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Saturday morning grumpy news roundup

I'm grumpy; the news is not. For one brief, heart-stopping moment, I saw all the lights lit on the modem. Then I realized it was just testing itself. And teasing me. Sigh.

Syria's Lebanese sock-puppets: We're not anti-Semitic, we're anti-Zionist! The Syrian-controlled government of Lebanon is protesting to France, which intends to block the Iranian-sponsored Hezbullah propaganda station from broadcasting in France.

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Lebanon criticized French efforts to ban the militant group Hezbollah's television station, saying the channel may be anti-Israeli but it is not anti-Semitic.

France's Council of State is expected to act later this month on a July 12 request by France's media watchdog, the CSA, to block broadcasts of Al-Manar TV through the Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat.

Lebanon's Foreign Ministry defended Al-Manar on Friday, saying the station's programs "condemn the policies of Israeli governments and are not by any means racist or critical of the Jewish faith or people."

Nope, not at all. Why, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are not considered forgeries by everyone.

At the center of the storm appears to be the Syrian-produced 29-part series "Al-Shatat," which Hezbollah broadcast throughout the region. It is based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," an anti-Semitic 19th-century tract commonly used in Nazi propaganda to incite hatred against Jews.

Don't you love the phrase "appears to be"? It's so wishy-washy. AP is doing it's anti-Israel dance. And they're refusing to lable the protocols forgeries. But wait, there's more.

The series, which depicts among other things a rabbi ordering a Christian child killed so the blood can be baked into Passover matzos, has been broadcast throughout the Muslim world and in France, which has an estimated 5 million Muslims, many of Arab origin. In January, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin pledged to keep it off TV.

Lebanon claimed French authorities have taken "a political role rather than a judicial" stance in the case against al-Manar.

"The bias by some French audiovisual outlets is clear since it is lenient toward French stations that broadcast anti-Islamic and anti-Arab programs," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Name one. By the way, notice how AP is using the word "statement" in this story. No faceless organization is being quoted, as they do so often when quoting the Israeli armed forces. Anyway, here's the kicker:

Lebanon said there should be a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

"The Zionist ideology and practices are condemned because they are the basis of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the source of the tragedy and injustice the Palestinian people are subjected to," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Zionism, the Jewish national movement, is based on the belief that Scripture has foretold the return of the Jews from the Diaspora to Israel, which includes land currently occupied by Arab Palestinians.

Notice how incredibly biased that definition of Zionism is. It barely acknowledges that Israel was the Jewish state. Here's the definition from the Jewish Virtual Library:

Zionism, the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions, left and right, religious and secular, joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained. The term "Zionism" was coined in 1890 by Nathan Birnbaum.

As The Arafat Turns: The unrest continues. The second storming of a PA building in a week hit Gaza, this time unemployed college graduates.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - About 100 unemployed university graduates stormed a Palestinian Authority building in a Gaza Strip refugee camp Saturday, holing up inside and demanding jobs.

The graduates - all of them unarmed - said the Palestinian Authority promised them employment and failed to live up to its obligation. Negotiations between police in the Khan Younis refugee camp and the protesters were underway.

Y'know, I'm starting to think that Arafat is going to have to make changes, after all. What with even the UN noticing that his security changes are cosmetic, and these kinds of things going on more and more often, I'm thinking the old man is going to be boxed into a corner. Or maybe I'll get to collect on my dead pool points after all.

Is he or is he? Only his cell leader knows for sure. Okay. So you read this article, and you think the Pakistani caught taping buildings in Houston is simply a tourist. But you read this article, and you think for sure he's a terrorist. All I can say is, I need to know more before I make up my mind, but who videotapes banks in downtown Dallas and doesn't tape Dealey Plaza or the Book Depository?

Investigators have watched a 40-minute video of banks, buildings and light-rail trains, trolleys and transit facilities Akhtar shot of Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans and Charlotte.

His brother says:

Akhtar received a student visa to get into the United States, his brother said, but never went to school. Because he violated the terms of that immigration status, Akhtar used a different identification with the last name ``Shaikh'' when he applied for political asylum in 1992, Irfan Akhtar said.

But the Feds say:

However, investigators discovered he had been ordered to leave the country in 1998 because he had entered the United States illegally through Mexico in 1991.

Somebody needs to get his story straight.

Rain, rain, go away. Hurricane Charley got a trailer park. They're saying there was "significant loss of life." Damn. Meantime, Andrea has been offline since last night. I suspect her power is down, but I'm sure she's fine. Come to think of it, I have to call my friend in Orlando, too.

Massacre at UN refugee camp. But this one won't get the same attention a palestinian stubbed toe receives.

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) - Dozens of attackers raided a U.N. refugee camp in western Burundi, shooting and hacking to death at least 180 people, witnesses and local officials said Saturday.

[...] The massacre will further complicate U.N. efforts to encourage Congolese refugees to return home, said M'Hand Ladjouzi, head of the U.N. mission in Congo's troubled North Kivu province.

"This is a setback in our efforts to ensure security here," Ladjouzi said. "We are trying to find out who did this. Their aim is to complicate the situation. Obviously, they did this to stop all the efforts the international community is making."

Ya think? Sure. Let's let the UN run Iraq. They're so good at what they do.

Najaf truce talks break down, nobody is surprised. Just kill him already. When Colin Powell is calling him an "outlaw," you know his number is up.

And how about we stop calling Najaf "the holy city of Najaf"? Or if we're going to use that adjective, howsabout we call Jerusalem "the holy city of Jerusalem"? It's got more shrines per square foot than any three Najafs.

I don't get it. Last but not least, this one's a puzzle. Oil prices continue to rise, but the gas prices in Richmond are actually falling. This has never happened before. Any economists out there want to explain this to me? Because my conspiracy theory tinfoil hat is beckoning, telling me that oil execs have decided that we've gone about as far as we can go in paying their prices at the pump, and they don't dare raise it anymore, or they didn't need to raise it as high as they did in the last few months to begin with.

Either that, or Bush and Cheney told their pals to keep prices steady to help the economy (and thus their re-eleciton bid).

I told you my tinfoil hat is beckoning. And on that note: | |



Blame Comcast

Yes, the cable modem is still on the blink, but it's not the modem. They think it's the cable. They warn me that it might be my computer. It's not my computer. It's the friggin' cable.

I don't really want to go into details. Suffice to say that I loathe Comcast, but I loathed them when I had them in NJ, too. I never had a moment's trouble when my cable provider was AT&T. They get bought out by Comcast, and I have nothing but problems.

And since they're not going to be here before Sunday evening, posting will be a trifle light this weekend.

When I'm a bit less grumpy, I'll write more, but right now, I'm grumpy. Grump, grump, grump. Effing Comcast.

And yes, I still have my unfever, too, and unfortunately had to work today, and will have to work tomorrow and Sunday. Grump, grump, grump.

On the plus side, I've been using the time to work on my new business. I'm officially an entrepreneur. I have a zoning permit, a business license, and my company name is registered. All I need now are customers. | |



Wednesday news roundup

Since January, 90 terrorist attacks to be carried out inside the Green Line—which is, by all accounts, the "real" border of Israel, have been thwarted.

The officials added that all Palestinian terror groups have increased cooperation and joint operations.

Iran's involvement in Palestinian terrorism, whether directly or through the Hizbullah, is also increasing, the officials said. The officials added that there have been some, but very few, cases of terrorist attacks that have been thwarted by Palestinian security forces.

The nerve center of Palestinian terrorism remains Nablus, the officials added. According to the report on Israel Radio, over 2 tons of explosive material, bullets, mortars and other weaponry has been smuggled into Palestinian territories through Egypt.

That's some bunch of hard-working tunnel rats. I'm starting to think Israel should build that moat.

They have a suspect in the New Zealand anti-Semitic cemetery attacks. And Kiwi Bob has a report on the New Zealand Parliament's motion against anti-Semitism. Bravo, New Zealand!

The United Nations is leaping into action over a border dispute again. Against Israel, of course.

10 August 2004 – The senior United Nations envoy in southern Lebanon today called on Israel to end its numerous over-flights of Lebanese territory, calling them violations of the Blue Line marking the point of withdrawal between the two countries.

Voicing dismay at numerous such breaches over the last 36 hours, Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, reminded all parties that one violation cannot justify another.

He said the latest violations disturbed the relative calm that had returned to the Blue Line following increased tension last month when Israeli jets flew over Lebanon, including Beirut, at low altitude after two Israeli soldiers and a Hezbollah militant were killed in an exchange of fire.

The UN left out a few little details about that "exchange of fire." You might remember that a pair of IDF technicians were gunned down as they fixed an antenna on the roof of an IDF outpost. There was no "exchange of fire." There was an unprovoked sniper attack, and then a military response to the attack.

In any case, it's astonishing how every time we turn around, Israel is told to stop defending herself. Once more, when we say "Never again," we mean, "Never again will Jews leave their fates in the hands of others." That includes the UN.

Last, but not certainly not least, the Washington Times is reporting that Osama bin Laden's hit squads are going to assassinate "high profile" political leaders.

The targets, in addition to the financial institutions in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J., that have been the subject of public warnings, include such economic-related targets as oil and gas facilities with a view toward disrupting the November election.

"The goal of the next attack is twofold: to damage the U.S. economy and to undermine the U.S. election," the official said. "The view of al Qaeda is 'anybody but Bush.' "

The officials also said the terrorist group has begun using female members for preattack surveillance and possibly as suicide bombers, thinking that women will have an easier time getting past security checkpoints at airports, borders and ports.

The al Qaeda attack plans call for bombings using trucks and cars, and hijacked aircraft, including commercial airliners and helicopters.

"There is a particular concern that chemical trucks will be used," one official said.

Well, that's the most specific leak we've seen yet.

Regarding the new bin Laden message, the officials said there are intelligence reports, some of them sketchy, that a new tape from the al Qaeda leader will surface soon.

In the past, video and audio messages by bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, were broadcast days or weeks before an attack, the officials said.

"The message likely will be the signal for the attack to be launched," one official said.

A second U.S. official said one intelligence agency was aware of unconfirmed reports of a new bin Laden tape.

"There may be such a tape, but it hasn't surfaced and we haven't seen it," this official said.

Next month is going to be a month fraught with tension, to say the least.

Blogging will be light today. I have some kind of un-fever (up to 96 from 94), and my cable modem is on its last legs. I'll try to get a new one tomorrow, but meantime, it's (sigh) 56k modem and AOL connection. And yes, the tipjars are always open. Up there, on the left. | |



On Second Thought

Oh, Cabana Boy. Sarah G. was on vacation last week, and no, I'm not bitter that both the G.'s and Heidi chose the exact same week to desert me, no, not at all, nope, I wasn't lonely or bored or anything like that, nope, nuh-uh, and WHY ARE YOU ALL STARING AT ME?!

Um. To get back to the issue at hand, Sarah found a really funny ad in the paper where she was, and shared it with me, and now, I'm sharing it with you. The vacation house is called "Oh, Cabana Boy" and well, it's so not an "Oh, Cabana Boy" house, that it's funny. Wait for the slide show. You can see the interior and exterior of the house. It is incredibly lame. Let me just say that when I rent an "Oh, Cabana Boy" house, it will not be this one, and it had damned well better come with a Cabana Boy and he'd better have six-pack abs.

A bigger, better bug. Scott Johnson came up with an even better bug story, one that will give both Ilyka and Sarah nightmares for the rest of their lives. Don't read it, ladies.

I turned and looked at what must have been Satan's own chitinous pet. Swear to God, the thing must've been six, eight inches long, with a yellow banded cylindrical body and flicking long black legs. It looked like a self-propelled banana with a balance problem. It's been nearly ten years and I get the heebies just describing it. No, really!

Read it all. Spit-monitor warning.

Singapore has the right idea about gum.Tig stepped in gum yesterday. I'm pretty sure it's gum. It's black and sticky and nicely stuck onto the fur between the pads of his front paw. Normally, this wouldn't be too much of a problem, except this is the cat who has to be anesthetized in order to get his claws clipped. So I managed to pull the bulk of it off yesterday and only get bitten twice, neither one breaking the skin, but it's still there, and if I so much as look at his front paw, he hisses at me. So I figured the hell with it, let Tig get it off.

So this morning, he must have done that while I was asleep, because I found some wet, gum-covered fur in the bed where he'd been sleeping.

Y'know, sometimes, I hate cats.

Good fences make good neighbors. Gracie has suddenly remembered how much fun it is to be outdoors on a beautiful summer day. I think it was the three sunny days in a row that convinced her. But she's also gotten braver, which can be a problem. There's a large wooden fence behind my apartment, separating my block from the one behind me (thankfully; that's the one with most of the crime problems). But it doesn't reach the ground, as the ground is uneven and the management company is cheap. So there's enough room for cats to go under the fence. Gracie decided to explore. I told her I didn't think that was such a good idea. She ignored me.

About sixty seconds later, I heard growling, hissing, and leaves rustling. Then Gracie shot out from under the fence in Full Foof Mode, and the face of a beagle appeared. After I ascertained that Gracie was unhurt, I could barely stop laughing long enough to get pictures of her and Tig, who had raced back to the patio as soon as he realized that something was chasing Gracie. The beagle wisely decided not to attempt to come under the fence.

I'll post the pictures tomorrow. I have a busy day planned and will be over at Heidi's tonight, on (sigh) 56k modem and AOL connection.

Not My Robot. Big experiment today: Sorena wants to see "I, Robot," so Heidi and I are taking her. She has hated SF movies since she was six. We took her to see The Phantom Menace. Alas, she doesn't hate SF movies because Phantom Menace sucked so bad. She hates them because Darth Maul scared the hell out of her. In fact, she was angry with Heidi and me for ages afterward, though she doesn't remember it that way. She thinks she doesn't like the Star Wars flicks because they're boy movies.

But during the previews to the latest Harry Potter flick, Sorena told me she'd very much like to see "I, Robot." I told her that it's the kind of film she doesn't like. That people will die in it. That there's lots of violence. She still wants to see it. So we're off to see it this afternoon, and probably eat popcorn for dinner.

I'm really hoping she'll like it, because it will open a whole new world of films that she has previously refused to watch.

Oh, and I know the film bears little resemblance to the Asimov book. I don't care; I'm going to pretend it has nothing to do with the book and simply enjoy it. That's why I call it "Not My Robot."

If she likes this, we can watch my comic book movie DVDs. An X-Men double feature! Whoa!

Cross your fingers, folks. | |

Tuesday morning news links

No nukes for Iran: President Bush keeps up the pressure on Iran. Salon magazine, who are trying to get me to re-subscribe (yeah, that'll happen), has an article titled "October Surprise?" about the issue. I think I'll pass on reading it. The headline says all.

President Bush said Monday that the United States would maintain pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, emphasizing that his administration was working with other countries and not confronting Iran on its own.

"Iran must comply with the demands of the free world, and that's where we sit right now," Mr. Bush told a Republican crowd at an "Ask President Bush" campaign event in this Washington suburb. "And my attitude is that we've got to keep pressure on the government, and help others keep pressure on the government, so there's kind of a universal condemnation of illegal weapons activities."

Top Spook: There's a new CIA director, and he's a former intelligence agent with Cold War experience.

The Connecticut-born Goss graduated from Yale in 1960 and launched a clandestine career, working for Army intelligence for two years and eventually the CIA's most well-known division, the Directorate of Operations.

When he got into politics, Goss had to get special permission to reveal that he was associated with "the agency" for roughly a decade, reportedly in Europe and Latin America. Goss still doesn't discuss classified details of his work, although he has said he was deployed in Miami during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

"I had some very interesting moments in the Florida Straits," Goss told The Washington Post in 2002.

Here's hoping he can get the CIA back on track. We can't afford another intelligence miss like 9/11. Our economy is still suffering from the fallout.

Jews? What Jews? IMRA reports that palestinian television continues its Final Solution of Israeli history by erasing Jews from Israel's history—again.

In the broadcast last week on PA TV the following are some of the main
points of the"history".

1. The Hebrews of the Bible have no connection to the Jews today.
2. The Hebrews of the Bible were Arabs.
3. The Prophets of the Bible were Muslims.
4. Biblical King Solomon was a Muslim Prophet.
5. Solomon's Temple was not built by Israelites but by Arab Canaanites.
6. The Canaanites are the forefathers of the Palestinians
7. The Bible is legends based on what Jews imagined and not on history.
8. The Jews today are descendents of a 13 th Century Khazar tribe with
no history in the Land of Israel.
9. The location of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is a Zionist invention.
10. Zionism is Racism.

If that's not enough for you, let's look at some more lies:

Albaz: "Where did the story of Solomon's Temple come from?"
Al-Qidwa: "Solomon's Temple, I believe, was built by the Canaanites who were the neighbors of the Israelis, the Israelites... I want to state several words clearly: the Bible became an archival document, not representing what the Israelis and the first Jews were, but what they thought they were, what they imagined. The Temple is the fruit of their imagination. In any case, when our nation or our Canaanite forefathers came to Palestine, they built the Temple. a temple in Jerusalem"

Sissalem: "We, as the Palestinian nation fighting for its freedom and liberation, must not focus to much attention on these false [Biblical] legends. The history of our land continues more than ten thousand years. The land of battles and wars, [many] armies, tribes and commanders came through. I want to point out that we should not focus much on what is called the [Biblical] Hebrew tribes, who are in fact Bedouin - Arab tribes. There is no connection between them and these Khazar Jews [of Israel today]. Those [Hebrew - Arab] tribes were erased and ceased to exist and no traces were left of them. That group did not have a pure religion. They claimed that Solomon, may he rest in peace, built the Temple. Does the land testify to this? Solomon was a prophet and we see him as a Muslim and part of our [Islamic] heritage. There is no historical text that proves the existence [of the temple] or that it has a real history other than the Bible, and the Bible as we have previously mentioned. was written based on ancient legends."

I'm shocked, shocked: Arafat resists reforms. Actually, the surprise is that AP is reporting something like this:

Yasser Arafat, pressed by his legislature to commit to promised reforms in writing, has largely been evasive, disappointed lawmakers said Tuesday, after two meetings with the Palestinian leader.

Arafat's only concession so far is an assurance that his prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, can appoint Cabinet ministers, said the legislators, members of a committee set up last month to write a reform plan, following growing chaos in the West Bank and Gaza. Qureia briefly resigned last month to protest his lack of powers.

Whoa. Criticism of the sole, legitimate representative of the palestinian people? But wait, there's more:

Arafat has refused to share power and has run the Palestinian Authority with a system of patronage, nepotism and official corruption.

The Palestinian leader has evaded reform demands by the international community, most recently Egypt which wants him to relinquish some control over the security services ahead of an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Double whoa! But wait! Is there a "but"?

However, he appears to have been shaken by growing dissatisfaction at home, including unrest in Gaza and open criticism of his rule.

Palestinian officials said Tuesday that Arafat, sending a message through envoys, has offered Cabinet posts to two of his most outspoken critics, Mohammed Dahlan and Samir Mashrawi, who played a key role in last month's protests in Gaza against Arafat's appointment of a relative to a top security job there.

Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief, is widely seen as a possible Arafat successor, and Mashrawi is a leader of the ruling Fatah movement in Gaza.

Arafat also agreed to meet with legislators to discuss reform demands.

Of course there's a "but." However, I don't believe any of these "reforms" will be acted upon, and I don't believe Dahlan will take the position. He's a marked man. Arafat has killed every one of his rivals over the past four decades, and Dahlan is not a stupid man. You don't even have to read in between the lines to see that Arafat is merely saying what the people want to hear.

For example, he told legislators he was committed to the Basic Law. When asked whether he would give up control of several government institutions, such as the Palestinian Monetary Fund, in line with the Basic Law, he said no.

Arafat also avoided a clear answer on security reform, participants said on condition of anonymity. Control over tens of thousands of armed men is a pillar of Arafat's power, and he has fought hard against those asking him to relinquish it.


Europe's proxy war against the U.S.: Ilke Schroeder, the young German politician who accused the EU of ignoring the fact that its funds were being used by the PA to support terror attacks, steps up her accusations and accuses the EU of mounting a proxy war against the U.S., using Israel as its battleground.

"The Europeans supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor," she said, "and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the al-Aksa intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States."

She elaborated her position in an earlier address in New York.

"You have only to see the exhibitions on Israel and Palestine in the European Parliament's foyer -- where Israel is accused of sociocide and branded as an apartheid state -- to know which side the EU is on," she said.

The EU's primary goal, Schroeder said, is the internationalization of the conflict to underscore the need for its own mediating role. "The longer the conflict continues and the deeper it gets, the more evident is the incapability of the U.S. to moderate a peace process. ... This is why the EU does not wish the (Palestinian Authority) to give up too early and why the EU is strengthening the PA. ... The Palestinians are ... cannon fodder for Europe's hidden war against the U.S. ...

Schroeder made it clear that she does not believe EU officials conspired with PA leader Yasser Arafat to wage war against Israel. Rather, a convergence of interests emerged, with both Europe and the Palestinians sharing an interest internationalizing the conflict. The oil-dependent Europeans, with sizable Muslim minorities, want a sphere of influence in the Middle East independent of Washington. The Palestinians know international troops can do little to curtail guerrilla attacks but can hamper retaliation by armies such as the Israel Defense Forces.

Or stand by and watch as Israeli soldiers are kidnapped. Whoops, did I say that out loud?

The real suppression of dissent: Arab journalists covering the chaos in the PA have received death threats—again.

Journalists working for Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have complained in recent weeks that they have received death threats from rival Palestinian groups because of their coverage of the crisis and their focus on demands for reforms in the PA.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the Gaza Strip has also warned its members against covering the power struggle. The journalists were told that anyone who violates the order would be severely punished.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has also rebuked Palestinian journalists for laying too much emphasis on the turmoil and ignoring more important issues like threats from extremist Jewish elements to blow up the mosques on Temple Mount.

Several Palestinian columnists and editors have also received death threats over the past few weeks. One of them, Adli Sadek, a prominent columnist with Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda daily who has called for an end to corruption, said a written letter containing threats against his life was left at the entrance to his home in Khan Yunis.

I expect to see the entire world media up in arms over this, with page one coverage. /sarcasm.

All right. Time for breakfast. (I'm beginning to see a pattern in these news roundups. Are you?) | |



European anti-Semitism deepens its reach: Jews attacked at Auschwitz

Yes, Auschwitz. Yes, that Auschwitz. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I had to read the lead four times to believe it myself.

While on a tour of the museum at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Sunday, a group of around 50 Jewish university students from Israel, the U.S. and Poland were verbally attacked by a three-member gang of French male tourists.

Evidently incited by the presence of an Israeli flag wrapped around the shoulders of Tamar Schuri, an Israeli student from Ben Gurion University, the first assailant ran at the group while its members were being guided through a model gas chamber and crematoria and began swearing and hurling anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli insults.

"He told us to go back to Israel and said that we were stupid and should be ashamed to walk around with an Israeli flag," testifies Maya Ober, a 21-year-old Polish student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan and member of the Polish Union of Jewish Students (PUSZ), which organized the 16-day summer learning program along with the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS).

After the initial altercation, a second assailant grabbed Ober by the arm. "One of the guys held me by the arm and wouldn't let go," says Ober, who lost several members of her family at Auschwitz. "I was afraid. I couldn't move and I didn't know what he was going to do.

So it comes to this: In the shadow of the dead of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed, three Frenchmen felt it was their right to harass living Jews—because the French, who supported Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, have been so propagandized in the years since then that three of its own would attack a group of living Jews because they dislike Israel's policies.

Arafat learned his lesson from his Soviet teachers—and former President Jimmy Carter—well.

Then again, it isn't anti-Semitism. It's anti-Zionism. Right?

Right. | |

Monday morning links

Jews for Bush: Michele's friend Faith created this site. Take a gander. It brings you articles like this, which quotes former New York mayor Ed Koch ("How'm I doing?"):

"I do not agree with President Bush on a single major domestic issue," he says, "but in my view those issues pale in comparison with the threat of international terrorism. The stated goal of al-Qaida and its supporters is to kill or convert every infidel, and that means Jews, Christians, Buddhists and everyone else who will not accept Islam's supremacy."

Yes, Mr. Mayor, that's exactly how I'm thinking these days. And Ed Koch is a Democratic stalwart, which tells you something.

More Israelis were killed by terror in the last four years than the entire history of Israel: The statistics are disgusting, especially the fact that twice as many women and children are now being used to attempt terror attacks.

Over the last four years, Dichter said, Israel has suffered 11,356 casualties, compared to 4,319 terror-related casualties between November 1947, when the United Nations voted to establish Israel, and 2000.

Dichter noted a sharp rise in the use of women and children in terror attacks over the past few years. Some 7.8 percent of the Palestinians involved in attacks this year were women or children, up from 2.7 percent in 2001, he said. The increase indicates that the terrorist organizations are having recruitment problems and are therefore turning to weaker, more easily influenced populations, he said.

An Op-Ed in the New York Times on how democracy is now the talk of the Arab world, in spite of the refusal of many (John Kerry included) to place the item high on their agenda.

But make no mistake, he has made headway. Notwithstanding the administration's modest approach, democracy is now at the center of debate in Arab capitals. And while some in the United States continue to insist that Arab democracy is the fantasy of a discredited cabal in Washington, an effort to avoid what they assert should be America's only priority - resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Arab intellectuals don't necessarily agree. The director of Egypt's Al Ahram center for Political and Strategic Studies, Abdel Monem Said, took the issue on himself. "Making reform and human rights contingent upon resolving the Palestinian problem," he said, "confirms what the American neo-cons are saying, that the political regimes harming human rights are using the Palestinian problem in order to divert glances from their own behavior."

The terror plot against Heathrow Airport is bringing out some chilling details. The mastermind lived in an apartment on the approach to Heathrow for three weeks. And, surprise surprise, palestinian terrorists are working with Al Qaeda. (I'd quote the article, but I can't take the breathless prose of the Daily Mirror. I'll find another source.)

This is interesting. Condi Rice said yesterday on Meet the Press that Iran must not be allowed to gain nuclear weapons.

She declined to say whether the United States would support action by Israel, which says Iran's program poses a particular threat to its national security, to attack Iran's facilities the way it attacked the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981.

"I think that I don't want to get into hypotheticals on this," Ms. Rice said. "I do think that there are very active efforts under way, for instance, to undermine the ability of the Iranians under the cover of civilian nuclear cooperation to get the components that would help them for nuclear weapons developments."

She said Russia had declared that it would provide help to Iran only if it returned its nuclear fuel to Russia so it could not be diverted for weapons. "I think you cannot allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon," she said. "The international community has got to find a way to come together and to make certain that that does not happen."

Ms. Rice's answer about Israel was particularly notable because, in the period before the war in Iraq, she and other senior administration officials said history had vindicated the Israeli raid on Osirak. Had that attack not crippled Iraq's main nuclear reactor, they argued, Saddam Hussein might have had access to nuclear weapons before the Persian Gulf war in 1991.

Don't count on it. Once again, I say that it will not be nearly as easy as the raid on the Osirak reactor. And the IAF cannot fly over neighboring countries with the same impunity: Here there be the USAF. I believe a raid on Iran's nuclear capabilities can only be done with US knowledge and approval.

Now, go read the rest of the news yourselves. I'm hungry. It's lunchtime. | |



Of Bugs and Men

Ilyka sent me to a new-to-me blog with absolutely hilarious accounts of two misadventures with roaches (read them both, and don't be drinking when you do).

I think both Ilyka and sb (can't find her name in the posts I read to date) will be horrified about my most recent bug story.

First off, I'm not too afraid of bugs, depending on how big and ugly they are. I'm not afraid of spiders at all. I consider them a girl's best friend, and try not to vaccuum them up unless their webs are, say, over the front doorknob, which I consider to be off-limits. I'm also not fond at all of ants in my kitchen, which regular readers know. But for the most part, I consider insects to be cat toys, particularly the ones that fly. Okay, the non-stinging flying ones.

Well, two nights ago, I was on the computer, and a hair swept across my face. I brushed it with my hand, and missed. I brushed it again, and missed again. Damn, that hair was annoying, and I couldn't seem to get it off my face. I stop paying attention to the computer and give my full attention to getting that hair off my face, because it's across my mouth and annoying me. I look down, and see a spider on my right sleeve. The sonofoabitch was spinning a web across my face and shoulders. Revolted, I brushed him off onto the floor, got rid of the spider silk across my face, and decided that I wouldn't kill it, just send it outside. It started hopping and refusing to hop towards the door. It hopped towards me one last time, which pissed me off enough to grab an envelope and smash it. Then I picked it up with a tissue (what does that say about my manliness, sb?) and threw it away.

Ilyka has a very funny post about how in it is absolutely a man's job to kill bugs (which leads me to wonder who kills the bugs in a lesbian relationship). But she follows that up with a question to the guys: What do they think is absolutely a woman's job in the relationship? (In the comments, I discount the obvious answer and make you come up with another one.)

Anyway. It's a top-down day for me. Work is slow, so if I don't get called in by three, I'm heading over to pick up Sorena and do some driving. I'm thinking I can finally take down the top, since it's been sunny for (gasp!) three whole days now. Gorgeous weather. Seventies. Yeah, I think some topless driving is in order. | |


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.