Important: Read this before sending email

Add to My Yahoo! RSS Feed

Day By Day by Chris Muir

This blog is a no-Israel-bashing zone (click for explanation)



My Amazon Wish List
(Buy me presents)




Indexed Archives

Portal (links)

Contact me

Who am I?


The diary of
Iseema bin Laden

Secret Arafat
Phone Transcripts

Greatest Hits


Letters from
Captain Steve

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More




Arrest Warrant Issued in Wisconsin

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA—An arrest warrant was issued in Wisconsin for the murder of a bluejay by Tigger Yourish of Richmond, Virginia.

Following the highly unsuccessful attempt to allow hunting of feral cats, the Cheeseheads are looking for more publicity and have seized on the murder of innocent birds by domestic cats.

"Domestic cats are fed by their owners. They don't need to hunt. It's murder," said J. Goldberg, a spokesman for the Friends of Cat-Haters of Wisconsin. When asked how they expect cats to overcome their instinct, the spokesman said, "Instinct, shminstinct. It's murder, murder I tell you! They're not like dogs. Dogs don't hunt animals for no reason." When asked about the many breeds of hunting dogs who kill rabbits, moles, squirrels, and other small animals, Goldberg said, "Well, dogs are different. Dogs are, uh, well, they're not cats!"

Meryl Yourish, owner of Tigger, said, "Oh, please. It's bad enough he killed the damned thing before breakfast. I don't think anyone should have to get rid of a dead bird before they've even had their breakfast."

The alleged killer, when questioned about the murder, said, "Mrowr?"

Yourish said there is no truth to the rumor that the anonymous tip was placed by Gracie. "I know she wants to be an only cat, but to go this far? I don't think so."

Gracie could not be reached for comment.

| |



British anti-Semitsm: It's getting worse

Yet another Jewish cemetery was desecrated on Wednesday—the third in one week. Europeans think they know who is responsible.

It is the latest in a rising number of racially motivated attacks on Jewish cemeteries across Britain. This was the 117th Jewish cemetery desecrated in Britain since 1990 and the third to be discovered in a week.

On the wall of the Rainham Jewish cemetery in Essex, it was discovered yesterday, two giant swastikas and the words "Yids out" had been daubed in paint. Last week, vandals smashed 100 gravestones in a historic cemetery in Manchester.

The desecration is part of a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, including violent attacks on children and orthodox Jews. There were 532 anti-Semitic incidents last year, the highest since records began 20 years ago.

Earlier this week, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance said it was "concerned at the considerable and steady increase of anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom."

"While these incidents usually mirror tensions in the Middle East, representatives of the Jewish communities report there now seems to be a higher level of background violence against these communities," the report by the European human rights watchdog said. "Although manifestations of anti-Semitism continue to come from extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi groups, an increasing number ... is reportedly coming from Muslim fundamentalist groups," the report said.

No, I blame you. I blame the media that constantly portrays Israel as the villain of the Middle East. I blame human rights organizations who send letters to Israel every time a palestinian child stubs its toe, and stays silent while Iran tortures and murders its own citizens. I blame the anti-globalization protesters who bear anti-Semitic and anti-Israel signs at every "peace" rally. I blame the British media that think a cartoon of Ariel Sharon eating a palestinian baby is worthy of an award, and that a magazine cover with the Star of David piercing the Union Jack is not anti-Semitic. That it's okay for Tom Dalyell to question the Jewish heritage of British politicians, and to say that President Bush is being unduly influenced by Jews.

J'accuse, Britain. J'accuse.

| |

People for the [Un]Ethical Treatment of Animals

Two PETA members have been arrested on animal cruelty charges. (Hat tip: Citizen Smash.)

Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested on animal cruelty charges in Ahoskie, N.C., after investigators saw dead dogs being thrown into a grocery store garbage container Wednesday, according to the Ahoskie Police Department.

Ahoskie police conducting surveillance as part of a monthlong investigation reported finding 18 dead dogs in the container and 13 animal carcasses in a van registered to PETA and seized by authorities.

The cats and dogs were taken Wednesday from animal shelters in Northampton and Bertie counties, police said. Animals had been collected every Wednesday for four weeks, and carcasses had been found dumped in Ahoskie every Wednesday for about a month, Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said.

Two veterinarians said they were told that PETA would try to find homes for animals taken from their practices.

Ingrid Newkirk, of course, is shocked, shocked.

“We are appalled if this actually happened,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. “We would absolutely never condone this behavior.”

Newkirk said of Hinkle: “She’s the Mother Teresa of animals. She’s a very kind, decent person.”

Hm. I don't think Mother Teresa euthanized and tossed into the garbage any of the sick people she cared for. Get this next sentence. The boldface.

PETA says it routinely picks up animals at pounds to have them adopted or, if necessary, euthanized.

Shelter officials knew some of the animals, which are not always “cute, cuddly, housebroken or small,” would need to be put down, Newkirk said.

Among the dead animals, though, authorities found a female cat and her two “very adoptable” kittens taken from Ahoskie Animal Hospital, veterinarian Patrick Proctor said.

