30 November 2010

More improper thoughts about T and I

Ami Isseroff is unhappy with the twists and turns in use of English language that political expediency dictates to NYT journalists:

Consider this headline and lede story from the New York Times:

Oregon Teen Arrested in Plot to Bomb Holiday Event

A Somali-born teenager attempting to detonate what he believed was a car bomb at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Ore., was arrested by the authorities on Friday night. They had spent nearly six months tracking him and setting up a sting operation, officials in Oregon said.
How very strange! Why would anyone want to do something like that? In fact, you could read through most of this article and probably not have any idea why this teenager wanted to bomb all those people.
Ami rounds up the story in this way:
Americans have no chance at all of understanding their problem and of formulating a policy to combat “I” “T.” They cannot even talk about it. They think that if they do not talk it, it does not exist. Why couldn’t the Times write the simple truth in their headline, “Islamist Terrorist Arrested in Plot to Bomb Holiday Event??“ If the perpetrator had been a Communist, or a Christian or Jewish extremist, would the Times have been as reticent in describing his religion and motives?
While agreeing with Ami wholeheartedly on the damage caused to the language by various political commissars of various persuasions, I would suggest that the NYT article is not yet a perfectly polished expression of political will. So I would offer an improved version of the same text:
Oregon Teen Talked to After Attempting to Spoil a Holiday Event

A cute but unruly teenager attempting to light what he believed was an oversized firecracker at a packed Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Ore., was given a stern talk to by the authorities on Friday night. They had spent a considerable effort doing their best to prevent the naughty boy from fouling up the festivities, officials in Oregon said.
Now, isn't it better now? Thought so...

Fatah: No to Israel as Jewish state, no land swaps

Not that it's a scoop or something, but just out of idle curiosity: is there any "no" the Palestinian leaders forgot?

Like: NO smoking, NO walking on the lawn, NO admittance after hours, ...

Just asking...

More by Robin Shepherd on BBC censorship of some inconvenient truths.

الجنس الصور الاباحية الفيديو الصور here

Thanks for helping with the test.

29 November 2010

Lori Berenson: a nice Jewish girl from a nice Jewish family? You bet...

The CNN article Peruvian court grants parole to imprisoned U.S. citizen caused me to do some surfing. I didn't know anything about Lori Berenson. The mere fact that a US citizen was imprisoned for 20 years in Peru - not for some drug-related mayhem and not for some domestic murder or anything of the sort - was sufficient to get me interested.

So, Lori Berenson: a nice girl, born to two professors: Rhoda and Mark Berenson. She is obviously talented, being accepted to MIT. She is big-hearted, volunteered for soup kitchens and blood banks, has done more volunteering work during her studies and later, in a big way:
Later she went to El Salvador and became secretary and translator for Leonel González, a leader of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), during negotiations that achieved peace in 1992.
All these good deeds were not enough for Lori and, after peace settled in El Salvador, she moved to Peru. Clearly Peru of the time wasn't a model democracy, far from it. Corrupt, torn apart by violence, predominantly poor and governed by a semi-dictator Alberto Fujimori, Peru was indeed a nation to do some good for. And then a nightmare strikes. Let's hear Lori telling her story by herself:

So, 20 years of jail by a secret military court is what a nice Jewish girl gets for wanting to change the corrupt and cruel system. Is there any doubt in your mind or in your heart that after 15 years of jail time, with a baby born in jail (in spite of a serious back problem which complicated her pregnancy), Lori deserves to go home and be free?

There is no doubt in my mind. Enough is enough, and it's past time for Lori to go home, to see her parents and friends. Only...

Only let's make the story tidy. Let's tie up all the loose ends that you may not immediately discern in the glib and slick presentation of Lori's case you've seen so far. The Free Lori Berenson, a young woman held political prisoner in Peru site, created by Lori's parents, also wouldn't help a lot with the mentioned loose ends. But let's leave the site for dessert.

