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Y'know, I saw this scene a few weeks ago, and simply had to grab the camera and record it for posterity. Or for posteriority.

I was thinking I could title it, "I don't give a cat's ass." (That is so gonna get me off the Yahoo! RSS feed.)

And of course, I had to share it with you, my favorite readers.

What do you think? I'm thinking of turning it into a thumbnail and using it as an icon on things that really annoy me. Like Michael Moore. Or extreme left/right politics. Or John Dvorak.

Gracie's tail

Gracie says: Well, nothing. She's a cat. | |

Wall Street Journal Subscribers: I need an article Thanks

Folks: If one of you could please send me a copy of Neal Ascherson's article on the Warsaw uprising that appeared recently, I'd greatly appreciate it. I have a compare-and-contrast to research.

Update: Thanks to Photon Courier, and, uh, (best Emily Litella impersonation): Never mind.

Updated update: Folks, thanks so much, I have the article. You can stop now. Honest.

By the way, the reason that I don't have to have embarrassing apologies and retractions is because I generally do a little research before I put out an opinion. If I hadn't first checked the original article, my cheeks would be utterly blazing with embarrassment right now.

Let that be a lesson to other bloggers: Take an extra hour or two to do some fact-checking before you write that outraged post, because you may be entirely mistaken.

You have no idea how stupid I would have looked had I gone with my first impulse. Hell, I would have made fun of me. | |



Yasser Arafat: Jerusalem will be ours

So, tell me again how the pals are interested in a two-state solution and peace. Because that's not what their "president" is saying.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat on Thursday told dozens of Fatah activists that "this land belongs to the Palestinian people" and said the Palestinians will bow only to God.

"Those who are near and far should know that this land is the land of the Palestinian people, whether they like it or not," a defiant Arafat said.

He added that the Palestinians would continue their struggle until the liberation of Jerusalem, when "one of our roses and children raise the Palestinian flag on the walls, minarets and churches of Jerusalem."

Did everyone notice the word "East" missing from that statement? You know, the part of Jerusalem that's Arab? Will the major media pick up this speech? Will John Kerry vote for Bush?

If this sounds a little familiar to you, it's because he's said it before. I wrote about it in December of 2001.

"One of our cubs or one of our flowers [i.e., a male or female Palestinian youth] will wave the flag of Palestine, Allah willing, over the walls of Jerusalem, its churches and its mosques, whether someone likes it or not, and whomever does not like it can drink the water of the Dead Sea.

I appeal to my beloved in Jerusalem: 'More determination, more strength, more resolve. And Allah willing, we will pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Allah willing, Allah willing."

Someone later wrote to me that he was simply including palestinian Christians in his speech when he mentioned the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. If that person is still reading: I trust your eyes have been opened.

Of course, it's incredibly depressing to read through this page from April of 2002 and see how little has changed regarding Israel's defense against murderers. Except for the death toll. That's down significantly. But world opinion is unchanged: It's still all Israel's fault. (And why do I always feel that my writing of two or three years ago is the writing of someone ten or twenty years younger?)

But back to our least-favorite topic: Not only did Arafat survive his latest crisis, but he has emerged even stronger, and his critics have learned that they will pay the penalty for suggesting that Arafat clean up his act.

In another development, German surgeons have amputated the leg of Palestinian legislator Nabil Amr, who was shot by unidentified gunmen at his home in Ramallah last week.

Amr's right leg was amputated from the knee down due to severe nerve and muscle damage from two bullets fired at him while he was sitting on his balcony. The shooting took place shortly after Amr, 57, criticized Arafat's performance during a television interview.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack and no suspects have been arrested. Arafat aid last week that he had ordered a thorough investigation into the shooting.

However, Reuters quoted PA security sources as saying Arafat has called off the investigation into the attack, blaming Israel for shooting Amr.

Yes, as he called off the investigation into the bombing that killed three Americans in Gaza last year. He doesn't need an investigation into something he himself ordered. | |

Victor Davis Hanson, once again

I haven't linked to one of his columns in a long, long time, but like Charles said, this one is worth reading.

