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A Big Lie, in action

Reuters should rename itself. I expect, though, that if they called themselves "We hate Jews, and you should too News Network," fewer news outlets around the world would buy their stories.

Here's their take on the space shuttle tragedy, specifically, as how it affects Israel:

A wave of sorrow engulfed Israelis who had tuned in to watch what was expected to be the triumphal return of Israel's first astronaut, former combat pilot Colonel Ilan Ramon.

The launch of Ramon's space flight had virtually erased news of the country's woes, spreading space fever among Israelis embittered by a Palestinian uprising for statehood, a scandal-plagued national election and a domestic recession.

Shocked Israelis wondered if fate could have anything worse in store for them as they saw the disaster broadcast live on local television channels.

Their disbelief deepened as newscasters reported the shuttle's break-up was first witnessed over a town in Texas named Palestine, a bitter irony lost on no one.

About the only thing right in that excerpt is that a wave of sorrow engulfed Israelis. But Reuters is spreading the Big Lie that the shuttle broke up over a town called Palestine. In truth, the shuttle broke up within view of many towns, and only an eye for irony—and an anti-Israeli agenda—can pretend that the shuttle broke apart exactly over a small town in Texas. From the MSNBC site, the truth:

Thousands of witnesses watched in horror as Saturday’s tragedy unfolded. Across Texas and New Mexico, search-and-rescue teams fanned out over a wide area to investigate reports of debris. Most of the wreckage apparently landed in an area of many thousands of square miles between Waco and the Louisiana border.

As of now, there are only a dozen references, but one of those is the New York Times. Wait and see. Watch the lie grow bigger and bolder. It has already spread to the Arab world, with Iraq claiming it as God's punishment on America. Let's see how fast it takes root and grows.

Reasons to learn Hebrew

There's an Israeli blog that's linking to me, and damned if I can find the link. I'm so rusty on my Hebrew that the only thing I could figure out was Imshin's link, because the Hebrew for "I am not a fish" is simple enough that, uh, well, the words are in my kids' fourth-grade reader, and we just went over them recently. (I said I was rusty.) Plus, I have to get better at reading Hebrew so I can chant my Haftorah portion in November.

So if any of my readers who are fluent in Hebrew feel like taking a look, I'd be pleased if you could clue me in to which one is my link. They use scripts and call the blogs out by number instead of names, so a look at the source code was fruitless. Of course, the thing I find the neatest about all of this is that my blog is apparently being translated into Hebrew. Way cool.

Oh, and if you're interested, Israblog, my Hebrew name is Miril. Mem, resh, lamed.

Update: It's Imshin's. Never mind.

Kaddish for Columbia

One letter I received this morning was titled "Deep sadness." Another "Oh God." Both say succinctly what my thoughts are today.

My heart goes out to the families of all the astronauts.

That's what the Internet is for

You know, every so often, a thought hits me, and I need to do some kind of research to follow through with it. Tonight, all of my research involved popular culture—actors, actresses, etc. One of the things I've been wanting to do is see what Andy Hallett, who plays Lorn in Angel, looks like without his makeup. So I found some pictures of the guy. Hey, I knew that was a fake chin, but whattya know—it's his real nose.

Oh, and I found the new times for my cheesy The Lost World television show. I was quite distressed when they replaced it on Saturday afternoons with Soul Train. (Ew.) Ah, TVGuide online. A TV addict's best friend.



Everyday life in a nation at war

Imshin, for those of you new to my weblog, is an Israeli mother who writes about everyday life in Israel. But her everyday life is a little bit different from ours. My previous post suddenly is making a whole lot more sense to me.

So in the mail we got a booklet from the Home Front Command, explaining WHAT TO DO. So far only my rather precocious seven and a half year old has read it. From flipping through I know it has all sorts of lists, such as what sorts of food to have in, exactly how much of each type; lists of things to have in the “protected area”; how the kids could be expected to react (my daughter found this bit especially interesting) and so on. This morning, as I was coming out of the supermarket, I noticed they were selling plastic sheeting. For a split second I couldn’t understand what it was doing there.

A lot of people are much more fatalistic this time. R.T. says that anything that happens after his bedtime will not get him out of bed. I know Dad isn’t making any plans to change anything in his life. If I didn’t have kids I’d feel the same way, but I have to be responsible for them so I’ll have to go through the motions. I’d love to be able to hear an air-raid siren and just turn over to the other side and go back to sleep. But I won’t. I know I won’t. I read once about someone telling that, as a child in London during WWII, her mother refused to wake her up and take her down into the tube like everyone else when there was an air raid. Rather silly considering the amount of civilians who were killed during the Blitz of London, but understandable.

One thing can be said about Saddam Hussein: He threatened to attack Israel last time, and followed through on his threats. He will doubtless try again. This time, Israel's hands won't be tied, and her armed forces won't be idle.

But that won't stop me from worrying about Imshin, and everyone else in Israel, on the day we strike Iraq.

War is coming

I've been rejecting as wishful thinking the theory that Israel is going to take care of the Hizbullah rockets on the border of Syria-occupied Lebanon. But today, Lair pointed out this article in Ha'aretz:

Israeli Airforce warplanes made repeated reconnaissance overflights deep into Lebanon for the second consecutive day Friday, acts that Lebanese officials claim were aimed at escalating soaring Mideast tensions amid U.S. plans to attack Iraq.

Lebanese security officials said two fighter jets on a reconnaissance mission flew over the eastern city of Baalbek, 100 kilometers northeast of Beirut, at medium altitude for several minutes. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

Residents in the southeastern town of Hasbaya and the southern town of Marjayoun also reported hearing jets breaking the sound barrier with two sonic booms.

There are thousands of rockets aimed at Israel along the border. Recent shipments from Iran gave Hizbullah rockets that can penetrate to every inch of Israeli territory. They've shot rockets at Israel time and time again, with no answer back, at the urging of the United States.

Now I believe there will be a reckoning. The IAF doesn't fly recon for no reason. And Syria-occupied Lebanon having missiles that can reach deep into Israeli territory is not an act of peace. War is coming.

The top 20 referrers

Here at, the management (that's me) has decided to implement a new feature so that the readers (that's you) can get even more meaningless numbers (that's those) thrown at you. That's right, the Top 20 Referrers! You're probably thinking, "What the hell does this have to do with me?" Of course, you may also be thinking, "What is she, nuts? Who gives a damn who refers me to her, so long as I'm here?" Or you might even be thinking, "I wonder if she ever blogs in the nude?" (Pervert.)

But hey, WebTrends gives me the top referrers in a nice, neat chart, so of course I have to go through it and take out the duplicates and self-referrals and count the totals and otherwise go through all kinds of procedures just to get it done. But there you have it, in a nice little bundle at the end of the month: The 20 sites that sent the most people here. Click around on the links, most of 'em are on my regular reading list.

      1. Instapundit
      2. Letter from Gotham
      3. Google
      4. Yahoo
      5. Blogdex
      6. Daypop
      7. A Small Victory
      8. The Bloggies
      9. LGF
      10. Technorati
      11. Possumblog
      12. Laurence Simon's Amish Tech Support
      13. Blogrolling
      14. Doc Weevil
      16. Imshin
      17. Spleenville
      18. Plum Crazy
      19. Silent Running
      20. Silflay Hraka

A few comments: Blogdex and Daypop were both due to the Carnival of the Vanities. Letter From Gotham is number two this month due to what is known as the Instapundit Echo Effect. She got linked by Instapundit a couple of times last week, and both times, had linked to me in posts directly below or above the Instalink. That was worth over 800 hits in two days.

The Bloggies link generated an overall bump in my stats for a few days afterward, but it's also difficult to tell how big that bump is, because many people took the nominees and put them on their own websites. This stuff fascinates me. I'm an information junkie. I love stats. I know, I know. I'll stop before this turns into too much of a yawner. But check out who's number 11—Terry Oglesby, the man behind the Axis of Weevil. There's a lot of power in them Weevilites. I didn't know this until after I joined, of course. Really. Honest. I swear. In fact, check it out—Doc Weevil is on the list as well. Who needs Illuminati when you've got Weevils?

There isn't a blogger on that list above that I don't recommend highly. And there, all collected in one easy place, for days when I don't have much to say.

The cartoon: Quack, quack, quack

A few days ago, the U.K. newspaper The Independent published this cartoon:

The words, if you can't read them, are "What's wrong? You never seen a politician kissing babies before?" The picture is based on a Goya painting titled "Saturn eating his children."

Yesterday, they published these stories, including a rebuttal/explanation by the cartoonist telling us why this isn't in any way anti-Semitic, and why we're all paranoid Zionist crybabies. Okay, he didn't say that. But he was thinking it.

Ampersand, who is the only cartoonist I know (if only virtually), also wrote about the image's inherent anti-Semitism. Twice. The second time, he addressed Dave Brown's explanation, and found it wanting.

The cartoon's defenders bring up the deplorable habit of some Israel-advocates of labeling any strong criticism of Israel anti-Semitic. In general, this is a fair point (and one I've made before). But it's not true in this specific instance. I'm a left-wing political cartoonist who loathes Sharon and the Israeli government - hell, I've even been accused of anti-Semitism myself, for cartoons like these (1 2 3 4) - and yet even I think Brown's cartoon is grotesquely anti-Semitic. Yes, some of the criticisms of anti-Semitism are baseless; but that doesn't mean that every criticism of anti-Semitism should be dismissed.

That not one of The Independent's defenders even addresses the issue - which is not criticism of Israeli policy, but the use of a traditional and vicious anti-Semitic image - is disappointing.

I'm a lot more than disappointed that none of the defenders chose to acknowledge that the blood libel imagery is what makes this cartoon so hateful. But frankly, I'm not surprised, either. Ampersand covers very well my thoughts on the anti-Semitism of this cartoon. His example is quite on the money about intent:

... it brings up the possibility that this may have been accidental anti-Semitism; perhaps the cartoonist was just tasteless, insensitive, ignorant. But I never said that the cartoonist himself (herself?) is an anti-Semite. I don't know or care what was in the cartoonists' heart; all I know is what was drawn in the cartoon. And what was drawn was one of the most pernicious and vicious anti-Semitic myths in history; a slander that is still current in parts of the Arab world.

(It's on a par with an American newspaper editor printing a cartoon showing Colin Powell raping white women. It's not just tasteless; it's drawing on a specific, deeply-felt cultural image of bigotry. And it draws on that racist imagery regardless of intent.)

Barry says it so much more intellectually than I had planned. Because to me, there's an easy way to tell if that cartoon is anti-Semitic. The Duck Theory. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a no-brainer.

I won't hold my breath waiting for the Independent to apologize.



What do you mean, writing about cats is a stereotype?

It's a cold, wet, icy, snowy day outside. If I were to choose one word to describe it, that word would be: Yucky. (Right now, my mother is so proud that I spent all those years in college as an English major so that I could grasp the subtleties of the language and use them in my writing.)

Yuck! It's cold and icy and snow out! Exhibit A (left): The scene from my patio. That was taken when it was raining, sleeting, and, just for good measure, snowing. As far as I can figure it, the only liquid precipitation we were missing was oobleck, and let's just count our blessings on that one.

Well, there's something about a lousy day like today that gets my mind in one of those rather scary patterns. Of course, it may well be that I got my mind into that scary pattern because I let Tig out in the snow, and he sat on the cold cement for maybe half a minute before he said, "WTF? Are you nuts?" and made me let him back inside. Gracie, ever the smart one, refused to so much as put a whisker out the door. So there I am, all set to sit down today and do some major catch-up writing. (Can you say, "Inducted into the Axis of Weevil how many days ago and not so much as a thank you to Terry yet?" I knew you could.)

Gracie delicately lifts a paw as she prepares to chase a squirrelBut now I have two cranky, whiny cats on hand, who insisted that I pay attention to them before I could get anything done. Well, okay, it's really not a hardship to get Gracie (right) to chase after the tie to my bathrobe, because she plays so rarely and is so cute when she does. So we took a chase-the-long-wide-thing break for a while, and simply watching her leap and reach out to grab the tie reminded me how incredibly graceful cats can be. There really is no such matching skill in dogs. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, and dogs can be extremely beautiful to look at (this picture of Worf does show him to be a lean, mean, fighting machine), but dogs cannot compare to the elegance and grace of a cat in motion. The play of muscles even as they simply walk is a delight to behold. When you see them leap onto a seemingly impossibly high surface, or run up a flight of stairs, or, say, get down off the kitchen shelf where they leaped while you weren't looking so as to annoy you with their triumphal yowl that obviously means "HA-ha, I'm up here again!", well, there's just no comparison. Dogs catching frisbees look rather silly, not graceful. Dogs have a number of interesting skills, but cats are poetry in motion.

Oh, come on, admit it. When you watch nature shows, and they have the slow-mo shots of the cheetahs or lions or panthers or tigers running after their prey, you are always aware of exactly how beautiful the big cats are. Their little domestic cousins are much the same, well, except I'm not really worried that my cats will ever rip my arm off, even if it's because I'm feeding them tuna (they're nuts about tuna). They have, however, given me some nasty scratches.

I'm willing to bet that National Geographic could get the same sort of slow-mo footage of either of my cats running after a squirrel. Well, except for the catching and eating part, and, uh, the squirrels do spend an awful lot of time (after my cats chase them) perched high on the fence, swearing down at my cats. Or they might be laughing. I'm not quite sure. You can't really tell with squirrels.

Tig and his fat, fat bellyThis is a little embarrasing. Of course, there's the Tig Factor (left). I must repeat my adage so that you can understand why Tig is what he is: A fat cat is a happy cat. That is what I learned a long time ago, and a succession of vets lecturing me has done nothing to change my mind. So Tig is far less graceful than Gracie, and, in fact, is as close as they come to a cat being a klutz. I laugh frequently as he misjudges the distance to the bathroom vanity and falls back to the floor. (And yet, he has learned how to jump on the kitchen counter, then onto the two shelves above it until he towers three feet over my head on the top shelf near the ceiling. I need to get a picture of that someday.) Anyway. So here's one of my favorite shots of Tig, in one of his favorite poses. He's actually not just lying there. That's the spot on the patio that he marks with his scent, and I managed to catch him as he rolled around immediately upon being let out. (Obviously, both cat pictures were taken on a nice, warm, sunny day, instead of this super-yucky, nasty, wintry day. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the cold? Well, then, I hate the cold.) And hey, don't forget, a lot of that belly is fur. He's a Maine Coon cat, he has very long fur. Yeah, that's it. (Shhh.)

When you find Tig in that pose, you may rub his belly, even if he barely knows you. He's a slut who will expose his belly for anyone. Touch Gracie's belly at your own risk. You may only touch my belly if we're dating.

You know, I've always wondered how people have the nerve to touch pregnant women. They're complete strangers, and yet they think they have the right to put their hands on a woman simply because she's pregnant. I figure if I ever do have a child, I'm going to be going to court about once a week, because I'm going to haul off and slug anyone that puts their hand on me without my permission. But I digress again.

Cats. Grace. Snowy day stuck inside. Time to get offline and go make dinner.

Call jihad

A few days ago, someone posted a parody of "If you're happy and you know it" with the end phrase, "Bomb Saddam." Well, it's been rather sitting in my craw since then, and I finally got the cadence down and came up with one of my own.

If Osama is your hero, call jihad
If your GDP's near zero, call jihad
If your nation has no future and your wife won't let you smooch her
If your women have no rights then call jihad

If your ruler's not elected, call jihad
If your nukes are not perfected, call jihad
If your leader's a dictator and the people's hopes are faded
If your ruler is a Ba'ath, call jihad

If you sit on top of oil, call jihad
If your Wahabs are a-boil, call jihad
If your folks came from the sand dunes and their progeny are all loons
If your state religion's Wahab, call jihad

If you want elections later, call jihad
If you're really a jew-hater, call jihad
If your name is Abu Amar and your children all are bombers
If you want no Israel state, then call jihad.



The other side of the world

Tim Blair's a very funny guy. He wrote Osama's State of the Union address, and it's hilarious. But then he also linked to this article in the Australian Age, which purports to know the real reason that Australia has hooked up with America to oust Saddam Hussein.

It's anti-gravity.

I kid you not.

And the writer is not a crank. He says so himself.

For the record I am a mechanical engineer who spent over two years at a British Aerospace guided missile R&D site in the early 1980s and have continued to take a strong interest in aerospace technology. I am a member of ASRI (Australian Space Research Institute). I am not a crank.

This one is so funny it's fisk-proof. Really. To steal Gary Farber's Read-the-rest rating: What are you waiting for? And don't be drinking anything while you read it. Hell, we should all link to it. This one deserves a Blogdex mention.

Then there's that other Australian blog, run by the Kiwis, Americans, and—hey, Alisa, where are you from, anyway? And Wind Rider, who is not only 100% American but who lives about two hours east of me, seems to be doing most of the writing these days. What's up with Tom? Is he that busy, or did you have someone break his fingers so you could take over his blog? (Shut up about the heat, Tom, as it's too effing cold here, although we're starting to warm up. Fifties (F) soon. Spring is just around the corner, thankfully.)

Carnival of the Vanities #19

It's up, it's at Dodd's place, and is, as usual, worth a look or three. His icons are much classier than mine, but did you have to include the Lizard King? And put me in that category? Ewwww. Can't you substitute Val Kilmer for that poster?



Why America stands for Israel

First, from Imshin, my favorite Israeli mom:

I’m always excited when I’m actually in the polling booth with the envelope. First of all, I can never find the piece of paper with the letters I’m looking for, representing the party of my choice. And then, when I’ve found it at last and put it in the envelope, I always have to check myself. I open the envelope again just to be sure, forever afraid that I’ve got it wrong. My fingers always shake a little when I put the envelope into the ballot.

And this time was no exception. I’m not feeling too well and I wasn’t looking forward to standing in line, but once again I queued up outside my daughters’ English classroom in their little school, which is our polling station. I could see I wasn’t the only one excited. I noticed the guy before me held his breath and smiled before putting his envelope in the ballot, as if for good luck. It doesn’t matter to me that he could have been voting for a party I disagree with. This is very mushy, I know, but I feel an affinity with all the people in the polling station. These are my fellow citizens who have come to do their duty and realize their right to take part in the democratic process. By coming, they are showing that they trust and believe in the Israeli democracy.

Next, over on Aaron's Rantblog, a collection of pictures of Israelis voting. Men, women, Jews, Arabs, Druse—all, as Aaron points out, unable to do the same in Saudi Arabia. Or Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Syrian-occupied Lebanon... well, you get the picture.

The people spoke in Israel today, and they voted for the people they want to lead their nation. Voting. What a concept, particularly in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Sharon

From Ariel Sharon's victory speech:

"This is a day of victory for all of us, a historic victory, a great victory. It is permissible to be gladdened by the victory, but there is no room for celebrations.

"The battle against the terrorist organizations has not ended. It exacts victims every day. The Iraqi threat hangs over out heads. the socio-economic crisis still threatens the stability of the economy, and the chances for prosperity for all of Israel's citizens.

"Today is not the time for celebrations - no celebrations. This is a time for soul-searching, for coming together in unity, for fusing all forces in order to bring about a genuine victory - victory over terrorism, and the beginning of a true peace process. Victory over unemployment and renewal of economic growth. Then and only then will we celebrate the triumph of the Israeli people.

[...] "But today, nonetheless, we must put this aside. We must put the hostility of the struggle behind us. I excuse and forgive all those who tried to hurt me, slander me, and tarnish me. I excuse and forgive, because what unites us is more important that what divides us.

"I say to all the parties, the differences between us are dwarfed by the murderous hatred of the terrorist organisations of anything Israeli and Jewish, the threat of the war in the Gulf and attacks on Israel and the economic crisis that is ripping Israeli society apart.

"Israel must not be left split apart internally, eaten up by blind hatred - not at a time of war, not at a time of crisis, not now.

[...] "We will act together, as one person, with one heart, without ruling out anyone. ...

"The eyes of the people, of the world, are upon us. Everyone is waiting to see if Israel will act together, united, in order to achieve its aims: security, prosperity, quiet, and peace. This is possible. It depends only on us, and with the Lord's help, it will come about. Then and only then, the time for celebrations will have come."

From Arafat and cronies:

Yasser Abed Rabbo: "This is a serious blow to a peaceful settlement. The Israelis have committed a historical mistake which they and the Palestinians will regret," he said.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat told reporters in his office a few minutes ago in reaction to Israel's election results that he is surprised by the crash of the left in Israel, and that doesn't know "who there is left to talk to".

Talk to the hand, asshole.

British anti-Semitism

Yes, I've seen the cartoon. No, I'm not really surprised. I spent some time this afternoon fruitlessly looking for the cartoon itself instead of articles about it, then I had to go teach my kids.

I'll have something to say about it tomorrow, probably.

Domestic reports

I've been drawing a blank a lot lately when I sit down to write another post. So I figure what is needed is a bit of domesticity. No war, no terror, no anger. Just laundry. And cat hair. When you have a cat, cat hair is ubiquitous. (Wow, that word is so much easier to say than it is to spell.)

The way it works in my apartment complex is this: You can bring your own washer/dryer with you, rent one from the management company, or use the laundry rooms sprinkled throughout the complex. I chose to rent. But my washer had serious problems with the spin cycle. I think perhaps the tub spun, but the clothes grabbed hold of the spinner and stayed still in the middle, giggling quietly so I wouldn't know what they were doing. Because every time a load of laundry finished, I would have to wring out the excess water or set the dryer timer for two or three hours. Especially for the towels. Hoo-wee, towels hold a lot of water. I guess that's why we use them to dry ourselves. And snap each other with in the locker room, according to all the high school shows ever made. (Girls don't do that in locker rooms. I'd tell you what girls do in high school locker rooms, but then the Sisterhood would have to kill me, and then who would write this weblog, hm?) [Update: Natalie Solent had to be captured and re-educated before being allowed to post again. (Good one, they always buy the clone excuse.) I told you I can't tell you.]

Anyway. So I called the service department, and they sent the kind gentleman who fixes the washers, and he fixed it so that it actually spun the water out. (I'm pretty sure I heard the towels swearing up a storm when they were spinning around because I'd ruined their fun, but it might just have been noise from the washer.) Anyway. It worked for one day, then it didn't work again. A few weeks went by, because, well, let's face it. I'm lazy. So I called again the day before the snowstorm, because when I called to report my heat out, the kind lady said, "Is there anything else we can do for you?" and I said, "Now that you mention it," and she got the word out to the kind gentleman who fixes the washers. He showed up before they fixed my heater, in fact. And determined that not only was the washer dead, but the tub was rusted out. He proceeded to write "TUB RUSTED OUT" on the outside of the washer, which mystified me, but I declined to ask, thinking perhaps it was a ritual of washer repairmen and he might not want to share.

So I went about my business until the middle of last week, when I called the kind lady to remind her that I needed a replacement washer, as I was running out of underwear and was unwilling to pay money at the laundromat on top of paying a rental fee each month, and really, bringing my laundry home to my mother is no longer an option now that she lives in New Jersey and I live in Virginia. I suppose I could have brought my laundry over to Heidi's, but I thought I would first try calling the service department and see what was what.

The upshot was that I got a brand-new washer, and I have to wonder about the organizational skills of the service dept. guys who brought it. They knocked on the front door and seemed quite ready to take the washer up the step over the door, down the two steps to the sunken living room, up the two steps to the kitchen, and down the length of the kitchen to the washer hook-up. I looked at them, and looked at the kitchen, and said, "Do you think it would be easier if I opened the back door?" (There's a door right next to the dryer.) It took them about five minutes to figure out how to drive their van behind my apartment building, and then they picked up the old washer and replaced it with the new one in about two minutes. I guess it doesn't take any thinking to physically lift things, and it was pretty obvious where the washer was supposed to go once they removed the old one. Plus, they had the kind gentleman who fixes the washers to help them.

While he was hooking up the washer and testing it, we got into a discussion about various things. Turns out he was in Oklahoma City during the bombing, and he had his theories about who did it. The guv'mint, he said, had a lot of papers about Waco in that Federal Building, and didn't want them getting out. I pointed out that if the guv'mint wanted to destroy evidence, arson was cheaper, easier, and could be done at night so as not to involve killing hundreds of Americans while destroying the evidence. He thought that one over for a minute and allowed that I had a point.

Anyway. I did have some sort of point to make about cat hair. Yesterday, due no doubt to the lure of the new washing machine, which has a really large tub that is big enough to hold a quilt, I found myself washing all my dirty clothes, the towels and sheets that I'd put off washing for a couple of weeks, my terrycloth bathrobe, and then the blankets on my bed, the blankets in the closet, and my sleeping bag. I'm even going to check my lamb's-wool quilt to see if I can wash that, too, or if it needs to be dry-cleaned. (Hell, I'd have washed Tig if I thought I could get away with it.)

You would not believe the amount of cat hair I have removed from the dryer's lint trap after washing and drying all of those blankets. Wow. It was definitely enough to knit a sweater. Maybe two.

And of course, both my cats are sleeping on my bed as I write this, making sure they put the cat hair back on the blankets. Well, no great shakes. I have a brandy-new washer with a deep, large tub that is about five times as noisy as the old one, but which actually spins out the water on the spin cycle so that I can dry things in normal amounts of time.

Now to choose which of the freshly-laundered quilts to choose for sleeping tonight. Maybe I'll just turn down the heat and use them all.



The Cairo Terror Conference wrap-up

All together now, heave a heavy sigh of regret: The terrorists' convention in Cairo did not do a damned thing to stop terrorist groups from trying to murder Israeli civilians.

Representatives of 12 Palestinian factions wrapped up four days of talks in Egypt without reaching an agreement on a proposal to halt terrorist attacks against Israel.

The discussions focused on an Egyptian proposal for a one-year cessation of attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the idea was rejected by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian officials said.

"There will be no halt, no truce and no freezing of resistance," Osama Hamdan, a Hamas delegate to the talks told The Associated Press after a lengthy session that ended at dawn Monday.

Islamic Jihad delegate Ziyad Nakhleh said: "As long as there is occupation, there is resistance. This is a natural law."

No, freakazoid, it's only a natural law to unnatural assholes like you. Oops. I really do need to find my center again. I seem to be a mite touchy these days.

Naaaaaah. It's just my Inner Bitch turning into an Outie.

Dr. Samir Ghosheh, the Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, who attended the talks as head of the Popular Struggle Front, confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that the talks ended without an accord.

"There are no differences regarding to the issue of the resistance,"he said. "It's not that some carry the banner of resistance while others don't... resistance is a legitimate right of our people and this is what was stressed during the talks."

"As long as there is an occupation, there will be a resistance. There was a consensus on this issue," Ghosheh said. "We stressed that the intifada would continue."

Only some factions agreed to make efforts to avoid harming civilians on both sides, he said.

Translation: "We all want to kill Israelis, we just can't agree on the exact methods. Besides, you stupid Western leftists are going to use this in your anti-Israel propaganda, and that's what the conference was all about. Well, that, and trading the best ways to pack shrapnel in a bomb."

Yeah, my Outer Bitch is on full display today. Perhaps I should snack on some chocolate and see if that makes me any sweeter.

America against empire

Found a fascinating interview via LGF regular M. Simon:

The clash of civilizations is a great thesis, but it does not describe a new phenomenon. The history of the eastern Mediterranean in the twelfth century b.c. is the clash of civilizations, and so are the imperial wars of the eighteenth century. In the eighteenth century the French and Indian War is crucial, and the colonial militia is decisive. On the Plains of Abraham, we prove that modern empires can fall. We show that it’s possible. Well, we fight the greatest empire of that age, the British Empire, twice, once to kick it out, and once to confirm it’s got to stay out. Our next war is against the Mexican Empire. The first phase of our struggle against empires climaxes with the Civil War, when we destroy the imperial legacies of human bondage and a landed aristocracy. That first phase ends with Seward’s purchase of Alaska, and it roughly defines American territory as we know it, except for Hawaii.

The interviewee is Lt. Col., Ret., Ralph Peters, and you should read the rest. It's extremely uplifting as well as filled with eye-openers:

Well, if you look at the 1990s, America has been defending the legacy of czars, emperors, kaisers, and kings. It’s ludicrous. The greatest democracy in history defends borders drawn by European imperialists in Berlin in 1884 and 1885 or at Versailles—and for that matter, some drawn at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. When we say that borders are inviolable, that we always respect sovereignty, we pretend that somehow humanity has achieved this magical state where existing borders are perfect. Well, they’re not perfect. For example, mightn’t it be better if there were border changes in Afghanistan, if its northern and western territories became part of a marginally greater Uzbekistan and Iran? These territories weren’t always Afghan. I’m not saying such changes would be for the better. I’m saying at least think about these options. In Washington, D.C., and the State Department especially, we won’t even think about them. It’s sheer inertia.

Put this one in the must-read column.

I had to add this graf. Did I tell you that you really need to read it all?

The idea of absolute state sovereignty is relatively new, and it derives from agreements among kings, emperors, kaisers, and czars for their mutual benefit. What we’re left with from the state making of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe is a legacy that tells us we cannot intervene in states as they slaughter their own citizens because they’re sovereign. By that logic, Hitler would have been perfectly legitimate as long as he killed only German Jews. It’s patently flawed logic. Any state that benefits only a dictatorship, oligarchy, or clique, that oppresses, brutalizes, and even massacres elements of its own citizenry, has no legitimate claim on sovereignty—period. Sovereignty is fine for contemporary Japan, the European states, or, for that matter, India. Mexico is now coming along and trying very hard. But states like Iraq, Milosevi´c’s Yugoslavia, and a number of African thugocracies have no legitimate claim on sovereignty.



Don't forget these links

Let's see. If Shanti is both my and Diane E.'s blogdaughter, does that make Diane and me relations?

Shanti has a new weblog, Real Women Online. It's to showcase little-known women bloggers, and Shanti's got a unique perspective on things that most U.S.-centric weblogs don't have. For starters, she's Indian. Go read this post from her early days to get an idea of what she's all about. She's an excellent source for a different point of view of the Pakistan (and India) Muslim fanatic problem.

On another topic (I forgot to mention this earlier), Diane figured out the problems she was having with her old blog, and is back in her regular Gotham on Blogspot, giving a few people what-for. Looks like the Commies at International A.N.tiS.emitW.E.sR. us pushed Diane into the war camp.

Quick ones

Jim Miller sent me a note about this link, which details an amusing campaign promise by Israel's Shas Party. But there are a lot more fascinating reads there. Check him out; he's in top form lately.

N.Z. Bear has a few questions he'd ask Hans Blix if Da Bear were the U.N. Secretary General. Actually, it's just one. But it's a doozy.

Lynn B. moved off Blogspot and Blogger and onto Blogmosis and Moveable Type. Blogmosis seems to be absorbing an awful lot of ex-blogspotters. Go, Lynn! And while you're there, check out her post on the Palestinian constitution. (And hey, I don't have to worry about Blogspot crapping out on the link. Woo-hoo!)

I caught the commercials for the new Hulk and Daredevil movies. Daredevil is out Feb. 14th (what, a date flick? Are they stupid or something?). The Hulk trailer looked—disappointing. The Hulk looks like CGI, just like the Green Goblin and Spiderman scenes in the Spidey movie. Guess WETA has the lock on great, realistic CGI, hm? (Gollum.)

If I wanted to see the Hulk as a cartoon character, I'd read the comics in my collection. Here's hoping the effects are better by the time the film is released this summer.

The 2003 Bloggies Award controversy

Wow, do I not care about the controversy. I thought I did, last week, but now I don't. Apologies to all of those who do, but even if I wasn't nominated, I simply would not care about the controversy. It's a silly award, and I know it, and Nikolai knows it, and if you don't know it, you should. It's an imperfect process, and everyone who knew about it a year ago knew it was imperfect then, and shouldn't be surprised at the fact that it's still imperfect. Nikolai was just trying to have some fun. People take things so seriously sometimes.

And, uh, folks? If you put the political bloggers in a pie chart of the blogosphere, they would take up about the width of a one-point rule. It looks kinda like this:

Blogosphere piechart, and damn, you'd better credit it to Meryl Yourish at or I'll come after you.

That's why your buddies didn't make the cut. Most of the judges and nominating voters probably didn't know they exist. (By the way, the word "Warblogs" above is interchangeable with "techblogs," "leftblogs," "rightblogs," "LiveJournal blogs," and just about any other category you can think of, except perhaps Blogger or Moveable Type blogs, which might be twice as thick.) The reason some other bloggers you never heard of got nominated: Because they campaigned, or someone campaigned for them. I campaigned. Michele campaigned. We got nominated. Mystery, or might it be part of the process? (May I say, "Duh.")

Right now, there are a bunch of flame wars going on in the blogosphere that I think I will not, after all, link to. But I won't be pulling my nomination (best essay about weblogs, "They Don't Get Blog"). In fact, I'd like very much to win, if for no other reason than because I'd like to see if I can beat out the Megnut fans. (She wrote the O'Reilly piece.) I don't think I have that much pull, frankly. But the other reasons I'd like to win: Because it'd be fun. Because it'd get a little more traffic to my site. Because it's a little recognition. And because it'd be fun.

Honestly, I won't be quitting my day job if I win the Bloggy award. Neither will I be going to SXSW, because, well, you have to pay me a lot of money to visit Texas. (Sorry, Lair, sorry, Name-twin. My favorite cousin died in Texas, and I attended her funeral there. That's my last memory of the state, and I'm not going back to make any more.) And I won't be needing cheering up if I don't win the Bloggy, either. If I win, great. I'll call my mother, and tell her "Mom, I won a Bloggy!" and she'll say, "A what?"

You really have to keep this thing in perspective, people.

Yes, it matters with whom you march

Another nail in the coffin of those that insist the cause comes first.

Preserved here, for when the picture becomes unavailable, so we can remember the hatred and the bigotry of the anti-war crowd:

anti-Semitic scumbags show off their ignorance and hatred of Jews

The yellow star. The Golden Calf. Tied around the calf's horn and ears is a sheaf of U.S. dollars. I believe that is a club in the hands of "Ariel Sharon," and there are Hebrew letters on his sash, which I can't make out. I'm not quite sure why Donald Rumsfeld is wearing the yellow star, but then, logic generally doesn't go hand-in-hand with anti-globo "peace" protesters.

Disgusting. There's a perfect example of what I wrote about yesterday. You lie down with pigs, you get up covered with muck. The anti-war movement is covered in muck, and has no shame about it.

When even Michael Lerner of Tikkun won't join any ANSWER-sponsored activity, there is something seriously anti-Semitic about these "peace" marchers. Picture thanks to Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds. Michael Lerner link via Kesher Talk. My anger due to the anti-Semitic scumbags who thought up the above costumes and props. May they die of a heart attack, soon.

Oh. How anti-peace of me. How's this? I hope the two people in this picture are part of the human shield movement, and I really hope they wind up "shielding" a strategic location.

Darn. There goes my warmongering, hateful side again. Whoopsie. It always seems to come out when I see people cheerfully don the clothing and symbols of the massacre of Jews. Bastards.

Update: Apparently, Michael Lerner is willing to lie down with the pigs, thus rendering him trayf. He's a candidate for an early heart attack too, thank you. I've long known Tikkun was in dire need of a reality check, but I didn't realize how badly.


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. 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.