“These were just kittens we were trying to find homes for,” Proctor said. “PETA said they would do that, but these cats never made it out of the county.”

When Proctor evaluated one dead dog for police, he discovered a healthy, 6-month-old mutt with a needle mark on its front right leg, he said.

I don't understand. If killing animals for food is murder, then what is taking animals from pounds and euthanizing them? Sending them to their Happy Place?

Oh, here's another thing I don't think Mother Teresa used to carry around with her.

He also identified what he called a “death kit” that police found in the van. It was filled with syringes and two drugs that only licensed veterinarians can have, he said.

So, they're also breaking whatever laws cover carrying those drugs, and acting as vets. And this is not to prevent animals from being killed. It is in order to kill them.

“PETA will never pick up another animal from my practice,” Proctor said.

Good to know.

So. PETA fans who don't like my annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day: What have you got to say about this, hm? I'd love to hear from you, but I doubt I will.

| |



Thursday morning news

What truce? Part gazillion: Say, remember that interview with ABC where Mahmoud Abbas said palestinians had given up on suicide bombing because "the culture of violence" is over? Someone forgot to tell Hamas and Hezbullah. And, oh yeah, Fatah, Abbas' own cronies. Effing liar. Effing morons who believe him. The IDF broke up a teen suicide bomber ring.

Eight Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of planning a suicide bombing, according to a report released yesterday by the Shin Bet security service. The eight, who had received money and orders from Hezbollah in Lebanon, were arrested by the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet in May, while they allegedly were in the last stages of planning the bombings.

The eight are residents of the Nablus region and members of the Fatah military wing. Four had agreed to commit the suicide attacks, according to the Shin Bet.

The four who had agreed to commit the attacks were all between the ages of 15 and 16, and were residents of the Askar refugee camp near Nablus.

And, oh, yeah, That's the Hezbollah that only yesterday had one of their leaders quoted as saying they have nothing to do with terrorism. (And just for fun, read the moral equivalence of this AP piece and try not to get sick over it.)

Speaking of Hebollah: A Lebanese immigrant—illegal, no less—was found guilty of fundraising for terrorists—here in America.

According to federal prosecutors, Kourani was a fighter, recruiter and fund-raiser for Hezbollah and operated in both Lebanon and the United States. Prosecutors said his brother, Haidar, was chief of military security for the group in southern Lebanon and directed Kourani's U.S. activities.

"Hezbollah pays attention to these kinds of cases," prosecutor Kenneth Chadwell said. "The message, your honor, should be, 'Don't come here.'"

Breaking into tears several times, Kourani apologized for his actions and asked to be allowed to return as soon as possible to his family in Lebanon.

Poor baby. He misses his family. Well, he's not seeing them for five years. Should be longer.

What a great headline: In Ynet.

‘Palestinian whining to continue’

But wait, it gets better:

The Palestinians are not happy with the disengagement plan, to say the least, the officer said, but they are forced to accept it because the international community presses them.

“In their (Palestinian) eyes, they are always the victim who gets screwed,” he said.

Not, it gets even better:

Outwardly, the Palestinians may say the disengagement plan marks a victory for them and their strategy, namely the path of terrorism, but they understand this is not the case, the IDF official said, and added the Palestinians know Israel is moving ahead with the withdrawal because it is in the country’s best interest.

“This plan, which hinges on separation between the two populations, will deliver a severe blow to terrorism by significantly minimizing (terrorists’) ability to hit Israel’s civilian population,” he said. “The disengagement undermines the essence of terrorism, which strives to hurt civilians. That’s why they don’t like it.”

I don't know who this unnamed officer is, but I think I want to marry him.

Okay. I'm off to work. Give me stuff to read in the comments, willya? Work gets boring sometimes.

| |

Oh, happy day

A new Patricia McKillip novel for lunchtime reading, and Mary Chapin Carpenter for an evening concert. I can only think of one thing that would have made the day even better, but hey, you can't have everything. Maybe next time.

Mary Chapin Carpenter at InnsbrookThe choice of songs was puzzling. You'd have thought this was the Come On, Come On tour—she played six songs from that album ("The Hard Way," "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," "Rhythm of the Blues, "I Feel Lucky," "Passionate Kisses," and "I Take My Chances"). She didn't play a single song from time*sex*love, the album before last which I think is her best ever. She did only two from her new album, Between Here and Gone, neither of which was the title track, even though that's what was on the t-shirt. (Didn't buy it.) Instead, she performed"What Would You Say To Me?" and "In My Heaven," both songs I like, but I was rather hoping for "Grand Central Station" or "Elysium" or "Girls Like Me." There were a few more oldies, including "Down at the Twist and Shout," "Stones in the Road," and one I wasn't expecting but which got into my head this morning and made me hope she'd sing it: "Why Walk When You Can Fly." But she didn't sing "This Shirt." Ah, well. Can't have everything. Fifteen songs, three of which were new or not on any album. I liked them all.

I suspect she's not going to wait four years between albums this time, not if she's testing three new songs on the last leg of her tour.

Y'know, it doesn't take much to make me happy. I had one of those you-know-what-eating grins on my face most of the night. It was a great concert, and I was in the fourth row, which made it even better. It's nice having your favorite artist standing about twenty feet away from you, singing some of your favorite songs.

And she was funny. The buildup to "In My Heaven" included her take on watching American Idol ("a sick fascination with watching someone get cut off the knees every week—and then asked to sing").

I think I'm going to get on her mailing list. I think I'm going to see MCC concerts a lot more frequently. Funny, I have every album she's ever made, but this was my first time at one of her concerts. None of my friends like her that much. What can I say, they have no taste. Okay, they have taste in some things, but not when it comes to Mary Chapin Carpenter.

| |



Wednesday briefs

Hezbullah: Don't ban us because we hate Jews. It's a biased piece. The Guardian manages to ignore UN rulings that state Israel has withdrawn completely from the disputed areas of Lebanon, but even it can't mask Hezbullah's true intent towards Israel:

She said she could not see a time when Lebanon and Israel could coexist peacefully: "Do you imagine one day the wolf and the sheep will live in peace? This is only in Walt Disney [films] maybe."

Mrs Fakhry said her group believes in the destruction of Israel and expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews: "This is a hope, a long-term strategy.

"Israelis don't have a right to stay in Palestine, the state of Israel is an illegal state.

"One day the Palestinians will destroy Israel and return to their land."

Nice people. Sure, we won't continue calling them a terrorist organization. Just because they have 10,000 rockets aimed at northern Israel, that doesn't mean they're going to actually use them. Oh, wait. Read that quote again.

Oh, this'll work: The Israelis are planning on transferring control of Jenin to the PA.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel hopes to transfer the West Bank town of Jenin to Palestinian control soon so Palestinian forces can ensure calm in the area when Israel pulls out of four nearby communities this summer, Palestinian officials said Wednesday.

The offer to pull out of Jenin, a center of militant activity, signaled Israel's concern that Palestinian militants could wage attacks on Israeli forces as they try to evacuate four settlements in the northern West Bank and all 21 settlements in Gaza this summer.

Israel agreed during truce talks in February to transfer five mainly peaceful towns to Palestinian control, but has only handed over two of them, arguing that the Palestinians are not taking enough action against militants. Jenin was not one of the five on the list.

Good, so reward them by giving them the home of the most suicide bombers in all the terrortories [sic]. Great work.

What truce? cont'd:

Palestinians fired a mortar shell towards a workers' crossing near the Gaza Strip settlement of Neveh Dekalim early Wednesday morning.

No one was wounded and no damage was reported in the attack, Israel Radio reported. Soldiers opened fire on the attackers in response.

And I'm out of here. I'll be home late tonight, as Mary Chapin Carpenter is gracing Richmond with her presence, and I am gracing her concert with mine. Decided to splurge and get myself the preferred seating, so if they let me take my camera in, we may get a shot or two on the weblog.

Probably going to spend all day wondering which songs she's going to sing. I have all her albums, and know them all. I hope she plays "This Shirt." It's one of my favorite of her older songs.

| |



The Flood, Part II

Last night at bedtime, I realized that I'd forgotten to wash the clothes I would need to work in the next day. Not wanting to go to work in jeans and a t-shirt, I put the load of laundry in and went to bed, intending to dry it in the morning while I showered. I came downstairs this morning after hitting the snooze alarm and wondering why NPR felt that leading their 7 a.m. news report with the Michael Jackson verdict was more important than, say, any other news in existence (I refuse to wake up to anything but classical music; unfortunately, the classical stations insist on having news in the morning sometimes, ew). When I arrived in the kitchen, I was greeted by a flood of water all over the kitchen floor, looking exactly like the flood that happened one year and nine months ago. The way I I figure it, if I move out of here in under 21 months, I'll miss the next one.

Gracie looking innocentThis time, I had towels, my terrycloth bathrobe, and a blanket on the floor by the washer waiting their turns to be cleaned. They absorbed quite a bit of yucky water. So did the paper bags in the closet that I've been saving to give to Sarah's farm share people. Well. Several loads of laundry and much effor later, the closet is clean again, and the kitchen floor is, too.

Gracie went all flippy-kitty on the floor. She is the strangest creature. She loves the smell of bleach. I put bleach into the bucket of water and cleaner, what with not knowing what kind of bacteria was in that backed-up water. When the floor dried, Gracie rolled and rolled, but I didn't get a picture. I was interrupted by a neighbor I'll be dogsitting for on the weekend. When I got back, Gracie was just sitting in the kitchen going, "What? I wasn't rolling. Must have been some other cat named Gracie." I keep trying to get her back in there, but she has decided she's had enough of bleach smell for the moment.

This was the best I could do. Notice the "Who, me?" look. Yeah, right. Little Miss Innocent. I know better.

| |

The last word on the Michael Jackson case

What's the media going to do for the rest of the summer?

| |

Let's hear it for the Yourish support team!

While I sleep, apparently there are a bunch of elves who work on my domain and take care of everything for me. Witness the following letter, titled "Your password has been successfully updated:"

Dear user meryl,

You have successfully updated the password of your Yourish account.

Cool, but I didn't change the password of my Yourish account.

If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance with your account, please contact Yourish customer service at: support at

Um. How am I supposed to do this? I am the support here, and when I'm stuck, then Wind Rider helps me out. Okay, let's see what's left.

Thank you for using Yourish!
The Yourish Support Team

I was used? I was used? I feel so—used.

+++ Attachment: No Virus (Clean)
+++ Yourish Antivirus -

But clean from viruses. So now all I have to do is open the attachment, right?

Wow. I didn't even know I had a tech team. Or a Yourish antivirus service. And along with this nifty letter, they sent me a zip file! I wonder what could be inside that zip file? I'll bet it's really interesting.

But wait, it gets better. I got another one on the same day. This one is titled "Members support," and it's from webmaster at

Dear Yourish Member,

Um. That's slightly icky, considering I'm a female Yourish. Actually, it'd be icky even if I were a male Yourish, because, really, who writes letters to body parts? (Besides sociopaths and serial killers.)

Your e-mail account was used to send a huge amount of unsolicited spam messages during the recent week. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and confirm the attached document so you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

It took me a while to parse that sentence, because it is in desperate need of a comma after the word "could" in the second sentence. It could also use a breakdown into several sentence, but hey, what do you expect from spam?

On the other hand, I'm confused: What, exactly, am I supposed to confirm? That the attached is a document? (It is not. It's a zip file.) The content of said supposed document? Can't do that unless I open it—oh, I get it. It's a virus scam. (Okay, I really figured it out a long time ago, but this is for the intelligence-impaired.) But here's the best part:

If you choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choice but to cancel your membership.

No! Not my Yourish membership! Why, I'd be nameless without it!

Virtually yours,
The Yourish Support Team

Hey! My own support team is going to cancel my own membership! Talk about the Groucho line for real! They're not gonna let me be in a club that has me as a member!

Check out that signoff, too. "Virtually yours"—oh, come on, how tacky is that?

+++ Attachment: No Virus found
+++ Yourish Antivirus -

Phew. There's no virus in the attachment, so I can open it. I suppose I could actually copy the thing and examine it, but I think I'll just stick it in the trash.

Oh, and I'm firing my support team. Idiots don't even know who their boss is? I'll show them.

| |

She's a grand old flag

Taken last year at Fort Lee on July Fourth:

Flags at Fort Lee on the Fourth

It's Flag Day.

| |

Tuesday morning briefs

palestinian injustice system: They admit (again) that the collaborators murdered by the PA (without fair trials) were, uh, not collaborators. Oh, sorry, our bad.

Fatah gunmen admitted over the weekend that nine Palestinians who were murdered in Bethlehem on suspicion of collaboration with Israel were actually innocent victims of lawlessness.

The suspected "collaborators" were executed by members of Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, shortly before the IDF raided Bethlehem in 2002 as part of Operation Defensive Shield.

Since the outbreak of the intifada, scores of Palestinians have been murdered in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for allegedly helping the Shin Bet (Israel's Internal Security Service) track down and kill wanted gunmen and members of various Palestinian factions. Most of the killings have been claimed by the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

This is the part of the article that just leaps out at me:

Most of the "collaborators" in Bethlehem were kidnapped and executed in public squares by Fatah gunmen, some whom have been given sanctuary in European countries after hiding in the Church of Nativity during the IDF incursion of 2002.

This is the same Europe that rails against America for still having the death penalty. Apparently, it's okay to harbor murderers even if they don't kill only Jews.

Watch the spin begin: Jewish groups are finally starting to publicize the Jewish refugee problem—the hundreds of thousands of Jews that fled or were forced out of Arab nations since the inception of Israel. (Most of them ended up in Israel.) I am eagerly looking forward to hearing how the Exception Clause will be instituted for this group of refugees, and what the United Nations will say

These are the gunmen Al-Kidwa refuses to disarm: Thugs, thugs, and more thugs.

The Palestinian Authority's security forces include many thugs and gangsters responsible for the ongoing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, PA Interior Minister Gen. Nasser Youssef has told Palestinian legislators.

The PA interior minister also revealed that some security officers were involved in various crimes, including drug trafficking. In an implicit reference to Yasser Arafat, Gen. Youssef said that the PA leadership did nothing to improve the work of the Palestinian security forces over the past 10 years.

Lovely people. Let's give them a state.

Looks like that conference isn't really about anti-Semitism, after all.

A conference on racism sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Cordoba, Spain failed to approve a joint declaration condemning "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia" yesterday after some delegates demanded that xenophobia appear before anti-Semitism in the resolution's text.

Delegates from Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium demanded the change at the two-day conference, which opened yesterday. No agreement was reached yesterday, but a source close to the negotiations said the declaration would probably read in accordance with the demand of the delegates from the three countries.

So what do you think they mean by "xenophobia"? Could it have something to do with all those Arab immigrants in Europe?

And, gee, what an important issue. Let's change the order of the words, because, well, it's not like anti-Semitism is a problem anywhere, right?

In a report released to coincide withthe conference, New York-based Human Rights First said racist and anti-Semitic violence is up dramatically in much of Europe.

Yes, and the ADL recently discovered

43% of Europeans believe that Jews are not loyal to their country and some 30% believe Jews possess too much power in business and finance. The survey, conducted in 12 European countries, found that 53% of the 6,000 respondents say that their opinion of Jews is worse as a result of the actions taken by Israel.

It isn't the actions taken by Israel. It's the spin the world media puts on them.

| |



Some funny links

This one is via Sarah G.: Dinosaurs attacked Noah's Ark! (Note, this is not a what-if scenario. It really happened. Honest.)

Here's a link to a very, very funny abridged version of The Revenge of the Sith. There are also abridged scripts of the three Lord of the Rings films on the sidebar. Spit-monitor warnings all around.

And this one, Sarah reminded me yesterday, is a true classic that deserves to be read again and again, even though I've linked it before: Dogs in Elk.

| |

By the way, which one's Pink?

Lynn B. found an unintentionally hilarious quote on the RIAA website's page about piracy:

Breaking into the music business is no picnic. Piracy makes it tougher to survive and even tougher to break through. As recording artist "Tool" noted, "Basically, it's about music -- if you didn't create it, why should you exploit it? True fans don't rip off their artists."

The recording artist "Tool," hm? Which one would that be? Maynard James Keenan? Danny Carey? Justin Chancellor? Adam Jones?

There is no recording artist named "Tool." There's a group called Tool, made up of the above men. Perhaps the real tool is the one who wrote the copy for that page.

| |


Carnival of the Cats is at Music and Cats, a great-named blog.

I went over to Sarah's and had this for dessert last night. Envy me? You should. (Tasty-looking picture, ain't it?)

| |

Lies the terrorists told me

The big news on AP today is that Islamic Jihad and Hamas are threatening to end the "cease-fire" that has been the cause of the so-called "lull" in violence for the past four months.

(Update: The article is now titled "Palestinian Groups: Israel Violated Truce." No, there's no anti-Israel media bias. None at all.)

Except there has been no lull, only a lessening. Every day—every day—there have been attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers. Take, for example, June 7th, the day that AP describes like this:

The ceasefire has brought a sharp drop in violence, although sporadic bloodshed has persisted. Abbas met with militants in Gaza last week in an effort to shore up the truce following a new flare-up.

This was the flare-up according to the IDF:

Incidents of the Day:

* 05:53 -- Fire was opened against an IDF force adjacent to the community Neve Dekalim in the southern Gaza Strip.
* 07:21 -- A number of Kassam rockets were launched from the area of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the rockets hit a house in a city in the western Negev.
* 07:42 -- During a survey by security forces two more Kassam rockets hit a city in the western Negev and open land adjacent to it.
* 06:56 -- IDF Forces identified an armed terrorist near Jenin. The soldiers stopped the armed terrorist and six others. The suspects were handed over to security forces for investigation.
* 11:30 -- During the night a Palestinian suspected of being involved with dangerous terrorists was identified as he infiltrated the fence along the international border, heading towards Rafiah from Egypt. He entered into a prohibited area and then proceeded along a route known to be used for smuggling sophisticated weaponry and many dangerous and hostile activists. IDF forces that were in the region opened fire and it him a few meters from the border fence.
* 12:09 -- Fire was opened against an IDF post near the Gadid community in the southern Gaza Strip.
* 12:52 -- An anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF position along the Egyptian-Israeli border near Rafiah.
* 13:52 -- An anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF post at the Kissufim junction in the central Gaza Strip.
* 14:10 -- A mortar shell landed in open territory near the security fence surrounding the northern Gaza Strip.
* 14:40 -- IDF forces identified a short while ago three unarmed Palestinians as they tried to break through the security fence near Kibbutz Miflasim in the northern Gaza Strip. The three were caught by IDF forces and handed over to security forces for investigation. (Since the start of 2005, the IDF has stopped 72 attempts to penetrate into Israel.)
* 15:13 -- Two workers, one Chinese and one Palestinian, were killed and six injured by a mortar shell that was fired at the greenhouses of an Israeli community in the southern Gaza Strip. The victims were evacuated for medical treatment in a hospital.
* 15:57 -- An anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF post on the Israeli-Egyptian border, near Rafiah. Two additional anti-tank missiles were fired at an IDF position north of Kissufim, in the central Gaza Strip.
* 16:07 -- Fire was opened at an IDF position in Kedim.
* 17:36 -- Three Kassam rockets were fired at an Israeli community in the western Negev. They landed in open land adjacent to the community.
* 17:40 -- Four Kassam rockets were fired at two Israeli communities in the western Negev. The rockets landed in undeveloped land adjacent to the communities.
* 17:55 -- Fire was opened at an IDF post at the Karnei-Nezarim junction, in the northern Gaza Strip.
* 17:59 -- Fire was opened at an IDF post by the community or Rafiah HaYam in the southern Gaza Strip.

For this, the terrorists were rewarded by getting Abbas to use his Catch-and-Release(™ Lair Simon) program and let go the two terrorists responsible for the last suicide bombing in Israel. The one that took place during the "relative lull" in violence. In Tel Aviv. Five people were killed from this action during the "lull."

The press also overlooks the main reason there is a "lull" in attacks: Because the IDF and Israeli security services are working overtime to stop sucide bombings. They've prevented over 50 attacks so far this year—during the so-called "lull." The PA has prevented about six. And now the terrorists are stepping up their use of children, so much so that Amnesty actually felt compelled to send a letter to the PA about it. (Yes, I'm sure that strongly-worded letter will make them stop. Well, no, not really.)

The press also seems to overlook this statement found in the Ha'aretz version of the story:

"A one-sided truce will not be accepted and cannot continue," said a statement issued by 13 Palestinian factions. "We hold the Zionist enemy completely responsible for the deterioration of the truce. "

A one-sided truce, they call it. Uh-huh. Except the truce is all on the Israeli side. They have stopped home demolitions, easedtravel restrictions, ceased many arrests of wanted terrorists (except for the "ticking bombs," those known to be planning an imminent attack), and allowed more palestinians into Israel. Their reward?

A Qassam rocket landed in an open field in a settlement in the northern Gaza Strip early Monday morning, Israel Radio reported. No injuries or damage resulted from the incident.

Palestinian militants early Monday fired at Israel Defense Forces soldiers near the southern Gaza settlement of Neveh Dekalim, according to Israel Radio.

IDF soldiers manning Rafah near the Gaza-Egypt border also came under gunfire, however no injuries or damage was reported from neither incident, according to Israel Radio.

The IDF imposed a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Sunday for the 24-hour duration of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.

The IDF based its decision on assessments by intelligence officials, Israel Radio reported. Israel often imposes a closure on the territories over holidays, out of fear that Palestinians will attempt to carry out terror attacks during that time period.

Before dawn Sunday, IDF troops captured an unarmed Palestinian in central Gaza who attempted to infiltrate the security fence near Kibbutz Be'eri, according to the radio. The Palestinian was transferred to security forces for questioning.

Also overnight, Palestinians opened fire on IDF bases near the south Gaza settlement of Netzarim and the West Bank city of Tul Karm, and a mortar shell hit north Gaza. There were no injuries in any of the incidents.

The terror groups are using this threat to get Abbas to cave to their demands. And he will. He has no real power. The terrorists refuse to disarm, as called for by the Roadmap.

There was never any intent to make peace with Israel. There has been no significant change since Arafat's death. Mahmoud Abbas was his hand-picked lieutenant, a man who uses the same pat phrases about "not helpful to the palestinian cause" that Arafat did every time terrorists murder more Israelis. And the world continues to blame Israel, and to push the fault of the problem entirely on her shoulders.

I see no way out of this. I'm sure Ariel Sharon thinks he does, but I'm damned if I can figure out what he's trying to do. After Gaza, the terrorists will start launching rockets and more terror attacks from the West Bank. They're already building up the infrastructure. I'm afraid September is going to be a very bad month for Israel.

| |



Today's moment of kitty zen

Tig of the Jungle:

Tig in his jungle nest

The plants surrounding his nest are growing so big, that I can't see him from the kitchen anymore. I'm sure this was part of his plan.

| |

The book meme

Sari Stein tagged me, and has been waiting anxiously for me to answer the tag. The thing is, I've been reading since I was three years old, and writing since I was eleven. Asking me to name the five books that mean the most to me is asking me to go over the thousands and thousands of books I have read and pick out five that have had a major effect on my life. While there are definitely books that have had an effect on my life, I have to think it over and figure out which ones mean the most to me. (And may I say that I am quite pleased to report that I have never read The Fountainhead, and when I finally read Atlas Shrugged, at the urging of a fellow editor on the Montclarion, my reaction was, "Five hundred pages too long." Let's face it, what's John Galt's speech, eightysomething pages? I mean, come on. Talk about boring your reader.)

To get on with the meme:

Number of books I own:

Between one and two thousand, I think. And this is after dumping several hundred before moving to Richmond. Too many of them are still in boxes. I need bookshelves. (This doesn't count my 5,000 comic books, does it?)

Last book I bought:

I can't remember. They tend to blur quickly into books I own, not books I just bought. I know the last book bought for me was Sleeping With Cats (which is still in my to-read pile), and the next book I intend to buy comes out on Tuesday (Patricia McKillip's newest, Od Magic).

Last book I read:

Todd McCaffrey's Dragonsblood. It started out well, but ultimately dissapointed me. It looks like he inherited his mother's lack of writing ability, or lack of will to use it. You know, in one book, he summarized everything his mother did with the Pern novels, replete with time-travel to the past solving the problems of the present. Let's face it, the stories of Pern have all been told. Anything else that comes out will be repetitive. Or filled with stupid pseudo-science. (Like anyone really cares what the DNA of imaginary beasts are. I mean, come on. They. Don't. Exist. Don't bore me with imaginary beasts' imaginary DNA.) I'm a Pern addict. So sue me.

This isn't part of the meme, but I am currently reading: Patricia McKillip's The Tower at Stony Wood, a book which confused me the first two times I read it, and is not getting any clearer on the third reading. It was her first book after a downward trend, and has hints of the heights she has since reached (the pinnacle is Alphabet of Thorn, which is her Best! Book! Ever!), and which I hope she keeps to. I'll know when her latest book, Od Magic, comes out on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. I have a B&N gift card that I've been saving for this very book.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. This book was given to me at the age of nine or so, and introduced me to the world of Twain. I followed it up with Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Prince and the Pauper, and ultimately everything Twain ever wrote. I have several volumes of Twain collections, including his essays, letters, short stories, and novels. A few years back, after they found chapters that had been cut out of Huckleberry Finn, I read them in galleys, because a friend of mine was a copy editor for The New Yorker (who published the "new" chapters) and knew of my fondness for Twain. I still may have the galleys around somewhere. Mark Twain was a very big influence on the way I perceive the world, and on the way I write, both humor and straight essays. Twain also led me to other humorists, like James Thurber, who also probably had an influence on me, but much less so.

Iseema bin Laden's diary is directly influenced by Twain. If you look closely, you'll find a a line stolen directly from Twain's "The Diary of Adam and Eve." Twain's humor writing was and is a very big influence on me. I particularly like his style of exaggeration ("How I Edited an Agricultural Paper" and "The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm"), and have probably been unconsciously using that style in some of my own writing.

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. My seventh-grade teacher told us one day that we should read this book. That this was one of the best books ever written. That we would love the book. I was always looking for new things to read back then (I ordered ten and twelve books a month from the Scholastic Book Club), so I went out shortly afterward and purchased what I thought was the entire trilogy: The Hobbit, and two more books. They sat for months on my shelf, as their size was rather daunting to a twelve-year-old, until I was home sick with a bad cold for a week, and bored stiff. I read The Hobbit, then The Fellowship of the Ring, then The Two Towers, and when I closed that book I was horrified: Not only was it a cliffhanger ending, but I hadn't bought the last book! I begged and begged my mother when she came home from work that night to take me to Menlo Park Mall to buy the last book. She did. I got it, and the love affair with Tolkien was burned into me. I hesitate to count the number of times I've read the trilogy. I stopped buying the collections after Silmarillion 2, or whatever it was called. But Tolkien crystallized my fondness for fantasy and sword and sorcery. Most of my early writing was in that genre.

Raising Demons, by Shirley Jackson. Everyone knows the short story "The Lottery," and a lot of people have seen or read The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley Jackson was a famous horror writer. I've never read her horror novels. She wrote two semiautobiographical books about her home life. The first, Life Among the Savages, I didn't discover until many years after reading Raising Demons, which was a Scholastic Book Club choice. Jackson's humor writing is so good that to this day, I use some of her techniques. She taught me how to create the laugh-out-loud sequences. I have read her books dozens of times, and I will still laugh at some of the scenes (I dare anyone to read the account of the chipmunks, the bat, and her husband with an air gun and not laugh). Just thinking about them makes me smile. Now that is a great humorist.

Susanna Cornett can attest to my Jackson-mania. I beat her to a Jackson collection at a used bookstore in Montclair, and refused to give it up, regardless of the bribes offered.

Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. This was an assigned reading in a high school class, and it led me to the works of Vonnegut. Add Vonnegut to the already-skewed view of the world I got from Twain, and you've got the makings of a lifelong skeptic. Oh, that would be me. I went through a period shortly after Breakfast of Champions (the book that got me thrown out of the library during the last weeks of my senior year, and I was such a bookworm that the librarians all signed my yearbook, and in my defense, it's not my fault that I found Vonnegut's picture of an asshole hilarious. I was only seventeen.). I stopped reading Vonnegut for a few years, thinking (mistakenly) that he was starting to write the same book over and over. Then I got Timequake on audio tape for a ride up to Massachusetts some years ago, and renewed my passion for his writing all over again. I nearly drove off the road laughing in some parts; I do not recommend you listen to Timequake while driving.

Passover Haggadah, New Revised Edition, by Rabbi Nathan Goldberg. Passover has always been my favorite holiday, and this book is the one we used since before I was born. It has excerpts from the Talmud, it has the prayers that I like, it has that translation of the psalm that reads "The mountains skipped like rams/The hills like lambs" that I have learned to loathe so much (and that Zayda never let me slide by; if it was my turn to read that verse, I had to read it, and the whole family would laugh if it got assigned to me, knowing how much I hated it). Now that I lead the Seder at Mom's, I get to assign that verse to anyone but me.

I think that the Haggadah has my view of Judaism in a nutshell. It warns of the enemies in every generation, it speaks of our faith in and covenant with G-d, it shows the importance of passing on our traditions to our children, and it does not forget the less fortunate ("All who are hungry—let them come and eat. All who are needy—let them come and celebrate the Passover with us").

I rejected much of my religion during my teens and early twenties, only to come back to it on my own as I got older. When I moved out of my father's apartment, I decided to keep kosher (he didn't) just to see if I could do it (I was raised in a kosher home), thinking that I'd eventually marry a Jewish man and have children. It became habit, and ultimately, my way of life. I can't see myself not keeping kosher any more. Didn't get the husband and kids, but I haven't given up on that yet, either. Well, the husband part, anyway. The biological clock is ticking away.

If you've read this weblog for any length of time, you know that I am a strident opponent of anti-Semitism in all its forms, extremely pro-Israel, a proud Zionist (in the correct definition, one who believes in the establishment and continuation of the Jewish state), a Hebrew School teacher, and a believer in G-d. I also raise money for various charities. Yep. That Haggadah is me in a nutshell, sort of.

And it has winestains, and I'm pretty sure there's a bit of haroseth in it.

I'm taggingLair Simon, Glenn, Sarah, Susanna Cornett (it's her own fault for making me think of her and Shirley Jackson), Wind Rider, and Matt. (Because it's a different book meme, and because I owe you some grief.)

And yes, many of the books are now on the sidebar, and yes, I get a cut if you order them via my website. But that's not why I wrote this post. Sari tagged me. She asked. I answered.

Hey, Instapundit readers: Scroll up. Scroll down. Scroll all around. There are lots of neat things to read here. Humor, more humor, The Hulk 1, 2, 3, dog stories, the post in which I am given the title Master of Juvenile Scorn(™), the post which earned me the title, the Darth Vader interview, the Saddam Hussein interrogation, this blog is a No Israel-bashing zone, The Wandering Jew, The Wandering Jew: Addendum on America, and Meirav was Two. That's about me in a nutshell. Except for the cat pictures, which you can see by simply scrolling up.

| |

Sunday morning news briefs

Because somebody has to.

Reaping what you sow dept.: Four bombs went off in Iran today.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Four bombs exploded in the capital of an oil-rich province on the Iranian border with Iraq on Sunday, killing at least eight people and wounding at least 36 in the deadliest explosions in the nation in more than a decade, state-run television reported.

At least four women were among those killed in the explosions in Ahvaz, capital of the southwestern Khuzestan province. At least two of the explosions were caused by car bombs, witnesses said.

Gholamreza Shariati, deputy provincial governor for security affairs, said the bombers were seeking to undermine public participation in Friday's presidential elections.

Sucks to have your own weapon used against you, doesn't it?

Palestinians execute—palestinians: Good to know that they listen to Europe when Europeans tell them that they really, really, really wish the pals would stop capital punishment. Let's wait for the universal condemnations of this action. [crickets] No, I really didn't think we'd hear anything. Think Human Rights Watch will write them a letter? Update: Lair Simon caught something I didn't. These were four "collaborators." The pals just renamed them murderers so they could kill them without having to deal with all that icky protest from anti-capital punishment folks. Like the EU and HRW.

Say, see if you can pick out the editorializing in this so-called news article:

Palestinian security forces have been greatly weakened during more than four years of fighting with Israel, leading to lawlessness in Palestinian towns and cities. Armed men and militants roam the streets with impunity, at times opening fire on rival factions and security forces.

Abbas, who was elected in January following the death of longtime leader Yasser Arafat, has made the restoration of law and order a top priority. But his security forces still don't have the strength or authority to take on armed groups.

And the author, as always, is not named John Smith.

What truce? Cont'd:

Palestinians fired at IDF positions located near the West Bank city of Tulkarm and the Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim overnight, Israel Radio reported.

No injuries or damage were reported.

The Jerusalem Post should know better than this: In the Post is this AP article, which states

Foreign ministers of six Gulf Arab states on Saturday called for international efforts to combat terrorism, condemned attacks on Iraqis and commended Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for working toward achieving security and resuming peace talks with Israel.

In a statement issued after a meeting of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, the ministers backed a February call made by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah for the creation of a worldwide center to share intelligence on terrorism, saying such a center "will effectively support international efforts to battle terrorism."

The ministers denounced "all the terror operations that target Iraqi civilians and military personnel as well as humanitarian and religious institutions and the kidnappings of innocent people."

You are left with the impression that the terror center will include all forms of terrorism. You would be mistaken, as the rest of the article clearly states in other publications, including China's Xinhuanet:

The ministers also called for a clear definition of terrorism so that terrorism could be differentiated from rightful struggles against foreign occupation.

This paragraph is nowhere to be found in the Post, yet it contains the Exception Clause (meaning condemn all terrorism everywhere except for that against the Jews). Someone isn't doing his job.

Ending on a sweet note: Gee, I'd have paid money to see this.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took to the Kennedy Center concert stage Saturday to accompany a young soprano battling an often-fatal disease.

Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago.

The soprano is a granddaughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and his wife Annette, who Rice has known for years. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association, formed in 1990, presented the concert to draw attention to the disease from which more than 100,000 people are known to suffer.

[...] Rice, whose first name is a variation on the Italian musical term "con dolcezza," which is a direction to play with sweetness, learned to read music at the age of 3.

Oh, that's where her name is from. You'd think I'd have read that before now, but nope, I haven't.

| |


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.