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Light a single candle

A few weeks ago, as I mentioned, I saw my apartment complex on the local newscast described as suffering from a crime wave. I attended the meeting to set up a neighborhood watch, and volunteered to be a block captain. My section has had two meetings so far, the last one culminating in the approval of a flier with ten tips on lowering neighborhood crime. One of them is to keep your porch lights on, buttressed by the research I did on the internet, where I found that it costs only about $7 a year to light a 60-watt bulb for 24 hours a day. Other members of my watch group promised to pass out the fliers this week.

Tonight, on the way home from work, I drove down my block and saw that every last porch light, except for the vacant apartments, is on. Every single one of them.

Damn. I mean, damn. That was really nice to see.

Tomorrow's a travel day. I'll be blogging from NJ tomorrow night, and for some of the rest of the week. | |

It's old home week, and other stories

Spathic has returned, and her teeth are just as sharp as they ever were. You go, girl.

While on Spathic's site this morning, I saw a link to Dustbury, to whom I think I've never tipped the hat. Well, I'm tipping it now. He reminds me of Mac. His post titles are witty, the content interesting and often funny, and he's willing to share the wealth: He offered a helpful guide to posting like Dustbury. And it seems Frank J. considers him a rival to be crushed, which is always a compliment.

This was deeply disappointing. I received an email titled "i've had eonough of your blulshit," leading me to hope that I've finally received another piece of hatemail (it's really been awhile), and that I could publish it here and make fun of it. So I opened it. Another stupid viagra pitch. Dammit.

Scott of AMCGLTD isn't always erudite and scholarly. In fact, he is usually fond of putting up posts like this one, which discuss execution by elephant. Yes, really. Ellen, on the other hand, posts things like... ew. Ew. EW. See, this is why I only have cats. Lizards. Ew. | |



News of Israel

Let's take a quick look around.

Palestinians riot on Temple Mount

Yes, that's right. It's the Temple Mount, not the Al-Aqsa mosque. In keeping with the Islamic tradition of co-opting other religions' holy sites, most articles refuse to acknowledge that the Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site. On the other hand, this AP article in USA Today did a fairly good job of staying evenhanded, starting with the headline. By the way, to the continued hypocrisy of Muslims crying about Israel "violating" their holy sites, may I point out that the 1973 Mideast War started on Yom Kippur (the Arabs call it the Ramadan war), that terrorists occupied the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and that the Passover Massacre took place on one of our holiest days of the year. A Passover Seder is a religious dinner. So blow it our your ears, Muslim hypocrites. And get off our Temple Mount.

Blair: Israel is not a Terrorist State
British Prime Minister Tony Blair firmly rejected the notion that Israel is a "terrorist state" in the wake of the targeted killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

At his monthly press conference in London on Thursday, Blair was asked whether it is "time to portray Israel as a terrorist state."

"No, is my answer to that. No," said Blair. "Whatever criticisms we have, I think it is important. . . to recognize what Israel itself is subject to."

In response to another question, he said that, "you have just got to see it from the Israeli point of view as well. They are being faced with suicide bomb attacks on wholly innocent civilians, killing scores of people in cafes and bars and restaurants. They obviously want to take action against the organization that is perpetrating this."

Good for you, Tony.

Two stories on the same subject: Arafat may be the subject of an IDF assassination attempt. (Or at least, they're having a lot of fun playing head games with him.) First, the Ma'ariv interview with Ariel Sharon:

The Prime Minister confirmed that contacts with the Labor party for establishing a national unity government are underway. Sharon also explicitly threatened the life of Yasser Arafat: "Arafat does not have an insurance policy. The Chief-of-Staff and Defense Minister commented on the matter and I have no intention to contradict their words".

"Today, everyone already knows that Arafat is the obstacle to any progress. As long as he's there and disrupting matters, Abu Ala cannot move a Palestinian police officer from one side of the street to the other", added Sharon.

"Does not have an insurance policy." Hehehehe. Good one, Arik. Good one. Next, the JPost article:

The Palestinian Authority is taking Ariel Sharon's threats on Yasser Arafat's life very seriously, an advisor of the PA Chairman said on Friday, Reuters reported.

The PA chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said in response to the threats that the alternative to Arafat's leadership is anarchy and radicalism in the PA areas.

"Arafat is not secure in his seat," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters in recorded, yet to be broadcast television interviews.

And it gets better. Wait for the teary, indignant editorials and op-eds about how Sharon shouldn't be threatening a sitting head of state (gak! choking on that phrase describing Arafat! gak! help!). I might even make the rounds of the lefty bloggers, though I did that a couple of days ago and found almost more bile than I could handle. Why is it they can't see the bile they heap on Israel, but they complain of the hatefulness of the LGF comments threads? Never mind, rhetorical question. To the article:

"Our calculations for years have been that expelling him would not be good for Israel,'" Sharon said.

