support them in this regard.

The team is also working on the plan for marketing the e-government services and developing them, al-Hajjeh added, pointing out that his ministry launched the video conference system in 2007 as part of the e-government strategy, and that it now covers all governorates, enabling communication between several ministries and all governorates in the future.

It is somewhat telling that other than a reference to "improve the quality of life" there is no reference to computer technology for Syria's citizens.

Barry Rubin explains:

Let me give the U.S. government a tip: when you run a repressive dictatorship you don't want to furnish the masses with the benefits of better Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, satellite telephones, higher-speed Internet, and similar things. Of course, you might want to buy the latest technology for the secret police to use and you would want more information to figure out better ways to block and tap into such communications.

That "better quailty of life" should probably be qualified with "that we determine our citizens will be allowed."

Crossposted on Yourish.

The council has spoken 062010

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 12:28 PM PDT

The council has spoken!

Council Winners

Non Council Submissions

Congratulations to all the top vote getters!

For a complete list of this week's entries, see here.

Gee, i think we need an independent international inquiry into this

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 12:20 PM PDT

Using rather intemperate language, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Kurdish rebels.

Turkey's prime minister traveled to his country's border with Iraq to assess security on Sunday and vowed that Kurdish rebels who killed 12 Turkish soldiers in cross-border attacks will "drown in their own blood."

Little surprise then with this result:

An Iraqi Kurdish official on Sunday said the Turkish raid killed a teenage Iraqi Kurdish girl -- the first reported civilian death in sparsely populated border areas that have been often targeted by Turkish warplanes. Karmang Ezzat, mayor of the border town of Soran, said the girl's mother and 3-year-old brother also were wounded in the attack.

It was not clear how many Kurdish rebels might have been killed in the latest air assault but the Turkish military on Friday said about 120 rebels had been killed in air strikes and one incursion into northern Iraq over the past month. The rebels use Iraqi soil as a springboard for attacks in their war for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast.

120 rebels killed in addition to an innocent teenager.

It's interesting the way the media dresses Erdogan up as respectable, but can anyone explain why his reaction to Kurdish rebels deserves a pass? Especially given his inflammatory rhetoric?

It's not their jewishness, stupid

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 04:23 AM PDT

The other day. co-blogger Daled Amos critiqued Matthew Yglesias's smear of Elliott Abrams. Daled Amos was correct that Yglesias misconstrued Abrams's arguments.

Let me just add that Yglesias took issue with Abrams's final paragraph:

For which reason, more committed Jews can only thank God for the greater commitment of so many evangelicals--whose party loyalties have not become a religious faith and who will indeed dump Obama if he abandons Israel in a time of peril.

by writing:

But of course most Jews will vote for the political party that advances the policy agenda, including on abortion rights, that most Jews agree with. What on earth else are people supposed to do? The implication that evangelical Christians are more Jewish than most actual American Jews is an almost self-refuting assertion.

I see no such implication. Abrams is simply writing that evangelicals are more pro-Israel than many Jews, not that they're "more Jewish." Yglesias need not feel that his Jewishness has been disrespected.

I recently saw a similar sentiment from Heather Robinson:

For the record, this Jewish-American patriot and Zionist has deep gratitude to my fellow Americans who support Israel's right to self-defense, among whom Christians number heavily. My deepest thanks.

Previously I wrote about the Commentary symposium here.

Hardcore (leftist) fenton's mud

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 04:13 AM PDT

Ken Timmerman of NewsMax reports via memeorandum:

An American communications firm best known for shaping the liberal into a national movement has tackled a new project: orchestrating an international anti-Israel campaign aimed at breaking the blockade of the Gaza strip.

Fenton Communications, which has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco, signed two contracts last year with Qatar to develop "a communications action plan for an 18-month campaign" aimed at delegitimizing Israel and generating international support for the Hamas-run Gaza strip, documents filed with the Department of Justice show.

The campaign, known as the "Al Fakhoora Project," has a very visible Web presence that boasts of rallying 10,000 activists "against the blockade on Gaza."

Fenton signed the contracts, worth more than $390,000, with the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the wife of the Qatari ruler, and a separate foundation she chairs. The contracts are ongoing, according to Fenton's Foreign Agent registration forms.

Given that Fenton is known for its liberal orientation, Andy McCarthy comments:

As I mentioned to K-Lo in part one of our interview this week, one of the things I've been surprised by since The Grand Jihad was released is the number of times I've been asked if I really believe Leftists and Islamists would actually work together. This question is odd because it is undeniable that the two camps do work together and have at several junctures in their histories. This is not to trivialize their differences, which are real. But I'm not hypothesizing that they might work together; I'm observing that they do work together and analyzing why it happens.

(Qatar, I believe, is the one Gulf State that is especially close to Iran.)

Israel Matzav brings up the connection of J-Street head Jeremy Ben Ami and Fenton Communications.

And the goldstone commission was a paragon of impartiality

Posted: 20 Jun 2010 03:44 AM PDT

A few days ago Robert Mackey of the New York Times made a case against Israel's inquiry into the attack on the Mavi Marmara:

The selection of Mr. Trimble, a former leader of Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist party, was described as unfortunate by his political opponents at home. The Unionists fought for decades to keep in place the partition dividing the island of Ireland into two parts, each with a different ethnic nationalist majority.

Well, no the case wasn't explicity, but Mackey quoted enough of Trimble's opponents to make it clear that he thought that including Trimble was a sign that Israel would not investigate itself adequately.

This sentiment was mentioned explicitly by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

The panel announced by Israel to investigate the deadly assault on a flotilla seeking to run the Gaza blockade lacks adequate international weight to make the panel credible, the United Nations secretary general said Friday.

Although Israel gave two foreigners observer status on the panel, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that most countries he had consulted agreed that "it is not sufficient enough to have international credibility."

I could find no objection by the Secretary General though over the composition of the Goldstone Commission. In addition Judge Goldstone the commission consisted of Prof. Christine Chinkin, Ms. Hina Jilani, and Col. Desmond Travers.

But UN Watch showed:

The reasonable person would consider Prof. Chinkin to be partial after she publicly declared the guilt of one of the concerned parties on the very case and controversy under consideration. Therefore, if justice is to be done--and to be seen to be done--the only remedy is Prof. Chinkin's recusal, or her disqualification by the Mission or the Human Rights Council president.

Hina Jilani believed (via Eye on the UN)

"Israel is depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights using security as an excuse."

Col. Travers said that Hamas had fired "'something like two' rockets" at Israel prior to Israel going to war with Hamas in 2008.

May I assume then, that to Ban Ki Moon, "international credibility" means "to prejudge Israel's guilt?"

Crossposted on Yourish.

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