Monday, August 16, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Harry Reid clarifies controversial statement

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."

Source: AP, additional reporting by Yitz (h/t: memeorandum )

Crossposted on Judeopundit

If Hezbollah Was Behind The Hariri Assassination--How Involved Was Iran?

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:

Although the ICC is focusing on a number of individuals, it would be hard to pretend that Hezbollah as a whole will not be affected by such grave accusations. The Lebanese branch of Hezbollah, like all other branches of the pan-Shiite radical movement, is known for its iron discipline and highly centralized decision-making. It also has a seasoned intelligence service of is own which trained and supported by Iranian services.

No one would believe that individual members could organize a sophisticated operation to carry out a high profile assassination in the heart of Beirut without anyone in their party knowing what was going one.

And, if someone high-level in the Lebanese branch knew of the plot, is it possible that Tehran was not informed? Would a branch of the movement go for such a high risk operation without obtaining at least a nod from the 'mother country'?

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:

There is an abundant literature on Hezbollah's Iranian connection. Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Mohtshami-pour has published memoirs narrating how [he] founded the party during his tenure as Khomeini's ambassador to Damascus.

Hezbollah was originally founded by a group of mullahs, led by Ayatollah Hadi Ghaffari, while they were in the Shah's prisons in Iran in 1975.

In 1980, the government, headed by the then Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, approved a budget of $60 million to help create branches of Hezbollah in [a]s many Arab countries as possible. The idea was that these groups would help switch Arab public opinion in favor of the Islamic Republic during its bloody war with Saddam Hussein.

The model taken was that of the Communist International which helped create more than 60 pro-Soviet parties across the globe during the 1920s and 1930s.

Over the eight years that followed the Tehran decision, 10 foreign branches of Hezbollah were created abroad.

The Lebanese branch became the best known because of its involvement in a series of dramatic operations, including the taking of over 100 foreign hostages.[emphasis added]

Read the whole thing.

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

Abbas's Demand For 1967 Borders Is Diplomatic Sleight-Of-Hand

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.

Dore Gold explains the history:

In fact, Article II of the Armistice Agreement with the Jordanians explicitly specified that the line that was designated did not compromise any future territorial claims of the two parties, since it had been "dictated by exclusively by military considerations."

In other words, the old Armistice Line was not a recognized international border. It had no finality. As a result, the Jordanians reserved the right after 1949 to demand territories inside Israel, for the Arab side.

This is a fact that though ignored now, was well-known by the parties involved at the time:

On the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, it was noteworthy that the Jordanian ambassador to the UN made this very point to the UN Security Council, by stressing that the old armistice agreement "did not fix boundaries".

After the Six-Day War, the architects of UN Security Council Resolution 242 insisted that the old armistice line had to be replaced with a new border. This was significant since Resolution 242 became the sole agreed basis of the Arab-Israeli peace process.

It provided the foundation for Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, years after. Back in 1967, Lord Caradon, the British ambassador to the UN admitted at the time: "I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where the troops had to stop." He concluded: "It is not a permanent border."

Caradon's U.S. counterpart, Ambassador Arthur Goldberg, added that "historically, there have never been secure or recognized boundaries in the area," and he added that the armistice lines did not answer that description.

For the British and American ambassadors, at the time, the Resolution 242 that they drafted involved creating a completely new boundary that could be described as "secure and recognized," instead of going back to the lines from which the conflict erupted.

President Lyndon Johnson made this very point in September 1968: "It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of 4 June 1967 will not bring peace. There must be secure and there must be recognized borders."

It is for this reason that Resolution 242 did not call for a full withdrawal from all the territories that Israel captured in the Six Day War; the 1949 Armistice lines were no longer to be a reference point for a future peace process.

Read the whole thing.

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:

The name "West Bank" was first used in 1950 by the Jordanians when they annexed the land to differentiate it from the rest of the country, which is on the east bank of the river Jordan. The boundaries of this territory were set only one year before during the armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan that ended the war that began in 1948 when five Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish State. It was at Jordan's insistence that the 1949 armistice line became not a recognized international border but only a line separating armies. The Armistice Agreement specifically stated: "No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of either Party hereto in the peaceful settlement of the Palestine questions, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations." (Italics added.) This boundary became the famous "Green Line," so named because the military officials during the armistice talks used a green pen to draw the line on the map.

After the Six Day War, when once again Arab armies sought to destroy Israel and the Jewish state subsequently captured the West Bank and other territory, the United Nations sought to create an enduring solution to the conflict. U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 is probably one of the most misunderstood documents in the international arena. While many, especially the Palestinians, push the idea that the document demands that Israel return everything captured over the Green Line, nothing could be further from the truth. The resolution calls for "peace within secure and recognized boundaries," but nowhere does it mention where those boundaries should be.

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

If ... you must 081610

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 Obama's Finest Moment? at Powerline; you must.
Related, see Daled Amos and Fiery Spirited Zionist.

If you haven't read AFP catches the fake Muslim grave story at Elder of Ziyon ; you must.
Related: See CAMERA snapshots and do you think it would hurt Ethan Bronner to do minimal research instead of promoting the Islamic claims as genuine?

Rounding third and headed for home ...

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.

