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July 31, 2006

Doing tricks

There's an outfit called One Hanes Place that sells, mostly, women's underwear. The curious thing is that if you check their catalog, you'll find two or three pages of men's underwear, too.

Well, perhaps not too curious. It certainly gives men an excuse to look at the catalog.

On a raunch scale of one to ten, where Frederick's of Hollywood (does that date me?) is a 9, Victoria's Secret an 8-1/2, and your basic black-and-white outdoor camping equipment catalog is a one, I would say One Hanes Place is about a 5.

But the recent catalog, which I looked at solely for the men's underwear, has a very funny page that I stumbled across while looking for the men's section.

Please note the copy at the top of this page -- which I've scanned and cropped because this is a family web site (assuming yours is a dysfunctional family). I still have no idea what the copy means.

Also, most of the models, while fairly heavily made up, don't have that men's magazine look on their faces. Some of them, in fact, look reasonably innocent.

The next model, though, seems quite ridiculous, as if she's surprised and embarrassed at being discovered in her current state of dress. I won't post the photo. You'll be stuck with this link to the photo, which is relatively SFW, unless you share an office with an angry feminist.

By the way, you'll notice that, to avoid the creeps who arrive here hoping to find photos of whatever, I've written this without using words like nude, naked, or bra.

UPDATE: If you count 8 drafts I've left on the cutting room floor, this is the 1000th post at Pillage Idiot. I don't have any idea of the significance of that fact.

UPDATE (8/1): Well, there we go. My first visitor based on a Blogger search for "nude photo." A Norwegian yet.

UPDATE (8/2): Another update in a separate post.

UPDATE (1/7/07): Yet another update.

Click here to read more . . .

"We got him!"

Yesterday, the New York Times had an article pondering whether Iran might actually be hurt by the action started by Hizbollah. ("As the war in Lebanon grinds on, Iranian officials cannot seem to decide whether Iran will emerge stronger — or unexpectedly weakened. They are increasingly confident of an ideological triumph. But they also believe the war itself has already harmed Hezbollah’s strength as a military deterrent for Iran on the Israeli border.")

So I wrote a photo comic involving Nasrallah and Ahmedinejad, which seemed moderately amusing at the time. Unfortunately, the way things seem to be going now, it just doesn't seem very funny, and I'm placing it directly in the circular file. [UPDATE 8/1: Retrieved from circular file.]

But this is just wonderful.

(Via Allah at Hot Air)

Click here to read more . . .

July 28, 2006

Informal personal boycotts

Have you ever had an internet order rejected because of the country in which you lived? Have you ever been turned down for a position because you had served in the military of the country where you lived? Has a job interviewer ever asked you whether you're a fan of the Bush Administration?

Judith at Kesher Talk has the goods.

Click here to read more . . .

Office pests

We've already discussed smelly co-workers. Now, there's a whole list of obnoxious co-workers, each with a name. (via Fark, of course)

Warning: The link automatically starts a video, with sound, so if you don't want to become the next new entry, don't click the link when you're at work.

Click here to read more . . .

July 27, 2006

This should be, but is not, a joke

Story here.

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Marijuana gumballs

As Maryland Conservatarian has discussed, the Maryland State Teachers Association has endorsed Mayor Martin O'Malley for Governor.

I trust the most important issue for the teachers was ridding the schools of marijuana gumballs.

According to this AP article published in the Baltimore Sun, students at Howard High School in Ellicott City were charged with distributing drugs on school property or possession of marijuana after an alert teacher noticed a student giving a bad containing so-called "Greenades" gumballs -- "marijuana packaged in yellow, smiley-faced gumballs" -- to another student.

In case you're wondering how this is supposed to work, the AP article helpfully provides the instructions:

Instructions on the foil told users to chew for 30 minutes to 1 hour before they wanted to be high and to "chew for as long as possible, then swallow."
A former federal drug agent is quoted as saying: "When it comes to drug dealing, you're only limited by your imagination." When it comes to teacher's union endorsements, however, you're only limited by party affiliation.

Click here to read more . . .

Condi says the sh'ma as P.M. Fouad Siniora announces the page number

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BDS goes to shul

Anyone who's visited Pillage Idiot more than a couple of times has probably run into my posts articulating at excessive length what I think is messed up with the Jewish vote. (If not, you can read them here, here, here, and here.)

With that background, you can understand why I've been more than a little miffed by an incident that took place at shul last Shabbat. There's a place in the service where a prayer is said for the State of Israel, a second one for oppressed Jews, and a third for our country. (The prayer for our country is problematic in some ways, because it reads as if it were written with a medieval king in mind, but we know what it means. It's a prayer for our nation's leaders.)

A friend of mine, with whom I don't agree politically, led these prayers. The prayer for Israel and the prayer for oppressed Jews were unremarkable. Then, suddenly, when he reached the prayer for our country, he started mumbling, and the recitation with the congregation (a small secondary minyan at our shul) fell apart. He was supposed to be leading it, after all. My wife, sitting with her friends, noticed that they were giggling.

Am I sure this was deliberate? No. Did I ask him about it afterwards? No. But I'm fairly confident in assuming that it was deliberate, and that he didn't want to pronounce the prayer, because he can't stand Bush. (We also say a prayer for the American and Israeli armed forces, and I once overheard another left-wing friend complain about the prayer for the American forces, because he thought the policies they were carrying out were morally wrong.)

My wife was really irritated by this and complained that afternoon that she can't understand why our liberal friends refuse to recognize how supportive Bush is of Israel. Can't they even acknowledge it? I told her I thought that they probably thought he has some ulterior motive for his support and doesn't deserve credit, or else they simply despised him too much to give him credit. Whatever the rationalization, they were comfortable with explaining it away.

I noticed in this week's Weekly Standard that David Gelernter has written a piece called "When Will They Ever Learn... Why do so many American Jews hate the president who stands by Israel?" I'm generally a big fan of Gelernter's, but I didn't find this piece terribly enlightening. It did, however, report one amusing comment from an anti-Bush Jew: "I think Bush is doing great on Israel. Naturally, I still hate his guts."

I'd feel a lot better if my liberal friends were willing to say just that.

UPDATE: I heard Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) speak at shul tonight. To his credit he said the first part, supporting what Bush has done, and he tactfully avoided the second part.

Click here to read more . . .

July 26, 2006

More required reading

Daniel Gordis explains the reaction of Israelis to the fighting with Hizbollah. (Permalink here.) A long excerpt follows. Please read the entire piece.

This is a different kind of war, and an old kind of war. In the last war, when they blew up buses and restaurants and sidewalks and cafes, Israelis were enraged, apoplectic with anger. This time, it’s different. Rage has given way to sadness. Disbelief has given way to recognition. Because we’ve been here before. Because we’d once believed we wouldn’t be back here again. And because we know why this war is happening.

A rocket hit Haifa in the first days of the war, killing no one, but injuring a number of people. It also tore the face off an apartment building, leaving the apartments inside eerily exposed, naked, for all to gaze into. That small block of Haifa, with its shattered shell of a building, rubble all along the street, citizens dazed as they wandered about looking at it all, appeared to be exactly what it was – a war zone.

And yet, the people in the street stayed near their homes, going nowhere. The newscaster asked them why they didn’t go somewhere else, where it might be safer. One man answered with statistics. “Why leave now? We’ve already been hit. The chances of us being hit again are one in a million.” To which another man responded almost with outrage. “What do numbers have to do with it?” he asked. And then, he turned to the camera, almost screaming, pointed to the broken building, and said, “This is our home. Mi-po ani lo zaz. From here, I am not budging. And he repeated his refrain over and over again. “This is my home. And from here, I am not budging.” Mi-po ani lo zaz.

Israelis understand what this is. This is a war over our homes. Over our homes in the north, for now, but eventually, as the rockets get better and larger, all of our homes. This is not about the territories. This is not about the “occupation.” This is not about creating a Palestinian State. This is about whether there will be a state called Israel. Sixty years after Arab nations greeted the UN resolution on November 29 1947 with a declaration of war, nothing much has changed. They attacked this time for the same reason that they did sixty years ago.

At first, it was the Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians. We put a stop to that in 1949, 1956, 1967 and 1973.

Then it was the Palestinians, who bamboozled the world (and many of us Israelis) into believing that they just wanted a State, and that their terror was simply a way of forcing us to make one possible. We fought the terror in 1982 (Lebanon), 1987 (Intifada) and even after Camp David and Oslo, once again in 2000-2005 (the Terror War). And then, we actually tried to make the State happen. We got out of Lebanon to put an end to that conflict. And even more momentous, we got out of Gaza, hoping that they’d start to build something.

And now, it’s Hezbollah. Or more accurately, Syria. Or to be more precise, Iran. What’s Iran’s beef with Israel? Territory it lost? It didn’t lose any. And does anyone really believe that Iran cares one whit about the Palestinians and their state? That’s not the reason. We know it, and so do they.

Now, the bitter reality of which Israel’s right wing had warned about all along is beginning to settle in. It is not lost on virtually any Israelis that the two primary fronts on which this war is being conducted are precisely the two fronts from which we withdrew to internationally recognized borders. We withdrew from Gaza, despite all the internal objections, hoping to move Palestinian statehood – and peace – one step closer. But all we got in return was the election of Hamas, and a barrage of more than 800 Qassams that they refused to end. And then they stole Gilad Shalit. Not from Gaza. Not from some contested no man’s land. From inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel. As if to make sure that we got the point – “There is no place that you’re safe. There is no place to which we won’t take this war. You can’t stay here.”

Because as much as we have wanted to believe otherwise, they have no interest in building their homeland. They only care about destroying ours.

Six years ago we pulled out of Lebanon. Same story. In defiance of the UN’s resolution 1559, Hizbollah armed itself to the teeth, and as we watched and did nothing, accumulated more than 10,000 rockets. And dug itself into the mountains. And established itself in Beirut, effectively using the entire Lebanese population as human shields. And, assuming that there was little that we could or would do, it attacked on June 12, killing eight soldiers, and stealing Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Not from Southern Lebanon. Not from Har Dov, a tiny hilltop that’s still contested. But from inside Israel. Inside a line that no one contests.

Unless, of course, they contest the idea of the whole enterprise. Which they do. And which is precisely the point.
Hat tips: Mrs. A and Bo

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The future of Japan?

In recent days, the Japanese have made noises about launching a first strike on North Korea.

You'll excuse me if I'm just a little skeptical about this. Any nation debating whether to engage in a first strike, it seems to me, must first ensure that its children are potty-trained.

I make this statement based on a strange and actually quite annoying article (via Fark) from the Mainichi Daily News, which ordinarily would rate a Code Orange (puerile) in the Pillage Idiot Advisory System (see sidebar) but will in fact receive a full Code Red (infantile) based on the number of moronic puns it uses about bodily functions.

Beyond these moronic puns, the article provides us with some very troubling information about the future of Japan:

It may seem like a piddling problem, but increasingly large numbers of Japanese children, especially little boys, don't know how to pee properly, according to Sunday Mainichi (7/30).
If you can believe this article, the problem has reached epidemic proportions in Japan.
Many young school children refuse to use bathrooms by themselves. Others don't know they're supposed to flush toilets after they use them because they're so used to having a parent, nurse or teacher do it for them.

"There are some girls who dislike using toilets because of fears about whoever may have sat on the seat before they did, which is kind of understandable. Some of the other reasons kids give for refusing to the toilet aren't, though, like those who hate the seat being cold," the teacher says.

"Our school only has Western-style toilets but, unlike a lot of homes, the seats aren't heated and because of that kids won't use them because they don't like the feel of cold hard steel on their butts."

Fastidiousness about cleanliness, to the point of obsession, is driving kids almost potty and ensuring they don't use the, well, potty. Others with a keen sense of smell become standouts at the slightest whiff of an unpleasant odor. Still more feel the need to use an entire toilet roll to wipe their butts after each sitting in the hope they'll remove any last vestige of poop remaining.

Kindergartens, too, are bogged down by problems caused by bogs, and these troubles are compounded in one way by toilet doors deliberately made with large gaps at the top and bottom in case something untoward happens and teachers can peer in to check on their charges.

"Some kids start crying, saying their embarrassed that somebody might see them peeing, while others are scared because of the gaps in the doors. They make all kinds of excuses not to use the toilets," one kindergarten teacher tells Sunday Mainichi.
And you women will be happy to know that this is all the fault of the mothers.
Another mother points out a different problem caused by living in a land where parenthood is still largely left in the hands of women.

"It's really hard to show a little boy how to pee," the 34-year-old mother of a 4-year-old kindergartner tells Sunday Mainichi. "It's not like moms know how to piss standing up. We don't know the right way for boys to get rid of their wastes. Guys don't wipe themselves after having a pee, right? It seems kinda dirty to me. I really, really hate it when I see undies with skidmarks in them."
If you're asking yourself, right about now, where the Mainichi Daily News came up with people who agreed to be interviewed for this article, guess what: They probably made the whole thing up. But let's suspend our disbelief for a few moments, because the article has an interesting conclusion:
Some experts say the little ones' laxity in the loo may be their way of sending a message to their parents that they need a little more tender, loving care.

