Saturday, August 05, 2006

 

China Morsels...

I'm getting ready to head home in a few hours. It will be kinda cool leaving China at 3:45 p.m. and arriving back in the New York metropolitan area at 5:30 -- a flight across the world of "only two hours"!

Give or take 13.

Anyway. Here are a few pictures of my journey to the People's Republic. I'll be talking about some of my impressions in the days ahead (due to some of the sensitivities involved, I thought it best not to do daily updates.

The most interesting fact Americans should know about China is that the country has 17 cities with populations of greater than 5 million. Seventeen!!! For comparison's sake, the U.S. has two -- New York and Los Angeles. Indeed, with 20 million by itself, Shanghai has the population of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago combined. These facts tend to inform much of China's economic and political prospects.

********************************************************



Anyway, this first picture is of Our Lady of Sheshan, a smaller church on the grounds of one of the holiest shrines in China -- the Basilica at Sheshan in Shanghai.



This is the lovely watertown of ZhuJiao Township.




And, yes, a manual water taxi is a much more relaxing mode of transportation than the street variety.



The diversity of design in Shanghai skyscrapers is remarkable.




Ditto.





I started getting a reputation among my traveling companions as I thought it important to seek out local flavor. This is Jenny, the proprietor of Jenny's Blue Bar. It was across the street from the Donghu Hotel where I was staying, but what made it stand out was the blaring music coming from the speakers attached to the bar. They wouldn't be allowed to get away with it in the U.S. because of noise codes, but here, it was a good way to attract outside customers! Oh, and the DJ was good too!

Much more upon my return.




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Friday, August 04, 2006

 

1910s/20s/30s Had the Heat on Us

Highest temperature ever recorded was in Aziziyah, Libya 136 degrees Fahrenheit. This occurred in September of 1922.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the United States was in Death Valley, California. In July of 1913, it was
134 degrees Fahrenheit.

Randy Hall of CNSNews writes:

"From June 1 to August 31, 1930, 21 days had high temperatures that were 100 degrees or above" in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, Patrick Michaels, senior fellow for environmental studies at the libertarian
Cato Institute, told Cybercast News Service. "That summer has never been approached, and it's not going to be approached this year."

-----------------------

In a separate but related story,
John Ritter of USA Today notes:

In May, government forecasters predicted 13 to 16 tropical storms, eight to 10 of which could grow into hurricanes, during the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that started June 1. The hurricane center will update its forecast Tuesday....

...Three tropical storms this year — most recently the waning Chris — have failed to become hurricanes.

Hey, Al Gore, is this just another inconvenient truth?

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The Open "Silk" Thread

You kids have been reasonably good this week, so you get an open thread this weekend!

To paraphrase the old saying, "Post early, and post often."

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The Lazy Journalists of Qana

The Real Ugly American has a fascinating story about the Qana massacre and the Media. It seems that many in the Media have not gotten the news that the number of casualties was downgraded to 28. Both the Lebanese Red Cross and Human Rights Watch have reported the downgraded number.

According to the
Human Rights Watch website, posted Wednesday, August 2nd:
"The initial estimate of 54 persons killed was based on a register of 63 persons who had sought shelter in the basement of the building that was struck, and rescue teams having located nine survivors. It now appears that at least 22 people escaped the basement, and 28 are confirmed dead, according to records from the Lebanese Red Cross and the government hospital in Tyre."
So how is the Media reporting this?

The two reports cited by Ugly American were the same day as the Human Rights Watch report (Washington Post) and two days before (ABC News).

On
CNN.com, there were two stories yesterday which referenced Qana. One referred to "an Israeli airstrike Sunday that killed dozens of civilians in Qana, Lebanon." The second was a paraphrasing of comments by the Malaysian Prime Minister, who supposedly called it "the attack on the Lebanese village of Qana on Sunday that killed 56 people, mostly women and children." Someone needs to inform the Prime Minister the number was revised downwards.

The Associated Press seems to have picked up the Human Rights Watch story sometime Thursday and added it to all of its updates, of which there were many.