Among baseball's 30 teams, only 23 percent of the third-base coaches are members of minorities, compared with 67 percent of its first-base coaches. The disparity has existed for decades but it is now about twice as large as it was in 1990, based on an analysis by The New York Times.

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.

Minorities appear to be heavily over-represented at the first-base coach position, coming in at 67%.

Which means ... wait for it ... there is a "curious disparity" at the under-representation of non-minorities at the first base position.

The question is why is The Times obsessed with race counting only when there is the possibility of anti-minority bias, not anti-majority bias?

More from Thomas Sowell (via Future of Capitalism), and Rob Neyer:

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.

Harvard divests ... er.. not so fast

Posted: 16 Aug 2010 04:07 AM PDT

According to Globes: (via memeorandum)

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.

Prof Bainbridge, though, notices that many of the companies from Israel listed were losing money. However that may not even be the real reason as Solomonia notes:

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?

Yid with Lid and Israel Matzav have updated their posts accordingly.

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.

Global weirding returns ... in a news story

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.

The commish vs. the state's attorney

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.

"He understands the distinction between private citizen and police commissioner and wouldn't do something like that," said Rawlings-Blake.

She cautioned Bealefeld walks a fine line.

"I spoke to him about focusing on the job, not the politics," said Rawlings-Blake.

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."

When asked specifically whether he was endorsing Jessamy, O'Malley then said: "Yeah, stay tuned.... Partnerships between the state and the state's attorney's office have never been stronger."

To add to the confusion, O'Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese later told The Sun that the governor was not endorsing any candidates.

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.

It is legal because Bealefeld, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi (in a wonderfully comprehensive report in The Baltimore Sun by Justin Fenton), "won't be doing any campaign appearances or using department resources or city time to promote Bernstein."

The endorsement is responsible because it promotes critically needed changes in public policy.

What can police do when, as in the Stephen Pitcairn murder, judges drop the ball serially? What can police do when prosecutors have such a high threshold of sufficient evidence to try a case that when a witness refuses to cooperate but there is a tape of the accused committing the crime, the case goes unprosecuted?

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.

That meant 13 people were shot over the weekend -- three fatally. Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III plans to meet with commanders Monday morning to assess their violence prevention strategy.

Clearly we need change.

Musical monday #154

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!
For guidance on the instrumentals, see Musical Monday 40.

1) The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
2) My heart was captured, my soul surrendered
3) "" (1962) Give Tchaikovsky the blues? Not Cracker.
4) So he reads to us from something called Ulysses
5) "" (1964) Not exactly rhapsody.
6) How gentle is the rain
7) The past is filled with silent joys and broken toys, laughing girls and teasing boys,
8) I was feeling kind of seasick
9) Tales of mystic days of old are hidden in these walls
10) Don't know what I'm gonna do another week in telephoning...
11) One mighty voice that will bring a sound, that will ring forevermore.
12) "" (1972) The monkey bone's connected to the spaceship
13) I carry the dust of a journey
14) Every garden grows one
15) I bring time, and I can take you through
16) Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain
17) Sweet Melissa,
18) "" (1975) Trumpet blasts for average guys.
19) When I dial the telephone nobody's home
20) "" (1976) 750 mL of Ludwig
21) Cause I couldn't bear to see it end, just like me and you
22) Just got back from the downtown palais
23) Neurotic to the bone
24) Youre the love of my life and the breath in my prayers

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
In the midnight hour - Wilson Pickett
2) The air's electric, sparklin' power, loaded, loaded
Living after midnight - Judas Priest
3) were gonna chug-a-lug and shout.
After midnight - Eric Clapton, JJ Cale
4) It was a night with Daddy G.
Quarter to three - Gary U.S. Bonds
5) ... 25 dollars and pieces of silver
Wednesday Morning 3 am
6) Just another lonely boy in town,
Tequila sunrise - The Eagles
7) ... can leave you feeling just like a ghost?
A brand new day - Sting
8) It's your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day.
It's a beautiful morning - The Rascals
9) And I've always been a patient man, but my patience has reached its end
Blue Morning, Blue Day - Foreigner
10) Got to get some peace in my mind.
Monday Morning - Fleetwood Mac
11) Those gentle voices I hear, explain it all with a sigh.
Tuesday afternoon - Moody Blues
12) Sky rockets in flight.
Afternoon delight - Starland Vocal Band
13) Should I try to do some more
25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago
14) No one owns a piece of my time
5 O'clock world - The Vogues
15) Work day passes like molasses in wintertime, but it's July.
It's 5 O'clock somewhere - Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
16) Sadly ecstatic, that their heroes are news.
5:15 - The Who
17) Heavenly shades of night are falling
Twilight Time - The Platters
18) When the sun goes down, and the clouds all frown,
Twilight Time - The Moody Blues
19) In the room where you do what you don't confess
Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
20) Thoughts they cannot defend,
Nights in White Satin - Moody Blues
21) The stars are winkin' above
Right Time of the Night - Jennifer Warnes
22) Well I swear we were doin' eighty
Rockin' into the night - .38 Special
23) Pumping like a fugitive in cover from the night
11:59 - Blondie
24) One more time for all the old times.
Midnight Blue - Melissa Manchester
25) Shake the town with the windows down
Midnight wind - John Stewart

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