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Cats and dogs

Harrison is still talking trash about Tig, but I'm hesitant to put Tig's response up. In the meantime, I caught Willow in a very cute pose while I was over Heidi's the other day. So for all you dog fans (and dog bloggers) out there, here's what's going to be a Willow Before picture—Heidi put her back on a diet. Poor thing has the tendency to get diabetic when she isn't at the perfect weight, due to her previous owner overfeeding her to the point we used to call her "Willow the Pillow." And we all know what diabetic animals do the most, don't we? That's right. They cause more messes than Tig after he's groomed himself all day.

See the way her ribs stick out? When she's at the right weight, she looks terrible. She looks like she's being starved. And since she's a Ridgeback, of course, she acts like she's being starved. But you can see the fat on her lower ribs. Photographic evidence that her rations must be cut. Poor Willow.

Say, Harrison—if I were you, I'd stay away from Lair Simon's blog. He has four cats.

I'm beginning to suspect, from hints dropped here and there, that Harrison's AHM lives pretty darned close to me. But no, I didn't stay in the stands for the Fort Lee fireworks. I was only in them for the shots of the troops. They pretty much take over the stands, and my friends and I like to sit outside the track on the nice cool lawn. There's a hill in front of a barracks building that we like to set up on. You can lie back on your blanket and watch the fireworks in comfort, and there aren't so many people around. This year, Heidi did not roll down the hill with her daughter. Hurting your neck once reminds you that you're no longer ten, and while it may be fun to roll down a hill, ten-year-olds don't get whiplash from it the way their [cough-cough] mothers do.

Anyway, The Terriorist manages to make me laugh on a regular basis, and he has nice things to say about Gracie (who is, indeed, quite beautiful), so he's been added to my links page. I haven't figured out which category yet, though. I don't have one for dogs that blog. | |

The ICJ ruling: Humpty Dumpty meanings

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

The ICJ negated Israel's reason of self-defense behind building the wall. This is the cogent excerpt from the ICJ:

138. The Court has thus concluded that the construction of the wall constitutes action not in conformity with various international legal obligations incumbent upon Israel. However, Annex I to the report of the Secretary-General states that, according to Israel: “the construction of the Barrier is consistent with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, its inherent right to self-defence and Security Council resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001)”. More specifically, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations asserted in the General Assembly on 20 October 2003 that “the fence is a measure wholly consistent with the right of States to self-defence enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter”; the Security Council resolutions referred to, he continued, “have clearly recognized the right of States to use force in self-defence against terrorist attacks”, and therefore surely recognize the right to use non-forcible measures to that end (A/ES-10/PV.21, p. 6).

139. Under the terms of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

Article 51 of the Charter thus recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self-defence in the case of armed attack by one State against another State. However, Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign State.

The Court also notes that Israel exercises control in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that, as Israel itself states, the threat which it regards as justifying the construction of the wall originates within, and not outside, that territory. The situation is thus different from that contemplated by Security Council resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001), and therefore Israel could not in any event invoke those resolutions in support of its claim to be exercising a right of self-defence.

Consequently, the Court concludes that Article 51 of the Charter has no relevance in this case.

I'm no lawyer, but I can read English. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no mention in Article 51 that the attack must occur by a member state. Read the second-to-last paragraph above. The court is twisting the meaning of the words of the UN Charter to fit its decision.

Now go look at the two Security Council resolutions. The first concerns the 9/11 attacks, and calls for action against that attack and also

4. Calls also on the international community to redouble their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts including by increased cooperation and full implementation of the relevant international anti-terrorist conventions and Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1269 (1999) of 19 October 1999;

5. Expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, and to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations;

Apparently, the words I cannot find, but that the ICJ can, in the above resolution are "everywhere except in Israel or the disputed territories."

Now the cogent parts of resolution 1373

Deeply concerned by the increase, in various regions of the world, of acts of terrorism motivated by intolerance or extremism,

Calling on States to work together urgently to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, including through increased cooperation and full implementation of the relevant international conventions relating to terrorism,

Recognizing the need for States to complement international cooperation by taking additional measures to prevent and suppress, in their territories through all lawful means, the financing and preparation of any acts of terrorism,

[...] 2. Decides also that all States shall:

(b) Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information;

(g) Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents;

Apparently, this resolution also says "Except for Israel," but once more, I can't find it. It must be a requirement that you be an "anti-Zionist" to read those words into the resolutions.

Once again, the world rules against Jewish self-defense. I am unsurprised. Deeply disappointed, as usual. Extraordinarily angry, of course. But not surprised. | |



Happy blogiversary, Frank

Frank J. is entering his third year as a blogger. So I'm going to make up a song just for him.