The New York Times mentioned the Israeli Army's report that 29 civilians had been killed. They made no mention of the Human Rights Watch report.

Kudos to the Los Angeles Times, which not only reported it, but included the number in a headline today: "WARFARE IN THE MIDDLE EAST; Officials Say 28 Died in Qana, Not 54".

More kudos to the Chicago Tribune, which reported the story yesterday.

Then there is Reuters. They actually did a report on
Human Rights Watch "slamming" Israel. The irony here is that Reuters completely ignored the Human Rights Watch report of 28 dead: "...bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana in which 54 civilians died."

My point here is not to downplay what the Israelis did wrong in Qana. Rather, we need to keep an eye on Media critics. Media critics can be every bit as wrong as the Media they criticize.

In this case, Ugly American got it right, but he cited the wrong Media sources.

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Super Bowl Prediction: The All-India Matchup

In the Super Bowl battle of the American Indians (Redskins) versus the large felines of India (Bengals), the storyline will be Marvin Lewis coaching against the team where he served as defensive coordinator. Will it impact the game? Not in the least.

If the Bengals improve their defense to Marvin Lewis standards, then I expect the game will be similar to the Raiders blowout of Gibbs' Redskins back in January of 1984. Otherwise, expect a close game with the Bengals eking out a win.


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Thursday, August 03, 2006

 

NFC Preview: The East's Beasts Rule again

The NFC will be ruled by the NFC East this season. However, these four teams may beat each other up so much that the playoff results could feature a winner from a different division.

NFC East:
1. Cowboys**
2. Redskins*
3. Eagles*
4. Giants

Any of these teams could easily finish in any ranking in this division. Only two wins separated the first from the third team last year. It could have been even closer if the Eagles had not gone through T.O. withdrawal.

The Eagles should get their team chemistry cleaned up this year and be competitive. They will look a lot like the team they were pre-T.O., when they went to the NFC Championship and lost every year.

Speaking of Terrell Owens, everyone wants to know can he and Bill Parcells co-exist peacefully? If T.O. can play for any coach, it is Bill Parcells (see Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn). T.O. is that extra something which pushes the Cowboys to the top in this division. But T.O. is like playing with a live hand grenade: He can blow up your opponents, or he can blow off your arm.

The NFC East team in the classic championship mold (good running game, good defense) is the Redskins. The big question mark in Washington is QB Mark Brunell. He will be 36 this year, and his age is starting to show. That said, he quietly threw for more touchdowns last season (23) than he had in any previous season of his long career. The Redskins season relies on being able to pull one more good season out of Brunell.

The Giants won the NFC East last year, but the other teams are starting to overtake them. While QB Eli Manning should be another year better, history has shown that Tom Coughlin coached teams start to burnout on his heavy discipline after awhile. A couple of tough losses this year could push the Giants closer to burnout.

NFC North:
1. Bears**
2. Lions
3. Vikings
4. Packers

Defensive purists have to love the return of the Bears defense, which led the NFL with fewest points allowed last year (202). While their offense has more question marks than the Riddler, they should easily take this sorry division.

The Lions. Mike Martz, offensive coordinator. 'Nuff said.

What the heck are the Vikings doing? I see no management direction for this team.

Then there are the Packers, with their direction firmly moving in reverse. Time to retire Mr. Favre.

NFC South:
1. Buccaneers**
2. Panthers
3. Falcons
4. Saints

No major changes here, although the Panthers could possibly take the division from the Bucs. Neither of these teams have improved significantly from last year.

The Falcons are the mystery team in this division. As they stand now, they should take a step backwards from last year. The reason why is simple: The Falcons don't know what to do with Michael Vick. They keep trying different things, and nothing ever seems to work. Vick is Kordell Stewart with a better arm. But Vick is not Steve Young, which is what this offense needs.

You want a bold prediction? If Vick gets injured for a significant amount of time this year, Matt Schaub will step in and lead this team to a lot of wins, possibly even the playoffs or Super Bowl. Schaub is a solid QB who fits the Falcons offense better.

As for the Saints, there was a reason they had the second pick in last April's draft. Even with the addition of Reggie Bush, they are bad.

