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Bush Neoconspiracy/Zionist Conspiracy/Tin Foil Hat Brigade moment

If this doesn't make you laugh, nothing will. First, put down your drink and stop eating your lunch. Now, read Dave's take. Then Judith's. Then Tim's. Here's Arthur's response. And the blogger that started this laff-fest, using the pseudonym—I kid you not—Gandhi. He's a very peaceful blogger, don't you think?

Um. I don't know if anyone else has used that word, but I think "Neoconspiracy" should enter the blogger lexicon. Judith is a part of it, of course. As am I. And all my named (and unnamed) co-conspirators. Yeah, probably you, too. All my readers except for the one in the back, with the shiny hat. Whoops, just scared him away.

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News of Jews

Oh, sure, Israel wants war: Mahmoud Abbas makes a bigger ass of himself every time he opens his mouth.

Although the Palestinians are committed to pledges made to Israel, the Jewish state has failed to deliver on promises to withdraw from Palestinian towns and release prisoners, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas says.

"It appears they (Israel) are the ones not interested in the calm, not us," he said. "This (calm) is something that helps us on all levels, even on the local level."

Sure, Israel wants her sons and daughters to die violently. Israel wants to bury her children before their time. Sure. Because, like, that's what everyone wants, isn't it? Oh, wait. No, that's what Muslim terrorists want. You know, the ones that live on your side of the fence?


Speaking of calm: Hezbollah is firing rockets at Israel again, and the AP says:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Hezbollah and Israeli forces exchanged barrages of shells and rockets across the Lebanese border Friday, and Israeli warplanes struck guerrilla positions in the heaviest clash in months between the two sides.

Really? They just started firing for no reason?

The exchange began when Hezbollah fighters fired a volley of shells and rockets at Israeli positions in the disputed border area of Chebaa Farms, witnesses said. Israeli forces retaliated with artillery fire against the apparent source of the fire in the Lebanese village of Kfar Chouba.

Uh-huh. So, Hezbollah fires—unprovoked—on Israel, and it's an "exchange of fire." Eff you, AP.

Reasons to be cheerful: This editorial in the Jerusalem Post should be read in full.

Ben-Gurion, whose original state contained a mere 600,000 Jews, would have hardly believed that in his own children's lives, this number would grow almost tenfold. He certainly would have been stunned to learn that Zion is only a few years from becoming home to the world's largest Jewish community, a status it has not had not since the Second Temple's destruction, but since the first destruction, nearly two-and-a-half millennia ago.

[...] Israel's per-capita income is higher than half the European Union's, and that the Jewish state has one of the world's most solid currencies and most envied technological industries.

Eshkol's successor, Golda Meir, who was Israel's first envoy to Moscow and as prime minister worked hard to lift the USSR's emigration ban, would have been thrilled to learn that not only the famous Prisoners of Zion on whose behalf she fought, but all of Soviet Jewry has been freed and largely arrived here.

Meir's successor, Menachem Begin, who struggled for the immigration of the Jews of Ethiopia and Syria, would have been overjoyed to learn of their full liberation, and arrival in the Jewish state.

Indeed, even Theodor Herzl, who in 1897 said the establishment of the Jewish state would be accomplished within 50 years at most, would have been dumbfounded to learn that, for now at least, and for the first time since antiquity, that with the exception of Iran, there no is longer a Jewish community anywhere in the world that is formally oppressed by its government.

Yes, there is a lot to celebrate. And it happened in only 57 years. Let's end this post on that cheerful note.

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What Israel gives the U.S.

Tired of hearing about Israel and the U.S. having a one-way relationship, with money going to Israel and nothing coming back but Arab hatred? Then read this.

Former Secretary of State and NATO forces commander Alexander Haig refuted this claim, saying he is pro-Israeli because Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.

[...] Every day, Israel relays to the U.S. lessons of battle and counter-terrorism, which reduce American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevent attacks on U.S. soil, upgrade American weapons, and contribute to the U.S. economy.

Senator Daniel Inouye recently argued Israeli information regarding Soviet arms saved the U.S. billions of dollars. The contribution made by Israeli intelligence to America is greater than that provided by all NATO countries combined, he said.

Meanwhile, the vice president of the company that produces the F16 fighter jets told me Israel is responsible for 600 improvements in the plane’s systems, modifications estimated to be worth billions of dollars, which spared dozens of research and development years.

Israel’s utilization of American arms guarantees our existence, but at the same time gives U.S. military industries a competitive edge compared to European industries, while also boosting American military production, producing American jobs, and improving America’s national security.

In 1982, Israel destroyed Soviet anti-aircraft batteries in Lebanon that were considered immune to American weapons. Israel promptly shared the operation’s lessons, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, changing entirely the global balance of power in the process and contributing to the Soviet Union’s eventual disintegration.

And then there's this act, which brought worldwide criticism on Israel, including from the United States:

In 1981, Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, providing the U.S. with the option of engaging in conventional wars with Iraq in 1991 and 2003 and preventing a possible nuclear war and a terrible price of thousands killed.

Looks like Israel was right after all, hm?

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Oh, go away

Hubris has a new song dedicated exclusively to Pat "I am not a Nazi apologist, Hitler was misunderstood" Buchanan. And there's a new Road House Revisited. (You know, that really was a stupid movie.) Don't miss the comments. They're as funny as the post.

I don't think Beautiful Atrocities likes Orlando Bloom. And there's a post about Hollywood writers filing a class-action suit against the studios, claiming age discrimination. I wish them luck. Too bad Hollywood actresses don't file suit as well. If I see one more decrepit aging male star getting a twentysomething hot chick, I will—I'll—uh, probably stop watching any male star over the age of fifty. Except for Sean Connery. That man always gets a bye. Always.

Chris Nolan notices that the Atlantic doesn't like girls. Via Glenn. Chris, the Atlantic isn't a women's magazine. Ergo, no or few women authors. You knew that, didn't you?

Pilot of Errant Plane Described As 'Swell': (That's a headline. I didn't write it.) Well, that's a relief. Swell, but stupid. Wow. Come to think of it, say the word "swell." Man, it's a stupid word. Look at how it's spelled. Weird. (I hate typing "weird." I usually have to retype it, what with it defying the i-before-e rule. Damned exceptions.)

Really glad I don't commute to New York anymore. My sister-in-law is probably not having a good day, unless she decided to telecommute. Hope she did. By the way, this will give "proof" to those morons out there who think Friday falling on the thirteenth of the month has something to do with bad luck, rather than the fact that Friday falls on the thirteenth of the month several times a year, due to that's the way our effing calendar works.

Ilyka says her blog sucks. Funny, for a post full of suckage, it's got some damned good stuff in it. And yes, I called my mother. Not only that, but the manager of her Post Office called her, too, because I sent her my Mother's Day card (which I made myself, by the way, and no, not with crayons and paste, but with Publisher and Fireworks) on Wednesday. It wasn't delivered until Tuesday. It should have been delivered no later than Saturday. Boy, was that guy mad, she said. I know what happened. Her regular carrier is out, and the part-time flexis can't handle the load without overtime. The Post Office won't pay them overtime, and if they finish their route late, they get in trouble. So they do what all part-time flexis (who generally have no benefits and get paid dirt) do: They deliver less mail, and hide what they don't deliver. I worked in the Post Office for a year and a half. I got to know it pretty well. They used to have a one-to-three management-to-staff ratio. That's why they're going broke. That, plus the fact that they can't fire incompetents. Boy, have I got stories about that.

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Thinks and links

Is there anybody out there? There are days when I wonder if anyone is reading my blog. Today is one of them.

Happy birthday, but not really late: I wished my brother a happy birthday via card and phone yesterday, but forgot to blog it. Hippo birdies 2 ewe, big brother.

I think it's really only one punk using the royal "we:" The writing style is too distinct throughout. Then again, every article in most magazines read the same. It can be done. Anyway, Instapunk has a great takedown of Pat "I am not a Jew-hater, I just hate neocons" Buchanan's latest column wherein he posits that if we had only not fought WWII, the world would have been a better place. Uh-huh.

Stephen Green has a takedown as well. Don't read the comments if you don't want the top of your head to blow off. Here there be Buchananites. Far too many morons can't understand why we call Buchanan a Hitler apologist. As for Steve's wondering why Worldnet Daily publishes crap like that: Well, Worldnet Daily publishes crap.

Of course, you could read Instapunk's novel idea on how to take academia back from the uber-lefties. By the way, Mr. Punk: Please give us the option of turning off the music . Or, well, dump the music. It slows down pageload and screws with some people's computers. Better still, make the option to have the music off and give us the opportunity to turn it on.

Tom's talking: Silent Running has a podcast. And Tom's doing his David Boreanaz impression, only without the hair. Hey. I wanna be a podcaster, too. And I finally figured out who to get for a partner. He's not a blogger, folks. He's one of my readers, and he lives in New York, and I used to work with him. Think I should email him and see what he thinks....

Simonworld: Lair's got so many gigs going, we don't know where to steer you. There's his parody news site. There's his regular site. (My current fave: Ask the cats.) And now there's Huffington is Full of Crap. It's an open mic for anyone who wants to make fun of Arianna Huffington's blog. (Nope, still no trackbacks or comments.)

Fellow bloggers, feel free to plug your own blogs in the comments to this post.

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Puppy Love

Puppy and fuzzy slipperI stand by my earlier statement: I will never get a puppy. Okay, so she's really cute and cuddly, and she's currently sitting in my lap. But she's bitten my feet, my shoulder, my hair, my hands, my leg, my arm, my computer mouse, the legs to the chair, and she is currently biting Heidi's Persian rug. (Excuse me, please.) She bit the computer cable. She tugged on my computer backpack. She tried to chew up a letter she grabbed off the couch, oh, and she tried to bite Sparty but he was having none of it. She chewed on the blanket and dog bed she was lying in.

I have so far eluded a puppy mess by wisely depositing the pup outdoors the second she awakens from her naps. She has rewarded me by enthusiastically doing her business, then trying to gnaw on saplings. She just climbed in my lap and is trying to bite my feet again. Those are needle-sharp teeth, and a quick look underneath reveals she has my mouse cord. Sigh.

This dog is a biting machine. I have been giving her dog chew toys with a fair amount of success. It's the baby attention span that is my downfall. I think her brain probably works something like this:

Ooh, neat rope and ball to chew on. Wait! Fuzzy slipper! Must kill! No, look! Another rope on bigger ball. Wait! Human foot is moving! Toes! Yes! Score!

Or something like that. We have successfully distracted puppy with ball and rope—oh. She's in my lap again. There goes the mouse cord again. Yes, there you have it. Trying to write a post while sitting on the floor with a puppy, who is now chewing on a wooden chair leg and hiccuping. Time for a rope toy distraction, and the end to the post.

I have put the puppy to bed in her little gated-off area. I expect her to fall alseep fairly soon. I'm about done pup-sitting.

And I still miss Worf.

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What truce? Let's see... palestinians fire at the IDF in Gaza and Nablus. A palestinian boy was caught trying to cross a checkpoint with a handgun in a sack of cucumbers. Oh, that truce.

Reaping what they sow: Check out the security arrangements for the Brazil summit:

With 9,000 soldiers posted around the Brazilian capital and military helicopters buzzing overhead, 15 heads of state and top officials from 34 South American, Middle Eastern and North African nations converged for the first Summit of South American-Arab Countries.

[...] The summit drew the biggest show of security in the Brazilian capital since Silva was sworn into office 2 years ago.

Two Army tanks were parked in front of the convention center, and soldiers with automatic weapons patrolled in jeeps, trucks and on horseback.

Police confiscated four pistols from security guards protecting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani because they had not filed the proper paperwork to carry weapons.

Public servants got the day off, so the city looked like a ghost town.

Wow, sucks to have to worry about terrorism disrupting an important conference, doesn't it?

What kind of belief in democracy is this, Abu Mazen? Yesterday, Mahmoud Abbas questioned Israel's "belief in democracy" for saying that they would not deal with Hamas terrorists if they won PA elections. Today, the PA says they should postpone elections because Hamas might win. Is that the sound of high-pocrisy I hear?

The call for a delay came from Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. It was the strongest indication yet that Abbas might postpone the election, despite a promise to Hamas to hold the vote on time. Fatah activists have warned Abbas the party is headed for defeat if it goes to elections in July.

Whoops! Caught with your pants down there, eh, Abu?

Abdel Rahim told the Al Quds daily in an interview published Thursday that for now, no decision has been made to postpone the vote, but that there are "Legal, political and national reasons" to do so.

He noted that the Palestinian parliament, controlled by Fatah, has not yet passed a new election law it has been debating for several months. "That makes it difficult to conduct elections on time," he said.

Good work! Preparing the ground to postpone elections. Five'll getcha ten that Jimmy Carter will still call them "free, fair, and democratic" no matter what you do.

Say. I'm starting to questions Mahmoud Abbas's belief in democracy. No, wait. I never believed in it in the first place.

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A late morning

I'm heading over to Small Town South of Richmond to dogsit. Heidi is chaperoning a class trip for her daughter, and G. is out of town today, so I get to feed the dogs and try to stop the puppy from peeing on the floor.

Ha. Like that's going to happen.

However, I'm bringing my laptop. Posts will follow soon.

Update: Note to self—never, ever, ever get a puppy. Young adult dog, at the least.

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Co-opting more Israeli symbolism

The propaganda war against Israel, which the PA has been waging for decades, consists party of trying to co-opt Israel's own symbols and warp them to seem like they should be the palestinian symbols, too. For instance, Israel has the Law of Return, which allows any Jew, from anywhere in the world, to claim Israeli citizenship. The PA corrupted that into their "right of return," which they insist is part of any final agreement with Israel. That so-called "right" is a bastardization of the Law of Return. It says that all palestinians and their descendants have the right to settle in the towns in which they (or their grandparents, or great-grandparents) were born.

On Yom Hazikaron, the day in which Israel honors her soldiers who fell in wars, Israel sounds a siren at eleven o'clock in the morning. It lasts for three minutes, and the entire state of Israel falls silent, except for the siren.

Imshin (who has a new blog address) wrote an excellent description of the day two years ago.

And at one minute to eleven everyone is in place, each standing by the grave of a loved one. A hush falls. Any moment now it will start, the three-minute siren that opens the ceremony, the memorial service. For these are the families and close friends of the 21,540 fallen Israeli soldiers and members of the Israeli security forces. These are the people who pay the price.

Allison writes about it today:

So it's Memorial Day once more. The routine is pretty well-established in our town of Ra'anana -- the memorial ceremony at the military cemetery, everyone standing silently with bent heads as the siren sounds, listening to the sad songs on the radio that are so familiar that they almost feel like a form of prayer.

Hearing these songs are extra sad this year since so many of them were written by Naomi Shemer and Ehud Manor, both of whom passed away this year.

What really touches me is seeing the schoolchildren heading off to school in the morning -- first graders and high school students all wearing white shirts.

They will all attend solemn ceremonies in their school, memorializing the graduates of the school who fell in service of the country or as victims of terrorist attacks. The loss feels so real, so tangible, when you see the teachers mourning the soldiers as children who look just like yours do now.

That brings it all close to home.

So why am I mentioning the PA corrupting Israeli symbolism?

Because of this:

The Palestinians are planning to mark Israel's Independence Day by sounding a siren as an expression of mourning. The siren will be sounded throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip at noon on Sunday, and Palestinians have been asked to stand still for one minute to protest the establishment of Israel.

Make no mistake: It is a deliberate sign of disrespect. There is no way the PA doesn't know about the siren on Yom Hazikaron. From a correspondent who sent me a link to the above:

If, as they claim, they no longer oppose in principle the existence of the Israel -- but only Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza -- then why would they continue to mourn the establishment of the Jewish State?

Yes, there's that, too.

Zakariya al-Agha, head of the PLO's refugee department, confirmed on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority was planning to mark this year's "Nakba anniversary" by sounding a siren as Israel does to commemorate fallen soldiers and victims of the Holocaust. The PA has done this in some previous years.

Uh-huh. Say it with me, folks: Bastards.

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Thing feet vs. Hulk Hands

Let me say this briefly and, if I may, pithily: NFW. Hulk beats the Thing, every time. In fact, I have more than one of the comics in which Hulk kicked Thing's orange, rocky butt. Nearly killed him once or twice, as I recall.

Celestial Blue tipped me off to this article on Thing Feet. There are also Thing Hands, which I will not be getting. I couldn't wear a loser's hands. Hell, even the name is a loser name. Thing Feet. Feh. I told the Hulk about it. He was not happy:

Kids don't like stinky Thing Feet. What you do with feet? Step on bugs? That stupid. Hulk Hands great! Kids like to smash with Hulk Hands. Thing Hands weak. Hulk Hands smash Thing Hands! Hulk smash! Magazine writer lame. Hulk smash writer! Thing lose to Hulk every time. Girl has shown Hulk comic book. Had to read it out loud to Hulk. Hulk not good reader. Banner good reader, but puny Banner bother Hulk. Not want him to help Hulk read.

Where Thing? Hulk want to smash Thing Face with Hulk Hand. Makes nice crunch! sound.

Thanks, Blue.

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The "No Yanqis Allowed" Club: Not so clubby

Apparently, South Americans and Arab nations don't have that much in common besides a dislike for democracy, Israel, and the U.S.

BRASÍLIA, May 10 - Leaders of South America and the Arab world, two regions that have had relatively little contact with each other but have long chafed at American dominance, gathered here on Tuesday to meet for the first time and to air their list of grievances.

But the two blocs in attendance at the initial South American-Arab Nations Summit almost immediately voiced profoundly different priorities. In their opening speeches, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, focused their criticisms on Israel and the United States and called for greater solidarity with the Palestinians.

South American leaders, however, sought to keep the emphasis on economic issues. "Our great challenge is to design a new international economic and commercial geography," the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said in remarks inaugurating the event on Tuesday morning.

[...] Attendance fell short of Brazil's initial expectations, further depriving the event of some of its luster. While the majority of South America's 12 presidents are participating, only 7 of the 22 Arab nations that were invited are represented by heads of state or government.

Darn. And we thought they'd found some new best friends. Oh, well, it's back to the drawing board for the We Hate the U.S. Club (No Jews allowed!).

For some reason, I'm picturing Spanky and Alfalfa right about now. Oh, and laughing. Definitely laughing.

Then again, they are working on a statement condemning the U.S. for imposing sanctions on Syria and question Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands. (Hey, they won it fair and square in a war, what do you mean you question—oh, that's right. The pals are at that conference.)

The strongest summit ovation went to Hugo Chávez, Venezuela's leftwing president, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader. Mr Lula da Silva praised the Palestinian people for their “patience” in the Middle East peace process. Mr Amorim said the summit was not intended to be an anti-US forum.

Uh-huh. Head count, please:

But the summit lost some of its luster with the absence of some of the strongest voices in the Arab world, including the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. Even Lebanon's president was a no-show.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa had been hoping more leaders would attend, but said the presence of seven of the 22 Arab heads of state was a positive "gauge of the importance of the conference." Eight of the 12 South American leaders were participating.

Hm. Some articles say "21 Arab heads of state." I guess some news services still don't recognize the fictional country of palestine. Abu Mazen is there. Expect much Israel-bashing.

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This and that

Lefty button-pushers: When you dial the phone (and why do we say dial when nobody has a dial anymore?), do you use your left hand or your right hand to press the buttons? I'm a lefty phone-pusher. I blame my father. He was a lefty. He taught me how to play sports, so except for throwing righty, I do almost everything else lefty. I grip everything but a tennis racket with a lefty grip. And I have fairly good use of my left hand for everything but writing, and, well, if I had to, I'm sure I could learn to write lefty. I can't say I'm a true ambi, because I can't use either hand with equal effect. But I'm pretty good with a left hook when I need to be, too. (Dad taught me how to box when I was a child.)

Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee: They really do say that, don't they? I heard the birds singing yesterday, and one of them sounded like it was saying "Judy" something. I listened a little more closely, and realized yes, they really do sound like they're saying "chickadee."

Speaking of cat toys: Gracie almost caught a mouse yesterday. I didn't see a thing, but she went into stalking mode. There was a rustle in the grass, then the rustle bounded through the grass. I still saw nothing, but Gracie bounded after what I think was a mouse. It ran into the neighbor's air conditioning unit, reminding me that I heard something scraping around in it last year. I suspect there's a nest underneath it, and know it has at least one resident. For now. I can't believe it was wandering around in the grass where Gracie has been sleeping lately. You'd think the cat scent would scare it away.

Speaking of smells: Damned warm weather is renewing the rotting carcass problem in my walls. And speaking of that, I forgot that I wanted to take Drew's comment out and give it a room of its own. I'll have to remember to do that later. Meantime, if you didn't read the comments, you should read them now. They're pretty funny. Annoying, but funny.

Speaking of Gracie: Rahel found Gracie's Israeli cousin last week. They do look somewhat alike, but Gracie's cousin is obviously nowhere near as timid as Gracie. Also speaking of Gracie, she was out nearly the entire day yesterday, simply enjoying the weather. Tig went inside for naptime, but Gracie decided the sun was more fun than my bed. She's out on the patio now, enjoying the shade. Tig is in the sun. The one with the longer fur is in the hotter spot. Go figure.

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Time out for an important moment in soap operas

Okay, I watch One Life to Live because Another World went off the air and Days of Our Lives sucks. I'm also keeping up with All My Children and will, when forced, have to decide between the two of them. AMC was actually winning the contest, but then OLTL totally blew my mind yesterday.

There's been a murder storyline ongoing for a few months. Actually, there are two. A character was killed off some time ago, and of course, half the cast were suspect. We finally found out who the killer is, and the reason for the death. It's the District Attorney, who started out as a loudmouthed alcoholic who beat his wife (we think), and drove her away. They reformed the character, and made Nora fall for him. We love Nora. Nora is great. She's a fan fave, as they say. We do not like Daniel, mean ol' D.A. who, we all know, is also cheating on her—which is why he killed Paul Cramer in the first place. Paul caught Daniel and his Twinkie. But who was the Twinkie? We had no idea. Could it be Paige, the mysterious doctor that the writers have been unable to give a decent storyline since they hired her away from CBS? Would it be a character who would show up when they were about ready to blow the storyline open? Wait, there's an attractive blonde assistant to the governor, and Daniel was whispering to her last week. A-HA! It's her! SHE's the Twinkie.

Well, after Daniel (sigh) killed off poor Jen, another character brought in for the Jill Farren Phelps makeover (she does this on every soap opera; brings in her favorite actors from other soaps and forces them into major storyline, causing untold waves of old-time fan hatred) and therefore expendable, he went to see his Twinkie. At last, at last, we were going to get a visual!

AND IT'S A BOY! (All right, he's a college kid, but still—it's a BOY Twinkie, not a girl Twinkie.)

Hoo-wee, One Life To Live delivered One Major Worldview Shock to its loyal fanbase. I don't know that anybody thought this was going to happen.

Mind you, this is not a theme that is new to the soap. They pioneered a homosexual storyline years ago, featuring a Reverend falsely accused of having an affair with a teenaged boy. But I was shocked. Surprised, and quite pleased, actually. OLTL may get back into my Number One Soap graces again.

Can't wait to see what happens next. I'm wondering if I was wrong about the Killing Club Killer, too. I'm not sure it's Creepy Agent Hayes anymore.

Wow, a great moment in soaps, and a great Gilmore Girls episode last night. My soap opera addiction is satisfied for a while.

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British anti-Semitism alert

And they wonder why we think Brits hate the Jews. Remember Jenny Tonge? The MP who was fired for saying that if she were a palestinian, she might become a suicide bomber? Well, she's been nominated for the House of Lords. By the party leader who fired her last year. Politics make such strange bedfellows, eh?

So. Has Ms. Tonge changed her mind at all about becoming a suicide bomber, you think? Let's take a look at a speech she made last year.

After the Holocaust, the Allies bowed to Zionist pressure to give the Jews their Promised Land, in Israel. Tragically it meant that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes and many still remain in slum refugee camps.

[...] At the two extremes, the Zionists want a Greater Israel - the whole of Palestine - to prepare for the Armageddon and the coming of the Messiah, and the Fundamentalist Islamists want to drive the Israelis back into the sea to win back their land of Palestine.

[...] Israel has been occupying Palestine, illegally since 1967 war, - reason - for its own security.

Palestine land has been taken for new Israeli settlements and settlers roads which only they can use.

Water supplies have been channelled towards Israel, who now controls all water.

Palestine streams are polluted by sewage from settlements, Palestinians in Bethlehem when I was there in February were getting water through their taps once a week whilst all around them in the settlements which now surround Bethlehem, Israelis had sprinklers on their lawns.

Olive groves, orange and lemon groves have been destroyed, sometimes to build roads, sometimes for 'security' purposes - terrorists hide in olive trees apparently.

Farmers who manage to grow anything watch their produce rot at checkpoints or en route to the towns.

There are over 700 checkpoints in the Occupied Territories. I have waited between one hour and one day to get through.

[...] If Israel does withdraw from Gaza it will be surrounded by 1- 2 miles of waste land up to the Egyptian border, the sea - on which they can only fish up to 5 miles out incidentally, and the fortified Israeli border fence to the North East. All water is controlled by Israel, indeed wells have been dug on the Israeli side of the border to catch the water flowing towards Gaza.

The inhabitants of Gaza are in an open prison.

I'm thinking probably not. Then there is this offensive statement about how Israel was given to the Jews, made twice:

What I do know is that in the case of Palestinians, the only factor which would truly make a difference and which we can influence is to end the occupation of their land. Withdraw, Israel, to the pre-1967 boundaries given to you after the Holocaust. Then we can talk.

Once again, the palestinians have a homeland from which they were driven. The Jews were given Israel. Forget about all those millennia when Jews were actually living in their homeland. Jenny Tonge sure has.

There is also this letter to Jack Straw, with this charming excerpt:

At present the withdrawal from Gaza will leave an open prison to contain Palestinian's and the Israeli's will then concentrate on creating the 3 'Bantustans' in the West Bank and no doubt George Bush and the UK government will welcome that too and call it progress.

I am ashamed to be a citizen in a country which is so unquestioningly supporting the greatest damage to Arab-Western relations in my lifetime following the invasion of Iraq. A fair settlement for the Palestinians would demonstrate that we are prepared to act on behalf of Muslim-Arabs.

If the USA refuses to comply, let us persuade our European partners to help. If not, we can look forward to a generation of conflict and political violence.

This woman is going to be rewarded with a position in the House of Lords?

My money says yes. Any takers? You can put it in my Paypal account.

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Jews and numbers

The big news today is that the population of Israel's Jews has risen 850% since 1948 (hat tip: Rahel). There was an article out last week that I'm glad I didn't link to, because it claimed that Israel had surpassed the U.S. as the world center of Jewish population. It seems that Israel hasn't quite gotten that title yet, but I will be rooting for her to win it next year. It's amazing when you think about how long Jews have been fighting to reclaim their homeland, and of course, the world simply yawns. The palestinians lay claim to it in 1948 and again in 1967, and the world can't wait to get behind the Arabs and tell the Jews to get the hell out of "Palestine." Yeah, what-EVER.

Has anyone else noticed that the Jewish population of Arab and Muslim nations have gone down in proportion to Israel's Jewish population rising? I wonder where they got to? Say, where's the UNRWA for Jewish refugees?

I'm sorry, I know, I was being silly. Those Jews are now in Israel, of course. Mostly.

Do you know what else I wonder? If the world would stop murdering Jews, how big would the worldwide Jewish population be? Looks like Ariel Sharon engages in what-ifs, too. Some estimate the world Jewish population would be over 100 million.

I have always wondered what the world Jewish population would be if the Holocaust had never happened. I imagine our population would be more than doubled, what with the higher number of children per household seventy years ago. I think we lost far more than six million. I think about the numbers, and then I think about Jews like Albert Einstein, and wonder how much we lost in the arts and sciences. How many unknown Einsteins did Hitler murder? How many future Einsteins were never born?

The Nazis may well have destroyed the man or woman who would have found the cure for cancer.

Something to think about, in the days after Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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News Briefs

Once a terrorist, always a terrorist: Hizbullah says they'll probably discuss disarming after the Lebanon elections. On Israel?

Kassem said that even if all Arab countries, including Lebanon, signed a peace treaty with Israel, the group which was instrumental in ending Israel's 22-year occupation of southern Lebanon would never recognise the Jewish state.

"(Palestinian) land should return to its real people. We will say no to recognising Israel even if all the others did," he said. "So we in Hizbollah believe that keeping our weapons is a necessity now and in the future as long as the Israeli threat exists."

Yeah, that Israeli threat. Nothing at all like, say, the Hizbullah threat. And while we're at it, what time is it? Why, Israeli Double-Standard Time:

Hizbollah has rejected the U.N. resolution and said it would not implement it.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Friday that resolution 1559 did not apply to Hizbollah guerrillas but added that the group will be disarmed.

Just so I have this straight, when the UN issues non-binding resolutions regarding Israel, which Israel promptly ignores, she is said to be in defiance of UN resolutions. When the Security Council issues a binding resolution on Arab nations, which they promptly ignore, there is no such blame attached. So, Arabs are allowed to ignore the UN with impunity. But not Jews.

Found: Sharon's stones. Looks like Ariel Sharon has remembered that he was a general who fought terrorism, once.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday that Israel will not release any more Palestinian prisoners until the Palestinian Authority "fulfills its commitment to crack down on the terror organizations."

"We cannot approve any measures that ease the lives of Palestinians so long as they are not doing their part," said Sharon, during the weekly cabinet meeting.

[...] The issue was raised during the cabinet meeting by Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Dan Naveh (Likud).

"We must not release Palestinian prisoners as long [Palestinians] are firing mortar shells and shooting at Israeli civilians and Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] is doing nothing to stop it," said Netanyahu.

Well, it's worse than you think. check this out, kiddies: Hamas is poised to take over the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, in Gaza, Hamas - much more so than in the West Bank - appears to have fought, made sacrifices and won the Palestinians their victory in the form of the Israeli withdrawal from the Strip. Fatah and Palestinian Authority spokesmen in Gaza are not able to cope with the argument that during the entire period of the peace process and negotiations with Israel, they failed to do what the Hamas Qassams and mortars managed to do - force Ariel Sharon to retreat from Gaza.

The picture from the Israeli perspective could even be worse because Hamas is perceived in Gaza as being on the verge of receiving the Gaza Strip, without anything given to the retreating Israelis in return.

It is not just the Israeli perspective. That is also the Arab perspective, and my perspective, and the perspective of many others. That's what happens when you have a unilateral withdrawal from a war zone.

Officially, at least, there has been no change in the Hamas position. It does not recognize the State of Israel and supports the continuation of the armed struggle. Hamas publications continue to refer to Israel as the "Zionist entity" and to the "occupied territories of 1948." Palestine in its entirety is defined as belonging to the Waqf, and therefore no concessions are possible.

Yeah, and there won't be a change. Not unless their entire organization is utterly defeated. Not gonna happen.

The return of Russian anti-Israelism: Putin is making it pefectly clear that he's an old Soviet apparatchik who does not like the state of Israel. Or is he just a typical Russian anti-Semite? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Israel and Egypt in April, he offered to host a Middle East peace conference in Moscow and, in return, he offered the Arab/Islamic world several things. Putin made his bold offer even as he promised to support Egypt's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and while insisting that his country sell advanced missiles to Syria - missiles which Israel fears will alter the power balance in the region.1 He, in fact, came to Syria's defense, calling for conciliatory policies toward the regime in Damascus. Putin has also reasserted Russia's right to sell the Palestinians armored personnel carriers, while continuing to aid the nuclear development of Iran, particularly the Russian-built, 1,000-megawatt, Bushehr nuclear reactor - something which deeply concerns both the United States and Israel, which Iran has pledged to destroy.2 At the end of his visit to Israel, Putin placed some minimal caveats on his support for the Iranian nuclear program, insisting that Russia's "Iranian partners" put all their nuclear programs "under complete international control." But no cutback in Russian involvement in Iran's nuclear infrastructure was proposed.

[...] The real reason for Putin's visit and for Palestinian enthusiasm seems to be an attempt to restore previous Russian or Soviet policies. "The Soviets were always keen on the Middle East. The region was practically their backyard. Today the Russians, under Putin, are trying to regain their presence, if not influence, in the Middle East," said Reda Shehata, a former Egyptian ambassador to Russia.5 As one life-long student of Middle East politics wrote 30 years ago, "what the tsars seized, the commissars never gave up."6 Putin's visit was viewed as significant, as an official Egyptian newspaper noted, because it was the first visit of a Russian/Soviet head of state to Egypt since Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev attended the funeral of Gamal Abdel-Nasser in 1970.

Yeah, the Russians can't exile the Jews to the Pale of the Settlement any more. They have to do something.

Cynical? Me? Of course.

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Puppy picture

As promised:

The Great Dane pup at six and a half weeks

That's Wind Rider's leg she's standing next to. It will be interesting to get a picture in a year, when she's full grown and stands higher than WR.

Her name is—and don't blame me, I didn't name her—Tinkerbell. Be kind. An eleven-year-old girl named her. She wants to call her Tink. I say she should call her Bell. She's quite beautiful. The other side of her face is a black mask.

By the way, puppies that young are very cute, and extremely boring.

And there's still a Worf-sized hole in the house. Oh, well. It will fade, someday. I missed my original Tig awfully for months, even after I got Tig and Gracie.

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Sunday miscellany

May is torture for teachers: This is the time of year I hate the most during religious school. We have pretty much finished with our curriculum, the weather is gorgeous, the children want to be anywhere but in school, and "unruly" does not begin to describe their attitude. Oh. My. Gawd. Today was horrible. All but one of mine got snagged (by another teacher, not me) using the little kids' music books, and so I went and got them the ones they were supposed to use, the ones without the transliteration, and embarrassed them in front of all the older grades. And informed them later that they all lost a point except for the one who didn't use the wrong book. He earned three points for that. At least the rest of them didn't even try to pretend they took the wrong books by accident. Well, one did, but he always tries to excuse his bad actions. Never seems to work with me for some reason.

I have two more Tuesdays and one more Sunday to get through. I am so not looking forward to this.

Four of them have earned enough points to get either a ride in my Jeep or an hour or two of climbing with me. Two have said they want the Jeep ride. Two are in negative points right now, and will probably remain that way through the rest of the year. One has a chance to change his behavior and earn a prize that wasn't even supposed to be a prize. He saw a cap in my car when I stopped to get their snack (raisins) and asked if it was a prize. I told him if he wanted it to be, it could. Will this cause him to behave for the next three sessions? I'm not putting any money on it. But it'd be nice if that happened.

Thanks so much, Tig. I let Tig out. He eats grass. He comes back in. He throws up grass. Twice. I think I hate cats today, too.

More Gilmores! Yes, I broke down and got the second season on DVD (thanks, you-know-who). I'm only on disc two. Hey! There are deleted scenes, and I didn't even know it. Now I have to go back through all the episodes I already watched and watch the deleted scenes. Oh, and watch the Bangles episode from season one again. Not because it has anything to do with season two. Because it's my favorite episode.

Someone just shoot me. Shoot me now. There's an ice cream truck that comes regularly. It has the most horrific music I've ever heard on an ice cream truck. It plays a horrible version of "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain." It has hands clapping and whistles blowing and someone saying "Hello!" in a horridly cheerful voice. Over and over and over and over again.

Is it against the law to kill an ice cream truck's speakers?

First it's woodpeckers, then ants. What next? Wasps. There is a wasp building a nest and laying eggs in the exaust vent to my stove. I called maintenance and left a message. Shall we start a pool on when someone comes over to get rid of it? I'm still waiting on the exterminator to show up and check my attic for dead squirrel. He was supposed to be here last Monday.

Oh, God, it's back again: I'm off to kill the ice cream man. Someone give me an alibi. Okay, probably won't work if I post this. Well, if I need the bail money, you can put it in my paypal account.

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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.