2012-06-29

The Future of Egypt

'My friend is Egyptian, a devout Muslim, a patriot and yet she is preparing a plan B of escape, as so many others here have done, because she fears Egypt is turning into another Iran. ...'

That is MSNBC's Charlene Gubash on the changes she's seeing in Cairo. The analogy to Iran is not idle: she's describing a country that, in living memory, was free and secular. Soon it may be neither.

Gubash continues:
Many felt it was improper to take the oath of office in Tahrir Square rather than before the Constitutional Court. "It's basically very amateurish," said Hisham Kassem, veteran publisher. "He made lots of mistakes to the point you think he's going to be a trial-and-error president... making a promise to hand over Omar Abdul Rahman, the first man to attack the World Trade Center. He will never be released. He is just going to annoy the Americans now," Kassem said.

"[Taking the oath of office in Tahrir] eroded his legitimacy. If he is banking on the street, it's not very savvy, his presidency will collapse in a year if he banks on that," Kassem added.

Thomas Jocelyn at The Standard (via PowerLine) has more:
In a rousing speech in Tahrir Square on Friday, Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, told the crowd that he will work to free Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, aka the “Blind Sheikh.” Rahman is currently serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a follow-on plot against New York City landmarks.

Morsi’s call for Rahman’s return to Egypt was a curveball for all those Western watchers who are looking to brand the new president a moderate. At times, including during his speech on Friday, Morsi does use language that sounds quite conciliatory. But peppered throughout his rhetoric are troubling red flags.

Sheikh Rahman was a longtime ally of Osama bin Laden. The deceased al Qaeda master credited a fatwa authored by Rahman for providing the religious justifications for the September 11 attacks. Rahman has also served as the spiritual guide for Gamaa Islamiya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, both of which are terrorist organizations that have been close allies of al Qaeda for decades.

Morsi’s call for Rahman’s freedom is, therefore, the latest red flag. ...

For more on Morsi's speech, see Al-Jazeera.

The thing I want to emphasize here is that the path to secular liberal democracy is not a one-way street.

Leap Second

PhysOrg has an update on when the next "leap second" will be added to the world's timekeeping systems.
A leap second will be introduced on 30 June 2012 following a decision made by the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) earlier this year. This could potentially be one of the last ever leap seconds added, as a decision may be made in the next few years to abolish the practice.
So tomorrow will be 86,401 seconds long. Try not to panic.
Leap seconds are added to Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC) to keep the time scale from atomic clocks within one second of that determined by the rotation of the Earth. The time scale produced by atomic clocks is much more stable and reliable than that based on the Earth's rotation, and without leap second adjustments the two would diverge by ever increasing amounts.
That would be bad. Wouldn't it?
There is ongoing debate over whether or not to abolish leap seconds and allow atomic time to gradually drift away from solar time. For now, a decision has been deferred until 2015, but if agreement is reached then to abolish the leap second, the second added on 30 June 2012 could be one of the last.
Brace yourselves. But I've got to say, the arguments for doing away with the leap second sound pretty compelling:
Some countries have proposed that leap seconds should be abolished because of the difficulties they cause for systems reliant on precise timing, and the time and effort needed to programme them manually into equipment, with the resulting risk of human error. They also argue that the need for predictable timekeeping outweighs that for a link between civil timekeeping and the Earth's rotation.
I wholeheartedly agree. And while we're on the subject, maybe we can finally kill off Daylight Saving Time.

2012-06-28

Congress and Economic Mandates

Orin Kerr at Volokh:
Under the Chief Justice’s opinion, real economic mandates are beyond the power of Congress. Congress can’t force action where there was none. Congress can’t say you must act or else go to jail, for example. The individual mandate is constitutional because despite the name because it’s not really a mandate. Congress called it a mandate, to be sure, but in practice it’s really just a small tax. And the enforcement mechanism is pretty light. So you really don’t have to get health insurance: You just have to pay the smallish penalty if you decide you don’t want it. So Congress lacks the power to say that you go to jail if you don’t buy health insurance. But Congress does have the power to encourage you to get health insurance by imposing a tax if you don’t, as long as the tax isn’t so coercive that it’s really more than just a tax. ...
Read the rest at the link.

