Monthly Archives: December 2008

Time For Another Cat Photo

There haven’t been enough of these. Plus, I have a zillion of them in my

I assure everyone that I only have two cats, and I haven’t added any cats, so I’m not on the slippery slope to becoming a crazy cat lady, although I am still mulling it over for my retirement.

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Thank Goodness

Here’s a blog that makes me feel much better: Richard Silverstein’s blog Tikun Olam, Essays on politics, culture and ideas about Israeli-Arab peace and world music.

Incidentally, does anyone know if Operation Solid Lead refers to lead the metal or lead as in head start? I’ve only seen it in print.

Also check out the Jewish Voice for Peace.

This has never been a political blog, and I’d like to get back to my usual fluffy trivialities.


Filed under arab, arabian

Quote of the Day

…do you believe for a moment that leveling Gaza will stop the rockets? Well, then you’ve lost your right to call the peaceniks naive.

From Spencer Ackerman here.

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More on Israel’s “Screw You” to Us All

From Juan Cole’s blog, Informed Comment:

Israel blames Hamas for primitive homemade rocket attacks on the nearby Israeli city of Sederot. In 2001-2008, these rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433, and they have damaged property. In the same period, Gazan mortar attacks on Israel have killed 8 Israelis.

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another. Wreaking collective punishment on civilian populations such as hospital patients denied needed electricity is a crime of war.

The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime.


The US, which for some odd reason holds an irrational hatred of the Palestinians, branded the dead Gaza policemen “thugs” and blamed the massive aerial strikes solely on Hamas, the fundamentalist Muslim party that controls Gaza.

I wish I could say that I hope for better under an Obama administration, but realistically, I don’t.

I changed the title because I realized not everyone would realize I was being sarcastic.


Filed under arab

Peace on Earth, Etc.

During this season of peace and joy, Israel raided Gaza, killing 155 people.

No word on whether any of the killled were in any way involved in attacks against Israel.

GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli warplanes and combat helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 155 people in the bloodiest day for Palestinians in more than 20 years.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli air campaign was “criminal” and called for the international community to intervene.

Hope springs eternal.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana called for an immediate ceasefire. “We are very concerned at the events in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire and urge everybody to exert maximum restraint,” his spokesman said.

A five-day Israeli offensive in March killed more than 120 people, but Saturday’s death toll would be the highest for Palestinians since their 1980s uprising.

They must be running out of people to kill, what with the attacks and the malnutrition and lack of heat and medicine and all.

This article didn’t mention what the US has to say about it, or the UN, if anything.

Merry Christmas.
Update: Oh goody, I can add “irony” to my post tags. Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post online had an article decrying the some UK charities’ being mean to Israel in print at this time of year. Really, it did. No lie.

Here are some quotes from it:

In time for Christmas, several British NGOs have returned to past theological offensives against Israel by combining emphasis on Bethlehem, stories of Palestinian suffering, and false allegations of Israeli cruelty, NGO Monitor said in a report issued Tuesday.

Theological offensives! Like those ones the Pope is always aiming at single mothers.

War on Want’s cards feature “the three wise men trying to get to Bethlehem but being forced to dig underneath Israel’s separation wall.” A second card shows Mary and Joseph encountering a Bethlehem that is “effectively sealed off from the outside world by Israel’s Separation Wall,” and “Mary and Joseph being frisked on their way to find an inn for the night.”

Similarly, Amos Trust advertises cards that portray Santa Claus walking along the security barrier with a bag of gifts, ringing a bell. The inside text ends, “As we celebrate the child born in Bethlehem – let us not forget God’s children living in Bethlehem today.” Additionally, as in previous years, Amos Trust offers the “Wall Nativity,” which comes with a prayer guide and “complete with separation wall [and] depicts the current situation in Bethlehem.”

Based on just this information and nothing else, the article describes this as “anti-Semitism.” Just like you were a sexist if you thought Sarah Palin was a poor choice for vice president.

You want real irony? See this:

On November 26, a fringe group calling itself Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods organized an event titled, “Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols for Palestine,” involving “traditional carols with untraditional lyrics, interspersed with poetry and prose readings, to highlight current reality in the Holy Land.”

And then this:

“It was appalling to see a church allow one of its most endearing seasonal traditions to be hijacked by hatred,” Israeli Ambassador Ron Proser said.

[Bruce Kent, vice president of Pax Christi,] said, “The carols pointed out exactly what is going on in occupied Palestine today. I am delighted they have had the publicity that this has generated. Anyone who speaks against Zionist policies is labeled anti-Semitic.”

Indeed. As this article shows, any criticism of Israel’s policies will get you accused of anti-Semitism and being full of hatred.

I found the above article while doing a Google search hoping to find the US and UN reaction to the mass killing. I didn’t find any reaction from either party.


Filed under arab, outrages

Stuff on Other Peoples’ Blogs

Today and yesterday Juan Cole published a couple good posts over at his blog, Informed Comment.

Today’s is Top Ten Myths about Iraq. From there:

2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned. In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.

3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush’s war. In fact, A million Iraqis are “food insecure” and another 6 million need UN food rations to survive. Oxfam estimated in summer, 2007, that 28% of Iraqi children are malnourished.