So the genius of bin Ladenism is that to either applause or silent approval it promulgates lies that make Hitler's best perfidies seem mild. And such untruths do seem to galvanize an Arab world that is increasingly guilty of an inability to sort truth from fiction. The receptive Arab Street lives in a perpetual world of asymmetrical thinking — nursing fantasies, inventing false grievances, and above all demanding from the West what it would never offer to others. But, after all, the Middle East once was furious at Baghdad Bob not because he lied daily but because his lies were proven ludicrous and then humiliating on the world stage by the U.S. military.

So for the record: More Arabs go to the West than Westerners go eastward. Most U.S. troops are leaving Saudi Arabia; billions of American dollars flow to Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. We have even given billions to that wretched Arafat kleptocracy and saved Muslims from Kuwait to Bosnia. U.S. jets, not deranged riff-raff from Afghanistan, stopped Milosevic. There is no legitimate complaint of the Arab world against the United States — any more than Hitler had a right to Czechoslovakia or the Japanese to Manchuria. Just because the Japanese whined that the cutting-off of U.S. petroleum forced them to bomb Pearl Harbor didn't make it true.

Those who follow bin Laden may be poor and confused; so were many of the Hitlerjugend who murdered their way into Normandy. But like the Hitler Youth, for the killers of the mujahideen all efforts at compromise and mutual understanding are the mere parlor games of the academic. We do not need to educate the Arab world that we are better than bin Laden any more than we had to beg Arab immigrants to try out new lives in an 'unknown' United States. They know what we are about, they know...

At this point the American message of religious tolerance, equality of women, democracy, and secularism is too well known — and it is no more welcome to Islamicists than the idea of tolerating Jews was to an SS Panzer division. Yet, like Hitler's young minions, the masked men in bathrobes and machetes have not yet learned to fear the power of Western democracy that could, if it so wished — as the 10,000 resting at St. Avold have so proved — put a stop to their cowardly murdering rather quickly and thus end the Arab tolerance of these beheading fanatics.

Meanwhile, the U.N. scolds Israel about its fence to keep out suicide murderers to the applause of the European and Arab worlds. Yet both sit mostly powerless while Arabs in turn systematically mass murder black Africans in the Sudan. Can we at least drop the falsity: In the new global CNN media circus, an Arab must kill 1,000 innocents deliberately to warrant the condemnation that the world allots to a Jew who kills one Arab inadvertently.

There's more. Well worth the full read. | |

Dvorak opens mouth, inserts foot

I rarely bother with John Dvorak. (Use Bugmenot for p/w, hat tip: Michele.) He has a shtick when it comes to blogs. He thinks we suck. Or at least, he writes columns that assert we suck. I'm thinking he's found out that he gets a zillion links every time he goes after bloggers.

But I had to point this out. The Grammar Cop in me demands it. Especially after he wrote this:

All these complaints aside, reporting live from an event is not necessarily what bloggers do best. What they do best is comb the Internet for overlooked information and obscure reports. Their patron saint should be IF Stone not Seymour Hersh

Actually, what bloggers do best is catch big-J journos screwing up. And speaking of which:

And like the legions of Star Trek fans who pour over every episode frame-by-frame to find flaws, bloggers will, in fact, become the watchdog of the media, combing news reports, and keeping everyone honest. What's more important than that?

The word Dvorak is looking for is "pore." It's a verb meaning

To read or study carefully and attentively: pored over the classified ads in search of a new job.

It's one of my pet peeves. I hate seeing it used incorrectly on a blog, but at least blogger have an excuse. They don't employ editors, copy editors, and proofreaders.

So. What's Dvorak's and CBS Marketwatch's excuse?

Blogging: The new gotcha! journalism. | |



Arab anti-Semitism: It's pandemic

For the past sixty or seventy years, if not longer than that, the Arab nations have been indulging in one form or another of Jew-hatred. I don't see how we can possibly re-educate those whose very institutions regularly deny the existence of the state of Israel. I don't see how we can reform those whose governments sponsor a multi-part miniseries during the Arab equivalent of sweeps month (Ramadan) that echoes the lies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with their media insisting the series was truthful. And if you go to Google News today and look for the phrase "horseman without a horse," you will find this article on Al-Jazeera, which calls the Protocols "an allegedly anti-Semitic television programme" that was "loosely based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a controversial document that has never been corroborated."

That article is dated July 16th.

A quick look around MEMRI will show you case after case of institutional Arab anti-Semitism. And MEMRI presents regular updates on the presence of anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world.

So the shock and surprise expressed by the UN's European's ambassadors at the negative Arab reaction to a UN resolution on anti-Semitism is particularly annoying. All they had to do was open their eyes in their own backyards to see the Muslim hatred of Jews.

NEW YORK - Arab states at the United Nations are trying to foil a proposal to raise a vote condemning anti-Semitism in the General Assembly this September.

At a closed meeting held recently in New York, UN ambassadors from Arab and EU countries met and the Arabs made clear that they do not accept the initiative for the UN General Assembly to condemn anti-Semitism.

The blunt language used by the Arabs describing their opposition, and their plans to use diplomatic means to prevent the resolution from reaching a vote, shocked the Europeans, said a UN source.

According to UN sources, the Arab delegates were also critical of a UN seminar on anti-Semitism held last month. A senior Western diplomat said that among the Arabs who spoke with the Europeans was PLO observer Nasser al Kidwe, and he was particularly outspoken in his objections to a UN General Assembly resolution on anti-Semitism.

The source said Kidwe attacked the content of UN Secretary general Koffi Anan's speech to the seminar last month, particularly Annan's pride in the cancelation of the 1975 Zionism equals racism resolution. "The Europeans were depressed when they left the meeting," said the source.

I would like to hear what kind of blunt language they used, frankly. I would very much like to hear the Arab ambassadors to the UN expressing the kind of Jew-hatred we know they already hold. I'd like to see it plastered on the front page of the New York Times. But then, I'd also like to win the lottery.

Jordanian Ambassador to the UN Prince Ziad Hussein argued that the resolution would reinforce the tendency to call any criticism of Israel, anti-Semitic. Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Banone, said that the seminar against anti-Semitism was a terrible idea and a decision would only divide the world body. Arab League Ambassador Mahamas Hani warned that a UN resolution condemning anti-Semitism would have a negative impact on the Middle East.

The proposed resolution would issue a general condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism and acts of intolerance, incitement and harassment. The decision would also call on member countries to take steps to block anti-Semitism.

Major countries have already committed to voting in favor. Last year, an Israeli initiative for a similar resolution failed.

Of course the Arabs would have to vote against this resolution. The Protocols are bestsellers in Arab nations, and their Friday sermons nearly always condemn or call for the deaths of Jews. How could they vote for a resolution against anti-Semitism, when hatred has become a part of their way of life?

Shame, once more, on the United Nations. Shame, once more, on the European nations that allow this hatred to continue. And shame on the European ambassadors who are so ignorant that they don't recognize the depths and read of this hatred.

This is why Israel exists, and this is what "Never again" truly means: Never again will Jews leave their fates in the hands of others. Because every time we have done so in the past, we've regretted it. | |

Talking to myself: The Yourish interview

I'm having a bit of a blog ennui problem again, so while I figure out what to write, I thought I'd simply conduct interviews. But since I'm really suffering from ennui, I didn't want to actually interview someone. So I thought I'd try to interview myself. MQ is Meryl the Questioner. MA is Meryl the Answerer. Just so you don't get confused over which of us is which (although most of the MQ excerpts should end with a question mark, which looks like a button hook, in case you needed that explained to you).

MQ: Let's start with something simple. How old are you?
MA: You have got to be kidding.
MQ: No, really. How old are you?
MA: Shut up.
MQ: Why don't you want to tell me how old you are? Have you got something to hide? Is this supposed to be a big secret or something? I could find out if I really wanted to.
MA: Don't forget, when I get embarrassed, you get embarrassed, and I'm just about to tell everyone about the time when you were a kid and you really had to go to the bathroom and—
MQ: You're single, right?
MA: Right.
MQ: Why?
MA: What are you, my mother?
MQ: You're dodging the question again.
MA: Fine. Because I haven't found the right guy yet.
MQ: You're not looking very hard, are you? I mean, I know how old you are, and you're still single, and I know you're not gay, so howcome you're not married?
MA: Then there was that time in sixth grade when Wayne Roth—
MQ: So why do you blog?
MA: Hello, it's right there in the About page.
MQ: Yes, but that's more than three years old. Let's hear a new reason. You've been writing this weblog nearly every day for three years, and you're not getting a salary, and your visitor count is really not that big, considering the top bloggers are all in five digits now, and you're still in four. So why?
MA: Hm. Habit, I think. Well, that, and now I feel guilty if I don't post every day. There are people out there who read this weblog regularly, and I hate disappointing them. Which is not to say that I don't take breaks when I need them. Busch Gardens trips beat out the weblog obligation every time.
MQ: Yes, but feeling guilty isn't really a good enough reason to spend hours a day doing this work for essentially nothing.
MA: I like having an audience for my writing. And hey, my readers bought me the new/old computer!
MQ: Yes, they did, they contributed more than $250, and they were wonderful. But the blog isn't paying the rent, and by the way, how are you managing with the bills this month?
MA: Then there were all those times in Kevin Hawley's rec room, when you and Cindy and Kevin and Greg and—
MQ: So let me see if I have this right: Every time I ask a question you don't want to answer, you're going to bring up something embarrassing from our past.
MA: Yup.
MQ: You know, you could just say, "I'd rather not answer that."
MA: Yup.
MQ: Sadist.
MA: Nope. I'm just being me.
MQ: Yup. I mean, okay. New question: Who are you voting for in November? (And by the way, about damned time you straightened out your voter registration screwup. Don't forget, if you don't get the registration validation in two weeks, call them.)
MA: I haven't decided yet. I've been watching the DNC carefully. I think this is the most important election of my life, and I want to see if Kerry has a sensible policy on the Terror War. Note that I'm not saying "the war on terror." It's a war, and it's the Terror War. I hate nearly all of Bush's domestic policies, but I'm willing to hold my nose and vote for him if I think that Kerry's going to blow the war.
MQ: If you were a tree, which—
MA: Two words: Dino Magley.
MQ: Fine. It'd probably be willow, anyway. I know the willow tree is your favorite.
MA: It's the most beautiful tree in existence, if you ask me. I wish I had a dozen of them in my yard.
MQ: You don't have a yard yet.
MA: Okay. I wish I had a yard, and a dozen willow trees in it.
MQ: So do I. All right: What's your favorite food?
MA: The fried potato in nearly all of its forms. Chips, fries, latkes... yum.
MQ: Favorite drink?
MA: Coke. Classic, in glass bottles, if possible. I treat myself to a six-pack from time to time. Used to buy one a week as a present after I quit smoking. I was still saving over twenty bucks a week. Now, a six-pack of glass bottles cost less than a pack of cigarettes in NJ.
MQ: Yeah, good thing you quit smoking. Six years and two months next week. On Dad's birthday, come to think of it. He'd have been 81.
MA: So how old are you?
MQ: Oh, shut up. He got married old, remember? And Mom was practically an old maid when she got married. That's why they're so old. I'm not old. Anyway, you know what I always say: You're only as old as you look, and I don't look my age.
MA: That's true, you were carded until you were well over the legal drinking age.
MQ: So you think we can find a guy through this weblog?
MA: I think that if we haven't found one yet in more than three years of blogging, it ain't gonna happen. All the neat stuff seems to happen to other bloggers. Feh.
MQ: What's with you and email lately?
MA: Ennui. I'm backlogged. Things are still pretty rough in my personal life. When that happens, I tend to distract myself from the issues at hand by doing things like watching old Buffy episodes. Only I saw an episode of Angel last night that makes me want to watch Angel eps, but I only have season one on DVD. Bummer.
MQ: You have all those tapes.
MA: Hey, yeah, that's right! Kewl. By the way, bored now.
MQ: But I haven't even gotten started yet!
MA: Yeah, but I'm done.

| |



Sealed with a kiss

Kiss me, you fool

So you thought you'd say goodbye in the summer
Ahmed I promise you bliss
If you will stay on every day as my minister
Sealed with a kiss

It was gonna be a long lonely summer
But I'd fill the emptiness
I'd make some other schmuck my prime minister
Sealed with a kiss

I'll see you in Ramallah
I'll hear your voice on the news
I'll run to hold joint news conferences
So Ahmed, won't you come back?

I don't wanna say goodbye for the summer
Knowing the love we'll miss
Oh let us make a pledge to meet in Ramallah
And seal it with a kiss

So it will not be a long lonely summer
'Cause I've filled the emptiness
I've got my old schmuck back as prime minister
Sealed with a kiss
Sealed with a kiss
Sealed with a kiss

Update: Lair Simon has one, too.

| |



The unsinkable murderer

Hands up, anyone who's truly surprised by this news:

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has withdrawn his resignation after crisis talks with President Yasser Arafat. Mr. Qureia says he will work with Mr. Arafat to help end the political unrest in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Merang is back again. And everything is sweetness and light.

Mr. Qureia emerged with Mr. Arafat from the meeting in a display of unity.

Standing outside Mr. Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the two men kissed on the cheeks before raising their clasped hands in the air. Mr. Qureia says he withdrew his resignation and promised steps toward reform and upholding the rule of law in the Palestinian areas.

Once again, Arafat has managed to use smoke, mirrors, and death threats to get what he wants.

Palestinian officials said Mr. Qureia has won a greater say in running the Palestinian Authority and that Mr. Arafat will announce details of the deal soon.

Sure. Any day now, I'm going to win the lottery, too.

If any of you still think that Arafat was in any real trouble, think again.

Arafat knew very well what he was doing when he named his third-cousin to the important job. If there is a subject Arafat knows inside and out it is the Palestinian internal balance of power, and it is certain that he knew what to expect from many in Gaza, particularly younger members of Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the people in Mohammed Dahlan's camp.

Arafat's associates said last night that he felt he had to do something after he was forced to compromise with the kidnappers of polie chief Ghazi Jibali, and to promise to fire the hated police commander. In other words, he admitted he had to give in on the Jibali issue - but he proved, by appointing Mousa Arafat, that he is still in charge. Arafat's associates added that Arafat actually decided to remove Jibali two months ago, so he didn't really give in on that issue, either.

However, Arafat did take a small step toward Mousa Arafat's opponents, by appointing Gen. Abdel Razaq Majaida - former head of the National Security forces - ostensibly over Mousa Arafat. The appointment clearly "kicked Majaida upstairs."

When Mousa Arafat convened a press conference on Sunday to announce his appointment as the new security boss in Gaza, Majaida - one of the oldest and most loyal of Arafat's cronies - was sitting next to him, even though he had seemingly been deposed to make room for Arafat. It was a clear sign that in fact Majaida was not thrown out.

There was a superb analysis that I can't find again, I think in the Jerusalem Post, that pointed out that those leading the "revolt" against Arafat were his thugs who had lost their jobs and wanted them back—not the people who are suffering from the corruption of the palestinian leadership. They're still completely cowed, calls for Arafat's resignation from Hanan Ashrawi and others notwithstanding. (He knows he can't have her assassinated. She's too important to the PR movement.)

Then there's the US election, which Arafat is hoping will work to his advantage. He thinks if Bush is defeated, he gets a new life. That remains to be seen. | |



On Second Thought

As you may have noticed, I have named these posts. On Second Thought was the name of the weekly humor column I wrote for my college paper. I really liked writing that column, and the students really liked reading it. I know this for two reasons: One, when I was feeling really blue or the world was getting to me, I'd wander around campus on a Thursday afternoon, right after the paper came out, and watch people turn immediately to the page my column was on and start laughing. It never failed to pick me up. And two, ten years after I graduated from Montclair State, I was at a bar called Finnamore's (no longer in existence), chatting with a friend of mine over a drink, when this woman walked up to me and said, "Aren't you Meryl Yourish? Didn't you write a humor column for The Montclarion?" I was floored that she recognized me ten years later, but hey, my ego was flying for the rest of the night.

Um. The above paragraph may seem a little egotistical. Ah, screw it. If you've got it, flaunt it.

I was at Heidi's last night. G. is on a trip out of town for a conference, and Heidi was working second shift, and we thought that Sorena needed some company until Heidi got home from work. And since it's raining again for, hm, the fourth day in a row, I was in no rush to get home. Besides, the dogs are at their best first thing in the morning. At one point, I was playing tug of war with both Worf and Willow, each hand holding an end of a different dog toy while the other end of the toy had a ridgeback's jaws on it. It was almost like being drawn and quartered by ridgeback, except for the messy bloody death part. Well, and there were only two, not four, though Sparty was looking on longingly. Sorena said it looked like the dogs were playing Tug of Meryl.

So I'm driving north on I-95 to get home, and the electric sign says "Accident 22 miles ahead. All lanes closed." And I'm thinking, gee, if I needed to go north, where could I pick up Route 1 and get around this mess? (It was just a what-if. I only needed to go another three miles on 95.) Then I promptly forget about the accident, until about an hour ago, when I'm watching Days of Our Lives, and a news crawl announces that the reason 95 is closed is because a tractor-trailer carrying a cargo of grenades overturned. Traffic is being detoured to Route 1.

Oh. Good call, closing the highway, guys. Good call.

This is one of the funniest things I've read in months. Brought to you by Lair Simon's Carnival of the Cats. Spit-monitor warning. | |



The palestinian-made security fence

Apparently, a few palestinians have made millions of dollars selling cement to Israel—to build the separation fence.

Palestinian businessmen have made millions of pounds supplying cement for Israel's "security barrier" in the full knowledge of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader and one of the wall's most vocal critics.

A damning report by Palestinian legislators, which has been seen by the Telegraph, concludes that Mr Arafat did nothing to stop the deals although he publicly condemned the structure as a "crime against humanity".

The report claims that the cement was sold with the knowledge of senior officials at the Palestinian ministry of national economy, and close advisers to Mr Arafat. It concludes that officials were bribed to issue import licences for the cement to importers and businessmen working for Israelis.

One of the report's three authors, Hassan Khreishe - an independent legislator and long-term critic of Mr Arafat - last night called for the Palestinian cabinet to resign.

"Wealthy Palestinians with connections at the highest levels have been making millions helping Israel build this wall while Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have been urging people to fight against it," said Mr Khreishe, a council member from the West Bank city of Tulkarm.

But wait, there's more. Some of the main benefactors of the millions? Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's family.

The family of the Palestinian prime minister has been supplying concrete for Israel's security barrier, it was claimed yesterday, as legislators launched an investigation into companies profiting from the trade.

"We want to know if this cement was used to build the barrier or any other Israeli needs," said Hassan Khreishe, a Palestinian legislator on the inquiry committee.

Of course, both charges are vehemently denied. But this isn't the first cement controversy. If memory serves, Yasser Arafat and other palestinian bigwigs own cement factories, which do a booming business in the territories rebuilding houses that get damaged during IDF activities. They also sell cement to build Jewish settlements.

But the most damning part of the Telegraph article is below. It says that Arafat knew about the cement being sent to build the fence on the very day he called for an international protest against it.

According to the report, on November 9 last year a letter was sent to Mr Arafat by the Palestinian Authority comptroller, revealing that open-ended import licences for the cement had been signed by Maher al-Masri, the economy minister.

The Palestinian Authority comptroller asserted in the letter that the cement was destined for the wall.

The letter was allegedly received and seen by Mr Arafat on the same day that he urged people to demonstrate on the first international "Day against the Wall". According to Mr Khreishe, Mr Arafat took no action to stop further imports, which continued for another five months.

This is the corruption that the Gazans are currently protesting against. Perhaps the UN ought to think about issuing sanctions against the PA for supporting the "apartheid wall." | |


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.