"Some children deliberately urinate all over the place or defecate in their parents' shoes," a consultant on childcare for new moms tells Sunday Mainichi. "By doing this, they're trying to attract their parents' attention. I think it's a sign from the kids."

Deliberately defecating in their parents' shoes? I didn't realize we were talking about teenagers here. And if they want to give their parents a sign, how about the old one-if-by-land-and-two-if-by-sea business?

The thing that puzzles me about this whole story is the fear angle. It's not that Japanese kids should't be afraid of the toilet. It's that they clearly don't have a clue about why they should be afraid. The "feel of cold hard steel on their butts" is nothing to be afraid of. Nor is there any need to be afraid of "whoever may have sat on the seat before they did." We're not into disposable toilets, and that means there's always someone before you.

I've plumbed (sorry! the article is contagious) the depths of the Pillage Idiot archives and I've scanned the internet to give Japanese kids an idea of what they actually should be afraid of with respect to toilets:

1. Large, carnivorous lizards.

2. Glue on the seat.

3. An African rock python. A 6-foot snake, my friends.

4. A squirrel. (From an old Dave Barry column.)

And here's another thing that's pretty scary: Kim Jong Il toilet paper. Just what the Japanese need in these difficult times.

You want to know my opinion? The Japanese should worry less about phony saber-rattling involving first strikes against a nutjob in North Korea than about being attacked by something in the toilet.

Pleasant dreams, kiddies!

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July 25, 2006

Take the quiz

Allah does in the blink of an eye what would take mortal bloggers hours or more. Take his quiz on current news stories at Hot Air.

My personal favorite is the question about Cindy's Sheehan's funk about Israel. Allah has a full post about that as well.

Click here to read more . . .

Visitor of the day - 7/25

Someone from Tehran is looking for photos of hymenoplasties.

If you have one, please send it to this gentleman, preferably using this delivery service.

Click here to read more . . .

July 24, 2006

"I'm going to jail for sure"

All you have to know about this story (via Fark) comes from the opening paragraph:

A MAN who crashed his car into a sleeping couple's bedroom allegedly cracked open a beer after freeing himself from his crumpled sedan and declared: "I'm going to jail for sure."
I'll save you a little time. The article doesn't answer the obvious question: Whose beer? Did he open the couple's refrigerator, or did he just grab another beer from his own sixpack? Because it would be a great story if he emerged from his car and started raiding the couple's kitchen.

The real reason I'm not giving this story more attention is that it's actually not as good as a story my wife's friend told us. The friend and her husband were asleep upstairs one night, and a driver crashed his car into their living room. They called the police, who arrived while they were downstairs in their pajamas, inspecting the damage. The police officer seemed a little confused and demanded her husband's driver's license. Her husband replied (or wished he'd replied), "I'm sorry, officer. I was tired and lost control of the house."

Click here to read more . . .

Jew eat?

"You know, I was having lunch with some guys from NBC, so I said, 'Did you eat yet or what?' And Tom Christie said, 'No, JEW?' Not 'Did you?'...JEW eat? JEW? You get it? JEW eat?"

-- from Annie Hall

You don't have to be Woody Allen to have an exaggerated paranoia. Any of you Jewish readers will confirm for me that you can be listening to someone's conversation but not paying much attention until you hear a word that sounds like "Jew," and your ears perk up. But it turns out it's not "Jew" at all but only something that sounds vaguely similar. Right? Tell the truth. You know what I'm talking about, right?

So tell me. Why does Ted Lerner, the new owner of the Washington Nationals, himself an MOT, pull something like this on us? Today, after the sale of the team to his group became final, he announced: "It has long been my dream to bring the national pastime back to my hometown, the nation's capital. Now that it's been realized, I plan on doing everything I can to make sure that this franchise becomes an international jewel for MLB, D.C. and the nation."

Jew eat, Ted?

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At the piano in Haifa

An Israeli correspondent sent me this photo, which had the caption "Shaul Feldman checking if his piano works after a rocket hit his home in Haifa on Sunday. (AP)" I really liked the photo.

The link in the email went to a news story at Haaretz, which didn't contain the photo, so I don't know where it appeared. If anyone has seen it and can give me a link, please send me an email or post a comment.

Click here to read more . . .

How odd: Supporters of Hizbollah turn violent

At Solomonia, guest-blogger Seva Brodsky posts about his encounter with pro-Hizbollah protesters in Boston, who threaten him and try to rough him up. It makes for fascinating reading, and I didn't even watch the video clips.

And I'm going to say this again, but it bears repetition: Hizbollah has been designated by the Secretary of State as a "foreign terrorist organization."

Click here to read more . . .

Can you say "frivolous"?

It's too bad that Rule 11 (concerning signing of pleadings and sanctions on attorneys) doesn't get enforced against people who file political lawsuits that are merely efforts to gain publicity through litigation. The Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee, represented by someone purporting to be a real lawyer, is suing the U.S. government, claiming that Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice failed to meet their constitutional obligations to protect U.S. citizens in Lebanon during war.

"It's sad that we're Americans and got treated like this," said Maha Nasser, 28, of Dearborn Heights who is part of the suit and was vacationing in Lebanon when the attacks started.

Dearborn attorney Nabih Ayad and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee will file the suit today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Ayad and committee members said.

The lawsuit alleges that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to meet their constitutional obligations to protect U.S. citizens during war, Ayad said. The suit will also ask the court to issue an order compelling the U.S. government to request a cease-fire and stop all military support to Israel until all U.S. citizens are out of Lebanon.
I hope you read that last sentence, because it's obvious beyond question that a court has no power to order the President to request a cease-fire and stop military support for another country. This case will be dismissed in an instant, but the lawyer will walk away with the client's desired publicity and without any sanction.

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July 21, 2006

Today's required reading

At the rally in New York this week, Hillary Clinton winced when Elie Weisel said "Thank God George Bush is President." But I think that most of us realize that if Al Gore was President - let alone John Kerry - there would be enormous pressure on Israel to let up in Lebanon.

An interesting analysis from the front page of today's Washington Post, written by Michael Abramowitz: "In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace":
President Bush's unwillingness to pressure Israel to halt its military campaign in Lebanon is rooted in a view of the Middle East conflict that is sharply different from that of his predecessors.

* * * * *

"He thinks he is playing in a longer-term game than the tacticians," said the former official, who spoke anonymously so he could discuss his views candidly. "The tacticians would say: 'Get an immediate cease-fire. Deal first with the humanitarian factors.' The president would say: 'You have an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah. Let's take it, even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed.' "

Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress, said Bush's statements reflect an unambiguous view of the situation. "He doesn't seem to allow his vision to be clouded in any way," said Rosen, a Democrat who has come to admire Bush's Middle East policy. "It follows suit. Israel is in the right. Hezbollah is in the wrong. Terrorists have to be eliminated, and he sees Israel fighting the war he would fight against terrorism."
The analysis quotes someone from the New Israel Fund, a left-wing outfit, and amusingly describes it as a group that "pushes for civil rights and justice in Israel." That's the way conservative groups are used to being described, right, without any political identification? Riiiiiiight!

The analysis concludes this way:
Those who know Bush say his view of the conflict was shaped by several formative experiences -- in particular the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which made fighting terrorism the central mission of his presidency. Another formative experience was a helicopter ride over the West Bank with Ariel Sharon in 1998, when Bush was Texas governor -- a ride he later said showed him Israel's vulnerability. The cause of Israel has been championed by many of the evangelical Christians who make up a significant chunk of the president's political base.

Bush and his team were also deeply skeptical of the Middle East policy of the previous administration, and of what they see as an excessive devotion to a peace process in which one of the protagonists, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was not seriously invested. Explaining the reluctance to push quickly for a cease-fire, one senior administration official who was not authorized to speak on the record indicated a belief that premature diplomacy might leave Hezbollah in a position of strength.

"We don't want the kind of truce that will lead to another conflict," said this official, who added that, when the time comes, "you will see plenty of diplomacy."

Fred S. Zeidman, a Texas venture capitalist who is active in Jewish affairs and has been close to the president for years, said the current crisis shows the depth of the president's support for Israel. "He will not bow to international pressure to pressure Israel," Zeidman said. "I have never seen a man more committed to Israel."
As Elie Wiesel said....

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And Glavine is a right-hander?

Let's hope Rick Peterson, the Mets' pitching coach, knows more about his pitching staff than about classical music.

"Sixty (pitches) was a nice base," Peterson said, referring to Wednesday's session in 91-degree heat. "Exactly what we had hoped for. He was unusually sharp for someone who hasn't been on the mound. But he's Pedro. That's why Mozart was so good and couldn't even hear."
(link and quotation via Metsblog)

One commenter there asks: "Is it possible there's a little bit of Yogi Berra living inside of Rick Peterson?"

Click here to read more . . .

July 20, 2006

The Helen Thomas follies

By now, you've surely heard the exchange on Tuesday between Tony Snow and Helen Thomas, in which she hectors him with accusations that Israel is engaging in "collective punishment" and so on, and Snow says to her, "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view."

In case you haven't, here's the video (link via Hot Air). Here's the transcript.

And here's the spoof, by John from WuzzaDem: "Helen Thomas Takes On The Zionists At The Local Starbucks." Which I heartily recommend.

Click here to read more . . .

July 19, 2006

Elections ev'ly night

If you've ever thought about getting a penile implant in Turkey, you might want to check your neighbor's garage door opener first.

In an article in the Register with the juvenile sub-head "Hard luck for implant chap," we are told that a "chap" has complained that he has an erection whenever his neighbor uses the garage door remote. This is an alleged transcript of an alleged phone call to a radio show. File it under "probably bogus but nevertheless strangely amusing."

CALLER: I had a problem with impotence and I had an operation in Turkey and got an implant which would help.
HOST: I know the sort of thing.
CALLER: But what is happening now is every time my neighbour comes back in their 4 x 4, I get an erection.
HOST: Good Lord.
CALLER: This is embarrassing. It's a big problem.
HOST: Have you been to see your doctor about it?
CALLER: The problem is I had this done in Turkey, using equipment that is not known in this country. I don't like it because every time his car pulls in I can't leave the house.
HOST: (Laughing) I'm afraid that it sounds funny as well. I know it's not funny for you.
CALLER: It's not funny for me, Roger, when I can't leave the house because I'm walking around with a big erection.
HOST: You're going to have to go and see a doctor.
(via Fark) What I'd like to know is whether you can replicate this with different radio frequencies -- say, the frequencies used by your TV remote, your I-Pod remote, or for that matter, the remote for your Sleep NumberTM bed. Because, well, you know, it would be so, uh, empowering for the woman in your life if she could call upon you by pressing the button on a remote.

Plus a certain notorious judge might not have been in so much trouble if he had used a remote control device.

On a more serious note, I've been listening to the CD version of Michael Wex's book Born to Kvetch, an amusing socio-religio-linguistic (that's my invention) look at the Yiddish language. When discussing Yiddish terminology for the male member (the obvious ones being schmuck and putz), Wex notes an interesting additional term -- choyl ha-moyed. This is a yiddishized version of the Hebrew term for the days in the middle of the eight-day festivals of Passover and Sukkot on which work is not prohibited. Wex says that the term comes from a Slavic word that sounds like it -- I didn't catch the exact word (remember I'm listening, not reading) -- that means, roughly, "exposed testicles." He adds that the term fit nicely in Yiddish because of a play on words. Regel not only refers to one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot) but also means leg. So choyl ha-moyed means the days between a regel (festival day on which work is prohibited) and a regel but also means what's between a regel (leg) and a regel (leg).

[Note (7/20): Minor edits in final paragraph.]

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July 17, 2006

Naked man literally flips the bird

Sometimes you have to come to terms with what you accomplish in life. Some people devote their lives to changing the world for the better. Some people start businesses to create products that alter the way in which people live. And then, some people post idiotic stories about naked people.

Guess which category I fall into.

I thought about this when I got an email from Maryland Conservatarian gently taking me to task for having missed what might be the most wonderful story about a naked man I've seen in a long time.

Start with the headline: "Police arrest naked man after he flails car with a stolen pigeon." It's not quite on a par with "Headless Body Found in Topless Bar," but it brings together all the elements necessary to make this story a winner: a naked man, a stolen bird, flailing, and the police.

SUFFOLK [Virginia] — A naked man clutching a pigeon was arrested over the weekend after beating the bird against a car.

Two Whaleyville residents had just pulled into their driveway Friday night when Juan Lopez, 30, of Kellam Road in Virginia Beach came up and repeatedly pounded the pigeon on the car, police said. The people got out of the car and went to a neighbor’s house where they called the police. After a short chase, police caught Lopez in nearby woods.
So get this: You're driving home. You reach your driveway. And some naked guy comes out with one of your pigeons and starts smacking it -- flailing it, to be precise -- against your windshield. You call the police. They catch the guy in the woods. Because he had "destroyed two bird cages, freeing 15 small chickens and four pigeons" and had killed four birds, they charge him with "burglary, destruction of property and larceny of poultry."

And then, this is what the police tell the press:
“I’m not sure whether he’s mentally disturbed or under the influence of narcotics, but he was obviously having some sort of issue that night,” said Lt. Debbie George, Suffolk Police Department spokeswoman.
"Some sort of issue that night."

But as usual in these stories about naked people, the news accounts, like the people involved, leave a lot of things hanging. For instance: Was he really a deranged wacko who was drug-crazed, or was he simply a deranged wacko who was an animal-rights protester? The nakedness may be a giveaway. Was there any significance to the pigeon? A stool pigeon, perhaps? And why is there a separate crime for larceny of poultry?

In the end, everything has an innocent explanation. But I'm trying very hard not to think about a naked man with "some sort of issue."

Click here to read more . . .

Handy-dandy Middle East news tracker

From the Wall Street Journal, a useful news tracker. (via Real Clear Politics blog)

Click here to read more . . .

July 16, 2006


As part of my short-lived write-in candidacy for Congress that my friends ran as a joke in the early 90s, which I mentioned once before, I outlined a platform that included abolishing the State Department, renaming the Defense Department the "Department of War," and conducting diplomacy through an Assistant Secretary of War for Diplomacy.

Every time we have a major world crisis involving the West against evil people, the diplomats never fail to screw things up. The latest pronouncement that has me really steamed is the dreck coming out of the G8 conference in Russia.

I once heard Alan Keyes, in the days before he lost his sanity, speak of his tenure at Foggy Bottom and mock the diplomats for talking about the "peace process," which he managed to intone in a pompous Eastern WASP Establishment twang. He explained that diplomats think the solution to every problem is getting the parties to talk to each other, without having any inkling -- or any concern -- about what results are desirable.

So now we have a terrorist group, Hizbollah, raining rockets down on northern Israel, and Israel responding by attacking Hizbollah positions in Lebanon, and the diplomats want everyone to be nice. Let's be clear on this. Hizbollah was designated by the Secretary of State as a "foreign terrorist organization." It's in southern Lebanon through force, and not at the invitation of the local Shiites, who don't get along well with Iranian Shiites. These guys don't belong in southern Lebanon at all; they're doing the bidding of their sponsors in Iran and Syria. And the fighting can't possibly be characterized as related to territorial disputes.

This fighting has caused the great nations of the West to negotiate furiously to come up with a joint statement about what's going on in Israel and Lebanon, and this dreck is what they come up with.

President Bush and seven other world leaders put aside differences and joined together Sunday to call for "an immediate end to the current violence" in the Middle East, demanding that Islamic radicals stop firing rockets at Jewish cities and release captured Israeli soldiers while insisting that Israel halt military operations and free arrested Palestinian officials.
There you have it: A bunch of thugs jump out of a dark alley at night and start beating a guy who's walking past, and the diplomats not only request that the thugs stop beating the guy but also demand that the guy not defend himself too much. The goal for diplomats, you see, is not to take sides. They are neutral problem-solvers.

I guess it's a small consolation that the G8 Dreck would have been worse if it hadn't been for Bush's insistence that the crisis was all Hizbollah's fault. (Condi Rice, by the way, has not distinguished herself in the past few days. All she seems able to get past her lips is a request that all parties show restraint. At least, today, she's finally recognized that Israel's going to have to fight a little longer.)

But if it's all Hizbollah's fault, why bother making a statement that makes demands on a country that's fighting that terrorist group? Wouldn't it be better to say something simple like this: "When a country is attacked by terrorists, it has the right under international law to defend itself and take action to destroy the terrorists who are attacking it"? And if you can't get some schmucks like Chirac and Putin to agree to this, then just tell them to "gey kocken." Why do we need a statement from them at all?

This G8 Dreck has given a tremendous propaganda victory to Hizbollah, which boasts that the G8 nations have demanded that Israel stop its attack. I heard that boast on the news this afternoon. Although the language of the G8 Dreck, from what I can tell, doesn't say this precisely, you have to twist yourself in a pretzel to show that Hizbollah's interpretation is wrong. (Reuters: "'We call upon Israel to exercise utmost restraint,' the statement added." WaPo: "'The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace,' it says. * * * At the same time, it also insists that Israel pull back from its aggressive retaliation and includes demands that U.S. officials have not made, particularly the release of Palestinian ministers and legislators who have been arrested in recent weeks in response to the Hamas attacks in Gaza.") And if you have to struggle to explain that the terrorists' interpretation of what you said is wrong, you probably shouldn't have said it in the first place.

Making matters worse, the Democrats are trying to score cheap political points by telling the Bush Administration it isn't doing enough. Madeleine Albright, who screwed up American foreign policy in the Clinton Administration, in the process making Warren Christopher look like a professional, was so beyond the pale in her comments that even the New York Times took note:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright — speaking with unusual candor considering the traditional injunction in American politics against speaking ill of United States foreign policy while the president is abroad — said of the Bush administration, “I’m stunned, I’m frankly stunned that they have not been involved” more in the region.
Chris Dodd added his deep thoughts:

Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, agreed that Ms. Rice should head to the region immediately. “We’re late into this game,” he told Fox News. “This could spin out of control to such a degree that we could have a major, major war in the Middle East.”
But the prize for inanity goes to Senator Feinstein.

A Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, supported the Bush administration’s response but suggested an additional line of action: for Mr. Bush to send two former presidents, his father and Bill Clinton, to the region. “I think it would be a masterful diplomatic stroke,” Ms. Feinstein told CNN.
That's it! Bill Clinton! He did such a great job with national security! Why didn't I think of that myself?

What the diplomats can't comprehend is that Hizbollah can lose decisively and still come out the victor. It is a terrorist organization and it needs to be pulled out root and branch. No sovereign nation can be expected to sit idly by while it is attacked by terrorists, and if the solution of the great powers of the West is to scold the sovereign nation along with the terrorists, I hate to say it, but the terrorists will have won.

UPDATE: The actual text of the statement is worse than the news articles indicated., but I don't have the patience to deal with it in more detail.

Here goes: The document treats Israel's fight with Hizbollah as simply a part of the dispute with the Palestinians, which makes no sense whatsoever. Everything that has happened is shoehorned into this framework: "The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace." The statement continues: "The immediate crisis results from efforts by extremist forces to destabilize the region and to frustrate the aspirations of the Palestinian, Israel and Lebanese people for democracy and peace." But it then blames Hamas for rocket attacks on Israel, as if Hamas were not a Palestinian organization.

One of the four demands (if you can use that term) that the statement makes is for "[t]he release of the arrested Palestinian ministers and parliamentarians." Huh? And in case you missed what's behind the statement, all you need to do is keep reading: "Our goal is an immediate end to the current violence, a resumption of security cooperation and of a political engagement both among Palestinians and with Israel."

I've left out all the other gratuitous "even-handed" demands on Israel, but you get the idea.

UPDATE: Howard Dean snatches the inanity prize from Senator Feinstein. (via Drudge)
In an apparent reference to Israeli military action deep inside Lebanon, Dean said:

“If you think what's going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn't, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn't get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

UPDATE (7/17): Ace mocks the Democrats' call for diplomacy:
Diplomacy is a powerful tool. But it has one key weakness.

The word "No."

As in--

"Stop making nuclear weapons." -- "No."

"Stop firing long-range missiles." -- "No."

"Stop funding terrorists." -- "No."

"Stop killing and kidnapping Israelis." -- "No."

It is baffling to me that Democrats are unaware that, for all the incredible power of diplomacy, all diplomatic efforts can be entirely rebuffed with a single syllable word.

When Democrats are asked what to do about countries which keep saying "No" in response to our diplomacy, they invariably offer one strategy: More diplomacy!

Unaware, I guess, that every country, no matter how poor, has an endless supply of the natural resource known as the word "No."

UPDATE (7/17): Rick Richman has more on "restraint," and (via Soccer Dad) Meryl Yourish says: "Proportionate: Dead Jews. Disproportionate: Any act of self-defense by Jews."

UPDATE (7/17): The NY Sun falls for it, arguing that the statement is a diplomatic victory for Bush. (via Ace)

Click here to read more . . .

July 13, 2006

Tomorrow's news tonight

Police in Suffolk, England, are warning women who are "going on boozy nights out" to "'wear nice pants' in case they fall down drunk in the street." You'd think they'd want to wear old, ratty pants in case the pants were torn or soiled when they fell in the gutter. But that's not the point.

The point is:

"If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up," the magazine says. "You could show off more than you intended -- for all our sakes, please make sure you're wearing nice pants and that you've recently had a wax."
If that's the concern, however, you'd be better off remembering what your mother taught you: always wear clean underwear.

And meanwhile, over in Kazakhstan, a drunken chicken fell down after a boozy night and laid an egg with the word "Allah" inscribed on its shell, kind of like the swirly-cones. The word "Allah" was written in Arabic, of course. Chickens don't know English.

Within hours, Muslim protesters had burned down the Danish embassy in Kazakhstan.

Click here to read more . . .

Armored ones are the heaviest

"Lawyers Weighing Suits for Terrorism Detainees"

Headline, New York Times, July 13, 2006

Click here to read more . . .

July 12, 2006

Working from home

We're in the third week in which my office has been shut down because of flooding. Some of my colleagues are working in a remote building, but most of us have been working from home. Notice I said working "from" home and not working "at" home. I've been telecommuting once a week for a couple of years, and I've noticed that people react differently when you say you're working at home. They immediately start joking about your home repairs, yard work, and so on. Right now, I actually have some serious work to do; this is probably the busiest I've been at work since about December.

I've already discussed naked telecommuting, and I've denied participating in it. But no one seems to believe me. Which goes with this story: The first few days after the flood were my previously scheduled time off. My wife and I had a few days alone with all of our kids off doing other things. I mentioned this to a friend at shul, and he started the following conversation with me:

Friend: Did you and [Mrs. Attila] run around the house naked?

Me: I don't think I want to discuss that.

Friend: But I thought we were friends.

Me: I tell you what. We'll come over to your house and run around naked there. Is that good enough?

We haven't actually done it yet, but for some reason he suddenly left town without a forwarding address.

Anyway, there are some real advantages of telecommuting, including avoiding almost an hour's commute each way. My colleagues and I still can communicate with each other through office email, which all of us have access to through a VPN, and one enterprising colleague has even set up an office blog, for purely social communications.

Another advantage is that I can spend some of the two hours I'm not commuting riding my bike instead. It's not the greatest thing in the world to ride on a roadside hiker-biker trail at rush hour; the fumes are not very appealing. But it sure is better than nothing.

Speaking of biking, what is it with joggers? I get along well with joggers when I'm on my bike, because they generally follow the rules of the road, unlike the Chinese walking ladies and dog-walkers. But lately, I've noticed that many joggers are plugged in to a source of music, which is fine for them, but they can't hear me if I want to warn them that I'm coming quickly up from behind.

And then, there's the issue of jogger attire. Is this common? I saw a woman jogging the other day wearing a midriff blouse -- not a teeshirt or jogging bra but a blouse -- and a short wraparound skirt. I'm not objecting. It actually looked pretty good, not that I was looking, of course, being married and all.

One disadvantage of working from home is receiving work-related calls at home. No matter what you do, there's always something vaguely unprofessional about it. It's one thing when I pick up the phone knowing (by way of Caller ID) that the call is a work-related call for me. It's another entirely when I'm out for a little while and my mother, who's visiting, takes the phone message. Nothing about my mother; it's the idea of having your mother answer for you.

Another disadvantage: The doorbell rings. A young guy is standing there with a clipboard. Bad sign. Very bad sign. Usually one of Nader's Raiders. This time, however, it was a guy wearing a DNC teeshirt. He managed to get out three words -- "Hi, I'm with..." -- before I smiled and said, "You have the wrong house."

But the main disadvantage of working from home is my talking refrigerator. Every time you pass through, or even near, the kitchen, you just have to open the refrigerator. I've shamelessly borrowed this concept and the phrase "talking refrigerator" from a series of Dilbert cartoons in which Alice telecommutes and ends up drinking a bottle of salad dressing and, if I remember correctly, a jar of pickle juice. Dilbert and the Pointy-Haired Boss show up at her house to take her back to the office by force, using tranquilizer darts. As for me, if I can't resist the call of my talking refrigerator, it won't be long before I'm dying to go back into the office, voluntarily.

Click here to read more . . .

July 11, 2006

Cindy Sheehan's "Troops Home Fast" Liquid Fast Pyramid

Story here (via Confederate Yankee)

Click here to read more . . .

