- Harry Reid clarifies controversial statement
- If Hezbollah Was Behind The Hariri Assassination--How Involved Was Iran?
- Abbas's Demand For 1967 Borders Is Diplomatic Sleight-Of-Hand
- If ... you must 081610
- Rounding third and headed for home ...
- Harvard divests ... er.. not so fast
- Global weirding returns ... in a news story
- The commish vs. the state's attorney
- Musical monday #154
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 07:40 PM PDT
Visibly shaken by opinion writer Greg Sargent's observation that "This just makes the Dems look weak, unorganized, cowardly, and unwilling to take a stand for principles they plainly believe in," Reid clarified his widely-reported controversial statement that "the mosque should be built some place else."
"I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque somewhere else," he said.
"I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about."
"The Constitution protects freedom of relocation," added Jim Manley, a Reid spokesman. "Senator Reid respects that, but thinks that the decision is perhaps better left until after the Midterm elections."
Crossposted on Judeopundit
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 10:51 AM PDT
That is a question that Amir Taheri asks in Lebanon and Nasrallah's Trinity. In addressing the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Taheri notes that neither Lebanon nor Iran are signatories to the ICC treaty--which is why during the past 30 years pro-Iranian Lebanese militants make a bee-line to Iran when they are indicted in Europe, with about 30 indictments still pending.
More to the point, consider the nature of Hezbollah and the tight connection it has to Iran:
The point is that Hezbollah is more that merely associated with Iran. Hezbollah is more than tightly associated with Iran.
The point, often forgotten is that Hezbollah is not some organic group that arose in opposition to Israel's occupation in southern Lebanon--Hezbollah in Lebanon is an Iranian creation:
As a result of Hezbollah's connection to Iran and the way it has embedded itself into Lebanon, it is obvious that even if it were possible to bring to justice those those Hezbollah members who actually carried out the assassination, the actually planners behind the assassination are not going to face justice.
by Daled Amos
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 10:46 AM PDT
One of the key demands that Abbas is making as a precondition before he will negotiate peace face-to-face with Netanyahu is that there be agreement that negotiations be based on the 1967 borders.
The problem is--there are no 1967 borders.
To be more precise, there is no such thing as a 1967 border between Israel proper on the one hand and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) on the other. While historically there have been international boundaries established between Israel and Egypt as well as Israel and Syria--what is called the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank is actually the 1949 Armistice Line, a military line.
This is a fact that though ignored now, was well-known by the parties involved at the time:
The point is that President Bush wrote in a letter to PM Ariel Sharon in 2004 that "it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949."--a letter that was approved overwhelmingly by both the House and Senate. While Obama has not said that it is bound by that letter, Obama has said on numerous occasions that he supports secure borders for Israel.
It is past time for Obama to reconcile this apparent contradiction.
Obama has engaged in dragging Abbas kicking and screaming to the negotiations table.
Now Obama should finally do his part as well and make clear what 'secure borders' means--and openly acknowledging that the 1948 Armistice Line is not a border (let alone a secure one) would be a start.
UPDATED: In an article last year, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon touched on this same issue when he wrote about Israel's Right in the 'Disputed' Territories:
Using the 1948 Armistice Line as a starting point for negotiations is one thing, but Abbas--ever anxious to avoid the give-and-take of negotiations--is looking for one more precondition that alleviates the necessary work of actually sitting down and negotiating for peace.
by Daled Amos
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 04:32 AM PDT
If you haven't read Palestinian Journos Test Big Media's Double Standards at Media Backspin; you must.
If you haven't read In Stay Motion, Prop. 8 Supporters Quote Obama's Audacity of Hope at Legal Insurrection; you must.
If you haven't read More adventures of Peter Beinart at The Future of Capitalism; you must.
If you haven't read AFP catches the fake Muslim grave story at Elder of Ziyon ; you must.
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 04:29 AM PDT
... is more diversity nonsense. This time (unsurprisingly) courtesy of The New York Times - sports section!
About 40 percent of the players in Major League Baseball are black, Hispanic or Asian, and the sport is seen as a leading example of diversity, yet a curious disparity has emerged in a corner of the game.
Prof Jacobson (who kindly gave me a hat tip) turns the analysis on its head:
Wait a second. The Times has missed the big story here.
If we want to pick through the numbers, we can always find something or someone to complain about. But in sensitive matters like these, I think we should take extra care to be intellectually rigorous.
Posted: 16 Aug 2010 04:07 AM PDT
In another blow to Israeli shares, the Harvard Management Company notified the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday that it had sold all its holdings in Israeli companies during the second quarter of 2010. No reason for the sale was mentioned. The Harvard Management Company manages Harvard University's endowment.
The first assumption was that this was the result of political pressure from the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement.
In other words, Israel's economy is so good it's no longer considered "developing," it's just a category shift...which sounds plausible to me. How much do you want to bet that that's pretty close to what it's going to be all about when we start hearing from on the record sources?
In other BDS news, Johnny Rotten disagrees with the movement.
Most musicians, particularly those who have been around for 30 years, wouldn't let hate mail upset them. They probably wouldn't even read it. But John's anger is genuine. He wants me to record it, for posterity. "I really resent the presumption that I'm going there to play to right-wing Nazi jews," he tells me. "If Elvis-f******-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated." That's our Johnny Rotten. Always lively. Always entertaining. Often wrong. But, whatever you may think of him, never afraid to stick that bog-brush haircut exuberantly over the parapet.
Crossposted on Yourish.
Posted: 15 Aug 2010 11:13 PM PDT
A few months ago Thomas Friedman wrote about global weirding.
Avoid the term "global warming." I prefer the term "global weirding," because that is what actually happens as global temperatures rise and the climate changes. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous. The fact that it has snowed like crazy in Washington -- while it has rained at the Winter Olympics in Canada, while Australia is having a record 13-year drought -- is right in line with what every major study on climate change predicts: The weather will get weird; some areas will get more precipitation than ever; others will become drier than ever.
The problem is that if both colder extremes and hotter extremes "prove" global warming, what exactly disproves it. Now remarkably, the idea of global warming has hit the news pages of the New York Times.
Granted, this time it's called a somewhat more scientific sounding "weather chaos," but the idea remains the same.
Theory suggests that a world warming up because of those gases will feature heavier rainstorms in summer, bigger snowstorms in winter, more intense droughts in at least some places and more record-breaking heat waves. Scientists and government reports say the statistical evidence shows that much of this is starting to happen.
As I pointed out earlier, Charles Krauthammer already anticipated this nonsense, 14 years ago.
But the best response to Friedman came from Charles Krauthammer, 14 years ago.
We've been lectured incessantly on how prideful man is spewing tons of fossil-fuel carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing global warming. We've been told further that this desecration of nature will ultimately wipe out winter, turn Kansas to desert and put Long Island under water. Now comes the exact opposite climatic event -- a monster snowstorm -- and that, too, is caused by our sinning against Gaea? Yes, holds the newest variation in environmental scolding. Global warming is now the cause not just of warming but of all weather "extremes," i.e., calamities. How? Warming increases water evaporation, adding moisture and energy to the atmosphere, making for more rain and storms -- and, mirabile dictu, "more severe droughts" as well. Huh? Exact opposites again? Yes, writes the Times' William Stevens: "in cases where atmospheric circulation conspires" -- a deliciously revealing anthropomorphism -- "to keep rain away from a given area." So global warming has now become a theory of everything, or at least everything bad: rain, snow, heat, cold, storms, droughts. You name it, we caused it. When anything unpredictable and unwanted occurs -- particularly if it occurs near a media center like Washington or New York -- we can now blame it on global warming and, by extension, on us. Is there a primitive religion that can match this one for attributing natural calamity to the transgressions of man -- this time around, to man's sins against Mother Earth and her environmental priesthood?
I guess that's scientific progress, the idea of global weirding moving from the op-ed pages to the news pages.
Posted: 15 Aug 2010 11:10 PM PDT
There's an interesting race shaping up in Baltimore City. Incumbent State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy is facing a challenge from Gregg Bernstein.
Baltimore is one of the more violent cities in the country. So why is that?
A few weeks ago a friend put up a sign for Bernstein.
He wasn't the only one. Famouse director, John Waters did too. More remarkably, Baltimore City's police commissioner, Fred Bealefeld, put up a sign in support of Bernstein. (It has since been taken down.)
So the police commissioner took a stand (as a private citizen) that puts at professional odds with the civil servant he needs to work with. It a gutsy move and if, as expected, Jessamy wins re-election, I'd have to think that Bealefeld's job could be in jeopardy.
Still it's odd that support for Jessamy is lukewarm, at best. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake defended Bealefeld against calls for his ouster.
In public, Bealefeld wasn't saying much, but his boss, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continued to back him.
And former mayor, now Governor O'Malley apparently isn't endorsing Jessamy. Or at least not yet.
On Thursday, when asked by the Baltimore Sun if he would support a candidate for city state's attorney, O'Malley said of Jessamy: "We've done a lot of positive things together.... I believe the state's attorney's office, led by Mrs. Jessamy, has had a significant part in saving lives.... It would fly in the face of the facts to say it hasn't."
Getting back to the police commissioner, Richard Vatz writes:
There are two major questions that arise from this lawn sign endorsement: whether it is legal, and whether it is responsible.
The contrast between Governor O'Malley and Commissioner Bealefeld is amazing. O'Malley, apparently for political reasons won't take a stand. Bealefeld was willingn to risk his career to effect change.
Unsurprisingly Bernstein was recently on the Norris and Davis show talking about the major issues in the campaign. (Podcast below.) Host (and former police chief) Ed Norris said that in all his policing he's never encountered a worse situation than when he had to work with Jessamy. And that confirmed Bernstein's main argument that in Baltimore City there's a dysfunctional relationship between the police department and prosecutor's office. (In other words, don't expect Law and Order: Baltimore anytime soon.)
The two candidates participated in an acrimonious debate on Thursday.
In the meantime, as it appears that Jessamy's attacks on Bealefeld have only raised Bernstein's visibility, Baltimore just experienced one of its bloodiest weekends in some time.
Baltimore endured a bloody Sunday morning with three people shot and a fourth killed within two hours, police said. Later in the day a police officer shot a man in the leg, the second police-involved shooting of the weekend.
Clearly we need change.
Posted: 15 Aug 2010 10:05 PM PDT
Elie and I alternate hosting Musical Monday. Last week's though, was composed by TRN and we still need a theme! TRN also helped me put together this week's. So many thanks!
1) The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Here's the solution to Musical Monday #151, which might be considered "rocking around the clock" as noted by Clayton.
1) And see that twinkle in your eyes
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