Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tropical Depression Forms in Caribbean Sea

Maybe we should have airplanes filled with tons of prozac and lexapro and have them drop the pills into the proto-hurricane; a different sort of cloud-seeding, if you will. Then, the Tropical Depression will feel better and we won't have to worry about another hurricane. Everybody wins!

Friday, September 30, 2005


I used to be an avid practitioner of the grappling martial arts, primarily Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was my passion, and I wasn’t bad it at it, either. Martial arts grappling in general, like wrestling, is a very rough sport, and my school was particularly tough. Although I never broke any bones or suffered any injuries worse than a black eye (hence the picture in my blog), I did develop upper neck problems that crept up over time.

My neck began giving me problems for the first time in 1999, and I was seriously worried. It hurt to turn my head, and pain would shoot down my arm. Not only could I not grapple, I couldn’t lift weights. One night I woke up to take a leak, and as I walked to the bathroom, I noticed that I didn’t feel the coldness of the floor on my right foot—it was numbed.

I was getting seriously worried. I was in so much pain that it was hard to imagine being pain-free again. I had no insurance. I was in pain and despair. My good friend’s girlfriend at the time, however, worked at a chiropractor clinic and was just beginning to study it herself. She told me to visit the clinic.

The doctor there took pity on me. He suggested we forgo expensive x-rays and offered to give me adjustments at $20 per session. I think I went to see him twice a week for a few weeks. The pain went away, and like an idiot I continued grappling. My mom was very dubious about chiropractic, but I thought the philosophy made sense. I was convinced, naturally, when my pain went away—and relatively quickly, I might add.

Since then, however, I have been very susceptible to getting a stiff neck. I hurt it again in 2000 when I was living in Israel. Luckily a friend of mine had a brother who was an osteopath, which he explained was the British version of a chiropractor. After a few adjustments, I recovered.

Last late summer/early fall I returned to grappling. It was a blast and I was picking up my old skills pretty quickly, but one day I woke up with a pretty stiff neck and decided that I should accept the fact that the long-term risk to my neck—and thus overall health—was not worth the thrill of grappling.

Then, as I blogged recently here, I began getting serious shoulder pain, or sort of pain between the shoulder and neck area. It’s hard to explain. So, on Monday I went to a chiropractor that my friend suggested.

While on the phone with the receptionist, I realized that I was dealing with a different kind of a doctor; the kind of doctor whose primary goal was to heal his patients, not make money. The receptionist said right off that the doctor would want to take x-rays. I asked her how much and she said, “Well, they can be a little expensive, like a little over $100.” Then, without any prompting from me, she said, “Or, if that’s too much, we can do them for $49.”

So, I went in and met the doctor. I explained to him my pain and previous injuries. He gave me four x-rays and then adjusted my neck, back, and shoulder. After that they put electrode thingy’s on my shoulder area and “zapped” me for ten minutes. They said it helps to relieve pain. It felt like a tingle and almost made my muscles twitch. It felt nice. I made an appointment to see them in two days (today).

When I went in today the doctor showed me a little information video explaining my injury: a sublexation in one of the vertebrae of my neck. Then we went over my x-rays. He showed me where the problem lay and then said he found nothing wrong with my shoulder. The pain, he suggested, was actually because of the neck. Long story short: when the vertebrae in your neck slip off course, they can pinch disks and nerves and other tissue and generally wreak a lot of havoc.

For treatment he suggested three adjustments a week for four weeks. Then he told me I could discuss a payment plan with the receptionist. The receptionist was so cool. She asked me what I could afford, and I said, “Well, I don’t know…I’m a student…” and she suggested, “How about $10 per adjustment?” I said, “I can do that!”

So, all four x-rays for $50 dollars total, and only $10 dollars per visit for the next 4 weeks. Not only will I get very affordable treatment for my injury, but it will not eat a hole in my wallet.

What a good, good man. Thank god for people like him.

Tracking the entire world

NNDB is tracking the world, and it is both creepy and fascinating.

NNDB is an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy, both living and dead. Superficially, it seems much like a "Who's Who" where a noted person's curriculum vitae is available (the usual information such as date of birth, a biography, and other essential facts.)

But it mostly exists to document the connections between people, many of which are not always obvious. A person's otherwise inexplicable behavior is often understood by examining the crowd that person has been hanging out with.

