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Six fewer terrorists in the world

The IDF took out the head of the Tanzim in Nablus today, and once again, we get conflicting opinions from Reuters. Oh no, wait, we don't: Reuters always thinks it's wrong to kill terrorists. (Hat tip: Joel G.)

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead six Palestinians gunmen, including senior militant leaders, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday on the third day of a deadly Israeli raid in the area.
Military sources said troops found the militants inside a house, hiding behind a wall. The soldiers then fired at them and threw grenades, the sources said.

Witnesses said Israeli troops ambushed and shot the group of gunmen, which they said included senior militant leaders, although there was no immediate confirmation of the men's identities. Medics confirmed the men died of gunshot wounds.

"The Israeli army committed a massacre today. There is no justification at all for this killing," said Nablus governor Mahmoud Alaloul as residents gathered in the town and wept.

Earlier in the day, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian gunman in Nablus who military sources said had confronted soldiers. On Friday, soldiers killed two Palestinians, including one gunmen, during their massive raid.

The JPost story:

Nablus Tanzim head Nayef Abu Sharkh was shot dead by IDF forces in Nablus early Saturday night during an ongoing operation aimed at uncovering and destroying the organization's infrastructure in the city.

Four other Palestinians – all Popular Front and Islamic Jihad senior members – were killed along with Sarech by soldiers who arrived at a hiding place, in which the five were holed up following intelligence gained from an armed Palestinian captured earlier, reported Army Radio.

A search of the hide-out revealed explosives and an explosive belt.

Palestinian security sources said Abu Sharkh was Israel's most wanted militant in the West Bank. Israel Army radio said Abu Sharkh was responsible for a double suicide bombing that killed 23 people.

Explosives and an explosive belt: Hmm. Perhaps there was justification for all that killing. Once again, how do you tell when a palestinian spokesman is lying? His lips are moving. | |



Critter tales

I had another visitor this week. The ants continue to drop like, well, ants. And as Tig went in and out the other day, he let in this little guy:

Eek! It's a wasp! ss

I had no idea my camera could take a picture this close, but hey, here he is, on my faucet.

It's been a banner week for Tig. For the second time, the bastard coughed up a hairball on my bed. I am currently washing my sheets and blanket instead of the load of clothes I intended to wash when I got home tonight. I'll be up a bit later than I'd intended.

Today was the day I chose to get together with my assistant from religious school. We planned to drive around with the Jeep top down, just because. But when I left work at 1 p.m., it was pouring. Plan B: We went to see Shrek 2, and when we got out, the sun was out and the Jeep was dry, so off came the windows, down came the top, and we drove home with the wind messing up our hair. It's been spritzing on and off, but I withstood putting the top back up until I got home tonight. It's hot and humid and yucky, but it's not raining.

I went to Heidi's for dinner. She and Sorena have been away for a week. Worf was no more than six inches from Heidi's side most of the time I was there, well, except when he stole my sneakers. He did that two or three times, as I wasn't particularly vigilant about putting them away. Last Friday, Worf had an enormous tumor inside his jaw removed, and we're hoping it isn't malignant. He must have hit the sore spot with my sneaker the last time he had it in his mouth, as he suddenly shook his head, looked very surprised, and stuck his tongue out a few times. When I put my sneaker back on, he came over and sniffed my foot, apparently trying to see what had attacked him.

We're really hoping it's just a tumor. Ridgebacks get them fairly frequently. I cannot imagine that house without Worf. He's only eight years old.

On the good news side, though, the tumor hasn't grown back yet, and Worf is acting like his normal self. He had to be chased away from the dinner table more than once. And he stole my sneakers, Heidi's sandals, wrestled with Sorena, and played tug-of-war with Willow. I think he'll be all right. | |

Worldwide Jew-hatred

So it comes to this: Only Israel and the Winchester Co. can meet US demands for manufacturing bullets good enough for the US Army, but the Army isn't allowed to use Israeli-made bullets in anything but training exercises—for fear of inflaming the conspiracy theorists in the Muslim and (non-Muslim) world. (Hat tip: Joel G. and Combustible Boy.)

WASHINGTON - Israeli-made bullets bought by the U.S. army to plug a shortfall should be used for training only, not to fight Muslim guerrillas in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. lawmakers told army generals on Thursday.

[...] Although the army should not have to worry about "political correctness," Abercrombie was making a valid point about the propaganda pitfalls of using Israeli rounds in the U.S.-declared war on terror, said Rep. Curt Weldon, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces.

"There's a sensitivity that I think all of us recognize," Weldon told the army witnesses, including Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, who led the U.S. Third Infantry Division that captured Baghdad in April 2003.

Bit by bit by bit, the stage is being set for the second Holocaust. Here and there, politicians keep on making decisions like this, or blaming Israel for the war on Iraq, or for all the troubles in the world. This is the face of modern anti-Semitism.

So, where is the outrage in the Muslim world that we're using Saudi Arabian oil to supply our energy needs? Essentially, we're using Saudi energy to build American weapons. Iron has to be smelted, machines have to be powered with fuel—there's every bit as much Saudi Arabian effort behind the death of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan as there are Israeli bullets.

Somehow, I can't imagine Weldon sending out an order that Lockheed-Martin refuse to use Saudi-originating oil to fuel their aircraft for fear of offending Muslim sensitivities. After all, Muslims don't kill Muslims. Right?

Yeah. | |



Regarding Arafat

Lynn B. sent me the URLs to two articles that reinforce what I wrote yesterday. The first one predicts that even after Arafat's death, the pals are going to be in a horrible mess, due to Arafat's ensuring that no one else could share power with him. The second details Arafat's intent to destroy the state of Israel while pretending to want a two-state solution.

And in today's Jerusalem Post, we read this:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has agreed to appoint an interior minister who will be in control of streamlined security services, Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Israel Wednesday.

Suleiman met with Arafat in Ramallah, before traveling to Jerusalem to meet Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and later Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. He reportedly told Shalom that Arafat said he would appoint Tayeb Abdel Rahim as interior minister in several months, and also unite the 12 different PA security branches into three.

Israeli officials took a believe-it-when-we-see-it attitude, with Shalom telling Suleiman that Arafat has succeeded in maneuvering out of every plan up to now and will likely do the same thing this time.

Diplomatic officials said Rahim is "an Arafat loyalist."

"Arafat is going to try to play musical chairs now to stall for time," one senior official said. "His tactic is not to do anything and hold out until the US election in November, in the hope that [President George W.] Bush will be defeated, and he will face a new game."

Arafat is also in no hurry, the official said, waiting to see how the political situation in Israel works itself out as well.

The key question, and a question not answered by Suleiman's visit, is whether the Egyptians will allow him to get away with the stall tactic, the official said.

I say yes, they will. I don't believe that Egypt wants peace with Israel, either. They still celebrate the 1973 Yom Kippur War as a victory, and let's not forget that it was Egypt that created the forty-part series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the proven anti-Semitic forgeries.

I understand that Israel has to do something. I do think they should get out of Gaza. But I make no pretense that I think it will truly improve the situation.

Suleiman, according to diplomatic officials, told Shalom he laid out a security plan for Arafat that includes the following elements:

The unification of the PA security serves into three branches.
Appointment of a new interior minister.
The training of PA officers in Egypt.
The confiscation of illegal arms.
The dismantling of Palestinian militias.
The cessation of incitement.

I'll believe that when I see it, too. As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to any Arab move on peace with Israel, I'm from Missouri: Show me, then I'll believe it's true. Because right now, this is what's going on in the West Bank:

IDF combat troops and armored forces are operating Thursday in Nablus and the nearby Balatah refugee camp, in an operation to search for bombs and arrest Palestinian fugitives.

The operation is aimed mainly against the Tanzim infrastructure in Nablus, the West Bank's largest city. Parts of the city were closed-off and will remain under curfew until the operation comes to end.

So far IDF forces arrested four fugitives. The army called on the city's residents to hand over more Tanzim members who are reportedly hiding in the city's Kasba.

The army said its troops located a 20-kilogram bomb. Sappers detonated it, causing the house where it was found to be demolished.

A Palestinian threw a Molotov cocktail at the soldiers, who in response shot and wounded him. Palestinian gunmen shot at the soldiers. No one was wounded from the shooting.

These are not the actions of a people who want peace. | | Now, with fewer dead ants!

It's Twinsday, and I need to grab some breakfast before Sarah and the kids get here. Of course, now that school's out and Nate and Jake aren't in camp on Thursdays, it isn't Twinsday anymore. It's AllFourOfThemOhMyGodday.

Just kidding. I love them all. I'm just not used to all four at once yet.

And the ant nest that was supplying my kitchen with a steady stream of six-legged moochers seems to have mostly died out. I only found four in the sink this morning.

Back later. | |



An open letter to the Coca-Cola company

Dear Coke executives,

I was really looking forward to trying C2 when I first heard about it. Lower sugar, but still the same Coke taste? Great! Did I doubt you could pull it off? Yes. Did I think that finally, at last, there would be an alternative to the high-sugar, high-caffeine drink that I've loved since I was a child? Yes. You raised my hopes, and made me think that perhaps, maybe, just maybe, my diet could really get off the ground and I wouldn't have to give up my daily Coke habit for it.

So, two days ago, I bought a bottle of C2. The cashier at the grocery store mentioned that she wanted to try it, too. She said she hoped it was good. "I'll settle the question for you," I said, popping off the cap. I took a swig.

It sucked.

It has that awful, not-real-Coke aftertaste.

I took another sip.

It still sucked.

Hurt, disappointed, and feeling let down, I took it home, annoyed that I had just spent $1.19 on something I took only two sips of and wanted to throw away. But wait, I thought. Sometimes it tastes better when it's not ice cold. So I let it stand on the counter.

And let it stand.

And let it stand some more.

Finally, this afternoon, I tried another sip of C2, now room temperature.

It still sucked. I poured it down the drain.

So let me ask you: Who do you get to taste-test your new Coke formulas? Pepsi addicts? Because every new Coke you've introduced that's supposed to be just like Coke has sucked. Caffeine-free Coke sucks. Diet Coke sucks. And now C2 sucks.

And by the way: WTF is phenylalanine? You made that word up. Admit it. And now that I'm reading the ingredients, I see why it sucks. Aspartame? Artificial sweeteners?


Ain't nothin' like the Real Thing, baby. | |

I'm in a blogging state of mind

It was definitely my mood. The computer problems were a part of it, but the paucity of blogging in the last six weeks was due to a paucity of cheerfulness in my life, which I may go into depth on later, but won't be saying much about now. Suffice to say that there is much more cheerfulness in my life. There are also more ants, but that's only relevant when you consider that I am currently undergoing psychosomatic itching due to thinking that ants are crawling on me, when they are still only appearing in my kitchen sink area, walking in circles, and dropping dead. Y'know, Dread Pirate Gryhpon et al, you didn't say that was going to happen once I set out the Terro ant traps. Whom do I sue?

I bought the giant-sized bag of Lays potato chips by mistake. I thought about bringing it back and getting the large bag instead.

Shyeah, right.

I have an old whiplash injury. It causes near-permanent knots in my shoulders and back, and when it's going to rain, the pressure buildup in the air causes my shoulders to hurt, sometimes intensely. It is especially bad during thunderstorm season.

It's thunderstorm season.

I want to marry a masseur. Or a chiropractor. Failing that, I want a man who will give me backrubs on request. I'll be requesting them daily. Volunteers may send their vital statistics in email.

Y'know, I'm half-tempted to post on my blog what I'm looking for in a husband. Hey, some people find their spouse via billboards and classified. It's a thought.

I have decided that I like comments enough to keep them permanently. The experiment has been a success. And although I'm not keen on the idea of a flatfile database, I probably will go to MT or some other content management system. But I think I'll still compose my posts in Dreamweaver and save them as individual HTML files for the most part; except perhaps when I'm on the road.

Perhaps it's time to nudge my redesigner for the new designs she made for me. They're quite beautiful and deserve to be seen.

And my dinner is ready. (Mmm, beef.) Later, folks. | |

Arafat and reform

Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman is telling Arafat that he needs to reform the PA security services, and he's giving him two months in which to do it.

The question at hand is whether or not Arafat will actually carry out reforms, rather than continue to say he will and then do whatever the hell he pleases, as he's done for the past forty years. I'm sure we're going to see editorials and statements on how this is really it for Arafat, this is his last chance, blahblahblah, look, he's reforming, blahblahblah, palestinian state, blah blah blah.

I'm not buying it. Arafat will never voluntarily reform. He can be forced into it, presumably. But to date, no other palestinian leader has come close to his popularity level with the average pal, and until after Arafat dies, I'm betting none ever will. What will be interesting to watch in the next two months is whether the Egyptians, probably in coordination with those who are vying to replace Arafat, can actually shoulder him aside. Again, I don't think they can. I think that Arafat will pay lip service to them for two months, then continue doing what he always does.

If you'll remember, the establishment of a palestinian prime minister was supposed to be a way of taking power and control away from Arafat. Here's what the prime minister said last week:

Qurei said he did not know who would head the reformed security forces, but hinted that Arafat would remain in charge. "There is nothing called 'prime minister and interior minister,'" he said. "There is a Palestinian establishment called the Palestinian Authority and it is headed by President Yasser Arafat."

In response to a question about Egypt's demand that Arafat be stripped of all his powers and turned into a symbolic figurehead like South Africa's Nelson Mandela, he said: "Mandela was not a ceremonial leader. He led the struggle in South Africa until it achieved independence and then became president. And Arafat is leading our struggle until a Palestinian state is declared. The bottom line is that Mandela is Mandela and Arafat is Arafat."

Then there was the admission of the first palestinian prime minister (and why do I think that I need scare quotes around that title?) that Arafat let it be known that he was going to kill Mahmoud Abbas if he didn't go along with what Arafat wanted.

Ultimately, the question is who is more important to the palestinians, and who has more power: Arafat or the Egyptians. I think this news article has already answered that question:

An ally of Yasser Arafat and Palestinian factions expressed dismay Tuesday over Egypt's plan to secure the Gaza Strip after an Israeli withdrawal, saying they did not want outsiders to meddle in Palestinian affairs.

Watch for more statements like this in the future. I suspect there is still a lot of hatred between pals and Egyptians. And let's not forget, that every single Arab country has treated its palestinians like third-class citizens. Kuwait expelled a quater million of them after the Gulf War. The Iraqis are doing the same now. None of their Arab brothers will have them, except as a proxy force to fight Israel, it seems.

A two month deadline gives us until the end of August to see some change by Arafat and the PA. Don't bet the farm on it. | |

Dead ants, dead ants, dead ants dead ants dead ants...

I do believe the end of the Ant War is in sight, but y'know, it's a really icky end. Because now the ants are showing up in my sink, wandering around in circles, and dropping dead. So now I have all these dead ants in and around my sink.

I suppose it's better than live ants in and around my food, but still—ew.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate bugs?

And we're so not going to talk about how I picked up a box at work and there was some kind of beetle underneath it and I knocked off a leg and got bug blood on my hand and ran into the bathroom to scrub it off as fast as I could.

Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew.

I hate bugs. | |



Tig tricks

Tig and his regular napkin-in-the-sneaker gameI can't decide whether the return to my normal posting levels is because I have the new laptop, or because I'm in a much better frame of mind these days than I have been for quite a while.

This is the first five-post day in a really long time, and I worked half a day, plus spent a few hours with Sarah and the kids.

In celebration of that fact, I think I'll post today's moment of kitty zen. This is Tig's favorite thing to do: Put a rolled-up paper napkin in one of my sneakers. He likes to push it down to the toe and then pull it out again. Sometimes I have to shake out my sneakers and shoes before putting them on. I get surprised on a regular basis, because I usually don't bother to check to see if he's dropped cat toys in my sneakers.

Let's see, his ears are back and he's looking mighty pissed in this picture. I don't think he is. It's just the angle of the camera. Tig loves napkin hockey and plays it regularly. He also fetches. I throw the rolled-up napkin, he chases it, I say, "Bring it here," and he picks it up in his mouth and trots to my feet. Mostly. Sometimes he drops it six or seven feet away from me and still winds himself around my legs, expecting to be petted as his reward.

That's the other neat thing about Tig. Every trick he does, he does only in the expectation of having a bellyrub or an ear-scratch. And boy, does he love having that belly rubbed. That's all I needed to do to teach him to stand up on his hind legs on command. Yes, really. Yes, I have a cat that stands up when I say "Up!"

Fine. Don't believe me. I'll get Sarah to take a picture of it when she comes over this Thursday. | |

Quitters sometimes win

It seems that quitters do, indeed, prosper.

Smoking wipes 10 years off a person's life on average, according to the longest ever study of smokers, but giving up at any age brings huge benefits.

Quitting at 30 virtually eliminates the risk from dying prematurely, and giving up at 50 halves it. But half of those who fail to kick the habit will die as a result of smoking, and a quarter of all smokers die in middle-age.

The results come from a 50-year update of the landmark 1954 paper which first linked smoking with lung cancer. One author of the update, published in the British Medical Journal, is Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Doll, now 91, who was a co-author of the original paper.

[...] The gains are substantial. Stopping at ages 60, 50, 40 or 30 buys you, respectively, 3, 6, 9 or 10 years of life expectancy that would otherwise be lost to smoking-related disease.

[...] A third of non-smokers born around 1915 now live to between 70 and 90, for example, compared with just seven per cent of smokers born around the same time.

Whew. Those are some nasty statistics. But fortunately, it looks like I've only lost a year of my life to Demon Nicotine. Or gained nine, depending on which way you look at it. Not bad for someone who started smoking when she was thirteen.

The real killer is that if they came out tomorrow with a cigarette that was proven to have no harmful effects whatsoever, I'd go back in a heartbeat. Just hanging out with smokers makes me want to smoke again.

But I won't. Haven't in over six years. Not gonna start. Nuh-uh. Been there, done that, have pink lungs again, thank you. And they're going to stay this way. | |

A keen grasp of the obvious

Now that I have all my keys back, screenshots will be appearing as regularly as something tickles my funny bone. Here's a brilliant Duh Moment from Reuters:

Sex life Can Improve When Obese Men Lose Weight--stop the presses

And let us all say: Duh. Losing weight improves your sex life? Whoda thunk it? | |

Ant Wars: The final battle?

The time: Friday morning. The scene: Letting Tig out before work. The problem: Turning the corner, we find a line of ants an inch wide, marching from somewhere in the grass, across my sidewalk, to the corner of my house. Most of the ants retire to their new nest underneath the house or sidewalk. Some disappear into the wall of my home. The situation: Desperate. Solution: More chemical weapons. Bleach. Kills hundreds. Fails to stop the procession.

Tried various chemical weapons over a 24-hour period. All failed to stop the ants from marching ten by ten (no hurrahs). Finally, on Monday, I take my pal Dolly's advice (and the Dread Pirate Gryphon's, and Cameron's, and all the rest of you who told me so) and go to maintenance for ant killer. Three Terro traps go out where the ants were marching.

The result: The steady stream of ants has turned into a few random, wandering ants. They seem to be looking for something. Either they're totally settled into their new headquarters, or there are an awful lot of dead ants in the ground near my house. With any luck, some of the workers brought the queen ant a boric acid treat.

The victory music: The theme from the Pink Panther: "Deadant, deadant, deadant, deadant, deadant..."

Heh. | |

Eyes on the news

Since I'm meeting Sarah and all four of the kids in about an hour, you'll have to settle for a few links. Nate and I will be climbing rocks while Sarah takes Jake and the twins to buy party things for Jake's birthday.

The pals don't want Jordan and Egypt helping out with the Gaza withdrawal. So, they figure they're self-sufficient, hm? Sorry, but their major export is suicide bombers, and, well, the civilized world doesn't want any more of those.

Palestinian factions meeting in Damascus have condemned proposed Egyptian and Jordanian involvement in the Gaza Strip and West Bank following an Israeli withdrawal.

Omar Suleiman, Egyptian intelligence chief, on Wednesday begins a visit to Israel and the West Bank to co-ordinate efforts to ensure security when the Israelis pull out.

The Damascus statement, signed by representatives of Yassir Arafat's Fatah, Hamas and other militant groups had the hallmarks of a Syrian-supported spoiler to disrupt the Egyptian security plan.

Following a meeting of Syrian-based leaders of the factions, they said in a statement: "We deplore and are astonished at talk of a security role by Arab parties in Gaza and the West Bank."

The statement was a clear reference to both Egypt and Jordan, which may help train Palestinian security forces in a small area of the West Bank that Israel is due to evacuate. Syria, unlike Egypt and Jordan, does not have a peace treaty with Israel. It also hosts radical groups, in spite of US demands that their offices in Damascus be shut.

Wonder what the Reuters take on this is?

The main Palestinian militant factions have united to oppose any security role Egypt might take in Gaza if Israel quits the territory, casting doubt over Egyptian efforts to mediate a smooth pullout.

A statement by 10 factions late on Monday put them at odds with the Palestinian Authority, which is due to hold potentially decisive talks with a top envoy from Cairo this week to discuss a possible Egyptian presence.

"We deplore and are astonished at talk of a security role by Arab parties in Gaza and the West Bank," the militant groups said after a meeting of exiled leaders in Syria.

They said such a role would make it look "as if the Palestinian people were the problem, not the occupation."

Egypt has offered to help train Palestinian security forces to fill a vacuum in Gaza once Israel removes Jewish settlements and troops from occupied land. The possibility that Jordan could send in security experts has also been raised.

Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war and the West Bank from Jordan. Palestinians want both territories for an independent state. Few have fond memories of being ruled by the neighboring Arab countries.

Palestinian officials say Egypt will only send up to 200 security advisers if it has agreement from the militants and if a cease-fire is agreed with Israel.

Among factions behind the statement were Hamas, Islamic Jihad and a wing of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- although the Palestinian president has welcomed Egyptian involvement and Fatah in Gaza said it had nothing to do with the document.

Ohmigod! It's an admission that palestinian life sucked under Egypt and Jordan, too! Quick, put this down in your diary as a red-letter day.

Funny how they don't mention that Jordan actually annexed the West Bank—to no international outcry whatsoever. But hey, it's okay for Arabs to treat fellow Arabs any way they like, right? Right, UN? Right Arab League? Right, OIC?

Some interesting admissions being ignored by the world: Ahmed Qurei says that he has no intention of taming terrorism at all.

The Palestinian Authority has no plans to dismantle the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei announced on Sunday. He acknowledged that the group is part of Fatah and said its gunmen are entitled to play a political role in the future.

"We have clearly declared that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades are part of Fatah," Qurei said in an interview with the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. "We are committed to them and Fatah bears full responsibility for the group."

Qurei said his top priority now is to safeguard the security of the Fatah gunmen who are wanted by Israel. He said they would be integrated into Fatah's institutions and would be paid salaries.

Let us review: The Aksa Martyrs Brigade has committed numerous terrorist attacks. The media, including the Jerusalem Post, calls them the "armed wing" of Fatah, instead of naming them, say, the "murdering wing." And the palestinian prime minister says yeah, yeah, yeah, we're going to protect them from Israeli security services, then we're going to bring them into our organization and pay them salaries as a reward for murdering babies.

Then he publicly declares that the terrorists are part of the PA. But wait, there's more.

"We are working toward ensuring three issues for them on the basis of their adherence to the PLO's political program," Qurei said. "First, they have the right to play a political role within the framework of Fatah, and this is guaranteed for each member. Second, we are seeking to ensure their personal safety, because they are on the run and are wanted and threatened. We will achieve this with the help of the Quartet and the international community. Third, we will guarantee their living conditions economically and socially. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades will not be dismantled."

Right there, he says he expects help from Europe, Russia, and the US to protect terrorists and make sure they are paid handsomely for their work.

Over my dead and buried bones, you sonofabitch.

Qurei said the Palestinians would continue to fight against Israel for as long as the occupation exists. But, he went on, "the resistance is not only an armed struggle."

"As long as there is an occupation, there will be resistance, but the resistance should take different forms in accordance with the circumstances and nature of the phase," he said.

Thus foreshadowing the war to come. They consider occupation to be every last inch of the state of Israel. They just don't say it in English.

"If there is a political horizon, then the form of resistance should certainly change. We need a resistance that will bring about results, because we are no longer capable of paying the price."

I have no idea what he means by this. I think it's the hudna all over again.

It's unbelievable. The pals clearly lay out their plan to destroy the state of Israel, and the world ignores it and casts Israel as the villain.

And a few more: Destroying terrorists' homes is causing positive results for Israel.

A seventy-five percent reduction in attempted terror attacks over this period in 2003: Three big cheers for Israel's security forces—and the fence! That's attempted attacks, not successful, which is even more good news. 103 thwarted terror alerts, and 58 potential suicide bombers arrested. Big problem, though, is that the motivation for the attacks is still there. That would be due to the hate and incitement rampant throughout the territories. Arafat, die already, you sick, old, murdering bastard. Things might begin to improve without the Head Terrorist.

Last, but not least, Bill Clinton calls Arafat's refusal of the Oslo Accords "a historic error." Yeah, it was. Go read the article, it's got a strange anecdote on how Clinton helped Rabin avoid kissing Arafat. (I would die if that creature so much as breathed on me.) | |



Required reading

Anne Bayefsky's speech to the UN on the opening of the conference on Confronting Anti-Semitism: Education for Tolerance and Understanding:

This meeting occurs at a point when the relationship between Jews and the United Nations is at an all-time low. The U.N. took root in the ashes of the Jewish people, and according to its charter was to flower on the strength of a commitment to tolerance and equality for all men and women and of nations large and small. Today, however, the U.N. provides a platform for those who cast the victims of the Nazis as the Nazi counterparts of the 21st century. The U.N. has become the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism--intolerance and inequality against the Jewish people and its state.

Not only have many of the U.N. members most responsible for this state of affairs rendered their own countries Judenrein, they have succeeded in almost entirely expunging concern about Jew-hatred from the U.N. docket. From 1965, when anti-Semitism was deliberately excluded from a treaty on racial discrimination, to last fall, when a proposal for a General Assembly resolution on anti-Semitism was withdrawn after Ireland capitulated to Arab and Muslim opposition, mention of anti-Semitism has continually ground the wheels of U.N.-led multilateralism to a halt.

There has never been a U.N. resolution specifically on anti-Semitism or a single report to a U.N. body dedicated to discrimination against Jews, in contrast to annual resolutions and reports focusing on the defamation of Islam and discrimination against Muslims and Arabs. Instead there was Durban--the 2001 U.N. World Conference "Against Racism," which was a breeding ground and global soapbox for anti-Semites. When it was over U.N. officials and member states turned the Durban Declaration into the centerpiece of the U.N.'s antiracism agenda--allowing Durban follow-up resolutions to become a continuing battlefield over U.N. concern with anti-Semitism.

Not atypical is the public dialogue in the U.N.'s top human rights body--the Commission on Human Rights--where this past April the Pakistani ambassador, speaking on behalf of the 56 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, unashamedly disputed that anti-Semitism was about Jews.

Read it all. It's unbelievably good, and you have to think there were many red faces (in anger, I presume) after she was finished. Via Doug L. and Charles Johnson. | |

There's gotta be a better way

Three and a half hours. Three and a half hours. Three and a half hours. That's how long it took me to register and test at Kelly, because I made the mistake of saying, "Sure, I'll take the Excel and Powerpoint tests, too." Expert on Word, basic on the other two, and I have to hang my head in shame. I only typed 94 wpm during the test, not 100. But then, I was typing slower so that I'd have greater accuracy. My accuracy was 100%.

Well, it's a stopgap measure until I can get fulltime employment in my field. And it'll pay the bills. | |



Movie remakes

I just saw a commercial for the remake of The Manchurian Candidate. I never saw the original, and I'm wondering if I should see it before I see the new one, or wait and then compare new to old.

But it also got me to thinking: Some films need to be remade. Others should never be remade. Which films do you think should never be remade, or cry out for a remake?

For instance, I think they should never remake The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca. I think they never should have turned The Philadelphia Story into a musical (High Society). And I thought the film version of Dune was so far surpassed by the SciFi Channel miniseries that there is no comparison (the movie version blew chunks).

Go ahead. Pick your flicks. | |

Bits and pieces

The theme song of the week is "Freedom" by Ritchie Havens, playing in my head because there is no more monitor on my kitchen table, and because I can use a CNTRL-ALT-DELETE combo again, and type that with a working dash key, and type the date without having to use the number lock, and damn, have I said how much I'm enjoying having my new/old Vaio again?

I think computer geeks everywhere should take a bow in honor of the guy who sold me his six-year-old Vaio on Ebay, because he kept this thing in great condition, and it cost me less than three hundred bucks. (And have I remembered once again to thank Marek, the Timekeeper, Chaz, and Eric A.? The four of them contributed enough so that I only had to spend eighty bucks of my own. Thank you, thank you, thank you, gentlemen!)

While I'm at it, thanks to Wind Rider for the loan of the other monitor, the laptop, and the help switching hard drives. Now if only I could get him to stop spreading rumors about me....

This one's for you, Rahel. If I have time this week, I'm going to make up a whole page of pictures. But here's a rare shot of Tig being a jerk to Gracie. It isn't that he's rarely a jerk to her. He bothers her a lot. But here, he's deliberately scratching on the part of the scratching post where she is reposing. He knows it pisses her off, and he also knows that pissing off Gracie is a great way to get my attention.

Tig picking on Gracie

Let the hissing begin.

You have no idea how little I want to go to work today. I'm working a bunch of part-time jobs, and the end result is that I'm working seven days a week. Which sucks. And makes me really, really tired. I am effing exhausted this morning.

I am trying to alleviate that condition. The job interview on Wednesday went well, but the HR rep and I were not on the same wavelength about the type of job I'm looking for. However, she and the tech HR rep really liked my resume, so there's a chance I'll get in there with a different job opening. Meantime, they've sparked my interest in Kelly (they have a rep onsite), so it's off to Kelly on Monday to test my skills. I can temp while my resume circulates around town. I've forgotten my eighth grade science teacher's name, but I never forgot his advice. "If you remember nothing else from this class," he told us, "remember this: Take a typing class and learn how to type. You'll never regret it." I took a typing class in eighth grade and again in high school. Now I type over 100 wpm, and know nearly all of the MS Office programs.

Kelly's going to love me.

I have a Father's Day post percolating in my head. I think it will be ready to come out tonight.

Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of my father's death from ALS. He's been on my mind a lot this past month. I dreamed about him a week ago, a very vivid dream in which he died right in front of me. That one's been in the back of my head since I had it. I think I've figured out what it meant. It'll be in the post, no doubt.

Have I mentioned how great it is to have my laptop back? Sigh. Very, very happy about that. | |


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.