"The likelihood of expelling him without harming him is low, not only because of his security guards, but because he would be surrounded by a human chain of Israelis. The opinion of our intelligence services is that expelling him would not be a good idea."

Asked if there can be progress before Arafat is dead, Sharon said: "I didn't say dead, but in my opinion, as long as he is in control, the chance for progress is nonexistent."

I think it's time to restart the Arafat Dead Pool. The rules are simple: Pick a date. If you win, we all win. And then, we all get to contribute money to Magen David Adom. Dead terrorists=MDA contribution. Have you sent in yours?

And last, but not least, can we please reconvene the Sanhedrin and take away this guy's title?

Arafat transferred funds to Neturei Karta
Captured PA documents reveal that $55,000 given to leader of the anti-Zionist sect.

The captured documents show that Hirsch received from Arafat $55 thousand just two months before Operation Defensive Shield. Among the documents are receipts with Arafat’s personal signature authorizing the transfer to Rabbi Hirsch under the heading “outgoing expenses”. In the same period, Arafat allocated a much lower sum to terror operatives.

The captured documents include letters written in English by Hirsch to Arafat. The letters are addressed as to an eminent rabbi: “Dear Abu Amar (Arafat’s Arabic name), may you live a long and happy life”.

Hirsch has never hidden his relationship with Arafat. He is a regular member of the Palestinian National Council and served in the past as Minister of Jewish Affairs in a Palestinian government. Members of the sect recently demonstrated against Israel and for Palestine at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

Traitor. Bastard. As if I needed a reason to loathe this nutbar sect any more than I already do. They were at the rally in Washington two years ago. Protesting it. Bombs were killing Jews every day, day after day, for weeks that spring, and these assholes were protesting the rally in support of Israel. All right. You've put yourself on my "die, already" list, Hirsch. | |

Site difficulties

Some of you had some problems early this morning, EST. I have to say that it's your penalty for being up early (except for Rahel, who is tuning in from Israel). I didn't call my hosting service, but whatever problems there were seem to have been fixed. No, I'm not asking for a password in order for you to read this blog. And the March 16th page showing up as the main page sounds to me like there were some server problems that have been fixed.

Lucky for me I have all my files on my computer. My hosts could lose everything they have on my weblog, and it'd be back up as soon as I could upload it.

If there are any more problems today, though, let me know.

This is what happens the day I spend a little time with friends and decide not to bother blogging. | |




Ilyka's back, finally. I'd like to think my nudge last week had nothing to do with it. I get the feeling that Ilyka will nudge me right back, then it will get into a shoving match, and then where would we be? Especially if drinks were involved. Well, actually, no. I'm a very happy drunk. It's nearly impossible to get me angry if I've had a few.

Anyway. This is what I've missed about her. She sure does manage to flog the idiots on both sides. Oh, and this, too. I like reading these posts. (Note to self: No tequila for Ilyka. Tequila sucks, anyway. And Ilyka, I have a BA in English. We're everywhere.)

Really funny Cox & Forkum today, via Silent Running. Also a pretty funny Murray post there, although maybe not so much to him, perhaps. Okay, we can laugh. He wasn't hurt that much. And Tom is in Tonga again, being insufferable. For that, he merits no link.

Just for laughs, I'm linking to a two-month-old JPost article on the aftermath of a suicide bombing, and the world reaction to it. Compare and contrast to the uproar over the killing of Yassin. (And the reason I do not give him the title of "sheik" is because that is an honorific, and he had no honor.)

And in honor of my adopted baby brother's wedding anniversary, I present you with this Peeps page, where some poor fellow made the mistake of telling his coworkers (who are obviously slightly insane) that he hated Peeps. The result: The Peeps office. Pay attention to the lamps, things hanging from the ceilings, etc. A work of art in sugar and marshmallow.

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Empty threats

Here's a pleasant headline from the Jerusalem Post:

No increase in threats since Yassin's death
There have been no signs of escalating terror threats against Israelis or Jews abroad since the killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin 10 days ago, a senior IDF officer said on Wednesday.

"Maybe it's still too early," the officer said, adding, "We constantly monitor world terrorism in order to refrain from being surprised as in Mombasa. Intelligence assessments relate to specific areas such as Thailand and parts of Africa, but we have not seen any changes in Hamas strategy; its recent statements also support that," the officer said. "However, it is quite probable that the next al-Qaida attack, which is probably already in motion somewhere, will be named after Yassin. Had the terror attack in Madrid occurred after Yassin's demise it would have probably been named after him."

The officer's statements sharply contrasted with those made the day Yassin was killed by an array of security officials who assessed that his demise would have severe repercussions not only in Israel, but throughout the entire Muslim world, and lead to attacks against Israelis and Jews abroad and possibly see elements affiliated with al-Qaida recruiting activists on behalf of Hamas.

The army will continue targeting terrorist leaders as well as resorting to other deterrence measures in order to hamper the terrorist infrastructure which, while receiving a significant blow, makes constant attempts to revive its capabilities.

Here's hoping it's not premature. But then, no matter what kind of attack manages to get through, they're going to say it's for Yassin's death. | |

How to get a Christian film into the Arab world: Defame the Jews

Mel Gibson's Passion is a huge hit in Muslim nations, which are bending their rules about not showing films that depict their prophets just this once:

Arab governments across the Middle East are bending or breaking their own censorship rules for "The Passion of the Christ,'' the Mel Gibson film that sparked fears of anti-Semitism when it was released in the West.

In Egypt, where the film opened to large crowds Wednesday, "it's getting a very special treatment," said Mustafa Darwish, a film critic and former president of the Egypt Censorship Authority.

So far, the film has been released uncensored in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

A longstanding ruling from Al Azhar University -- the ultimate spiritual authority for Muslims worldwide -- forbids the depiction of prophets in movies, and Muslims consider Jesus Christ a prophet. But authorities have made an exception for the controversial film depicting the final hours of Jesus' life. Only Kuwait has blocked its release, citing the ban on portraying prophets.

Don't worry, Kuwait will find a reason to bend that rule once enough people realize how great the anti-Jewish propaganda value will be.

Gaber Asfour, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture, who gave his seal of approval to "The Passion," said the film's release is a sign of increasing artistic freedom in the country, which banned "Matrix Reloaded" and "Bruce Almighty" last year on religious grounds.

"You can say that we are regaining the spirit of enlightenment, which is essential to the cultural tradition of modern Egypt," Asfour said.

Or you could say that the cultural tradiation of Modern Egypt is anti-Semitism, and this film reflects that view in Egyptian eyes. Say, once more: Can I build a new church in downtown Cairo? What's that? I have to get the permission of all the neighbors within a certain radius, have a certain number of Christians for the church, and can't build it within a certain amount of feet from a mosque? Do tell how free religion is in Egypt.

[...] However, Darwish and other observers say allegations raised by U.S. Jewish groups may have actually encouraged the film's welcome in the Arab world.

"They (the censorship authorities) think the film is anti-Semitic. That's why they are giving it such privilege," Darwish said.

Look at that. An honest opinion. Be still, my heart.

[...] Lebanon is 30 percent Christian, which may help to explain the film's success there. But in predominantly Muslim Qatar, Syria and Jordan, the movie is also attracting unprecedented crowds. In Qatar, it is being shown on seven screens four times a day.

Just as I predicted. The Arabs will be using this to foment the Jew-hatred in their nations.

[...] In Qatar, any movie showing a cross around an actor's neck was banned throughout the 1990s. So when the tiny Persian Gulf monarchy approved "The Passion," Mohsem al-Mokadem, the general manager of the Qatari Cinema Co., was shocked. "It is the first time that such a film has been released anywhere in the gulf," said al-Mokadem, who was a member of Qatar's censorship authority from 1980 to 1992.

Arab censors emphatically deny that they have treated "The Passion of the Christ'' differently than any other movie.

"We considered it as we would any film, from an artistic point of view," said a Ministry of Information spokesperson in the United Arab Emirates, where the film also opened Wednesday. "We did not look at it from a religious or political point of view."

Bull. Effing. Shit. When you won't allow the portrayal of crosses around an actor's neck, and you suddenly allow a movie about the death of Jesus, in which Jews play a strong and negative part, you are absolutely looking at it from both a religious and a political point of view. Don't these people ever get tired of lying? Do they really think we're as stupid as they presume? But wait. There's a truth-teller in the article.

[...] Officials at Al Azhar acknowledged that they have long forbidden depictions of prophets -- or even the voices of prophets -- in movies, but they said they have no intention of opposing the decision of government censors to allow "The Passion" to be shown in its entirety.

"I encouraged the movie because it withholds from Jews their claims that they are innocent of the Christ's blood," said Mohiy el-Din Abdel Aleem, a professor of media and journalism at Al Azhar University, when asked why Al Azhar had not objected to the movie.

Thanks, Mel. We appreciate all the help you're giving those who already hate us. Wait for it: You're going to have mobs of Muslims screaming to kill the "Christ-killers" at their next Hamas rally.

[...] Sheikh Muhammad el-Rawy, a member of the Islamic Research Council, Al Azhar's highest authority responsible for reviewing books and movies, said it would have been inappropriate to interfere with a movie that concerns the Christian faith.

"We do not accept the screening of prophets, but we cannot confiscate others' beliefs," he said. "We didn't review this movie because it does not concern Muslims."

Translation: "We do not accept the screening of prophets, except where we can blame the Jews for the death of one of them. Other than that, keep your Christian infidel propaganda out of our movie theaters." Once again, go try to build a church in Cairo. Or Riyadh. Or Kuwait City. Try to build one even now in Baghdad. Go ahead. Send in missionaries to the Muslim world and see how long it takes them to not "confiscate others' beliefs." Effing liars.

Habib Malik, a professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, said the allegations of anti-Semitism that have surrounded the film are undoubtedly part of the film's appeal in Lebanon.

"Word got around that this movie was upsetting a lot of people in the Jewish community in the West, and people here are predisposed to be anti- Israel, and anti-Jewish in general, and I think that's one of the reasons why people have flocked to see it," said Malik, who first watched the film with Mel Gibson and a select group of intellectuals and religious figures in Washington.

There you go. Another honest opinion. Although the article wraps up with the biggest lie of all:

Moviegoers in Cairo left the film with widely differing views.

They quote an old lady who seems quite reasonable and sympathetic. But you know she's the exception. Here's what the Arabs really think about the Passion.

"This shows what happened, and how the Jews trapped Jesus and let the Romans crucify him. This is the truth," said Maher Nissim, a financial manager who viewed it on opening night at the Ramses Hilton theater.

That's right. It all boils down to blaming the Jews. Again, thanks, Mel. We really appreciate your throwing fuel on the fire.

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Today's moment of kitty zen

Oh, you can't count the below picture as a zen moment. Zen moments must be peaceful and nonaggressive. In that light, as promised, I present "A Study in Tig: Sleeping positions." The pictures are a little smaller than the last Graciefest, so they should load a bit more quickly. | |

Gracie's revenge

Don't mess with GracieOmri is really, really looking for trouble. First he publishes an essay that is clearly anti-feline propaganda. Then he takes my beautiful Gracie and disfigures her picture. Not just once. He does it twice. (Of course, the Wrath of Cat has already kicked in, forcing Omri to make an error and then publicly admit his mistake. You don't mess with cats, Omri. Really. They have mysterious mind powers against which no one can defend.)

Anyway. Gracie was busy this afternoon, but I let her know what was going on, and she told me I should publish this picture. I believe it's her "This is what I'm going to look like after I've killed and eaten Omri" face.

By the way, Omri, I regularly use ALT tags on my photographs. Put your mouse over the picture to see what Gracie is really thinking. | |

Our pals the pals: Poll says, kill more Israelis

Stop and let these numbers sink in for a moment:

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, the leading Palestinian polling institute, has disclosed that a majority of Palestinians, 53 percent, support terror attacks against Israeli civilians. This represents a rise in support for terror - last December, 48 percent of respondents in a poll articulated support for terror attacks. In the latest poll, 87 percent of respondents said they favor attacks on Israeli soldiers; 86 percent supported attacks on settlers in the territories.

53 percent of palestinians—more than half the population—support terror attacks against civilians.

Sure. As Charles says, let's give these people a state.

There are no peace negotiations because the Israelis have no partners in their desire for peace.

Omri has some other thoughts on the matter. | |

We interrupt these important issues for a soap rant

The first soap opera I ever got hooked on was Days of Our Lives. My cousin got me hooked on it during the few months I spent in Steilacoom, WA (a suburb of Tacoma), when I was trying to see if I liked the Seattle area well enough to transfer to U of Wash. The constant rain depressed me enough that I fled to southern California and Florida before returning home to NJ and back to Montclair State.

So I got hooked on Days back when it was superb. Pre-General Hospital, Days was the soap to watch. Marlena Evans and Don Craig, the Hortons, Doug and Julie (played by a nightclub act so popular that one day as my father passed the TV set he said, "Hey! That's Bill and Susan Hayes, what are they doing on a soap?"), the real Roman Brady, Chris Kositchek and Mary Anderson, Mickey and Maggie Horton—these were all the characters I used to watch back then. The day that the Salem Strangler killed Marlena, fans in New York and Los Angeles protested outside NBC studios. This was before the soap magazines and entertainment shows and columns so prevalent today. We didn't know she wasn't really dead. I remember being incredibly shocked and disappointed that Friday, and then being thrilled to death on Monday when we discovered that it was Marlena's twin sister, Samantha, who'd been murdered. (Go ahead, laugh. Number one, I was in college at the time, and number two, that routine wasn't old hat back when it was first used.)

But the linchpin of Days has always been the Horton family. Tom and Alice Horton, played by MacDonald Carey (a film star moving to soaps, unheard of at the time) and Frances Reid, a soap star who said in an interview once that she was intimidated by Carey's film creds, were the patriarch and matriarch of Days. Not a single major holiday went by without the family showing up at the Hortons' home. Christmas shows always featured all the Hortons placing their own ornament on the tree, each bearing their first name. Now, the names on those ornaments bring us back to the old Days, back when Jed Allen wasn't suddenly the partiarch on General Hospital (what? What? WHAT?) and Matt Ashford didn't show up as a serial killer on One Life To Live after being killed off by a serial killer on Days, who, it seems, turns out to be Marlena Evans (what? What? WHAT?).

You see, there's this writer. His name is James Reilly. He took over on Days several years ago and turned it into sheer camp. Marlena was possessed by the devil. People tuned back in to watch. I was one. I tuned back in and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was stupid. It was ridiculous. But it got people to watch. Then he left to start a new soap, which ultimately got Another World (my next-favorite soap) cancelled. Well. Reilly came back last year. And soap operas are all suffering budget cuts, due to falling advertising revenues. So studios are asking some actors to take salary cuts, and firing those they consider superfluous. Some take the cuts. Some leave and go to other soaps. The writers take care of the exits in various fashions, only occasionally killing them off. Except for Reilly. Reilly is becoming known as the Butcher of Daytime.

Reilly is killing off actors that have been on the show for literally decades. One by one, our beloved Salem residents are dying, and in some pretty awful ways: Maggie Horton. Doug Williams. Roman Brady. (Well, okay, I still haven't been able to accept the actor that played Chris Kositchek as Roman Brady, so I kind of don't really care about that death.) Jack Deveraux. Abe Carver. And now, this week, they killed Alice Horton.

Sometimes, I really enjoy watching the twisting of a favorite character. Deirdre Hall, who plays Marlena Evans, obviously had a blast playing a woman possessed by the devil. And it was rather fun seeing Saint Marlena have an evil side without being an evil twin. They even had her floating above the bed, and went through the whole exorcism thing. Fun stuff, if you don't believe in Satan, and, well, I don't. But this week, it wasn't fun at all. I watched one of my favorite characters stalking a helpless old woman, and acting like she enjoyed it, and all I could think of was how twisted and sick it was. All I could wonder was how hard it must have been for Deirdre, who has known Frances for nearly three decades, and whose character was going to be responsible for the death of a soap opera matriarch. All I could think was, "Geez, she's like everyone's grandmother. This is sick."

Killing off a matriarch in this way is unheard of in soaps, as far as I know. Oh, the old guard dies—everyone dies. MacDonald Carey passed away years ago. On All My Children, the actress who played Erica Kane's mother died, and is still referred to and talked to by Susan Lucci and a few others. And on Another World, Douglass Watson died suddenly, leaving AW without a patriarch. But none has ever been murdered in cold blood by one of the most-loved characters on the show.

And here's the incredibly annoying twist. They didn't dare show the murder scene. They knew that a lynch mob would probably go after Reilly if they dared. But he did something that's almost as bad. First, you need to know this: Alice Horton used to give donuts and advice to all and sundry. Her homemade donuts were legendary. Of course, jaded viewers would wonder exactly which brand of store-bought donuts were on the plate that day, but hey, making fun of soaps is half the fun of watching them. However.

Reilly managed to take the single most memorable bit of Alice Horton's and turn it into something that is almost darkly funny, but is really just twisted: She died because she choked on a donut. We assume that Marlena shoved one down her throat and left before she could get caught. And let me tell you, the Hitchcock premise of having the unseen be more grim than that which is shown on film definitely rings true here. I can't get the picture out of my head.

In real life, Frances Reid suffered a stroke some time ago. Her acting hasn't been up to snuff for some time, and it's obvious they film around her disabilities. She finally got tired enough that she quit this year, partly, rumor has it, because so many of her friends in the cast were being fired. So we would have seen her death in one way or another. But after nearly 40 years as Alice Horton, she deserved to die quietly, peacefully, in her sleep. Not as yet another victim of James Reilly's gimmicky search for ratings.

He's getting what he wants, at least in the short term. But he only got me to tune in this week because Lynn's a Days fan, too, and she keeps emailing me spoilers. I'm done now, and I won't be back. I suspect he's losing a lot more fans than he's winning with this storyline.

And he killed Alice with a donut. Not funny. Jerk. | |

A breath of fresh air from Detroit

This guy is going to get a lot of hatemail over this op-ed piece from the Detroit News. But not from me.

The line that gave Michael Shaara’s excellent Civil War docu-novel “Killer Angels” its title has Union Gen. Lawrence Chamberlain, as a boy, reciting a passage from Shakespeare comparing man in action to an angel.

“Well, boy, if he’s an angel,” his father scoffs, “he’s sure a murderin’ angel.”

That passage came to mind this past week in hearing Sheik Ahmed Yassin described lovingly as a religious leader who brought spiritual comfort to the downtrodden Palestinians.

If Yassin was a preacher, he was sure a murderin’ preacher.

Don’t let his crippled legs and cloudy eyes fool you — Franklin Roosevelt fought a mighty fierce war from a wheelchair — Yassin was a terrorist, and nothing more. As founder and head of the terrorist group Hamas, he orchestrated the slaughter of thousands of innocent Israelis, including many children.

He was a Jew-hater and a lover of chaos, violence and bloodshed.

He surely split the gates of Hell wide open when he was dispatched by Israeli rockets last week on a Gaza street.

Yet at the United Nations, the world rose almost in unison to condemn his killing as an unwarranted assassination of a spiritual leader, calling the act a war crime.