Beep-beep, dot-com, just shop for cars on line...

If I hear that commercial one more time, I'm going to SCREAM!

That commercial gets more play than even the "Easy money from Green Light" commercial...

866, 66 FASTER
Easy Money from Green Light!

Jensen dialogue/debate... over?

It has been 10 days since I sent my last email to professor Robert Jensen about the Arab-Israeli conflict and I have not heard back from him. He may be legitimately busy and unable to get involved in a time-consuming email debate. That is understandable. If that is the case, however, he did not say. I replied to all of his points, and in response to my many pointed questions, silence.

Letter to Jensen Part I

Letter to Jensen Part II

What if Saddam was still in power?

With his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, Victor Davis Hanson imagines what the world would look like if Saddam and Sons were still in power in Baghdad. Hat tip: LGF

The two sons of Saddam Hussein, the crown princes Uday and Qusai Hussein, continued their triumphant tour of foreign capitals, seeking to cement details on the new proposed Iraqi pipeline through Turkey to the Mediterranean to reach potential European markets. “Fortunately our friends in Brussels do not believe the lies of the Zionists and the Kurdish criminals. They know we in Iraq operate under the rule of law and the Americans are the real killers of our Iraqi children. We see a good future for Iraq and its new European partnership.”

Read it all.

Israelis urge U.S. to stop Iran's nuke goals

"We see an Iranian bomb as a devastating, existential threat to Israel, to the entire Middle East, to all Western interests in the region. Despite all the different circumstances, we see similarities to what happened in the 1930s, when people underestimated the real problem or focused on other dangers. For us, either the world will tackle Iran in advance or all of us will face the consequences."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

UK: Israeli offensive appropriate

Kim Howells is spot-on!

Israel's response to the recent Kassam rocket attacks on Sderot has been measured and appropriate, Kim Howells, Britain's Minister of State for the Middle East, told The Jerusalem Post, disregarding Palestinian appeals for the world to rein in the IDF.

Howells, on a three-day visit to the region, hinted in an interview Wednesday night that financial aid to the Palestinian Authority might be withheld if the PA did not seriously begin tackling the terrorism in its midst.

"The Palestinians are receiving more aid per capita than any other people on the face of the earth, and we want to see some proper response," Howells said, hinting at a decrease of economic aid if the Palestinians don't fight terror.

"I thought the retaliation this week was proportionate," said Howells about the IDF operations. "The [Palestinian] attack was a very serious one, it could have killed a lot of people. It's a miracle really there weren't more casualties."

"I think there is no excuse now," he added. "Gaza is now in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and there are no Israeli troops there. One hopes that where tough decisions have to be made, Abu Mazen [PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas] and the PA will make them."

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos

Thanks to incessant petitioning from the ACLU, a US district Judge has ordered the release of additional Abu Ghraib photos. Under the guise of protecting our civil liberties, the ACLU has yet again undermined our national interests. In this instance, the ACLU has also endangered the lives of our troops and citizens abroad, particularly in the Muslim world, because they will be the ones who will bare the brunt of any inflamed masses. The ACLU has handed the terrorists a propaganda victory. Thanks ACLU, I feel safer.

If or when America becomes the victim of another mass-casualty terrorist attack, we must remember that the ACLU did everything in its power to tie our government’s hands. At every turn, the ACLU has made it harder for our government to uncover terrorist cells and stymie the attacks.

Hat tip: LGF

Making Muslims love us

Suzanne Fields explains why Karen Hughes has her work cut out for her.

Women are a dilemma for Islam. Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, urged his country in the 1920s to fully emancipate women, arguing that the Turks would never catch up with the rest of the world if they modernized only half the population. He was right, but the task hasn't been easy, nor is it complete. "The emancipation of women, more than any other single issue, is the touchstone of difference between modernization and Westernization," writes Bernard Lewis, the Middle Eastern scholar, in his book, "What Went Wrong." He continues: "The emancipation is Westernization; for both traditional conservatives and radical fundamentalists it is neither necessary nor useful, but noxious, a betrayal of true Islamic values." As a result, even where many Muslim women enjoy liberation misogynist practices continue, and even follow fundamentalist Muslim emigrants to Europe, particularly to Germany and the Netherlands.

