Hamas leader in Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar said that his movement would be willing to offer Israel a long-range cease-fire if Israel enables the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.
In a CNN interview, Zahar was not willing to commit to recognizing Israel's right to exist, nor did he reveal whether his movement intended on continuing to dispatch suicide bombers into Israel.
If Israel would comply to Hamas's demands to establish an independent state and release its prisoners, the Hamas would be willing to commit to a 10-15 year hudna in which they will examine Israel's intentions, Zahar said.
So here's the deal: the Palestinian Authority gets all of Gaza, Samaria, and East Jerusalem, and Israel gets a promise of 10-15 years of peace with only one of the region's several anti-Israeli terrorist groups, and no official recognition of its right to exist from the PA.
In her current FrontPage Magazine article, Debbie Schlussel itemizes what popular election has brought - or would bring (according to polls) - to several Mideast locales. The voters choices? Terrorists and backers of terrorists. In Pakistan those polls favor Abdul Qadeer Khan, whose career Wikipedia, summarizes thus:
In January 2004, he confessed to having been involved in an international network of clandestine nuclear proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
(Khan was pardoned by Musharraf on February 5, 2004. Thanks a lot.)
So what's the problem? What's the missing ingredient in "democracies" such as Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority? Why would Jordanians and Saudis vote for terrorists if they had the chance to vote (given the accuracy of the polls)? I'm sure that some are motivated by fear of retaliation. But their is a substantial number that want nothing more than mob rule, and to be part of the mob. Such people don't appreciate freedom other than their own. They blindly accept that their self-appointed saviors really have their genuine interests at heart, feeling no need for checks and balances on political power. (Not that checks and balances is a concept with which they have personal familiarity.) They have no desire for, or have no patience to await, a leader with a vision of how disparate groups can live with each other - Egyptian Arabs and Copts, Hashemite and Palestinian Arabs, Palestinian Arabs and Jews.
For most of history, "peace" was viewed as one group's absolute conquest over the other. So far, history is winning in the Middle East.
Would Kanye or Rolling Stones have the balls to put a picture of someone mocking Mohammed? Apparently it's okay to make disgusting mockery of Christianity, but everything else we need to be respectful of, lest the Political Correctness cops come and get us. Kanye, you fucking asshole, if you think for one second that your "suffering" compares to that of Christ you are living in another universe. How dare you. And to the idiot above who thinks this has anything to do with Kanye being black is an imbecile (that means your stupid) and needs to get off your angry-black-man high horse and get a clue.
Some commenters like Kane don't get the clue:
I am no fan of Kanye's music or hiphop for that matter but WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH JESUS BEING PORTRAYED BY A BLACK MAN?? I can bet that these morons bashing Kanye would find it "tasteful" if it were Brad Pitt as Jesus on that cover.
This magazine cover is not the equivalent of someone portraying Jesus in some film. A Jesus flick is about Jesus; the actor seeks to give an impression of what Jesus was like. This article is about Kanye West. He is not portraying Jesus; he is using the Jesus imagery to portray himself, to give a spin on what Kanye West is about. Race is not an issue.
For the record, the idea of Brad Pitt as Jesus even in film makes me want to barf.
There's nothing brave about bashing an icon in a community where bashing that icon is a sacrament. Let someone mock Mohammad in the American entertainment industry, and the handwringing over "why they hate us" will begin in microseconds. And as La Shawn noted, that sort of audacity has risks.
Update: For those of y'all eager to play the race card - would you be offended to see a white guy portraying Malcolm X or Martin Luther King?
Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States.
On June 12, Publius Pundit blogged about a women's rights protest staged in Tehran that day, with several photos displayed in the post. A doctored version of one of those photos turned up in a recruiting site for the radical antiwar activist group Code Pink. appeared in a The radical group Code Pink. The doctored photo was eventually replaced with another at the site. Publius Pundit has the story here, with images of the altered and unaltered photos.
A Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi email alerted me to this story.
There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true.
She doesn't use that word, but spinelessness is certainly what Ivins describes:
"Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges"
Ivins says the majority of Americans believe the war in Iraq is a mistake and the U.S. should get out, and a majority are also in favor of raising the minimum wage, repealing President Bush's tax cuts, imposing a windfall profits tax on big oil companies and reducing the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.
"That is the center, you fools," Ivins tells Hillary and the Democrats. "WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?"
Her articles have appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, Harper's, The Progressive, The Progressive Populist, and Mother Jones. She has been a commentator for NPR, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and 60 Minutes.
This is not the resumé of one who understands the political center. Ivins is right about HRC's evasiveness, though.
For years I'd heard news stories about debates over whether or not to establish an official Martin Luther King holiday, and never did anyone report the arguments against. I always suspected that one was that we had way too many day-off-of-work holidays as it was. Having one three weeks after Christmas does seem a bit superfluous. MLK Day would be only the third national holiday named after a person, the others being Christmas and Columbus Day, commemorating the chief catalyst for Western culture and the chief catalyst for extending Western culture to the Americas. (In the case of the latter, make that Western cultures; English and Iberian influences were vastly different.) Some, I imagine, feel that only those rare individuals who have had such a radical impact should have holidays named for them. Dr. King isn't in that league; the only Americans who are are the Founders; their holiday is July 4.
Here's my argument against making January 15 [Update: MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, which happens to fall on the 15th in 2003] an official holiday: it's not fair to everyone else involved in the civil rights movement. Independence Day isn't just about one guy. We have a holiday for all those who made the Declaration of Independence happen. We should have a federal holiday called Civil Rights Day. It would be like Memorial Day, honoring leaders of past civil rights struggles instead of soldiers of past wars.
My recommendation is to schedule it for the first Monday in September, replacing Labor Day, the brainchild of United Brotherhood of Carpenters founder Peter J. McGuire. Talk about not being fair to everyone else who makes it happen - when do we celebrate Entrepreneur Day and Management Day? Labor Day is a day for a telethon, family outings, and union propaganda. Let's keep the first two and get rid of that last item. The unions bathe us in propaganda every election cycle and every time important legislation comes up. They don't need a special holiday.
Long-time readers will recall that I have been recognizing Labor Day as Commerce Day. There should be enough room on the calendar for both of proposals, since there is no net change in the number of holidays. Commerce Day could keep the current Labor Day slot, and Civil Rights Day could be scheduled on the 5th of July - grouping the latter with Independence Day seems appropriate (and an extra day off from work makes more sense in July than January). Or, MLK Day could take the September date, and Commerce Day could be scheduled on the day after Thanksgiving - the first day of the Christmas shopping season.
The Federal Energy Act of 1992 passed a law that "all faucet fixtures manufactured in the US restrict water flow at or below 2.5 gal per minute at a water pressure of 80 psi. Works fine right? Well not for those of us who don't get that sort of pressure.
ROFASix makes a passing reference to similar laws regarding toilets and washing machines. I'm not familiar with the latter, but the former is a product of that very same 1992 law, as stated in this article on State Farm's website:
The National Energy Policy Act of 1992 took effect in 1994 for residential toilets and in 1997 for commercial toilets requiring all toilets made or sold in this country meet federal water conservation requirements.
Prior to this policy act, toilets flushed with three and one-half to five gallons of water. The act mandated toilets only use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. To accommodate this change, low flow toilets were developed.
Next time you stay in some swanky new hotel and have to flush repeatedly, don’t blame the management. Blame the central planners of the Federal Government.
SinceSlicedBread.com has been collecting suggestions on "how to strengthen the economy and improve life for working men and women and their families" (via InstaPundit). The overview page lists the objectives:
Grow the economy
Create good-paying jobs that allow people to raise a family, afford health insurance, pay for their children’s college education, get additional training and save for retirement
Encourage existing companies to expand and entrepreneurs to start new ones.
Now look at the 21 finalists. More of the same redistributionist utopianism. More of the same government bleeding taxpayers dry, with a targeted tax cut (i.e. tax discrimination) or two. Nothing that will encourage small business creation.
The project is sponsored by the Service Employees International Union - not exactly an expert on how market economies work. And look at the judges. If I were to start up such a contest, at least one of those judges would be from the Cato Institute. Senator William W. Bradley? Former EPA chief Carol M. Browner? Former political strategist Ed Rollins? SEIU union boss Andrew L. Stern? Carl Pope of the Sierra Club??? What do these people know about economics? Gag.
If I were running such a contest, at least one of my judges would have Cato Institute credentials.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday appproaches (Jan 27), and Norman Lebrecht rains on his parade, dismissing the composer as a less than innovative artist, "the superstore wallpaper of classical music, the composer who pleases most and offends least." He paints Mozart as a suck-up:
The hard-knocks son of a cynical court musician, Mozart was taught from first principles to ingratiate himself musically with people of wealth and power. The boy, on tour from age five, hopped into the laps of queens and played limpid consolations to ruthless monarchs.
Lebrecht suggests that listeners skip Mozart and listen to Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony. Steve Burton finds this suggestion odd (link via Pejman):
Lebrecht's invocation of Shostakovich as an alternative to Mozart seems particular ironic, since Shostakovich's reputation outside Russia during this period was, precisely, that of a tired musical reactionary who composed to order for the Soviet power elite. Even I, growing up in darkest middle America, soon learned that it was a bad idea to express any interest in his music in the presence of the sort of clever musical intellectual who talked loudly in restaurants about cool stuff like "reshaping the art" - unless you wanted a quick lesson in the meanings of the words "sneer" and "scoff." So trying to use Shostakovich as a progressivist stick with which to beat up on naughty old "regressive" Mozart is just bizarre.
Sensitivity to the marketplace is not anathema to musical innovation, and what is new is not necessarily good. Mozart's art and his relationship with his patrons should be considered separate topics; Mozart's inventiveness and the quality of his work shoudl be treated likewise.
Burton labels Mozart's alleged lack of ingenuity with a word that normally, but not in this case, has political connotations: conservative. While few men of his century would have much in common with the modern Left (particularly in the realm of foreign relations), Mozart and his fellow composers certainly agreed with today's liberals on the merits of taxpayer-supported funding for the arts.
The United Kingdom now leads Estonia, due to this development described in the report on the latter (emphasis added):
Estonia adopted the trade policies of the European Union when it joined the EU in May 2004. The common EU weighted average external tariff was 1.3 percent in 2003, based on World Bank data. In the 2005 Index, based on World Bank data, Estonia had a tariff of 0.053 percent. According to the World Trade Organization and the U.S. Trade Representative, the EU imposes non-tariff trade barriers through a complex regulatory system and export subsidies. Based on its adoption of EU trade policies, and on the revised trade factor methodology, Estonia's trade policy score is 1 point worse this year.
Cyprus, Austria, and Germany move into the "free" category from "mostly free" this year.
North Korea is still dead last, with a "perfect" 5.0 score.
Damian Penny links to RetroCrush's 100 Most Annoying Things of 2005. I agree with #44, too:
BABY BRATZ Not satisfied with making dolls of teenagers that look like hookers, we now have slutty toddler figures for the kids to enjoy. I knew it was a mistake putting Michael Jackson on Hasbro’s Board of Directors.
This page features pics of four of the Bratz Babyz. (The one with the black kitty looks like she's telling someone off.) This is what they look like when they grow up. Ugh.
Seriously, if Jacko were on the Board of Directors, there'd be a line of boy Bratz. Maybe they're scheduled to come out next Christmas.
I suppose I shoudl be thankful that I don't know who #28 is, other than that he's been dissed recently. I'll check Wikipedia one of these days out of curiosity.
"All we want to do is learn. We can't learn if we don't got teachers." – Raquel Brito, one of an estimated 900 students who walked out of class in the East Side Union High School District in San Jose, California, to protest layoff notices sent to district teachers. (March 23 San Jose Mercury News)