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How low can they go?

Just when you think the world can't get any more obvious about Jew-hatred, you read something like this:

Estonia plans to unveil memorial to SS veterans
The Society of Fighters for Estonia's Freedom, which includes, among others, veterans of the Estonian 20th SS division, has initiated the opening of a monument to Estonian SS fighters who fought for Nazi Germany during WWII, Russia's Interfax quoted the Postimees newspaper as reporting on Saturday.

The initiators plan to install the monument in Tallinn's district of Maarjamae, about fifty meters away from a memorial in honor of the Soviet forces who fought in Estonia, in July this year, Interfax said.

Three large crosses are already installed at the site. The new monument is intended to include plaques bearing the names of 16 Estonian units that fought for the Wehrmacht. There will also be flagpoles, a plaque with explanatory text in four languages, and a cast-iron map of Estonia indicating the places where the SS units fought against the Soviet army, the Russian news agency reported.

Because, you know, the SS were just patriots fighting for the country, right? It's not like they were, oh, vicious mass murderers or anything like that.

Have I mentioned lately how immensely glad I am that my great-grandparents all emigrated from that part of Europe? Because I'm really hating those people right now. | |

The air[man] show

Wind Rider posted his version of the airshow we saw at Langley yesterday. He knows I haven't time to rebut, what with my having to work two jobs and finish the synagogue newsletter this weekend. But I did have time to crop and post this photo. When we got to the show, to my utter delight, it was raining men.

Airmen parachuting at Langley

I'm only sorry I didn't have my camera ready fast enough. This was the tail end of the dropin. There were lots more. For some reason, WR got annoyed when I started singing the Weather Girls song, but I think it was just an act. And hey, if you want to hear a really funny story, ask Wind Rider about the great parking spot he got, what with him being someone who actually works at Langley, instead of one of the general public who had to park, like, six blocks closer to the airfield. No, that's not a typo. Public parking, which WR disdained, was right outside the airfield. I sure got my exercise yesterday, boy. But we were not part of the herd. They only had to walk a block or two.

Going back to work on my newsletter now. (I told you not to post that picture, dude. And I told you you won't win. I have not yet begun to snark.) | |



This and that

Thanks for all the good wishes. Things are much better today, and as for buying medical insurance, well, you can't get something for nothing. Can't afford it right now. The rent comes first, y'know? If something catastrophic hits, I'm screwed. Welcome to the world of the uninsured American. There are millions like me, I hear.

Chris Muir gets the appeal of Troy to women. And may I say: Heh.

What is there to say about Rafah? Palestinians once again mix terrorists with civilians, civilians are killed, the world condemns Israel. No matter how much proof Israel comes up with, the world ignores it and blames her.

He added that Palestinian footage of destruction in the area showed many of the buildings they claim to have been demolished in the four-day operation were in fact destroyed over the course of the past three and a half years.

Describing the Palestinian reports of the destruction in Rafah following IDF activity as a "well-oiled propaganda machine", Zakai declared that none of the residents were suffering from starvation, and that in cases where water and electricity were cut off, crews immediately began repairing the damage.

Regarding footage of plowed up roads, Zakai said these were the result of terrorists placing bomb underneath the road surface and covering them up with asphalt, so as to detonate as troops entered the camp. Similarly, many of the damaged houses documented by Palestinians are a product of powerful explosives placed by terrorists inside the walls of houses to harm IDF troops searching the area.

Yeah, we've got that meme down pat: Blame the Jews. As this editorial points out, the smugglers are coming from Egypt. They're not appearing out of midair. Perhaps we might want to shift some blame there. But no, the world couldn't possibly expect an Arab regime to control its own people. The humiliation! The shame!

The peace treaty being broken.

Barghouti was convicted of murder. Good. Arrest Arafat and put him on trial next. Better. (No, it won't happen. But one can dream.)

Where is the UN Human Rights Commission's outcry over this?

An independent activist who sits on Egypt's new, state-backed human rights advisory council is criticizing the council for failing to push for the repeal of laws that give authorities wide powers to arrest and try civilians before military courts.