You see, Lori, upon arriving in Peru, didn't look for soup kitchens, blood banks or secretarial services for a peace delegation of any kind. She decided instead to befriend the nice guys and gals of Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). MRTA were much smaller than their colleagues/rivals of the Maoist Shining Path, but largely similar in goals and methods. As everyone agrees:
The MRTA, inactive since the late 1990s, was a Cuban-inspired guerrilla group that waged a campaign of assassinations, kidnappings and bombings, but was dwarfed in the shadow of the far more violent and deadly Maoist Shining Path.
However, MRTA were deadly enough, murdering "only" 1.5% of the estimated 70,000 victims of the Peruvian violence. But of course, our Lori didn't participate directly in the murders. This is why she and her doting parents claim that she is a political prisoner. Believable, but for these loose ends:
Berenson co-rented a large house in Lima in an upscale neighborhood. Much of the house was later used as a safe house by MRTA operatives, with up to 15 of them occupying their part of the residence. Berenson later claimed to be unaware of the connection and to have moved out some months prior to her arrest.
Could she really have been oblivious of 15 armed men sharing with her the house and filling it by arms, ammo and explosives?
Berenson obtained press credentials for herself and her photographer to the Congress of Peru, papers which were later reported to be "false journalist credentials"...Her photographer, Nancy Gilvonio, was actually the wife of Néstor Cerpa, the MRTA second-in-command — although Berenson claims she was unaware of this connection and claimed that she knew her only as a Bolivian photographer.
Does Lori's version still sound credible? Not to me.
Berenson had entered the main Congress building with Gilvonio several times during 1995 to interview members of Congress. Gilvonio provided the information she collected to the MRTA including detailed information on the floor plans of Congress, its security and members. The plan was for the MRTA to invade the Congress building, kidnap the legislators, and exchange the hostages for MRTA prisoners.
Yeah, and again our Lori is blissfully unaware of the goings-on. Cool. But let's proceed: as it's stated above, Lori was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a secret military court. Still true, only:
In 2000, after years of political pressure from the United States and the human rights community, Peru’s Supreme Military Council overturned Berenson’s treason conviction and life sentence and remanded her case to the civilian court for retrial. On June 20, 2001, a three-judge panel convicted Berenson of collaboration with terrorists, but ruled she was not a terrorist. She was sentenced to 20 years...
But the political pressures, mentioned in this quote, don't stop, and:
In 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States condemned the system under which Berenson was tried. Alleging violations of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Peru is a party, Berenson's case was referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the Organization of American States when the government of Peru refused to accept the Commission’s recommendations. On November 25, 2004 the Inter-American Court upheld the conviction and sentence.
Oops... so the girl wasn't as snow-pure as she and her mom and dad say, after all...

And here what a rabbi says:
"She thinks the MRTA's cause is justified," said Ronald Greenwald, a New York rabbi who has been involved in negotiating prisoner swaps around the world. He has visited Berenson four times and is working behind the scenes to get the charge reduced to "apology for terrorism," which carries a minimum prison sentence of six years. "I told her: 'I don't consider you a saint, Lori. I mean, you hung around with some pretty bad people.' She came back with her ideological philosophy of repression," Greenwald said in an interview in Lima during his last visit in September. Contradicting Berenson's court testimony, Greenwald said Berenson knew full well that she was dealing with MRTA rebels but had rationalized her situation to tailor it to her belief in nonviolence.
Repentance? Hardly. And if you read more of the same article, you shall see what others say about Lori's claims of innocence.

Now to intangibles. To start with, all the claims of innocence and uninvolvement you have read and heard so far look kind of funny when you consider this:
Peruvians still remember Berenson’s Jan. 8, 1996, appearance before television cameras, when she made her now famous declaration in defense of the guerrilla group. With fists clenched at her sides, her face contorted in anger, she shouted: “There are no criminal terrorists in the MRTA. It is a revolutionary movement.”
But OK, you might say, she was young and stupid then, and you don't judge a kid saying something like this in the heat of the moment. Let's skip forward then. Here is Lori, in 2010, pleading to be let free. Look at her face and try to decide for yourself whether you consider her apology really heartfelt. Now here is what Peruvians think:

But, to show you that compassion is not alien to good people of Peru:

So I too, like Peruvians and many others think that it's time for Lori to go home. To join her loving parents, to start raising her kid seriously or, better, to let somebody who could ensure the kid's sanity do it. Just let's all stop pretending and lying to ourselves and to others.

Because Lori seems to be primed to join Amy Goodwin and her ranting fellows on Democracy Now. After all, she is not wasting her time in jail. Here she is already preaching about Katrina victims, Iraq, officials on vacation and whatnot:

I think she is worthy of Amy's attention as a potential employee. Don't you? In any case, check out Lori's writings too... but don't look for repentance, it's simply not there.