Read the whole thing, here.

An Islamic guide on how to beat your wife

MADRID -- An imam who wrote a book on how to beat your wife without leaving marks on her body has been ordered by a judge in Spain to study the country's constitution.

The judge told Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, imam of a mosque in the southern resort of Fuengirola, to spend six months studying three articles of the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights.

Although the Spanish judge's heart is in the right place, his ruling will most likely have little impact on the Imam or those of his ilk. In the eyes of the Muslim believer, man-made laws -- especially those legislated by non-Muslim infidels -- can never supercede Islamic law.

Thoughts on Marxism

I knew upon entering graduate school that many of my views would be challenged, and that the challenge would come primarily from the (far) Left. This specter didn’t bother me; I believe in a healthy exchange of ideas. Thus, I considered graduate school to be an opportunity to test my values and political views. If my views were going to be regularly trounced, I would reexamine them. No matter what occurred, my intellectual curiosity would be stimulated and enriched from the experience.

Nevertheless, as I begin my third semester I cannot help but to be amazed by the persistence of Marxist theory within the humanities, or at least the Journalism and Mass Communications department. Last fall, a professor in our department gave a presentation about her area of expertise. She repeatedly brought up Marxism during her talk. I asked why she relied so heavily on Marxism when the historical record proved that it was a failed ideology. She replied that it was a helpful paradigm through which to examine society in the past and present.

Her answer satisfied me. I believe it can be useful to examine issues by viewing them through differing paradigms. The problem with Marxism, however, is that it is very reductionist; it aims to describe vast complex phenomena using largely economic arguments. Therefore, in some cases Marxist theory may elucidate some understanding of certain phenomenon—and it is certainly an interesting way of critiquing the capitalist system—but it has severe limitations.

It seems that once a person becomes enamored with Marxist thought, they start applying it to nearly every problem on the planet. Therefore, they might use the Marxist perspective to examine race relations in America; or to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict; or to explain Islamic fundamentalism, etc. The problem, however, is that Marxist theory adds no profound understanding to the aforementioned issues. If anything, relying on it muddles and confuses the issues further, because those issues involve the legacy of slavery, race relations, history, competing nationalisms, and religion. Economics may be a factor to a certain degree, but it is hardly the only factor, or the most significant.

“That’s Not Real Marxism”

Another curious phenomenon occurs when debating the merits of Marxism in class (Truth be told, the merits of Marxism, or lack thereof, would not be discussed much were it not for me, as I have usually been the sole dissenter.). Whenever it is pointed out that every attempt to reify Marxism has ended up in totalitarianism and depressed economies, the proponents of Marxism reply that those examples were not practicing “real Marxism.” This argument is a copout.

The Soviet Union, the Eastern bloc states, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and many other countries and movements in the world all shared roots in Marxist ideology. And another thing that all had or have in common is that to one degree or another, they restricted the freedom of their citizens; had depressed economies (sometimes resulting in mass-starvation); and promoted a paranoid view of the outside world to their citizenry. Finally, throughout the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc states lent widespread support to any terrorist group that added “popular” or “red” to its name, thus indicating a disturbing trend of support for illegal, violent political groups.

The lone exception to the rule is China, whose economy is booming thanks to adopting capitalist free market policies. Nevertheless, personal freedoms remain restricted, making China a semi-benevolent fascist dictatorship that is communist in name only.

Even in the face of the historical record, the Marxist proponent will maintain that the aforementioned states were still not practicing real Marxism.

But wait a minute!—If those countries were not practicing real Marxism, why did so many leftist intellectuals in the West support or sympathize with them during the Cold War?

I was told that once the true nature of those countries became apparent, leftist intellectuals rescinded their support.

Hmmm… well, maybe some did, but many did not.

The result of all this is that Marxism is still held up as a utopian ideal against which the capitalist system of the United States is compared. Naturally, when compared to utopia, capitalism will always get an F. Excuse me, then, if I find such a position to be a hypocritical and intellectual copout.

Other Problems with the Marxist world view

For the Marxist, American capitalist society represents and promotes values that they strongly disagree with, even abhor. Because American actions are predicated on and motivated by a system that is rotten and immoral at its core—according to the Marxist—it follows that almost anything the US does will be viewed as inherently misguided, mistaken, and wrong. The Marxist reduces all US actions to nothing more than a quest for power and resources and scoffs at all arguments indicating otherwise.