Bahey El Din Hassan told The Associated Press Wednesday that at a meeting late last month of the National Council for Human Rights, only three of 25 members present voted to advise the government to abolish the two-decade-old emergency laws. The laws have been widely criticized by both international and domestic human rights groups.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former U.N. secretary-general who heads the human rights council, told the AP Thursday that the body was still considering its stance on the emergency laws and refused to comment further. Two other members of the council said they had agreed not to make their deliberations public and referred The Associated Press to the council's spokesman and deputy head, prominent lawyer Ahmed Kamal Abou El-Magd. Abou El-Magd did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

"Still considering its stance." Funny, they move awfully fast to condemn Israel. There goes that double standard again.

I spent half the day doing paperwork and watching stupid videos for the new job. Now I'm going to watch the final episode of Angel, then I am going to head out to Wind Rider's neck of the woods to go watch the Thunderbirds. He didn't tell me why the Air Force has revived those funky little puppets from the old cartoon show, but hey, I got a kick out of them when I was a kid, so I guess they'll be fun to watch now. Later. | |



Life intrudes

There is a lump in the area of my right armpit lymph nodes. It's probably a cyst, as it came up suddenly and is sore to the touch. But in the meantime, I'm off to the doctor's and won't be blogging until I find out what it is. And to make it even more cheerful, I'm one of those uninsured Americans you keep reading about.

Happy happy joy joy.

Update: It's a cyst, and it still hurts, and I have antibiotics, and there are doctors who have ways of helping out uninsured patients. So yay for that, and now I'm going to have dinner and relax with my new Gilmore Girls DVD collection. | |



The men of Troy: Oh, there was a storyline?

The folks marketing Troy have so missed the boat on their target audience. Sure, guys like watching guys smash each other up and slash each other with swords. But you need to get their dates interested in the film, and not all women are fond of Greek epics. In fact, some of us find them downright yawners. Oh, sure, I like 'em. But I've always been an SF and fantasy fan, and flicks like Jason and the Argonauts fit right into that genre. So how to market Troy?

AchillesWell, for starters, I cannot overstate to the ladies out there how incredibly hot Brad Pitt's first appearance onscreen is. In fact, there are several scenes throughout the film where you think to yourself that Jennifer Aniston truly is the luckiest woman on the planet: All that, and Brad Pitt, too. And let me tell you, Tom, it isn't the scenes with Brad in his armor that I'm talking about.

So you've got a buff Brad losing his shirt (and most of the rest of his clothes) more than once. Then throw in an Orlando Bloom (Legolas from LOTR) looking doe-eyed at the camera, this time in a dark, curly wig instead of those long, blonde LOTR tresses. Yes, we get a peek at his pecs, too. But wait, there's more!

HectorEric Bana, last seen playing Bruce Banner in the Hulk flick, as Hector. Bearded, buff, shirtless once he gets home to his wife and son and gets to lounge around the castle in Greek pajamas. (They had pajamas back then? I thought the choices were either clothed or naked. Oh, wait. Gotta keep the R rating.) Flash those pecs, boys, and we're not going to care how much of the Iliad you're rewriting. But wait, there's more!

Sean Bean, everybody's favorite Boromir, plays Odysseus. Alas, no flashing of pecs. Too flabby, or too shy? However, he's too cute, so he's excused.

There's a lot more gratuitous pec-flashing by the thousands of extras and minor characters. Thankfully, the fat, out of shape guys all keep their shirts on. Even more thankfully, they keep Peter O'Toole fully clothed at all times. I still remember Willem Dafoe's shirt removal in Spider-Man, and my eyes still burn from that one.

So the big missed opportunity here? I check out the PR site. Not a single picture of Brad or Eric without a shirt, and no sign of that awesome first shot of Achilles in the buff buff, and no, that's not a typo, those two words belong together.

