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Day By Day by Chris Muir

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Vote for me in the Wizbang Weblog Awards. Because my ego is that big.



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Why I want to win the Wizbang Weblog Award

(Which should be renamed the Wizbang Weblog aWards, if you ask me.)

Here's the thing. Most awards are simply personality contests, or statements made by the organizers, or just plain bogus. Now that that's out of the way, anyone with an ego wants to win an award. Hell, I'd love to own a Nobel prize in literature someday, but, well, it's a bit out of my reach at the moment.

On the other hand, Kevin's awards are not.

So. Do I think I should win because I'm the best blog in my Ecoysystem category? Nope. Do I think I'm a better blogger than Michael Totten and that Patterico guy? Well, actually, yeah, but that's because I'm a writer, and my ego has always been about the size of Montana. But truthfully, should I win the award because I think I'm the better blogger? Nope. That's not why I want it.

You know why I want to win? So I can win. That's it. It's as simple as that. So I can say I won. So I can do my Sally Field imitation: "You like me! You really like me!" So I can put "Winner of the Wizbang Weblog aWard!" on my blog. Oh, wait. I didn't do that last year, and Megan McArdle and I tied for best female-authored blog. But it was fun watching the votes go back and forth between Megan and me.

Anyway, you've put me into third place in the voting. Now it's time to get past that Patterico guy, partly because I have no idea how to pronounce his name (PATterico? PatTERico? PatteRIco? Who the hell can tell?), and, well, mostly because he's in second place, and I threw down the gauntlet to him in his comments section. We'll just have to see if he's a gentleman, or if I get to fight dirty.

I love to fight dirty. Dude, did you know that I'm the Master of Juvenile Scorn™? We can have a lot of fun here.

(I sure hope this guy has a sense of humor, or I'm in biiiiig trouble.)

Anyway. Vote for me. Once every 24 hours between now and December 12th, please. Because my ego is just that big.

(P.S.: Put your mouse over the links in this post.)

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Hudna, hudna, who's got the hudna?

Hamas says they're willing to settle for a palestinian state next to Israel. This, if true, is a sea change in the terrorist organization's history, considering that Hamas was created to destroy the state of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The militant group Hamas will accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and a long-term truce with Israel, a leader said Friday, apparently softening Hamas' hardline stance and boosting hopes for renewed peace efforts after Yasser Arafat's death.

Sheik Hassan Yousef, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, told The Associated Press he sees a truce in which Israel and a Palestinian state "live side-by-side in peace and security for a certain period."

"Hamas has announced that it accepts a Palestinian independent state within the 1967 borders with a long-term truce," Yousef said, referring to lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

The thing is, I don't buy it in the least.

Yousef's comments indicated that four years of fighting with Israel - during which the military has targeted the group's top leaders - and the imposition of international sanctions have taken a toll.

No, they don't. Your interpretation of them indicate that. As far as I can see, the only thing coming out of Yousef's mouth are lies. However, it is very important to note that the last two years, when Israel targeted the leadership and organization of Hamas, are definitely affecting the group's ability to murder Jews. If you will recall, the newest leader of Hamas was not named after Rantissi was killed, and has not surfaced at all in the months since his predecessor was blown to pieces. Add to that Hamas being put on various nations' terrorist lists, and the inability to be financed publicly, and you have a group that is stumbling around the ring, trying to stay on its feet. So what do you do in a case like this?

You stall.

Arafat's death last month and a drive by new PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks with Israel after the Jan. 9 election for new Palestinian leader also appears to have changed Hamas' policy.

[...] Until now, Hamas had rejected peace accords and carried out suicide bombings and other attacks, killing hundreds of people and badly damaging peace efforts.

Yousef said the Hamas position was new, calling it a "stage." In the past, Hamas has said it would accept a state in the 1967 borders as a first step to taking over Israel. Yousef did not spell out the conditions for the renewable cease-fire nor did he say how long it would last.

"For us a truce means that two warring parties live side-by-side in peace and security for a certain period and this period is eligible for renewal," Yousef said. "That means Hamas accepts that the other party will live in security and peace."

The statements are utterly loaded with booby traps, and you don't even have to read between the lines. Yousef called the new position a "stage." In other words, they're going to use this time to regroup and re-arm.

Hani Masri, a commentator for the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam, said Hamas was weakened by its listing as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. Those listings led to asset freezes that dealt a strong blow to the group's finances.

The group, which also faced Israel's hunt for Hamas leaders - including the killing of spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin in March - and Palestinian exhaustion with the uprising, could not survive if it did not change, Masri said.

"That doesn't mean there are no extremist wings in Hamas," Masri said. "There are still extremists in Hamas and they still have the ability to function, but I think the Palestinian Authority with Abu Mazen at its top will help Hamas to rein in the extremists."

This is the tack that the analysts will take. This is what the EU will say, too: See, they're trying. Give them a chance. Let's see what happens. The Europeans will believe that Hamas will ultimately be brought around to want peace with Israel and settle for a palestinian state. But they will not. This is a deceptive truce. All you have to do is look at the Hamas Charter:

Article Eleven: The Strategy of Hamas: Palestine is an Islamic Waqf
The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.

Article Fifteen: The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation
When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters. The ‘ulama as well as educators and teachers, publicity and media men as well as the masses of the educated, and especially the youth and the elders of the Islamic Movements, must participate in this raising of consciousness. There is no escape from introducing fundamental changes in educational curricula in order to cleanse them from all vestiges of the ideological invasion which has been brought about by orientalists and missionaries.

Article Thirteen: Peaceful Solutions, [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences
[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.” From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem. Some accept the idea, others reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the implementation of this or that condition, as a prerequisite for agreeing to convene the Conference or for participating in it. But the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is aware of the [prospective] parties to this conference, and of their past and present positions towards the problems of the Muslims, does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers? “And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah [himself] is the Guidance. And if you should follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then you would have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.” Sura 2 (the Cow), verse 120 There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game.

Article Twenty-Eight
The Zionist invasion is a mischievous one. It does not hesitate to take any road, or to pursue all despicable and repulsive means to fulfill its desires. It relies to a great extent, for its meddling and spying activities, on the clandestine organizations which it has established, such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions, and other spying associations. All those secret organizations, some which are overt, act for the interests of Zionism and under its directions, strive to demolish societies, to destroy values, to wreck answerableness, to totter virtues and to wipe out Islam. It stands behind the diffusion of drugs and toxics of all kinds in order to facilitate its control and expansion. The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters, the sons of the Arab and Islamic peoples, to enable them to play their role and to join their efforts to those of their brothers among the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The other Arab and Islamic states are required, at the very least, to facilitate the movement of the Jihad fighters from and to them. We cannot fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied Holy Jerusalem in 1967 and stood at the doorstep of the Blessed Aqsa Mosque, they shouted with joy: “Muhammad is dead, he left daughters behind.” Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. “Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”

Does anyone out there who read the above truly believe that Hamas is doing anything other then attempting to rebuild its shattered ranks?

Right now, Mahmoud Abbas is feeling his way around the power structure. He's tallying up his allies, bribing his supporters, and getting ready to be the next Arafat. Let's not forget he was Arafat's hand-picked prime minister. Or that, as the article Omri linked to points out, he was the financier of the Munich Massacre of the Israeli Olympic athletes. It's possible he's putting pressure on Hamas. It's also just as likely he's telling them that if they lie low for a while, in a year or three, they can come back stronger than ever, and this time, maybe even win. As far as I'm concerned, the next leader of the palestinians needs to prove to me that he's not going to carry on in Arafat's footsteps. Abbas has already backtracked on his promise to stop palestinian anti-Israel incitement.

As for the hudna: Hamas is already hurting; the so-called truce is partly a result of extraordinary work by Israeli security services. Palestinians have not stopped trying to murder Israelis. They just keep getting stopped before they can do so. And while it will help Israel not to have to be on such high alert, and let's face it, it'd be lovely if Israelis could actually get on a bus with an Arab man without wondering if they're going to get blown up—as far as I'm concerned, we're all from Missouri on this one. Show us you mean well, and we'll believe it. Maybe.

But first, I want to see incitement stop. And murders. And attempted murders. And attacks on civilians. And attempted attacks on civilians. Then, and only then, will I believe that Hamas might be willing to change. Of course, then all I'd have to do is read their charter again.

I'm not buying it.

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If nominated, I will—uh, what was I supposed to say?

I had no idea I was nominated for a Wizbang Blogger Award. Apparently, you can vote once a day.

Go and vote for me. What the hell, I could use the ego boost. Michael Totten can't win all the time. | |

Friday catblogging, just for spite

In spite of the fact that Lair's comment in the post below, where he says, and I quote: "Less talk, more Tig," which is, I think, the catblogger equivalent of yelling "Show us your tits!" to a woman, I am posting a cat picture. Or a cats picture, to be more precise.

Not because he asked me to show you my cats. But because I felt like showing them to you.

Tig and Gracie, in bed

Why, yes, I am tired, and it has been a long day. Why do you ask? | |




Thing 1: Day by Day is back. Yesterday evening, I was chatting on the phone with Lynn B., and we were both online, as is, uh, well, often the case, what with her being a blogger, me being a blogger, and our conversation often focusing on blogs and bloggers. Of course, we talk about a lot of other things, too, what with her being Jewish, my being Jewish, and our conversation focusing on things Jewish (she is the best human reference book I know when it comes to questions on religion or Jewish history). Oh, and there's the personal stuff, which is, well, personal, and damned if I'm going to tell you what we talk about. It's personal.

So yesterday, she said, "Hey! Chris Muir is back!", which is something I would have known had I not just driven home from New Jersey and been going through Round Two of my cold and not reading my email because I was too tired. Otherwise I'd have known that Chris emailed me about it, but anyway, to continue: We both clicked on the link and read yesterday's strip at the same time, and we both burst out in laughter at the same time.

Now this is comedy.

Day by Day Dec 1

Thing 2: On Tuesday afternoon, I got home from running errands about three o'clock. There was a hawk next to my apartment building. I saw it as I pulled up. It was just standing on the ground between my building and the next one. Then it was looking at me, and I was frantically reaching for my digital camera and rolling down the window to take pictures. Unfortunately, it was too far away, and they're rather fuzzy. It flew away when I turned off the motor and tried to get out of the car to get closer. Needless to say, when I got inside, I would not let Tig out. The hawk wasn't big enough to carry him off, but it was big enough to do him some damage if Tig decided that he'd like to go after the giant bird. All the birds in the neighborhood were freaking out and talking to one another.

It's probably my fault. I've always had this desire to see a raptor take down an animal in front of me. I can't explain it. I hate seeing creatures die, and frankly don't even like killing bugs, but I've always wanted to see a hawk catch a bird on the wing, or maybe a critter in the field. I've seen it on nature films, but that just doesn't do it for me.

I wonder if I should talk to a therapist about this.

Thing 3: I am really, really, really, really tired of having a cold. I've gone through several boxes of tissues and could get really gross about the quantities of bodily fluids expelled in the last week, but won't. You know that new commercial for the Mucilage or whatever they're calling the anti-mucus medication, the one with the cartoon mucus monster? Well, that guy would feel right at home in my sinuses. I am making chicken soup for dinner today. I finished the last of mine last week. I'm also wondering if fresh dill is basically the same thing as using the greens from carrots in a soup. I put those in last time, and really liked the flavor they added. Dill is just little wild carrots, isn't it?

Thing 4: Today is my only day off between now and next Thursday. If I start to get grumpy, you'll know why. On the other hand, I only have four more weeks at The Job From Hell, which is officially being renamed The Job From Heck. My boss has grown accustomed enough to me that he doesn't grumble nearly as much, and I've grown accustomed enough to him that I ignore him when he's being an asshole. Which is, of course, every day I work with him, but there you have it.

There is no truth to the rumor that being able to buy Mallomars at near cost is the reason I can stand my job now. And yes, I did buy another box yesterday, even though I have a box at home. I wanted them for dessert with my lunch. Hey, I want them for dessert with breakfast and dinner, too. But I'm controlling my urges. I don't have them with breakfast. Okay, sometimes I have them for breakfast, but, well, there you have it.

Thing 5: You know, if someone would like to go out and buy me the dill or carrot greens instead of my having to go out and get them later, that'd be fine by me. I do not want to go out today. Well, at least the store's only ten minutes away.

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Thursday news briefs

O, Canada! Hold onto your hats, folks, Canada has just scolded the UN for its anti-Israel stance. Yes, I wrote "Canada." Yes! Canada! Canada! Canada!

UN Ambassador Allan Rock yesterday delivered a scathing denunciation of the General Assembly's resolutions isolating and attacking Israel, confirming a shift in Canada's approach to the Middle East.

Well, all right. In honor of this, I'm going to send you all over to Damian's and Segacs' places. They're Canadian, and have been pro-Israel as long as I've known them. Of course, Canada is going to play the moral equivalence game, but still, the rest of their moves are a step in the right direction.

In an effort to be evenhanded, Canada will support a resolution on which it has abstained in the past: It calls for a nuclear-free Middle East and singles out Israel, which is widely suspected (but has never admitted it) to have nuclear capability.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, at least they're taking some forward steps.

Finally, the real reformer: President Bush is going to focus on palestinian reform, not on phony peace plans. (Hat tip: Doug L.)

In the last 10 days, senior White House officials have fanned out across Washington to quietly inform Congress, diplomats, think tank analysts, and key interest groups that the president intends to press the next Palestinian leader to make key structural changes to insure the rule of law, effective counterterrorism, and transparency before reviving the negotiations that stalled in the final weeks of the Clinton presidency.

Yeah, we remember those negotiations. They're called the Oslo War now. Good to know that W. isn't going to keep trying the failed policies of the past.

The UN's Duh! moment: A panel appointed to reform the UN is going to tell them today that they need to condemn all terrorism, no exceptions for Jew-killers, er, I mean, "resistance" movements. The question is, will the UN rise to the occasion? Let's think. Hm. Oil-for-food, refusal to condemn anti-Semitism, hundreds of anti-Israel resolutions, and that giant anti-US voting bloc: My money's on the UN remaining unchanged.

This is a slap in the face for Palestinians, Iraqi insurgents, Kashmiri rebels, al-Qa'eda militants and other groups that claim to be fighting foreign domination. It is also a rebuke to Muslim states that have for years blocked agreement on an all-embracing UN convention on terrorism on the grounds that it should exclude groups fighting "occupation" or "colonialism".

On the question of "resistance" to occupation, the report declares that "there is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the targeting and killing of civilians".

The report is from the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change which was set up to propose the most far-reaching reforms of the UN since its founding in 1945,

It carries added weight because one of its 16 authors is Amr Mousa, the secretary general of the Arab League, which includes all Arab states and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

And it will still be ignored. Okay, not ignored. Voted down. Of course, I could be wrong. I'd love to be wrong about this one. We'll have to wait and see. | |



Not tonight, dear, I have a headache

Funny how you never hear that one anymore.

Anyway. I still have my cold, and was out most of the day running errands, then when I got home, I had six steaks and nine pounds of chicken cutlets to turn into individual servings, which means cutting, trimming, wrapping, putting in Ziploc bags, and freezing. But I now have a freezer full of ready-to-defrost meals, plus a couple of challahs, real bagels, not the imitation things they have down here, some kosher Chinese food, and even one black and white cookie left. The kosher bakery in West Orange makes the best black and white cookies, ever. They're like long, flat cupcakes more than cookies. Yum. And damn, there's a load of towels in the washer that need to make it into the dryer. I keep forgetting.

In the bad news department: Worf doesn't seem to have gotten any better, and he's losing weight. The lump on the side of his jaw is still about the same size. Not good. Not good at all. We're waiting on the biopsy, but we're thinking the worst.

Tomorrow I work at the Job From Hell, but I'll be posting when I get home. In the meantime, Omri is doing a bang-up job keeping up with the Israel beat. Just start at the top, scroll down, and please try not to break your computer or kick small animals while reading what Omri is commenting on. Judith has her usual zillion links. And post in the comments links to blogs you recommend for the Israel beat. Remember, you can create links by following these simple steps:


If you cut and paste that exactly, change "" to your link, and change the text in caps to what you'd like the link to read (e.g., "This is my favorite link!"), you'll have become an HTML whiz. At least as far as links are concerned.

Failing that, paste the whole thing into the comments box. I'll live. | |



Home again, home again

Yes, I still have the cold: You'll have to wait tomorrow for the news, but I think you may get a double dose if I'm up for it. Of the news, not the cold. Geez.

Three's the charm: The back of my Jeep was pretty full. Besides my usual luggage and the large Coleman cooler that I inherited from Dad (it has a bottle opener in the side, it's that old), I had three laptops in the back. Yes, three. The old Sony VAIO, the new HP Pavilion (which totally rocks, by the way), and my old Compaq laptop that Chubb made me buy when I took their programming course. Mom was using it to play Solitaire and go online with AOL. Yes, really. Anyway. I'm planning on reformatting the HD, loading Windows 2000 on it (I doubt it can take XP), putting Office 2000 on it (a legal copy; I actually own it), and giving it to Sorena for Christmas. We were thinking of buying Windows 2000 on Ebay, but if anyone out there would like to sell me a legal copy they may have but don't use any more, (and I really mean it, legal only), send me email.

It's not from her side of the family: My mother is utterly hopeless when it comes to computers. First, she somehow managed to install a Windows password on her brand-new computer even though my brother set it up for her without one. And she had no idea how she had set it, or what she had set it to. When I got there last week, the first thing I did was sit down with my new XP book and figure out how to remove the password. The first thing Mom did after that was play Solitaire. We all have our priorities.

I just got home a few hours ago. She called me up tonight to tell me that I took her HP book. That's because she put all the HP material in a box, along with the McAfee disk, and made me take it with me. I tried to give her some of the things in the box. She insisted they were all mine. So now she's calling me up to complain that I took her user manual.

"Mom, you told me to take that box. You put all the stuff in it."
"I know, but I didn't know my book was in it."
"I don't think it is, Mom. I only see one." [Oh, wait. It's the 5000. Dammit, it is her book.] "Okay, it's your book, but you put it in the box."
"Well, I need the book."
"I can't open the computer."
[strangled silence] "Mom, put your thumb on the switch in the center of the computer."
"Now pull it to the right."
"Okay. Oh! That worked! Well, I still can't get the thing to go back."
"What thing?"
"The thing on the left. It's out."
"The DVD drive?"
"Just push it in."
"It won't go."
[strangled silence] "Can you call your upstairs neighbor?"
"What upstairs neighbor?"
"Your upstairs neighbor. She's computer-savvy."
"Oh. She's not home."
"Does your friend with the dog know anything about computers?"
"Then leave it alone."
"Okay. It's not in the way or anything, anyway."

I cannot possibly have this woman's genes. I am a programmer. I have been computer-literate since the 1970s, and I friggin' taught myself nearly everything I know. I am about to get a job training people on computers. I cannot possibly have her genes.

But I do have her HP User's Guide.

I think I'm going to go offline and forget about this now. My blood pressure. Oy.

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A little nosh, a little schmooze, a little post

Actually, there was a lotta schmooze. Today's blogger get-together at Katz's was quite nice. The big surprise of the day for me was seeing my old friend Drew from my typesetting days. I wasn't expecting him at all. So let's see, there were Judith Weiss and Mary and Joel G. and Joseph H. and Judith's non-blogging friends Mary and Dan, if I got their names right.

Traffic sucked coming in from NJ, and I was a half hour late, but I got there. Headed for home around four-thirtyish, then chatted with Judith some more in Port Authority while waiting for my bus. Very nice. I think I'd like to do it again.

(If I missed anyone, or got a name wrong, forgive me. I'm tired, it's late, and I still have the remnants of that damned cold.)

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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.