TurningWheels

Friday, May 30, 2003
 
He stays!

Great news! Vincent Damphousse is staying in San Jose! He is my favorite player (not sure why?) and I thought for sure he would leave. With so many young players on the roster, the Sharks need an experienced veteran like him if they have any hopes of getting back into the playoffs next season. So glad you're staying, Vinny!




 
Political Compass

It looks like I'm to the right on economics, and a social libertarian (Libertarian Right). This places me next to nobody on the International Chart, which is quite a relief considering who's on the chart. It also makes me think that perhaps we need a change in the world, and it's time for a Libertarian Rightie to run things around here. I'm just relieved that I'm so close to the middle, considering what people have me believing lately!

The Political Compass

[Link via Random Jottings of a Mad Man]




 
Home-schooling yo

The runner-up in this year's National Spelling Bee was home-schooled. Last week the Geographic Bee was won by a kid who is home-schooled, too. Maybe people won't thumb their noses at home-schooling any more, as it seems to be producing some very smart kids.




 
$3.5 Million

Protests of war in Iraq cost S.F. $3.5 million

City agencies in San Francisco added up the costs of the war protests that disrupted the city in March and came up with more than $3.5 million in expenses and lost revenue.

The biggest bite out of city coffers came from the Police Department, which reported spending $2 million to police the civil unrest, with most of the money paying for officer overtime.

The Sheriff's Department, which staffs the jails, reported $760,872 in extra costs. Public Works, which cleans the streets, said it had spent $194, 840 during the demonstrations that took place March 17 to 22.

The Municipal Railway, which operates the city's public transit service, lost an estimated $55,224 when the protesters and police blockades prevented drivers from making their regular runs. Almost $67,000 more was spent on overtime.

Okay, so we know how I feel about the protesters in San Francisco. Now it's time to divide the cost of their protests, and send them the bill. Arsonists are charged for the firefighting costs of their blazes, right? So how about charging protesters for the law enforcement cost of protecting us, the law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of this country?

Supervisor Tony Hall, who asked the departments for the cost information, said, "I knew it would be high, but not that high. It also doesn't include any of the private-sector costs -- the people who were inconvenienced, the businesses that were shut down."

Hall, who had called for the city to collect protest-related costs from the organizations that planned the demonstrations, seems to have backed down from that notion after his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors failed to come on board and civil rights groups threatened to sue.

Whose civil rights were infringed? Nobody stopped them from protesting within the limits of our laws, but they incurred huge costs on the city and its taxpayers, most of whom had nothing to do with these protests. So what's wrong with charging those responsible for what they incurred? Those pesky civil rights groups love to weild their litigation sword, don't they? The sad part is that cities and companies in this country are so afraid of being branded "civil rights infringers" by these pathetic groups that they actually back down from doing what is right.

And those Board of Supervisors loonies who just got a 300% pay raise? They need to grow some cojones and start taking their city back.




Thursday, May 29, 2003
 
Ridiculous

Marlins Fined by Commissioner Selig

I read this and had to wonder to myself: did the Chicago Cubs have to interview some white or hispanic guys before hiring Dusty Baker? Isn't somebody's qualifications enough to hire them? So Major League Baseball wants teams to go through a song and dance, being dishonest with hopeful candidates, just to fill some stupid cosmetic requirement, even if they have already decided on their man? There are more and more awesome minority managers in the Majors every year. Any team would kill to have Dusty Baker as manager, and I think it's rather insulting to require teams to make a "show" for the sake of interview diversity.

This just smacks of something the ACLU has brought on...




 
Ariel Sharon, evil incarnate, creator of all conflict

Sharon to Ease Palestinian Travel Limits

The title is sarcastic.

This really sounds like a guy who doesn't want to move forward on the road map to hell. Would anybody like to bet on how long it will take the suicide bombers to make their way into Israel?




 
Sit down in the back!

This just goes to show, yet again, how Clinton is so full of himself:

Clinton: Terms Limits Could Be Changed

There may come a time when we have elected a president at age 45 or 50 and then 20 years later the country comes up with the same sort of problems the president faced before, and the people would like to bring that man or woman back," he said. He added that he didn't feel strongly about the issue, though.

Hmm, now how old was he when he was elected? Is there any reason for him to bring this up, except for the fact that he thinks he should still be in office? And who is asking him to keep yapping on and on and on, even though his pathetic term ended over two years ago?

It's so sad that so many people have bought into this guy, they speak of him with a look of sadness and longing for the "good ol' days" when corporate corruption and stoopid "investors" propped up an economy that was truly too good to be true. Corrupt corporate leaders took their cue from the most dishonest leader of the largest "corporation" in the world... boy, do I miss those days. What I wouldn't do to have him back in office. ~yawn~




 
When in Rome, redux

Well, it turns out that the innocent, veil-wearing, I-just-wanna-be-a-hardcore-Muslim-woman-who-drives lady has quite a history. One that includes a veil-less photo for the infidel Illinois government. She had her mug shot taken after she was arrested for child abuse. Two foster children were removed from her care after she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Apparently, she hid their injuries under Muslim garb. Her husband has also been arrested, after he fired his shotgun from the roof of his home. Sounds like a nice, law-abiding couple that I would love to have as neighbors. Is it me, or does Islam seem to attract and convert society's riffraff?

Freeman was twice photographed for mugshots in Illinois — once after being arrested on child abuse charges and once after her husband was arrested for firing a gun from the roof of the family's home on July 4. She pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in the first case and was not charged in the second.

The Smoking Gun has thoughtfully posted her mug shot for all to see. Another Naqba!

This topic was discussed on Hannity & Colmes last night, and the lawyer who supports her stance actually wondered about the difference between a FULL FACE veil and a Kipa (yarmulke). Are there really people that stoopid?

I have to wonder, how would law enforcement ever know for sure that the person who hands them her drivers license is really her? Driving is a priviledge, not a right, so if you don't like the rules that come with driving, then don't drive. Again, security for US citizens is far more important than a debatable Muslim "law".

At CNN.com, they have listed the rules in various Muslim nations regarding women's veils in identification photos:

Driver’s identification rules in Muslim nations:

Saudi Arabia: Women aren't allowed to drive
Iran: Women wear a traditional chador, which does not cover the face.
Egypt: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
United Arab Emirates: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Oman: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Kuwait: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Qatar: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Bahrain: Women do not cover their face in I.D. pictures
Jordan: Women can drive if their faces are covered but do not cover their face in I.D. pictures

Does she realize that the only reason that this is in a court is because she is in America and we have a justice system that even she can abuse? I doubt she would have any legal rights at all in the countries above, because over there she is a second-class citizen. These people come to this country or become hardcore religious zealots, expect us to accomodate them-- regardless of the risk these accomodations may pose to the rest of us-- tie up our courts with frivolous lawsuits, then say that we are not respecting their religious rights. Nobody is infringing on her religious rights, and she is infringing on my government's duty to protect American citizens. She can wear her veil all she wants, until it becomes a matter of security. If we start allowing religious laws to become part of US law, that will be the end of the United States and all that is great here.




Tuesday, May 27, 2003
 
When in Rome

Please excuse this moment of intolerance:

I'm sick and tired of Muslims in this country who use their religion as the reason that they are above the law. I could care less that you are Muslim (or Hindu, or Jewish, or Catholic...) when it comes to matters of security in America. Take off your f'ing veil for your identification picture! Nobody is telling you to go without it all the time, but what's the point of an ID photo if it shows nothing but black cloth and a pair of eyes?

My security trumps your religious "rights". You're in America. If you can't take off your veil for a driver's license photo, then you don't get a license. It's as simple as that. Last I checked, we're not in the House of Saud and this country hasn't adopted Shari'a law, so DEAL WITH IT! And need we remind them that it was their "brothers" who brought a war to our shores?

Islam, in it's current state, is a huge problem. But worse is the western, civilized world's incessant need to "understand" it. Instead of demanding that they adopt our customs (at least in the matter of security issues and US law), we are forced to understand their intolerance of all things non-Muslim. When a 16 year-old Australian girl was gang-raped by a group of Muslim boys, Australians were asked to try to understand why they did it-- how did she provoke them? Did she misunderstand their "culture" when she didn't go out of her way to avoid them?

Whatever happened to protecting America's traditions and our culture of an open and free society? America is a secular state, even though our country was built upon Judeo-Christian values. Some religions allow for polygamy, yet it is illegal according to US law. This country's laws trump religious law, and our security means that you will sometimes have to play by our rules no matter how much you don't like it.

Enough with "understanding" already. Culture is a wonderful thing, but if you want to be in America, then live by our rules. When in Rome....




Monday, May 26, 2003
 



 
Remember

Thank you to all the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors who sacrifice every day to make our freedom possible.




Friday, May 23, 2003
 
Nice try

Bogey barrage keeps Sorenstam from making cut

Her two-day total of 145 was eight strokes better than the odds out of Las Vegas, and she impressed some of her skeptics with alarming accuracy despite intense pressure over 36 holes.

She tried her best, and did better than a lot of people thought she would. I wonder if there will be any press left at the Colonial tomorrow...




 
Still? In America?

