Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sarkozy, The Cockeyed Optimist

Oh yeah--this will work:
President Nicholas Sarkozy of France has an idea: to establish a bloc of Mediterranean countries that will function within a single framework, like the European Union, a kind of "Europe without Europeans." In this way, Sarkozy assumes, Europe will be able to build up a defense system for itself against Muslim immigrants and, above all, to sideline an ambitious country like Turkey from its midst.

...As defined by Sarkozy, there will be 15 countries in Mediterranean bloc, seven of them Muslim - Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco - and eight of them, among them Israel, non-Arab. This is a bloc that will in effect ensure the European definition of "correct Islam," not the kind that prevails in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, and not Iranian, Pakistani or Malaysian Islam. France, of course, has no problem maintaining extensive trade relations with those countries, but when it comes to proximity to Europe, it is better to keep this Islam at arm's length.
The non-Arab countries, besides Israel, would be: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.

Seven Muslim countries and eight non-Arab countries? The 7 Muslim countries have the other 8 out-numbered.

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Tyrants Know Democracies Too Well

On the topic of tyrants and free speech, Mark Steyn nails it:
These men understand the self-absorption of advanced democracies. The difference between Winston Churchill and Ward Churchill, another famous beneficiary of “academic freedom” who called the 9/11 dead “little Eichmanns,” is that for Sir Winston talking was a call to action while for poseurs like Professor Churchill it’s a substitute for it. The pen is not mightier than the sword if your enemy is confident you will never use anything other than your pen. Sometimes it’s not about “freedom of speech,” but about freedom. Ask an Iranian homosexual. If you can find one.
It applies to the West, it applies to the US--and it applies to Israel, whose pen seems never to run out of ink.

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Trying Out BlogRush

I just installed a widget for Blogrush, which provides a new way to increase traffic to your blog.
It works off the idea of providing exposure on its widget on other blogs in accordance to the number of referrals you get.

It sounds a bit like AmWay for blogs, but it's worth a shot--and it is free.

Check it out and see what you think.

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Don't Ask The Democrats If Israel Has The Right To Defend Herself

...because you will not get a straight answer.

Tim Russert seems to ask an easy enough question at the Democratic Presidential Debate:
RUSSERT: OK, all right—all right, we’ve had that discussion.

Senator Clinton, in 1981, the Israelis took out a nuclear reactor in Iraq. On September 6th, to the best of our information, Israel attacked Syria because there was suspicion that perhaps North Korea had put some nuclear materials in Syria. If Israel concluded that Iran’s nuclear capability threatened Israel’s security, would Israel be justified in launching an attack on Iran?
Clinton starts off...
CLINTON: Tim, I think that’s one of those hypotheticals, that is...

RUSSERT: It’s not a hypothetical, Senator.

CLINTON: ... better not addressed at this time.

...and keeps on dodging until finally:
CLINTON: Well, what I have said is that I will do everything I can to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including the use of diplomacy, the use of economic sanctions, opening up direct talks. We haven’t even tried. That’s what is so discouraging about this.
Clinton apparently spent so much time and effort dodging the question that she completely forgot what the question was: "would Israel be justified in launching an attack on Iran?"

Obama also avoids the question and instead does his best John Kerry imitation:
Until we have gathered the international community to put the squeeze on Iran economically, then we shouldn’t be having conversations about attacks on Iran.
John Edwards follows a similar line:
And if we work with our friends in Europe in the European banking system, we can put a clear proposal on the table for the Iranian people; sticks and carrots. Carrots being, we will help you with your economy if, in fact, you give up your nuclear ambitions. The flip side being, there will be severe economic sanctions if you don’t.
And Bill Richardson
A fundamental goal of our foreign policy should be not to permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Another cornerstone of our foreign policy should be the strength and the security of Israel. So you cannot deny a nation the right to legitimately defend itself.

... A fundamental tenet of American foreign policy is to support Israel. But Tim, you’ve got to bring diplomacy.

At least he says 'a nation' has a right to defend itself--but we are left to hope that he agrees that Israel is included, and in the current circumstances.

This is how Democratic candidates want to deal with a country that has killed American soldiers and is behind terrorist groups that fire rockets on Israeli citizens.

Neither Clinton, Obama, Edwards had the guts to give a direct answer about Israel's right to defend herself.

[Hat tip: Contentions]

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Why Wasn't Ahmadinejad Arrested?

That is James Kirchick's question--and it is not rhetorical:
Under the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands guilty of incitement to genocide. According to Article 3 of the Convention, both “Conspiracy to commit genocide” and “Direct and public incitement to commit genocide” are “punishable” offenses. Ahmadinejad, in his calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and in his attempt to construct a nuclear weapon to accomplish that genocidal goal, clearly stands in violation of the Article.

So why wasn’t Ahmadinejad arrested this week in New York City?
Read the whole thing.

I suppose the short answer is that if the UN is going to allow Ahmadinejad to speak, and cares so little about enforcing its own conventions--why should anyone else care?

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The UN Human Rights Council: Putting Up The Numbers

Anne Bayefsky on the Human Rights Council--successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights--finds that nothing has changed:
This brings the total of anti-Israel resolutions and decisions adopted by the “Human Rights” Council — in only the first 15 months of its operation — to 14. Another four very weak decisions and resolutions have been applied to Sudan. And the Council finally decided to hold a special session of the Council on Myanmar. So adding up the highly selective concerns of the U.N.’s lead human-rights agency: 74 percent of the Council’s moves against individual states have been directed at Israel, 21 percent at Sudan, 5 percent at Myanmar, and the rest of the world has been given a free pass. [emphasis added]
Meanwhile, the president of the council clops "Al Cheit":
UN: We have criticized Israel unfairly

The United Nations Human Rights Council has not managed to deal fairly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the council's president Doru-Romulus Costea told a Spanish newspaper on Saturday, according to Israel Radio.
It will take more than charata.

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Instructor Fired for Denigrating The Bible

From the Des Moine Register:
A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.
And no, it was not the Rambam.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Jimmy Carter and the Heroin Seeking Alien

Carter is now a movie star:
Former US president Jimmy Carter joined the ranks of movie stars like Brad Pitt and George Clooney at the world premiere of "Man from Plains," the biopic about his life, which premiered Monday at the Toronto film festival.

The documentary by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia") follows Carter on a promotional tour eight months ago for his controversial book "Palestine Peace, not Apartheid."
Apparently "Man From Plains," was not the original title for the movie--it was "He Comes in Peace." I suppose they changed the title because of it's similarity to "I Come in Peace," the B movie with Dolph Lundgren about an alien crook.

All you need to know is that before he kills someone, the alien says, "I come in peace"--which would have lent itself to an obvious comparison to Jimmy Carter.

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The Incredibly Shrinking Blogosphere

This from Chritianity Today:
As weblogs proliferated earlier this decade, Andy Warhol's famous aphorism was modified to read, "In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people." Now it looks like Warhol was right after all: Thanks to widespread blog burnout, everyone will be famous to 15 people for 15 minutes.
The article is interesting--read it for yourself--though no real indication of what the trend might be in the JBlogosphere.

This, though, caught my eye:
The blog world risks becoming one giant midrash on The New York Times front page.
Midrash? In Christianity Today??

[Hat tip: Instapundit]

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

YU: Shiurim For Sukkot

Here is a list of the shiurim that YU offers on Sukkot. Some are text files or PDF's; others are audio. The last one, Sukkot To Go 5768, is in PDF format.

Chag Sameach!

Rabbi Kenneth Brander:R Brander Hoshana Raba 10_23_05 audio shiur

Rabbi Yonason Sacks:Sukkot audio shiur
Rabbi Yonason Sacks:Sukkos audio shiur

Rabbi Hershel Schachter:Rav Shachter - Nisuach Hamayim audio shiur
Rabbi Hershel Schachter:Succos I 5766 (Mitzvas Succah) audio shiur
Rabbi Hershel Schachter:Succos II 5766 (Daled Minim) audio shiur
Rabbi Hershel Schachter:Sukkot #2 audio shiur

Rabbi Eli Baruch Shulman:Drosho for Succos 5762 text shiur

Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky:Halachos Of Succos 5768 9/20/2007 audio shiur
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky:Hadasim on Sukkos audio shiur
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky:Teishvu - Living in a Sukkah audio shiur

Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik:Laws of Chol Hamoed I of II audio shiur
Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik:Laws of Chol Hamoed II of II audio shiur

