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News roundup

This is a funny one:

Blizzard prevents Syrians from marking anniversary of Golan annexation
A blizzard blowing through the northern Middle East prevented Syrians on Saturday from staging their annual protest against Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

About 400 Syrians in buses and cars tried to reach the mountainous village of Ein al-Tineh on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights but snow, rain and poor visibility forced them to turn back.

Before going home, they rested in the hillside village of Hadar, about 57 kilometers (35 miles) southwest of Damascus.

Syrians traditionally stand on the edge of the so-called Shouting Valley, and shout through megaphones and sing national songs to the Arabs who live on the other side of the fence in the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Oh, that'll work. Maybe God was just plain annoyed with the singing and called down the snow to stop the awful din this year.

In the same miracle vein, the EU has apparently decided that the IDF does not have a secret department that forges Arafat's signature on incriminating documents:

The European Union's anti-fraud unit (OLAF) believes documents Israel provided showing Palestinian Authority financial support for terrorism are authentic, Israeli diplomatic officials said Thursday.

The German daily Die Welt reported last week that suspicion is growing that money from PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's office was transferred to terrorist organizations.

Hold on to your hats, the most devastating facts are in the next paragraph:

This means that EU funds were used to help finance terrorism for the first two years of the current violence.

Obviously, OLAF's chief man is Inspector Clouseau. You just have to love the EU, which has people like Chris Patten insisting that there is no corruption whatsoever, and that all EU funds earmarked for the pals go to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Yeah. Uh-huh. Sure. Which is why Forbes estimates Arafat is a billionaire. So, what are the Euros going to do with the report?

OLAF representatives reportedly visited Israel recently and are in the midst of writing a report on the matter that will be submitted to the European Commission, and will also be presented to the European Parliament.

You think they're going to bury it, since it comes up with facts the Euros don't like, like the recent anti-Semitism report?

Israeli diplomatic officials discounted the possibility that this report will be buried, like a recent European Commission report from a think tank on a rise in anti-Semitism, because the OLAF report is akin to a state comptroller's report.

Okay, that says Israeli diplomatic officials, not European. I think I'll reserve judgment until it's clear they're not going to whitewash or bury the report. On the other hand, this report shows that the pals are starting to sweat that the gravy train may soon be ending:

The Palestinian Authority said on Saturday it would stop paying members of its security forces in cash and would instead deposit salaries in their bank accounts, in line with reforms demanded by donors.

[...] The decision was aimed at meeting demands by donor countries for more financial transparency in the Palestinian Authority, which has been plagued by accusations of waste and corruption.

Shyeah. Accusations.

And last, but not least, this brilliant piece from our ever-hiliarous Palestinian Authority:

PA: Israel's absence has no impact on ICJ's authority on fence
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath on Friday said that Israel's decision not to appear at the International Court of Justice hearing on the West Bank separation fence should have no effect on the court's authority to rule on the matter.

Let's see. Israel refuses to appear before the court because the thrust of Israel's case is that the ICJ has no authority over an internal Israeli matter. The PA says it doesn't matter because the court has authority over Israel, anyway.

Sha'ath, who is visiting in Tokyo, reiterated the Palestinian position that if Israel wants a security fence, it should be built in Israeli territory.

There are many who say that Israel is building the fence in Israeli territory, asshat. To the victor go the spoils, and all that.

Irit Kahan, head of the international affairs department in the State Prosecutor's office, said Israel's planned absence from the hearing was irrelevant.

"I don't think that because we won't be there, the judges will formulate a position against us," she told Israel Radio on Friday. "The expectation is that a position against us will be formulated in any event."

Yes, as the ICJ is an arm of the UN, and one of the judges, an Egyptian, has already spoken out against the fence. Requests for his recusal on those grounds were denied.

As I said, the fix is in. Hands up, any reader of this blog who thinks the ICJ will hand down a favorable opinion on the fence. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?



Break time

The serious stuff can wait. I'd much rather brag about how I managed to put together a halogen floor lamp all by myself, a first for me. Although it would have been nice either to have a third arm, or to have my arms about half again as long as they were, or, well, just have someone else hold the lamp part while I took care of the base and the pole. It's a bit crooked, but I'll fix that tomorrow. Plus, I got the lamp for $13 and change at Foremost, so even if it only lasts a few months, it was worth it.

Last night, I wanted to go to bed around midnight, and opened the patio door and called for Tig. No response. Went to the front door, called for Tig. No response. Did some work on the computer, repeated the previous actions, received the previous response. Went upstairs, checked the bedroom, saw Gracie on the bed, poked the covers, no Tig hiding underneath. Checked the blankets on the TV chair downstairs (I was two and a half degrees below normal yesterday and chilled to the bone). No Tig. Now I'm starting to get tired and worried. I was envisioning Tig run over by a car, or eaten by a dog, or raccoon, or any number of tragedies. I tried dozing in the TV chair, because once I was upstairs, I knew I'd never hear him scratching at the door to be let in. But I realized that I'd get even sicker if I didn't get some sleep. So I locked up, turned out the lights, and went upstairs. As I walked past the upstairs bathroom, I saw Tig lying curled up on a pile of towels under the sink. The ones I put there yesterday preparatory to bringing downstairs to wash.


I got my oil changed and my tires rotated at the dealer's today. While I was there, they put a new car into the showroom. Another woman and I stared, fascinated, as the driver tried to maneuver the car into a spot without hitting a wall, a desk, or another car in the showroom. And the tires made funny squeaking noises as the car drove across the floor. As I told the woman at the dealer's, now I know the noise that a car makes when you drive it on tile: The same noise a little kid makes when dragging his sneakers across the floor.

The Passion countdown

Interesting information from this Roger Friedman column on Fox News about the venues chosen for Gibson's "Passion" release:

If you live on the west side of Manhattan, on most of western Long Island, or in Beverly Hills and you want to see Mel Gibson's controversial new movie "The Passion of the Christ," you will be out of luck.

When the film — which some critics are calling anti-Semitic and inflammatory — opens on February 25, it will be in very select theatres only.

Even though the makers of "The Passion of the Christ" are touting its 2000 screen premiere, the movie's website and another website,, tell a very different story.

[...] Theatre-goers will also be hard-pressed to find "The Passion of the Christ" in Nassau County, Long Island on either the south or north shore, or in affluent Westchester County, New York.

The pattern, for the most part, highlights black neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods. For example, all the Magic Johnson theatres in the country will show the movie, as will multiplexes in urban centers.

Gibson obviously thinks there's a potential problem in Chicago, where "Passion" will be on only two screens. Otherwise, Chicagoans will have to go to the suburbs.

The same goes for the wealthier and trendier parts of Los Angeles such as Beverly Hills and Century City. Those who are curious will have to seek their "Passion" in odd places, in out-of-the-way cineplexes. You won't be able to see it at the Beverly Center, for example. But four theatres in economically less desirable San Jose, California will show the film.

All of this seems designed to keep "The Passion of the Christ" out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale, or liberal.

Hey, I didn't write that. A Fox News columnist did.

Update: Michele writes in a letter:

Passion will be opening up in Nassau County at two places:

The Westbury theater is one of the largest in Nassau and not in any particularly ethnic (or religious) area. It's located next to two large malls.

The Port Washington theater is in an area that is heavily Jewish.

In point of fact, I intend to go see the film. Living in Richmond, I shouldn't have any trouble at all finding a local theater that plays it. I hated the gore in Braveheart, and I suspect this film will be equally as gross, but I do want to see the film I've been reading—and writing about—for months.

Constitutional amendments: One woman's opinion

Admittedly, I'm not a lawyer. I only know what I was taught in high school and college history classes, and what I have read and heard since then, which is, er, kind of a long time. But here's my lay opinion about Constitutional amendments: They are supposed to protect our citizens' rights, not make sure that a certain class of people shall never have them.