I had no idea.

Condemned Men Face Firing Squad

The Utah Corrections Department is recruiting law enforcement officers for two five-person firing squads, asking the police departments in the communities where the crimes were committed to nominate volunteers.

The officers' identities will not be released, and participants will be barred from talking publicly about the experience.

A hood will be put over the condemned man's head and a target will be pinned over his heart. The executioners will fire simultaneously from gun portals in a separate room at the inmate, seated in a chair about 30 feet away.

One of the five rifles will contain a blank so that no one will know who fired the fatal shots.

I'm all for gun rights and all, but this seems a bit weird to me. Archaic, actually. And to think these inmates had a choice and they chose the firing squad. Utah needs to revisit their law books... and I'm not talking about the Book of Mormon.




 
For the doubters

Anybody who has any doubts about the goals of the Palestinian terrorists, please watch this video. This interview took place just days before Abu Mazen met with Hamas to try to broker a "cease-fire" (which is really just an opportunity to gather more bombs and nails to attack more Israelis). Too bad more journalists are not as tough as Mr. Sebastian. It's an eye-opener that every Islamist apologizing ignoramus should see:

BBC's Tim Sebastian interviews Hamas' Mahmoud Zahar

And somehow Israel is supposed to put their trust in folks like this. Dream on.

[Link via LGF]




Thursday, May 22, 2003
 
Are they getting it?

With the anti-Palestinian Authority demonstrations on Tuesday (Palestinians Protest, Blame Militants), and these kinds of stories now hitting the news, perhaps there is momentum among the ordinary Palestinians, who are realizing that terror strikes against Israelis are hindering their cause, and that maybe the road to peace is peace itself:

Widow decries suicide bombing

Just before 6 a.m. Sunday morning, another man got on the same bus, this one wearing an explosive belt laced with ball bearings. A few moments later, he detonated the device, shredding Mr. al-Tawil's body. The only thing that made Mr. al-Tawil stand out from the six other commuters who died that morning was that he, like the bomber, was a Palestinian Arab. It was an Israeli bus, and the rest of the victims were Jews.

"I have always thought that this bombing is wrong, and now it has found me in my own home," Mrs. al-Tawil said, dressed in the head scarf of a devout Muslim and the dark mourning clothes of a new widow.

"Suicide bombings are a big mistake. Jews are like us. They are on their way to work. This is against the will of God. They are ordinary people like us."

I would never wish this kind of violence on any innocents, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian. It seems like the only way to get the point across, however, is for them to suffer the same way Israelis suffer. It's a sad state of affairs, but until the Palestinians realize what these terrorist groups are doing to shatter their lives, they will never be inclined to rise up against them, and rise up against their "leadership".

Mr. al-Tawil is not the only Arab to fall victim to Palestinian militants in the past 31 months of violence. The very next day, an Arab-Israeli man, Hassan Tuatha, was killed in a suicide bombing outside a shopping mall in the northern Israeli town of Afula.

But these most recent deaths seem to have touched a chord with Palestinians, many of whom are increasingly fed up with the violence that is dominating their lives just as it has the Israelis.

A poll conducted by Bir Zeit University found that 71 per cent of Palestinians favour an end to terror attacks in Israel if the international community is able to engineer a resumption of peace talks. The White House has been trying to promote a so-called road map to peace, but it has been stalled, in part by the recent spate of bombings.

"The two peoples are killing each other and the leaders are watching," said Huda abu Sneineh, Mrs. al-Tawil's sister -- one of the few relatives who managed to find her way from Hebron through Israeli checkpoints to get to Mr. al-Tawil's funeral. "Mostly it is revenge. The Israelis are constantly killing our brothers and sisters and destroying our houses. Therefore they want revenge. I am against all this revenge. . . . Children are left without fathers on both sides."

"The only way to end the [Israeli] occupation is peace," Mrs. al-Tawil added. "It is the only way." A plasterer by trade, Mr. al-Tawil took a job just over a year ago cleaning at Hadassah Hospital. He wanted to work there to be closer to his 13-year-old daughter, Iman, who has Down syndrome and is being treated at the hospital for leukemia. When she was in hospital for long periods, he often slept in the room with her.

Mrs. al-Tawil said that she and her husband had been warned against taking the No. 6, but it was the only way for him to get to work and for her to take Iman to her appointments while she was being treated as an out patient. A round trip by taxi costs 100 shekels (about $30). Mr. al-Tawil could not afford that. Besides his wife and eight children at home, he was supporting his mother, a niece, and a child from a previous marriage on 2,500 shekels ($750) a month. Mrs. al-Tawil seemed unaware that as victims of terrorist violence, her family should be eligible for generous financial, housing and educational benefits from the Israeli government.

She was sure about one thing. "I won't take that bus again even if it means ending Iman's treatment," she said.

"I won't do it because my husband died that way and I can't stand the memory. And I won't do it because I have to protect myself. I'm all the children have now."

You see, the Palestinians only get financial assistance from their Arab brothers if they blow themselves up and kill a few Jews. The evil Zionist government, on the other hand, gives financial aid to victims of terrorism, regardless of who you are or where you are from.

It appears that the only hope is that Palestinians are starting to see how life is for Israelis, who can no longer send their kids to school on busses or meet at a cafe without suffering an anxiety attack. It's one thing when you have people volunteering to kill themselves. It's entirely another when your family and friends are killed because they were going about their business.

I'll hope, but I won't hold my breath.




 
Which side wants peace?

Israel catches boat smuggling weapons material to Gaza

Quite honestly, there isn't anything to add to this.




 
Road map to where?

Reformist Palestinian PM to Meet Hamas Militants

So what's with the white-washed title? "Reformis" Mazen? Hamas "militants"? Funny!

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas plans to hold talks this week with leaders of the militant group Hamas, which has defied his calls for an end to attacks on Israelis, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

The meeting, expected to be held as early as Thursday night in Gaza, would be the first between Hamas and Abbas since he took office last month pledging to curb the violence of the nearly 32-month-old Palestinian uprising for independence.

Hamas, a radical Islamic movement, has posed a stiff challenge to Abbas by launching a spate of suicide bombings that threatens to derail a new U.S.-led peace effort.

"He will ask them to help instill calm," the Palestinian official said, declining to elaborate.

Israel demands that Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen, crack down on Hamas and other militant groups, disarm them and jail their leaders before it will relax its military grip on Palestinian areas. The United States has also put intense pressure on Abbas to curb violence.

Abbas, a leading moderate, has made clear that he hopes to achieve a cease-fire through dialogue with militants to avoid the risk of touching off a Palestinian civil war.

Militants, who have rejected a U.S.-backed peace "road map," have vowed to continue their attacks.

So Mazen believes that if he begs with the terrorists, says pretty please with sugar on top, they'll stop their attacks? They've vowed time and time again that they will not stop their attacks until there is no more Israel. That seems pretty clear. Yet Abu Mazen, "leading moderate", thinks he can talk them into changing their ways. Why would they when they have Arafat in their corner? Let's be honest here, Arafat is still running the show.

Instead of negotiating with terrorists, he should be crushing them. Since they refuse to do it, Israel is left to do the job. Perhaps, instead of appeasing terrorists to avoid a civil war, he should let the cards fall where they may. A civil war sounds like it would be the best thing to happen to the Palestinians since Jordan rejected them. Let them fight their own, then Israel won't have to.

Hamas has rejected the road map, though nobody invited them to the party. Mazen and Arafat are doing nothing to rein in the terrorists, and instead start bargaining with them, yet it's Sharon who is sabotaging peace. By giving the green light to Mazen to include Hamas in these talks, we are pushing Israel to effectively negotiate with the terrorists who are killing their kids every day. We are pushing them to do exactly what we refuse to do. Where is the objection to these meetings with Hamas?

The hypocrisy and blindness of the world is getting a bit old. Just build the wall. Let them rot in their pathetic little world. Enough already.

Update:

Big surprise:

Abbas fails to get Hamas to agree truce with Israel

What do you expect with a terrorist group that has the following philosophy:

"When the Zionist enemy stops killing Palestinian civilians, ends its assassinations and its incursions and frees the prisoners, then Hamas could stop its military operations against (Israeli) civilians," he said.

However, he said the battle against the Israeli military and against Jewish settlers would continue.

Note the word "could". In other words, when Israel stops defending herself, then maybe we'll stop the violence. Oh, and Israeli soldiers and unarmed settlers are still fair game. I just blew milk out of my nose. Excuse me while I clean out my keyboard.

Hamas refuses to recognize the right of Israel to exist, advocating a Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, but Haniya did not rule out the possibility of a "truce" with the Jewish state.

A truce? From Colin Powell's joint news conference with Israel's Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom on May 10, 2003:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you accept the idea of “hudna” – a sort of a cease-fire between the Palestinian terror organizations, or do you support what Prime Minister Sharon is demanding from the Palestinians: a total disarming and dismantling of these terror organizations?

