31 May 2011

Another smoking ban: Big Brother strikes again

After resolving all other Israel's problems, our lawmakers took a deep breath and decided to polish off the last remaining issue: smoking.

The new regulations approved by the cabinet on Sunday include a ban on smoking at train and bus station platforms, as well as limitingsmoking areas in restaurants to 15 square meters.
Right. I have been smoking for more years than I care to report here. I've never been an aggressive smoker, avoiding lighting up near non-smokers, kids etc and certainly trying to accommodate anyone who asked me not to smoke - even in places that allow this pastime. Moreover, I am aware of the need to reduce or eliminate this unhealthy habit where our kids are concerned and I agree that much remains to be done.

However, the senseless* passion for heavy handed and illogical (hysterical, if you will) attacks on the smoking via idiotic legislation, esp. attempts to prevent smoking in open air, pisses me off. Anyone who claims that his/her health is endangered by someone smoking ten or twenty meters away is already a good candidate for a health check. At least where her/his mental health is concerned.

And what will be the contribution of a ban on automated cigarette machines to cleanliness of our air? Yes, sure, it will prevent kids from getting their grubby paws on cigarettes. Makes one suspect that our legislators never passed through that, normally inescapable stage of human development...

Apparently the saying that "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" is applicable to our Knesset, whose main tool is legislature. But of course, there is another habit, which is blindly following most of the health-related (but not only health-related) measures undertaken by the Big Satan.

So, I guess, the next step will be to enact a law, sheer idiocy of which is beyond a mere human's ability to grasp:
New smoking laws will take effect in New York City Monday, prohibiting smokers from lighting up in certain public places. Come Monday the city’s sweeping ban kicks in at parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas, like in Times Square.
Oh what the heck, it's their problem. But mind you, it will be coming here soon if we don't do anything about it. The penchant of the people we choose for governing our food, our drinks, our smoking should be stopped before it spreads further in all its well-intentioned nincompoopery.

(*) I call this passion senseless, but it's true only from a citizen's point of view. If you look at the politicos, for them the good fight against smoking provides an easy target, zero resistance and exposure. What better to hide one's impotence in the issues that really matter?

P.S. Another example of stupid legislative activism: an amazing law (by Jameel @ The Muqata):
On January 31, 2005, the Knesset enacted a law that forbids the use of mobile phones in gas stations, with a whopping fine of NIS 12000 ($3260) for the criminals who dare to flagrantly endanger public safety.
More about this.

Dietlieb Felderer: Austrian anti-Semitic pornographer and Holocaust-denier

It takes all kinds as they say. Still, this combination of talents is rare and takes time to grok. Philosemite has more information. Make sure your underage viewers are away from the terminal first.

30 May 2011

Spokane Bigfoot and iPhone

What with this ubiquitous toy thing, it was bound to happen one day, of course:

As for the essence of the story: you don't have to be a genius to see this as a case of a motorist who was spooked in the middle of a poop by the tourists.Try to walk with your trousers at half mast and see if your walk doesn't resemble that of this "Bigfoot". Duh...

West Dunbartonshire Council boycott of Israel: what a load of dog mess...

And I am using "dog mess" for understatement. Here. Don't miss the exchange of opinions in the comments, there are some priceless gems.

Inconvenient Truths in the Middle East

The most inconvenient truth of the entire region is a simple look at a map.
Being in agreement with this statement but lazy at the same time I'll let Rebel Yid present this inconvenient truth. Sobering enough for you, I hope.

And a side matter: there is a bunch of folks that these days are leading the world in making all the politically correct noises about how the blood-thirsty Zionists are being the foremost danger to the world peace, how they oppress and how they spread unchecked.

These same folks who during the last two hundred or so years have done their utmost and their bestest to draw the world maps in a way that will insure the strife and enmity for this here millennium. And, perhaps, for the next one. The same folks who are responsible for the maps you shall see in the linked post and, in a major way, for their consequences.

Just as an idle thought: shouldn't they a) be held responsible in some way or, at least, own up to the truth; and b) couldn't they put a sock in it to dampen the level of their histrionics?

Just asking...

Anthony Weiner shot in the crotch and Wienergate

Er... sorry, too many miskates in one headline. It should be "crotch shots" instead of "shot in the crotch" and "Weinergate" in place of "Wienergate". Too hot to go to press, I think.

So, as a compensation for your suffering, here comes a nice birdie:

29 May 2011

Oklahoma Republican vs National Science Foundation

This acerbic article in the Fair and Balanced about some perceived misdeeds by NSF should be refuted, if only to protect scientists and, especially, scientific freedom from being attacked for purely political reasons. So I will fisk some of the more outrageous misstatements to let you all see the light. Let's start:

"...having shrimp walk on tiny treadmills to measure the impact of sickness on crustaceans." And what if this groundbreaking research leads to a new breed of muscular and tasty shrimp that could be taught to take an underwater conveyor belt directly to a pot with boiling water on the shore?

"A $315,000 NSF-funded study on whether playing Facebook's FarmVille can help adults develop relationships". Of course, for those who prefer these sleazy dating sites that steal your identity and mislead you, this may sound ridiculous. Think again.

"a $1.5 million grant for scientists to design a robot that can fold laundry -- at a rate of one towel every 25 minutes". This robot is already outperforming me, and with some improvement and miniaturization by Taiwanese wizards it will become a savior for many families on the brink of breakup because of the hubby's sloppy folding habits. Should I say more?

"In one instance, two "romantically involved" workers went on 47 trips during the course of more than two years, at a cost of $144,000 to NSF." And of course, the importance of research on optimization of interpersonal relationships means nothing to these crusty Repugnicans...

