Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ayatollah for a Day 

If I were Ayatollah for a day, I would immediately:
  1. outlaw any amputation of thieves' hands in public places at least until after ten in the morning, if not eleven thirty -- it's so hard to sleep late with all the screaming.

  2. publicly revoke the Fatwa on Salman Rushdie, announcing that it was all a mistake and that peaceful Islam has no problem with the free expression of his ideas. And I'd invite him to Teheran to collect a big prize -- seriously! It would work. You've never heard of taqiya?

  3. clarify that laws allegedly penned by a previous ayatollah -- laws that, among other things, forbid one from consuming a goat after having had sex with it -- are obviously the forged products of a conspiracy to make Iranian Islamic leaders look insane and are therefore from now on null and void. Hey, shepherds have to eat too, and Islam is nothing if not merciful.

  4. declare it a religious duty for all religious Muslims to collect any and all radioactive materials they can get their hands on -- dental x-rays, airport security scanners, freshman physics lab samples, Kevin Federline rap CDs, whatever -- and undertake a new pilgrimmage to the holy city of Teheran, carrying these sacred materials concealed in hollow fake Korans -- and remember to howl if intolerant American security personnel try to search them just because their little boxes start clicking.

  5. send thank you notes, flowers, and a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne to ElBaradei and assorted international diplomats.

  6. advise Ahmadinejad to stop trying to straddle the fence with occasional near-sane remarks -- we want actual foam on his lips at all future press conferences.

  7. put in place an edict forbidding the use of any technology more recent than the 8th century, unless it is to be used for destroying post-8th century or non-Islamic pre-8th century cultures.

  8. issue a global fatwa against blogs -- those things are such a pain in the holy tuchus, and Khomeini never had to deal with such things.

  9. gather all of the military inventors and engineers responsible for our recent spate of superweapons -- weapons beyond even the capabilities of the Super-Sized Satan, like super speedy torpedoes, stupendously stealthy missiles and even a radar evading super-modern flying boat -- and send them abroad for further intensive and advanced study at the Wile E. Coyote School of Military Hardware and Foolproof Deadly Devices.

  10. in view of the drastic restructuring the world's military-industrial food chain is likely to undergo in the wake of massive Wile E. Coyote training of Iranian personnel, I would also liquidate all national assets and have our brokers move us fully into Acme Corporation stocks.

Cruise the Carnivals 

Hashmonean hosts this week's Haveil Havalim, the 67th edition of this venerable institution to be precise. Next week's host will be Crossing the Rubicon2 so keep those cards and letters coming.

And keep your eyes peeled over at IMAO, as rumors persist that the latest Carnival of Comedy is still scheduled to appear there at some point. Then re-peel your eyes later this week right here at AbbaGav for the following edition of the Carnival of Comedy -- that's right, they're actually going to trust me with the keys for a week! Ha ha ha. Now that's comedy. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Saudi men beaten by their wives? Why whatever for? 

Arab News has a story about increasing domestic violence against men in Saudi Arabia:

The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has sounded an alarm bell about the increasing instances of domestic violence against men being reported in the Kingdom.

An increasing number of men have been complaining about their wives beating them up or pouring boiling oil on them, Al-Watan newspaper reported yesterday.
Saudi women are beating up their husbands and pouring boiling oil on them. I can't imagine why. Hmmmm. Let's see, maybe the article can explain this shocking phenomenon, this inversion of the natural order:

Al-Angari attributed the tendency among women to be cruel against their men to such factors as a forceful personality, the age difference, marriages in which men seek financial dependence on women and the couple being a total mismatch. [...]

Saeed Al-Amri, a scholar, told the paper that women who abuse their husbands take advantage of the men’s weaknesses.

"Some women do not know the basic principles of a married life, particularly the working women who exploit their husbands' poverty or weak personality," said Al-Amri. [...]
Working women exploiting their husbands' poverty? That sounds bad.

This decay of moral fibre must not be allowed to continue. But what can be done?

"Some of my friends are afraid to go home," said Hassan Al-Asiri, a government employee. "Instead they prefer to stay in some hotels unknown to their wives, presumably to escape violence."
Presumably. I hope they do not have to hide out from their wives in these hotels all alone. It would be cruel for a man, separated from his family by fear of spousal violence not to have the comfort of companionship.

But is there nothing that can be done, other than for a man to hole up like a frightened little mouse?

Abdullah Al-Humaid, director of endowments, call and guidance in the Asir region, said, "Islam calls upon all believers to build their families on a strong foundation. It designates man as the family's supporter. Man is responsible for the family expenses and holding the unit together. Therefore he should possess a strong personality with commonsense and he should never create a situation in which a woman is allowed to dominate him. It does not mean that he should be rough and brutal in treating his wife. The relationship should always be seasoned with wisdom, patience and rationality."
No, do not be rough and brutal. Pick one or the other, but not both.

In all fairness, I must say I'm slightly puzzled to see this craziness published this way in Arab News -- straight up. While I disagree with much of its editorial line regarding the essentials of my existence, nevertheless, I have found quite a few past articles in Arab News casting a spotlight on some of the darker corners of the Kingdom's treatment of it's veiled citizens.

Hopefully there is some subtlety here that is simply lost on me.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Top Ten Situations When Whining is Appropriate 

As most parents can tell you, whining is definitely one of the favorite tools in any child's toolbox, yet one which in reality should be seldom used -- youngsters eventually learn about a recent innovation of civilization called "words." Nevertheless, I have to admit that there are a few times when whining is an appropriate response. Approximately ten times. To be exact.
  1. When your little brother isn't required like you are to clear his dishes from the table before getting a scoop of flaming neon green ice cream, just because he's two.
  2. When you really, really need a slice of that good cheese imported from America, and your parents stubbornly refuse to go there and get some for you, now.
  3. When people you wish to kill refuse to give you money that really should be yours by right, and now you can't afford all the ammunition and explosives you need to do the job right.
  4. When your parents go upstairs and find your socks for you, only to hand them to you IN THE WRONG ORDER.
  5. When final tallies on election night don't match Democratic exit polls.
  6. When a REALLY good television show that you NEVER get to see is on, and your parents refuse to believe that those fifteen circled pages of math homework are OPTIONAL.
  7. When transfer payments as a percentage of GDP aren't rising as quickly as you'd like, and they never rise as quickly as you'd like.
  8. When your parents won't make your sister let you have the GOOD spoon, and you're stuck with that spoon's evil twin instead.
  9. When infidel peoples refuse to adopt your religious positions and dogma as a starting point for a rational discussion of the terms of their surrender.
  10. When the Jews are somehow handed their own country, and in defending it are allowed to exact a price from their attackers, thus making it that much harder to repeatedly attempt their destruction until you get it right.
Fortunately, those are the only times whining is appropriate, which is good because how often do they really come up?

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Random Thoughts After A Night Out 

Sharon and I had a quick night out on the town last night, but nothing so thematically unified that I can devote an entire post to analyzing it. So instead, I will offer some random thoughts from the evening. While I can't deliver authentic Jack -- who can? -- I will endeavor to offer a truly Jack-style experience.

