Friday, 31 July 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Regarding Celestine Bohlen’s “Telling Israel no: Obama’s bold move” (Letter from Europe, July 29): The Palestinians are not in any way, shape or form ready to negotiate; they are split in a million pieces. The Palestinian Authority is corrupt and ineffectual; Hamas is terrorizing Gaza’s population; Gaza is hemmed in on all sides by Egypt and Israel; Iran is a mess.
What good does it do to pressure Israel on settlements when the other partner in the conflict is in never-never land?
This has been the story all along. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate seriously; the Israelis take more land. In the end, there won’t be any land to negotiate over.
Andrea Moriah, Jerusalem
James Carroll (“A shared Jerusalem,” Views, July 28) writes that “President Obama has replaced the Bush policy of hands-off with a gloves-off readiness to push all parties hard.”
Can Mr. Carroll point to anything at all that Mr. Obama has done that could be interpreted as pushing the Palestianians?
Tuvia Fogel, Milan
Sarah seems happily oblivious that she benefited from Hollywood casting techniques. Just as movie directors have beautiful young actresses playing nuclear physicists and Harvard professors, knowing the fusion of sex appeal and a heavyweight profession will excite, the novelty of a beautiful former beauty queen and TV reporter cast in a powerful role that has featured dour, gray old men like Dick Cheney was thrilling. At first.
As McCain pal and Republican strategist Mike Murphy so sagely observed recently: “If Palin looked like Golda Meir, would we even be talking about her today?”
Sarah should follow her own advice to Hillary and work harder to be capable. Until then, she’s all cage, no bird.
...a 59-year-old man who had played his opening two rounds in this tournament with a 16-year-old Italian amateur — was able to best the greatest golfers in the world at least a decade after anyone would have dreamt it possible.
...This wonderful but cruel game never stops testing or teaching you. “The only comment I can make,” Watson told me after, “is one that the immortal Bobby Jones related: ‘One learns from defeat, not from victory.’ I may never have the chance again to beat the kids, but I took one thing from the last hole: hitting both the tee shot and the approach shots exactly the way I meant to wasn’t good enough. ... I had to finish.”
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Mr. Obama’s quest for diplomacy has appeared to Israelis as dangerous American naïveté. The president offered a hand to the Iranians, and got nothing, merely giving them more time to advance their nuclear program.
Mr. Obama seems to have confused American Jews with Israelis. We are close emotionally and politically, but we are different. We speak Hebrew and not English, we live in the Middle East and have separate historical narratives. Mr. Obama’s stop at Buchenwald and his strong rejection of Holocaust denial, immediately after his Cairo speech, appealed to American Jews but fell flat in Israel. Here we are taught that Zionist determination and struggle — not guilt over the Holocaust — brought Jews a homeland. Mr. Obama’s speech, which linked Israel’s existence to the Jewish tragedy, infuriated many Israelis who sensed its closeness to the narrative of enemies like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
....Mr. Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze. For starters, mainstream Israelis rarely have anything to do with the settlements; many have no idea where they are, even when they’re a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv....
The crumbling stone walls that surround the Tian Zi Fang neighbourhood in Shanghai belie a colourful and fascinating corner of the city, with a cosmopolitan mixture of shops, restaurants and galleries.
Its cluster of tiny Shikumen cottages, some brightly painted, others their original dull grey, are criss-crossed by narrow alleys festooned with colourful banners, Chinese lanterns and the odd bit of revolutionary zeal. It's a place of contrasts, reflecting China's past and future, and is as much home to locals as to foreign entrepreneurs, designers and tourists.Inside the former 1920s commune, the smells of Thai noodles, Italian coffee and ginseng tea waft through the photo galleries, CD stores and boutiques. Symbols of the Great Leap Forward are mixed with modern iconography: hanging in a makeshift al fresco gallery, chisel-jawed communist soldiers are juxtaposed with KFC logos and the golden arches of McDonald's, and in a silk boutique figurines of Mao dressed in a green great coat are immersed in an aquarium with Chinese carp.
Kommune was the first Western restaurant to start up in Tian Zi Fang, opening to meet the caffeine needs of a band of Australian expatriates.
Visitors to the restaurant's weekly Great Aussie Barbecue have included the Australian consul general and the head of Qantas, and there are rumours an Australian ex-prime minister will don a Kommune apron in the coming months.
Monday, 27 July 2009
The great obstacle to Middle East peace is not that Jews insist on living among Arabs. It is that Arabs insist that Jews not live among them.
"Submission to Hong Kong Government, to legitimize the use of environmentally-friendly e-bikes in Hong Kong", Peter Forsythe, May 2008. Here.
- Current level: 13 times earnings (I forget if this was trailing or forward, though if I recall, they're most often on forward earnings)
- Average of last five decades: 16.5 times
- If stocks were to increase in price to 16.5 times earnings, the market would need to go up 26%.....
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Friday, 24 July 2009
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Down to the Plaza yesterday to catch the eclipse over HK -- just 75% occluded, but I thought should be good, and was right -- perfect clear day and so relaxing down by Pacific Coffee, watching the moon, crisp and black, slide over the dark yellow sun. Much longer than I thought, overall lasted from 08:15 to 10:32 (or thereabouts....)