Michele, Ilyka, definitely a must-see. Tons of eye-candy, and yeah, there's a bit of a story, too. Actually, the fight scenes are pretty good. I just like the love scenes a whole lot more.

And really, Tom—were you truly expecting Hollywood to stick to the book? Hollywood? You know, Hollywood?

Anyway. Warner Bros. needs to repackage this movie. All the commercials should feature as much gratuitious pec-flexing as possible, and just show a few of Brad's butt and Shrek 2 won't have a chance. | |

What's wrong with this story?

The visible bias in this AP piece is nearly as bad as the obvious Reuters bias in every piece about Israel. Let's take the most egregious parts and look, shall we?

Israeli Troops Kill 20 in Gaza Camp Raid

That's just the headline, and in directly implies that the IDF went in shooting. No context, they just went in and killed 20 palestinians.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Under heavy cover fire from helicopters, Israeli troops combed this refugee camp for weapons and gunmen Tuesday in the biggest Gaza offensive in years. Twenty Palestinians were killed, including two teenagers shot as they gathered laundry.

Now we have a bit of a context, but still the "20 palestinians killed" mantra, now adding to the horror by pointing out that two civilians (we think) were killed.

The death toll was the highest one-day total since 35 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank city in Ramallah on April 5, 2002.

Let's go see what happened to cause the IDF to enter Ramallah on April 5, 2002. Oh, that's right. A little something known as the Passover Massacre occurred the week before, where terrorists killed dozens and wounded nearly 200 Israelis sitting down to their Passover dinner. Then there were these:

March 31, 2002 Haifa 14 Killed, 40 Wounded Hamas Suicide bombing at restaurant
March 29, 2002 Jerusalem 2 killed, 28 Wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Suicide bombing at supermarket in Kiryat Yovel
March 27, 2002 Netanya 22 killed, 140 Wounded Hamas Suicide bombing at Passover seder at Park Hotel
March 21, 2002 Jerusalem 3 killed, 86 Wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Suicide bombing downtown
March 20, 2002 Afula 7 killed, 30 wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Suicide bombing on bus
March 14, 2002 Karni-Netzarim road 3 Killed, 2 Wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Remote Control Mine
March 12, 2002 near Kibbutz Matzuva 6 Killed, 7 Wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Gunmen Ambush Vehicles
March 12, 2002 Kiryat Sefer checkpoint 1 Killed, 1 Wounded Shooting Attack
March 11, 2002 Ashdod 1 Wounded Gunman Opens Fire at Bar Mitzvah
March 10, 2002 Netzarim 1 Killed Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Shooting Attack
March 9, 2002 Jerusalem 11 Killed, 54 Wounded Hamas Suicide Bomber at Cafe
March 9, 2002 Netanya 2 Killed, 50 Wounded Fatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade 2 Gunmen Open Fire on a Promenade
March 7, 2002 Atzmona 5 Killed, 23 Wounded Terrorist Opens Fire and Throws Grenades
March 7, 2002 Ariel >6 Wounded Suicide Bomber in Hotel Lobby
March 5, 2002 Sderot 1 Baby Wounded Kassam Rocket
March 5, 2002 Afula 1 Killed, 10 Wounded Suicide Bomber on Bus
March 5, 2002 Tel Aviv 3 Killed, >35 Wounded Gunman Opens Fire at Restaurants
March 5, 2002 outside Bethlehem 1 Killed, 1 Wounded Gunman Ambushes Vehicle
March 2, 2002 Jerusalem 10 Killed, >50 Wounded Fatah Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade Suicide Bomber outside Synagogue

On April 5, the IDF was in its eighth day of Operation Defensive Shield, a military operation bound to stop the above terrorism. If you take a look at Josh's chart, you'll see that it worked. It took a long time, but successful terror attacks have gone down immensely in the past two years. The fence is part of the reason. The IDF and Israeli security services are the rest of it. And that "incursion" into Rafah then, and the "incursion" into Gaza now, are all in response to terrorists murdering Israelis.

More from the AP article:

International condemnation mounted against the operation, and the United States said it was asking Israel for "clarification." The United Nations and European Union demanded an end to the incursion, which Israeli security officials said would last at least a week.

I am still waiting for international condemnation of the Hatuel murders, where palestinian terrorists shot a pregnant woman and her four children at point-blank range—including shooting a two-year-old in the head to make sure she was dead.

The army said most of the casualties were gunmen killed by missiles or machine-gun fire as they prepared to attack troops.

Residents said at least nine civilians were among the dead. At least 42 Palestinians were wounded.

In all, 19 Palestinians in Rafah were killed by Israeli fire - 10 in two missile strikes, and nine by machine-gun fire, said Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Palestinian Health Ministry official. A 20th man was killed while handling explosives.

But the headline says, "Israeli Troops Kill 20 in Gaza Camp Raid." Nothing like contradicting the headline of your own article.

This one is the real kicker:

The threat of mass house demolitions drew strong international criticism, including from the United States.

President Bush termed the violence "troubling," but said Israel had the right to defend itself from terrorism.

"The Israeli people have always had enemies at their borders and terrorists close at hand," Bush told a pro-Israel lobby group. "Again and again Israel has defended itself with skill and heroism."

Those quotes are from the President's speech to AIPAC yesterday. The article makes it seem like he was responding to questions about the military operation. (What media bias?)

EU foreign policy spokesman Javier Solana said the destruction of homes violated both the letter and the spirit of the "road map" peace plan. The EU's Mideast peace envoy, Marc Otte, was in Israel for talks with diplomats and security officials, carrying a demand that the Rafah demolitions cease.

Last I checked, palestinian terrorism violated the letter and the spirit of the "road map" peace plan. Where is the outrage, Javier?

U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said diplomats were relieved that Israel had refrained from large-scale house demolitions, but said the military operation "runs counter to the provisions of the road map, it fuels anger and resentment among Palestinians."

Terje Roed-Larsen, the Liar of Jenin, has yet to extend his condolences on the murder of the Hatuel family.

Here's the kicker towards the end of the article:

In other violence Tuesday, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the West Bank, one in Nablus and one near Jenin.

WTF does "in other violence" mean? Violence? Hello, those were terrorists trying to murder Israelis. Violence? Try self-defense, you effing asshat moral-equivalence "news" writers.

And I'm going to stop now, before I burst a blood vessel or something.

Have I mentioned lately how glad I am I never pursued journalism as a career? | |


Max looking exceptionally cuteThere's a new day in my week. It's called Twinsday, and it's taken the place of Thursdays. It started last year, when Sarah G. called me one week and asked if I'd like to go with her and the kids to the Farmer's Market downtown. Sure, I told her, and off we went to Shockoe Bottom, one of my favorite parts of town, and close to where I originally wanted to live when I first started looking for apartments. I don't live there because the Richmond definition of loft has almost nothing to do with the New York/New Jersey definition of loft. Hate to tell you this, Richmond, but a loft apartment does not mean that you stick the bedroom up on, like, a wooden rack with stairs and call it a loft (and charge extra for it).

Anyway. Twinsday. Once a week, most weeks, through the summer and on into much of the autumn, we went to the Farmer's Market and bought fresh produce and looked at the ostrich eggs and the crafts and jewelry, and then we'd go do something else for an hour or two, maybe take a trip to Hollywood Cemetery or a drive to some tourist spot we wanted to see. Then we'd have lunch and head for home. We kept up the habit throughout the winter and spring, as there are many more places in Richmond than Shockoe to run errands and pass the morning, and we like hanging out together. Besides, lunches with two-year-olds are fun.

Slowly but surely, I've become a regular enough part of Max and Rebecca's life that they've now started saying "Meryl car!" when they see a Jeep. Max gets greatly concerned if I visit with them and suddenly (to him, anyway) disappear. This afternoon, I met the G.'s at the T-ball field to babysit the kids while Larry coached his son's team and Sarah went off to a meeting. Turned out that Larry wasn't coaching after all, and Max thought I'd be heading back home with them in the van, even though I took pains to point out my Jeep to him and explain I'd be driving it and meeting them at home. Larry tells me he asked for me on the drive home, and Max was much relieved when he saw me pull up. Larry and I thought he was trying to tell us about Pooh Bear when I arrived. Turned out he was saying something that sounded very much like pooh, but was spelled differently, and involved his diaper. Oh. I thought he might have been saying that, but then, he does love Pooh very much. Anyway, I was out pitching to Nate while Jake did his homework and Larry finally figured out what his youngest son had been telling him. Poopy diaper, not Pooh Bear. Check.

I taught Nate to choke up on the bat and he started pounding the ball through the yard. Ha. Works every time. Then I got to help Jake with his spelling homework. Y'know, I remember having to use the word in a sentence, but not having to write a story using ten of the spelling words. I think I like my spelling homework better.

Rebecca models her new hatLast Thursday, Larry met us at the Farmer's Market and we all went to lunch together. There was a Chinese restaurant "just down the street," he told us. I had Rebecca in one stroller, Larry took Max in the other, and Sarah got to just walk for a change. The restaurant was not exactly "just down the street." It was actually up the street, literally, as there is a bit of a hill at that part of East Main. Actually, it's a lot of hill. And by the way, the temperature was in the mid-eighties, and it doesn't matter if you're wearing shorts while pushing a child in a stroller uphill. You still get hot and tired. So as we crossed block after block, with Larry saying, "I think it's just one more block," I just pushed the stroller and panted silently up the hill, thankful that Rebecca weighs only a little more than Tig, grateful to the person who invented the wheel, and thinking that I didn't have enough breath to talk with, anyway. When I spoke to Sarah about the walk a few days later, I found that I wasn't the only one who was beginning to think that if Larry said, "It's just one more block" one more time, he might not live to see the next one.

It's interesting watching the kids when Daddy is around. Rebecca is Daddy's Little Girl. The rest of the world pretty much ceases to exist. Max is still Mom's Special Boy, but he's clearly happy to see Daddy during the middle of the day, a special treat. And Aunt Meryl? Obviously, she's there to push the strollers and clean up messes. She's also great as another source of food for Rebecca. A couple of months ago, we had lunch in a Chinese restaurant (one that didn't require a long walk uphill), and my plate of chicken and broccoli became Rebecca's so fast that all I could do was marvel at how much that child can put away, and try to eat some of mine before she could grab it all. She eats nearly half my roast beef sandwiches, generally. At least, half of the meat part. She mostly ignores the bread. And, oh yes—she likes to shove huge pieces of food in her mouth, enough so that I try to get her to take smaller bites. Whereupon she looks me dead in the eye the next time she crams an adult-sized helping into her mouth. Oh, yeah. Larry's gonna have a fun time when this one becomes a teenager.

It's obvious that from Rebecca's point of view, my main function on these trips is to supply her with my food.

I think my main function to Max is simply to be there. Last week he clearly called me "Aunt Meryl," and I got that little rush of joy that you get when you realize that yes, the children are getting as attached to you as you are to them. Max gave me a hug goodbye tonight. Rebecca was practicing for her teen years, and playing her "Read my mind and mood" game. "Rebecca?" I asked. She kept walking. Yup. Larry's gonna have a great time when this one is thirteen.

I'll be starting a new job next week, mornings, half days. But not Thursdays. On Thursdays, I'll be working from two to six. Thursday is Twinsday, and I've got places to go, people to push in strollers. And lunches to share. | |



Laurence Simon is full of crap

Say goodbye to Amish Tech Support. Say hello to Lair's new domain, Update your links accordingly, and anyone who wants to run "," talk to Lair. | |

A single shell of sarin

The significance of that single shell of sarin is being overlooked or downplayed by a whole lot of people. But not me. Nuh-uh.

Remember this post from two weeks ago?

On Wednesday night, something was causing an itch on my left arm. I shook it, and knocked off a sugar ant while I was sitting at the table. It disappeared, and I made a critical error: I didn't search it out and destroy it.

Well. It's Thursday night, Friday morning, really, and over an hour ago, tired from two days of not enough sleep due to a mild bout of insomnia, I was on my way upstairs before Letterman had finished his monologue. But first, I stopped for a glass of water. And found dozens of ants on my kitchen counter, near the sink, swirling around looking for food.

You think those sarin shells don't travel in packs? There's no such thing as a single sarin shell, just like there's no such thing as a single ant.

If I had killed the ant, I would not have had to spend an hour and a half the following night exterminating all of its brethren and cleaning my kitchen. Not that the U.S. Army can follow my example and wait for the sarin shells to swarm. But if there's one shell, there are more. Just look to the ants, and you'll know: There's a lot more sarin out there. | |

Hamas leader: Living in fear and impotence

Bluster and bullshit: First, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal says that the reason Hamas can't carry out suicide attacks has nothing to do with their inability to do so, in a logic so twisted it belongs on Indymedia:

Mashaal dismissed the idea that the decline in Palestinian suicide attacks in recent months showed that Hamas had lost the ability to penetrate Israeli security. He attributed the decrease to "difficulties on the ground" dictated by "a temporary extraordinary situation," such as the Israeli army's stringent measures.

Mashaal also shrugged off the suggestion that Hamas had been crippled by the assassinations of its leaders Sheik Ahmed Yassin Abdul-Aziz Rantisi.

So let me see if I get this right. Hamas can't carry out suicide bombings because the IDF is making it near-impossible for them to carry out suicide bombings—but it has nothing to do with Hamas being unable to do so. See, they could if they wanted to, but those pesky Israeli security forces keep stopping them, darn it!

Then we have the main angle of the story, which is that Hamas refuses to even consider a cease-fire. I'm shocked, shocked that the group that has carried out more terror bombings than any other doesn't want to stop murdering innocents.

And then there's this:

Mashaal, who survived an Israeli attempt to kill him in Jordan in 1997, said he took seriously the current Israeli threats to kill him.

"Israeli crime knows no boundaries ... Nothing can be ruled out in their aggressive behavior ... This requires caution and for us to be on guard," he said.

Mashaal's security has increased noticeably. The AP interviewed him in a residential apartment, with no sign on the door or building, in Damascus, the Syrian capital where he has lived since 1999. The AP's cameras and tape recorders were checked, and the reporter was subjected to a thorough body search by metal detector.

You've already had seven years too many, Mashaal. Here's to the successful Mossad operation that gets you. | |

Soldiers and terrorists: Different values, different agendas

Via Joel G., an interview that illustrates clearly the difference between the terrorists and the Israelis. No matter how many times I read about stories like this, I don't seem to find them anywhere else but the Israeli media.

During the search, you met Palestinian civilians who knew what you were looking. Were they all hostile or did you encounter any glimmers of understanding?

“I do not expect understanding from them. Let’s put things on the table. I have no expectations from the Palestinians. Their scale of values and mine are different.

Did a Palestinian ever approach you and show you where there were remains of a soldier?

“No, definitely not. It was a combat situation, under fire. Soldiers were injured but in the end, we brought our soldiers home. I haven’t told this to anyone but in the midst of this operation, we assisted a baby being born and evacuated an elderly woman who was injured and summoned a local ambulance for her. Terrorists ran and fired from behind the ambulance. Therefore, I do not want to make any comparison between our scale of values and theirs.

“If my soldiers can assist a Palestinian woman giving birth when six of their comrades have been blown to bits in the street but, at the same time, they fire at us from behind an ambulance, you must understand that we are at opposite ends of the scales of values. They are at the very bottom”.

They not only fire from behind ambulances, they hijack them to transport terrorists and weapons. Our pals, the pals. As Charles, says, let's give them a state! | |

Iraq and the UN: short memories

I think Celestial Blue won my EU challenge from yesterday. She found news of an EU resolution from April of 2001 that was adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights. It condemns general abuse in Iraq, and even mentions detainees, so I'll have to say that in the spirit of the challenge, CB got me.

And as a special bonus, we get to compare and contrast condemnation then and now.


The European Union Monday expressed "abhorrence" at the widely catalogued abuse of prisoners in Iraq but welcomed the US-led coalition's pledges to bring the troops responsible to justice.

Without naming the United States or Britain, whose troops have also been accused of brutalising Iraqi detainees, EU foreign ministers said such abuses ran counter to international law.

"The Council expressed its abhorrence at recent evidence of the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraqi prisoners," the ministers said in a statement issued at talks in Brussels.

"The Council condemned any instances of abuse and degradation of prisoners in Iraq, which are contrary to international law, including the Geneva Conventions," they said.

But the ministers added: "The Council welcomed the commitment by the relevant governments to bring to justice any individuals responsible for such acts involving the abuse of Iraqi detainees, and their commitment to rectify any failure to adhere to international humanitarian law."


Mindful that Iraq is a party to the International Covenants on Human Rights, to other international human rights instruments and to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the protection of victims of war,

[...] 2. Notes with dismay that there has been no improvement in the situation of human rights in the country;

3. Strongly condemns:

(a) The systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq, resulting in an all-pervasive repression and oppression sustained by broad-based discrimination and widespread terror;

(b) The suppression of freedom of thought, expression, information, association, assembly and movement through fear of arrest, imprisonment, execution, expulsion, house demolition and other sanctions;

(c) The repression faced by any kind of opposition, in particular the harassment and intimidation of and threats against Iraqi opponents living abroad and members of their families;

(d) The widespread use of the death penalty in disregard of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations safeguards;

(e) Summary and arbitrary executions, including political killings and the continued so-called clean-out of prisons, the use of rape as a political tool, as well as enforced or involuntary disappearances, routinely practised arbitrary arrests and detention, and consistent and routine failure to respect due process and the rule of law;

(f) Widespread, systematic torture and the maintaining of decrees prescribing cruel and inhuman punishment as a penalty for offences;

How is it that the UN didn't seem to remember this resolution of the Human Rights Commission a year or so later, when the United States was trying to get the UN to agree that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions? Oh, I know this wasn't binding, but that never seems to bother the world when it comes to, say, nonbinding resolutions on Israel.

And did you notice the bolded text? I thought the rape rooms were a fiction of the Bush Administration. Yet here we have the United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemning them in April of 2001.

What a short memory the UN has, apparently, when it comes to nations other than Israel or the United States. Or perhaps it simply overlooks or forget what doesn't fit its current agenda. That would explain the short-term memory loss on the abuses of Saddam Hussein. | |



News roundup

The IDF is battling terrorists in Gaza.

Since the early hours of Monday morning, armed Palestinians have been firing anti-tank missiles and shooting at IDF troops deployed between Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Soldiers are returning fire. No injuries have been reported.

Israel Defense Forces armored, engineering, and ground forces entered Rafah at 6 a.m. Monday as part of ongoing operations against the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, and the arms smuggling tunnels in Rafah in particular.

A senior government official said that the Palestinians, aided by Islamic terror groups abroad, are making a major push to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

The EU is preparing to condemn Israel for the demolitions of houses in Gaza to widen a security strip and make it more difficult for terrorists to, say, attack APCs and kill soldiers. The EU is also condemning the United States for the abuses in Abu Ghraib. Can a UN resolution condemning the demolitions be far behind?

If you can find me an EU condemnation of Iraqi prisoner abuse under Saddam Hussein, and you can be a guest blogger here for the day. Also, see if you can find an EU condemnation of the massacres ongoing in the Sudan. Or an EU condemnation of the palestinians using an Israeli soldier's head for a football, and holding soldiers' body parts for ransom (which is, of course, against the Geneva Convention and yes, I know the pals didn't sign it). Perhaps you can find me the EU condemnation of the murder of the Hatuel family.

No, I don't think I'll be having any guest bloggers here this week.

Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, is still a miserable piece of excrement who deserves to be caged for life. Conjugal visits? Marriage? Puh-leeze. If Israel had the death penalty for murder, this wouldn't be wasting the court's time.

That's funny. I thought there were no WMDs in Iraq.

An artillery shell containing the deadly nerve agent sarin has exploded after being discovered by the US military in Baghdad.

[...] Brig Gen Mark Kimmitt, a coalition spokesman, said the round was a 155-millimetre shell and had been attached to an improvised roadside bomb in the Iraqi capital.

It exploded before the soldiers could defuse it, causing "a very small dispersal of agent". Two explosives experts were treated for minor exposure to the agent.

There are no WMDs in Iraq. Bush lied, people died, dontchaknow.

Israel's Fifth Column: You're going to be reading more stories like this one. I don't know what the answer to this is going to be. But it doesn't bode well for the future.

Basel Mahajneh,19, told investigators that in October 2003, while praying at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem, he met a Palestinian resident of the territories, and the two exchanged telephone numbers in order to maintain contact. In the coming months, and up until Mahajneh's arrest, the two spoke frequently on the phone and met at the Jerusalem mosque. It was at these meetings that they decided to assist the Hamas in launching attacks in Israel, the aim – to kill as many Jews as possible.

But it's not anti-Semitism. It's anti-Zionism.

Mahajneh was arrested on April 14, just four days after his last meeting with the Palestinian. Security officials noted his arrest prevented the attacks from being launched.

Score one for the good guys. | |



Quick links

A picture is worth a thousand words: Josh Harvey has a visual representation of the drop in suicide attacks since Israel began building the fence.

Go. Check it out. Link it, and email your favorite bloggers. This chart deserves a very wide distribution.

Kate's getting in touch with her inner feminist. No, really. She says she likes being a role model for women, and is happily talking about opening doors for them. And she said she wasn't a feminist. I knew it all along.

Lair's got the latest Carnival of the Kitties up at his new website. I just may have to join him there. I'm betting a whole lot of people would love for me to have that web address.

Three words tonight, more tomorrow, so feel free to read this article calling for Arafat's resignation: Never. Gonna. Happen.

Judith Weiss, whom I am not linking nearly enough lately, has a roundup of posts on Nick Berg. Via Ilyka, who is feeling grouchy, and deservedly so. (Ilyka, I do hope you're getting my emails. They'd probably make you a bit less grumpy.)

And now to bed, an hour later than I meant to go. | |

Bits and pieces

Yes, I feel like bits and pieces. I have about enough energy to give you bits and pieces, but not enough to give you big posts. Long weekend. Extra hours. And extra amounts of effort at work today and yesterday. Oh, and short sleep last night.

The good news: My kids all passed their last mastery skills at religious school, so Tuesday is going to be a breeze. The bad news: I'm certain I have a trojan, pretty sure it's Thinstaller Client, and haven't been able to get rid of it. It's totally screwing up my system, and it totally sucks that my anti-virus program didn't (and doesn't) consider it worth stopping. The worst news: Something is affecting my email. I'm not sure what it is, but Annette says it's probably not HM. Sigh.

It's official. Woody Effing Woodpecker has returned. I've heard him twice in the last week, the latest being (sigh) 7:45 this morning. Ran outside armed with a camera and ice cubes (oh, go Google "woodpecker wars yourish" yourselves; I'm too tired to find out where it is), and saw Woody flying off with what I hope was a lady woodpecker. Strange, isn't it, that I'm rooting for a woodpecker to get laid?

Rahel, I'm going to put up an entire page of cat pictures for you. Well, not exactly just for you, but I caught a picture of Tig looking grandiose, and then Gracie in as regal a pose, and, well, now I have a bunch of new pictures that are too good not to share. Later this week, a page, I promise.

This is great news: The first season of the Gilmore Girls is out on DVD. And, I might add, is now on my wishlist. Now I don't have to get my tapes back from Kim (who has had them for TWO YEARS, harumph, harumph!). | |


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.