(** Being a bit of a techie, I will qualify this by noting that these thoughts will actually only be pseudo-random -- most people overlook this finer point when posting their so-called random thoughts.)
Ok, that's it for tonight. I've stopped sneezing and can go back to bed. Oh wait, the Laker game is on in a few minutes -- 7:30PM West Coast start means a 5:30AM Israeli broadcast. Go Lakers!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Amusing Quiz and Other Links 

I'm actually going out on a date with my wife tonight -- it's been too long -- so I thought I'd offer up a quick link to someone else's interesting reading and take the night off.

Here a few sample questions from the satirical Political Beliefs Assessment Test:

1: Government's practice of stealing from the rich to give to the poor is...

CONS: a crime.
LIBL: a brave, generous and heroic deed.
LBRT: a foolish, misguided attempt at social engineering.
COMM: an inspiration to us all.

7: The Center for Public-Health Dietary Self Control releases a study that says eating just one jelly donut is as harmful to human health as smoking 10,000,000 cartons of cigarettes. Do you...

CONS: keep eating jelly donuts.
LIBL: demand that jelly donuts be removed from vending machines, and public school cafeterias.
LBRT: hoard jelly donuts before they are regulated off grocer's shelves.
COMM: hoard jelly donuts so you can sell them on the black market.

10: What techniques are best for maintaining discipline in the classroom?

CONS: If just one student misbehaves, severely punish the entire class.
LIBL: Force boys who refuse to settle down to take psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin and Prozac.
LBRT: Anyone who doesn't want to be in class can leave.
COMM: Anyone who doesn't want to be in class can be made an example of.

20: What's the best way to stop people from illegally crossing our borders?

CONS: Seal the borders so no one can get in.
LIBL: Do nothing to beef up security at the borders, and offer illegal aliens a wide array of free services.
LBRT: Allow unrestricted passage across the borders.
COMM: Seal the borders so no one can get out.

21: How would you define the word "profit"?

CONS: What business owners earn by selling a quality product at a competitive price.
LIBL: What business owners RIP-OFF from their customers.
LBRT: What business owners are rewarded with for risking the loss of their own money.
COMM: What business owners RIP-OFF from their employees.
The test is open book and no time limit, which is good because there are a lot of beliefs to assess in there.

A few more amusing posts that are worthy of attention:

Meryl Yourish has the story of how the Palestinian Foreign Minister from the "anti-Corruption Party" (Hamas) just happened to have $450,000 stolen from his Kuwait hotel room. Oops. I'm sure that used to happen to Arafat all the time. No big deal.

Soccer Dad notices that Palestinian PM Haniyeh is rolling out quite a nice spread for cabinet meeting refreshment breaks, considering how broke the Hamas-led PA is telling the world they are. Soccer Dad also notes the telling photographic juxtaposition of Haniyeh's jovial catering next to Israeli funerals.

Pillage Idiot has the fake-but-accurate version of a Dan Rather interview with CIA leaker Mary McCarthy.

Chainik Hocker has a giant scoop of Anarchy Ice Cream.

Just when you thought the Seder was over, Daled Amos has the story of how he found Bin Laden's horseradish tree.

The Elder of Ziyon exposes Palestinian Camouflauge training. I suppose it works great against color blind enemies.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Internecine Palestinian Squabble, Blow by Blow, With Pictures 

Simmering tensions between Hamas and Fatah have recently boiled over into open and occasionally bloody confrontation. While the media has published a few he-said he-seethed chronicles summarizing the spat, I was hoping to take a closer look at the dynamics of the ongoing Palestinian infighting. So I sent my crack AbbaGav research team (me) out to our top-secret information sources (AP, AFP and Reuters entries in Yahoo's news photo section) to piece together what is really going on.

Here is a more detailed look at the squabbling they don't want you to know about, since the Jews are only peripherally to blame. When the angry mobs of Fatah march on the indignant leadership of Hamas, things can get real ugly real quick:

The Mob: O festering, swollen pustules of Hamas, we the men of Fatah will never stand by while you and your pretty-boy spokesworm besmirch our honor with your baseless intimations of Fatah collaboration with the Jews! We hereby challenge you to a duel! Sundown! Mobs at forty paces!

Al-Zahar (left): Wait a minute, YOUR honor?!! Why, how dare you impugn the good name of Hamas, and its exemplary record of terrorizing Zionists until every last one of them is off our land! How DARE you sir!! Why I'm of a mind to come down there and...
Meshaal (center): No, no, calm down my friend, they are just joking with us, surely. Eveyone knows we Palestinian militants are a humorous bunch. This is really quite funny actually.
Ancient Hamas Codger: Ho, Ho. I think it's funny too. I'm laughing so forcefully I fear I've hurt my schpilkus. Either that or my colostomy bag has sprung a leak.

Fatah Kefiyeh (center): Ohhhh, so you think it's funny do you? Surely you understand we've got two or three Shaheeds primed and ready to go, just waiting for any Israeli defensive action to avenge. You do realize these walking bombs aren't exactly selected for their brain power, and how easy it might be to just accidentally drop one of them off at the wrong target? Say, oh, I don't know... your house?
Blindly Masked Fatah: Hey! Who is that I hear? Don't tell me it's that clown Khaled Meshaal! Oh do I want a piece of that guy. Which way is he? Somebody point me at him -- just guide my hand to my detonator switch and nudge me in the right direction. Actually, I think I can smell all that colgne from here, so I should be able to find him myself.

Meshaal: Easy there big fella. Heh. Go easy on me -- I'm a lover not a fighter. If you've got a bone to pick with us, let me give you the address of one of our trained Hamas combat cells, and you can go fight with them instead of with me. Besides, I'm too busy planning and financing Zionist deaths to waste time fighting with my impaired Arab brothers. And, by the way, THAT is exactly why your aging nincompoop, Abbas, should stand back and let US lead. Only WE have the courage to stand without flinching against any and all Israeli aggression, real or imagined.

Al-Zahar: Uh. (gulp) Those guns aren't, like, loaded are they?

Fatah Activist: What's the matter little man?! You talk so tough to all the little cry-baby Israeli politicians, but you're not so tough when the men of Fatah get up in your face now are you? And yeah, this thing's loaded, I think! But I don't need bullets for the likes of you. You want I should come up there and pistol whip you across the forehead instead, like I'm doing to this guy right here?
Fatah Forehead: Owwwww, that hurts!!!
Capped Fatah Official: Why don't you just pop off a few rounds into the air? That always looks intimidating on camera. Make sure the photographer catches your seething side.

Al-Zahar: Do you see!!? Do you see, Khaled, he is pointing a gun at us!
Meshaal: Whoa, whoa, whoa, my friend. Now that's just rude. Simmer down pal. It's really not polite to point a gun at people like that. At least not at us. Have you no humanity? Why aren't you saving your ammunition for the Zionists?

