Jihad and the Culture of Hostagetaking

The disappearance and presumed kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers took place on Thursday evening, Israel time. By Friday evening, Israel time, the IDF had released their names and photos.


They are: Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach. It has been confirmed that one of these students is also an American citizen; we have not been told who that might be. Two are students at Makor Chaim yeshiva. The third is a student at Shavey Hevron yeshiva in Hebron. Perhaps the IDF hopes that releasing this information will help witnesses come forward or that humanizing the boys may lead to sympathy for them.


Last night, hundreds prayed for them at the Western Wall. Their fate was discussed at every Sabbath table including my own and in many synagogues around the world.


Since 9/11, truly, we are all Israelis. What used to happen only to Jews or mainly to Israeli Jews (hijackings, suicide/homicide bombings) remained unchecked by the world and now that same style of hatred and violence has increasingly been unleashed against civilians everywhere. We are all at the mercy of merciless, maniacal Jihadists.


When an Israeli civilian—essentially a teenager–is kidnapped, it is always an act of evil, a statement of vulgar anti-Semitism, and a rejection of the entire Western enterprise. Please bear in mind that Israel lives in a neighborhood that has exiled Jews from Arab lands, has denied that this is the case, and wishes to exterminate Jewish Israel. Read the Hamas charter, it is quite chilling. Israel is also the most stable country in the Middle East, where a Sunni-Shiia Holy War is raging out of control. It also remains a strong military power in a neighborhood in which Islamists are about to gain state power in Iraq and elsewhere.

As of this moment, elite forces are searching for the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Some experts believe that the boys may have been taken to Jordan or Syria. The discovery of a torched car is believed to have been the vehicle which may have lured the boys.

Thus far, sixteen members of Hamas have been arrested—although, despite several groups claiming responsibility, there is absolutely no credible information as to which cell or group actually executed the kidnapping.

As usual, Palestinians in Gaza are celebrating in the streets and giving out candies and cakes. They have done this regularly when suicide/homicide bombers are successful. They did this after the two Israeli reservists were lynched in Ramallah in 2000. As the Palestinians (and for that matter, the Taliban) see it, hostage taking and negotiation will open the jail doors for their terrorists. Hamas and others have a history of trading dead Jewish bodies for living Arab terrorists.

While redeeming a captive is a Jewish commandment, or mitzvah, there is also a caveat. If you pay the ransom for one, it may increase the likelihood that others will be kidnapped for money and that a particular community may soon become impoverished targets. In the thirteenth century, the Maharam of Rottenberg, Germany, refused to allow his followers to redeem him for an exorbitant price for this very reason. 


Taking and trading hostages is the way of the wild, wild Islamic East. I learned this when I lived in Kabul and even moreso when I studied Afghan and central Asian history. However, this poses an enormous dilemma for us as Americans and Westerners. Trading encourages the taking of more and more hostages—innocents who may be taken by barbarians anyway. But trading also returns the hostage. Often cash is demanded. When the actors are ideologues, they want their non-state soldiers back, so that they may enjoy parades in their honor and live to kill another day.  


The question always is: If the hostage were your son or daughter, your wife or husband, what would you want the government to do? Would you want to sacrifice your one and only precious child for the potentially larger “good?” What if that sacrifice does not diminish hostage taking anyway?


Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is about to deliver his first on-camera statement about the kidnapping, blames Abbas for having united with the Hamas, a known terrorist organization, funded by Iran, and dedicated to the destruction of Israel.


I do not believe that America should continue funding the Palestinian National Unity Government given that they are in cahoots with such devils. But that is only my humble opinion.

Source: Breitbart Feed

California Community College Tuition and Fees Lowest in U.S.

The College Board’s “Trends in Higher Education” report found that California had the lowest community college tuition and fees in the nation for the 2013 to 2014 term.

