New letters from old friends
My pal Jay sent a beauty this morning:
This morning, a TV translator of Saddam's speech had
him exhorting Iraqis to fight the US 'with Force.' A friend and I wondered
how this would work out in practice:
"These aren't the tyrants you're looking for."
"These aren't the tyrants we're looking for."
"You have invaded Tierra del Fuego by mistake."
"We have invaded Tierra del Fuego by mistake."
"You are on the outskirts of a village of thatched huts."
"We are on the outskirts..."
And from Neil, who sent this as a result of my posting the Iraqi
Re: Urgent Assistance Needed
By way of introduction I am Neil Clarke, I represent
my family as the oldest son of the Clarke family, who are the descendants
of Eamonn from one of the poor areas in Ireland. Over the years my family
has acquired huge piles of dirty diapers from our son, Pampers and their
gangs of bandits have taken our old poopy diapers without payments and
we can not complain as those who did are all dead from biological agents.
In the wake of the Poop War of 2000, our family withdrew most poopy
diapers that remain in coded bank accounts that Gerber did not find
and we hide it in a secret chamber under our kitchen, where it remained
safe until after the war. At the end of Poop War, we moved the diapers
into a private diaper genie of a security company in current city, where
it was until we collected it a few days ago on the fear of the eminent
war with Pampers.
We pray they remove Pampers as they are the cause
of much diaper rash here, but our dirty diapers are stuck here and there
is no avenue to transfer any poop from here without Pampers knowing.
The problem now is how do we transfer the poop totalling US$12.5 Million
in cash from here.
We are afraid that with the capacity of the bombs
Pampers is coming to current city with nowhere would be safe for the
dirty diapers, so we need you to help in securing a private collection
agency who would come to current city and collect the poop and have
them moved to the west, where our family is planning to relocate to
as life in current city is no longer worth living because of Pampers.
I have to travel lots of miles each day to send an
email hoping someone out there would assist this family, if you can
we will give you the details of an agency that can lift the poop from
here as given to me by a US Marine. The private collection agency would
then collect the poop from here and deliver it to you for safe keep.
Hoping the American campaign would be successful, we would then come
over to your house for a meeting to share the poop and hopefully start
a new life with you as a partner.
For your assistance with this project the family is
willing to give you 90% of the poop, however if this does not suit you
we are open for negotiation.
We eagerly await your response so we can inform you
of the next line of action.
For the entire Clarke Family
By the way, the razor would say that you quick reply
you received was an automatic message responder set up when they shut
that email address down.
I wish I still had copies of the story of Neil's battle with the ants
the summer his folks were in Ireland and he was all alone for a week or
two. They make my battle with the woodpecker seem like Amateur Hour.
By the way, Neil and his wife run a couple of businesses that you might
be interested in at Clarkesworld.
Neil sells books, and Mrs. Clarke creates jewelry
and crafts. (No, I don't get a cut for sending you over there. But
I knew you were wondering.) permalink
You know, I almost spelled that "miscallaneous," which I think
is a wonderful word. Perhaps it could mean the variety of bad calls the
media and the left is making about the war in Iraq. The fact that "aneous"
sounds like "anus" is just a bonus.
There are a lot of things to get annoyed with today, but I thought I'd
not do that for now, as, well, I'm feeling rather chipper. Perhaps because
I'm wearing shorts for the first time this year, and because I no longer
have to sleep in the winter jams (and nope, I'm not gonna tell you what
I slept in last night; this blog is rated, uh, erwhat's some swears
and no sexual content?). Anyway.
Two things of note about April 22nd: It will be the second anniversary
of this weblog, and it will be the second anniversary of this weblog.
(I suddenly got a feeling of deja vu. Did anyone else?)
If I can figure out how to do it, I may just try to count the words I've
written over the past two years, because, well, it'd be neat. My guess
is I'm into seven figures (well into). I used to be able to write short,
pithy posts, but I've gotten fat and lazy and had the nerve to lapse into
multi-thousand-word essays. (Sorry. But at least I'm not nearly as wordy
as, say, Bill Whittle. Here's a hint: Editeditedit! Oh, my, did I type
that out loud?)
A quick peek at my archives brings the sad realization that I've about
tripled my output since the first few months, and doubled it in the last
year. If this doesn't stop, my average page size will be about the size
of Michael Moore, relatively speaking. Although I did get a wonderful
email in the last couple of weeks from a nice man who told me my page
takes less than five seconds to load, on average. Ha! Ha-HA! (Of
course, the week he emailed me was the week I loaded the page down with
photos and long essays, giving the lie to his statements, but such is
Will Vehrs reminded me exactly what this blog is about by trying to describe
it in a paragraph or two. He came pretty close, but I don't think
I'm as conservative as he made me out to be. Still, I understand the dilemma.
If you think writing a short description is easy, try writing a 20-word
personal ad. Go ahead. See how easy it is to distill yourself into twenty
Hm. I wonder if I should offer my readers a chance to write a 20-word
personal ad ostensibly written by me, to be published on my blogiversary.
I'm probably going to regret this, but go ahead. Of course, you're going
to have to base it on what you've read here on the weblog. Send it to
meryl - at - yourish - dot.com or click the email link in the above left
menu. I'll publish the author's first name, last initial, unless you tell
I have a bad feeling about this.
And on that note, off I go to enjoy the day. I'll be back later. permalink
The latest from Captain Steve
Fear of Fueling
Since the start of the war our crew has logged over
100 hours in Iraqi airspace. We've flown enough miles to circle the
globe several times. While nothing is routine, we are a little more
adjusted now to being in hostile airspace. The things that previously
caused us a burst of adrenaline (friendly missile launches that looked
like surface to air fire, random tracers reaching skyward, the moon)
are now more or less commonplace. We keep an eye on them, but a less
anxious eye than before. Some of the comforting signs of normalcy (an
occasional Hawaiian shirt worn over a flight suit, pushup contests on
the floor of the jet) are seen again.
That could be why the pilot called me forward during
the second in-air refueling yesterday. I've always been uncomfortable
with what our pilot calls the "ballet of elephants." I am
a firm believer in vertical and horizontal separation of aircraft, and
he's taken it upon himself to show me there's nothing to fear.
We'd been in the air since evening, and unbeknownst
to me, at work in the back with my window covered tightly, the sun had
risen and was already filling the cockpit and burning the endless desert
below us. Blinking, I felt my way to the observer's seat and buckled
After I'd plugged my headset into the comm system the
pilot explained the plan for meeting the tanker. We would continue describing
a small circle in the sky as the tanker finished a larger orbit, fueling
its current customers. The navigator would adapt our speed and the size
of our circle so that when the tanker finished it would be just ahead
of us. We would simply roll out of our turn and find ourselves positioned
to take fuel. As he explained I heard the nav and the copilot in the
background, mentioning the tanker, "chicks in tow," and discussing
it's current position.
I looked in the direction they indicated and picked
a small speck out of the sunshine. I squinted at it until it resolved
itself into the distinct shape of the tanker accompanied by two fighters,
one on the boom, and one off its wingtip. The perigee of our orbits
brought us within a few miles of each other - close enough to see the
fighter pilots in their cockpits, and bring the air-superiority-gray
of the aircraft into sharp relief against the flat light reflecting
off the desert. It was a breathtaking sight, but not the last I'd see
We held our gentle turn long enough for me to begin
recognizing features on the ground. Through binoculars I watched black
rivers of basalt - ancient lava flows - roll in and out of view. An
occasional lonely road stretched from horizon to horizon, and in one
place (a route of our advance?) countless sets of vehicle tracks left
shadows across the undulating dunes.
Then it was our turn for gas. Our navigator brought
us out of our turn about 5 miles behind and a little below the tanker.
I watched over the pilot's left shoulder as the big jet got closer and
closer - until it filled the little window above our heads, and my fingers
left grooves in the armrests of my chair. The boom projected toward
us, creeping forward until I was looking straight up into it; a nozzle
about 8 inches in diameter bobbing gently in the wind blasting between
our aircraft. The copilot began calling out the position of the boom,
(over the nose... over the throttles...) allowing the pilot to know
its location while keeping his larger perspective and monitoring our
position with respect to the tanker. I watched the face of the boom
operator peering at us from his tiny portal in the back of his jet.
I found I could gauge the closeness of his nozzle to the receptacle
above and behind our heads by the expression of concentration on his
face. There was a loud thump-clunk, and we were connected.
The connection of the boom completes a comm circuit
allowing the boom operator to talk to our flight deck without broadcasting
over a radio. The operator asked us our tail number and base of origin
- accounting for the destination of the several-score thousand gallons
of gas he was already flowing into our tanks. That brief exchange, and
an occasional, "Up four..." or "Down two..." were
the only words exchanged. The flight engineer in his swivel seat to
my right distributed the arriving weight evenly across our jet, helping
the pilot maintain level flight.
And he had plenty to do in that regard. A set of lights
on the belly of the jet above us, activated by the boom operator, allowed
our pilot to know whether to advance or retard our position with respect
to the tanker. I watched, waiting for the pilot to use throttles to
adjust our position, but he relied on far more subtle means. This is
something those of us who live in the back of the jet always appreciate.
A pilot who accomplishes refueling without constantly speeding up and
slowing down goes a long way toward preventing what flight surgeons
like to refer to as "stomach awareness" on the part of the
mission crew. With hours of mission to perform before landing, the last
thing anyone wants is airsickness. Even for those without the problematic
connection between stomach and inner ear, being on the same fight as
someone who is sick can be very unpleasant. Little things like this
give us confidence in our pilot.
It's always the little things that add up to significant
impressions. Rarely are our opinions formed as the result of grand gestures
or big statements. Our pilot formed a favorable impression of the tanker
crew on just such a small detail. "This is an experienced guy,"
he commented via intercom. He explained that the tanker had canted the
refueling orbit slightly, causing his plane to block the sun from our
eyes. The copilot, who'd folded a chart and was ready to use it as a
sun block for the pilot, registered his approval with a grunt.
This tiny gesture was greatly appreciated by all of
us in the cockpit, but perhaps by me most of all. Aside from not having
to squint painfully into the sun, which was nice, I was comforted by
the fact that in spite of everything that was required to support this
monstrous imposition on all the physical laws (It still surprises me
that these ponderous machines fly, let alone can be maneuvered so precisely,
and under such difficult conditions) someone had the presence of mind
to consider something so insignificant.
And when we had received the last of the fuel required
to complete our mission and we broke right, I watched the giant that
had fueled us slew away to the left. Within seconds it had dwindled
to a speck. In a second more it was gone, swallowed by the immensity
of sky and desert. With it went my fear of aerial refueling.
As always, and in constantly renewed ways, I am amazed
to find myself a part of the finest Air Force the world has ever known.
It had to happen: Iraqi spam
Look what I got in my email yesterday!
10 Jasim Street,
Ibrahim'Ali, Baghdad, Iraq.
Re: Urgent Assistance Needed
By way of introduction I am Eng. Farouk Al-Bashar,
I represent my family as the oldest son of the Al-Bashar family, who
are the descendants of Ibrahim Al-Bashar Ali from one of the oil rich
areas in Iraq. Over the years my family has acquired huge sums of money
from royalties for the exploration of oil in our region but over the
past 15 years, Saddam Hussein and his gangs of bandits have taken our
oils without payments and we can not complain as those who did are all
dead. In the wake of the Gulf War of 1990, our family withdrew most
moneys that remain in coded bank accounts that Saddam did not find and
we hide it in a secret chamber underground, where it remained safe until
after the war. At the end of Gulf war, we moved the funds into a private
vault of a security company in Baghdad, where it was until we collected
it a few days ago on the fear of the eminent war with America.
We pray they remove Saddam as he is the cause of much
hardship here, but our funds are trapped here and there is no avenue
to transfer any amount from Iraq without Saddam knowing. The problem
now is how do we transfer the funds totalling US$12.5 Million in cash
We are afraid that with the capacity of the bombs America
is coming to Baghdad with nowhere would be safe for the money, so we
need you to help in securing a private collection agency who would come
to Iraq and collect the money and have them moved to the west, where
our family is planning to relocate to as life in Iraq is no longer worth
living because of Saddam.
I have to travel lots of miles each day to send an
email hoping someone out there would assist this family, if you can
we will give you the details of an agency that can lift the funds from
here as given to me by a US Marine. The private collection agency would
then collect the fund from here and deliver it to you for safe keep.
Hoping the American campaign would be successful, we would then come
over to your country for a meeting to share the funds and hopefully
start a new life with you as a partner.
For your assistance with this project the family is
willing to give you 10% of the funds, however if this does not suit
you we are open for negotiation.
We eagerly await your response so we can inform you
of the next line of action.
Eng. Farouk Al- Bashar
For the entire Al-Bashar family
I couldn't resist. I sent back a reply:
Dear Farouk Al-Bashar,
I sympathize with your plight, and I would do anything
I can to help you recover the money. However, I think ten percent is
too much. I'll do it for five percent. Please forward me the information
I need. I personally know a Marine who is in Iraq right now, and I am
of corresponding with him the email. I think he can help us, but he
would probably want to get five percent as well, so that means it does
have to be a ten percent share for the Americans after all.
I look forward to hearing from you.
(That's my real name. This email account is set up for business purposes,
and I use a different name for it.)
I await the response with bated breath.
Er. Awaited. Damn. Someone explain to me how they can do this. I received
this response in less than two minutes.
This message is being added without the senders knowledge.
This is a scam. This is known as the 419 Nigerian Money scam named after
the Nigerian Penal code for fraud. For more information please go to:http://www.secretservice.gov/alert419.shtml
Dammit. The Secret Service ruined all my fun. Now I'll have to go fisk
the letter. Well, maybe later. It's closing in on bedtime.
So, like, was that to do with Carnivore, the Patriot Act, or just because
they're watching all the Nigerian spam now? Whatever the reason, they
have ruined my giggles for the night. Hmph. permalink
How to make low-fat potato chips
The good news: They're crunchy. The bad news: I burnt the oven-fried
potatoes. Crunchy, but, um, they weren't supposed to be. But hey, it's
satisfying my potato chip craving, which is very strong today. It's not
unlike the Force with me, this craving for things fried. Perhaps I should
call it the Chips. The Chips are strong in this one. Hm. "Use the
Naaaah. Sounds rather dumb.
Alas, my strong craving for all things fried (God's greatest gift to
mankind was the fried potato, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain
wrong) is counter-productive to the new diet (this time I really, really,
really am going to lose the weight I put on when I quit smoking,
which is going on just shy of five years).
I'm serious. Do you know what I'm snacking on? Matzoh. Plain matzoh.
Ugh. I do, however, have to rid myself of my Coca-Cola habit. (Yeah, I'm
a Coke addict. You gotta problem with that? In the bottle, no less, six
eight-ounce bottles for $3.49 at Target.)
I should stop before this turns into one of those really boring diet
posts. Oh, wait. Too late. permalink
You know that funeral march that gets played in all the cartoons and
sitcoms and comedy films? Sorry, I don't know the original piece, just
the notes: Dum da dum dum, da dum da dum dum...
Well, there's a bird outside now singing dum da dum dum over and
over again. Strange. Not omen-strange, justweird strange.
Damn. Now that song's going to be in my head all day. Well, better that
than one of those awful songs fromnever mind, I'll get in trouble
if I continue. permalink
We get letters
From Professor James Lindgren, on old
media vs. new:
On balance I find the better dozen or so blogs that
I read much more reliable than TV or newspapers, because most blog errors
are corrected quite quickly because of feedback from other bloggers
or readers. The issue isn't the number of errors made, which are not
trivial in either media, but how quickly they are corrected. The fact-based
editing that bloggers get is far better than any old media journalist
ever gets; it's just that most of it unfortunately comes after initial,
From Roy L., a dogs and turkey (as opposed to dogs in turkey) story:
Many years ago (30?) friends of ours flew from LA to
Phoenix to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. We held it early, because
their return was scheduled for that afternoon. We cooked 2 turkeys because
of the prodigious appetite of my friend Ray. Ray was a gymnast. He ate
incredible amounts of food andhad about 3% body fat. We left about three
quarters of a 12 pound turkey on the counter and drove Nancy and Ray
to the airport. When we returned we found our 2 dogs on their backs
on the kitchen floor. Their bellies were unbelievably distended and
they greeted us with imploring eyes and a very slow thumping of their
This is why I have cats. My friend's Ridgebacks are now scavenging for
fruit, something which they never before touched. Worf ate an entire plum,
pit and all. Probably swallowed it whole. Ooh, that'll be fun to pass.
And from Ritchey R., a picture
of a license plate we would have loved to have had on March 15 (that
was the International
Eat an Animal for PETA day).
From James G.:
I understand that there has been a backlash against
Jews in the wake of 9/11 and I'm not sure I get it. But what I also
don't get is how that necessarily equates to a turning right and voting
for W in 2004. Major Democratic Presidential candidates John Kerry,
John Edwards, and Joe Liebermann all seem to me to be supporters of
Israel, as well as all having voted for the resolution authorizing force
in Iraq. I'm not sure what some loony anti-war protestors really have
to do with voting for one of these candidates.
You need to go digging around the archives here, James. A few isolated
incidences of anti-Semitism at anti-war protests wouldn't do a thing to
the solidly liberal, Democratic Jewish base. But in the wake of 9/11,
and especially since last spring's bloody series of terrorist bombings
in Israel, American Jews have noticed how the left is abandoning, if not
demonizing, Jews and Israel. In every major protestevery single
onewe see anti-Semitic signs, or hear anti-Semitic slogans.
Michael Lerner is refused
a chance to speak at the International ANSWER-sponsored anti-war protest
in San Francisco because his views are "too pro-Israel." Anti-semitic
incidents are up nine
hundred percent in Northern California, the bastion of American
liberalism, multiculturalism, and equality. Unless you're a Jew, it seems.
And when the issue is raised, the left quickly falls into the old blame
game: If Israel weren't being so hard on the Palestinians, people wouldn't
be getting on Israel's case. It isn't anti-Semitism, it's anti-Zionism.
It's criticism of Israel, not the Jews. These are all wonderful excuses
for the haters to hide behind. But, well, they're not working. Because
when I talk to my coreligionists at the oneg after services, and
the talk turns to politics, nearly everyone believes that the Democrats
have turned their backs. We haven't forgotten that Bill Clinton strong-armed
the Oslo peace process, which is now called the Oslo War in Israel. Don't
even talk to me about Jimmy Carter, who is showing his hatred for
Jews at every opportunity. And we hear, time and again, the New York Times
and a volume of liberal voices saying that Israel should "show restraint"
in her response to suicide bombings. The left compares Israel with South
Africa (patent bullshit), and when she ventures into the terror nests,
she is excoriated and the murderers lionized, their insipid (and always
left-leaning) sympathizers thrusting
themselves between the IDF and their work. Not once, mind you, have
they asked to protect innocent Israeli civilians from suicide bombers.
Don't think we haven't noticed.
I no longer trust the left. Certain liberal webloggers ridicule or downplay
the fact that we have noticed the latest codeword for Jew is neocon. Some
on the left minimize Pat Buchanan's reprehensible anti-Semitic treatise
by saying, well, gee, he has a few valid points about the Israel lobby.
Look at all the Jews around W. Maybe the Jewish lobby is too strong.
We hear it. We read it. And we see it. And contrary to popular belief,
Jews aren't a one-issue voting bloc, which is why the fact that Kerry
and Edwards are pro-Israel isn't enough to get them our votes. The tide
of anti-Semitism that is rising on the left is making many Jews think
twice about their Democratic ties.
I used to think it was only the loony left. But I'm hearing more and
more people I would have simply described as liberal coming out with an
anti-Semitic remark here, or an anti-Jewish phrase there. And my journey
to the right continues. But it hasn't been a voluntary one. I am being
pushed there. The mainstream left needs to think about that. So far, I'm
seeing few signs that they are. permalink
Meat, wonderful meat!
Andrea Harris sent me
over to James Lileks' Gallery
of Regrettable Foods, specifically, the
meat section. Utterly hilarious and not the least bit appetizing.
Hey, I love steak, and I love angel food cake. But this?
God save me. permalink
Dogs in elk
A few years ago, my friend Jay forwarded me a story he found on rec.pets.
I looked for it today because I'd mentioned it to the sysop of Digital
Dogs, and promised I'd go look for it. I never deleted the email.
This is one of the
funniest dog stories I have ever read. Include your standard spit-monitor
and work warnings; if you can keep a straight face while reading this,
well, I don't want to ever have a drink with you, that's for sure. permalink
This and that
Diane E., who says she's not back blogging yet, just squeaking, has posted
several, er, squeaks. Go have
There's a new blog in town, run by a Dutch guy who's now in Canada. And
it's a very pretty design. My web developer hat is off to you, Stacy.
(But there's a missing link on the Sekimori gif on the main page; you
might want to fix that.)
It is 80 degrees in Richmond. And may I say: HA-ha.
You know, if you're going to bring Dorian back on OLTL, did you have
to include the oh-so-boring Cristian/Natalie plot, which causes me to
reach for the fast-forward button every time? (I'm going to watch the
tape, now. Hmph.)
Have I mentioned lately that I intend to have another Buffy Blogburst?
I'm planning to hold it the week after the series finale. Start thinking
of your essays now. And start emailing me now, because the
last Blogburst was hugely popular and this time, I'm not going to
be so lenient with latecomers. Stephen.
It will work on the same level as Bigwig's
Carnival of the Vanities. I'll have the index here, and y'all will link
it to get maximum viewage, which in turn gets more people reading your
contribution via a link from here. It's so circular we're practically
stepping on our own heels.
Dean Esmay did what I couldn't, and parodied
Richard Cory, substituting Rachel Corrie. Er, one of his readers did.
Nicely done, Casey.
Lynn B. on why
Abu Mazen is a bad choice for Palestinian Prime Minister, and why
the CIA is a worse choice to help the Pals rebuild.
And now, I'm off to enjoy the 80-degree weather outside. permalink
The 9/11 backlash
Many words have been written, by many people, about how Muslims were
going to suffer a backlash of discrimination and hate crimes after 9/11.
This has been come true, after a fashion. There is a minority group,
both here and in Europe, that is suffering a backlash of violent discrimination
and hate crimes.
But it's the Jews. And the backlash is isn't Americans attacking Muslims.
It's Muslims and their supporters attacking Jews.
Anti-semitic incidents are up worldwide. In northern California, anti-Semitic
incidents went from 13 to 118. That's quite a leap, but then, this
could be one reason:
"I attribute a lot of it to a climate that has
been created in the Bay Area in which criticism of Israel has been allowed
to devolve into blatant anti-Semitism," Bernstein said, noting
that one of the incidents included in the report was a rally where war
protesters carried a sign reading "Smash the Jewish State, Smash
the Jewish Race."
Long-time readers will remember the events of the
anti-Semitic riot at SFSU, which are also mentioned in this article.
On May 7, Palestinian supporters cornered some pro-Israel
students after a peace rally and threatened them, shouting phrases like
"Hitler should have finished the job."
Brysk said such incidents created a climate in which
some students chose to tuck their Star of David necklaces inside their
shirts so as not to be readily identified as Jewish. A few even left
for other campuses, he said.
But there was another incident, far more recently, that perfectly portrays
the Muslim backlash against Jews.
"I was sitting on a bench when I heard a loud
noise," the victim said. "I fell on the floor. I'd been ...
punched by a Middle Eastern-looking guy."
The victim added he did not know why he had been assaulted
until he heard a man accompanying the assailant yelling at him to take
off his shirt, which read "Israel doesn't need your sympathy, it
"I don't know why this happened," the victim
said. "I'd never seen this guy before."
The victim of the above attack sent out an email, which one of my readers
forwarded to me.
On Monday night, March 24, I took a break from exam
week, and went bowling with 7 Jewish friends from the University of
Michigan. I was the only one with a yarmulke on my head, and was wearing
a shirt with a picture of Hertzl that says, "Israel needs you."
We had broken up into teams of four, and I was the
first to complete the game. I took my seat to watch the rest of the
bowlers finish. It was an intensely close match up, and all eyes were
on Brandon, a 20 year old from Long Island, who was the final bowler.
As I leaned in, excited to learn the outcome of our heated rivalry,
I heard a crushing sound and was knocked onto the floor. I had no idea
what happened, I stood up with my jaw throbbing in pain.
I turned around, to see an Arab, standing with his
friends ten feet away. The largest of the group had sucker punched me,
with my back turned to him, without ever saying a word to me.
It's not just happening in America. In Europe, Jews are also being attacked
in record numbers.
Violent hate crimes quadrupled in France in 2002 to
the highest level in a decade, with more than half the assaults aimed
at Jews, a national study has found.
[...] In the report, the committee said 193 of 313
attacks were against Jews in a "real explosion" of anti-Semitic
violence. Last year, the group reported 32 acts of anti-Jewish violence.
The committee said increased anti-Semitic attacks came
against a backdrop of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians,
and added that many attackers came from rough neighborhoods on the outskirts
of France's cities.
In the last two years, France has suffered a wave of
violence against Jewish schools, temples and cemeteries that coincided
with new fighting in the Middle East.
Attacks on Jews are up more than 600%. The upsurge in France nearly mirrors
the upsurge of violence against Jews in northern California. Oh, and France
is in the nation whose president declared last spring that there
is no anti-Semitism in France. And here is the most interesting part
of the news: Violence by far-right anti-Semitesthe neo-nazishas
actually decreased by a third in the last year.
France's large North African community also was targeted.
Of 47 attacks against them, 25 of those were attributed to the extreme-right.
One person of North African origin was killed - the only death mentioned
in the report. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks stirred anti-Muslim sentiment,
the report said.
Violence by France's far-right groups dropped in 2002.
Nine percent of the reported attacks were blamed on the far right, compared
with 14 percent in 2001, the report said.
And of the 1,000 nonviolent attacksmostly graffiti70% of
them were against Jews. Seventy percent. No, there's no anti-Semitism
in France, Monsieur Chirac.
So if the neo-nazis aren't attacking the Jews, who could it be? Hm. Let's
think on that one.
Oh, yeah. "Peace"
protesters and Muslims.
Two Jewish youths were hospitalized Saturday afternoon
after being stabbed in Paris by individuals who had taken part in an
anti-war demonstration. The separate incidents took place near the Hashomer
Hatzair youth group building in the city, in close proximity to Beaumarchais
Boulevar and Bastille Square.
One young man was stabbed and lightly wounded
after a group of men noticed his yarmulke. He was taken to the hospital
for treatment. The attackers are believed to have been immigrants from
North Africa. After stabbing the young man, they tried to break in to
the Hashomer Hatzair building, but members of the youth group managed
to block the entrance.
Actually, for that incident, we had a double whammy: Muslim "peace"
protesters, who went to the Jewish youth group building looking for Jews
to attack. The "immigrants from North Africa" phrase above is
what France uses instead of "Arabs" or "Muslims."
And a week later, they staged
another "peace" protest. They can't hold back the vitriol
and hatred even when they try:
Banners at recent demonstrations have shown the Star
of David intertwined with the Nazi swastika.
This Saturday, protesters hung a huge banner that read
No to racism and anti-Semitism on the Place
de la Concorde near the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy. Bumper stickers
with the same message were distributed to the crowd.
[...] Both boys and girls wore the Palestinian scarf
known as the kaffiyeh. One Moroccan-born man stepped on an image of
the Israeli flag. Another French Arab pointed to a group of protesters
from a Jewish student association and said: They are targets.
They are not welcome here, because of what they did to our Palestinian
Yeah, that didn't take long. What kills me, however, is reading things
It is easy for the lines to be blurred between protests
against Israels treatment of the Palestinians and anti-Semitism.
The center-right French government is extremely sensitive to charges
that anti-Semitism lurks in France, and French officials as well as
organizers of the protest quickly condemned the attack a week ago.
Politicians and intellectuals of all leanings have
condemned the anti-Semitic tone of the protests, which have included
chants of Vive Chirac! Stop the Jews!
It only seems to be easy to blur the lines to the people like the author
of this IHT article. And leftists who think that signs that read, "Stop
the Jew$" are legitimate criticisms of Israel. (Are you listening,
Kevin?) No, they have ceased
being critical of Israeli policies and sunk into the swamp of prejudice
We have yet to read of any significant backlash against U.S. Muslims,
CAIR's whining about nasty name-calling notwithstanding. But there has
been a significant backlash against Jewsin America and abroadsince
9/11, and especially in the past year, especially from the left, which
is supposed to be the bastion of equality and multiculturalism. Funny
how that applies to everyone but the Jews.
The hypocrisy is enough to turn one to the right. In fact, the hypocrisy
is enough so that Jews all over America are turning rightward, and readying
themselves to hold their noses and vote for W. (Nothing personal, it's
the domestic agenda we disagree with.)
There's your 9/11 backlash. But it wasn't what anyone expected. There
is something I'd like to know about it, though: When is it going to stop?
New media vs. old: The truth
is out there
Glenn Reynolds is on CNN. He did fine, and is a great advocate for blogs
and bloggers. Aaron Brown just said to Elizabeth Osder, a professor at
USC, that one of his major concerns about bloggers is that by the time
you discover the truth of something put forward on a blog, hundreds, nay,
thousands of people will already have read the incorrect story.
The subtext, of course, was that we poor unedited masses can't possibly
get a story right without fact-checkers and editors.
So here is an
article I found via Tacitus just
The war is only a week old and already the media has
gotten at least 15 stories wrong or misreported a sliver of fact into
a major event. Television news programs, of course, have been the prime
culprits. Newspapers, while they have often gone along for the ride,
have been much more nuanced and careful. Newspaper coverage has not
been faultless, as photos and headlines often seem shock-and-awe-struck
but, compared with TV, newspapers seem more editorially -- and mentally
-- balanced. Some have actually displayed a degree of skepticism of
claims made by the military and the White House -- what used to be known
Yep, Aaron, you've been blogged, in about a minute. But I wouldn't have
bothered without the slap about bloggers' credibility. permalink
Better than you, Part 3
First, go over to Laurence
Simon's blog and read his post. Okay, now look at this
news from Ha'aretz:
Israel has developed an airborne system designed to
divert missiles fired at civilian passenger airplanes.
The system created by Israel Aircraft Industries and
Israel Military Industries, which has already been presented to the
Civil Aviation Authority and is awaiting certification by the Israel
Airports Authority, is slated for use by the national carrier, El Al,
The development of the system was accelerated in the
wake of the attempt in November last year to bring down an Israeli passenger
jet taking off from Mombasa, Kenya, with two shoulder-launched missiles.
[...] The primary innovation in the new system is that
it provides protection for civilian aircraft during takeoffs and landings,
deemed the most vulnerable stages of flight.
Haaretz has learned that the new system is already
in use in two executive 707 Boeings owned by two heads of state in in
Asia and Africa. Industry sources say the Israeli system is the only
available one of its kind at present.
Once again, the Jewish state lifts a [mailed] one-finger salute to the
terrorists who would murder her people. And once again, Israel contributes
to the safety and security of the world at large. Well, except, as Laurence
points out, the Arabs. They're boycotting Israeli products. Looks like
their planes will be vulnerable to their own terrorists. Sucks, that.
No wonder their nations are all third world backwaters. permalink
The seal of authenticity
A correspondent asks
Glenn Reynolds how we can tell if bloggers are really blogging from
a war zone. I can't speak for any but the men I correspond with, but my
three guys are all legit. I knew LT Smash
was going to be over there before he left. Pontifex
emailed me from Kuwait because Moveable Type had destroyed his archives,
and he needed help stateside. Both of them asked me to keep their locations
Steve's letters have easily recognizable headers coming through military
(Air Force) servers. But even if I didn't know how to read a header, his
letters are so authentic that another zoomie I know asked me to find out
what kind of plane Steven flies (can't, it's the kind of information they
need to keep private). They're corresponding now, though, and trading
stories for themselves.
I don't know about the rest of the guys blogging from the field, but
I can vouch for my pals. They're the real deal. As far as I'm concerned,
they've put a very personal face to all of the men and women over there.
I don't just worry about them as anonymous soldiers or Marines or airmen.
They have names. LT and Pontifex have been my blog buddies for many months.
We have a term for people we've never met but whom we correspond with
regularly: Virtual friends. Remove the virtual. These men are my friends.
Stay safe, guys. And keep writing. permalink
I suffered from it yesterday. I was reading too many negative articles,
and seeing too many negative stories on TV, and then reading too much
war news on the weblogs. So I turned off the computer and the news and
plugged in the VCR and watched some Angel episodes.
However, if you don't want to do that, then go to someplace like Rantburg,
where you can read news about the war with commentary ranging from hilarious
to incisive. Fred finds the odd stories that no one else covers, too.
Or read a few soldier's blogs. There's LT
Smash, who was busting you all over his
interview with Peter Arnett, and who got both me and his wife
to fall for it, at first. There's also Pontifex
ex Machina. And there's Will,
who writes bluntly of the shower and bathroom facilities, and yeah, admit
ityou always were a little curious about the bare essentials.
Look there, instead of the depressing analyses and constant talk of how
bad things are going. And then get off the internet and watch a movie
or something. The Core is stupid enough to take your mind off things.
Or if you're a soap opera fan, hey, tomorrow's going to be huge
on ABC. Dorian's back, and there'll be two episodes of GH.
I knew it was Dorian once Mitch revealed that he was working for someone.
It couldn't be Carlo Hesser; they already pulled that one a few years
ago. Oh, the next few months are going to be fun. Welcome back, Robin
Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old soldier who was rescued
today from behind enemy lines, is from Palestine, West Virginia.
How do you figure that will play in the Arab world Omen Watch?
Think the Reuters headline would be, "U.S. Army Frees Palestinian
Palestinian Peace Partner </sarcasm>
The Pals want to live in peace with Israel, hm? PA
official calls for Israel's 'elimination'
Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center's representative
at the 59th Human Rights Commission session currently taking place in
Geneva, wrote to UN Human Rights High Commissioner Sergio Vieira de
Mello calling on him to "immediately condemn the Palestinian observer
and take the necessary measures for his recall, due to his violation
of the UN Charter in calling for the 'elimination' of the state of Israel."
In addition to calling for Israel's elimination, Samuels
said, Nabil Ramlawi repeatedly compared Nazism and "new Zionist
Nazism," and at one point said Zionist Nazism was worse than German
Nazism. Samuel, in his letter to de Mello, said, "This call for
the elimination of Israel may reveal the true intentions of the PA,
but such language should have resulted in the immediate intervention
of the session's chairperson, Libyan Ambassador Najat al-Hajjaji."
Samuels also called on the high commissioner to "censure Ms. al-Hajjaji
for her abuse of power in not restraining Ramlawi's excesses."
Also in the Jerusalem Post, more
evidence damning UNRWA:
Terrorist organizations in Palestinian-controlled areas,
as well as in Syria and Lebanon, take advantage of UNRWA workers and
their vehicles to transport arms and terrorists, according to a document
drawn up by defense establishment officials.
The document notes that Palestinian terrorists in Israeli
custody admitted using UNRWA facilities, equipment, and vehicles to
assist in carrying out terror attacks, knowing that UNRWA personnel
are able to travel in Israel and Palestinian Authority-controlled areas,
as well as in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere, without being subjected
to security checks.
[...] Attalah told investigators that he was repeatedly
asked by officials of Fatah's Popular Resistance Committee to drive
them in his UN car as it was never subjected to IDF inspections. He
also made use of his laissez-passer to travel to Egypt, Lebanon, and
Syria where he contacted officials of the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine, received funds, and transferred arms.
And lastly, more
reasons for America to love the Pals:
Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp have named the
main square in their camp after the Iraqi army officer who carried out
the first suicide attack against US forces in Iraq.
[...] The square's name was changed from Mosque Square
to Na'mani Square during a rally Sunday attended by scores of camp residents
and Palestinian officials.
"We want to honor the brave Iraqi officer who
carried out the first suicide attack against the American and British
occupiers," a senior Palestinian official in Jenin told The Jerusalem
Post. "We hope there will be more suicide operations in the coming
The Jenin refugee camp has been known as a hotbed for
extremist Palestinian groups responsible for numerous suicide attacks
in Israel. Camp residents have proudly described the camp, home to some
12,000 refugees, as the capital of suicide bombers.
There's also a veiled threat within the story. Or perhaps not-so-veiled:
The Palestinian Authority has warned Palestinian journalists
against "excessive" coverage of the demonstrations.
[...] According to one of the journalists in the Gaza
Strip, the Palestinian officials "didn't threaten us, but they
hinted that those who fail to comply would be punished."
The Palestinians. Israel's Partners In Peace. permalink
Better than you, Part II
A bunch of effing losers were feeling so inferior, the best they could
come up with was hacking the AIPAC website.
I grabbed Laurence Simon's
jpeg of the event (it's
here, don't click there until you want to read his blog). You really
have to laugh. What a bunch of effing losers. Here's the best insult they
could come up with:
"A message to all of u f*cking jews, try lobbying
for some peace instead MOTHERFUCKERS!!"
Ow! Mommy, he called me a bad name! But first he used an asterisk, so
it wasn't as mean. Dudestry creating a grammatical sentence, or
maybe even a message without swears. No, sorry, that was too much to ask.
You may not even have six teeth between you. I imagine if you totalled
up the group's IQ scores, it wouldn't come up to triple digits.
And in salute to these idiots, I refer them to my post from last week:
than you. Thanks for making it so easy to see.
I've been clearing out the email boxes, and I've still got over 1,000
messages and I'm (sigh) only up to January. I really should delete letters
Found a really funny one from the Heritage Foundation that breathlessly
told me I'd been "discovered" and then offered to send me their
press releases for a month, at the end of which time I think I would be
able to get them for even longer. I sent a tongue-in-cheek response back
that may garner a publishable letter, but we shall see.
And I went down memory lane via various emails, both thinking about people
and links. If I stopped writing to you, it's not because I got mad at
you. It's because I ran out of time one day, then I forgot to keep up,
then your letter dropped lower and lower in the list of old messages,
and then you sank into that no-person's land hundreds of messages down.
And if I ever promised to link to you and forgot, feel free to remind
There are many letters that I meant to get around to posting, but didn't,
and the subjects are now stale. Which is why half a dozen people who wrote
about Mel Gibson, Catholics, and Jews won't have their letters published
(sorry!), but I did read them, and meant to give them their own page.
You can use this to try to guilt me into publishing another letter at
a later date. Remember: Jewish. Raised by Jewish mother. Guilt works.
(Of course, it has to be extra-special guilt, what with being raised by
an expert and all that.)
I'll be back after I'm finished tidying up around here. permalink
An index to Captain Steve's letters
For your convenience, the
URLs to all of Steven's letters in one place. permalink
A letter from an old, liberal
Drew is an old friend of mine. He used to work for a major national magazine
in New York, which I typeset across the river in Carlstadt, NJ. Thanks
to synchronicity and the Internet, he found me a week after I was trying
to find an email address for him. Drew has a lot to say about the current
problems with being a liberal in America. What follows is my first guest
post of the week.
I saw your "Eat
An Animal for PETA Day" referenced on the WSJ's Best
of the Web Today and went to your highly enjoyable site. For my
part, I try to eat at least some part of one of God's creatures every
day, so I'm with you on that.
As one of those off-the-reservation pro-Iraq-invasion
liberals, I think that the left's preoccupation with minor issues like
animal rights has led it into the weird position of supporting perhaps
the single worst dictator in the world today. The proliferation of what
I tend to think of as "Village Voice liberalism" has skewed
the perceptions of the left into thinking that its principal concerns
should be animal rights, vegetarianism, hissing at women in fur coats,
excoriating "Big Tobacco" (because it somehow brainwashes
people into buying and using their product), and playing the well-worn
game of "You're insensitive/No, you're more insensitive,"
etc., etc., ad nauseum. It's no wonder that when a serious issue like
Iraq comes up, they don't know what to do, and immediately retreat into
inactionall the while claiming that they're thoroughly opposed
to Saddam and want to see him out of power. (Yet the peace camp has
always seemed a mite vague on just how their actions will help bring
that about.) I must reluctantly conclude that the anti-war left represents
a left that has crawled so far up its own sphincter that it's about
to disappear altogether.
Much of the anti-war movement has shown the left at
its worstthat is, when it behaves as though naïveté
is a virtue in policy debates. Last weekend, I received an e-mail from
an anti-war friend. It was a jpeg of a spare line drawing: a dove holding
an olive branch in its beak, captioned simply with the word "Imagine."
While I admit that countering force with John Lennon songs hasn't yet
been tried, I think, in Saddam's case, that force may still be the best
way to counter force. If I had any artistic skills, I could have responded
to the dove/olive branch message with a re-creation of that famous Vietnam-era
poster with the childlike flower illustration, but with an updated caption:
Naïveté Is Helpful To Dictators And Other Killing Things.
As has been asked by others before, could today's left
ever get it together to assemble an Abraham Lincoln Brigade, as it did
in the '30s? What would the response be today to such a call to arms?
Maybe it would go like this: "Well, yes, we all agree that Senor
Franco is a bad man, and that we certainly would like to see him step
down, but he is a Latino -- and as a Latino, is thus a Person of Color.
And for us to attack a Person of Color, well, that would leave us wide
open to charges of insensitivity, wouldn't it?"
I know that the documentation of Saddam's sadistic
crimes that will follow the end of Gulf War II (may it come as soon
as possible) will bring about mass silence from the thousands who marched
to keep him in power. Still, I fear that the "peace" camp,
emboldened by the size of their protests, now consider themselves the
new vitality of the Democratic Party, and accordingly, will insist on
the nomination of an "anti-war" candidate like Howard Dean
to run against Bush in 2004. Can you imagine what the Republicans will
do after they sink their claws into the candidate from the pro-Saddam
party? It will leave the Dems looking wistfully back to the glory days
of George McGovern's 1972 presidential run, when the party used to pull
in some really big numbers. (Then again, maybe the Democrats will adopt
the philosophy of the Green Party, and make losing horribly all part
of their master plan.)
Some anti-war friends of mine have recently swooned
over the sympathetic remarks of Sen. Robert Byrd, with one even suggesting
(seriously, I think) that he'd be a great presidential candidate in
2004. These friends mustn't have been aware thatjust like Teddy
Kennedyan unfortunate event in Byrd's past has ruled out any presidential
ambitions he may harbor. Y'see, late one night, while driving home from
a party, Byrd accidentally JOINED THE KU KLUX KLAN. (Some people say
he was must've been drunk at the time.) Byrd may have to settle for
the job of Secretary of State in a Sharpton administration.
As a liberal, I oppose Bush on almost every topic you
could name: the economy, the environment, guns, reproductive rights,
the list goes on. And yetalthough I hate to break up a setI
support him in the goal of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. (In a modern
variant on the suggestion "Close your eyes and think of England,"
I told my wife: "Just pretend we're doing it for Blair.")
I've been thinking about making up a button that says
"Real Leftists Fight Fascism," just to see who'd agree with
me if I wore it around, but I prefer not to have to debate total strangers
on the street, subway, wherever. And despite my tirades, I'm really
a very mild-mannered person, as you know.
The latest from Captain Steve
Some people love to sleep. It's like a hobby for them.
For me it's always been something you had to do between what was important
or necessary. Not here though. Not any more. Now I anticipate sleep
with longing. In the microsecond after my head hits the pillow and before
I am unconscious, the thought that I am about to go to sleep fills me
with happiness. I've asked around and discovered that I'm not alone
in this. In fact, sleep is now a favorite topic of conversation around
here. Everywhere you go people ask each other, "You getting any
As always, I tell you these little details half-afraid
that you'll think I'm complaining. We know how good things are for us
here. We got a message today from one of our brothers on the ground.
He's been forward deployed since well before the war began. He tells
us he and a buddy take turns sleeping in the back of their HMMWV, (HumV)
and haven't had a toilet or a bed at their disposal for two months.
They are constantly on the lookout for snipers. They are never clean
and always tired. Yes, we know we have it easy.
We do engage in our share of grousing. We describe
our little oasis here by saying things like, "All the benefits
of incarceration without the inconvenience of a trial" and we fuss
at the little indignities forced upon us by close quarters. It's a fine
tradition among American fighting men and women. It strikes me though,
that it stops the moment we step to our jet. When we're working long
hours and flying in harm's way - when you'd expect to hear complaints
- there are none. Absolutely none.
That makes me wish America could see her sons and daughters
as I see them here. We depend on a well-educated professional corps
of enlisted people. They carry the draft horse's share of the war, and
they do it with a quiet competence that fills me with hope for America's
future. If you could see them here your worries about generation X,
the effects of MTV and Hollywood, all these would be replaced by a sense
of pride and confidence. They are so smart and so good at what they
do. If at their age I'd had their work ethic, their understanding of
the world, and their willingness to make it better, I'd be a far better
man than I am today. I at least have the privilege of witnessing it
Our example of wartime sacrifice has been the generation
that fought the Second World War. I won't even try to compare the sacrifices
they made to what we're making now. There is no comparison. But I'd
like to point something out. In those days of clarity, the men and women
the nation admired most heard their nation's call, dropped what they
were doing and signed up for service. People who had brilliant careers
and plenty of money and who could probably have avoided it were among
the first at the recruiters' desks. Movie stars and musicians set the
example. This generation of kids who serve do so in spite of the example
set by our cultural icons. I think that says a lot about them.
We have representatives of all continents and races
on our crew. We weren't filling quotas. It just worked out that way.
And I'm glad to tell you that if any motto describes the way we work
together it's "E Pluribus Unum," out of many, one. Out of
many backgrounds, personal preferences, private desires - an unbending
drive to do the mission, and do it better than anyone else. I think
I've told you before. I'm very proud to work with these people.
Thank you for your prayers.
Well, there's this.
Thanks to a
comment on Silflay Hraka, here's an informational tool to use when
yet another schmuck whines that Israel is in violation of UN resolutions
and we don't do anything about her. I wrote
about it months ago, but here's the
original article from The Economist. permalink
Three essays started, three posts trashed. I'll try again later. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
Looking for the Buffy
Blogburst Index? Here's Israel
vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
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.