Muslim council’s bias all too clear

AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Their backgrounds make the substance of MPAC’s statement doubly distressing. MPAC’s press release says not one word about how today’s crisis came to be – no condemnation of Hamas, nor Hezbollah, nor of the kidnappings, nor of the indiscriminate shelling of civilian populations nor of the brazen provocation of war. In the press release, however, MPAC decries the United States for its “poor moral leadership.” There is paragraph after paragraph condemning Israel’s “brutal violence,” its “indiscriminate harm enacted upon innocent civilians,” the “horrifying violence which betrays a fundamental respect for the sanctity and equality of all human life,” the “illegal Israeli aggressions” and on and on and on. For MPAC, which wants to present itself to the community as a moderate and reasonable voice, this kind of heated rhetoric is, frankly, self-destructive. It has betrayed an agenda and outlook that is neither moderate nor reasonable. In fact, MPAC has become so brazen that its statement presumes to instruct the media on how to report about the current crisis: “MPAC calls upon all those who are engaging in an analysis of the current situation to cease the use of Islamic terminology to explain the very clearly political narrative.” SECRETARY of State Condoleeza Rice described the current crisis in the Middle East as a “clarifying moment,” when we see who our friends are and who is willing to take a stand against nihilistic purveyors of death. She was referring to the international scene, but it was an accurate description of the domestic arena as well. The actions of Hamas and Hezbollah have clarified their intentions. These terrorist groups would rather focus on the elimination of Israel than concentrate on the betterment of their own people. The Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council has also offered us a moment of lucidity. Last month, the group convened several of L.A.’s religious leaders at what MPAC called an “interfaith vigil to end the occupation.” According to an MPAC press release, Salam Al-Marayati, the council’s longtime head, convened the vigil with the Rev. George Regas of Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church, Rabbi Leonard Beerman of Leo Baeck Temple and Dr. Maher Hathout, chairman of the Islamic Center of Southern California – all decent, well-meaning leaders with impeccable liberal credentials. Huh? Are the media to ignore the clear rhetoric and platforms of Hamas and Hezbollah – platforms that are undeniably religious, Islamic and laden with hate? Ironically, the extremism of MPAC and those associated with its vigil have not resulted in their being ostracized from the mainstream of L.A.’s leadership. In September, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will honor Al-Marayati, as well as two of the participants in the vigil, Rabbi Beerman and the Rev. Dr. Regas, with its Religious Freedom Award. It must be a narrow definition of “religious freedom” that is being celebrated. In moments of clarity, we ought to benefit from the insights we are offered and draw the appropriate conclusions as to who stands for what and who our real friends are. David A. Lehrer is president and Joe R. Hicks is vice president of Community Advocates Inc. ( www.cai-la.org ), an L.A.-based human relations organization.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! read more

Had such a kind heart Yearround spirit of Santa standin inspires toy

first_imgWINNIPEG — Brian Sanderson’s white beard and jolly demeanor landed him in Santa’s bright-red suit in Winnipeg malls, seniors centres, toy catalogues and as the mythical Christmas figure in more than half a dozen movies.So when Sanderson, Winnipeg’s most well-known Santa’s helper, died in October at the age of 77, a group of people — his own special elves — stepped up to make sure the Christmas magic he displayed all year would continue.“He just had such a kind heart and literally a twinkle in his eye that is pushing us forward,” said Shelly Anthis.Anthis, a casting director who met Sanderson through his movie roles, started a toy drive in memory of Santa Brian. Along with help from others and the support of Sanderson’s family, she has been collecting gifts to hand out to children and teenagers at shelters and family centres over the holiday season.“There (are) a lot of teens and youth there that could use some of that magic and we just want to make sure that they have gifts, too,” she said.Christmas was always extremely busy for Sanderson and his partner of 11 years, Lillian Harrison, also known as Mrs. Claus. But Sanderson played the role of Santa all year long for 26 years.It started when he agreed to be in Christmas photos taken at a Winnipeg mall. The first year he wore a fake beard, Harrison said, and a child pulled it down. Sanderson didn’t want to break that special illusion again, so he grew his own beard out.“In his younger years, Santa was magic … and he just wanted to bring that magic to other people,” Harrison said.Sanderson carried candy canes with him all year long in case he ran into children who recognized him as Santa. One year, two young girls came to the door and asked him why he forgot them at Christmas, so he went inside and found a couple of dolls from his personal toy stash to hand over.“His Santa persona was not just at Christmas. It was something he loved and lived 24-7, 365 days,” said Sanderson’s daughter Kathy Bailey in an email.“But as my daughter said to us when he passed and (Facebook) tributes and comments started rolling in: ‘I never thought of Gramps as a celebrity. To me he was just Gramps.’”Bailey said her father was a well-prepared Santa. He would study catalogues and flyers to make sure he knew what the latest toys were and would never commit to high-priced gifts.“He would say he wasn’t sure if the elves had enough parts for those toys, and if it was a cellphone, he asked the child how they would pay the bill,” she said.“He felt that Santa shouldn’t promise something parents may not be able to afford or didn’t want their child to have. This way they could make that decision themselves.”Once word of the toy drive spread, people from across Manitoba and around the world reached out to help. It shows the impact that sharing the Christmas spirit all year can have on the larger community, Anthis said. She expects her group will be handing out hundreds of gifts in the week before Christmas to children who may otherwise not get any.This year Sanderson’s Santa isn’t around to pass out wrapped presents, but Harrison’s Mrs. Claus will be there.“I am so glad they are doing that in his memory because I can see him looking down and I know he’s smiling,” she said. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

China Is Splurging On BigName Soccer Talent

In the past few weeks, the Chinese Football Association Super League — the country’s premier professional soccer league — has been on a shopping spree. By the close of the January transfer window, the Chinese Super League had outspent England’s Premier League in the transfer market; the CSL made five of the six largest transfer signings in the 2015-16 window.The biggest splash came when the Jiangsu Suning shelled out $55 million to acquire Alex Teixeira, a star Brazilian midfielder playing in Ukraine, who was hotly pursued by Liverpool. Teixeira’s signing gives the CSL the 70th most valuable player in the world.By attracting big-name talent, CSL clubs are signaling the rise of Chinese soccer power — at least financially. (The value of the signings to club owners likely has as much to do with marketability of the players for product endorsement purposes as it does with improving the team.) This power has grown in lockstep with the league’s attendance and revenue. Since the league was founded in 2004, total CSL attendance has surged from 1.4 million to more than 5 million in 2015; per-game attendance has more than doubled as the league has grown from 12 to 16 teams.As Chinese soccer has grown domestically, the league has begun to throw around its financial weight in the international transfer market, thus boosting the total market value of CSL players. The league’s total value, according to Transfermarkt estimates of its players’ transfer market values (as opposed to aggregate transfer buys) has risen to about $380 million. Teixeira’s transfer fee alone accounts for 15 percent of that. That’s humongous. Gareth Bale’s record-breaking (unless you ask Ronaldo) transfer fee to Real Madrid in 2013 came in north of $100 million, yet represented a mere 3 percent of the more than $3.4 billion estimated market value of La Liga’s players in 2013.Although the CSL is making international news with a few big-ticket signings, as a whole, the league is still small. The league’s total estimated market value is still half as big as even Portugal’s national league, and it pales in comparison to England’s Premier League, which is valued at $4.7 billion. In fact, the total market value of all 16 CSL teams is still less than that of just Liverpool. Thus, a transfer fee comparable to the one between the CSL and Teixeira would be about $700 million (!).(As CSL teams make it rain, it’s worth noting that this cash isn’t being evenly distributed. Foreign players make far more than Chinese players. CSL teams must abide by a strict cap of no more than four overseas players, plus one from another country in the Asian Football Confederation. And according to 2012 data, these foreign players pulled in earnings more than five times larger than those of their Chinese teammates. The disparity has probably only grown as the CSL hunts for pricier international stars.)In some ways, the CSL has taken Major League Soccer’s model and supercharged it. MLS has tried — with debatable success — to gin up fan interest by splurging on a few big-name, often well-aged, international players. David Beckham joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 on a (comically inaccurate) “$250 million” deal comes to mind. By the 2008 season, the entire MLS had an estimated market value of about $157 million; with more than $10 million of that being Beckham. Today, that number has crept up to $314 million — exponential growth, but well behind the pace being set in China. So the CSL is following the MLS script, to a degree, only with players in their primes instead of broken-down warhorses like Frank Lampard.Some macroeconomic context helps, too. Although there are signs that China’s economy is slowing, and its stock market has been a disaster over the past year, the appetite of Chinese sports fans doesn’t seem to be lagging. The slowdown within the Chinese economy seems to be focused on real estate, state-owned enterprises and the stock market. Although growing indebtedness is an issue, Chinese consumers are better positioned than other parts of the Chinese economy. So expect demand for — and spending from — Chinese Super League teams to keep growing. China has a very long way to go before it’s a top player in international club soccer, but if consumer interest grows at the pace it’s set, the CSL might just continue to draw stars anyway.CORRECTION (Feb. 19, 2 p.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the basis for determining the monetary valuation of players in soccer teams and leagues. That valuation is measured by a Transfermarkt calculation of overall player market values, not just salaries. Transfermarkt makes the calculation based on the estimated value of the player in the transfer market. References in the article to how much teams and leagues have spent on salaries have been changed to the market values of their players. read more

Commentary National Championship of mediocrity was a waste of time

Monday night’s national championship game looked a lot like a Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. I saw Butler’s Ronald Nored do his best Brian Urlacher imitation as he delivered a crushing blow to prevent UConn’s Kemba Walker from sprinting into the open court. I saw Butler shoot 18.8 percent from the field. I saw the two teams combine for 94 points, nine short of the 103 UNLV scored in the 1990 title game by itself. But in the end we all watched the “little guys” from Butler, who lost a heartbreaker in last year’s final to Duke, fall to the supposed Goliath for a second consecutive year. And before the book closes on this college basketball season, who can forget VCU’s darling run from the First Four to the Final Four? Or how about the fact that no No. 1 or No. 2 seed made it to the Final Four? This particular tournament showcased college basketball at its best. It’s a place where parity reigns supreme and in turn supplies hoops fans with incredibly exciting basketball. I think not. First of all, the term “little guys” doesn’t apply to Butler anymore. It’s reached two straight title games. But why has Butler been able to reach the game’s final act two seasons running? Because there’s no such thing as a “mid-major” anymore. The lines in college basketball have been blurred. The well has run dry on great teams because the talent gap between players isn’t as large as it used to be. Kansas coach Bill Self said it best following his team’s loss to VCU in the Elite Eight: “Because seeds are so overrated, it’s about matchups. If we played shirts and skins today you wouldn’t have much of a difference on players or how they look.” Self is absolutely right. Players that go to BCS conference schools have the advantage of going to programs with long histories of success, top-notch facilities and, most importantly, national television exposure. How many times was VCU on national television before the NCAA Tournament? Only five times. Kansas could top that figure in a 10-day period. Yet, through a combination of favorable matchups, hot shooting and an indiscernible talent gap, VCU beat KU like it stole something. So what does all of this mean? College basketball is thoroughly mediocre. Blame kids for falling in love with the 3-point line instead of being able to hit a 16-footer. Blame the NBA’s age limit, which has weakened the NCAA’s top-tier programs. Or blame Michael Jordan, whose game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals has led college basketball (and NBA) teams to believe that isolation is not only a reliable halfcourt offense, but the best end-of-game play call. There’s no such thing as an upset in college basketball anymore. The ranking and seeding systems say otherwise, but until something is done to mend college basketball’s mediocrity, Cinderellas cease to exist and the days of great teams are gone. read more

Alderweireld hails Kane

first_imgToby Alderweireld has hailed Tottenham Hotspur teammate Harry Kane, according to Sports Mole.Alderweireld has praised Harry Kane as one of the very best strikers in the game after Belgium’s 2-0 victory over England in the third-place playoff of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.Belgium secured third place courtesy of goals from Thomas Meunièr and Eden Hazard leaving England as the fourth best team in the tournament.Kane is on course to win the Golden Boot award with six goals and Alderweireld has backed the England captain to keep improving as a footballer.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“I think he’s one of the best in the world, he doesn’t just score goals, he helps his team play better,” Alderweireld said about Kane.“He has the desire to get better and he’s still very young. He was positive against us today, the only thing he didn’t do was score.”Harry Kane has signed a new deal at Spurs after scoring 41goals in all competitions last season for his boyhood club.last_img read more