2012-06-27

Obama the Exotic

Why are the left so fixated on the idea that President Obama is being discriminated against on the basis of his skin color, his exotic name, and his putative Muslim religion?

I'd like to submit that it's because they are obsessed with those things themselves. There's something appealing and romantic there, and there's the added bonus that you can hide behind the charge of "prejudice" whenever the object of your fascination is criticized.

To be more precise about it, there's a hyper-vigilance for any hint of negative bias - but no awareness of the possibility of positive bias. The leftists will not admit to being enthralled, smitten, infatuated with those very same characteristics.

Obviously, that is itself prejudice, but they'll never admit it. To acknowledge positive bias toward "marginal" or "minority" groups would call into question the basic assumption of entitlement liberalism - the assumption that white Christian prejudice is so universal that it can only be countered by a compensatory bias.

It is obviously true that there still exists in America today, an element of the old, pernicious white racism and Christian supremacism. But I think it's also true that these things are in decline, and that there are other forms of discrimination that the leftists aren't so fond of talking about.

To acknowledge that at some times, in some places, there might be a positive benefit to NOT being white or Christian would endanger the system. So, for example, Elizabeth Warren's Cherokee ancestry may not be questioned.

But back to Obama. Where did people get the idea that Obama was born in Kenya?
Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. ...
Whether or not Obama personally wrote or edited the text of his bio in the 36-page pamphlet, he allowed the words to represent him.

Now, where do people get the idea that Obama is a Muslim?

Christian Demonstrators in Dearborn: What the News Didn't Show You


Via Atlas. These folks are no heroes of mine (their next stop is demonstrating at a gay pride event), but they're exercising their right to free speech. The response by the Muslims - and more importantly, by the Dearborn law enforcement - is instructive.

Eric Allen Bell, Global Infidel

If you're just tuning in, let me introduce liberal filmmaker Eric Allen Bell, who's the author of the blog Global One TV: A Blog for Mystics. In 2010, he started working on a film covering the protests against a large mosque under construction in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Eric initially took the side of the Muslims - but then something happened.
Eric Allen Bell, once a strong supporter of the controversial mega-mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has reportedly switched positions on the matter after learning more about terrorist attacks overseas, and reading books on Islam.

A fixture at court hearings and protests in 2010, the California native and self-described liberal even started making a movie about the situation called “Not Welcome,“ where he depicted mosque critics as ”southern Christian bigots,” in the words of the Huffington Post, before making the switch.

“Of course, Muslim Americans making up less than 1 percent of the total population in this country, the idea that 1 percent will arm themselves and take over is nothing short of paranoid and psychotic nonsense…” he said at the time. Now, he says the mosque is built on a “foundation of lies,“ and maintains there is both ”mysterious money” and a suspicious motive people need to be aware of.
Now Eric has a new site ... it's called Global Infidel TV. Go check it out.

2012-06-26

Nora Ephron

Roger Simon remembers Nora Ephron.
It’s scary when people you knew and considered your (rough) contemporaries start dying.

I didn’t know Nora Ephron well, but we were friendly acquaintances in the 1980s when we shared the same agent and would bump into each other at parties. I even remember meeting her father Henry — also a screenwriter and director — at an Edgar Award ceremony in 1986 when I was nominated and lost. They graciously came up and congratulated me anyway. It was the best part of the evening for me.

Naturally, I followed Nora’s career after we drifted apart. How could you not? ...
Read the rest at the link.

2012-06-25

In Norway, Da'wah Hits a Rough Spot



Remarkable video highlights the difficulties facing Muslim missionaries in Norway. Salient theme: People - and religions - are judged by their actions. Also, at 4:50, discover the insidious threat that is sapping the da'wa community's spirits.