The result of this world view is that it prevents the committed Marxist from appreciating the complexities and nuances that actually motivates American (and other capitalist-based countries) actions in the world. While it is true that all states act in their perceived best interests—and I would never propose that America hasn’t made its share of mistakes—by reducing all American actions to nothing more than a pursuit of wealth and power, the Marxist ultimately cripples his/her ability to rationally comment on the issues of the day. It ensures that their views are relegated to the fringe, or for some reason, fairly large numbers of academics in the humanities.

A final note

I should like to add that despite any profound disagreements I have had with a few members of the faculty, I have always been treated with politeness and professionalism, even warmth. There is no atmosphere of intellectual intimidation. In my opinion, the graduate program in department of Journalism and Mass Communications at UW-Milwaukee is top-notch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Useful Idiots

Below is an excerpt from an article by Amir Taheri about Iraq:

TODAY IN Iraq there are two camps. In one we find virtually the entire Iraqi nation which, despite its ethnic and religious diversity, is united in support of the democratization process. It wants the referendum and the subsequent general election to take place. In the other camp are the foreign jihadists and some of Iraq's neighbors that wish to disrupt the process.

As always in politics, one has a choice. One could support the people of Iraq in their quest for democracy or, obsessed by anti-Americanism or anti-Bushism for reasons other than Iraq, one could aid al-Qaida by mocking the Iraqi political process and calling for the US-led coalition to leave before the Iraqis can defend themselves against the jihadist invaders.

Last week the "anti-war" cabal and the useful idiots that support it showed they had made their choice.

Read the whole thing, here.

A letter to Palestinians

Sep. 28, 2005
Once, before the Terror War, a time that seems now to belong not just technically but substantively to another millennium, I undertook a one-man pilgrimage into your mosques and churches, seeking to know you in your intimate spiritual moments.

I went as a believing Jew, praying and meditating with you wherever you allowed me to enter into your devotional life. My intention was to transcend, however briefly, the political abyss between us by experiencing together something of presence of God.

And I wanted to learn how to feel comfortable in the Middle East's religious cultures, because I believed that the Jewish homecoming would be complete only when the Jewish state were no longer in exile from the Middle East.

During my journey, which took me from Galilee to Gaza, I was privileged to be admitted into the Muslim prayer line. I learned to venerate its choreography of surrender, in which one becomes a particle in a great wave of devotion, a wave that preceded our arrival on this earth and that will continue long after we are gone.

I learned to appreciate the fearless heart of Islam, which knows how to impart in its believers a frank acceptance of their own mortality – something which Western culture too often tries to conceal, with diversions like black humor about death.

The dark side of the Muslim reconciliation with death, of course, are the suicide bombers. But I learned, too, that acceptance of mortality can be the basis for a religious language of reconciliation. Repeatedly, Palestinians would say to me, "Why are you and I arguing over who owns the land when in the end the land will own us both?" That wise ability to place our earthly claims and struggles in the context of our shared condition of mortality gave me hope that peace between us may some day be possible.

But I learned too, during numerous candid conversations with Palestinians at all levels of society, that, in practice, few within your nation are willing to concede that I have a legitimate claim to any part of this land. I will cite one telling example.

During my journey into Islam in Gaza, I met General Nasser Youssef (who at the time of our meeting was head of one of the Palestinian security forces and is now the PA Interior Minister). At one point during our conversation, I asked the general to describe his vision of the relations between a Jewish state and a Palestinian state after we signed a peace agreement.

Let's assume, I said, that Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, uproots the settlements and redivides Jerusalem: What then? He replied that, once the refugees begin returning to the area, so many would gravitate to those areas in Israel where their families once lived, that eventually we would realize there was no need for an artificial border between Israel and Palestine.

The next step, continued the general, was that the two states would merge. "And then we'll invite Jordan to join our federation. And Iraq and Syria. Why not? We'll show the whole world what a beautiful country Jews and Arabs can create together."

But, I asked the general, aren't we negotiating today over a two-state solution? Yes, he replied, as an interim step. And then he added, "You aren't separate from us; you are part of us. Just as there are Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs, you are Jewish Arabs."