NFC West:
1. Seahawks**
2. Cardinals
3. 49ers
4. Rams

The Seahawks win this division by default. They are good, but not anything special.

The Cardinals could challenge the Seahawks, but only if they improve their wretched defense, second worst in the NFL with 429 points allowed last year. However, they should be in a lot of fun games to watch.

The 49ers should be a little better this year. The addition of TE Vernon Davis gives Alex Smith an outlet now. 6-7 wins maybe?

The Rams are rebuilding under new head coach Scott Linehan. They could surprise, but I am not betting on it.

MY PREDICTION FOR THE NFC:
The Redskins will fight their way thru the wild card and the playoff's first round to make it into the NFC Championship, which will be a classic matchup: Cowboys vs. Redskins. Parcells vs. Gibbs.

I give the Redskins the edge because of Clinton Portis. Julius Jones is good, but Portis is one of the best.

My Super Bowl prediction? Tomorrow...

**- projected division winner
*-projected wild card team


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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

Fun in the W.H. Briefing Room

Its out with the old...and in some time it will be in with the new.

Today
President Bush along with current and past press secretaries (Joe Lockhart, Dee Dee Myers, Marlin Fitzwater, Tony Snow, Ron Nessen, Jim Brady), bid the press briefing room as they knew it farewell.

The room will undergo renevations, and briefings will take place at Jackson Place.

President Bush tossed in some ribs on the media during the "emotional" ceremony:

THE PRESIDENT: I know you've been complaining about the digs for a while. (Laughter.) So this is like the end of an old era. And let me just say, we felt your pain. And so we decided, you know, to help you renovate and come up with a new Brady center.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that Sam Donaldson? (Laughter.) Forget it. You're a has-been. We don't have to answer has-been's questions.

Q Mr. President, do you want to say a little about the White House press corps, please?

THE PRESIDENT: Say something about the White House press corps?

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: It's a beautiful bunch of people. (Laughter.)

Q How about your best moment in here, sir? Can you remember your --

THE PRESIDENT: My best moment in here is when my press conference ended.



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President Bush: "Fit for Duty"

From Newsmax.com:

After a nearly four-hour physical exam, President Bush's doctors on Tuesday pronounced him in good health and "fit for duty," the White House said.

Wrong choice of words perhaps? How long before people start requesting the age limit of joining the military be raised, and that President Bush be the first to sign up?

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A Kinder, Gentler Castro

Tim Padgett and Dolly Mascarenas of Time Magazine go inside the world of Raul Castro, the current defacto ruler of Cuba. They suppose the possibility of Fidel's brother as a reformer:

The Cuban dictator's brother has long been known as Fidel's enforcer. But at 75, he is also less rigid and confrontational, and may have little choice but to open the island's economy...

Imagine the impact of slight changes in relations between the United States and Cuba may for those poor people?

NRO's editorial page touches on what changes could be in store:

President Bush’s Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba has released a lengthy
report detailing the ways in which we could simultaneously undermine the Castro dynasty and empower the democratic elements of Cuban society. The debate over Cuba policy tends to proceed as though we faced a choice between engaging the regime and thereby spreading liberal ideas among the people, on one hand, and isolating the regime at the cost of isolating the people, on the other. In fact, we could clamp down further on the regime’s sources of revenue and diplomatic support even as we redoubled our efforts to spread freedom.

On a personaly note: One change I'd like to see from Cuba is allowing its baseball players to come to the United States and play in the Majors without having to risk their lives to escape the island.

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AFC Preview: Year of the Colts?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled "Castro is dead" and "Israel vs. Hezbollah" posts to bring you something of TRUE importance: the NFL!

Today, we will look at the AFC:

AFC East:
1. Dolphins**
2. Patriots*
3. Bills
4. Jets

The Dolphins finished strong last year, winning their last six games. The addition of Daunte Culpepper can only make them better. Good enough to win the division?

Perhaps, but never count the Patriots out. They do more with less better than anyone.

Did I mention the Bills and Jets also play in this division? I use the word "play" loosely. They "show up for games" is probably a better description.

