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Silent no more

Bill Whittle has a new essay up. It is nearly 13,000 words long. I may have a longer post about it later, but in the interests of my readers who would like a condensed version, here's what it's about, in words that even the Hulk can understand:

America GOOD!

Rest of world BAD!

And, I would add: He still needs an editor. Badly.

Jew hatred: More of the same

The Willkie case is going to Oxford's disciplinary panel.

Oxford University has taken the first steps in disciplinary proceedings that could lead to the dismissal of pathology Professor Andrew Wilkie, who rejected an application for a place by an Israeli PhD student because of his nationality.

While the matter is under consideration, the university announced on Friday that it had barred Wilkie from participating in the selection of any members of staff or students.

Following an initial investigation, university vice-chancellor Sir Colin Lucas has decided to refer the case to the university's disciplinary panel for academic staff, known as the visitatorial board.

[..] The university has said it is "appalled" by Wilkie's rejection of Tel Aviv University graduate Amit Duvshani, who had applied for a place to do his PhD in molecular biology at Oxford.

In an email rejecting the application late last month, Wilkie wrote to Duvshani saying he had "a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they wish to live in their own country."

Noting that, "I am not the only UK scientist with these views," Wilkie said: "I don't think this would work."

He added: "I am sure you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army."

In its statement, the university said it was "appalled that any member of its staff should have responded to an inquiry from a potential graduate student" in such terms."

It added that, "under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on the grounds of ethnicity or nationality."

Wilkie has since apologized for his remarks and for "any distress caused by my email... and the wholly inappropriate expression of my personal opinions in that document."

While apologizing for expressing his personal views, Wilkie appeared careful not to retract those views.

Here's my prediction: The Oxford panel will find Willkie guilty of discrimination, and recommend a slap-on-the-wrist punishment for him. This is England, where British Members of Parliament can get away with saying that the problem with their government and ours is that there are too many Jews in it, and reap zero punishment for those remarks. Oxford will release another statement on how appalled they are, Wilkie will release another statement on how sorry he was that we took offense at his remarks, and that will be that. Tam Dalyell got away with it. Wilkie will, too.

Every so often, Americans like to engage in discussion on what is the last remaining bigotry. Which hate can people still get away with expressing while the majority respond with a wink and a nod? A lot of people like to think it's about white males, or fat people, or Catholics. But from where I'm sitting, it's still open season on Jews—worldwide.

There is no anti-Semitism in Europe, we're told. Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, they say firmly. We are imagining things. We are suffering from a siege mentality. We're still surfing on the wave of Holocaust guilt, and the world is quite tired of it. Jewish refugees from Arab nations? Well, it's their own fault for supporting Israel's birth. Of course they did, even if they didn't say so. They're Jewish, aren't they? All Jews stick together. Anyway, they got into Israel and America, didn't they? Probably managed to stash some of those jewels and gold they always have. They're all rich, too.

Does the above sound familiar? Yeah. To me, too.

Wilkie will get a slap on the wrist. Jew-hatred is the last bigotry, and I see no hope that it will end in my lifetime.

On the other hand, I'm not about to stop pointing out the haters. Go right ahead and make asses of yourselves, Wilkie, Dalyell, Moran. I'm watching.



We hold these truths to be self-evident

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You can read the rest of it here.

And here are the URLs of a few of our men and women over there:

LT Smash

Pontifex ex Machina


Sgt. Stryker (Yeah, yeah, but Sgt. Mom's Cpl. Blondie is.)

Have a safe, glorious Fourth, and pray that our soldiers in Iraq have a safe one, too.



My brain is on holiday

All I want to do is tear the latest Star Wars flick to shreds. It's on in the background on one of the cable stations.

But I'll stop.

Instead, I'll point out that I took Mom to see Matrix Reloaded on Monday, after watching The Matrix on DVD the night before. Boy, the sequel kinda sucked, didn't it?

I had a feeling I was in trouble about halfway through Neo's big fight with the Agents Smith. I got bored. I figured that if I was getting bored during a fight scene in an action movie, it didn't bode well for the rest of the movie. I was right.

On the other hand, now we know why Elrond is so pissed in The Lord of the Rings movies. Because Agent Smith keeps getting his ass handed to him by Neo. It carries over.

And what was up with that big, stupid dance scene? I mean, like, hello? We couldn't figure out what Neo and Trinity were doing without study aids?

Something tells me the brothers Wachowski really didn't know what the hell to do after The Matrix became such a hit, so they're improvising. It already feels like the sixth season of X-Files.

Okay, enough movie reviews. Well, until I catch T3. Lair said it was okay. That's good. Just watched T2 Special Edition last night. Sigh. If only I had her money and her personal trainer and six hours a day to work out, I'd look as good as Linda Hamilton did, too.

Hulk hands and me

Last week, UPS tried to deliver a package to me three times, and missed me all three times. Mom was in town, and strangely enough, she didn't want to sit around all day waiting for my package to arrive. I couldn't get to the UPS pickup counter until today. But now I'm thinking these would make the perfect bookends for me while I'm working on my computer:

Hulk Hands! Hulk Smash!

Thanks a million, Daniel. And I promise if I ever get close enough to use these on Arafat, I will—but not before I stuff the hands with rolls of quarters.

The Blogathon total is $776: Perfect timing

As of 2 p.m. today (July 3rd), the total is $776. Anyone up for a thousand dollar donation to make it perfect for July 4th? No? That's okay. I like the current total anyway.

I put up a page to help answer your questions about donations. It's the one above called "A simple guide to donating." I hope that clears up any questions, and Michele and Lair, feel free to copy the page and substitute your URLs for the donation page on mine.

Remember, I have not yet begun to guilt. Remember also: I don't have a tip jar, and don't get paid to do this. And I'm not asking for money for me. I'm asking money for a charity that will build an ambulance to spec, inscribe the doors with the names of the websites that led the pledge drive (with room for about 15 or so of the largest contributors' names), and deliver it shiny and new to Israel, where it will save people's lives.

If you enjoy reading this weblog, surely you can see your way to giving a few bucks to the cause. I understand if you're broke. I was broke more than once. But if you can afford to give a few bucks, please do. And if you're affiliated with a synagogue, see if you can't get this into an email.

Oh... I just remembered. Okay. I'll have an email ready for cutting and pasting later today. You can pass it along after the holiday weekend is over.

Alex is my hero

An ISM meeting was cancelled by its own members after refusing to answer questions from people in Cambridge who gathered to protest our tax dollars sponsoring the terrorist-supporters meeting in public buildings.

Go check out the pictures at The 12th Man; the captions alone are a hoot and a half. (Via LGF)

Shudna watch: Day Four

Gaza junction closed after shells wound Israelis

Shaath promises crackdown on groups opposing cease-fire
Renegade Palestinian factions that ignore laws set by the Palestinian Authority will be dealt with as criminals, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said Wednesday.

Palestinians arrest terrorists behind missile fire in Gaza
Palestinian security forces arrested two Palestinians from the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis Thursday suspected of firing anti-tank missiles at the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian sources have revealed.

Israel Radio reported one of the suspects as a member of the militant Fatah organization.

Abbas calls anti-tank fire an 'act of terror'
The firing of anti-tank missiles at Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and the murder of a foreign worker in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Wednesday are 'acts of terror', Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday.

PA foreign minister vows peace efforts despite violence
The U.S.-backed peace plan for the Middle East will continue despite the killing of a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank on Thursday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said Thursday.

"We always knew that the road map is not a highway. It is a mountainous, winding road with cliffhangers and sharp turns to the right and to the left and up and down," Shaath said, referring to the peace plan.

"But we cannot really accept that any problem should block the road. I think that road should be kept unblocked by the monitors on the ground...and never allow it to be blocked again," he said during a brief visit to Lisbon, Portugal.

Israeli troops killed a militia fighter and closed a recently reopened junction in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

However, Shaath rebuked Israel for what he said were its attempts to usurp the role of international monitors of the blueprint for Mideast peace and Palestinian statehood by 2005.

Israel accused the Palestinian Authority of failing to meet its obligations under the road map, mediated by the so-called Quartet made up of the United States the European Union, Russia and United Nations and overseen by foreign monitoring teams.

"In the roadmap it was clear that Israel had no right to interpret, monitor or determine whether any side has been fulfilling or not been fulfilling" the terms of the agreement, Shaath said in English.

"This is entirely the responsibility of the quartet and the monitoring committee that is on the ground doing that work, and we'd like to see that committee do its job," he said.

Israel releases top PA prisoner as goodwill gesture
Israel released Colonel Suleiman Abu Mutlak Thursday who in the past served as the head of the Palestinian's Gaza Strip security services, as a gesture of goodwill towards the Palestinian Authority.

So let's see if I interpret this correctly: Israel is still doing all the giving. Abbas has made the right noises and arrested a couple of terrorists, but his defense minister says Israel has no right to determine whether or not the terms of the road map are being fulfilled.

On the other hand, the pals scream that Israel isn't fulfilling the terms of the road map at every opportunity—for instance, when Israel refuses to release convicted murderers from jail. Once again, the pals get to make all the rules and blame Israel for not keeping them.

Oh, yeah. This time it's really gonna be different.

This one's a keeper: Master Yoder

I found The Accidental Jedi a few days ago, and have been reading a bit. Fascinating story on where she got the name of the blog, and how she lasted a hell of a lot longer than Richard Gere did in Officer's Candidate School.

You know, the toughest thing for me was figuring out gender. But then I read this and realized she's a she. Well, okay, and I found her old blog and got her first name from it, but not until after I read the dishes post. I don't know a single guy that posts about doing the dishes. 'Course, then I felt really stupid for doing all that research when I found her name in a comment box.

(Did I remember to tell you that the best part about Mom's visit here was that she cleaned up after dinner every night? Man, I hate doing dishes. Even with a dishwasher.)

Anyway. Deb's good. Go read her blog.



Shudna watch, end of Day Three

Abbas: Break the ceasefire, go to jail
Palestinian Prime Minister told Reuters on Wednesday that any Palestinian who breaks the cease-fire will be imprisoned. He also said that continued progress on the road map depends on Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners.

Ten prisoners were released on Wednesday night, with another ten scheduled to be released on Thursday.

Anti-tank rockets fired at Jewish town in Gaza
Four Israelis were lightly wounded when three anti-tank rockets were fired at the settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip late Wednesday night. The wounded were hit by the first rocket, and two others were fired as medics and soldiers tended the wounded, who have been evacuated to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.

Some violence continues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Two mortar shells were fired at an Israeli community and a nearby IDF position in Gush Katif on Wednesday afternoon, no one was wounded even though one of the mortar shells landed between two houses on the community. The mortar attacks continue despite assurances made by Palestinian security officials after Israel pulled out of Beit Hanun in the north Gaza Strip on Sunday night.

In the early evening a high alert imposed on the Sharon district was lowered and roads opened to traffic hours after warnings were received of plans by terrorists to cross into Israel and perpetrate an attack. Police and security forces set up roadblocks at the entrances to Petah Tikva, Rosh Haayin and Kfar Saba as well as on major roads where cars were checked causing long lines of traffic.

In the West Bank two Israeli security guards were lightly wounded when shots were fired at workers constructing the security fence near Avenei Heffets not far from Tulkarm in the morning. A bomb was also thrown at security fence workers near Kalkilya.

Shots were also fired at soldiers deployed in Talouza north east of Nablus and at soldiers deployed in Nablus. In the afternoon a bomb was thrown at Border Police deployed near the Machpela Cave, no one was wounded and no damage reported.

Number of attackers arrested by palestinian police force: Zero.

Frank J and filthy lies

It's a day that ends in y, so it's time to link to Frank J again.

Here he tells us a lot about hurricanes that we never learned in school, and makes us wonder where he went to school and can we make sure our children never attend it. And here he demands that we all link to him next week for his blogiversary, but I think I'd rather link to him now and throw him off. Frank answers a lot of questions in this category, and they're rather funny, so I'd read it if I were you. And ask him questions. Tell him I sent you and let's see if it bugs him. Whatever you do, though, don't let him know you like monkeys.

It's also time to spread filthy lies about Frank. He used to live in New Jersey. I used to live in New Jersey. I went to a zoo in New Jersey one day, and I saw Frank in front of the monkey cage, and he was smiling and laughing at them like he liked them. I was like, Frank, I thought you hated monkeys, and he was like, "Who? What? Hey! What's that behind you?" and when I turned and looked, it was just my brother, and when I turned back, Frank was gone.

A break from the action in Israel—in Israel

Bedouin light up camels for safety

So what are we talking about, Bedouins smoking for safety? Bedouins setting their camels on fire for safety reasons? Should we read the article or keep wondering?

Israel is lighting up its camels in an attempt to stop fatal collisions between the traditional ship of the desert and motorized ones, an official said Wednesday.

Camels are considered the ships of the desert? Are you sure there's not a typo in "ships"?

Israeli police are sticking phosphorescent strips on the bodies of the camels to serve as warning lights for desert drivers, because of growing numbers of crashes in which both people and camels have died.

Kinda like those strips you see on people who run at night, huh? But the image of a camel in running shorts and a phospherescent vest is mind-boggling.

The Bedouin population of Israel's southern Negev desert uses both forms of transportation—camels and pickup trucks—and the mix has often been fatal when the two collide in the night.

No, listen, people: The quote is "like two ships passing in the night," not colliding. Geez.

"The camel safety problem is a serious one here," said Yossi Golan, commander of the Dimona police district in the eastern Negev. "In the last two years, 10 people have died in camel-related traffic accidents and more than 50 have been injured seriously," he said.

I don't think you'll ever see the phrase "camel-related traffic accidents" on this weblog again, so savor it.

Golan estimated that there are 5,000 camels in the Negev desert. To protect them and their riders, he said, he called a desert-style council of wise people to come up with a solution.

I probably shouldn't make fun of this graf, but, well, I must. What sort of wise guys did they find? If they didn't invite the Yourish siblings, they did not invite the right wise guys.

"We brought together Bedouin elders, the Transport Ministry, the Nature Reserves Authority, and camel herd owners—and the phosphorescent strip idea was born," he said.

Oh. Those wise guys. And it took all of them to think of something as basic as, say, putting something on the camels that would show up at night. Nobody thought of this beforehand. "Say, Yossi, there's an awful lot of camels getting hit by cars at night. What if we just put headlights on the camels?"

"We see it as a useful adjunct to the camel safety measures we already have in place—warning signs and guard rails at particularly dangerous road crossings."

You're never going to see the phrase "camel safety measures" on this weblog again, either.

Golan said that the first 40 Negev camels were fitted with phosphorescent strips on Tuesday, and expressed hope that over the next several months as many of 1,000 more could be lit up.

You know, this sentence could be read as the camels expressing hope that they could be lit up. (Which makes one wonder if the "lit" they're talking about involves fermented grapes.)

"We're very serious about this operation," he said.

Serious as a dead man?

Oh, stop. He deserves it. Watch this next quote. I sense a hoary old cliché coming on.

"If only one life is saved in the process, the whole thing will have been worthwhile."

What did I tell you? He may as well have said "Let's do it for the children."™

Man. It took these people two effing years to figure out that if they had lights on the camels, pickup trucks would be able to see them at night and not run into them.

I'm not saying a word. Not one word.

Carnival of the Vanities

It's at Amish Tech Support, and I forgot until now.

Hell, I forgot to give him a post for it, too.

Perhaps I should just forget about everything today. But alas, I'll be taking my car to a couple of body shops to see what they can do about the new winestain design. I almost said "birthmark," but she wasn't born with it. It was only just added yesterday.

The complex security is on the job, and it turns out that those signs saying that vehicles entering and leaving the apartments will be videotaped are not just bullshit. Here's hoping my ex-neighbors were stupid enough to take her car, which license plate is on file with management.

Shudna: The silver lining

Reader James P. reminds me that I forgot to point out the good things that have happened in the last three days:

The hudna is in effect and there have been (and will continue to be) numerous violations of it. As the vast majority of intelligent and informed people know, it is merely another tactical ploy by the terrorist groups and their PA leaders to further their own ends. They have no desire for any lasting peace and the hudna will not be given lip service one microsecond after the Exploders(tm) feel it no longer benefits them.

But there is a silver lining to this cloud of tactical deceit and planned treachery. For now there are less attacks. For now there are fewer Israeli's being targeted. For now there are less children living their last days. During the next hours, days, weeks, months, however long this lasts, there will be families that are not shattered that would have been otherwise.

Inclitus articuli! Celebrate the moment!

No matter the true reasons for the hudna or the hypocrisy of those "granting" it, I'll view the whole charade as a blessing so long as one Israeli lives who would have died without it.

Actually, I'd meant to put that at the end of one of my Shudna Watch pieces, but forgot. Thanks for reminding us, James. You're right.

Blogathon news

As of 10 a.m., Lair, Michele and I have raised $1,138. I have yet to get in touch with my friends from the other two synagogues. I'll do that later today. There's much more free time now that Mom is back in NJ.

Also, you don't have to wait until July 27th to contribute to Magen David Adom, but if you do send your money in beforehand, please remember that it is absolutely essential that you put "Blogathon" in the comments box. Otherwise, your contribution will not count towards the ambulance.

We couldn't set up a separate pay button. But it's really not hard to put the word Blogathon in the coments box (which shows up when you click the button that says, "Yes, I really, really want to give you my money").

If anyone wonders why 18 and multiples of 18 keep showing up in donations, it's because 18 is the number that means "life" in Jewish numerology. You'll see a lot of $18, $36, and $54 donations. Doubt we'll see an $1800 donation, but one can always hope.

I'll also put up a separate page of donors, and thank them in posts throughout. Right now, thanks go to Snippy, Lesley, Kate, MommaBear, Ocean Guy (did you mean to pledge twice? I got two emails), and Eric A.

Thank you, all. (You, there in the back—the one who thinks I don't see you. Go ahead. Click the link. You know you want to. And when all else fails, let us not forget that the Hulk is a bud of mine.)

Shudna Watch, Day Three

Troops in Nablus come under fire; no injuries

Palestinians shoot at separation fence workers
In a series of ceasefire violations, Palestinians opened fire Wednesday morning on workers building the separation fence near Tulkarm on the West Bank.

One of the security guards protecting the construction workers was lightly injured and was treated at the scene. Other security guards in the area returned fire.

Also Wednesday morning, a bomb was detonated near a separation fence worksite on the outskirts of Qalqilya. There were no injuries.

Earlier, Palestinians opened fire on an IDF position near the Gush Katif settlement of Neve Dekalim in the Gaza Strip. Troops returned fire and no injuries were reported.

Islamic Jihad: "Hudna won't last long"
Damascus based Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah said Wednesday that he believes the 'hudna' (an Arabic word for temporary ceasefire) "would not last long."

"The ceasefire's lifespan depends entirely on Israel's conduct. The agreement will be cancelled immediately if any of our conditions are breached," said Shalah.

Shalah added that the Islamic Jihad saw the hudna as a tactical move and not a long-term policy.

IDF arrests 6 wanted Palestinians overnight
Israel's security establishment is still receiving terror attack warnings, although their number has dropped in the past few days, reported Israel Radio.

Mofaz: Terror warnings decrease
According to Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, "There has been a decrease in the amount of terror warnings and violent activities in the area."

Even so, "there are still warnings of intentions to carry out violent attacks by those that oppose the ceasefire, who are supported by external agents, " said Mofaz, hinting at Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

Bethlehem handover set for 16:00

Why? Because they deserve it. Because they're following the shudna. Because there is a cease fire.




Shudna watch, end of Day Two

In addition to the terrorist killed at a checkpoint this morning:

The army on Tuesday reported five more shooting incidents since the Palestinian militants' cease-fire was announced. But it reported no further casualties.

Israeli forces left the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun at the weekend. On Monday, troops withdrew from the territory's main highway, lifting an economically crippling blockade dating from the outbreak of the uprising and reuniting north and south Gaza.

IDF leaves, shots fired. But it's okay, none hit any Israelis. At least, according to Reuters.

Terrorist group criticizes Palestinian truce
Damascus-based Palestinian terror leaders on Tuesday criticized the cease-fire declared by three major Palestinian groups, saying they would not join in any truce and may continue attacks against Israelis.

[...] Ahmed Jibril, leader of the PFLP-GC, said his faction would keep conducting "resistance operations" against Israel.

"This declaration signed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah does not fulfill the minimum demands of the (Palestinian) uprising," Jibril said. "What it does is fulfill Israeli and American (security) demands."

You know what my favorite line in "Little Shop of Horrors" (the remake) was? "The guy sure looks like plant food to me."

Feed me, Seymour.

Yes! Another delinking!

Silent Running has delinked me twice! Hot damn, my stats are going to go through the roof now!

Say, while you're there, they're having fun photoshopping Glenn Reynolds' diving picture. Look here and here, especially the top photo. Is that the Seaview in Glenn's hand? Ohmigod! Don't hurt the crew!


Woodpecker Wars: Someone else's, for a change

Reader Henry R. sent me this weeks ago (I told you I'm behind on my email). Looks like some other people from my home state had woodpecker trouble.

The prime suspect in a vandalism spree in Bloomingdale has red hair, a prominent nose, and stands about a foot tall. Police haven't been able to catch him because he flies away so quickly after committing his crimes.

He's a woodpecker, and he has ruined the side-view mirrors on at least four cars since Saturday.

Heidi and G. have a pileated woodpecker on their property. I guess it's a good thing they garage their cars. I can only imagine G.'s reaction if the woodpecker had gone after the mirror on his Jag.

What a wierd day

While we were at the pool today, Heidi and I were discussing the really bad work habits of the pool attendant, who seemed to be pacing back and forth and sneaking out the back gate to talk to the guys operating the heavy equipment back at the maintenance dock. He didn't even check my badge, and I kept noticing that he wasn't stopping the kids from running, jumping,and diving, all three of which are (sigh) against the rules. Well, about five minutes before we were due to leave, two police officers came into the pool area and started walking directly toward us.

"They're coming toward you," Heidi said. And in spite of the fact that as far as I know, I haven't done anything worth being chased or talked to by cops in a long, long time, I found myself in the old panic mode, thinking, "I didn't do anything."

"They are not," I muttered.

They were.

"Are you the pool attendant?" they asked me. Uh, no. I directed them to the last known spot of the attendant, who seemed to have disappeared about ten minutes before the cops got there. The police officers then proceeded to talk to all of the young African-American men at the pool, most of which had just arrived about the time the pool attendant disappeared. Heidi said she thought the teenagers were acting a little strangely, and thinks they tipped off the attendant that the cops were on their way. Which was why the attendant disappeared. They threw us all out of the pool after that. Can't swim without an untrained, sought-by-the-cops attendant making sure you don't drown.

I'm starting to think the people who told me my apartment complex had a bad reputation might have been right.

Whoopie pies save the day—sort of

Heidi came over today, bringing children of various ages to come swim in my pool and watch my cable and scare my cats, not necessarily in that order. And since I'd gotten my friend Alison's famous Whoopie Pie recipe, I baked them this afternoon, partly because I wanted to try to bake them myself and having the girls over gave me a good excuse, and also with a grim determination to make today good for somebody.

Well, along about halfway through making the pies, I began to believe that Alison was having one heckuva chuckle on me. I sent her a letter telling her that I've been baking things since I've been in Richmond, which is true, but which doesn't take into account that baking an apple cake a few times does not a baker make. Alison's been baking for as long as I've been writing. So she sent me the recipe with a note that she was rather surprised to hear that, because, well, I don't know if I ever baked a thing by myself while we were friends, except for cakes from a mix. And most of those were Passover cakes, which, frankly, a three-year-old can make. (And if the three-year-old ruins them, nobody can tell the difference, because all Passover food sucks.) So I sent back a letter telling her not to be so surprised, I've changed, I can bake.

She must be laughing her ass off at me now. Damn. That was not an easy recipe. And, uh, even though I read it five or six times to make sure I knew what I was doing, I sort of forgot to alternate the dry and wet ingredients into the creamed sugar and egg, and, well, had to dump it all in one giant bowl when I realized I'd done it wrong. Then I had to figure out how to combine the two, as the texture and moisture were obviously crucial to the baking stage. And don't even talk to me about separating egg whites for the filling; I knew Heidi could do that and so left the filling for after she and the girls arrived. Of course, I hadn't actually planned to. But the recipe also took longer than I thought it would, and I was about at the end of my skill level by then.

The good news is that I surprised myself with edible Whoopie Pies. The girls liked them. I tried one myself. It's not as good as Alison's. But it's not bad.

Next time, though, I think I'll make them when I've got a little bit of help around. Or just request them from someone who bakes as well as I can write.

You can stop laughing now. Really. Joke's over. (Two pies left for dessert. Mission accomplished.)

Personal rant time

I've lived in my current apartment for eight days shy of a year. In the past month, I have seriously regretted re-signing my lease. This morning at 7:30, I was actively wishing I'd moved.

Look what some asshole did to my car.

White trash artworkThe car was egged last week. I figured it was teenagers. We've begun to get packs of them roaming around, and while egg is a pain in the ass to get off your car, I didn't really think much of it. Then this morning, as I'm leaving to take Mom to the train station, I see purple paint on my car. It was water soluble paint, but it left a stain. Any suggestions on removing the stain without harming the paint on the car would be very welcome. One of the guys at Ukrops suggested a good wax would do it. Dishwashing soap did nothing.

Effing white trash pieces of shit. I'll lay you odds that the white trash neighbors who got thrown out last month are blaming me for it and taking it out on my car, as they're far too cowardly to say anything to my face. I expect they blame me because I went out and asked them to take the party indoors on more than one occasion, including not long before they were evicted. No more of that. From now on, I let the police handle all noise complaints.

Effing white trash bastards.

The anti-history of the palestinians

Cynthia Ozick analyzes the palestinian death cult:

History, in Benedetto Croce's formulation, "is about the positive and not the negative." No one can refute the truth that the Palestinians have fashioned a culture peculiarly their own--but one so steeped in the negative as to have been turned into a kind of anti-history. In order to deprive Jews of their patrimony, Palestinians have fabricated a sectarian narrative alien to commonplace knowledge. Although the Arab invasion of Palestine did not occur until the seventh century, Palestinian Arabs are declared to be, according to activist Salah Jabr, "the descendants of civilizations that have lived in this land since the Stone Age." With equal absurdity, other such deniers of Jewish patrimony claim a Canaanite bloodline. By replacing history with fantasy, the Palestinians have invented a society unlike any other, where hatred trumps bread. They have reared children unlike any other children, removed from ordinary norms and behaviors. And they have been assisted in these deviations by Arab rulers who for half a century have purposefully and pitilessly caged and stigmatized them as refugees, down to the fourth generation. Refugeeism, abetted also by the United Nations, has itself been joined to the Palestinian cult of anti-history. A people respectful of history, including its own above all, will work to fructify and invigorate life; it will not debase and vitiate it.

The salient attribute of any culture is originality and its legacies. Genius, no matter how rare, is a human universal. It sends into the world new perception and new experience, inspiring duplication: Out of Israel came monotheism, out of Greece philosophy, out of Arab civilization science and poetry, out of England the Magna Carta, out of France the Enlightenment. What has been the genius of Palestinian originality, what has been the contribution of the evolving culture of Palestinian sectarianism? On the international scene: airplane hijackings and the murder of American diplomats in the 1970s, Olympic slaughterings and shipboard murders in the 1980s. And toward the Jews of the Holy Land, beginning in the 1920s and continuing until this morning, terror, terror, terror, terror.

There's more. And it ends on a very chilling note. It's a note that's been striking a chord in many people.

Saudi Bill of Rights Watch

The Arab News is usually hilarious, but their best work is when they, the official mouthpiece of a fascist theocracy, try to lecture America. This one's on bigotry.

One of the main reasons for the growing Islamophobia in America today is the strong anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from the evangelical Christian leaders. They have repeatedly made venomous statements about Islam, and the Bush administration continues to support them, suggesting that while the official position is that Islam is a religion of peace, the government does not have any issue cozying to those who hate Islam.

Nah, one of the reasons for growing Islamophobia in America today is the fact that Muslims have killed, and keep trying to kill Americans. Terror cells are being arrested on a regular basis. You think that might have something to do with the growing distaste for Islamokazis?

[...] The problem with this group is not just their ideas and their hate mongering but the fact that they have a following large enough to influence the outcomes in American elections. By virtue of their votes and their fund-raising capabilities they exercise more power over Congress and the president than the sheikhs of Saudi Arabia over the decisions of their king.

Imagine that. They vote their way into influencing policy! Something that you can't do in Saudi Arabia, sheikh or no sheikh.

[...] These groups’ main organizations are based in Nashville, Tennessee; a city that has become to evangelists what Rome is to Catholics.

Fellas, y'all simply have to understand that Nashville is the home of country music. Anything else is secondary.

Hate mongering is exceptional in the Christian communities of America.

Nice of you to acknowledge that. Can you say the same about the Muslim communities of Saudi Arabia? Yeah? Let's try a test: Go into any neighborhood in Saud and yell, "Look! It's a Jew!" and see what happens.

Most other Protestant groups and Catholics in general have gone way beyond the call of duty to befriend, support, protect and comfort American Muslims in their hour of need, and most Christian groups opposed the war against Iraq as unjust and have condemned anti-Muslim bigotry. Saudi Arabia recently fired its zealot imams (in an overdue decision) who have been providing hateful sermons in mosques.

Is it not possible for America to do the same with these fundamentalist Christians preachers of terror? The world would be better off.

Yeah, them's our boys: Preachers of terror. Pat Robertson has issued dozens of fatwas calling for the death of Christians and Jews. Jerry Falwell has sent his boys to bomb ships and sent planes into buildings, killing thousands.

No, wait. That was Osama bin Laden, a homegrown Saudi boy, and his mostly Saudi followers.

One more time, Arab News writers, though I doubt this will sink in. Here's the beauty of living in a democratic republic: Pat and Jerry have the right to say what they want, within the boundaries of the law. Only their own congregations can fire them. Then again, they're not government-sponsored hatemongers, like the Saudi Imams that were fired. I understand the financial donations to Al Qaeda have not been stopped yet. So, ah, what's the point of firing these Islamofascists again? Oh, right. Saudi PR. "Look, we stopped the hatemongers! We're getting better, honest! Ignore the armored car heading for Al Qaeda headquarters with another million dollars. That's nothing."

Uh-huh. Let's test how bigoted Americans are: Go on down to Nashville, and on a crowded street corner, yell, "Look! It's a Muslim!" and see what happens.

Yup. Nothing. Hm. This just may become my litmus test for anti-anythingism. Think the ADL would apply it to European nations during their next anti-Semitism poll?

Shudna Watch: Day two

Soldiers kill Palestinian at checkpoint between Tulkarem and Qalqiliya
Israeli troops on Tuesday shot dead a Palestinian who fired a pistol at soldiers manning a checkpoint in the northern West Bank, the army said.

I think "Shudna" is a better name for it, as in, "Shouldn'a done it."

Two days, three attacks—that we know about. Yup. Peace. Ain't it grand?



Hudna Watch: Still Day One in the U.S.

Palestinians fire on IDF post in Gaza Strip violating ceasefire
In the first shooting attack since the handing over of security responsibility to the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on the IDF's Yasmin post near the settlement of Ganei Tal in Gush Katif.

This time, they missed. The IDF fired back. You'll hear no words of condemnation from the EU. But watch for the howls of outrage the second that Israel kills a terrorist.

The Blogathon 2003: A slight delay

Folks, I've signed up, but discovered a new bug in the database, so it'll be a bit longer until you can pledge money to Magen David Adom in my name. Lair and Michele and I are all blogging for the same charity. We've also found a way to track your contributions so that if we raise $60,000, we can literally donate an ambulance to Israel. For another twenty grand, we can get a Mobile Intensive Care Unit.

It sounds like a lot of money, but I think we can do it. What we will need, however, is more than just a pledge and contribution from you. I'm going to ask my rabbi to announce the Magen David Adom pledge drive in synagogue, and send out a synagogue-wide email as well. I know members of two other Richmond synagogues, and will ask them to do the same. If only a few of our readers do the same, we can raise the money for an ambulance, easy. And you know, my non-Jewish readers can do the same in their churches. One thing you can say about Magen David Adom: It is an organization that does nothing but help, and it doesn't matter what your nationality is: If you're hurt, they help. There are no sides to take in this fund drive.

There's a way we can track your donations to the cause. If you use a credit card and the MDA online form, there's a comment box. Type "Blogathon" into the comment box, and MDA can track how much money we've raised. If you forget, your contribution won't be counted. I'll be pounding that into your brain over the next few weeks. We really would like to raise enough to contribute an ambulance. They'll inscribe the doors for us. Like Lair said last year when he blogged for the same cause: Give until it doesn't hurt any more.

At last! I've been delinked!

Okay, so maybe it was just temporary, but Rajan delinked me.

I delinked you :-)
Well, not actually, if you see my blog (, all my links except Google News is gone... and as you can see it got gone when i changed template :-)

But still, I *delinked* you :-P

All right! Now we're getting somewhere.

Ethnic cleansing in the Middle East

Most of Libya’s nearly 40,000 Jews left between 1948 and 1951, she said, because of a wave of anti-Jewish rioting, beginning in 1945, that left hundreds dead and injured and thousands homeless.

Boukhobza’s family stayed hoping for things to calm down in light of Libya’s new independence and constitution, but it turned out to be a false hope.

“By 1961, Jews could not vote, hold public office, obtain Libyan passports, buy new property or supervise our own communal affairs,” she said.

Things got worse when the Six-Day War erupted in June 1967. “The anti-Jewish atmosphere in the streets became terrifying, so much so that my family could not leave our house in Tripoli,” Boukhobza said.

Her family survived a mob attack and fled to Italy, taking only some suitcases. Other Libyan Jews were killed and put in concentration camps.

Knowing no one, and with little money, the Boukhobza family started from scratch in Rome.

“We did not wallow in self-pity; we did not seek to make ourselves wards of the international community; and we didn’t plot revenge against Libya,” she declared. “We simply picked up the pieces of our broken lives and moved on.

“Today, to the best of my knowledge there is not a single Jew left in Libya. An ancient community has come to a complete end.”

Let's remember, just a day or so ago, Muammar Qaddafi said that Israelis and palestinians should live in one state called "Isratine." Yeah, sure. Because the Arabs have proven over and over again how much they cherish their Jewish populations. Two millennia wasn't long enough for Jews to be accepted in Libya, nor in Iraq. Once more, with feeling: Why is it the state of Israel is racist, but the Arab states keep getting a bye for their ethnic cleansing over the past fifty-five years?

Hat tip: Judith Weiss.

Hudna watch: Day one

IDF pulls out of northern Gaza

Israel to withdraw troops from Bethlehem

Palestinian police take charge in Beit Hanoun

Fatah-linked group violates cease-fire, killing Romanian worker

Poll: 57% of Palestinians oppose ending armed intifada

Gunshots fired at workers building security fence

Arab neighbors praise Palestinians' ceasefire

EU 'very pleased' with cease-fire, redeployment

Palestinians want IDF to withdraw from Ramallah next

White House welcomes Mideast cease-fires

All I see is the slow ticking of the bombs, all directed at Israel, and nobody noticing that during the "truce," people are still dying. I'd like to see the numbers on the IDF website for the end of this week. I'm still betting on dozens of attacks per day. Yeah. Some truce.

I can't get elected dogcatcher

Two responses to the post below. One from a fellow blogger, who forgot to send his URL (and has since corrected that):

I have foiled your evil scheme and linked you. You seem right on to me.

"Sketches of Strain"

The other is from Nick S.

You forgot to mention you are a Dixie Chicks fan, love gay marriage, think Scientology is a cult of Hollywood nut-jobs, are Michael Moore's biggest fan, consider Tolkein to be a talentless hack, loathe that twit Harry Potter, and believes anyone who likes Star Trek is a pathetic loser.

So what if you don't actually believe that? It's all about the de-linking, baby.

Oh, and I'm *still* going to read you. So there.

Okay, can't buy in on the Tolkien thing even in jest, because you know that Andrea Harris would track me down and kill me. Hell, I'd track myself down and kill me if I wrote that.

Sigh. The delinking campaign continues. And for a funny take on the title, check out this post from last year. You can always count on the Arab News for a laugh.



Delink me, dammit!

Howcome I'm the only one in the blogosphere who doesn't get into blogwars or get delinked for some reason or other? Michele's been delinked twice!

Here, let's see if I can achieve an all-round delinking frenzy: Strom Thurmond was a racist jerk who should have died a few decades ago. PETA is a stupid, twit-filled organization that harms animal causes more than it helps. Ann Coulter is a lunatic who belongs in an asylum, and manages to cause more harm than good. And listen up, fellas—she's not hot! You are effing blind if you think that woman is attractive. Ooh, ooh, I know! Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat idiot!

Oh, and yes on Roe v. Wade, yes on affirmative action, yes on the war in Iraq, and yes on the War on Terror.

Now. Delink me, dudes. Because after Michele was delinked the first time, her status in the blogosphere flew up to monstrous levels. After Kate got into her little kerfuffle, her star also began rising (hell, it brought her to my attention, and she's now a daily read of mine).

Where's my goddamned linking/blogwar controversy that will push my stats up? Huh? Huh? Wassamatta, you like them better than you like me? Or you dislike them better than you dislike me? Well? [push] Go ahead. I dare you.

I'm starting to think that nobody is paying attention. Sigh.

Calling all marathon bloggers: Blogathon 2003

Last year, Lair Simon and I raised nearly six thousand dollars for two Israeli charities: Sha'are Zedek Hospital and Magen David Adom. This year, we're both going to blog for 24 hours to raise money for Magen David Adom. Our readership is a lot larger than in 2002, and I'm thinking a lot of you can afford a few more bucks this time around. But we're also looking for more bloggers willing to stay up and post for 24 hours to raise enough money to buy an entire ambulance. Michele of A Small Victory will be joining us in this effort. But we need more bloggers. Why?

It costs $60,000 for a regular ambulance, and $80,000 for a MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) ambulance. We didn't get a price quote on an armored ambulance, which is what we really want to blog for, but I'll be in touch with the folks at MDA tomorrow. We'd very much like to raise enough money to buy an entire ambulance. Are we dreaming? Maybe. But like the man said, you have to dream the impossible dream.

The other thing we're trying to do is set up a contribution link to MDA. One of the things I don't care so much for is that the blogathon makes your contributors work twice. First they have to pledge via the blogathon, then they have to send in their money. Lair and I will be trying to get a link to a secure online page where you can contribute directly to MDA, and they can track the total donations for our efforts.

Which is not to say that you're off the hook for the Blogathon. I know people are lazy, but hey, prizes are at stake, you know. Prizes for the people who will be giving up 24 hours of their lives to raise money for a great cause. You're going to be asked to hit both links, but if you can only hit one, hit the one that takes credit cards. More details to come as soon as I get them. And if you're curious and weren't here last year, start at the bottom of this page and read up.

Required reading: An analysis of Hamas

Mitch Potter has an excellent article in the Toronto Star on the Hamas strategy. It's especially worrisome in light of this article in the Jerusalem Post:

Rice: US views security fence as problem
US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that the US views the security fence as problematic. Even if it is not an attempt to set a permanent border, it nonetheless appears to be a political project, and its continued construction is therefore problematic.

Tell me, will the world do its best to force Israel to tie her hands behind her back, blindfold herself, chain herself to a wall, and then be told it's okay now to fight the terrorists?

If no cease fire works, then the wall is the next best thing. Fewer terrorist attacks originate from Gaza because it is surrounded by a security fence. Do the math, Condi.

The hudna: H is for the horrors we will show you

The hudna. I don't believe in it. The Israeli government and armed forces don't believe in it. Anyone with half a brain, nay, a quarter of a brain, doesn't believe in it.

But the media are all over it like flies on pieces of a Hamas bomber.

Aaron's got a good history of what the hyundai—sorry, hudna treaty—meant.

Hudna in a nutshell: agree to anything, to buy time to build up your forces and then resume the war on your terms and at a time of your choosing.

Anyone who agrees to such a treaty with Islamists is at best an Idiot.

I'm with Aaron. Is it any wonder that Israel is skeptical of the terrorists' intentions?

On the other hand, here are my predictions for, oh, the coming week: There will be some kind of terrorist attack. (Actually, I'm guessing there will be between ten and twenty per day, just as there always are.) IDF forces will try to destroy another Hamas terrorist cell. Hamas will declare that Israel has not fulfilled the terms of the hudna, and they are no longer bound by the cease fire. The EU will blame Israel for her "lack of restraint." The U.S. State Department will issue a statement saying that the Israeli actions are "not helpful."

And round and round we go, until someone gets the bright idea that we hadn'ta hudna.

Which brings to mind a song:

Yes, we have no cease fire
We have no cease fire today
We've shootings, and stabbings, and bombings, kidnappings
We've all kinds of blood and say
We have an old fashioned hudna
But really, we shouldn'a

Yes! We have no cease fire
We have no cease fire today!


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.