As for her parents and their their Free Lori Berenson, a young woman held political prisoner in Peru site: it is deeply unfair and even, I would say, hypocritical, to invest a lot of time and attention in a site about one's child and not mention the victims of the gang their daughter was involved with (she was and they know it). And, as a side remark: I hope they gave a thought or two to another question: where exactly their oh so progressive upbringing of their daughter went so terribly wrong?

And another question to wonder about: Say I were a parent of a daughter in a similar predicament: a long jail term, a conservative government I must beg to show some mercy, a nation that doesn't like my daughter and her friends in general... So, would I list one Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT as one of the members of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson?

You bet...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Guardian and WikiLeaks: Verdict on the leaks about the Middle East

Verdict... hmm. Of course, where the masterminds of the Guardian are involved, it couldn't be less than a verdict. Read it and try not to laugh. Aside of the first one, by Gary Younge, it would be hard to find so much sanctimonious, snooty and simply sloppy drivel, all in one place. Some of them (like Juan Cole on Egypt) seem to suffer from some problems of reading comprehension to boot.


WikiLeaks on Netanyahu: so, what else is new?

Netanyahu is "elegant and charming", according to the cable apparently penned by an official at the US embassy in Egypt, but never keeps his promises.
And this is a revelation? Oh, crap...

Now Majid Shahriari and Fereidoun Abbasi: a plague among Iranian nuclear scientists?

Some kind of a malady, culminating in an explosive ending, seems to be hounding the Iranian nuke experts. On the other hand, people who deal with high explosives should be especially careful around the stuff. Strange, that...

Leslie Nielsen, RIP - he made us laugh.


Bibi and Hassan: two statements the owners would like to take back soon

1. Netanyahu: Israel will not stand at center of new WikiLeaks report.

2. Nasrallah: Evidence held by Hariri court is worthless.

28 November 2010

First WikiLeaks document revealed! Here!

Remember it, please: this is the first of the new bunch of documents promised to be revealed today. And this is the first place to reveal it. So:

This is NOT how the man you hate (or love) really looks like!

Watch this site for second installment of WikiLeaks revelations...

Nezar Hindawi: eligible for parole?

That's an interesting one:

A man jailed for 45 years for plotting to blow up an Israeli airliner flying out of Heathrow today challenged the government's refusal to accept a parole board recommendation to release him.

Nezar Hindawi, 56, is a Jordanian serving what is believed to be the longest specified prison term imposed by an English court, having been found guilty of attempting to plant a primed bomb on an El-Al aircraft with 375 people on board flying to Tel Aviv in 1986.
There are a few people out there aiming to blow up a plane, but this one is quite diffrent. Here is why:
He concealed the Semtex explosive in the luggage of his pregnant Irish fiancee, Anne Murphy, without her knowledge, and did not accompany her on to the flight.
And now he is fixing to get a parole. To remind you what his fiancee thinks about him:
''I hate you! I hate you!'' The witness' shouts echoed in the hushed courtroom. ''I could kill you. I hate you. I hate you. You bastard you.'' Anne-Marie Murphy's outburst was directed at Nezar Hindawi, the father of her daughter who is charged with planting 3 pounds of high explosives in Murphy's hand luggage before she boarded an El Al jetliner bound for Israel at Heathrow Airport on April 17. 
Even if he gets that parole some time later, I hope someone squashes him like a stinkbug he is.

His last vacation

Borowitz Report: 10 (Fake) Plagiarized Lines From Bush’s Book

Not bad at all. Not smashing, though.

Haveil Havalim #293 - The it was just Thanksgiving and now it's almost Hanukkah Edition

The week starts here, and it should be a good one. Enjoy.

27 November 2010

Sarah Palin hits back

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI’s 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. And let’s face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don’t know what the term is in Austrian for that…


Hat tip: Peter Risdon.

Willie Nelson Charged with Pot Possession? Free Willie!

This is simply mind boggling, for crying out loud!

A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas. Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.
And what did the "officer" expect? Belgian waffles? Omelet? No, really, I ask you?


26 November 2010

Are you horrified by the developing humanitarian crisis in Ireland?

