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Captain Euro strikes again

Mac Thomason has a new adventure: Captain Euro goes to Disney World—in search of Janet Reno. Politics, Goofy, and Captain Euro—what more can you ask?

Sorry, that's all I've got for you. Out most of the day, home late, and up early tomorrow. But I'll have plenty of things to write about then.



Hanan Ashrawi speaks at Colorado college, riot does not break out

Amazing. Her speech went on. It was protested. Nobody was arrested. Nothing was broken. Why is that? Oh, right. The Palestinians weren't the ones protesting. They wanted to hear the speaker. One article:

Hundreds of people descended on Colorado College's tree-lined campus Thursday to protest — and counter-protest — an appearance by a controversial Palestinian leader.

Hanan Ashrawi, who is scheduled to speak in Boulder on Saturday, said she has never experienced such vocal and well-orchestrated protesters during an American speaking engagement.

"I thought it was a shame, because they duped a lot of people," Ashrawi said of the pro-Israeli demonstrators. "Of course, I will not be silenced or intimidated."

[...] More than 1,000 students, faculty members and Colorado Springs residents turned out for Ashrawi's speech. More than half had to watch a televised feed in another building or listen on speakers outside.

Outside the auditorium, several hundred pro-Israeli demonstrators faced off against a few dozen Palestinians and free speech supporters. The exchanges were heated at times, but peaceful.

[...] Inside the Armstrong Theatre, Ashrawi was met with a standing ovation from a crowd sprinkled with opponents, who held up pink placards that read, "I disagree."

Addressing her critics, Ashrawi denounced violence and called suicide bombers "morally reprehensible." The applause died down, however, when she referred to the suicide bombings as "doing unto others what was done to you."

Ashrawi also drew groans from the crowd by referring to her opponents in the audience as "those of you here trying to prevent peace from happening."

Here's how Ashrawi responded to some students in the audience holding up signs:

During her speech, opponents in Armstrong Hall held up pink cards that read, "I disagree" prompting Ashrawi to snap back.

"Don't you find that demeaning to yourselves?" she asked. "I urge you to listen. You might learn something. I wasn't distracted by bullets, and I won't be distracted by signs."

Yeah. Holding up a sign means you're not listening. Holding up a sign is the equivalent of shooting at her. She's learned her lies well.

And another:

At one point, a shouting match in front of the Palestinian information table prompted police to enforce a no-protest zone between the groups. But overall, the gathering was peaceful.

From the same newspaper:

Although critics condemned Ashrawi in advance as an apologist for terrorism, she came off as something else.

Asked if she condoned suicide bombings, Ashrawi said the bombings are, "absolutely tragic and I don't accept it. Not only do they not work, they're morally reprehensible."

When she said however, "it doesn't give you the right to do unto others what they did to you," she was booed by pro-Israeli sympathizers in the audience.

There's one last article from the Rocky Mountain News that could have been written by Ashrawi herself. It's so stupid I can't find a decent quote.

Nigerian spam letters: The J-E-W connection

As promised: I received the letter below a couple of days ago, and since I'm in no mood to get the sexism debate going again (and still not recovered from Phase II of The Ailment Currently Known As A Sort Of Cold), I'd much rather fisk a Nigerian scam spam. Except you can't even call it fisking, because this one is practically a parody of itself. It came from "Shapiro Morris," which name had me instantly howling with laughter because it's obvious that many Africans haven't a clue about Jews, being obviously unable to even tell a last name from a first. See if you can tell which are the letter parts, and which are my remarks.

GENERATION- SOUTH AFRICA (So you can tell it's really from South Africa, not Nigeria. Because it says so.)

{URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL) (Note the mismatched brackets—I think that means it's really urgent)

(RE: TRANSFER OF ($ 152,000.000.00 USD ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS ) (Obviously, since we were no longer biting at the paltry sum of $20 million, they've upped the ante. And they wrote it twice in case you might not have believed it the first time.)

Dear sir, (Good job! Wrong gender right off!)

We want to transfer to overseas ($ 152,000.000.00 USD) One hundred and Fifty two million United States Dollars) from a Bank in Africa, (We're not going to say why just yet.) I want to ask you to quietly look for a reliable and honest person (Me! Ooh! Pick me!) who will be capable and fit to provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c (A new bank air conditioner?) immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c (An empty one? With no freon? But it won't work!) can serve to receive this money, as long as you will remain honest to me till the end for this important business trusting in you and believing in God that you will never let me down either now or in future. (Trust me—I will never, ever, ever let you down. Nope. Not me. Nuh-uh. What did you say your bank account number was again?)

I am Shapiro Morris (I have looked at American documents in search of Jewish names because everyone knows Jews control money and therefore if I use Jewish name more American idiots will give me their bank account number.) the Auditor General (Is an Auditor General the same kind of general as a General Arafat?) of a bank in Africa, (A bank in Africa. How much more specific do I need to be?) during the course of our auditing I discovered a floating fund in an account opened in the bank in 1990 and since 1993 nobody has operated on this account again, after going through some old files in the records I discovered that the owner of the account died without a [heir] hence the money is floating and if I do not remit this money out urgently it will be forfeited for nothing. (Take a breath, dude, that was a long, long sentence. Question? Why is [heir] in brackets? Did the grammar checker have a problem with it? I don't see why; the grammar in this letter is so excellent you could probably be valedictorian in some Arkansas high school.) (I am so gonna get hate mail for that. I mean it in the Mark Twain sense of "Arkansas journalism." From "A Connecticut Yankee." Honest.) the owner of this account is Mr. Duncan Harkinson, a foreigner, and a sailor, and he died, since 1993. (He died since 1993. But he opened the account in 1990 and now there's $152m USD in it. Pretty damned good sailing, dude!) and no other person knows about this account or any thing concerning it, the account has no other beneficiary and my investigation proved to me as well that Mr. Duncan Harkinson until his death was the manager Mr. Duncan Harkinson Coy.(pty). SA. (See, now here's my problem to begin with. So the guy died. So he has no heirs. Why does that entitle you and me to steal his $152 m USD? You're not clear on that point. I need a motive. Greed is not enough. Like, what's my motivation?)

We will start the first transfer with fifty two million [$52,000.000] upon successful transaction without any disappoint from your side, we shall re-apply for the payment of the remaining rest amount to your account. (Yeah, but what about the disappoint from your side? Where's my guarantee, huh? How do I know you won't run off with the other hundred mil?)

The amount involved is (USD 152M) One hundred and Fifty two million United States Dollars, only I want to first transfer $52,000.000 [fifty two million United States Dollar from this money into a safe foreigners account abroad before the rest, but I don't know any foreigner, I am only contacting you (Wait until you see how he got my name) as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to a local person here, without valid international foreign passport, but can only be approved to any foreigner with valid international passport or drivers license and foreign a/c (I have central a/c. It's not foreign, it's American.) because the money is in us Dollars (WE dollars. The correct grammar is "we dollars." "Us," indeed.) and the former owner of the a/c Mr. Duncan Harkinson is a foreigner too, [and the money can only be approved into a foreign a/c. (Look, there's another one of those strangely-used brackets. I'm telling you, it's a secret code and we need to make sure Al Qaeda isn't sending instructions via Nigerian scam mail now.)

However, we will sign a binding agreement, to bind us together (not without drinks and dinner first) I got your contact address from the Girl who operates computer, (See? He got my name via "the Girl who operates computer." She doesn't even have a name. She lives and works in South Africa, operating the computer, and yet she knows my name. I am famous. Hoo-ha!) I am revealing this to you with believe in God that you will never let me down in this business, you are the first and the only person (first and only! Woo-hoo, that $152 m USD is MINE, all MINE!) that I am contacting for this business, so please reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to take urgently. Send also your private telephone and fax number (urgently) including the full details of the account to be used for the deposit. (Now we're really talking urgently. That's right, your bank account number, preferably the one with your 401k in it.)

I want us to meet face to face to build confidence and to sign a binding agreement that will bind us together before transferring the money to any account of your choice where the fund will be safe. Before we fly to your country for withdrawal, sharing and investments. (Our investment advice is as good as our English writing skills.)

I need your full co-operation to make this work fine. (Can't fleece a sheep without a sheep) because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has correct information of this account, (Because after all, why would the management care which foreigner takes the $152m USD, as long as it's a foreigner? Why should logic apply to this? We're looking for greedy morons we can rob of their life savings. Are you dumb enough to take The Nigerian Spam Challenge?) which I will give to you, upon your positive response and once I am convinced that you are capable (and have enough money in your bank account) and will meet up with instruction of a key bank official who is deeply involved with me in this business. (Probably the Girl who operates computer.)

I need your strong assurance that you will never, never let me down. (This is to make him appear sincere. Is it working?)

With my influence and the position of the bank official (The girl who operates computer) we can transfer this money to any foreigner's reliable account which you can provide with assurance that this money will be intact pending our physical arrival in your country for sharing. (Don't steal it from us before we can steal it from you. Oh, wait. We're not giving you any money beforehand. Never mind.) The bank official (The girl who operates computer) will destroy all documents of transaction immediately we receive this money leaving no trace to any place (Ah. Now we're getting into admitting this isn't all above-board and, uh, legal.) and to build confidence you can come immediately to discuss with me face to face after which I will make this remittance in your presence and three of us will fly to your country at least two days ahead of the money going into the account.

I will apply for annual leave to get visa immediately I hear from you that you are ready to act and receive this fund in your account. I will use my position and influence to obtain all legal approvals (I love this part. All legal approvals necessary to steal $152 m USD.) for onward transfer of this money to your account with appropriate clearance from the relevant ministries and foreign exchange departments. (Bribes. Just say "bribes," it's shorter.)

At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 35% of the total amount, (Lessee, 35% of 152m USD is, uh, oh, hell, a whole lot!) 60% will be for me, while 5% will be for expenses both parties might have incurred during the process of transferring. (Because it might cost us at least $8 million USD for, oh, travel expenses, copying costs, visa clearances, and time spent. We bill like your average New York City law firm. Plus, there's the bribe for the Girl who operates computer.)

I look forward to your earliest reply through my email address: (which is a Lycos account so that he can't be traced at his very modern bank job, which has one computer operated by Girl who operates computer.)


Shapiro Morris. (Morrie, Morrie, Morrie. So low you've sunk? You can't be in the South African diamond trade like your cousin Irving? And the language in this letter? What, your father spent all that money on a Princeton education and you write like some third-world small-time crook trying to defraud people out of their money? You should be ashamed. Oy. My heart. I think I'm having a heart attack. Promise me you'll get married before you put the tombstone on the grave. Promise me. Promise me...)



Oh, lighten up already

It occurs to me that it's been entirely too somber around here lately. And besides, there are a couple of search phrases that I haven't used yet that are tickling my fancy. I don't know what my fancy is, exactly, or how it's being tickled, and in fact, I do not like to be tickled (does any control freak?) and am not very ticklish (years of training myself not to react to being tickled) and wow, I had not intended to reveal quite so much of my personality to the nameless masses who read this weblog. All right, nameless masses: Forget what I just wrote. Okay? S'aright.

questions that make people look stupid: I know a search phrase that makes someone look stupid

free muslim burqa pics: I puzzled over this one for a bit, and then I realized: It's a new Islamic movement. There are thousands, if not millions, of imprisoned muslim burqa pictures worldwide, and these brave souls are going to free them all! And of course, since it's an Islamic movement, there will be a radical portion of it that insist this cannot be done without violence. Look for Fotomats worldwide to be targeted and bombed. Warn any of your relatives who work there to be careful. And folks—clear your hard drives.

the blind ones homepage: Oh, that one's too easy. Must... resist... impulse. Nah. Indymedia.

mallomars: O, Enlightened One! Thank you for reminding me that Mallomars are due back in the stores now that summer is near an end. And they'll be on sale, too. At least, in New Jersey. I wonder how Mallomars are considered here in Gentile country? Probably something like, "Wow, these are just like Pinwheels!" Philistines. (See, I'm insulting my neighbors without even giving them the chance to first make those statements. This is known as "tolerance.") Mind you, I should probably lay off the Mallomars for a while, because while drying myself off this morning I noticed a curve in my waist that I haven't seen in some time. The diet continues to be working. Well, maybe the fast on Yom Kippur can counteract the box of Mallomars I intend to eat the day before. If I can find them.

hot nj girl blog: You better believe it, baby! Complete with pictures of my... cats. (Insert your own synonym, I'm not gonna do it.)

Hey. That was fun. Next up for the humor patrol: I received a really hilarious new Nigerian scam email that I will share with one and all. Because I'm just that nice.

Oh, wait, I almost forgot. I received an email from a non-Jewish reader (that I think was mostly joking) about how I didn't wish my non-Jewish readers a Happy New Year. But she got me to thinking. (Ow, that hurt.) So I thought I'd mention that I did intend the greetings for all my readers, and added a special traditional Jewish greeting for my Jewish readers. I did not intend for anyone to feel excluded, but I didn't think non-Jews would get the reference.

Let me say that I've never written this weblog with the intent to attract only one type of reader. Oh, screw that PC shit. Let me speak plain English. I'm not writing this weblog only for Jews. I am writing it for myself, and I want it to appeal to everyone. Because I am Jewish, Jewish issues are of great interest to me, and I write about them frequently. But that's not what is all about. If it was, I'd change the name to Hey. Now there's an idea... a second weblog... nah. Too much work. Anyway. Just as I don't want this weblog typecast, neither will I typecast my readers. All are welcome. None are turned away. (Like I could control who loads this page into a browser anyway, but shhh, let's pretend for a moment that I could.) Well, okay, maybe a few, but they started it.

It must be Jewsday

Catching up on some emails: Josh Kraushaar reports on how the American liberals who were counter-protesting the neo-nazi rally in D.C. last week turned on a young woman because she was carrying an Israeli flag. You know. The flag of that Jewish country that the neo-nazis were protesting. However, irony is a talent only of intelligent people, so the protesters just didn't get it.

As I walked deeper and deeper through the crowd of protesters, waving the Israeli flag high and proud above my head, I began to feel less and less welcome. I marched on, waving the flag even higher so each and every neo-Nazi could see the flag of the Jewish people.

Suddenly I realized that the cries and jeers at the sight of the flag, originated not from the neo-Nazis, but from the anti-Nazi protesters.

I continued through the crowd and tried hard to ignore the glares. Inevitably, I was confronted. Abusive, although not unfamiliar words assaulted me at first: "Israel is fascist!" "Zionism is racism!" An old woman with a sweet face screamed at me, "You are a Nazi!" she cried. What had started out as a protest against racism quickly turned into a forum of hatred and fanaticism. I and the flag I held were their targets.

(Psst... Sarah... your nonviolent beliefs are useless. Next time, try introducing them to the business end of the flagpole. Just once, I'd love to see an article by a formerly nonviolent person who says, "I realized my nonviolent methods were a waste of time, so I shoved my flagpole up their asses." Just once.)

Blame Canada. Shame, Canada.

An eyewitness account by Sara Aronheim of the anti-Jewish riot at Concordia University in Montreal, via LGF:

Right next to me appeared the ringleader, who tried to push his way in. The cop in front of me punched him in the face while pulling me through the gate at the same time. I rested against the wall and watched as at least a hundred (I think) red-and-green coloured protesters attacked the barriers and tried to get in. Riot cops appeared, dozens of them, and went to the gate as I and a few others were herded into the building. There was yelling and chanting, drumming and fighting going on outside the doors, with hundreds of our people stuck behind the gate being abused by hundreds of violent demonstrators. A few of us were waiting after the metal detectors for our friends to come through, when all of a sudden we heard loud chanting and yelling INSIDE the building. The riot cops came storming in and up the stairs beside us, and we began hearing fighting, crashing, yelling, punching. Chaos broke out and riot cops made us run for the door to the auditorium - I thought we were going to get killed, I swear. It was the scariest feeling, because I knew that these people wanted to hurt me and anyone who supports Israel or is Jewish.

[...] The scene as we exited was disgusting. Benches were overturned, papers and garbage streaked across the hallways, and broken windows. We were shoved outside directly into a HUGE Palestinian riot, where some of our people were apparently attacked. The cops did nothing. We stood on one side of the barrier, while they stood on the other, and we faced off. On our side, we sang and danced and celebrated being free and Jewish. On their side, they threw bottles at people's heads, screamed hatred, and tried to break the barriers down to hurt us. They started tossing pennies and coins at us - one of the oldest ways to taunt Jews by saying we're all 'money-grubbing'. While we sang Hatikvah arm in arm, they spat at us. Finally we decided to disperse and leave them to their hatred.

See the story for yourself on the CTV page, via Damian Penny.

Is this what we have to look forward to at SFSU and other American universities? The lies about protesting Israeli policies have worn thin.

These are not Israelis. These are Jews.

This is not protesting Israel's policies. This is anti-Semitism.

This is not free expression. This is suppression of speech.

This is not protest. This is naked hatred.

The brownshirts of the 21st century wear the kaffiyeh today. Must we wait for another Kristallnacht before we squash those responsible for this hate? Will the book-burnings begin soon? The targeted deaths of Jews has been going on, worldwide, for decades. Will Canada be the next country to see scores of Jews die in a terrorist attack?

Shame on you, Concordia. Shame on you, Montreal. Shame on you for allowing this kind of lawlessness and hate free reign.



Second wave

More 9/11 posts, and some of them may be a tad angry:

Laurence Simon: It is night time in Ramallah.
The ovens are running there.

