31 January 2011

Egypt revolution: so this is what it's all about...

There is this guy, I shall call him for brevity Pissed Cousin. Full name is As'ad Abu Khalil, according to himself he is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley. Which goes a long way to explain Berkeley. I need no more explanation about this peculiar branch of science called "political science". This is just one more case of this widespread malady. But in general, I wouldn't know Pissed Cousin from an Amazonian spotted crawfish if not for Judeopundit who tends to mention him from time to time.

Well, the point is that somebody else linked to one of his posts today, and, while looking at it, I have noticed a certain trend on his page of January 29 (when lots of Egyptians were killed in the clashes with the army and the police):


Notice there are six separate posts on this page. I'll leave the rest of the analysis to you, but I am certain that at the end you will figure out the anomaly. You shall also figure out what the whole Egyptian brouhaha is about, at least according to the Pissed Cousin...

You will also understand better the battle cry of the Pissed Cousin:
Every fighter for justice in the world should ask himself/herself daily: what have I done against Israel today?
Well, I, personally think that Pissed Cousin could (and should) do better than mere 3 posts out of 6. On the other hand, he might get overexcited, and this could lead to a misunderstanding with his female students at Berkeley - it's tough there nowadays with all kinds of correctness, you know...

Psychopathology of anti-Israel discourse

On what must have been a pleasant autumn evening, a group of moderately educated young people met and discussed favorably the following propositions:
  • The Red Cross is a bad organization because it is neutral. Neutral organizations are bad.
  • The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a sexist document.
  • The Middle East peace process is bad for the Arab Palestinians.
  • Foreign aid is bad for the Palestinians.
  • The sure path to liberation of the Catholic Philippines and gay people is to join the cause of Muslim extremism and wipe out Jewish self- determination.Only Zionism stands in the way of liberation of these oppressed peoples.
  • Bad people are always white and probably Zionist. Good people are colored and are therefore oppressed.
This meeting did not take place in the closed ward of a mental institution or in Kim Il Sung University in PyongYang, People’s Republic of Korea, but in an American University campus financed by the state of California. The attendees were undergraduates and graduate students, America’s leaders of tomorrow.
Yeah... but read the whole post by Ami Isseroff.

30 January 2011

Shuggy living in George Monbiot's house?

Not likely, at least not immediately. But Shuggy's cool (and short) post reminded me about something ancient: a novel Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov, one of the very few up there at the writers' Olympus. One of the chief protagonists is a scientist and a surgeon Dr. Preobrazhensky. A quote from Wiki to set up the background:

Despite the Professor's blatant anti-communism, his frequent medical treatment of the CPSU leadership makes him untouchable. As a result, he refuses to decrease his seven room flat and treats the Bolsheviks on the housing committee, lead by Shvonder, with unveiled contempt.
Now I can proceed to a rather lengthy (but one of the most enjoyable in Russian literature) quote from the book itself:
"We are the new house management committee for this block," said the black-haired fellow with controlled fury. "I am Shvonder, she is Vyazemskaya, he is Comrade Pestrukhin and that's Zharovkin. And now we..."
"It was you they settled into Fyodor Pavlovich Sablin's flat?"
"Us," replied Shvonder.
"Ah, God, how is the house of Kalabukhov fallen!" the Professor cried out, flinging wide his hands in despair.
"Are you joking, Professor?" Shvonder asked indignantly.
"It's no joking matter!" cried the Professor, then, in despair. "Whatever will happen to the central heating?"
"Are you making fun of us, Professor Preobrazhensky?"
"What is your business with me? Tell me and make it brief. I am about to go and dine."
"We, the house committee," Shvonder began with hatred, "have come to you after a general meeting of the inhabitants of our block at which the question of reallocation of living space stood..."
"Who stood on who?" Philip Philipovich raised his voice. "Be so good as to express yourself more clearly."
"The question of the reallocation of living space stood on the agenda."
"Enough! I understand! You know that according to the resolution of 12 August of this year my flat is excepted from any and every reallocation and resettlement?"
"We know that," replied Shvonder. "But the general meeting, after due consideration of the question, came to the conclusion that, by and large, you occupy too much space. Much too much. You live alone in seven rooms."
"I live alone and work in seven rooms," replied Philip Philipovich, "and I should very much like an eighth. It is quite essential to house my books."
The four were lost for words.
"An eighth room! O-ho-ho," said the blonde, stripping off his hat. "That's cool."
"That's indescribable!" exclaimed the youth who had turned out to be a woman.
"I have a reception room and note that it serves also as a library, a dining room, a study — 3. A consulting room for the examination of patients — 4. An operation theatre — 5. My bedroom — 6 and the maid's room — 7. On the whole — it's not enough. My flat is exempt and that is all there is to it. May I go and dine?"
"Excuse me," said the fourth who looked like a sturdy beetle.
"Excuse me," Shvonder interrupted him. "It is precisely about the consulting room and the dining room that we are here. Our general meeting requests you voluntarily, in the interest of labour discipline, to give up your dining room. Nobody in Moscow has a dining room."
"Not even Isadora Duncan," the woman affirmed in ringing tones.
Something came over Philip Philipovich as a result of which his face became a delicate crimson and he did not pronounce another word, waiting for further developments.
"And also that you should give up the consulting room," continued Shvonder. "Your study can double perfectly well as a consulting room."
"I see," Philip Philipovich murmured in a curious voice. "And where am I supposed to partake of food?"
"In the bedroom," all four replied in chorus.
Philip Philipovich's crimson flush took on a tinge of grey.
"To partake of food in the bedroom," he began in slightly muffled voice, "to read in the consulting room, to get dressed in the reception room, to perform operations in the maid's room and to examine people in the dining room. I can well believe that Isadora Duncan does so. Possibly she has dinner in the study and dissects rabbits in the bathroom. But I am not Isadora Duncan!" he roared suddenly, and the crimson turned yellow. "I will continue to dine in the dining room and operate in the operating theatre. Pray inform the general meeting of this and I would humbly request you to get back to your own business and leave me to go on partaking of my meals where all normal people do so, that is in the dining room and not in the hall and not in the nursery."
[Skipped a part here]
The three, mouths open, gaped at the humiliated Shvonder.
"Shameful, that's what it is!" he said uncertainly.
"If there were a discussion now," said the woman, flushing hotly, "I would prove to Pyotr Alexandrovich..."
"I beg your pardon, but do you wish to open the discussion this minute?" inquired Philip Philipovich politely.
The woman's eyes sparkled.
"I understand your irony, Professor, we will go now... Only I, as the chairman of cultural department of our house..."
"Chairwoman," Philip Philipovich corrected her.
"Would like to ask you," at this point the woman pulled out of her coat-front a few brightly coloured journals, still damp from the snow, "to take a few journals sold for the benefit of German children. 50 kopecks each."
"No, thank you," replied Philip Philipovich briefly, glancing at the journals.
The four indicated total amazement and the woman went the colour of cranberry juice.
"Why do you refuse?"
"I don't want them."
"You have no sympathy for the children of Germany?"
"On the contrary."
"You grudge fifty copecks?"
"No."
"Why then?"
"I don't want them."
There was a short silence.
"Do you know what, Professor?" said the girl, heaving a deep sigh. "If you were not a luminary known to all Europe and if you had not been interceded for in the most disgraceful manner by... (the fair man tugged at the end of her jacket but she shook him off) by people who, I am quite sure, we will eventually get to the bottom of, you should be arrested."
"And what for?" inquired Philip Philipovich with some curiosity.
"You are a proletariat-hater!" said the woman proudly.
"Yes, I do dislike the proletariat," Philip Philipovich agreed sadly and pressed a knob. A bell sounded. A door opened somewhere in the corridor.
"Zina," called Philip Philipovich, "you may serve dinner. You will permit me, gentlemen?"
And another link, this one to the recent events:
Facing a wave of criticism from business leaders, President Hugo Chavez is defending his order for government officials to seize control of residential complexes. Chavez promised Sunday to crack down on construction and real estate companies that he accused of unjustly boosting prices, which he labeled "housing fraud."
Granted, both Bulgakov's story and the Comical Hugos' case are not precisely what Monbiot is going on about.