The United States blocked a resolution to that effect, saying it should have equally denounced Hamas violence.

While affirming Israel’s right to defend itself, the Bush administration says it is “deeply troubled” by Yassin’s killing. It is also troubled by Israel’s construction of a security barrier between itself and the terrorists. And it continues to be troubled by restrictions on Palestinian movement.

How is Israel supposed to exercise this right to defend itself?

Aggressive measures like targeted assassinations, incursions into the West Bank and border checkpoints are protested as heavy-handed. Passive efforts like building a fence to keep the terrorists out are called arbitrary and unfair.

Israel is left with only the Spanish solution: Accommodate terrorism, don’t eliminate it.

To do that would assure its destruction, and you have to wonder if that’s not what the good members of the United Nations have in mind.

Read the rest. And shoot him an email if you like. His address is at the end of the article. And then check out the editorial from the week before, probably also written by Nolan Finley. Here's a bit of it:

Israel scored a victory in the global war on terrorism Monday by finally dispatching Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder and spiritual leader of the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

In a delicious piece of irony, Yassin, the man who encouraged, planned and directed countless suicide bombings, was himself blown to bits on a Gaza street by rockets fired from an Israeli helicopter.

Yeah, it's in the Detroit News, in the heart of one of the most highly concentrated Arab populations in the country. I'm surprised, too. (Almost forgot: Hat tip: Geoff.) | |




Who looks for this phrase? Who looks for "porch abolition rabbit"? And weirder still, how bad is Google's search logarithm that it puts my blog up for that phrase?

Kesher Talk links to this post, in which Hamas' Jew-hatred is eerily reminiscent of an earlier Jew-hatred. Methinks it isn't the Zionists who have something in common with the Third Reich. About the only thing missing is the goose-stepping.

Omri, you do realize that the Wrath of Cat will be brought down upon you for this. Oh. Didn't I ever tell you that my first BBS handle was Cat? Disfiguring gorgeous Gracie that way. Hmph.

By the way Omri, I don't get why you're so upset with Project Rescue. What's wrong with helping injured raptors?

And that's about all I have energy for tonight. It was a light posting day. I never bother to inform you when it's going to be a light day because I figure you're all smart enough to figure out for yourselves that I'm not posting. | |

Gas up today

These people are not our friends. The "special relationship" that Saudi Arabia is always prattling about? I believe it's known in some circles as "oil ticks."

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after OPEC's most influential member Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind imminent supply cuts, though divisions within the cartel prevented a steeper rally, analysts said.

Stop and realize that the cartel was ready to stop cutting production and raising oil prices until the Saudis stepped in. I'm beginning to believe that the blogger who suggested that Saudi Arabia is trying to defeat Bush with the oil weapon is correct.

On the other hand, Kuwait and the UAE didn't jump on board with the Saudis. There is trouble down in Oilville. Will the mighty al-Faisal strike out? | |




Mac Thomason has completed his move to Bloghosts. His comments load faster, and he made the categories in his blogroll about the best (and the snarkiest) I've ever seen.

Nick sent me this last week. Scientology's tax breaks are being challenged—by a Jew. They're arguing that if scientologists get to claim a tax deduction for their training, then they can claim one for sending their children to religious school. This one is a win-win, because no way in hell do I believe the government is going to say it's okay to claim that deduction. My prediction: Scientology loses big, this time. Go, Sklars! And watch your backs. Those bastards are nasty.

Adam had a conversation with an Iraqi-American, who blamed Israel for all the world's problems. Not surprisingly, Adam disagreed.

Join the Boycott has the poll numbers on the Yassin assassination, and it looks like the media are out of touch with public opinion in this country.

Bill Herbert rips into Hesiod, which is frankly one of the easiest things to do this side of fisking Robert Fisk. But it's still fun to watch.

Jeff Goldstein was looking for a blog blurb from me a while back. My second choice to him was "Will never send you spam about penis enlargement." For some reason, I never see that one on the top of his blog when I go there. Instead, he settled for "One of the best damn writers in the blogosphere." I don't get it. One has pizzazz, the other is so boring.

Say. I wonder if that phrase is going to show up in my Google searches now? Oh, well.

Speaking of Google searches, "fish heads" is still one of my most popular search results. I promise, really, that I will rewrite the story of Fish Heads for you all. On the next slow day I have.

I forgot to send them a wedding present. Jay and Deb got married a while ago (mazal tov, folks!) and their blogs did, too. So yeah, yet another blog that's going to suffer from the occasional bit of treacle leaking through. But that's okay. I like happy endings.

I know I don't get here very often anymore, but she's still hilarious. I don't know why I don't read the funny blogs more often. I haven't been over to Terry's place lately, either. Perhaps I'll swear off news for a couple of days and just traverse the places that make me laugh out loud.

You've gotta be kidding me. All these months later, and nobody noticed that I still had Bigwig's old URL on my links page? Not even Bigwig? Well, it's fixed now.

I am waiting. Patiently. Okay. Maybe this is a little bit of impatience. But sometimes people need a kick in the ass. Er, a nudge. A nudge.

Okay, so even Treacher has put up one of those boring posts. I have decided to resist the urge. You just know the second I do it, Kevin will co-opt it for his Bonfire of the Vanities. Meantime, there's something very, very wrong with this kind of behavior. I don't care how public the figure is, his private home is his private home. I hate the loony left.

Haven't had enough of the cat photos? No problem. Sometime later this week, "A Study in Tig: Sleeping positions." I do believe I warned everyone this would happen once I got my digital camera. | |

You won't like them when they're angry

Gracie is angry.I finally found a topic that got Omri to write a long post. It's cats. In a lengthy and somewhat disturbing essay, Omri details his thoughts on my suggestion of a division of labor between our weblogs, with appendices from Stan that are somewhat more disturbing than the bulk of the post (talking animals? You mean, like "Babe"? Save us).

In that lengthy post, Omri displays a certain dislike, not to say antipathy, for my favorite felines. So I told Gracie about the post, and she didn't have anything to say, but boy, did she give him a look.

If I were you, Omri, I'd stay on the left coast for a while. More than one of my cats have been known to carry a grudge, and I don't know whether or not Gracie does. No one's ever pissed her off this much before.

Speaking of Cats, Lair Simon has the latest Carnival of the Cats up. | |

Shouldn't that be "stooping below" your principles?

I keep seeing this headline and quote about Condoleeza Rice refusing to testify before Congress' 9/11 commission:

Rice urged to 'rise above principles'
Two Sept. 11 commission members, a Republican and a Democrat, on Monday urged national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to reconsider her refusal to testify in public and under oath about President Bush's counterterrorism strategies.

"There's a time to rise above principles," Republican John Lehman told NBC's "Today" show, referring to Rice's stand that national security advisers have never testified under oath before Congress because of a fear it would compromise their ability to have an open exchange of ideas with a president.

Here's what Rice has said about it:

“Nothing would be better, from my point of view, than to be able to testify,” Rice told CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “I would really like to do that. But there is an important principle involved here: It is a long-standing principle that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress.”

Let's stop for just a moment here. I think we're talking about this definition of principle:

a. A rule or standard, especially of good behavior: a man of principle.
b. The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: a decision based on principle rather than expediency.

Seems to me that if Condi sets these principles aside, she is stooping below her moral standards, not rising above them. Is this how low our politicians have sunk? It's not bad enough that they compromise their own values, they're now urging others to compromise theirs?

And lest you start getting partisan on this, let me point out that both a Republican and a Democrat are asking Rice to give in. So it's a bipartisan effort to get Condi to lower her ethical standards. Nice. | |

OPEC is wobbling; oil prices are falling

Forbes has the skinny on the latest OPEC doings. It's always a good thing for gas prices when OPEC nations squabble, and it looks like they're losing their unanimity.

OPEC producers remained divided on Monday over whether or not to bow to demands from consumer nations and open the taps to rein in runaway oil prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, meeting on Wednesday, is under pressure to reverse or postpone scheduled supply cuts that recently forced U.S. oil prices to a 13-year peak.

Some in OPEC admit prices are uncomfortably high and favour postponing a February deal agreed in Algiers to cut supplies in April. Others blame speculative hedge funds for inflaming the market and worry they are showing signs of preparing to exit the market en masse, causing a price slump.

Splits in OPEC are good. How is it when the UN and the anti-globo crowd get going against the evils of capitalism, they always seem to ignore the fact that a monopolistic oil cartel sets the prices and production level of much of the world's oil supply? Oh, wait, that's right: The Arabs control the UN General Assembly voting blocks, and the anti-globos refuse to believe that brown-skinned people can do any wrong.

Oh, and by the way: Crude oil prices are falling. Of course, right now would be a good time for Bush to call his Saudi buddies and tell them to open the spigots, but I won't hold my breath on that one. | |

Terrorism on the retreat

You read this statement:

We know Bush is the enemy of God, the enemy of Islam and the enemy of the Muslim people, he said. America has declared war against God, [Prime Minister] Sharon declared war against God, and God has declared war against America, Bush and Sharon, Rantisi said.

And then you look at the picture, in which Rantisi is wearing a baseball cap, and the juxtaposition of seventh-century rhetorich with twentieth century headgear makes you blink.

On the other hand, this was interesting to read:

Rantisi also lashed out at the decision to postpone the Arab Summit meeting in Tunis. Its failure means Israel is rewarded for its crimes, he said.

Yeah, I think I said below that the failure of the Arab summit meeting is another nail in the coffin of the Oslo War. And now the splits between the palestinian factions are widening.

Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has dismissed the widely accepted notion that it was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's lack of gestures that forced him to resign, hinting that PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and his inner circle had "thwarted" his mission.

Abbas, who resigned last year following a fierce power struggle with Arafat, described his experience as "painful and bitter" and said he would never consider taking the job again. He was speaking to local journalists in Ramallah for the first time since he quit. "I have no intention of repeating this experience," he said in response to a question whether he would be prepared to accept the post of prime minister again.

"This is not on my mind and I'm not thinking about it at all. It was an experience that I don't want to repeat because it was bitter and painful. I have talked about Sharon's role in aborting this experience, but, unfortunately, it was our brothers who thwarted this mission. Therefore it would not be right for me to return."

Of course, in the rest of his remarks, he's laid the foundation for a fatwa to be called on his head by former bestest buddy Arafat.

Abbas lashed out at the PA for failing to enforce law and order and called for implementing security, administrative, and financial reforms in all PA institutions.

"The PA must prove its existence, and there's nothing that prevents it from doing so," he said. "There are certain things it must do, first and foremost the unification of all the security forces under one command. We accepted the road map [which calls for security reforms in the PA] and we must implement it so that we can demand our rights.

"The PA must carry out its obligations regardless of whether or not Israel and the US acknowledge this. I know very well that there is a problem and it's the Israeli occupation, but when the PA proves its capabilities it will then put the occupation in the corner, embarrass it, and force it to leave the territories."

Actually, first and foremost, you have to depose Arafat. Until the pals get the stones to do that, nothing will move forward. On the other hand, once the IDF gets Rantisi and Nasrallah, there's nothing stopping them from having the head of Arafat as well. Gee, I hope his will is up to date. | |



More evidence that Israel is winning the war

Imshin agrees with me. Read her latest post and be heartened:

So you see, I have no particular fear as a result of the Yassin killing. I know my army, my security services and my government, are doing their utmost to protect me. They were before and they are now. I didn’t change anything in my way of life as a result. I went to the mall, I went running with Bish in the park a few times, Eldest went out twice collecting donations door-to-door for some charity or other, I got the number five bus to work every morning, I walked home every afternoon (thankfully, not getting run over by a motorbike when crossing the road). And I must say, I didn’t notice any less people in the shops, in the cafes or in the streets. On the contrary, it’s two weeks before Pesach (Passover). The shops are packed; the atmosphere in the supermarket is one of frantic activity. It’s all hogwash, silly Left Wing scaredy-pants propaganda, the Media inventing news. It hasn’t happened.

Have you noticed that the masses aren’t demonstrating in Gaza? As usual, the real news is what isn’t in the papers. There have been a few tepid sounding demonstrations in other places, but not in Gaza, where he lived, preached, and died. And they reportedly only managed to mobilize a few thousands for demonstrations in the West Bank (it was probably even less than that). The masses would be out on the streets in Gaza in the tens of thousands, if they were so outraged by the killing of their beloved spiritual leader. They’ve managed to get them out of their houses for far less in the past.

There is also other news worth noting. First, Saudi Arabia pulled out of the Arab League summit. Then three other nations did. Yesterday, Tunisia cancelled the summit, leading to even more disarray than usual in the Arab world. And this only a week after Israel assassinated Ahmed Yassin, a move protested throughout the Arab League nations. The Arab League summit should have been their platform from which to keep world opinion focused on (and lambasting) Israel, and by association, America. Instead, even before the summit, OPEC said last week that they may not be cutting production again, which will lower world gas prices and give a boost to the U.S. economy.

So let's review:

  1. In spite of media sensationalizing, the death of Yassin has not led to "earthquakes" of revenge, thanks to the IDF and security services of Israel, as well as the checkpoints, closures, and security fence. Israelis are busy getting ready for Passover (the holiday, by the way, in which we celebrate our freedom from slavery in an Arab nation).
  2. The Arab League summit, in which the 22 Arab nations were supposed to get together and agree upon their own plan to advance democracy in the Middle East, collapses into arguing over who's going to hold the rescheduled summit.
  3. OPEC may not cut production/raise prices again.

Even if the pals get another bus bombing through (God forbid!) next week, it won't negate any of the above-mentioned facts, not the ones I pointed out yesterday. Because there's also this fact:

The Palestinian leadership was not especially disappointed yesterday when it learned of the postponement of the Arab summit conference that was to begin today in Tunis. At the Muqata in Ramallah, they had completed arrangements for broadcast of the speech that Yasser Arafat was to deliver, via satellite, and the Palestinian media reported in detail on the meticulous security arrangements implemented in Tunis.

Since the 1960s, Arafat has made it his business to participate in every summit conference, but he has not made it to any of the more recent conferences due to the siege Israel has imposed on him. The Arabs used to stridently demand that Israel allow Arafat to attend the summit sessions. Now they seem to have grown accustomed to his absence. The announcements about the postponement of the summit made no mention of the fact that Arafat was not going to attend.

Israel is winning the terror war. And the other war on terror seems to be going well at the moment, too. As does the war on dictatorships in the Middle East. | |


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.