AFC North:
1. Bengals**
2. Ravens
3. Steelers
4. Browns

Sorry Steeler fans, but the Bengals win this one again. While Marvin Lewis is doing his best to channel Al Davis by doing more scouting at police stations than colleges, even the team's legal problems cannot bring these Bengals down. They are the class of the AFC North, even if they have too many players with no class.

Even though I have the Ravens in second place, don't be fooled: They are a .500 team. They will be better with Steve McNair and Derrick Mason together again, but this team is OLD! They will not be in the playoffs unless they get lucky.

The Steelers drop to third place because the retirement of Jerome Bettis legitimately hurts them. Duce Staley is no "Bus". Losing Antwaan Randle El does not help either. They will also be around a .500 team.

I mostly like what the Browns have done, but their season depends on how successful quarterback Charlie Frye is. If Frye is going to be the franchise QB they need, he will have to show a lot more this year. Expect the Browns to start slowly and pick up steam as the season moves along, finishing with 6-7 wins.

AFC South:
1. Colts**
2. Jaguars
3. Texans
4. Titans

Can the Colts be just as successful without Edgerrin James? No, but they will be successful enough. Between Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai, they should be able to put together enough of a running game to keep defenses honest. Expect them to get 10-12 wins.

The Jaguars are a solid team, but not exceptional. They have talent, but can their talent stay healthy? RB "Fragile" Fred Taylor is getting old. QB Byron Leftwich tries to play through his pain, but his problem centers on his immobility, which leads to him getting hurt much too often. Don't expect another 12 win season like last year, but they MIGHT still make the playoffs IF they stay healthy.

The enigma in this division is the Texans. Are they really as bad as they played last year? My gut feeling is that new coach Gary Kubiak will get them playing up to their potential. Just how much potential remains to be seen.

The Titans made all the right moves in the draft this year, picking up QB Vince Young and RB LenDale White. However, this is still a rebuilding year for the Titans.

AFC West:
1. Broncos**
2. Chargers*
3. Chiefs
4. Raiders

This division is the cream of the AFC's crop. Any of the top three teams could win the division, but at least two of them should make the playoffs.

The Broncos are certainly no worse than last year. Losing RB Mike Anderson will not hurt, as they have Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne as one of the deepest running tandems in the NFL. QB Jake Plummer might feel a little pressure from rookie Jay Cutler, but don't expect to see Cutler this year.

The man to watch on the Chargers will be QB Phil Rivers. Don't be surprised if he rocks the NFL in his first season as starter. The Chargers knew what they were doing when they got rid of Drew Brees.

I put the Chiefs in third place because I am not sold on head coach Herm Edwards. Add in the Chiefs' swiss cheese defense, and there will be some rebuilding going on in Kansas City. On the plus side, RB Larry Johnson will keep this team competitive. They should get 7-9 wins.

Last is my favorite team, the Raiders. I love the Raiders. I liked the hiring of Art Shell. I didn't like the addition of QB Aaron Brooks. While he might do a little better with the Raiders than he did with the Saints, don't be fooled. He is a loser. On the bright side, they might get the first pick in the draft next year.

MY PREDICTION FOR THE AFC:
The Colts have the horses to get there, but the double whammy jinxes of Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning will keep them out of the Super Bowl.

If QB Carson Palmer returns to last year's form, the Bengals rule the AFC.


**- projected division winner
*-projected wild card team

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

 

Will Castro Ever Die?

If you believe Cuba's Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon, then you know that Castro is "very far away" from death:

his "final moment is still very far away," the government's Prensa Latina news service reported.

But to be sure no one really knows the status of Cuba's dictator. Monster and Critics reports:

According to the Miami Herald in Florida, which quoted a source with connections in Cuba, no one had been allowed into or out of the CIMED state security hospital in Havana since Sunday. Employees were not allowed to leave at shift change, the paper reported.

Lauran Neergaard speculates over the numerous medical problems Castro is facing. Smoking Gun offers up details on the 16 previous operations Castro has been through.