"Other entities were forced to return hefty grants after misusing the funds on everything from alcohol to video games." And the study of the link between inebriation and propensity for video games (and vice versa), so crucial for mental development of our youth is nothing? Bupkes?

"The report documented one instance where employees were caught Jell-O wrestling at NSF's Antarctica research station." How do you explain to a penny-pincher the vitality of investigation into high viscosity and its influence on movements of persons in the extreme environment of the Antarctic Pole?

I hope it's a good start. If not, I propose to forbid these anti-sciencists the use of medicines, electronics, cars, planes etc. Let them go back to Mom Nature: naked and unprotected. Then we shall see...

28 May 2011

BBC: see how un-biased we are!

The ink has barely dried on that post about The Guardian's effort to prove how unashamedly pro-Israeli BBC is, and here comes a backhand slap on The Guardian's face.

In the same week that MediaGuardian attacked the BBC for being ‘replete in imbalance and distortion’ – in favour of Israel, BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has been published on the Corporation’s website, unequivocally blaming Israel for the conflict with the Palestinians, whilst entirely exonerating the Palestinians.
After all, compared to puny Groan's resources, BBC really is that 900 pound gorilla, and it's slap is a doozy. And in the race to the "most pro-Palestinian" title BBC will win, provided it puts its heart into it.


27 May 2011

Another springtime for Palestinians?

In his article No Springtime for Palestinians?, Sol Stern asks a vital, and heretofore unasked question: "Do not the Palestinians, at least as much as any of the other peoples of the Middle East, need a new beginning of consensual government?"

I wouldn't mention my first, knee-jerk response to this question. If you promise to read the article.

The Council Has Spoken!!

The Council Has Spoken!!

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week, carved eternally in the records of cyberspace.
This week, Israel was very much in the news after President Obama’s speech demanding a settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict based on the pre-’67 lines and Israeli PM Netanyahu’s worthy riposte. This week’s winner, Bookworm Room, took a look in her fine piece Contemporary coverage of the Six Day War — clear-sighted and moral at actual media coverage of the Six Day War to remind us of how far the media has fallen and how the ‘narrative’ has changed.Here’s a slice:
Given Obama’s obsession with the 1948 borders, this seemed like an appropriate day to resurrect some contemporary coverage of the Six Day War, culled from a commemorative issue that Life Magazine published back in 1967. (For those with long memories, I first published these excerpts back in 2006. It’s a shame Obama wasn’t reading my blog then.)
The commemorative issue opens by describing Nasser’s conduct, which presented such a threat that Israel had no option but to react. It makes for interesting reading, in part because it assumes a legitimacy to Israel’s 1967 preemptive strike. After describing how Pres. Abdel Gamel Nasser, speaking from Cairo, demanded Israel’s extermination, the Life editorial board goes on to say this:
The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.
But now there was an alarming difference in Nasser’s buildup. He demanded that the U.N. withdraw the 3,400-man truce-keeping force that had camped in Egypt’s Sinai desert and in the Gaza Strip ever since Egypt’s defeat in the Suez campaign of 1956 as a buffer between Egyptians and Israelis. A worried United Nations Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal, then winged to Cairo to caution Nasser.
He found him adamant. Plagued by economic difficulties at home and bogged down in the war in Yemen, Nasser had lately been criticized by Syrians for hiding behind the U.N. truce-keeping force. With brinksmanship as his weapon, Nasser had moved to bolster his shaky claim to leadership of the divided Arab world.
In contrast to the fevered, irrational hatred on the Arab side, the Life editors are impressed by the Israelis. Under the bold heading “Israel’s cool readiness,” and accompanied by photographs of smiling Israeli soldiers taking a cooling shower in the desert, listening to their commander, and attending to their tanks, Life has this to say:
With the elan and precision of a practiced drill team, Israel’s largely civilian army — 71,000 regulars and 205,000 reservists — began its swift mobilization to face, if necessary, 14 Arab nations and their 110 million people. As Premier Levi Eshkol was to put it, “The Jewish people has had to fight unceasingly to keep itself alive…. We acted from an instinct to save the soul of a people.
Our non-Council winner this week was Israel’s Pre-1967 War Borders: What They Mean – The Reality by Maggie’s Notebook, an insightful and informative examination of exactly that subject that was submitted by The Noisy Room.
Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

26 May 2011

Rapture and other important dates for your calendar

Due to changes in relative positions of celestial bodies, global warming and various geopolitical disturbances, several important events have been rescheduled and others are in the midst of the rescheduling process. Please update your personal (and/or your company's, if relevant) calendar according to the following:

  • The Rapture that was scheduled for May 21, 2001 is being temporarily replaced by London Olympic games (opening ceremony July 27, 2012).
  • The new date(s) for the Rapture is currently under negotiations between clerics of major religions*, UN and Lady Gaga, having in view an acceptable compromise between various schedules.
  • Assassination attempt # 300 on Hugo Chavez by CIA (as usual, unsuccessful due to Venezuelan secret service being armed by blanks only for the purpose). Celebrations to be held on January 13, 2013.
  • President Obama personally bloodying Bibi's nose during a meeting in White House soon after Obama's inauguration for the second term. February-March 2013, to be finalized by respective offices.
  • Elevation of prof. Noam Chomsky to the title "Mastermind of forever" (MOFO) from the rather limiting and pedestrian title of "leading living public intellectual". November 7, 2017. Details and locale of the ceremony to be provided.
  • England national team winning the Mondial. To be rescheduled for next millennium and coordinated with advent of peace in the Middle East.
(*)The impromptu emergence of Mahdi aka Hidden Imam aka Mahmoud the Mad's wet dream could play havoc with these negotiations, being for a while somewhat out of the scope in these rather level-headed negotiations.

Many thanks to Louise who provided input and inspired this post.

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Supporting Those Pre ’67 Lines Edition

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions
Non-Council Submissions

25 May 2011

Bi Bi Pro Americano

Aw, so cool... enjoy!

And, of course, thanks to Noy Alooshe.

Students for Justice in Palestine vs Sabra hummus: an update

The Sabra brand of hummus will continue to be served in cafeterias on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago.
Unlike professor Finkelstein, whose produce was rejected by the said university.


And, from Citizen Wald, a hilarious spotlight on the same subject:

Ho-hummus. Are You Prepared to Make the Ultimate Snack-rifice?

Bon appetit.

24 May 2011

Mahmoud the Mad's real problem and it's solution

Haaretz on-line edition goes out of its way today to promote a news item of, frankly, doubtful value. Using a huge font size for the purpose. Something like this:

Ahmadinejad: U.S. plotting to sow divisions among Arab states and save Israel

They have also decided to add Mahmoud's picture of better than usual quality:

And do you know what this picture brought to my, admittedly skewed, mind of the Elder? Not the US, nor the Arab states and not even Israel. Even plotting would be a wrong answer. Here is what went through my mind:
Fights dandruff from the 1st wash; With 2% selenium sulfide to help prevent itching, scaling, irritation, and redness associated with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Clean, Manageable Hair Everyday: Keeps hair clean and manageable; Gentle and pH balanced for everyday use - even on permed or color-treated hair.
To be helpful, I linked to Google Shopping. Of course, the S and H could be stiff, but if you order the stuff by crates, which seems to be indicated, I think it will even out in the end.

Take care, Mahmoud, and mind all that itching and irritation...

More here (NSFW).

Biased BBC - a new chapter

Are you getting tired of all these complaints about BBC being heavily biased in favor of Palestinian side in the I/P conflict? Sites like Biased BBC that keep track of all that seems to be wrong in the media juggernaut are getting on your nerves? Relax, the cavalry is arriving, and their preferred method of defense is, of course, to attack:

Tired of the BBC’s bias over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? So too is The Guardian, and a new book More Bad News from Israel by Greg Philo and Mike Berry.  However, their weariness is with what they see as the BBC’s pro-Israeli bias.
Read the rest of that article, it's a hoot.

Can I complain about something else meanwhile? That smell coming out from The Guardian's general direction: shouldn't health authorities and activists (you know them folks who want to forbid smoking on the streets and stuff) start noticing?

23 May 2011

Binyamin Netanyahu (Bibi) goes to Washington

First I have a confession to make: my expectations of the Obama - Bibi meeting were completely off the mark. I was sure that Bibi will fold under pressure from Obama/Hilary and raise only a token resistance during the meeting, making the after-the-fight interviews a matter of routine thanks, handshakes etc. Mea culpa.

Bibi indeed has performed above expectations, producing this time what Elder of Ziyon characterized as a stunning speech. EoZ adds:

Netanyahu's red lines are not very different than the red lines that every Israeli government has had since 1967 (and I showed earlier that Yitzchak Rabin was more hawkish in 1995.) The problem has been that they have never been consistently enunciated by Israeli leaders to the rest of the world. It felt as if every prime minister felt that the facts were so obvious that they didn't have to belabor the point.
Well, so we have shown them the truth, didn't we? Bibi has explained our position clearly, unequivocally and forcefully, so what else should we expect from a leader? Ain't Bibi the best? And even if Bibi valiantly and unflinchingly stood up under pressure and created a conflict with the POTUS, so what, you may ask. After all, as Dick Stanley correctly surmises in this post (good one, read it all):
He [Obama] can’t impose his terms on the parties, even if the Congress would let him which it probably won’t. The Republicans because they disagree with him and the Democrats because they want all that liberal Jewish cash to keep flowing their way. Which it won’t if the donors fear Israel is endangered. Which it could be under the new policy terms of the speech.
Right. Difficult to disagree with this prediction, at least for short term developments. Now let me display my usual contrariness and look at other aspects of the whole brouhaha. To start with, the small matter of surprise. No one in Israel knew what will be the contents of the Israel-related part of Obama's speech. If you consider Israel being one of the closest allies of US (do you really?) and take into account that the speech was ground-breaking (was it really?) in several directions, wouldn't you expect some frank and open exchange of relevant contents and opinions before the speech? I guess you would. So, either Israel isn't one of the closest allies or Obama doesn't trust its current leaders, creating in fact an ambush for Bibi. Or something else, more sinister, that I would prefer to leave to conspiracy theorists.

Next, but in the same vein: when some of the Bibi's supporters hail his speech as an achievement - why don't we consider the practical value of this achievement? Visits of this kind are usually carefully prepared by diplomats on both sides, the agenda and the conclusions laid out in advance and vetted for possible inconsistencies and, deity forbid, disagreements. The latter, if and when they exist, are a matter for the meetings closed to press and, at the most, are reflected in protocols of the meeting, to be worked out later at appropriate diplomatic level. The fact that a disagreement was aired in public instead, and in so dramatic a manner, doesn't bode well for the relationship between the White House and Israeli government, at least in the near future.

Disagreements, when voiced publicly, have a tendency to become permanent, this is why Obama had no choice but to repeat the main thesis of his previous speech in his appearance before AIPAC:
By definition, it means that the parties themselves - Israelis and Palestinians - will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. That's what mutually agreed upon swaps means.
To be fair, the formula is a repeat of the letter issued by G.W. Bush regarding the US agreement that Israel will retain the settlement blocs via territorial swaps, but Obama's demeanor wasn't one of patience, to say the least. Nor were his AIPAC hosts an easy to please crowd (read Meryl's report).

Bibi is backpedaling too, realizing that he went a step or two too far in his speech:
I am a partner to President Obama's wish to promote peace and I appreciate his efforts in the past and present to achieve this goal, I am determined to work with President Obama to find ways to renew peace talks.
So far so good? Nope. The atmosphere between the two, not being too healthy to start with, is poisoned already, and I'm afraid, irreparably.

Which brings me to another, albeit related, point. Obama sounds quite positive on the subject of US commitment to Israel's security:
Even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad.
However, we shouldn't forget for a moment that it is said by a politician, i.e. a person with a conveniently reusable (meaning erasable) memory. We shouldn't forget that in the big and cruel world of realpolitik the value of such promises is negligible. And in that world, a person (or a country) that doesn't have any other friends to speak of, should behave with all due care not to lose the one remaining friend. And start looking for some new friends too.

So the value of that stunning speech could be in its high cost to Israel in the long run.

Too bad.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber Kiss

So the two youngsters smooched. Why should it make so many people so uncool? Beats me. So relax with this:

 Ain't it much better than surfing around for some false excitement? Fess up...

22 May 2011

Interview with the neighbors

I was expecting to find this article on OBL after a while. In this case the while was a bit longer than usual. But the expected inanity is there:

I found him gently spoken, humble -- even shy -- and extremely polite. It is difficult to reconcile these personal memories of the man with the fact that he presided over so much terror and destruction.
At the age of 10, Osama's life was turned upside down when Muhammad Awad's private plane crashed and all on board were killed. The pilot who made the fatal error of judgement was American. It is possible that Osama's later antipathy towards the U.S. was compounded by this tragedy.
Mmm... delicious. Such depth of psychoanalysis given out for free in an Internet edition for all to enjoy!
And right now, to complement the picture, I've received an e-mail with a cartoon that just hits the spot:

OK. Two (or more) can play this game, I think. So here:

Adolf Hitler: he was a quiet, shy man, always drawing - and such beautiful pictures - and never drunk more than two or three beers during his dinner. Liked cats (or was it dogs, I misremember) and never passed a street beggar without an encouraging word or two.  I don't believe this person could...

Pol Pot: He was so cute with this scarf. And kept it always clean, even when eating rice noodles. I don't believe this person...

Benito Mussolini: He was a devout husband, loved his children and grandchildren. Always greeted his neighbors when meeting them on the way to his office. I don't believe this person...

Now that you got the principle, you can continue the list on your own. Good luck. And take a better look at your neighbors, please. Just in case you'll have to appear on TV.

21 May 2011

Everybody Draw Muhammad Day 2011

Missed it, so I shall just do a quick and dirty and borrow a good one from Blazing Cat Fur:

Mmm... not bad at all.

Do you feel like Philip Roth is sitting on your face?

This is only too funny. While my own regard of the old man is going up and down depending on the book I am reading at the moment, he is definitely above a need for advocacy. Human Stain, to take one example, exonerates him from criticism forever.

But this is kinda exceptional:

Dismissing the Pulitzer prize-winning author, Callil said that "he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe".
Well, no advocacy, as I promised, just a bit of horseplay. That "sitting on your face" metaphor, while being a clumsy one (unless it's some kind of Aussie slang), seems to be a slip of the tongue (can I mention tongue in this regard, I wonder?).Whatever the reason, I am sure the old man is (will be) happy to hear it.

Proves that Ms Callil is an avid reader of Roth...

20 May 2011

May 21 Doomsday: are you ready?

It's serious finally:

Starting tomorrow He's going to torture almost every man, woman and child on the planet for five months, before He eventually kills us all.
Here is why:

I say it's all up to you now, and the most important thing is bottled water. And salt. And matches. And canned food. And... well, you know the drill.

Er... gay folks, you don't have to bother, methinks, seeing as how it goes...

Oh, and Mr. Obama: that speech - it doesn't matter anymore, I guess. Let Bibi go home, too.

The Council Has Spoken!!

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

19 May 2011

Knesset to "confirm" Armenian genocide

The following sentence tells the whole story quite well:

A Knesset panel has announced its plan to hold the first official public debate on the Armenian Genocide, officials said Wednesday, in what many see as a further sign of Israel's deteriorating ties with long-time ally Turkey.
I don't know what is more revolting: futzing around with the barenaked truth for so many years or "recognizing" this same truth when the political stars became aligned just so...

And of course, I can't refrain from some posturing: I am quite proud of saying this some time ago:
...start selling your principles for political convenience and be sure that at some point in time somebody will sell you down the river. For convenience.

A 12-meter "Naqba key" in Rafah

This post was eventually recovered by good folks of Google's Blogger after several days of being in some electronic limbo. So here it comes back again, not that it's a big deal.

The whole story by Elder of Ziyon here. I shall borrow only one quote from the post:
He added a message to Israel, "There will be no security for you," and he called for the Arab and Islamic nation and the Palestinian factions to unite in Jihad and resistance until the restoration of "usurped Palestinian land."
Well, what can I do now? I know that EoZ is much more serious than I am, but that picture and this quote make addition of that infamous scene irresistible. Beg your pardon, folks.

18 May 2011

Oh Lars, that was intense. Oy Reuters - why?

One short look at the picture above would have sufficed to understand that we are dealing with a sorry schmuck, no matter what is his chosen way to make money. That he happens to be one Lars Von Trier, a Danish film director, hardly changes the first and correct impression.

That the raving of this nincompoop should gain so much attention from the media is rather inexplicable. But attention is exactly what he is craving for, no question about it.

As for that "Oh Lars, that was intense" uttered by his friend Kirsten Dunst (a blonde, as you've already gathered): wrong - the only correct answer to Mr Trier would be "fuck you, buddy".

That picture and this answer together would have sufficed, methinks.

Peru: between AIDS and cancer

Peru is not a headline-making country for the last decade. Which is rather good news for a country that used to be torn apart by internal strife. Today, however, Peru is facing two unpalatable alternatives:

On June 5, a runoff election for president in the country of 29 million will offer two possibilities: Keiko Fujimori, the 35-year-old daughter of a former right-wing, authoritarian president who is imprisoned for corruption and human rights crimes; and Ollanta Humala, 48, a former coup-plotting army officer backed by the far left and allegedly financed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Either one presages political disaster for a country that has enjoyed 10 years of moderate, competent government along with South America’s highest economic growth rate.
And who better tell it than this man:
Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel literature laureate who once ran for president against Keiko Fujimori’s father Alberto, says the choice between the two is like picking between AIDS and cancer.
Soon we'll know which one Peruvians have decided upon. But in any case Peru is up for some interesting times.

17 May 2011

Lviv, Ecclesiastes and Karl Marx

Ecclesiastes 1:9: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun...

Karl Marx: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

So what is going on here? Has the old coot lost his last marble, you would ask. What is it with Lviv, Ecclesiastes and the Beard? What is Lviv, anyway, some of you may want to know, of course.

Well, Lviv is a city in Western Ukraine. The latter was annexed by Soviet Union in 1939 as agreed between Nazi Germany and Soviet Union in the framework of infamous Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Since then, many a Western Ukrainian carries a chip on his/her shoulder where Russia is concerned. Not that the Ukrainians in general don't carry such a chip: most of them do, but with Western Ukraine it's kinda special. When Nazis recruited Ukrainians into their army and into local police, the response was quite enthusiastic all over, but in Western Ukraine Nazis were seen as liberators and a god's gift that will upset the Moscow commies and Judeo-masons. Oh, and incidentally, Lviv had a big Jewish population at the time: about 110,000.

It so happens that on May 9, 2011, as on every May 9 since 1945, Russians, especially ones that fought in the WWII against Nazis, visit the war memorials, bring flowers to remember the millions of Red Army soldiers fallen in that war and generally do what every veteran does on this day in Russia and around it.

Not in Lviv this time.
On Monday, violence broke out as Ukrainian protesters attempted to disrupt the May 9 celebration of the Russian victory over the Nazis.

The sickle and hammer flag was burnt and a wreath dedicated to the Soviet Red Army was destroyed.

The violence took place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, which has a troubled history with Russia. The city was occupied by Soviet troops in 1939, and some welcomed the Nazis as liberators when they arrived two years later. Around 50 nationalists fought with riot police and one of the demonstrators was shot in the leg.
There is a clip of the violence to watch in the article, but here is another one, unfortunately only in Russian but with more ugly details:

No need to learn Russian (or Ukrainian or any other language), is there? You can see the hateful mugs of the "nationalist" youngsters, their hateful behavior and come to your own conclusions about how fitting the term "nationalist" is in this case. Another, more suitable word comes to mind.

And then I read an exceptional post by Mahmoud Salem aka Sandmonkey about another eruption of hate - the fighting between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt - close to our neck of the woods.

And then I read about new adventures of Jobbik, the Hungarian neo-fascist gang party.

And then I read some new/old quotes from Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh and the trick played by Baby Assad and his Iranian sponsors on our border and ... oh well, enough for today.

Well, and on top of all this (sorry, Francis, my sincere apologies) I encountered a blogger who, being a nice and sincere socialist, tries to persuade us (look in the comments, please) that nation-states must be abolished ASAP. Which is, in general, not a bad idea. Only the timing grated a bit, seeing all of the above.

And now we can go back to were we started. You see, there is a partial agreement between Ecclesiastes and Marx: yes, they agree that history repeats itself. Only the bearded one, being an optimist, considers the second time (is it every second time, I wonder?) to be a farce. Nope, comrade Marx. As far as history goes, it's a tragedy every old time. Farce is what we read in some history books and in some science fiction stories.

If we, as humanity in toto, learn anything from history, it's rather negative: that we don't learn anything from history. Now figure the previous sentence out...

Oh, and I think we can add another (nice but fairly useless) ditty to that of comrade Marx:

Never again...

Hat tip: Y.S.

16 May 2011

So Jews have the biggest balls: what now, Lebanon?

It's official:

While Lebanon may hold the record for the world's biggest bowl of hummus, a Jewish American chef has conjured up a colossal felafel ball worthy of its accompaniment. Los Angeles residents Dawn Walker and her husband Dan have managed to create the world's largest felafel ball, the Los Angeles Daily News reported on Sunday.
And we'll sort out the humus issue too, no worries...

Nakba Day’s Deadly Political Theater

Michael Totten has a good one. I don't believe I've seen a better summary of that day. And for sure I can't do it that well - or even close to.

How to understand women: new manual

Thanks to: B.B.

The late OBL: two angles

Wolf Howling presents one:

By now, everyone has heard that, among the many items the SEALS found and confiscated from the bin Laden compound was a rather extensive cache of porn. Since this information was made public, goat jokes - and videos of goat porn - have been appearing all over the net. That said, the New York Post has taken the jokes to the next level, listing the titles of porn found on the compound. They include among their number:

•Debbie Does Abbotabad
•Oral Qaeda
•No Fatwa Chicks
•9 1/2 Sheiks
•Suicide Bombshells 6
•Behind the Green Burqa
•1000 Arabians in One Night
•Weapons of Mass Seduction
•SEAL Team Sex
•Whora Bora

Then to something completely different from Harry Hutton:
Tequila and Pork Sausages Found in Bin Laden Lair, U.S. Officials Say

A crate of tequila and a copy of the Satanic Verses garnished with pork sausages were found in Bin Laden's lair (or den), U.S. intelligence officials say.

You might also enjoy The Daily Telegraph classic "Bin Laden Buys Child Slaves for his Drug Farm".

You know what, I'm really starting to go off Bin Laden.
That too.

15 May 2011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: two versions of the story

The official (NYPD) one:

The head of the International Monetary Fund was arrested early Sunday in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a New York hotel housekeeping employee, police said.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, has been charged with criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment, his attorney Benjamin Brafman said in an e-mail early Sunday....
Hours earlier, Browne said, Strauss-Kahn emerged naked when the 32-year-old hotel employee entered his room to clean it around 1 p.m. Saturday at the Sofitel hotel.
The other one, as heard on the radio today, has a conspiracy theory aftertaste: according to it, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, if he decided to run for the post of president of France, is the only person who can possibly dislodge Sarkozy from the throne. Thus the housekeeping employee was sent to the hotel suite to incriminate the gentleman... does it sound as far-fetched to you as it does to me?

Whatever the story, there must be a law somewhere that you don't enter a room with a naked Frenchman* in it, if you are a person of female persuasion. And if there ain't a law like that yet, it must be invented.

(*) Even one of Jewish origins. It is in the water** they drink there. 

(**) Evian? There must be something special in it if you pay a buck per bottle.

A matter of perception

Take a look at the following:

When I have seen it the first time, before reading the accompanying instructions,  my dastardly imagination immediately perceived it as a guide for disposing of an aging/sickish relative or friend, where the following steps are prescribed:
  1. Press a pillow to your relative's face till his/her attempts to breath cease
  2. Kneel and pray for forgiveness after the act
  3. Sit down and wait for the authorities to take over the scene
Curiously, the author of this manual forgot to remove the pillow from the picture of the third step, thus incriminating the person who will follow the instructions to the letter. But otherwise, it's as a succinct and easy guide for a murder as one could imagine.

Otherwise: of course it isn't a guide for a murderer, it's a standard poster that appears in Israeli hospitals explaining what to do in case of an earthquake.

Still, that pillow... oh well...

Michael Jackson photos to power the world

Another day, another good news:

Reginald Garcia will use cash from the sale of 130 unpublished Jackson photos to fund testing of the motor, which he claims generates more electricity than it uses.
Why do we need an intermediate device like that motor at all? I feel already charged after looking at the pictures in that article...

14 May 2011

To post or not to post?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger is back now. We're still working on restoring some of the data. For more details, see this post: http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/05/blogger-is-back.html

Posted by Chang at 10:32 PDT
Yeah... this is the last communique so far. For now, one of my posts remains missing (I think). It was just a bit of a horseplay, albeit linked to a great post by EoZ.

Well, one can wait a bit more, of course...

13 May 2011

The Council Has Spoken!!

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

12 May 2011

Conspiracy theorists – conspirators in potentia?

New research casts light on the sort of people who buy into conspiracy theories: that is to say people who are willing themselves to conspire.
Extremely interesting. Read the post by Jams.

11 May 2011

The curious case of professor Petersen-Overton

Reading up on the facts behind (and around) the storm raised by The Guardian around the honorary degree refused and eventually granted to the anti-Israeli playwright Tony Kushner, I couldn't miss an article by one Kristofer Petersen-Overton Tony Kushner and the corporatisation of CUNY. Aside of "corporatisation" being an ugly word, the article was of certain interest. The author is claiming essentially that there is "corporatisation and the adoption of a boardroom mentality in university administrations". One aspect of this mentality, according to Mr Petersen-Overton is that "CUNY no longer has much time for those with views likely to upset the largesse of its donors". That's real bad. This means, in effect, that the issue of hiring progressively-minded teaching staff becomes secondary to political considerations, as is displayed only too clearly in Mr Petersen-Overton's own case of dismissal from Brooklyn College, barely overturned at the last moment due to the fact that "a small but diverse and dedicated group of people helped mobilise responses and direct media attention".

That's real bad. Not only does CUNY allow all kinds of political considerations impact granting richly deserved honors to one of the leading American playwrights, it is denying work to a talented young historian, which act is based solely on his views of Israel. One's blood starts to boil indeed, reading about all that depravity.

To dispose first of the leading American playwright's case: his honorary degree aside, he is one of the selected group of AssaJews that have never hid too well their visceral hate of Israel. If you feel not too queasy, Adam Levick of CiF offers a sampler of Kushner's soundbites. This sampler makes clear why Kushner became an instant darling of The Guardian. It's also quite clear why his defender, Petersen-Overton, avoided mention of all that music.

Now to the Kristofer Petersen-Overton (KPO) himself. I have looked up some of his articles on the internet. His scientific objectivity comes through loud and clear in his work Counting Heads: Israel's Demographic Imperative. Apparently transfer is all Israel is about. His scientific way of collecting facts comes through clearly as well, when you browse through his other opus: Beyond the Threshold of Atrocity: Nationalism, Biopower & Israel’s Occupation of Gaza. Since this is work in progress, possibly scheduled to become KPO's doctoral dissertation, I am prevented from quoting it. But like many other propagandist pieces on Gaza's history, it carefully avoids talking about the period immediately after "disengagement", when naive Zionists ex-occupants allowed thousands of Gazans to work in Israel, coordinated construction of an airport and planned for a sea port in Gaza - all this to be thwarted by the wave of violence that put an end to the attempt to build up good neighborhood relationships. And this work purports to become a dissertation of a scientist...

Should I linger on the KPO's choice of references, such as Mearsheimer and Walt, Chomsky, Pappe, B'Tselem etc? Hardly...Should I linger on this quote from KPOs' own bio that hardly qualifies him as a scientifically dispassionate observer:

Outside the academy, I worked for some time as a human rights activist in Gaza and the West Bank and I still maintain close contact with the Palestinian activist community.
Not worth a discussion, methinks. Still, if you want to read more about KPO's political leanings and objectivity, here is a detailed piece by Bruce Kesler.

It is quite clear by now that KPO is neither personally nor scientifically objective and that his teaching will be rather an uninterrupted anti-Israeli propaganda rally. But what about his professional credentials: do they entitle him to become what is inevitably termed "professor" in Brooklyn College/CUNY? Dr. Robert David Johnson, a man with really impressive academic credentials, is of an unequivocal opinion.
The hiring of former Brooklyn College adjunct Kristofer Petersen-Overton was quite extraordinary. Even though New York's fiscal problems have led to a slashing of the adjunct budget for required, undergraduate Core classes, Brooklyn's Political Science Department chose to assign an adjunct to teach a Masters'-level elective course, on Middle Eastern politics. And then, even though graduate-level classes in the humanities and social sciences are almost always taught by full-time faculty, the department inexplicably hired to teach the class a second -year Ph.D. student (at the CUNY Graduate Center, Ph.D. students generally take their oral exams in their third year, so the student almost certainly hadn't even completed his required coursework).

It's hard to escape the likelihood that a department known for its close ties to the anti-Israel leadership of the CUNY faculty union hired Petersen-Overton because of his extremist views on Israel-related matters (he has, for instance, accused Israel of "colonial genocide," and his website boasts of his close ties to "activists" in the West Bank and Gaza). Petersen-Overton certainly wasn't assigned to teach an M.A. course because he possessed the educational credentials to do so.
This certainly puts the matter in an interesting perspective, doesn't it?

I wouldn't go on about the academic freedom in general, seeing as how academic freedom usually works only one way with the left wing members of academic circles. The readiness of hard boiled left wing professors to accept the freedom of otherwise-minded people to express their opinion is rather a boring subject.

As for our main protagonist, KPO: I have stumbled on something that is indeed a crowning achievement in KPO's fight for freedom of speech: his interview to Iranian Press TV:

QED as they say in the scientific circles. After all, who is better qualified to support a valiant fighter for academic freedom than Iran? Well, maybe Fidel Castro or...nah, let's leave it alone.

I guess the next rally for Kristofer Petersen-Overton's freedom of speech will be held in Tehran then...

Sheneka Adams Sex Tape

Who is Sheneka Adams? What is sex (something is stirring in my memory, but vaguely). Most important, do they still use tapes? I thought it's all digital and all kinds of disks now...

Anyway, relax: I don't have no tapes of Sheneka Adams doing nothing, but here is a nice birdie:

So there...

10 May 2011

Hassan Nasrallah: moving house

This was really just a joke. Timing is all, you know how it goes...

However, now it appears to be a prophetic one:

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah has made fundamental changes in his personal security arrangements to avoid being killed like Osama Bin Laden, Arab newspaper reported.

Lebanese sources, quoting the Kuwaiti daily El-Siyassa, said that Nasrallah has moved recently from his residence in Southern Beirut to another place.

According to the Kuwaiti paper, some Western intelligence agencies proposed assassinating Nasrallah, to weaken “the world terrorism organisational structure” as well as "seizing Iranian influence in the region”.

The sources added that the disappeariance of Nasrallah from the scene would destroy Hizbullah, leaving it but an idea bereft of life.
I hope that the new bunker is fit for habitation, at least. And equipped with a tanning bed or something, they have some cool tanning beds on Amazon.

The reason I am mentioning the tanning bed is that the poor coot is looking* very pale after all these years underground:

Need to take more care of yourself, Hassan!

(*)The image is borrowed from a site here, where the guy peddles Nasrallah's pictures as wallpaper for your computer. Highly recommended, if you are into wallpaper with images of the undead.

Oh, and happy Independence Day!

And for the Russian speakers: Опять Насрала.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com

Happy Independence Day!

And happy Independence Day!

09 May 2011

Bibi: not anyone's darling anymore

The last time that the skies smiled at Binyamin Netanyahu was, probably, when Shimon Peres asked him to form the next government, after Tzipi Livni had despaired of her chances to win the support of the Knesset majority.

Since that day it all went downhill for him. Overtaken by the events, outmaneuvered on the right and (less) on the left by his frisky coalition partners, Bibi seems to be continuously surprised by what is happening in the world in general and in the Middle East in particular. Since his Bar Ilan speech, where Bibi announced his support for two state solution, which in fact wasn't the first time for an Israeli leader (Sharon has already done it) and was made under pressure coming loud and clear from the White House, Bibi is drifting with the flow of the current events, all his moves no more than feeble responses to the outside irritants.

So far the Palestinian leadership appears to be much more adept and sophisticated in manipulating the world's public opinion as well as in gaining the all around political and diplomatic support. The growing number of the governments that recognized the Palestinian state is the best indication of the failure of Bibi's "wait and respond" behavior.

The latest development, namely the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas has done an excellent job of magnifying the folly of the "reactive management" displayed by Bibi during his term in the office. Overexcited by the revolts in the neighboring Arab states, enamored by the opportunity to prove to the world that there is no way to make and to support peace with our neighbors, Bibi and his men totally missed an event that will bedevil them for months to come. So far this event was a total failure of Israeli government - both on the intelligence and the political fronts.

Of course, Bibi's first automatic response was to slam the Ramallah's leaders for signing the agreement with the Gazan terrorists. There was nothing wrong in what he's said, by the way, and all of his righteous indignation is to the point. The only problem is that the point, as many other points Bibi is carrying in his ample storage of speeches, failed to impress anyone, not being of interest at this stage. Unfortunately, Bibi's mastery of English and penetrating look cannot make up for the fact that he is playing catchup with the events in the surrounding world and eating dust obligingly raised for him by his enemies.

So what was Bibi's next step? He loads a planefull of journalists, staff and Sarah (but of course) and takes off for Paris and London to persuade Sarkozy and Cameron that they should reject the newly found(ed) Hamas-Fatah unity on the spot:

He believes the unity agreement between the Western-backed Fatah movement of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and the militant Islamic movement which rules Gaza should set international alarm bells ringing.
Expectations of the experts weren't too optimistic:
When Netanyahu puts his case to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday, analysts expect his hosts to listen politely but reserve immediate judgment.

"They have a lot on their plate in any case with regard to Libya and with regard to Syria," said Jonathan Spyer, research fellow in international relations at the Interdisciplinary Centre near Tel Aviv.
But even this, fairly reserved prediction was too optimistic. Both Sarkozy and Cameron told Bibi, in no uncertain terms, what his two remaining options are: to restart the peace negotiations with Palestinians ASAP or to watch France and Britain voting for recognition of Palestinian state in September. And there are multiple signs that US, the only remaining staunch supporter of Israel, might possibly decide to do the same. While not a face slap (yet), the reaction in Paris and London is at least an equivalent of a cup of hot coffee spilled (accidentally and diplomatically, of course) in one's lap.

Colloquial English and sincere look into the heart of TV camera just don't cut it anymore, even when the speaker is truthful - for a change. It appears that there is such thing as outdated truth, no longer relevant or interesting to the listeners. Caroline Glick may laud Bibi's stance on Hamas-Fatah rapprochement as much as she likes, but the point is that she (like Bibi) is missing the point. Which is that Bibi is barking up a wrong tree. The possum has run away a long time ago, and it will be of benefit to everyone concerned to find where it is hiding now.

Nor does our internal opposition do much better. Tzipi Livni, who woke up again for a short while from her parliamentary slumber, puts her hopes on the altar of new elections, which no one in the coalition needs or wants, meaning that the chances of such elections being called are nil. Not that the elections, even if by some miracle allowed to happen, are going to change the political map of the Knesset. What is Ms Livni trying to achieve with this pathetic idea is unclear.

Meanwhile the above mentioned possum is moving again. In order to increase the European community warm and fuzzy feeling re the rapprochement, Hamas chieftains, not being stupid at all, are making overtures that sound exactly like what Europeans want to hear:
Head of Hamas politburo says in Wall Street Journal interview that nature of struggle against Israel to be determined by Palestinian consensus. Fatah official: Hamas willing to adopt nonviolent resistance.
Of course, anyone who believes this is a fool, as we have learned to our expense. But is anyone who wants to hear this a fool as well? I doubt it. Of course, our establishment has already produced a standard response:
"We don't buy that. (Mashaal's) actions prove otherwise and Hamas's charter clearly calls for the destruction of Israel and all-out jihad," said the official.
But other people, while not buying it, like what the possum has to offer, even if the offering is somewhat smelly:
White House officials told the Wall Street Journal that Washington is studying Mashaal's comments. The officials stressed that the US is willing to involve Hamas in the Middle East peace process on condition that it renounces violence and recognizes the State of Israel.
And Europeans went a long step farther than Washington:
The European Union agrees to provide extra money to cover the salaries of essential workers and support families in need; move comes after Israel blocked transfer of 105 million dollars in tax funds to PA due to Hamas-Fatah reconciliation.
This came as close to a slap in the face as humanly possible...

Bibi's stock is as low as it ever was, save the final days/weeks of his previous term in the office. Granted, his coalition is pretty stable with no one challenging his rule and every coalition member holding tight to his/her chair. But, as far as the international agenda and international support are concerned, Bibi is at the rock bottom. And no oysters there, not to mention kosher fishes.

So what will he do to resolve the conundrum or, at least, make it go away for a while? Just as a coincidence, the appearance of the former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, where he says that Israeli airstrike on Iran nuclear installations could be the "stupidest thing I have ever heard", made me wondering.

What if? Could it be that...


08 May 2011

Friedman has got to what?

This is the point where I almost lost the thread of otherwise excellent piece of fisking the latest Tom Friedman by Elder of Ziyon:

Friedman has got to seriously stop thinking that he is God's gift to journalism and wake up from his self-congratulatory coma. Only then can we start to hope that he will clear his brain from years of accumulated flotsam and jetsam and start to see what's really going on.
And then what? Bar Rafaeli to stop advertising swimsuits? Jimmy Carter to stop kissing dictators? Charlie Sheen to stop being a kook? Alex Jones to get a life? Bears to stop doing that for which they are famous in the woods?

Nope. Science fiction (or, rather, fantasy) is not there yet. Sorry, dear EoZ...

A mental exercise for you

Input data:

4 helicopters landed in Beirut suburb under the cover of darkness. A team of Israeli soldiers from the "Sayeret matkal" emerged. They've penetrated a very well guarded building, and after 40 minutes of firefight left with the corpse of Hassan Nasrallah. After DNA testing the corpse was positively identified on board and then, "in full accordance with Islamic tradition", thrown into the Mediterranean Sea. Together with Nasrallah another three men were killed, as well as his 148th wife that tried to protect him with her body.

Bibi, Barak and Sarah watched the scene broadcasted on TV screens from combat helmet cameras worn by the commandos.

Late in the evening Bibi appeared on all channels and announced another victory of world democracy over terrorism.

Your home assignment:

Describe the response of the world community.

07 May 2011

Paul Lung - doing the unbelievable

How do you like this photograph?

Well, it's not a photograph. Details.

06 May 2011

The Council Has Spoken

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners