The Mormons need to improve their image. Many people think of them as no more than the largest cult in America, their reputation just a cut above the scientologists. Perhaps it's because the Mormons do really dumb things like baptize people posthumously. Hat tip: Chris L.
I used to be highly offended by this practice, partly because of things like this:
It really doesn't bother me anymore. Although posthumously baptizing the vicitms of the Nazis is pretty offensive, especially when those victims were killed because they were Jews, not because they're Mormons. But when you sit back and take a broader view, you simply have to laugh. Because posthumous baptisms mean nothing to anyone but the people performing them. If the Mormons get hold of my father's and grandfather's death certificates and "baptize" them, that's not going to make them any less Jewish, or any more Mormon. I can hear my grandfather now, the tone of disdain in his voice, saying, "Och!" (which was his remaining Scots expression and a one-word way of letting us know that the topic was not worth his attention). My father would just laugh and say, "What are they, nuts?"
They're not abiding by the agreement. I'm shocked.
It's extremely unlikely that a legal battle will resolve anything. How can you create a law that forbids a recognized religion from doing what it perceives to be part of its religion without running into Constitutional issues? However, there may well be a legal battle. New Yorkers are getting Hillary Clinton in on this, who sees it as a way of retaining the Jewish vote in New York (of those who have forgotten her sitting silently by as Israel was accused of using poison gas on palestinians by Arafat's wife). So it's going to hit the news, and there may well be some kind of attempted legal battle.
Ultimately, what you have here is one of the country's largest minority religions causing offense to a great many people, the most vocal of whom seem to be the Jews.
Here's my opinion: The Mormon policy of posthumously baptizing people who were never Mormons is insulting, offensive, and arrogant. It is also stupid and meaningless to those of us who are not Mormons. If any Mormons out there take offense at my saying that, well, then. Can't help you there. Perhaps we can knock out an agreement whereby I will stop saying that Mormon posthumous baptism of Jews and others is a stupid and meaningless practice, and then I won't bother abiding by it. Just following the example of the Mormon Church, you see. permalink | |
I was poking around a few Muslim sites and found some nifty graphics that they use to attempt to boycott companies that, in their words, support Israel. I thought I'd just steal the gif and fix it up some (although I admit I toyed with the idea of stealing their bandwidth by putting it on my site and directly the URL to their gif, but no, stealing is wrong). Then I thought I'd just send you over there to see for yourself. But then I realized, nah. I don't want to give them the traffic.
In any event, here's a gif I
Here's the explanation as to why they're boycotting Disney:
Feel free to download and distribute it yourselves. Sharing is caring. permalink | |
On my trip back to New Jersey this week, I had a little extra time before an appointment in Montclair, and as I drove past Eagle Rock Reservation, I decided to see the 9/11 memorial that had been built since I moved. I seem to be thinking about 9/11 a lot these days, and not just because of the 9/11 commission. I keep thinking about it because I realize that we are still at risk, and the risk seems to be getting scarier, especially when you add Pakistani and Iranian nukes into the equation. And now we learn that Brazil is trying to join the nuclear club as well. Brazil has more than its share of Muslim terrorists, mixed with former Nazis. Happy happy joy joy, as we used to say.
I think about the unthinkable, which I stopped doing after the Berlin Wall went down. Every member of my generation grew up with the threat of nuclear war with Russia. We never called it the Soviet Union. It was always Russia, or rarely, the USSR. But it played in our popular culturemovies, television, books about nuclear warand in the eighties, we had both "The Day After" and Sting asking us if the Russians loved their children, too. We assumed they did, but that still didn't mean they weren't going to drop The Bomb on us.
Even worse than The Day After was Special Bulletin, a TV movie made on videotape to make it seem like it was a real newscast, that depicted American terrorists who were trying to end nuclear war in our time. They did this by trying to force the U.S. to unilaterally disarm under threat of setting off a stolen American nuke in a southern port city. Of course special forces stormed the ship, and the bomb went off. I have never forgotten the reporter, who was across the bay when the bomb went off, stumbling around the room afterward saying, "I can't see. I can't see anything. Can you help me? I can't see anything." The reporter had been looking out the window when the blast went off, and was blinded. "Am I gonna die?" was the last thing we heard from that reporter.
It's a good question. Are we going to die from a nuclear weapon being set off somewhere in the country? I think New York and Washington are at the greatest risk, and I worry, from time to time, about my family and friends. I was thinking to myself as I drove around the Outer Loop that if DC were hit with a suitcase bomb, it would cut the Eastern seaboard in half. We would have to detour widely around I-95. The disruption of American commerce would be immeasurable. Our nation would be thrown into immediate economic upheaval, with the world following on our heels. My guess would be a worldwide depression.
I think I'd be safe, physically, whether I lived here or in New Jerseybut so many people that I (and you) read on a regular basis would be gone. Michele. Kevin. James. Judith. And all their friends and families. Or they would be worse than gone: Suffering from the radioactive aftermath. How many would die in the first few months? What would we do if Manhattan had a great, smoking, radioactive crater in the middle of it? Washington? If it hit while Congress were in session, do our states all have contingency plans to choose new representatives? And how effective would a wet-behind-the-ears Congress be? There are only so many retired Congressmen. Would America finally come under military law? Would we rise up on our Muslim immigrant population and take revenge? Or perhaps the Jews, because there's been so much anti-Israel propaganda that plenty of people believe that Islamic terrorism is all Israel's fault?
I don't know the answers to these questions. But I think about them. And another thing has happened: My nuclear nightmares have returned. I used to regularly dream about an atomic bomb going off for one reason or another. Those dreams went away not long after the Soviet Union fell.
They came back after 9/11.
I'd like them to go away again, but the things I'm reading aren't doing much to reduce my fears. permalink | |
Belgium's Jews have been threatened by a group called the Arab European League, who insist the Jews of Belgium must disavow all support for Israel's policies. But it's not anti-Semitism, you see. It's anti-Zionism. (Hat tip: Doug L. and LGF.)
Really? Got the documentation for that charge, Sparky? And get this. He says a threat is not a threat.
Sure, Bunky. And this isn't anti-Semitism. It's anti-Zionism. And let's check the Reuters article, which refuses to call a Muslim a Muslim. Interesting to compare the two quotes, though. Reuters seems to be the more thorough, and the more frightening.
Notice how it will be the Jews' fault for the attacks, not the terrorists'. They've learned their propaganda well.
For a minute there, I thought Reuters' boilerplate was actually going to be evenhanded. But check this out.
Damned Jews. Always complaining about something. Anti-Semitism, neo-Nazis, Islamic terrorism threats... you just can't please 'em. permalink | |
Sarah, all four G. children, and I are off to Maymont Park for a picnic, with perhaps a side trip to Hollywood Cemetery and the dry-stone pyramid memorial there.
So here is today's moment of Kitty Zen.
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This woman is my new hero:
She writes a LiveJournal blog, and she's currently in Iraq. Read this post for a breathtaking account of what can go wrong in the military, and thank whomever you thank that Gin and her people made it out alive. (Update: It's been locked to non-LiveJournal members.)
Then read this post from 2003, and she'll be your hero, tooif you're with me on gay rights.
And she's a Buffy fan.
Found via Charles Johnson, that bastion of evil upon evil who [gasp!] let's people post unmoderated comments.
Stay safe, Gin. permalink | |
Yet another palestinian woman learns her worth to her society:
Good catch. But where did you find her?
Bethlehem? Isn't that, as the pals are so fond of telling us every Christmas, the birthplace of Jesus? Do you mean to tell me that the pals are profaning Jesus' birthplace by plotting suicide bombings there? So, who was behind it?
Ah. Arafat. What a surprise. By the way, look for this to be used against Israel in this manner: "Evil Zionist fascist agents interrogate innocent palestinian women!" permalink | |
And looking at the news from abroad. I got to hear most of Condoleeza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission. This was my favorite part: When she was asked about the Bush Administration's attempt to foment democracy in the Middle East, and told that it is getting off to a rocky start, she responded that American democracy didn't get off to a great start, either. "When our Founding Fathers said 'We the People,' they didn't mean me," she said.
Y'know, my opinion of her just keeps rising and rising. If I'm not mistaken, that was just a smidge of juvenile scorn. You go, Condi. permalink | |
Kevin Aylward, who is busy with his brand-new son (and who already has two-year-old twin boys) took the time out to make sure you all can have access to an RSS feed for this weblog. So he gets to be the second inductee into the yourish.com Blogger Hall of Fame. (It's on my links page.)
Charles Johnson is the subject of much discussion over on Winds of Change. I posted something there, but let me state for the record that I stand with Charles. Oh, he has his flaws, as do we all. But I know that no matter what, he's got my back. That matters to me. A lot.
LGF serves a very important function, and Charles is the man who made it that way. Yes, there are some bigots in his comments threads. So what? It's not like he's unique in that respect. Bigots are everywhere, in comments threads on the right and the left. That's what happens when you allow people to express their opinions. They express opinions that you may not like.
But I don't think that's really the problem people have with LGF. I think the problem most of the complainers really have is that LGF commenters express opinions that they don't like.
I'm one-sixth of the way home. My friend Kim kindly let me camp out on her sofabed tonight so I can leave tomorrow morning that much closer to Richmond. (And I'm piggybacking on their wireless network, thank God there's no dialup!) Things will shortly get back to the way they were, at least for a couple more weeks. But really, people, don't fret. The redesign is a good thing. The new direction will be a good thing. And there will still be cat posts, and link posts, and humor posts. But I need to evolve as a writer and as a blogger. Stagnation is death. There are some of you out there who've been with me for most of the three years. I'd love a shout-out from you.
Here you go: the pals love us Americans so much, they're willing to kill themselves over it. Sort of.
Well, it does say they couldn't confirm it independently. But then there's this scene over at LGF: pals burning the American flag. Sweethearts, aren't they? They burn our flag, our loony left protesters carry theirs. permalink | |
Imshin's two Passover stories are quite nice: The first one is about making sure everyone has a Seder to attend, and the next one is about brains. (Michele, you think maybe Imshin is a zombie? I hope not.)
I read this article out loud to my mother two nights ago, and she still refused to serve green beans with the Seder dinner.
You know what was the nicest thing about Passover this year? My Italian Catholic sister-in-law got out of work early Monday night so she could come to the Seder, after all. I told her when she got here that if I'd known that, I'd have left the haroset for her to make.
I have to write a post about the Cone of Yourish. I think I may have tried to in the past. It's something I named after the old Get Smart Cone of Silence (which, of course, my brothers and I all loved). It's not as ridiculous as the Cone of Silence, of course. It's the bond between us. When my brothers and I get together, this vibe sets up that is apparently palpable to everyone around us, and causes insecure people to feel left out. Hey, they're my brothers. I'm their sister. We like each other. I don't think we should be apologizing for that. Especially since I now live nearly 400 miles away, and we see each other once every couple of months.
Ilyka wears housedresses. And admits it in public. I may have to disown her for that.
So I'm serious about the redesign of this website. It's going to look better, probably move to MT, and the content is changing significantly, though I will still post frequently on Jewish issues (especially Israel and anti-Semitism). Now's your chance to suggest what you think I should also discuss. Here's a hint: I'm thinking of calling it Center Stage, because I no longer belong to the left, yet I am also not of the right. I'm center on some issues, left on others, right on the rest. And tired of the hatred building between the two extremes. No, I won't be changing the URL. It will still be yourish.com. But the name of the blog, and the things that I write, will be changing. There will even be guest posters here, I think.
It'll be three years in sixteen days. Definitely time for a makeover. permalink | |
I see that it's time to add a new verse to this oldie but goodie:
Because, after all, Al Qaeda was created to fight the Israelis, who were opressing and occupying Afghanistan back in the 1980s. Yes, Osama bin Laden saw the Israeli soldiers in the Khybar Pass and felt the flame of jihad take him (and his hundreds of millions of dollars) to Afghanistan so that he could defeat the Israeli forces there.
Oh, wait. That was Russia. Wait, wait, I know! It was the Israelis that got their warships and embassies and Marine barracks blown up by Al Qaeda. Yeah, that was them. Oh, wait. That was the Americans. So, when did the palestinian issue come into the forefront of Al Qaeda's rhetoric?
Oh. Right. After 9/11, and after American forces went in and rousted out a group of terrorists known as Al Qaeda and sworn to wage jihad until all infidels are out of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab World. But when the world's opinion started turning against them and with the infidel nation, they realized they could easily score points by putting "palestine" into their cause book and putting it into every press release. ("This was for jihad, the Islamic nation, to get the infidels out of our sacred land, and oh yeah, free palestine!")
Check out the picture in the Ha'aretz article. It's one of Moratinos and Arafat in March, 2002. That's the month that culminated in the Passover Massacre on March 27th. Moratinos was there to get Israel to ease off on the blockades around the territories, which I just mistyped as "terrortories," and which may well stay that way.
Things like this are what makes it so hard for me to concentrate on other issues. Things like this make me start to hate the idiots who think the world's problems would go away if only the pals had their own state. Here's a tip for you, Moron-tinos: The terrorism will continue, both within Israel and without, even after the pals get their state. Just watch.
Jerk. permalink | |
The fighting in Iraq today and for the past few days is worrisome and frightening. I don't have much to say about it, other than I hope it ends soon. But I couldn't help but notice that this story, which is all over the cable news and regular networks, is pulling only about 2350 stories in the Google news clusterabout half the number of the stories at the height of the world's outrage over the death of Ahmed Yassin.
There is something clearly skewed in the world's viewpoint of what is important. What is it that so enrages the world when Jews take action to defend themselves? permalink | |
A good link: Tatiana Menaker has been reinstated at SFSU, though the administration refuses to own up to their mistakes and stand by the suspension she received.
A strange link: I think we could call this one the Protocols of the Elders of Eurabia. I'm sorry, I normally like Bat Ye'or, but this really does read like someone heading off into conspiracy-theory land. While the individual connections she makes are not wrong, I really don't think these tactics were actually plotted out in advance decades ago, no more than I think the Trilateral Commission was responsible for Vietnam. Or the "neocons" for the war in Iraq.
A furry link: Lair Simon's third Carnival of the Cats.
A nice link: And a great big "Awwwww" back to you, Michele.
Okay. I'm tired. Long, long days these days, for some reason. Oh, yeah. Driving hundreds of miles, holidays, and a little bit of wine with dinner. Yes, it was Manishewitz. I know it doesn't have to be, but Passover simply isn't Passover if I'm not drinking Manishewitz Concord something-or-other. This year, it's Red. Last year, it was Cream. For many, many years of my childhood, it was Concord Grape. I made my entire class at Clarion suffer along with me one Friday evening. Heidi and Mark bought a bottle after I'd regaled them with stories of how awful it is. Alexandra and I conducted kiddush at sundown, and gave everyone a taste. The judges' decision was unanimous: Yes, it's awful wine.
And yet, I don't like drinking anything else for the Seder. permalink | |
Well, now that all the company is gone and the Seder is over, there's time to write. Today's Seder was the smallest we've ever had. For some reason, my aunt and cousin who normally come to the Seder declined today. So the tally was my mother, my brothers, my sister-in-law, my nephew, and me. When Di got here, she asked Dave where her mother was. Dave got that "oh, crap" look on his face and said, "I forgot her." I thought he was kidding. I thought they were both kidding. But he really forgot to pick up his mother-in-law and bring her with him. This is the first year we've ever gotten her to say yes, and Dave forgot her. His mother-in-law's nickname is Minerva, and it's for a reason. Dave is going to hear about this one for years.
Mom decided she wanted to make a matzo pudding this year. Okay, I figured. I like it, not too hard to make. Of course, when Mom wants to cook things, what mostly happens is she says "Let's make such-and-such," and I wind up making it for her. So I go to get the ingredients, which include 4 oz. of raisins. Now, most people, when they buy ingredients that include raisins, tend to buy large bags of said ingredients. Not my mother. She bought a 7 oz. bag of 1/2 oz. boxes of raisins. The little snack boxes. And she has arthritis in her hands. So I got to open 8 tiny boxes of raisins after arguing back and forth over whether half a cup was four ounces or eight ounces (damned if I can ever remember). We determined that it was four. I have no idea if we were right or not, but the matzo pudding came out nicely. A bit dry. Next time, we're going to sprinkle in some water before cooking it.
Anyway. Small, but extremely nice. I was so glad to see my sister-in-law tonight. We hadn't expected her due to work constraints, but she got out early today. We ran through the Seder fairly quickly, especially compared with the years my grandfather led it, but we did everything we're supposed to do and a little over.
And the good news is the terrorists didn't get a bomb off at an Israeli Seder this year. The bad news, of course, is all the trouble in Iraq. Stillwe had a very, very nice Pesach today. Chag Sameach, all. And an early Happy Easter while I"m at it. permalink | |
I lost an hour last night, and it totally screwed up my day. I'm tired and cranky and I drove agains the wind for most of my drive north. But I did have a great dinner with Kim and Bob, who live in central Jersey and make my drive that much easier if I visit them on the way to or from. Plus, they always feed me well and give me Coke for the road.
Anyway, apologies for the light posting today. I'll have probably even less time tomorrow. It's Pesach, and it's time to bake the cakes and cook the dinner and ready the Seder plates and make the haroseth (I love our family recipe best of all) and, since my brothers don't want to and my grandfather is OBM now, I lead the Seder each year.
A wonderful Passover to my fellow celebrants, and I'll try to squeeze in a little time for posting.
By the way, April 22nd is the third anniversary of this weblog. Expect some major changes. Major. permalink | |
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 is also a good bet if you've never been here before.