Happy blogiversary, from Jooooos!
Happy blogiversary, from Jooooos!
Happy blogiversary, dear Frank
Happy blogiversary, from Jooooos!

And if IMAO needs an Official Jooooo!, I'm volunteering. Oh, and I'll also volunteer Lair Simon. Because you need to have Official Joooos!, not just an official Jooooo! | |

Software stuff

After a year's subscription to the Norton antivirus software, I have come to the conclusion that Symantec sucks great big hairy you-know-whats. When I uninstalled everything today, I had to go into the control panel and remove a few more Symantec programs that insinuated themselves into my computer (LiveUpdate, for example), and completely ignore the scary warning that some of those programs might still need the files I was deleting, was I sure I wanted to get rid of them? Uh, yes. Go away.

The main reason Norton sucks? First off, it does nothing about an incredible variety of trojans, one of which I got. I had to download anti-spyware programs to get rid of thinstaller client. So what am I paying Norton for? To make sure I don't get email viruses. Well, now that I use Hosting Matters, my email is scanned on the server, and they're not charging me six bucks a month for the privilege, which my former hosting service wanted to do. (Hosting Matters rules, by the way.)

But the other reason Norton sucks so much, and the reason I want nothing to do with them ever again: It insinuates itself into nearly every aspect of your computer. You can't boot up a goddamned Word document without being online, because Norton does some kind of check on the internet every time you activate it. When I discovered that it was trying to contact the Symantec site when I was simply copying files from one folder to another, I was furious. I put up denials in my firewall program (Tiny Personal Firewall, love it). What right does Symantec have to send some kind of message out because I was moving files from my memory stick to my computer? And so, never again.

Sarah G. told me the name of an antivirus software she uses. I forgot it. She's out of town. But perhaps some of you have suggestions.

As to the rest of the software woes, I bought an external DVD/CD burner some months ago, and have been unable to use it. Because the jerk at CDW didn't tell me I needed at least Windows 98 Second Edition. So here's my second software question: Should I just pick up Windows 98 SE on Ebay, or is there a special Sony Vaio edition I need to find? I was under the impression there will be patches that I'd need for this model. Anyone have a better idea? | |

Israel vs. the world, continued

Two years ago, I wrote an analysis of the UN resolutions against Israel, and found an astonishingly high percentage of anti-Israel resolutions, in spite of the fact that Israel is one tiny country in a very big world.

Let us review the information. From 1947 to 1989, 690 resolutions or parts of resolutions referring to Israel were voted on. The results of those votes:

Balance or Tilt: Of these, 205 (30%) were neutral. Of these, 64 (9%) were adopted without a vote, without objection or by consensus. 18 (3%) were adopted unanimously. Thus the adjusted number of balanced resolutions: 123 (18%)

Resolutions against Israel's desires: 429 (62%)

Resolutions against Arab desires: 56 (8%).

Of the 56 votes not to the Arabs' liking, 49 concerned the establishment or financing of peace-keeping forces. Of the remaining 7, one concerned inviting the Jewish Agency for Palestine to address the General Assembly (May 1947); 1 concerned the Partition Plan (November 1947); 1 concerned establishing a trusteeship for Jerusalem; 3 concerned refugees (1948); 1 protested admitting Israel as a member to the UN. Discounting the 49 votes concerning peace-keeping forces, the last anti-Arab vote of the General Assembly was in May 1949.

The Arabs were "called upon" to "comply," "desist," "refrain" etc. 4 times. Israel was "demanded," "ordered" etc. to do General Assembly bidding 305 times.

The Assembly expressed its "concern," "grave concern," "anxiety" etc. about Israeli policies or actions 179 times. The General Assembly expressed itself in similar terms about Arab policies or actions 0 times.

Israel was "condemned," "vigorously condemned," "strongly condemned," "deplored," "strongly deplored", "censured," "denounced" by the General Assembly 321 times. The Arabs were condemned 0 times.

Cumulative Number of Votes cast with/for Israel: 7,938.

Cumulative Number of Votes cast against Israel: 55,642.

Looking at the above information, Is there truly anyone out there who is surprised that the World Court ruled against Israel, and that the EU and Arab nations will use this to push for a resolution in the UN?

In another unsurprising move, the only judge to rule for Israel was the American judge.

But here's a very interesting fact from the New York Times article on the ruling.

A copy of the ruling, posted on the Web site before the court began its reading of the decision, said that the construction of the wall is "contrary to international law."

What is the electronic intifada?

The Electronic Intifada (EI), found at, publishes news, commentary, analysis, and reference materials about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from a Palestinian perspective.

How is it they got the ruling out before the ICJ did?

Does anyone out there think this was anything but a kangaroo court ruling from the get-go? | |



Home again

I think I must be getting old. My back never really bothered me during the drive, except for a little bit of stiffness. Bothered me bigtime this time around.

