October 18, 2006
On The Lookout For Three Little Pigs
First you've got a werewolf robbing convenience stores in Montgomery County.
Then you've got Little Red Riding Hood jacking a pizza delivery guy in Upper Moreland.
(hat tips, Philadelphia Will Do, Phillyist)
September 27, 2006
The Smoking Gun has the police narrative.
Owens, addressing the media at 3:30 p.m. EST., said "there was no suicide attempt." He says he took pain medication for his broken hand Tuesday, then took two or three more in the evening with his energy supplements.
When he was "non-responsive," and his agent couldn't find the contents of a bottle of pain pills, she called police. The missing 35 or so pills, he said, were in a drawer.
If he told police he had tried to hurt himself, it was because he "was kinda groggy, a little bit," he said.
Owens told reporters, "I'm not depressed by any means. I am very happy to be here."
He then left and his publicist talked to reporters. Kim Etheridge denied she told police that Owens was depressed and said the police report that she tried to take pills from Owens' mouth were untrue. The talk of suicide, she said, "was unfair."
Owens returned briefly and thanked those emergency and medical workers who aided him, as well as friends who reached out to him.
The Associated Press moved this story this morning about the flamboyant former Eagles wide receiver:
A police report says Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide by taking pain medication. Owens reportedly put two more pills into his mouth even after fire rescue personnel arrived.
The rescue worker "noticed that (his) prescription pain medication was empty and observed (Owens) putting two pills in his mouth," the police report said.
The worker attempted to pry them out with her fingers, then was told by Owens that before this incident he'd taken only five of the 40 pain pills in the bottle he'd emptied. The worker then asked Owens "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, `Yes.'"
The 32-year-old player broke his right hand Sept. 17 against the Washington Redskins. Owens had surgery the following day. Initial reports indicated Owens was hospitalized last night after a reaction to pain medication.
Blog reaction was swift. A commenter named Joshq on Blogging The Boys, a Dallas football blog, wrote:
they are reporting that T.O. was asked by police if he tried to hurt himself and he said yes...
I really hope this isn't true. Not for the Cowboys on the field, but for T.O personally. Sad news!
On his MySpace page, Andrew J. Perry read the initial reports of suicide then awaited the spin:
They'll probably call it an allergic reaction and deny that he ingested more than the prescribed dosage. Maybe they'll claim that T.O. was in such pain that he risked taking more and ended up having a bad reaction.
Or perhaps they'll even claim that he liked the way the pain killers made him feel and that he wanted more of that feeling so he took more and more like an addict would.
I seriously doubt that they will admit that it was a suicide attempt. In truth I don't know whether it was or not, but even if it was I severely doubt that anyone close to T.O. will admit that it was.
And as if on cue, ESPN's reported that Etheridge, his friend and agent who made the call to 911, said it was a misunderstanding.
A Dallas police news conference didn't clarify what had happened. The spokesman, Lt. Rick Watson, would not confirm or deny anything in the initial police report. Watson said:
"This is not a criminal offense. This is a medical type of situation."
As to what distinction the spokesman was drawing, that is unclear. It is not an offense in Texas to attempt your own life, said Cynthia Hampton, general counsel of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, in a phone interview. A spokeswoman for the Dallas County District Attorney said the same thing.
Hampton's first reaction upon hearing the spokesman's words was that no one is believed to have helped Owens abuse controlled substances.
Early this afternoon Michael Irvin said on ESPN that he spoke by phone with Owens, and Owens said he had hurt himself catching passes the day before and took too many pain killers. Mixed with the energy supplements he takes, that caused a confused reaction that caused him to tell police he was trying to hurt himself, Irvin said. Owens publicist, meanwhile, said the receiver took the pain killers thinking they were supplements.
ESPN was in full T.O. mode, going to a Special Edition that lasted all afternoon. It filled time with beat reporters playing armchair psychiatrist, trying to connecting the dots on a possible suicide attempt as if they were diagramming a play.
Coach Bill Parcells, faced the media at 2:30 p.m. EST, and said little. He told reporters he hadn't talked to Owens and didn't yet know what really happened.
Couple of quotes, via TV:
"I'm not really sure I know the whole thing." And "I got to get a clearer picture of what it is." And, "anything else, folks? I'm leaving." And away he went.
July 13, 2006
News From The Mideast
Israel bombs the Beirut international airport runway and a Lebanese army base, in retaliation for the abduction of two soldiers by Hezbollah fighters, which was retaliation for Israel's hitting a number of positions in northern Lebanon, which was in retaliation for Hezbollah's firing a volley of Katyusha rockets, which was in retaliation for ...
More than 50 people have been killed.
Meanwhile, Israel badly injures Mohammed Deif, a Hamas bombmaker, in an airstrike on house in Gaza, which it has re-entered in search of a kidnapped soldier. Deif has topped Israel's most-wanted list for a decade. Children were wounded in the strike. A West Bank militant promises rockets aimed at Israeli cities.
And Ze'ev Schiff in Haaretz worries of a three-front war:
Israel faces the danger of a third front if Syria steps in to assist Hezbollah. Strategically, Israel faces an extreme foursome: Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
A view from Berlin: "One spark is enough to make everything go up in flames."
What are Mideast bloggers saying?
This site corrals a number of Israeli sites written in English. The lede post quotes a blogger named Going Slightly Mad's "very wise Palestinian colleague," who said: "When you look at what is happening now in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Nahariya and in Sderot, and how it is bound to get worse, and how scared everyone- everyone- is, one thing strikes you more than anything when you see how everyone is responding. It is much more difficult for people to understand each other than to judge each other: I think people just prefer to judge and blame each other. Then nobody has to take ever responsibility for what is happening."
Here's a Lebanese site of English-language blogs. The latest post begins: "It appears that the "warriors of the South" have went ahead with another apparently successful kidnapping operation. Well... so much for their claim of "defending Lebanon from Israeli aggression."
From the UK, blogger Adloyada writes:
Following the news from Mumbai, from Gaza and from the Lebanese-Israeli border, I can't get out of my head the image of the Bugs Bunny character grinning his most manic grin as he follows some blow to the head with the line, Of course, you realise this means war....
That maybe seems unduly callous and frivolous when people are getting killed by real rockets and bombings, and families are sinking into the horror of the limbo of not knowing where their kidnapped son is, or whether they will ever see him again.
But over the last few days it's been quite surreal to pick up on the sort of denial going on in the BBC and other MSM coverage of these events, and their reluctance to even consider the possibility that we may be witnessing the latest stage of escalating proxy wars by the main Islamist terror organizers, Al Qaeda and Iran.
In Lebanon, Raza is filing updates as news becomes known. Among them:
My mom and I are now discussing where would be the safest place to take the family.
Hizballah supporters in Beirut are celebrating by driving around, honking horns, and using firecrackers.
Tele Liban, Lebanon's official state television channel, is currently running a live cooking show.
Back to Israel. Gilly in Jerusalem writes:
The French are pissing me off again. Not an unusual statement from someone who was born and brought up in the UK and has lived in Israel for a decade; it's almost inevitable that I'll have my nose put out of joint by something that M. Chirac or one of his cronies comes out with. It has come as little surprise that whilst Israelis are sitting in their bomb shelters, with 1 dead and 70 wounded in the barrage as well as 8 dead soldiers and 2 more kidnapped, the French Foreign Minister has actually had the gall to condemn Israel for responding in what he termed "a disproportionate act of war".
July 11, 2006
Eight explosions at rail stations in Mumbai, India's financial capital, during evening rush hour. AP reports nearly 150 known dead in the city formerly known as Bombay. Hundreds hurt. No one is claiming credit for the attacks, which began about 6:30 p.m. local time. Bombs, authorities say.
First blast hit a commuter train in the suburbs. Telephone service is scattered. Chaos in the streets.
From Deutsche Welle: "People began jumping off our running train when a bomb went off and filled the carriage with smoke and fire," said a commuter with serious injuries to his left arm and shoulder at Mahim station.
India Uncut is live blogging the attacks: High-intensity explosives have been used for these attacks; some of the railway carriages have been ripped apart. This is clearly no amateur job, but a well-planned operation by a group with plenty of resources.
