Friday, August 05, 2005

A Day In The Life Of Semite1973

The alarm jolted me awake. As the fog of alcohol-induced sleep dissipated, I realized: “Wait a second—I never set the alarm clock in the first place.” Buzzzzzzz. Buzzzzz, buzz, buzz. Finally, I came to my senses completely. What I mistook for an alarm clock was my doorbell. And the only person who’d relentlessly ring my doorbell like that was my next door neighbor, Zoe.

I have friends of varying ages, but Zoe is definitely the youngest, coming in at four years old.

“Good morning, Zoe.”

“Good morning. My birthday party is today. Don’t forget to bring the blue drum.”



“Anything else?”

“Let’s plaaaaaaayyyyy.”

“Maybe later, I have a lot of work to do.” (Total lie).

“Mmm, okay.”

I stumbled back to the kitchen. To help get rid of my headache, I began guzzling water. Then I had a Clementine, coffee, and a bowl of cereal (Honey Bunches of Oates).

Later that day Zoe rang the bell about five more times. She was particularly persistent today. But every time I made an excuse as to why I couldn’t play. (some of the excuses were legitimate.)

I went to the gym and did cardio and sit-ups. Then I hung out with a friend in the pool and hot tub. It was my first time using the pool at the health club, but my friend had been urging me to pack my swimming trunks so that we could swim together. I hadn’t worn my swimming trunks all summer, and my friend gleefully pointed out that my trunks, which filled with water and expanded, made me look like I was wearing a too-too. Great. Maybe the Europeans are on to something with their speedo’s? Not.

By the time I got home I was tired. I had spent too much time in the hot tub, and it sapped my strength. I decided that I’d fall to sleep on the couch, despite Zoe’s “drum birthday party” that evening. I figured she’d be so involved with playing with all of her friends that she wouldn’t notice my absence. Besides, I had already given her a birthday gift.

I began to drift off into blissful sleep when—Buzzzz!. She didn’t bother to wait for me to answer the door, either; she just shouted through the screen: “Okay, it’s time for you to come to my birthday party!”

Guess there was no getting out of that one.

Anyway, it wasn’t so bad. There was an equal number of adults as children, some of whom were not parents either, so I could relate better. There were Coronas sitting on ice, sliced limes, and later my neighbor, who just returned from San Francisco, brought a bottle of absinthe. Absinthe? Isn’t that illegal? Yes, but here it was—a bottle of absinthe in my hands. I had only read about the stuff, but never tried it. Nor have I ever met anybody who tried it. Being the hedonist that I am, I was more than willing to try some of the hallucinogenic elixir of 1800’s France, or whatever. I wasn’t the only intrepid soul—it seemed most of the adult males at the party were eager to drink absinthe.

So, what was absinthe like, you may wonder? I’d like to know myself, because this stuff didn’t do anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Oh well.

I sauntered over to where some of the kids were swinging on a sturdy metal clothes line. I decided to try to impress them (and myself) and made a bet with Zoe’s older sister, Autumn, that I could do a pull up with her grabbing my waist, pulling us both up. I did it, and she was impressed, but the truth is this kid is skinnier than Olive Oil from Poppeye, so it was not a very impressive feat. Then she asked me to lift her up so she could grab the bar, and I did, and she began swinging like a monkey, which was impressive considering how skinny she is.

I noticed that my dog had wandered off, so I called him. He ran to me dutifully and sat next to me. I gave him an affectionate stroke along his back and he ran off to play with kids. My nose itched so I went to scratch it. Immediately I smelled the most rotten, most pungent, horrible odor I’ve ever smelled in my entire life. My first thought was that maybe my hand touched Autumn’s armpit, but then I realized that no child—no human—could ever have body odor like this. I decided to walk home (next door) and wash my hands. As I walked down my neighbor’s drive way I thought I smelled the same horrible, rancid Elephant-vagina odor.

Obie, my dog, followed me. As I crossed our lawn I saw my brother/roommate, who immediately mentioned that he thought he was smelling something horrible. I told my brother that the same smell was in our neighbor’s driveway, and that it was on my fingers and I had to wash them—pronto. Then I said, “Smell the dog.” He did and instantly wretched, nearly barfing.

Whatever this smell was, our dog reeked of it. Without a second’s hesitation we put a leash on him and dragged him into the bathtub. As I rinsed him, the smell became overwhelming. I couldn’t breath through my nose, lest I risk barfing all over the place. I squirted a generous amount of dog shampoo on him and went to work. Then I rinsed it out and smelled him. He still stank!

I shampooed him again. Rinsed. Then I used my own Paul Mitchell Shampoo (with awapuhi) on him and finally ran a bar of Lever 2000 soup all over his body until he was covered in suds. Then rinsed. We ushered him outside and let him dry off. About one hour ago my brother went outside to smell him, only to report back that he mostly smelled good, except for his neck.

We’re keeping him sequestered in the kitchen, where there is no furniture for him to lay on. Tomorrow we plan to rinse him with tomato juice. I feel bad for the little bugger; he doesn’t understand why we’re locking him in the kitchen and why we won’t let him come near us. He’ll get over it.

As for the smell, my guess and the guess of my neighbors is that some animal must have died and the smell is the smell of rotting, putrid flesh.

Well, time to go out and PARTY!

The Stark Contrasts

The Stark Contrasts
In light of the recent Jewish terrorist attack, Omri Ceren reminds about the stark contrasts between the two sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Hat tip: Charles at LGF

When a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs - and let's be clear, this one's a terrorist - Jews condemn him for it. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, Arabs celebrate.

When an Arab mob
savagely lynches a Jew for killing Arabs, the world yawns. When highly trained and disciplined Israeli operatives target a Palestinian terrorist who is literally in the act of terrorism, it's highly "controversial".

After a horrific terrorist attack committed by a Jew, it's just kind of expected that
Arabs will violently riot. When Arabs commit the most unthinkable crimes, bombing civilians and then the medical personnel who come to help them, Israelis are urged to consider the day after. Mired in their own victim-hood, Israeli Arab organizations are of course calling for a full strike. In far more serious situations - with civilian murders sanctioned at the highest Palestinian levels - Israelis were always urged to make one more painful concession for peace.

And of course, the biggest difference is that when a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs, Jews
call him a terrorist. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, he's something else.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Jewish Terrorist Murders Arabs

Shamefully, an extremist Israeli—AWOL from his army unit—murdered four Israeli-Arabs on a bus in what can only be described as an act of cowardly terrorism. The attack took place in Shafaram, northern Israel. Shafaram is an Israeli-Arab village with a population that is roughly half Muslim and half Druze, with a sprinkling of Christians. The Druze, incidentally, are loyal to the state and young Druze men serve in the Israeli Defense Forces in the same capacity as Jewish Israelis. But for 19 year-old Eden Tzuberi, none of that mattered—he just saw Arabs that he wanted to kill. Every group has its racists and extremists, Tzuberi was one of ours. So far, thankfully, it appears that he acted on his own and not as a part of a terrorist group or network.

Prime Minster Ariel Sharon has condemned this despicable assault in the strongest of terms:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a statement calling the attack "a criminal act of a bloodthirsty terrorist targeting innocent Israeli civilians." He said that he instructed security officials to make the investigation of the incident a top priority.

"This terrorist incident is a purposeful attempt to harm relations between Israeli citizens," Sharon said. "Terror of one citizen against others is the greatest danger to the future of Israel as a democracy. All of Israel, without regard to religion, race, or gender condemns this attack. The Israeli government is determined to defend its citizens of every sector."

While the authorities investigate the attack, we should all pray for the dead and wounded. We should also hope that Israeli-Arab political leaders and members of Knesset behave in a responsible manner and not use this horrible incident as an excuse to incite their constituents.

S. Koreans Clone, Eat Dog

South Korean Scientists Clone First Dog

“Dog eggs have been problematic because they are released from the ovary at an earlier, less mature stage than in other mammal. This time, the researchers collected more mature eggs from the donors' fallopian tubes… They implanted 1,095 cloned embryos into 123 dogs and just three pregnancies resulted. That's a cloning efficiency rate lower than experiments with cats and horses. One fetus miscarried and one puppy died of pneumonia 22 days after birth.”

Despite the difficulties, these dogged (pun intended—hee, hee!) and persistent attempts to clone a dog indicates that the Koreans must have found a particularly tasty pooch worth cloning!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The truth is, most Koreans do NOT eat dog. Dog eating is very rare. I ate at countless restaurants in Seoul, and I never saw dog on the menu. Based off of numerous conversations with Koreans, I learned that one has to seek out specific hole-in-the-wall type eateries if one has an insatiable craving for canine. Koreans do not eat dog steaks, or dog ribs, or dog burgers; rather, pieces of dog meat are served in a stew. Dog is eaten because of its supposed health benefits, like increased virility.

The fact is, a lot of Koreans own dogs as pets and I didn’t meet a single Korean who ate dog. I met a lot of Koreans who love dogs.

Sowell on Germans

Thomas Sowell’s amazing book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, includes an essay entitled "Germans and History," which I found to be particularly eye-opening. The essay set out to answer this question: Was there something about German history, about German culture, that predisposed them towards Nazism?

In the introduction to the essay Sowell wrote:

“Germans are an old people—their language is centuries older than English, French, Spanish, or Italian—but the history of a dozen years has cast a long shadow over thousands of years of their existence as a people. The rule of Hitler and the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 not only sealed the fate of the Germans of that generation, it has colored the way Germans have been seen since then, as well as the way previous history of Germans has been seen. German intellectual figures, social traditions, and political movements in centuries past that were once seen in the context of their own times are now often seen as precursors of Nazi totalitarianism or of the Holocaust. Was all German history leading up to Hitler? Or were the Nazi years simply a tragic aberration on a monumental scale?”

