Are they or aren't they? Okay, so is Syria
ignoring U.S. demands on terrorism, or are they acceding to them? Only
the Dorktator knows for sure. He
KUWAIT CITY -- Syria has ignored U.S. demands to stop
foreign fighters from crossing the border into Iraq and "terrorists"
operating from Syrian territory, a top U.S. commander said.
"We have provided Syrians with very specific information
and asked them to help in securing the Iraq-Syrian borders to stop foreign
fighters from crossing into Iraq," Gen. John Abizaid, commander
of the U.S. forces in the Gulf, was quoted as telling Arabic-language
Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam.
"More importantly, we asked them to cooperate
with us in chasing terrorists operating out of Syria, in addition to
Iraqi Baathists present in Syria who are trying to organize military
operations inside Iraq.
"We have been very specific and clear in our demands.
Unfortunately, all these demands fell on Syrian deaf ears, and they
did not respond to any of it."
RIYADH (Reuters) - Syrian authorities are holding
137 Saudi nationals suspected of trying to cross into Iraq, where militants
have been waging a two-year insurgency since the U.S. invasion, the
Saudi newspaper Al-Watan said on Thursday.
Citing unnamed sources it said the detainees included
62 in the Syrian city of Deir al-Zour and 25 in the town of Albukmal
-- both near the Iraqi border -- as well as others held in jails run
by security forces.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Thursday renewed economic
sanctions on Syria implemented a year ago, saying its government still
supports terrorism and is undermining efforts to stabilize Iraq.
I think I'm gonna go with what he said.
Quick! Call the United Nations and Human Rights
were deliberately targeted in the Gaza Strip. Think the international
tut-tutters will be outraged?
Nah. It was only Jews being targeted. The world yawns.
Palestinians on Friday morning fired an anti-tank rocket
on Friday morning at school bus carrying children outside the southern
Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar Darom, shaking the fragile lull in violence.
The rocket failed to hit the bus.
Global anti-Semitic attacks hit a
15-year high: Way to go, France, Britain, Canada, and Russia!
That'll show the world how much you love the Jews.
TEL AVIV - The year 2004 was marked by a drastic increase
in anti-Semitic incidents, a Tel Aviv university study revealed on Wednesday,
saying the number of violent incidents last year marked the highest
recorded since 1989.
Anti-Semitic violence had risen by dozens of percent,
especially in physical assaults, the report said. The highest number
of such incidents was recorded in France, Britain, Canada and Russia,
mainly due to immigrant absorption problems, financial or social difficulties,
Physical attacks on Jews occurred mainly on streets
and in educational institutions. About 180 people, including children
and teenagers, reported such assaults, saying they were mainly attacked
But it isn't anti-Semitism. It's anti-Zionism.
Peta's non-apology apology, take two: I
think this is the full text in Israeli
Insider. I still haven't gotten to taking it apart myself. I will.
"Free and fair" elections: Surprise,
surprise. Fatah won.
Surprise, surprise. Fatah cheated.
Peta's non-apology apology
J. Smith pretty much sums up what I was going to say. Doesn't mean
I won't have my say later. I'm working on my piece, but I'd like to see
the email in full. If any of my readers have access to the unedited PETA
email, please forward a copy to me.
Yom HaShoah: Survivor stories
At Rahel's, the story of the
Menorah vs. the swastika
At Discarded Lies, two
stories, of two different survivors
Lair Simon has a
serious post that proves to the rest of the world what I already knew:
He's an excellent writer.
Put more in the comments and trackbacks, and I'll put them out in this
post. It's been a long day and was a short night last night.
Lost episode summary: The Greater
Once again, if you haven't seen the episode, don't read this. I don't
have a "more" prompt for spoiler warnings.
Announcer: Previously, on Lost. [Flashbacks to old
episodes. If you didn't see them, or don't remember them, tough noogies
on you. I'm not wasting space telling you about them.]
[The Cave. Sayid looks sad. He watches Shannon, who
is looking sad. She's smoothing Boone's hair. Boone is looking dead.]
Sayyid: He was brave. He died like a true warrior.
Oh, wait. This isn't Lord of the Rings, even though I speak with a British
[Flashback: In which we learn more about the tough
Republican Guard who now acts like an Alan Alda Sensitive New Age Guy,
complete with girly-man hair]
Tough-looking CIA chick: I'm a tough-talking CIA chick, and you will
Sayid: Hey, you're not Lynndie England.
CIA chick: Do you want me to be Lynndie England?
Australian Fed: Hey! Hey! Standing right he-eere!
CIA chick: Tell him, Ozzie. I love that accent.
Australian Fed: We lost 300 pounds of C4. We want you to get it back.
Sayid: Hey, I'm a former Iraqi Republican Guard, interrogator and torturer.
I'm not a terrorist.
CIA chick: No, but your former college roommate is. Oh, and remember
that chick you let out of Saddam Hussein's prison? We know where she
Sayid: Hassan! My old buddy! Where is he, can't wait to catch up on
old times! There was this one kegger....
[Back on the island. SuperKate is tracking Jack, who
is leaving pefectly cut shreds of clothing on leaves.]
Jack: Kate, what are you doing out here?
Kate: They've turned me into a really annoying Earth-mother type who
can't seem to do wrong, who looks pensive and sad when the music is
dramatic, and by the way, um, they want me in as many scenes as possible.
Shannon may be cute, but I am H-O-T.
Jack: Go away, girl, you bother me. And I don't mean in that way.
Audience: WE DO!
Kate: You're walking in circles.
Jack: Look! Wabbit twacks!
Kate: Jack, you're the unelected leader of the island, and the extras
are all walking around aimlessly looking frightened. We need you to
come back so they can stand around and smile instead.