The report also determined that many of California’s community college students don’t pay any out-of-pocket tuition at all. The College Board found that a California student who pays $5,696 in tuition and fees and graduates with a community college Associates’ Degree over two years (four semesters) should expect to earn $44,800 more over their lifetime.

Based on what is considered a full semester of 15 credit units, or five courses during 2013 to 2014, California community college tuition and fees equaled $1,424. The next cheapest state is New Mexico at $1,696. Third lowest is Texas at $2,222. The national average was $3,264 — more than double the cost in California. 

The highest state tuition and fees for community college is Vermont, the second most liberal state in the nation, which charges $7,090. The next most expensive state is New Hampshire at $6,736. Third most expensive is South Dakota at $5,797.

Over the five years, from 2008-09 to 2013-14, the percentage increases in public two-year in-state tuition and fees ranged from 1% or $31 in Maine and North Dakota, to 62% or $1,375 in Georgia, to 111% or $751 in California — which still has the lowest prices in the country.

The California student who graduates with a two year community college Associates’ Degree may earn an added $44,800 of lifetime income. But after paying $8,600 in higher taxes, the California graduate would pocket $36,200 in net income over their lifetime.

The author welcomes feedback and will respond to comments by readers.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Toby Young: Anti-Semite, or the Victim of Media Bias and Delegitimisation of Israel?

One of my favourite journalists (also education-impresario, and author) Toby Young has this week been accused of being both an Islamophobe and an anti-Semite. It is of course quite possible to display anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish bigotry. Members of the British National Party (BNP) for instance, may fall into that camp.

And you can understand the Islamophobe thing. Or at least I can. Anyone out of step with the idea of turning Britain into a fully blown Islamic state is an ‘Islamophobe’ nowadays, dont cha know? Me especially, according to one Khomeinist think-tank.

But for someone like Toby, who totes loves the Jews, to be called anti-Semitic is quite bizarre. And then I saw what he had said. He explains on his Spectator blog

…I was feeling quite relaxed when the woman from ITN asked if I could give her a few words about the recent bust-up between Michael Gove and Theresa May. Wasn’t this another example of the Tory party snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

‘The whole thing is the Home Secretary’s fault,’ I said. ‘Michael Gove made some off-the-cuff remark about a minor Home Office official over lunch with some journalists and as soon as Theresa May heard about it she went ballistic. She reacted like some Israeli tank commander on being confronted by a stone-throwing Palestinian.’ I thought it was quite an amusing analogy, not least because Gove is fanatically pro-Israel. But judging from the reaction I got on Twitter, the humour was lost on most viewers.

I’ve gotta say, I don’t think this is anti-Semitic. But it is wrong, and disappointing to say the least. Funnily enough however, I’m inclined not to blame Toby.

His comment didn’t come from a place of Jew, or Israel-hatred, as so much anti-Israel imagery and comment does. His comment came from the fact that he is an impressionable human being, much like the rest of us.

For years it has been drummed into our heads by the BBC, the Guardian, Reuters, even the Times and others, how the most aggressive people in the world are those pesky Jews who have procured themselves some American weaponry by which to oppress helpless Palestinian women and children. Oh crap, now I’m doing it too!

A few years ago I exposed how the BBC used imagery to harm Israel’s reputation internationally, even in an article about the Olympics, not the Middle East Conflict. The Times newspaper has since followed suit. So it is little wonder that Israel (and subsequently, Jewish people) are stigmatised. 

It is this delegitimisation that I believe causes people like Toby to jump to the imagery he did, when searching for a simile about aggression. He could have chosen Genghis Khan, or Gordon Brown, or Christian Bale – but the mainstream media and its accompanying Pallywood lies have made Israel the current bogeyman of choice.

Only a few people see past this. For instance, Colonel Richard Kemp once told the United Nations, “…based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: during operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zones than any other army in the history of warfare”.

In the history of warfare.

But for the record, I don’t think Toby Young is an anti-Semite. I just think he’s a product of what we as British taxpayers are funding: the delegitimisation of the most free country in the Middle East on an industrial scale. 

Source: Breitbart Feed

Texas GOP Loses Grassroots Leader Daniel McCool

HOUSTON, Texas—Just last Saturday, Daniel McCool was elected by the delegates of the Senate District 11 to be their representative on the Republican Party of Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC). Less than one week later, his family, friends, loved ones and fellow Republicans are gathering in prayer to remember a man who was taken from us much too quickly. Daniel died Friday evening of a sudden heart attack shortly after coming home from his shift working traffic control in his job as a Harris County Deputy Sheriff.

This reporter spoke with Dan last weekend in Fort Worth at the Republican Party of Texas State Convention and Gala. He was very excited about his election to serve his fellow Republicans on the SREC. He looked happy and healthy and ready to begin the fight to elect Republicans in this fall’s general election. The photo above was taken of Daniel and his love, Leonila Olivares at the Party’s Gala. Now he is gone but he will not be forgotten by those he loved and those he worked with.

I met Daniel when he was running for State Senator in the 2012 Republican Primary. He was running a hard fought campaign against then State Representative Larry Taylor. Daniel lost that election, but did not slow down for a moment in continuing his work for the Republican Party he loved. When the word came out that Democrats were planning a campaign to turn Texas blue, Daniel responded with his own campaign, “Fight like a Texan”. He went to work and formed several new grassroots clubs in southeast Harris County and deeply engaged in the fight to defend Texas in the shadow of the San Jacinto Monument where he lived, worked and helped spread the Republican message.

Almost one year ago, the San Jacinto Republican Women’s Club honored Daniel for his work and achievements in southeast Harris County on behalf of Republican candidates. Over the past couple of years, it is hard to remember a Republican event in Harris County that Dan was not present for and actively working the room.

Today, his Facebook page is filling with comments from those who knew, loved and worked with him. Sandi Paulus, a graphic artist who builds websites and campaign literature for Republicans said, “His big, ol’ Texas heart just stopped. Daniel, I miss you. I thought I loved America. I thought I loved Texas. You inspired me to do more, to fight even harder for them.”

Carole Alexander commented, “You were a light in the Republican Party. You always had time to help in any way you could.”

Rex Teter served as the SREC member for the neighboring SD 6 until he was term limited out last weekend. “I first met Daniel McCool when his son Jacob started attending the school where I was teaching” Teter said. “Jacob was in kindergarten and attended my music class.  I saw Daniel with the “right brand” of stickers on his car, and we began our friendship and shared our love of conservative, Republican politics and governing.  I found out years later that I had heard of Daniel from a friend who had become involved in the community watch program….it just took a while for me to realize it was the same person.

“Daniel was always full of energy and made the best of any situation,” Teter continued. “My life has been blessed because of Daniel and his children Jacob and Abigail, and he will be missed by Leonila, his children, his family and his extended Republican family.”

Elected officials are also reaching out to express their thoughts on Dan’s passing. Last summer Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was invited to attend a 4th of July parade. The decision to attend this particular event in SD 11 was made late and it was discovered there wasn’t a float available for the Lt. Governor to ride on. In a matter of hours Dan designed and built a beautiful float and Dewhurst and his supporters road through the parade and met the people along the way.

Governor Dewhurst learned of Dan’s death while he was traveling in Europe. He reached out to Breitbart Texas and said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the recent passing of Daniel McCool. Daniel was truly committed to giving back to his community as a veteran deputy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, treasurer of the Texas Crime Prevention Association, and though his engagement in civic and political affairs. My heart and prayers go out to his family and those who loved him.”

Texas State Senator Larry Taylor, who defeated Daniel in the 2012 Republican Primary, expressed shock at the sudden death of this tireless worker. “I am shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of my friend Daniel,” Taylor said sadly. “He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and by our Party. Daniel was truly a servant of the people who gave his all.”

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia responded to a request for comment, saying, “We at the HCSO family are truly saddened by the sudden loss of Dep. Dan McCool. He was a 24 year veteran of the HCSO.”

“We are grateful for his service to our agency and the citizens of Harris County,” Garcia said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dep. McCool’s family, friends and colleagues.”

Steve Munisteri, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas said, “I was saddened to learn today of the passing of SREC member Dan McCool. I had the privilege of speaking multiple times to the Republican club which Dan was a member of. He was a dedicated and hard working Republican who will be sorely missed by the party.”

“I was looking forward to working with Dan who was just elected last Friday to the State Republican Executive Committee,” Munisteri continued. “On behalf of the Republican Party of Texas I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Dan’s family, loved ones, and friends. He will be missed.”

Outgoing Harris County GOP Chairman, Jared Woodfil, worked closely with Daniel for many years. “Daniel was a true grassroots warrior,” Woodfil expressed. “His leadership resulted in numerous Republican being elected. He understood that you grow a party, not by compromising on what you believe, but instead, by taking your values and beliefs to those communities that had not traditionally voted Republican.”

“He didn’t just walk the talk,” Woodfil said, “he walked and walked, creating Republican clubs in areas where none had existed. He will be deeply missed, but his hard work will have a lasting impact.”

Incoming Harris County GOP Chair Paul Simpson, who officially takes office on Monday, also expressed his thoughts on Daniel. “Daniel — a good man, a loyal friend, and a true patriot,” Simpson said. “I’m gonna miss you. We all will. Fare well with The Lord, Daniel. My prayers are with your family.”

Simpson went on to say, “The Republican Party lost a valiant leader when Daniel McCool passed on.”

Big Jolly Politics blogger, David Jennings called Daniel “the activist’s activist” in a tribute on his website. “Some days you want to crawl back in bed and pretend that the news you heard upon wakening was just part of a nightmare,” Jennings said. “Today is one of those days for me when I woke up to the news that my friend Daniel McCool, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy and Republican political activist.”

“When he ran for the Texas Senate in 2012,” Jennings continued, “he self-funded  the bulk of his campaign because he wanted to be truly independent and refused to take money from the insurance lobby or the trial lawyers. He was so proud of his election last week to be the SREC committeeman for SD11 because the party activists that elected him recognized his years of volunteer work for the cause of conservative Republicans.”

Houston conservative radio talk-show host Michael Berry paid tribute to Daniel during his show this morning. “Daniel was a guy who was always doing something,” Berry began, “organizing events, organizing a voter drive, helping a candidate to win an election, helping to raise money for something, or taking an extra job. He was the guy that if you needed people to go to the capitol to protest a bad law he would make twenty calls to see who he could get to join him, but he was going to drive. He would go pick up anybody that needed to be picked up. He was never too proud to do whatever needed to be done to get it done.”

You can hear Michael Berry’s entire statement by visiting his radio archive.

I spoke this morning with a deeply shocked and saddened Leonila Olivares whom Daniel was planning on asking to be his wife later this month. She was with him when he returned home from work last night, not feeling well. He collapsed in her living room chair and she called 911. The ambulance was only just down the street and the hospital was walking distance. Despite the efforts of the paramedics and doctors, Daniel could not be saved and we have lost a friend and fellow Republican.

Leonila echoed what many have said about Daniel. “He had a servant’s heart,” she said. Leonila said Daniel taught her much, but most of all, he taught her to fight for what she believed in.

“Daniel recently bought ‘Vote Red’ license plates for his car,” she said. “He so much wanted to be in the fight to keep Texas red. We must now do that for him.”

Daniel McCool – friend, patriot, Texan, father, Republican… Rest in Peace

Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter: @BobPriceBBTX.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Good Leaders, Bad Company Men: NBA Teams Axing Winning Coaches over Bad Front Office Relations

Are relationships more important than wins and profit in the upper levels of the NBA?

