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You folks are great

Talk about service! We're up $453 in pledges and direct donations since this afternoon. Thanks, everyone. The donors' names will be on this page by tomorrow, promise!

Features to look for tomorrow: A guest post by Jane Finch, and maybe a few other bloggers by tomorrow. Email me, but I'll tell you when they're need the most: In the morning, so I can shower (what, you think I get up early for this? 8:45, kiddies, not a second sooner), around dinnertime, although I have some corned beef in the fridge so I won't really be cooking this time, and some for very late at night, when I'm brain-dead and grumpy.

I'm still working on my "Why the Hulk" essay. It's still not coming out right. If you've got any specific requests, now's the time to make them.

Go pledge Lair and Michele, too. And Kevin. He's raising money for autism research. There are a lot of good causes out there. Check the main page.

But pledge one of us, first. Or donate directly.

51 sponsors

Guilt-inducing post number 4,732: Ten percent of my average daily traffic for the month of July would be 164. Even subtracting the extra 7,000 or so visitors from the Instapundit links, ten percent would be 135.

C'mon, people. Pledge. It's not for me. I'm not getting a dime out of this. It's for Magen David Adom. Factoring in the unique visitor thing (a rough estimate at best), I think about 92% of you are not clicking that link.

Then again, considering how many of you never send me email, maybe you're sending in the checks and MDA hasn't informed me yet?

That would be fine, too. "BLOGATHON" in the memo field of the check, and in the comments field of the online donation form. I don't care how you donate, as long as you donate. Five bucks, ten bucks, eighteen, twenty, fifty, whatever.

I'll be putting the names of all the pledgers and donors in the left-hand column tomorrow. For now, I'm off to the supermarket to stock up on the important things: M&Ms, Coca-Cola, potato chips, Shenville Farms chocolate milk, and various other foodstuffs important to get me through the marathon blogging session. And Sarah G. is bringing me a batch of her three-chocolate chocolate chip cookies tomorrow morning. Mind you, I'd rather be at the Amelia County Meat Festival. I'm giving up prime rib for the blogathon. And various other delicious roasted and barbecued and grilled meats. (For the PETA contingent, there is going to be a vegetarian festival on the same day in Richmond. Attendance is expected to be in the dozens.)

Installment IV in the Just-Us League: Meryl Smash!

The first three were funny. This one's even funnier. Nathan gave me a superpower or three. Turns out it's an expensive, power, too. Maybe that's why my six and dash keys don't work.

But I'll tell you what, Nathan, your posts on sexism are bringing out my superpower. You've made it nearly impossible to debate your posts, because I see no factual cites, only your opinions on what you think women should do instead of whining about the mythical "glass ceiling."

What are we up to now, 72 cents on the dollar for every dollar earned by men?

I've been in more than one job where women who work the exact same jobs as men get paid less. I have seen the salary data. In fact, in one programming job, I struggled hard for a raise and got less than I'd been promised when I was hired. Can't say the same for the men who were hired at the same time. My team leader told me they'd all gotten more than me. (Salary wasn't his call, and we both left the place a few months later.)

Nathan thinks the answer to being discriminated against at a job is to start your own company. Really? Damn, if only the government had figured that out decades ago, we wouldn't have had all those annoying equal opportunity laws. Maybe we should just strike them from the books today, and tell everyone to go out and start their own business if they don't like being shouldered out of the promotions and the executive positions because they're the wrong color or gender.

You think mentioning the glass ceiling is sexist? Yeah, me too. But it isn't women who made it that way. And pretending it doesn't exist isn't going to make it go away.

One the hard way

It's been a while since I ran a gratuitous cat picture. Here's one that shows how Tig loves to do things the hard way. I used to put the cats' water in a double dish, and Tig would lie down with his paws on either side of it and drink from the part that was farthest from him. Well, he drinks from the bathroom sink sometimes. I came across this a couple of days ago, and grabbed the camera

.Tig lets it all hang out

It doesn't seem very comfortable to me: Hind legs on the tank, front legs on the sink, big fat belly hanging in mid-air—but he was having a grand old time.

My Tig. Not a day goes by without laughing at him.

The home stretch

Emperor Misha has a loyal subject (we mere mortals call them "readers") who is offering to match all donations submitted by Misha's subjects, up to $1,000. If you're one of Misha's subjects and will be contributing to the Emperor Misha Matching Fund, I put instructions on how we can track it in the comments of his post.