This story is particularly relevant because General Youssef is widely known as a moderate, deeply opposed to terror as counter-productive to the Palestinian cause. And so what I learned in my journeys into your society is that moderation means one thing on the Israeli side and quite another on the Palestinian side.

AN ISRAELI moderate recognizes the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a struggle between two legitimate national narratives.

A Palestinian moderate, by contrast, tends to disagree with the extremists about method, not goal: He opposes the destruction of Israel through terror and war, perhaps because that option isn't realistic; yet he advocates the disappearance of Israel through more gradualist means, like demographic subversion. Like General Yusuf, he sees a two state solution as an interim agreement, a step toward Greater Palestine. When your moderates speak of peace and justice, then, they usually mean a one-state solution.

Before my journey into Palestinian Islam and Christianity, I took it for granted that you, the occupied, knew far more about Israelis than we could possibly know about you. The occupied, after all, tend by necessity to pay more attention to the ways of the occupier, who in his arrogant blindness, remains obtuse about the life of the occupied all around him.

I no longer believe this is true. My journey into the faiths of my neighbors was part of a much broader attempt among Israelis, begun during the first intifada, to understand your narrative, how the conflict looks through your eyes.

Your society, on the other hand, has made virtually no effort to understand our narrative.
Instead, you have developed what can be called a "culture of denial," that denies the most basic truths of the Jewish story. According to this culture of denial, which is widespread not only among your people but throughout the Arab world, there was no Temple in Jerusalem, no ancient Jewish presence in the land, no Holocaust.

Nowhere is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as popular as in the Arab world, which has also become the international center for Holocaust denial.The real problem, then, is not terrorism, which is only a symptom for a deeper affront: your assault on my history and identity, your refusal to allow me to define myself, which is a form of intellectual terror.

IN YOUR society's official embrace, through media and schools and mosques, of the culture of denial, you have tried to reinvent us, to redefine us out of our national existence.

We too once tried to define you out of national existence, insisting that you weren't a real people but an appendage to the Arab world. Today, though, only the Israeli hard Right repeats Golda Meir's insistence that there are no Palestinians.

Yet your political and spiritual leadership routinely insists that there is no Jewish people – only a Jewish faith, or an invented identity like General Yusuf's "Arab Jews," or an ersatz people descended from the Khazars. In so doing, you ignore how Jews have always defined themselves: as a people with a faith.

True, it's easier for the powerful than it is for the powerless to develop more nuanced attitudes toward the conflict. When you have an army and a thriving economy, you can afford to rethink your own history and even accommodate a competing narrative. Yet in truth you have never understood us, never understood that we aren't a modern version of the Crusaders but an indigenous people returning home.

Your inability to understand who we are has been a disaster not only for us but also for you, because it has repeatedly led you to underestimate our vitality and ability to persevere. And now, it seems, you are once again about to disastrously misread the Israeli public.

According to polls, a majority of Palestinians believe that the decision to withdraw from Gaza was prompted by terror. And that conclusion may well lead you to the next round of terror.
In fact, we are leaving Gaza because a majority of Israelis concluded – already in the first intifada – that it is in our existential interest to minimize the demographic threat to a Jewish majority and the moral threat of permanent occupation to our souls. At the same time, we are strengthening our hold on those areas that we believe are essential for our well-being: the settlement blocs and greater Jerusalem.

Here, then, is the irony of what you call Al-Aksa Intifada: In choosing terror, you lost the Jerusalem capital you could have gained through negotiations.

The key to understanding the meaning of unilateral withdrawal – a point missed not only by your people but by the Israeli Right as well – is that "unilateral" is no less important than "withdrawal." Most Israelis have concluded that our Left was correct in its warnings against the moral and demographic dangers of occupation, and our Right was correct in its warnings that the Palestinian national movement had no intention of living in peace with a Jewish state in any borders. And so, if we cannot occupy you and we cannot make peace with you, the only option left to us is unilateral withdrawal and the fence – that is, determining our own borders in the absence of a negotiated peace.

The new Israeli determination to stop waiting for a nonexistent Palestinian partner and take our fate in our own hands is an Israeli, not a Palestinian, victory.