Not yet? It's time to start being horrified.

Israeli NGOs horrified by the developing humanitarian crisis in Ireland have organized a flotilla called Viva Dublina. A spokesman for Viva Dublina said: “We are horrified by the developing humanitarian crisis in Ireland!” Viva Dublina has been loaned one of the world’s largest luxury cruise liners by an Israeli shipping mogul to act as a flotilla from Ashdod to Dublin. The mogul wrote a letter to Ha’aretz saying: “I am horrified by the developing humanitarian crisis in Ireland!” The ship will be used to return the useless junk and out of date medications sent on flotillas manned by anti-Israeli Irish activists that are currently clogging the warehouses in Ashdod after Hamas refused to accept the “donations”. Egypt has asked if the flotilla can stop in El Arish to take similar “donations” that are clogging the warehouses there. Egypt says it prefers to use its warehouses to store kassam rocket parts and Mercedes-Benz sedans for Hamas.
And much more where it comes from. Enjoy.

Simply Che

I shall randomly post one of my* Che-related images. Here is the first one. Enjoy.

(*) Actually the images are a present from a very nice person, I am just not sure I am allowed to tell who...

Update: More in Chic from Che to China

The Council Has Spoken – Post Thanksgiving Edition

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

25 November 2010

North Korea, ploughshares, swords, common sense...

The headline Why North Korea attack is not a crisis is a masterpiece. It can't fail to draw your attention from any other these days. I mean, after hearing (and seeing) how NK artillery opened up on a South Korean island, killing four (according to the latest count) and wounding eighteen human beings, it is certainly refreshing that somebody considers the situation not being a crisis.

Being ever doubtful of my mastery of this quirky language, I have checked the dictionary definition of "crisis".  The definition gives you two options:

  1. An unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty
  2. A crucial stage or turning point in the course of something
This only exacerbated my confusion: to my, obviously untrained eye, when one country shells its neighbor and kills its citizens, it seems to be a crisis. But what do I know, when two experts like these:

with such uber-intelligent, penetrating and yet open and straightforward looks, state that it's not a crisis?

The experts, by the way, belong to a group called Ploughshares Fund, "a global security foundation that seeks to make progress toward a world free of nuclear weapons". A worthy goal, I would say. So worthy that I have immediately visited their site and found out easily that during the last few days Ploughshares bombarded (no pun intended) the main US media organs with their articles on and about NK: the CNN article I have already linked to, Washington Post, NYT...

Well, to summarize the CNN article and its clones on these other sites: the first impression is that the authors, being as they are experts on nuclear weaponry, look at the whole NK vs civilized world issue mainly from the point of view of nuclear disarmament or, more fitting to this case, nuclear proliferation. That NK is a bankrupt dictatorship managed by a family of mass murderers for too many years to count, that these murderers practically starve their people and spent all available resources on weapons development, doesn't seem to count much with Ploughshares folks. The impression is that they are searching for the lost key under their familiar light.

Instead of saying straight what it is they want US administration to do, they point to another article, this time by Leon V. Sigal, who is a director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council and, incidentally, a member of the editorial board of The New York Times.

To give you the gist of what Ploughshares and their associates say, I've compiled the various sources mentioned.

First of all, how do they see the current (non-crisis) situation:

It's all Bush's fault:
Before that, the Bush administration's years-long policy of complete isolation allowed North Korea to produce plutonium, fashion it into bombs and test two of them. Only in the last two years of the Bush era did a change in U.S. approach bear some fruit in freezing North Korea's programs.

There is not enough engagement:
Unfortunately, so far the U.S. response also fits a pattern of rhetorical condemnation but little in the way of creative or effective engagement.

NK really are not that horribly beweaponed:
The North’s current arsenal of 8 to 12 weapons are all based on plutonium. This knowledge is, obviously, worth a good deal to a person being fried by a nuke.

And even the existing nukes couldn't be delivered:
It does not have the capability to deliver these devices by aircraft or missile and its plutonium program remains frozen or perhaps even further eroded. Why one (or more) of "these devices" can't be stowed on a ship and sent over to one of the US (for example) sea ports is unclear, but Ploughshares know better.

