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On Second Thought

What dreams are made of: Note to self: Never, ever, ever watch a part the top 100 Horror Movies show on Bravo before going to bed. Not. Ever. You don't want to know what I dreamed after seeing the scene in the remake of The Fly where Geena Davis gave birth to a maggot. And two nights ago, Yasser Arafat was in my nightmare. Well, at least we killed him before I woke up.

IIAPM: And I can't get out of it, not even after watching Adventures in Babysitting, and noting a very young Bradley Whitford as the jerky boyfriend. (He had hair back then, too, and he still looked like a dork.)

Yes, there were site problems last night: If you couldn't access the site, well, neither could I. Now we both can. If you sent me email last night, I probably didn't get it. If you got to see the nifty Apache Server "Congratulations! You have successfully loaded Apache!" page, well, bonus points.

You should have seen what I deleted: Thank heavens for distractions. I'm not nearly as crabby now as I was when I wrote the rest of this post this morning.

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Today's moment of kitty zen

I've got the digital camera back; you've got your Tig and Gracie pictures back. Today's challenge: Caption this. Try to keep it clean.

Tig and Gracie head outside

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Unconscious anti-Semitism: It's still inexcusable

The other day, I received an email from a Ken Hoop, which I ignored. I do that sometimes, filing letters such as this under "Don't bother, you've more important things to do—like trimming your fingernails."

Apparently not happy with being ignored, Ken sent me another letter, this one with a link to a Robert Fisk column. I responded to that one as follows:

Robert Fisk is one of the worst writers ever born. Counterpunch is a waste of space.

Your email is a waste of my time.

I especially don't appreciate the remark about Jews in your last email. It stinks of anti-Semitism.

You might want to find someone else to annoy.

That was a hint for Ken to go away and leave me alone. Being a not-too-bright boy, however, he didn't take the hint. So I continued my policy of ignoring him, even after he sent this reply, which I reprint, replete with typos:

You are the kind of simultaneously hypersensitive AND ethnic chauvinist Jew that Jewish professor and author Israel Shahak says carries out the tradition that has an equal share of causing the phenomenon of "antisemitism."

In this regard, I encourage you to purchase Shahak's "Jewish History Jewish Religion (Pluto Press.)

Why do I say this,though?Becuase in checking my referenced email, I find I made no reference to Jews as such, "Israel-firsters" being the closest possible mention to which you could,in your unjustified self-righteousness,be referring.

Normally, them's fightin' words. But I had just gotten back from a long, happy, tiring weekend in San Diego, and decided to ignore him yet again. Then my pal Ken sent me another email today, with a link to a Counterpunch article on the founding of Israel. I did not bother to read it, because I have read Counterpunch in the past, and it is yellow journalism and Israel-hatred at its worst. But now, Ken has finally annoyed me enough to answer him, but publicly, not via email. (I would also like to note that the no-Israel-bashing rules are going to be bent a little for comments to this post to allow Ken to respond, and my readers to respond to him. Try to keep the flames to a low level, though.)

First, the text of Ken's first letter to me, titled "Today's post" (which I assume refers to this):

Syria has less of a presence in Lebanon that the meddling US does in Iraq.

No less a Jewish luminary than Henry Kissinger approved the Syrian incursion into Lebanon as a stabilizer. Lebanon used to be part of a Greater Syria;Iraq was never part of the US.

Let's hope the Hezbollah demonstration constitutes the second drawn line to US/Bush Mideast intervention's outreach-the first being the Iraqi "insurgencies" stalemating what would doubtless have been an attack on both Iran and Syria,had the Israel-first neocons had their way.

Back to Lebanon-Bush says Lebanon inherently can't have fair elections when occupied. What hypocrisy. Guess Iraq will have to call for elections as soon as they kick us out! The US loses either way. Either a pro-Iranian regime,every bit as hostile to us as Saddam was -and to Israel- takes power there or our troops continue to get killed and mired in Vietnam-like quagmire with the polarizing draft resulting.

And a draft here will tear apart the social-political fabric,couldn't be good for Israel

Let's take a look at the remark I mentioned in my first response to you, Kenny boy. The one that I said bore the stench of anti-Semitism. This was the line to which I was referring:

No less a Jewish luminary than Henry Kissinger approved the Syrian incursion into Lebanon as a stabilizer.

Tell me, what does the fact that Henry Kissinger is Jewish have to do with the discussion at all? Why, when you mentioned him, did you not, for instance, say, "No less a conservative politician than Richard Nixon's Secretary of State" as his title? What does the fact that he was Jewish have to do with my post on the Hezbollah "protests" in Syria?

Are you getting my drift yet, Kenny boy? But it turns out that on closer reading, your letter was even worse than I realized. Let's count the references to Israel and Jews. Let's see, your letter is five paragraphs long. Nope, nothing in the one-line first paragraph. But wait! In paragraphs two, three, four, and five, you mention Israel or Jews. So. You have an unsolicited five-paragraph letter about Syrian troops withdrawing from Lebanon, and Jews or Israel are mentioned in four out of the five paragraphs, yet I did not mention Israel or Jews at all in my post. We won't even discuss the phrase "Israel-first neocons" as codeword for "Damned Jews!" Whoops, I guess we did.

Now let's look at your response to my suggestion that you might have a problem with Jews.

You are the kind of simultaneously hypersensitive AND ethnic chauvinist Jew that Jewish professor and author Israel Shahak says carries out the tradition that has an equal share of causing the phenomenon of "antisemitism."

Say, Kenny boy, I think you do have a problem with Jews. You just blamed Jews for causing anti-Semitism. Do you also blame rape victims for asking for it? And what's with the scare quotes? Anti-Semitism exists, and has for centuries. Are you trying to imply that anti-Semitism is only in our minds? Damned Jews. No, sorry, Israel-first neocons.

Yes, it was totally hypersensitive to notice that you mentioned Jews four times in a five-paragraph email that was supposedly about Syria and Lebanon. Because, well, it's obvious that in a five-paragraph email about Syria and Lebanon, Jews and Israel are absolutely supposed to be mentioned throughout. Who wouldn't mention them?

This line, however, is the most disgusting of them all. It implies the old dual-loyalty canard.

And a draft here will tear apart the social-political fabric,couldn't be good for Israel.

The subtext: I wouldn't like a draft in America because it wouldn't be good for Israel, not because, say, it wouldn't be good for America, the nation where I was born and live, and to which I give my allegiance. You are, frankly, an asshole for implying this one, Kenny boy. (And stupid, besides, if you think the draft is going to come back. The all-volunteer army works, and works well.)

Then there are your inferences about the Israel angle. Again, you're the one who brought up Jews and Israel in your letter. My post was about Lebanon, Syria, and Hezbollah. I suppose that must be my hypersensitivity too.

Regarding your admiration for Israel Shahak: Follow this link, generously supplied by Mark, which proves what a lying nutcase Shahak is. Or this one, which exposes more of his lies. Shahak may be one of your pet Jews because he's anti-Israel, but that doesn't make him any less wrong, or any less a liar. Your worldview is wrong if you think Shahak is an accurate source about Judaism. He is not.

To sum up: You have a problem with Jews. In fact, you are exhibiting classic anti-Semitic tendencies, whether or not you know it, and whether or not you admit it. I am pointing your problem out so that you can work on it, and in the future, stop seeing Jews around every corner. However, I suspect you're going to continue on your merry way, content in your warped view that I'm the one with the problem. Have fun in Buchananland, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.


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Friday morning news roundup

Another flying pig moment: Kofi Annan wants the UN to outlaw terrorism. Yes, really. Yes, REALLY. And here's the catch: He didn't say, "Except for resistance movements." From his statement:

Groups use terrorist tactics because they think those tactics are effective, and that people, or at least those in whose name they claim to act, will approve. Such beliefs are at the “root cause” of terrorism. Our job is to show unequivocally that they are wrong.

We cannot, and need not, redress all the grievances that terrorists claim to be advancing. But we must convince all those who may be tempted to support terrorism that it is neither an acceptable nor an effective way to advance their cause. It should be clearly stated, by all possible moral and political authorities, that terrorism is unacceptable under any circumstances, and in any culture.