At least one thing is certain; for the first time since 1959, there is a new boss in Cuba: Raul Castro.

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Blame Hezbollah for Qana

John Podhortez writes today:

The Geneva Convention makes clear that the moral responsibility for the deaths at Qana belongs entirely to Hezbollah, and that Hezbollah has violated the most basic laws of war in its behavior.

Here's the relevant language. It comes from Article 37 of Protocol 1, ratified in 1979: "It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy." It lists three types of perfidy; the third is "the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status." And, by hiding in and launching missiles from Qana, Hezbollah was feigning civilian status and therefore resorting to perfidy.

And
Rich Lowry adds:

All the world lamented the Israeli airstrike in Qana that killed dozens of innocent children. All the world, that is, except Hezbollah. The terror group angrily denounced the attack, vowing revenge, but surely it celebrated over the horrifying collateral damage: Every dead child was of priceless propaganda value.

It is for Qanas that Hezbollah conducts its operations among civilians in the first place. It hopes that Israeli attacks will cause civilian casualties so that the Jewish state’s offensive will be delegitimized. It thus depends on a perverse logic whereby a civilized military force attempting to avoid civilian casualties at the cost of the effectiveness of its own operations is considered barbaric and is pressured to end its campaign — and the world perversely reasons right along with it.

I fail to understand why there are people that fail to comprehend these basic facts.

Hezbollah targets civilians in Northern Israel, just as much as Al-Qaeda targeted civilians on September 11, 2001.

The Israeli military goes out of its way to warn civilians that they are coming after Hezbollah targets hidden in civilian buildings.

When trajedy such as what happened in Qana occurs, the focus is on the Israeli's. Take this bit from the
Boston Globe:

Human rights groups and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday accused Israel of violating international human-rights laws with Sunday's bombing raid on the village of Qana, Lebanon, which killed 56 civilians, including dozens of women and children.

Human Rights Watch called the Qana airstrike and other bombings of civilian areas a ``war crime," and Annan said Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah had ``committed grave breaches of international humanitarian law."

Hezbollah alone is to blame. Secretary Annan should be thankful that finally Israel is executing
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 which calls for:

the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias...

This is precisely what the Israeli's are doing. Hezbollah, along with Syria and Iran must be held responsible for every civilian death that occurs as Israel completes the mission that the United Nations failed to accomplish.

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The Mistaken Qana-n of Air Superiority

Why was the Qana attack a dumb move by Israel?

First, we should consider how to view the innocent civilians in Lebanon.
Jay Tea over at Wizbang sees them as hostages. Whether we view them as innocent is relative, since it is likely they might be sympathetic to Hezbollah's cause. The perfect way to describe southern Lebanon is Stockholm syndrome on a massive scale. Regardless, if they are not fighting alongside Hezbollah, or providing aid to Hezbollah, they should be considered innocent.

If we consider them hostages, how should Israel proceed against Hezbollah? Since most people consider the use of bombs on hostage-takers as bad form (to put it mildly), that means Israel has to use a more precise means of taking out Hezbollah. That means feet on the ground.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post gets to the heart of the flaw with Israeli strategy in Lebanon:
"All efforts to make war easy, cheap or bloodless fail. If Israel's government - or our own - goes to war, our leaders must accept the price of winning. You can't measure out military force by teaspoons. Such naive efforts led to the morass in Iraq - and to the corpses of Qana.

Despite one failure after another, the myth of antiseptic techno-war, of immaculate victories through airpower, persists. The defense industry fosters it for profit, and the notion is seductive to politicians: a quick win without friendly casualties.

The problem is that it never works. Never.

Even the Kosovo conflict - frequently cited as an airpower victory - only climaxed after we threatened to send in ground troops. Prior to that, we'd spent billions bombing charcoal grills the Serbs used as decoy tank engines. (Our sensors read hot metal, and bombs away!)

Without boots - and eyes - on the ground, you just blast holes in the dirt. Or hit the targets your enemy wants you to strike. That's what happened in Qana.
"


We don't use hand grenades in hostage situations. Why would we use missiles against enemies surrounded by civilians?

Civilian casualties will happen in wars. But the use of air forces without troops on the ground assumes all civilians are expendable. That is Israel's error.

UPDATE from Robert: Since, I'm otherwise occupied, I can't give this topic all the focus it needs. But, it is important to expand a little on Ed's great post. The biggest problem that Israel faces right now is a moral one: Is the seemingly indiscriminate killing of Lebanese civilians a responsible response to the kidnapping (no evidence yet that they have been killed yet) of two soldiers?

Hezbollah are terrorists, but soldiers are "legitimate" targets in war -- civilians aren't. That is true of the Israeli citizens as well -- but when did it get to the point that a civilzed country measures its morality by the standards of the ones it is trying to defeat? Yes, Israel gives warnings when it is launching a strike against perceived Hezbollah strongholds. But so far, hundreds of innocent Lebanese are dead and there is little evidence that Hezbollah's ability to retaliate against Israeli has been seriously impeded.

Furthermore, there is a logical/losgistical problem to be confronted: Israel was unable to disarm and expel Hezbollah during 18 years of occupation of Lebanon. Given that Hezbollah is not only stronger, but a perceived political force in Lebanon now, how does Israel hope to have greater success this time?

And, yes, it goes without saying that Hezbollah is ultimately responsible for the deaths of all civilians -- but that still doesn't solve the moral/political problem that confronts Israel (completely apart from the decision of whether to commit ground troops).

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Monday, July 31, 2006

 

Can We Agree its Hot?

Yes, we can. And it sure is miserable outside. But as to whom we can blame for this heat - - God, the Sun, oil executives...people still find that to be up for debate.

Despite Al Gore's revelation that 100% of scientist know that Global Warming is caused by humans (any scientist who disagrees is being paid off by the oil execs),
Pew Research shows that there is still considerable debate as to the cause of our summer heat waves among the people:

Americans generally agree that the earth is getting warmer, but there is less consensus about the cause of global warming or what should be done about it. Roughly four-in-ten (41%) believe human activity such as burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, but just as many say either that warming has been caused by natural patterns in the earth's environment (21%), or that there is no solid evidence of global warming (20%).

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But "We" Are at War

Robert writes below:
Well, first, "we," i.e., the United States of America isn't at war with the Hezbollah -- Israel is.
President Bush on September 11, 2001:
We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
It is an open ended statement which is not just intended for Al-Qaeda.
This is with good reason. On April 18, 1983 Front Line reminds us of the following event taking place:
A suicide bomber in a pickup truck loaded with explosives rammed into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Sixty-three people were killed, including 17 Americans, eight of whom were employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, including chief Middle East analyst Robert C. Ames and station chief Kenneth Haas.
Reagan administration officials said that the attack was carried out by Hezbollah operatives...
And then on October 23, 1983:
A suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives at a U.S. Marine barracks located at Beirut International Airport; 241 U.S. Marines were killed and more than 100 others wounded. They were part of a contingent of 1,800 Marines that had been sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational force to help separate the warring Lebanese factions...
Further acts of war from Hezbollah on June 14, 1985:
TWA Flight 847 was hijacked en route from Athens to Rome and forced to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where the hijackers held the plane for 17 days. They demanded the release of the Kuwait 17 as well as the release of 700 fellow Shiite Muslim prisoners held in Israeli prisons and in prisons in southern Lebanon run by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army. When these demands weren't met, hostage Robert Dean Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was shot and his body dumped on the airport tarmac. U.S. sources implicated Hezbollah.
September 11, 2001 was not an isolated act of terrorism from an isolated terrorist organization.
It was a part of a bigger picture...a global war of terrorism which the terrorist are fully aware exists.
No amount of "listening" will change the minds of Hezbollah, which is the total destruction of not just Israel but of the United States.
Menahem Milson writes on September 15, 2004:
In sum, from the Islamist perspective, Muslims are in a no-holds-barred war ofjihad. We have seen how Islam's traumatic encounter with Western culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries led to the emergence of Salafism and, subsequently, to the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and other similar groups. We have also seen how two Islamic movements which emerged two centuries apart – the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, on the one hand, and Wahhabism, on the other – share a spiritual father in Ibn Taymiyya and have united in a common holy war, intended to change the face of the world.

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Mad Max Beyond Intoxication

TMZ.com is reporting that Mel Gibson's DUI arrest Friday included a profanity-laden outburst by "The Passion of the Christ" director.

According to the article:
"Once inside the [police] car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"
"

It is nice to see Mr. Gibson taking the time during his arrest to discuss world affairs with his arresting officer.

Someone should tell Mel that Jesus Christ was a Jew. He seems to have forgotten it.

UPDATE: For the "innocent until proven guilty" among you, Mel Gibson issued the following statement (from
CNN.com):
"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said, and I apologize to anyone who I have offended."

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

 

When The Cure Is As Deadly As The Disease

Interesting thing about being in China (Shanghai, for a couple of days -- heading to Beijing this evening): one can access big sites like The New York Times (following a face-to-face meeting a couple of years ago between Times editors and the Chinese ago, as I understand) and the Drudge Report -- but not anything with a "blogspot.com" address, including your friendly neighborhood "Thots."

This means that I can see my blog template at blogger.com; I can write, edit and post -- I just can't see the final product.

So it goes.

Anyway, I do need to register a mild disagreement with my co-blogger Mark English's post downblow (which, I can't link to (since his article is right here on Ragged Thots) - -which, as we said has issues of it own.

Mark writes:

Every member of Hezbollah must be killed. Hezbollah must be held responsible for the death of every civilian.
Members of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, and those who harbor them are scum of the earth. They are a disease; a cancer. They do not deserve to live. They do not deserve our sympathy. They must be eliminated. This is how we must fight this war.
Well, first, "we," i.e., the United States of America isn't at war with the Hezbollah -- Israel is. Killing "every member of Hezbollah" may be desirable. Unfortunately, it's not practical. If it were, the Israelis -- who know something about fighting terrorism -- would have done so by now.

More importantly,
Sunday's Qana tragedy shows the downside of the "terrorism is cancer" metaphor.

As Josh Marshall
notes:

I don't see how we can argue, at this point at least, that Hizbullah as a movement doesn't seem strengthened by all this. Hopefully there's some way out of this in which the underlying problem here can be solved -- Lebanon's lack of control over the belligerent militia controlling its southern border. But it's hard to find the signs promising at this moment. And for Israel, one number tells the irreducible story. 140 rockets fell on northern Israel today. That's the highest count since July 12th when the whole thing started. And in terms of how Israel understands its own security, that's the most damning thing: even using main force, they can't stop the rocket attacks on their civilian areas.
Yes, we can blame Hezbollah for sparking this crisis by attacking Israel and kidnapping IDF soldiers two weeks ago. And yes, that means Hezbollah is ultimately responsible for these deaths.

However, the fact is that the world isn't going to see things that way. Right now, the blame is being placed on Israel for an attack that has killed 60 civilians, more than 35 of them children. Lebanon's leaders
prime minister -- whose ascension in the "Cedar Revolution" a year ago was seen as a great example of the wave of democracy moving through the Middle East -- is now charging Israel of committing "massacres."

Terrorism may be a cancer, but it's eradication shouldn't destroy the patient's soul in the process.


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Eliminate Scum

Warning: This post is blunt, and unapologetic.

"I have seen much war in my life and I detest it profoundly. But there are worse things than war, and they all come with defeat."-- Ernest Hemingway

This morning on Meet the Press, Thomas L. Friedman expressed a desire for the United States and Israel to talk with Syria in real tangible negotiations. He put emphasis on renewing our ability to "listen" to the Syrians.

No amount of listening will solve the situation in the Middle East. Only direct force and the absolute destruction of the "Islamafascists" will bring about any discussions of peace.

Every member of Hezbollah must be killed. Hezbollah must be held responsible for the death of every civilian.

Members of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, and those who harbor them are scum of the earth. They are a disease; a cancer. They do not deserve to live. They do not deserve our sympathy. They must be eliminated. This is how we must fight this war.


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