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Today's moment of Kitty Zen

It's been a while since we've had Tig and Gracie appear in these pages, so you get a double dose. First, it's Gracie, the jungle cat.

Gracie in the shade of some plants

Next, it's "Me too! Me too!"

Tig and Gracie on the AC

Gracie was all by herself on the air conditioning unit, when Tig insisted that she move over and let him sleep there, too. She can't seem to do anything without Tig hogging in on the action. Ah, well. That's life as the beta kitty. | |

Blame the Joooooos!

You know, of course, whose fault it is that three innocent Muslims were charged with racketeering for raising money for Hamas, don't you?

That's right. It's the fault of the Jews. Presented for your enlightenment, item one:

After the hearing, Ashqar's wife walked rapidly from the courtroom and said: "There is just no justice whatsoever for the Muslim people in this country. This is an Israeli witch hunt. This is an Israeli case, not an American case."

Item two:

Most people at the mosque on Friday saw the arrest in stark terms, and they said it represents a larger issue--U.S. support of Israel.

"I am Palestinian. I was from Jerusalem," said one man, who declined to give his name. "It's not right for the United States to take the side of Israel."

Item three:

But Thomas A. Durkin, a lawyer for Mr. Ashqar, denied the charges and said the indictment amounted to a "political cheap shot" against the defendants and Hamas, which maintains a vocal political wing and has strong support in many parts of the Arab world despite its history of violence.

"This is a blatant attempt by the Bush-Ashcroft Justice Department to cater to the Jewish vote, and it's a foolish attempt to criminalize one side of an international political issue that no U.S. administration has had the courage to resolve," he said.

Love that last quote. We wouldn't want to criminalize an organization that slaughters hundreds and wounds thousands of people.

Yeah. It's Israel's fault. Why, if only Israel didn't exist, there wouldn't be a need for Hamas. Don't you get it yet?

I do. | |



Friday morning news roundup

Israel won its first Olympic medal yesterday, taking the bronze in the judo competition in which the Iranian champion dropped out rather than face an Israeli.

Of course, Iran will not be sanctioned for its actions.

In more Olympics news, there was a private memorial ceremony yesterday at the Israeli ambassador's residence. It was for the Munich Massacre, in which palestinian terrorists kidnapped and ultimately murdered the entire Israeli Olympics team and their coach.

There has never been a moment of silence except for the one in 1972, after the IOC decided to continue with the games. There has never been an official reference by the IOC. There has never been any recognition at all that Israeli athletes were murdered at the Olympics, except in private ceremonies. Reuters actually wrote about it.

This year's memorial was held in a garden of Israel's ambassador to Greece. For the first time, it was attended by the president of the International Olympic Committee and he spoke eloquently of the need not to sweep the massacre under a rug.

And yet, the memorial was not mentioned by the IOC in any official capacity. A Google News search brings up 45 articles with the words "Munich Massacre" in them.

The world simply doesn't care about dead Jews.

A Kassam rocket hit a crowded shopping center in Sderot, injuring a child, destroying a car, and scaring the hell out of the shoppers. Look at the picture of the car, and tell me again why the Israelis don't need a proper buffer zone.

Sderot is in Israel. Not Gaza. Not the West Bank. Not the disputed territories. It's in Israel.

Iran is threatening pre-emptive attacks on the U.S. and Israel if they think we're going to attack their nuclear reactors. Well. That would certainly be a pickle for them, wouldn't it?

Amir Taheri says we've been at war with Iran for 25 years.

Much of this war has been of the cold type. But its history also includes lukewarm and hot episodes.

The opening shots were fired in February 1979 when Khomeinist gunmen invested 27 listening posts set up by the US in Iran to monitor Soviet missile tests in accordance with the SALT II accords. The posts had been created with the consent of the USSR and as Iran's contribution to global arms reduction programs. Within weeks all 27 posts were closed and their American personnel, briefly held hostage, expelled from the newly created Islamic Republic.

[...] OVER THE years the mullahs developed a sophisticated strategy for waging low-intensity war against the US. The Hizbullah movement was created to make life difficult for US allies in the region, notably Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

For its part, the US played a key role in encouraging Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in September 1980. Washington's financial and intelligence support also contributed to Saddam's ability to fight for eight years. Washington also waged economic war against Teheran by freezing some $24 billion in Iranian assets and denying the Islamic Republic access to global capital markets, World Bank loans, and new technology.

By 1987, the Islamic Republic had organized the killing of hundreds of Americans, including 241 marines in Beirut, while Teheran agents seized 27 Americans hostage in Lebanon at different times. They also kidnapped and hanged an American colonel working for the United Nations in Lebanon. Kidnapped and murdered as well in Teheran was the head of the CIA in Beirut.

And on that note, I'm off. As my pal Kim says: Later, gators. | |



Linking around

Time to let some other people speak. Over at Sha!, there's a wonderful analysis of Israelis who identify so much with palestinian causes that they have effectively chosen them over Israel.

Both Haas and Levy seem to identify with the Palestinians. But Levy also seems to identify with the Palestinian cause. The same can certainly be said of Allegra Pacheco and Neta Golan who for all intents and purposes are Palestinian activists who happen to be Israeli Jews. In an Us-versus-Them situation, they've chosen Them.

Tali Fahima is a bit of a different case. Her problem comes from a combination of stupidity, self-righteousness, and a tendency towards being easily duped. She met up with a guy who everyone else can see is a terrorist and decided that he isn't. The more the security forces try to pressure her, the more she becomes convinced of her own righteousness.

In this, Fahima resembles more than anything Rachel Corrie, the dipshit American college student who got run over by an IDF bulldozer trying to protect Palestinian smuggling tunnels in Rafah. You have to beware of people like this; their way always leads to grief.

Read the rest. And then scroll around the site. It's excellent. Don't miss Shai's take on the Iranian athlete who forfeited rather than face an Israeli.

Captain Euro is guest-blogging at Mac Thomason's. The Captain will be commenting on the Olympics. Check out his first post, or perhaps you'd enjoy leafing back through the Captain Euro Files. You won't be sorry.

Rahel has a blog. I forgot to tell you. I feel really guilty. That's because she's Jewish, and even though she hasn't said anything to incur my guilt, I know that she comes from a long line of Jewish mothers, and she's probably as good at guilting someone as I am. You see, it's gotten to the point now that if you want to make me feel guilty, you have to go with an expert: Either a Jewish woman, or an Italian Catholic grandmother. (My sister-in-law is Italian Catholic. Her mother is perfectly matched with mine.) No other guilt-inducer will do. No, wait. A child. But that's it. Everyone else just makes me laugh and tell them to go home and send their mommy after me.

Sorry, Rahel. I promise not to do it again.

Lynn's got the skinny on the phony background of one of the Arab News' most reprehensible Jew-haters. So does the editor at Blue Octavo Notebook. Did you hear the motto of The Arab News? We'll use any moron to bash Jews.

Noah Schachtman's Defense Tech blog has more on the proposed troop withdrawal and what is going to replace our bases in Europe. This one's a must-read.

Help bring the High Holy Days to American Jews in uniform: The Jews in Green website tells you how. Meet some of the Jews serving in America's armed forces. So much for the calumny that Jews don't fight for their country. (Hat tip: Greg S.)

Strengthen the good: There's a new weblog in town, and its purpose is to form micro-charitable contributions to help people in need. What does that mean? Hey, go there and find out. But my part in this will be to link to a needy cause any time the call goes out. It's via the Command Post founders, who wanted to counter the awfulness of Nick Berg's murder by doing something good for someone in need.

You'll be able to help by donating as little as a dollar. I think we can all swing a dollar every time Alan finds a worthy micro-charity.

There were probably more links that I forgot about. My apologies. Send me more emails. I haven't linked around much at all lately, and I need new things to read. | |

My Yahoo! lies over the modem

See that little button above that says "Add to My Yahoo!"? It's the RSS feed for folks who surf via the Yahoo! (damn, that exclamation point is annoying) portal.

You can see nifty little things like, oh, the titles to my posts (I almost titled this one Sex & drugs & rock'n'roll) and when they were updated. I'd best get cracking if I want to draw Yahoo users, hey? | |



Wednesday morning news roundup

World War IV: Norman Podhoretz has a lengthy article in Commentary magazine about the terror war, its origins, and its read. It's well worth the read.

We are only in the very early stages of what promises to be a very longwar against a truly malignant force in radical Islamism and in the states breeding, sheltering, or financing its terrorist armory. This new enemy has already attacked us on our own soil - a feat neither Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia ever managed to pull off - and openly announces his intention to hit us again, only this time with weapons of infinitely greater and deadlier power than those used on 9/11. His objective is not merely tomurder as many of us as possible and to conquer our land. Like the Nazis and Communists before him, he is dedicated to the destruction of everything good for which America stands.

Israel saving American and Iraqi lives: The IDF is training American soldiers in urban and guerrilla warfare. The soldiers then go to Iraq with knowledge to help them defeat the Ba'athists and terrorists.

In order to improve their skills and learn firsthand tactics adopted by the IDF in urban and guerilla warfare in the West Bank and Gaza, US Army units are undergoing training in the special anti-terror school located in the Adam base near Modi'in.

After completing their training, the units will return to Iraq. The IDF Spokesman said, "The army does not comment on cooperation with foreign armies," but did not deny US forces were currently training in Israel.

In November last year, US generals visited Israel to study tactics adopted by the IDF in its ongoing war against terror. A report in the New York Times claimed US military officials were studying the tactics and strategy used by IDF forces operating in the West Bank and Gaza within densely populated Palestinian areas.

Then again, Reuters says the Army has denied this report.

Mistakes, I've made a few: Arafat is feeling the heat, and doing what he does best: Paying lip service to what needs to be done.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Yasser Arafat acknowledged Wednesday that he could have made mistakes in his strongest comments since a wave of Palestinian turmoil over demands for anti-corruption reforms.

Arafat has only rarely admitted being at fault and not since unrest blew up last month in the greatest internal challenge to his authority since returning from exile a decade ago.

"There is nobody immune from mistakes, starting from me on down. Even prophets committed mistakes," Arafat said at his West Bank compound in his first speech to lawmakers since the troubles began.

Gunmen demanding changes to security forces and the sacking of corrupt leaders kidnapped Palestinian officials and foreigners in Gaza, burned government buildings and clashed with security forces last month.

Arafat, still seen by Palestinians as a symbol of the struggle for statehood, was not targeted personally by the protesters or accused of corruption himself.

"There were wrong actions ... by some institutions, and some were irresponsible and misused their positions," the veteran Palestinian leader said. "We need to move together to correct and reform all the mistakes."

But Arafat made no specific promises.

Nor will he, nor will he carry them out. Arafat is, after all, the head palestinian spokesliar. On the other hand, check out this AP story, which is not written by a palestinian.

In his speech to parliament, Arafat acknowledged there is some official corruption, said those engaged in wrongdoing should be prosecuted and reiterated that he would streamline the security forces. However, he gave no specifics.

One of his harshest critics, former Cabinet minister Abdel Jawad Saleh, shouted that Arafat himself was protecting the corrupt. Arafat got angry, responding with an indignant question: "I'm protecting them?"

Saleh complained after the speech that Arafat is "not serious" about reforms and warned that there could be a nonviolent "Palestinian uprising against this authority very soon."

Funny, we didn't read about that in Reuters.

Iran's tit for tat: Iran says it will destroy Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor if Israel tries to destroy Iranian nuclear sites.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Accompanied by a warning that its missiles have the range, Iran on Tuesday said it would destroy Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor if the Jewish state were to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

"If Israel fires a missile into the Bushehr nuclear power plant, it has to say goodbye forever to its Dimona nuclear facility, where it produces and stockpiles nuclear weapons," the deputy chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, said in a statement.

Hope those anti-missile defenses are online soon. Because I'm sure Iran will try.

John Kerry, military Know-Nothing: Kerry is going to attack Bush's plan to withdraw our troops from Europe and Asia.

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Democrat John Kerry on Wednesday planned to attack Present George W. Bush's plan to withdraw 70,000 American troops from Europe and Asia as a threat to national security that could blunt the war on terror, campaign aides said.

The Democratic presidential nominee also will say the military realignment plan sent the wrong message to countries like North Korea, where the United States has been working to deter Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs, the aides said on condition of anonymity.

Kerry will make the remarks in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Ohio -- a political battleground in the Nov. 2 presidential election. Bush addressed the same group Monday, when he announced plans to move the 70,000 troops in a shift of focus from Cold War enemies Russia and China.

Bush said the pullback would create a more flexible military, improve the lives of military and better position the United States to fight emerging threats. The plan, to be implemented over 10 years, would not affect the 140,000 U.S. troops now deployed in Iraq.

Kerry will argue the plan "could impair the nation's security, particularly in addressing North Korea's nuclear program and in fighting the war on terror," according to the aides, who provided excerpts from his speech.

Okay. I'm not a military genius, but please tell me how removing our troops from Germany and redeploying them to places like Iraq will harm the war on terror.

I've about made up my mind who I'm voting for in November, and will be posting an essay on it soon. And now, Mom and I are going to have breakfast and go see some Richmond Civil War sites (yes, the Richmond Visitor's Center and it's purple-prose film is on the menu). Y'all have a good one. | |


On Second Thought

I will not say it I will not say it I will not say it: Suffice to say that right now, the cable modem is working. I do not know when and if it will crap out, and come back on, and go out, and come back, and go out, and come back. I think my modem thinks it's one of my cats. In, out, in, out, in, out.

Home-cooked meals and Jewish mothers: So my mom's here, and here's our menu for the night: Turkey breast, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, stuffing (with real chicken broth), fresh green beans, and a salad. It's great having your mother over to cook for you, isn't it?

Except I'm doing all the cooking. My mother is at best a mediocre cook. We shocked the cashiers at Ukrops when I told them that I was cooking, because I'm the better cook. In the south, your mother is always supposed to be the better cook. In the north, too.

But not in my house.

On the other hand, she does the dishes and cleans like crazy. Fine by me, I hate housecleaning.

Alleycatting: Tig slept with my mom last night. He has never, ever, ever slept with any guest that's been in my home, not in his entire life. Oh, he's jumped up on the sofabed and hung around for a while, but as soon as I head upstairs to bed, he's generally right behind me.

I feel abandoned. The slut. On the other hand, Gracie was at my feet the entire night. She didn't miss Tig at all.

Olympic spirit: So, like, are we winning the Olympics? What's that? It isn't how many medals you win, it's about the spirit of international brotherhood?

Yeah. Tell me another bedtime story, Mommy. | |


Monday morning news roundup

Don't hold your breath waiting for this. The Olympic officials are considering sanctions against the Iranian judo team because one of their members refused to compete against an Israeli in the under-66kg class. I wouldn't bet the farm on sanctions. Here's why:

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution Iran has refused to recognise Israel's right to exist. The Iranian National Olympic Committee in Tehran yesterday issued a statement saying: "This is a general policy of our country, to refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime, and Arash Miresmaeili has observed this policy."

When asked if it was the athlete's decision to pull out, a spokewoman replied: "No."

Miresmaeili was quoted by an Iranian news agency as saying: "Although I have trained for months and am in shape, I refused to face my Israeli rival in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people . . . I am not upset about the decision I have made."

[...] The International Olympic Committee declined immediate comment, reluctant to intrude on such a sensitive political matter.

"This has not been brought to us as an issue and until it is we would not have any comment," said a spokeswoman for the IOC.

Israel at the Olympics: They're not just in the games. Those Iranian athletes are simply surrounded by Israelis and Israeli-made items.

During the Olympics, infrared and high-resolution cameras will be mounted on 1,250 concrete columns around the capital. A host of 12 patrol boats, 4,000 vehicles, three helicopters and one blimp have been fitted with surveillance equipment, while the consortium also installed a secure communication and information system for security services, as well as a security network for ports such as Piraeus, where cruise ships are serving as floating hotels.

Former president George H.W. Bush, his wife Barbara, and grandchildren, Barbara and Jenna, the 21-year-old twin daughters of President George W. Bush, will be cruising the Olympics aboard one yacht that will be docking in Piraeus.

Three of the coastal guard vessels were built by Israel Shipyards, an $80 million contract for the privately-owned firm based in Haifa. Built in Greece over the course of one year, the vessels are identical to the Israeli Navy's Sa'ar 4 missile boats, and will be used to patrol the long stretch of the southern sea border, where smuggling and illegal immigration are frequent.

Rafael, Israel's state-controlled armament development authority provided the electronic warfare systems for the vessels, making it possible to identify targets by day and night. The boats also carry heavy machine guns and 30 millimeter cannons, as well as light speedboats for rescue operations, and can travel a distance of 4,000 nautical miles without refueling.

[...] Israel's Shin Bet security service are also be in Athens, protecting the Israeli delegation as it has at every Olympics since the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, when 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Whoops. Hope those Iranian athletes aren't members of Hezbullah.

The fence is working. The bomb that exploded at a Jerusalem checkpoint on Wednesday was intended to go off in a crowded market in Haifa.

The investigation indicates that the attack was planned by the Fatah's senior operatives in Jenin, Zakaria Zubeidah and the cell's direct handler, Mohammed Abu-Khalifa.

They planned to have the bomb detonated at the Talpiot outdoor market in Haifa.

In an attempt to bypass the West Bank separation fence, the three suspects were sent south toward Jerusalem, from where they were to make their way to Haifa. Failing that, they were told to operate in another city within Israel.

The EU separation fence. Apparently, fences are only forbidden to Jews. The EU plans to build one to stop migrant workers from making their way to greener pastures.

The EU plans to build a fence to separate its new members - Poland and Hungary - from its new neighbors - Russia, Belarus and Ukraine - to prevent the free movement of migrants seeking to enter the EU.

Yep. Good fences make good neighbors. Say, what's that they were saying about the U.S.-Mexican border again?

Speaking of the U.S.-Mexican border: Groups of Arab men are making their way across the Mexican border, and the American media finds this a non-story. Or perhaps they're not getting the information, but if that's the case, how did the Telegraph get this story?

President Bush has launched a drive to halt illegal immigration across America's porous southern border, amid growing fears that terrorists may be using Mexico as a base camp before heading to Arizona, Texas and California.

A string of alarming incidents has convinced Bush administration officials that lax immigration rules, designed to cope with the huge numbers of illegal entrants from Mexico, have become a significant loophole in the war on terror.

Over the past month, border agents from Arizona and Texas have anonymously reported recent encounters with dozens of Arab men, who have made their way across the 2,000-mile Mexican border

[...}The two groups of Arab males were discovered by patrol guards from Willcox, Arizona. "These guys didn't speak Spanish," said one field agent, "and they were speaking to each other in Arabic. It's ridiculous that we don't take this more seriously. We're told not to say a thing to the media." A colleague told the paper: "All the men had brand-new clothing and the exact same cut of moustache." Local ranchers have also reported a rise in the sightings of large groups of young males.

We are at war. When are people going to understand that we need to rethink a lot of our current practices?

WaPo on Nader: Watch your hate speech. Meryl to WaPo: Why is this in the Saturday issue? So the WaPo takes Nader to task without using the word "anti-Semitic" to describe his anti-Semitic speech, and chooses to put it in the Saturday issue. Color me unimpressed. Frankly, Nader's words almost make me want to go out and buy a Ford Pinto. And give it to him. | |

Comcast must die, but Steven rocks

They wrote up my problem as a cable problem. Cable. Yes, cable. So a young man who might be out of his teens showed up. I told him my cable modem problem. He told me that he wasn't qualified to fix internet problems. With a great deal of self-control, I did not take a baseball bat and smash the cable modem, my computer, and Steven into smithereens. I did have a few things to say about Comcast and the idiots that work there. Meantime, Steven tried to see what he could do. He called for help to the people who are qualified to fix internet problems, and they eventually said they'd come over and take a look. Meantime, Steven kept working to fix the problem. Initiative. Inquisitiveness. Stubbornness.

Steven fixed the problem. The problem? My modem wasn't registered properly with Comcast. Steven re-registered it, and now it flies. It really flies. The new modem connection seems much faster than the old one. Or perhaps I've just forgotten what cable modem speeds is compared with 56k.

Today should be a normal day, after all. | |


Comcast must die

Windows, too.

You don't want to know what I've been going through, techwise. Okay, maybe you do, but I don't really want to get into it. Okay, maybe I do. Suffice to say that I still do not have a working cable modem connection, and that the Comcast tech who told me to delete my network card from the hardware device list was wrong about Windows automatically renewing it, and I spent over an hour trying to fix that stupid action, and finally managed to fix it by the simple method of shutting everything down and eating my dinner. When I booted up the machine, effing Windows finally stopped bitching about the drivers and accepted that yes, I did reinstall them and yes, they were the right ones.

So then I called Comcast back again to get the fix for my IP configurations, figuring that's the only thing left to try, and when the nice Canadian gentleman pinged my cable modem, he said, "I'm not getting anything from your modem."

It's brand new. I got it from Comcast last week.

And so, we're back to yet another tech visit. Twice this week, the SOB has shown up while I've been at work, in spite of the fact that his work order today said "DO NOT ARRIVE UNTIL AFTER SIX P.M." The message on my answering machine was from 5:02. My appointment for tomorrow is between 11 and 2. I am scheduled to be home cleaning frantically in anticipation of my mother's arrival tomorrow evening. If the tech doesn't show, I may have to hunt him down and hurt him.

So you can understand, perhaps, why the updates have been infrequent the last few days. I'm stuck borrowing Heidi's AOL connection and using my 56k modem. Surfing for news at 56k is the modern equivalent of Chinese water torture.

I owe emails and links and I don't even want to think about it.

My mother is coming to town tomorrow. It's going to be an interesting week. | |


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.