Americans still don't understand the mysterious NK soul:
Dealing with North Korea is not easy, and the process has been exacerbated by myths about the travails of negotiating with its regime. This is not a problem of a particular administration or party (yes, this one doesn't blame Bush for some reason). North Korea is on the sad list of countries that, over the years, Americans have convinced themselves they cannot understand and believe, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, that it is impossible to engage.

Besides, South Koreans are being devious as heck:
Disinformation from Seoul assiduously laid the grounds for disengagement.

To summarize the current situation estimates: the NK devil is not all that frightening, and besides it's Bush, Americans and South Koreans who are guilty in any case.

Now - what to do about all this:

This is NK - just live with it:
A realistic place to start fresh may be quite simple: accepting the existence of North Korea as it is, a sovereign state with its own interests.

Do more and start thinking, fer crying out loud:
Greater efforts and longer-term thinking.

Be creative and don't never give up:
Creative, thoughtful approaches to engaging North Korea have to be designed and tested - persistently.

And start feeding the NK, too:
Talks might work but only if Washington and Seoul are committed to sustained political and economic engagement and a peace process in Korea. Economic engagement... a nice euphemism, if there ever was one.

And finally:
...sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Pyongyang... Yeah, I can see where this may scare the Kims shitless. Or entertain them, whatever.

All in all - not a big deal of creative thinking from this bunch of experts. Feed them, entertain them, pay them off, just don't make them angry in no way. Notice that the genocidal nature of the regime doesn't bother the Ploughshares too much. It's just the way the cards fall to them. Too bad...

And, on the other side of the political map, Christian Whiton on Fox News:
President Obama should ask South Korea to place its forces on alert and order the U.S. military to present him with options for a sustained force buildup and possible retaliatory options that will show the generals in North Korea they are worse off for haven followed Kim Jong Il’s orders. 
Most importantly, we should declare our combined allied determination to help the North Korean people free themselves from the world’s most despotic regime—whether it takes 10 weeks or 10 years. We should then put in place a comprehensive political warfare campaign against the regime, centered on financial strangulation and empowering the North Korean people with information and the other key elements of dissent movements.
We should also talk openly to South Korea and Japan about moving U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the region. This is an appropriate response to a growing North Korean nuclear threat. It will also show the Chinese government that the misconduct of its client state also harms Beijing’s security. That, more than blind hope, will get Beijing’s attention.
I don't know, people: you decide.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Watcher's Council Nominations - Thanksgiving Edition

Watcher's Council Nominations - Thanksgiving Edition

I wonder who will do a bird snapshot for our own bird - in - charge...

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends.

The Watcher’s Council is a group of some of the most incisive blogs in the`sphere. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one of their own and one from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best posts, with the results appearing on Friday.
So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy yourselves!

Sarah Palin's North Korea tongue slip

So Sarah called South Korea North Korea twice, so what? Didn't you never had no tongue slip?
Do you know how to field dress a moose? So be quiet.

And anyhow, Glenn Beck corrected her. He could be a VP for geography issues then. Enough already.

24 November 2010

Imagine - John Lennon & the Jews

This is reposted as a reminder: have you already purchased the book?

Wise old people cautioned me more than once not to be misled by hasty first impressions. Of course, I never listened, preferring my own first impressions to be replaced by my own second impressions. Which, in turn, etc.

So, to let the story develop naturally, here are my first impressions of the author and of that book: professor Ze'ev Maghen and his book Imagine - John Lennon & the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage. In that sequence. The impression of the book as it developed on the basis of its title alone and of the professor - on the basis of the first sentence and a half from his bio blurb on Amazon.

a) The Professor

Ze'ev Maghen is a Professor of Arabic Literature and Islamic History and Chairman of the Department of Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University. He has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan, India, Panama, Guatemala...
Uhu. Clearly a dessicated ultra-religious alter kacker*. Knows everything about the use of seventeenth sura in XII-th century in Tabriz to cure incontinence or summat. Twelve children, smells of ancient manuscripts, cholent and used nappies**.

(*) When I say "alter kacker", believe me - I mean an alter kacker.
(**) Mind you, some of my best friends work in BIU!

b) The Book

Well, come on, people. Really. Why would such a person (see above) call a book Imagine - John Lennon & the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage, unless (and only unless) he somehow got his scrawny mitts on incontrovertible proof that John's aunt on his maternal grandfather's son-in-law's side was inordinately fond of a Jewish hooligan ("der shtarker") from a working class family in Liverpool and almost (but not quite) allowed him to kiss her on their way from a late night poetry reading.