Yesterday’s post is about the crisis in Bethlehem:

Almost no one in the US knows that the Israeli wall or separation barrier, which has ghettoized many Palestinians and expropriated from them property and farm land, is strangling Bethlehem. The barrier cuts Bethlehem off from Jerusalem and steals private property from its residents. It has created an economic crisis that has caused Palestinian Christians to emigrate from the city. The “Christians of Bethlehem overwhelmingly (78%) blame the exodus of Christians from the town on Israel’s blockade . . .”

The distance from Bethlehem to Jerusalem is some 10km, but Palestinians must take a 26km secondary dirt road passing through Israeli checkpoints which are often closed with no warning or explanation. Palestinians in the West Bank are not permitted to enter Jerusalem without a date- and time-limited pass from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) – more often than not refused. This has made the operation of the small but very courageous Bethlehem University very difficult.’

Aljazeera English reports on the hardships imposed on Bethlehem’s residents, including its Christians, by the Israeli separation barrier, by nearby illegal settlements by Israeli squatters in the West Bank, and by house demolitions conducted by Israeli security forces.

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Filed under arab, War in Iraq

Merry Christmas 2008

Cat photo time!
Here’s the big sister, who is notoriously shy and hard to take a picture of. Her natural night camo makes it especially challenging. Plus, she won’t hold still, as I think you can tell.

My beautiful cat (the firstborn)

My beautiful cat (the firstborn)


Filed under animals, off-topic

A Letter to Santa

Another WordPress blog has a Palestinian Muslim’s letter to Santa.

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Filed under arab, miscellaneous

Turkish Shoemaker is Going to Get Rich

Everyone wants a pair of shoes like the ones thrown at President Bush in Iraq.

“We have been producing that specific style, which I personally designed, for 10 years, so I couldn’t have missed it, no way,” said Ramazan Baydan, a shoemaker in Istanbul. “As a shoemaker, you understand.”

Although his assertion has been impossible to verify — cobblers from Lebanon, China and Iraq have also staked claims to what is quickly becoming some of the most famous footwear in the world — orders for Mr. Baydan’s shoes, formerly known as Ducati Model 271 and since renamed “The Bush Shoe,” have poured in from around the world.

A new run of 15,000 pairs, destined for Iraq, went into production on Thursday, he said. A British distributor has asked to become the Baydan Shoe Company’s European sales representative, with a first order of 95,000 pairs, and an American company has placed an order for 18,000 pairs. Four distributors are competing to represent the company in Iraq, where Baydan sold 19,000 pairs of this model for about $40 each last year.

I need to find out what size my dad wears, in European sizes.

Given their light weight, just under 11 ounces each, and clunky design, he said he was amazed by their aerodynamics. Both shoes rocketed squarely at Mr. Bush’s head and missed only because of deft ducks by the president.

By the way, the original pair of shoes was destroyed while being tested for dangerous substances. So that Saudi who offered ten million dollars for the “freedom shoes” is out of luck.

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Filed under miscellaneous, War in Iraq

Islamophobia and Romance, Together at Last

The things one stumbles upon while perusing the internet. I was looking for new books to read, and through some strange twist of fate that can probably never be recreated, I found this specimen:

Allah’s Fire, book one of the Task Force Valor series, written by the dynamic duo of a prodigious romance novelist and a former Ranger turned author of Christian-military novels (a genre heretofore unknown to me).

Amazon is so informative that without reading the book I can know that the term “Ansar Inshallah” appears in it, and I’ll go ahead and assume that it’s the name of a terrorist group and not a character’s name, which would be funnier.

Ansar Inshallah isn’t a roll-on-the-floor funny kind of name, just absurd. Those words don’t go together. Ansar means “adherents” or “followers,” and in this grammatical structure it means “the adherents of…” A real organization with a name like this is Ansar Islam, “The Followers of Islam.”

Inshallah, on the other hand, is not a noun, which makes the whole “name” impossible and this is what makes me laugh. Inshallah is a phrase that literally means “If God wills it,” and is used countless millions of times a day around the world to mean “hopefully…”

So Ansar Inshallah would be The Followers of ‘Hopefully,’ which would be really weird. Kind of like The Followers of ‘Fingers Crossed’ or The Followers of ‘Here’s Mud in Your Eye.’

But I digress. Here’s the blurb:

A suicide bomber blows up a hotel in Beirut, killing hundreds of people. A young American woman is kidnapped in Lebanon by terrorists. Connected or coincidence? Despite the government’s difficulty in locating her sister, Liz Fairchild, a reporter from the States, is determined to find her…regardless of the risks. Meanwhile, Sergeant John Cooper and his elite Special Ops team hunt down Palestinian extremists in possession of a new undetectable explosive that will change the “face of terror.” When Liz and Task Force Valor’s paths intersect, more is at risk than their separate missions. While maneuvering through hostile territory, Liz and John realize they need each other to survive. Their antagonism gradually gives way to cooperation—and something more.

Employing my mad analysis skillz, I deduced that the titular “Allah’s Fire” is what the terrorists call their new, devastating, secret weapon that only Task Force Valor can stop.

I am not going to be able to bring myself it to read it, though. So please don’t consider this a review, this is just a tip. A glimpse.

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Filed under arab, arabic, books, pedantry