Stratfor goes out on this limb in assigning blame:
The perpetrators of this attack are likely members of Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Indian security forces have uncovered a number of LeT cells in and around New Delhi and Mumbai in recent weeks. The cells had plans for coordinated attacks against infrastructural targets, including ports and rail lines. Prior to the blast, a number of bomb threats were made against major Indian rail lines. These actions in the lead-up to the Mumbai attack are consistent with the militant tactic of "pinging the system" to detect response times and give victims "threat fatigue."
The group denies involvement.
Mumbai Help is acting as a message board, letting relatives contact each other, posting hospital numbers. And offering advice: Just stay where you are. The roads are all jammed as all the people who were already on their way when the blasts occurred are trying to get home. If you are stuck in office, be thankful that you have food, water, electricity and internet. Just stay.
From a LiveJournal blogger named Ryan Estrada in Mumbai:
Yes, this is the same train line I take most weekends but I wasn't on it. I was on my way to work, while the Shiv Sena marched alongside my vehicle shouting.
I'm safely at work, in a very secure building with more guards than anywhere else I could be. Now we're all just worried about the people who aren't here yet, hoping they didn't come in because of the news and that they weren't already on the trains.
The Times of London writes:
The Bombay blasts came just hours after suspected Islamist militants killed seven people, six of them tourists, in a series of grenade attacks in Indian Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, police said, the most concerted targeting of civilians in months.
Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since shortly after the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947, but both claim it in full.
(Mumbai turned up in a Reader's Digest survey as the world's rudest city. Which didn't play well in Mumbai. Blogger Farzana Versey scoffed at the survey, which dispatched reporters around the globe to measure pleases and thank-yous.
Mumbai does not ask you how you are; it tells you. In a fast-paced life where people discover who their neighbours are after they have been killed, there is something comforting in the thought that you are given directions to the state of your well-being.)
June 08, 2006
The leader of al Qaida in Iraq, puppet master of the deadly insurgency that has plagued coalition forces and citizens alike, the terrorist who personally beheaded Nicholas Berg, has been killed in a bombing raid north of Baghdad.
U.S. officials says they confirmed the identity of the Jordanian-born Abu Masab al-Zarqawi through fingerprints and facial recognition. At a news conference today in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Zarqawi was killed along with seven associates Wednesday evening in a house 30 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Residents of the area had reported his whereabouts to Iraqi security forces, who told U.S. officials, Miliki said. Helicopter gunships headed for the house before sundown.
CIA analysts believe it was Zarqawi who held the knife in the May 2004 video that showed the decapitation of Berg, 26, a West Chester, Pa., businessman captured by al Qaida operatives as he was seeking telecommunications work in Iraq.
His father, Michael Berg, told Reuters this morning that he found no solace in the news of Zarqawi's death. He said by phone, "I have no sense of relief, just sadness that another human being had to die."
Michael Berg, running for a Congressional seat on Delaware's Green Party ticket, told the Associated Press: "I see more death coming out of al-Zarqawi's death." He said he would have preferred Zarqawi receiving "restorative justice" -- such as being sentenced to work in a hospital for maimed children.
At a news conference in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad described Zarqawi as "the godfather of sectarian killing and terror in Iraq."
Blogs of all political stripes have begun weighing in.
The conservative PoliPundit:
It is very clear that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi represented the Center of Gravity for al-Qaida in Iraq. This is a major victory for the United States, Coalition Forces and the People of Iraq.
This will be seen as a very significant moment in the fight against the insurgency, early in the life of Nouri al-Maliki’s government.
Lefty talk-show host Taylor Marsh:
This is a psychological lift, but reality remains terribly grim in Iraq. Al-Zarqawi's killing doesn't dent the insurgency reality.
Nickle, a diarist at The Daily Kos:
The United States needs to stop acting like this is a one man show. Word is that the man was hated on the street, and a terrible leader. And we all know that much of the violence is not masterminded plots of terrorism. Instead it is the result of sectarian violence and general resistance.
Chris at AmericaBlog:
I suppose in the coming months that we will find out if he was behind all of the trouble of just a piece of the big puzzle. He's been demonized (clearly he was a bad guy) as the central figure in the problems over there so it will be interesting to see the actual impact of his death.