Clearly the darn book will analyze the resulting complications in John's worldview in general and his view on the Jooish Question in particular... oy vey... but a promise is a promise. And the book is in the mail already.

c) Oh boy, was I mistaken or was I mistaken...

What now? The man is not what he seemed to be, and the book is something absolutely different... so how do I get out of this situation? Don't panic. Yes, this is the first thing to do... or, rather, not to do. So, while not panicking, how do I go about it now?

Format. Of course, the answer is clear: change the format. This childish a, b, c method that lead me to a disaster must be replaced. Remember, you were going to review a book. Which is definitely a product. How do you relate to a product? Obviously in terms of pros and cons. It is a format that will a) confuse the heck out of the reader; b) break the old framework and c)... wait, something is wrong right here and now... OK, no matter, let's have a go.

The book Imagine - John Lennon & the Jews: PROS

This is a great book. And, set aside your misgivings from the word "go" - it's not a boring opus that takes you to some antediluvian relative of John L. (or Paul M. for that matter) and tries to explain why Ringo sometimes looks like a... forget it, in short.

And if, like I, you have never really listened to the words of Imagine, I promise that you will be delighted by the book from the beginning. And that it promises more and more delights as you continue to read it.

The book's title includes words that may chill the initial enthusiasm and even prevent some careful and shy readers from opening the book. I mean the part where it says: "A Philosophical Rampage". There is no need to be afraid, I swear and promise. It is indeed philosophical, but, as stated, also a rampage, and one that it's a sheer pleasure to participate in. Because (and it's also a promise) participation is practically guaranteed, once you open the book.

It is a rare gift the author of the book is blessed with: the gift of involving the reader, of making him a part of that philosophical endeavor, that exuberant and exhilarating journey through centuries, states, philosophies, beliefs...

Ze'ev Maghen is a master of what Terry Pratchett called "headology". You should be careful too, his first time reader. When it starts to seem to you that the author has all the magic paraphernalia set up for his next conjuring trick and that he is ready to do the trick itself, his thumb and middle finger already coming together for a snap... when you are 100% sure, in short, my dear reader - you should realize that the trick has already happened. About ten or twenty pages ago. Just go back and re-read it...

The book is a thrilling and stimulating read, even if you don't agree with everything the author believes in*. The book is not written as a field manual but as a partner/opponent in a typically Jewish debate (way beyond a philosophical discussion, although a bit short of a fistfight).

(*) I can't say I have joined the author where he slays the dragon of materialistic determinism (pg. 232). But I feel a certain empathy toward him and toward the effort. Besides, I think I know where he went wrong on this point and how to find a workaround...

The book Imagine - John Lennon & the Jews: CONS

Well, frankly, there are no cons. As I have mentioned, even if you disagree with some points of the book at the end of the day, it's a great read, a great mental exercise, source of knowledge and more...

Er... maybe, just maybe: it's a bit too exuberant in a few places. But it could be a part of the author's headology and thus a part of the master plan...

Professor Ze'ev Maghen: PROS

After reading some (way too short) bio details, I have to scratch that initial impression.
  • He is not an alter kacker.
  • He has only three kids and he raises them in Hod HaSharon.
  • He speaks "a fluent Arabic, Persian, Russian, English and Hebrew" - wow, ain't that cool?
  • He dislikes lokshen kugel.
  • He is a philosopher. Meaning, to quote a Russian classic, that it's not advisable to put a finger in his mouth.
  • He is OK with Descartes' "Doubt everything".
  • He is a Jewish philosopher, speaks these five languages and works in Bar-Ilan University. Which means to a sane person that to argue with him in public, one has either to carry a big stick or to be totally anesthetized. And I wouldn't be so sure about the stick...
Of course, with Elders on the job there is no escape from some fault-finding, so:

Professor Ze'ev Maghen: CONS

He is, first and foremost, a tankist*. As an ex-sapper, whose main mission in the army was to rescue these flighty buggers from one scrap only to find them a few minutes later hopelessly mired in another, I can easily see where this sad fact casts a shadow (or is it a light?) on his other character traits. Such as:
  • Used the word "asseveration". Granted, one time only, on page 66, but still...
  • Loves matzo ball soup.
  • Is a Trekkie... unrepentant, too.
  • Used words "harmless" and "philosophy" together. Once, and I didn't record the page number. Bears watching around the clock.
  • Has written "dreck" as "drek" (page not recorded). Could be a sign of a closet Litvak. If so, taken together with the tankist past, the watch should be doubled.
(*) Russian and Hebrew for a "member of Armored Corps".