Which is my way of saying that I completely support gay marriage. I don't see a problem with it. And I don't think the amendment has a snowball's chance in hell of being approved.

Funny how so many people get so bent out of shape over homosexuality. It's been around as long as we have existed. I've known more than a few gay couples, and frankly can't see the difference between their relationships and the married couples I know. Well, except for the same-sex thing, of course. The rest of the relationship? One old married couple is much like another. Except the gay couple isn't really married, legally.

I don't think the Massachusetts court is an example of judicial activism. I think it's an example of the inevitability of the rights of American citizens being granted to all Americans.

It doesn't matter if some religions think it's a sin. The Constitution doesn't take religion into account when granting Americans equal protection under the law.

If that amendment goes past the talking stage, I'll be working to defeat it. I kinda like what the Fourteenth Amendment has to say.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Yeah, that's about right. No need to mess that one up with an amendment that proclaims gays shall be less than equal citizens of the United States.



Michele is the center of my universe

Okay, not really, but she deserves an ego-boosting link. Hey, Michele, I didn't get in the Commisar's deck, either. Note that I didn't link him until he mentioned me by name.

Blogosphere. Ego. Yeah, we've got that.

Music's charm

Have you ever heard a song on the radio, or walking into a store, or passing a TV playing a video, and stopped dead still with the thought that you absolutely had to know who that was, or that you had to go out and get the CD immediately?

That happens to me from time to time. The songs come from a wide variety of sources. One of them was the main ballad from The Little Mermaid that I heard in the background in a Disney store, another was my first-ever taste of Sarah McLachlan. Yet another was "On My Own" from Les Miserables, and the original Eponine was singing it on the Carson show (wow, that was a long time ago), causing my obsession with Les Miz (which I listen to every time I find myself becoming too conservative, as every time I listen to Les Miz, I want to pick up a gun and join the barricades).

Anyway. One of those songs was "Hear You Me" by Jimmy Eat World, and for some reason, it snuck into the back of my mind instead of the fore, but it was also put on my wishlist, and my old friend and former coworker Harry H. just sent me that, and the new Loreena McKennitt CD, as a present.

Thanks, Harry. Listening to Jimmy Eat World now, and liking the other songs, too. But "Hear You Me" was the song they played when Alex and Kim went to Bobby's grave on Third Watch, back when the show was still good, and I've wanted it for a long time. The song is superb.

The stomach flu blog diet

That would be links for you, and bed rest for me. Damn, this thing is back, and it wants to stay the rest of the month. Without paying rent. What does this mean to you? I'm linking people who have emailed me recently.

Mac Thomason, the Pteropundit, says the bird flu has hit New Jersey. Strangely, the article says that NJ always has some kind of bird flu flying around, due to Hispanic immigrants' preference for freshly-killed poultry. Watch Pat Buchanan take that one and run with it. "IMMIGRANTS ARE BRINGING DISEASE TO AMERICA!!!" Then again, he's probably written entire chapters about it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm on some kind of Monopoly blog board. But these things are entirely subjective, and generally reflect the reading habits and link-whoring tactics of their authors. Many blogs I like are missing from the board, and many that I despise are on it. So it's one of those "cute idea, Blodgex link material" things.

A long article about the efficacy—or lack thereof—of the International Criminal Court. It's called "A Lawless Global Court."

Lynn B. took on Tom Friedman's latest, so I don't have to. I also scanned Maureen Dowd's latest column. She's just embarrassing, now. Why bother?

Then again, she pointed out to me this passage from Friedman's column of last week, which is as offensive as any article I've read in the Arab News. Nice to know you're on the home team, Friedman. Here's your foreskin back, too.

That is, Mr. Sharon has the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat under house arrest in his office in Ramallah, and he's had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has Mr. Arafat surrounded by tanks, and Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, by a vice president, Dick Cheney, who's ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates, and by political handlers telling the president not to put any pressure on Israel in an election year — all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing.

Ed Koch had this to say about the above:

Tom Friedman, who is full of himself, believes he can resort to the anti-Semitic slur of secret Jewish control, and avoid criticism because he is a Jew. In reality, Friedman disgraced himself and his newspaper. His false words, coming at a time when anti-Semitism is skyrocketing worldwide, are particularly irresponsible and repulsive. If he is capable of feeling shame, I hope he feels it now.

I am so outraged over the Friedman column that I am practically speechless. Solomon fisked it quite nicely.

I guess building and empowering moderate Arab leadership under conditions we often can't control is even tougher than writing newspaper columns.

Nice one, Solomon. I see an Apprentice of Juvenile Scorn shaping up here.



Whoops, our bad, sorry about all the dead people

The Palestinian spokesliars are trying to convince a group of Jews that it was a mistake for them to kill a bunch of other Jews.

Terror attacks against Israeli civilians within the Green Line were a tragic mistake for the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Security Advisor said on Tuesday.

I would say it was a tragic mistake for those who lost their lives or who have to live with the aftermath of the effects of thousands of pieces of shrapnel flying at body-piercing speeds, but then, I'm one of those Westerners who simply cannot understand the desperation of the suicide bomber.

"As a matter of principle I think that this was wrong and I think that this was one of the mistakes of the Palestinians, to attack Israeli civilians or to make any kind of attacks inside the Green Line," Rajoub told a meeting of the AJC (American Jewish Committee) Board of Governors at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem.

Has no one learned that the spokesliars say one thing to us and another in Arabic and in private? You just know this scumbag was high-fiving with Arafat after the Number 19 Egged bus got hit. I don't buy this new act at all. They don't consider any Israeli a civilian due to the compulsory military service in that nation.

"Israel and the Palestinians should work towards a comprehensive ceasefire from both sides, meaning they should stop all acts of violence and aggression and start bilateral engagement – a ceasefire and political negotiations", Jibril Rajoub told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Every time Israel stops targeting terrorists, the terrorist launch another bombing attack. I'm missing the upside for Israel here.

He repeated that he believes that militarizing the Intifada was a big mistake.

Rajoub said that both sides must realize that there is no military solution to the conflict. " The security approach failed", he stressed. "Now the two sides must sit down and talk to work out a ceasefire and resume negotiations to promote confidence on both sides", he added.

Sure. Let's have a ceasefire. Oh, wait, you keep telling us that the PA is unable to control the terrorists because your infrastructure has been blown to bits, and your police force is unable to do anything about terror attacks. Of course, it's been proven that your policemen are both complicit in and carrying out suicide bomb attacks, but don't let the facts get in the way of your lies.

Furthermore, Rajoub said that the security of Israel would never be attainable without first establishing Palestinian independence. "We cannot deliver security just for the sake of security; we will deliver it for the sake of the independence of our people," said Rajoub, who suggested that the future state's lines be drawn on those of the 1967 border.

See? Read between the lines: We can't (won't) stop terrorist attacks until you give us a state.

According to Rajoub, Palestinian terrorism is a reaction to the peoples' absence of nationhood. "Fighting for us is not and will not be an end," he said. "It's a means to an end and that end is peace and security."

Shyeah. Because you don't indoctrinate your children from the get-go. Because you don't play martyrdom videos on PA TV every day. Because you aren't blackmailing your women into blowing themselves up since your men are finding it more and more difficult to get through to Israel and do so—because of the security fence.

"As soon as there is a bi-lateral engagement; as soon as hope and future for the Palestinian people is renewed, those fundamentalists will be pushed in the corner," he assured the committee.

Blah blah blah, root cause, blah blah blah, desperation, blah blah blah, poverty, lack of hope, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, they're singing the same old song. And yet, middle-class, educated people keep on blowing themselves up on buses. Somehow, I'm not getting the root causes thing.

Rajoub said that bilateral cooperation is currently being hindered by the construction of the security fence. "The Israeli government wants to build a wall; it wants to make a separation, which will never result in security for the Israelis," he said. "Security is not a technical issue. Security is a political issue. Without simultaneously working on security and politics, I don't think that we can make progress."

Oh, it's the fence that hinders peace? So, like, what was it before the fence started construciton? Might it have been suicide bombings?

By the way, Israel is making progress with the fence. Suicide bombing attacks are down dramatically; the fence, along with a very strong push by Israeli security services, contributed to a 50% drop in death from terror attack in 2003. What's going on here is a desperate attempt to remove the only thing that has worked on palestinian terrorists: The security fence. Their only bargaining chip is their ability to murder. They're losing it.

I've been around Jewish organizations most of my life. I have a pretty good idea what the makeup of the AJC group is like. I'm quite sure that there are some who actually bought what Rajoub was selling. But I also know that the group is filled with people who have had the blinders fall from their eyes, and who sat through Rajoub's lies, knowing full well that what he says to American Jews is diametrically opposed to what he says to his mass-murdering master, Yasser Arafat. And I don't think that Rajoub's message is sinking in in qhite the way he would like it to.



I think the Democrats are in trouble

Admittedly, this is purely anecdotal. But tonight, I stopped at the Rite-Aid, and was chatting with the clerk, who is a middle-aged African-American woman. We chatted about politics, what with it being the day of the Democratic primary here in Virginia. I was telling her about John Edwards calling me five times to get me out to vote for him. Then we started talking about the election in general, and I said to her, "I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but it's looking more and more like I'll be voting for Bush come November."

"Same here," she said.

"We're in a war," I told her. "The Democrats don't seem to get that. They don't seem to want to do what has to be done."

She agreed with that, too.

"I hate all of Bush's domestic policies," I said.

"I hate them, too," she said.

But she said that it's likely that she'll do exactly what I plan to do: Hold my nose and pull the lever for Bush. This is a member of one of the Democrat's traditionally strongest support groups. Working class, African American, female—and she's probably going to vote for Bush in November.

I think the Democrats are in trouble.


Do you think John Edwards is spending too much money on his campaign? I do. He's called me five times in the last three days. Funny thing is, he said the exact same thing each time, and sounded almost as if he was, well, a recording. That can't be right, can it? He said he wanted to talk to me personally.

Ways to stay out of Meryl's email filters: Always title your message. Never title it "hi," "hello," "hey," "URGENT," or "ASSISTANCE." Mind you, the email I've received several times in the last few days that was titled "Would you like to get laid tonight?" elicited both a giggle and the response that, well, yes, actually. However, it didn't get me to open the email. Perhaps if it had been sent from someone I know, I might have.

On that same subject, the last time I talked about spam with my friend Heidi, who is a nurse, and knows these things, I told her that I seem to get an astonishing amount of email for penis enlargement. She told me that it really doesn't matter how many of them I try, I still won't grow a penis. I think she knows what she's talking about here. I'll make sure not to order any.

My co-editor called me today and said, "So, are you still climbing the walls?" It didn't occur to me that I can now describe my job that way. "So, what do you do for a living?" "I climb the walls."

Okay, not really, I help other people climb the walls. Ah. I drive people up the wall. There you go. In one job, I teach little Jews to be big Jews. In another, I drive people up the wall. One might say that I do that in both jobs, but then, one wouldn't be my students.

On the other hand, I will be climbing the walls tonight. And learning how to do it correctly.

Did you catch the 100th episode of Angel last week? I nearly forgot to watch it. Sunday night, I put in the tape, watched the episode, and spent about five minutes after the end of it picking my jaw up off the floor.


Now that's good television.

By the way, my Stomach Flu Diet definitely worked in mysterious ways. My left pinky ring is too tight for my finger now. If someone could explain that to me, I'd be more than grateful. I've never actually lost weight by not eating while gaining weight in my pinky. They say there's a first time for everything.

Okay, now that I've convinced the Instapundit looky-looks that I'm completely insane, I'll stop.

The world is marching on

Y'know, Instapundit linked to an audio of Gore's speech, and it affected me like no other speech of Gore's has ever affected me. I was inspired to write the below. Here are the original lyrics if you need to compare.

The Battle Hymn of the Loser

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the falling of the Gore
He has trampled out the goodwill that the Clinton years had stored
He has loosed the fateful heightening of the voice no longer bored
It's Al on steroids Gore!

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
It's Al on steroids Gore!

I have seen him on the TV in a hundred different ways
He's an Alpha Male, a gentle guy, no wait, I think I'm dazed
I can hear his righteous speaking; it's been droning on for days
Al Gore, his voice is raised!

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Al Gore, his voice is raised!

I have heard the fiery speeches with his voice in higher rates
"It was planned ere 9/11!" is the charge that flies to date
Let the loser (Tennesee, dude?) keep on speaking so irate
He won't get through the gate! (of the White house!)

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
He won't get through the gate! (of the White house!)

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall always call retreat
He is calling for the backwards pull of victory: Defeat
America ignores him because Bush he did not beat
Al Gore is marching on. (Buh-bye now!)

Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
Al Gore is marching on! (Buh-bye now!)

Will they hold their breath till they turn blue, too?

The PA says they're going to declare a state unilaterally if Israel withdraws from Gaza and the West Bank uniliterally.

The Palestinian Authority will unilaterally declare a state on the West Bank if Israel implements her disengagement plan with no regard for Palestinian demands, senior PA official Yasser Abed Rabo threatened Monday.

According to Abed Rabo, the idea was brought up at a meeting of the Palestinian leadership over the weekend, and many of those present supported the proposal. He did not offer details as to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s stance on the issue. Persons present at the meeting said that the proposal was made unofficially and was not included in the day’s agenda. Abed Rabo, however, emphasized that “we are not talking about a hypothetical idea; this is a real possibility”.

While you're at it, feel free to include in your declaration that unicorns exist, you've already discovered seven pots of gold at the end of rainbows, and the tooth fairy married your brother. Because it doesn't matter one whit if the pals declare a state unilaterally. There's no bite to back up the bark. Especially now, after the fence is nearly finished.

What does Israel think of this threat?

Zalman Shoval, Israel’s former ambassador in Washington and an advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, replied to the Palestinian threat with one of his own: Israel will annex territories if the Palestinians take unilateral steps. Shoval said: “Palestinian neglect of the last stage of negotiations with Israel will leave Israel with options like annexing territories, which the government does not intend to do at this stage”.




The things you find when you're not looking

A Google search to find any news on Babylon 5 led me to this article on Jews in film and television:

A few years later, Gentlemen's Agreement tackled the taboo subject of anti-Semitism. Ironically, but perhaps not surprisingly, "the Jewish studio moguls didn't want to make it," says Schwartzberg, "and it really isn't a very good film, but it changed people's attitudes."

But mostly, immigrants like MGM's Sam Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer stuck to films like Yankee Doodle Dandy. They also changed the names of Jewish actors (Edward G. Robinson was born Emanuel Goldenberg, for instance), and even made Danny Kaye bleach his hair.

While the Holocaust swept Europe, Hollywood was silent on the subject. (But Gertrude Berg wasn't: Storylines on her radio version of The Goldbergs often concerned Jewish relatives trying to escape Eastern Europe. One episode dealt with Kristallnacht.)

As Schwartzberg points out, Warner Bros. somehow managed to film The Life Of Emile Zola without mentioning that Colonel Dreyfus was Jewish.

Like television, film changed thanks in part to the outbreak of ethnic pride during the late '60s and '70s. Thanks to the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen, it was suddenly cool to be Jewish.

Vaudeville's Fanny Brice had endured a well-publicized nose job (cutting off her nose to spite her race, as Dorothy Parker put it), but Barbra Streisand did no such thing before or after playing Brice in Funny Girl.

And how many gentiles learned their smattering of Yiddish slang from Mel Brooks films?

Yeah, nobody ever expects Yiddish-speaking American Indians. A fun and interesting read. And check out the author. Bloggers are everywhere.

Save Shenville Farms!

If anyone reading this website happens to be a multimillionaire looking for a new investment, Shenville Farms is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings and looking for a last-minute buyout.

They happen to make superb dairy products without growth hormones, as well as many other products. They're in the Shenandoah Valley, and are a small, family-run farm being run out of business by the Evil Corporate Creditors.

Okay, so that's a bit of hyperbole. But many, many Kroger's customers are going to be unhappy at not being able to buy Shenville Farms products. Including me. I sent them an email last week, and this is their reply:

The bad news is true. We will be sold at auction at the end of February. You know we are a small, young business, and we have a large amount of debt. We have been operating in a bankruptcy state for several months. Just last week, our lendor, Farm Credit, forced us to cease operations, and they are foreclosing on us. We are sorry to have to do this, and we remain hopeful that someone will come in and buy us, and potentially resume operations. Please check the website in the coming weeks for information. We plan to update it with important messages for our customers.

Thanks for your support,
The Shenville Family

So if you happen to have a few spare millions, or know someone who does, send 'em over to Shenville and talk to the people about a deal. Save my chocolate milk!

More on the uniqueness of the Holocaust

Lynn B. had one last post on Friday that I felt would make a better Monday referral. It includes an essay that points out that the Holocaust was uniquely Jewish, even though some six or seven million others died in it as well.

There are thousands of captured documents dealing with the killing actions. Almost every one of them deals with the Jews and there are almost no documents that deal with another target that do not also address the Jews. The Einsatzgruppen reports almost always separate out the Jews from the other people shot, going so far as to break down the Jews by age and gender ( intro-einsatz).15 And the Report 51, submitted by Himmler to Hitler in 1943, breaks down the victims into a variety of categories (bandits, partisans, etc.), but only lists the Jews as "Jews executed."16

Finally, the Korherr Report is entitled "The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question: A statistical report,"17 and once again, addresses virtually only the Jews.

Hitler said before the outbreak of the war that if there were another war, he would annihilate the Jews.18 He said during the war that he was in the process of annihilating the Jews.19 And he said in his Testament that he had done exactly what he had said he would do.20

The ultimate aim and the primary target never varied. Others were murdered in the course of the Final Solution, e.g. Gypsies, Russian POWs, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and so on, but the first and constant target was always the Jews. The Final Solution was intended for the Jews, was about the Jews and chiefly affected the Jews. There is no denying that, without the Jews, there is no Final Solution.

To minimize or trivialize the "Jewishness" of the Final Solution is to seriously understate, if not, unintentionally perhaps, deny its essence. This does not mean that the suffering of other groups is to be ignored; on the contrary, it was terrible. But without the Holocaust, without the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", the others live. The term "holocaust" was coined to describe the uniquely Jewish aspect of the Final Solution. It does not seek to negate the suffering of the other victims.

It's a read-the-rest, especially the above essay.

News and analysis

The New York Times Magazine profiles several of the world's virus creators. Charming young men, all of them. Of course, my immediate reaction is that the writer forgot to mention they're spoiled, selfish, self-centered children who never learned to socialize properly and could realy use some intensive therapy, but that's just one woman's opinion.

Time Magazine (it must be Time time today) on Ariel Sharon's plan to pull all the Israeli settlements out of Gaza:

What's Sharon up to? Some thought he was trying to draw attention from the corruption scandal swirling around him, but there's more to it than that. Senior Israeli officials tell Time the strategy is aimed at his longtime nemesis, Yasser Arafat. For Arafat, the good news is that, 26 months after the Israeli cabinet declared him "irrelevant," Israeli officials acknowledge that Arafat's ability to obstruct recent peace moves makes him relevant indeed. The bad news is that the strategy behind Sharon's new policy of "separation" from the Palestinians, of which the Gaza plan is a part, is to withdraw Israeli forces and settlers behind a defensible line and wait for the 74-year-old Arafat to die. Only then, Sharon believes, will a Palestinian leadership emerge that can negotiate peace.

Sharon, 75, is convinced no progress can be made on President Bush's "road map" peace plan as long as Arafat undermines the ability of the Palestinian Authority to rein in terrorists. So Israel intends to wait for a time when Arafat is no longer an obstacle, either because he is dead — he is reported to have stomach cancer — or because the Palestinian people have somehow removed him. "Most of the peace plans circulating now are a hundred-meter dash to the finish line," says one senior Israeli official. "This is a marathon — and it's going to be run uphill."

I don't know that I go along with this analysis exactly, but I'm glad Time got a palestinian spokesliar to finally admit at least one truth:

Ordinary Palestinians find it hard to believe that Sharon, so closely associated with the Gaza settlements, will evacuate. The separation plan could go into effect as soon as June and be complete by early fall, but Palestinians are waiting to see if it actually happens. And the Palestinian Authority hasn't prepared a strategy to fill the gap should Sharon pull the settlers out. "Arafat is obsessed only with refusing anything Israel does," says one senior Palestinian official.

You got that right.



Bland, bland, blah, blah

I am so tired of bland food. You have no idea how much I'm dying for fried potatoes. And yet, I held off and had (sigh) spaghetti for dinner, with just a little bit of butter. I suspect my Stomach Flu Diet has lost me several pounds since Thursday. I also suspect if people followed it for more than a few days, they'd be down with malnutrition in no time, bananas or no bananas.

Anyway. Mostly back to normal today. Taught religious school and worked most of my shift at the gym, and surprised myself by actually feeling better towards the end of the shift. Perhaps the endorphins produced by exercise are little healing buggers. Which is not to say I won't be going to bed early tonight.

Taking a quick look around, Lair Simon is nyah-nyahing at Steven Den Beste (like Lynn, I'm with Lair on this one).

Anonymous Lawyer Guy, also known as Brant Hadaway, presents a Holocaust denier's letter, so we can all go over there and make fun of the moron. Spelling errors included. No, the denier isn't anyone I linked to during last week's Holocaust discussion.

Lair points out that the Jerusalem Post says Al Qaeda has nukes. I don't buy it. The story says Al Qaeda is sitting on them as a last-resort weapon. Not their style at all.

Chuck Simmins is a media star. Yeah, him. Nice job, Chuck. For a very good cause, too.

I don't care if it is a blatant ploy for links. Number ten is really funny. If you can make me laugh, you get a link.

And last, but not least, Imshin has more updates on the female suicide bomber from several weeks ago, the one who supposedly blew herself up to avenge her family honor after she had an affair. Fascinating and confusing read, but if the story about the bomb in the Al-Aqsa model is true, someone in the Mossad has wickedly dark humor.

Some morons, including some idiot from France, have hijacked my domain and are sending out spam. I apologize, but there's nothing I can do about it. Trust me, if you're getting any virus/worm/spam email from me, it's not from me. It's forged headers. I have never had a virus on any of my home computers, and only once was I careless enough to click on a .vbs file at work. (And then spent the next hour and a half cleaning it off my computer. Damn, was I annoyed.)

The rest of the news will have to wait for my full recovery. Oh, except, no, I will not be watching the Grammys. They always suck. And I'm on the next-to-last DVD of Buffy Season Three. Just finished watching Doppelgangland. Earshot is up next, I think.

Sigh. I miss Buffy, but not Season Seven Buffy. Season Three rocked.


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.