Archive for February, 2008

Darfurther Nonsense LIII

GI Mia is MIA:

The U.N. refugee agency canceled an aid mission for Darfur refugees because of fighting near Chad’s border with the Sudanese region, the agency said Friday.

The mission would have taken relief supplies to some of the 13,000 Darfuris who have fled to Chad since Sudanese troops and allied militias renewed their bombing of villages earlier this month, said Ron Redmond, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

He said 3,000 more people from Darfur arrived in Chad over the past week.

A team from the U.N. agency reached the Chadian border area of Birak earlier this week, but another mission had to be scrapped Friday because of “interethnic clashes,” Redmond said.

Not so easy, is it? I’d rather hide out in my fabulous Upper East Side apartment myself.

Relief workers have to risk their necks just to feed these people. One is tempted to just let the whole lot starve, as has happened throughout unrecorded history. One would rather not, of course, but one values one’s own ass more highly than a wheelbarrow of African booty. Sorry.

You might think that a unreconstructed neocon like oneself would happily man the business end of an AH 64 Apache chopper to turn the Janjaweed into firewood—and I would—but for what purpose? No Janjaweed ever called me kafir. If their only crime is that they preyed upon a helpless foe, then they would hardly be the first or the last. Given the profile (among the Left) of our fighting men and women as torturing, raping, baby killers, why should we visit that horror upon the wretched of Darfur?

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Last Time I Travelled I Lost My Favorite Pair Of Earrings…

so I understand how upsetting it is to lose something you treasure.

Some poor Baptist preacher apparently left a bag of the deadly toxin, ricin, in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Police in Las Vegas, Nevada, are investigating the discovery of what they said is the deadly poison ricin in a hotel room.

No one has shown symptoms of ricin poisoning after the toxin was found Thursday at a Las Vegas, Nevada, hotel.

Authorities were called to an Extended Stay America hotel around 3 p.m. PT Thursday after a man brought a bag with a small container to the manager’s office. The man said he found it while retrieving items from a hotel room.

The substance is “100 percent ricin,” said Capt. Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “We don’t know who [the ricin] belongs to or why it would be here at this time.”

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said Friday there does not appear to be a link to terrorists.

See, I woulda thought it was terror related, because what else do you do with ricin but kill people? Apparently you can use it to make really cool decoupage pictures and give them away as April Fool’s gifts. It is also nice in soups.

Here’s what the CDC says about ricin:

Ricin is a poison that can be made from waste left over after processing castor beans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The toxin can come in the form of a mist or pellet and can be dissolved in water or weak acid, according to the CDC. The agency also said the toxin works by getting inside the cells of a person’s body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need.

As little as 500 micrograms — an amount the size of the head of a pin — can kill an adult.

- Aggie

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WFB

I’ve been waiting to have my socks blown off by an appreciation of the late William F. Buckley, but the usual suspects—from Peggy Noonan to Mark Steyn—have so far underwhelmed (Steyn may do more if time and opportunity allow).

But I thought George Will’s column today was pretty good. Here’s the whole thing.

[UPDATE: Who better to speak about WFB than WFB himself?]

A Life Athwart History
By George Will

WASHINGTON — Those who think Jack Nicholson’s neon smile is the last word in smiles never saw William F. Buckley’s. It could light up an auditorium; it did light up half a century of elegant advocacy that made him an engaging public intellectual and the 20th century’s most consequential journalist.

Before there could be Ronald Reagan’s presidency, there had to be Barry Goldwater’s candidacy. It made conservatism confident and placed the Republican Party in the hands of its adherents.

Before there could be Goldwater’s insurgency, there had to be National Review magazine. From the creative clutter of its Manhattan offices flowed the ideological electricity that powered the transformation of American conservatism from a mere sensibility into a fighting faith and a blueprint for governance.

Before there was National Review, there was Buckley, spoiling for a philosophic fight, to be followed, of course, by a flute of champagne with his adversaries. He was 29 when, in 1955, he launched National Review with the vow that it “stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” Actually, it helped Bill take history by the lapels, shake it to get its attention, and then propel it in a new direction. Bill died Wednesday in his home, in his study, at his desk, diligent at his life-long task of putting words together well and to good use.

Before his intervention — often laconic in manner, always passionate in purpose — in the plodding political arguments within the flaccid liberal consensus of the post-World War II intelligentsia, conservatism’s face was that of another Yale man, Robert Taft, somewhat dour, often sour, three-piece suits, wire-rim glasses. The word “fun” did not spring to mind.

The fun began when Bill picked up his clipboard, and conservatives’ spirits, by bringing his distinctive brio and elan to political skirmishing. When young Goldwater decided to give politics a fling, he wrote to his brother: “It ain’t for life and it might be fun.” He was half right: Politics became his life and it was fun, all the way. Politics was not Bill’s life — he had many competing and compensating enthusiasms — but it mattered to him, and he mattered to the course of political events.

One clue to Bill’s talent for friendship surely is his fondness for this thought of Harold Nicolson’s: “Only one person in a thousand is a bore, and he is interesting because he is one person in a thousand.” Consider this from Bill’s introduction to a collection of his writings titled “The Jeweler’s Eye: A Book of Irresistible Political Reflections”:

“The title is, of course, a calculated effrontery, the relic of an impromptu answer I gave once to a tenacious young interviewer who, toward the end of a very long session, asked me what opinion did I have of myself. I replied that I thought of myself as a perfectly average middle-aged American, with, however, a jeweler’s eye for political truths. I suppressed a smile — and watched him carefully record my words in his notebook. Having done so, he looked up and asked, ‘Who gave you your jeweler’s eye?’ ‘God,’ I said, tilting my head skyward just a little. He wrote that down — the journalism schools warn you not to risk committing anything to memory. ‘Well,’ — he rose to go, smiling at last — ‘that settles that!’ We have become friends.”

Pat, Bill’s beloved wife of 56 years, died last April. During the memorial service for her at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a friend read lines from “Vitae Summa Brevis” by a poet she admired, Ernest Dowson:

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Bill’s final dream was to see her again, a consummation of which his faith assured him. He had an aptitude for love — of his son, his church, his harpsichord, language, wine, skiing, sailing.

He began his 60-year voyage on the turbulent waters of American controversy by tacking into the wind with a polemical book, “God and Man at Yale” (1951), that was a lovers’ quarrel with his alma mater. And so at Pat’s service the achingly beautiful voices of Yale’s Whiffenpoofs were raised in their signature song about the tables down at Mory’s, “the place where Louis dwells”:

We will serenade our Louis
While life and voice shall last
Then we’ll pass and be forgotten with the rest

Bill’s distinctive voice permeated, and improved, his era. It will be forgotten by no one who had the delight of hearing it.

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Brussels Louts

Can you believe those Jew-hating fools in Brussels are wasting their time worrying about how Israel treats its terrorist prisoners?

Rhetorical question.

Several members of the European Parliament regretted Israel’s embassy’s decision not to send a representative to a hearing on the situation of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons that took place on Wednesday in Brussels.

“A written invitation was sent to Israel’s embassy to the EU but they declined,” an official of the European Parliament told EJP.

“It is highly regrettable that the Israeli ambassador has refused our invitation. Unlike he said in a letter sent yesterday, there are political prisoners in Israeli prisons,” Hélène Flautre, a French Green MEP, who chaired the hearing of the parliament’s subcommittee on human rights, said.

The embassy reportedly argued that it had not been properly invited to the meeting and that it was not pleased with its title. Moreover, the Israeli representation considered the panel of invitees as “unbalanced.”

That’s the perfect word to describe the European Parliament.

What a bizarre situation. It’s like the Nebraska state house holding hearings on Monaco’s parking regulations.

And those hearings on the treatment of Israelis held prisoner by the Palestinians or Hezbollah?

Hello?

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Less Than Human

Well, do you recognize this as human behavior?

Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya fondly kissed the bloodied head of his son Hamza in a Gaza morgue Thursday, saying he was proud that his son had given his life for the Hamas cause and joined a long line of family members killed in the conflict with Israel.

Hamza died in an Israeli air strike Thursday morning as he led a squad firing rockets against Israeli towns, Hamas said.

”I thank God for this gift,” Khalil al-Haya said. ”This is the 10th member of my family to receive the honor of martyrdom.”

I’ve argued before that Palestinian culture backtracks on millions of years of evolution. All life seeks to extend its own span, and to replicate itself through offspring. Most higher life forms also protect and defend their young. None that I know of celebrate their deaths.

The article makes clear that this fool’s relatives died in Israeli attempts on his life. So his happiness at their deaths is a little rich, given his direct responsibility for them.

