Archive for February, 2008

"Time is running out": Prince Abdullah of Jordan’s speech at Princeton University

Friday, February 29th, 2008

King Abdullah II, the reigning monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan just concluded a fifteen-minute speech at Princeton University, at the invitation of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The speech started a few minutes after twelve noon and had been announced as,

King Abdullah will address the future of Arab-American relations in the context of the Middle East’s current challenges, particularly how to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which Jordan views as the most significant issue facing the region.

The main theme was, “Time is running out”, a phrase he repeated several times during this brief speech.

King Abdullah stated that 2008 is a critical year for the solution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, and that “we need the USA completely involved to ensure a final agreement by end of 2008.”

He wants America’s strong authority to act switfly, as the only time there has been peace in the Middle East has been when America took a strong leadership role: “If we fail to resolve the core problem of the region it’ll become significantly harder for the countries of the region to work with America, and [those countries] will move further away from common principles of mutual respect and partnership.”

He specifically asked for a homeland for the Palestinians, and believes that it’ll bring security and new acceptance for Israel in region, and create a new partnership berween USA and the Arab/Muslin people.

He did take three questions:
Q. Why now?
KA: Because for the 1st time moderates have gained some ground in ME, and there is a process in place now. If that process falls apart, radicals may gain ground.

Q: Will there be greater Joradnian involvement?
KA: Whatever Israel and Jordan talk, they won’t be able to solve status issues by themselves: that’s when international community and the US will need to help with the obstacles.
There will be panArab involvement – the future of Israel is bigger than a 2 state solution. We’re offering complete acceptance of Israel in the whole region up to and including Indonesia, that third of the world that still has no acceptance of Israel.

Q. How do you envision this Palestinian solution with Hamas in control?
Most Israelis & Pales want it. The future of the region are the 70% of the people who are under age 35 & want a future. The difficulty is the politicians who mess it up. It’s going to be the Israeli & Palestinian people saying we want peace.

Reported by Fausta Wertz directly from Princeton NJ. Copyright 2008

UPDATE, Saturday March 1
King of Jordan: U.S. must step up in Middle East

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In today’s podcast: Captain Ed

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Listen to Faustas blog on internet talk radio
Today at 11AM Eastern, Ed Morrissey drops by! Siggy will be there, too.

The chat room’s open by 10:45, and the call-in number is (646) 652-2639. Join us!

Hollywood A-List celebrity endorses staying in Iraq

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.

Angelina Jolie says so.

Why? Because she listened to Gen. Petraeus:

In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR’s need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis “to the maximum extent possible” — which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.

Michael Goldfarb has a suggestion to the presidential candidates:

She also asks each of the presidential candidates “to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.” McCain should be first in line to offer such a plan. The case for sustaining the U.S. presence there has always been based, in part, on the responsibility this country has to the people of Iraq. Let Obama explain how he’s going to assure the safe return of refugees in tandem with a withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Warner Todd Hudson wonders what the Left’s reaction would be if Obama were to embrace Angelina’s line.

Next thing you know, celebs will be saying good things about George Bush.

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The USS New York sails tomorrow

Friday, February 29th, 2008


The USS New York will be formally dedicated tomorrow. The event will be webcast at 9AM Central.

Fron the NY Sun editorial: The USS New York

Congratulations are in order to the captain and crew of the United States Ship New York, which will be formally dedicated according to Navy tradition tomorrow when a bottle of champagne is broken across her bow at the New Orleans boatyard where it was built. A Navy press release reports the warship, an amphibious transport dock ship that can carry a landing force of 800 Marines, is named New York “in honor of the state, the city and the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.” The release says 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center wreckage was melted and formed into the bow stem of the ship, symbolizing “the spirit and resiliency of the people of New York.” The ship’s first captain is himself a New Yorker, Commander F. Curtis Jones, of Binghamton. This is no small vessel — 684 feet long, it has a crew of 360 sailors and three Marines.

The Navy on Saturday will christen the New York, named in honor of the state, the city, and the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facilities in New Orleans. A unique characteristic of the ship is that 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center wreckage was incorporated into the construction process.

The ship was built by Northorp Grunman Ship Systems. Here’s the Wikipedia page.

Congratulations!

UPDATE
Rising from the ashes

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Racism, explored and exploited from the UK

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Siggy just brought this article to my attention:
Obama victory will prolong US racial divide, says British equality chief

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, claimed that the Democratic front-runner would ultimately disappoint the African-American community and dismissed the notion that he would be “the harbinger of a post-racial America” if he becomes the country’s first black President.

Let’s take a brief look at this gentleman’s occupation: he’s “equality chief”.

Would it be too harsh to say that he has a vested interest in perpetuating inequality, since otherwise there would be no point for his high-placed position in the bureaucracy?

Phillips believes that

guilt over transatlantic slavery was behind Mr Obama’s support from middle class whites

Let’s ignore, for the purposes of this post, that Barak Obama’s own mother is a middle class white. I don’t expect Phillips considered this fact when making his assertions.

The United States waged the most deadly war in its history to abolish slavery. The struggle for human rights in the United States continues to this day to ensure that every person has equal rights under the law.

Additionally, most of the middle class whites in the USA are descendants of people who immigrated from other countries AFTER the emancipation proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, or whose ancestors had arrived shortly before the Civil War, for instance, the Irish fleeing the potato famine of 1847.

None of those whites were in any kind of situation to own much property, never mind property in slave states, much less slaves.

So I’d like to ask Phillips, why should middle class whites feel any guilt over transatlantic slavery? How many middle class whites have even one ancestor who owned a plantation or worked in a trade associated with the transatlantic slavery trade?

Are there more important issues than “middle class white guilt over transatlantic slavery” to those very same middle class white prospective voters in this year’s Presidential campaign?

Phillips continues,

“If Obama can succeed, then maybe they can imagine that [Martin Luther] King’s post-racial nirvana has arrived. A vote for Obama is a pain-free negation of their own racism. So long as they don’t have to live next door to him; Obama has yet to win convincingly in white districts adjacent to black communities,” he wrote.

Record numbers of voters of every ethnic background are participating in the Democrat primaries and caucases, most of them white. Does Phillips sincerely believe they would not want to live next door to Obama but would gladly have him as Commander in Chief?

In Phillips’s mind, Bill Cosby is a “sad and lonely figure”. Cosby has laughed his way to the bank by being Bill Cosby, but let’s not tell the “equality chief”.

The “equality chief” believes that ultra-successful people like Bill Cosby and Oprah get there by “not making an issue of historical racism if their own race is not used against them”. Phillips probably didn’t have cable TV the day Oprah grilled Mark Furman over the coals during the OJ Simpson trial.

Of course, being in charge of an Equality and Human Rights Commission blinds you to the achievements any member of any minority may attain out of their own merit. The blacks who achieve, according to Phillips, do so only through cashing in on white guilt,

Mr Phillips said that there was no “British Obama” in part because the black British community was much smaller and therefore less likely to produce such high-achievers, and because “Black Britons can’t bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations?.

What does that mean, that to the “equality chief”, a black Presidential candidate is one sign of “devastating impact”?

Perhaps Phillips is embarrassed. Alvaro Vargas Llosa, writing at The New Republic (that arm of the vast right wing conspiracy),

In Europe, one senses a quiet shame. The left, which loves to criticize the Unites States for its imperial foreign policy and its discrimination against blacks and Hispanics, is not really saluting Obama. There have been few gushing articles in Italy’s La Repubblica or France’s Le Monde. And by sending the message that it might be ready to elect an African-American, a part of mainstream America is showing the industrialized world a more open-minded attitude than the United States usually gets credit for. This is particularly embarrassing in socialist Europe. Contrast the attitude of those white Americans who are ready for a President Obama with the conditions that have led France’s North African immigrants to riot on the outskirts of Paris. And have the Scandinavian countries ever generated anything comparable to Obama among the minorities who are tended to so generously as long as they don’t make too much noise?

As long as he’s secure his job, it probably doesn’t matter.

UPDATE
Here’s Erik Svane‘s letter to the IHT from June 20, 1997

As I wrote in letters to the editor to the Washington Post and the IHT 10 years ago (where it says “the/American president” below, I wrote “Clinton” at the time):

I should like to know on behalf of whom, exactly, America’s president should apologize over slavery. I myself, like the majority of today’s U.S. population, am descended from immigrants who arrived after the turn of the 20th century and therefore have nothing to do with the treatment of blacks on the plantations (or that of Indians on the plains, for that matter).

As for Americans living at the time slavery existed, over twice as many whites lived in states where slavery was illegal and where it had been so, for the most part, since before the French Revolution. The president can hardly apologize for the South either, since most whites even there — two thirds of them, to be precise — did not own a single slave.

Maybe the president should apologize for the planters and slaveholders? But they inherited the system they dwelled in, and although they certainly did little if anything to change it, in what way are they more guilty than the English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and other European nationals who introduced it in all their colonies (including, of course, the future United States) and whose only reason for not introducing it onto the European continent proper (as well as the North of the future U.S., needless to say) was the absence of a propitious climate?

And how, finally, are the above-mentioned whites more guilty than the African tribes whose warriors raided neighboring villages to sell their enemies to the Europeans?

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McCain’s Bloggers’ Call this afternoon

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Jim Geraghy at The Campaign Spot has a great summary of Sen. McCain’s Bloggers’ Call:

RedCounty Magazine: Hillary Clinton hasn’t really succeeded in contrasting her experience with Barack’s; will you be able to?

McCain: I will portray stark differences in our positions. By the way, I would not count senator Clinton out. Anybody who has counted the Clintons out in the past has seen otherwise. But if it is Senator Obama, I will be expressing my experience, background and knowledge. We’ll be arguing higher lower taxes vs. higher taxes, bigger government vs. smaller government, a government run health care system or a system based on consumer choice.

He said he would sit down, without conditions, with Raul Castro. People know Raul Castro was the executioner. He’s the bad guy. I will discuss my qualifications but I will not talk down his qualifications.

Read the whole thing.

FARC releases four more hostages

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Continuing his effort to remain relevant, Chavez has “brokered” the release of four more hostages, or so says the news,
Colombian hostages freed by Farc

Four hostages held by Colombian left-wing Farc rebels have been released, in a deal brokered by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The four had a tearful reunion with relatives after being released in the Colombian jungle to Venezuelan envoys.

The Farc says it will not free more hostages until Colombia creates a demilitarised zone for talks.

The four are former members of the Colombian congress.

The BBC assesses the situation, which has four salient elements:
1. Be releasing a few hostages at a time, the FARC keeps itself in the headlines and maintains pressure on Uribe.
2. Chavez continues to be their tool, insisting that the FARC is not a terrorist organization. The French are not impressed.
3. Unfortunately, the efforts by France to keep Ingrid Betancourt in the news have backfired, making her a most valuable hostage among all the hostages.
4. The Colombian government is on the record saying they will negociate prisoner exchanges but that there will be no demilitarized zone, and Uribe will continue his “Democratic Security” policy.

Uribe has broad support in his country, and I wish the US Congress would approve a free trade agreement with Colombia.

Gateway Pundit has more on the hostages.

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Bloomberg’s not running, and other items

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Maria tells me that Michael Bloomberg announced he’s saving himself $100 million:

I’m Not Running for President, but …, thank you for not running anyway, Mike.

Will he back McCain, or Obama?

Or will he be content with his new showbiz carreer?

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I’ve been banned in China, but have I been banned by the Air Force?
The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word “blog” in its web address.

Perhaps if I changed the blog name to Fausta’s coffee-politics-books-and-shoes parlor?

John Noonan at The Weekly Standard points out,

Also problematic is the fact that USAF bloggers have been among the most credible advocates for force-modernization plans, offering their strong support for the acquisition of the full fleet of 380 F-22s in particular. The Air Force has in one fell swoop discarded a valuable media asset, forcing the public to rely on cumbersome–and typically boring–USAF press releases instead.

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Phyllis Chesler has written a beautiful tribute to a friend, An Elegy For My Friend “Babz,” aka Barbara Seaman
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City Will Reward Students With Phones for showing up to school and behaving well. Who’s paying for the monthly service and texting fees remains unclear but at least “the program is being privately financed”.
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Speaking of schools, Betsy has the textbook case on how NOT to handle a cheating scandal: Cheating at Chapel Hill High School

Mamacita writes about Two Students: A Contrast. And Then Some More Opinionated Rants.

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How much does a house weigh?
(h/t Larwyn)
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When I turned on the TV this morning one of the talk shows was discussing whether men look good with a 3-day stubble.

The answer is NO.

If any of you guys have any doubt, the odds are that a 3-day stubble will remind ladies of Yasser, not Colin, and definitely not of Clive.

I hope that settles the issue.

You can thank me later.

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Remember that BBC paintball outing?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Last December I posted that the Beeb, rather than taking the trouble of finding law-abiding British Muslims that have completely integrated into society, and have them discuss the issues of the day at a nice restaurant, decided instead to take a few acussed terrorists paintballing on February of 2005, paying for the privilege.

All in the name of fun, while filming their program Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic.

The Been was so far above the panic stage that

Nasreen Suleaman, a researcher on the programme, told the court that Mr Hamid, 50, contacted her after the July 2005 attack and told her of his association with the bombers. But she said that she felt no obligation to contact the police with this information. Ms Suleaman said that she informed senior BBC managers but was not told to contact the police.

That is, A BBC producer failed to give police information that would have helped track down the July 21 bombers.

Hamid, by the way, referred to himself as Osama Bin London. On Tuesday he was found guilty of training men in secret camps in the Lake District and New Forest to prepare them to fight abroad, including the four failed suicide bombers of 21 July 2005.

UPDATE, Thursday February 28:
More on Osama bin London and British Terror Training Camps

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William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

From Maria,
William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82

Back in my childhood I always found him amusing. The old guy with the huge vocabulary, who was able to debate anyone without rasing his voice. And he always looked like an old Oscar Werner, too.
(Of couse, WFB would not approve of the run-in sentence).

Once I left my liberal ways, I recognized WFB’s contribution to the American conservative movement.

NRO has an excellent tribute here.

I’m sure the Good Lord told his angels to “Bring me a dictionary, Buckley’s coming.”

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