[On the beach: Hurley, the man most likely to die of
a heart attack from strenuous activity, lowers the bier with Boone on
it. Boone still looks dead. Everyone else looks sad. Sayid looks at
Shannon, a heartbroken expression on his face. This guy is the Wussiest.
Republican Guard. Ever.]
Jack: Shannon, you wanna say something?
Shannon: You mean, I wish I'd done him one more time before he died?
Sayid: Boone was brave. Blahblahblahblahblah.
Locke: It was my fault! My fault! And for some reason, I can't open
my right eye in the sun.
Jack: Nice Popeye impression. Now watch me do Bluto. Where were you!?
[Attacks Locke. Gets pulled off by regulars in spite of the fact that
three seconds ago he was gasping for breath at the effort of carrying
half the Boone bier.] WHERE WERE YOU! [The effort causes him to collapse.]
Sayid: What do you mean?
Jack: Boone said something about the hatch.
Sayid: Richard Hatch? Wrong island. That was those other survivors.
You need to get some sleep.
Sayid: Because it's time for another flashback to show everyone what
a good Iraqi I really am, in spite of the fact that I was in the Iraqi
[Flashback: A mosque, where Hassan finds his old college
buddy. Then a house full of Iraqi men in Sydney. If you watch 24, you've
seen this scene fifty times so far this season. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's
going to join the terrorists and turn them in when he finds the C4.
We'll stipulate as to the facts, let's move this trial along.
Charlie: Claire, get some rest. You just had a baby.
Sun: Get some rest, you just had a baby.
Claire: I just had a baby, I'm not tired.
All the mothers in the Audience: BULLSHIT!
Charlie: I'll take care of Turniphead.
Claire: Listen, Charlie, some of us who saw you in Lord of the Rings
remember that you could park an umbrella in the cleft in your chin.
I wouldn't be making fun of my baby if I were you. Just for that, you
can babysit him.
Locke: I'm really sorry. Here's Boone's things. I didn't mean for him
to die. Please don't hate me. Oh, and whatever you do, don't try to
kill me at the end of the episode, because, well, I'm Locke. I can't
[Other side of beach]
Shannon: You asked if you could do anything for me.
Sayid: Sex? You want sex? No problem!
Shannon: John Locke killed my brother. Will you do something about that?
Sayid: So, you're saying no sex?
Shannon: Not 'til you kill Locke.
[Shelter on the beach]
Kate: Jack, eat all your vegetables or you can't
Jack: Have sex? Are we talking sex? All right!
Kate: No, you can't pass out. I drugged your soup with sleeping pills.
Jack: Smart move. How do you know I'm not allergic to them and might
Kate: Because besides everything else, I can now dispense medicine.
After all, I helped Claire give birth last week. Say, what was up with
that b.s. you gave Charlie and Jin about not doing anything while
Jack: [Passes out]
Kate: Just like a man. Two minutes and he's snoring.
[The cave. Locke is washing out his blood-covered shirt.]
Sayid: Dude, cold water alone isn't going to do the job. Too bad we
don't have any of the Oxy stuff. Oh, and you might have wanted to try
washing out the blood before it coagulated.
Locke: But it made me look more creepy. It scared the kid away, did
Sayid: I'm going to make stupid small talk and then give you a phony
story about the radio so I can lead you away from the others and make
the audience think I'm going to kill you.
Locke: Okay. Let's go, former Republican Guard Torturer.
Sayid: I was a communications officer.
Locke: Uh-huh. Look, I'm not nearly as dumb as you think I am, but the
audience is. And I don't care how pretty your eyes are, all the geeks
out there want me to stay alive. I'm safe. How about you, Mr. I-don't-torture-people-anymore,
[Flashback: Hassan's going to be the martyr, he's going
to blow up some unnamed target in Sydney, Sayid gets bent out of shape
and tries to get mean CIA chick to stop being mean. Doesn't happen.]
[The island. Charlie is a lousy babysitter. Can't get
baby to stop crying. Hurley does lousy James Brown imitation. Audience
starts crying. So does baby.]
Locke: Why don't you trust me, Sayid?
Sayid: Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Audience: Oh, like we didn't see that joke coming.
Locke: Time for true confessions. I stopped the transceiver operation
by hitting you on the head and trashing your invention.
Locke: Because your eyes are prettier than mine.
[Sayid grabs Locke, pulls out gun]
Sayid: Now you've done it!
Locke: Just kidding. I did it because we were heading into danger. It
was for the greater good. (See, that's three times we can use this phrase
during the episode.)
[Flashback: blahblahblah, blah, Sayid and Hassan discuss
the upcoming explosion, Sayid talks an uncertain Hassan into it. Hassan
asks Sayid to do the operation with him. Oh, like we didn't see that
[On the beach]
Shannon: Looking at picture of Shannon and Boone.
Audience: Ew! Ew! Stop reminding us! Ew!
Sayid: I talked to Locke. I think it really was an accident.
Shannon: I don't care. My name is Shannon. He killed my brother; prepare
Shannon: God, don't you know any American pop culture? Princess
Bride? Hello? Well, the hell with you. You just don't get it! [runs
Sayid: Well, I get that I didn't get it. But I didn't ask for it this
Audience: But you were thinking it!
Walt: Dad, what happens if the raft tips over?
Michael: It won't.
Walt: What if a shark attacks?
Michael: If you don't read any comic books about sharks, we won't have
one. Man, what was up with you and that polar bear comic?
Charlie: Anyone seen Sun? I suck at babysitting.
Sawyer: Yeah, we can hear. Shut that annoying brat up!