But getting there in the end of the day...

Haveil Havalim No. 302: A McFalafel w/Mustard

It is yummy, and it's all good: the latest Haveil Havalim by Chaviva. Enjoy!

29 January 2011

Don't Fear Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

In fact, embrace and engage.

The secretive Islamic opposition group has long renounced violence and may be the most reasonable option.
If it were one of the Daily Beast regular morons, I would have hardly dedicated a post to that crapola. The problem about the author:
Bruce Riedel, a former long-time CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. At Obama’s request, he chaired the strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009.
Yep.

Hat tip: Blazing Cat Fur.

"Black Widow" suicide bomber vs phone company's spam

This sounds like a feel good X-mas story:

A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.
And I usually get pissed off by these SMSs... no more.

History of Cuba in one sentence

You, all of you what complain about The Guardian: look how much you can learn from comments made in passing by some luminaries there:

Cuba was another corrupt American backed state until the revolution has suffered from a trade embargo.
Admirable brevity and depth of analysis, ain't it?

Thanks, robi.

28 January 2011

Obama's birth certificate for sale, or Hawaiians' sense of commerce wins the day!

Let's see. If there are, say, ten million birthers, but only one in ten (to be conservative) forks out $100 for Obama's birth certificate, it makes... wow, I will be...

Methinks Obama should share some of that bonanza. After all, it's his certificate!

Rachel Maddow explains why SDI will never work



I was flabbergasted by this explanation. I had to look up Ms Maddow credentials, and this is what Wiki says:

A graduate of Castro Valley High School in Castro Valley, California, Maddow earned a degree in public policy from Stanford University in 1994.
Also:
In 2001, she earned a Doctorate in Philosophy (DPhil) in politics from Oxford University. Her thesis is titled HIV/AIDS and Health Care Reform in British and American Prisons.
This must be the explanation. Or excuse, whatever. In any case, I have to remember that interpretation of missile defense, it will be the in thing for the next month or so. I bet.

Tunisia and our wishful thinking

Vox populi, which we are applauding as a matter of ingrained knee-jerk response, is a bit more complex phenomenon than our Westernized upbringing and overly optimistic school history books led us to think. Check it out.

The Council Has Spoken!

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

27 January 2011

Charlie Sheen rushed to Los Angeles hospital

According to this. While the man is sometimes mad as a bedbug, I wish him well.

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert

This sounds mysterious somewhat, and the article doesn't clear the mystery:

A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News. The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
To help you with the solution, I have prepared here a multiple choice quiz. So, the way this book got to US territory was:

  1. Dropped from a plane / hot air balloon by a forgetful passenger
  2. Lost by a drug smuggler on the way into Arizona
  3. Lost by an illegal alien on the way into Arizona
  4. Fell from a Jeep, being a personal possession of the Border Patrol agent and got lost during a chase
  5. Some darn tourist from Boise, Idaho lost it
  6. The book got slung into Arizona by a catapult these dastardly boys of Sinaloa drug cartel use near the border fence. This is done to demoralize and to confuse the troops
  7. A Muslim martyr(s) to be is(are) loose somewhere in US, and somebody better do something about him(them) soon
  8. Allah willed the air and sand atoms to rush together to create the book, just because

On the fallout of Tucson tragedy

So far the best on the consequences of the shooting I've seen - by Peter Risdon:

A vicious, insane attack by a lone gunman in Tucson, Arizona, was seized on as an excuse to attack opponents in terms devoid of moral and intellectual integrity, leading to days where the political debate seemed a matter simply of wading through ordure, hurling handfuls at long-standing opponents.
Read the whole post. I promise that it's good.

Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus in a Tortilla

Yep. Believe it or not:
While heating up some tortillas Tuesday afternoon, a mother in Starr County, Texas, says she was surprised when some unexpected visitors turned up in her kitchen -- the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus.
I wonder whether getting a tortilla like that automatically causes pregnancy?

In related news:

Experts believe this reptile was likely a pet that got away -- and they hope the owner will come and pick it up soon.
If the owner doesn't, please send it to me: I need a pet my neighbors will take heed of.

Resistant starch foods?

This is what... oh boy...

26 January 2011

Richard Falk - preposterous, but still a UN Rapporteur. Go figure...

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, got a confession out of UN Chief re the 911 troofer Richard Falk. The full text of the letter is here, so I shall quote only a piece that counts:

You specifically refer to Mr. Falk’s allegations of an “apparent cover-up” related to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Secretary-General condemns these remarks. He has repeatedly stated his view that any such suggestion is preposterous — and an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.
And (But...):
You are aware, no doubt, that the Special Rapporteurs and other independent experts who represent the Human Rights Council are appointed by the Council, not by the Secretary-General. Their continuance in their jobs is thus for the Council to decide.
Every person who knows what travesty the Human Rights Council is will know that prof Falk is exactly where he is meant to be. So what's left? To quote myself:


I invite you to click on the above too. Have you ever seen a finer portrait of a natural born boozer? My heart has immediately warmed up to him, I swear.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – State Of The Union Edition

 Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.



So, let’s see what we have this week….

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy!

25 January 2011

The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland and Karma Nabulsi: now we know...

It certainly pays off to sit for a while on the fence (I wonder why that activity is called this way in English - after all, normally fence is the last place you would choose to plop your backside upon). The media is raging for the last three days with a new PaperGate, this time with a scandal called "Palestinian papers", carefully brewed by Al Jazeera and The Guardian.

Both Al Jazeera and The Guardian are under full steam, feeding the histrionics caused by the initial publication, publishing more new "material" daily. It is not for nothing that I put that word between quotation marks. The eggs are already in the air and no matter whether PaperGate is a deliberate hoax or just a self-delusion, the eggs are going to cover quite a few faces. Read the article SCOOP: Explaining How The "Palestine Papers" Story Is A Fabrication That Teaches Us The Truth. So far it's the best guide for the perplexed. Only one quote:

Abbas suggests that the documents or the translation reverses the Israeli and Palestinian positions. In other words, it is Israel offering compromise and the Palestinians rejecting it. In general, it is Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not the PA that is proposing to divide east Jerusalem and so on.
This single possible explanation of the whole affair will be hardly accepted by the main publishers, at least not immediately. It will mean too much egg too soon. Better to let the story fizzle slowly and then, in some distant future, fess up using a corner of the mouth only...

But this is not why this post. Folks like prof. Barry Rubin will get eventually to the roots of this sham. What was of a special interest to me is rather on the sidelines of the whole story.

To start with, two (purportedly) different authors submit two articles. One is Jonathan Freedland, a Jewish lefty, with his Palestine papers: Now we know. Israel had a peace partner and the other Karma Nabulsi, an Oxford academic (I already had a dubious honor to reflect on her peculiar academic achievements) and a former PLO representative (in fact, today she is more of a Hamas mouthpiece than anything else). Karma Nabulsi calls her opus This seemingly endless and ugly game of the peace process is now finally over. Read both, there hardly is a need to quote anything. Of course, Ms Nabulsi is more incendiary of the two. Of course, her call for cessation of any negotiations and return to killing is not restrained much. But if you try to filter out the chaff, the gist is striking: both anti-Israeli extreme and "pro-Israeli" lefty are fully ready to accept the version fed to them by the Al Jazeera / The Guardian pair. Both don't question for a moment the truth of the matter (well, Freedland left himself just a bit of wiggling out room, but far from being enough) - obviously the story told fits their point of view too well.

Now the more important issue: the role of The Guardian in this PaperGate. While general anti-Israeli trend of Al Jazeera is open for all to see, The Guardian is, on the face of it (OK, I know), interested in peace and tranquility in the Middle East. May the lions lie down with the lambs and all that jazz...

So, wouldn't it be kind of natural to ask a simple question: even assuming that the story touted by Al Jazeera and The Guardian is correct in all its details (which assumption is bullshit), why would The Guardian participate in an act that blows away the current PA leadership, only to install a new regime that will be much less inclined to talk and much more inclined to shoot? Why would The Guardian give a willing hand, in fact, to a new intifada? Why is The Guardian so bloodthirsty?

You tell me...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Izabela Lukomska-Pyzalska: the beauty and the ball

Izabela Lukomska-Pyzalska, a former Playboy model, has taken over Warta Poznan, a polish soccer club. Izabela Lukomska-Pyzalska has vowed to rule the club “with an iron fist,” making the failing club “shine again.”
Whatever the Warta's abilities to shine, Izabella could certainly distract the rivals. Details.

Update: due to increasing popular demand, here is her picture:


Not what you lechers expected, what?

24 January 2011

Hamlet - a Lebanese version

This version of the play is loosely based on the timeless creation of the Bard. Only one or two short excerpts are posted here.

Dramatis Personae (partial list)


Hamlet (Saad Hariri): a strapping lad of about forty, the second son of Rafic Hariri (see below), the former Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2005. Has more money than Lebanon (see below) does, solid US education, good career potential. Decided (or, rather, was forced) to go into politics after his father's demise, but from time to time wonders what the heck he is doing.


Ghost of Hamlet's Father (Rafik Hariri). A tycoon who got seduced by wily Saudis into accepting the post of Lebanese Prime Minister. Which post comes with a few explosive issues. One of these issues , i.e. Hassan Nasrallah (see below) heeded the voice of his Iranian handlers and produced a bang equivalent to 1,000 kg of TNT. Accidentally, Rafik Hariri happened to be in the epicenter of the bang and thus expired.
While alive, Mr Hariri was rather corpulent and feisty, but now, as a Ghost, became an ascetic moralist who cares only for revenge.


Claudius (Hassan Nasrallah). Sometimes calls self Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, without really being a Sheik. Ever scheming fatso with grand designs regarding Lebanon (see below). Has several influential friends abroad who will gladly add Lebanon to their list of satellites and pay him generously for services rendered.


Getrude (Lebanon). Doesn't really have a speaking role, but is desired by all. Fairly poor for her age, but still attractive and (especially) temperamental.

Scene xxx Location: Elsinore (Beirut), the Hariri's family palace.

Enter Ghost (nervous) and Hamlet (slightly tipsy after a sumptuous dinner)

Hamlet. Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak! I'll go no further.
Ghost [gesticulating excitedly and pointing to his ear]
Hamlet. Your ear, poor ghost?
             What happened to your ear?
             Did some incestuous adulterate beast
             Put something foul in your royal ear?
             Speak up, my ghost
             The northern gale is strong like devil's breath
             I cannot give your words attention they deserve.
Ghost [Gesticulating more wildly, showing pulling motions starting with his ear]
Hamlet. Oh, you mean my iPod earbuds... I see [removes one]
Ghost. ... you spoiled ungrateful brat of a son
           I wonder how your undeveloped brain
           Stands up to unrelenting sound pressure
           It makes me doubt whether it is you
           Who will revenge my foul and most unnatural murther.
Hamlet: Daddy, you said "murther"
Ghost: Yes, and I mean "murther". A most foul one, I have to say. What should I say, for crying out loud?
Hamlet: But Dad, what is this "murther" thing you keep insisting on?
Ghost [to himself]: Gosh, I forgot - it is Lebanon, 2011. Surely this dumbo of my son doesn't understand the language of the Bard. I have to make allowances for his tender age.
Ghost: Harken, my son, and  the awful truth will sting thy soul...
Hamlet: Harken? Dad, you said "harken"?
Ghost: Oh gosh, just listen for goodness sake
           And stop my words repeating like a minkey...
Hamlet: Minkey? What does "minkey" signify, Daddy?
Ghost [jumping up and down in frustration]: Forget the minkey, you ungrateful son,
          Just close your mouth for a while and listen,
          A tragedy is going to unfold
          That will forever singe your soul's blossoms
          And make revenge your sole aim in life.
Hamlet [to himself]: And this is why I have returned from Dubai? When I could have as well managed the business from there, enjoying myself like a pig in the mud? Or even from London... oh London, London... And here, what do I have here? Shia, Sunni, Christians, Druze all scheming and aiming to kill each other, the heat, the Syrians, the Hezbollah, the Israelis for crying out loud... who needs all this crap? Now this revenge schtick too... no, I definitely should get a ticket and scram!
Ghost [continues his story]: My body safely [so I thought] ensconced
          On softest leather of my limousine
          My guards ahead, behind and on the sides,
          I napped so carefree and unaware
          Of diabolic plan that Claudius nurtured wily,
          That huge explosive cache under the highway
          The finger on the button and the deed...
          And next I knew myself was as a ghost,
          Ceaselessly roaming the castle ramparts,
          I mean the rooms in this accursed palace,
          And plotting my revenge for you to carry out.  
          If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
          Let not the PM office of this country
          Become a couch for your father's murth... killer.
          Exit.
Hamlet: OK, OK, Dad, I am, like, totally with your wishes now. Just let me organize my thoughts and get the support I need to get rid of this troublesome pest Nasr... Claudius. I promise he will be dealt with, Allah be my witness.

Scene yyy Location: Bunker under Iranian Embassy (Beirut).

Enter Hamlet (nervous) and Claudius (cool as a cucumber, but slightly worse for wear after four years in the dump and poorly ventilated bunker).

Claudius: My nephew dearest, I welcome thee
               To my abode, as humble and besmirched
               As it became with years of my hiding
               From these bloodthirsty enemies of mine,
               The dirty Jooz, but let me first express
               My deepest sorrow with your untimely loss.
               And outrage with Zionist atrocity
               That made you orphan in your tender years.
               I promise you that mighty Hezbollah
               Will never rest till enemy is punished
               For cowardly murth... murder of your dad.
Hamlet:   Oh, Zionists again... I know, uncle
               Your treasonous ways and your explosive means
                My father's ghost revealed the whole truth.
               I know whose hand it was that pressed the button
               And who is going to the assassins' Scheol...
               Your treachery, and your satanic ways
               Are not as hidden as your great conceit
               Makes you believe....
Claudius [interrupts]: My poor nephew, how can I believe
               That I indeed am hearing this now
               And this confused jumble you consider
               To be indeed the holy truth.
               It must have been a Jinni, of Satanic brood
               That filled your head with poisonous drivel.
               I also see the sign of mind control
               That Zionists became so expert with.
               My nephew, let us pray
               To merciful and ever-watching Allah
               May he deliver you from your confusion.
[Gets from a closet two prayer rugs and deftly spreads them on the floor. Gets on his knees and pulls Hamlet down to join him. Hamlet submits unwillingly. Both begin praying fervently.]
              
[Claudius waits to make sure Hamlet is deep in prayer, crawls back slowly, stands up and pulls his right leg back, preparing to deliver a mighty kick to Hamlet's backside. A devilish smile appears on his face...]

Curtain goes down.

Update: In two days after this was posted, reality confirms this (trivial, I agree) prediction:
Hizbullah candidate Mikati to form new Lebanese gov't
And so it goes on in our neck of the woods...

23 January 2011

Are Guardian editors guilty of criminal conspiracy?



This is an interesting question, isn't it? I personally don't fancy USAF going after The Guardian HQ with a brace of Hellfires, it being one of my chief and irreplaceable morning irritants. But the question must be answered somehow.

And a great non-conspiratory (as far as its' possible with them Zionists) Haveil Havalim by Jack.

22 January 2011

The Council Has Spoken!!

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners