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Son of Ariel Sharon Makes Frightening Gaza Comments

Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, has written a sickening op-ed in the Jerusalem Post expressing a desire to ‘flatten’ Gaza, and even, it seems, suggest using nuclear weapons against the impoverished refugees:

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

According to Sharon, there it no such thing as an innocent Gazan – they elected Hamas, so must be collectively punished for the actions of their government:

The desire to prevent harm to innocent civilians in Gaza will ultimately lead to harming the truly innocent: the residents of southern Israel. The residents of Gaza are not innocent, they elected Hamas. The Gazans aren’t hostages; they chose this freely, and must live with the consequences.

I try to keep personal emotion out of my analysis, particularly when it comes to the situation in Israel. I am of Jewish heritage, so was initially blindly pro Israel before I understood the complex history of the region. I decided to keep ethnic pride out of the equation when assessing the conflict, and now understand the situation to be a tragic example of colonialism and occupation – sadly on behalf of my own people. While I am able to distance myself from the tribal emotion of it all, I can’t help but feel utterly depressed when reading dehumanizing hate mongering by figures like Gilad Sharon – a Jew who should be ashamed of himself given the history of his own people.



Congratulations, Chicago: Your City Now Has The Most Expensive Parking Meters In The U.S. ($6.50hr)

In a move that will earn it the dubious honor of being home to North America’s most expensive parking meters, Chicago’s downtown meters will start charging parkers $6.50 an hour starting on New Year’s Day, up from $5.75. It’s the highest rate for a downtown area and the fifth year the city’s parking meter rates have gone up. Umm, so, congratulations?

By the end of February Chicago Parking Meters LLC will have all machines set to new rates by the end of February, says CBS Chicago. Since that company took control of the city’s meters in 2008, rates have kept rising. It secured the lucrative contract under a 75-year lease championed by former Mayor Richard M. Daley.



Pro-Gun Blogger Retaliates Against Database By Publishing Newspaper Staff’s Personal Info

The publisher and staff of The Journal News in New York state found themselves the subject of what hackers call a “dox” on Thursday, after a blogger retaliated against their database of gun permit holders by publishing an extensive list of personal information for dozens of people connected to the paper.

The list includes items like hobbies of staffers who weren’t involved in producing the story, phone numbers, email addresses and even home addresses. Links to social media accounts even featured photos of the editor’s children, which the blog actively promoted.

Appearing on CNN Thursday morning, blogger Christopher Fountain of the “For What It’s Worth” blog said he was “offended” that the paper would release public information about gun owners and said he wanted the publisher of The Journal News to understand why he’s so upset. “I just thought they were being hypocrites,” he said.

The paper’s publisher, Janet Hansson, offered a defense on Wednesday of her decision to run the article, telling Politico: “We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.”


Raw Story (http://s.tt/1xI38)

Israel to Review Law Prohibiting Women From Praying at Western Wall After Arrests

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
December 26, 2012|3:28 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a law prohibiting women wearing ritual garments from praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem will be reviewed, after a series of arrests last week sparked an outcry.

"The prime minister thinks the Western Wall has to be a site that expresses the unity of the Jewish people, both inside Israel and outside the state of Israel," said Ron Dermer, Netanyahu's senior adviser, according to The New York Times. "He wants to preserve the unity of world Jewry. This is an important component of Israel's strength."

A group of Israeli women called Women of the Wall have been protesting against a 2003 Israeli Supreme Court decision that prohibited women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls at the site, a right which is traditionally reserved for men.

Groups like Women of the Wall have insisted that the holy site belongs to all Jewish people regardless of gender, and they say they defend the rights of women who take up pilgrimages to pray at the Western Wall. A number of arrests by police officers apprehending women dressed in shawls in the past few months, however, have sparked an international outcry.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/israel-to-review-law-prohibiting-women-from-praying-at-western-wall-after-arrests-87247/#kr28z5KstfYZoQb1.99

Egypt Opposition Leaders Probed Over Allegations Of Incitement To Overthrow President

Source: Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's chief prosecutor ordered an investigation on Thursday into allegations that opposition leaders committed treason by inciting supporters to overthrow Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The probe by a Morsi-appointed prosecutor was launched a day after the president called for a dialogue with the opposition to heal rifts opened in the bitter fight over an Islamist-drafted constitution just approved in a referendum. The opposition decried the investigation as a throwback to Hosni Mubarak's regime, when the law was used to smear and silence opponents.

The probe was almost certain to sour the already tense political atmosphere in the country.

The allegations were made initially in a complaint by at least two lawyers sent to the chief prosecutor earlier this month. They targeted opposition leaders Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and former head of the U.N. nuclear agency, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, and Hamdeen Sabahi. Both Moussa and Sabahi were presidential candidates who competed against Morsi in the last election.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egypts-prosecutor-orders-an-investigation-into-claims-opposition-plotted-to-overthrow-regime/2012/12/27/c6ac1faa-5025-11e2-835b-02f92c0daa43_story.html

Israel's New Supreme Court: Liberalism Don't Live Here Anymore

Last week, Judge Noam Sohlberg was appointed to the Israeli Supreme Court (which, in Israel, is also the High Court of Justice, a court of judicial review carrying important constitutional functions). Sohlberg will thus become the first settler judge in Israel’s history.

Being a settler, Sohlberg has a clear conflict of interests, since he will have the authority to rule on appeals against government policies violating International Law, while himself violating International Law on a daily basis. In fact, he has a personal and political interest in continuing to legitimise Israel’s ongoing and expanding illegal settlement project.

Sohlberg is not an outstanding judge. He has a proven record of controversial anti-liberal rulings in lower courts, some of which were later reversed. For example, he rejected an appeal to allow registration of nationality in Israeli ID cards as “Israeli” rather than “Jewish” or “Arab;” he supported the state against an Israeli living abroad, after his passport wasn’t renewed because he did not return to do military service; and he acquitted a policeman who shot a man dead (a ruling which was later reversed unanimously by the Supreme Court).

Sohlberg also accepted several high-profile right-wing libel claims against the media, including one by a military officer against the Channel 2 TV investigative program ‘Uvda’; and rejected a slander claim against extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir, who called an Arab MK ‘a Nazi’, in court. A few years ago he also rejected a libel claim against the settler newspaper ‘HaTzofeh,’ filed by author B. Michael, a senior satirical writer, for calling him (in 2003) “one of the greatest anti-Semites in the world.” According to Michael, the ruling “ranged from strange to absurd” and “was an attempt to alter the facts to suit the outcome.” Indeed Sohlberg’s ruling was later annulled by a higher proceeding, and the newspaper was forced to print an apology.



Don’t Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel

POLITICAL movements that depend on broad popular support but are driven by extremists can eventually become self-destructive — a lesson the Republican Party learned at great cost in November, and which the gun-rights lobby may be about to learn in the wake of the latest school shooting.

There is also a lesson here for American Jewish leaders, who increasingly tremble in the face of a small minority of zealots, whose vision of Israel’s future diverges from that of the majority of American Jews and clashes with core American values of freedom and democracy.

Such extremism is once again on display as the pro-Israel right, including groups like the Emergency Committee for Israel, mounts a furious campaign against the potential nomination of the former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.

Fifteen years ago, Mr. Hagel — whose sins include advocating dialogue to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and suggesting that many on Capitol Hill are afraid of the “Jewish lobby” — would have been deemed someone Israel’s supporters in Washington could work with.



Financial Madness Behind The College Bowl Schedule

By Brad Flory | brad@lifeinplaid.com

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012,

JACKSON, MI – Football is one of my great loves, but lately it is a love tainted by harsh questions.

Have American colleges gone crazy over all these bowl games? Or are they merely gullible when spending money? It’s a tough call.


The overload of games would be fine except colleges, which are usually public institutions supported by taxpayers, abandon financial sanity for the dubious honor of making the watered-down field. Universities invited to bowl games agree to buy thousands of tickets, guaranteeing income for promoters.

Colleges often – not always, but often – cannot sell their “allotment” of tickets because few people want them. They pay full price for empty seats.

Michigan State University reportedly (and predictably) sold about 3,000 of its 11,000 tickets to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday in Arizona.
Face value of those tickets is $25 to $125. If the average price is $50, MSU will lose about $400,000 by purchasing 8,000 empty seats.



New Home Sales Climb To Highest Rate Since April 2010

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New single-family home sales accelerated in November to the fastest pace in 2 1/2 years and median sales price jumped from the same month in 2011, signs that the U.S. housing recovery is gaining some steam.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday sales climbed 4.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted 377,000-unit annual rate. That was in line with analysts' forecasts of a 378,000-unit annual pace.

Government data for new home sales are subject to substantial revisions. Indeed, the Commerce Department cut its estimate for sales in October by 7,000 to a 361,000-unit rate.
The annual sales pace for November was the quickest since April 2010.

This year, the housing sector has been point of strength in an economy beset by flagging business confidence and cooling demand abroad. The median home price of a new home rose to $246,200, up 14.9 percent from the same month in 2011.

Read more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/home-sales-climb-highest-rate-150507340.html

Iranian Fleet Is Training To Block The Hormuz Strait

Source: Voice of Russia

The Iranian navy will start naval exercises code-named “Velayat-91” or “Supremacy-91” in the Hormuz Strait and the north of the Indian Ocean by the end of the week, Iranian navy commander Habibollah Sayyari told reporters.

According to him, during the manoeuvres that will be conducted in line with international law advanced weapons and tactics will be used.

The exercises will start on Saturday and will continue for six days. During the exercises the Iranian Navy will test the capability of its missile systems, warships and submarines.

Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_12_25/Iranian-fleet-is-training-to-block-the-Hormuz-strait/


Report: Iran plans Hormuz Strait naval maneuvers

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran is planning naval maneuvers in international waters near strategic Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of world oil supply passes, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

The report quoted Iran's navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the maneuvers will begin Friday from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern part of Indian Ocean in an area of about 1 million square kilometers (400,000 square miles).

Iran in the past threatened to close the strait over Western sanctions aimed at its suspect nuclear program but has not repeated the threat lately.

Sayyari said Iran will test-fire missiles and deploy vessels and submarines during the six-day war games.


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