Annoying brat: [Shuts up]
Charlie: Hey, check it out. How's this for irony? Every time Sawyer
talks, the baby shuts up.
Audience: On a scale of one to ten, it's a STOOOPID!
Sawyer: Ooh, that's harsh.
Baby: [Shuts up]
Kate: Wake up, sleepyhead. Time for me to play Earth Mother again.
Jack: Hey! My key to the guncase is gone! Locke wants the guns!
Kate: Are you saying Locke opened the lock?
Kate: I don't think it was Locke. I didn't see him around all day.
Jack: Was too!
Kate: Was not!
Jack: Was too!
Sayid: Was not.
[Cut to: Shannon, in the rain, in the forest, in the gun case, in very
Audience: Oh, yeah!
[Flashback: blahblahblah, blah, Sayid and Hassan get
into the truck, Sayid tells Hassan to get out and run, in ten minutes
he's going to call the Feds. Sayid conveniently overlooks the fact that
Hassan has a gun. Audience still can't figure out why he shoots himself
instead of Sayid, decides to write it off to lousy writing.]
[The forest. Sayid, Kate, and Jack running; Jack falls,
what with having lost several pints of blood, being given sleeping pills,
and being exceptionally whiny and annoying in this episode, for which
reason we are glad he gets left behind.]
Locke [held at gunpoint by Shannon]: She doesn't believe
Sayid: Gee, I wonder why not.
Locke: Sarcasm definitely out of place here, she's got a gun pointed
at my chest.
Sayid: Sarcasm totally in place here; you're not gonna die, it's not
the season finale.
Locke: Hey! Am I gonna die in the finale? Did you see the script? I
gotta call my agent!
Shannon: Hello, I'm right he-eeere, and I'm going to shoot you both
if you don't pay attention to me in my wet clothes.
Kate: And me! Don't forget about me!
Shannon: Oh, shut up, Thong Girl. I haven't had a chance so show off
much at all yet.
Kate: Two words, Blondie: Sun. Bathing.
Sayid: Don't kill him. You can't kill him. If you kill him, we'll never
find out where the hatch is, and what we're supposed to do with it.
I mean, what if it's the hatch to the Nautilus? Captain Nemo could be
on this friggin' island, for all we know.
Shannon: James Mason is dead, dufus. And I'm going to make Locke dead.
Sayid: You never fired a gun before.
Shannon [Fires gun near Sayid]: Now I have.
[Sayid jumps, Shannon fires, Locke is grazed in the head by the bullet,
Shannon screams, Sayid apologizes, Shannon runs off, Locke and Jack
glare at each other, Meryl gets really tired of describing this, oh,
thank goodness, cut to commercial.]
Sawyer reading an automotive magazine to baby. Audience falls asleep.
Claire joins them, presumably falls asleep as well.
[The beach, that night. Sayid, looking pensive, stares
at Shannon. Kate, looking all-knowing, looks at Sayid.]
Kate: She just needs time.
Sayid: Man, you are getting so unbelievably annoying, will you back
Kate: It's not my fault. I don't write this crap.
Sayid: Time won't make a difference. Perhaps I made a mistake.
Kate: You couldn't let her kill Locke. You had no choice.
Sayid: There's always a choice.
[Flashback: In Australia, Sayid is about to be put
on Oceanic Flight to Los Angeles the day before the castaways met. He
stays to claim and bury Hassan's body, switches his flight to the next
day. Get it? Choice! Choice! Oooh, irony. Deep.]
Locke: Thanks for saving my life.
Sayid: I did it for the greater good. Get it? Get it? Oooh, deep. Now.
Take me to the hatch.
Locke: Hatch? What hatch?
Sayid: Y'know, I still have your gun. I can give it to Shannon.
Locke: Right. Tomorrow morning, right after breakfast?
Sayid: Seeya then.
New title time: I got tired of using "Things"
as a title.
It's Twinsday: The Lost episode summary
will be delayed until later this afternoon. I blame Lynn.
She kept me on the phone while I should have been writing the summary.
In the meantime, be sure you're all caught up by reading the last
Gotta go! Sorry, folks, I'll be back this
afternoon with parodies and PETA and maybe Protestants.
More on PsychoGranny
Madelyn M. takes issue with my statement that Selma isn't a Jewish name.
My mom Selma (Zelda in Yiddish), the 84 year old Jewish
lady who was born in the Bronx, and whose parents, Orthodox Jews, came
from Europe is the real thing. Her grandchildren can vouch for the fact
That she is a typical Jewish grandma who has spoiled them from birth
I personally know a few other "Selma's" (two
more just from my synagogue in Yonkers). The name was popular with Jewish
families in the 1920's.
(P.S., Madelyn, easy on the caps key. You nearly blinded me.)
I stand corrected (many times) on the name, but Madelyn, I'm betting
your mom is not a psychogranny who tried to feed poisoned cake to the
neighborhood kids, and I'm also betting she didn't look at all creepy.
Just a hunch, because, well, you sure talk nice about her. And you're
still alive, which means she wasn't feeding you poisoned cake.
I certainly hope you're not trying to tell me your mother is the
model for the Manischewitz cake box.
I'm telling you, that "Grandma Selma" on the Manischewitz box
is not Jewish. She looks like she belongs in a Church social, not
playing Mah-jong with Sophie and Ida. Well, except I don't think most
Church socials have psychotic grandmothers, either.
Just the old Manischewitz boxes that are no longer on the market.
For good reason.
More on Yom HaShoah
Glick writes about the Day of Remembrance:
BUT AGAIN, the Holocaust, in and of itself, tells us
nothing about Jewish identity. It only tells us about the rest of the
world. The Jews of Europe did not decide to die. They neither seized
territory nor did they plant bombs in German cafes. The Holocaust was
a German initiative, carried out by Germans and millions of collaborators
from France to Greece to Poland to Lithuania. The decision to prevent
the Jews' escape from Europe to the Land of Israel belonged to Britain.
The group that really ought to be taking the Holocaust
to heart is not the Jews, but the Europeans who two generations ago
descended to the depths of human depravity by either conducting the
extermination of European Jewry or enabling it.
Sadly, Europe has avoided serious self-examination
and instead has turned the Holocaust into a fetish. Holocaust memorials
spring up like mushrooms after the rainfall throughout the continent.
But what do they signify? A sop to Holocaust-obsessed Jews, they are
used to teach Europeans that nationalism is bad. Speaking in 2000, German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said, "The core of the concept
of Europe after 1945 was and still is a rejection of the European balance
of power principle and the hegemonic ambitions of individual states."
But this has nothing to do with the causes for the
liquidation of European Jewry. It was not Polish or American nationalism
that led to the Holocaust. The balance of power between Britain and
France had nothing to do with the Holocaust. It was genocidal anti-Semitism,
nurtured by 2000 years of Christian mythology, embraced by a post-Nietzschean
Germany, and accepted relatively enthusiastically by the overwhelming
majority of the rest of Europe that caused the Holocaust.
Read it all.
I have a ten-page packet with the names of victims, their father's name
(if known), age, residence, country of birth, and place of death. Many
of the fields are blank. The names start with Gita Oksman, who died in
Pinsk, and end with Lev Orlov. I can't tell where he died. I don't know
the codes, and haven't the time to figure it out this evening.
Then I went to Yad Vashem's search engine, and decided to see if any
of my relatives were on it. There were no Yourishes, but there are ten
pages of Moreins, many of them from Riga, where my great-grandfather was
I have no idea how many family members I lost in the Holocaust. We never
discussed it, for some reason. We just assumed that all of our relatives
were killed. There were Reiders and Citrons and Sarnoffs and others whose
names I don't know.
Yesterday, during a class discussion, I asked my students if they knew
how many Jews there were in Poland in 1939. None of them guessed right,
and I told them two million. I was off by more than a million. It's estimated
that three million Polish Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Today,
there are only about 10,000
Jews in Poland.
Hitler did succeed in wiping out Judaism in Poland. For all intents and
purposes, that way of life is dead.
Gita Oksman was from Poland. Tonight, Gita, I remember you as we light
the candles, and say the Kaddish.
Other people's blogs
I haven't sent you over to Harrison's
lately. Read his story of the Great
Twinkie War, then just scroll down and read the rest. This
is another favorite of mine. I love the way Harrison tells a tail. Er,
For those of you who miss my Twinsday posts, Sarah
writes about all four of her kids on a regular basis. If you are wondering
why the site is called "Life at Full Volume," you have never
been around more than one child at a time.
Via Ilyka, an absolutely hilarious
example of Andrea Harris pointing out the
stupidity of the stupid. Spit-monitor warning.
Hubris is funny.
Really, really funny.
not all the time. But humor is subjective, right?Anyway, he's on my
links page now. So's Ace.
Whoops, sorry Mac: I had the wrong URL on my links page. Fixed
now. I see you're still nature-blogging. Snails
now, hm? And I see you're attempting virtual
driving lessons. Nice try, but there's no help any longer. Directional
signals are now optional, and road rage is all the rage. Then again, when
someone annoys me too much here in Richmond, I have a new description
of what I do: "Time to go all Jersey on them."
Trish Wilson on the
Wives Club. You know, a lot of people don't get how their actions
can return to bite them in the ass some day. Hey, I'm not paranoid. I'm
protecting my ass from getting bitten. She also writes about the failure
of the automatic
joint custody bill in California. I'm with Trish on this one. Children
cannot be divided as easily as a couple's assets, and shouldn't be. I
think King Solomon pointed that out, quite aptly, a long time ago.
Chris Nolan on what's
being saidand by whomon the "runaway bride"
nonsense. Repeat after me: Reasons to like Chris, 1, 2, 3. (Okay, really
dating myself there.)
Right, that's enough for now. Time to finish making my mother her Mother's
Day card, as I'm staying in Richmond this year.
A couple of years ago, Manischewitz
changed the packaging to many of their Passover products. This creepy-looking
lady was on the kosher-for-Passover cake boxes.
mother and I decided she was, in reality, a serial killer. We would turn
the boxes around so we wouldn't have to look at her. The label on her
head says "Grandma Selma's Best." The thing is, I don't know
any Jew who had a Grandma Selma. There are a whole lot of Grandma
Sylvias, and Grandma Roses, and a lot of other names, but I don't even
think Selma is a Jewish name. In fact, this website
says it's Scandinavian. And y'know, I'm sorry to say it, but Grandma Selma
doesn't even look Jewish.
I maintain that PsychoGranny there is feeding poisoned cake to the neighborhood
children, and if you look in her basement, well, the old ladies in Arsenic
and Old Lace got nuthin' on her.
Further proof of this: I brought the box over to Sarah's
(who kindly scanned the picture above). Her husband was away on a business
trip at the time. Sarah said when he got back, he saw the box, and said
to her, unprompted, "What's with the creepy grandma?" (or words
to that effect). He also pointed out that he didn't think Selma was a
I think it is obvious that I am not alone in my feelings toward PsychoGranny.
Manischewitz quickly changed the packaging back to pictures of cake, sans
serial-killer Grandma Selma. A search of their website brings up zero
results for Grandman Selma. And a Google search of the web also brings
up nothing (though give it a day or so, and this will likely be the number
one search result for Grandma Selma).
Let this be a lesson to you: You might want to have Jewish consultants
on any change of products marketed solely towards Jews. I'm just sayin'.
And if anyone sees Grandma Selma around: Run. Run for your life. She's
probably not even an old lady. It's probably a disguise. Look at how perfect
those teeth are. Run fast, and run far.
If you read nothing else about the Holocaust, read this
article. Bugmenot login: [email protected]
Bugmenot password: qwerty
Eugene Zinn was about an hour into a PBS Holocaust
documentary in January when he heard a familiar voice speaking his native
Eighty years old with his eyesight nearly gone, Zinn
pressed his face closer to the television screen in his West Hills den.
There, clad in an argyle sweater and walking around
the restored Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, was Otto Pressburger,
a man for whom Zinn had been searching for much of his life.
Zinn knew he needed to find Pressburger. He knew he
wouldn't rest until he did.
An astonishing story of survival, the horror of Auschwitz, and two men
who made a decent life for themselves after surviving three years
in the most notorious death camp of all.
Today's moment of kitty zen
Gracie, in yet another "Worship me" pose.
Thinking out loud
Y'know, I was looking at my week's posts from last year's anniversary.
Normally, I cringe and think, "Gawd, was I really that crappy a writer?"
and close the window. Or I see things that could be edited, though I don't
bother with year-old material. This year, I noticed something very different.
I was better a year ago.
I have a pretty good idea what has happened, and why, and I'm sorry,
but I'm not yet ready to share that information in public. In spite of
having a fairly open blog, I'm really a very private person. Picture this
blog as a window into my life. The shade is open about an inch. No, a
half-inch. And it's a second floor window.
The blog stats are reflecting this stagnation. I used to go up steadily
every month. It's funny, although I'm going up in links, I'm not going
up in traffic. It's been about the same for some time now. I know why
part of that is happening: I don't link nearly as much as I used to to
That's going to change. So is the subject matter here. More essays, less
cut-and-paste. More humor, hopefully. I've thought of a way to update
my Superhero Dating Ratings. And there will be another Lost
episode summary (late!) tomorrow night or early Thursday morning.
I'm taking part in the reading
the names of the six million, doing my part at my synagogue. But I
intend to write Lost summaries through the rest of the season. I found
it difficult to watch the reruns without thinking of how to write the
summaries, though. I may have to quit this for next season.
I'd like to be able to sit down and write about going to the Chili
Cook-Off on Saturday with my former teaching assistant and her brother.
I used to write essays like that. But I didn't. Far too often, I try to
write something, and it simply stops. You have no idea how painful that
is for me. A lot of people started blogging because they thought it was
a neat idea. I started to hone my writing skills. If you take away my
writing, you take away my soul.
My soul's been in trouble for the last few months. But it's getting better
every day, and will be back to normal in a few weeks. Of this I am sure.
So. Watch my dust, people. That's one of my all-time favorite phrases.
Tell me I can't do something? Watch my dust, I say. Tell me something
can't be done? Watch my dust. I led a student strike that shut
down the state college system of New Jersey in 1980 after a pompous Rutgers
student legislator told me I couldn't do anything to affect the state's
taking state college tuition money out of the colleges and into other
programs. I did not meekly obey the hospital suit telling me I couldn't
see my mother after she had collapsed with what we thought was a stroke,
because she said she didn't want us to see her that way. I raised a stink
until we got to my mother's room (she didn't really know what she had
said, as I suspected). Hell, I blackmailed a sixth-grader (when I was
in ninth) to make him stop picking on my younger brother after my brother
insisted he didn't need any help dealing with the kid. (Yeah, I'll write
about that some day.)
Watch my dust.
Happy anniversary to me
Today makes it seven years since I quit smoking.
Now if only I could get rid of the nonsmoking weight I picked up.
You know, I've even tossed around the idea of my going on a diet and
exercise program with the help of my readers. You folks pledge X dollars
for every pound I lose, and we contribute it to charities when I've reached
my goal. I don't think I'm going to do the Blogathon this year, and we
haven't contributed to the Dead Dictators Fund in a while.
So. How much am I worth per pound, eh? (Wow, this could be really humiliating.)
I'm not fat, exactly. I just weigh more than I'd like to, and would like
to get my flat stomach back again. I had it for most of my life. Admittedly,
I'll never see 112 again, and probably shouldn'tsmoking speeds up
your metabolism and suppresses appetite, so I was probably skinnier than
I should have been. But I'd like to get back to the low-to-mid 120s. Or
even to 120. That would be neat.
Turkey, Israel's new pal: So I get that
Erdogan is making some big strides toward relationships with Israel, especially
since Turkey is a Muslim state. And I get that he seems to be a great
friend of Israel. But there are a few things that bother
me about Erdogan.
Erdogan later laid a wreath at Israel's Holocaust memorial,
Yad Vashem, but in a break with protocol did not cover his head at the
Hall of Remembrance, where the ceremony took place.
Do you think he broke with protocol while visiting the palestinians?
I mean, you think he left his shoes on in the mosque or something?
Guarded by scores of Israeli and Palestinian security
officials, Turkey's prime minister on Monday visited the Al Aqsa Mosque,
Islam's third-holiest site and one of the most politically sensitive
areas in the region.
[...] In a gesture ahead of Erdogan's trip, Turkey
gave the Palestinian Authority deeds to lands and property in the West
Bank and Gaza it had acquired during the nearly 400-year rule here of
the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish daily Milliyet reported Sunday.
Turkey hopes the 140,000 pages of deeds, covering the
years 1500 to 1914, will help Palestinians defend their rights in local
and international courts, the paper said.
Israel demands terrorist disarms; AP disapproves:
Okay, it's not just the AP that disapproves. I'm sure a lot of people
out there are still rooting for Hamas.
Hamas must disarm before participating in Palestinian
parliament elections this summer, Israeli officials said Tuesday in
a new twist to their standoff with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
over his refusal to use force against militants.
Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon, said the steps Abbas has taken so far are not enough if the
Palestinians want to move forward with the "road map" peace
"We are not getting involved in Palestinian politics,
but we are saying that if Hamas participates in the elections and remains
an armed group then we won't be able to advance in the peace process,"
Gissin said. Palestinians cannot move toward democracy if they have
a group with a "private army" participating in elections,
The latest Israeli demand coincided with a spike in
violence that is straining a three-month-old cease-fire.
Abbas insists he will avoid a large-scale confrontation
with militants, but recently adopted a tougher approach, warning last
week he will use an "iron fist" against all those violating
Sharon and other Israeli leaders delivered their new
demand to disarm Hamas in recent meetings with visiting U.S. senators
Bill Frist and Joe Lieberman. Sharon also complained Abbas is strengthening
the militants by not confronting them.
Uh, hello, he is strengthening the terrorists by not confronting
them. They're still firing kassam
rockets and trying to set off suicide
By the way, the word "demand" was used five times in the article,
including the headline. Four of the uses were regarding Israel "demanding"
that Hamas disarm, and the fifth use was this:
Sami Abu Zukhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said his
group would not disarm and demanded Israel stay out of internal Palestinian
affairs such as the election.
"The Palestinian resistance rifles are legal but
the occupation and its rifles are illegal because they are occupiers
and invaders," Abu Zukhri said.
I demand you up and die already, Sami. You and the rest of your "resistance."
Speaking of the palestinian revolving-prison-door
policy: Oh, those terrorists that were caught
firing kassams the other day? They're out already.
The Palestinian Authority released from arrest on Monday
three Hamas militant group activists from the northern Gaza Strip suspected
of launching Qassam rockets, political sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday.
According to the sources the PA paraded the arrest
of the three militants as proof of its efforts to fight terrorism, and
the act was widely covered by international media. After Hamas threatened
violent action, however, the prisoners were quietly released, the sources
Lair calls it the catch-and-release
program. I think you can see why.
Late Monday, Palestinian security forces arrested a
member of a Hamas rocket squad, a first since the February truce. Two
other suspects got away. The detainee was released Tuesday, even though
police found a rocket launcher and two firearms in his possession. The
man was freed after intervention by Hamas and Egypt, a key sponsor of
the fragile truce.
And some wonder why Israel "demands" that Hamas disarm.
Lebanese to pals: Buh-bye! The Lebanese
don't want any
non-Lebanese militias in their country.
QUSSAYA, Lebanon (AFP) - Residents of eastern Lebanon
encouraged by the recent Syrian troop pullout from the country are calling
for an end to the presence of Damascus-backed Palestinian military positions
in the area.
Since Syria ended its 29-year military presence in
Lebanon on Tuesday, residents have been criticising the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) of Ahmad Jibril.
"We do not want Ahmad Jibril's men who have been
deployed here since the 1982 Israeli invasion to maintain their positions.
The Syrians are gone, they should do the same," said one resident,
Fouad Abu Farah.
They're not having any luck yet.
UN Security Council Resolution 1559, passed in September,
called for the end of foreign military presence in Lebanon, in a clear
message to Syria, and for the disarming of all militias there, in a
reference to the anti-Israeli Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and
numerous Palestinian factions.
But the PFLP-GC is the only Palestinian movement to
maintain important military positions outside the 12 Palestinian camps
in Lebanon. The group's bases have been struck by Israeli warplanes.
Toni Keddy, municipal council member in Qussaya, "it
is our right to ask for their departure, even if they never did any
harm to us. We want to regain and cultivate the lands that they have
confiscated from us."
Um. How is it those are "important" military positions? Important
to whom? No, there's no anti-Israel bias. Hello, Israel doesn't initiate
attacks. Let's ask the Lebanese what they think:
Toni Keddy, municipal council member in Qussaya, "it
is our right to ask for their departure, even if they never did any
harm to us. We want to regain and cultivate the lands that they have
confiscated from us."
[...] "We do not want foreigners, we only want
the Lebanese army," said Randa Sahli, a housewife in Ain Kfar Zabad
village where flags of Hezbollah and its Lebanese rival Amal movement
flutter over the houses.
"Armed Palestinians are not welcome," said
hairdresser Hassan Dghaidi, who has recently put up in his parlor the
portrait of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri who was assassinated
Funny, there's not a single quote from any palestinian spokesliar in
this article. Guess they have nothing to say.
Residents said that since Syria's pullout, the PFLP-GC
has reinforced its positions with artillery, rocket-launchers and armored
vehicles. The group has also opened a road leading across the borders
to Zabadani, inside Syria, they said.
Ah. That's why. Preparing to take over where the Syrians left off. Say
hello to the new Syrian sock puppets.
We have a longer memory than
Kofi Annan is approaching
Jewish groups, hoping they'll throw
him a lifeline as he drowns in the Oil-for-food scandal at the UN.
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on
Monday urged a delegation of Jewish leaders to promote his ambitious
bid to reform the United Nations, and reiterated his hope that Jews
would feel more comfortable with the world body.
Annan, who has made a priority of reaching out to Jews
during his tenure, sought again to distance the United Nations from
its checkered past regarding Israel and the Jews, which included an
infamous 1975 resolution that equated Zionism with racism.
I think this sleight of hand is not going to work very well. Let's take
a trip down memory lane to Durban,
South Africa, and the UN
Conference on racism in September 2001, which the AP article conveniently
does not mention. Anne Bayefsky
remembers a different UN atmosphere.
The World Conference Against Racism became a forum
for racism. Human rights was used not as a facilitator for communication
but as a weapon of political interests antithetical to human rights
protection. A large group of states sought to minimize or exclude references
to the Holocaust, redefine or ignore antisemitism, and isolate the state
of Israel from the global community as a racist practitioner of apartheid
and crimes against humanity. The vestiges of Jewish victimhood were
to be systematically removed by deleting the references to antisemitism
and the Holocaust, to be displaced by the Palestinian victim living
under racist, Nazi-like, oppression.
The hate literature distributed during the NGO conference
included caricatures of Jews with hooked noses, Palestinian blood on
their hands, surrounded by money, and Israelis wearing Nazi emblems.
At the Government Conference, there was daily distribution by NGO participants
of literature reading "Nazi-Israeli apartheid," while inside
the drafting committees, states such as Syria and Iran objected to the
inclusion of antisemitism or the Holocaust on the grounds that antisemitism
was a "complicated," "curious," and "bizarre"
concept, and reference to the Holocaust would be imbalanced or "favoritism."
Meanwhile, outside the conference hall, as one delegate
reported in the Los Angeles Times, he and other representatives of Jewish
groups were subjected to taunts and physical intimidation. At one point,
thousands of South African Muslim demonstrators marched bearing banners
proclaiming "Hitler should have finished the job."1
Kofi Annan, who was the Secretary General four years ago, did have something
to say. After the US and Israel withdrew from the conference in disgust,
he released this
The Secretary-General has been following closely developments
at the World Conference against Racism since he left Durban, South Africa,
on Saturday. He spoke to Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General of the
Conference, in the last few hours.
He expects that progress can be made as delegates strive
to harmonize their divergent positions in the search for a consensus
text to come out of the Conference.
He is disappointed at the decision by Israel and the
United States to withdraw their delegations from these intense negotiations,
which, he is convinced, with good will, can conclude successfully by
the end of this week.
It is tough going, but he urges all countries to stay
the course. The Conference cannot afford other defections.
He is disappointed by the actions of Israel and the US, but doesn't seem
to have an opinion on the reasons the two nations withdrew. Let us repeat
a part of the AP article:
Annan, who has made a priority of reaching out to Jews
during his tenure
With outreach like that, is it any wonder that Jews are uncomfortable
with the UN? Well, that, and that nasty little business of the resolution
that equated Zionism with racism. But let's let bygones be bygones, eh?
Here's what Kofi said this
I hope you will leave here emboldened by the
knowledge that the United Nations strives hard to be your friend and
ally in the struggle for peace, human dignity and justice for all.
Sure, but don't expect him to work too hard. But that's okay, because
look at all the outreach he's made lately to Jews:
Todays meeting builds on other efforts by Mr.
Annan to reach out to the Jewish community. In March during a visit
to Israel the Secretary-General participated in the opening of the new
Yad Vashem museum on the Holocaust. Before that in January the UN General
Assembly held a special session commemorating the liberation of the
Auschwitz concentration camp.
And in June 2004 the Secretary-General hosted a first-ever
UN conference on anti-Semitism, saying then he wanted Jews everywhere
to feel that the UN is their home too.
Notice that Kofi is perfectly at home memorializing dead Jews. It's working
with the living that he doesn't seem to have the hang of yet. Well, y'know,
it's a sharp learning curve. Okay, not really. I just made that up.
Rotting rodent carcass update: Well, the
is mostly gone. I've been sleeping in my own bed since Saturday, and the
cats are ecstatic. Threw off their routine big-time by closing off the
bedroom. But it's still hanging tough a bit. I'm so glad to report that
my apartment maintenance has done absolutely nothing about it, not even
sending someone over to see if there's a squirrel carcass in my attic.
Gee, you think they'll try to block the holes in the walls where the squirrels
are coming in?
How cool was that? Since my incident with
the lightning bolt, I bought an APC. The one I have has a half-hour battery
backup. I have my computer and printer plugged into the backup outlets.
The power just went out while I wanted to print something timely, and
I simply printed it, even without regular power.
I really love technology.
The invasion of the caterpillars: Apparently,
a tent caterpillar nest has hatched somewhere nearby, because I keep on
seeing them in twos and threes and fours. They keep crawling up my patio
door, which is distressing when I open the door and the frame seems to
be moving. It isn't; the caterpillars crawling up the doorframe were moving.
It took me a few days to figure out what they are, but Google pictures
is a wonderful thing. And now, they must die. I have destroyed every one
I've found today, and will continue the battle as they appear.
24: Like, this show used to be good, right?
Right? I mean, it sure looked like it was gonna be good this year, what
with the terrorism theme and all that. And what do we have? SuperTerrorist,
who can see cameras through heat vents, sense the Feds from a mile away,
down Air Force One, steal the football and a nuke, and stay one
step ahead of Jack "I really suck at catching this guy before episode
24 but then watch my dust, bay-bee!" Bauer. And while all this is
going on, during the space of one day, oh, yeah, it makes total sense
to me that a government employee would whine about his/her position or
salary while trying to stop the nation's nuclear power plants from melting
down and killing millions. Because I have worked for a government office,
and I know how little Federal employees care about us peons. Wow, I could
go on forever about this. I'd better stop.
Anti-Israel media bias watch
Let's take a look at the way various media portray the latest incident
involving terrorists, shall we?
(I really love the Post headline writers.)
Now, some thoughts. In the CNN
article, four paragraphs down, we find this:
Israeli security sources identified the Palestinian
killed as Shafik Adel Mustafa Aani, 38, a senior Islamic Jihad militant
who was involved in organizing a suicide bombing that killed five Israelis
at a nightclub in Tel Aviv Feb. 25. At least 49 Israelis were wounded
in the attack.
CNN calls him a "palestinian man" in the headline, yet buries
the fact that he was a terrorist responsible for the latest suicide bombing
in Israel. CNN is not concerned about that. However, they do seem a bit
perturbed about this:
The presence of the Israeli military near the West
Bank city is likely to cause some concern, as Tulkarem was one of three
cities returned to Palestinian control beginning in March.
Uh-huh. No problem with terrorists, but lots of problems with Israeli
soldiers trying to capture them. Oh, by the way, regarding the terrorist:
The sources said Palestinian security forces arrested
Aani after the suicide attack, but he escaped a week and a half ago.
That's the well-known open-door palestinian prison policy. CNN had all
the facts, and chose to ignore them in the headline and first three paragraphs.
It's pretty well-known in the news business that few people read past
the first two or three paragraphs. So the impression left here is that
the Israelis went in guns blazing again, killing those poor, innocent
An even worse case is the BBC
article. There is absolutely no mention of the IDF soldier who
was killed. This is as close to it as it comes:
The gunman was killed early on Monday in the village
of Sida, after an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers.
His name was Dan Talasnikov, he was 21 years old, and had a
very sweet smile. A terrorist killed him. And the BBC doesn't think
he's worth mentioning at all. I think we have more than an idea why the
British public is so anti-Israel, with exceptionally biased articles like
these on the BBC, the nation's major news outlet. The Scotsman and the
Guardian do their jobs as well (see headlines above). Reuters,
of all places, has an almost balanced headline and even a decent first
An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian militant linked
to a suicide bombing were killed in an army raid in the West Bank on
Monday, further straining an already tenuous ceasefire.
Its typical anti-Israel bias shows through in the rest of the article,
but stillthe lead is almost balanced. Well, except for the use of
the word "raid" twice.
Globe's headline is pathetic: "Israelis kill 1, make arrest in
West Bank." It's an AP story, and the fact that the person killed
was a terrorist is buried in the next-to-last paragraph.
And in a last note of bias: The photograph in the
AP story on My Way News is of the dead terrorist's family grieving
Tell me again, Eugene,
how I'm imagining the anti-Israel media bias.
Closing the net on Syria
Looks like W. is aiming
for the Dorktator:
The US will keep up pressure on Syria long after the
withdrawal of its forces from Lebanon, US officials say, outlining a
policy that analysts believe is aimed at destabilising the regime led
by President Bashar al-Assad.
Responding to last week's withdrawal, the Bush administration
alleged that not all Syrian intelligence forces had quit Lebanon. It
insisted that Syria keep out of Lebanon's elections this month and allow
the disbanding and disarming of militia forces in Lebanon.
For the moment the US has no plans to send its ambassador,
Margaret Scobey, back to Damascus. She was recalled in February after
the assassination in Beirut of Rafiq Hariri, the former prime minister.
She will return to Damascus when we feel it's useful for her to
return, a State Department spokesman said.
Officials point out that the US still has a long list
of grievances against Syria: its alleged development of chemical weapons
and possibly bioweapons; support for militant Palestinian groups; co-operation
with Iran in terrorism; its failure to stop Iraqi insurgents using the
country as a base; and the shelter it gives to Iraq's former ruling
Flynt Leverett, a former official in the first Bush
administration and author of Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial By Fire,
said President George W. Bush was moving away from a policy of engagement
that had never been properly formulated towards a policy that was basically
Yahya Sadowski, of the American University of Beirut,
said US policy could be described as constructive instability,
with the Bush administration believing in general that democracy could
emerge out of turmoil.
Works for me. Then again, Syria's not
quite finished being Syria yet:
The withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon is seen
by Israel as a first and important step, but behind the scenes Damascus
will continue to control intelligence, including within the Lebanese
The move will be completed when Hezbollah stops being
an armed militia, when its rockets in southern Lebanon, which are aimed
at Israel, are dismantled, and when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
in Lebanon also return home.
None of that has happened yet.
The Lebanese army is thoroughly infiltrated with Syrian
intelligence, which gives financial aid to many Lebanese officers. And
Syrian intelligence penetration of Hezbollah runs deep. Some of Hezbollah's
rocket array is manufactured in Syria and came its way after the Syrian
general staff decided to view Hezbollah as an organic part of its deployment
But the world pressure is
The US and France teamed up for a UN Security Council
resolution demanding that Syria pull out of Lebanon. They could also
block Syria's relations with the World Bank and other agencies at a
critical moment in its liberalisation efforts, notably in private banking
reform, Prof Sadowski said.
That resolution (in part):
The French draft, circulated in the Security Council
on Friday, proposes to "recognise that the parties concerned have
made significant and noticeable progress towards implementing some of
the provisions of Resolution 1559", which called for the withdrawal
of foreign forces from Lebanon.
Syria declared an end to its 29-year troop presence
in Lebanon on Tuesday.
The text proposes to "deplore the fact that there
has been no progress towards the disarmament of Lebanese and non-Lebanese
militia, and that the government of Lebanon still does not fully exert
control over all its territory."
There's a lot to be done, but yes, the net is closing.
A lazy Sunday afternoon
I think this picture says it all.
Last week's blogs are archived.
Looking for the Buffy
Blogburst Index? Here's Israel
vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
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.