Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hearsay and Israel

In law school, I spent about 2+ months of my life trying to wrap my head around the federal "hearsay" rules that apply to evidence admitted into court.  Basically, anything asserting to be the truth that is not stated in front of the fact-finder cannot be used.  You would think that a similar principle would apply in the world of journalism, specifically, that you don't report on something without an eyewitness or some other indicia of reliability.  It's common sense that you should not report gossip or half-truths as the facts. Right??  Unfortunately, sometimes the (American) media likes to use partial truths when reporting something negative to soften the blow, only to quietly release the truth later when no one is really paying attention or when people have already formed their opinions anyway.

When bin Laden's death was intially reported, the military correspondent on NPR that I listened to decidedly said "bin Laden was armed with a gun at the time of the attack."  Later, it was said that, "bin Laden may or may not have been armed, but he certainly put up a fight."  And finally, "bin Laden was not armed."  Well...?  Is there really any excuse for that?
I have been moderately following the recent Nakba Day Israeli/Palestinian clash- I still consider both of those peoples my friends and I hate when I hear these things.  The line that was the biggest hearsay offender from a recent NYT article said:
    "Commentary in newspapers and on airwaves in both Israel and the Palestinian areas suggested that what took place Sunday might serve as a dress rehearsal for the coming year, posing a serious challenge to Israel."

A. Note that they generically said "commentary" not ____ newspaper or _____news station or Near Eastern Studies Expert John Doe stated...  For all we know, some dude on the street called into their local radio and made an out -of-the-blue accusation that is now considered an expert prophesy thanks to the New York Times.

B. It's the Palestinian "area" not actually Palestine.  That whole area of the world can be called "the Palestine area" but phrasing it like this makes it sound like Palestinians are admitting that they are planning some mass attack on Israel within the year.  That is clearly misleading.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post is talking about how the Egyptian Foreign Minister Elaraby was instrumental in creating the alliance between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, because he believes that together these groups could help Palestine become a recognized state which would have more responsibility and be held to the standards set by the UN, thereby helping to promote peace for Israel in the future. (I happen to agree)  But of course you don't see this on US headlines because the Obama Administration considers Egypt their baby and does not want it out that Egypt may have a different agenda relating to Israeli/Palestinian relations than the US has because it will make all of our (pathetic) efforts to promote reform in Egypt look wasteful!

And may I just say how disappointed I am in the Israeli army?  Seeing a bunch of frustrated Palestinians marching was honestly just a convenient excuse to shoot a few of them.  What were the Palestinians armed with? Rocks?!  If they really believed this to be a military offensive, its time for the Israeli military to re-think their training methods.

My Hero! :(

I remember a VERY long time ago at a friend's birthday party in elementary school thinking about my heroes.  We had been watching the high-quality film "Spice World" featuring the Spice Girls- admittedly my favorite singing group at the time- and my friend's mom commented to my mom about how it was nice to have such good role models for us girls...meaning the Spice Girls were good role models!  This launched my mom into a lecture our whole drive home about how most famous people, the Spice Girls included, are NOT to be idealized and made into heroes, and that they usually have really immoral personal lives, etc.

I distinctly remember feeling like I had no heroes.  This whole situation made me realize that there really wasn't anyone famous that I actually wanted to be like (so my mom was actually preaching to the choir, though she made a valid point).  This was true until I became the nerdy little President of the high school club Junior Statesmen of America and I become obsessed with Arnold :)

He effectively staged an unprecedented coup of the California governorship (which was awesome, and SO true to our democratic roots!) AND he was in photographs all over the walls of our high school weightroom demonstrating proper form in a Speedo!  How much cooler could this guy get?!

I recall him presenting initiatives to the public to vote on and then even when the voters shot all of them down, he would graciously make a statement to the effect of "Well, I guess it's a good thing I asked!"  I felt that he really respected the democratic process and that he was very mindful of not abusing the power he had been entrusted with by the people.  I respect him a lot!  (And don't you just love him on those Visit California commercials?!)

So when I heard that he and his wife had separated, I was sad (even though she truly is scary looking...a little plastic surgery goes a long way...) And then when the news about his so-called "love child" surfaced I was EXTREMELY disappointed in my homeboy Arnold :(  But I will say this, given the extensive custody work that I have done as a law student, I give props to any man who is current on his child support! haha  But seriously, I am very disheartened.  I guess my mom was right, the people in the media that we idolize often have pretty messed up personal lives and their morality has often been thrown out the window long ago.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Secretly, I'm holding onto the theory that the baby mama was payed to seduce him by political rivals who want to make sure that there is NO way that he would ever be able to run for President ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Justice for Osama

A monumentous day.   A time for much–needed closure.  When I found out that Osama Bin Laden, the heart and soul of an evil entity known as al Qaeda, had been killed in a US military strike it brought me to tears.  I intently listened on the news to the wife of the pilot on one of the airplanes hijacked on 9/11 who attended one of many Sunday night patriotic rallies across the nation (including one right here in my very own Carlisle, PA!)- she spoke of how that the rally she attended was where she and her son needed to be.  That their hearts belonged among those celebrating the end of the man who had formulated the plan that took the lives so many innocent people, including her husband.   The plan that shook the United States forever and covered the world with fear. 

The father of a US soldier killed in Afghanistan also attended a rally with an American flag and a photograph of his son in uniform, expressing that he finally has closure, he feels like his son did not give his life in vain.

For out nation, this has been a long time coming.  When I was in high school (which is starting to become a long time ago…) student wore shirts with this on it:

10 years we have been waiting for justice.  Even though I have strong beliefs about the rights of the accused and I feel that even the most heinous of people deserve due process of law so that justice can be served, there is something very comforting about knowing that now, on the other side, this man is facing God’s perfect justice and every terrible think that he ever did and contributed to is known to his Omnipotent Judge.


(Okay, okay, so I just finished book-on-taping Dante’s Inferno and I can’t get the image out of my head of Osama’s feet dangling out of the mouth of a demon…)