SECRETARY POWELL: I support the end of terror, and we must not allow organizations that have conducted terrorist activities to continue to either conduct those activities or have the potential to conduct those activities. And so one of the great challenges that is before Prime Minister Abbas is how to deal with organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to make sure that they do not continue to constitute a threat to the safety of the people of Israel. A cease-fire that does not deal with the fundamental issue of an armed group is not a complete solution, and so I’m sure we’ll have conversations about this tomorrow, with both Prime Ministers in the course of the day’s proceedings. [emphasis added]

There's nothing left to say. On to other topics....




 
Go girl!

Best of luck to Annika Sorenstam in her PGA quest this week. I hope she does well. People want to criticize her, but how can you criticize somebody who wants to challenge herself to bring her game up a level? Women have always been told that we can't hang with the boys. She dares to try, and I applaud her for that. And for those men who say she shouldn't be there because they can't compete in the LPGA-- since when does a man aspire to play at a woman's "level" anyway? How often is a man told that he can't compete with women? The bottom line is that more has been made of this than it's worth. Her participation will not ruin the PGA, nor will it negatively affect the LPGA. The only thing it may prove is that Annika is one of the greatest golfers ever, male or female.

Update:
Sorenstam shoots 1 over in first round of Colonial

Not bad for a GIRL. She was shooting par until the last hole. Amazing considering the hype. Hopefully she can continue. Even if she doesn't make the cut, she showed today that she can play with the boys.




 
When capitalism goes too far

LeBron James Lands $90M Nike Endorsement

Does anybody else find this a bit excessive? We're talking about a kid of 18 years, unproven in the professional ranks. Do they expect him to be the next Kobe Bryant? Even so, is he really worth $90M? Is he the reason they charge $100 for a pair of shoes?

Basketball had its heyday in the 80's. Lately it's been filled with a bunch of overpaid, over-hyped thugs who are more concerned about their own image than that of their sport. Ever since Michael Jordan left (when his career really ended in 1998), everybody thinks they are the greatest thing to ever step foot on the court. The NBA has truly become a spectacle of excess, where those who glorify the gangster image are heroes to kids. This is why I haven't been able to watch for years.




Wednesday, May 21, 2003
 
Speaking of graduations....

Here's a picture my brother took at my graduation eight years ago:

Just goes to show that you never know who your audience is, so stick to a positive, universal message. That's what graduates want to hear on the biggest day of their lives.

By the way...
It says: Rush is Right




 
The self-centered anti-Bushies

My college graduation was great, because it was a day for us to celebrate our accomplishment with our family and friends. It was a day to cherish great memories, stand proud of the adversity we had to overcome, and to reflect on our future as contributing members of society (and an excuse to party down!) When I hear about incidents such as this commencement speaker, I can only feel bad for the students who had their day hijacked by a self-centered asshat. Why is it impossible for these people to get over themselves for ONE DAY, a day that does not belong to them? Shame on him, and bravo to the students for standing up and taking their day back. Unfortunately, their graduation memories will forever include the tripe that came from this speaker. Hopefully it will provoke other colleges to put some thought into picking their commencement speakers.

N.Y. Times reporter booed off stage

This guy is cut from the same cloth as Michael Moore and people like him. He cannot, for one moment, get over himself to address the reason for his presence at the commencement. Commencement addresses are supposed to be about the students, about optimism and the difference they can make in the world for future generations. Instead, Hedges uses the event to spew his own agenda, filled with nothing but his ignorant opinions ("Israel created Hez'bollah") and criticisms of America. He doesn't mention the students once.

There is a link to the speech. Listen closely for the background noise of the students, who obviously want him to shut up. Sure, freedom of speech allows Mr. Hedges to express his opinions. It also allows students to voice theirs, and to take back their graduation. There is a time and place for everything. This was neither the time nor the place for this type of speech. Those who criticize the students for their behavior should first look at the selfish behavior of the speaker. He tried to rain on their day. Instead of it being about them, it was all about him.




 
Home schooling

Given the utter mess our public school system is in these days, I'm seriously thinking that when I have kids, I'm home schooling them. I wouldn't want my kids to be subjected to an education that is stunted via PC rules, and I certainly wouldn't want my kids to be the subjected to the propaganda curriculum that schools seem to be adopting lately.

Then I read about this, and it becomes somewhat of a no-brainer:

Washington Boy, 14, Wins Geographic Bee

It was the second straight year a home-schooler has won the bee.

Ann Williams, the winner's mother, said she and husband Craig had decided on home schooling before they had any children.

"We wanted to make learning a lifestyle rather than something you have to do," she said. It allows the children to concentrate on areas they enjoy and the family isn't tied to a school schedule, she added.

James credited that flexibility with allowing him to spend time on geography, but that isn't his only interest. The family came to the nation's capital from Ohio, where he participated in a science olympiad, and later this year he will compete as a member of the Washington-Oregon Science Bowl team.

They should be very proud. They are a shining example of one of the alternatives to public education. Americans don't have to settle for a lesser education for their children, and if parents invested more time in educating their children, we wouldn't have as many ignorant idiots among us.




Monday, May 19, 2003
 
Catch up

Been out of town for the past four days, and I have lots of catching up to do. Seems like you can be out of touch with the world for a while, yet everything is exactly as you left it when you get back in touch. Reading over the news, it seems like it is being recycled from a year ago. Amazing how we human beings are so prone to missing signs, being green and repeating history. Hopefully we'll all learn some day.

Something I did learn over the weekend: I'm done with Las Vegas. Really. All it has to offer is smoke-filled rooms, bad lounge acts, creepy mid-westerners, and too much heat. What is it about that place that sells out tens of thousands of rooms night after night?




 
48 hours, 5 attacks

Events in Israel over the weekend truly represent the good faith efforts of the Palestinians to make peace. Will the media report these attacks as attempts to toss the "peace process"? Highly unlikely. But the Israeli response certainly will. Because when you are being attacked on a daily basis, that is your cue to take the extra step towards peace. Bend over, Israel, and try some understanding. The Palestinians deserve it.

Fifth suicide bomber in 48 hours kills three more in northern Israel

If this isn't evidence that the Pals don't want peace with Israel, but it's total destruction, I don't know what is. The behavior is repeated time and time again-- when the two sides get close to the negotiation table, the terrorists step up their campaign of death and destruction. If this continues, it will hopefully end the pipe dream for the Palestinians to have a state of their own. They have done nothing to earn statehood, and the Israelis have shown over-the-top restraint in dealing with them. Abu Mazen does not represent hope for anybody, as he is just a puppet for the inventor of international terrorism. He represents only a distraction for the naïve. TerrorFat must go, and he must go now. It's high time to send the assasins to the terrorist-harboring, egomaniacal murderer's Ramallah compound. Let's get it over with already.

How many Israelis and other innocents must give their lives before we do what we have to do to kill the beast? When will enough be enough?




Thursday, May 15, 2003
 
Oh, the Naqba!

Israeli Forces Kill 5 Palestinians in Gaza Raid

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, two youths and two gunmen on Thursday in a raid in the Gaza Strip that marred the Palestinians' annual commemoration of their displacement during Israel's creation.

It must really suck to only have defeats to commemorate. These people live a miserable life, indeed, where a celebration consists of whacking yourself in the head with a sword until you are bleeding to death.

The Israeli army said it entered the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to search for militants behind mortar bomb and rocket attacks on Jewish settlements and a town in Israel.

The Palestinians said the raid, preceding a meeting of the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers on Saturday and top-level U.S.-Israeli talks in Washington next week, was intended to undermine international peace moves.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who Israel and the United States have tried to sideline in favor of a reformist Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, took center stage on "Nakba" (Catastrophe) day in a televised address to his people.

"No peace before the full Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian and Arab lands to the line of June 1967," Arafat said. Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war.

Whew! For a minute there I thought the evil Zionist army had nothing better to do than harass some helpless Palestinians on their special holiday.

Yes, the raid certainly was launched to undermine the "peace" process. The Israelis really need to re-read their road map to hell, because apparently mortar bomb and rocket attacks on JEWS are a-okay. And TerrorFat's declaration that there will be no peace until the Israelis withdraw must also be a part of that road map... can we get some Hebrew translators here? And how 'bout some old fashioned, tell it like it is journalism?

Why would those crazy Pals think that the Israelis will believe that they need to withdraw to get peace? Palestinian and Arab land? Says who? They captured the land after violence was threatened on them, and they have endured violence at the hands of the peace-loving Arabs since long before 1967. This, to me, means that the "disputed" land has nothing to do with it, because all of Israel is disputed to those loony Pals. To pressure the Israelis to withdraw in order to achieve peace is to allow terrorism to work. Then you have to ask, where will it end? It won't, until either Israel is wiped off the face of the earth, or the Arabs are forcefully shown that terrorism is worse for them than it is for Israelis.

The use of "reformist" and Abu Mazen in the same breath makes me chuckle....

Israel launched the raid two days before talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at which they are due to discuss a new Middle East peace plan known as the "road map."

The proposal, backed by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, calls for an end to 31 months of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed, reciprocal confidence-building measures and a Palestinian state by 2005.

Here is something that just make NO sense. Why apply a chronological "deadline" to establishing a Pal state? Bush should stick to his declaration that there will be not state until terrorism ends. The only factor in determining the establishment of this so-called state, should be the end of terrorism. period. I'm not holding my breath with the type of people they call "leader".