The Mob: Don't lecture us, you pompous George Clooney wannabe! We've been out here doing the dirty work for years, killing Jews and blowing ourselves up, and all the while you fools just sit around running your kindergartens, hot lunch programs and ambulance service. Now you have the chutzpah to lecture US about saving ammunition for the Jews!

Meshaal: I can't believe you would say such a thing. Frankly, I'm hurt. Never did I intend to imply you haven't been killing Jews. No, I just think you've been going about it the WRONG WAY. Eery time one of your people blows up, there's scarcely time for the chunks to land before that bootlicker Abbas is on his knees at the nearest microphone, trying to balance on the old "sorry you're upset about the bombing" non-apology apology tightrope. Men of Fatah, get off of your knees! Stand and blow yourselves up with dignity and pride, under the relentless leadership of Hamas of course.

Seething Fatah Headband: How dare you question dear Abu Mazen's manhood! Just because you chuckleheads are too stupid to know how to blow yourselves up AND get paid at the same time, do not belittle your betters who have mastered this art. Prepare to die!

Meshaal: Look, I don't know if I can make this any simpler. Read my lips: Hamas leads, but Fatah follows, nobly killing and terrorizing all the way. I can't believe you have a problem with this. All right, so let's put it this way. We of Hamas will lead, but if you are so worried about the shriveling dignity of your old man Abbas, then you can say that he leads too. Ok? We just lead more.

Big Fatah Goon: Feh! We were killing the Zionists just fine by ourselves, long before you'd even grown enough beard for the fleas to infest. Enough of your tricks! Unless you're telling us you will lead and we must follow while still pretending we lead, then you're in for a world of hurt fool.

Meshaal: Please! I swear on Arafat's rotting, maggot-ridden corpse -- may Hanan Ashrawi and Madeleine Albright lead my harem of eternal virgins if I'm lying -- that is EXACTLY what I am saying.

Cooler Fatah Head: Ok, hold your fire! I said hold your fire! Did you hear him? Hamas has caved to the rightful demands of Fatah! We have won!

Meshaal: But remember, never let it be said that Hamas is incapable of compromise. We can be reasonable. I really am just sick and tired of this incessant media bias making us out to be some organization that can never compromise. What vile calumny! We've compromised with Islamic Jihad. We've compromised with Iran. Now we've compromised with you Fatah boys. You see, we can be quite reasonable and moderate. And of course violence is never the way to solve problems when someone has a complaint against us.

Linked with thanks to: Common Folk Using Common Sense, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles and Third World County

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Indonesian Playboy Shutting Down, Hardline Islamist Collectors Ecstatic 

Activists of Muslim hardliner group, Islamic Defenders Front(FPI), holds a copy of the first edition of Playboy magazine's Indonesian version during a demonstration in Jakarta 07 April 2006. The Indonesian edition of US adult magazine has suspended its operations for security reasons in the wake of violent protests by Muslim hardliners.(AFP/File)
Well these two certainly seem, shall we say, ecstatic -- presumably considering the sudden jump in value of their just-purchased copy of what is suddenly a rare collector's edition. Or maybe they just really, really liked the articles.

But what's with the coded finger gesture? Do they think AFP is totally naive? Ha!

This is the Conference on MODERATE Islam. Check your tickets. 

Muslim preachers listen to a speech at the opening ceremony of an international conference on moderate Islam in Amman April 24, 2006. Clergymen from all over the world gathered in Amman on Monday calling for modern Islamic preaching to address timely challenges facing Islam and the world. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji "
Hey, it's probably worth an announcement like "Before we close the hall's doors, please double check your tickets to ensure you are at the correct conference--this is the Conference on MODERATE Islam." After all, people sometimes get on the wrong airplane flight, so I suppose it could happen at conferences too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ahmadinejad Celebrates Holocaust Remembrance Day 

As Holocaust Remembrance Day approached, Haaretz carried pertinent remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

In wide-ranging remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Israel was an artificial state that could not continue to exist.
Oh, he is the clever one that Ahmadinejad. Haaretz did not report whether Ahmadinejad's star pupil, Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh, was taking notes as his Iranian mentor demonstrated how Hamas can extricate itself from its rhetorical recognition bind, but Haniyeh should have been. The trick is to recognize that there presently is an Israeli state, even if it is only artificial, while simultaneously denying only the Jewish State's FUTURE right to CONTINUE existing. So most diplomats really shouldn't have any problem with that.

"Some 60 years has passed since the end of World War II, why should the people of Germany and Palestine pay now for a war in which the current generation was not involved," Ahmadinejad told a press conference.
This could almost be a coy hint that a Jewish state may have been justified in the aftermath of the Holocaust. But it's really just an exasperated statement that enough is enough -- and isn't the statute of limitations on genocide 60 years anyway? So can we please just move on -- and also move the Jews on -- already?

The Iranian president has long campaigned against Israel, saying last October that Israel should be "wiped off the map." He has said Europe should find a home for Israelis, who should not live on Palestinian land.

"Open the doors [of Europe] and let the Jews go back to their own countries," the president said Monday.

He added that Europeans should jettison their "anti-semitism" to enable Israelis to "return" to their continent, and "allow Palestinians to decide their own fate and live freely."
Clearly Ahmadinejad cannot believe that sending Jews to Europe is any sort of final solution if keeping them off of Palestinian land is his priority, for as the growing riots, internal unrest and domestic appeasement there indicate, the flag changing ceremonies over Eurabia's capital cities may not be far off.

The unintended irony in Ahmnadinejad's remarks is so thick you could chop it with a scimitar. The idea of Jews being kicked out of Israel so they won't bother any Palestinian Arabs is rich: who does he think lives in Europe? Sixty years after the Holocaust it's not so much neo-Nazi skinheads who need to heed Mr. A's call to drop the anti-Semitism, as the numerous Muslim and Arab immigrants who've immigrated to Europe en masse, conventiently creating oases of Sharia law and preparing welcoming committees for Ahmadinejad's proposed influx of fleeing Jews.

Ahmadinejad also hinted that Iran would consider withdrawing from the United Nations nuclear agency if membership produced no benefit.
No benefit, that is, other than working nuclear warheads and the missiles required to deliver them. Otherwise, why bother?

"What has more than 30 years of membership in the agency given us?" he asked rhetorically at a press conference.
That is the question isn't it? What precisely has it gotten them, and where are they keeping it?

Nomadic Facelift Gives Haveil Havalim an Aesthetic Boost 

Perspectives of a Nomad has done a truly beautiful job with this week's Haveil Havalim, the 66th edition. You really must check it out, if only to marvel at his blog's new design and the extra pictorial touches he added to the carnival.

Of course once you're there you won't be able to resist sampling some of the fine JBlogging selections he's cherry-picked for your entertainment and enrichment.

Effective New Long-Term Weapon Against Terror 

I ran across this picture of a Palestinian "militant" taking a carcinogen break:

A Palestinian militant from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades smokes during a demonstration against the speech of Khaled Mashall, head of Hamas' political bureau in Syria, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Saturday April 22, 2006. In their sharpest power dispute yet, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday blocked Hamas' plans to set up a shadow security force, which was to be made up of militants and to be headed by the No. 2 on Israel 's wanted list. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
And I was struck by the fact that these guys may not be fully aware of the scope and severity of the Surgeon General's warnings about tobacco products. Of course in America and much of the West even the Marlboro Man knows better these days:

But wait! It suddenly dawned on me. How much could billboard space in Gaza and the West Bank cost? They're probably giving it away.

So here is my revolutionary proposal.

We pursue a low-intensity, long-term strategy of ultimate victory in which every Palestinian militant will slowly but surely be killed. The trick is to couple low-tariff tobacco imports with a perpetual advertising campaign in all major Palestinian terror centers for the next 20 to 30 years:

If the IDF doesn't get them, the lung cancer will.

Now we just have to convince the Europeans that tobacco ads aren't war crimes -- even when paid for by Israelis. But I think they still smoke in Europe, don't they?

By the way, please do not misconstrue the presence of any images of cigarettes in this blog as any form of encouragement to smoke -- unless of course you are a Hamas, Fatah, or Islamic Jihad terrorist, or militant, or activist, in which case puff away my friend.

Linked with thanks to: Point Five, Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns and Stuck on Stupid

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Giving New Meaning to the Term "Special" Forces 

Members of the Palestinian security forces march in formation during a rally in the West Bank city of Jenin, April 23, 2006. The Hamas-led Palestinian government and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group agreed on Sunday to try to defuse tensions between them after their supporters clashed in the worst internal fighting in months. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Yeah. These guys are ready to take on Hamas.

Let's deal with these well-trained and highly disciplined "special" forces one at a time.
  1. First up, in front, we have a cross-eyed, narcoleptic sharp shooter who cut his eye holes too far apart.
  2. The masked compatriot marching right behind him must be navigating with his heightened sense of smell to be able to follow in line because his eye hole is so far out of whack all he can see is fabric.
  3. Next in line is the macho-mustachioed Village People wannabe who, sadly, was so dumb he picked a helmet three or four sizes too big for his head. If his expression weren't so impotently fierce, he might almost come across as a cute little kid playing with Daddy's stormtrooper costume.
  4. Behind him is the guy who looks like Schneider the janitor from the old TV show One Day At A Time. I guess they make the unit's combat field-plumber go through full training just like everybody else -- attrition, you know.
  5. Next is a guy marching a bit out of line who has thus deprived us of a clear enough view to mock and ridicule his shortcomings.
  6. Behind him is another guy so short that we can only comment on his right eye which is barely visible peeking over "Out of Line's" shoulder, and which appears to be staring off into the distance rather than focusing on good, solid, synchronized marching. But what do you want in a sixth man? He's just not starter material.
  7. The last guy I can see well enough to critique is the dude near the back, right behind the short guy with the wandering eye, whose helmet appears to have completely fallen over his eyes, and perhaps his nose as well, thus limiting even his ability to smell his way behind the next in line. I feel certain that the next photos in this series would have showed him wandering out of line in a Gomer Pylian mismarch of epic proportions.
We can only hope Hamas has stocked its militant roster with guys who couldn't pass muster in these regular PA security forces.

Wow! Somebody Really Gets It! 

Gina Cobb hits the ball out of the park with her post explaining the difference between terrorists who intentionally target the innocent and those whose defense of the innocent is sometimes, regrettably, imperfect. It's worth a read, especially if you are inclined to think Israel's self-defense is morally equivalent to the attacks against her. While it might seem absurd that anyone should have to actually explain this, there is nevertheless a real moral myopia in the world, and the only cure is the kind of clarity Gina has provided.

Gina herself points out that the difference really does matter, because you can't solve a problem until you've clearly identified its components. Until you can tell the difference between good and evil, you don't know whom to help and whom to hinder.

I would add one more reason it matters.

The "cycle of violence" crowd may dismiss Israel's pique at Palestinian terrorism as a feeble plea for an internationally sanctioned "Victory of Victimhood" -- as if what is happening here is little more than an Israeli quest to beat the Palestinians in a game of Pity Points. Indeed, neither side should be granted assistance in this conflict just because it can create a marketing campaign establishing that its opponent is 7% meaner than itself. But the ongoing Palestinian terror really is directly relevant to the issues in dispute, namely, whether and when the Palestinians should receive a state of their own, and how that state will behave toward its neighbors and the larger world community.

So long as terrorism continues even after the negotatiated creation of the Palestinians' dream state has appeared on the horizon of the achievable, it should do nothing but undermine any confidence Israel or the world can muster that the dreamed of state will be peaceful and viable. So long as the advocates of a Palestinian state proclaim in word and deed their intention of using that negotiated state as nothing but another sovereign terrorist training camp, their dream must be deferred.

I eagerly look forward to a time when those intentions change and a more peaceful dream can come true.

Top Ten Creative Baby Names for Celebrity Terrorists 

There's been a lot of talk recently about celebrity baby names, much of it re-ignited by discussion of the new Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes co-production titled Suri.

The intrigue now is over the precise meaning of 'Suri', whether it is Jewish or Yiddish, and why a Scientologist would force his baby to drag around the ball-and-chain of a Kabbalah name for the rest of her life. These issues aside though, it also adds one more entry onto the growing list of exotic celebrity baby names in recent years.

Other recent infant innovations: Penn Jillette's daughter Moxie Crimefighter and Nicolas Cage's super son Kal-el Coppola. A few more examples include Sir Bob Geldof's 4 daughters (Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, Fifi Trixiebelle, Pixie, and Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily), Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple, and Jason Lee's child Inspektor Pilot.

There have even been some moderately serious attempts at explaining what this baby-naming phenomenon means:

Some therapists said the celebrity impulse to foist odd names on their children amounts to simple narcissism by the parents, and the resulting status comes at the child's expense. The children, after all, are the ones who will have to raise their hands every time a teacher calls out "Coco" or "Eulala."

"It's like having a mini me," said Robert R. Butterworth, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, who has had actors on his patient roster. "The child is a part of them, not an individual. It's an appendage."
Naturally, I read parents treating their children like appendages and the first thing that pops into my mind is, as always, Hamas. How could it be otherwise with me? You could give me a Rorschach test and I'd see Hamas in every ink blot, including the all-black card.

But I really do see some Hamas potential here in the idea that these parents view their new babies as appendages of their own goals and dreams and ambitions, and use exotic naming as a way of expressing that. Sure, terrorists can already name their kids Jihad (holy war, struggle) or Shaheed (martyr, suicide bomber). But is that really enough?