The essay is long and chock-full of interesting facts. Since I’m waiting for a piece of fish to defrost, I’ll transcribe the summary of the essay:

“The role of the Germans as bearers of more advanced skills to other countries in Europe and the Western Hemisphere has by no means endeared them to all these peoples. Farmers in Honduras complained about having to compete with German farmers there who worked too hard. Latvians and Czechs complained that to become educated, they had to learn the German language—this at a time when there was little serious literature in their own native languages. Russian farmers resented the greater success of German farmers there and the rise of Communism, with its theories of ‘exploitation,’ enabled them to unleash an orgy of violence and destruction on German farm communities. In short, productivity does not imply popularity, whether for Germans or any other race or class. The history of middleman minorities around the world underscores that point as well. Moreover, it is not usually the masses of the people who most resent the more productive people in their midst. More commonly, it is the intelligentsia, who may with sufficiently sustained effort spread their own resentments to others.

When considering the questions of the extent to which the Nazi era in Germany reflected the culture or history of Germans as a people, two very different questions must be distinguished from one another: (1) the culpability of that generation of Germans who enabled, abetted, or promoted the cause of the Nazis and its catastrophic human consequences, and (2) the extent to which the prior cultural, political, or social history of Germans as a people made Hitler and the Nazis inevitable, likely, or an aberration. The first question is harder to understand but the second question has wider and more enduring implications.

The issue is not whether there have been anti-Jewish individuals, institutions, writings, movements, or political parties in Germany—there were in fact all of these for centuries before the rise of the Nazis—but the ultimate question is: What was the net effect on the actual behavior of Germans toward Jews, not compared to an ideal, but compared to the behavior of others toward Jews or toward other minority groups around the world? Here the pre-Hitler behavior of Germans toward Jews compares favorably with that of most other peoples in most other places, not only in behavior toward Jews but toward minorities in general. This is no exoneration of anti-Semites, either before or after Hitler. Each generation and each individual bears the heavy burden of guilt for what they did—but not for what others did in other places and other times.

Hitler’s accession to power, followed by his coup of converting the constitutional power of a chancellor into the totalitarian dictatorship of a fuhrer, was of course made possible by the German voters who gave him a plurality in a democratic election in 1933, setting in motion this whole tragic chain of events. Yet the dictatorship, war, and Holocaust that we associate with the Nazis regime in retrospect was not on the ballot, or even on the horizon, of those who voted for Hitler in 1933. They were seeking a political savior in a chaotic and economically depressed time. The relative political apathy of Germans and their historic law-abiding habits enabled Hitler to seize far more power than he was elected to, with perhaps less resistance than such an action might have provoked in some other societies, and the German military tradition and military prowess made him more dangerous than he might have been as the leader of some other nations.

Looking back through German history, one can find examples of anti-Jewish words and actions by both elites and masses. Tragically, that does not distinguish Germans from Europeans in general—or from human beings in general, when it comes to vile or vicious things being said or done to any number of ethnic or other minorities in countries around the world. But the Holocaust was unique. The question then is whether there was anything correspondingly unique in the breadth or depth of German antipathies toward minorities in general, or Jews in particular, in their pre-Hitler history. No such uniqueness stands out prior to the era of Nazi rule, either in Germany itself or among German communities around the world.

The racial fanaticism of Hitler and the Nazi movement, which spread to the German generations of their day and led ultimately to the Holocaust, were not historically distinct characteristics of Germans as people. On the contrary, the rise of such a man as the leader of a people should serve as a permanent warning to all people everywhere who are charmed by charisma or aroused by rhetoric.”

The fish is not completely defrosted yet. To pass the time, I’ll include some interesting facts about Germans that I did not know until reading Sowell’s essay:

*Germans were the predominant population in many Eastern European cities during the Middle Ages. Slavs were dominant in the countryside.

*Ethnic Germans founded universities in Eastern Europe, and often dominated Eastern European learning institutions.

*Although Germans were only one percent of the population of the Russian Empire, in the 1880’s more than half of the Russian foreign ministry were German.

*Nearly all of the members of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences were German.

*Wherever Germans went, they were renowned as skilled craftsmen.

*Germans set up breweries as far away as Australia and China. Tsingtao beer of China was created by Germans living there.

*Germans pioneered and excelled in map-making, optical technology (Bausch and Lomb), and piano building.

One last fascinating quote:

“German American immigrant communities welcomed German Jewish immigrants as members of their Turnvereine, singing groups, and other cultural organizations. Nineteenth-century German Jews living in Chile and Czechoslovakia likewise took part in the general cultural life of German communities in those countries. Jewish views of pre-Hitler Germany were very favorable, not only in Germany itself but overseas. During the First World War, American Jewish publications were so favorably disposed toward Germany that they were investigated and prosecuted for favoring an enemy nation in wartime, leading to the famous ‘clear and present danger’ doctrine in favor of free speech by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in cases involving Jewish writers, Abrams v. United States and Schenk v. United States. Even some Zionists in Palestine returned to Germany during the first World War to fight for the Fatherland.”

More factoids:

*In many parts of the Western Hemisphere Germans spear-headed anti-slavery meetings.

*German research-oriented and doctorate-granting universities became the model for modern American universities.

*German farmers and craftsmen were often literate, even in places where the surrounding populations were not.

*In nineteenth-century America, one-third of all the physicians in New York were of German ancestry.

It cannot be denied—the Germans are a remarkable people. Read Sowell’s tirelessly footnoted book because the other essays are as equally eye-opening.


Wack English-Yo!

English: The Language of White "Oppressors": A Brooklyn College professor says Ebonics is superior to the tongue of White Devils.

Here we go again, more idiocy from our intellectuals…

Money quote:

Another theme animating Parmar's course is her aversion to the proper usage of English. To insist on grammatical English, Parmar believes, is to exhibit an intolerable form of cultural chauvinism—a point reinforced by the a preface to the requirements for her course, which adduces the following quotation from the South African writer, Jamul Ndebele: "The need to maintain control over English by its native speakers has given birth to a policy of manipulative open-mindedness in which it is held that English belongs to all who use it provided that it is used correctly. This is the art of giving away the bride while insisting that she still belongs to you."[7] Students are expected to share Parmar's antipathy toward grammatical rule-based English, as she does not countenance dissent: In December of 2005, for instance, several disaffected Brooklyn College students wrote letters to the dean of the School of Education taking issue with Parmar's hostility toward students who dared voice their support for the correct usage of English.

Hmm, notice that Pramar herself uses proper English? Perhaps she’s aware that using grammatically incorrect English, or Ebonics, would do little to further her career. Also notice her intolerance of dissent, which is so typical of leftists.

This is yet another example of how leftist thought does harm to the people it purports to support. Imagine you are an employer looking to hire somebody for a job in which communication skills are essential. Are you going to hire the person who is well-spoken, or the person who speaks grammatically incorrect English and peppers his/her language with slang, some of which you don’t even understand-yo?

To insist on the use of grammatical English has nothing to do with “cultural chauvinism”; it simply has to do with following the rules of the English language. Failure to speak proper English implies a lack of intelligence or lack of education or lack of giving a shit—none of which will endear one to a potential employer.

When my great grandparents left the filthy anti-Semitic cesspool otherwise known as Czarist Russia, they arrived here with thick Yiddish accents (I assume). They obviously instilled in their children the need to master English. I know this because to this day my grandma corrects any minor English gaff I make in her presence.

In otha’ wordz: We all be wantin’ peeps frum lower economic backgroundz to get on da successful tip-yo! Know what I’m sayin,’ know what I’m sayin’? If dat be da case, why would anybody in dey right mizzle-mind try to be learnin’ dem kidz to lern English by studyin’ rap? Yo-dat shit wack.

P.S. If you imagine that I was making fun of Black people you are a racist. A lot of non-Blacks speak like that. Don’t assume everybody who speaks like that is Black.


In his book Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Thomas Sowell confronts the leftist mindset illustrated above. In one essay, Sowell "presents eye-opening insights into the historical development of the ghetto culture that is today wrongly seen as a unique black identity—a culture cheered on toward self-destruction by white liberals who consider themselves 'friends' of blacks."

Pramar is exactly the type "friend" Sowell refers to in his book.

Wood To Replace Oil?

Grad Student Believes Wood May Replace Oil

This is a promising new development. If successful, however, it seems the fuel will still emit greenhouse gasses.

MOSCOW, Idaho - A University of Idaho graduate student believes the answer to the world's crude oil crisis grows on trees. Juan Andres Soria says he has developed a process that turns wood into bio-oil, a substance similar to crude oil.

Nevertheless, anything is preferable to dependence on Middle Eastern oil—anything!

Honest Reporting Update

Under the Media Radar
Communique 4

Israel's Gaza withdrawal isn't the only recent story worthy of coverageRecent media coverage of the Mideast conflict has focused almost entirely on internal Israeli tension as Israel's 'disengagement' from Gaza approaches. It's broadly recognized, though, that Israel's sacrifice of its Gaza communities will only foster peace if accompanied by deep cultural reform on the other side ― including Palestinian education for coexistence, and a free, moderate press.

Yet important developments in those areas routinely slip under the western media radar:
The official Palestinian Authority newspaper continues to glorify terrorists, flouting the PA's obligation under the road map for 'all official Palestinian institutions [to] end incitement against Israel.' These two men recently murdered an Israeli couple visiting Gaza, yet the official PA paper described them as Shahids ― 'holy martyrs':

All Palestinian journalists, moreover, have been banned from covering internal Palestinian conflict or the PA security forces (violators face 'personal and legal consequences of their deeds'), and urged to celebrate Israel's Gaza 'retreat'. This clearly fails the all-important 'town square test' recently endorsed by Condoleeza Rice, citing Natan Sharansky:

if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. And we cannot rest until every person living in a fear society has finally won their freedom.

Meanwhile, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter visited a Hamas summer camp, where he found this disturbing scene:

"In this camp we learn the important things of life ― good behavior, respect," said Osama, who was spending the summer at a Hamas-run camp on the beach outside Gaza City. They also learn how to sing "intifada songs," including one urging them to "kill Zionists wherever they are, in the name of God." Here's a sample camp activity:

At one beach camp, attended by approximately 100 kids, an instructor wore a heavy flannel shirt under which a webbed belt could be seen strapped to his stomach. Asked by a reporter what it was, he answered, with a broad smile, "Boom!"

While the Chronicle should be commended for this coverage (on the heels of its recent, HR-documented slipup), this story demands far greater awareness.

For more on the problem of Palestinian incitement, visit HR affiliate Teach Kids Peace, and sign the TKP petition calling on world leaders to demand reform in Palestinian education, and media outlets to greater publicize the issue.

Why so little western coverage of these disturbing events? Martin Peretz, Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic, explains:

The PA has so many times obliged itself to Bill Clinton, George Bush, and the Israelis to stop official incitement against Jews and Israel. But the most grotesque and genocide-provoking hatred for the Jewish people and their state continues to flood the official marketplace of what you might not want to call ideas. I've known this for years, and American journalists have known it for years, but it has gone largely unreported. It's not their kind of story because it ruins the story of Palestinian moderation, to which so many reporters, columnists, and editorialists are wed. [I blogged about this phenomenon in the "What Drives the Arab-Israeli Conflict" post -semite1973]

As Israel prepares for its painful withdrawal from Gaza, HonestReporting calls on western news outlets to recognize the ongoing media restrictions, incitement and education to hate in Palestinian culture ― which threaten Israel's voluntary effort to generate peace with its Palestinian neighbors.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

UN Control Of The Internet?


Our country funded and developed the Internet. Last I checked, the Internet seemed to be working just fine. Despite that, the UN wants control of the Internet turned over to them.

Money quote:

"My probe of the U.N. as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed management that was at best, incompetent, and at worst corrupt," said Coleman. "The first priority for the United Nations must be fundamental reform of its management and operations rather than any expansion of its authority and responsibilities. The Internet has flourished under U.S. supervision, oversight, and private sector involvement. This growth did not happen because of increased government involvement, but rather, from the opening on the Internet to commerce and private sector innovation. Subjecting the Internet and its security to the politicized control of the UN bureaucracy would be a giant and foolhardy step backwards."

The UN—what chutzpah! The UN had a human rights commission headed and chaired by the world’s worst abusers of human rights; what now, an Internet committee headed by such bastions of technological advancement as Haiti? An Internet committee consisting of members from countries known for the free-flow of ideas, like China or Syria?

Hey UN bureaucrats, if you want to know what I think about your idea to control the Internet, visit:

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Thoughts On Islamist Terrorism

Terrorism these days is particularly… terrifying! The type of terrorism infecting the world today is of a much deadly and narcissistic nature than terrorism in past decades. Nowadays, terrorists eagerly blow themselves up with their victims; a most horrifying specter. How do you deter a terrorist who fears not death—who loves death? And if they hate us so much and love death, what’s to prevent them from attacking us with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons? Nothing, actually.

Faced with such an implacable foe, Westerners naturally wonder what makes the Islamist terrorists hate us so much. Some argue the terrorists hate us for what we did or do. Others argue that we are hated for who we are, for what we represent. Whichever explanation one chooses can often determine what course of action one believes we should take to mitigate the terrorist threat.

If we did or are doing things to make the terrorists hate us, perhaps we should we listen to the terrorists’ grievances and acquiesce to their demands? So goes the first train of thought. Or, if the terrorists’ hate what we represent—who we are—then we have no other option than to stand strong and fight back, even pre-empt the terrorists and terrorism’s support networks. So goes the second train of thought.

The people who believe the later train of thought understand better than the others that appeasement doesn’t work, as history has repeatedly shown. However, to be fair I should like to point out that even among those who believe the Islamic world has legitimate grievances, many nevertheless understand the dangers inherent in appeasing terrorist mass murderers. Both types of people recognize that terrorists’ demands are too vast for us to seriously comply, even if we wanted to. Off the top of my head the terrorists seem to want us to:

Cease all support for Israel and advocate its destruction;

Pull out of Afghanistan and abandon its government to the Taliban;

Dido the above to Iraq and let it fall to the Sunni head-choppers and Ba’athists;

Support the Muslim perspective regarding Kashmir (in effect take sides against democratic India);

Withdraw all US troops from Saudi Arabia;

Withdraw all US troops from the rest of the Persian Gulf area;

Release all the terrorists held at Guantanomo Bay;

End all support for moderate Arab and or Muslim governments;

In short, curl up into a little ball and hide from the world. Not gonna happen.

The majority of Americans seem to realize that giving in to the terrorists’ amorphous and vast demands are not realistic options. Most of us understand that caving in to their demands—appeasement—will not satiate the terrorists’ hunger, it will only make it grow. Further, many of us do not believe that the terrorists’ demands are legitimate. True, a lot of Muslims might be royally pissed about Israel, or Iraq, or Gitmo, but many of us sense that those causes also serve as convenient excuses for the terrorists—rallying cries, if you will—and that the real issues are deeper. If suicide terrorism is the result of oppression, so to speak, why aren't the Tibetans blowing themselves up?

Utopian Ideologies

The fact remains, most modern-day al-Qaeda franchised Islamist terrorists have stated over the years their greatest aim is to destroy every current Muslim government and reinstitute the Caliphate, thus turning the fractious Muslim world into a giant empire where Islamic law prevails. This might sound far-fetched, but it’s a strong belief among many Islamist Muslims.

In effect, Bin Laden and friends have what we call a utopian view of how the world should be organized, i.e. under Islamic rule. For their ilk, Islam is a utopian ideology as much as a personal faith, perhaps more so. We have been faced with utopian ideologies in the past. Communism and Fascism were both utopian ideologies—and that’s what made them so dangerous.

Generally speaking, a utopian ideology promises, if established, the perfect society. For the Germans in the 30’s and 40’s, Nazism promised economic prosperity, dominance of Europe (as befitting Aryan supermen), a thousand year Reich, etc. For the communists, communism promised a perfect society, a fair economy divided equally between everybody, proletarian equality, etc.

Promised such glorious objectives, proponents of both ideologies were prepared to do anything to realize their utopias. If the ends are the perfect society, then anything standing in the way of that perfect end must be eliminated. The ends justified the means. But once the ends justify the means, millions end up perishing. We saw it with the Nazis and the Jewish Holocaust and the slaughter of millions of other enemies of Nazism. We saw it in the name of communism with tens of millions killed in the USSR, China, and Cambodia. In fact, communism has claimed more innocent lives than fascism.

Islamist utopian ideology is both a greater and lesser threat. It is greater in that its proponents believe it to be divinely inspired. It is less of a threat in that the Islamists do not have the ability to defeat the west militarily, economically or scientifically. However, the terrorists are aware of their disadvantage and so they practice asymmetrical warfare—terrorism. The greatest threat, then, is that they will use weapons of mass destruction against us.

Faced with this terrifying conundrum, it is psychologically relieving for many Westerners (often labeled as leftists) to believe that “understanding” and alleviating the terrorists’ grievances can mitigate the threat against us (This view is particularly comforting if one already hates America or capitalism, etc. ). If it is in our power to acquiesce to the terrorists’ demands—and thus eliminate the threat of terrorism—then we have it within our power to end this nightmare, according to that line of reasoning. We have control.

However, if the terrorists’ grievances are far greater than some of their immediate demands—if there are no legitimate root causes that we can rectify—then we don’t really have the power to end the threat peacefully. If that is the case, then the best way to win the day is to—gulp—support the war on terror, because there is no other real alternative. But if you do that, you end up—gulp—actually agreeing with the Bush administration on at least one really huge issue of the day.

For a lot of people, that is simply a bridge too far.

War On Terror--And Bad Hair

Tune in tomorrow for a special interview with Joseph Farah and Daniel Pipes, who will discuss the war on terror and hair-care tips for men.

Joseph Farah and Daniel Pipes use exclusively Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sasson hair care products.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Iran Problem

I don't pretend to know the answer to the Iranian threat. I do know that ignoring it won't make it go away. One thing we could do, however, is make it clear to the Iranian people that we are on their side. In the late 1990's the CIA ran a covert operation in support of Serbian students. The students subsequently paved the the way for the overthrow of Milosevic. Serbia has been a democracy ever since. We should be doing the same thing in Iran. In the past few years Iranian students have protested the regime, but every time have been ruthlessly suppressed by the security forces.

If the Mullahs get the A-bomb, will it be too late? Will they be ensconced in power for good?

Iranian Fission: Time to take down the terror masters in Tehran
By Michael Ledeen in NRO.

Gatorade V. Water

When the weather gets hot like it is today, I am faced with a recurring and vexing question: which beverage is more refreshing, Gatorade or water?

Gatorade has electrolytes. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are lost in my sweat (so they say), and Gatorade replenishes them (so they say). If I am to believe the commercials, then, Gatorade is thirst aid for that deep down body thirst.

Right now I have a serious deep down body thirst.

But before I reach for a clear Watermelon Ice Gatorade; a piss-colored Lemon-Lime Gatorade; a chemically-enhanced, freakishly vibrant blue Cool Blue Gatorade; a bright red Berry Punch Gatorade; or a deep purple Frost Gatorade (the bottle has a textured feel which gives it a “frosted” appearance—and what’s more refreshing than cool frost?), I must consider my other thirst-quenching option:


Yes, water. Cool, refreshing good old fashioned water. The elixir of life on earth, found in abundance throughout the universe (unlike Gatorade, which has not been detected beyond the earth’s atmosphere). Oh water, why are we not satisfied with you? Why must we need… more?

Maybe water doesn’t have electrolytes like Gatorade, but at least it isn’t chock-full of sugar, as is Gatorade (14grams). And unlike Gatorade, water doesn’t have artificial colors or flavors. Also, the water I drink—tap water—is free, whereas Gatorade is not.

Hmmm … I don’t know which one to choose. I guess that leaves me only one option: I’ll have both.

But before I go and guzzle refreshing Gatorade chased by ice-cold water, you, dear reader, should read this fascinating article from today’s New York Times:

August 1, 2005
Bad to the Last Drop

IT'S summertime, and odds are that at some point during your day you'll reach for a nice cold bottle of water. But before you do, you might want to consider the results of an experiment I conducted with some friends one summer evening last year. On the table were 10 bottles of water, several rows of glasses and some paper for recording our impressions. We were to evaluate samples from each bottle for appearance, odor, flavor, mouth, feel and aftertaste - and our aim was to identify the interloper among the famous names. One of our bottles had been filled from the tap. Would we spot it?

We worked our way through the samples, writing scores for each one. None of us could detect any odor, even when swilling water around in large wine glasses, but other differences between the waters were instantly apparent. Between sips, we cleansed our palates with wine. (It seemed only fair, since water serves the same function at a wine tasting.)

The variation between waters was wide, yet the water from the tap did not stand out: only one of us correctly identified it. This simple experiment seemed to confirm that most people cannot tell the difference between tap water and bottled water. Yet they buy it anyway - and in enormous quantities.

In 2004, Americans, on average, drank 24 gallons of bottled water, making it second only to carbonated soft drinks in popularity. Furthermore, consumption of bottled water is growing more quickly than that of soft drinks and has more than doubled in the past decade. This year, Americans will spend around $9.8 billion on bottled water, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.

Ounce for ounce, it costs more than gasoline, even at today's high gasoline prices; depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water. Globally, bottled water is now a $46 billion industry. Why has it become so popular?

It cannot be the taste, since most people cannot tell the difference in a blind tasting. Much bottled water is, in any case, derived from municipal water supplies, though it is sometimes filtered, or has additional minerals added to it.

Nor is there any health or nutritional benefit to drinking bottled water over tap water. In one study, published in The Archives of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland, and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria. The scientists concluded that "use of bottled water on the assumption of purity can be misguided." Another study carried out at the University of Geneva found that bottled water was no better from a nutritional point of view than ordinary tap water.
Admittedly, both kinds of water suffer from occasional contamination problems, but tap water is more stringently monitored and tightly regulated than bottled water. New York City tap water, for example, was tested 430,600 times during 2004 alone.

What of the idea that drinking bottled water allows you to avoid the chemicals that are sometimes added to tap water? Alas, some bottled waters contain the same chemicals anyway - and they are, in any case, unavoidable.

Researchers at the University of Texas found that showers and dishwashers liberate trace amounts of chemicals from municipal water supplies into the air. Squirting hot water through a nozzle, to produce a fine spray, increases the surface area of water in contact with the air, liberating dissolved substances in a process known as "stripping." So if you want to avoid those chemicals for some reason, drinking bottled water is not enough. You will also have to wear a gas mask in the shower, and when unloading the dishwasher.

Bottled water is undeniably more fashionable and portable than tap water. The practice of carrying a small bottle, pioneered by supermodels, has become commonplace. But despite its association with purity and cleanliness, bottled water is bad for the environment. It is shipped at vast expense from one part of the world to another, is then kept refrigerated before sale, and causes huge numbers of plastic bottles to go into landfills.

Of course, tap water is not so abundant in the developing world. And that is ultimately why I find the illogical enthusiasm for bottled water not simply peculiar, but distasteful. For those of us in the developed world, safe water is now so abundant that we can afford to shun the tap water under our noses, and drink bottled water instead: our choice of water has become a lifestyle option. For many people in the developing world, however, access to water remains a matter of life or death.

More than 2.6 billion people, or more than 40 percent of the world's population, lack basic sanitation, and more than one billion people lack reliable access to safe drinking water. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of all illness in the world is due to water-borne diseases, and that at any given time, around half of the people in the developing world are suffering from diseases associated with inadequate water or sanitation, which kill around five million people a year.

Widespread illness also makes countries less productive, more dependent on outside aid, and less able to lift themselves out of poverty. One of the main reasons girls do not go to school in many parts of the developing world is that they have to spend so much time fetching water from distant wells.

Clean water could be provided to everyone on earth for an outlay of $1.7 billion a year beyond current spending on water projects, according to the International Water Management Institute. Improving sanitation, which is just as important, would cost a further $9.3 billion per year. This is less than a quarter of global annual spending on bottled water.

I have no objections to people drinking bottled water in the developing world; it is often the only safe supply. But it would surely be better if they had access to safe tap water instead. The logical response, for those of us in the developed world, is to stop spending money on bottled water and to give the money to water charities.

If you don't believe me about the taste, then set up a tasting, and see if you really can tell the difference. A water tasting is fun, and you may be surprised by the results. There is no danger of a hangover. But you may well conclude, as I have, that bottled water has an unacceptably bitter taste.

Tom Standage, author of "A History of the World in Six Glasses," is the technology editor of The Economist.

Stupid Headline Of The Day

Britain slashing troops in Northern Ireland

Unbelievable! These dedicated soldiers serve their country, and in return their government knifes them.

/Idiot mode off

Six Feet Under

I feel like a bit of a masochist watching this season’s Six Feet Under. It’s the most excruciating entertainment I’ve ever witnessed. Each episode has me sitting on the edge of my seat. At the end of last week’s episode, I was jumping up and down and yelling “Holy shit! Holy shit!” This week’s episode completely caught me off guard, too. Watching this show is like being on an emotional rollercoaster that won’t slow down and keeps getting scarier and scarier. Yet, I can't get enough.

Israel, Vatican and Terror

Alright, enough levity—now it’s time to get indignant Jew on y’all:

Half a century ago the Vatican yawned while Europe's Jews were being exterminated. Since then they have done much to mend relations with the Jews, and that is laudable. Yet I can't help but to be terribly disappointed by this latest episode. I thought the Vatican was going to backtrack on their terrorism gaff, but it looks like they aren't budging. When it comes to the Jews, the Vatican takes two steps forward and one step backwards. In this case, it’s a really big step backwards.

The following three articles sum up my own sense of indignation:

The Vatican's Terrorism Omission

Money quote:
Let us now try to understand the Vatican’s bizarre policy on terrorism. Recently Pope Benedict XVI condemned terrorist attacks against civilians in Great Britain, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. In a pregnant omission – very pregnant in light of the Vatican’s long history of silence in the face of attacks against Jews – the Pope omitted any mention of the country that has suffered the largest number of terrorist attacks against civilians since 9/11, namely, Israel. When the Israeli government understandably protested the omission, the Vatican’s position became even more troubling. It singled out Israel for criticism, saying that that beleaguered nation’s responses to attacks against its civilians was “not always compatible with the rules of international law.” It then went on to say that the Vatican could not protest every Palestinian attack against Jewish civilians if Israel did not always follow international law.

Let’s try to understand what this means. Unless a country is absolutely flawless in its response to terrorism, the Vatican will not condemn terrorism against its civilian citizens. This seems to justify the killing of civilians as a protest against violation of international law. If that “moral” position is not bizarre enough, let us turn to the actual facts. Egypt’s response to terrorism is far, far more violative of international law than Israel’s. Egypt routinely tortures – I mean really tortures to death – suspected terrorists, to say nothing of mere dissidents. Turkey’s record is not all that much better. The U.S. and Great Britain have killed many more civilians in responding to terrorism in Iraq than Israel has done. So even if the Vatican’s statement of principle were morally acceptable – which it surely is not – that principle would in no way justify leaving Israel off a list that includes many worse violators of international law.

The Vatican's flawed conscience

Ancient prejudice guides Vatican

This last article makes some good points, but is wrong on a couple of accounts. First of all, Great Britain is not in Iraq in violation of international law. Secondly, the author seems to have forgotten that, in fact, many Catholics have absolved the Jews for the death of Christ. See: Nostra Aetate, 1965: the Church starts to reverse its old claims about Jews. Nevertheless, this latest episode would seem to be a victory for the hardcore type of Mel Gibson-like Catholics who have never recognized Nostra Aetate in 1965.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Pit Bulls-Yikes!

I don’t like pit bulls. Yeah, I know that some are nice, but I don’t really care. Generally, those dogs scare me. Even the nice ones seem menacing. And they are dangerous. And they scare my dog, too. Then again, my dog was frightened by a wiener dog earlier today, so I suppose that’s not saying much…

And pit bull owners—who the hell do these guys think they are? It seems like the pit bull owner is the human equivalent of his pet: tough, mean, and dangerous (and often ugly). “Wow, that guy’s so tough, even his dog is tough too!”

Do tough guys really need tough dogs? If anybody needs a tough dog, it’s little old ladies. But little old ladies almost always own fragile little lap dogs. Then again, it’s hard to imagine a tough guy walking down the street with a little pug, chihuahua, or Pekingese. But that would be a site to behold—would it not?

Palestinian Child Abuse

Thanks to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs for compiling this chilling slideshow:

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