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Excusing hate groups: It's not just for Euros anymore

Dave Sims of Clubbeaux seems to think that we are overreacting when we call the Ku Klux Klan a blood-soaked, racist, hateful organization. He bases this on the fact that he met several Klan members here in Virginia some years ago, and, why, they could have been the nice young men next door. They said they didn't want no part of that racist stuff, or the cross-burning. All they wanted was what was right: No more of that affirmative action, anti-white stuff. They want "for whites to enjoy the same rights blacks did." (Because as everyone knows, white people have to work really hard for their rights here in, uh, white-majority America.)

I saw it. I had decided to stay out of it. But then Susanna Cornett wrote a post, and I saw Sims' response in her comments, where he said:

But I won’t condemn some guy joining Hizbollah who works on the social services side and never participates in any of the terrorism.

Then there's something seriously wrong with your world view, Dave. I will condemn that person. And so do a hell of a lot of other people, including the United States government. When you join an organization knowing full well that part of the organization is responsible for murdering babies in their beds, you have made a choice to ignore the evil that your organization does. But you have not absolved yourself of the responsibility for choosing to be a part of it.

Would you, Dave, work for a company if you knew the boss was a Mafia don, and that the guy who signs your paycheck also sells drugs, orders hits, and shakes down local business owners? Even if you had absolutely nothing to do with that part of the company? You want to tell me yes, you would, fine. But don't try to tell me that you are not complicit with the evil that is done by the company. You have closed your eyes to it, that's all. What's that saying? All that it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing? Choose to do nothing, Dave, and you have still made a choice, and it's not on the side of the angels.

As for your insistence on the Klan's having put aside its old, evil ways: Bullshit. You are hiding from the truth. The reason you don't read about as many cross-burnings is because a wonderful man named Morris Dees founded the Southern Poverty Law Center and managed to bankrupt the Klan as part of his strategy to end its evil. The reason you don't read about lynchings any more is because the law enforcement agencies no longer stand aside as blacks are dragged out of their homes and strung up on the nearest tree. (Strange Fruit, anyone?) Murderers go to jail. Cross-burners get arrested and convicted. There was a lot more of that when they weren't arrested for it. Funny, that. But just for you, here's a case from last year where a Klan chief in North Carolina was arrested in a bomb plot. Of course, another reason for the Klan's decline is the fact that every time a racist group tries to march, a larger crowd marches against the racists. Happened here in Chester, VA a few months ago.

Here's some information on the Klan—today's Klan—from

The American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is the largest and most aggressive Klan faction in the U.S. The claim on this link is that the Klan does not burn crosses -- it "lights" them. "We light the Cross in recognition that, Jesus Christ is the light of the world," the site says. "As light drives out darkness, so knowledge and truth dispel ignorance and superstition." In fact, this attempt at cleaning up the Klan's image is a transparent propaganda ploy. It is true that many Klansmen burn crosses in private as part of a group ceremony. But it is also true that burning crosses outside the homes of Klan enemies is a terrorist tactic that goes back to October 16, 1915, when "members of a Georgia lynch mob, the Knights of Mary Phagan … lit a giant cross atop Stone Mountain," Ga., according to The Ku Klux Klan: An Encyclopedia. Today, a cross is burned about once a week as a tactic of intimidation, classically on the lawn of an interracial couple. In fact, cross-burnings are so clearly a tactic of terror that many communities across America have outlawed the practice except on private property with the owner's consent. The emphasis the American Knights puts on its benign interpretation is reflected in other revisionist efforts by the modern-day Klan, such as the change from the phrase "white supremacy" to "white separatism," to clean up the Klan's battered and bloody image.

But wait, there's more.

American Knights leader Jeff Berry has often claimed that his group is nothing more than "a civil rights group for white people." In early 1999, he said, "I admire Martin Luther King. He fought and died for his people's rights, and that's probably what I'm going to do." The reality is entirely different. Unlike King, Berry is concerned only with his race, and more specifically, his followers; others are treated to a series of racial and other epithets that no mainstream newspaper would print. In fact, the American Knights specialize in confrontational rallies that more often than not provoke violence from enraged counter-demonstrators -- a tactic that guarantees local press coverage of Klan demonstrations. The violent nature of many of the group's members has earned it the moniker, "the bully-boy Klan."

Still more:

In fact, going back to its founding in 1865, the Klan has specialized in organized terrorism, and is blamed by historians for uncounted hangings, castrations, rapes, tarring and featherings and a host of other horrors. And the contemporary Klan has not done much better at following the law -- a point that the notorious example of the American Knights and its leader, Jeff Berry, illustrates perfectly. In recent years, American Knights leaders have included a man who had his ex-wife shot in the face by a hired killer and a former motorcycle gangster who was convicted of leading a gang rape. Berry, for his part, has a lengthy arrest record and has been convicted of felony theft and burglary.

Just go to the link above and click on the image for this information and more. Like this:

Although the group would have you believe that it sells "Your Favorite American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Merchandise" as part of its mission to shore up white pride, the reality is that these sales are part of a money-making operation that long profited leader Jeff Berry. Among the items for sale: Item #604, a steal at $6, is a lapel pin -- of a hangman's noose. Item #PO6, another $6, is a clothing patch depicting a black person eating a watermelon and saying, "If You Can't Feed 'Em, Don't Breed 'Em."

This is in direct contrast to the good ol' boys that Sims is describing in Susanna's comments:

The point is that the rational, pleasant people in the Klan don’t countenance evil, don’t commit evil and are not pawns of unmitigated evil. I know it’s hard for many people today to realize this, but many people join the Klan for quite sober, realistic reasons which have nothing to do with lynching, cross-burning or hatred. I know. I’ve spoken with them.

Nobody joins the Klan without knowing of its history. Nobody is that naive or stupid. You didn't spend years getting to be friends with those men. They told you what they wanted you to hear: that the "modern" Klan just isn't into all that racist stuff. Why, all they want to do is fight affirmative action, and stand up for the poor, embattled white man, who can't get a break with all this "reverse discrimination."

I've got news for you, Dave: They could have done that by joining the Republican party. They chose to join the Klan instead. That tells me that they are interested in getting what they want through intimidation and force. In point of fact, you were lied to and you bought it, hook, line and sinker. There are 110 known chapters of the Klan. Why are these "rational, pleasant people" joining the organization? What are they getting out of it?

What they've gotten out of it since the Civil War: An organization where they can freely express the hatred in their minds. Only an extremely naive person would join the Klan to protest affirmative action. And if you buy that argument, I'm afraid you're either far more naive than they, disingenuous, or just plain stupid. Which is it, Dave?

The Klan is unchanged. It is not an organization that a good person joins. You were hoodwinked then, and you're being obtuse now. But that's to be expected if you think that it's okay to work for Hizbollah's "non-violent" arm.

Terrible name association, KKK. Horrible P.R. nightmare. Abysmal history. But get rid of the name Ku Klux Klan, get rid of the trappings, the robes and rhetoric of KKK organizations more militant than the guys in Rural Retreat that day, and you have an organization perceived to be truly on the side of the people who get screwed, shafted and otherwise alienated and disenfranchised by affirmative action and other racist government policies.

That's the thing, Dave. You can't get rid of the trappings. If your guys were truly only against affirmative action, they didn't need to put on the white robes. The robes are symbols. Symbols have meaning. And they don't mean "Oh, look, it's a group of pleasant, rational men working against affirmative action and racial quotas."

Let's not pretend they do.

One last thing for Susanna—shame on you for this quote:

But we as Americans, and most especially non-leftist Americans who see that the reality of the pain of the perpetrators does not mitigate the horrors they instigate, are supposed to see through that, to understand the nature of such organizations and expose them for what they are.

The very fact that you are having this argument with Dave Sims, who is by no means a lefty, shows how wrong you are to tag a side with being unable to see the evil a group does. I'm a liberal. My best friend is a liberal. Lynn B. leans left. So does Judith Weiss. Mac Thomason has liberal in his blog name. None of us ever excuses the acts of terrorist groups, nor would we ever excuse members of the Klan—which Sims, a conservative, is doing.

I would never pretend to label conservatives as, say, racists, based on, say, David Duke—who is a conservative. Please do me the favor of not slamming people who think differently from you with that same tar brush. It is offensive and frankly, I expect better from you.

Per Dean's request:

Boobie pictures.

A very big thanks to Louis.

Et cetera

I did some housecleaning today. One of the things I discovered was an unidentifiable bunch of little black stuff along the molding beneath the living room picture window. Was it spider droppings? I have a lot of tiny spiders whose lives until now have been mostly undisturbed, as I am fond of the arachnid proclivity to eat bugs. However, I grew less than fond of it today while vacuuming up dead spiders, the dead spiders' nests, and the dead bugs that were in the dead spiders' nests. I mean, geez, there was even an effing grasshopper in one of the spiderwebs.

But that line of little black dots—were they ant corpses? Tiny bug corpses? Spider poop? (I know I asked that, but really, I have no idea what the stuff was. Of course you realize I'm going to get half a dozen letters over the weekend from readers who do know what that stuff was, and that scares me even more than the possibility that I vacuumed up spider poop.)

There will be kitty pictures sometime this weekend. Sorena is going to spend time with me Saturday afternoon (I'm writing this during that magical Friday night time, though it's technically Saturday since it's after midnight), so I don't think it's going to happen then. Poor thing was a bit bummed today, as she had her last day at private school. She's going to the neighborhood public school next year, and it's something she wants to do, but it's finally struck her that she'll never see her classmates again, really, and she's been with them for four years now. When she and Heidi stopped by around one, Sorena was Sad Little Girl. By the time I got to the house around four, she was her normal self again, playing with her neighborhood pal. The one whose school she'll be attending. Life is so tough when you're nine.

We had beef kabobs tonight, at my suggestion. Heidi bought the veggies and the mushrooms and a thick piece of steak, and I was five minutes from her house when my cell phone rang. Heidi didn't have any skewers. Neither did the two stores I stopped in. So I get there, pick up Heidi, head off to the store for skewers. We get home, start the charcoal grill, and discover we have enough coal for the vegetable kabobs, maybe, but not enough if we add the beef. Our kabobs turned into steak in the oven and vegetable kabobs on the grill, but then put in the oven for five more minutes to cook thoroughly. Okay, so our methodology wasn't exactly what we'd hoped. Dinner was delicious, and so was the 2002 Australian shiraz I bought last week. And Heidi swears we'll try again next week, only we'll have far more preparation. And charcoal. And skewers.

By the way, I don't know if I've mentioned this recently, or even at all, but balsamic vinegar is the best thing to happen to cooked vegetables since the discovery of salt. Damn, it's good.

Bigwig has another joke for the second day. It's cute, but it won't wake up the cats like the other one. I told that one to some of the confirmation class at the oneg last night (it was their Confirmation night). Actually, I told it to Mara, one of my extraordinary madrichot (the other one, Amanda, was out of earshot), and her friend. They loved it. I thought about following that up with Lileks' expose of the filthiest joke ever on American television, but then I realized, uh, they're teenagers, there are parents are in this room, and maybe you'd better not risk it. Besides, I can just tell them to read my weblog.

I stayed until nearly closing time. I really enjoy talking to kids of all ages. I like the little ones because they're cute and fun. I like the older ones because they're enthusiastic and cheerful and have a refreshing outlook on things. I like the in-between ones because they surprise you with their adult insights one minute, and make you smile the next because they have to sleep with a nightlight.

I really don't understand people who don't like children. I've never been one of those people. I never will be. I like kids. Even the bratty ones. (I just don't like them as much.)

So I may be busy today. But there's Bigwig. And Lynn has been on fire the last few days. Go check out In Context, especially her latest post. And there's my newest pal, Kate. She's trying to get me drunk. I'll let you know how that works out.



Don't go away mad

Bigwig has a really funny joke that he put up for me, in honor of the anniversary of the Six-Day War. Go. It's really funny. Or did I already say that?

Yeah, these guys too

How could I have missed this one?

Palestinian terror groups express outrage at Aqaba summit

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Brigades have expressed outraged at the sentiments expressed at the summit at Aqaba, Ynet reports.

Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a senior Hamas official, said that "the Aqaba summit was a plot against the Palestinian people." He condemned the fact that nobody at the summit addressed "Palestinian suffering and the terror directed against the Palestinian nation".

Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, another Hamas leader, said the "the things spoken at Abaqa are a declaration of war against the Palestinian people." Rather than renouncing terror, he said that "all options should remain open to the Palestinian people while the occupation still exists."

Muhammad al-Hindi, a senior Islamic Jihad official, said that he is convinced that Abu Mazen "gave away for free" Palestinian obligations towards Israel. While Abu Mazen condemned Palestinian resistance, a-Hindi complained, Sharon spoke hazily about security, saying that a Palestinian state would contribute to the security and strength of the Jewish state.

Jamil Majdalawi, a senior leader of the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that "the Aqaba summit is the continuation of a plot launched at Sharm a-Sheikh, the basis of which is the American request to continue its activities that began with the conquering of Iraq and arrives today in Palestine." He also added that the Americans' aim is "that the Zionist entity continue to be the strongest nation in the region." He expressed disappointment that the summit conveyed the Intifadah as the main problem, rather than the occupation.

A senior member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades told Ynet that "If the current policy continues, the Al-Aqsa Brigade will be forced to return to active and even stronger resistance. The organization will never give up its right of response, and will not support any agreement that will give up the right of return."

There can be no diplomacy with these people. All they understand is death. Okay. So give it to them.

Just shoot them

Hamas walks out of ceasefire talks

Hamas walked out of its ceasefire talks with Palestininan Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on Friday morning, Israel Radio reports.

"He does not represent us," said Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a senior Hamas official, "And we refuse to meet with him because there is no point in doing so." Rantisi accused Abbas of forfeiting Palestinian rights and called for him to resign.

He called the 'road map' the greatest danger for Palestinians and stressed that his organization is unwilling to give up the Palestinian "right of return", an Islamic Palestine, Jerusalem, and release of prisoners.

[...] But even the militia associated with his own Fatah party, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, seem unimpressed with his renunciation at Aqaba of "terror against the Israelis wherevery they might be."

In a written statement received by Ynet, the organization writes, "No signature by the Palestinians on a document of any kind will obligate the organization while the Israeli escalation continues, and while the siege of Arafat remains in place."

The statement continues, "We will not sit and shake hands in such a situation. If Sharon understands only force, he will find us in this arena until we defeat him. It cannot be that the aggression and the harm against the Palestinian people and the leader Arafat will continue."

Furthermore, the organization condemns new Palestinian Minister for State Security, Muhammad Dahlan, writing to Mahmoud Abbas, "We will not agree to the issue that wanted men will be handled by a man who is an American-Israeli project forced upon the Authority and the Palestinian people. Dahlan was forced upon us by the Americans, Israelis, and Arab regimes collaborating with them."

There was another article somewhere where a pal was quoted as saying Israel wants Abbas to handle the terrorists in a way that would provoke civil war, whereas he wants to negotiate.

There can be no negotiations with these people. If Abbas doesn't start arresting the terrrorists, there will be no advance on the "road map." It's already dead before it's begun.

Oh. Except for the fact that every single effing article about it that is not in the Israeli press or from a conservative site harps on how Israel has to withdraw from the territories first, and then the terrorists will cease murdering Jews.

Yeah, this is gonna work. Not.



Day By Day by Chris Muir

Starting today, I've moved Capt. Steve's letters to the left menu and put Chris Muir's excellent cartoon on the top of the page. He is so incredibly funny, and I should have done this long ago. Why he isn't syndicated and lesser talents are, I'll never know. But go. Visit. And hit his Paypal button or order a book while you're there.

The Aqaba summit: The Official Palestinian view

Ribbity Frog was kind enough to translate the following article for me from Al-Ayyam, a PA newspaper published in Ramallah (see below for more colorful description). I didn't bother to include the repetitive quotes you've seen all over the other media, but some are included for the PA spin.

Sharm a-Sheikh: the Arabs Undertake to Combat Terror
And Refrained from Presenting a Proposal for Normalisation With Israel

Sharm-A-Sheikh (Egypt) Agencies. The American President George Bush, during his first visit to the Middle East, sent a resolute message against terrorism, confirming his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, but was unable to attain from the Arab allies an undertaking to normalize relations with Israel. The five moderate Arab leaders with whom Bush met at Sharm-a-Sheikh confirmed their commitment to combating terror, and their welcoming of the Road Map, an international peace plan, for which the means of implementation were discussed today at a summit held in Akaba today, in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Bush said before the Arab leaders, "Terror threatens my country, and also the Arab countries and Israel; for the establishment of a Palestinian state it must be opposed and defeated".

Bush confirmed that the Arab leaders "have undertaken to take concrete steps to employ all possible means to cut off support for any terrorist group, and to help the Palestinian authority in its war against terror."

You will have to excuse me while I interrupt here for an excerpt on the PA's "war against terror."

In his statement at the end of the Aqaba summit, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas recognized Jewish suffering through the years, and pledge to use all means at his disposal to put an end to armed attacks on Israelis "wherever they may be."

Abbas said the Palestinians seek to build a democratic state and terrorism is not consistent with these goals.

"We repeat our denunciation and renunciation of terrorism against Israelis wherever they might be," he said.

But wait. That's not what he said a few days before.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday he expected militant Palestinian factions to agree to a cease-fire in their battle against Israeli occupation within 20 days.

Abbas, otherwise known as Abu Mazen, told al-Jazeera television that he had made significant progress in talks with leaders of militant groups, such as Hamas, which are responsible for attacks that have killed scores of Israelis.

"In a period that won't exceed twenty days, (there will be) an agreement for a full calming down in all Palestinian territories," Abbas told the satellite station based in Qatar.

[...] Abbas said on Saturday the Palestinians needed time to rebuild their security services before taking up the Israeli offer. Palestinians say their security forces have been weakened by Israeli army raids.

What the road map says for the first phase:

"In Phase 1 [May 2003], the Palestinians immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence."

That would be unconditional, the word the pals keep using for Israel's acceptance of the road map. But back to the Ramallah P.O.V.:

Bush indicated the undertaking of the leaders to oppose violence, and said that if all the parties fulfilled their commitments, it will be possible to achieve steady progress towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, and to assuring Israel's security.

Okay, so here's where we're going to hear about both sides' responsibilities, right? Israel and the PA? Let's see:

The American president urged Israel to deal with the settlements, and to "assure the existence of territorial continuity, that the Palestinians will be able to call home."

Waiting for the pals' part in all of this. (See above: "What the road map says for the first phase.")

He added during the Sharm a-Sheikh summit in Egypt, "Israel bears a responsibility, it must deal with the settlements, it must work to guarantee territorial contiguity, that the Palestinians will be able to call home."

(Ibid.) Look, that's twice they printed that phrase about calling home. Where's the prhase that says they renounce terror and armed struggle?

He continued, "We meet in Sinai at a moment of promise for the cause of peace in the Middle East. We see the possibility of unifying against terror, we see the possibility for the birth of a new Palestinian state, we see the possibility of achieving a wide-ranging peace between the peoples of the region. Achieving these goals will require courage and moral vision from every side from every leader. America is committed and I am committed in helping all the parties to reach the hard and heroic decisions that will lead to peace."

Bush continued, "We seek true peace, not just a pause between more wars and intifadas."

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak read a statement written by the Arab leaders who participated in the summit, confirming "the use of the power of the law to prevent support from reaching illegal organizations, including terrorist groups."

That's an important phrase, "terrorist groups." Neither the pals nor the Arab leaders consider Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa, Fatah, or the PFLP terrorist groups.

Mubarak said, "We support the determination of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its responsibilities to end violence and to preserve law and order, and we will ensure that our aid to the Palestinians will be directed only to the Palestinian authority," alluding to the extremist Palestinian organizations.

Because it's not like the PA was caught trying to ship tons of weapons to the West Bank or Gaza or anything like that.

He added: "We once again confirm our stance against terror and violence. And we shall continue to fight the afflictions of terror directed against humanity, and to reject the culture of extremism and violence in any form: from any source, or sent from any place, without consideration of justifications or motives, being aware of its dangers as a plague that threatens the security and stability of the entire world."

Except Israel, it seems. But that speech plays so well on the U.S. evening news. What are you saying in Arabic, Hosni? What are you saying to Al-Jazeera, hm?

The American president said that he means what he said, and confirmed that the world needs a Palestinian state. Bush confirmed again last night his vision regarding the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The PA mouthpiece again does not mention that the flip side of this is that Israel gets secure borders and an end to terror attacks on its citizens. See above: What the road map says for the first phase.

Bush's first tour of the Middle East set as its first priority to start implementing the Road Map to which the Palestinians and Israel agreed, in spite of the reservations it created.

The Road Map prescribes the establishment of a Palestinian state in stages throughout the year 2005.

For his part, Mubarak confirmed the Arab states' support for the Road Map, demanding that Israel carry out all of its commitments set out in the Map, particularly the dismantling of the random settlements.

Still waiting to hear about the end of terror attacks on Israeli citizens. See above, etc., etc.

The American president believes that peace and stability in the region will follow economic growth, and he repeated his position calling for a the establishment of a free trade area in the Middle East, within ten years.

However, Bush was unable to persuade to Arab leaders to speed up the normalization of relations with Israel, which in his opinion would encourage Sharon to move forward in the peace process.

Ah. Now we get to the meat of it, in the third-to-last paragraph of the article. Translation: We don't give a flying fuck what you say or do, we're not going to normalize relations with the Zionist Entity because we've got W. totally fooled.

The Middle Eastern News Service reported that differences of opinion about this issue delayed the opening of the summit, with the Arab nations confirming that the normalization would come in the framework of a comprehensive settlement, which requires that Israel present concessions.

Those differences of opinions can be summed up this way: We don't give a flying fuck what you say or do, we're not going to normalize relations with the Zionist Entity because we've got W. totally fooled.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell announced before his Arab colleagues on Monday/Tuesday night that only three countries maintain relations with Israel (Egypt, Jordan and Palestine) while "America wants more than that."

The ungrateful bastards. Can't they see that we're already discussing the concept of a cease-fire inside the Green Line? Oh, that's right. Hamas came out with their own statement immediately afterward:

GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian militant groups vowed on Wednesday they would not disarm, defying an appeal by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas issued at a U.S.-led peace summit with Israel.

"We will never be ready to lay down arms until the liberation of the last centimeter of the land of Palestine," Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi said. Islamic Jihad, another group sworn to Israel's destruction, followed suit.

I'm thinking I may not need to come out with that Road Map post I've promised you. You sort of can get the gist of it from this one.

But I will. Give me a little more time.

Jim Henley is a whiny little..., and other stories

The title isn't original. I got it from somewhere else. But Bill Herbert, a.k.a. my fiancé, (a.k.a. no, not really, we're just engaged online), slaps him around a lot for it today.

I get the feeling from this post that Virginia Postrel and I agree: Martha Stewart is being railroaded. I'm still waiting to hear the Enron indictments. Ken Lay? Ken Lay? Call your office.

Ribbity Frog translated an article from the PA's Al-Ayyam, which he calls Arafat's Ramallah rag, about the Aqaba summit, per my request. I'll be getting to it a bit later today, as Blogspot fritzed on him and he couldn't publish it on his site. Thanks, Frogman.

The Six-Day War, 36 years later

36 years ago today, the Israeli Air Force (made up entirely of French aircraft—the U.S. refused to sell to Israel in the sixties) destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force (made up entirely of Russian MiGs, Ilyushins, and Tupolevs)—on the ground—and that was the beginning of the Six-Day War.

Six days later, in spite of inferior numbers in personnel and equipment, Israel had soundly defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, supplied with arms and troops from Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria. The Arab armies combined came to a total of 900 combat aircraft, over 5,000 tanks, and 500,000 men. The Israeli forces consisted of 275,000 men, 1,100 tanks, and about 200 planes. (All numbers taken from Michael Oren's Six Days of War.)

Oh, the PLO fought in the war, too. Yasser Arafat led a guerrilla group to the Golan front, only to find that the Syrian soldiers had fled. Let's not forget that the territories weren't occupied at the time, Arafat and his troop of murderers were killing innocents along the Jordanian border, which was part of the reason the 1967 war began. The PLO was formed in 1964. Its purpose was the extinction of Israel, stated quite clearly in its charter.

On the 36th anniversary of the Six-Day War, I hold out small hope for real peace with the Arabs, road map or no. Not when 80 percent of Palestinians think that Israel needs to disappear.

Here's a hint, pals: Not gonna happen. You couldn't make it happen 36 years ago. Or 55 years ago. Or 30 years ago. And today, Israel is stronger than she's ever been.

You'd best find a way to learn to live with her.



By the way, Pontifex is still in Iraq

He has thoughts about Salam, too. And thoughts about what the Iraqi regime did to its people before Pontifex and his fellow soldiers landed in the country. You're right to be creeped out. They found a gravesite with 200 children in it, including babies. It's beyond words. Thinking about the soldiers who took those babies and killed them and threw them into a giant open ditch—or maybe just tossed them in—it's unthinkable.

Babies. I can't imagine it. This is a baby. And this. And this. I cannot imagine how depraved you have to be to murder a baby.

I can, however, imagine watching the murderers swing for it.


I can't use"Otherwheres," I used that yesterday.

Why you should be reading Mac Thomason: Read the title of this post. No, not that title, the header.

Laurence Simon went to an anti-Israel protest in Houston, and left. Because the protest was lamer than the reasons for it. Gotta love it.

The Timekeeper is back, and he sent me to this graphic, which puts me—get this—to the right of Andrew Sullivan. Can you say, "The mapmaker hasn't got an effing brain in his effing body?" I knew you could. So he wrote a post with my response to his letter.

I sent him a letter. No, not Ron. The guy who made the stupid map. It went like this:

Subject: Ahem. Ahem. AH-EFFING-HEM!

May I ask what is your methodology?

May I further ask how the eff you placed me TO THE RIGHT OF ANDREW SULLIVAN?


I demand a remap.

Take out my pro-war on terror and hawkish Israel posts, and you have a left-of-center blogger.


I eagerly await his answer. In the meantime, I think I'll have to explain that the only way you're going to find me to the right of Andrew Sullivan is if you sit the two of us down at the same table. I mean, come on. I like the guy, but anyone who reads us both knows damned well which of us is to the right of the other, and here's a hint: It's not me.


First there was this.

Then there was this.

Meryl is about to come back to her senses and tell you what she really thinks of the road map.


The American media has yet to mention the 200 children found in the mass grave in Iraq. I've found only three small stories on it via Google News. But there's a line in the KurdishMedia article that has not gotten any play anywhere. It may well be hyperbole—but it may not be. It's the last paragraph. Look at the last paragraph.

London ( 04 June 2003: A mass grave containing the remains of 200 Kurdish children has been discovered in the liberated Kurdish city of Kirkuk, reported the KDP Arabic daily, Al-Taakhi.

"Citizens were discovered on May 30, 2003, in a communal grave close to Debs, in Kirkuk. However, this mass grave was different from other mass graves discovered since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s terrorist regime since it contained the remains of 200 babies, victims of the repression of the Kurdish uprising in 1991," Al-Taakhi noted. "Even the dolls were buried with the children," it added.

It is believed that the babies were buried alive. It was also reported in the local media that an adult female person had also been found in the mass grave. It was suggested that she could have been their minder.

"It is believed that the babies were buried alive."

I have nothing to add.

I'm not laughing at him...

Oh, hell. Yes I am. Go read this post by Marduk, and laugh at him, too. (It's the boyfriend remark that's the real howler.)

Sorry, Marduk. But it's really funny. Well, except for the ticket. Sorry about that one.

It's Carnival time

And I forgot again. It's over at Drumwaster's, which is on Blogspot, so here's the Carnival link, and here's the main page for when Blogspots archives are hosed.

I haven't been anywhere else today that hasn't been depressing. I don't really want to send you all over to depressing places, so that's about it for today's links, I think.

Wait. I'm sure Terry Oglesby will cheer us all up. Time to go say hey to Terry.

A moment of kitty zen

The hell with the rest of the world. Gracie has her junior mints box, and all is well.

Gracie makes love to a Junior Mints box

Why Lileks is king

This one woke up the cats:

Watching the Simpsons “Tomacco” episode tonight, I was struck again by the brief appearance of the filthiest joke ever broadcast on network TV. I’m serious. I think it’s still there because the censors didn’t get it. If you don’t get it, you don’t see anything untoward; it doesn’t have the appearance of naughtiness. But there it is, every other month when the episode’s rerun: a sign on a rural store.

(Formerly Chuck’s)

I’ve described the line to smart people, clever people, Men of the World, and they don’t get it, which is probably why it’s still there.

And no, I’m not going to tell you if you don’t get it.

Okay, three words: search and replace.

So glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that.

(Update: A further hint. Change "Sneed's" to "Chuck's". Now follow the rhyme and rhythm of the current name of the place, using the first letters of Feed and Seed. Wait for it—give it a second—there you go. A chorus of "Ooooooooooohs!")



iet-Quay, Esmay, our-yay ewing-scray ith-way y-may an-play

So I get this letter from Dean Esmay, a guy I really thought had a lot more on the ball:

Er, I don't know if anyone's emailed you about this, but:

1) You're in the Blogstreet Top 500, which entitles you to use their graphic.
2) You're in their BIQ Top 100, which also entitles you to use their graphic.
3) The BIQ is not complicated. It's based on how many highly-linked bloggers link to you. So a link from Glenn is worth more.

You're nowhere near the bottom. You're easily in the top 1%. In fact, you're easily in the top one half of 1%, and are most popular indeed. ;-)

I have encouraged the BlogStreet people to do more with that though. "Listed on Blogstreet" and "Blogstreet top 10%" would be nice for starters.

Listen, Dean, you just don't get it. My blog rankings have been falling steadily for weeks! I haven't been on the Blogstreet Top 100 Blogs for months! My ranking on both NZ Bear's and Myelin's ecosystems have plunged. Effing Agonist is still ahead of me in the rankings (and still only by a little bit, hehehehehehe. He's such a putz.). And to top it all off, Venomous Kate is licking at my heels! Literally! With a snake's tongue. (And may I say: Ew. Kut it out, Kate, it tickles.)

And another thing, Dean. Don't be explaining to me what the BIQ means, when I was pretty sure it was simply a disposable lighter brand misspelled. (And really, the BIQ is just as arbitrary as any other ranking format; you gotta be kidding me if you take it seriously. Er, not you, Dean, that's a plural "you." I should probably use "youse," but there are copy editors from my past who will hunt me down and beat me for that.)

Once again, I am at the blogger's dilemma: Should I ignore my rankings, or should I start a begathon? Or, failing that, is it time for boob pictures?

Sorry, I don't know what Aziz looks like, can't help you there.

Damn. I think my juvenile scorn impulse kicked in again. I'm so sorry. (I think it's sort of related to the Hulk's anger thing. You don't want to make me scornful. You won't like me when I'm scornful.) Okay, no, I'm not sorry. I really do like being juvenile and scornful all at the same time. Must be why I get along so well with kids.

All right, I do believe I've done about as much damage to as many people as possible today. Nope. There are nearly two full hours left of the day. I can do more.

Root causes

This article is rather funny:

Hizbullah ambulance explodes in Lebanon

In Lebanon, an Hizbullah ambulance exploded in a town near the border, Israel Radio reported. The driver was seriously wounded.

The reason for the explosion is unclear.

I'm going to take a wild guess: The ambulance was transporting explosives, or someone in Lebanon thought it was an Israeli vehicle and got trigger-happy. I mean, really. Hizbullah ambulance exploding? Who'da thunk it?

Channeling my Inner Geek

Tired of being unable to use the dash and six keys, particularly since her email password used to contain a six, our intrepid heroine attempts to lift the key a bit and see if she can squirt some compressed air underneath in an attempt to clean the contact. To her surprise, the key pops off, revealing a large amount of cat hair beneath. Swish, swish, clean contact, key back on, ditto for the delete and six keys, problem solved. And yet, the keys continue to work, then not work, then work, then not work. Last night, in supreme frustration, she pops off those keys and a few more, starts cleaning the keyboard, and then realizes perhaps she should turn the computer off before attempting to clean the entire keyboard. But it's late. She's tired. And so she puts the keycaps back on and goes to bed.

This morning, armed with the steely will and determination of someone who knows something about tech stuff, off come the keys, pop, pop, pop. Sometimes the little plastic things that apparently create some kind of contact between the key and the computer (plastic? I thought contacts had to be metal) came off. Our heroine thoughtfully placed them inside the keycaps from which they burst.

The scene: A messy table. Rows of upside down keycaps, half on the table, half on the pile of papers to the left. A naked keyboard, with four years of (sigh) cat hair and dust inside it. A can of compressed air, which does almost nothing but stir the matted hair in its wake. A box of Q-Tips, which are used to get most of the cat hair up, and shut up about leaving bits of cotton there instead. What was I supposed to use, the tip of a jeweler's screwdriver? Yeah, that would have been great for the computer.

One hour later, the discovery that the keys pop back on rather easily once you get them started, and, uh, I forgot—does X go first on the bottom row, or is it Z? (I probably shouldn't have put them on the newsletter, where they, uh, fell and got mixed up.) And is the key with the letter worn out the N key or the M key? Well, we can switch them back once we test them. Machine boots, open a Word document, go down the keyboard, and discover the Z key doesn't work. Press down hard until you hear a click, and there's your answer: Didn't hear the second click into place.

Who says this tech stuff is hard, anyway? Look: --66!!! They're back! (You'll have to take my word for the delete key.)



My eyes! My eyes! They burn!

I had to click on this link before dinner, didn't I? I think I lost my appetite.

Warning: In spite of the fact that these are pictures of a chubby man made up to look like Spider-man, he is not wearing any clothes underneath that bodypaint. I got it from Blogdex's "One year ago" list.

I figure I'm good for getting another groan of disgust out of Wind Rider, at least.

More otherwheres

Bigwig is up to his usual tricks, which are to see if he can make you imitate his newborn son and spit up on your monitor.

And having reread Watership Down, what is up with choosing "Woundwort" as a name? I mean, really. A fascist, murdering dictator who tries to control the lives of everyone he sees. Tell me that's not really Woundwort's character. Please.

Happy Father's Day, a bit early: Damelon has an excellent story on how to overcome a rotten past. Good for you, Damelon. And living on another continent is a great way to make sure your father has no effect whatsoever on your son.

This is a fascinating site dedicated to fighting PETA at every turn. Warning: It's on Tripods and has tons of popup ads. Your bile level will probably rise in direct proportion to how much of this site you read.There's even a link to an old AP article (from 2000) that said PETA euthanize the animals from its shelters that it can't place. Interesting. Wonder if they still do that today?

A grandmother's shtetl story

David Bernstein sent me the link to his grandmother's story of life in Poland. A few excerpts:

We hear someone knocking on our window, calling my mother's name. Mother rushed to the window, there was one of Jewish neighbors. "Don't you know what's happening, the Jewish people are being chased out again. Hurry get out or you will be killed with the children."

[...] Need I tell you the excitement and the joy when the first letter reached us from America. With trembling hands mothers opened the letter and started to read. I could never forget that day. My mother couldn't stop crying, but this time, they were tears of joy. I was so happy to see my mother's joyous face. My sister Sarah writes that she is married, she has a little girl three-years-old. My sister Beckie and my sister Jane are both engaged and they are waiting when we will come to the U.S. so we would attend their weddings. She is telling us, as soon as possible they will send for us, they can't wait to see us. A few days later we received another letter, telling us, they would mail us tickets immediately, but Harry my brother-in-law applied for his citizen papers. He expects them very shortly, we should be patient, and as soon as possible, the tickets will be mailed to us.

About a week later, we get another letter. My sister Sarah tells us, she was told, that sometimes it takes a few months, until you are called to become a citizen because there are loads of applications and it goes often next. They have no patience to wait, they want to get us out of Poland as quickly as possible. So my sister Sarah gets in contact with an uncle of ours, that lived in London. He was well-to-do. She asked him if possible to send for us. My sister Sarah found out, that from England, we will have no problem getting to the States.

It's in first-person testimony form, and not so easy to follow. But just imagine that it's your own bubbe telling the story, and it'll be easy enough to read.


(And again, I thank Terry McGarry for bringing that word to my attention. It's a great word.)

Brian Carnell has a hilarious fisking of Dave Winer's definition of a weblog. Brian, Brian, Brian... are you questioning the guy who's teaching Harvard students how to blog? You are? That's my kind of guy.

Here's a free HTML hint for you: Go into your main page, and where it says <title> Home </title>, change the word "Home" to something that define your page better like, oh, "Brian.Carnell.Com Homepage." You should always have a title that tells people where they are. If they look back in the browser history file, they won't know what page "Home" is, but they certainly know, say, where will take them.

You know, Brian is probably more than a bit to the right of me, but you have to tip your hat to someone who can write something like this:

Estrich's problem is that she's boring. She's apparently pissed off at the perceived glass ceiling on the editorial page, but the column she writes about it is an insomniac's dream come true. She's the female Bob Herbert. If there are two more boring columnists out there, I'd like to hear about it.

Can you imagine what those meetings with Estrich and Michael Dukakis must have been like? (That's something that should probably only be available by prescription).

I did.

Marduk is going to ruin his reputation as the nastiest blogger in the Canadian blogosphere if he keeps on writing posts like this one, where he talks about spending time bonding with his 14-year-old son.

I'm also giving Silent Running a gratuitious link, just because.

Milk, glorious milk

I have a weakness for chocolate milk. I've had it all my life. I never cared for plain milk, but when my mother dropped a spoonful or two of Bosco or Hershey's syrup in my milk, she could get me to drink sixteen ounces a day. And chocolate milk is my preferred breakfast drink, usually washing down some kind of bread, challah or Italian bread or white bread toast. For some reason, I like to make toast out of the cheapest breads I can find at the supermarket. They make better toast than the expensive breads. Heidi says that white bread has no taste, and forces me to eat wheat bread for breakfast over there, but she has forever earned herself a bye over that for introducing me to Shenville Farms milk products.

They don't homogenize their milk. There are no growth hormones in it, which is why Heidi buys it. So I tried the whole milk there, which has a thick cap of cream at the top of each unopened bottle that has to be shaken into the milk. It was the best milk I ever drank in my life. The two percent doesn't seem to be much different, but I've always hated low-fat milk and prefer to drink the whole stuff. It costs about a dollar more than any other milk, but ohmigod is it worth it. I loved it from the get-go, but bought it only rarely, as I don't shop at Kroger's as often as I shop at Ukrop's, and only Kroger's carries it.

And then I tried Shenville Farms chocolate milk. It tastes like liquid chocolate ice cream. The really good kind, or the best chocolate shake you've ever had. It is, in fact, the Hulk of chocolate milk. Shenville Farms chocolate milk smash other puny chocolate milks!

If you live in Virginia, and you've never tried Shenville Farms milk, you are missing out.

I'm going to have breakfast now: Cheap white bread toast with a large glass of liquid chocolate.

It's still a half-full glass

The news about the Road Map was bleak over the weekend, and I was beginning to smell the stench of Oslo again over news like this:

The Shin Bet and security establishment have received 59 warnings of plans by terrorists to perpetrate attacks despite Israel's implementation of faith-building measures such as the lifting of the general closure in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and the planned release of 100 Palestinian security prisoners in the coming days.

Security officials appeared to be sceptical as to whether the Palestinians will be able to live up to their promises and reach an agreement with the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist factions that will lead to a ceasefire. A senior security official told The Jerusalem Post, "Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen has yet to reach an agreement with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Right now we are waiting to see if he succeeds. In the past week we received 59 terrorist warnings compared to an average of between 45 to 60 warnings a week in the past year." Security officials said that until the Palestinians prove they are able to take control and curb terrorists Israel would continue operations to thwart attacks. "We will continue to deal with 'ticking bombs' and make arrests," the official said.

But then I read this today:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is quoted Monday as telling US Congressman Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) that Israel cannot suffice with only a cease-fire on the part of Palestinian terror groups.

Unless the Palestinians take "military steps" against terrorists, "we won't be able to make much progress," in peace moves, Sharon said.

My faith is restored, for another little while. I'm still trusting Ariel Sharon to protect his people. I really don't believe that he will preside over an Oslo-like accord, or anything detrimental to the future of the Jewish state.

So he and W. both get the benefit of the doubt. For now.



The good and the bad

So I was planning on attending the grand opening of the new fitness center at the JCC, which was celebrating its opening by offering ice cream (probably so you can eat too much and need to work it off at the fitness center). And then the stomach bug that I came down with this morning said, "Well, okay, but you're going to have to be near a bathroom for the rest of the day, and don't even think about eating." I thought about eating anyway, though. I'm sorry, but I don't let virii tell me what to do. Much.

Anyway, it's a beautiful, beautiful day, and after driving my rent check to the office, I realized that the most I can do is sit out with the cats (which I probably will, with a book). I haven't the energy for a drive downtown. But there is an upside: White-trash neighbor across the way has her white-trash boyfriends putting her belongings in a pickup truck, her car, and a rental van. No more 3 a.m. wake-up fights. Looks like when my management corp. representative said to me that they'd be gone within a week, she wasn't exaggerating. Buh-bye!

Well, it's nearly 2:30 p.m. I should try to eat something. I'd like to blame my stomach problems on having watched some of Noam Chomsky's interview on C-Span, but I was sick before I came downstairs to see what he had to say. Couldn't stand either him or the callers' questions, so off it went in about fifteen minutes.

Wicked, wicked Wickstein

Scott Wickstein has finally decided to stop critiquing my weblog and instead, has a wickedly funny play off what I started with my Blogstreet post the other day.

He fixed the gif. Now it looks like this:

I expect the Blogstreet copyright lawyers might be a tad miffed with Scott, too, but then again, satire is a protected form of expression. Well done, Scott!


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.