The Terror War has given Israeli society another crucial victory: a restored faith in the justness of our position. Aside from a vocal but fringe Left, most Israelis know that, at every crucial historic juncture in the last 70 years, when an offer to end the conflict was placed on the table, our side said yes and your side said no. That has given us the strength to withstand the current jihadist assault.

You have always found ample justification for saying no to compromise. And from your point of view, you had absolute justice on your side. But, with each violent rejection of an international attempt to end the conflict, the map of potential Palestine has gotten smaller.

In 1937, you were offered 80 percent of the land; in 1947, 45 percent; in 2000, 22 percent. And now that self-destructive pattern has once again played itself out in the Terror War; with unilateral withdrawal and the fence, the map of potential Palestine has just gotten smaller.

A MAJORITY of Israelis, I am convinced, are ready in principle to make previously unthinkable concessions to end the conflict. Yet that same majority is likewise convinced that, no matter what concessions we offer, we will not win peace and legitimacy in return. For that reason, I believe that the onus for ending this conflict has now shifted to your side.

Many Israelis have made the conceptual breakthrough necessary for peace between us; but we will remain entrenched behind our fence until we sense a shift in attitudes on your side.
The fence represents the antithesis of my hope for an Israel integrated in the Middle East, the hope that sent me into your mosques in search of your devotional life. Yet, like almost all Israelis, I too support the fence.

Reluctantly but inexorably, I have come to the conclusion that instead of working toward an end to the conflict, I must accept reality and protect myself from your refusal to accept my legitimacy. Forcing Israelis like me into the camp of despair hardly seems a Palestinian victory worth celebrating.

During the Oslo process, leaders of the Israeli peace camp assured the Israeli public, increasingly anxious over Palestinian incitement against our existence, that legitimacy would follow reconciliation – that is, first the occupation needed to end and the formal mechanics of peace implemented, and then the Palestinians would gradually accept Israel's right to exist. We now realize that the reverse is true: Legitimacy is the precondition for reconciliation.

The tragedy of our conflict is that history gave each of us no choice. The logic of our history demanded our return here – and not just because we were persecuted in exile, but because exile from this land was always seen by Jews as an unnatural condition, a spiritual offense against Judaism's deepest sense of itself. Yet just as the logic of our history impelled us to return, so the logic of your history impelled you to resist our return.The conflict between us is over intangibles and mutual perceptions, not over a precise point on the map.

When we look at each other, we see the embodiment of our worst historical traumas. When you look at us, you see an expansionist power that recalls your defeat and humiliation in recent centuries – a perception that was reinforced by our military victories against the Arab world and the subsequent expansion of our borders. When we look at you, we see the incarnation of the latest in a long line of genocidal enemies who have tried to destroy us – a perception reinforced by the suicide bombings, which are mini-preenactments of the genocidal impulse.
Just as you see in us colonialists and crusaders, we increasingly see in you Nazis.

Having been privileged to spend time among you, I know that most of you are not Nazis, just as I know that most of us are not colonialists. We are two traumatized peoples who, tragically, have projected their most demonic images onto the other.

In withdrawing from Gaza, we have begun our territorial contraction. Yet can your side stop actively dreaming of destroying us – through terror, demographics, the Muslim bomb? Can you accept the moral legitimacy – not just temporary political necessity – of a two-state solution?I wrote above that your people has made "virtually no effort" to understand who we Jews are.
One remarkable exception was a pilgrimage of Palestinian Israelis to Auschwitz, two years ago. For Palestinian citizens of Israel to reach out to Jews at the height of the intifada was the deepest expression of the generosity of Arab culture. I was privileged to be among the Jewish participants in that Arab initiative. We stood at the crematorium, Arabs and Jews holding each other in silence, facing the abyss together. At that moment, anything seemed possible between us.

Lately, perhaps because of the terror lull, I have been thinking again about that journey, and about the journey I took into your devotional life. I have even allowed myself to miss the intimacy and uplift I felt in your mosques, the conversations about faith and meaning and destiny over endless cups of coffee and tea, the sense of leisurely time expanding into God's time.

I approached you then b'gova einayim, without apology for my presence here or dismissal of your presence. And that is how I dream of being with you again: as fellow indigenous sons of this land, which one day will claim us both.