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a senior adviser to Arafat, accused Israel of trying to "blow up the road map" by raiding Gaza.

Mr. Nabil must be unaware of the Palestinian rockets and mortars trying to blow up JEWS.... there is nobody capable of derailing "peace" like TerrorFat and his cronies have for the past 10 years. His rejection of an overly generous offer is living proof.

The Nakba anniversary has taken on extra resonance because Abbas is a refugee himself. He took office on April 30 after international pressure for democratic and security reforms.

Palestinians attended rallies holding banners with the names of villages in what is now Israel from which they fled or were expelled in the war over the Jewish state's founding in 1948.

Sirens sounded in Gaza City, bringing life to a halt for three minutes to honor Palestinians killed in violence with Israel. Some 20,000 people marched in a rally in the city as a loudspeaker blared: "They said the old die and children forget, we will never forget and we will return."

Israel rejects any right of return for the estimated four million Palestinian refugees to what is now the Jewish state, saying such an influx would be demographic suicide.

"Right" of return.... I won't even go there. Demographic suicide is the understatement of the year. I'd like to see a nation where Arabs are the majority and Jews or Christians can live in total freedom and peace, with equal rights. Is there such a nation? Can't think of one.

Well, in the meantime, happy "Catastrophe" day! Enjoy your celebration. Oh, and Hooray for the Freedom Fighters!

Update:
The BBC has an incredibly unbiased report on what is happening in Israel.

The Israeli army has launched a large-scale offensive in the Gaza Strip, in what is being seen as a fresh blow to US efforts to push a new peace plan for the region.

Seen by whom as a fresh blow? TerrorFat? The little "Left to die" subtitle is great. The Israelis are known for their utter lack of humanity, certainly those witnesses are telling the truth.

When will "journalists" stop reporting Arab bullshit as fact? Why not hold their stories to the same standards and scrutiny as the ones that come from the Israelis? Never will you see this kind of sympathy expressed in a story where a homicide bomber kills innocent Israelis. Because apparently Israeli lives don't warrant it.

Un-f'ing-believable




 
Lunar eclipse alert!!

Alert: Total Lunar Eclipse Set Thursday

I love this stuff.

LOS ANGELES - If the weather cooperates, a total lunar eclipse will be seen across North America late Thursday — the first visible in the United States in three years — and just before dawn Friday in western Europe and western and southern Africa.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts its shadow on the full moon, blocking the sunlight that otherwise reflects off the moon's surface. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.

In North America, the moon will remain totally eclipsed for 53 minutes, and should turn substantially darker and reddish in color.

The total eclipse will start at 8:13 PDT in Los Angeles, 11:13 p.m. EDT in New York.

A second lunar eclipse, on Nov. 8, will be visible from North and South America.

Eclipses once helped prove the Earth is round, because its shadow on the moon is curved.

If you miss it, don't fret. There will be another one in November.




Wednesday, May 14, 2003
 
Flat tax

SHELBY INTRODUCES FLAT TAX LEGISLATION

WASHINGTON, D. C.--- U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) introduced S. 1040, the “Freedom and Fairness Restoration Act of 2003.” This bill would repeal the current Internal Revenue Code and replace it with a flat tax rate that would apply to all taxpayers.

Like President Bush’s plan, S.1040 eliminates the double taxation of dividends, but it goes further by creating a single tax rate for all taxpayers – seventeen percent when the tax is fully implemented. The legislation would also eliminate the many marginal rates, all itemized deductions and credits, the alternative minimum tax, and the taxation of Social Security benefits. In place of itemized deductions, each taxpayer would be given a standard deduction of $12,790, or $25,580 in the case of a couple filing jointly. Taxpayers would receive an additional $5,510 standard deduction for each dependant. Therefore, a family of four would need to make over $36,600 before they would pay a single penny of taxes.

Sen. Shelby said, “Were a flat tax in place now, taxpayers would file a return the size of a postcard, and every American would be taxed equally and at the same rate. Rather than spending hours poring over convoluted IRS forms, or resorting to professional tax assistance, the flat tax allows taxpayers to determine their taxes quickly and easily. The flat tax would decrease the cost of compliance to the government, and would save taxpayers time and money.”

I would like to hear any argument against this. Anything. How can anybody argue against eliminating the AMT? How about dropping the marriage penalty? A postcard tax return? I'm going to write my Senators to voice my support. Of course it won't happen, because we have legislators with a spending addiction that you and I are paying for. The flat tax couldn't possibly fund that addiction.

This kind of legislation is why Republicans rule.

[Via Andrew Sullivan]




 
It's raining cows

From the Strange Sights files:

Cows at Calif. Ranch Run Off Cliff

This cliff happens to be over a road. Drivers said they saw a bunch of cows tumbling into the street, as if it was actually raining cows. Miraculously, nobody was hurt. The cows, on the other hand, did not all fare as well.




 
reloaded

... this better be good.




 
Top Guns

I went to confirm that the Blue Angels will be making their annual stop in San Francisco in October for Fleet Week. There is something very awesome about these great pilots strutting their stuff with a beautiful skyline as a backdrop. And, of course, there is something satisfying about our great military showing up in full force in a city where so many despise them under their breath. What will the protesters do? Perhaps the Blue Angels can drop some smelly ordnance on some demonstrators... cherish the thought.

As usual, I got caught up in their website. The pictures are very cool, and this one, in particular, is great:

Photo courtesy of the Blue Angels Public Affairs Office

I am never one to wish Summer away, but their visit in October will be especially meaningful. I look forward to it.




 
God does has a sense of humor

Giant Plant Blooms in Stinking Splendor

A giant Amorphophallus titanium plant nicknamed 'Mr. Stinky' starts to bloom in front of spectators at the Fairchild Tropical Garden in Coral Gables, Florida, May 12, 2003. In addition to being the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, in June of 1998 'Mr. Stinky' was the first Amorphophallus titanium plant to bloom in the United States since 1939. Originally thought to die after blooming, this Titan is the first in the United States to put on three spectacular, smelly showings and has grown to seven feet and one inch. The titan is known for its intensely powerful stench that lasts for over eight hours. (Marc Serota/Reuters)



 
Common sense wins the day

GAO Won't Investigate Bush Carrier Flight

It's hard to imagine that our lawmakers spent even a moment on this non-issue. But I'm sure they'll just chalk this up to the omnipotent Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy™.

Comptroller General David Walker, head of the General Accounting Office, said Tuesday it would cost too much and take too long to do the study.

He also would have to look at similar actions by other presidents and possibly federal lawmakers "in order to do this kind of work in a professional, objective, nonpartisan, fair and balanced manner," Walker said.

"In my view, it does not pass a cost-benefit test," he said. [emphasis added]

Did it take the Comptroller General to state the obvious to make these supposedly educated lawmakers understand? Like, duh!

And to those who are so hell-bent on keeping the actions of the globe-trotting, showboating previous President out of this debate, well, again, I'm sorry that you missed the obvious. As I've said before, the previous President blew many more of our tax dollars on his personal trips and his family vacations. And let's not forget Ms. Hillary's use of AF1 for her carpetbagger campaign... what is that about the pot calling the kettle black?

"To me, it is an affront to the Americans killed or injured in Iraq for the president to exploit the trappings of war for the momentary spectacle of a speech," said the Senate's most senior member, Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

Grand Wizard Byrd is full of wisdom these days. It's impossible to even have a discussion about morality when that discussion includes Mr. KKK himself. He is an affront to his fellow Americans who have dedicated their lives to fighting racism, only to have a big, fat bigot as the "Senate's most senior member".




Monday, May 12, 2003
 
Google searches

Apparently the following Google searches will bring up this blog:

  • "santa rosa junior college" + "racist"
  • tornado AND god AND israel AND roadmap
  • "jayson blair" "alcohol" ?!
  • "bowling for columbine" and "filled with lies"
  • Clinton's haircut at LAX

People search for the strangest things....




Saturday, May 10, 2003
 
The NYT shows its true colors

In an unbelievable comment from the editor of the New York Times, Howell Raines, in an interview with NPR, said the following (paraphrasing, until I find the transcript):

"Jayson Blair made the staff better, but more importantly, made it more diverse."

HUH? Sorry, but what is most important in journalism? The ethnicity of the writer, or his/her integrity and quality of reporting?

The New York Times is on a slippery slope to irrelevance.

[This was reported on Fox News this morning.]




Friday, May 09, 2003
 
The saga continues

Amnesty Says Israel Shutting Out Foreign Scrutiny

I'd like to argue the heading. Israel is really just shutting out foreign enemy combatants...

The rights group Amnesty International accused Israel on Friday of trying to prevent outside scrutiny of its army after a military clamp down on foreign activists working in Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli troops raided premises in the West Bank used by the International Solidarity Movement on Friday, arresting three people, the ISM said.

Separately, the Israeli army said it would now oblige foreigners entering Palestinian-ruled Gaza to sign a waiver absolving Israel of responsibility for their safety, a procedure already in place for Israeli civilians.

"This comes as a result of recent events in which foreign nationals abused their status to carry out terror attacks," the army statement said, referring to a deadly attack by a British suicide bomber and his accomplice last week in Tel Aviv.

Well, thank goodness they are having them sign waivers. I was hoping they would do that, as these people are a danger to Israeli citizens and soldiers. Maybe when they are forced to sign a document taking responsibility for their actions, they'll stop to think about what they are about to do. Do they believe that, because they are foreigners, they can have free reign in a war zone? If that's what they believe, then they should accept whatever their fate may be.

Amnesty International can stick their accusations where the sun don't shine. Are they suddenly the experts on Israeli security? Do they honestly believe that Israelis should do nothing about "human shields", now that two people have used the cover of "activism" to roam free in Israel and kill innocents? Is it wrong for them to do everything in their power to prevent another bombing? If the terrorism were to stop, the Israelis would not have to take these drastic measures.

"There were three women there at the time," he told Reuters. "They (the soldiers) took our servers, laptops and files."

It will be interesting to see what they find. The Israelis are doing the right thing to get these goons out of the picture.

[Via LGF]




Thursday, May 08, 2003
 
Does anybody ever really grow up?

Are We Grown Up Yet? U.S. Study Says Not 'Till 26

The poll found the following ages at which people expect the transitions to grown-up status to be completed: Age 20.9 self-supporting; 21.1 no longer living with parents; 21.2 full-time job; 22.3 education complete; 24.5 being able to support a family financially; 25.7 married; and 26.2 having a child.

I truly believe that these kinds of studies are flawed. Sure, there is probably an average to everything, but can you really tell people that they should "expect" these things at specific ages? Me thinks this contributes to the problem of unfulfilled expectations, especially among women. If you are 30 and you're not yet married, what the hell is wrong with you? According to this study, you're four years behind the marriage curve and 3 years behind the children curve. I just don't buy it. But I don't buy most studies based on statistics (does that mean I don't buy any studies? I'll have to think about that one...)

The bottom line is really this: I'm 31 years old, and I don't ever want to grow up, and no study can tell me I have to. Is that so bad?




 
Cojones of steel
Climber Who Cut Off Arm Discusses Ordeal

The wimp that is writing this cannot imagine what this guy went through. At what point would I decide to cut a limb off? Are we all given that kind of survival instinct, or does it only exist in certain people? Cannot even begin to imagine....

On the fourth day, a day after his first attempt to cut his arm, Ralston went through the motions of applying a tourniquet, laid out bike shorts to absorb the blood and got his gear ready for a quick getaway. He worked out how to get through the bone with his "multi-tool"-type knife, made duller by futile attempts to chip away at the rock.

"Basically, I got my surgical table ready," he said.

On the fifth day, he summoned up all his technique and nerve:

"I was able to first snap the radius and then within another few minutes snap the ulna at the wrist and from there, I had the knife out and applied the tourniquet and went to task. It was a process that took about an hour," he said.

Ouch? Ouch!!

Even after his excruciating operation, what Ralston had to do to survive required skills beyond the abilities of most. On May 1, he crawled through a narrow, winding canyon, rappelled down a 60-foot cliff and walked some six miles down the canyon.

Couldn't even do that with all limbs in tact. Sheesh, I freak out at having to cross a stream. Unbelievable.

For reasons he wouldn't explain, Ralston withheld some details of his story. A publicist told reporters there would be no follow-up interviews soon and no interviews whatsoever with the doctors who treated him.

Hmm.... publicist. How about a made-for-TV movie within.... say.... 2 months? Hey, this guy has earned whatever he can get for the rights to his story.




 
Welcome to 2003

Those sensitive, caring and inclusive Georgians have made a helluva a sacrifice in flying a new flag:

Georgia Governor Approves New Flag, Urges Calm

The new flag, which has three red and white stripes and the state coat of arms on a blue field in a corner, was raised atop the capitol building in Atlanta just minutes after the signing.

Its appearance prompted shouts of 'Sellout' and 'Stalin' from a small group of white protesters who favored a return to a 1956 flag that contained a giant rebel cross honoring the pro-slavery Confederacy.

Although some whites viewed that flag and other rebel relics as a symbol of southern culture, millions of blacks look upon them as potent reminders of the racial hatred that was once institutionalized in the Deep South.

I suppose the Nazi flag and other relics are a symbol of German culture? The brilliance of the south shines through when you see that some voters base their choices on the state flag. Is there nothing more important to them than the Confederate flag? It's times like this that I feel bad for the normal, educated folks in the South. This kind of flap gives them all a bad name. Now, can somebody explain to me why some are so bent on the Confederate flag? What's wrong with the new one?




 
Some "Care Not Cash" background

In case you think the homeless problem in SF is exaggerated:

Can 'Care Not Cash' Help SF Homeless?

The word is out, nationwide -- if you're homeless, San Francisco is the place to come.

"I was in Nebraska, and I met some guys on freight trains," one man said. "They said, 'Hey, let's go to San Francisco. They give you a check.' I said, 'Why do they give you a check?' They said, 'Because you're homeless.' I said, 'I don't believe this.'"

An estimated 6000 homeless people in San Francisco have become the number one issue for many San Franciscans. Some people are so caught up in drugs or alcohol that even being sick on the street doesn't stop them from using. And it's fueled by your tax dollars.

Our hidden cameras captured numerous people using their monthly general assistance money, or GA, to buy drugs and alcohol. In San Francisco, the GA checks are over $300 in cash.

Dr. Pablo Stewart, head of psychiatry at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, has been treating homeless for years.

"Upward of 70% of the people are currently suffering from drug and alcohol abuse," Stewart said. "The government is acting as a co-dependant in the relationship, in that we're providing people the means to continue their use of drugs and alcohol."

So to end that co-dependant relationship, San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom has put Proposition N on the ballot, called "Care Not Cash." It would cut welfare checks to $59 a month, but provide housing and services like drug treatment.

"I would argue, 'Continue to do what you've done to get what you've got,'" Newsom said. "I just hope that when people are at the ballot, they think about that. Do they want people to do something differently that's worked in every major city in the country?"

In fact, most Bay Area counties now pay for shelter instead of handing out large cash payments. Besides San Francisco, only Marin and Solano counties still give out money. When Alameda County switched from cash to vouchers, the number of homeless on GA dropped from 33% to 5% in just three years. [Ed. note: they probably crossed the bridge to SF]

But opponents like Supervisor Chris Daly say cutting back on welfare money will increase crime.

"I don't want to scare anybody, but if you're a heroin addict and you need a fix, and you don't have the money on you ... you're going to figure out some way of doing it," Daly said. [Ed. note: so let's use taxpayer dollars to fund their addiction, so that they don't attack said taxpayer for their fix. Ah, the liberal mindset!]

But Stewart disagrees.

"Drugs and alcohol cause the crime ... so I don't know [why] they say more crime will occur," he said. "I don't think that's going to happen."

It's a difficult problem for a tolerant city like San Francisco. Yet most would admit that 15 years of tolerance has done little but produce homeless encampments. So Proposition N is the next attempt at a fix.

"This is an absolute measure that will help the homeless," said Stewart. "I can guarantee that. To say that it's not, and for people to be against this, I really don't understand where they're coming from."

So after years of failed programs, it's now up to the city's voters to decide if the tough-love approach of Proposition N should be the next step.
[emphasis added]

And decide they did, by overwhelmingly approving of the measure. The voters have spoken, now it's time for the Board of Supervisors to carry out the will of the people.




 
101 reasons to not live in SF

Judge Throws out SF's 'Care Not Cash' Plan

A San Francisco judge ruled Thursday that the city's "Care Not Cash" initiative violates state law.

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition N in November. It would have drastically cut monthly payments to the homeless, substituting services for the money. But Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay said that state law does not allow voters to set policy on the general assistance. Instead, he ruled, the Board of Supervisors as agents for the state must pass laws in regards to the funds.

As we all know, the will of the voters means nothing when you live in the socialist city of SF.

Proposition N was the brainchild of San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom. Thursday, Newsom said that he was disappointed in the ruling, but the battle was not over. He planned to introduce the voter-approved initiative to the supervisors in the coming week.

"I'll expect that my colleagues ... will do what they said consistently, and that is that the will of the voters should be implemented," Newsom said.

Care Not Cash would reduce the monthly general assistance funds given to the homeless from $320 a month to $59. The money saved was to go to social service programs. [Emphasis added]

Well, Gavin, don't hold your breath. When you talk about the "representative" government of SF, they mean representative of the homeless, the drug addicts, the welfare recipients.... everybody but the taxpayers. I hope the board of supervisors passes this legislation, because the homeless problem in SF is a huge stain on a beautiful city. There are areas I regularly avoid because I know it's where all the panhandlers are. The $320/month cash handout in SF is what attracts the homeless to this city-- it's more than triple what they get in comparable cities. Just give 'em their $59/month and let's move on. Cash handouts don't get people off the street-- services do. The cash can be put to much better use than what it currently buys, such as drugs and alcohol.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this, but I won't get my hopes up any time soon.




 
Not the same

I caught part of MTVicon:Metallica last night. The show itself was pretty lame, and it's hard to watch Avril Lavigne perform one of their songs and not laugh. It must be said: they're just not the same without Jason Newsted. He was my favorite member, maybe because he always seemed like the odd man out, yet he was the most outgoing towards the fans, often staying hours after a show to sign autographs. I liked him, and the new bassist... he's not very "Metallica". Something about him seems strange. Then there's Lars. He irks me, mostly because of his bad attitude and his lame run-in with Napster. JMHO. I don't listen to them much anymore, and haven't bought any of their latest albums. Guess I'm not much of a fan anymore. Oh well.




Wednesday, May 07, 2003
 

Bush's Landing on Carrier Draws Criticism

Okay, this flared up today and I don't understand why. Is the President not allowed to take a victory lap with our troops? Is it so difficult for the Dems to swallow the fact that the military loves this president and wanted him there, and couldn't tolerate the last one? Are they so empty on really important issues that they must harp on this petty one? They are looking more and more desperate every day.

As far as I'm concerned, our President, who risked his political career with his actions against Saddam, has done nothing wrong. I don't question it, and maybe we should be spending more time worrying about more critical issues, such as the slaughtering our education system is taking right now.

But I'd like to indulge in some humor, if I may:

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to castigate the president. "I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw," he said.

"I do not begrudge his salute to America's warriors aboard the carrier Lincoln, for they have performed bravely and skillfully but I do question the motives of a desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech."

Rep. Henry A. Waxman of Los Angeles, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, asked David M. Walker, comptroller general of the General Accounting Office, for a "full accounting of the costs associated with the president's trip," because "last week's event — which had clear political overtones — was paid for by American taxpayers."

Mr. Byrd, don't you have a gown and hood to iron? Nobody can control what you "saw", Mr. Byrd, but perception isn't always reality (who's ad slogan is that??). Honestly, I have to question the motives of a former klansman who assumes the garb of a businessman for the purposes of being a US legislator. But that's just me.

Mr. Waxman, while you're at it, can you please find out how many taxpayer dollars went to fund Mrs. Clinton's vacations to Africa, Chelsea's trips to the Olympics, and Mr. Clinton's haircut on the tarmac at LAX? Ah, yes, you won't because that would make too much sense, even though the globetrotting ways of the Clinton's clearly had leisure overtones. Let's not get too excited, Mr. Waxman. Most of us have not forgotten the constant travel of our previous President, or even his use of AF1 when it wasn't his to use anymore.

There must be more important things to discuss today....




 
True freedom

From the Stanford Daily-- the author and his family fled the Soviet Union when he was ten, and he is now a doctoral candidate in biological sciences at Stanford University:

Celebrating freedom on Israel Independence Day

Thus, despite the obvious way in which I can see myself as having been personally freed from slavery, it occurs to me that there are two radically different ways to view and commemorate that freedom. Either, as Jews, we can remember our release from slavery by viewing ourselves as victims of terrible oppression, or we can celebrate our miraculous passage from slavery to freedom as the ultimate affirmation of human dignity, a pinnacle of human achievement.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is a celebration of the Jewish people’s refusal to see themselves as victims. In one of the bloodiest centuries in history, during which a large population was brutally victimized, the Jewish people produced one of history’s great achievements on the heals of their biggest tragedy. Whereas many people have come to worship victimhood, the Jewish people, with most of the world united against them, revived their nation, resurrected a dead language and built a thriving country where much of the terrain was once swamp and desert.

In its first 55 years of existence, Israel has become a major player in the world’s economy. Israel is a center of high-tech industry and scientific innovation. Many regard Israel’s scientific research community as second only to that of the United States. In addition to its national achievements, Israel is at the forefront of economic and technical development in struggling countries around the world. Having accomplished the unprecedented re-forestation of Israel, Israeli engineers have aided in agricultural development in India, several of the former Soviet Republics, as well as in other countries. Israel has also fostered a liberal and tolerant democracy in a region where such a system of self-government is extremely rare.

Despite Israel’s obvious success and its radically positive contribution to the world, many of my friends find it challenging to truly celebrate its Independence Day because of the massive and united front against the nation and what it stands for. I suggest that one of the reasons that the propaganda against Israel and the Jewish people is so ubiquitous and overwhelming is that Israel poses an existential challenge to ideologies that identify themselves primarily with victimhood. How else does one explain that while the Jews claim only the smallest of lands as their own, they are accused of wanting too much — merely a piece of real estate the size of New Jersey? How else could a country which has been attacked by every nation around it — and despite this aggression has often sought peace with its neighbors — be blamed for all violence perpetrated against it?

The author quotes Elie Wiesel:

"No one has a monopoly on suffering. The question is what you do with it.”




 
Yom Ha'atzmaut

Israelis, in sharp contrast to their bitter enemies, demonstrate time and time again their love of life, and their will to live on.

Israel Marks Birthday Amid More Violence

Fireworks lit the Jerusalem sky and revelers defiantly rededicated a Tel Aviv bar blown up days before in a suicide bombing as Israelis marked their country's 55th birthday, then headed to the countryside for family outings.

. . .

In Tel Aviv, a crowd of partygoers gathered outside Mike's Place, a bar wrecked by a suicide bombing just a week ago, killing a waitress and two musicians. Owners of the bar, which caters to foreigners and immigrants from Western countries and is just a few yards from the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy, carried out their pledge to reopen the watering hole by Independence Day.




 
Happy Birthday


5 Iyar 1948 ~ 5 Iyar 2003



 
I'll take earthquakes

There are people who wonder how we Pacific coasters can live with the threat of earthquakes. One look at this, and I consider myself lucky to live here. In the grand scheme of things, the occasional earthquake is a small price to pay for the weather and geographical diversity of California. Thank you for your concern. I'll be staying put.

A Sunday afternoon tornado demolished a Kansas City, Kansas neighborhood as seen from the air May 5, 2003. One of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in recent years killed at least 35 people in three U.S. states, wrecking entire neighborhoods and knocking out power to tens of thousands, officials said on Monday. Missouri reported at least 17 deaths, and neighboring Kansas seven, while 11 died in Tennessee from Sunday's twisters. (Dave Kaup/Reuters)



 
It keeps getting better




 
Some things will never change

My job terminated last Wednesday. It was a mutual decision to end my contract, and it's best for everybody. There are many reasons I despised that job-- I was underutilized, underpaid, bored, not interested in working in an Internet company... the list goes on. The biggest reason for my discontent was my manager. Her style was not for me. I won't get into that here.

So today I met the group for lunch. It was a going-away (for me) and welcome (for the new guy) lunch away from the office. I met them there.

Once again, the boss lady brought up her despair with the "current administration", as she likes to call it. She expressed dismay that Bush may actually get another four years. She showed her disgust that we haven't found WMDs yet. And others at the table agreed that the DemocRats can't possibly win if they don't come up with a cohesive message.... NOW (never mind that Bush might actually be a President deserving of a second term. What did Clinton do to deserve his?). She declared that the (large, to remain nameless internet) company would never have allowed Bush in the office last week, even though Air Force One landed next door. This is the kind of discussion that came up every single week at our staff meeting.

It was all very entertaining. And this was the biggest reason I had to leave. The inappropriate subjects discussed at staff meetings, and the hostile environment for those of us who had different views on the world. Speaking up is a career-limiting move, so you just have to listen to the drivel and bite the tongue until the meeting ends.

I certainly will not miss that place. And with a strong job possibility on the horizon, leaving was the best thing that could have happened.

The smile was pasted on my face for the entire drive home.




Tuesday, May 06, 2003
 
Sometimes words fail me

This has been on my mind for a couple of days, but I haven't had the time to put my thoughts down properly. At this point, I don't think I can really verbalize how I feel about this. It's beyond my comprehension.

Yesterday I was perusing LGF when I came across a post about an article printed in a (somewhat) local college paper. Here is the article, printed in the Oak Leaf, Santa Rosa Junior College's student paper (behold the author's mastery of the English language):

Is Anti-Semitism Ever The Result Of Jewish Behavior?
By Kevin McGuire

Israel is the largest and most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. Israel is currently and has been historically involved in a genocidal war against the Arab world.

The Zionist Jews believe they are the 'chosen people' of god and that the world was given to them and is their possession.

The Zionist Jews want to establish a Jewish holy land with no non-Jews present.

They currently occupy Israel but are constantly trying to expand their borders with their superior military power over their Arab neighbors.

No fewer than 2,265 Palestinians have been murdered by the Israelis in the last three years since September 28, 2000.

Many of these victims were children, 22.8% were less than 18 years old and 12.8% (that's 291 killed) were less than 15 years old (http://www.palestinemonitor.org/). The Israelis carry out these attacks with armored tanks, helicopter gun ships and fully automatic rifles. The Palestinians must defend themselves with rocks. A typical plan of attack involves ramming an Israeli tank through the home of a Palestinian family and shooting anyone who happens to survive, including children. Then, once the cleansing process has been completed, the town is re-occupied with so called "Jewish settlers". This attitude of racial hatred and genocide is also reflected in the Torah: "Destroy all of the land; beat down their pillars and break their statues and waste all of their high places, cleansing the land and dwelling in it, for I have given it to you for a possession" Numbers 33:52,53. Israel is in violation of far more international laws than Iraq. Although bound by the same laws as Iraq, Israel is 'allowed' not only to possess chemical and genocidal race-specific Anti-Arab biological weapons, but they also have over 300 known nuclear bombs. These weapons, being held in the hands of proven Israeli terrorists, pose a much greater threat to world peace than all of the other terrorist organizations combined. This threat is partially to be blamed on us as American citizens, for doing nothing to prevent it. The Jewish war of genocide is being funded by us, the American tax payer. Since 1973, Israel has officially received $2,500,000,000 in US Foreign aid. Divide that by the current US population and it's over $5,700 paid per US citizen. On average Israel receives $6.3 billion per year, or $17 million per day. (http://www.sustaincampaign.org/).

US aid to Israel makes up a full quarter of the Israeli annual budget. In addition to money, we also supply them with military gifts, such as F16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, gun ships, tanks, machine guns, missiles and bullets. Without the heavy US aid to Israel that they are currently receiving Israel would no longer be able to continue its program of genocide.

Each of us contributes directly to the Israeli holocaust waged against the people of Palestine and we each personally purchase the intense Arab hatred for America which caused the 9/11 attacks.

American funding of Jewish genocide is not only felt by Arabs in the Middle East. On September 11, 2001 our nation was targeted by Arab terrorists not because they 'hate our freedoms', but because we are supplying the bullets that kill their children. Not only are we forced to pay a serious amount of money to fund the Jewish holy war which benefits America in no way, but American lives are also being sacrificed in service to Israel. Our national 'leaders' say nothing, do nothing, and deny the facts. Israel is the most powerful and dangerous terrorist organization in the world and they have hi-jacked America. Our spineless national 'leaders' refuse to even discuss the Israel issue because the Israeli-American lobby in Washington DC, funded by Zionist Jews, is the most powerful lobby in existence, wielding even more power than the NRA.

It is now politically incorrect to question our Israeli policy, because any resistance to demands by Jews is anti-Semitism and that is "hate," the label politicians fear most. Our corrupt weakling politicians know that any mention of the Israel problem will be career suicide. They place their own selfish, greedy career and power interests over those of our national interests and the interests of the American people.

In closing, here is a 1998 quote from Osama Bin Laden:

"So we tell the Americans as people, and we tell the mothers of soldiers and American mothers in general that if they value their lives and the lives of their children, to find a nationalist government that will look after their interests and not the interests of the Jews."

The continuation of tyranny will bring the fight to America, as Ramzi Yousef and others did. This is my message to the American people: to look for a serious government that looks out for their interests and does not attack others, their lands, or their honor.

And my word to American journalists is not to ask why we did that, but ask what their government has done that forced us to defend ourselves. It is our duty to lead people to the light."

Catchy title, eh?

This masterpiece starts off with a great declaration, and only gets better. I cannot respond to each inaccuracy or blatant racist statement contained in this column, as the entire column is a pile of pooh (trying hard to keep this G-rated). Not to mention that this person's grasp (or lack thereof) of the English language makes this difficult to read. But I'm going to address a couple of things that show the unabashed anti-semitism (er, racism) contained in this column.

Israel is the largest terrorist organization in the world, committing genocide? Cannot and will not respond to that. Applying the characteristics of the aggressor to the victim is typical of the rubbish propaganda put forth by the anti-Semitic freakazoids. This author has taken a page out of CAIR's book.

If this guy knew a thing about Israel, he would realize that people in Israel enjoy religious freedom that mirrors the freedom we enjoy in the USA. In fact, Muslims in Israel have more religious freedom than they do in their Arab nations. Take a look at any tourist book on Israel: the majority of the landmarks have nothing to do with Judaism, and the most recognizable landmark is a mosque. For a country practicing genocide and forbidding all but Jews, they sure are doing a lousy job. But I don't expect this cretin to understand something so obvious.

The language this guy uses is inflammatory and ignorant. Note "They currently occupy Israel". Occupy "Israel"? Hmm... And Israel has indiscriminately murdered over 2,000 Palestinians, because their soldiers need targets for live-fire practice and it fits well with their grand dream of Arab genocide. Kinda like two birds with one stone, no? All the while the Israelis have nothing to worry about when they get on the bus to go to work every morning, and not one Israeli has been killed by terrorists in the past two years. Not a one. /sarcasm

I can't go on. Every time I read this, it gets more ridiculous. The ignorance and hatred displayed by these kinds of "journalists" is awe-inspiring. I didn't think it existed to this extent, yet it's in my backyard. This snot-nosed, spoiled brat, self-acclaimed white supremacist needs to get his head out of that dark, smelly place. When regurgatating such inciteful and hateful propaganda, perhaps he should consider the source. This guy cites racist and biased websites, quotes OBL, and spews every single anti-semitic myth ever created ("genocidal race-specific Anti-Arab biological weapons"!!!!).

It blows my mind that people continue to buy into the propaganda as if it's truth. The lack of a reaction when the racism and hate is directed towards Jews scares me. If this was directed at Hispanics, Blacks, or !Allah forbid! Muslims, the reaction would have been much more severe. Replace "Jew" with "Muslim", "Zionist" with "Islamist", and "Israel" with "Saudi Arabia". Now imagine. This article never would have made the pages of this paper. It would have been deemed "insensitive" to Muslim Americans.

On the other hand....

The backlash to an Op/Ed cartoon in March at the University of Maryland's student paper was harsh and over the top. In case you've forgotten, here is the cartoon:

Daniel J. Friedman--The Diamondback

The responses to this cartoon were very loud, and this made national news. People were offended that somebody actually expressed an opinion: that standing in front of a bulldozer is stupid and can get you killed. They defended the actions of a person who was interfering with the security operations of a country under terrorist siege, and labeled her a martyr "for peace". They disregarded her peaceful US flag burning display for the Palestinian children, because that doesn't fit the image of a peace lover. They also labeled the cartoonist a Zionist racist (assumed he is Jewish by his name). The cartoon was an Op/Ed. The author took a news story and applied an opinion to it. All hell broke loose.

These same people are defending this article. It is full of factual errors, ommissions and racist urban legends, and the author disregards any suffering of the Israelis. It is inciteful. It takes one twisted-truth side of the issue and presents it as "the way it is", while citing questionable sources. It smacks of anti-Semitism (saying you hate Israel but don't mind Jews is like saying you hate France but don't mind the French. Sorry, but the two are intrinsically related.) The lack of journalistic integrity in this piece is astounding. This guy's hopes of a career in journalism should be pretty slim by now, unless he wants to join the ranks of Peter Arnett and Robert Fisk in the dungeons of BS journalism. I'm sure they'd welcome him with open arms.

Worse than this particular article is that there are many more who believe this tripe. And, according to what is happening around the world, targeting a group or a culture that is white, generally educated, and has a history of success is fair game. That is truly frightening.




 
You got pictures

Notice anything different?

I have upgraded. No more ads, and helloooooo pictures!

View of the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) end effector over an Earth limb with a solar starburst pattern behind it. NASA



 
What the hell?!

DJs Suspended for Playing Dixie Chicks

"We pulled their music two months ago, and it's been a difficult decision because how can you ignore the hottest group in country music," Grant said.

He said there has been discussion about whether to reinstate the music, but DJs Dave Moore and Jeff Singer became impatient.

"They made it very clear that they support wholeheartedly the president of the United States. They support wholeheartedly the troops, the military. But they also support the right of free speech," Grant said.

The station has received a couple of hundred calls and 75 percent favored playing the music.

Grant said Moore and Singer will be out for a couple of days.

"I gave them an alternative: stop it now and they'll be on suspension, or they can continue playing them and when they come out of the studio they won't have a job."

The station plans to play the group's music eventually.

"Most stations are starting to play them again anyhow a song here, a song there. I just have a problem with the way this was done. We would have put them in anyhow. But we'd like to do it on our terms," he said.

I promised myself I would not touch the Dixie Chicks thing anymore. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it, and they are getting more publicity than they could have ever wanted. I didn't care about what she said, and I did not like where she said it. But let's face it. Natalie Maines is 28 years old, has been in the public eye since she was very young, and hasn't exactly lived the typical life. IMHO, she's green. That's not a crime.

I am appalled, however, that a radio station would suspend its jocks because they are playing the Dixie Chicks. This just smacks of.... I don't know. It just smacks. This guy sounds like a control freak.

If you ask me, I say fire the station manager. If 75% of your callers want to hear them, then play it! Talk about bad management. If it's supposed to be about the customer, then this guy is doing a horrible job. And to make a point with two people's careers is just ludicrous. I applaud the jocks for playing what their audience wants to hear, and the station manager should be ashamed of himself. Quite frankly, more DJs should stand up and play what the audience wants to hear. Radio would be so much more bearable.

The loons on both sides of the aisle have been stinking to high heaven lately.




Saturday, May 03, 2003
 
Why?

This further validates my opinion of Iowans:

Basu: The bold, tragic, and too-brief journey of Rachel Corrie

While most of us wring our hands at the endless cycle of repression and terror and retaliation in the Middle East, with its expansions and demolitions and suicide bombers and flares of anti-Semitic hatred, Rachel Corrie tried to do something.

Yes, she certainly tried to interfere in Israel's security operations. What a hero! Is this country so naïve that they look to a terrorist sympathizer such as Corrie as a hero? Where are all the moving commentaries about the 100+ Americans who have been injured or killed by her friends, the Palestinian terrorists?

News reports and her grandmother say she was wearing a bright orange jacket and talking to the bulldozer driver through a bullhorn before he plowed her down. Israeli officials called it "a regrettable accident" and said the driver didn't see her. No charges were filed against him. But Doris Corrie says the driver is looking Rachel in the eye in a photo taken right before. "He ran over her and backed out and went back over her again," she said, "and never got out or said anything."

This kind of stuff is just ludicrous. I can't believe it's being reported as fact, just because Grandma says so. The driver was "looking Rachel in the eye" in the picture that was allegedly snapped "right before"? Her loving family has obviously missed the truth: that the photos of the incident were, in fact, taken over the course of hours, not moments. There have been no photos released "right before" she was hit. The bulldozers in the before and after photos are not even the same model. And, please, tell me how you can determine eye contact? Who told you? Your brave, freedom fighter daughter's spirit?

It's certainly safer to do nothing. To not be looking when soldiers shoot at unarmed civilians or tanks rumble over innocent people's homes. To not speak out when bombs fall on places where people live and shop. Especially if those people aren't your people. But progress relies on those who don't wait for it to be easy or safe. Rachel Corrie heard a call and answered it. It was just that simple and that complicated.

Sure... so does that apply to the Israelis, too? Would it be safer for them to turn their backs on the victims of homicide bombers in their cities? Shall they just ignore the hate-mongering that emanates from the sacred mosques? I have no respect for these tools because they believe in moral equivalency. They announce that soldiers shoot at unarmed civilians as fact, and use that as justification for being apologists. They never, ever, denounce terrorism against Israelis. They simply justify it, blaming Israel. The day they "embed" themselves with the IDF is the day I'll have a little respect. If they're going to scream bloody murder, perhaps it would behoove these idiots to see it from the other side, also, where the muzzle of a rifle is pointed at you through a woman's skirt. People like Ms. Corrie and her brilliant family expect the Israelis to leave be the death squads. What an idiot she was.

I will keep beating this horse. People like Rachel Corrie are a danger to those of us who want to be safe and free. She apologized for and protected terrorists. She is no hero. Not even close. She was just another naïve victim of Arab propaganda. I shed no tears for her, and I don't feel sorry for her family. They created her. Now they can live with her actions and their consequences.




 
Demented and senile

I was just hanging out at the White House, and came across something quite funny:

I also want to say that one of the reasons for coming here is to be able to express my support for the President for his action in Afghanistan. The United States of America lost 5,000 people, innocent people, and it is quite correct for the President to ensure that the terrorists, those masterminds, as well as those who have executed the action and survived, are to be punished heavily.

And it would be disastrous if the President gave in to the call that the army must now withdraw, before he has actually flushed out the terrorists. That would be disaster. They will claim that they have defeated the United States of America, and they will continue doing the same thing. So I support him to continue until those terrorists have been tracked down.

That was November, 2001.

Fast forward to January, 2003:

Mandela: U.S. wants holocaust

..."one power with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." [question to self: is he referring to Saddam or Dubya?]

Speaking at the International Women's Forum, Mandela said "if there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America." [answer to self: that would be Dubya.]

Mandela said U.S. President George W. Bush covets the oil in Iraq "because Iraq produces 64 percent of the oil in the world. What Bush wants is to get hold of that oil." In fact Iraq contributes to only 5 percent of world oil exports. [note to self: never let facts get in the way of making a point.]

How soon he forgets who his friends were while he was locked away in his native land, the beacon of democracy and security for its citizens. And how soon he forgets that it was the United States that flexed her economic might against apartheid, which we all thought was an unspeakable atrocity.

Does senility and dementia start to set in at 84?




 
Thank you for nothing, now get the hell out

Israel Cracking Down on Foreign Peace Activists

"The Israeli army wants us to leave because we are providing witness to the atrocities committed by the Israeli army," said a statement posted on the ISM's web site in response.

To that I say-- go hang out at a Tel Aviv pub, a Jerusalem market, a Haifa cafe, a Netanya hotel. You want to be a witness? Witness the Palestinian atrocities against innocent Israelis who bear no arms, intend no harm, and just want to be left alone. The ISM tools are the poster children for moral equivalency run amok and sheer stoopidity.

The Israelis should let them continue to shield the hapless Pals. Instead of turning them away at the airport, have them sign disclaimers before entering the war zone. Have them declare themselves terrorist protectors. Wanna fight the brutal occupiers? Give them rocks to fight the soldiers and bullhorns to fight the bulldozers. Then the IDF can just continue to go about their business, and legitimately treat them as what they really are: enemy combatants.




 
Disappointing

Powell, Assad Start Talks in Damascus

It's so disappointing to see that we are having legitimate discussions with a terrorist nation. Syria will undoubtedly give their (unwanted) opinion about how to resolve the problem of Israel (wording intentional), and they will surely bitch and moan about Israel's illegal occupation and wmd. If we even give an iota of consideration to their demands for the Golan Heights, I will be furious. Hopefully that is a hard and fast NO WAY for the Israelis. I would hate to see them compromise their security to negotiate with a group of murderous thugs.

My only hope is that our threshold for Syrian BS is much smaller than it was for Saddam's. I'm getting tired of watching these goons repeatedly yank our chain.




 
A letter to Mr. ChIraq

LT Smash, a regular read, has posted this letter to the French President:

Monsieur le Président,

It has often been said that Americans take a short view of History. This American does not.

This American remembers that France was one of the first nations to recognize our Independence, in 1778.

French soldiers fought side by side with Americans in our Revolution. Without the aid of the Marquis de Lafayette, Count Rochambeau, and Admiral Comte de Grasse, we might have lost the struggle. These men are considered heroes in our country. Their names adorn our streets, our warships, and our public squares.

The treaty that sealed our Independence was signed in 1783, in Paris.

Our nations were born of the same Age of Enlightenment.
Liberté --“Give me Liberty or give me Death!”
Égalité – “all Men are created Equal”
Fraternité – E Pluribus Unum
We are spiritual siblings.

This American recalls that a French architect, Pierre L’Enfant, designed our capital city. He is buried within sight of that city, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Our largest territorial expansion occurred in 1803, when Napoléon Bonaparte sold the vast Louisiana Territory to the United States for the bargain price of 80 million francs.

This American remembers that it was a Frenchman, Alexis De Toqueville, who penned the first definitive analysis of “Democracy in America” in 1840.

Two talented Frenchmen, the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and the architect Gustave Eiffel, designed and constructed one of our most treasured icons, the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated in 1886, it was a gift from the people of France to the people of America, acknowledging our lasting friendship.

This American recalls that in 1917, when Paris was in danger of being overrun by the Kaiser’s armies, President Woodrow Wilson sent two million men and pledged ten billion dollars to save France. Over 30,000 of those men did not return home.

Twenty-eight years later, American forces, side-by-side with Free French forces, liberated France from the scourge of Nazi occupation. Cemeteries full of tens of thousands of American soldiers who died in that struggle dot the French countryside.

This American remembers that France was present at the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991, French forces joined America in the coalition to reverse his unprovoked aggression. French aircraft subsequently participated in the enforcement of the no-fly zones over Southern Iraq.

After the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, France lent material and intelligence support to the American campaign against the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

For well over two centuries, we have been friends and allies.

So how, sir, do you explain your recent behavior?

It is not unprincipled to be opposed to war. War is terrible.

But we have been in agreement, for over twelve years now, that Saddam Hussein must cooperate with the United Nations and abandon his weapons of mass destruction. Together, we passed seventeen resolutions in the Security Council demanding as much.

The last resolution, which was approved unanimously, called for “serious consequences” if Iraq failed to disarm. But the regime of Saddam Hussein continued to play games of obfuscation, denial, and deception.

We all know what “serious consequences” means, sir.

Yet, when the United States and United Kingdom presented an eighteenth resolution with concrete deadlines for compliance, you opposed it. When some of our allies expressed support for our position, you called them “infantile” and “reckless.” You actively lobbied nations in opposition to our efforts.

Had we presented a united front against Saddam Hussein, armed conflict might not have been necessary. But your intransigence has made that outcome impossible. In the process, you undermined the very foundations of NATO and the United Nations.

Your actions have grave consequences, sir. Like so many others, this American had to leave his home and family and go to war – a conflict from which over one hundred Americans will never return.

Today, in a newly liberated Iraq, we are learning the true extent of your betrayal.

Damning documents have been discovered. Reputable media outlets have reported that your government provided intelligence assistance to Saddam Hussein. This assistance allegedly included briefings covering confidential conversations between yourself and President George W. Bush.

These are not the actions of a trusted ally, much less a friend.

You, sir, have no honor.

- LT Smash

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this letter stated that France was the first nation to recognize the United States. As several of you pointed out, that honor belongs to Morocco, who did so in 1777.