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Ready or not, here it comes

Well, the virus is receding. It's 9:45 p.m., and I'm off to bed in a few minutes. I thought I'd have about ten posts prepared ahead of time, but I have none. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Tomorrow, you get to see me write 48 posts in 24 hours, and try to make them all interesting. I'll do my best.

Here's what I'm predicting for the subjects: There will be controversy. There will be humor. There will be sex. There will be politics. There will be insects. And there will be junk food, but that's just for me. Sorry. There are too many of you to share.

And I'm asking my fellow bloggers to direct people to me and to Laurence Simon, and to anyone else in the Blogathon that they know about.

Open your hearts and wallets, people. Shaare Zedek and Magen David Adom are great charities. They help save lives. Like Laurence says: Give until it doesn't hurt anymore.

Blogathon update

Two new sponsors, one of whom has tied for the largest donation: $5/hour, or $120. Thanks, Ian! So the tally goes up. Can we get some more today, or is everyone waiting until tomorrow? (We bloggers know most of you surf from work, as the weekend visitor count goes down significantly throughout blogdom.)

Update: Combustible Boy matched the top pledge. Dude, I want to see a copy of the canceled check. ;-)

still have that virus/bug/whatever. Tomorrow may be one hell of a day for me if I can't kick it by then. Oh, and let me say that fever dreams are very instructive. Last night, I learned that if you want to be a secret agent, you shouldn't drive a yellow Jeep. Too easy to track.

Tomorrow, I'll be thanking everyone who pledged (don't worry, first names only) and linking to each of the bloggers who pledged. Names and links will be spread throughout the 48 posts. Gawd. I have to write 48 posts, and I have zero pre-written ones. Tomorrow is going to be an exercise in Watching Meryl's Mind Work. Or perhaps an exercise in Watching Meryl's Brain Explode.

Anyone want to lay odds on that latter happening?

More on Shehada

Win Fitzpatrick says both Glenn Reynolds and I are wrong about the IDF's actions on dead Hamas leader Shehada. I'm a bit too brain-dead from this bug that I have to debate the point today, so instead I took a look around his blog. And found this on cryonics:

As to the first, Glenn Reynolds has posted a link recently to an article on the limitations faced by nanotech as a consequence of the short time scale reversibility of the Second Law. I seem to recall Wigner's clock size limits are also a constraint. In any event, the success of cryonics is critically dependent on the development of nanotech sufficient to repair whatever killed you, plus the damage caused by taking your body down to liquid nitrogen temperatures.

What's the likelihood of nanotech like that ever being developed? Who knows. Is it going to happen any time soon? Don't bet on it.

Which brings me to the second issue, entropy. Even if nanotech sufficient to repair what ailed you is on offer, repairing the freezing damage is no easy row to hoe. At least one cryobiologist, Arthur Rowe, is on record saying that bringing a corpse frozen to liquid nitrogen temperatures back to life is like recreating a cow from hamburger.

I went to a panel on cryonics at a WorldCon a few years back. They're all nuts. They are wackos. They ain't playin' with a full deck. Granted, this was a WorldCon, but still—these were representatives of the industry. But I'm digressing. I figure any guy who can write that first paragraph (which I absolutely do not understand in my bacteria-handicapped state) deserves a link. And all kidding aside, there is an extremely thoughtful post on when a fetus attains "personhood," part of the cloning debate (which I've stayed out of because I have only one statement: I'm for it).



Good news, bad news, better news

The good news is I'm zoomin'! The cable guy came yesterday, bearing a cable modem and other gifts. No more 56k snail pace for me. (Times change: Back in the day, I was thrilled when I got a 2400 baud modem. 2.4k. Now 56k isn't fast enough.)

The bad news is I have picked up a bit of a bug, though that didn't stop me from meeting Will Vehrs for lunch. You Southerners are going to spoil me. Reader Larry G. is coming over on Saturday with food and the family, to help me get through the Blogathon. This townhouse is going to be full of children for a while, which will be quite nice. I'm hoping I get rid of this bug by tomorrow, or Saturday might be a pretty tough day.