More than their knack for bolstering their teams in the standings, NBA coaches and executives are being fired for their relationship skills—or lack thereof.

After a successful 2013 campaign in which he took the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals, coach Lionel Hollins lost his job. The Grizzlies had never been to a conference finals.

Following the Grizzlies 2014 campaign in which new coach Dave Joerger took a hobbled squad to the playoffs, giving the Thunder hell for seven games before falling in the first round, the team strangely allowed Joerger to interview with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then, unexpectedly, CEO Jason Levien, the man who ousted Hollins and was willing to let Joerger walk away, received his pink slip.

In a response to a question on Twitter, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said, “I will open up the checkbook and do whatever it takes to bring us closer to a championship organization.” But after twice shaking up his organization in only one calendar year after his team stood on the brink on a NBA Finals appearance, fans question whether throwing money at the problem will necessarily solve it.

This season, after three years on the job, the Golden State Warriors replaced Coach Mark Jackson with commentator Steve Kerr, a former guard with the Bulls and five other NBA teams, who boasts no NBA coaching experience. In 2014, Jackson led the Warriors to their most successful season in two decades and their second trip to the playoffs under him. At Kerr’s introductory press conference, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said, “When you strip it all away, what matters most is winning.” He claimed “the coach is the highest importance.”

One avenue for a GM to avoid personality conflicts with the coach is to hire himself as the coach. Most recently, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders opted to name himself coach. After the retirement of Rick Adelman in April, Saunders was unable to lure Dave Joerger or a high profile college coach to Minnesota. Alas, Saunders hired himself as coach–he had previously coached the franchise to its greatest successes–while maintaining his front office responsibilities.

Stan Van Gundy assumed both roles for the Detroit Pistons this offseason after the team offered him $35 million over five years. It has been reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers pursued Kentucky Coach John Calipari for a similar role in a 10-year deal worth $80 million. Calipari instead signed a lucrative contract extension to remain in Lexington.

The coveted set-up gives Saunders and Van Gundy the authority to make basketball and personnel decisions. Each answers to ownership. Ultimately, it removes the shackles of having to implement a coaching philosophy with players chosen by someone else. It puts leader of the bench and the front office in complete charge of the franchise’s, and his own, destiny.

Surely Hollins and Jackson wouldn’t have been in the bad graces of upper management had each enjoyed a similar arrangement, which probably explains why coaches seek to wear the GM hat and GMs look to call the shots from the bench, too. The relationships of Hollins and Jackson with upper management caused them to become expendable even as their number of wins trended upward. 

Both the Grizzlies and Warriors declined to comment when asked if relationship consistency between the coach, on the one hand, and management and ownership, on the other, is more important than winning percentage.

“Owners and GMs have a vision of what they want their team to be,” says Dr. Tim Ryan, coordinator of Sports and Leisure Management at the University of Memphis, “Even if their team is winning, they will make a change because they believe that their vision is what’s right for their team.”

From 2012 to 2013, the Lionel Hollins-led Grizzlies improved from 41-25 to 56-26 (2012 was a lockout-shortened season). As the wins increased, so too did attendance and ticket prices. The same is true for Jackson. In 2012, Mark Jackson’s first season as the Golden State Warriors coach, the franchise asked an average of $34.13 for a ticket. At the time of his firing, the average Warriors ticket cost $44.27. And winning made both teams a hot ticket.

Surely, the rise and fall of attendance and ticket revenue can’t be entirely attributed to a coach coming or going. Yet, the coach plays as a large piece of a team’s overall success, which directly correlates to ticket sales and fan participation. If wins equal money and the NBA is a business, it stands that NBA GMs and owners should not be willing to allow personal differences to impede the business of basketball and the economics of winning. 

“They say that ticket sales are important,” Dr. Ryan explains. “But their actions don’t always back it up.”

Source: Breitbart Feed