Rabbi Mordechai I. Willig:MBATs 5759 - Hilchot Sukkah I audio shiur

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The Bollinger Backlash

From today's New York Sun:
A backlash against the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, who on Monday delivered a harsh rebuke to President Ahmadinejad, is coming from faculty members and students who said he struck an "insulting tone" and that his remarks amounted to "schoolyard taunts." The fierceness of Mr. Bollinger's critique bought the Iranian some sympathy on campus that he didn't deserve, the critics said, and amounted to a squandered opportunity to provide a lesson in diplomacy.
Of course, it's not just critics of the invitation who are put off by Bollinger's unexpectedly sharp remarks. After all, it's one thing to challenge Ahmadinejad on the issues--another to call him "a petty and cruel dictator":
Students said they interpreted the severity of Mr. Bollinger's opening, in which he called Mr. Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated," as a cowing to political and financial pressure from elected officials who in the days leading up to the event criticized Columbia for providing a platform for Mr. Ahmadinejad and said they would consider reducing capital aid to the university.
In the end, Bollinger's comments lose all credibility--as has Bollinger, to an extent. It's not as if people will assume that what Bollinger said about Ahmadinejad is true, but Bollinger got carried away:
A professor of history, Eric Foner, said faculty members objected more to the content than the form of Mr. Bollinger's remarks. "He accepts as true claims that are being made about Iran's role in Iraq, which are being put forward by people whose credibility on weapons in the Middle East has not always been 100% reliable," Mr. Foner said.
Sure, let's believe Ahmadinejad--who claims there are no homosexuals in Iran and denies the Holocaust happened, while simultaneously blaming it for the emigration of Jews to Israel and the reestablishment of Israel.

Bollinger had the opportunity to take advantage of a teachable moment, and blew it because of his excess.

[Hat tip: Powerline]

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UN: Ahmadinejad Can Speak; Karnit Goldwasser Cannot (UPDATED)

Greg Pollowitz at The Corner writes:
Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of kidnapped Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser, was kicked out of a Ahmadinejad press conference for asking:

"Hello, my name is Karnit, the wife of Ehud Goldwasser, the soldier who has been held captive for over a year. Since you are the man that is behind the kidnapping due to the aid you grant Hizbullah, why don't you allow the Red Cross to visit the two soldiers?"

The president ignored the question.
Pollowitz notes:
If only U.N. peacekeepers around the world were as effective as the U.N. thought police stationed in New York City.
Goldwasser recounts:
"I told an officer that this man would decide whether my husband will come home and that this is the man that can, within a second, solve the conflict. I am sure it did something to his heart when he heard that."

It is not just Columbia University and Bollinger who should be embarrassed by Ahamdinejad's visit.

At the Free Gilad Shalit blog, Bagel Blogger quotes from the Jerusalem Post article, which indicates that Ahmadinejad was not given an easy time:
Right before Goldwasser's question, Ahmadinejad refused to answer a question from Channel 10 correspondent Gil Tamari. Tamari asked whether Iran was concerned that Israel might take an action similar to the one it took last week, in which the IAF allegedly bombed a possible nuclear site in Syria. Ahmadinejad simply said, "Next question."
We'll take that as a yes.

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M&M's: Evolution...or Eugenics?

I find this mildly disturbing:
Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.
Read the whole thing.

Sure, it starts with M&M's, but what's next...potato chips?
I mean--have you ever noticed that the Pringle chips are all identical?

[Hat tip: Hot Air Headlines]

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Someone Please Tell The Washington Post That "Nutty" Is In (UPDATED)

According to the Washington Post, by given Ahmadinejad a podium, the whole world was done a favor:
Without listening to Ahmadinejad, how can the world appreciate how truly nutty he is? Ahmadinejad lost his audience at the press club almost immediately. After only one sentence of his speech, the translator stopped translating. "The president is reciting verses from the holy Koran in Arabic," she explained.
Columbia University and the press club may have let the genie out of the bottle--but now everyone wants a turn rubbing the bottle. A forum on the BBC website had all kinds of positive reactions to Ahmadinejad and his appearance at Columbia:
The Iranian President’s visit to the U.S. has served to help Americans understand Iran’s perspective on various issues and also Iranians in general better. There should be more of these types of cultural exchanges to foster understanding between the two sides. I think that the Iranian President was bold in taking this step and I hope Americans recognize this fact.
And if listening to a leader of terrorism is helpful, then who better than attorney Lynne Stewart--convicted of acting as a messenger for sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, serving a life sentence for Seditious Conspiracy--to come to Hofstra University to speak at their Sixth Biannual Legal Ethics Conference on "Lawyering at the Edge: Unpopular Clients, Difficult Cases, Zealous Advocates".

I don't think these people have the slightest clue where "the Edge" is.

[Hat tip: LGF]

UPDATE: What more proof? Forbes named the top 10 pundits in America. First some background:
What exactly is a pundit? According to the dictionary, it's "a person who makes comments or judgments, especially in an authoritative manner; critic or commentator."

...But which pundits have the most sway over America? Or, more specifically, which have the most influence by appealing to those most sought after by advertisers?
Sure enough, the Forbes list of top pundits was put together by a market research group.

And the list? AllahPundit did the tabulations:
1. Roger Ebert
2. Bill Maher
3. Bill O’Reilly
4. Al Franken
5. Geraldo Rivera
6. Rosie O’Donnell
7. Leonard Maltin
8. Greta Van Susteren
9. Lou Dobbs
10. Bill Walton
Forbes' methodology explains their list--and may help explain Columbia's and Hofstra's too.

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