[...] For far too long the moral authority of the United Nations in confronting terrorism has been weakened by the spectacle of protracted negotiations. But the report of the High-Level Panel offers us a way to end these arguments. We do not need to argue whether States can be guilty of terrorism, because deliberate use of armed force by States against civilians is already clearly prohibited under international law. As for the right to resist occupation, it must be understood in its true meaning. It cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians.

The Panel calls for a definition of terrorism which would make it clear that any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians and non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from any act. I believe this proposal has clear moral force, and I strongly urge world leaders to unite behind it.

Not only political leaders, but civil society and religious leaders should clearly denounce terrorist tactics as criminal and inexcusable. Civil society has already conducted magnificent campaigns against landmines, against the recruitment of children as soldiers, and against allowing war crimes to go unpunished. I should like to see an equally strong global campaign against terrorism.

So what's up with that? Is he trying to divert attention from the Oil-for-Food scandal, or does he really mean it? In any case, the palestinians cannot be happy about this. Another segment of the world body is telling them to stop blowing up Israelis. Good.

The isolation of Syria, cont'd: Terje-Roed (the Toad) Larsen apparently has a new job: Messenger boy for President Bush. The message? "There's a new sheriff in town. Get out of Dodge before sundown." (Translation for my European readers: Withdraw all of your forces all the way out of Lebanon, and do it fast.) The Dorktator's response will be fun to watch. Oh, and as an added treat, Glenn had a new picture that I hadn't seen, so here he is, our favorite Dorktator.

So what do you think? Is he trying to imitate his hero, Adolf, or is that just a wimpy little wave to the throng of cheering admirers (ignore the brownshirts with the guns in the background, truly, this was a spontaneous demonstration of affection for Syria's Great Leader, Baby Assad.

Just look at those puppy-dog eyes. Don't you just want to, well, smack them? I sure do.


The Saudis have left the building: Ew, Jew cooties again. An Israeli journalist asked a Saudi spokesman if he meant terrorism against Israelis when he said the Saudis condemn terrorism "everywhere." The answer? The Saudi fled in terror at answering the question.

Asked how Saudi Arabia defines terrorism, al-Jubeir said that the kingdom had adopted the UN’s formula, which defines terrorism as an act that causes victims among civilians, “anywhere.”

[...] "Globes’" reporter, who identified himself as an Israeli journalist, wanted to hear how Saudi Arabia defines Palestinian organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other like them. Are these terrorist organizations? Does Saudi Arabia support them, and will it continue to do so? The reporter also asked whether the Saudi Arabian royal family would agree to diplomatic relations with Israel after implementation of the disengagement plan.

Without blinking, al-Jubeir answered, “Let’s wait a minute with that. Let’s finish with the subject of terrorism.” He turned to two other reporters, unexpectedly stopped the press conference, and quickly left the room. Several people, apparently employees of the Saudi Arabian embassy, physically blocked access to the retreating spokesperson. A group of Arab journalists began to shout, “What about the briefing in Arabic that you promised us?”, but al-Jubeir was already out of hearing.

Ew, more Jew cooties: Apparently, the U.S. law requiring a country-by-country report on anti-Semitism is seen by Egypt as part of the U.S. hegemony over the world, not as something that, well, might help stop attacks on Jews. Read the article, if you can stomach it, because the lede alone is enough to make me want to hit something.

Will the US global anti-Semitism act -- which requires greater US monitoring of anti-Semitic acts worldwide -- muzzle freedom of expression in the Arab and Muslim world? What is the US law's exact definition of anti- Semitism, and why does it include criticism, or "demonisation", of Israel and Zionism? How can Arab countries stand up to what they see as an "illegitimate" law?

These and other questions have recently provoked enough public anger and heated debate to inspire a large number of legal experts, political analysts, social activists, and media people from around the Arab world to attend a three-day Cairo University conference on the repercussions of the new US global anti- Semitism act.

Okay, the words " freedom of expression in the Arab and Muslim World" immediately preceded by the word "muzzle" is a howler, all right. What freedom of expression? The one in Egypt that jails dissenters and shuts down newspapers? The one that forbids any religion but Islam in Saudi Arabia? The one that beats, tortures, and kills Iranians who don't go along with the mullahcracy? That freedom of expression?


This part just slays me:

There was a general consensus among the experts at the conference that the US law was designed to gag critics of Israeli crimes, and underline US global hegemony, at the same time. The law requires the State Department to provide a country-by-country report on anti- Semitic acts and "harassment", and the subsequent governmental response. The report, according to the law, would also include information on governmental efforts to promote "tolerance" and "anti-bias education".

Some legal experts said that would interfere with states' independence, and principles of international law and human rights. The act "is a blatant violation of international law and legitimacy", said Cairo University assistant political science professor Mohamed Shawqi. The law's global identity made it clear that the US was "putting itself at the whole world's steering wheel, punishing disobedient countries that reject US hegemony. But according to international law, no country has the right to enact punishment on another country for violating human rights, or committing anti- Semitic acts."

Really? No country has the right to punish another country for violating human rights? So, what, that boycott of South Africa was what, an illegal action? The entitlement attitude of Arabs and Muslims knows no bounds. Grow the eff up, you whining crybabies.

And that's all I can take for now.

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Yes, I know. I am not normal.

But you knew that shortly after you started reading this site, I expect. What can I say? I know I should set up a trouble ticket, but this was much more fun to write. Er, this is not a criticism of Hosting Matters. I love them. Nor is it a criticism of Stacy Tabb, Web Goddess (trademark applied for). I'm just trying to understand why sometimes my email gets through, and sometimes it does not. For a while there, I thought Stacy didn't like me anymore. Turns out she wasn't getting my email. Then she was. Now she's not. It's a mystery, but at least I know she likes me. (She really likes me! Yes, of course I had to add that; you were expecting it.)

So this song parody came to me one day, and refused to go away until I wrote it. Believe me, I tried to stop it. I swear. Yeah? You try parodying a French children's song and see how easy it is. The meter alone is a bear, and the rhyming scheme sucks. I'd much rather do haiku.


Sekimori, Sekimori, how's by you? How's by you?
You're not getting my mail
This is making me wail
I miss you. I miss you.

Sekimori, Sekimori, where are you? Where are you?
Am I in spam filters?
I am so off-kilter
Boo-hoo-hoo. Boo-hoo-hoo.

Hosting Matters, Hosting Matters, I love you. I love you
You guys are terrific
But my email is sick
Yes, it's true. Yes it's true

Trouble tickets, trouble tickets, they're not new. They're not new.
This is much more fun, though
Annette may not think so
What to do? What to do?

I hope they've got a sense of humor over there. The way I see it, how many hosting companies can say they got a song parody for a trouble ticket? Only one. How's that for a satisifed customer base?

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This and that

This: Ian Schwartz does the videoblogging thing (these upstart kids, so tech-savvy it makes me jealous), and he put up Jeff Jarvis' MSNBC blog roundup, which yesterday featured—me. You know, I've long admired Jeff, but I'd like to move that admiration up a notch. He got everything right about IEAPD, which makes him one of the few journalists who has ever reported about me and got it all right. (Noah Shachtman, who writes the excellent DefenseTech blog, is another that comes to mind.) And all he did was click on the links I supplied in my post, which give you all the background you need on why I started IEAPD. Citizen journalism at its finest, Jeff. (He called me "one of the bigger bloggers." Dude, I didn't gain that much weight.)

That: Someone stole this photo and submitted it to a website without so much as a by-your-leave. The website has already taken it down, so WR and I will not have to seek out and destroy the perpetrators. Folks, if you want to use my pictures, I ask for a couple of things: Always, a link back to this blog. Sometimes, money, if you're going to use them to make money. But at the very least—howsabout some effing credit? That was my photograph, of my plate, made for me by Wind Rider, taken on my kitchen table with my digital camera. It wasn't the property of the family that submitted it. If they're still reading this blog, hang your heads in shame and don't do it again, to me or to anyone else.

This: I've been meaning to link to CrimLaw for a while. It's written by a criminal lawyer from my neck of the woods, and he tells some interesting stories. Y'know, after sober reflection, I think I'm glad I never wanted to be a lawyer. Tough job. And then there are all the jokes.

That: Peter Briffa found an article on The Dangerous Food Society, which was apparently a group of manly-men eating, well, weird food. (Auberon Waugh smoked ten packs a day? Holy crap! And I thought my pack-and-a-half a day was bad.) I think some of the food was illegal. Baby elephant? Nice, guys. Stick to the main course, one of which was (really!) Par-boiled Portuguese man-o-war cutlets with a generous helping of ostrich 'cheese' mash and a pipistrelle bat wee-wee drizzle.

Say it with me, folks: Ew.

This: College kids and I have similar senses of humor, I guess. Because the UF College Republicans held their own anti-PETA event last month: the People Eating Tasty Animals barbecue. Hm. My sense of humor is sophomoric? Say it isn't so!

Okay. So it is. Well, I am the Master of Juvenile Scorn™.

That: I owe you some Twinsday pictures. I'll get to them tomorrow or later, but suffice to say that Max and Rebecca were treated not only to homemade potato chips and lunch with Aunt Meryl, but both Tig and Gracie deigned to present themselves to the twins. We figured Tig would, but Gracie was a big surprise. Rebecca almost got a bigger surprise. She pulled Tig's tail, and he was not pleased. Lucky for her, I caught her and told her not to repeat the action before anything bad happened. Tig won't let us clip his claws, and I have the scars to prove it. I think she did it because the tail was big, fluffy, and at perfect hand-height for a toddler, not out of any malicious instinct. Plus, I think she was actually trying to pet it, but pulled, instead. On the other hand, she did hide her head the way she does when she is told not to do something, so perhaps there was a bit of toddler mischief there after all.

This: Does it drive any other cat owners crazy when they're tooling along, doing something like, oh, blogging, and one of their cats is snoring away? Both mine seem to specialize in the whistle-snore. Both mine get woken up when I can't take it any longer. Tig did not appreciate it, but then, I didn't appreciate his waking me up at 6:30 because he wanted me to pet him. Mrowr indeed.

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Israel news roundup

So, how's that cease-fire doing? Well, let's see. Abbas says he expects a cease-fire soon. Hamas and Islamic Jihad say, "In your dreams." Let's judge by actions, not words, shall we?

Palestinian gunmen break up Fatah meeting
More than 20 Palestinian gunmen burst into a large gathering of the ruling Fatah party on Thursday, ordering people out of the building and firing shots into the air.

Roughly 1,200 Fatah activists had gathered in a Ramallah hotel to discuss upcoming parliamentary elections when the gunmen burst into the building, said Dimitri Diliani, a party activist from Jerusalem.

Yep, sure seems to me like Abu Mazen has things under control.

Terror threats continue, violence down
While there has been a noticeable decrease in the scope of violence in recent days, 45 threats of plans by terrorists to launch attacks were registered by the security establishment on Wednesday. The threats stem mainly from the Gaza Strip and Samaria, security officials said.

In the morning, the remains of a Kassam rocket fired at Gadid on Tuesday were discovered by security forces. The rocket landed between two houses causing damage but no injuries.

In the afternoon, a Palestinian was wounded and two others arrested at an impromptu checkpoint set up outside of Nablus. The soldiers called out to three men in a car to halt. When their calls were ignored, soldiers fired warning shots in the air, causing the car to stop. One of the men attempted to flee and was shot. Inside the car troops found three handguns.

Well, gee, violence is down, not over. But what happens when the IDF tries to capture murderers?

Israeli troops on Thursday raided the West Bank home of a suspect in the suicide bombing and killed him. Since the bombing, Israel has stepped up pressure on Abbas to take tougher action to disarm militants. It also has frozen plans to hand over security responsibilities to the Palestinians in five West Bank towns.

Abbas criticized the Israeli raid, saying it makes it harder for him to keep peace. But he conceded that once Palestinian forces take over, they may not be able to either.

"The Palestinian Authority cannot achieve 100 percent success, but we can achieve 100 percent effort," he said.

Really? 100 percent effort? This, by the man who refuses to disarm terrorists?

Abbas told reporters that militants "have the right to feel worried" and urged Israel to honor its commitments made under last month's truce declaration in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik. Relations have grown tense because of the continuing impasse over Israel's transfer of West Bank towns to Palestinian control.

Funny, I thought perhaps the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv might have something to do with tensions rising. Silly me. Why should the palestinians give up terror, when the whole world inists Israel deal with them while Jews are dying in the streets?

Good to know that cease-fire is coming along any minute, though.

It's known as spoils of war, stupid: Jordan wants a hotel in East Jerusalem back. Why? Because they built it. Sure. You can have it back. As soon as you get that mosque off the Temple wall. What's that? NFW? Back atcha, bub.

It's a flying pig moment: The High Commissioner of the UN's Human Rights Commission said that she thinks Israel should be treated more fairly by the UN. Quick! Up in the sky! Was that an oink I heard?

I feel faint. Please tell me the world has not turned upside down.

It's a see no evil moment: The EU is going to think about maybe considering Hizbollah a terrorist organization if they can—hold onto your hats here, this is incredible—find any evidence that ties Hizbollah to terror. I guess this isn't enough evidence for so credulous an organization as the EU:

Known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-US and anti-Israeli terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombings of the US Embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the US Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984. Three members of Hizballah—‘Imad Mughniyah, Hasan Izz-al-Din, and Ali Atwa—are on the FBI’s list of 22 Most-Wanted Terrorists for the hijacking in 1985 of TWA Flight 847 during which a US Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of US and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah also attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Israeli cultural center in Buenos Aires in 1994. In fall 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Shab’a Farms and kidnapped an Israeli noncombatant whom may have been lured to Lebanon under false pretenses.

The flying pig has landed.

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A few quick links

This one's from the Daypop Top 40: How Many Names Hath God? It's hilarious, and, well, rather blasphemous. Good thing blasphemy isn't a capital crime in Canada. Yet.

From my old pal Shelley Powers, yet another example of the answer to the question, "Why are most of the big bloggers guys?" Her post: Guys don't link. (Also very funny.) By the way, Shelley and I have very different politics, so if you go there, I would greatly appreciate it if you are polite and nice if you decide to comment. I will be watching and taking notes.

Sol's got the Carnival of the Vanities this week.

A study in contrast: First, the Jerusalem Post story. Now the AP story. More on this later. It's Twinsday, and they're coming over here for lunch. We're having my homemade potato chips. Oh, and other food, too. If there's room for it.

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The TSA and me

When last we left our intrepid traveler, she had brought Wind Rider to a stunned conversational standstill by mentioning the fact that the purchase of new undies were a must for Today's Woman Traveler. Why? Because, we suggested, the Powers That Be were going to search our luggage, and our underwear was a bit old and ratty. Just as a woman never wears B-list undies on a date she thinks might end up with said undies being viewed, no self-respecting woman wants some stranger rifling through her luggage and getting a look at frayed laces or seams that aren't seemly.

And so, we went to Kohl's the night before the flight and purchased new bras and panties of a sufficient quality level to not feel ashamed at some stranger viewing them, although not the kind of lingerie one would wear on That Special Date (so not going to spend all that money on an eight-dollar-an-hour luggage-searcher).

The end result: This. (Click for larger image.)

TSA card

Toldja so.

We're fairly certain our luggage was searched on the way back, as well. The zippers were partly open, but there was no second card. On the other hand, we're onto the TSA, we are. Perhaps on our next trip, we'll see if we can't give them something to talk about. Like Donald Duck lingerie. We assume that exists somewhere. Not that we would ever wear it.

We're more of the Tigger variety, ourselves.

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Around the Middle East

This one gets an RTR (read the rest) rating: The Arabs are saying "Enough."

The recent protests in Cairo and Beirut have been organised with the chant of a new Arab movement kifaya, Arabic for enough.

The word, says the Egyptian democracy advocate and sociologist Dr Saad Al Din Ebrahim, is fast becoming a mantra for millions of Arabs wanting to seize their own destiny.

Certainly the slogan has surfaced in banners carried into those street demonstrations, but more important it has now found its way on television shows, read in opinion columns by Arab pundits and certainly advocated by millions of Arabs in the privacy of their homes from Casablanca to Riyadh.

Our friends, the Saudis. I mean, the British: Apparently, one third of the British arms export business is dedicated to selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. Good show, chaps! Arm the terrorists while they cut down your boys in Iraq.

How do you solve a problem like Hizbollah? They're doomed. They're not. They are. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Target and destroy Nasrallah first, and you've got yourself a headless serpent, I say.

A word of caution from Daniel Pipes: If you read this, you'll be wondering if we're just in the beginning of the next world war, after all. It's food for thought.

These developments find some neo-conservatives in a state of near-euphoria. Rich Lowry of the National Review calls them "a marvelous thing." Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post writes that "We are at the dawn of a glorious, delicate, revolutionary moment in the Middle East."

I too welcome these developments, but more warily. Having been trained in Middle Eastern history makes me perhaps more aware of what can go wrong.

Yes, Mahmoud Abbas wishes to end the armed struggle against Israel, but his call for a greater jihad against the "Zionist enemy" points to his intending another form of war to destroy Israel.

The Iraqi elections are bringing Ibrahim Jaafari, a pro-Iranian Islamist, to power.

Likewise, the Saudi elections proved a boon for the Islamist candidates.

Mubarak's promise is purely cosmetic; but should real presidential elections one day come to Egypt, Islamists will probably prevail there too.

Removing Syrian control in Lebanon could well lead to Hizbullah, a terrorist group, becoming the dominant power there.

Eliminating the hideous Assad dynasty could well bring in its wake an Islamist government in Damascus.

Note a pattern? Other than the sui generis Palestinian case, one main danger threatens to undo the good news: that a too-quick removal of tyranny unleashes Islamist ideologues and opens their way to power.

Yes, it's something to think about. But then, the winds of freedom are blowing, and we're just going to have to see what comes in on them.

And here we go again: The pals are already breaking their word and adding conditions to their peace efforts.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas yesterday said the Palestinians would only carry out security reforms if there is progress toward establishing a Palestinian state. Abbas was speaking to the Palestinian parliament before his meeting with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz at the Erez checkpoint.

"The security effort required of us will be partial and ineffective without political progress and negotiations to carry out the road map and begin the talks on the final status settlement," he said.

Abbas said these talks must be to "implement President George Bush's vision to end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem within the '67 borders."

"The Israeli delays in pulling out of West Bank cities are threatening our achievements so far and will provide excuses for those wishing to undermine the peace process," he said.

In other words, Israel, you do all the work, and then we'll think about stopping the murder. Oh, yeah, that'll work.

Look, it's Jew Cooties again: Once more, Israel is being told to shut its mouth, this time about Lebanon, for fear of offending the Arab world. I think I'll start a category for this when I move over to Wordpress. The name? Jew Cooties, of course.

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Go look here

Lair is extremely funny. Extremely. Don't be drinking for this one.

Omri has steam coming out of his ears. Well, okay, he doesn't, but he sure sounds like he should.

I'm working on another Best-of post. Here are a few of mine: Not enough Bills & memories of same

The Blogathon: Meryl in microcosm, Ice cube trays, Meet the Incredible Thulk, Hulk Edwards, The Fellowship of the Hulk

Fisking Nigerian spam, 2002 in a digest

Real-life humor

It's a dog's life, Sucky Movie Reviews, A literal pain in the ass

Juvenile Scorn

In which I am designated the Master of Juvenile Scorn™, The post that caused Tacitus to give me the title

My top ten of 2003 (whoops, only got to three so far)

Requiem for Columbia, Science dudes, watch out!, Karma

Need I say how far behind I am on that greatest hits update? I'll get on it. Someday.

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The Third Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day

Animated angry cowThe day that started as a reaction to one of the most offensive PETA ad campaigns ever is now an annual event (joined by many others). Why? Because there are still plenty of offensive PETA campaigns to get annoyed about, whether or not they're using Jews (and let's not even talk about their lies regarding the kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa). So, because we've had such a good time for the past two years, once again, I urge you all to have a fun, meat-filled day on March 15th, the official International Eat an Animal for PETA Day.

I fully expect to get the same nasty emails and comments I've been getting for the past two years, but hey, my fisking muscles are getting flabby. I need a workout.

The cow above, of course, is my favorite IEAPD gif, but if any of you choose to create a banner, feel free (make it small, no more than a couple hundred pixels wide, and fast-loading). I'll put it up here for downloading. So, who's with me? Put your URL in the comments, and I'll put up a list on March 15th, which is a week from today. And since the fifteenth is a weeknight, I'm urging my readers to consider also claiming dinner on Saturday the 19th as IEAPD dinner. Perhaps WR and I will go to the barbecue-your-own place again, though I'm leaning towards having him come to Richmond for dinner that night, and, oh yeah—any Richmond bloggers want to join us? Meryl-at-yourish-dot-com, fellow Richmonders. I like the Topeka Steakhouse myself. Or maybe Famous Dave's. Oooh, the choices....

Addendum: I don't believe I really need to add this, but I am utterly against cruelty to animals. This is not an endorsement of that in any way, shape or form, nor do any participants seem to be for that. What I am against are the lies, offensiveness, and shady methods that PETA uses as a matter of course.

Postscript: A fellow Richmonder is suggesting Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which is, indeed, a wonderful place. It's out of my budget at the moment. There are, however, Amazon and Paypal tipjars if you'd like to pony up a buck or two for my IEAPD fund.

Announcement: If we can't keep the comments civil, and frankly, stop exulting so much that you're making me want to eat vegetarian on the fifteenth, I will close these comments.

UPDATE: Keep an eye on the main page for the latest news.

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Today's moment of kitty zen

Actually, I find it a most un-zen picture, because I'm still extremely unhappy about the maiming of my beautiful Tig. But here he is with his half-healed ear slit.

Tig and his damaged ear

It looks like there's a chunk out of it, but there isn't. It's being pulled backwards by the scab. I have a cat who's going to have a backwards Scottish fold ear.


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The "pro-Syrian" rally

Are you old enough to remember the tactics of the Soviet Union? Because Hizbollah, its ideological stepchildren, are using them.

At least one opposition leader said the pro-Syrian government pressured people to turn out Tuesday and some reports said Syria bused in people from across the border.

And this "pro-Syrian" rally was completely arranged and manipulated by Hezbollah, who are, of course, the ones with the guns.

Organizers handed out Lebanese flags and directed the men and women to separate sections of the square. Loudspeakers blared militant songs urging resistance to foreign interference. Demonstrators held up pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and signs saying, "Syria & Lebanon brothers forever."

Looks like they're worried, though.

Black-clad Hezbollah guards handled security, lining the perimeter of the square and taking position on rooftops. Trained dogs sniffed for bombs.

By the way, is anyone else laughing at the unfettered irony of the protest?

The rally’s main slogan slams foreign intervention of Lebanon’s internal affairs.

Hello... Syria is foreign intervention, you morons.

Buses and cars ferried supporters of Hizbullah and its allies from across Lebanon. At the Riad al-Solh square itself, Hizbullah members set up loud speakers and putting up Lebanese flags and banners.

Bearded young men in black looked after security, searched streets and even drainage holes for suspect objects.

"Thank you, Syria's Assad," a large banner said. "No to foreign interference," another said.

Proving, once again, that the myth of the Arab nation lives on in the hearts of all terrorists.

It seems that there was no bloodshed. I suspect that's because the Lebanese protestors, who spontaneously got together and told Syria to get the hell out of their country, stayed home today, knowing full well what would happen with Hizbollah running security.

The rally is important. Its meanaing is clear: Hizbollah will not go quietly. But the real question is, how many of those forced to go to the rally today will fight for them?

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Home again, home again

Yes, I'm back. Yes, I'm still tired. I'm going to bed quite soon. Tomorrow, tales of the trip, including my brush with the TSA, being paged in San Diego airport, perhaps a bit more on the dinner with the Smashes, Van der Leun, and Secret Agent Man. Also, my digital camera is awaiting me at my apartment office, so I think there's a very high chance of your seeing Tig's damaged ear (looking worse, dammit).

But tomorrow is also a teaching day, and a recovery day.

By the way, my prediction: There will be bloodshed at this "protest" tomorrow. Let's see exactly how stupid Hizbullah can be. I'm betting very.

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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.