The writer, resident in Jerusalem, is a frequent contributor to The Jerusalem Post. A Hebrew version of this article was originally published in Eretz Acheret magazine.

"Honor" Murder in Denmarkistan

Hat tip: LGF

Roligt og metodisk skræver storebroderen over sin lillesøster, mens han skyder det ene projektil efter det andet ind i hende. Hendes ægtemand er ramt af flere skud i maven og kan blot se hjælpeløst til, mens hans kone henrettes af sin egen familie.

(rough translation)
Calm and methodically big brother stoops over his little sister while shooting one projectile after the other into her. Her spouse, affected by several shots to the abdomen, can only look on helplessly, while his wife is executed by her own family.

Well, murder is against the law in Denmark... but then again, honor killing is a cultural phenomenon and we are a multi-cultural society... who are we to foist our Western values on the other?

/Hand wringing multi-culturalist

Wake-up Europeans.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Honest Reporting #27

What's shocking to me is that after Israel's pullout from Gaza, the entire world agreed that the ball was in the Palestinians' court. How would they behave? What would they do? After burning abandoned synagogues, they soon launched over 40 rockets into Israel without any provocation. The wire services ignored the agression only until Israel retaliated, as I blogged about previously.

Communique: 27 September 2005 [View this article online] [Discuss this topic on BackSpin]
AP'S 'CIRCLE DANCE'ALSO:▪ CNN omits crucial point
Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,

On Friday and Saturday (Sept. 23-24), Hamas fired 40 rockets from Gaza onto the southern Israeli town of Sderot, wounding five civilians. In covering the Israeli response to the rockets, Associated Press reporter Sara El Deeb filed two Sept. 25 dispatches that raised media monitors' eyebrows:

● El Deeb's 12:06 PM article contained this description of an IDF celebration:
"... in an unprecedented step, Israel set up five artillery pieces on the border, and fired test-rounds into empty fields in northern Gaza in preparation for a possible artillery strike, causing no injuries. The Israeli soldiers danced in a circle after firing the artillery and sang a biblical song of revenge."

To anyone familiar with the professionalism of the IDF, this scene of a bloodthirsty 'circle dance' appears highly unlikely. Upon reporting such an unusual event, standard journalistic practice prescribes stating a reliable source within the article itself, which El Deeb did not do.

HonestReporting contacted AP editors to request some corroboration of El Deeb's claim, but as of this posting, none has arrived.

● An earlier 9/25 El Deeb article blamed the Israeli response to the Hamas rocket salvo for ruining a supposed 'ceasefire':

"The new [Israeli] offensive dubbed 'Operation First Rain' dashed hopes that Israel’s recently completed Gaza withdrawal would help restart peace talks and left a seven-month-old cease-fire teetering on the brink of collapse."

Whose offensive 'dashed hopes' of positive change?! And how exactly were 40 Hamas rockets fired during a 'ceasefire'?

Join our enquiry to El Deeb's 'circle dance' claim, and her reversal of chronology and responsibility for the recent Gaza violence, by sending comments to:
If your local paper carried either of these AP articles, HonestReporting encourages you to send a letter to your editor as well.(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish)

In today's CNN:

"Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants have escalated since an explosion at a Hamas rally on Friday in Gaza that killed at least 19 people. Militants blamed the blast on Israel, which denied the claim."

CNN fails to mention that the Palestinian Authority concurred with Israel's assessment that Hamas itself was to blame for Friday's explosion. The omission leaves more doubt around the issue than is justified, especially given the fact that Hamas used this explosion as a pretext for its Kassam rocket attacks.


The following brief article is blunt, perhaps a bit harsh, but I'm posting it because I think it contains a lot of truth.

I'm also posting it because it is apropos to a conversation I had just a few hours ago. While training Stephane, my French client, I gently inquired about the ethnic make-up of France, and how it differed from the ethnic mélange that surrounds him in America. He replied that although there are French-Africans and a fair number of East Asians and Indians, there was a huge population of Arabs.

I asked him if he thought the large Arab population could grow large enough one day and radically change the very nature of French state. He said "Yes." Then he pointed out that while most French-Europeans have one child, French-Arab families have five or six. He said, "At that rate, een two gener-ray-shun, Fwrance weel bee comb-pleetely diff'ront." I agreed with him, and pointed out that the French were increasingly secular, and that the Muslims tended to be strong in their faith. He responded by making one of those famous Gallic mannerisms: His lower jaw jutted out, his head tilted slightly and his lips turned to a tight frown, he turned his palms up as he shrugged his shoulders, as if saying, "Zis ees za sad reali-tay—what can you do?"

Anyway, here is the brief article in full:

Europe Died in AuschwitzBy Sebastian Villar Rodriguez September 23, 2005
This article was noted in
David's Blog

I was walking along Raval (in Barcelona) when all of a sudden I understood that Europe died with Auschwitz. We assassinated 6 million Jews in order to end up bringing in 20 million Muslims!

We burnt in Auschwitz the culture, intelligence and power to create.

We burnt the people of the world, the one who is proclaimed the chosen people of God.

Because it is the people who gave to humanity the epic figures who were capable of changing history (Christ, Marx, Einstein, Freud...) and who represent the origin of progress and wellbeing.

We must admit that Europe, by relaxing its borders and giving in under the pretext of tolerance to the values of a fallacious cultural relativism, opened its doors to 20 million Muslims, often illiterates and fanatics that we could meet, at best, in places such as Raval, the poorest of the nations and of the ghettos, and who are preparing the worst, such as the 9/11 and the Madrid bombing and who are lodged in apartment blocs provided by the social welfare.

We also have exchanged culture with fanaticism, the capacity to create with the will to destroy, the wisdom with the superstition. We have exchanged the transcendental instinct of the Jews, who even under the worst possible conditions have always looked for a better, peaceful world, for the suicide bomber.

We have exchanged the pride of life for the fanatic obsession of death. Our death and that of our children. What a grave mistake we made!

As a pro-American, pro-Israel Palestinian internet friend of mine once said about Europe: "Now they have the semites they deserve."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Bad Cold

I cannot remember the last time I had the flu. Luckily for me, I'm fairly healthy (knocks on wood). However, in the last couple of years I've noticed that I develop head colds during times of seasonal change, so about 3-4 times colds per year. The colds usually last anywhere from 3 days to a week or a little longer. Thus, on a whole I'm healthy and energetic for most of the year, save about 2-3 weeks when I suffer the effects of a cold. Often head-colds are just a mere annoyance, but in the last year they’ve been particularly virulent, at least the snot part.

It's almost always the same: I’ll start to feel every so slightly run-down. I often wake up the next day with a severe sore throat and a slight runny nose. After about 12-15 hours the sore throat dissipates and that’s when the snot starts flowing like the mighty Mississippi. I usually feel more or less okay—no fever, no chills, no headache, decent energy level—but my nose runs so much that I literally can’t do anything but blow it. I have to blow my nose on average once every 30 seconds. If you think I exaggerate, consider this: Since yesterday morning, I’ve gone through 2 and 1/3 boxes of Kleenex. Naturally it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

The good news is that I usually feel alright, despite the runny nose. I’ve also find that medicines, like Nyquil and other drugs that are supposed to dry up the snot, don’t seem to do much yet I take them anyway.


I'm on my fourth box of Kleenex and the snot is still flowing. I look like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (sp?).

"Never Again" are empty words

Media blackout on Darfur
By Nat Hentoff
September 26, 2005

Fewer villages in Darfur are left to be destroyed,butthe killing -- and the use of rape as a weapon by the Sudan government's Janjaweed and soldiers -- continues. As U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the BBC on July 3: "We have learned nothing from Rwanda," an atrocity which we were told would never happen again.

Eric Reeves of Smith College in Massachusetts, the principal historian of the horrors in Darfur, wrote on Aug.11( that the genocide there could become "much worse" as "the international community has abandoned these people to genocide by attrition." And on Sept. 8, Salih Booker, executive director of Washington-based AfricaAction, warned:" The death toll continues to mount."

The American media, with few exceptions, have also largely abandoned Darfur. In"All EarsforTom Cruise, All Eyes on Brad Pitt" in the July 26 New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has often reported from the killing fields, writes: "If only Michael Jackson's trial had been held in Darfur."

Mr. Kristof noted that: "According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings.

"NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes (except for '60 Minutes') about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.

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