Turkish Women's Activist Canan Arın Detained Pending Charges

Hürriyet Daily News:
Canan Arın, a lawyer and women's rights advocate, was detained at a hotel she was staying at in the southeastern province of Gaziantep yesterday on charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a 2011 speech.

Arın, who is also the founder of the Mor Çatı (Purple Roof) Women’s Shelter Foundation, was detained by police officers at her hotel room at around 5:30 a.m. on claims that she insulted Prophet Muhammad in a speech she made in 2011, Burcu Karakaş of daily Milliyet reported. ...

2012-06-22

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe Tie the Knot

Daily Caller:
Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has married her long-time partner Heather Poe, The Daily Caller has learned.

Cheney spokeswoman Kara Ahern confirmed to TheDC that the couple married Friday morning in Washington, D.C.

In a statement provided to TheDC, both the former vice president and his wife, Lynne, said they are “delighted” the couple could have their “relationship recognized.”

“Our daughter Mary and her long time partner, Heather Poe, were married today in Washington, DC,” the Cheneys said. ...
Mazal tov to the brides.

2012-06-21

Roundup: Germany, Pakistan, Syria

German government agrees on fiscal treaty. 'The main opposition parties have agreed to support Chancellor Angela Merkel's economic measures for stability in the eurozone. The deal aims to cut back public debt but also boost growth and employment. Following a meeting with Merkel's conservative coalition on Thursday, the opposition Social Democrats and Green party announced they would support plans paving the way for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). They said they had reached an agreement to boost growth and create more jobs in the eurozone, as well as curb debt and implement tighter controls. ..'

What to do about Pakistan. 'The United States should continue to engage Pakistan where possible. The United States has no doubt learned that there is little it can do to bolster domestic stability in Pakistan. As the most recent governance crisis unfolds, there are few in Washington who harbor any belief that the United States can still help transform Pakistan. There is an increasing acknowledgement that the United States must engage the Pakistan that is rather than the Pakistan that is desired. ...' Embassies yes; fighter sales no.

"The wounded will be killed." Foreign Policy's Robert King visits a Free Syrian Army field hospital. 'I asked the doctor, "Can't they go to the state hospital?" And he said, "They'll kill the wounded. They stop them at the checkpoints." Because they're viewed as terrorists. You're living in enemy territory so you're the enemy. ...'

Eric Allen Bell on The Glazov Gang. Video at the link.

Hello, world!

"ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL invented the telephone. But Thomas Alva Edison coined the greeting. ..."

Via Rand Simberg.

The Edge

She is in love, love with the edge –
where thought falters thin,
where sun browns the feathers,
singes the hair on the head
and the knuckles, white from flapping;
wind dries the sweat and glues the eyes
open, like the eyes
that greet the dead,
meet the dead
over the edge.

At night, chasing the edge –
cut her wrists and drank herself white,
blood dripping
over the edge.
White blindness from headlights of cars,
mad dogs snarling behind the stars,
bloodless the stars sing,
and wind in her ears –
she is in love
she is in love.
- Stephanie McLintock

2012-06-20

Oh, hell.

After 35 years and 1669 strips, Matt Groening to quit "Life in Hell".

A Month of Women Rappers

Lori at Feministing covers H. Waksberg's 31-day diet of female rap artists.

The Last Jews of Tunisia

Michael Totten:
Jews lived all over the Middle East and North Africa for thousands of years, and they lived among Arab Muslims for more than 1,000 years, but they’re almost extinct now in the Arab world. Arabs and Jews didn’t live well together, exactly, but they co-existed five times longer than the United States has existed. They weren’t always token minorities, either. Baghdad was almost a third Jewish during the first half of the 20th century. Morocco and Tunisia are the last holdouts. In Tunisia, only 1,500 remain.

What happened? What changed? Islam didn’t happen all of a sudden, nor did the arrival of Arabs in Mesopotamia, the Levant, and North Africa. Both have been firmly in place since the 7th century. A far more recent cascade of events transformed the region, and for the worse: the occupation of Arab lands by Nazi Germany and its puppet Vichy France, the Holocaust, post-Ottoman Arab Nationalism, Israel’s declaration of independence, and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

As a consequence of all that, rather than the Arab invasion or the rise of the Islamic religion, almost the entire Arab world is Judenrein now. And since the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Republic regime in Iran, relations between Arabs and Jews are worse than they were at any time during the entire history of either.

Yet 1,500 Jews hang on in Tunisia. The ancien Ben Ali regime kept them safe, as has Tunisia’s relatively tolerant and cosmopolitan culture. But what will become of them now that Ben Ali is in exile and his government is overthrown?

I met with Haim Bittan, the chief rabbi of Tunis. ...
Read the rest.

2012-06-19

Did gun control cause the Holocaust?

Obviously not, but a disarmed population was a necessary, though not sufficient, condition. The shoah happened when armed Germans murdered unarmed Jews. That should not be a controversial observation.

Adam Chandler at Tablet brings his formidable moral, intellectual, and rhetorical gifts to bear on the subject. (Oh, I don't want to spoil it for you - go read the post in all its brilliance. It speaks for itself.) One commenter wants to know:
So his reference to the Holocause was bad why? Because you like gun control? Because the Jews were disarmed and he mentioned it? Would it have been ok if he was Jewish?
And I agree. And there's also this:
As a Jew, I think all Jews (male and female) should learn to shoot. I certainly do NOT think that Jews armed with hand held weapons would have prevented the Holocaust. But it would have raised the price of taking Jewish lives. More importantly, it would have served as a reminder for the generations to come that taking the life of someone bent on killing you is a good thing. Finally, it would remind us all of the skill and courage of many young men and women today who learn to shoot so that they can use their skills to protect us and our liberal democracies. They deserve not our pity and condescension, but our respect and admiration.

QOTD

"If mounting occurs in the open water, the mating couple is likely to thereby sink to considerable depths."

And that's how this pair of turtles met their fate, and entered the fossil record, about 47 million years ago.

2012-06-18

Is the veil a choice?

Maryam Namazie:
For those who are in love with the veil and keep going on about how it’s a ‘right’ and ‘choice’, here’s a photo just for you.

It’s of a ten year old girl being dragged off by ‘morality police’ in Mashad, Iran, for being unveiled. ...
Those fucking pigs. Go look at the photo yourself. And read the rest of Maryam's post.

IDF Armored Corps Moves to Southern Border

The IDF Armored Division has moved closer to Israel's southern border following a terror attack Monday on contractors building a border fence.

A number of Merkava tanks were moved closer to the border with Egypt after two Palestinian Authority terrorists killed 36-year-old Said Phashpashe of Haifa, a father of four ...
Meanwhile, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded near Ashkelon.

Dear TSA

I am not your customer.

Via Instapundit.

2012-06-17

Israel / Egypt Border Clashes

YNet: IDF troops, terrorists clash on southern border.

Ha'Aretz:
An Israeli citizen was killed Monday morning when terrorists infiltrated the southern border with Egypt. Israel Defense Force soldiers and terrorists are currently exchanging fire on the border, near Kerem Shalom.

The attack follows a few days of intelligence warnings.

Initial information reveals that a terrorist cell penetrated the fence along the border with Egypt and clashed with IDF soldiers. The exchange of fire is currently continuing. Communities near the border have been put on high alert. ...

Reuters: An Israeli citizen and at least one militant were killed in an attack on the Egyptian border on Monday, Israeli media said.

Arutz Sheva:
Reports indicate that a group of terrorists opened fire at a group of Defense Ministry contract workers who were working along the border with Egypt, near Nitzana. One of the workers was wounded and died shortly thereafter of his wounds.

IDF troops who were called to the scene began exchanging gunfire with the terrorists, killing at least three. ...

Meanwhile, IAF strikes terror targets in Gaza, and any headline beginning with the words "IAF strikes terror" can't be bad.

Reversions to borderline war? Or disaggregated bogeymen? We'll have to wait and see.

The Rain Is Water

The rain is water
from the sea
to the sky.
These rocks will be fossils,
my heart, thistles.
Only the sun consuming itself
will die.

- Stephanie McLintock

2012-06-16

Fathers' Day Roundup

Well, I don't know about you, but I celebrated Flag Day by wearing my American Flag T-shirt (yes, made in the USA, it says so on the label!) to the office. It's been a holiday since 1777, which is pretty impressive. The Washington Post fills us in on lots more details.
Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the nation’s flag on June 14, 1777. The next day, Ross married her second husband, Joseph Ashburn. Her first husband, John Ross, had died during the Revolutionary War, as did Ashburn a few years later. Her third marriage, to John Claypoole, lasted 34 years.
I don't want to spoil the fun, so go to the link for the rest. The historicity of the Betsy Ross story may be dubious, but it's a great story anyway.

June 14 is also the birthday of the United States Army.

Fathers' Day nightmare, in two words: Lindsay Lohan. But hey, the paramedics were cute. #SabesQueTomasteDemasiado ...

As for my own little girl (she's four, going on 14), I'm helping her and her mom take a trip to earthquake-stricken Disneyland.

In case you were wondering, "Rock of Ages" bombed.

But back to Fathers' Day. If you want to know a little about my Dad, Ken McLintock, you can read his writing at Urban Renewal and his World War II memoir at Pacific Memories.

Anyway, on to the blogroll. Ace has advice on how to defeat a mama grizzly. Moe Lane goes down to Georgia, and I don't mean Tbilisi, with some infamous company. And via Richard Jeffey Newman at Alas, our friend Betsy Ross comes to the aid of those who want to fly their true colors proudly.

2012-06-15

Separated At Birth

Atatürk ...


... and Londo Mollari.


2012-06-14

Anti-Humanism

I want to write more on this, but I only have time for a short post now. I'm currently reading Merchants of Despair by Robert Zubrin. It's turning out to be one of the most important books I've read in a while. Zubrin traces the history of the eugenics movement and its connection with Malthusian thinking, and the influence of a certain pathological mindset that views humanity as a "disease" or "cancer" upon the earth.

This anti-human pathology is insidious and disturbingly widespread. There is, for example, Peter Singer who recently won Australia's highest civic award.

I'll write more on this soon.

Shabbat, and stuff.

For a few years I was a more or less by-the-book, practicing Orthodox Jew. I'm not going back there. It's just too crazy, and it makes me too crazy. My natural level of neurosis does not need any extra help. These days, I keep "ingredient kosher" but I eat (vegetarian) pretty much anywhere I like. Give up eating out, except in certified kosher restaurants? Not gonna happen.

And don't get me started on all the stuff around sex and gender.

But, Shabbat? It's been years since I really gave it a serious effort, and I find I'm missing it. When you first hear about all the rules for keeping Shabbat, you think, "ARE YOU PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR F***ING MINDS?" (It's OK. Everybody has that reaction.) And the rules seem weird and crazy. But I've come to appreciate the geekiness of it all.

For me, the key is in understanding Shabbat as an exercise in non-attachment. "The sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no-talking." (Tao Te Ching, ch. 2.) "Therefore the way of freedom is not inaction, but to cease from identifying oneself with the movement and recover our true identity in the Self of things who is there Lord." (Sri Aurobindo on the Isha Upanishad.)

Shabbat provides a resolution to the problem: How to control that sense of attachment to the fruits of our work, while still living in the world? How to achieve non-attachment without renunciation? The solution offered by Shabbat is a very down-to-earth, practical solution - in other words, a very Jewish solution. We get all our "stuff" done in six days, and set aside the seventh as a day of non-doing. It is true that mainstream Jewish practice doesn't have a strong tradition of contemplative meditation; but I'd like to suggest that Shabbat itself is a subtle, prolonged form of meditation.

Another thing that sometimes gets overlooked is that the commandment to keep the Sabbath is also a commandment to work: "Six days shall you labor, and do all of your work ..." In fact, the verb "to labor" also means "to serve". And I've found that practicing the observance of Shabbat makes me more aware and involved during the week.

Then there's also a sense of liberation in keeping Shabbat - a sense of being your own boss. And I like that too - and I've missed it.

"Two-state solution will lead to collapse of Israel."


As explained by Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki. When Jews are expelled from the city of Jerusalem, he says, the Zionist ideal will begin to collapse of its own accord.

2012-06-12

Erdogan: Kurdish Language May Be Taught in Turkish Schools

BBC:
For the first time schools in Turkey will be allowed to teach the Kurdish language as an elective subject, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

Mr Erdogan told parliament the measure was "a historic step".

Turkey has been fighting Kurdish rebels in the country's southeast for decades. Many Kurds have been campaigning for autonomy and better cultural rights.

Lessons in the Kurdish language will be granted in schools if enough students asked for them, Mr Erdogan said. ...
If he means it, then good on Erdogan. And it's not very often that I say that.

2012-06-11

Proverbs

I've never been able to put my finger on why this book of the Hebrew Scriptures, in particular, fascinates me; but this article from the JPS Jewish Study Bible nails it:

Proverbs is a paean to the power of the human mind. Its authors are convinced that everyone who attends to the wisdom of the past and employs his powers of rational thinking has the ability to know what to do and what to avoid. These powers and the knowledge that goes with them are called wisdom. Wisdom - Hebrew hokhmah - is the great virtue that, for Proverbs, entails all others. No divine revelation is necessary, for G-d gave humanity the faculty of wisdom, and people need only listen to her call (ch 8). Thus, there is a certain tension between Proverbs and Torah books, which insist on the significance of revealed law. (Michael V. Fox)

Also I like that the verses of Proverbs, read in Hebrew, have a pleasant rhythmical quality. I find that this makes them excellent mantras for meditation, as is the case with Psalm 119 (the lengthy alphabetical psalm). This seems appropriate because, as the above analysis suggests, the emphasis of Proverbs is less on obedience than on introspection.

Interview: 21 Years in Israel (5)

-Can you tell me something about some of the other ethnic and/or religious groups in your town?

he Bedouin are the only group that I've not touched on at all, as far as I know. They are a group of Middle Eastern nomadic Islamic people and are not considered Arabs. They also serve in the Israeli Army. There are a few among the Bedouin who are ethnically Sudanese. I've been told that they are former slaves from the time of the British Mandate, but don't know if this is true or not. Actually, the Bedouin don't seem so nomadic anymore. Many live in an incorporated town not far from our quiet little town in addition to those who have moved to town. At least 3 businesses in town are Bedouin owned. Also, several pharmacists in town are Bedouin. Couldn't tell you why. But, I have noticed that the level of Hebrew among the Bedouin seems higher than that of Arabs in the central part of the country. Maybe it's the army experience.

See:
21 Years in Israel

Latin America and the Caribbean

Fausta's Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean is up.

2012-06-06

New at DIL 2

At sister site Dreams Into Lightning 2, the latest post in Morning Report covers the latest conflict with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

19 Killed at Congo Army Base

Reuters: 'Congolese soldiers and rebels clashed at an army base in eastern Congo, the government and a rebel said on Wednesday, killing at least 19 people in the latest outbreak of violence that has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

The government said the attack had been carried out by Mai Mai fighters, linked to ex-rebels who were at one point integrated into the army but deserted in recent weeks to protest Kinshasa's decision to arrest a renegade general, Bosco Ntaganda. ...'