Phares, writing in the Counterterrorism Blog , on the way local pundits are pitching the news:
Reacting to the killing of Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi in Iraq, pro-Jihadi commentators on al Jazeera rushed to assert that the "death of Zarqawi won't weaken al Qaida but will actually unify the organization." Abdelbari Atwan, the editor of al Quds al Arabi accused Jordanian and US intelligence of penetrating the inner circles of Zarqawi and were successful in getting to him." He added that the killing of Zarqawi was coordinated with the appointment of the ministers of defense and interior in Baghdad.
Projecting further terror, Atwan said the "Jihadists will increase their operations in Iraq. For the more the organization is repressed the more it will produce Jihadists." He stated that in any event, Zarqawi was isolated inside the organization and restrained to military operations." Other commentators also stated that the near future will show that al Qaida is a movement not a group of supporters to one man.
But Iraqi leaders, including the speaker of the Kurdish Parliament, responded on al Jazeera that "the Iraqi people has memorized the names of all those who were involved in Terror against civilians, and will continue the struggle."
Who was Zarqawi? A BBC feature calls him "Iraq's most notorious insurgent -- a shadowy figure associated with spectacular bombings, assassinations and the beheading of foreign hostages."
"He ran with a fast crowd, fought easily and covered his skin with tatooes:" a Los Angeles Times profile from July 2, 2004.
The BBC's news package includes Zarqawi at his own words.
The Glittering Eye has been collecting reactions from Iraqi bloggers. One, Thoughts From Baghdad, writes:
Iraqis have been suffering for decades now, going from war to war to war to sanctions to war (Iraq-Iran War, Kuwaiti invasion, Gulf War ‘91, sanctions, invasion). They are tired. They want to move on. They are not happy that their country has been invaded, and much less so that the situation has only deteriorated after this invasion in terms of security and peace.
Zarqawi and his operatives added to this mess. Perhaps they meant to fight the occupation, but their fight did not discriminate between Iraqi and non-Iraqi, occupier and occupied. Their roadside bombs, car bombs, mortars, etc killed more Iraqis than they did Americans. Their kidnappings and public beheadings hurt the image of Islam in the West.
I can safely say that most Iraqis are happy, even ecstatic, with this news, but skeptical. Zarqawi was not a lone worker. He had a following, and they can continue their work without him. Iraqis will remain wary in their daily life, and aware that anything can happen. In fact, I would not be surprised if his followers decided to prove a point tomorrow and in the coming days, with some major bombings.
March 03, 2006
Al Qaida In Palestine
Two news articles out of Israel herald the arrival of al Qaida members in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Palestinian security forces have arrested one extremist in Gaza, and quotes a senior Palestinian source as saying several other members are spreading the group's ideology.
The Jerusalem News Wire translated comments by Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the al-Hayat paper in London: "We have indications about a presence of Al-Qaida in Gaza and the (West) Bank," he said. "This is intelligence information. We have not yet reached the point of arrests."
The JNW wrote: "Local Al Qaeda cells are likely to find themselves operating with little or no hindrance after Abbas transfers control of the "Palestinian" security forces - all of them - to Hamas sometime later this month."
A Hamas spokesman told the Jerusalem Post the organization had no intelligence of al Qaida's presence. "If the things Abu Mazen (Abbas) said are true, then the matter must be handled immediately," he said.
The Guardian quotes acting Israeli president Ehud Omert as saying, "We know of, and are monitoring, attempts by international terrorist elements to infiltrate areas close to us. One must not forget that Islamic Jihad and Hamas are also part of the global terrorist movement, and have always received support and assistance from international terrorist elements, thus the ability to discern a link between terrorist elements in the territories and international terrorism is neither surprising nor new."
The newspaper stated that Israel has said it believes al-Qaida penetrated the Gaza strip through the Egyptian border during the upheaval around the Israeli pullout from the territory last year.
Hamas delegates are in Russia for a critical political roadshow. Ahead of that meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this morning that Hamas needs to transform itself into a political party and turn its military wing into a legitimate part of the Palestinian Authority's security structure. "I don't think Hamas will have ... any future if Hamas doesn't change," Lavrov told reporters.
Hamas, meanwhile, is saying it will not recognize Israel. That is "decided," exiled leader Khaled Mashaal declared today.
March 5 update: Thanks, but no thanks. Hamas says it doesn't want al Qaida's help.
January 31, 2006
Coretta Scott King, 1927-2006
Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., dead at age 78. She'd suffered a stroke and heart attack in August. Her daughter was unable to wake her early this morning at a holistic center in Mexico. The Associated Press wrote that she "turned a life shattered by her husband’s assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality."
Born and raised in Marion, Ala, high school valedictorian, graduate of Antioch College and the New England Conservatory of Music, committed to mothering and the movement, she was far more than the wife of the Rev. King, writes Facing South:
although she worked tirelessly to ensure his legacy was remembered, including battling the unconstructed Southerners like Trent Lott, who opposed the King holiday.
She was an activist in her own right -- and she didn't shy away from the "wedge" issues that the right tries to divide people over.
The blog, from the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, N.C., writes how she spoke out for gay rights, and quotes a post from Pam Spaulding, who notes the passing of Mrs. King by quoting from her 2000 speech at an Atlanta conference organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
Coretta Scott King spoke out against the death penalty, saying As one whose husband and mother-in-law have died the victims of murder assassination, I stand firmly and unequivocally opposed to the death penalty for those convicted of capital offenses. An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder.
Resist media's blog simply posts the elegant photo above and the quotation:
The value of life in our cities has become as cheap as the price of a gun.
"All of our civil rights leaders are dying," writes this LiveJournal blogger. "I don't know if this is a time to rejoice that we are past the era when civil rights were so grossly defied, or to mourn the death of a movement that has not come to its goal. I just want to snuggle on a couch and watch A Patch of Blue and possibly cry for the past or the present."
And from Popfiendish, finally:
Remember the dream.
January 29, 2006
Bob Woodruff, named last month as co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" was been seriously wounded in Iraq Sunday. He and his cameraman were riding with Iraqi forces when their lightly armored truck was struck by a roadside bomb. Both suffered head wounds from shrapnel, and were reported in stable condition after surgery. Woodruff also was hit in his upper body. They have been evacuated to a U.S. Military hospital in Germany.
ABC's White House correspondent, Martha Raddatz, said Sunday on the network's "This Morning" show that Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were riding in the hatch of a mechanized vehicle that led a convoy of Iraqi soldiers in Taji. Taji, which is an hour north of Baghdad, is the site of the main base where the coalition forces train the new Iraqi army.
The two were traveling with the Fourth Infantry Division and were assigned to an armored Humvee, but chose to ride with the Iraqi forces instead in a far more vulnerable vehicle. They wore helmets, body armor and eye protection.
"If you're going to cover the Iraqi military forces, you have to be with them," Raddatz said. "You have to see how they live."
Woodruff had solid experience reporting in Iraq, covering the conflict in Baghdad, Najaf, Nassariya and Basra. He was embedded with the First Marine Division, First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion during the initial invasion three years ago.
Vogt, 46, has been with ABC for more than 15 years, and has many years of duty in war zones.
The Inquirer's Gail Shister interviewed Woodruff earlier this month, after he joined Elizabeth Vargas to co-host their initial "World News Tonight" program, replacing the late Peter Jennings. Woodruff told her he did not care that most Americans couldn't pick him out of a lineup.
"Personally, I don't think this job is about how well known you are, said Woodruff, 44. "That's something that just happens. Whether you're well received is another story."
A Howard Kurtz article in Sunday's Washington Post reported this about Woodruff:
Woodruff, for his part, never set out to be a journalist. After growing up in suburban Detroit, he went to the University of Michigan Law School, where roommate Kevin Ruf recalls him as a great rugby and lacrosse player who liked to fish and hunt at his parents' cabin. "He's one of those guys, everything seemed pretty effortless for him," Ruf says.
After practicing law in New York, Woodruff learned Mandarin Chinese and in 1989 moved to Beijing for a teaching post with his new wife, Lee. When the violence erupted at Tiananmen Square, he became a translator and "fixer" for CBS. The couple moved to San Francisco, where Woodruff practiced law for another two years, but shortly after their first child was born, he quit.
"I had tasted something I thought would be so much more fulfilling to me," Woodruff says.
He began reporting in television at a station in Redding, Cal., then moved to Richmond and Phoenix. He joined the network in 1996, and was posted to Washington and London. After the Sept. 11, terror attacks, he spent four months reporting from Pakistan.
He told Shister he wished someone came up a new word for anchor. "It connotes someone staying in one place, like the anchor of a ship. The metaphor doesn't seem appropriate when the ship moves around a lot."
The U.S. has been training Iraqi forces to deter insurgent attacks. It is dangerous for journalists to cover their operations. An ABC story on the network's Web site reports that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are the greatest cause of death for members of the U.S. military in Iraq, and account for more than half of the injuries.
After the explosion, the two were flown to the Green Zone in Baghdad, then transferred to a military hospital in Balad, about 20 minutes away.
Steve Capus, the Temple grad who is president of NBC News, extended best wishes to the families of the two journalists. "Journalists working in Iraq face tremendous danger, every single day. And yet, many fine journalists are on the ground as we speak, dedicated to shedding light on the important stories from that region. We're also reminded of the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. Today they are all in our thoughts and prayers."
Media Bistro's TVnewser is following the story.
January 26, 2006
"It's a disaster on like ten different levels," Josh Marshall writes at Talking Points Memo of Hamas's surprise win in the Palestinian polls yesterday.
But the victory of the Islamist militant party, he adds, is not all bad:
Political participation can force a hard form of accountability. If there is a major constituency for Hamas in the territories -- which certainly there is -- perhaps to have them in the government, on the line for dealing with nuts and bolts problems of administration, on the line for delivering a better life for the Palestinians as opposed to just peddling the heroin of violence, has some advantages over having them on the outside as a paramilitary force with a de facto veto over whatever the Fatah-based government chooses to do.
Different words, similar point from a commenter on the Haaretz newspaper site this morning, in thoughts by a "rabbijkl" from New Orleans, headlined "Only Nixon Can Go To China:"
When Sharon became the PM of Israel, many Palestinians felt towards him the way Israelis felt towards Arafat, and now Hamas. The Palestinian people in the past have voted for peace if not because they have any affection towards Israel but because they knew it was good for them. When Begin was elected in the 1970`s it was not an Israeli vote against peace but against the internal scandals that had been plaguing Labor and the problems with Labor disenfranchisement of the Sephardic majority.
Can the Palestinian vote be seen not as a vote against peace but a vote against Fatah, an issue of internal politics and not militancy against Israel.
And just as Begin made peace with Egypt and Sharon has begun a real peace process with the Palestinians while maintaining legitimacy with the Israeli center, can Israelis see Hamas as perhaps the only viable partner for peace? Now that Hamas has won the elections they are in power -- and power, when it does not corrupt, often sobers.
The background: Hamas claimed victory after an election for the first Palestinian parliament in a decade. After it earned a majority of seats and the right to form the next government, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and the rest of his cabinet resigned - a formality, but Fatah suffered a surprising defeat. Fatah, the party of the late Yasser Arafat, has controlled the Palestinian Authority for 10 years.
President Bush is asking Qureia to stay in office. He said the U.S. will not deal with a party that calls for the destruction of Israel.
Hamas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist. Israel and the United States consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
Lots of talk online today about the election, which early reports had Fatah carrying.
Lawhawk, from New Jersey writes: I wish I could say good riddance, but the Palestinians have gone from bad to worse with this move. And I don't think even Hamas will know what to do now. With great power comes great responsibility, but knowing the way Palestinians have been given opportunities in the past, have very very low expectations.
At the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz calls it The Earthquake:
Until yesterday, Israel and the rest of the West were grappling with the problem of how to relate to a Hamas minority in a still Fatah-dominated new Palestinian Authority government, as deaf as Abbas and his colleagues to the scale of the shift on the Palestinian street. Now there can be no escaping the Islamist reality, even if Abbas proves prepared to serve as the fig-leaf, the acceptable, secular, face of the Palestinians' new leadership....
Some may seek comfort in the belief that an ascent to government could prompt a greater sense of responsibility, a move to moderation. But Hamas's intolerance is based on a perceived religious imperative. No believing Muslim, in the Hamas conception, can be reconciled to Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East. To deny that, for Hamas, is blasphemy.
The conservative Captain's Quarters blog sees the Palestinian vote as a vote for war:
Europe and the United States need to wake up from their delusional dreamland of a situation where both sides in this conflict want a peaceful conclusion and a world without hatred for their children and grandchildren. Clearly, the Palestinians want war, and they have made no secret of using their children and grandchildren as bomb fuses in order to perpetuate it.
This one comes from Danny Schechter's MediaChannel.org. Dilip Hiro described the appeal of Hamas in "The Rise of Political Islam: The Palestinian Election and Democracy in The Middle East:"
Israel's 38-year-long military occupation, with its devastating impact on the everyday lives of the occupied, has spawned a politics that has no parallel elsewhere in the Arab world. Its salient features include: powerful tensions between local and long-exiled leaders; high political consciousness; a lack of distance between followers and leaders of a sort not found in long established states and regimes; and a turning to religion for solace.
“The ruling Fatah movement suffers from tensions between local leaders and those who spent many years abroad before returning after the 1993 Oslo Accords. The leadership of Hamas, on the other hand, is almost wholly local.
“Because the Palestinian state is not fully formed, followers in the ranks of such parties are able to exercise direct pressure on the leadership. As the governing party which has proved corrupt and inept in administering the Palestinian entity, Fatah has seen its standing wane. By contrast, Hamas has a history of providing free social services to the needy and is not tainted with a history of corruption and cronyism.
Another country heard from - Mark1 writing on The Guardian's web site:
Wouldn't Hamas be more likely to recognize Israel's right to exist if Israel stopped actively stealing Palestinian land & resources and destroying homes & livelihoods? Surely whether Hamas approves of the existence of Israel or not is academic since Israel's borders are not currently under attack or under threat. With military protection from the US, it is not going to be under threat any time soon. The only threat to Israel is that posed by the suicide attacks perpetrated in response to their own aggressive policies. When is the Israeli people going to understand that the only way to put an end to these is to vote for a leader who will give back all the land stolen and leave the Palestinian people alone? Or do they selfishly think that new colonies are worth a few massacred compatriots?
That drew this mix of history and humour from SocialJusticeNow:
Mark1 doesnt realise there is no such thing as palestianian land. Palestine, Jordan (Trans-Jordan), Lebanon were made up by British and French, so was the word Palestine. With the fall of the Ottoman empire a majority of Jews and Christians that dominated the "holy land" area gave up 70 and then 80% of land in return for capital and assistance from post-Ottoman Brits and French to rebuild rundown Jerusalem and today'st Lebanon. Palestinian land claims in most of present "Israel" are false. Look Mark1 even Yasser Arafat was born and raised in Eqypt. Hamas must grow up, drop the fascist muslim crap, liberalise and ally with the Isreali labour party. Join forces, add Jordan and Lebanon and rename it all Holy land and have done. Religious theme parks will sprout and everyone will be rich and happy.
With answers in short supply at this moment, Abu Aardvark, a political scientist at Williams College, frames some key questions:
Hamas winning and presumably moving to form a government is the first real instance of an Islamist movement on the brink of winning power democratically since 1992. If they take power, we are going to see some major political science propositions put to the test: does power moderate or radicalize Islamist groups? Will they be willing and able to work with non-Islamist parties in a coalition? Will they use their democratic victory to abolish democracy? Will Islamist groups concentrate on the pragmatics of rule or resort to foreign policy grandstanding? Will they use their position of power to pursue terrorism? Will they be willing to set aside doctrine and work pragmatically with Israelis and Americans? Will they use government power to impose unpopular sharia rule over their people? Will they oppress Christian and non-Islamist Muslims? Most academic and policy analysis of these questions has remained counterfactual and hypothetical, since there have been no actual examples of an elected Islamist group in power. That could now change.
January 24, 2006
If you're used to hurtling half-eaten apples from moving cars, you might want to avoid Lower Nazareth Township.
A judge there fined a Pennsylvania woman $173.50 for launching lettuce from her car window.
For some reason this is about the most popular story on the San Francisco's The Gate site. (Probably the same reason we post about it here, except it's far closer to home, near Easton.)
The AP report states that Dawn Higgins, 47, tossed the salad item while parked outside a Wal-Mart on Oct. 18. She'd stopped at a McDonald's first. She finished her meal, but didn't want the pieces of lettuce atop her salad. She got caught.
She missed a court date, and was convicted in absentia. The report quotes her as making the old biodegradable defense.
"Lettuce comes from the ground, therefore it can go back into the ground," she said. "It's biodegradable. I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."
You could make the same about throwing a body out the window, but we've been watching too much HBO.