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Bush and Africa

It seems the press is finally noticing that President Bush has delivered more aid to Africa than any world leader ever before, and by a long shot. They are so sure of themselves. And so often wrong.

…It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.

So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush.

He goes on to blame Bush for failing to communicate this to the media.

I shouldn’t be so hard on this guy – at least he is trying. But the media is more inept than just about any politician in America. And you can’t improve on a problem if you don’t acknowledge it. They are so sure that they are hip and smart and in the know. But in reality, they follow one another in a gigantic circle.

- Aggie

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For All You Sports Fans, Especially Brits

The most anti-Semitic nation in Europe has fans yelling anti-Semitic slurs at the soccer coach. His dad, a Holocaust survivor, watches and listens.

Chelsea’s Israeli soccer coach Avram Grant has been the victim of anti-Semitic abuse from his own club’s fans, according to a British tabloid.

The Daily Star says that during Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea supporters, dismayed by their team’s poor performance, began chanting “insults which made reference to the Chelsea manager being Jewish.”

The newspaper quotes a fan who was sitting near Grant’s Holocaust survivor father as saying that, “As the game started to slip away from Chelsea, some fans started shouting out some pretty nasty anti-Semitic stuff.”

The fan told the Star that, “It must have been very distressing for his dad. There seem to be some hard-core Chelsea fans who are very anti-Grant because he’s Jewish.”

Pigs.

- Aggie

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You Shouldn’t Have

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured below with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez) has a mighty high opinion of his country.

snapshot-2008-02-28-13-19-57.jpg

The Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran are both great divine gifts, not only awarded to the Iranian nation, but to the entire mankind.

“Yet, we had better say that the Islamic Revolution of Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran were the greatest events of the contemporary history, since they marked the continuation of the path laid before the mankind by divine Prophets, next to the appointment of Prophet Muhammad as messenger of Allah and the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Imam Hussain.”

“Like those great events, the Islamic Revolution, too, was a long leap towards mankind’s reaching the peak of perfection…

Such perfection we could do without.

Besides, I think he’s wrong. On the list of “greatest events of the contemporary history”, I’d say the Iranian Revolution ranks somewhere between the invention of the Pringle and the last episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

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What Canada Can Teach Us

Even if you’ve already been emasculated, act like you have a set of balls—big brass ones—and people will respect you. Excuse me while… I stand up and applaud our neighbor to the north.

As the United Nations prepares for a follow-up meeting next year to its 2001 World Conference Against Racism, a Canadian senator has proposed a counter-conference of human rights activists to combat anti-Semitism.

Participants and observers at the 2001 conference, held in Durban, South Africa, were shocked at the extreme anti-Semitic rhetoric there. The event – dubbed Durban I – was officially titled the UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

“The idea is that wherever Durban II will be, there will be a one-day counter-conference that focuses on anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, racism, and anti-religious persecution,” says Jerry Grafstein, the senator who initiated the proposal.

U.S. congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida has agreed to join Grafstein as head of an organizing committee for the counter-conference.

“There is particularly strong support in Germany, England, and Spain among parliamentarians who are not Jewish,” Grafstein adds.

Alcee Hastings? Seriously? I’m stunned. If he has Condoleezza Rice’s ear (which I doubt), he should give her a heads up.

O Canada, indeed!

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Too Little Too Late

Nice of them to notice—but I don’t see anything coming of it.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon supports a General Assembly special session on suicide terror which he calls an unacceptable political weapon, the UN said on Thursday.

Ban told leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the largest Jewish rights organizations who called for the special session, that he would personally present the initiative to General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

“The time has come to place suicide terror at the top of the international agenda,” Rabbi Marvin Hier, the center’s founder and dean, said in a statement Wednesday. “This scourge is only going to get worse, and the world must act before it is too late.”

It’s nice to know it’s not too late. That should come as good news to this person.

snapshot-2008-02-28-10-04-32.jpg

Or this person.

snapshot-2008-02-28-10-08-45.jpg

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Once is Not Enough

Much as I celebrate wanton destruction, this news gives me no joy. It’s not enough.

The Israeli military said it pounded Hamas and militant targets in Gaza overnight and into Thursday morning in an attempt to end a barrage of rockets coming from the Palestinian territory.

Six members of the Hamas’ military wing died in the Israeli airstrikes, Palestinian medical sources said.

Israel Defense Forces said six of the strikes were on Hamas buildings and sites used to make rockets. Four others hit armed militants in northern Gaza.

At least three Israeli missiles battered the Palestinian Interior Ministry early Thursday, hours after Palestinian militants fired more than 40 homemade and unguided Qassam rockets into southern Israel.

The Israeli military said more than 70 rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza since Wednesday morning.

One of those rockets killed one person when it struck near a college, according to the Israeli military and emergency medical services.

From an earlier dispatch on CNN.com which has been tastefully edited out:

The Palestinian rockets are a near daily occurrence but have only occasionally injured or killed people.

That sounds especially inappropriate now, doesn’t it?

Seventeen people were sent into shock on Thursday after a Grad-model Katyusha rocket hit a house in Ashkelon.

It marks the first time ever that a building in the western Negev town has been struck in a rocket attack. Four Grad rockets hit the city in the Thursday afternoon attack.

Moments earlier, a 70-year-old woman was lightly wounded and 14 people were sent into shock as Kassam rockets continued to hit Sderot.

I should amend my earlier remark. I don’t celebrate wanton destruction. I celebrate destruction with a purpose. The Palestinians have a purpose for theirs: sheer terror. Israel has a different goal: ceasefire, if not peace.

But it’s not working.

I’ve said it repeatedly: if Israel needs to kill people to defend itself, it should kill each and every one of them; if Israel needs to occupy or clear land, it should send in the Caterpillars. These pot shots are demonstrably insufficient and ineffective. Their people still suffer, and the Palestinians still connive to kill. Where’s the morality in that?

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Jimmy’s Jewish Catechism

It’s not exactly a news bulletin that Jimmy Carter is hostile to Israel. Any more hostile, and he’d have to stick an Abu in his name somewhere. But it’s another thing (not to me, but to some) to claim that he hates all Jews.

Until now.

While former president Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid generated many accusations of bias and anti-Semitism, another Jimmy Carter work published last year, three sets of audio CD’s of Bible classes he delivered in his hometown church in Georgia, has largely passed under the radar.

In a typical example, Carter says, “Korban was a prayer that could be performed by usually a man in an endorsed ceremony by the Pharisees that you could say in effect, ‘God, everything that I own – all these sheep, all these goats, this nice house and the money that I have – I dedicate to You, to God.’ And from then on according to the Pharisees’ law, those riches didn’t belong to that person anymore….

“So with impunity, and approved by the Pharisaic law, they could avoid taking care of their needy parents by a trick that had been evolved by the incorrect and improper interpretation of the law primarily designed by religious leaders to benefit whom? The rich folks. The powerful people.”

During another Bible lesson Carter (with a responsive audience) discussed the Jewish attitude toward non-Jews. “[‘Uncircumcised’] was an epithet, a highly discriminatory phrase… How would you characterize from a Jew’s point of view the uncircumcised? Non-believer. And what? Unclean. What? They called them dogs, that’s true.”

Carter sounded a similar tone in an earlier lesson: “It’s hard for us to even visualize the prejudice against gentiles when Christ came on earth. If a Jew married a gentile, that person was considered to be dead. If a Jew went into the home of a gentile, that Jew was considered to be what? Unclean, and had to go through a religious ceremony to become cleansed again so that they could even worship in the Temple.”

Wow, those Jews sound pretty unpleasant, don’t they? I support Israel just so we don’t have to live with them.

What’s that? Jimmy’s wrong?

When The Jewish Press showed these and other passages to Rabbi Garry Greenebaum, U.S. Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, he said, “This material just shows a vast – I don’t know what other word to use – but a tremendous amount of ignorance and misapprehension of Jewish ideas and Jewish values and Jewish morality over the centuries.

“There are so many statements in the Torah that he should about which instruct us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ and to treat the stranger with respect ‘because you were a stranger in a strange land’…. The Bible teaches that every person is created in the divine image of God. I mean these are pretty basic Jewish principles and values…. And responsibility to provide for parents is part of the fifth commandment, ‘Honor thy father and mother,’…. so what’s he talking about?”

Michael Miller, a former activist for the Anti Missionary Institute, echoed the sentiment. “Jimmy Carter is ignorant…, and he really should not be teaching Bible classes.”

Well, he shouldn’t have been President either, but I think we’re past that. He was, and he did a crap job of it. Let him write his little Mein Kampfs, let him hold his little Nuremburg rallies. We’ll just point out what a Jew-hating agitator he is, and celebrate the free marketplace of ideas.

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