2012-06-04

1989

Interview: 21 Years in Israel (4)

[-Tell me your impressions of where you live now. Can you tell me something about the ethnic situation there?]

As for the North African and former kibbutz member population, it seems to me that there are only vestiges left. When I moved here eight years ago, it was often said that many veteran residents had left. So the Russian influence is very strong,especially in neighborhood and specialty food stores.

There is a community of Ethiopian immigrants, but not very big. As far as I know, there are two groups, Amharic and Geez. From personal experience, I know that they don't like to be confused with each other. But, have to admit that I've never been able to discern what the difference is. In general, the Ethiopian community here in this small Negev town seems very different from people I knew in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Ethiopian community was a lot more varied - educated, professional as well as village people. Here the Ethiopian community seems older and less absorbed.

-As a person of African descent yourself, how has this affected your experience?

My African descent is a very interesting point. And that's where attitudes and prejudices diverge from American ones. On the surface, Ethiopians would often expect me to identify with them. As a Black American, I naturally felt obliged. But as expected, we had little in common and had to struggle to find a common ground. Israelis, on the other hand, after picking up my American accent, immediately related to us differently - the color was more a 'cosmetic' issue for Israelis. That goes for any Israeli perceptions of me and any persons of African descent. Here's a great example:

When I first came to Israel, I was a permanent resident for several years. Just as I'd decided to change my status to new immigrant, my father passed away in the USA so I went right away to the States. As fate would have it, my residency papers expired while there, but of course I still had an American passport. When I returned to Israel, found myself going through immigration at the same time as a young Nigerian man. Immigration could see from my passport that I'd been here several years and of course I showed them the expired residency papers & explained the situation in grammatically correct Hebrew. The immigration official then moved on to the Nigerian man, who spoke no Hebrew, followed his request in English to enter on a tourist visa as best he could, then called a supervisor. I explained my story again in Hebrew, the supervisor gave the officer a strange look, and asked in Hebrew, 'What's the problem? Let her in.' The Nigerian man was sent away. Never did find out what the issue was with him, probably fear of an illegal worker.

A personal note on the ethnic thing. Since coming to Israel, I've often been in work situations with immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Since we both grew up during and have memories of the Cold War years, we often start to compare notes. I've come to the conclusion that this 'neurosis' about being taken over or outdone has given us a lot in common regarding work ethic and a systemic approach to work and problem solving. More often than not, I've felt that we focus on achieving a particular goal, logical thinking and consistency. Israelis, at least from my point of view, focus more on the 'hevrey', the esprit de corp. Have to admit that I've never mastered the art of following Israeli logic. But can usually follow the logic Russian immigrants. Maybe we were two sides of the same coin after all.

2012-06-03

Godwin's Chosen People

Al-Monitor:
A new “silencing bill” (a series of laws issued by Netanyahu’s governmental majority seeking to limit the rights of the press, the Supreme Court and the Arab minority in Israel) was to be raised for discussion Wednesday, May 30 in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. There are in fact four different bills submitted by Knesset members from Kadima, Ha'ihud Ha'Leumi (the National Union, an alliance of nationalist parties) and Ha'Bayit Ha'Yehudi (the Jewish Home, a new right-wing national religious Zionist party). All these bills, although variously formulated, propose that under various conditions, the use of Nazi or Holocaust-related symbols be deemed a criminal offense entailing imprisonment. In addition, some of the proposals seek to ban the use of the term "Nazi," defined as the word "Nazi," including all its inflections, as well as any term related to Nazism, the Third Reich regime in Germany or any of its leaders or any word sounding similarly to the word "Nazi," used because of such similarity. ...

Mead on German - Russian Relations

Via Meadia:
Putin is certainly likely to enjoy some geopolitical benefits as the European Union writhes in its currency woes. But it takes more than weakened neighbors to make a great power. Putin’s Russia is essentially a limited and secondary power in the sense that its own wealth depends large on the prosperity of others. If the world economy slows, the price of oil and gas fall, and the position of whoever rules Russia weakens. The EU might suffer in such a scenario but Russia’s ability to capitalize on its neighbors’ distress will be limited by its own financial weakness. ...

2012-06-02

Happy Birthday, Stephanie

Astronomy

The stars, they are not stars
when you look up;
they are not rocks, but bits of light,
holes in the earth-cloth,
light shining through, like black paper
pin-punched, held up to the sun.
You are not you,
not even a star;
you are a hole through which
I see only shining. I can not guess
the source of the light.
There is a beyond, beyond the cloth-skin,
but so hard to reach,
like touching stars.

Stephanie McLintock 1964 - 1992

"All or Nothing": Puyallup Parents vs. CAIR

2012-06-01

Afternoon Roundup

Atlas: Obama shuns Lech Walesa. 'Walesa is not perfect, but he stood up to communism and Russian imperialism. ...' Read the rest at the link.

Jamie Glazov on the Left's Jihadist romance. 'Frontpage’s editor Jamie Glazov appeared on GBTV on May 30 to discuss the Unholy Alliance between the radical Left and Islamic Jihad. Host Erick Stakelbeck filled in for Glenn Beck.' Go there for the video. Jamie Glazov is the author of United In Hate.

Kobrin: The mosque as mother. 'Our current Salman Rushdie is the young courageous Iranian rapper Shahin Nafaji, now in hiding in Germany who has received a death threat because he wrote lyrics to his song Naqi. However, I contend it is the album cover, which broke the proverbial camel’s back of the Mahdists. The cover depicts the dome of the mosque of the 8th Shia Imam as a female breast with a rainbow flag “a la sexual diversity” as a thin impotent phallic minaret arising out of the nimple! A picture speaks a thousand words. ...' Go to the link for the rest of Kobrin's analysis - Freudian analysis, to be exact.

Flame

This week, the Russian firm Kaspersky disclosed the existence of a massive computer virus, dubbed Flame, more powerful than Stuxnet and infecting computers around the Middle East, particularly in Iran. Here's a roundup of what we know so far.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon hinted that Israel might have had a hand in the creation of Flame. 'Asked about the attack, Ya'alon told IDF Radio: "Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a meaningful threat – it is reasonable he would take various measures, including this one."'

Now the New York Times reports that President Obama ordered an escalation of cyber attacks against Iran begun by President Bush. According to the Times report, the project was codenamed Olympic Games.

Flame was written in LUA, the same language used to create the popular Angry Birds game.
Flame is described as enormously powerful and large, containing some 250,000 lines of code, making it far larger than other such cyberweapons. Yet it was built with gamer code, said Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force Intelligence officer who now consults in the national security arena.

“The people who developed the malware … found an ingenious way to use a code not part and parcel of a hacker’s normal arsenal, and that made it harder to detect,” he told Fox News.

But this new weapon is twenty times the size of earlier cyberbombs and far more powerful, making it practically an army on its own, said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Labs. ...

Mikko Hypponen: Why we missed it.



DIL2 posted about Flame / Olympic Games in today's Morning Report.

Jewish Chronicle: Russian Emigration From Israel

Jewish Chronicle:
Dov Maimon, senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Institute, said that Israel has failed to make the migrants feel an affinity to the state. “This is the main reason that they leave the country — even more than financial difficulties,” he told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.

Israeli policymakers are resigned to the reality that the volatile security situation will see some citizens leave in search of a calmer life. But they will be disturbed by the idea that the emigration phenomenon results from their failure to make migrants feel Israeli — after all, one of the country’s greatest sources of pride is its effective absorption of migrants.

Dr Maimon’s research tells a difficult truth. In the euphoria of the fall of the Iron Curtain, Israel glossed over the challenge of how it would integrate the many thousands of immigrants who were making aliyah under the Law of Return but who had no connection to the Jewish community or Judaism apart from one Jewish ancestor, and who, in many cases, followed another religion. ...