Speaking of the Blogathon, send in any ideas you want to see me post about. I have to put up 48 posts in 24 hours, don't forget. Also, the Timekeeper has pledged my time at $3 an hour, which is the second-highest hourly pledge to date. (The highest is $5 an hour, pledged anonymously.) I'll be putting up a list of people who have pledged, and if they're bloggers, they'll get a link. You see? Shaare Zedek crosses all boundaries; Timekeeper and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

And yes, I was serious about giving out my cell phone number if anyone feels like chatting with me during the Blogathon. Er, you have to pledge or have already pledged. The later the better, as I expect it to get really boring the last seven hours or so. Of course, the small print is that I'm changing my phone from a NJ number to a VA number shortly thereafter, so you only get a short window of opportunity. (And of course, those of you who know my home phone number can now call me, as I have a cable modem and won't be tying up the phone line for 24 hours.)

Here's a special request: To those of you who only dial in from work, please pledge tomorrow. So far only 61 people have pledged. That's less than ten percent of the daily visitor count. Remember, folks, this isn't for me. I don't even have a tip jar. This is to build a new trauma center for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a hospital that doesn't care if you're Israeli or Arab, only that you need their help.

And now I am off for a nap, as this bug is demanding it.

Update: Just got a new pledge as I was finishing this blog. Thanks, Marek!

Intelligent discourse: Yeah, we've got that

Diane E. captures perfectly my feelings about the current political climate, and what this country still needs to do:

America has behaved magnificently since September 11. People have been resolute and generous. Old divisions were put behind us. An attack on New York was rightly seen as an attack on the country--but it was also acknowledged as an attack on this unique city. We rallied around the flag, and around the President, and that was the right thing to do.

But rallying around the President is no longer the right thing to do. There are questions to be asked about the character of the President, about his handling of the economy, about his fitness to be re-elected (spare the cracks), about his handling of the War on Terror, and about whether his family's business dealings in oil industry has affected the conduct of the War. There are similar questions being asked about Mr. Cheney.

These questions will be asked until they are answered. If not answered, Mr. Bush and his party will have to answer at the polls. We will not be told that asking them is unpatriotic, or that we are transgressing the bounds of propriety by our indelicate inquiries. Propriety be damned.

There's more. It's titled "Reasons for Hope," and Diane says it much better and more succinctly than I've read on dozens of other weblogs and opinion articles. That's why she's a regular read.

N.Z. Bear is the voice of our conscience on the IDF assassination of the military head of Hamas, Sheik Shehada, taking Eric Alterman to task over the assignment of moral responsibility for the deaths of civilians.

It's not a tough call at all. The responsibility for the death of Sheik Shehada --- and the civilians killed --- lies with the Israeli military. They carried out the attack. They bear the responsibility for its consequences, for good and ill.

This doesn’t mean the attack was morally wrong. If the planners of the attack judged that by killing this one man --- and the civilians around him --- they would be saving hundreds of innocents down the line, then it was morally justifiable. But to imply that the “ultimate responsibility” for Shehada’s family lies with anyone other than the IDF is exactly the same twisted moral calculus that terrorists like Shehada use to justify the murder of Israeli citizens. “The Israeli’s have left us no choice, they say --- we have no other options but to use these tactics!”

I must admit he has quite the point, especially as I'm one of the chorus insisting that the terrorists have no moral ground when they claim they have "no choice" but to attack with human bombs. But I'm still torn about the fact that these terrorists were hiding in the midst of civilians, figuring that the Israelis will take the moral high ground and not cause the kind of death and destruction we saw with this attack. Because Alterman also has a point: This is war. And though the IDF said yesterday that they got bad intelligence, which is what caused the civilian deaths, it's obvious that there is a concerted effort by the IDF and Israeli intelligence agencies to take out the terrorist leaders. Which is something I wholeheartedly approve.

Bottom line: I'm very sorry civilians died, and I'll be very sorry if more civilians die. But the IDF doesn't target innocents. Palestinian terrorists shot a five-year-old girl in the head. In her own bed. Palestinian terrorists just targeted a bus filled with civilians last week. Where was the worldwide outrage there? It was an extremely well-thought-out and cold-blooded attack. They set off a bomb, which stopped the bus shy of its destination. As the people—women and children, don't forget—fled the bus, the terrorists opened fire with automatic weapons and threw grenades into the bus. The only reason there weren't more deaths is because the grenades failed to explode.

I think, N.Z., that ultimately the moral responsibility lies with the fact that Israel has been in an undeclared war since Oslo. I read recently that we should stop calling it the intefadeh and just call it the Oslo War. And as such, in wars, it is an unfortunate fact that civilians get killed.

