Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jews in the News

An Arab gunman opens fire in a Seattle Jewish center, killing one person and wounding others....witnesses say the man shouted 'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel.'

Meanwhile, actor Mel Gibson was arrested for DUI and made some not-so-unusual remarks:
According to the report, in addition to threatening the arresting deputy and trying to escape, Gibson said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the officer, James Mee, "Are you a Jew?"
Seems like there's an Australian angry at Israel, too. Of course, any Jew who's seen The Passion of the Christ couldn't have missed that message.

After killing over 50 civilians (30 of them children) in their favorite Lebanese target practice city, Qana, Isreal agreed to a 48-hour cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the UN post in El-Khiam that came under "unprovoked" Israeli attack was actually being used as a shield by Hezbollah. The Ottawa Citizen has details:
"A Canadian Forces infantry officer with the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the only Canadian serving as a UN military observer in Lebanon, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener was no stranger to fighting nearby.

The UN post, he wrote in the e-mail, afforded a view of the "Hezbollah static positions in and around our patrol Base."

"It appears that the lion's share of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah has taken place in our area," he wrote, noting later it was too dangerous to venture out on patrols.

The e-mail appears to contradict the UN's claim there had been no Hezbollah activity in the vicinity of the strike.

The question of Hezbollah's infiltration of the area is significant because UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, speaking Tuesday just hours after the bombing, accused the Israelis of the "apparently deliberate targeting" of the base near Khiam in southern Lebanon."
What a mess.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bin Laden and the Wrath of Bush

Funny Clip from You Tube with Bush speech merged with Khan "he tasks me, so I shall have him" from Star Trek II. What's not funny is that the CIA has closed down its Bin Laden office, so apparently Bin Laden won't be chased 'round Perdition's flames by Bush.


Amtrak - off track

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a recent 2-part series on Amtrak (part 1 is here). Among the gems from former Amtrak head David Gunn (who used to head SEPTA here in Philadelphia, plus Metro down in DC):
Throughout his conflict with the administration, Gunn said senior transportation officials repeatedly suggested that Amtrak could revitalize itself by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - like a bankrupt airline, it could void its labor contracts.

"Oh, I think they felt... somehow, out of the wreckage, would come a new company," Gunn said.

But he said that bankruptcy for Amtrak could have caused a service shutdown - in a way it never would for an airline - because of the nature of the passenger rail business, which is mostly unprofitable and lacks competition....

It has never turned a profit, and requires billions of dollars in government subsidies.

And that is the problem, Gunn said. Because no other company has Amtrak's experience running a national passenger rail service, Gunn said it was highly improbable that any other rail line could have stepped in had Amtrak gone out of business. The airline industry offers no comparison, he said, because its losses are smaller and another airline is always available to take over the business of companies that fail.

When he tried to explain this to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Gunn said he got little response.

"It was like talking to a mannequin," Gunn said of a meeting with Mineta on June 13 last year, the only business meeting he had with Mineta during his 31/2-year term as Amtrak president. "He never showed any intellectual engagement in terms of dealing with the problem."

When British Rail was dissolved in the 1980s, expectations were that private industry could surely do a better job than a government-run enterprise. Results have been almost uniformly bad - train crashes, trains almost always running behind schedule, lack of coordination between the numerous private rail systems, and continued decay of infrastructure.

Would US companies do any better? Probably not. The only profit center is the Northeast Corridor (which is not immune to power failures). Amtrak loses money on scenic but costly long-distance routes elsewhere in the country - what company would buy into those routes just to lose money?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Strikeouts for Troops - check it out, and donate!

Strikeouts for Troops is our latest link. It's for a good cause. A little background:

Strikeouts for Troops™ is a national project founded by Oakland Athletics pitcher Barry Zito, for the benefit of our war wounded being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital and other military hospitals for injuries received during service in Afghanistan, Iraq and other assignments around the world.

Barry Zito will donate $200 to Strikeouts For Troops for every strikeout he throws during the 2006 season and has invited other baseball players to join him in this effort to help our American Soldiers.

Strikeouts For Troops provides funds for "comforts of home" by helping to make the recovery time for an injured solider a little easier and also assists with travel and housing expenses for their families.
Pitchers and position players both participate, and of course the general public can donate as well.

Participating players with home runs are mentioned daily on Fox Sports Radio's First Team on Fox with Steve Czaban (M-F, 6 AM - 9AM Eastern).

- Peter

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Casey vs. Santorum

Saw and heard some anti-Casey ads yesterday and today. Yesterday's radio ad, on WNTP-990 AM in New Jersey, blasted Casey for favoring amnesty for illegal aliens. Unfortunately for Santorum, the ad appeared during Michael Medved's afternoon show, right after the host pointed out that only about 15% of Americans favor mass deportation, and that about 80 percent of talk-radio listeners favor earned amnesty (and of that 80percent, at least 70 percent consider themselves conservatives). Priceless.

- P

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Korean Missiles, Jersey Casinos and Lots of Egos

North Korea fired seven missiles (which didn't go far), but in far more important news, the Atlantic City casinos are open once again, after New Jersey's budget is approved. What do these events have in common? Men in power with out-of-control egos. While New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is surely not as evil as "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il, Corzine's power play in shutting down non-essential state functions for several days last week reeked of the same smell.

From the Trentonian:
The shutdown furloughed 45,000 state workers, including the state casino inspectors who by law must be present in New Jersey’s 24-hour casinos. That forced the gambling halls to close, idling about 36,000 people and turning the bustling casino mecca into a ghost town.

Yet this was not your typical Democratic-Republican showdown over high taxes in New Jersey. Instead, it marked a deep split between Corzine and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr over whether to increase Jersey's already high sales tax.

Ugly, ugly, ugly.