Time to start exercising.

I haven't been around to many blogs. Mom's on AOL, and dialup at that, so I do the least amount possible while I'm there. Plus, all those family things, and going to my hairdresser and picking up kosher meat (rib steak for dinner tonight, yum), and damn, that reminds me, have to take the family pack of chicken cutlets and turn it into individual packets and freeze it. Oh, and Eden Wok in West Orange is under new management (again), and ohmigod, it's the best kosher Chinese food I've ever had in my life. They got so much better. I want to drive back to NJ just to get a large chicken and broccoli from Eden Wok. If anyone goes to West Orange and then passes through Richmond, you'll make a friend for life if you pick me up an order.

Tig left me a present. Hairball in my bed. The sheets are nearly done drying. Sigh.

There was a car fire on 95. I have gotten so good at taking one-handed pictures while driving that I simply reached over, took out the camera, held it without looking at it, and snapped away. I got a great picture. Perfect, really. But it was the third picture I shot. The third picture on my memory stick is always the one that gets corrupted. I don't know if it's the camera or the disk, but I know that my great picture isn't so great. So you can't see my shot of the car fire.

The storms were over by the time I got to Richmond, and luckily, I didn't drive through any of them that raged through the area. Which is a very good thing. Some storms were dropping three-quarter-inch hail and winds of over 70mph. My Jeep has the soft top on. I knew about the storm and kept a weather eye out for bridges, overpasses, and covered gas station islands. Luckily, I didn't have to use it.

If you ever drive the I-95 corridor, here's a tip to get around Baltimore faster: If the sign north or south of the city warns you that there will be delays at the main tunnel and suggests you take 895 as an alternate route, believe it. Every single time the sign has warned me, it has been telling the truth. It would have taken me at least an extra half hour to get through the backlog.

I find it astonishing how few people take heed of suggested detour and warning signs. Every single time I've taken a suggested detour route, it's gotten me out of horrendous traffic. I also usually have maps along. This time, I didn't because they got rained on when I left the Jeep out with the windows off. I have to remember to stop by AAA and get new ones.

I'm home for a brief moment, then off to Busch Gardens with Heidi and the girls tomorrow. My nephew decided he'd rather stay home and see his friends before he goes on vacation. Ah, well. No need to worry about the dynamics changing because we brought a boy along this time. It's just us girls again. I expect many high-pitched giggles will occur throughout the day. No, not me. I don't giggle. I laugh. I chuckle. I guffaw. I chortle. I even snort. But I no longer giggle.

When I was a teenager, and giggled regularly with my favorite giggle partner, which would be my cousin Sharon (and sometimes her older sister Ellen), we used to read the Archie comics and say, "Tee hee? Who says 'tee hee' when they laugh? Nobody says 'tee hee'!" So we'd try to use comic words in real life. Ellen would say, "Tee hee." We would also say "Tee hee." Then we would all collapse into a fit of laughter.

If I'm not mistaken, that was right around the time we played an imaginary strip poker game. We had real clothes on and we didn't really want to take them off. So we put on imaginary clothes, and we kept adding more imaginary clothes so we wouldn't lose. We all wound up being clothed in imaginary great winter furs. I would explain why to you, but there is no why. I was thirteen, Sharon was fourteen, Ellen was sixteen. That's why.

I miss Sharon. She was killed in a drunk driving accident nearly eleven years ago. Not a month goes by that I don't think of her. Perhaps that's why I don't giggle anymore. My giggle partner is gone.

The last time I saw Sharon, she tried to get me to crash a party in the Village by following a couple dressed in formal wear. We didn't know who it was, but we thought since the couple were wearing a tux and a gown, it would be an interesting place to be. We lost track of which brownstone they entered, or we'd have done it. She was an amazing woman. I always thought we'd grow old and grey together. We'd be in our nineties, giggling at lunch over something silly Sharon just said.

Oh, well. Maybe I'll giggle a little bit with the girls tomorrow. | |



The Fourth at Fort Lee

As promised, photos of how the Army celebrates Independence Day at Fort Lee, Virginia. Each of these pictures will be seen in more detail on a separate page, which will not be uploaded until I get back to a high-bandwidth line. Meantime, here are smaller jpegs you can enjoy here. I do hope none of you are on 28k modems.

The first of the troops marching into the arena.


Two files of soldiers wait in formation as a third marches up. A fourth file remained behind, and several more came from the front of the arena later.

Now you can see nearly all the marching soldiers waiting for their orders to move on. That's a lot of troops. But not quite all of them.

The view from the top of the flag-lined stands. Later, the soldiers filled the stands to watch the fireworks and try to outyell one another. Lots of "Hooahs!" were heard.