I think Western celebrities, in their own crazy way, may be pointing the way forward for their Jihad-loving brethren. It's clear to me that celebrity terrorists, and even those with just a little bloody ambition, should be considering a new naming regimen:
  1. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal could take time out from his global fundraising tour to name a baby Cash For Dead Jews.
  2. If Palestinian PM Ismail Haniyeh -- who justified the recent Tel Aviv suicide bombing as a legitimate act of self-defense -- had triplets, he could name them Nails, Ball Bearings and Rat Poison.
  3. Osama Bin Laden could probably use a kid named Genuine American So Don't Check Me.
  4. Even old-school Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could take on a younger extra wife in order to score strong political points with a new baby named Poor Powerless Me.
  5. Lebanese Sheik Hassan Nasrallah would probably love it if the whole world knew he had Ten Thousand Missiles.
  6. Zacarias Moussaoui -- the so-called Twentieth 9/11 Hijacker who was caught in flight school while still training for his mission -- could demand a conjugal visit before his execution, and request any offspring be named Oy Remember Landing Lessons.
  7. Yusuf Islam, the famous American former-folk singer, could be well-advised to name a baby My Dad Is Cat Stevens So Chill.
  8. Jordanian born Iraqi Insurgent Abu Musab Zarqawi might name a son Flaming Fuse Fighter, or a girl War Womb.
  9. If Al Qaeda's number two, Zawahiri, named a child Botulinum Toxin, would anyone blame him?
  10. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's next child could very well be Uranium 235.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update 

I just recovered from the experience of watching a rerun of a recent episode of Saturday Night Live. Aside from the trauma of not being able to fast forward through the warblings of Ashlee Simpson -- note to self: only watch SNL on tape from now on -- I also had to deal with the frustration of watching Weekend Update.

What the heck happened to this once-great franchise?

I remember decades ago when the jokes seemed timely, topical, and -- most importantly -- moderately funny. Now I don't even recognize anything that would actually qualify as a joke, and the graphics which are designed to get most of the laughs just look like really bad Photoshops.

Perhaps it's just that I've changed. Perhaps I'm spoiled after several years exposure to always-available and always-funny content from The Onion, ScrappleFace, The Nose on Your Face, Point Five, Potfry, Caption This and so many more that I just don't recognize that SNL's Weekend Update is exactly as funny as it's always been: not very.

But just in case things really have been going downhill, I'd like to offer a suggestion to the SNL staff in charge of Weekend Update: troll the blog-comedy-sphere and steal the best stuff. Or better yet, ask permission and give a "link" somewhere in the show to the sites you feature. It would be a win-win. Publicity for very funny people who should have a bigger audience, and your show would start to be funny once more.

And in case I don't see you again for awhile, best of luck.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dating Game: Condi and the Three Strongmen 

Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Dating Game. I'm your host, Jim Lange.

Today, we're fortunate to have a very special "bachelorette" with us, American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Secretary Rice will be selecting her date from our three hunky bachelors -- each a major player on the world stage. Secretary Rice, welcome to the program and best of luck.

Condoleezza Rice:
Thank you Jim. It's a pleasure to be here.

Let's quickly meet our three bachelors. Bachelor Number One is an eye doctor and computer enthusiast, but don't call him a nerd or he'll have you killed.

Picture of Syria's Bashar Assad
#1-Bashar Assad:
Hi, Miss Rice. I'd love to... uh... check your eyes sometime. If you wanted me to, I mean.

Great. Bachelor Number Two is a man who believes his life is a metaphysical portent of the prophesied End Of Days, and that he has a divine mission to conquer the world so he can return it to an idyllic 8th century way of life -- if the 8th century had nuclear weapons and was eager to use them.

Picture of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
#2-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Hello Condoleezza. I hope you prefer your men with a certain commanding glow around the head. And I hope you don't blink much.

Quite the smooth talker, that one. Finally, Bachelor Number Three is a man of many talents: he has held ownership interest in part of the Juventus football club; he organized the world's first and only internet beauty pageant; and he almost single-handedly forced the world's airlines to rethink their security procedures, long before 9-11 made it stylish. And to top it off, his name can be spelled in approximately 37 different ways.

#3-Muamar Gaddafi:
Condoleezza. Condi. Condolicious. I have to tell you, I don't see any glow around that fool's head, so don't pick him. And by the way, he's not even Arab -- the little pipsqueak's Persian, but let's just keep that between the two of us. Speaking of the two of us, tell me, Condi, are you as good in bed as I've imagined? Just asking is all.

Now now bachelors, simmer down. As I'm sure you remember, our Bachelorette asks all the questions. On that note, Secretary Rice, please get us started. You'll ask a few questions to our hidden bachelors, and then choose your dream date.

Thanks Jim. Let me see now... Bachelor Number One, I've been told I'm a very modern woman, but I can also be playful and affectionate. If I first approached you with my hand extended, would you shake it, or pull me into a big warm hug instead?

Oh, let me see now. What would Father do? Hmmm. Well, I'd have to say that if you were to touch my exalted presence I would be honor bound, number one, to have you shot and, number two, your body dumped on the pile out back. Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't WANT to do that. It's just the whole honor thing, plus you being a woman and not Muslim and all. But really, once you get to know me everyone says I'm just a big softy at heart, so....

I'm sure, I'm sure, and thanks for the warning. Ok, Bachelor Number Three, same question.

Hey!!! What about me? You skipped "Bachelor Number Two" you conniving little...

Wait Bachelor Number Two, I'll get to you, I just didn't want to waste your prodigious glow on such a trivial question.

Very well then.

Picture of Libya's Muamar Gaddafi
Can I answer now? By the way, if you want to know where Number Two's "magic glow" comes from, I see big clumps of his hair falling out -- I think he's been playing a little too close to the plutonium pile if you catch my drift. Anyhoo, I gotta tell you, Condi -- babe -- I'm sure you look tremendous, so don't try pulling any of that "modern woman" handshake crap of yours on me. It would never work on a virile Arab stallion like myself. The moment you got near me I'd jump your bones and nail you right there on the spot. You betcha. Then after my girls had you washed up, annointed and perfumed, you could feed me couscous...

Ok Bachelor Number Three, I think you've more than answered the Secretary's question. Let's let her take it from here.

Number Three certainly sounds... romantic, in a neanderthal sort of way. Ok, Bachelor Number Two -- yes, your turn now -- if your friends tried to describe to me a picture of you from 25 years ago, what would they say?

Revolting. Simply revolting. Tremendously so.


Oh yes, perhaps one of the most revolting of all. Even today, my friends they say to me "Oh, Mahdi" -- I like it when they call me that -- they say "Mahdi, do what looks good in the eyes of the world!" But of course I am revolting by nature and will do no such thing. I still consider myself revolting today, and I'm pretty confident you will too.

Ok, you convinced me. How about you number one, can you top revolting?

I doubt it. I'd really rather not talk about 25 years ago. Father didn't really like me and I wouldn't even be here except my brother, Father's favorite, up and died. Dad thought I was too nice, too geeky, too soft. I told him that wasn't nice, and he was wrong, but he told me to shut up, so...

Excuse me Number One, but that doesn't answer my question. If there was a picture of you from 25 years ago, how would your friends describe it to me?

Oh. Well, I never really had many friends. Father said it was too dangerous, and that no one would like me anyway. Why, would you like to be my friend?

I don't think your father would have approved, so, no. Next question. Number Two, what is the most romantic thing you've ever done on a date?

Yes, yes. Let me tell you, there are...really...so many things. So many. Almost too many to remember. It's really rather laughable. Ha ha.

Great. So just name one of them.

Ok...hmmm, well, this wasn't exactly on a "date" date, but I think it counts. There was this one time I let my friend, Fathia, participate in one of the interrogations, and I could just tell that it sort of...turned her on...you know what I mean?

Tell me about it! If I may interject here, that is precisely why I find the whole American uproar over the Abu Ghraib business so stupid -- don't they realize chicks dig this stuff? I have to tell you, when the whole thing dies down, I plan to make a little extra on the side selling my interrogation tapes peer-to-peer on the web.

So Number Three, you'd answer the question the same way?

Of course not! I've got more romance in just my left testicle than this radioactive Persian poodle has in his entire country. Puhhlease. I would say the most romantic thing I did on a date was the time I had this cute girl -- what was her name again? No matter -- I had her over and we roasted marshmallows over a fire made from the cash I collected from a special tax just for her. She was so excited. Pity her father wouldn't let me keep her -- you can guess how that turned out.

I think I'd rather not even try. But thanks for the image.

Time for one more question.

Very well, Bachelor Number One, if you were to try to sweep me off my feet with a beautiful sonnet or some favorite quotation, what would it be?

Well, uh...Is it hot in here?

No, perfectly air conditioned. Go ahead Bachelor Number One. A romantic quote to charm the Secretary?

I..I...I think I'd better quote Father or he'll rise from the grave and smite me in my sleep. But I can only remember one right now, and...

Oh, come on Number One, Daddy would be so proud.

All right, here goes: "Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria..."

I'll try not to swoon. Number Two? Any favorite words for me?

Oddly enough, I believe your own gun organization -- the NRA is it? -- sums up my feelings on love most succinctly. Now, bear in mind, this has been through a few translations already, but I believe the basic idea is something like this: "If you love something, issue it ultimatums. If it does not submit, hunt it down and kill it." This beautifully describes the spiritual love in my heart, an Islamic love that encompasses the entire world. That is why I always demand with such vehemence that my religion only be referred to as a religion of love and of peace. And believe me, there's a little of that love in my heart for you too.

Oh, I believe you.

Ok Secretary Rice, we're out of time. Take a moment and give us your decision. Who is to be your date?

Wow, well this is a difficult decision. It's so hard to pick just one. But -- trust me when I say this -- I've given it an awful lot of thought, and of course discussed it with many of the finest minds in America, military and otherwise, and I would have to say that we definitely expect to have a date with Bachelor Number Two -- no insult intended to Bachelors One and Three who I'm sure are each most worthy in their own way.

There you have it, Bachelor Number Two, come on out and meet your date!

Who, me? Uh, no, now that you put it that way, I'd really rather not.

Come on now, get out here and meet Secretary Rice.

It's ok Jim. He doesn't have to come out. If need be, we can send people in.

Fantastic! Then that's all for now, but we'll see you all again...real, real soon. Kiss kiss. Mwaah

Linked with thanks to: Right Wing Nation, Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Basil's Blog, Wizbang!, Uncooperative Blogger and Point Five

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Under the Weather 

I'm a bit under the weather -- still trying to shake off the residual effects of all the matzah -- so the "real" post I've got cooking will have to wait another day until the weekend while I retreat to my sick bed with a trashy science fiction novel and two bags of tissues (in Israel, tissues come in plastic bags, not boxes). Don't pity me too much though, because this trashy novel is actually pretty good for science fiction not written by Neal Stephenson: "Chindi" by Jack McDevitt.

In the meantime, I'll leave you tonight with two carnival links that are quite entertaining:

Edition 30 of The Carnival of Satire, and the 50-somethingth version of the Carnival of Comedy.

Distorted Map Accompanying Review of "The Lobby" 

I read an interesting Salon.com review of Walt and Mearsheimer's recent paper, The Lobby. It was interesting in that it asserts that "The Lobby's" AIPAC-As-Cabal positions are shoddily asserted -- with any facts inconvenient to the argument either ignored, presented out of context, or simply misrepresented -- and yet feels that this is merely a pity because Walt and Mearsheimer's point needs to be made and the two professors have now gone and spoiled the game for everyone else.

But the most puzzling thing about the review was the graphic attached to the article, a map of the state of Israel and the region in general:

Anyone notice a few countries missing, gobbled up presumably by some over-sized, usurping, imperialistic land-grabbing country? And the point is?

Yeah, I know. Gripe, gripe, gripe. That's me.

I'm sure they can easily explain this as just another editorial oversight of this-or-that variety that coincidentally paints Israel yet again in a fairly demonic and aggressive light. It happens all the time, nothing to get excited about. As if AbbaGav would be happier with a map making the opposite mistake, like at the UN, with Israel missing instead of greedily bloated. You just can't please AbbaGav either way.

Of course simple accuracy could be an option, but that would be limiting the expression of essential, if not objective, truth.

For reference, here is another map of the region in which Israel is perhaps 10% the size of Saudi Arabia rather than 3 times as large. I'd say maybe it's that distorting map-view, the Mearsheimer Projection, except I don't know of any map projection that transfers Iraq's Persian Gulf- and Kuwait-bordering territory to Israel.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Get in on the ground floor... 

Here is your chance to say you were there when it all started, by clicking and reading the very first edition of Mediocre Media, where the only thing mediocre is the media.

I'll be back with some real posts as soon as I finish switching out the Passover stuff. Ughhhh. Shouldn't be more than another week or so. (end-sarcasm)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Can I Give My Bratz-Craving Barbie-Girls Badatz Instead? 

Afikomen. Dolls. You know the story.

My girls, up to this point in their lives, have been pretty loyal Barbie girls. But this year, the Afikomen's "price" was not the usual Barbie or Barbie-accessory. Rather, it was something new, called Bratz.

These are the Bratz my kids are referring to:

Do you think the girls will notice if I give them Badatz instead of Bratz?

Houston, we may have a problem. I think we're about to blow a parental gasket in the starboard engine.

UPDATE: The very wise Soccer Dad points out that I'm a bit behind the times. Somehow, I had not heard of the Gali Girls, who are already a near perfect match for my Badatz dolls:

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Saudi Human Rights: A Question of Priorities 

Arab News has a shocking and infuriating story of child abuse, torture and murder that was all but sanctioned by Saudi Arabia's custody laws, and carried out despite pleas for the intervention of Saudi rights groups who are apparently inspired to action only be rights they can claim are violated by Israel.

It seems divorced Saudi husbands -- even those established as abusive -- are granted the absolute right to snatch custody of their children from their ex-wives, and to do whatever they wish to those children even over the objections of the mother and other family. I would quote some of the specifics, but it is so awful I can't bring myself to do it. Go ahead and read it yourself, but be prepared to be angry. I'll settle for passing on a little of what the murdered girl's mother had to say about how the Saudi safety net failed her and her little girl:

The mother and her family blame the police, the social service department and the National Society for Human Rights for not acting quickly during the past year despite efforts to get them involved.
Saudi society puts so much absolute power in the hands of fathers -- even after they've been proven abusive, and even after complaints have been lodged and ignored -- that this sort of thing seems almost inevitable. That is why it is so tragic that the kind of organizations one would expect to be clamoring for change are instead the ones the victim's kin accuse of complacency and consent.

So, a little girl was slowly murdered by her father and step-mother, day by day, all while the mother's desperate pleas for help fell on deaf ears. Meanwhile, what exactly is it that does rouse the Saudi National Society for Human Rights to vigorous action? Ironically, the same issue of Arab News answers that one as well. The Society is quite busy trying to free an allegedly captive Saudi from Israel's cruel clutches:

The National Society for Human Rights has urged Amnesty International to take up the case of a Saudi citizen imprisoned without trial in Israel, a spokesman said yesterday. [...]

The Saudi prisoner, Abdul Rahman Al-Atwi, "should be either put on trial or released," [NSHR’s deputy president] Qahtani said.

He said his group had sent the message to Amnesty a couple of days ago and was awaiting a reply. "According to the information we have compiled, he (Al-Atwi) is on hunger strike and has not been treated well for a long time," Qahtani added. [...]

Al-Qahtani ruled out contacts with Israeli civil society organizations to secure Al-Atwi's release, indicating that NSHR will seek the help of only international human rights organizations in this regard.
Well, maybe that is a more important goal than saving a nine year old girl from unspeakable abuse, horror and death. And it also involves blaming Israel so that's a real win-win, wouldn't you say?

One loose end though. There is scarcely a word of why Israel even bothers holding this man. If you read the whole article, you will learn he has been held for illegally crossing the border, but that doesn't answer the bigger question of why he is still in an Israeli jail. One would ordinarily expect Israel simply to have put him on the first boat or caravan back to Saudi Arabia and been done with it.

For that kind of restricted information, we bloggers have learned to tap into some of the most secretive and clandestine sources of research into Israel's "Capture and Hold the Innocent Saudis Program," namely, MSNBC:

A Saudi man being held in an Israeli jail after illegally entering the Jewish state is seeking asylum in a third country, a United Nations official said on Wednesday.

The man, who is not suspected of any militant activity, has been held at a prison in central Israel for the past 11 months. A Saudi security source named him as Abdulrahman al-Eiteiwi but provided no other details.
So let me get this straight: the captive Saudi is actually an asylum seeker who DOESN'T EVEN WANT TO GO BACK TO SAUDI ARABIA. But that isn't stopping the Saudi National Society for Human Rights from trying to force him back there anyway. Sure beats saving nine year old girls from brutal, painful death.

Still, despite how this must look to the untrained eye, the Society must realize how important it is to prevent this deserter's dastardly flight from tarnishing Saudi Arabia's national honor by making it look like anyone wouldn't want to live there. Surely that is a more noble goal than struggling in vain to save an otherwise anonymous nine year old girl from abuse and death and what-have-you. The Saudi National Society for Human Rights seems to think so.

Obviously, I don't. I don't think you do either. I hope there are a lot of Saudis who feel the same way, but so long as they continue pretending Israel is their primary tormentor, I don't feel optimistic about that.

Addition: I should be clear that I haven't done additional research into this group, and it may turn out they've been very helpful in getting permits for street vendors to sell cotton candy in the public square and other good deeds I just don't know about. But if it looks like a screwdriver, if it screws like a screwdriver, then there's a pretty good chance it's a tool.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Showing Off What That 50 Million Can Buy 

When a Western charity makes a big donation to a needy country, they can produce a little video clip showing the hungry children who will be fed, or families that will be vaccinated, or water pumps and drip irrigation that will be installed using the money. It just makes sense to show people the kind of good that is being done with the money on behalf of those in need.

The formula is pretty simple: identify the need, show how the donation will meet that need.

So how do Iran and Hamas advertise the value of Iran's recent $50 million donation to the Palestinians' Hamas-led government?

Iranian women look at models of Palestinian hand made missiles 'Ghassam' during their visit to an exhibition of Hamas in Tehran, Iran April 16, 2006. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
Worth every penny, I'm sure.

Reuters Knows You've Got to Work to Sell It 

You are a Reuters reporter and you've just been handed the job of explaining to the world why it's a good thing that Iran is giving the PA's Hamas government a check for 50 million smackers.

You quickly realize you can't just say "Iranian wackos wrote a big check to fund Hamas terrorism." That will never sell. You need to find motivation. Context. Some way for your reader to understand why it is so important -- and GOOD, and NECESSARY -- that Hamas be given AT LEAST this much. But how?

Crying children will usually do the trick. A bawling little kid deserves all the money you can scrape up. Unless of course it's your own kid, in which case she should just stop crying and eat her brocolli. But that's a different story because if you get the right crying child -- with unwashed hands and a little barbed wire and broken glass in the foreground -- it will be clear there is no brocolli to eat.

But what if the Israelis didn't make any children cry today? No problem. Just go out and find a crying kid, any crying kid. Kids cry all the time (trust me on this one).

A Palestinian girl cries in front her family house at Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza strip April 16, 2006. Iran is giving $50 million to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority to fill gaps left by Western aid cuts, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A job well done.

Try the Carnival of the Insanities 

You don't have to be certifiable to enjoy Dr. Sanity's regular roundup, but it couldn't hurt.

Ahmadinejad Is Not Funny 

Ahmadinejad apparently is not funny, but this is -- in a "gotta feel sorry for the poor Iranians who voted for him" sort of way:
A stray electronic missive has been blamed for a spate of arrests and a national scandal in Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took umbrage at an unwelcome text received on his mobile phone.

According to whispered accounts in Tehran, his ire was stirred when someone sent him a joke suggesting he didn't wash regularly enough.

Although officials claim he possesses a lively sense of humor on this occasion it suffered a serious failure. Realizing the joke was doing the rounds of Iranian mobile phones, the president lodged an official complaint with Iran's judiciary department.

That in turn has acted as a pretext for an official purge of the SMS system in the country. Ahmadinejad has since told his staff to pay close attention to all jokes circulating about him by text.

An anti-regime Web site called Rooz Online claims that under the crackdown the head of the country's mobile phone company has been sacked and four people arrested and accused of colluding with the Israeli foreign intelligence service, Mossad.

But poking fun at the president has becoming a national pastime in Iran. In a fusillade of seditious traffic, the regime's senior figures and its most sacred policies are all fair game -- with Ahmadinejad a particular target.

One joke tells of a man who dies and goes to hell, where he sees the famously strait-laced Ahmadinejad dancing with the Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez. "Is this Ahmadinejad's punishment?" he asks.

"No," goes the reply. "It is Jennifer Lopez's punishment."

"While the outcome of the recent arrests in connection with SMS messaging is not clear yet, what is certain is that SMS jokes have put some people into serious trouble," Rooz Online wrote.
Actually, I thought there were several points about this story that were a little "funny":

Top Ten Pickup Lines at Hamas Singles Events 

  1. Hey baby what's your clan?
  2. You want to come over to my apartment and see my weapons cache?
  3. That burlap sack would look a whole lot better crumpled up in a heap on my bedroom floor.
  4. Wow, from what I can see, your eyes are prettier than my other wives. Can you cook?
  5. Hey babe, I saw you from across the room and I just had to ask: what do you look like?
  6. Meeting you here makes me want to quit HDate.
  7. One look at you makes me wanna run home and ululate. Care to join me?
  8. Are you a virgin? Because when I saw you I was sure I'd had a work accident and gone straight to paradise.
  9. I think I hear Israeli helicopters. Why don't we get out of here and hide out together at my place for the night?
  10. If I told you that was a detonator in my pocket, would you blow me?
Thanks to Goofball and JDaters Anonymous for inspiration.

Friday, April 14, 2006

How in God's Name Can They Riot About This? 

Haaretz reports on a truly scandalous development:

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem residents demonstrated in the capital Friday, for the second day in a row, to protest the arrest of an ultra-Orthodox man suspected of killing his baby son, Israel Radio reported.

Protesters on Friday set trash cans ablaze on Thursday and Friday, blocking roads in the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Meah Shearim neighborhood. They also threw garbage and rocks at passing cars and screamed "Nazis" at police officers.
I'm trying to make sense of why men (I'm assuming it's men) so devoted to the service of Hashem would behave in such a horrible manner, and all in defense of an accused baby-killer. This is outrageous! The mind grasps for some excuse to try to make sense of the senseless. Perhaps they believe the man is innocent, only a suspect caught up in some so-called Nazi plot (Nazi = Israeli police in this case). But no, the suspect has confessed:

Yisrael Vales, 19, has admitted to slamming his 3-month-old son Rephael against a wall and attacking him numerous times, saying the baby wouldn't let him sleep. Rephael died Monday.
Unless they are incensed because they want their own Beit Din to impose the death penalty they'd better have a damned good explanation for this, and they'd better get it out there quickly, because they are tarnishing their image -- and sadly, by extension, the image of all religious Jews in the eyes of many -- with every garbage can they burn and stone they throw in defense of this scum.

And in fact it doesn't look like they are rioting for the right to impose their own justice:

Members of the ultra-Orthodox community have demanded Vales' release and threatened riots if he is kept in custody, despite the fact that he admitted beating the child.

The ultra-Orthodox Kol Hai radio station quoted sources as saying that "Jerusalem would burn" if Vales was not released, and members of the ultra-Orthodox community have been disseminating flyers threatening riots.

The flyers call on the community to "unite and protest against this blood libel" and declares the arrest to be an "evil conspiracy" devised by the "evil regime" against the "dear gentle young man." (against the "dear gentle young man" WHO CONFESSED to murdering his own infant)
There have been rabbinic calls for calm:

Rabbinical sages issued a statement calling on the protesters to refrain from violence and from burning trash on the street, Israel Radio said.
But it has been too little, too late. The damage is done, and more is threatened.

Again, if there is some misunderstanding here -- maybe the confession is by the wrong man, another man with the same name or some ridiculously unbelievable and unexpected travesty -- they'd best make that clear. But even if it is claimed that the rioters don't know of the confession, it means their leaders (not all rabbis, but those who stir up the crowds) are manipulating them while keeping the information from them -- which is also horrible.

In the meantime, I would ask the fine folks at Jewschool, who are also properly right on top of this, not to overreach in their conclusions, implying Orthodox JBloggers somehow condone baby-killing and sweep Haredi misdeeds under the rug, simply because they haven't posted about this yet. Please consider that many have been cleaning and doing seder, involved in holiday preparation and observance, and in fact, those in the US will even be unable to post anything on any subject at all until after Shabbat. This was the first I saw of it, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I know of absolutely no one -- NO ONE -- who would condone this, or wish to allow it to continue. While I appreciate and share your outrage, I don't think that charge was in any way warranted or productive, and I hope you'll reconsider on further reflection. I'd love to edit out this entire paragraph if it can be rendered irrelevant.

I think IsraellyCool has written about this much more clearly than I have, so I urge you to check out his post.


Ultra-Orthodox protesters on Sunday called off a mass rally over the continued incarceration of a man accused of murdering his infant son, Israel Radio reported.

The rally had been cancelled after rabbinical sages vetoed the protest, citing the heavy damage caused to major streets in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in the city.
I hope this is a sign that some sense of order and justice will be restored here.

Future Headline: ElBaradei appeals for more time after nuclear "tragedy" 

(not-too-distant future)
AbbaGav News

ElBaradei Appeals For More Time

In the wake of last week's apparent nuclear annihilation of two major cities, Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has appealed to the United States and its allies for more time to determine the cause of the massive explosions which killed millions. Iran, meanwhile, amplified its initial claims of responsibility, showing previously unreleased videos of the two explosions on state-run television and promising more attacks within days if key demands were not met.

Speaking from his Geneva bunker, Nobel Laureate ElBaradei repeated his recent position that he could not yet confirm that Iran had enriched Uranium to sufficient levels as it had claimed. ElBaradei further reiterated that the exact situation regarding Iran's nuclear program is "not very clear" and called for patience from the rapidly assembling US-led coalition.

"If we could prove conclusively, through some sort of 'smoking gun' that the Iranians had indeed crossed the nuclear threshhold perhaps a credible threat of force could be voted on in the UN Security Council's meetings next month," said ElBaradei. As it is the exact cause of the "apparently simultaneous nuclear tragedies" remains in dispute, according to the nuclear watchdog. For instance, he explained, "without inspections, it will be nearly impossible to determine whether Iran has achieved enrichment on its own, or whether it is being supplied with pre-made warheads from an unknown third party." ElBaradei was clear that making the distinction "will require additional time, funding and goodwill from all parties."

ElBaradei implored the Iranians to return to the negotiating table to discuss the release of all IAEA employees currently being held hostage. He also called on Iran to "suspend any further Uranium enrichment, if there indeed has been any," and restrict itself to "supplies on hand as a good faith gesture." The most important thing, according to ElBaradei, is that all parties "make their best effort to resolve this through peaceful means."

European diplomats speaking with ElBaradei also revealed new intelligence indicating that Iran was still 10 years away from attaining a nuclear bomb, so "the obliterated cities must have been destroyed by something or someone else." The diplomats were "confident that despite Iran's bravado and posturing, their statements claiming responsibility for the 'nuclear attacks' cannot be taken at face value."

Spokesmen in all major European capitals, with the obvious exception, echoed ElBaradei's calls for more time to let "diplomacy take its course."

Linked with thanks to Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Stop the ACLU, Third World County and Point Five.

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If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: