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Arafat death watch update

Alas, the latest articles are a couple of days old, but I really like this report in the Forward:

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government apparently has given up plans to assassinate, deport or otherwise harm Yasser Arafat and is now relying on nature to take its course and remove the Palestinian leader from power, via his allegedly deteriorating health.

Sources in Prime Minister Sharon's office told the Forward this week that Israeli intelligence believes Arafat is "critically ill" and may soon be incapable of maintaining his leadership. The sources conceded, albeit reluctantly, that the expectation of a deterioration in Arafat's medical condition was the main basis for Sharon's promise, in a Knesset speech this week, that the peace process could move forward "in just a few months."

Of course, the rest of the article is a rather grim analysis of Sharon's policies, but y'know, he hasn't shown any signs of new strategies at all. And the killers manage to keep on killing. The war is far from over, and when an opinion poll shows that 59% of palestinians approve of continuing terror against Israel even after they get everything they want, well, I see no sign of it ending anytime soon.

Fifty-nine percent of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created, a new survey shows.

Similarly, 80 percent of Palestinians say that, under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the "right of return."

This poll, of course, was not picked up by Western media, even though the poll also discovered this fact:

Forty-two percent of Palestinians and 61 percent of Israeli-Arabs stated that they support the people who are attacking Americans in Iraq. Zero percent of Israeli Jews said they did.

Say again, who's our only ally in the Middle East? What's the percentage in the Arab world on that same question?

Meantime, they're now calling Arafat's [cough] flu "gallstones." Yeah. Uh-huh. Whatever you say. People, get in on the Arafat Dead Pool. Pick your dates, and I may even get up the energy to put them into a table. The rules are simple: Any number of people can pick the same date, because when Arafat dies, everyone in the pool is a winner.

Do you get a prize? Hello, is Arafat going to be dead? Is that not prize enough?



It's Friday night, and my brain is fried

If you think about it, that's a much better title for a post than "miscellaneous."

I have found a way to get past the fancy-dancy encryption on the latest CDs. I'm taping the new Evanescence CD. I borrowed it from a friend to see if I'd like it. So far, I'm thinking not for long.

Didn't even have to use a magic marker on the encryption software. Ha! Am I a hax0r or what? Come and get me, RIAA!

Did you know the lead singer of the group is 23? Effing 23? Sigh. Youth is wasted on the wrong people.

Best new drama of the new season: Karen Sisco. The series simply rocks. I really, really, really like a show that has a female protagonist who simply does her job, and doesn't preach to the audience about a woman can do anything a man can do. The show has a great group of supporting actors and I love the premise. Okay, so I suspend my disbelief every time she kicks a guy's ass when the guy is twice as big as she is, but hey, I used to suspend disbelief watching Xena walk on people's heads, too.

Speaking of Lucy Lawless, she's on the new Tarzan show. I had no real intention of watching that, but then it was on while Mom and I were channel-surfing, and I saw that Lucy's on it, and so is Mitch Pileggi, who was simply the sexiest man on the X-Files. That voice. Ooh, talk to me, baby. Bass, not baritone, as reader Daniel S. has pointed out to me in email. All these years I thought I fell hard for baritones, when it's been bass voices all along. Sorry, tenors, you just don't do much for me. Anyway. I may tape the show and see what happens. I really do need a piece of mindless fluff to fill the gap that's been empty since they cancelled The Lost World.

Jane Espenson may write great episodes for Xander, but she totally sucks on Gilmore Girls. Get with the program, Jane, or write an Angel episode. Yawn city.

Speaking of Angel, first two episodes, great. Third episode, awful. This past week's: Now that's why I watch the show. Phew. Creepy, surprising, bits of humor thrown in—just the way it's supposed to be.

So I hear they're releasing the director's cut of Alien in the theaters. Anyone want to go get creeped out all over again? I saw that film even after watching and reading three separate reviews, so I knew all about the Chinese food scene. My brother and I went together. We were, hm, late teens, I think. We were sitting next to these three jocks who were making fun of everything and showing how not scared they were—for about fifteen minutes. By the time the Chinese food scene hit, when the alien popped out of the guy's chest, the jocks jumped three feet in the air. And though I was scared to death myself, and not watching the scene, I did laugh at the jocks.

I was a smoker at the time. I remember that I simply had to leave the theater about an hour into the film and go to the rest room for a smoke break. I couldn't take the tension.

Yeah. Who wants to go with me? Richmond bloggers, anyone? It'll be fun.

So now that all the big links have settled down, who's sticking around? That's the question that I always wonder after a high-traffic event. But I guess I won't really know until next week how many new readers will be coming back. Andrew Sullivan sent me over 4,000 people who were not looking for any information on the Easterbrook affair. They came for the Mahathir speech. Actually, I received quite a few letters from readers saying they'd just discovered my blog and would be coming back. Welcome aboard, folks. Hope you're not allergic to cats.

My breakfast with Daniel Pipes

Listening to Daniel Pipes in person reminds you that he is, first and foremost, an academic. I found the speech fascinating, but saw no fire-and-brimstone that his detractors would have you believe permeate his every word. Pipes spoke rather like every other college academic I've ever heard.

Regarding Mohamad Mahathir, Jew-hating moonbat extraordinaire, Pipes pointed out that Mahathir is not an Islamist. The reason his speech was greeted with a standing ovation, Pipes said is because anti-Semitism is endemic in the Muslim world.

"There is a quality to the present anti-Semitism of the Muslim world that brings to mind the 1930s." Back then, he reminded us, the rhetoric against the Jews set the mood for the concentration camps and the mass murder of the Jews. This time, Pipes said, the mass murder will not be done in camps. It will take the form of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, all of which the Muslim world either already have or are trying to attain.

Pipes said that Muslim anti-Semitism is emblematic and needs to be taken seriously. It represents a fundamental and historic shift of anti-Semitism from the Christian to the Muslim world. Until the 1940s, Jews were going from the Christian to the Muslim world. That process has been completely stopped due to Muslim anti-Semitism.

On American Jews: Pipes said what he calls (or what has been called) the Golden Age of American Jewry is fast closing, because there is now a Muslim and Islamist presence in America that sees itself in opposition to the Jews. (Gee, ya think? Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman was booed and heckled by Muslim Americans in Detroit.) This, Pipes said, is something that American Jews have not seen before—an organized group with a specifically anti-Jewish bent.

Pipes said that liberals are no longer friendly to Jewish causes. The more to the left you go, the more you see a pro-Palestinian, pro-Islam, anti-American outlook. He said the evangelical right is most in tune with the Jews, and that Jewish organizations need to retool their associations. "There's a train coming down the tracks, and most American Jewish institutions are not seeing it," he said.

Speaking about General Boykin, Pipes said that he is being silenced because Boykin criticized Islam. "There is an attempt by Muslim organizations to silence criticism of Islam." Pipes spoke briefly about American Muslim organizations trying to prevent his appointment as another example of silencing criticism. Pipes was also very clear about where he stands on Islam. He said the problem isn't Islam, it is Islamic fascists. He said that the war isn't really a war on terror, it's a war on the ideology behind the terrorists.

"Violence is not the problem," he said. "The problem is why is there violence?" Pipes said we must focus on the ideology, not just the violence, in order to win the war.


Via QandO, the actor who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion has been struck by lightning during the filming.


The lightning bolt hit Caviezel and the film's assistant director Jan Michelini while they were filming in a remote location a few hours from Rome.

It was the second time Michelini had been hit by lightning during the shoot.

Neither of them was badly hurt, according to the film's producer Steve McEveety.

Michelini had previously been struck during filming in Matera, Italy, when he suffered light burns to his fingers after lightning hit his umbrella.

Describing the second lightning strike, McEveety told VLife, a supplement of the trade paper Variety: "I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears."

You know, it's almost too funny for words. If I were a Hollywood money person, I wouldn't be investing in this film. I can see the handwriting on the—er, sky.



Daniel Pipes is in town

And I'll be having breakfast with him tomorrow. No, it's not going to be just the two of us. There will be about 30 other members of the community at the JCC.

I'll have a report tomorrow morning sometime. It's an early breakfast. If the Yankee game goes late, I'm going to be surprised, 'cause I'm tired and heading off to bed now.

News media bias: WTF is wrong with these people?

So some people have been saying that I see anti-Semitism or an anti-Israel bias in every shadow. I exaggerate, they say. Calm down, they tell me. It's nowhere near as bad as you think.

Well, in this UPI article about yet another investigation into the Liberty incident, the fact-checking is so nonexistent as to be criminally negligent. Look at these last paragraphs:

The Liberty was a World War II freighter converted to the role of a spy ship that the Navy said was very distinctive with massive aerials and satellite dishes. These spy vessels and spy flights later were replaced by satellite surveillance.

Why the Israelis would want to attack an American vessel has never been explained, but the incident came a few months before the 1967 Middle East war in which Egypt and Israel were adversaries.

The effing lead puts in the date correctly!

Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, killing 34 U.S. sailors and injuring 172 others in one of the deadliest attacks suffered by a U.S. ship that remained afloat.

These schmucks not only can't get the date right, but they completely change the tenor of the incident by stating that the it took place months before the Six-Day War. The Six-Day War began on June 5, 1967, and ended on June 10. Does UPI even use copy editors? Do they have fact-checkers? Did the idiot that passed this piece not notice that the lead says it occurred on June 8?

Did David Duke ghostwrite this piece for UPI, or what?

By adding that last sentence, by stating that the incident took place out of the context of the war, it makes it look like Israel, for no reason at all, decided to attack an American Navy vessel.

This is more than sloppy editing or writing. It is negligence. Here's UPI's email address. Tell them what you think.

Update: A rereading of the UPI articles makes me realize it's even worse than I thought. Not once in the article—not once—is it mentioned that the incident took place during the Six-Day War. The entire tone of the article is that the IAF attacked the Liberty for no reason whatsoever.

The conspiracy theorists are going to love this.



One last email update

I'm still having problems sending. Things were getting better and then regressed again, so bear with me, folks. (Diane, if you didn't get my email, the answer is, "Sure.")

By the way, if you're getting old emails from me, I can't do much more than say, hey, you're getting old emails from me.

Speaking of email problems, Kate and Kelley are no longer the Hawaii Party Girls, and are back in their respective corners, all tuckered out and missing each other. But hoo-boy, are they gonna need some sleep.

Preach on, brothers

Every once in a while, I find a couple of posts on a topic on which I've been getting hammered that simply make me smile, or make the Jewish equivalent expression of "preach on, brother!" (What is the Jewish expression to that, anyway?)

One such post is Bigwig's song, "The Devil Made Me Do It," sung by Moonbat Mahathir, lyrics by Paul Krugman.

The other is Bryan's post on one of the main problems people have comprehending Jewishness.

Going in circles: More Easterbrook

I went to a website on Diana Moon's advice (yes, really), and now the whole Easterbrook affair is simply going in circles in my head. I'm starting to wonder if anyone is actually understanding what the others are saying. But this guy repeated something from Colby Cosh that gave me as much of a doubletake as my original reading of the Easterblogg that started this all:

Anti-Semitism is no longer remotely acceptable in polite North American society, and is a capital offence for someone who has a media career.

To which I can only say: In what parallel universe, Colby? Representative Jim Moran, anyone? I mean, sure, people got mad at him, and criticized what he said, but where are the negative effects of his remarks? How can you, a Canadian, even include Canada in that statement that anti-Semitism is no longer acceptable? The silence coming from your Prime Minister on the Mahathir speech is deafening. A quick review of Damian Penny's site tells you that there is a substantial portion of Canadians who do think it is acceptable to be anti-Semitic. Sari Stein has documented many instances. The neocon conspiracy accusations, Concordia University, SFSU, so-called "peace" rallies that devolve into anti-Semitic hatefests—once again, in what parallel universe are you residing, Colby? Because here in mine, anti-Semitism is quite acceptable in both polite and impolite society.

In fact, here are some letters I received in only the last few days. From April:

I was back in the kitchen fixing some tea and I overheard one of the others talking about his Army experiences. He served with a member of the Gottschalks family. He bragged, BRAGGED about how they called him "GotJew". Twelve years later he saw the same man at a Grand Opening of the local Gottschalks store and was miffed when Gottschalk wouldn't even acknowledge him.

From Brenda:

I just had to comment on your post about how those of us Jews who can "pass" are privy to all sorts of antisemitic remarks that few people would make around non-Jews. I have dark skin, coarse hair, and angular features, and I often find that I can "pass" - for an Arab. People routinely ask me where I'm from, and often they take guesses - so far, Iran and Lebanon lead the list of guesses, though India and Syria are up there too. (I'm mostly of Eastern European descent, with some Israeli blood in there. But no one has ever guessed that I'm part Polish, even though one grandparent is.)

I spent a few weeks in Berkeley in May of 2002, and I'm sure you can imagine what went down there. I got a lot of ignorant comments, but one in particular comes to mind:

Friend of a friend: Say, where are you from?
Me: I grew up in Ottawa.
FOAF: No...I mean, where are your PARENTS from?
Me: Montreal. [I've had this conversation a million times before, so I knew where this person was going. I just didn't feel like making it any easier for her.]
FOAF: No...I mean...ethnically, where's your family from?
Me: Well, in decreasing order, I'm part Polish, part Russian, part Romanian...
FOAF (shakes her head): No...that's not it...I'm seeing something else.
Me: ..part German...
FOAF: no, no...
Me: part Middle Eastern...
FOAF: yes, that's what I'm recognizing. Where in the Middle East?
Me: Israel.
FOAF (shrugs): Oh, but what does THAT really mean.
Me: Um, it means I have at least one ancestor from Israel.
FOAF: You're Jewish?
Me: Yes.
FOAF: But that's not an ethnicity. I mean, Jewish people aren't originally FROM there, they just MOVED there.
Me: Well, you recognized that I'm part Middle Eastern, and Israel is the only country in the Middle East that I'm partly from. So either I'm part Middle Eastern or I'm not. So far you've insisted that both are true. Obviously *I* don't know whether or not I'm part Middle Eastern, so why don't YOU tell me?

That ended that conversation, but I don't think she was convinced.

I later wondered how the conversation would have gone had I instead replied "Palestine".

I get letters like this all the time, Colby. In fact, I think I'll send out a call for more. about your recent experiences with the casual anti-Semitism of civil society.

And in a belated links roundup, Jeff Silver answers a critic, and does a fine job of explaining just what exactly is wrong about holding Jews up to a higher standard. Flak Magazine, an online publication, has an opinion piece on the issue.

Email update

Net Access is still having problems with its email queue. There's quite a jam-up; apparently, they got hit by a massive spam attack, which blew out the mail servers, which is the reason why some of you have gotten responses from me, but many have not. The newer email from you is showing up in my box, and some new email from me is showing up in yours, but the rest is waiting at the bottleneck, swearing profusely, jostling the email in front of it, and making snide remarks at the poor people who are just manning the doors.

On the other hand—sigh—spammers are still managing to get through to me. I may just have to give in and buy a spamkiller.

The blogger reviews are in!

And Dean Esmay has been Dowdified! Here's what he has to say about me:

Perfect. A highly talented, attractive, charming, witty, intelligent individual who can be lots of fun to talk to.

Both of them [Judith Weiss and Meryl] are particularly good at ... truthful accusations that cannot be easily answered.

...people say I've been mean to Meryl, and that I launched "unprovoked attacks" on her. That is the exact ... truth.

I'm ... a punching bag.

...for the record, I still think Meryl runs a great blog. I also think she can be very witty and charming.

... my early on attempts to apologize ... wins the George Orwell award for prejudice, twisted language, and levelling unanswerable charges. ... I was wrong.

... stop visiting here. I'm done with them.

But I will have more ... character assassination to silence dissent. If you think that will be interesting, stay tuned.

But wait! There's more from the comments!

... I'm going to speak about it. ... it doesn't interest you.

Al Sharpton is my dreamboat!

And I almost missed this one!

If I want to take some pleasure in Meryl Yourish's well-deserved embarassment, I'm going to. She's been completely indecent toward us, and we ... deserved it.

Then there's this from Diana Moon:

I have a thin skin and I am definitely the oversensitive type, and I’m a hot reactor

(We actually already knew that, and it's not Dowdified at all.)

About Meryl. She’s more grounded in reality. ... Great job, guys!

Today must be my official "getting things off my chest day".

... you struck a nerve. The truth has a weird way of doing that.

In fact I once tried halfheartedly to get a blogger visit to Israel together. I personally asked Meryl if she wanted to go. Her response was ... polite

If there are no agreed-upon facts then there is no communication.


Oh, dear, I seem to have forgotten to link to the post. Oh, wait. No, I didn't forget.

Even dumber than Moonbat Mahathir

Via Rantburg (an excellent website for all sorts of information on terrorism as well as the source of this hilarious piece ), an editorial that is so incredibly funny it even makes you forget how funny saying Al Bawaba is.

Are Jews Rulers or Ruled? Are Jews Rulers or Ruled? Henry Makow Ph.D.

The guy has a doctorate. And this is what he wrote about the world reaction to Mahathir's speech:

This is a classic example of how Jewish leaders create a false spectre of anti Semitism to manipulate Jews, and Americans in general, to oppose Muslims.

At a time when Israel and the US are threatening Syria and Iran with attack, as part of a larger "war of civilizations," it is necessary to highlight such media machinations.

But wait. There's more. I have to post a spit-monitor warning, though. Put down your coffee and soda. I mean it.

After Dr. Hank (and you won't believe who he really is) explains that the speech wasn't really anti-Semitic or belligerent, he goes on to say:

Mahathir's speech properly addressed the dilemma of the Muslim world. But because he was careless in characterizing the enemy, he allowed them to use the speech against Muslims.

The enemy is the Illuminati. Jewish leaders like Foxman work for Illuminati financiers. Muslims, Christians and Jews need to be very clear about who the Illuminati is.

Exactly a year ago, I featured an article about an Illuminati defector, a former "mind programmer" named Svali. Everything Svali said should be taken very seriously. Svali said the Illuminati is not Jewish but Luciferian.

Okay, wait. Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Anglican... nope, I'm not familiar with Luciferian. Are they one of the Simpsons branches?

"Yes, there are some very powerful Jewish people in this group. For instance, the Rothschild family literally runs the financial empire in Europe (and indirectly the States), and are a well-known Jewish family. I have also known people whose parents were Jewish diamond merchants in the group, and at every level. But to rise to power in the Illuminati, a Jewish person at night would be forced to renounce their faith, and to give their first allegiance to Lucifer and the beliefs of the Illuminati."

If they have to renounce their faith, then how can they still be Jews? Since they're Illuminati now, wouldn't that mean that the Illuminati control the world? I'm so confused.

She also says the Illuminati is very "Aryan" and racist in its outlook. Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels were members. German is spoken at the top. She may have been involved with just one branch but they are joined at the top in a "Supreme World Council."

Oh, come on. You expect us to believe that Hitler was in an organization with ex-Jews? Germans control the world, not Jews? Yeah, right.

"Once again, these leaders are heads in the financial world, OLD banking money. The Rothschild family in England, and in France, have ruling seats. A descendant of the Hapsburg dynasty has a generational seat. Descendants of the ruling families of England and France have a generational seat. The Rockefeller family in the US holds a seat.... The financiers, dating back to the bankers during the times of the Templar Knights who financed the early kings in Europe, created the Illuminati."

See, here you go again. The Rothschilds simply can't be in the same room as Hitler, accepted conspiracy theory simply doesn't allow for that to happen. (I have a sneaking suspicion the author of this piece read the Robert Shea/Robert Anton Wilson trilogy and thought it was nonfiction.)

Mahathir played into the enemy's hand by referring to "the Jews" in general instead of to the Illuminati and the Rothschilds specifically. He allowed the Illuminati to use anti-Semitism to incite friction between Islam and the West. He helped the Illuminati make Jews the scapegoat for their actions, just like they did in Nazi Germany.

Oooooooooh. It was the Illuminati who caused the Holocaust. The Rothschilds engineered the destruction of six million of their kin. I see. Well, no, not really. Wow, this guy is one effing lunatic.

I am a Jew but I do not control the world. The vast majority of Jews feel this way.

Whoa! You're making sense, Hank. Watch it! (I actually wonder if he's even in control of his bowels, or if he wears a diaper in the rubber room where he spends his life.)

They do not know the Rothschilds and they are ignorant of any plan for Jewish world domination. Most would oppose this Illuminati scheme if they understood it.

No, no, no, no, no! You can't keep going back and forth between Illuminati and Jewish world domination that way. How the hell is Mikey Rivero going to use this against the Jews if you say it's not their fault?!

No wonder they think anti-Semitism is irrational and feel resentment. They don't appreciate that many Jewish leaders secretly play a dominant role in the Illuminati plan.

Hello, are you not listening to me? Illuminati or Jew? Pick one. One! And I thought you said it was just Abe Foxman and the Rothschilds. Stop changing the rules on me.

Although Mahathir mentioned that not all Jews are involved, he should not have made statements that could be misconstrued. He should have taken his own advice, to think more.

Ut-oh, that's it. Watch for Moonbat Mahathir to have an "accident" soon. Or a sudden fatal illness.

The Illuminati operate on the secret society principle.

But we know their secret, so doesn't that negate the principle?

They enlist people to fight for a cause but they don't reveal the ultimate purpose. People can't appreciate that a multigenerational conspiracy exists and dominates history.

Stupid people. No appreciation for the one true conspiracy, even when it's pointed out in such a pillar of wisdom as Al Bawaba. (Go ahead. Say it out loud and keep a straight face. I dare you.)

The purpose of the creation of Israel and the invasion of Iraq is to colonize the Muslim world and eradicate Islam. Islam is the biggest stumbling block to the Luciferian world religion, secular humanism. (In the Luciferian religion, man and not God defines reality. For example, God created men and women different and complementary but the humanist high priests say the two sexes are identical.)

I do believe that was a slap at radical feminists there. On the other hand, I love the way Dr. Hank ties in the creation of Israel with the invasion of Iraq, like there weren't 55 years in between the two events. And like there wasn't a colonization of the Muslim world long before Israel was created.

Jews and Christians should make common cause with Muslims in upholding the rule of God and in resisting globalization. We mustn't let the Illuminati use the red herring of anti-Semitism to distract and divide.

Hey! Stop making sense! Well, except for the resisting globalization thing. And besides, if Star Trek has taught us anything at all, it's taught us that resistance is futile. (Or, in the Muslims' case, feudal.)

The Rothschilds and Illuminati rule the world by proxy. They get others, including Muslims, Americans and Israelis, to fight and die for them.

Wait a minute, that sounds familiar. Let me think... where have I heard that before? Oh, I've got it! Mahathir's speech!

But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.

Tell us, Dr. Hank: What does it all mean?

The reporting of Mahathir's speech illustrates how we are manipulated. We are all Illuminati pawns. In Svali's words: "These people love the game of chess, and see warfare between nations as creating an order out of chaos."

* Henry Makow, is the inventor of the board game Scruples, and the author of A Long Way to go for a Date. He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto.

Holy cow! The guy who created Scruples is the one who has the goods on the llluminati? I felt sure it'd be the guys who invented Trivial Pursuit. I mean, they had to do more research, y'know? (And his theories show up on such reliable websites, too. Geez.)

All kidding aside, notice the major recurrent thread through this article. The Rothschilds. The Jews. Over and over again, in spite of the pretense that it's the Illuminati running the world, the article makes certain to point out the Rothschilds, and to make sure the reader remembers that they are Jews, even while mentioning the Illuminati and insisting that most Jews aren't involved in the Illuminati conspiracy.

Nutty crap like this is endemic in the Arab world. That's why Mahathir's speech earned a standing ovation. It didn't sound strange at all to them.



Ohmigod, they've found me

The TMQ fans have found out that Gregg Easterbrook was fired.

Folks, do me a favor? Give me three steps.

Thanks. Seeya!

The casual anti-Semitism of civil society

This is the reason I got so upset with Gregg Easterbrook's words about Jewish Hollywood executives: They are reflective of the casual anti-Semitism of civil society.

In other words, they're the sort of thing that people say when they think there are no Jews around to object.

Eve Simon sent me a letter yesterday. We haven't crossed paths in quite some time, not since a debate about "passing" went around the blogosphere. Various women bloggers were writing about which of us look Jewish, and which do not—hence being able to "pass" for Gentile.

I don't "look" Jewish. If my Star of David is out of sight, I hear things that my Jewish-looking peers only hear from professed bigots. Like the time I was at a party at my then-best friend's house. Jackie Mason had just gotten engaged. So had Donald Trump. My cousin and I were talking to a few of the guests, none of whom were Jewish, and the topic was Donald Trump and the gigantic diamond engagement ring he had bought Marla. The men and women were agreed that she was one lucky woman, and that was just an amazing ring. Then someone brought up Jackie Mason's new bride, and the gigantic diamond engagement ring he had bought her. "So ostentatious," one woman said. "Isn't that just like a Jew? They have to show off their money," said another. My blood pressure was rising, and I was about to say something when my cousin pulled me aside and begged me not to make a scene. I let him persuade me, stalked off to talk to the hostess and tell her what kind of horrible guests she had, and went to the backyard, where I saw the woman again a few minutes later. I made sure my Star of David was prominently displayed this time, and went up to her, glaring. She got the message and walked away. She couldn't meet my gaze.

This is the kind of casual anti-Semitism that gets experienced by Jews every day, all around the world. Those people saw absolutely no logical disconnect between the two examples. Donald Trump was being a good fiancé, Jackie Mason was one of those showoff rich Jews.

But there are many more examples. Called a lawyer a "shylock" lately? How many times have you heard the phrase "Jew someone down"? How many times have you used it yourself? Moonbat Mahathir's speech about Jews controlling the world is accepted belief in the Arab nations. And in other parts of the world, including right here in America.

When I went to my local Chrysler dealer to get my warranty extended a few months ago, I was told by the salesman that he wasn't the man whose picture was on the desk. No, that was the Jewboy who had the day off.

Casual. Unthinking. Clueless. Anti-Semitic.

So when I see anti-Semitic accusations introduced in a screed about movie violence, it sets off alarms for me. The ones that say we should not let this use of casual anti-Semitism pass. The ones that say we need to stop these uses of it before it becomes the kind that lead to the destruction and death that have been the history of the Jew.

Many people don't even realize that their words are hateful. Sometimes, it's a simple matter of pointing it out. I don't intend to stop pointing it out. And frankly, I don't give a damn if people get mad at me because of it. You're not the one that's going to suffer for anti-Semitism. I am. My brothers will. My family and friends. The strangers who read my weblog. Allison. Imshin. Lynn. The boys at Protocols. And you too, Diane.

When the use of anti-Semitic phrases is no longer a casual thing, I'll stop. But I don't expect that to happen in my lifetime.

Answering letters

Net Access is still having problems, so if your email doesn't require an immediate response, I'm replying to it and then putting it in the drafts queue until the problem is fixed.

Meantime, the email from NAC is coming v..e..r..y s..l..o..w..l..y, and yet, there is still spam.

Oh, and in spite of being woken up by the cats on both ends of the night (sigh), I do believe I'm feeling back to normal today. Now. Who can I rip to shreds this week?

Oh, stop. I'm kidding. Really. Well, mostly. I can think of a couple of bloggers who could use a good trouncing. But if I let myself go there, it'd make my comments on Easterbrook look like two grandmothers arguing over tea. Say, maybe we should start a new thing: Bare-knuckle blogging, a site where there are no rules, and you take no prisoners. Settle all differences the old-fashioned, Usenet way: Flame 'em until they're charbroiled. It would replace having people whine and take potshots all over the place.

But then, it could really impact on my reputation. You all know I'm such a gentle soul. I wouldn't harm a fly. Well, er, actually, I roll up a newspaper and smack any fly that gets into my house, but, well, you know what I mean. Yep. Harmless. Sweet. Introverted.

Oh, wait, that's what I was like until I turned six. Never mind.

Email problems

Net Access, my hosting service, had some kind of meltdown yesterday concerning their email servers, which is giving me the oddest email patterns I've ever seen. Things have been fixed, but the queue is going down only slowly, so as not to choke the servers, I presume.

I've been receiving emails in dribs and drabs, and I'm unable to send email from my PC, but I've successfully sent email via the server (which, if you remember from a few days ago, is the place where I hand-delete my spam). But the email program on the server is primitive and I use it sparingly, so most mail will go unanswered until the problem is fixed.

But here's the upshot: I've figured out the pattern. Most of my emails are arriving only slowly, but amazingly, every single negative email is being deleted before I can read it. So if you're not getting any answers, it's because this astonishing burp in the email service is deleting any and all nasty remarks, while leaving friendly mail untouched. It's sort of my very own email neutron bomb.

If you ask me, that's the most convenient email inconvenience I could ever imagine.




More LOTR humor

I remember now what started this all: Last week's episode of The Gilmore Girls. (If you're not watching it, you are missing the best comedy on television.)

The scene: A child's birthday party, LOTR theme. Some choice dialogue:

Lorelei, to squabbling boys: Hey! Love, guys, love Okay? Lord of the Rings is all about the love.
Boy: Nuh-uh, it's all about the destruction of all mankind!
Lorelei: And who doesn't love that?

A girl comes up to Lorelei, crying.

Girl: Riley said only boy hobbits can travel to Mount Doom. Is that true?
Lorelei: In the movie, only boy hobbits travel to Mount Doom. But that's only because the girl hobbits went to do something even more dangerous.
Girl: What?
Lorelei: Have you ever heard of a Brazilian bikini wax?

This is only one small part of why I watch the show.

Judith Weiss sent me this hilarious map: It's Frodo on Hoom! map service, complete with printable directions and mileage for the trip to Mordor. ( he's even using the name of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books.)

Martin B. sent this link to McSweeney's, which has Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn deconstructing the films. I'd seen that a while ago, and it's still funny.

The elephant in the room

Its name is Easterbrook. (No offense, Gregg, I'm not saying your blog makes you look fat.)

I've been ignoring the most recent waves today, or trying to. Then I got another email from another reporter wanting another quote, and I wound up getting asked some tough questions, which made me think about the way I write these blogs. Time to go into self-analysis mode again; yesterday's blog wasn't enough.

Anyway. That's what's going on in my head today, between doing a dozen other things (all the while ignoring the housecleaning issues, which will likely continue to be ignored until Wednesday morning, when I will run around cleaning frantically before my co-editor of the newsletter arrives).

And that's the reason I'm staying away from controversy at the moment. That, and I have to get the synagogue newsletter done, and a lesson plan, and figure out what I'm going to say to a group of college kids from VCU tomorrow evening (I hope we're not going to discuss the Easterbrook column).

If I had comments, I'd say it was an open thread day. Talk amongst yourselves, and I'll get back to you later.

Tolkien geeky goodness

I found myself completely overwhelmed by the urge to watch The Fellowship of the Rings over the weekend. I did so, pausing from time to time to watch the Yankees first lose to, then beat, the Marlins (I watched the extended DVD over two nights). And now I find myself really thrilled that I scored two tickets to Trilogy Tuesday, the day when I'll be spending some ten hours on my behind in a film theater filled with a few hundred other Tolkien geeks, watching all three films on the same day.

I also found myself laughing at Orlando Bloom's Legolas, and remembering the Captain Obvious moniker given to him by many of the fans. In fact, I explained it so well to my ten-year-old niece when we watched The Two Towers last month that her father said, "Will you stop saying that?" because every time Legolas said something obvious, Sorena said, "Duh!"

So I dug around a little and found these funny LOTR pieces. This is Aragorn's private diary. This is the condensed parody of the Fellowship of the Ring. This one's the condensed parody of The Two Towers. And here's the Tolkien sarcasm page, where you can look around to your heart's content. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But not as afraid as I'm going to be when I get a glimpse of my fellow Tolkien geeks in December.



And now, for something completely nice

Chief Wiggles' effort to bring toys to the children of Iraq are back on board again. Go check out Operation Give, and send either toys or money.

The Easterbrook Affair: I have a bad feeling about this

Gregg Easterbrook and I spoke on the phone this afternoon, and I'm feeling very bad for the guy. It sounds like the execs at ESPN aren't going to change their minds no matter what, but that doesn't mean we can't flood the zone with email anyway. Things are always darkest before the dawn, they say.

Gregg was, as Roger Simon pointed out, taking full responsibility for what he wrote while being clear that he didn't mean to come off as a bigot. I talked for a while about why I wrote what I did, and then we discussed the effects of the ESPN job loss. Unfortunately, it's a huge chunk of his income. And there are a whole lot of TMQ fans out there who are going to go through withdrawal come Tuesday. Perhaps Slate will hire him back—last I checked, they weren't under the Disney thumb. Here's their main email contact, you can send letters on Gregg's behalf.

We also discussed the probability that it's Rush Limbaugh blowback that lost Gregg his job at ESPN. This time, they just fired the guy who caused controversy without waiting to see what would happen. (And "disappeared" all his columns, which is very Stalinist and creepy, as has been said elsewhere.)

This matter is making me rethink the way I do things around here. I rarely get into blogwars (and by that I mean personality wars, not just disagreements between bloggers), and I didn't think that I was getting into a blogwar when I first wrote about Gregg's TNR blog post. I don't generally do the interpersonal thing. I reserve my ire for national and international figures, particularly terrorists and known Jew-haters. When I first wrote about the Tarantino Easterblogg, I thought of it the same way I think when writing about a news article: Here's something that doesn't sound right, let's point it out.

I don't think I'll be changing my style, even in light of what happened to Gregg Easterbrook. Well, okay, maybe I'll lighten up the rhetoric a tad next time.

Naaah. I can't do that. There are no hard feelings, he told me on the phone, and I have none here, either. Frankly, if he ever writes something like that again, I'll take him to task all over again for it. How much influence did I have in this affair? Not as much as some people think.

I find it hard to believe that I have any real influence, as Mitchell says below. Yes, I have a fair number of regular readers, but it's not like I'm being read by the White House or the editors of the New York Times. I seriously doubt that the pros who read my blog are influenced much by anything they read here. All I do is point out news items, and add my opinion to those items.

Which, uh, come to think of it... sounds like an op-ed writer.

Okay. Maybe a little influence. So I'll think about what I write a little more before coming out with it, okay, Andrew?

I always have my editor's hat on while writing these posts. I'll pull it down a bit more firmly in the future.

Words matter

In between writing a half dozen things today, this email from Mitchell Sommers arrived, which I am publishing in full:

Some comments, which perhaps sound harsher than they are meant to.

People get fired in the world of broadcasting for all kinds of reasons. Some make sense. Some are stupid. It's a brutal, cutthroat industry. My girlfriend worked in TV news in NY, LA, Philly and DC for many years. Emphasis on worked. Her reaction to this story was a big, fat, "yeah, and so????"

Sports has even less tolerance for this kind of stuff than the news divisions do. They are supposed to be an escape from all of that. And don't tell me he said it in another forum. You think they can't read?

No blogger I know, respect or read has anything in common with a blowhard like Rush. But many of those do have lots in common with Gregg Easterbrook. This is why his firing is bugging the blogosphere. There's a few sentiments going on:

a) He's not some blowhard, but is literate, opinionated, backs things up with facts usually, generally not a asshole.

b)Bloggers have the right to criticize people like that. It's what they do. It's the nature of the blogosphere. And everyone's supposed to be an adult about this kind of stuff and respect free and unfettered exchanges of opinion.

It's not just a bunch of talk in blogland. Ideas matter. Words matter. And yeah, the blogosphere is starting to matter. So when you pile on, expect people who follow those things to notice. And when you pile on a guy who works for a sports division of Disney, a division that was ready to shove Limbaugh out the door before he ran through it himself, and when that guy has said something stupid not just about Jews in general but about his own damn boss, expect that the guy you're writing about is going to get canned.

Words matter. Not just Easterbrook's, but yours, and Professor Glenn's, and Roger Simon's, and everybody else. You wanted to be noticed, guess what, you were. And if you were naive enough to thing that being noticed meant "encouraging a healthy, free flowing exchange of debate" and didn't mean "Big huge corporation with Mouse Ears will dump Easterbrook's sorry ass at the first sign of trouble," then you, and Professor Glenn, and Roger Simon and all the rest were really, really naive.

And no, I'm not saying that I approve of the firing—I don't. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't have spoken up—you should have. But words having consequences applies all around.

You want the blogosphere to matter. Guess what, it does. For good and for bad. Deal with it.

On the other hand, Aaron S. says:

If Disney/ABC really wanted to do something about anti-semitism, they wouldn't fire Gregg Easterbrook for one little comment. They would lead the nightly national news with the story of the Malaysian prime minister's speech.

Easterbrook's comment about Miramax was phenomenally stupid, but if he needs a place to publish TMQ, we would be happy to publish it.

I'll pass the word along, Aaron. Click on that link for his opinion of the situation.

Pat T. has a different viewpoint:

I'd write to ESPN, but then I'd have to believe that the blogging done by journalists is journalism. I don't think it is. In this sphere journalists are like anybody else who blogs or stands on a street corner or at the office water cooler dispensing his or her opinions to anyone who cares to hear (or read) them.

He said something about one of his bosses about which that boss might reasonably object and on the basis of which that boss (or his underlings) might act. It happens every day.

I won't be sending them an e-mail of support either. I never say "good job" when someone is fired. It's how I was brought up.

Pat, you wound me. You mean to say I'm not an Important Person Spouting Off Important Viewpoints? Ow. Ow!

Lair Simon is of the opinion that it's an Eisner axing as well.

The number one rule of Disney is NEVER INSULT KING MICHAEL. If it could be coded into the DNA of cast members, you'd see band-aids on th backs of their necks from the needle-pricks the next day.

Easterbrook broke that rule in calling him a mere supervisor.

Justice is swift, but injustice is doubly-so. The axe fell.

There are a few bloggers who I will be getting back to on the subject. I do believe it's time for a Yes, Virginia, there really is a rise in anti-Semitism post. Not that I'm saying Gregg Easterbrook is an anti-Semite. I didn't say that last week, and I'm not saying it now.


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.