Quack, quack

This one I had to include because no Fourth of July celebration is complete without a giant yellow duck.

(It's actually got something to do with a local radio station. But it's a great image.)

Spending the Fourth of July on an Army post is a very different experience from what most people are used to. Needless to say, people are very patriotic. Besides the selection of the usual July 4th fare (Sousa, various patriotic anthems), we heard more than a few country songs written since 9/11, most of them of the "We're America, and we're gonna kick your ass" variety. 9/11 has not sunk into the background on Army posts, as it has in many places in America.

I really like being there for the Fourth. And as the post is a big training post, I get the feeling the soldiers are very happy to be there for the festivities, too. They don't get a whole lot of free time, and I feel for them, wearing full uniforms in the Virginia heat. Then again, it beats the heat of a summer day in Iraq.

You know, even during the heights of my hard-left liberal youth, I never had anything but respect for our Armed Forces. They do something that I wasn't able to do, and for that, they have my unending gratitude and respect. | |



Calling all in transit

I'll be in transit by the time most of you read this. For those of you who are interested in joining me, I was thinking of a restaurant in Montclair Tuesday night, but—I may have family obligations that will cause me to cancel. The train and bus lines stop right across the street from the restaurant. And I can drive to a transit point those of you who need to get back via train or PATH. I'll know more tonight, and will email those of you who already responded.

And by the way, I have some great pictures of my Fourth of July at Fort Lee (I'm wearing the t-shirt today) that will be up a bit later. The soldiers put on a show for us. | |

Us and them

Three stories that illustrate profound differences in thinking, and one that is bound to cause international outrage.

First, the good news: In a recent poll of palestinians, 79% of them say they would favor a "mutual cessation of violence." The bad news: 59% of pals still support suicide bombings.

I'm trying to figure out how 79% can say they want an end to violence while nearly two-thirds still want to see Israeli civilians blown up.

The IDF found another would-be suicide bomber and got the belt before it could kill Israelis.

The army stopped four men wanted for questioning, and among them they discovered the would-be suicide bomber. The explosives belt was later found in a garbage can on a building roof next to the Ramallah central bus station.

The IDF says it will not use artillery against Kassam rockets.

"There is no reason or need to fire artillery into urban areas," said Brig.-Gen. Dani Kassif, the IDF's chief artillery officer. "It doesn't matter how bad the situation deteriorates, as long as it is not a total war, there is not need to use cannons."

[...] "People are always asking the question why has the IDF decided not to use artillery. I think there is no reason to decide otherwise," Kassif said. "I know if we fired artillery we wouldn't hit just the mortar [firing at Israel], but also hit other people in the area."

Yes, that's the difference between Israel and the pals. Israelis do not deliberately target civilians, and do their best to reduce collateral damage. The pals deliberately target civilians, and rejoice over their deaths.

Now here's the story that will doubtless cause international agencies (and the French) to demonize Israel: Ehud Olmert says that Israel has no obligation to help the palestinians build industry.

While Israel is not going to destroy its industrial base in Erez, neither will it be responsible to help the Palestinians rebuild after withdrawal, Trade and Industry Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday. During an interview with Israel Radio, Olmert said that Israel should assist international organizations in the rebuilding of Gaza, but it has no responsibility towards those who run terror organizations against its citizens.

About 4,000 Palestinians are employed at the industrial zone. The IDF has estimated that about 40,000 Gaza residents live off the incomes earned by their family members at more than 200 Erez factories, plants, and workshops.

In June, Olmert had said that all Israeli factories at the joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zone, located at the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, would be moved to southern industrial zones in Ashkelon, Sderot and Netivot. He said the government would subsidize the move and pay the difference in Palestinian and Israeli employee salaries. Labor laws do not apply in Erez, as it is not technically part of Israel, so employers can pay less than minimum wage. Most Palestinian factory workers are paid about NIS 10 per hour, or around NIS 1,600 per month. Israeli minimum wage earners make almost double that amount, at NIS 3,300 per month.

Of course, we're going to get charges of discrimination and racism about that salary difference. Because it's not like, oh, American farmers pay migrant workers less than minimum wage to pick crops. Or it's not like Americans hire illegal immigrants to clean their houses and take care of their children for less than they'd have to pay a legal worker. Or it's not like there aren't sweatshops in America where foreign workers work long hours for little pay in horrible conditions. No, no other nation is guilty of anything like that. Only Israel, right?

Yeah. | |



Glorious Fourth

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You can read the rest of it here.

And for those of you who were rooting for Gracie to get her holiday tuna: Here's photographic evidence.

Gracie, Tig, and what's left of the tuna. Yum.

Have a happy and safe Fourth, everyone.

Three cheers for the red, white and blue. | |


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.