The difference here, of course, is that unlike Hamas, the IDF wasn't aiming for the civilians.

The Indepundit wanted me to check out his Cynthia McKinney post. But I liked the post about the quality of life survey better.



SFSU Update: Gray Davis condemns anti-Semitism in Cal. academia

Continuing with his zero tolerance policy for hatred on California college campuses, Governor Gray Davis issued a seven-point action plan in a letter to the heads of the California University systems. From the news article:

In particular, Davis pointed to incidents at or near the University of California at Berkeley campus, including an attack on two Orthodox men, vandalism at the Hillel house, an illegal sit-in by pro-Palestinian demonstrators and a spate of anti-Semitic graffiti.

In addition, pro-Palestinian groups at San Francisco State University disrupted a pro-Israel observance with virulently anti-Semitic invective, posted blood libels and used their Web sites for Holocaust denial.

My two favorite points of the plan:

• a review of campus policies on demonstrations to ensure that free speech does not escalate into violence;

• a review of course descriptions to ensure “that they are forums for intellectual inquiry and not vehicles for discrimination, intimidation and hate.”

This is extremely encouraging. President Corrigan can't shunt aside an order from his bosses, and Davis has just sent his bosses their marching orders.

I looked for, but could not find a press release on the Governor's website. I expect it will be up there eventually, and will duly pass it along to you. It's good to see that strong actions are being taken, especially after hearing that all charges were dropped against the students who took part in the SFSU riot.

Thanks to reader Judith W., the woman who sent me the Laurie Zoloth letter in the first place.



All hail the king

By virtue of one of the funniest comments I've ever read on LGF, the BarCodeKing is getting his own post, right here, in the place of honor. Which will remain the place of honor until I post something new, but hey—this was funny:

It is sad that innocent women and children were killed in the attack.

It is NOT sad that Sheikh Salah Shehada was killed.

In fact, it makes me happy.

I think I'll sing a happy song:

"You got your dead sheikh in the middle of Gaza,
"Dead sheikh in the middle of Gaza,
"Dead sheikh in the middle of Gaza,
"Stinkin' to high heaven!"

Yeah, you could have used "skunk" instead of sheikh, but then it wouldn't work as well.

Funny things

My pal Dolly sent me this link to a truly bizarre story from Down Under: The Redlands Shire Council east of Brisbane in the tropical state of Queensland (that's how they wrote it in the story, I swear to God!) has authorized this:

Koalas killed by cars are to be painted a fluorescent red and left on the side of roads for 24 hours in a "Stephen King-style" shock tactic to make Australian motorists drive more carefully through the marsupials' breeding grounds.

[...] Last year 609 koalas were hit by cars and trucks on the shire's tree-lined roads, and 146 of those died.

"Roadkill" koalas are now having a fluorescent red strip painted on them as part of a six-month trial to warn other motorists to look out for the cuddly but slow-moving marsupials as they cross the road.

[...] "I think leaving dead koalas on the road for 24 hours is going to frighten young children," said councilor Alan Beard.

Thus proving, of course, that not all the nutcases are here in America. And even though Laurence Simon is my favorite nutcase, he missed this story. I checked his blog first. Which is quite funny today. My favorite is the story about the mass circumcision in Kabul. And no, we're not making that up.

Mac Thomason is doing his usual job of making me laugh at his comments. Another Asian fishy thing to join the dreaded Chinese Snakehead Walking Fish, which have apparently invaded seven states, have a relative.

And then there's Silflay Hraka. My sides are starting to hurt.

Speaking of linking

The Poor Man is so funny I can't see the screen that I'm typing on, what with laughing so hard I'm crying. Not only can he make you laugh while commenting succinctly on the now-defunct proposal to expel suicide bombers' families, but he can dis Brendan O'Neill more times in one paragraph than the entire blogosphere did last week in reacting to O'Neill's troll.

Brendan O'Kneill trolled the "blogosphere" a few days ago, and I fell for it. I erased my post soon afterwards, because I make a point of not getting involved in the Usenet High School "blogosphere" bitching, and I also make a point of not feeding trolls, but not before Mr. O'Neel checked his hit log and found out that I called him a "windbag". I erased it, that is, because I judged it to be a bit childish, and people should take a few seconds to familiarize themselves with the topics I have recently not considered childish in order to fully appreciate the magnitude of that decision. I wish I'd left it up. He is a windbag. He is every other contorted epithet I threw at him. Additionally, Brendan O'Neil is also a boring old troll, and an unbelievably pompous old fool, and this marked on his permanent record. So I'm just a-gonna say this, and then I absolutely promise to never refer, even indirectly, to the "blogosphere", or Mr. O'Neal, ever again.

Dude, the "blogosphere" is bunch of people with web pages. It's not a new paradigm in journalism, it's not new paradigm in anything, it's an old paradigm of people with web pages. So criticizing the "blogosphere" for bad spelling is a move about as daring and necessary as tearing down the Pussy Cat Poetry webring for bad rhyme schemes and hackneyed imagery. Plus, because there's so many of these weblogs, it also has imported features from Usenet, such as stupid gossipy bitch sessions, rampant cloying pedantry, tedious and OCD-worthy line-by-line deconstruction of postings, attacking people's spelling, and, of course, trolls. How very exciting.

For those of you who didn't read the troll, one of O'Neill's wheezes was—I kid you not—that people misspell his name. Now go reread that first paragraph.

Okay, I knew he existed, but I don't seem to have gotten to Ted Barlow's weblog all that often. There's a list of lefty weblogs that I needed to bookmark, so here it is. There are some superb posts about the Harken scandal, which is starting to look like the snowball on the mountaintop whose avalanche may put the Democrats back in the White House. There are some posts about the ridiculous Mickey Kaus claim that there's going to be ultra-left-wing violence because, well, some people say mean things on message boards.

OK, I wrote that, but it's on the internet so it must be true.

Now, all of this is quite terrifying, but there's no need to overreact to the rantings of a few asshole lunatics on public message boards by blaming huge groups of innocent people for whatever crap you manage to dig up. Just take common sense precautions, and make sure to keep your eye on left-wingers, right-wingers, Dominique Moceanu fans, Beatles fans, Vietnamese people, and me. (You might want to watch out for all Will and Grace fans- you can't be too careful!) You never know when we're going to snap. After all, it only takes a few.

Diane E. sent me Ted's way, and Ted sent me over to The Poor Man, and what better way could I illustrate why linking is a great thing?

More Blogathon (that's such a dumb word) notes

Wisenheimer Dean S. writes if I'm offering my cell phone number for a pledge, what does he get for two pledges?

Two copies of the email with my cell phone number, bub. What did you think you were going to get?

By the way, nobody's pledging. You're all waiting for Saturday, aren't you? You really want to see what words come out of me at five in the morning, don't you?


If you have ideas for topics, send them now. I'm going to write about ten blogs beforehand. Well, I'm going to try. And trust me, it's not cheating, because I edit my posts even after they're online sometimes. Okay, those are the minor edits, like adding a "the" or correcting the spelling of a word somewhere, but I'm a perfectionist. I don't like to be embarrassed. Which, now I think of it, amazes me that I even have an archive for you to look through. Some of my early work kinda sucks. But hey, that's what I sounded like exactly fifteen months ago.

Blogging, linking, and whoring

Speaking of last year, below are the statistics for this site from July of 2001. You may be wondering why I'm putting them up. To let my fellow bloggers know that I, too, was an insignificant microbe, and not all that long ago. (When you stop to consider that probably half the visitor sessions in the early days were mine, that makes my early stats even more pathetic.)

I didn't start getting a real following until, oh, November of 2001. After my letter appeared in Salon. I averaged a whole 25 visitors per day during that month, which was more than six months after I started my weblog. And, um, folks—nobody linked to me until someone discovered pictures of my Menorah that I put up during Chanukah. That was eight months after I started the blog.

Mind you, I put my weblog in all the directories I could find, and was taking part in Medley's forum, and was trying to figure out how to put in permalinks because Dave Winer said he wouldn't link to me without them. But I didn't know about the whole warblogging phenomenon. I knew techblogs were out there. I read them and various news sites. I discovered Shelley Powers sometime in December, and through her, a whole new circle of webloggers. Then I found the warblogs, and more importantly, Muslimpundit found me, and linked to Iseema's Diary in March, which gave me the jumpstart I'd been working for. Adil Farooq, who stepped outside for a loaf of bread some months ago and hasn't returned, is the guy who helped "make" His link got me the attention of Metafilter and BBSpot, bringing 2,335 visitors to this site in one day, back when I was averaging under 200 visitors per day. Glenn Reynolds was not the man who made me, although he is the man who broadened my support greatly, and helped shoot me up another level or so, for which I am extremely grateful.

Actually, if I haven't been plain enough about this yet, I am extremely grateful to all of you who link to my weblog. It's really the only way a blogger can get noticed: By being linked to somewhere else. Which brings us to the point I've been trying to get to (oh, the build-up! The pain, the pain!).

N.Z. Bear brought up the topic of webloggers linking etiquette, something that doesn't exactly exist, in response to an email that many bloggers got and that some objected to as spam. Well, I received the letter, too, and while I don't appreciate my email address being in the cc: field (it should be bcc:, please!), it didn't light a fire under me either for or against. And I was also puzzled by the reaction to my Weblogger's Link Lament. It was a parody. Of course I hoped that people would find it amusing and link to it; I'm a weblogger, that's what we do. Some people took what I thought was an inordinate amount of offense to it, deciding that it was a bad example of begging for links, and that begging for links is A Very Bad Thing. Yeah, whatever.

But the point is, linking is the reason that weblogging came into existence. A weblog without links may as well be a paper newsletter. And since I've been fortunate enough to get a good-sized following, I get email from other webloggers asking me to link to them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. My rule of thumb is that if I like the post, my readers will probably like it.

I don't think that links should be hoarded like precious metals. I think we should link generously to other webloggers. I'm not saying you should link to anyone who asks. I have to like the weblog that I'm linking to, or at the very least, the post. Old friends tend to get a bye (see: N.Z. Bear, first link in the Blogosphere), and I've been known to link to blogs as a thank-you for something the blogger has done for me. If you are shocked at that news, well, uh, you need to get out more and get a life.

I do have my personal favorites; everybody does. And I find that my blogrolling goes in cycles, depending on which ones I'm reading at the time. But frankly, I don't give a damn if some out there think that asking for links is "whoring." I use the word link-whore as a joke, as do most of the people who associate it with begging for links. I will continue to give and receive and ask for links. Weblogs can't build an audience without them, as you can see below.

So here's the linking policy: I will link to weblogs that I like and find funny or interesting, or even those I get guilted into linking. I don't mind the occasional email mentioning a specific post or blog. I don't care for an email every day, or several a day. That'll get you into my killfile. But also realize that my weblog is mostly essays. I'm not Instapundit, and don't aspire to be. My linking posts are irregular and will remain so. But if you're a good writer, and you've got a weblog, chances are pretty high that I'll link to it if it's brought to my attention. It certainly helps to be writing about things that also interest me, and it would be a mistake not to read a little bit on this weblog to see what those subjects are. An "I Hate Buffy" site? Not a chance.

By the way, readers are encouraged to send me links as well. I can't link 'em if I don't know about 'em.

And webloggers, take a look at these stats. They're from July of 2001. The entire month. Feeling better about your stats yet? Good.

Hits Entire Site (Successful) 473
Average Per Day 15
Home Page 235
Page Views (Impressions) 470
Average Per Day 15
Document Views 470
Visitor Sessions 247
Average Per Day 7
Average Visitor Session Length 00:05:58
International Visitor Sessions 5.26%
Visitor Sessions of Unknown Origin 19.83%
Visitor Sessions from United States 74.89%
Unique Visitors 166
Visitors Who Visited Once 124
Visitors Who Visited More Than Once 42



Strong women, strong words

I know I just linked to Susanna Cornett and Diane E. yesterday, but damn! They are on a roll. Susanna takes apart a loony leftist site (will you stop calling them liberals? I'm a liberal. They're loony leftists!), and Diane takes on Mickey Kaus, David Horowitz, and the American Oil Bushies.

I left New Jersey too soon. The three of us have got to get together for a lengthy lunch. Ooh. Then we'd be The Ladies Who Lunch, which is one of my favorite Sondheim pieces.

Vote for the Bull Moose Party

This guy says he's a conservative, but he says a lot of things that make sense to me. Maybe I'm not a liberal after all. Maybe I'm a Bull Moose. Via Matthew Yglesias (whose initials, you may notice, are M.Y. I should ask him what his middle name is. I may have to wind up sharing my month. [MAY] Hm. I wonder if he had to be last or next-to-last in line all through school, too. I always hated that.)

Oil Slick. The Moose observes that big oil is obfuscating moral clarity.

From the Sudan to Kazakhstan, big oil is making it difficult to confront the evil doers around the world. While we are correctly focused on Saddam, there are other forces of evil that are getting a free pass because of big oil money.

The most egregious example are the enablers of evil - Saudi Arabia. That country was the breeding ground of 9/11. It was no accident that Osama's turf was also the home of most of the hijackers. Saudi financed Wahhabism is the international faith of anti-Jewish and anti-Western hatred.

So why do the Saudis get a pass from the U.S.? Oil ... Texas tea. As Victor David Hanson points out in the latest Commentary, "Can the U.S., then, revamp its policy toward Saudi Arabia, perhaps to conform with our stance toward similarly belligerent regimes like Libya or Syria? The beginning of wisdom is to acknowledge that such an about-face would hardly be easy-if for no other reason than that many of the royal family are close friends of powerful Americans in the oil and defense industries, on university campuses, and within government."

I like this one, too:

Les Miserables. The Moose is witnessing chickens coming home to roost.

The recent focus on the President's and Vice President's personal business dealings at Harken and Halliburton is the fault of the conservative movement. No that is not a misprint. For eight years, conservatives were obsessed with the Clintons' financial shenanigans. Scandal-mongering as much as ideology motivated the right-wing elites and rank and file. Now, their favorite President is sowing what his allies reaped.

The Moose was neither enthusiastic about Clinton's behavior nor scandal mania during the Clinton years. Ironically, the right's personal attacks only strengthened Clinton politically. The impeachment effort was a hypocritical violation of conservative principles which had opposed both unlimited discovery in sexual harassment cases and an unbound independent counsel.

You have to scroll down the page to find the individual articles. There are no permalinks. But it's a great read.

Where has all the humor gone?

Wow, it's been pretty serious around here for the past week or two. I knew I was stressed out over the move, but I didn't realize I was that stressed out.

I've been taking the cats outside for short periods at at time to acclimate them to their new surroundings. This morning, I let them out the back door. Gracie, the more timid of the two, got scared by the wind blowing or something, and ran inside for most of the time. But she finally came out again, and she and Tig were exploring the patio, looking around, walking on tenterhooks as cats in unfamiliar territory are wont to do. (You know, there aren't too many blogs out there that use words like "wont", well, at least meaning to use it, and not just misspelling "want" or "won't". You get more bang for the buck from Anyway. So I'm standing outside in the 90-plus heat, wondering what the hell I'm doing outside in the 90-plus heat anyway, when the next-door neighbor's central air conditioning unit kicks in. I leave the door open a few inches, enough for a cat to fit through but not, I thought, enough for both cats to get through. I thought wrong.

When the AC unit kicked in, both cats leaped for the door, reached it simultaneously, and shouldered their way through in the best Abbott & Costello slapstick door routine I've seen in years. I could not stop laughing. I'm stilll laughing thinking about it. It's one of those moments you wish you had on film.

My brave kitties are in the living room now, lying on the floor. Gracie will be heading for the bedroom in a few minutes, as I expect Heidi and Sorena anytime now, and the knock on the door is her signal to run up the stairs. Every time she does that I think of the Bugs Bunny cartoon with the monster, the one that ends with, "Ohmigod, it's people!"

Blogathon update

Well, my figures and the Blogathon's tally are off by $76, but I've got somewhere around two grand in pledges. The Blogathon is this Saturday, and I've decided that I will email my cell phone number to anyone who makes a pledge and wants to chat with a blogger who may very well be slightly delirious in the wee hours of the morning. I do tend to get a bit punchy around three or four a.m.

I'm also extremely tempted to see exactly how many Ann Coulter fans read my blog by promising to stop saying mean things about her for the rest of the year if my pledges hit $4,000. Maybe even $3,000. I'll have to see. It's easy to pledge. You're also expected to come through with the lucre, so I think I won't be making that Coulter pledge. It isn't that I don't trust you, it's—well, yeah, I guess it is. I need to come up with a better incentive than that. One that isn't too tempting.

And lastly, there are some Richmond-area folks that I've "met" via email these last few months. Considering how new I am to the area, and the fact that my only friend in town works every Saturday night, you folks may be needed to help me get through this. (May I say I've tried the Ukrops fried chicken and loved it, and think it would make a great dinner and snack during the Blogathon? Oh, and those Ukrops donut holes rule. The best. Krispy who?)

Gee, maybe I could get some D.C. bloggers to come down for a road trip. That'd be fun. Well, you all know how to reach me.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Lynn

Lynn B., who has been an enormous source of information to many bloggers, finally has her own weblog. Check out In Context. Her first article is a doozy: She takes apart a long list of false charges by the president of the "Palestine Media Watch," and does it wonderfully. Better than me, actually. I tend to get a lot more emotional.

Charles, Josh, Bruce, everyone—let's give her a warm welcome and a zillion links. It's the least we can do after the thousands of informative emails she's sent us.

Welcome to the South

I've been surfing the Richmond area cable stations since my cable was installed last week. It's the only way to go when you don't know your way around the dial. Curiously, the cable access stations here are low on the number hierarchy; it's the opposite where I used to live. So I've been grinning at Indian music videos and wondering WTF? through various and sundry cable access shows, most of them pretty standard—badly produced videotapes of local events. In Montclair, our cable access channels were per town—one for Glen Ridge, one for Montclair, one for Bloomfield—each area had its own local station. Each town resident could suffer through badly-produced tapes of local parades, excruciatingly boring town board meetings, awful high school productions of musicals and grammar school dance recitals. (I am not kidding about that last. Sometimes, you wind up watching in horrid fascination as six-year-olds in tutus twirl and hop.)

But Saturday afternoon, on the Richmond cable access channel, I saw something that shocked me. A white power group had rented the time on the local access channel, and screened a propaganda film. With a background of stirring (I presume) "white" music, stills of white people doing various cheerful-looking things flashed in the background while the narrator explained that America needs to get back its "whiteness." He spouted the usual garbage on racial purity, and "white morals" and "white laws" and the rest of the crap that the neo-nazis are so fond of. I watched for a few minutes in disbelief that this was on local television, while part of me wondered where the anti-Semitism was. I didn't have long to wait. A flashing, black-and-white cartoon caricature of a Jewish man, with the word "ALIENS" in all caps appeared, while the narrator spoke of how "aliens" had caused all the problems of the white race throughout history. After about another minute, I turned it off.

You know, a lot of African-Americans that I know have told me they prefer the South to the North. Up north, they say, the racism is covert and people are phony. Down south, the racism is out in the open, and you know where you stand right away, is what I've been told.

I think I've just experienced what they were talking about.

A show like that cannot be shown in the areas of New Jersey that I've lived. The outcry would be incredible, and the cable access station would be shut down or have its entire management replaced. And yet, here it was, at five p.m. on a Saturday on the Richmond area cable access station. Not that it's illegal, and not that it isn't protected speech, but still—Toto, I don't think we're in the Northeast anymore.



Once more unto the blogs

Diane E. and Susanna Cornett are back.

Neither one of them emailed me to let me know or anything like that, but hey, I'm not complaining. Nope. Not me. I wouldn't do such a thing.

Diane has a kick-ass post answering Vegard Valberg's question about why America doesn't do anything about the Saudi enemy. She also has a kick-ass post on Ted Williams. And my favorite of her brand of amusing vitriol (and that is a compliment, because nobody wields the knife like Diane) is her response to Brendan O'Neill's blogosphere critique:

Who is Brendan O'Neill and why did he write me a letter providing a link to an article about how bad most of the blogosphere is? (As if I couldn't figure that out myself, but never thought that such a banal observation was worthy of mention--bad blogs are like dog turds on the street--you walk around them, and don't make an uncivized fuss about such trivia.) Is he a relative of Mrs. Mobutu Sese Seko, who also sends me missives? And, most important, why did he NOT include this blog on his list of daily must-reads??? I'm certain that my readers "learn something new" with every visit!!

Anyway, about bad blogs, let me paraphrase the pro-abortion side: don't like abortions? Don't have one. Don't like bad blogs? Don't read 'em.

Update: The dreaded Blogger archive bug strikes again. Just click on the main link and scroll down for the posts; she only just got back a little while ago and the page isn't too long.

Susanna went on a date that included the Statue of Liberty and Wal-Mart, proving once again that she is a Kentuckian in New York. Er, New Jersey, New Jersey. (The meter didn't work.)

She's trying to separate her linking from her blog essays by posting them all at Blogfodder. I was going to say that it might not be such a good idea, but thought I should check before criticizing. The link site is (sigh) white text on black background. I will not go into another rant about that particular style of weblog; been there, done that.

Fred First is talking 'bout spiders and the middle of summer. Now I know why I always run into that one damned strand of spider silk no matter where I am at certain times of the year.

I had no idea that Joel Rosenberg had a blog; I thought he was just a guy who was a great email correspondent. But he's got one called Religion of Peace on Blogspot to track down the Islamicists lies. Go, Joel! (Thanks to Charles.)

Sometimes, it's just too difficult to think about.
Sometimes, it's not.

Regular readers may have noticed that from time to time, there are terrorist attacks in Israel, and major anti-Semitic events elsewhere, that I just don't mention on this weblog. That's due to several reasons. Sometimes, I just can't take any more of the anger and horror and anguish that I feel, so I just don't write about it. Sometimes, I feel it's been covered well enough by many other online sources, so I don't add my opinions. And sometimes, all I want to do is line up the perpetrators of the deed that is causing my blood pressure to double, and take whacks at their heads with my aluminum baseball bat. The one that's been renamed "the Anti-Semite Stick." Somehow, that doesn't seem to me to be enough content for a post. So I don't say anything online.

That being said, I found a doozy of an article that's raising my blood pressure to about triple its normal stats. The UN and various Arab sources are criticizing Israel's threat to deport the families of suicide bombers to the Gaza Strip. Mind you, Israel has not implemented this plan. It's only a proposal, and Palestinian groups have already threatened a lawsuit against it so that the Israeli Supreme Court will rule on whether or not it is legal to do so. But here comes the chorus of hypocrisy from the various world bodies:

On Saturday, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa also condemned the deportation plan. "The Israeli practices are thoroughly aggressive and indifferent to rules or bases of international law," Moussa told reporters at the Cairo-based Arab League. He said the plan violated article four of the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians under occupation.

Here we go. Definitely call on the Geneva Convention for something like this, and blithely ignore the fact that Palestinian terrorists were caught being smuggled out of the West Bank using Red Crescent ambulances. Using medical facilities to facilitate military actions. Hm. Would this be a violation of the Convention? Or does it only count when Israel supposedly violates the Convention?

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday warned that Israeli's latest strategies for tackling militant Palestinian violence could backfire.

Mubarak said Israel's proposal to exile or destroy the homes of relatives of Palestinian militants could lead to more suicide bombings.

"What they (the Israelis) are doing only aggravates the hate against Israelis. Those who are going to take decisions must do so with a view to what may happen in the future. The current situation is not going to bring security," he said.

Absolutely, Mubelah. We wouldn't want to engender any more hatred. Like, say, these quotes from your very own Egyptian press:

"Thus, the Jews are accursed - the Jews of our time, those who preceded them and those who will come after them, if any Jews come after them."

[...] "Since their birth, the Jews [have amassed] hatred and hostility towards Islam and the Muslims. They have always laid traps for the Muslims, woven conspiracies and crimes against them, and been biased in favor of their enemies and occupiers…"

"They always try to warp and distort everything fair and beautiful!! Basically, they are a model of moral ugliness, debasement, and degradation. If only Allah would curse them more and more, to the end of all generations. Amen."

The EU doesn't like the idea, either.

The European Union said on Saturday that that "collective punitive measures are neither legitimate nor acceptable."

Oh, so you're saying things like, the boycott of Israeli products by EU members are unacceptable and illegitimate because they're a collective punitive measure? What's that? Speak up. I can't hear you.

So what do I think of deporting suicide bombers' families to Gaza? I dunno. If it works, I think it's great. If it doesn't work, it's a waste of time and effort. I don't seem to care at all anymore whether or not it's excessive. Years ago, I used to think it was. Years ago, I used to think that destroying the homes of terrorists' families would do nothing but cause even more bitterness and anger. But that was before the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world degenerated into psychotic death cultists who want to end all Jewish life in the Middle East, if not the world. Oh, am I exaggerating? Maybe a little.

I've become quite the hawk on Israel, it seems. And yeah, I still want the anti-Semites of the world to just up and die. I'm sick of them. And I am tired of the unending series of deaths. If deporting terrorists' families works, then I say do it. But my money is on the Israeli Supreme Court voting against it. Because no matter how angry I get, and no matter how angry the Israeli people get, Israel is governed by the rule of law. And unlike the Koran and shari'a, Israeli law is not a static thing that allows modern societies to use medieval laws to perpetrate barbarisms. I doubt the expulsions will happen.


Last week's blogs are archived. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.