Today's Blogs

Israel Retaliates

Bloggers respond to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, express relief about the defeated flag-burning amendment, and scoop out the inner mush of the Man of Steel.

Israel retaliates: After an attack by Palestinian militants Sunday on an Israeli military outpost that resulted in the kidnapping of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the IDF launched a series of sorties Wednesday against three bridges and a power station in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said “extreme steps” may be taken to retrieve Shalit. Bloggers contentiously analyze the situation.

The conservative New York psychoanalyst behind ShrinkWrapped agrees with a New York Sun editorial calling the attack on Israeli military outposts an act of war, not terrorism: “The illusory ‘peace process’ depends on Israel getting their soldier and their student back intact, yet the Palestinians, indeed, Islamic fascists in general, have rarely shown themselves able to defer the gratification of torturing and murdering Jews and other infidels in the service of any particular real-world benefit.”

Cosmopolitan conservative Alexandra von Maltzan at All Things Beautiful goes over the monthslong timeline that enabled the militants’ incursion: “Ariel Sharon had slipped into permanent coma; Kadima was set to win the elections; Ehud Olmert revealed his disengagement plan. Meanwhile, aid moneys were withheld and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas’ dovish efforts needed to be derailed. We were told that Hamas was split between those who wanted to govern peacefully and the militants; something needed to be done to ensure the continuation of the ‘Holy War’. Attacking military positions inside Israel and capturing a wounded IDF soldier is just the ticket.”

However, lefty Middle East guru Juan Cole at Informed Comment sees things differently: “The US press has, as far as I can see, been irresponsible in not broadcasting much about the prologue to the present violence, the Israeli military’s bombing of civilians on a Gaza beach earlier in the month. This atrocity was on the front page of every Arabic language newspaper every day for a while earlier this month. We cannot understand the region if we cannot understand how outraged they are, and the source of the outrage.”

“Y-Love,” an Ethiopian Jew living in Brooklyn, is fearful that Shalit, along with the captured Israeli settler Eliyahu Asheri, will be murdered. From this is babylon, he observes: “The [Popular Resistance Committee] said that they will avenge the death of their leader (and founder) Jamal Abu-Samhadana, who was killed by IDF forces at the beginning of June. This was a high-profile offing, and was covered—extensively—in the Arabic-speaking world. The PRC formed a ‘special abductions unit’ designed to concentrate exclusively on kidnapping Israelis from the West Bank. I’m sure they’re still furious about Samhadana’s killing.”

Read more about the Israeli counterstrike and its ramifications.

Up in smoke: A single vote is all that kept the Senate from moving forward on a constitutional amendment to ban burning the American flag. The idea of adding to the Constitution to proscribe what many believe is a freedom enshrined within that very document has got cyberspace worried about that lone “nay.”

“Legionnaire” at the lefty Suicide Girls thinks flag-burning is right up there with the Red Menace on the list of American crises: “This form of protest fell out of fashion about thirty years ago, likely when protesters realized that it was a quick and effective way to make sure that no one gave a second thought to the topic you were attempting to address because they were so irritated by you burning their flag.” The Moderate liberal student behind the Minnesota-based North Star Politics is bothered by the resolution’s narrow failure: “One of the most unpleasant is retiring, nothing-left-to-lose Sen. Mark Dayton’s yea vote. Even more disgusting is that Sen. Dayton is a cosponsor of the amendment, and has been for a year. I’ve said it before, but Dayton has lost my support.”

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review breaks slightly with his conservative cohort on this issue (the magazine’s editorial position is that flag burning should fall within the jurisdiction of states.) Holding forth fromThe Corner, Goldberg argues: “[A]s a political matter, I think the effort is proof of its own futility. Any respect for the flag that requires a constitutional amendment or congressional statute is respect in name only.”

Read more about the flag-burning amendment.

So-so man: Superman Returns hits the box office today to middling reviews. Bloggers were more generous, even if they were similarly put off by the schmaltz and bombast of the revived franchise.

Chris at L&N Line, a blog devoted to sports and movies, qualifies his overall favorable take on the film: “What isn’t a success is sort of the patchwork plot—the whole ‘going back to Krypton’ angle seems pretty phony after you watch this, a mere device in order to get Superman ‘back’ and have all sorts of complications like the is-he-or-isn’t-he-Superman’s-child subplot.”

New Zealander Tim Selwyn at Tumeke! liked it, too, even if a few kitsch details from the comic didn’t transfer so well to celluloid: “Spacey’s Luther, apart from being bald and therefore evil, was rather a positive, charming, cultured sort of chap. The lack of a real evil streak of personal nastiness means his threats to kill billions is all a bit theoretical and unbelievable. If he had tortured some guy with his own hands then maybe he would get some respect. The violence is all very lite.”

Read more about the superhero sequel.