LT Smash has a group of loyal readers from the Purple Shamrock, who are holding a hilarious set of fundraisers this weekend (I think—details are still sketchy). If you live in Boston and want to have fun as well as help out, they're on Union Street across from City Hall.

Marduk has issued a challenge to Lair, Michele and me: We have to insult the French (and the Belgians) once an hour, each, without repeating insults. He's going to pay $25 per insult, for a total of $1,800 if we have 72 satisfactory insults. But he didn't say we had to come up with all of them ourselves. Readers, send in your insults. And French readers, please take them in the spirit in which they were meant: As a means to buy an ambulance for Magen David Adom.

Okay, maybe some of them are because the French deserve them.

And now, it's time to issue the Blogger Plea, or, Calling In All Favors: Those of you who are bloggers and who have ever been linked by me, please link to Lair Simon and Michele and me today and tomorrow, asking your readers to come and pledge. We don't care in whose name they donate. All that we ask is they write "BLOGATHON" in the comments field of the online credit form, and in the memo field of the check.

If you've already linked to us, thank you. If you haven't, it's payback time. I need your readers. Magen David Adom needs their cash. Take a quick read of their Top Ten Reasons to Donate list. And remember, MDA does not discriminate between Jew and Arab, or citizen or non-citizen, or anything else: They help those that are hurt or sick and in need of aid. Like Lair says: Give until it doesn't hurt any more.



My mother and the Blogathon

My mother pledged the Blogathon tonight. This message is from her:

So, what are you waiting for? My daughter's going to be up typing her fingers to the bone for 24 hours, and you can't even contribute a few measly dollars? What, are you doing anything special with that money on Saturday? You have to be some kind of big shot and spend it on fancy sunglasses or a pair of those shorts with words on the tushie? (And honey, it wouldn't hurt you to stop eating dessert for a few weeks; those shorts aren't looking so good on you if you know what I mean.) Anyway, pledge! My daughter—my only daughter—is giving up 24 hours of her life. The least you could do is help her get enough money for that ambulance. Oy, Magen David Adom is such a good cause. Those mensches, they go out in all kinds of horrible conditions, get shot at, bombs thrown at them, and they even pick up those lousy terrorists and help them.

Oh, and if any of you have any good job contacts in the Richmond area, send them to Meryl, will you? She can work all day on her blog and she can't get herself a decent job?

And if you know any nice, Jewish boys, get them in touch with her. I want more grandchildren. I'm not getting any younger, you know. Come to think of it, neither is she. If she doesn't get married soon, she's not going to be able to give me any grandchildren. Phone numbers, boys, phone numbers!

Night flyers and omens

I was over at Heidi's tonight, dropping off a book left in my car by a child, and visiting G. while Heidi and Sorena are out of town and the dogs are mourning their absence. So G. made me some of the fresh fruit juice he was having, minus the jalapeno pepper, because he knows that I can barely stand black pepper. And I spent about an hour consoling sad, sad dogs.

Actually, they were hardly sad while I was there. They were too busy playing tug-of-war and chasing rope toys and getting dog biscuits and many pats while G. and I chatted. When it got a little late, he walked me out, and an owl flew through the trees in front of the house, and again when we walked down the bridge to my car. While we were looking for the owl, the bats were out, and one of them flew into the hollow of my right shoulder—at least, I think it was a bat. It may have been an enormous beetle.

And then, on the way home, as I was getting off 95, another owl flew overhead as I was on the exit ramp. Now, all this happened around dusk, and I'm quite sure that today was not the only day I have ever driven during dusk. But it's the only day I've ever seen two owls and had a bat fly into me.

I expect to see owls at Heidi and G.'s. They have wetlands behind them and woods all around. But on a 95 exit ramp? The one near the waste treatment facility? I don't think so.

So I'm wondering: Do all these things mean something? Is there a portent I'm missing? Is it good luck or bad? Should I make out my will, do you think? Or should I buy a lottery ticket?

Well, if you don't hear from me tomorrow—no, you wouldn't know if it's good or bad luck. Well, if you hear from me tomorrow, then it's obvious my life remains unchanged. Alas.

Updated update

My email is fixed, and I just received a letter from Magen David Adom. You folks have donated $2,910 directly. Way to go! Using that total, we have $9,026 in pledges and donations, as of 3 p.m. today.

Time to get out the big guns. Remember, if you're a member of a group, or on a mailing list, you can send them the information about the Blogathon in MS Word or Notepad. We're coming down the home stretch. I have to call my mother and get her to donate now. She's so clueless... last year I had to get her AOL information and do it for her. And this is the woman who spent 17 years using the Eastern Airlines reservation system. Go figure.


Folks, I can receive but not send email. Which makes no sense to me, but hey, that's what's happening. If anyone received an email from me yesterday, kindly tell me that you got it, because I have an online email option that may be getting through. But if you don't tell me, I don't know that. (LT Smash, can I publish the details of the fundraiser contests you forwarded to me?) If not, may I just say that the Purple Shamrock Crew sounds like an amazing bunch, and they're going to be having a lot more fun that I will during the Blogathon. They've already raised about a thousand dollars, and more will come. Thank you so much, Purple Shamrock, and send me pictures! I'll publish them. Er, if they're not too, er, improper.

A blogger who wishes to remain anonymous found out that the Magen David Adom direct online credit link doesn't take American Express. Whoops. Sorry, folks. But she's sending in a check (thanks!) and, I hope, is marking the memo field with "Blogathon" and directing it to Gary Kenzer's attention so we can get the credit for it.

I'm way behind on updating the donors page; that will get done sometime today.

Hey, I just received an email from Chris Muir. Day by Day is going to be back on Monday! Glad to hear everything went so well.

(Wow, this is like a game of one-way telephone, where I can hear everything you're saying but you keep on saying, "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?"

Yes, I can hear you. But I can't answer your emails individually unless I go get a hotmail account, and I've forgotten all my hotmail account passwords. As we say in NJ: Fuhgeddaboudit.



Email dilemma

By the way, my mail server is down. I have about 40 letters that are just sitting alone, in the dark, waiting for me to answer them. Perhaps I should answer them here.


I take a day off and the blogosphere explodes

Hoo-wee, some people got mighty flustered at my suggestion there was sexism in the blogosphere, and that the list of the 20 greatest men figures in American history was wrong because there were no women on it.

Spoons wrote a treatise. Susanna put up a couple of posts. Kate got up on her soapbox and whupped a bunch of people upside the head (nice job, Kate). John got all insulted and blustered some. I think his most telling words are these:

Gloria Steinem is a lefty who wouldn't make a top 10,000 list of mine

Hokay. But you should have said that the list could only include people who meet your political requirements, John.

Oh, all right, that was a deliberate misconstrue of what he said. But the fact that John won't consider the accomplishments of a person on the other side of the political spectrum is a rather widespread phenomenon (on both sides of the aisle), and there's more than a little evidence that that kind of mindset seeps into the way some men think about women.

Frankly, I think Kate and Susanna have the best critiques of my original post. Robert Prather has some good things to say as well. Spoons? Well, he and I disagree on a whole lot of things. I expect that to continue. (Though I do have a message to Molly, who posted in his comments section, and I'll put my response into one-syllable words so she can understand it: Bite me.)

I think, however, that the mere fact that women did not make it onto a list compiled by 49 bloggers is a clear indication that there is sexism in the blogosphere, but it merely reflects the sexism that still exists everywhere. I don't believe most of it is even conscious. That's what I said last time, and that's what I'm saying now. (Except in examples where sexism is evident, and, well, I generally don't even read those bloggers, let alone link them.)

How many of those 49 bloggers didn't even consider a woman for one of the top 20 spots? Both John Hawkins and a correspondent of mine said there were no women on that list because no woman deserved to be on it. None? Not one? But Rush Limbaugh did? What, exactly, did Rush Limbaugh do to make this country great? (Spoons, you have to bash people's choices if you're going to complain about a list that doesn't seem right to you. You go right ahead and bash Gloria. I probably should have chosen Betty Friedan.)

Kate is dead on about Mark Twain making the list while Susan B. Anthony did not.

Rosa Parks liberated a race.

Mark Twain wrote some great yarns.

Symbolic or not, first or not, Rosa Parks became the rallying cry for civil rights in America. Susan B. Anthony worked most of her life in an unsuccessful effort toward women's suffrage. She died long before the Ninteenth Amendment was ratified. That was in 1920, for those of you who have forgotten your high school history. Eighty-three years ago. Prior to that, women could vote in only a few states.

I'm not saying that I am oppressed because I am a female blogger. I'm saying that women's achievements are still belittled or ignored pretty consistently. Yeah, we've come a long way, baby. But we've still got a ways to go.

Blogathon updates

You folks did a great job in the last couple of days. Look at that total: $2,647 pledged, $2,054 already donated directly. The total in pledges and donations for me, Lair, and Michele is $7,659. There's only $52,341 to go. Piece of cake.

I'm pretty sure many of you are waiting until Saturday to pledge or donate. For those who aren't, may I point out that I haven't even come close to ten percent of my visitors pledging to Magen David Adom. You know, even a five or ten dollar pledge will make a difference. By my count, well over a thousand people per day are ignoring the call to pledge.

So let me think a minute: If y'all are ignoring me, are you ignorant or am I? Or are we all ignorant? (Or should it be "iggerant," which is how it's pronounced in some circles?

Anyway. Ignoring the ignorance factor for a moment, let me just say—uh—I forgot what I was going to say.

Just pledge. Or donate directly. (If you do, and you want me to count you in the tally above, email me.)

I have returned

Thinking about it, it might not have been the best idea to go to Busch Gardens a few days before I'm going to be staying up for 24 hours for the Blogathon. And yet, I went. It was fun and exhausting, as always. I feel like I could sleep for another three or four hours, and I think I walked about a zillion miles yesterday (there goes my Inner Cranky Kid, quick, someone give her a chocolate bar and shut her up). It's possible I only walked half a zillion. This time, I went on the Locn Ness Monster, which was a first for me. If they hadn't shut down Apollo's Chariot at nine o'clock due to an incoming thunderstorm, we would have ridden all four of the coasters yesterday. We have sworn to do it the next time, as well as standing in line for the front row of the Alpengeist. Wind Rider and I decided what the hell, the line was fairly short, and got to see why people will wait in line for over an hour to get that first row. Wow. No comparison to sitting anywhere else. None.

I'll go check out the news, but I am already singing "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" as my response to seeing news of the death of the Hussein sons. May their father follow in their footsteps, and soon.



Busy day

The synagogue newsletter is one page away from complete, but alas, that page is photos. I have to choose and edit the damned things. And I'm so tired of doing it. Not just today. I mean tired, period. This should be a paying job, because I'm getting far too much crap to keep doing it for free. The newsletter that is, not the blog.

I actually don't mind getting crap for the weblog. It's usually fodder for posts, as well as affording me the chance to exercise my Master of Juvenile Scorn™ talent by publishing detractors' letters and making fun of them.

I feel like making fun of people. Check this out: Esmay only just discovered the Urban Legends page. Everybody laugh at Dean. It's obvious he's never been to my links page. (Check out the bottom right part titled "The Truth is in Here.") Dean, I hear they have these things called search engines, too, where you can actually search for things on the Internet. [snicker]

See? Juvenile scorn thing. It must be a reaction to dealing with crap on the newsletter all day. Now I have to dish it out to someone else. I could pick on Aziz, but—no, that would be far too easy.

Michele, the word should be "indefensible." And I'm telling you this because I feel like picking on you. And I'm picking on you because I'm still getting search requests about the effing Olsen Twins and it's your fault!

Grammar and spelling at ten paces, bee-yitch. Bring it on.

If you don't want me to pick on you (and that's the plural that in Brooklyn and New Jersey is known as "youse"), then I suggest you folks pledge some more to Magen David Adom. Seeing the tote board go up makes me feel happy, and I just can't pick on people when I'm happy. (Okay, well, yeah, I can. But I don't do it as often.)

Don't make me get out the Hulk Hands.

Shudna watch: What cease fire?

Still no Reuters headline about how these attacks threaten to end the tenuous cease fire agreement:

IDF arrests 6 Palestinians with bomb belt in West Bank
An IDF patrol arrested 6 Palestinians this morning who were in possession of a terror suicide bomb belt near the Jewish settlement of Bracha in the West Bank, a military source told The Jerusalem Post.

The suicide terror bomb belt was reported to be carrying between 10-15 kilos of explosives and was ready for detonation.

Israeli stabbed in Jerusalem terror attack
A 64 year old Israeli man out for an evening walk with a friend was stabbed and moderately wounded Sunday night in Jerusalem's central Yemin Moshe neighborhood, in what police suspect was a terror-related attack.

Jerusalem police spokeswoman Sigal Toledano said that the motive for the 9 p.m. stabbing, which took place near the city's landmark Windmill, was most likely "terror-related," noting that the assailant, thought to be an Arab, was seen fleeing from the scene in the direction of the Old City.

Then there are these little incidents:

Overnight Monday, Islamic Jihad activist Rami Isleit, 23, was killed while activating a roadside bomb near a military vehicle in near the West Bank city of Jenin, Israel Radio reported. None of the soldiers were injured in the vehicle, which sustained serious damage.

Over the past week, IDF forces and the Shin Bet security service seized three would-be suicide bombers who planned to carry out attacks within Israel, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said in remarks quoted Monday.

The three belonged to three separate cells of the militant Hamas movement in the West Bank city of Hebron, Army Radio quoted Mofaz as telling the ministers on Sunday.

Defense officials told the cabinet that security forces in the West Bank had uncovered two terrorist cells of the militant Tanzimin, affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, the radio said.

Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim said Monday that the hudna, or temporary truce in attacks on Israelis, "exists in fact and has manifested itself in a drop in violent terrorist activity."

However, he added, "there is no question that under the patronage of this hudna, the extremist groups are building their infrastructure anew."


Women, American history, and conservative bloggers

I rarely subscribe to the "Choose the X greatest Xes of all time" list mentality. I find the lists to be arbitrary, often spurious, and usually aggravating. (Keep reading. This one is all three.)

John Hawkins of Right Wing News sent me a letter requesting my votes for the greatest figures in American history, limit 20. With half an hour to go before the deadline, I saw a reminder in my mailbox and started thinking. Here are the results:

My list The final list
John Adams 19) Harry Truman (9)
Thomas Jefferson 19) Dwight D. Eisenhower (9)
Benjamin Franklin 19) Frederick Douglass (9)
George Washington 17) Thomas Paine (10)
James Madison 17) Ulysses S. Grant (10)
Alexander Hamilton 14) Orville & Wilbur Wright (11)
William H. Seward 14) Mark Twain (11)
Abraham Lincoln 14) George Patton (11)
Ulysses S. Grant 13) Alexander Hamilton (13)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt 12) Henry Ford (14)
Thomas Edison 10) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (15)
Rosa Parks 10) Martin Luther King Jr (15)
Susan B. Anthony 8) Teddy Roosevelt (17)
Gloria Steinem 8) John Adams (17)
Eleanor Roosevelt 7) James Madison (18)
Harriet Tubman 6) Thomas Edison (21)
  5) Ben Franklin (28)
  4) Abe Lincoln (31)
  3) George Washington (35)
  1) Ronald Reagan (36)
1) Thomas Jefferson (36)

Notice that Ronald Reagan is tied with Thomas Jefferson. There's a conflation that I would never make. Notice also that there is not a single woman on the list of the "greatest figures in American history." There is one honorable mention of a woman: Harriet Tubman.

Something is wrong with that picture.

I chose the women on my list for several reasons. I chose Susan B. Anthony because she was instrumental in the birth of the women's rights movement. I chose Gloria Steinem because decades after Susan B. Anthony, it took women like Steinem to energize the women's rights movement in our lifetimes so that women can enjoy the freedom they now have. I chose Rosa Parks because she was the flashpoint that got the Civil Rights movement started. I chose Eleanor Roosevelt because she was the first activist First Lady. In her time, she was hated or loved just as much as Hillary Clinton is today.

I frankly forgot to list Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and for that I am ashamed. I chose William Seward because I confused his purchase of Alaska with the Louisiana Purchase. Whoops, should have done a bit more research.

I specifically did not choose Henry Ford because I don't think he is a great American. His hatred and prejudice take away from his business and engineering acumen. Because of that, he doesn't belong on the list. Neither do the Wright brothers (how did air travel contribute to the greatness of America? Hello, transcontinental rail line ring a bell?) or Teddy Roosevelt. I'm considering Mark Twain's involvement. True, he did give American literature the stature it never had prior to his novels, and he is my literary idol, but I'm not sure he belongs on a list that's supposed to be the 20 greatest American figures in history. I'd choose either Eisenhower or Patton, but not both: One WWII general is all you get. And I wouldn't add a single American president after Roosevelt. I think it's a mark of kneejerk conservatism that Reagan is on that list at all. And Rush Limbaugh gets an honorary mention? Don't make me sick.

Which brings me back to the women. I say again, there is definitely a boys' club in the blogosphere, and this list is entered into evidence as Exhibit A. There are a lot of bloggers on that list who have some pretty thoughtul, well-researched posts. But they couldn't see fit to include a single woman?

Yeah, there's something wrong with that picture. Sexism in the blogosphere, again.



Happy blogiversary, Malaysian bloggers, and other links

Lynn B's blog is a year old today. Go on over, I hear there's birthday cake. She's my blogdaughter. I'd better get a piece.

Rajan is not the only Malaysian blogger. (Huge gasp!) Gil's got a few links, partly due to his getting a Malaysian blogger in trouble. (You're so bad, Gil.) No, not really. A Malaysian Muslim took offense that Jeff Oooi (is that the coolest name or what?) was linking to an Israeli. On the other hand, another Malaysian Muslim said he did not take offense and politely told the first guy to deal with it.

This Internet thing: It really is a small world after all, isn't it?

Sorry, Allison, can't help you there. If I'm going to a Jewish singles thing that weekend, I'll be in Virginia Beach instead, which is a lot closer, and means I won't have to get on a plane. That fear of heights thing I have? Turned into a fear of flying. (No Erica Jong jokes, please. Besides, I read the book, and, well, uh, what was the point of it again? Oh, right. The zipless fuck. Forgot about that.)

Now see what you made me do? You made me swear on my blog for the second day in a row. Allison, you're a bad influence. People from my synagogue read this thing. You think I want them to know I swear? (Oh, okay, so it's likely they've already guessed. But that's besides the point, dammit!)

By the way, Bill Allison has moved, and gotten a makeover, too.

Reader mail

Time to catch up on the letters you've been flooding me with. (Sorry, folks, but the Lara Croft movie tickets were sold out before I called them.)

Don P. in response to my post on British anti-Semitism:

OK, this is going to be sentimentalism, I admit, but: between the time of your 1930s and 1940s references can be found the Kindertransport, in which British families took in German and Austrian Jewish children including my father, then 7, and my aunt, 12. Saved their lives, all that stuff. So some of the people get some props.

On the other hand, it is true that in general England's civil rights revolution was years later than ours. My family lived in London from 1970-73, and you could really tell that the Brits had a different outlook from Americans, in that we at least had as an ideal "America for all", and the implicit stance in England was that it was, at the core, a country of, well, English people. (This difference is also what some Americans don't get about Israel, and the context in which it lives: just about every country except the USA is ultimately based on being the country of a specific people, as opposed to an open-immigration free-for-all.) Would you believe that there was a TV show called "The Black and White Minstrel Show", which was aired, intermittently, until at late as 1978?

I might also add that you shouldn't count the IRA's co-operation with Palestinians as "British" -- neither the IRA nor the Brits would accept that equivalence.

I hope I didn't give you the impression that I hated the Brits or thought they were all evil. I didn't and don't. And they're not alone in (knowingly or not) contributing to Hitler's destruction of the Jews by refusing to allow Jewish immigration. The United States refused many Jews entry, as did most of the countries that Jews fleeing the Nazi regime tried to enter. I'll take the IRA thing under advisement, but if you're gonna call yourself the British Isles....

On the other hand, Joel G. writes:

Thanks for writing something that I have felt for quite sometime. I have noticed the past few years how socially acceptable anti-Semitism is in the UK. We tend to concentrate more (and rightfully so) on France then the UK. From The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror, Reuters, The BBC, The Economist, The Observer, Robert Fisk, Richard Ingrams, Tom Dalyell, Andrew Wilkie, Mona Baker, and the French Ambassador ("Israel, that sh**** little country."), Jew hatred by the "elite classe" is quite respectable. That is too bad as I have always loved visiting London my favorite city in the world.

Britain is looking pretty bad when you tally up the number of news outlets, but I wouldn't equate anti-Israel with anti-Semitic. I don't know the Mirror's reputation (other than it being a tabloid), but I read The Economist fairly regularly and don't consider them the least bit anti-Semitic. I think the BBC is anti-Israel, but stops short of anti-Semitism.

Still, that list is far too long. And Reuters is a slime pit of Jew haters. Take a quick peek at this article and tell me if you can spot the huge factual error regarding the Iraqi Jewish population.

It's this:

Before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, Iraq still had a vibrant Jewish community -- some 280,000 people by Safer's recollection. Nearly half that number settled in the newly created Israel. Others went to Europe or America.

What the article does not mention is why the Iraqi Jews fled from the land where their ancestors had lived for thousands of years, nor is it accurate about the cause:

Iraq became an independent state in 1932. The 2,700-year-old Iraqi Jewish community has suffered horrible persecution since that time, particularly as the Zionist drive for a state intensified. In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000. Additional outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting occurred between 1946-49. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra & Nechemia; another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.

True to form, the Iraqis today are trying to eliminate the remaing few Jews. Well, the Muslims are, anyway. The Reuters article says that Saddam Hussein protected the remaining Jewish community. Go figure. He's trying to kill the Jews in Israel and refusing to allow the Jews of Baghdad to be harmed. Well, nobody said he was sane.

James S. says my email disclaimer doesn't go far enough.

Sorry, but that doesn't seem to cut it on today's lawyerly world: I think you should have something more like:

If you don't want me to quote you, and you're not sending abusive email, just mention "not for publication" or "Do not quote" somewhere in the message. I try to respect respectful requests, as much as I can manage...

If you absolutely, positively never want me to quote you, don't write me, and it can't happen... after all, I'm only human and if I make the mistake it's my WebLog anyway. If you write me, the mistake is yours in the end, since you wrote me to start with...

I like the way you think, James. You're evil. Evil is fun.

Eric Z. has a comment on the naked paintball hoax:

"Do you think those women running around trying to avoid those 200-mph paintballs are college graduates?"

Uh, hell yes? Have you tried to get a job recently? If they were looking for out-of-shape 30yr old guys to be shot at by women, I'd leap at the chance.

You know what kind of hellish job I just left, what I'd have to go through to earn 1000$? Getting shot at by paintballs is what happens when you play paintball ANYWAYS.

There's an idea. Hunting for, uh, Bucky? Yeah. Hunting for Bucky: Naked men running away from women with paintball guns. Of course, the rules would have to be changed. The rule for women (in the hoax, anyway) was shooting below the waist only. That would be really, really cruel for men. Wait a minute! I've just thought of the best new reality-TV show! "Hunting Your Ex": The television show that pits ex-wives against ex-husbands in paintball matches—immediately after their divorce. With or without clothes, depending on which station you're trying to sell it to. Geez, if I had a paintball field and sold games like that, I'd make a fortune.

Lynn S. wrote a response to the bikini/burqa post of last week which I've only just gotten to.

I don't think Aziz or anyone else who makes the burka/bikini comparison actually believes what they are saying. It's just another blind attack on western culture. It doesn't even matter if makes any sense.

I'm with you, Lynn. But then, Aziz never really does let facts get in the way of the issue, does he?

Did I ever tell you I was working on a "communities page" for AT&T while I was a Lucent web developer? We didn't call them blogs then, but that's what we were building the interface for. I forgot about that until I saw the AOL design. Looks very familiar to me. (No, I don't think they used our design, just that it resembles what we were making.)

This may be difficult to believe, but fish won over boobs by a two-to-one margin. Heidi and I both liked the suggestion of Mutant Boobs (that was Sondra's), and someone also suggested we make it both, which led to a very amusing conversation between Heidi and me as to which visitors she'd have to turn the sculpture into a fish for. And thank you one and all for pointing out how asymmetrical the boobs would be. From Mary C.:

Those would be some mighty lumpy boobs. And if boobs, it seems they dislike each other quite a bit -- there ain't a way to push those wooden suckers together through carving, though sanding can make them less lumpy.

From Sarah G., who also quoted Fish Heads to me:

The boobs look kinda sad, sorta post-nursing.

That's about all I have time for at the moment. The Synagogue newsletter deadline approaches, and I've got some work to do yet. Thanks for writing, and with a little bit of luck, I'll be able to think of a contest equally as silly for the Blogathon. It's six days away. Pledge, pledge, pledge! (Or donate now.)


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.