Monday, December 31, 2007

Papal infallibility = Gedolim Infallibility...

Doesn't this sound like today's "Gedolim?" And we all know where this leads, don't we?

Hattip: DovBear

For All of You Sick to Death of the "Holiday Season..."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sorry, I Just Couldn't Resist This One!!! :)

You ever listen to all that horribly sappy junk on "Love Songs on the...?" This was just too good to pass by! :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

So, What Would YOU Do? :)

Heh heh heh...

Paying Islam for our Western Guilt

Great editorial by Diana West at Jewish World Review.

Introducing the Chumra of the Month Club!

I have no idea how old this is, but this is the first time I'm seeing it, so I thought I'd spread the joy!! :)
בעהי" ת
Yonaty and Mehadrin Min Hamehadrin Min Hamehadrin are pleased to introduce:
The Chumra of the Week Club
• Are you concerned that people don't notice and appreciate your yiras shomayim? 
• Do you sometimes get the feeling that your neighbor is observing more chumras than you?
• Have you ever noticed someone looking at your tefillin during shacharis as though there were something wrong with them?
• Do people occasionally hesitate when you extend them an invitation to eat at your home, or ask what hashgachos you rely on?
• Has anyone ever said to you in surprise: "Oh, are you maikel?"
If you have ever been faced by any of these mortifying scenarios, The Chumra of the Week Club (CWC) is for you! 
CWC is a new concept in real, authentic, ostentatous Yiddishkeit. Never again will you be upstaged! Never again will you be at a loss for a chumra! We supply you weekly with the very best in conspicuous yiras shomayim! (Please note that due to lack of demand for "bein adam l'chaveyro" chumras, all CWC chumras are "bein adam lamakom".) 
Special Introductory Offer (limited time only): Join now and immediately receive three free chumras from our database (from the categories of your choice) as our introductory gift to you. Thereafter, each Friday you will receive full source material for a new, exciting, additional chumra which you can immediately put into use. Within a short time you will have amassed a chumra list that will amaze your friends and make you the envy of your kollel or shul. 
Guarantee: We absolutely GUARANTEE all our chumras to be of the highest quality! Our full-time staff is busy combing the Bar Ilan CD ROM for the most obscure strictures. (Note that with Super-frum and Over-the-top membership you can receive even more obscure and personalized chumras - guaranteed to dumfound both friend and foe.) 
Return Policy: If you are not delighted with any chumra you receive from us, you may return it for exchange within 7 days of receipt - no questions asked. Simply state the reason for the return (to help us serve you better in future), and the category from which you wish to receive your replacement chumra. 
Reasons for return may include (but are not limited to):
• You are already observing a chumra of equal or greater stringency. (Unlikely, as our chumras are hand-picked for uniqueness and stringency.)
• You know someone who is already observing the same chumra. 
• The chumra is not noticeable enough.
• The chumra does not inconvenience other people
• Keeping the chumra would involve personal hardship
Accompanying Factsheet: Our chumras come from a wide range of lesser-known achronim, including: the "Pi Ha'ason," and the "Shtus Vehevel." Each chumra comes complete with a fully annotated fact sheet that includes: 
• A photocopy of the source material
• A list of justifications for your chumra
• Suggestions on how to introduce the chumra into casual conversation
• Member feedback and success stories
Don't suffer any longer! Don't sit back as others beat you in the race to the top! Join CWC today and benefit from the special introductory offer! Start your own personal database of show-stopping chumras by completing the form overleaf and mailing it to us with your payment TODAY! 
בעהי" ת
CWC – MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM
Please complete form and send, with your cheque, to The Chumra of the Week Club, c/o Yonaty Design and Publishing, 12/13 Shalom Bonayich, Netivot 87804, Israel
 .
Title (check one):
□ Harav
□ Harav Hagaon
□ Harav Hatzaddik
□ Hagaon Hatzaddik
□ Kvod Kodsho
□ Moreinu Verabeinu
□ Adoneinu Moreinu Verabeinu 
□ Hamara De'asra
□ G'dol Hador
□ Other (please specify): __________________
Name ___________ ben ___________ ben ___________ ben ___________
(You must be able to supply genealogical data for the past four generations to be eligible for CWC). 
Surname: _______________
Address: ___________________________________________________________
Phone: ____________ email: __________________
MEMBERSHIP TYPE
Indicate the level of membership you wish to purchase (check one): 
□ Regular (one new, eye-popping stringency per week - $500 p/a)
□ Super-frum (same as Regular PLUS one super-unusual chumra every six months - $650 p/a)
□ Over-the-top (same as Super-frum PLUS an annual chumra tailor-made for you, and guaranteed to be totally unique - $950 p/a.) 
PERSONAL INFO
To help us custom-tailor your personal chumra selection, please circle the following, as applicable:
1) Litvak / Chassidic / Sephardic
2) FBB / BT
3) Type of coat worn (check one):
□ short - single breasted 
□ short - double-breasted
□ knee-length - Two buttons on back? ( YES / NO )
□ ankle-length
□ drags on floor
Years in kollel _______ Current occupation: _____________________________
SPECIAL OFFER
Yes, please rush me my three introductory chumras by return post! (Check three categories below from which you would like to receive your free chumras): 
□ Food - Fleishigs
□ Food - Milchigs
□ Davening
□ Clothing
□ Tefillin and Tzitzis
□ Miscellaneous
Hattip: Heather!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ever Wonder Why Spock Gives the Kohain Salute on Star Trek?

Sure, we all know the story that he saw the Kohanim performing Birchas Kohanim and got it from there. Here's the WHOLE story from the mouth of Leonard "Spock" Nimoy himself. Sorry I couldn't just embed the video here from YouTube, but embedding was disabled...

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Achme the Dead Terrorist Strikes Again!!!

This is AWESOME!!! :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

This is REALLY Funny!!!

Gotta know history to get this!!! :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jib Jab's Year (2007) in Review!

Click!

And in case you missed 2006, click here!

What?! You don't know what JibJab is?! Check it out!! These guys became famous in 2004 when they satired the presidential elections then with This Land, and Good to be in DC. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This Actually Happened to Me As Well!!

To this day, I still haven't figured it out, but I know for sure my manager's brain at MBNA was DEFINITELY part reptilian.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Great Article by Penelope Trunk, the "Brazen Careerist"

Five things people say about Christmas that drive me nuts. This is all so true. My favorite is the first one, where Christians say it's not a religious holiday. If that's the case, why are the first six letters the name of their savior? :) You really can't get MORE religious than that, can you?

Hattip: My wife!!! Sure do LOVE her!!!! :)

I'm Just a Bit Curious...

How does Yeshiva World exist and how do all those super Right Wing Nut Jobs comment if it is assur for them to use the internet?! Have you seen some of the comments?! It's like these people are stuck in the Middle Ages!! If it weren't so sad, it'd be hilarious!!!

And the Liar of the Year Award Goes To...

The envelope, please:Ismael Haniyeh, Hamas "Prime Minister" in Gaza. He wants a cease fire from Israel (by the way, the article's headline is also quite misleading: "Hamas seeks truce talks with Israel."):

Al-Shafi told The Associated Press that the Hamas leader complained that Israeli attacks have foiled his attempts to halt the rocket fire. Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group, has been responsible for most of the rocket fire out of Gaza since Hamas seized control of the area last June.

"I am always trying to stop the rockets from all factions, especially Islamic Jihad, but Israel's assassinations always catch me off guard and spoil my attempts," the reporter quoted Haniyeh as saying.
Isn't that just LOVELY? What a liar.

One of My Pet Topics (and Peeves!!)

My wife, Esther, made the following comment on Cross (Loving) -Currents post by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein:

14. Why is this issue only used in reference to ideas on the “left”? Why does it not apply to people on the “right” who have started enacting ideas that are contrary to how most of the Jewish world lives? This includes setting up roles for women that are just as contrary to our mesorah as the issues you write about in this article. (Such as the requirement to be the breadwinner.) Why does the “beyond the pale” label only get applied to the left and not the right, when halacha says that veering in either direction is incorrect? I think many of us who have great respect for Rabbi Adlerstein would be interested in an explanation of this.

Comment by Esther — December 17, 2007 @ 6:50 pm
So far, Rabbi Adlerstein has ignored this comment, so I put in my own two cents:
Rabbi Adlerstein,

I’m somewhat surprised you seem to have ignored Esther’s comment to you (comment 14) and her request for an explanation as to why the “beyond the pale” label only gets applied to the left and not the right, when halacha says that veering in either direction is incorrect. Have you an answer? Yehoshua was commanded “Lo Sasur YAMIN o Smol,” and Yamin, to the right, is mentioned first, implying it’s even more wrong to be noteh to the right than to the left. Further, the Torah itself tells us not lean either way. Why is this ignored in the Chareidi world? Why are people to the left the ONLY ones considered doing the wrong thing, but not the ones to the right?

Comment by Am Kshe Oref — December 19, 2007 @ 11:09 am
I just posted this comment, so it's currently awaiting moderation. I'd like to see if he answers. You see, this seems to be the trend with the right wing. Blast whatever isn't like them (right, Toby Katz?), but ignore any comments that come at them that questions their core beliefs. To me, this means their beliefs don't stand up to close scrutiny. And theirs don't. It's obvious from their many shenanigans over the years.

In the meantime, it's a good topic to discuss here. The core of Esther's question is why is the mitzvah of "Lo Sasur Yamin O Smol" ignored. Both by the Right and by the Left. Reading this blog, you might think I'm pretty left-wing. Well, politically, yes I am (except when it comes to Israel). But religiously? I'm center. one may not think so because when I blast, I always blast the Right. But I blast the Left as well. I'm just not as outspoken about it because in their case I think, while still wrong to lean one way or another, the good there outweighs the bad. Find this hypocritical? Tough. I find it hypocritical when people on the Right, especially the far Right, either ignore questions asked of them or declare the questioners heretics, kofrim, and evil. I find it hypocritical when you can use the Rambam to determine your "Hashkafa" (I hate that word, by the way), but essentially ignore his Halacha. It is hypocritical to have a "Tznius" police but not a tax evasion or child molester prevention police. It is hypocritical for rabbis to steal money from their employees. It's hypocritical to segregate a school, separating Sephardim from Ashkenazim and telling those children they may not speak or play with the other group.

There's a whole laundry list of things the Right does that are hypocritical, primarily of which is hiding behind the Torah to justify their wrongs. The Left makes no such pretensions. And the more Right-Leaning the Right becomes, the more hypocritical their actions become. Know why? Because the Torah tells us "LO Yamin O Smol." It's not a suggestion. It's a command. I'm not saying many of the things the Left does are not against Torah. Of course they are. But I don't see them trying to justify their actions BASED on fictional, ridiculous interpretations of Torah. This is the Modus Operandi of the Right.

But the endgame is the same: It is just as wrong to lean to the Right as it is to the Left. In fact, it's probably MORE wrong because that is the word the Torah chooses to use first, knowing that it's easier to fall into the trap Rightness than into that of Leftness. It's easier to become "more" frum and judge everyone to the left of you than to just chuck it all out the door.

There is SOOOO much more to say, and I will say it, but later.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ah-YUH!

No commentary needed!!! :)

Priceless Quote!

Thanks to DovBear

According to the police, Mrs. Greenberg said she was singled out because she chose to wear denim skirts, long, natural-looking wigs made of human hair, and stockings without a visible seam — traditionally worn because they show that women’s legs are not bare.
In other words, you gotta bare your legs to show they are not bare! What a F****D UP lifestyle!!

How, exactly, is this considered Tzanua?! Isn't it better to simply leave the slit out and not worry about what's underneath?! What, exactly, is going through the minds of these men that the NEED to know a woman's legs aren't bare by having her bare her legs?! How, exactly, and why, is this considered "frumkeit?!"

See the full NY Times article here...

My Manager at MBNA/BofA Was EXACTLY Like This!!!

This is EXACTLY what Big Business does!

Countries Pledge Money to Palestinian Authority

Arutz Sheva had an interesting article about countries pledging money to the PA, and even though

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has taken no steps to stop terrorism against Israel, he is being greeted at an international conference in Paris with admiration - and money.
It's interesting to note who gave the money and how much was given:
Before the conference even began, the United States had pledged $555 million, the European Union $650 million, and Germany and Great Britain together - $780 million. Japan then stepped in with another $150 million. Delegates from 70 countries and 20 global organizations are present at the Paris conference.
Pay attention here. Not ONE Arab country, with all their trillions of dollars available to them from oil sales, Saudi Arabia chief among them, has pledged anything at all to their "dear brethren."

Once more, the Torah's prophecy of "Yado BaKol V'Yad Kol Bo" - "his hand in everything and every one's hand in him" - comes true. Not that I advocate supporting the "Palestinians" in any way, but why don't the other Arab countries help there beleaguered "brethren?" Ponder on that... And note, RWNJs and Bush/Republican supporting RZs: The Republicans are NOT Israel's friends here. They, along with the other countries giving so much money to the PA, are SUPPORTING terrorism, not preventing it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Remeber Achmed the Dead Terrorist?

Well, if you don't, just look to the right of this screen. Watch him, if you haven't, or even if you have! And if you like this guy's stuff, check out his two DVDs, "Arguing with Myself" and "Spark of Insanity." Absolutely brilliant! Both are available from Netflix (I should really get a commission for this!). You can also find snippets on YouTube.

One interesting thing. On his second DVD, "Spark of Insanity," one of the extras takes us through the making of a ventriloquist's dummy. Jeff Dunham actually makes them himself! Cool!

Bought a Kosher Lamp Today...

My wife insisted so she can find what she needs in our room on dark Friday nights and dark winter Shabbos mornings. It's a really great invention, though it could stand some improvement. My favorite part? On the box it says in big bright words: "Approved by Major Poskim!" Yes. And?... Who cares? What do poskim have to do with this? It's quite obvious one may use it and "turn it 'off'" on Shabbos without committing a Chilul Shabbos, so why do I care if it's approved by "major poskim?" And the wording implies it's not approved by some. Why not? And who are "major poskim?" It's like a rebbi of mine in high school used to say: "The biggest poskim in the world are 'It Says,' and 'It's Written.' Who said it and where is it written?" my rebbi used to ask. When someone come at you with "It Says" and "It's Written" or anything similar, the first question to ask, said my rebbi, is WHO said and WHERE is it written and WHO wrote it? Same here: "Approved by Major Poskim." If it was really important that this really cool device be approved by "major" poskim, who are they? Who decided they were major? Major according to whom? According to MO? Chareidim? Chassidim? Litvish?

This concludes today's rant! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And Let Us Not Forget the Ever Classic Song...

Puff The Kosher Dragon

CHORUS
Puff, the Kosher dragon, lived in Palestine
And frolicked in the synagogue
And drank Shapiro’s wine.

(I would at this point change the lyrics for the first three lines to:
Puff the Kosher dragon, lived Yisrael
And frolicked in the synagogue
And drank lots of Ginger Ale!)

Little Rabbi Goldberg, loved that Kosher Puff
And fed him lots of Matzah Balls
And other Kosher stuff.

Then one day it happened, Puff was eating pork
Little Rabbi Goldberg took, that dragon for a walk
Gently he explained him, that dragons don’t eat meat
That comes from little piggies, that have dirty, filthy feet.

CHORUS

Then Puff became Bar Mitzvah, put on Tefillin every day
Wrapped in his Tallis, that’s the way he prayed
Made Brochos before eating, Bentching after every meal
Imagine how religious it made that dragon feel.

Now, there were some people, who did things just for spite
They’d curse Jews and attack them, just to get into a fight
When Puff the dragon heard this, he let out a mighty roar
Now, those wicked people aren’t with us any more.

CHORUS

Now, Puff the Kosher Dragon found himself a bride
Now, little Kosher dragons are his source of pride
They’ll grow up doing Mitzvos, learning Torah, praying too
And Rabbi Goldberg teaching them, what Kosher dragons do.

CHORUS

Now, you who may be listening, may think we’re making fun
But deep down in the story, is a moral for everyone
If dragons wear a Kippa, keep Shabbos and Kosher too
Then you can learn, like Puff did, how to be a real good Jew.

And for All You Frummie, RWNJs

The Wig Burning Song

(To the tune of: If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands)
If you're your Jewish and you know it
Burn your wig
You love God and want to show it
Burn your wig
Unless your instincts were prophetic
And your shaitel is synthetic
Go ahead, you won't regret it
Burn your wig
Semi - custom, fall, or box
Burn your wig
Avodah Zarah's in those locks
Burn your wig
Be it a Freeda, Ralph, or Claire
Might as well be Mother Mary
So be very, very wary
Burn your wig
If it's blond or black or brown
Burn your wig
Don't be the Apikorus in town
Burn your wig
Take it off and don't go near it
Wear a snood - you'll have to bear it
Drive a Chevy, but don't wear it
Burn your wig
Do what's right, don't be heretical
Burn your wig
Just stay calm, don't get hysterical
Burn your wig
Your whole life is still ahead
Go put butter on your bread
But no Buddha on your head
Burn your wig

Hattip: Some random Jewish jokes site...

RWNJ = Right Wing Nut Job...:) Hi Toby Katz!!! Have you burned a wig lately? :) Even though Reb Moshe paskined YEARS AGO, no wait, DECADES AGO, that they were fine?

Joke Time!!!

72 VIRGINS

After his death, Osama bin Laden went to heaven. There he was greeted by George Washington, who proceeded to slap him across his face and yell at him, "How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!"
Patrick Henry appoached and punched Osama in the nose and shouted, "You wanted to end our liberties but you failed."

James Madison entered, kicked Osama in the groin and said, "This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"

Thomas Jefferson came in and proceeded to beat Osama many times with a long cane and said, "it was evil men like you that provided me the inspiration to pen the Declaration of Independence!"

These beatings and thrashings continued as John Rudolph, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans came in and unleashed their anger on the Muslim terrorist leader.

As Osama lay bleeding and writhing in unbearable pain, an Angel appeared. Bin Laden wept and said to the Angel, "This is not what you promised me!" The Angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in heaven. What did you think I said?"

Bad Condi! Bad Condi! Anti-Semitic Piece of Garbage!

Great article from Jewish World Review about how horrible Condi is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If You've Ever Been Interested in Reading Sefer Chashmonaim...

Here it is!
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees

While we're at it, let's not forget Megillat Antiochus and the famous works of Flavius Josephus.

And for an interesting post by Jameel at the Muqata about the phrase "מי לה' אלי," click.

Hattip: DovBear.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Star Wars Fandom, Explained...

And as a Star Wars Fan, I agree with quite a bit of this, and I can FINALLY explain to my wife why I am a Star Wars fan!!


The Complex and Terrifying Reality of Star Wars Fandom
written by: Andrey Summers
My girlfriend doesn’t understand what I see in Star Wars. We’ve had several soul-crushing arguments about what exactly makes this series so important to me, and every time I have found it more and more difficult to argue my case. As the maddening years have wound on, I think I finally understand the reason for this crippling handicap.

There is a diabolical twist to Star Wars fandom, you see, that defies comprehension, and yet is the life-blood of all Star Wars fans. It is this:

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.

If you run into somebody who tells you they thought the franchise was quite enjoyable, and they very-much liked the originals as well as the prequels, and even own everything on DVD, and a few of the books, these imposters are not Star Wars Fans.

Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.

The primary fulcrum for the Star Wars fan’s hate (including my own) is George Lucas, creator of Star Wars. Unlike Trekkies/Trekkers who adore Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Star Wars fans hate the father of their obsession. We hate the fact that George Lucas got it wrong from the beginning, creating incest between Luke and Leia. We hate the fact that he wrenched Return of the Jedi off of Kashyyyk and set it on Endor with those tiny, furry Hobbit bitches he called “Ewoks”, which is a syllabic anagram of Wookiee if you’re obsessed enough. We despise the entire existence of literally half of the Star Wars movies, blaming George Lucas’ greed and flawed ‘vision’ for everything.

We believe George Lucas’ ideal death time was 2:07am, 14 November, 1990.

Star Wars fans also hate the original Star Wars trilogy. We think Mark Hamill’s acting was whiny, the pacing was flawed, and Empire was better than Jedi, making the end of the series a let-down. We hate the way Boba Fett died, and we hate the cantankerous, arthritic duel between Vader and Obi-wan. We don’t understand why the storm-troopers can’t shoot worth a damn, and we don’t get why “an entire legion of [the Emperor’s] best troops”(ROTJ, Palpatine) can be overpowered by a tribal society of midget teddy-bears armed largely with rocks and twigs. Star Wars fans hate omnipotent war-machines that get their legs tangled in strings, or slip on logs. They hate Darth Vader’s face and that stupid harmonica thing he was playing. Star Wars fans hate the original Star Wars trilogy.

There is also, as you probably know, a series of Special Editions that have replaced the original Star Wars trilogy, and these are also hated by Star Wars fans with an even more scorching fervor. Star Wars fans hate the glaring CG changes made to scenes we already hated to begin with. We hate that Han Solo now killed Greedo in self-defense, and then stepped on Jabba the Hutt’s tail (which we liken to Carrot Top stepping on Fidel Castro’s tail). We hate the fact that the ghost of Alec Guinness (whose name is an anagram of Genuine Class, by the way) now stands next to Hayden Christensen (whose name I tried to re-arrange into a flattering anagram myself, but only came up with “Nn…Dense Chest Hair”). Star Wars fans are unsure if Fidel Castro has a tail or not, but we hate the Special Editions of the trilogy just the same.

There is of course also a prequel trilogy to Star Wars. It is newer, more epic, more expensive, and more visually stunning than the original trilogy. Star Wars fans know this, and so we hate it even more. We hate it with the burning passion of a setting pair of twin suns. Jar Jar Binks, Midichlorians, technology that is blatantly more sophisticated than the “later” original trilogy…we despise all of it. There’s nothing a Star Wars fan hates more than a Star Wars prequel. They demystified Boba Fett, contradicted countless lines in the original trilogy (Obi-Wan: “He was our only hope.” Yoda: “No…there is another.” Obi-Wan (not in script): “Oh, right, I f*cking held both of these kids as they were born in Episode 3. Sorry Yoda, I just plumb forgot!”)

Star Wars fans think Mark Ha…uh…Hayden Christensen’s acting was whiny. And the pacing was flawed.

Beyond the movies, there are also various television-related Star Wars endeavors which Star Wars fans despise. Starting with that abysmal “Holiday Special” in which Carrie Fisher appeared drunk and tried to celebrate Christmas through song in a Jesus-less galaxy, Star Wars fans have watched and hated everything. We think Droids was a waste of time, Ewok Adventures was an extension of everything we hated about Return of the Jedi, and we’ve seen both seasons of Clone Wars which we hate because we believe them to be immensely inconsistent with the prequels we also hate.

Star Wars fans think the Star Wars comic-books are a stockpile of contrivance written for marketing purposes by people who know nothing about Star Wars. Every gimmick imaginable to bring back super-weapons long destroyed and token bad-guys long-beaten is spewed forth from these comic books, and Star Wars fans want nothing to do with it. Star Wars fans have read the one in which Han Solo works in tandem with a giant rabbit and we are not impressed.

Then, naturally, there are the videogames. Star Wars fans hate LucasArts, and the opportunist drivel that comprises most of the gameplay-less apertures known as Star Wars games that they vomit up every fiscal quarter. Star Wars fans know that there is no such thing as a good Star Wars strategy game, we yelled at our PS1 when Masters of Teras-Kasi came out, and we kind-of liked the Jedi Knight series, but not at first and definitely not towards the end. Star Wars fans did not like Knights of the Old Republic, unless they were RPG fans. This does not count. Star Wars fans hate Star Wars videogames.

The final main elixir of Star Wars folklore is the ever-growing library of Star Wars books. These have managed to make a complex main character our of practically every background alien seen in the movies, and expanded the universe into a colossal, self-contradictory maze. Star Wars fans hate this. We hate how trite and tired the books were getting before the New Jedi Order series, and we hate the New Jedi Order series for being so radically different, and not nearly trite or tired enough. Star Wars fans hate it when previously-deceased characters are brought back to life, but we also hate Timothy Zahn for not bringing his characters back to life. Star Wars fans did not hate Grand Admiral Thrawn, but we do now, because he is always dead. The Star Wars movies also contradict and completely ignore droves of information within the Star Wars books. Star Wars fans now know that George Lucas has no idea who Jaster Mareel is, and it makes us very angry. Star Wars fans hate Star Wars books.

Now that I have covered all of this, you can finally begin to compute why I can never prove to Emily that Star Wars is a monumental event worth devoting one’s life to. The very nature of the argument means I have to defend Star Wars, and since I am a Star Wars fan, I don’t actually understand how to do that.

Maybe I’ll put it like this. To be a Star Wars fan, one must possess the ability to see a million different failures and downfalls, and then somehow assemble them into a greater picture of perfection. Every true Star Wars fan is a Luke Skywalker, looking at his twisted, evil father, and somehow seeing good.

My earlier statement needs slight revision. We hate everything about Star Wars.

But the idea of Star Wars…the idea we love.
This was just AWESOME!!! :)

Chanukah = Succos

You know, I've been thinking a lot about the whole thing with Channukah being a postponed Succos (see the מגילת אנטיוכוס -חנוכה). As I understand it, there is no mention of the oil miracle in the Books of the Maccabees.

We say in Maoz Tzur "Bnei Binah Yemei Shmona Kav'u Shir U'Renanim." What if indeed, Channukah was originally just a postponed Succos, but Chazal wanted to preserve it for generations rather than have it be forgotten in a couple of years. Had they left it as just a Succos celebration, that is probably exactly what would have happened. It simply would have been completely forgotten.

However, by putting a spin on the holiday and putting so much emphasis on the oil lasting eight days rather than on the fact that that particular Channukah was simply a postponed Succos and a victory-over-the-Greeks celebration, they were able to preserve Channukah permanently.

Now, whether the oil thing really happened is probably relatively irrelevant. Could it have happened? Certainly. Might it have happened? I don't know. Certainly, the "Hester Panim" rule was already long in place and this would very clearly violate that rule. Did a miracle happen for the rest of it, but completely naturally? Did "rabim B'Yad Me'Atim" etc. actually take place? I believe it did. It certainly wouldn't be the last time. Look at modern day Israel. Further, even in times of "Gilui Panim," when Hashem takes a direct and obvious role in events, even then He prefers to use natural means (see this post starting in the middle with the paragraph "Next example."

And perhaps THAT'S what Chazal wanted to preserve and they knew they could only preserve it because people naturally respond strongly to the SUPER-natural and remember it for a long time. They don't respond as strongly to the natural and even the Chashomonaim winning the war might have been quickly forgotten, especially considering their antics (becoming not-so-great rulers) once the war ended.

Further, what would it have meant to future generations had Chanukah been preserved as a "postponed" Succos celebration? Not a whole lot. Which is why it most probably would have been forgotten.

Keep in mind also that Al Hanissim makes almost no mention of the oil (it just says "hidliku neiros b'chatzros kodshecah" and has NO mention of the OIL miracle of eight days AT ALL. In fact, the emphasis in Al Hanissim is the war and God delivering the strong/impure into the hands of the weak/pure, etc. Even the wording in Maoz Tzur is vague, at best. "U'Mi'Nosar Kankanim, Na'asa Nes La'Shoshanim," from what was left of the jugs, a miracle was performed for the Shoshanim, another name for Kohanim. It really doesn't mention the oil LASTING eight days. It mentions a miracle happening for the Kohanim, the Maccabees, that miracle probably being the winning of the war against all odds.

Well, anyway, just a Chanukah thought we've been kicking around here for the last few days. Happy Chanukah!

Need a Good Laugh?

Well, then, check out this statement by Hamas, reported in today's Arutz 7 News Briefs:

Hamas is now trying to establish its own relationship with the USA. Haniyeh advisor Ahmed Yousef has reportedly sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for talks. "We are not anti-American, anti-European or anti-anyone," claimed Yousef in his letter. "Our party is the legitimately elected party. You owe it to your sense of fairness to engage meaningfully with all relevant parties to the conflict."
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! SNORT!!! Not "anti-American?!" Not "anti-Anyone?!?!" Oh! So they "NEVER" burn Israeli and American flags at their frequent, anti-Israel and anti-American rallies, right?! Puh-Leaze!! Oh, wait! I forgot! You can't be anti-anything that has no right to legitimately exist, as they believe with Israel... And yet, if they say all this with enough frequency, the world will actually begin to believe them, as it has begun to and now staunchly believes Fatah want peace and to live side-by-side with Israel. Everyone seems to have forgotten what an anti-Semite Mahmoud Abbas truly is. Remember, HE was behind and funded the Munich massacre. HE received his doctorate by denying the Holocaust. HE was Arafat's right-hand man! And the world now believes he wants to live peacefully next to the Jewish State. Never mind that he STILL hasn't removed the "destroy Israel" clause in the PLO charter...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emes


One of my oldest friends, Boruch, called me today to let me know his wife, Chaya Malka Yehudis bas Chana, passed away this morning. As a child in the Ukraine, she lived only a couple hundred miles away from Chernobyl when the nuclear reactor there blew. As an adult in the US, cancer manifested and the incompetent doctors at Kaiser Permanente did not catch it because they refused to test her even though she went to them over half a dozen times in the space of a year feeling something was wrong.

Please daven for that neshama of Chaya Malka Yehudis bas Chana should have an aliya straight to Kisei Hakovod. She was a truly amazing person, loving, caring, and never complaining about her troubles and always asking about others. She is survived by her husband, Boruch, and a little girl, Sarah Aidel.

Hamakom Yenachem Eschem B'Soch She'ar Avelei Tziyon V'Yerushalayim.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Equifax, Conclusion

Happened MUCH faster than I had anticipated! Those Mother-F*****G MORONS actually FIXED my credit issue with them. Funny how, once something for which I had NO responsibility disappeared from my credit report, my score with them went from 543 to 701! Isn't THAT interesting?

Public Service Announcement: If you EVER need to actually SPEAK to someone at Equifax (yes, those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!), don't call the number they have listed, 800-685-1111. All you'll get is an automated system to order your credit report. Instead, call either 800-846-5279 or 866-505-2182. The system will almost always give you a different recording. If you DON'T have a ten digit confirmation number, just press 0 or wait for a rep to come on the phone. They'll ask all sorts of questions to verify it's really you.

Now, I just have to get approved for a loan!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is the Economy Screwed?

It is according to this article. Funny, when I kept saying the economy was all screwed up over the last few years, no one would believe me because, well, the PRESIDENT said the economy was great and strong and powerful.

Not so much anymore.

Video Game Consoles Finally Good for Something!

According to this Reuters report, Ohio State University Medical Center's Dodd Hall is using the Nintendo Wii for Physical Therapy! Awesome! They use the system to help people recovering from strokes and spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. The medical center was quick to note that Nintendo did NOT provide the hospital with the video game console!

Enjoy the article!

Menorah Dwarfs Christmas Tree

Anti-Semitisim in Long Beach, NY...

Essentially, a giant, twenty foot Menorah dwarfed a small, seven foot Christmas tree. Christian residents complained that this was an insult to Christians, one even saying it was going to be a "kind of bah-humbug Christmas."

Funny, do you think they'd have complained if the roles had been reversed and the Menorah had been seven feet tall and the tree twenty feet tall?

Then there's the fact that all these Christians complain they don't get wished a "Merry Christmas" any more, just "Happy Holidays."

Well, tough. Oh, and BAH! HUMBUG!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Did the Sixties People Envision the Year 1999?

Like this:



Not bad for envisioning what would be going on thirty/forty years later, huh? Enjoy!

For full article from Snopes, click!

How Did This Get Past Quality Control?! Probably Because There IS No Quality Control!

GE recalling 92,000 microwaves

BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday that General Electric Co is recalling 92,000 microwaves, saying that they pose a fire hazard.

It said the built-in combination wall and microwave ovens in question were sold at department and appliance stores from January 2000 to December 2003 and retailed for between $1,500 and $2,000.

It said GE knew of more than 30 cases of property damage but no injuries related to the problem.

Toxic Toys Guide

Folks, please be careful when buying clothes and toys for the kiddies this Chanukah. Or Christmas. Or Kwanzaa. There's danger in them thar toys!

From the AP: 
Groups release guide to toxins in toys

By JEFF KAROUB, AP Business WriterWed Dec 5, 12:04 AM ET

DETROIT - Tests on more than 1,200 children's products, most of them still on store shelves, found that 35 percent contain lead — many with levels far above the federal recall standard used for lead paint.



Hannah Montana card game case, a Go Diego Go! backpack and Circo brand shoes were among the items with excessive lead levels in the tests performed by a coalition of environmental health groups across the country.

Only 20 percent of the toys and other products had no trace of lead or harmful chemicals, according to the results being released Wednesday by the Michigan-based Ecology Center along with the national Center for Health, Environment and Justice and groups in eight other states.

Of the 1,268 items tested, 23 were among millions of toys recalled this year.

Mattel Inc. recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys on fears they were tainted with lead paint and tiny magnets that children could accidentally swallow. Mattel's own tests on the toys found that they had lead levels up to 200 times the accepted limit.

The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys, which is available to the public athttp://www.healthytoys.org, shows how the commonly purchased children's products rank in terms of containing lead, cadmium, arsenic and other harmful chemicals. It comes in time for holiday shopping — and amid the slew of recalls.

"This is not about alarming parents," said Tracey Easthope, director of the Ecology Center's Environmental Health Project. "We're just trying to give people information because they haven't had very much except these recall lists."

Easthope said 17 percent of the children's products tested had levels of lead above the 600 parts per million federal standard that would trigger a recall of lead paint. Jewelry products were the most likely to contain the high levels of lead, the center said, with 33.5 percent containing levels above 600 ppm. Among the toys that tested above that limit was a Hannah Montana Pop Star Card Game, whose case tested at 3,056 ppm.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a level of 40 ppm of lead as the maximum that should be allowed in children's products. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible learning disabilities and behavioral problems and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.

A spokeswoman for New York-based Cardinal Industries Inc., which sells the Hannah Montana game, said Tuesday that Cardinal was unaware of the environmental groups' tests or procedures but the product has passed internal tests.

"We test every (product) before it ships numerous times," Bonnie Canner said. "We have not tested this product high for lead."

Easthope said the product is manufactured in China. Canner declined further comment until she had more information.

The center and its testing partners found The First Years brand First Keys, Fisher-Price's Rock-a-Stack and B.R. Bruin's Stacking Cups were among the 20 percent that contained none of the nine chemicals.

"There's a lot of doom and gloom about lead in the products — people only hear about the recalls," said Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center's campaign director. "Companies can make clean products. Our sampling shows that there's no reason to put lead in a product."

Gearhart and Easthope said the products, while not necessarily representative of everything on the market, were considered among those commonly bought and used. Testers purchased most at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us.

The testing began in 2006 but most of the items were checked in the past six months, Gearhart said.

Calls to a Mattel spokeswoman were not immediately returned Tuesday. A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman declined to comment because the company had not seen the report.

Toys "R" Us Inc. spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh also declined to comment because she needed to fully review the report's findings, referring questions to the Toy Industry Association.

Joan Lawrence, the association's vice president of standards and safety, said the group and its members support limiting accessible lead in children's products. But she said the industry and standard-setting bodies are struggling with how to measure exposure, accessibility and what limits to set.

She said she hasn't seen all of the Ecology Center's findings but called them misleading because the testers did not appear to follow recognized test procedures for lead and other substances. The two most common ways are to use solutions to simulate saliva and digestion, and another to attempt to dissolve the surface coating.

The center and its testing partners performed what they describe as a "screening" of chemicals using a handheld X-ray fluorescence device that detects surface chemical elements.

"The mere presence of any substance alone is only half of the answer — you need to know if it's accessible to the child," Lawrence said. "We can't tell that from what I know of the tests that have been done by this group."

Easthope said her group's tests aren't meant to replace those tests, and that's noted on the Web site. She said it's important for people to know what's in these products since nobody else is providing this data.

"We're not saying that ... all of it will come out into a child," she said. "We're saying it's a concern that so much of these products have these chemicals of concern in them.

"We shouldn't have lead in kids' products. We can make products without lead in them."

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said he also hasn't seen the Ecology Center's tests but said the federal agency would seek to verify its findings and initiate recalls if warranted.

He said the commission has been meeting with ASTM International, which spearheads voluntary safety standards for toys, to discuss crafting standards specific to lead in plastics. He said there also is movement on Capitol Hill to revise laws on lead in children's products.

Wolfson said the commission launched 40 toy recalls in fiscal year 2006, three involving lead-paint violations. In 2007, there were 61 recalls, 19 involving lead-paint violations.

"What we would like to consumers to know is more recalls are on the way," he said.

___

On the Net:

The Consumer Action Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys: http://www.healthytoys.org

Toy Industry Association: http://www.toyassociation.org

List of recalled toys available at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Computer Storage (1956)

WOW!!! This linked article from Snopes is about a hard drive from 1956 that weighed several tons and had a five MEGABYTE capacity!! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Death of a Daredevil: Evel Knievel, RIP

WOW! Evel Knievel has passed on to the great stunt arena in the sky. He made his final jump into the great, mysterious Beyond! Now, this guy was pretty cool! Read the article here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

House Search

...Goes on and on! There are lots of homes for sale in the area, so it's just a question of finding the right one. We thought we'd found and "OK" home, but then I had an inspection done! Wow!! The house needs about $35,000 worth of work, and there's no way the sellers, the sons of the deceased person who owned the house free and clear, would go down $35,000 and make an allowance for us (meaning, we'd have the same mortgage originally thought, but they would give us back $35,000 to do the repair work) even though ANYTHING they got out of the house would be PURE profit. Oh, well.

We saw a house last night we think might be right for us. The current owner bought it in March 2007 and has since spent his time completely renovating the inside, also known as flipping: buying a house with the purpose of renovating and reselling it. I'm not quite sure why anyone would do this in general in this market, but in this case, it might work out for us. It's really beautiful and big (2400 sq. feet!!) on the inside, with an amazing kitchen, family room, and master SUITE (bedroom, sitting room, huge walk-in closet, and bathroom with TWO sinks and a bathtub!). It's one exactly in the area we wanted, but it's just on the cusp and still a really good neighborhood.

In the meantime, EQUIFAX (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) have completely screwed up my credit score. Experian and TransUnion came back with pretty decent scores despite my debt, but Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) has me with a score somewhere in the 500s because they are reporting, quite erroneously, that I'm an authorized user (which means I'm allowed to use the credit card but am NOT in ANY WAY financially responsible for it) on a credit card belonging to my dad even though he says he NEVER put me on there. In the meantime, the credit card has been charged off and reported 30, 60, and 90 days late various times this year. For some reason, Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) decided it should reflect on MY credit report even though I have nothing to do with my dad's account (I'd never even HEARD of it until yesterday!). So, I started a dispute both with the credit card company, which was very kind to me and started a dispute with Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!), and with Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) itself. It's going to take a minimum of FIVE business days!! This REALLY PISSES ME OFF!!!

These credit reporting agencies hold WAY too much arbitrary power over people. Here is a credit reporting agency that has simply decided my credit unworthiness just because they felt like it, never mind that no matter how bad things got financially, we ALWAYS made our payments on time NO MATTER WHAT! What Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) should be asking themselves is "Hmm. Let see. He's always on time with EVERYTHING else. We should investigate this anomaly and figure this out." But, NOOOOOOOOOO. Instead, I had to call there about six times in the last 24 hours. So first they tell me I need a contact name at the credit card company whom they can directly contact. So I got one. Then they asked me what his position was. He was a customer service rep. So they tell me, "No. You need a supervisor's name!" So I blew up at the guy and told him to give me a break with all this BULL-S**T. I said to if I got a supervisor, that would probably not be good enough either and I'd have to get the supervisor's manager. And if I did that, I'd have to go higher up! The Equifax (those Mother-F*****G MORONS!!) dude's silence pretty much admitted to me this would be the case, so he gave in and initiated the dispute on his end.

Oh, and by the way, if you are an authorized user on a credit card but are not the primary on the card, you are NOT, repeat, NOT financially responsible for ANY balance on the account and the credit company CANNOT come after you should the primary default on the card. The credit companies very strictly adhere to this rule and are quite adamant about it NOT reporting on one's credit. Call and credit card company and they will verify this. This is something I learned at MBNA. It should NOT report on a credit report and when the agencies do this, it is WRONG!!! I lost count of how many phone calls I took from people angry that their being an authorized user on an account was recorded as THEIR debt on a credit report. We were always happy to take them off the account, but THEY had to call the credit reporting agency because it was the agency's error, not the credit card company's.

Well, I hopefully, IY"H, have this straightened out by the end of next week or by the beginning of the week after, but it is slowing things down. I sure hope no one snatches up this house should we decided to take it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some More on Bush and Annapolis

So, The Idiot, aka George W. Bush, has decided the "time is right for Mideast Peace."(Click.) He didn't just decide; he "declared." Because we all know how incredibly smart The Idiot is. This is just another president with the overpowering egotistical desire to "bring peace" to the Middle East. Carter did it. Clinton did it. Now The Idiot's doing it, along with his girlfriend, Condi. The only reason Reagan didn't  is he was too busy ending the Cold War, which was actually a good thing (not that I'm a big fan of Reagan either - remember "Reaganomics," a concept for which everyone but the upper class is still paying?), and Bush senior was too busy trying to salvage what he could of his presidency after the fiasco of the First Gulf War. His son, The Idiot, is too stupid to realize there's simply nothing for him to salvage at this point. Not his dignity, not his legacy, and certainly not his reputation. What a shame... And he's made it quite clear Israel does NOT have the right to decide for itself what is good for Israel. Apparently Olmert, Bush's lapdog, will simply obey anything and everything his Master, The Idiot, orders him to do. Just goes to show how even when Jews are "running" the Holy Land, they really aren't, further indication the Golus hasn't ended. I truly believe the State of Israel is Raishis Tzmichas Geulaseinu - the roots of the upcoming Geula, but I think we've forgotten we are STILL in Golus, nevertheless.



Yaakov Kirschen over at Dry Bones, posted this wonderful "Golden Oldie" today with the following comment:
1978. Camp David.
Egypt, Israel, and America.
Sadat represented Egypt. 
Begin represented Israel. 
And President Carter was squeezing us. Our goose was being cooked.


2007. Annapolis.
The Palestinians, Israel, and America. 
Abbas (Abu Mazen) represents part (at best) of the West Bank Palestinians.
Olmert represents Olmert. 
And President Bush is having a really big photo op. Our goose is being cooked.

Wanna Move to Iceland?

According to the UN, Iceland is best place to live on the planet! African, Sub-Saharan desert countries came in last.

Lots of Noise Today!

First, apparently Olmert has taken that final step to separate being Israeli from being Jewish. He's decided that the status of Jerusalem is and "Israeli" issue, not a Jewish one and has stated that American Jews have no right to "intervene in any decision regarding the status of Jerusalem." Read the article from Arutz 7 here.

Next, there was a HUGE protest in Jerusalem. However, unlike Chareidi protests that always seem to turn violent, this one didn't. Now, to be honest, four youngsters were arrested for blocking a road in Jerusalem and one of them was carrying a sharp weapon. There is, however, no mention of the person actually brandishing the weapon. To me, this is such a kiddush Hashem that there is no violence! These are real Jews. And by the way, where are the Chareidim in all this?! What, no protest that we may lose part of Jerusalem, The Holy City?! Of course not. Surprised? I can't say I am. They don't really believe we belong there and they simply live there so they can get government funding and then proclaim how much they hate the government that gives them so much in return for, well, pretty much nothing. Nope. No big surprise there. Funny how certain RWNJs (Right Wing Nut Jobs), and I blogged about one of them recently, and I blogged about one of them recently, are always wrongly complaining that Liberals like myself have no appreciation or Hakaras Hatov for United States, a country that has done tremendous chesed for Jews. Yet it's interesting to note that the Chareidiim who live in Israel have absolutely NO Hakaras Hatov for the country in which THEY live, and they have demonstrated this fact consistently for decades. Just goes to show the non-frumkeit of the Chareidim and the consistent hypocrisy they practice day after day.

OK, back on track. Let's not gloss over the 25,000 people who gathered at the (endangered) Kotel to pray against any Annapolis concessions. Look at the pictures. Notice anything interesting? Well, first, they're davening, not starting fires or throwing garbage or blocking roads with dumpsters hurling curses at people. They are peacefully davening. Next, notice how the VAST MAJORITY of these people are NOT Chareidiim. Nope. They are just regular Jews who wear those horrible Kippot Serugot (please read the last three words with EXTREME sarcasm) who have gathered to daven for their home. Note the Chareidim didn't. Interesting, though, once again, not surprising...

I'm sure as the day proceeds I'll have LOTS more to say about the Annapolis travesty.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What the Hell. I'm Going to Post the Entire Article I Mentioned in the Post Below...

This needs to be read widely. I know I don't have that many readers, and that's fine since this blog is really a tool for me to write down my own thoughts about whatever. But I want this article preserved. So, here it is...

‘Israel's best friend’ firmly backing Arabs at Annapolis conference

By Caroline B. Glick

Leaked document

Will Bush and Rice do whatever necessary to secure a legacy?

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The mood is dark in the IDF's General Staff ahead of next week's "peace" conference in Annapolis. As one senior officer directly involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Americans said, "As bad as it might look from the outside, the truth is ten times worse. This is a nightmare. The Americans have never been so hostile."

Thursday a draft of the joint statement that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are discussing ahead of the conference was leaked to the media. A reading of the document bears out the IDF's concerns.

The draft document shows that the Palestinians and the Israelis differ not only on every issue, but differ on the purpose of the document. It also shows that the US firmly backs the Palestinians against Israel.

As the draft document makes clear, Israel is trying to avoid committing itself to anything at Annapolis. For their part, the Palestinians are trying to force Israel's hand by tying it to diplomatic formulas that presuppose an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and an Israeli acceptance of the so-called "right of return" or free immigration of foreign Arabs to Israel.

The Palestinians are also trying to take away Israel's right to determine for itself whether to trust the Palestinians and continue making diplomatic and security concessions or not by making it the responsibility of outside actors to decide the pace of the concessions and whether or not the Palestinians should be trusted.

As the leaked draft document shows, the Americans have sided with the Palestinians against Israel. Specifically, the Americans have taken for themselves the sole right to judge whether or not the Palestinians and the Israelis are abiding by their commitments and whether and at what pace the negotiations will proceed.

But the Americans are have shown themselves to be unworthy of Israel's trust. By refusing to acknowledge Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party's direct involvement in terrorism and indeed the direct involvement of his official Fatah "security forces" in terrorism, the Americans have shown that their benchmarks for Palestinian compliance with their commitments to Israel are not necessarily based on the reality on the ground. Then too, the US demands for wide-ranging Israeli security concessions to the Palestinians even before the "peace" conference at Annapolis have shown that Israel's security is of little concern to the State Department.

IDF sources blame the shooting murder of Ido Zoldan on Monday night by Fatah terrorists on Israel's decision to bow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's demand to take down 24 security roadblocks in Judea and Samaria. If it hadn't been for US pressure they say, it is quite possible that the 29-year-old father of two small children would be alive today.

But this is of no concern for Washington. As Rice has made clear repeatedly, the US wants to see "signs of progress." Since the Palestinians are taking no action against terror and doing nothing to lessen their society's jihadist fervor, the only way to achieve "signs of progress" is by forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. And so that is exactly what Rice and her associates are doing.

Rice is able to force Israel to accept her demands because she faces the weakest Israeli leaders the country has ever produced. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are all incapable of standing up to the Americans or even arguing with them. Olmert and Livni's weakness has been apparent since their mishandling of the war with Hizbullah last summer and their negotiations over the ceasefire agreement with Rice. For his part, throughout his brief and disastrous tenure as prime minister, Barak behaved as though he were then president Bill Clinton's employee. 

But if Olmert, Livni and Barak's willingness to compromise their nation's security is a function of their weakness, what explains Rice and Bush's behavior? Why are they weakening Israel and pushing for the establishment of yet another Middle Eastern terror state? What US interest do they think they are advancing by acting as they are?

Over the past several weeks, a number of theories have been raised to explain their behavior. The most frequent explanation is that Rice and Bush are championing Palestinian statehood at Israel's expense in a bid to mobilize a coalition of Sunni Arab states to cooperate with the US against Iran.

According to this theory, if Annapolis is seen as a success, then the Arab states will be convinced that the US is worth supporting on Iran. This theory has several flaws. First, as the US's treatment of Israel makes clear, success in Annapolis involves weakening Israel whose destruction Iran seeks and empowering the Palestinians who Iran supports. This means that far from weakening Iran, success at Annapolis advances Iran's interests.

But beyond that, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by convening the conference next week, the Bush administration has directly empowered Iran. Today the determination of whether the administration emerges unscathed or humiliated from Annapolis is entirely in Iran's hands. Iran will decide whether the conference opens and closes peacefully or whether it is convened as Lebanon submerged in civil war by Iran's proxies Syria and Hizbullah.

According to the Lebanese constitution, Saturday is the last day on which a new Lebanese president can be elected. Lebanon's president must be elected by two-thirds of the members of Lebanon's parliament. Through their campaign of assassination, Syria and Hizbullah have taken away the 2/3 majority that anti-Syrian forces won in the 2005 elections. As a result, Hizbullah has veto power over the election. And so far, Iran and Syria have refused to allow Hizbullah to back any candidate. This is the case despite the anti-Syrian majority's willingness to support a pro-Syrian presidential candidate.

Due to the Iranian-Syrian induced impasse, today there are two possible scenarios for what may happen in the next few days in Lebanon. Either Iran and Syria will allow elections to take place and an agent of their regimes and Hizbullah will take over the presidency, or elections will not take place and two governments - one anti-Syrian under Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and one pro-Syrian will be formed. The pro-Syrian government will be supported by Hizbullah and the Lebanese army. The anti-Syrian government will be supported by Christian, Sunni and Druse militias. A civil war will ensue. Syria, Hizbullah and Iran will win.

In a bid to induce the first scenario, Bush has been lobbying every leader he can think of to appeal to Teheran and Damascus to relent and allow elections to go through. To this end, he even asked their primary arms supplier Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene. Olmert's decision to allow Fatah security forces to receive 25 advanced Russian armored personnel carriers in spite of IDF objections was no doubt a consequence of Bush's appeal to Putin for help.

If the Americans believe the key to countering Iran is to build an anti-Iranian Arab coalition, the crisis in Lebanon shows just how futile their efforts are. Just as the Sunni Arab states oppose Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, so they oppose Iranian control over Lebanon. Yet in spite of this, they have done nothing to prevent Iran and its proxies from taking control of the country. To the contrary, the Saudis have encouraged the Siniora government to support pro-Syrian candidates for the presidency.

So if the administration has decided to embrace the Palestinians as a means of weakening Iran, its decision is wrong on three counts. First, given Iran's support for the Palestinians, empowering them against Israel simply advances Iran's interest. Second, the Annapolis conference has become a hostage of Iranian goodwill which is non-existent. And finally, even if it were formed, an anti-Iranian Arab coalition would be powerless to check Iran's power.

Even though the summit at Annapolis weakens the US's position vis-à-vis Iran, it might still make sense for the Bush and Rice to support Palestinian statehood if doing so enhanced public support for the administration. But the opposite is occurring. Bush and Rice's seeming obsession with Palestinian statehood is being criticized from all sides of the aisle.

Critics on the Left like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and former Clinton negotiator and Palestinian apologist Robert Malley have expressed mystification at the administration's insistent advance of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians when there is no chance that those negotiations will bring peace. So too, over the past few weeks, four Republican presidential candidates - Rudy Guiliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson - have criticized Bush and Rice's Palestinian policies generally and the convening of the conference at Annapolis in particular.

There is also the theory that Bush and Rice's primary concern in pushing for Palestinian statehood is their legacies. Rice's stated intention of seeing a Palestinian state declared before Bush leaves office lends weight to this view. But of course, given that the maximum that Israel is willing to concede to the Palestinians is less than the minimum that the Palestinians are willing to accept, and given that the Olmert government will be brought down if Olmert agrees to any major concessions, it is clear that there is no chance that Rice will succeed.

Finally there is the thought that Rice and Bush understand that there is no chance of achieving peace, but that they think that their legacies will be strengthened just for having tried. After all, Bill Clinton is remembered well for his attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians in spite of the fact that his attempts brought war rather than peace. But Clinton's example is no longer applicable because the conditions under which Clinton pursued peace were far different than those that exist today.

Clinton's peace policies caused a war that began only at the end of his presidency. Until then, they seemed like relatively safe and cost-free moves. On the other hand, Bush's presidency has occurred in its entirety against the backdrop of the Palestinian jihad. Every attempt he has made at peacemaking from the Tenet Plan through the Roadmap and Sharm el Sheikh and onto Annapolis has been blown apart through violence before it could get off the ground.

So then there is no good excuse for the Bush administration's decision to embrace the Palestinians at Israel's expense. It all comes down to Bush and Rice not thinking through the consequences of their moves.

It is a singular tragedy that Israel's elected leaders are too weak to make them understand that by harming Israel, they are harming the United States and making fools of themselves.

The Annapolis Conference: A Tragedy in the Making

DovBear had an excellent post today about the travesty currently taking place in Annapolis, Maryland. I 100% agree with everything he says there. Eight years ago, Bill Clinton tried to give himself the legacy of bringing peace to the Middle East, leading to a war with the Palestinians that STILL has not ended and to the deaths of over one thousand innocent Jews due to suicide murder bombings in public places like restaurants, marketplaces, and schools. And for years now, people not only on the Right, but also Religious Zionists who should have known better than to put their trust and hopes in someone like Bush, who pretended to be Israel's friend and backer, have been saying how wonderful this mistake of a president has been for Israel.

Now, Bush, Israel's "Good Friend," the "BEST FRIEND" Israel's ever had in an American president, shows his true colors. Do you Right Wing lovers out there still think Bush is the greatest thing for Israel? Are you, as DovBear thinks you will, going to deny ever saying how great Bush was for Israel and the Jews? Or are you, as DovBear thinks you will, going to deflect this by reminding us how Hillary Clinton kissed Suha Arafat and by reminding us that Clinton committed adultery (and by the way, according to Halacha, which Clinton need not follow, he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT commit adultery!)? Or are you going to scream, as DovBear thinks you will, "9/11!! 9/11!! 9/11!!" and make it all better and justified that way?

Anyway, the above-mentioned article says it all. As I've been saying all along, the Right Wing and its Nut Jobs cannot be trusted. This is why. Now, we have to pay the price.

Hattip: DovBear

Modern Art Explained...

In other words, it's unexplainable... :)

Now Here's A Surprise! Headline in Today's News...

Palestinians not bound by US peace meet decisions: Hamas. In case they erase the link, here's the short article in full:

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Hamas said on Monday that the Palestinians will not be bound by any decisions taken at this week's US-hosted Middle East peace conference.

"The decisions taken at Annapolis are not binding on the Palestinian people, who have not authorised anyone -- either Arab or Palestinian -- to erase their rights," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP.

The Islamists, blacklisted as a terror group by both the European Union and the United States, have not been invited to the peace conference which opens on Tuesday in Annapolis, near Washington.

Later on Monday Hamas, along with members of the smaller Islamic Jihad group, were to convene a "counter-conference" to the US peace meeting to warn the Palestinian leadership not to make any concessions to the Israelis.

"Our conference will carry the message of the dangers of a normalisation of ties with Israel," he said. "The Palestinian cause should not serve as a vehicle for Arabs and the international community to normalise their relations with the Israeli enemy."

Hamas has been increasingly isolated by Israel and the West after it seized control of the Gaza Strip in mid-June, over-running forces loyal to moderate president Mahmud Abbas.

It suffered a further blow last week when Arab foreign ministers voted to attend the US meeting despite its calls for a boycott.
Ok, so let's see here. We all know Hamas is quite popular, despite the West isolating the terrorist group. We all know there's something in the works (been all over the news in the last weeks) between them and Abbas, the "President" of the "Palestinian Authority." Either they'll come to an accord or overthrow him. Both are possible. In fact, both are likely, as had happened in Gaza (remember, they first came to an accord at Mecca before Hamas overthrew Fatah in Gaza!). We all know Hamas will NEVER accept any kind of peace or "normalized" relations with Israel, no matter what Israel concedes to them because as far as Hamas (and Fatah, for that matter) is concerned, ALL of Israel is "rightfully" Palestine.

Conclusion: This conference can lead either no where or to complete disaster...

Of course, part of the problem is that the terrorist, be they Fatah OR Hamas OR Islamic Jihad, or any of their nutso groups, have completely hijacked the "Palestinian Cause" for their own purposes without regard for what the people whose cause they supposedly represent actually want...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Syria 'Likely' to Attend Summit

Click for article at Arutz 7. Here's the kicker: They decided to attend because the US assured the Syrians the status of the Golan Heights would be on agenda. Since when does the US have the right to decide Israel's fate and the fate of its RIGHTFULLY conquered territories?! Who the hell does Bush think he is? Two answers come to mind. 1. Bush thinks he's the Emperor of the World whom no one can or should oppose and everything he says goes. What a Schmuck! 2. It just goes to prove that while the state of Israel IS Reishis Tzmichas Geulaseinu - the beginning of our Geula from a nealy two thousand year Golus - we are still in Golus and NOT self-governing as some would like to think. This summit is just a bitter reminder of this fact.

Then there's Olmert. WHAT THE F**K IS HE THINKING?!?!

Well, let's just hope this joke of a summit spirals into complete chaos and just doesn't go anywhere...

And this just in: Syria to attend U.S. Middle East conference.