July 10, 2006

Another guy story

If the previous story about a "teen" who accidentally shot himself in the groin isn't enough guy-ness for you in one evening, I've got another, also via Fark.

A man broke into an auto salvage yard, apparently to steal an airbag and some rims, while his two accomplices waited outside.

Investigators speculate Panderodich was sifting through a pile of tires, when a discarded air bag went off. The explosion sent the tires tumbling, injuring Panderodich and knocking him out cold.
That's why, if you're a crook, you have accomplices. To help you out if something doesn't go quite right. Right?

Deputies said his two friends then ran away, leaving Panderodich unconscious in the salvage yard. Hours later, his friends called a third party, and she tipped off police. Panderodich was found just before noon Sunday and taken to the hospital.
The link has a short video clip from the TV news. All I can say is that the accomplices, who were arrested, don't look like the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Click here to read more . . .

Guy story

The following news item (via Fark) is a litmus test to determine whether you're a guy:

July 7, 2006 - Police say a Chicago-area teen is in critical condition after shooting himself in the groin while trying to holster a gun in his pants.

The 19-year-old, who has not been identified, was taken to an Oak Lawn hospital for treatment after the shooting early yesterday.

A police spokesman says it appears that the man pulled the trigger while tucking the gun in his pants.

The incident happened on Chicago's South Side.
Guys will find this story funny, whereas non-guys will purse their lips, feel bad for the "teen," and look askance at guys who are laughing about it. First, the word "groin" is funny, especially when it follows the phrase "shooting himself." The earlier phrase "critical condition" does not detract from the humor. Second, the fact that the "teen" pulled the trigger while tucking the gun in his pants makes this worthy of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, or at least The Three Stooges. Last, when you search Google News to find more about this story, Google makes a nice suggestion.

UPDATE: Maybe my theory of male versus female reactions to the story needs to be fine-tuned.

Click here to read more . . .

July 09, 2006


True story: I just got a recorded phone call from the Rockville City Police telling us that a bear cub has been spotted on the outskirts of Rockville, just over a half mile from where I live. The bear is described as black, about 100 pounds, but not dangerous. The message says that animal officials think the bear was displaced by the recent flooding, and warned us to stay away from it, not to try to feed it, and to let it continue on its way.

CLARIFICATION: The story is true. The photo was something that came to mind when I heard about the black bear.

Click here to read more . . .

July 07, 2006

Baggy pants and crime

Fellow Maryland Blogger Alliance member Kevin Dayhoff takes a look at how baggy pants can help police catch criminals. I don't want to spoil it for you, but the baggy pants are worn by the criminals, not by the police.

Click here to read more . . .

July 06, 2006


In one of my shoot-from-the-hip and see-if-you-can-shock-your-liberal-friends comments a few years back, I argued that international competition had largely rendered the antitrust laws irrelevant, because the degree of competition that now exists when you include companies based abroad makes monopolization very difficult. I went on to argue that there are three industries in which the antitrust laws still need to be vigorously enforced: (1) the legal profession; (2) colleges and universities; and (3) the kosher food business. (For an example of the kind of thinking that puts the kosher food business in my pantheon, read this story from a few years ago.)

The first two industries have been targeted to a small degree, and now, it seems, it's time for the third. The New York Jewish Week reported last week that subpoenas have been issued to a kosher slaughterhouse and kosher meat suppliers in a criminal antitrust investigation.

A law enforcement official who specializes in antitrust cases termed the fact that a federal grand jury had issued the subpoenas “very significant.” The official would speak only on the basis of anonymity because he thought his office could end up involved in the case.

“That means it’s a criminal investigation,” he explained. “Price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation are the kinds of practices that are traditionally pursued criminally. … It sounds like they are investigating collusion within the industry.”
The article describes some of the ways in which the prohibitions of the antitrust laws might be transgressed.
One industry insider, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, said the unique certification process involved in producing kosher meats made the industry particularly vulnerable to potentially illegal market allocation.

“There is an unwritten agreement not to traipse on each other’s hekshers,” he explained, referring to the rabbinic kosher certifiers who give their stamp of approval to the ritual processes by which meat must be slaughtered under religious law.

The power of custom and sectarian loyalty to particular kosher certifiers among various Jewish religious groups means “if you have a certain heksher, you have a lock on a certain part of the market geographically and religiously,” this insider said. Lubavitch and Satmar chasidim, for example, have separate certifiers to which they are each exclusively loyal. The meat companies, understanding this, effectively divide up the market by agreeing not to use each other’s certifiers, the source explained.

In one case, said the industry insider, a company that recruited a different kosher certifier to come in and oversee its production process was excoriated by the rest of the industry. “They said, ‘You slept with my wife,’” this source said the company was told by others using that certifier.
Despite my argument for investigating the kosher food industry, no one wants the government getting involved in matters involving the free exercise of religion. The fact that the kosher food industry has behaved in a manner that would lead an obviously skittish government agency into an investigation is a shande.

Click here to read more . . .

July 05, 2006

What makes Thomas Friedman tick?

In its July 2006 issue, the Washingtonian magazine carries an article by Garrett M. Graff entitled "What Makes Tom Friedman Tick?" (The article isn't online, but the issue's table of contents is here.)

Having puzzled about Mr. Friedman for some time now, we at Pillage Idiot think we've found the answer to the Washingtonian's question.


For more photo comics, check the "Photo Comics" section of the sidebar.

Click here to read more . . .

July 03, 2006

Fourth of July

Americans have been celebrating Independence Day, the Fourth of July, for well over 200 years.

But if you're conservative, it probably bothers you, at least a little, to celebrate a revolution, an event that is about as antithetical to conservative thinking as possible. You'd much rather celebrate a stabilizing event, like the ratification of the Constitution (which actually has its own, barely recognized, holiday on September 17). I've thought about this conundrum roughly once a year, around this time, for the past couple of decades, and I confess I'm still slightly uncomfortable celebrating our revolution, even though I know how it turned out. It was still, after all, a revolution.

Probably the best response to discomfort like mine was given in a 1973 essay by Irving Kristol called "The American Revolution as a Successful Revolution," which distinguished the American Revolution from other, more typical, revolutions. Kristol's basic point has been summarized in a few sentences:

Unlike other modern revolutions (the French and Russian, especially), [Kristol] noted, the American Revolution did not devour its own children; it did not aim to end poverty or establish an earthly utopia, and thus did not end with the inevitable bitter recriminations about "the revolution betrayed." Instead, it established a republic based on the rule of law and limited constitutional government; even more astonishing, the leaders that created this new political order went on to serve in its highest offices and die peacefully in their own beds (Alexander Hamilton excepted). In a certain sense, Kristol claimed, the Revolution was too successful for our own good, because we are now ignorant of just how difficult, even improbable, the Founders' accomplishment was, and of how much the perpetuation of their creation still depends upon our efforts.
* * * * *
If my conservative doubts about July 4 are matter, then I've found the anti-matter in a column in the Ithaca Journal called "Mourn, don't celebrate, this Independence Day."

The columnist is a woman named Cynthia Banas, who argues: "Our freedom is based not only upon the Declaration of Independence, but also our Constitution, the bedrock of our democracy. Our Constitution is being attacked and ignored by the very leaders who are sworn to uphold it."

I know what you're thinking: This just another attack on the Bush Administration. But it's not just another attack; it's a completely insane attack. Banas writes:

According to Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution, international laws and treaties to which we are signatory are the highest laws of our land. Among these are the United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg Principles. Bush has broken all these highest laws. Bush's war is an illegal one since it violates the United Nations Charter. Just as Hitler “preventively” attacked Poland in 1939, so Bush “preventively” attacked Iraq on March 19, 2003.
Equating Bush with Hitler is deranged, but is it completely insane? I'd certainly be willing to entertain the proposition, but surely equating the two twice in the same short column is.
Before the rise of Hitler, there was a breakdown of the German language. By misuse and reinterpretation of language, all the crimes committed in Germany during Hitler's time were made legal; none of the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany were illegal according to the remade German laws. In our country members of the judicial branch have corrupted our language, thereby making illegal actions “legal.” For example, calling people held at Guantánamo “enemy combatants” makes it okay to torture them since “enemy combatants” do not come under the rules of the international accords we have signed. These changes were made by Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez [sic] and attorney Samuel Alito, who now holds a seat on the Supreme Court, and their staff of lawyers in our Justice Department.
(Earth to Cynthia Banas: Samuel Alito hasn't been an attorney in the Justice Department since 1987 and never worked with Attorney General Gonzales.)

So if Hitler is really in charge, how do we as Americans respond? Apparently, by being stupid --without, I might add, incurring the slightest risk of punishment by our own Hitler's government.
So, let us have our Fourth of July parades. But let us carry our flags upside down as we march. It is perfectly patriotic and legal (even without misrepresenting any truths or corrupting any language) to hold our flag upside down. Carrying or flying the flag upside down is a signal of distress, and certainly the fracture and violation of our Constitution are great signs of distress. Carrying our flags upside down signals that some of our greatest freedoms have already been destroyed or are in the process of being destroyed, not by some foreign enemy but by the very people whom we have elected.

As we walk, let us also wear a black armband in memory of the thousands of Americans and Iraqis who have been the victims of this illegal war.

And as we walk, let us reflect. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are sending our youngsters to Iraq to kill and be killed so that we can be free here on our streets. The purpose of our being in Iraq is to control it and its resources. Why else are we constructing the largest U.S. embassy in the world in Iraq, a nation of some 24 million people? And why are we building five huge U.S. military bases in Iraq?

As Lincoln said, “you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
"Now, who is Cynthia Banas?" you may ask, aside from someone who "lives in Vernon, N.Y." I think I have the answer. If you look at the February 15, 2006, issue of Counterpunch, you'll see an article entitled "A 34 Day Fast Against the Iraq War," which begins:
A 34 day, liquids-only fast to end the war against and occupation of Iraq will begin in Washington, D.C. on February 15. Fast participants will consume only water or juice, and will maintain a daily vigil at the U.S. Capitol, lobby members of Congress and conduct sit-ins at key Congressional offices. The start and end dates of the fast commemorate the third anniversary of worldwide protests against the invasion of Iraq, and the date of the U.S. invasion. The activities are part of growing grassroots opposition to economic and military warfare against Iraq.
Five fasters are identified in the article, including one "Cynthia Banas," about whom the article provides this bio:
Cynthia Banas, retired librarian and longtime UNICEF volunteer, lived in Iraq for a total of 11 months between 2001 and 2003. A member of the Iraq Peace Team whose goal was to prevent the invasion of Iraq and report back to colleagues the situation on the ground, Banas lived in Baghdad before, during and after the three-week Shock and Awe terror bombing. She witnessed first hand the efforts of peace people who came to Baghdad from countries world-wide to attempt to prevent the USA attack upon Iraq. She witnessed first hand the invasion, the looting and the ongoing cruel occupation and the suffering of the Iraqi people and the beginning of the resistance during the autumn of 2003.
The Iraq Peace team, according to its own website, went to Iraq in September 2002, about six months before American and allied forces did, with these goals:
  • We will live among the Iraqi people during any aggression directed at them, including continued economic sanctions.
  • We will use our presence and non-violent actions to witness, understand and expose the situation of both the civilian population of Iraq and highlight the importance of facilities such as water purification plants that are critical to daily life.
  • We will report on our experiences in Iraq through this website, our support teams, and all who will listen.
  • I don't know how people with these goals differ from the human shields, but the IPT site takes pains to differentiate themselves: "Iraq Peace Team is not affiliated with Human Shield projects." (bold in original) If you're wondering what this means, read on: "Though we hope to remain in Iraq in the event of an attack, we don't consider ourselves 'human shields.'" Why not? "Voices in the Wilderness refuses to incorporate military language or ideas to describe the peace witness of IPT members."

    So at the end of the day, here we are: A woman who went to Saddam's Iraq to try to keep him in power now lectures us that we should acknowledge and protest our own evils by holding the American flag upside-down on July 4.

    I personally will protest this idiocy by holding my flag right-side up, even if it means celebrating a revolution.

    Related: Dinesh D'Souza writes about what's so great about America. The 1775 New York Times discloses classified lantern signals of American colonists -- one if by land, two if by sea.

    (links via Fark)

    UPDATE (7/4): With anti-war protestors fasting on July 4, Cindy Sheehan gets on the bandwagon.

    Click here to read more . . .

    July 01, 2006

    For the record

    A front-page article in the Washington Post on Saturday fudges on whether Hamas is a terrorist organization. It simply attributes this view to Israel: "Israel considers Hamas, known formally as the Islamic Resistance Movement, a terrorist organization."

    For the record, the United States also considers Hamas a terrorist organization. The Secretary of State has repeatedly designated Hamas as a "foreign terrorist organization," with all the legal consequences that such a designation has. Here is the most recent list of designated "foreign terrorist organizations," with a discussion of the legal criteria and legal ramifications.

    Click here to read more . . .