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Kaff... kaff... pthew...

It looks like my old Sony may finally be giving up the ghost. I refuse to load Dreamweaver 2 on the new system, and don't have a copy of 4 (which I was using), won't buy the newer version at this point because, well, I'm still broke, even though I have that better, newer, higher-paying job (what with Rome not being built in a day, nor my debt going away in two and a half weeks), and, damn, I'm in one of those really long sentences again.

Oh. I'm coding in--get this--Notepad. (Shoot, where's that emdash code? Dammit. Well, I'll fix it later.) Anyway, the WordPress blog that I've been working on? It may be up sooner than I had thought. Which would be fine, but I also need to figure out how to get Thunderbird to recognize my email. It won't let me browse to the directory I stored it, and I suspect it's looking for an older version of Netscape on this machine. It can look as long as it likes; it won't find it there. It's on my old machine, and, well, I haven't figured out how to make it search there, what with the network dying as soon as I shut down and never coming back again and, oh, never mind. If anyone knows how to make Thunderbird browse to another directory that isn't listed in the dropdown menu options it gives you, I'd love to hear it. Because I'm about to use Outlook, and I don't really want to. Too many ways to get viruses. The good news is that I can still get my email because I set it up on this computer some time ago. The bad news is all my old email is currently unreadable.

I'm pretty sure it's simply a matter of reloading Windows on the Sony, but hey, I've been using both computers for far too long, and this is going to kickstart me into using the new one only. And getting my blog software up to date. Once again, Netscape 4.7 readers, you'll still be able to read this blog, but it will be really ugly, and also standards-compatible. Then again, I'm also shaking the dust off my CSS and HTML skills at my new job, so this blog may get very, very pretty and fun to use for those of you with standards-compatible browsers. Here's a hint: IE is not standards-compatible. I don't even use it anymore except when forced (like at work). Firefox kicks IE butt.

I won't be working too hard on the computer today, though. It's gorgeous out, and this has been the first time all summer that the weather's been right and I've had the time to take the top off my Jeep. I'm going to have breakfast, then I'm going to take my top off (yeah, you love it when I write that), then I'm going to drive around Richmond and points suburban and try not to get sunburned today.

As for using up gas, I would like to point out that my original plans for this weekend were to drive to NJ, a 700-mile round trip. I cancelled them due to various reasons (gas shortage due to panic buying uppermost; getting stuck in Delaware is not my idea of a fun time. Though I admit a bit of civic responsibility came into the mix. I felt some duty to conserve gas, and my Jeep, while not a Range Rover, is not great on gas mileage). Instead, I shall be driving about 50 miles today, and probably about the same amount on Monday, a savings of some 35 gallons by my calculations. Holy crap, that's over $100 saved, not counting tolls.

In any case, I'm off. I just physically picked Gracie up off the bed and put her outdoors to enjoy the sun while I'm home. Tig's been out since I came downstairs.

So what are you doing inside?

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Bombshell number one: The Israeli and Pakistani foreign ministers met publicly, and of course, the pals are seething.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel hailed a diplomatic breakthrough Thursday with Pakistan as the first fruit of its Gaza pullout and a harbinger of warmer ties with other Muslim nations, after the first public meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Yet the sudden public embrace of Israel by the world's second-largest Muslim nation worried Palestinians, who warned that such a prize was premature as long as Israel controls Gaza's borders, expands West Bank settlements and tightens its hold on Jerusalem.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met publicly for the first time with Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri of Pakistan, a Muslim country that has long taken a hard line against the Jewish state, a development that both ministers linked to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The meeting took place in the neutral site of Istanbul, Turkey.

Shalom hailed the meeting as a "historic first" and said that with the Gaza withdrawal, it was "time for all of the Muslim and Arab countries to reconsider their relations with Israel."

Turkey is another Muslim country that currently has good ties with Israel. While it's a good thing that the meeting occurred, I will remind my readers that Pakistan is a dictatorship, and the people have been trying to murder or overthrow Musharraf for years. If he dies, so does this newfound relationship with Israel. There's talk that Musharraf and Sharon will meet soon. That's a fascinating development, but once again, I point out that Musharraf is a dictator. I think the Madrassas speak more for the public opinion in that nation than he does.

Bombshell number two: Israel is freezing construction on Ma'aleh Adumim.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel has frozen plans to expand its largest West Bank settlement and will only revive the project with U.S. consent, Israel's vice premier said in remarks published Friday, addressing an explosive issue that could determine the future of disputed Jerusalem and Mideast peacemaking.

Why stop building in Jerusalem now, right after Sharon insisted Israel would never give up Ma'aleh Adumim?

Olmert said that Israel made the commitment to the Americans several months ago when final approval of the plan, known as E1, seemed imminent.

At the same time, the deputy prime minister stressed that in the future Israel will definitely go ahead with the project, although, with elections on the horizon, he pointedly declined to commit to a date, and said such a move would come only after consultations with the Americans.

"It is absolutely clear that at a certain point in the future Israel will create continuity between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, and so there is not even an argument that in the end we will have to build the project," he said.

"When the conditions are ripe, we will raise the issue with the Americans again," he said, adding "it is clear we will not do anything behind the back of the Americans."

Say, is there any illegal building going on in the area?

Olmert noted that the construction of a new police station in the area, which received final government approval this week, would help in cracking down on illegal Palestinian building in the vicinity – construction that could prevent the realization of the plan in the future.

Oh, so the palestinians are trying to create "facts on the ground," eh? Funny how nobody's screaming about illegal palestinian building. But then again, they destroyed Joseph's Tomb and nobody raise a peep. Except for Jews, of course.

This is a huge item, and I'm not calling Olmert a liar, but there has to be much, much more behind this. I'm starting to think a whole hell of a lot of deals have been struck between W. and Israel lately, and we don't know the half of them.

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Katrina Aid blogburst and links

Glenn's got the most extensive list of links. I can't match that, but I thought you all could paste the links to your favorite charities in the comments to this post, or trackback to your post, or whatever you think would be helpful.

A quick tutorial on how to insert a link into text:


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 a link to text in the comments intstead of a long URL.

I saw one on Charles' site (go there and scroll, there are links to many charities) from a Jewish reader: Jewish Hurricane Relief: Chabad-Lubavitch of Louisiana.

Put as many links to charities or to your own blogs in the comments. This is free link time, as long as it's all Katrina-related.

Update from Rahel: Miriam at Bloghead has a list of Jewish organizations that are collecting donations for hurricane relief. Noah's Wish: disaster rescue for animals Punditeria: A grassroots rescue and relief effort by LGF readers on the scene Strengthen the Good, which will match donations to the Red Cross up to a certain amount (see their site for more information).

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On Second Thought

Sometimes you feel like a nut: There has to be a break in the tragedy. I figured that since I have to behave myself at my new job (at least until they really get to know me), I can't quite let them know how crazy I can be, but I sure as hell can do it on my blog. Of course, if they read my blog, I'm s.o.l., but hey. That's life.

Millions and millions of cicada butts: Yes, butts. On my way into the building where I work this morning, I saw a cicada on the ground starting to make the patented, yet extremely annoying, cicada noise. Now, I'm sure I could have looked this up, or watched some documentary somewhere to get the answer, but instead, I decided to stop and watch Mr. Cicada, because I had no idea how they made such an offensive noise, and I thought I'd see if I couldn't spy out the secret. So I stopped. And watched. Mr. Cicada's butt started vibrating. The cicada noise grew stronger. The butt started pointing skyward. The noise grew louder. The butt pointed higher still, vibrating faster, and the pure, loud, effing annoying cicada noise surrounded me. And I realized, holy crap—all that noise you hear all day and all night long through the sweltering summers—it's coming from a cicada's butt. When you come right down to it, the cicadas really are blowing smoke through their asses. So to speak.

Changing sleep patterns: Gracie is a cat of habit so strong that she refused to sleep on my bed the entire time I lived in Montclair, because I had moved the nighttable to the other side of the bed from where it was in Bloomfield, and so slept on a different side of the bed. Unlike Tig, who said, "Oh, okay, I'll sleep on this side now," Gracie never slept in my bed while I lived in that apartment. Then, when I moved to Richmond and the nighttable reappeared to the left of the bed, Gracie reappeared on the bed. Tig sleeps on my right, Gracie sleeps at the foot of the bed but comes for a bellyrub on the right. Except now Tig's been sleeping at the foot of the bed on her side, because that's where the fan is, so she's decided to sleep on the left-hand side of the bed. But she hates it when I move around, so I have to move a foot or so towards the middle if she wants to sleep in the bed. Are you still following me? Good, because I'm lost.

The upshot of this is that the cats have pushed me to the middle of the bed, because I'm such a soft touch that I will move my feet if Gracie wants to sleep in the bed. So now I have to reach a lot farther to turn off the clock radio in the morning. Then again, I've been waking to a double-sided plea for bellyrubs, too. Waking up to a pair of purring kitties isn't half bad.

30-second TV and movie reviews: I've been watching Boston Legal. I didn't watch it last year because The Practice had grown so ridiculous it annoyed me. BIG mistake. Boston Legal is great. The premise starts with an out-there group of attorneys, so I'm not annoyed at how unrealistic it is. I just laugh my ass off at the goings-on, which are quite funny. Hey, I found a new David Kelly show to watch. Big cheer!

I caught some entertainment special on Jennifer Aniston, and it mentioned her performance in The Good Girl. Well, it was on over the weekend, and wow, they weren't kidding. It's a great movie, and she's great in it. Highly recommended.

Anderson Cooper is an idiot. I caught his Hurricane Cooper routine. He was crouched behind a mailbox or something, talking about how dangerous it was to be out there. He was holding a metal pipe. To prove how strong the winds were, he let it go. A metal pipe. Into hurricane-force winds.

One has to wonder if that metal pipe wound up inside anyone's sternum.


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Really quick links

American courts froze PA funds due to a lawsuit over victims of a PA suicide bombing. Yes! (Lair mentioned this yesterday.)

It's never enough: The pals are going to claim that Gaza is occupied even after full withdrawal. And they will also go after the fence at the UN. Looks like the pals are going with the Shebaa Farms defense, thanks to the assholes at State that agree with Hizbullah.

Gee, there's a surprise: The IDF says the PA has plenty of weapons. What made you think so? All those pictures of hooded men in guns at PA rallies, maybe?

And I'm out.

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Hurricane Katrina relief roundup

Katrina is looking to be the worst natural disaster in American history. Others are concentrating on the news. I'm just going to pass along some links to help.

Harrison has a link to send funds for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina. And if you're worried about donating to the American Red Cross, don't be. They're not the ICRC, and have never taken part in the ICRC's discrimination against Israel. Send money if you can afford it, supplies if you can't. Check your local charities. I'm sure a great relief effort is going on all over the nation.

Michele is collecting good news about the hurricane. Heartwarming reading.

Glenn has a collection of links to relief efforts that will be staying on top of Instapundit for a while. He also has a collection of links for those seeking information on relatives.

Overall, I think our city disaster relief plans need a bit of work. They've declared martial Law in New Orleans, yet there is widespread looting, and the police are simply not available to waste their time on looters while there are lives to be saved.

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Tuesday morning

You say it like this is a bad thing: Reuters is unhappy. Reuters is also a bit shrill. In a story filed under "World Crises," they say that President Bush has the nerve to expect Mahmoud Abbas to stop his people from murdering Jews.

EL MIRAGE, Ariz., Aug 29 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush stepped up pressure on the Palestinians one day after a suicide bomb attack, urging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to show the courage to crack down on terrorism.

Bush praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's for pulling Jewish settlers out of Gaza, saying this was a first step toward creating a democracy for Palestinians.

"It took political courage to make that decision," Bush said during a speech in El Mirage, Arizona.

"And now it's going to take political courage by the Palestinians and ... Abbas to step up, reject violence, reject terrorism and build a democracy," he added.

The horrors! The horrors! Ow, it hurts!

Wow, Reuters has a skewed sense of reality. But then, we already knew that.

It must be irony day: The Egyptians say they will not rest until the palestinians have a state in Gaza and the West Bank. You know, the world could have been saved a lot of trouble if Egypt and Jordan hadn't kept Gaza and the West Bank for themselves between 1948 and 1967. Effing hypocrites.

Israel steps up: Israel has relocated an entire village from Gaza. But you already knew that, right? Wrong. These are Arabs who have been accused of collaboration with Israel, and who would doubtless be murdered by their fellow citizens of the new palestinian-controlled Gazaland. (Or will it be Yasserland?). They're in temporary quarters now and will be given the same benefits as Israeli citizens who were just evacuated from Hellholeland, er, Gaza. Once more, Israel proves her morals are far superior to the palestinians. Once more, the world will ignore it.

Newsweek gets the terrorist interview: No time to read the whole thing, but the excerpt is chilling. There will be no peace until Hamas (among others) is destroyed.

What truce? Let's see, boy tries to smuggle bombs past checkpoint, check. Another smuggling tunnel in Rafah, check. Soldiers shot by terrorists, check. This is the "shaky truce" that Israel risks every time she captures or kills a terrorist, but that is never put at risk by terrorist attacks.

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Iran's undeclared war against Israel: The rockets fired from Lebanon last week were made in Iran. No surprise there, but the continued silence from the world about the influence of Iran on Lebanon, and the resulting aggression against Israel, is deafening. Not that I expect otherwise.

The President says palestinian terror must cease: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but will he follow through?

Jerusalem of Gold: You can't have it, Abu Merang. Whine all you like, but the "fight" for Jerusalem is over. And Israel won.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told the PA cabinet Sunday that the "fight has begun for Jerusalem."

Meeting in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis instead of its usual hall in Ramallah, Qureia accused Israel of building the West Bank security fence in order to trap Palestinians in a "ghetto".

"Dozens of Palestinian settlements will be in this ghetto as a result of Israel's racist plans intended to push West Bank Palestinians off their land. We will never agree to this," he said.

PR campaign

The cabinet meeting was intended to open a PA public relations campaign against the fence, especially in the Jerusalem area. Ministers viewed a presentation about settlement expansion around Jerusalem, according to which, thousands of new apartments are planned in the Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion areas.

Never again will Muslims prevent Jews from worshipping at the remains of our Temple. (By the way, this previous post was wrong. The fence encircles all of Jerusalem. It isn't split.)

Information, please: I didn't have time to read anything but the summaries, but these three pieces look like they're worth your time.

Off to work, and thinking about all those in the path of the hurricane. I hope the Superdome holds, and that the people who didn't make it out of New Orleans stay safe. This is a good site for regular updates. And by the way, the reporters who are at ground zero? Idiots. You couldn't pay me to stay in the path of 150 mph winds.

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In re: Katrina

May God help everyone in the hurricane's path. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Stay safe.

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Heroes and villains

These men are heroes.

Bus driver Nissim Horesh said the terrorist approached him and asked whether he was heading to the hospital.

"I told him I don't stop there…I suspected him, as he was carrying a heavy backpack and had a plastic bag in his hands. I directed the security guard's attention to him. The guard arrived, maintained eye contact with the terrorist, and called over another guard. Then, the blast occurred."

The first paramedic at the scene, Yaron Barel, told Ynet: "I found two security guards who sustained serious injuries…they prevented a disaster with their bodies."

One of the guards is an Israeli Arab.

The villains? The bomber was a member of Islamic Jihad. Mahmoud Abbas has supposedly used the T-word to condemn this attack. I'll believe it when someone who can read Arabic confirms it.

RAMALLAH, August 28, 2005, (WAFA)- President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Sunday the "anti civilians terrorist operation" took place in the city of Beir Sheva' this morning.

There are also the usual excuses made:

In an official statement issued Sunday, Abbas asserted on the necessity of calmness and self restraint despite the Israeli provocations including the assassination of five Palestinian citizens including three children three days ago in Tulkarem.

He also called on the Israeli side to reiterate commitment to quietness and to end assassinations and incursions in the Palestinian territories.

Funny, you didn't see that anywhere when Israelis were condemning the two attacks on Arabs by Jews in recent weeks. On the contrary, they seemed to try to outdo one another in condemnations. Not so, of course, the AP report, which goes out of its way to blame Israel's actions for the attack, as if a natural response to the capturing and killing of terrorists is the murdering of numerous civilians.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. All the major Palestinian militant groups had threatened to avenge an Israeli raid in the West Bank last week that killed five Palestinians. In his comments Sunday, Abbas suggested the raid had provoked the attack.

Oh, so that's all right, then.


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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 Yas