Yeah, well, what else is there to say about the case? Yes, go and buy the book here. Don't make me remind you...

Camel urine: a glass or two and you are cured!

Yep, just read this promo.

23 November 2010

Yeonpyeong Island: is it a precursor to another Korean war?

It looks like the small man that resembles a toad in a toupee has decided to make his retirement memorable.

3 millionth tourist and other news

3 millionth tourist arrives in Israel.

Pastor Jomber Araujo Vladislav, leading a group of 120 evangelical pilgrims from Brazil, was welcomed by Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov and other state officials at the airport in a special ceremony.
Unfortunately for the pastor, he was also randomly selected for a special set of security checks. After the ordeal, the good pastor said "I may never return to Israel" adding, however, that this cloud has a silver lining. "The checks were so thorough that I don't need to visit a dentist, an internist and a proctologist for years to come," he explained.

Culture minister Limor Livnat: No one will shut my mouth. Don't we know it, Limor... so many years the whole country is trying... But maybe now British Petroleum, with their recent experience...

Holocaust-denying bishop threatened with expulsion. From Vatican bowling team, they forgot to add.

UK to check Islamic schools after Sharia claim. The checks are already over, no Zionists detected.

WikiLeaks: New release 7 times size of Iraq logs. Reached an agreement with Google: readers will be paid per page.

Special therapy exercise for your hands

Reduces pain in your limbs, settles your blood pressure, eliminates toothache and headache, improves vision, appetite, wardrobe, appearance and living conditions. Click on the picture to start the exercise.

22 November 2010

Tough luck: A response from Israel under attack

Our blogger colleague Good News from Israel has kindly offered his post TOUGH LUCK! A RESPONSE FROM ISRAEL UNDER ATTACK for reposting here. While we all here generally disagree with using too many capitals, here is the post:

Abuse. Destruction. Exile. Persecution. Massacres. Concentration camps. Genocide. Wars. Terror. Delegitimisation. Anti-Semitism. For thousands of years.

Now you claim that you don't like the way I talk. I'm not polite. Rude. Tough luck!

You want to get abusive again? Let me tell you. You don't push us around any more.
We are no longer the meek, weak, Jew, walking submissively into the gas chamber.
Don't like that? Tough luck!

You say we act like bullies? Then, get out of my face.
You hate it when we hit back hard. Try living in my neighbourhood and let's see how you behave.

You think you can get the world to gang up on us. Try it. We'll circle our wagons and hang on to what we've got. It's Fortress Israel time.

Let me give you a warning. You spit on me. I'll slap your face. You hit me. I'll break your arms.
Just want to let you know. We don't take your crap any more.

I don't buy your bluff. I don't trust a word you say. Don't ask me to play nice in return for your promises. I don't believe you.
You want me to put my fate in your hands? Who are you kidding?

I do believe my enemies. I have learned one thing down the years. When my enemies tell me that they intend to kill me, they mean what they say.
So don't tell me to be soft. Soft doesn't sell in my neighbourhood.

To my enemies, let me say one thing. Your wars didn't work. Your terror scarred my soul, but didn't break me. You can't talk me out of existence. Your rockets failed to dent me. You want to try nuclear? Don't even think about it!

Don't like my attitude? Think I'm pushy? Shouldn't be around?

Tough luck! We're here to stay. Live with it!


Eva Longoria or pregnant Christina Aguilera?

One of the two will win in the Google hits count eventually, although I am not sure I know anything about the subject(s). I can, though, offer a picture that is guaranteed to be original, since I took it:

I would bet on the left one. You?

21 November 2010

Elders take over hockey

I don’t watch NHL that often but yesterday was different.  Leafs vs Canadians; another installation of the old rivalry, is always a good bet for Saturday night.

Imagine my surprise and indignation when I discovered that both goals in the game were scored by the Jooos!  Think about it: hardly any Jews in hockey, so what are the odds?  This really is looking like a Jooish conspiracy. 

Go Heebs Go!!!

When the right start seeing through Bibi too

Like a rare and precious jewel, our multi-talented PM was until now transparent only to a part of the public: to the left wing and to the middle-of-the-road minority (where yours truly resides now, albeit unwillingly). These two categories of citizens, seeing him for what he is, were able to predict his zigs and his zags quite easily.

Not so with the right wing. The people who have done so much to put Bibi on the throne, simply refused to see that they have chosen again the merchandise that has already proven itself to be of inferior quality. Now, however, their blindness is going away, and the article Even 1,000 U.S. warplanes won't save Netanyahu by Israel Harel is a tangible proof of that trend.

Obama, contrary to what New York Times columnist Tom Friedman claims, is not at all fed up with Netanyahu. Quite the opposite. He is Obama's strategic asset. Obama recognizes his unique added value - a weak Likud prime minister outflanking the left from the left - and applies incessant pressure to him, including via psychological warfare. Some of this warfare is conducted via the articles of his good friend, Friedman. To Netanyahu, unlike to most Americans these days, what is written in the New York Times is holier than Holy Writ.
Something like that, something like that indeed...

And more, if you like them hot:
After all, words like “principles,” “land of our forefathers” and “Minister Gilad Erdan” are merely a matter of price. When you realize that Israel’s leadership is not a determined ideologist, but rather, a prostitute with expensive taste in combat diamonds, everything looks much more optimistic. With someone like that we can do business.

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace speak

It will be a crime to comment on this clip...

Haveil Havalim #292

Haveil Havalim #292 by To Kiss a Mezuzah is welcoming you here. It's a real good one.

20 November 2010

Your Superintendent, you know...

I was going to close this article, it being just another story of misapplied Political Correctness doctrine, the whole subject becoming tiring by now. The first paragraph seemed to be enough:

Officials in a California school district said a middle school student was told to take a U.S. flag off his bike to avoid "racial tension."
Another bureaucrat mixes up racism with patriotism in his fervent desire to be politically correct, so what?

Then I got distracted by something else. When I've returned to the screen, I've automatically continued reading the article. Oh boy...
Denair Unified School District Superintendent Edward Parraz said Cody Alicea, 13, was told not to fly the U.S. flag from his bike while at Denair Middle School after complaints from other students, KCRA-TV, Sacramento, Calif., reported.
This is where it starts. OK, I am not supposed to understand how American flag, carried by an American kid in an American school, is deemed to be an irritant to other American kids. And why school management supports the irritated kids instead of checking with them the reason for this irritation - perhaps they require some chemical additives to their diet to calm them down or something?  What do I know anyway... Then came this:
"(The) First Amendment is important," Parraz said. "We want the kids to respect it, understand it, and with that comes a responsibility."
Which confused me even more. As far as I understand the First A., it is supposed to be supportive of the flag waving kid. Or any other kid or adult who decides to display this or another symbol on his bike, on his shirt or wherever he/she chooses. So why does Mr Parraz mention it, to start with? And now:
"Our Hispanic, you know, kids will, you know, bring their Mexican flags and they'll display it, and then of course the kids would do the American flag situation, and it does cause kind of a racial tension which we don't really want," Parraz said. "We want them to appreciate the cultures."
The insistence of Mr Parraz on American flag causing "kind of a racial tension" amazes me again. But even if we discard that "racial" point, why should American flag, displayed in Sacramento, cause tension at all? I mean, Sacramento is not an Iranian city. And why the response to American flag should be a Mexican flag? Is Sacramento in US*? Why should an American kid, no matter whether he/she is of Mexican, Chinese or African extraction, be incensed by viewing an American flag?

All these, you know, questions, like really, you know, do a confusion situation here.

(*) It is, I have checked again to make sure.

TSA - hands off my goolies!

I am not planning to fly anytime soon, but judging by what some people write, this specific Golem is getting people fed up. Rising, so to say, against... and all that crap...

The question is - who is going to defeat it?

19 November 2010

Now you know what it takes...

A suspected serial harasser of different state officials has been arrested after sending a fax with curses to a police station.
I hope everyone sees it...

The Tribe has Spoken! 11/19/2010

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners