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Haifa mass murder update

Islamic Jihad has spoken.

Security sources said they believed Islamic Jihad was behind the attack, and that the bomber came from the West Bank city of Jenin. She apparently entered Israel between the towns of Baka al-Garbiyeh, which is inside Israel, and Baka al-Sharkiyeh, in the West Bank, in an area in which the separation fence has not yet been completed.

Islamic Jihad stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attack, but a leader of the militant group said that the bombing was "a natural Palestinian response to the daily crimes carried out by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians."

Abdullah al-Shami told reporters in Gaza that "the attack proves the failure of all the Zionist security measures taken, including the closure [of the borders with the Palestinian territories] and the racist isolation security fence."

Watch him contradict himself in a minute. The attack only proves that the IDF isn't perfect, and that for every x number of suicide attacks they prevent—and they prevent many—some get through.

Al-Shami denied the attack had any specific political dimension, adding that the lack of attacks against Israel over the last few weeks was not a result of a political decision by the Palestinian militants.

"Halting attacks against the Zionist entity was a result of difficulties Palestinian militants faced on the ground," he said, adding that attacks are carried out as soon as militants find it possible.

In other words, there have been no attacks for the last three weeks because the IDF was capturing and killing terrorists, and the separation fence is beginning to work. In spite of their rhetoric about how the fence will not stop attacks, the attacks are being prevented. The terrorists are raising the volume about the fence because without terrorist attacks, they have nothing to keep the pals from realizing that by following the murderers, they have brought themselves nothing but misery.

Now the pals are trying to get a UN Security Council resolution against the fence. I'm predicting they'll get the resolution drafted, and the U.S. will veto it. Then it will go to the General Assembly, where it will pass overwhelmingly.

Oh, and Yasser Arafat has come out with a statement against the bombing. Hold onto your hats, the condemnation is so vehement it will blow them off.

Arafat said in a statement that the attack gave Israel a "pretext to obstruct international peace efforts."

Hoo-wee, I'm underwhelmed. How about you?

Do you think he handed out candy and sweets to everyone in the Muqata upon hearing the news?

I'm thinkin'.

Begging to differ

Found another good weblog, this time a group blog written by four guys of varying political leanings. This is from their "about" page:

The four of us have become enchanted with the international conversation known as the "blogosphere.” However, as even a casual weblog-reader will tell you, this conversation has its pros and cons. On the one hand, we can appreciate the adversarial nature of the blogosphere, with independent voices vigorously and staking their own positions and critiquing those of others. While weblogging can be a vehicle for discovering truth through the adversarial approach, the conversation frequently becomes shrill, polarized, and disrespectful.

With "Begging to Differ," we intend to take a different approach. We intend to embrace Terry Sanford's wisdom as much as four very opinionated people can. We intend to offer scattershot opinions about politics, law and culture. We've purposely gathered four unique perspectives. Two of us lean conservative; two of us lean leftward. We intend to vigorously disagree with other bloggers, with each other, perhaps sometimes even with ourselves. Though we reserve the right to agree on occasion, for the most part we beg to differ.

Greg is now singlehandedly responsible for my attempt to get tickets to the LOTR marathon showing on December 16th. I didn't know this was happening. I had hoped for, but didn't expect, a Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon. Then I read Greg's Movie Geek Preview Roundup (although I sorta stopped after finding out about the marathon).

One of my local theaters is hosting the trilogy event. I'll try to get two tickets and then see what happens. Andrea, a theater in your neck of the woods is having one. Are you going? Tickets go on sale October 9th. Here's hoping there aren't that many Tolkien geeks in the Richmond area. I'm thinking not so much.

Back to BTD: Ramar's opinion on the Rush Limbaugh self-immolation is dead-on. I'm looking forward to reading more from these guys.

Why the Separation Fence is necessary

I missed this graf in the Ha'aretz article:

The bomber was later identified as woman, who security sources said was a member of Islamic Jihad from the West Bank city of Jenin. She apparently entered Israel between the towns of Baka al-Garbiyeh, which is inside Israel, and Baka al-Sharkiyeh, in the West Bank, in an area in which the separation fence has not yet been completed.

Charles pointed it out for me.


A suicide bomber blew himself—or herself—up in Haifi earlier today. The bastards have possibly changed their tactics.

The popular jointly Arab-Israeli owned restaurant was packed with weekend patrons. A police spokesman told Israel Radio that the attack also involved gunfire. A security guard was working on the premises. Reports indicate that shots were fired at the guard to neutralise him, after which the terrorist entered the restaurant.

Police have confirmed that the bomber shot dead the security guard before entering the restaurant. Channel One reported a security source saying that the terrorist suicide bomber was a female.

The attack was in Haifa. Let's go look at a map of Israel, shall we?

map of norhern israel

Does everyone see what I see? Haifa is nowhere near the so-called "green line" that became Israel's border after the Six-Day War. Not that this matters to the terrrorists. They pretend it does. Their so-called cease-fires usually say they'll stop attacks "inside the green line"—as if Israeli lives outside the line are worth less, which they are not.

Islamic Jihad is taking responsibility for the murders. Islamic Jihad wants the destruction of all Israel. So does Hamas. And so, in spite of their denials, do Al-Aqsa, Fatah, the PFLP and its relations, and the Palestinian Authority, headed by none other than Murderer-in-chief Yasser Arafat.

At least 18 people were killed and over 50 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant in Haifa at around 2:15 P.M. on Saturday.

One of the wounded was in critical condition and another six were seriously hurt. Five children were said to be among the dead.

Five children. They went for a family restaurant again. At lunchtime. And if this was a woman, the pals have managed to twist human nature so badly that she gleefully set off her bomb among families out for lunch. Think about yourself or your friends or relatives out for lunch at a Denny's or McDonald's with your children. Now imagine that Al Qaeda managed to send a suicide bomber here.

How would you feel?

And the world does not feel that it's right for Israel to build the separation fence. Or exile or kill Arafat.




Weird searches

Wow, did I get some doozies recently.

jewish discrimination coons smart noses: If anyone can figure out what that means, or what the searcher was looking for, send me email, because this one has me completely flummoxed.

hurricane isabel jews: Okay, I'm not getting this one much, either. What, Hurricane Isabel was our fault, too? Oh, right. I forgot. Jews control the world. That includes the weather. In that case, hello, someone make it warmer, please. It's only the first week in October, and it should not be this cold in Richmond.

woodpecker cigar hat: Can you picture it? Frightening, isn't it?

Eat The Day: What, carpe diem isn't enough? Perhaps someone thought that it was carp diem? (Calling Doc Weevil... what's the Latin for "eat"?)

King Abdullah liposuction: This is disturbing in so many different ways. First, that someone was looking for data on it. Second, that the search brought them to my website. Third, that the image in my mind is going to scar me for life. Need I go on?

pictures of monkeys being hunted and killed: Frank! Look, we all know about your dislike of monkeys, but c'mon. This is disgusting.

electricty lost by hurricane isabel: Oh, did people lose their electricity because of Isabel? I hadn't heard.

Abu Hassan Premiere: Not really sure about this, but I'm the number one result for it. Go figure.

Muslim Superheroes: What, you mean like Terrorism Guy, or The Exploder? How about Honor Killer? Child Brainwasher? Bus Blowup Lad?

Okay, I'll stop, I'll stop.

Who needs coffee when you can read Reuters first thing in the morning?

I know, I know, it's not like I should be surprised about this. But their latest reportage on Hamas is more than usually biased.

Hamas Says Israeli Barrier Will Not Stop Attacks

The Islamic militant movement Hamas said Friday the barrier Israel is building with the West Bank would not prevent attacks on Israelis and doomed the U.S.-backed peace "road map" to failure.

"The wall will not protect the Zionist entity and will not stop the strikes of resistance. The day will come when this wall will eventually collapse just as the Berlin Wall collapsed," Hamas said in a statement released in the Gaza Strip.

The statement stepped up a Palestinian campaign against the barrier, which Israel decided Wednesday to extend deeper into Palestinian territory to enclose some big Jewish settlements.

The statement "stepped up" the campaign against the barrier. Um, no. The statement essentially said that Hamas will never stop trying to kill Jews until Israel is destroyed. Just like the said last week. And the week before that. And the week before that. And just as they say in their charter.

And calling Hamas "the Islamic militant movement" when even the EU has designated Hamas a terrorist organization is simply pathetic.

Look at how matter-of-factly they present Hamas' murderous intentions and history:


Hamas, which has carried out many suicide bombings and opposes Israel's existence, said the barrier would "provoke more Palestinian anger and fuel the spirit of resistance."

But they're "militants." Using the word terrorist is deemed too emotional. Say, who's the author of this piece, anyway?

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

Well, that's a shocker. Say, what ever happened to that road map, anyway?

The road map the Quartet devised has bogged down, with each side saying the other should take the next step to implement it.

Notice that there is no mention whatsoever of the suicide attacks that cause Israel to end participation in the road map.

Israel says it has to take measures to prevent attacks on its citizens because the Palestinian Authority has not carried out an obligation under the road map to crack down on militants, a move which Palestinian leaders say would risk civil war.

Notice how the article deftly accuses Israel of trying to cause a palestinian civil war. "Crack down on militants": A Reuters euphemism for arresting murderers of children.

Israel also denies it is creating a de facto border to annex territory it seized in the 1967 Middle East war.

Once again, the war has been renamed, and Israel is made out to be the bad guy—she seized the territory. It wasn't won in battle, and in the days immediately following the war, she offered the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip back in return for peace with the Arab nations was rejected. But this is never mentioned by anyone anymore. Also, notice the language used for Israel: She "denies" facts about the fence. Notice when they refer to any Israeli spokesman, the wording will always cast doubt on the truth of the statement.

This is the final paragraph, the boilerplate regarding Jewish towns in the disputed territories:

About 230,000 Jews live in 150 heavily guarded settlements scattered among 3.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The international community says such settlements are illegal under international law, but Israel disputes this.

Obviously, they don't deserve to live there, because there are more Arabs than Jews. Right? Say, what's that about protecting the minority populations everybody screeches about? Oh, right. That doesn't count if the minority population is Jewish. Israel is excoriated for wanting to be a Jewish state, but the pals are held to be perfectly fine for not wanting to have Jews in the same places they're living. Just as the expulsion of millions of Sephardic Jews from Arab nations has been ignored by the world that demands Israel let the pals back to the towns they left in 1948.

Reuters: The news service that gets your blood pumping in the morning, and cuts down on your caffeine intake.

Warning: Twelve screaming pre-teen girls ahead

Yes, that's what I have to look forward to later today (or actually, tomorrow, as I'm writing this just past midnight). I promised Heidi that I would save her from the horde of pre-pubescent females that will be descending upon her home tomorrow evening. We had Sorena's family birthday party tonight, and she was already wound up so tight we practically had to frog-march her to bed. I got her the latest in the Series of Unfortunate Events (which is also on my wishlist, coincidentally). Sorena has invited eleven other little girls to help celebrate her tenth birthday this afternoon.

We will be tie-dyeing shirts for the girls. I managed to avoid most of that growing up, but the Annoyance Fairies who like to make sure that we have to be annoyed when we are adults over things that annoyed us as teenagers made sure that I get to do this at least one more time before I die. I'm so thrilled I could just—die. I just know someone, somewhere, is going to buy me a pair of workshoes next. And a paisley shirt. I hate paisley. It was ugly in the sixties. It was ugly in the seventies. It was ugly in the eighties and nineties, and it is still ugly today. Perhaps we can just shorten the torture by finding a paisley shirt dotted with smiley faces. Yeah, that would either kill me on the spot, or turn me into a mass-murderer.

Anyway. There I go, digressing again. I'll know about half the girls there tomorrow, and I just realized... they're the same age as the students I teach in religious school. God help me. I'm voluntarily stepping into the lion's den, only there will be twelve of them, and they're all girls, and all about ten years old. Help me, Lizzie McGuire! You're my only hope!



Reasons to hate Quentin, 1, 2, 3

If I didn't already loathe Quentin Tarantino, the talentless hack who thinks more gore equals better movies, this would do it for me:

Kill Bill is feminist statement, says Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino says his new film is so outrageous it does "not take place on planet Earth".

Speaking ahead of tonight's UK premiere, Tarantino, flanked by Kill Bill stars Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah and Julie Dreyfus, says the film is a feminist statement - "a film about girl power".

Kill Bill, Tarantino's fourth film and first since Jackie Brown was released six years ago, follows one-time elite assassin The Bride as she wakes from a five-year coma to get her revenge against Bill, played by David Carradine, the man who wronged her, and his murderous associates.

So let's see what kind of feminist statement Tarantino intends to make:

Tarantino described in graphic detail a gang rape scene which he said was a "sequence of hell" of which he was very proud.

Ah. A gang rape scene. Yep, that practically screams "feminism!" to me. Why, when I think of feminist statements, gang rapes top the list of things that concern me as a woman and a feminist. And a movie about a woman getting revenge on the man who done her wrong. Why, how much stronger a feminist statement could you possibly make?

He described some of the ways in which he achieved the original action shots and graphic violence, which included filling Chinese condoms with blood and spraying it over the actors.

There you go. He's using condoms, which is also a feminist statement about safe sex. Whoops, wait—nope, he's filling them with blood and spraying them over the actors. Totally unsafe, dude. Never mind.

Then there's this lovely quote:

"There's no disgrace in trying to kill people in the coolest way possible -- especially if you're doing a martial-arts movie."

Which explains why Tarantino is a talentless hack. And if that isn't enough, here's what he told Zap2it:

"The reason I'll never do a comic book movie with like, 'The Flash' or something like that is **** those comic book geeks, man. You can't please them," Tarantino emphatically tells "I might do a comic book movie, but I'd come up with my own characters where I'm god and I'm the expert and not you guys."

Whatta guy. Let's all go see his movies twice now, okay?

Yeah. Okay. Uh-huh.

That thinking thing again

I was doing some of that thinking stuff again (yes, I know, I've been told not to, but when have I ever done as I've been told?), and I came up with, er, well, nothing.

PinataBut then, I haven't written one of those nothing posts in a while, and there's this picture that I took that I've been meaning to put up here, but since I took the picture sometime during the Hurricane Isabel period, it rather languished on my hard drive.

I was wondering if any of you could figure out what this is. It's a creation of Heidi's for Sorena's birthday; the annual pinata was begun right around the time Isabel was taking a bead on Richmond. And since I'm actually around for Sorena's birthday this year, I got to see the pinata from its inception, which means I got to ask Heidi, "What the hell is that supposed to be?" and she got to say, "I am hurt, hurt that you would mock my creative talents." Then I decided to put up the picture here and see if any of my readers could figure out what it is. Because then, of course, I can mock Heidi's creative talents some more when you all guess wrong. (Actually, this isn't the first picture, it's taken five days after the one that I thought was supposed to be an alien from outer space, so you should all get it right. And if you don't, yes, of course I'll rub it in to Heidi.)

I'll take a picture of the finished product before the kids beat the hell out of the pinata in order to make it give up its candy (and oh, can't we write a whole shipload of books on analyzing that little tradition that came out of the Spaniards (we can probably blame that on Islam, too)). Ut-oh, now I've given Aziz more ammunition to call me a racist, bigoted slimebag while simultaneously accusing me of overemphasizing anti-Semitism and really, I'd link the posts, but then if you're a regular reader, you know what I'm talking about, and if you're not, you won't click the links anyway, and in either case, I have to go look through my archives, find the posts, cut and paste the links, and, like, dudes, that's so much work. So I'll just sling little arrows at Aziz, just like he does to me, and we'll leave it at that, shall we? Good.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Sorena turns ten on Friday. She informed her mother weeks ago that once she was ten, she was no longer a kid. She was a pre-teen. Got that? A pre-teen. Not a kid, not a little girl, but a pre-teen. And she and her friends now make up dance routines to girl band music. Alas. My attempts to turn her into a headbanger are failing.

In the meantime, my nephew becomes a teenager on Sunday. His voice is deepening. I am old, old, old. I have earrings older than my nephew. I do not, mind you, have underwear older than he. I have some standards, after all. Say, when I went to Heidi's to wait out Isabel, I packed everything I needed, like candles and flashlights and things, but I'd completely blanked on packing socks and underwear. But it was a lot easier to restock from my apartment when I went back home to see what damage had been done in my neighborhood. Last time I visited Heidi and forgot my underthings, my underwear drawer was in New Jersey. I had to buy more. Not this time, though. This is what is known as progress.

I was thinking recently that I might actually change the blog to more punditing, less cats and posts like this. But as I'm sitting here writing this, regretting big-time the two-hour nap I took this evening (it was afternoon when I started, and it was only supposed to be a few minutes, just enough to get energized for the rest of the day) because I know I'll be up until three tonight, I'm thinking there's no need to change. I don't want to give up the fun stuff, and getting you folks to figure out what Heidi's making is part of the fun stuff. So is posting about my cat's neuroses. I woke up this morning with Tig wrapped around my head on the pillow, looking fearfully at his old spot three feet away, so the rehabilitation continues, and of course, so does my discomfort. Purring in my ear does not make up for waking me up. Okay, maybe a little, but really, I'd rather have no purring and no waking me up. And they're conspiring against me today. They've been sleeping all evening. I don't expect to have a good night's sleep tonight at all.

But I have to try, and it's now past 1:30 a.m., so I think I'm going to try to get some sleep. But I have a bad feeling about tonight.



The Plame Affair: My precious

I've been trying to wrap my brain around who's telling the truth, and who's lying, about the Plame affair. I think Andrew Northrup summarizes it better (and funnier!) than anyone I've ever seen, and I'm going to agree with Megan's take on the whole situation. Via Mac Thomason.


Kate's back blogging again, after dealing with her cold, her son's cold, and her husband's broken foot (I'm assuming it hasn't quite healed yet, unless he has Wolverine-like healing factors in his blood).

Ya know, I think she's still a little grumpy, though.

Kelley's Cul-de-Sac was up Monday, but I am fashionably late linking to it. And I love this explanation for getting up late. I'm buyin' it, Kelley.

Kesher Talk is, as always, fine, fine, fine. I found two new blogs via Judith, and will be posting about them soon. Go look for yourself: Harry's Place and au currant, two excellent new-to-me weblogs.

The Philosophical Cowboy discusses how the Saudis will be imprisoning women for being pregnant. So that's how they get that population spike.

Spoons has a very funny post on the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus. Yes, I said Spoons. No, there's no deeper meaning to it. You saw Frasier last night, didn't you?

I haven't sent you to Bill Herbert's site in ages. I am remiss. One of the things I like about Bill's site is that you get insightful commentary and analysis as well as biting wit that's so sharp it tears through flesh and bone.

Speaking of biting wit: Anna of Primal Purge. Standard spit-monitor warning applies; never read her site while drinking or eating unless you want to ruin your computer and choke to death, which would, actually, be a pretty gross thing for someone to find after your body's been sitting there a while. I've added Anna and Spathic (same spit-monitor warning applies) to my links page.

The guy I was trying to remember who had resumed blogging was Grasshoppa. Sorry, Geoff.

Now it can be told: LT Smash (now Citizen Smash) is the Indepundit

Phew. He's come out and identified himself. (And links to me on a day when I'm talking about my cats. Sigh.) So I can say, yes, I knew it was him right away, and yes, I kept it to myself and told no one. Until he was safe at home and said it was all right.

Y'know, Scott, I had so much fun during your visit that I really wish you didn't live 3,000 miles away. Ah, well. Maybe I will get on a plane again, and go back to California someday.

Israeli terrorists

How Israel deals with Jewish terrorists who plot to kill Arabs, via Alex Bensky:

Three members of the so-called Bat Ayin Jewish terror cell who were convicted earlier this month of attempted murder were handed sentences yesterday ranging from 12 to 15 years in prison.

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Shlomo Zeliger Dvir and Ofer Gamliel to 15 years each, while a third man, Yarden Morag, was handed a reduced 12-year term because he cooperated with investigators.

The three, all residents of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, had been convicted of trying to set off a bomb near a girls' school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur, as well as illegal weapons possession.

Their defense attorney complained about the sentence, saying that Arab would-be suicide bombers are given lighter sentences than his clients.

He's got a point there. It's safe to say that we won't be seeing any prisoner swaps with Israel terrorist groups resulting in these men being freed to attempt to bomb again, either.

The palestinian way of dealing with terrorists? They name schools and summer camps after them. And put them on Arafat's cabinet.



Cat stuff

Earlier this afternoon, I went into the kitchen, got something out of the pantry, and closed the doors behind me. I sat down to finish working on my resume, and heard a scratching noise. I looked around and didn't see Tig. Noise continues. I go to the front door, and he's not there. He's not at the patio door. I check the kitchen and don't see him there, and the scratching continues and a lightbulb goes off above my head. Yeah, he was in the pantry. Came right out, looking completely oblivious.

And now, for the Tig story that I've been afraid to tell, for fear of looking like an idiot: A few weeks ago, Tig developed a neurosis. He suddenly became afraid of being upstairs in general, and in my room in particular, and especially on my bed. He'd come upstairs and begin compulsively washing his tail. Repeatedly. He no longer slept on my bed at all, and if I picked him up and put him on it, he'd leap off immediately and commence washing his tail. Gracie, meanwhile, scoped out the fact that she had the bed all to herself, and within a week, was sleeping up by the pillow where Tig normally slept, as Tig slept on the floor on the other side of the bed, or out in the hallway at the top of the landing. In between washing his tail compulsively.

You can understand my situation. Asking for help here would have made me look like an overindulgent cat person just steps away from hiring that idiot pet psychic from the Animal Planet. Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen. Neither was I going to pay for a vet's visit. Imagine the conversation:

"So, what's wrong with Tig?"
"He won't sleep on my bed anymore."
"Excuse me?"
"He won't sleep on my bed, and he keeps washing his tail compulsively when he comes upstairs at all."
"So, is Tig sick?"
"No, he won't sleep on my bed anymore. He keeps washing his tail. Haven't you been listening to me?
[Vet backs away slowly]

Heidi suggested I alter the state of Tig's consciousness to get him over his compulsive tail-washing. So I put catnip on the bed. He would jump up, eat the catnip, leave, and wash his tail. After about two days of trying to think of ways to get Tig to stop washing himself compulsively when he reached the top of the stairs, I decided I had far more important things to do with my time. Especially after I realized he was no longer standing by my head and yowling in my ear when he wanted me to wake up and play with him at five in the morning. (Sometimes, I'd wake up with three or four cat toys by my hand, which he had dropped there in the hopes of my waking up to throw them and play.) So the days turned into weeks, and I started noticing things. Like Tig climbing up to the top of the closet shelf to sleep, which he also hadn't done since he started his little neurosis. And two days ago, he was yowling at me at 7 a.m., and I put my hand over the side of the bed to pet him, and he leaped into the bed and stayed there for a few minutes. This morning, he came onto his side of the bed for a belly rub. Looks like things will be back to normal in a few more weeks, which is a shame, as I was getting kinda fond of not being woken up by a cat every morning. Then again, he's been standing in the doorway and crying pitifully when he's tired of washing his tail compulsively and wants me to pet him. Which would mean getting out of bed and walking out of the room, preferably also accompanying him downstairs, and this is usually in the early morning hours.

My best guess is that the genesis of this phobia was the week I called and complained there was a squirrel in my attic. I suspect that Maintenance Guy came over while I was out. The attic entrance is a pull-down ladder at the top of the staircase, right outside the bedroom. I think Tig, who is pretty friendly, was hanging around Maintenance Guy going, "Whatcha doin'? Can I help?" and the guy locked him in my bedroom to get him out of the way. While Tig was in the bedroom, the guy went into the attic and searched for the squirrel, causing strange and fearful noises. Tig couldn't get out of the room, because the door was closed.

Or, Tig might just have developed a neurosis after my throwing a pillow at him one too many times for yowling at me to get up and play with him at five a.m. You never can tell with Tigs.

Dude, what's up with Meryl?

You might have noticed a bit of a pullback in the level of posting, and the content of posts, lately. That's partly due to the holidays, and also due to a job hunt I am currently undergoing. The job search is taking time away from blogging, of course, but hello, one of them is going to earn me money, the other won't. Which would you choose? And I am also mindful of the fact that an employer can Google my name now and come up with pages and pages and still more pages of my weblog. It's a tough choice: Paying the rent next month, or swearing on my website. Hm. Yeah, I'm going to stick with paying the rent, especially because the wolf isn't only at the door, the bastard's nose has it open a crack.

On the plus side, the agent I interviewed with today said that most employers aren't interested as much in their contractors' backgrounds, and that's the way I'm going for now. There's a job with a major corporation in the Richmond area that was practically made for me, and the salary is decent enough that if I get it, the wolf will be sent yelping away in a few short weeks, hopefully for good.

In the meantime, yes, I read "We are all Jews," and while I liked most of it, I think he's nuts if he thinks that the root of anti-Semitism is the Jewish veneration of laws over dictators. It would be nice to think so, but there are many other more logical reasons. Fear of the other comes to mind immediately. Jews have been scapegoated so much over the centuries also because they're always a minority, and it's far easier to scapegoat a minority. Although anti-Semitism is so old that it seems to have become tradition among the more brutal among us. "Who should we pick on today?" "Hey, I know! Let's go kill some Jews!"

So when the BBC publishes drek like this, and Reuters runs an article on the rise of neo-Nazism in Germany (gee, wonder how much their biased reporting contributes to that?), yeah, I'm noticing. Don't have the time to write much about it, and I'm trying to keep a slightly lower profile at the moment.

Except, damn, now I've just used swears and written about those high-profile topics again.

Oh, well. Maybe my future employers will Google my name and not care about my politics.

Drama vs. dramatics

So it's the new television season, and even though I loathed the Third Watch season finale (for which I still get search hits), I watched the season opener because I saw a commercial for it and went, "Oh, yeah, they were aiming guns at each other. I wonder who died?"

So I watched the show, and it didn't disappoint me at all. It was terrible. There is a difference between drama and dramatics. Drama is stirring, moving, and lends towards sending you away thinking about what you have just seen. Dramatics are unbelievable and depressing. It's like watching a dysfunctional family in real life: You just want them to shut up and go away. You have no sympathy for them. You even start to hate the ones being yelled at for being there instead of heading for the door.

There's a new David Kelley show this season with a dumb title: The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire. It's Picket Fences set in a small town in New Hampshire. I found it by accident last week channel surfing after The West Wing. I loved it. It's pure Kelley, and it looks to be quite good, even if he's recycling a few of the characters from previous shows. It's a quirky drama, and the families were anything but perfect, but I turned off the tube after it thinking that I'd be watching this show on Wednesday nights from now on.

Third Watch? It used to be good. It reached a now-rare high point with the two post-9/11 shows, where they showed the reaction of the squads before and after, and in the show where Amy Carlson's character's father, a fireman, was found in the rubble. But there's been nothing but dramatics since then, which simply leave a sour taste in your psyche afterward.

The show wasn't dramatic last night. It was depressing, and filled with plot points so incredible that you just have to laugh at them.

On the other hand, The Gilmore Girls premiere was everything you expect The Gilmore Girls to be. I taped it, as this benighted town doesn't have a WB station, but plays WB shows at 2:30 in the morning. And during breakfast, I managed not to choke on my cereal, but I think I sprayed some on the ottoman.

And I'm very much looking forward to the season premiere of Angel, which I may just stay up for, what with being paranoid about the VCR crapping out on me. At least this season I'm only going to be a day behind the rest of you. Oh, and I'm With Her is the only new comedy that has actually made me laugh. It's a good thing Frasier's still around.



Items of interest

It looks like the pals are revoting. No, really. Apparently, Muhammad Dahlan got pissed off about losing his job when Arafat filled his cabinet with all his old Fatah cronies. So he sponsored a riot.

Upon learning that former security minister Muhammad Dahlan had been excluded from the new cabinet of Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), thousands of demonstrators marched in the city of Khan Yunis and other places in the southern Gaza Strip over the past three days in support of Dahlan.

The protesters, many of them members of the Preventive Security Service and Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, chanted slogans condemning Qurei's cabinet and three veteran Fatah leaders known as opponents of Dahlan Abbas Zaki, Hani al-Hassan, and Sakher Habash.

In an unprecedented move, the demonstrators also set fire to effigies representing the three and called for punishing them for being "opportunists" and "collaborators."

Hoo-ha! Burn, baby, burn! Palestinian Civil War, your table is ready.

The pro-Dahlan rallies have enraged many of Fatah's top leaders and activists, who have accused the ousted security minister of trying to stage a coup d' tat in the organization Arafat founded nearly four decades ago. Some Fatah activists who participated in the protests have sought to distance themselves from the event, saying they were misled into believing that the demonstrations were organized to protest against Israel's decision in principle to "remove" Arafat.

"There is no doubt that these demonstrations were organized by Dahlan himself," a senior Fatah official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. "This is a blunt challenge to the entire Fatah leadership and to President Arafat and he must be held accountable for his actions."

Wow. Who knew Dahlan was on the other side?

Of course, I don't really believe this is going to lead to anything except maybe Dahlan's early grave.

Another veteran Fatah operative called for Dahlan's dismissal from Fatah, arguing that the former security minister was seeking to create a schism in the organization. "What Dahlan is doing is very harmful not only to Fatah, but to the entire Palestinian cause," he charged. "He has definitely crossed all the red lines."

What is it with that effing "crossed the red line" thing we keep seeing in news about Israel? I mean, okay, at least it's not that horrible "line in the sand" cliche (duh... a line in the sand is easily rubbed out, how stupid can you be to use that as a demarcation?), but still—what's with all the red line talk? Nobody else talks about it. What, does Israel have red lines drawn on the ground or something?

I'll betcha a journalist made it up.

Of course, at first glance, reading something like this makes you think that Dahlan really is a reformer:

Violence has been "detrimental" to the Palestinian cause, turning the international community against it, former Palestinian Authority security minister Muhammad Dahlan said Monday.

He also accused militants of failing to realize that the world changed after September 11.

"We had hoped that the various Palestinian factions would understand the new world that emerged after the events of September 11, 2001 and learn from their outcome," Dahlan said. "Each era of national struggle has its own characteristics and means. What is positive at a certain time might be counterproductive in other times."

Once again, though, read what the man is saying. He's not saying violence is bad because, well, violence is bad. He's saying it's bad for palestinian PR. Basically, we're seeing an internal struggle played out on the Gaza streets, but my money's on Dahlan kissing and making up with the old guard and issuing his anti-Semitic statements once more. Oh. And suicide bombers, of course.

In other news:

Barghouti uses trial to defend intifada

And there were what, three people in the entire world who thought he wouldn't?

Retired pilot joins refusers

Well. He sured showed them. Why, he's not going to fly the planes he wasn't flying anyway, out of moral principles. And that's 28 pilots (most of whom are not on active duty anyway) out of the many thousands in the IAF. Hm. Israel had better surrender now, they're screwed.

And just to make sure our disgust knows no bounds:

An IDF patrol captured two Palestinian youths north of the Sufa Crossing on Friday night as they tried to slip through the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip.

When the boys neared the fence they spotted the patrol, became frightened, crossed over, and were captured by the soldiers.

The two, ages 16 and 15, told the soldiers they had been dispatched by an adult to fetch weapons and illegal materiel. They told their interrogators that the man had offered them money if they would sneak past the heavily patrolled fence and bring back bags that had been placed nearby. Inside the bags were supposed to be a cellphone, weapons, and other items, the army said.

Funny, I'm not hearing Amnesty International protest the use of children in a war zone, and this is the second time in the last few weeks that this has happened. But then, there's that old double standard again, rearing its ugly head. I should know better than to raise it.

Israeli blog roundup

Gil's going backpacking in Nepal for a month, but he left us with an MP3 of an Israeli metal group. I liked it. Have fun, Gil, and I hope you come back to better things as well.

Imshin writes about her feelings three years after the Oslo accords, which she supported:

Things are far worse now than they were before the Oslo Accords, for us and for the Palestinians. I am saying this as one who was once a staunch supporter of these accords. Things are not worse because terrorism takes its daily toll on ordinary Israelis and because life for the Palestinians is unbearable in the shadow of the Israeli tanks. Things are worse because where there was once hope for a better future for Israelis and the Palestinians living here alongside us, now there is none.

[...] They came, these outsiders, and commenced poisoning the few sweet water wells that they found. Palestinian society is a young society, and children are more susceptible to indoctrination. An old-new hope was fuelled, a completely unrealistic but very compelling and seductive hope, not of coexistence and peace with Israel, but of ridding this land of its usurpers.

Sounds like I should have been at Allison's for Rosh Hashana dinner. Well, I made an apple cake, on my own, for the very first time. (All the other cakes have been made at Heidi's.) It turned out just fine, but next time I'm slicing the apples thicker and using less batter for the first layer. I keep forgetting just how much the cake rises when it bakes. And I think I'd better get that stuffing recipe from Dena. Wow, it was good.

Last week, Tal posted a criticism of a British columnist, who apparently read Tal's site and responded. I'm sure you'll all be shocked to learn that I agree with Tal on this one.

Coming up later in the week from me: More Edward Said posthumous criticism, weird search requests, possibly even some humor, and a blogger bash in the Williamsburg area. Well, not sure on the last one, but it's been suggested in email, and Williamsburg is a lot closer than DC. Speaking of DC bloggers: I'm willing to split the distance. Anyone know of a good place to hold a blogger bash in Fredericksburg? Yeah, I'm serious. That makes it an hour for each of us.



Funny, the world doesn't look another year older

So we've celebrated the birthday of the world, or at least, the Jews have. You other folks don't know what you're missing by not having a birthday for the world. Hours in synagogue, prayer, repentance, long periods of boredom, whoops, did that slip out? I never said that.

No, actually, services always run the gamut from deeply moving to funny (intended or not) to boring to just plain fun. My favorite parts are always the songs that everyone knows and sings along to, and my favorite prayer is Avinu Malkenu (we don't sound quite as good as this one, but it's very pretty), and a close second is B'Rosh Hashana. As a matter of fact, I was planning on blowing off services today until I found out that we don't sing Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat, and, well, it's my favorite of all the holiday songs, so there you have it.

There is something deeply moving about several hundred voices lifted in prayer. And even the least knowledgeable of Jews, the ones who pretty much only set foot in synagogue during holidays, weddings, b'nai mitzvot and funerals, know the Sh'ma, and sing at least that prayer with the congregation.

Someday, I'd like to spend the High Holidays in Israel. Well, and Passover too, for that matter. Oh, and Purim, and Chanuka, and I'll think of a few more. I just have to get over that fear of heights thing that I have in order to get on a plane. Well, it'll be El Al. That should help.


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.