The same flames out of Hell that Nazi hate that seared my people have been called upon to bake the candy and cookies that the Palestinians will hand out in celebrations when dawn breaks tomorrow. They will wave their flags. They will burn ours.

Grasshoppa: I hope on this anniversary, that the images of 9-11 which are flooding our airwaves and our networks will remind us this is not over and that we must keep both eyes on our enemies while keeping one on ourselves and our government. I know that many who have not directly suffered from 9-11 will be brought to tears by the replay of that fateful day, but tears will accomplish precious little.

Diane E.: Two words, and they're not what you think. (Or at least, not the two I thought they were.)

Jeff Jarvis: ...I came up out of the subway at the World Trade Center not long before 8 o'clock -- one hour short of a year after I came up out of the PATH train here.

In front of me were family members waiting to get into the memorial service, some carrying, many wearing the pictures of their loved ones, gone.

A parade of pain.

And just go to NZ Bear's. He's been doing this all day; I've only done it twice, for an hour or two. Or visit Glenn.


Some extraordinary 9/11 posts:

Cold Fury: The sympathy from the rest of the world was genuine, I think. The goodwill and courage of the free world is intact, or so I hope and believe.

Susanna Cornett: This time last year, the WTC dominated that view. Smoke dominated it for days after 9/11. Now, nothing dominates it. Somehow, that nothingness is the most intrusive of all. I want to say, every day: The WTC is still gone. Just so you know.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden: A year ago tomorrow I stood on the roof of my building and watched the towers burning. All that day the wind blew straight from Ground Zero to my street, tiny particles of dust and ash mixed with holocaust smoke that smelled like burned plastic. At evening, the cooling column of smoke rained down scraps of scorched paper.

A Small Victory: The men whose pictures you see above were the friends of my father. They all died on September 11, and they all died as heroes. Yes, they were doing their job. But they did not have to rush up those stairs. They did not have to run in when everyone else was running out. Any one of them could have turned and ran with the crowd. They didn't. They went into that building hoping to rescue survivors. They never came out. (Click here for the complete set.)

Karl Martino: We don't say much. Just holding on to one another. Looking at the live shots of people deciding to jump. Of the buildings falling. Of the hit on the Pentagon. The reports of other planes out there. Of fight 93. Wondering how many innocent lives were lost. Hearing stories of heroism. Making calls to friends and family. Saying prayers.

War Now!: I watched tonight on TV as Marines stood at attention in my country with tears running down their faces – I cried… I was proud to stand with the country that produced those people.

At 8:46 am this morning two choirs, one in our capital and one in our largest city, began to sing a requiem.

Samizdata: I have just got back from lunch and what I saw on the King's Road in Chelsea, here in London, amazed me. There is no law requiring it, no government departments 'encouraging' it loudly, yet shop after shop are displaying signs saying words to the effects of "At 1:46 pm to day, we will be observing two minutes silence in remembrance of the atrocities on September 11th of last year in the United States." Others are expressing memorial sentiments, still others just displaying small American flags.

NZ Bear: Perhaps I will be proven wrong, but the track record up until this point is not good. We seem to be embracing the role of victim; not just commemorating it, but celebrating it. We are in danger of remembering what occurred a year ago today as a tragedy that just "happened".

But what is being overwhelmed in the cult of victimhood is that forty men and women refused to accept their role as passive victims. They saw the face of the enemy; they learned the evil it had done already and the work it still had left to be done on that day.

And they said "no more". They drew the line: this far, and no farther.

Flight 93.

A note for today: It took nearly three hours to read the names of the victims of the WTC.

Remembering the day

A Perfect Morning is a website started to collect memories and essays of 9/11. From its mission statement:

The events of September 11, 2001 were not a tragedy. They were not caused by a flaw in American character that caused our eventual downfall.

The events of September 11, 2001 were not a disaster. It was not a misfortune that befell the American people by chance.

The events of September 11, 2002 were a deliberate attack on a free and noble people by repressive, fanatic, and evil men, driven by a devotion to medieval notions of human freedom and visions of carnal rewards for their cruelty to their fellow man.

On a perfect morning in September, these men took passenger aircraft and converted them into deadly missiles, using innocents as tools to kill more innocents, and staining the clear blue skies of New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania with the blood of Americans who had comitted no offense against them, except the offense that these men took at the existence of free peeople everywhere.

[...] A Perfect Morning will collect essays from around the world, from all types of people, who are dedicated to seeing the spread of freedom around the world, and to ensuring that no more are added to the rolls of the dead at the hands of terrorists who despise that freedom.

My essay, The Things I learned from 9/11, is there. Here's an excerpt.

I learned the definition of "schadenfreude." Before 9/11, I would see that word in a sentence and continue reading, as many people do with words they don't understand. I had a vague idea of what the word meant, due to the context of the sentence, but it wasn't until after 9/11 that I finally went to the dictionary to discover what it really meant: Taking joy in the suffering of others. It astonished me then, and astonishes me now, that people cheered as the Towers went down. Nearly 3,000 innocents died in those Towers, but that didn't matter to those busily engaged in schadenfreude. The United States had been given its comeuppance. Arabs danced in the streets. People around the world gathered around television sets and cheered as the smoke rose and the bodies were atomized. Schadenfreude. Now I know what the word means, in all its hideousness.

The organizers are collecting essays. You don't have to have a website to contribute. Write one and email it. Remember.

School daze

Round one goes to my students. Good Lord, I was not expecting to have more trouble from the girls than from the boys. I'm still flabbergasted. (I think I'm a sexist. Everything is making me think I'm a sexist these days.)

So here was my day: I woke up with the most awful sore throat, a stuffed-up head, and (sigh) first-day cramps. I have CVS Daytime Liquid Capsules, which are my shotgun symptom-reliever of choice. No matter how bad a sore throat you have, this stuff makes it go away. I love it. It's magic. I've been on it all day, and will be taking the nighttime capsules momentarily. But hey, I managed to finish my lesson plan. I was proud of my lesson plan. I'd like to post my lesson plan, because every teacher out there would fall on the floor in hysterics at the utter cluelessness and naivete it portrays.

Chaos reigned. Snack-time is 4:00. The snacks were not ready. So the kids went, snackless, into the 4:15 assembly, which was supposed to take 15 minutes. It took longer. These are kids who've been in regular school all day and who are probably starving and tired and antsy and want nothing more than to go home and play, and we're giving them two more hours of schooling. So we get back to my classroom, and I start taking attendance and trying to get to know my kids. Sensing new blood, the sharks begin to circle. They take a few nips and decide they like it. Yup, they've got a new one, a real sucker. They draw blood. The battle lines are drawn, when in comes one of the parents, with the snack: Apple slices and honey.

I will never allow honey in my classroom ever again. It got tracked onto the girls' table and half a dozen books. I was still cleaning up honey after class was over. Then the kids got taken out for music and some time with the Rabbi to learn a few prayers. By the time that was over, I had thirty-five minutes left and had taught them, essentially, never run down the stairway to the classroom, don't interrupt when someone else is speaking (that one didn't take well at all), and, well, that was about it. Unless you count, "This one's a sucker, let's see what we can get away with around her."

But I won the second battle. I had had enough. The last half-hour, those kids were mine. I got them to quiet down enough to be told by one "I don't think you're as nice a teacher as Mrs. Shapiro." I was thrilled (and vastly amused) to hear that. (Mrs. Shapiro is their last teacher who, they assured me, was the nicest teacher they ever had and they all missed her.) But we got to finish the lesson in writing Hebrew script. I taught them four letters, and they did fairly well in it, and even decided it was fun.

Next week, I will be even better prepared. Next week, there will be nothing like the chaos that reigned today. Next week, the children will not be walking all over me. I had dinner with the fifth grade teacher, and we discussed our afternoon in a state of shock and exhaustion. We're both the new kids on the block. Neither of us has ever taught more than one student at a time before, and they all figured that out. Both of us, however, have sworn that next week, there will be quiet, and order, and raising of hands to speak. I intend to get through my lesson plan.

I do have one question, though: When did it become okay for kids to bitch about every single thing that happens in a classroom? They bitched about the color of their folders ("I don't like yellow!"), they bitched about the sharpness or dullness of their pencils ("I can't write with a dull pencil, it has to be really sharp!"), they bitched about how cold it was when we first entered the classroom—about the only thing they didn't bitch about was the fact that it was Tuesday, and give them time, and they'll probably bitch about that, too.

I still can't believe it was the girls. Traitors. Obviously, their mothers haven't finished teaching them about the Vast Sisterhood Theory, wherein you're supposed to always give a fellow XX a break, and only give a hard time to the XYs. I'll have to take them aside secretly and teach them myself, obviously. Next week. I'll put it in the lesson plan.



Sexism, continued

I habe a code id by head, and I have survived my first day teaching fourth-graders in religious school (see above). All you're getting from me tonight is another round-up on responses, and a brief description of my day with the children.

Charles Kuffner has a thoughtful post on the subject, and adds some interesting numbers

NZ Bear says I'm wrong about his grand entrance.

Brigitte Eaton posts some figures from her portal database, and elsewhere regarding male/female blogging and internet usage. She points to the article that details gender internet usage, as well. Thanks, Brig.

Jim Miller has a fascinating angle to this discussion, and I'm incredibly tempted to say, "You don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies," but I won't. Oops. I just did. (You knew I would, didn't you, Jim?)

Peter Briffa: Short, sweet, to the point. (But Peter, I am a liberal. Mostly. And you're right. Mostly. I'm so confused. Mostly.)

If there are any more out there, you'd best send me email, quickly—I sense a disturbance in the Force, and it's saying, "What? Aren't you done with that topic yet? Geez!"


No Better Time to be a Jew in America

From FrontPage magazine, via Judith Weiss, who writes for Kesher Talk:

I, a Gen-Xer more or less, have lived to see the day when Islamic militants attack the World Trade Center, and fingers point at Israel. I have lived to see a world where an Israeli prime minister is indicted for war crimes because Christians killed Muslims in Lebanon. I have lived to see an era that has Palestinians genocide-bombing Israelis up to four times a week and people blaming Israelis. I’ve made it to a place in time where Muslims storm a Christian church in Bethlehem, and a priest inside scolds the Israeli military for the ensuing destruction. I’m living in a time when newspaper opinion pages can drop the word "Israelis" altogether to openly ask, "How many times in a lifetime are we going to fight for the Jews?" I have made it to a time in which there is civil debate on TV over whether terrorism against Jews counts as terrorism.

A Jew couldn’t be happier.

[...] Except mine: I worried what it was that people weren’t saying. Especially since it was, after all, New York that they weren’t saying it in. I would get similar vibes on days that I was wearing my Star of David pendant, when more glances than usual would come my way. No one said anything, except for the people who delivered hurried compliments after noticing that they were caught looking — though the looks had been less than complimentary. "Was it just my imagination?" I wondered, and worried that I’d somehow managed to inherit the Jewish paranoia of generations far removed from X.

But since September 11 I no longer worry. Because they are saying it. Because the things people didn’t allow themselves to ponder, much less permit to escape on their breath, are finally audible. Somehow that event has opened the floodgates and given voice to all the unspoken feelings and opinions I could only suspect before. So that today — even as college students at San Francisco State shout, "Hitler didn’t finish the job!" and kids at a Gettysburg, PA, high school come home telling their parents that what’s happening to our country is because of the Jews — I’ve never felt safer. The self-censorship that I had for so long sensed suppressing a tension beneath the surface has come undone, and I can finally know what I’ve been craving to know all along: where I stand. And who stands with me.

Excellent article. Please read it all.

No worse time to be a Jew in Canada

Also from Kesher Talk, plenty of information on the anti-Jewish riot that forced Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his speech at Concordia University (doesn't "concordia" mean peace?):

"It was 1939 Europe all over again," said Thomas Hecht, 73, chairman of the Canada-Israel Committee's Quebec branch. About 25 protesters screaming "Palestinian checkpoint!" encircled Mr. Hecht, a Czechoslovakian-born Holocaust survivor, as he attempted to enter the Hall Building. Several protesters pushed him against a wall, spitting on him and kicking his ankles.

"This is a violation of all that Canadians value," a shaken Mr. Hecht said after he was guided to safety by another man and a group of journalists.

Police moved in with tear gas and pepper spray only after the windows were smashed. Earlier that morning, 24 riot police looked on as protesters spat on journalists and blocked them from entering the building. A demonstrator was permitted to chant slogans into a megaphone while perched atop a police van.

And may I say: Bastards.

More sexists

Yeah, that was a misleading title. Made you look.

Having just returned from a quick run to replenish my supply of Cold-Eeze, which is spelled abominably but which happens to be the only homeopathic remedy that has ever worked for me (zinc lozenges; they reduce or eliminate the effects of a cold you are coming down with, and my bug is back or a new one is attacking me as we speak, and I have 12 fourth-graders to teach tomorrow afternoon and a lesson plan to finish, so...), I am going to put together a quick update. [later] Okay, maybe not so quick.

Amptoons is a site that I've been to a few times and think I will visit much more often. Not only does the author have a wonderful post about sexism in and out of the blogosphere, but he hates Garfield, too! "Why Peanuts kicks Garfield's Sad Furry Ass" is a must-read. But to the topic at hand. First, like Ampersand, I have to quote Diane E.:

Sexism doesn't lie in the fact that there are more male bloggers, and more linked male bloggers, but the fact that there is a huge double standard: whatever certain male bloggers say is accepted and worthy of the blogosphere richochet; whereas if a woman were to say it, it would have been dismissed or ignored. And--when a woman speaks with knowledge on a subject, using logic and evidence, she is ignored.

Example: me and Steven den Beste.

Now Ampersand:

I have to agree; if this were a pure meritocracy, Diane E. would get tons more links than SDB and many other "foreign policy conservative" bloggers, because she's simply better: better-informed, better logic, better prose. (On the Blogosphere's smaller left side, the paucity of links to Body and Soul, compared to many less thoughtful and interesting blogs, might be an equivalent case).

A 1997 study of scientific credit, published in the journal Nature (Wenneras and Wold, "Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review." Nature, volume 387, May 22 1997, pages 341-343) provides evidence of a mechanism for sexism that's pretty similar to what Diane's suggesting.

[...] The results? Female scientists needed to be at least twice as accomplished as their male counterparts to be given equal credit. For example, women with over 60 "impact points" - the measure the researchers constructed of scientific productivity - received an average score of 2.25 "competence points" from the peer reviewers. In contrast, men with less than 20 impact points also received 2.25 competence points. In fact, only the most accomplished women were ever considered to be more accomplished than men - and even then, they were only seen as more accomplished than the men with the very fewest accomplishments.

Similarly, "audit" and "blind audition" studies have shown that female job applicants, applying for the same position as identically-qualified men, are less likely to be offered a job - especially when applying for higher-status jobs. It's unlikely many employers would consciously sabotage her own business by hiring an inferior employee; so why the male advantage? One possibility is that, even when viewing two basically identical resumes, some employers tend to "credit" the male applicant's work higher; so they subjectively choose the employee they see as more accomplished.

And a few remarks from me: J. Bowen at No Watermelons left me a bunch of questions that he calls "pointed" and I call "really mad." I guess it's an interpretation thing—a quick read of his post left me thinking, "Wow, he's really mad at me." This is why:

Meryl doesn't have any commenting facility that I can tell, so I'll ask her a few questions here: why is the sex of a blogger important? Are you saying a man can't write like a woman, or vice versa? You don't seem to like Ann Coulter - don't you like the idea that a woman can be as obnoxious as any man? Are you contending that there are no meaningful differences in the sexes that might be relevant to the choice of topics, the tone, the volume, and the overall success (whatever that is) of a blog?

Many of these questions are contentious and challenging, and all of them are minefields which will lead to what are basically exercises in rhetoric if I answer them. I'll pass, except to say: WTF does Ann Coulter have to do with anything? But I will answer some other suppositions from Bowen:

Before I start, let's see if we can agree on a few fundamental things. 1) More males than females read blogs 2) More males than females write blogs 3) Each sex tends to write about things of interest to their own sex. 4) Each sex tends to read about things of interest to their own sex. Anything controversial so far?

From the above it's easy to conclude that it's 100% natural that men would have most of the traffic, and might possibly be tempted to link to men more often because of their *content*. There's nothing sinister about that.

[...] Women as a group, in my experience, tend to write more "diary-style" blogs. You need continuity to appreciate them. That makes them comparatively high-maintenance, like a soap opera - you either tune in everyday or have to be brought up-to-date each time.

1) Actually, studies have shown that more women than men are online now. If you like, I'll dig up the online references to them. Or you can search yourself in Wired's archives. 2) Where is your data on that? I've never read any such fact. 3) and 4) Huge leap of faith there. Are you trying to say that women don't care about politics? Technology? Sports? That only men are interested in reading warblogs? I'm not buying that argument, and you aren't doing such a good job selling it. On what are you basing your facts? How many of your readers are female? Male? How about my readers? What's the ratio of Diane E.'s readers, male to female?

Sorry, J, but you're coming off as, well, sexist.

And you're judging from what? Warbloggers' sites? There are a lot more weblogs out there that you've never heard of. I've read a lot of diary-style weblogs written by men. Which is not to say that women don't write a lot of journal-style blogs, but you are looking from a very narrow viewpoint. Ever hear of Brian May? He wrote an amazing journal of his time as a security guard at the last Winter Olympics. The Shifted Librarian? Loriloo? LittleYellow Different? They're all bloggers with their own followings. Some are men, some are women. I'm guessing you never heard of any of them. They're not warbloggers.

My information was derived from perusing blogrolls of weblogs that I read regularly, or other popular weblogs that I know of. It was far from scientific, but neither was I making things up. I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in the techblogs and the warblogs; I keep up with major sites from both aspects and read a wide variety of blogs. What can I say, I like a wide variety of reading material. Your viewpoint, if coming only from the warblogger turf, is necessarily narrow. But even speaking only of the warblogging section, I think you're pretty far off the mark.

When you've got some statistics to back up your assertions, I'll be happy to revisit the issue.

One of the good guys, women I forgot to mention, and other postscripts

Dane Carlson (are people still Googlewhacking?) sent me this email yesterday morning:

Thanks for all the links to the women bloggers.

Many of them are new to me.

Those two sentences brought home a great point: Ultimately, I don't care whether or not people agree with me about sexism and blogging. The topic has been raised and questioned, and as Dane showed me, it has brought a number of women bloggers to the notice of people who might otherwise never have read their weblogs. That's a win-win.

And in that spirit, here are some more of the women bloggers I didn't mention yesterday:

Moira Breen

Elana S

Andrea Harris

Andrea See (thanks to a blogger who shall remain nameless, but who was accused of sexism by some in this discussion, who reminded me about Andrea).

Joanne Jacobs

Teresa Nielsen Hayden

Ginger Stampley

Shelley Powers (So I don't agree with her politics. She's a woman, she blogs, she knows tech better than a lot of the guys. She rates.)

Oh, yeah—I can't forget Karl Martino's look at this. It's succinct, and quite funny.

I'm sure I'm forgetting many more, but I'm posting this at 11 p.m. last night, and I need to beat this second wave virus.



The Blogosphere weighs in on sexism

This is all NZ Bear's fault; he made me do it. Anyway, here's a compendium of other bloggers' take on sexism, blogging, and linking:

Dawn Olsen answers her critics.

NZ Bear adds his two cents.

No Watermelons gets really mad at me.

Just One Minute insults me in the nicest of ways.

Gene Expressions gets me from both sides of the gender divide.

Diane E. gets into it. (Scroll down; it's in there, trust me. Look for the phrase "Meryl is right.")

Improved Clinch has a say.

MommaBear roars.

Win Fitzpatrick seems as confused as I am, but that didn't stop either of us from posting.

Susanna Cornett says it's the free market in action.

Just a few quick comments, though: I'm not angry, folks, and I'm surprised any of you are painting me as such. I'll answer all questions and comments later tonight. And I probably will post emails as well.

Update: Natalie Solent expands her views.

Andrew joins MommaBear over at Dodgeblog.

Nobody else has written me, although I did get a new Nigerian spam letter that's going to the top of my list of "Blog it!" because it's the funniest one yet. Sexism can wait.

Sexism in blogging

My friend Da Bear has pointed me toward this Dawn Olsen post and asked me in an email what I thought of it. Dawn brings up an issue that I've thought about more than a little.

She and I agree in general that attitude is more the exception than the rule among other blogs, but the current hierarchy fosters this and tends to have an inherent attitude about female blogs.

Please let me restate this more specifically. The biggest bloggers (those with the most influence and traffic) do what they do and link who they feel support their beliefs and arguments. If you aren't a war-blogger then there seems to be no reason to pay attention to you. And even if you do include politics and war-blogging in your material, but focus mainly on micro/personal issues, say someone like Shell, you are still overlooked by the mainstream people.

Dawn goes on to say that of course no one is obligated to link to anyone else, but her frustration and anger with the Big Boys is clear. Her solution to this problem for the moment is to start a bit of a revolution: She will no longer link to the A-listers who won't link to her. Bear discusses this on his site, but his solution—the BlogMD project—won't do anything in the short term.

I'm late to this party, but let me see if I can get this into a nutshell: Dawn is upset because when she does get linked from the A-listers, they tend to be links only to her posts on sex. Otherwise, she is ignored. Neither is she on Glenn's blogroll; Dawn says he has only "serious" women bloggers in his sidebar. (Full disclosure: I'm on Glenn's blogroll.) This lack of attention from people like den Beste and Sullivan is sexist, she says. They pay more attention to the male bloggers than they do female bloggers.

The problem here is that there are two issues. The first is the issue of sexism: Do the A-listers link more often to male bloggers and ignore female bloggers? Do the guys have an online boys club where they check their buddies out first? Was it sheer coincidence that NZ Bear shot up to the top of the blogosphere? Or was it sexism, as no female blogger has ever garnered the attention he received quite so quickly? (We're talking pre-ecosystem—Glenn Reynolds, Bill Quick, and Stephen Green treated Bear like a long-lost brother returned home. Hey, the guy's my offline friend, I introduced him to the blogosphere, and even I was struck by twinges of envy at his instant results. I had to work my ass off for nearly a year to get the kind of notice and traffic he got in his first month.)

The second issue is seriousness: See below; this post got too long.

The answer to the first question: Yes, I think there is sexism in the blogosphere, and it is for the most part unintentional. I was working on a post on that topic months ago, and as a for-instance, I checked the blogrolls of the weblogs I visited regularly and discovered an appalling ratio of female-to-male bloggers on blogrolls. As I recall, the best ratio around was on Bruce Hill's War Now!, but it was still a pretty pathetic ratio, something like only 14%. And even more surprising, most women bloggers had abysmal female-to-male blogger ratios on their blogrolls. The larger question which begs to be asked, of course, is whether or not there are that few women writing warblogs, techblogs, or other "serious" blogs. The answer: I think so. There is no standardized, gender-divided list, although Brigitte at Eatonweb is working to put together a categorized blog search at her portal. (And damn me if I haven't realized until now that she's not on my links page. Fixed. See what I mean? Even me.) But even though there are more women online than ever before, and even though studies are showing that surfers are increasingly female, it does appear that the majority of "serious" weblogs— the non-journals, non-frivolous political or tech blogs—are still overwhelmingly written by men. Or at least, the ones we link to are. The only exception I can think of is Blogsisters, a weblog written exclusively by women, and which blogroll is exclusively—and deliberately—female.

Take a look at the blogrolls on Scripting News or Doc's place, or even Diane E. and Megan McArdle, and you'll find few women-written weblogs. Again, I'm not saying this is deliberate. But it is a striking fact. It's not just the men. Even women have a low female-to-male blogroll ratio.

So what's to be done about it? That, too, is a tough one. I believe that bloggers would be better off checking a few of the female pundits on a more regular basis. I try to rectify that bias by sometimes deliberately emphasizing women bloggers in my linkage posts, but I've seen no reason to announce that fact, either. I just make the extra effort every so often. Do I think that Sullivan, Reynolds, Quick, et al owe women bloggers a special look-see? Nope. But I think they'd be better off remembering that there are more than a few women bloggers out there, and they've got a lot of interesting things to say.

Sex and the serious blogger

To continue with the topic started above: Can a woman who posts erotic fiction, a picture of her ass with the caption "By Special Request-My Ass Is my Blog HOT or NOT?" and interviews where the second question to Pejman is "How old were you when you had your first sexual experience?" be taken seriously by the Big Boys of Blogging?

Dawn Olsen thinks so. Why can't people link to her serious topic blogs as well as to the sexually-oriented ones? Here's a part of my email exchange with NZ Bear on that subject (and please note that Glenn never said the below, it is just a made-up example):

Is it really fair to say Dawn shouldn't expect to be taken seriously because she also does nudie-pics and sex talk?

Is that a different standard then we apply to, say, Lair -- who's a self-admitted completely silly nut job 80% of the time --- but 20% says some intelligent stuff?

And if it were, say, Glenn making that argument ("she posts pictures of her ass -- why should I take her seriously?") how would you feel about it?

Is it a different standard? No. Dawn Olsen's weblog schtick is sexuality. Whatever it started as, or whatever it wants to be, when you post erotic fiction; when you put up half-naked pictures of yourself to get more people to contribute to the Blogathon; when you have a picture of your ass adorning your main page, your angle is sex. So people will be reading your blog expecting to read about sex, and when you suddenly post a seven-point essay on The Effects of Automatic Weapons on WWII Casualties, people will be thinking, "Huh? Where's the sex stuff?"

Laurence Simon's angle is humor, yes. But his humor is for the most part topical, and is taken from the latest headlines. It's already political. So when Lair stops being funny and gets serious, you tend to say, "Wow, he must be pretty pissed about this," or "He feels pretty strongly about this topic." Of course, some will say, "Huh? Where's the funny stuff?" but hey, some people find it difficult to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Yeah, I've heard the argument: There are great investigative articles in Playboy and Penthouse. I've even read many of them, since in my days as a typesetter my typehouse published Penthouse. But those investigative articles are not written by the women who are spreading their legs for the centerfold. It's a credibility issue. It's difficult to take Dawn seriously under these circumstances. Having said that, I would absolutely link to Dawn if she wrote a post that I found interesting that I thought my readers would also like. But as I don't read Dawn's blog on a regular basis, someone else is going to have to point those posts out to me. And I don't read Dawn regularly not because I think she's not a serious or good writer, but because I'm simply not interested in the erotic fiction or the sex talk. I don't want to wade through it to see if she's put up a "serious" post.

There's another blogger out there that I'm sure has a lot of good things to say: Fred Lapides. Imshin mentions him frequently, and I've visited his site once or twice. I have no interest in reading it on a regular basis because he likes to post pictures of women in various stages of undress. I refuse to get past the tittie pictures to find out why Imshin raves about him. It's not my cup of tea. Note that I'm not saying he shouldn't post these pictures. Just that I won't read his blog because of them. I don't want to wade through the drek to get to the serious postings.

If you spend an overwhelming amount of words (or pictures) in your weblog on one theme, and then get annoyed with people when they lock you into that theme, you've already lost the high ground. It's rather unfair to blame people for thinking of you in one way when you've worked hard to establish that they do think of you that way. Dawn, my suggestion: Start a new weblog for your serious topics, and stick with the sexuality on Up Yours. I can't see any other way out of your dilemma.



The Hulk and Rosh Hashana

I had a wonderful time the first night of Rosh Hashana, and the Hulk is the reason for it. Honest.

See, The Stan Lee Solution was reprinted in the Comic Buyers Guide about the time I was visiting Richmond for an apartment hunt. I was sent to Dave's Comics via a Barnes & Noble's, which did not stock the magazine. There I met Dave and Sheryl, the owners of Dave's Comics, and discovered that the column wasn't yet out. But I kept in touch with Dave and Sheryl, because they were members of a Conservative synagogue that I was thinking of joining. (And because the world of comics is trying to draw me back into a $25-a-week habit.) And a couple of weeks ago, Sheryl asked me if I would write a press release for the joint Kristallnacht activities that her and my synagogue will be having. (I wound up not joining their synagogue after all.) Okay, I said. (It'll only be another minute, bear with me. Besides, you know how much I love parenthetical statements. Well, as long as I don't get lost in them, or off the point. Oh. Sorry.)

So last week, we met with a woman I'll call Inge, uh, because her name is Inge. We sketched out what we needed for the press release, tore the draft to pieces and rewrote it, and chatted for a while. And then a day or so later, I got an email from Inge, inviting me to dinner with her family Saturday night.

And so I spent Rosh Hashana with Inge and her family and friends, and instead of being all alone in a new town on Rosh Hashana, a most lonely and unacceptable situation, I was warmly welcomed by a group of really sweet, fun, and interesting people. And the brisket was indescribably delicious. (Well, the whole meal was excellent, but ooh, the brisket...)

And the Hulk was the common thread binding this all together. See, he doesn't just smash. Hulk make new friends.

Have I mentioned lately how much I'm liking Richmond, and how friendly the people are down here? New Jersey is never getting me back.

Last week's blogs are archived. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. 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.