Dean Esmay, to whom a massive thank you is in order, is setting up this site on Movable Type. There may be some interruptions until that is done. If you link to me at http://kashei.blogspot.com, please change it to www.alarmingnews.com as that will be the only url for this website from now on. # Posted 12:27 PM
Who is spending the most dough to try and win the presidency in 2004? The answers will surprise you (especially #2 on the list).
But the most obvious evidence that the Arab world is a mess is that they are the ones who have been blowing it since 9/11.
If I try my best to convince a homeless drug addict to get help, I may fail in my efforts to help the guy. But, if I do fail, who really blew it? If I come to him with a ham sandwich and a cup of coffee, in the hopes of persuading him to get cleaned up so I can give him a job and a fresh start and he freaks out that I'm a Cannibalistic Human Corpse Disemboweler (a relative of CHUDs no doubt) and runs away, sure you could say that I blew it. But surely he blew it worse. I can go home to my nice house. He goes home to squalor. And, should the man ever come to his senses, he'd agree that his mistake was far greater than mine.
Mark Steyn on Europe's culture of passivity and the idea that it is always the government that should 'do something'. I would love to quote from it, but the whole thing is incredible and a must-read. # Posted 2:47 PM
I read this interesting article yesterday in Campaigns and Elections magazine (sorry no link), by one of my professors, about the trend toward the Republican party by people under 30. Turns out, there are more Republicans, aged 18-29 and 30-40 then there are aged 50-60. In fact, the 50-60 age group is the one place where there are many less Republicans than Democrats.
The article doesn't mention 9/11, which, in my humble-just started my Masters program-opinion, is the main reason for the shift rightward among people in their 20's. Our parents (well, not my parents, but parents born in the US) had a break from history. There were no attacks on American soil in their lifetime. They don't understand the unfortunate necessity of war, especially when provoked to it. I think young people were shook by 9/11 in a way that older people weren't. The Republican party has a reputation of being realistic, and lately hawkish, and this appeals to many younger people who watched symbolic retaliations throughout the 90's and felt that they weren't enough.
With all of this in mind, I direct you to the New York Young Republican Club blog which lists right-leaning events in NYC. I've been more motivated lately to meet new people and attend more events and it's been really great. I've met a bunch of interesting people through the meetup site that aren't part of the established rightwing 'scene' in NY. This is the only way to grow the party and affect changes that we'd like to see. Get out there, meet people, vent about all the liberals in your life, be organized for 2004, have a good time. This doesn't only apply to New Yorkers. There are Bush2004 and Republican party meetups going on around the country. If there is not one going on near you, email me and I'll tell you some ways to start one and attract people to it.
This matters to me. I've thought many times about how I would've felt post-9/11 if Gore had been president. 'Terrified' springs to mind. Don't like the thought of a Dean presidency? Get involved. # Posted 12:56 PM
Comment: Psha! Ya think? # Posted 5:09 PM
Urg. I hate these dumbass celebrities that look solemnly into the camera for any cause that even remotely criticizes the president. This is just the latest. I bet that should they be criticized for their one-dimensional opinions, the irony of the fact that they're doing ads for freedom of speech will entirely escape them. # Posted 12:19 PM
I have a friend who is a headhunter in NY and she is looking for someone to fill an interesting Executive Assistant position at a well-known foreign affairs organization. The pay is very good and if I wasn't in school full-time, I would be tempted to interview for it. The person they are looking for should know a good amount about what is going on in the world and be very professional and polished. If you're interested, drop me an email and I'll put you in touch with my friend. # Posted 4:10 PM
Don't let anyone tell you that we're back to normal or anywhere near it.
As I got up out of the subway at Rector street, it looked normal: time to go to work. But come up on the streets, the the Trade Center is encircled with people who have stopped normal to remember when normal died. -Jeff Jarvis # Posted 4:05 PM
The photographer of the famous 'falling' picture of one of the WTC jumpers writes about his photo in the LA Times. It's a beautifully written piece (worth registering for access to read it):
Watching the tragedy unfold messed me up for a long time. I still take note of every plane I hear flying overhead, wondering if it's friend or foe. But neither the photograph nor the initial reaction to it disturbs me. People ask how I could coldbloodedly photograph someone dying. I never saw it that way. I made a photographic record of someone living the last moments of his life. And every time I look at it, I see him alive.
I have photographed dying. As a 21-year-old rookie photographer on a supposedly routine assignment, I was standing behind Robert F. Kennedy when he was assassinated. That time, there was no telephoto lens to distance me. I was so close that his blood spattered onto my jacket. I saw the life bleed out of him, and I heard Ethel's screams. Pictures that, shot through my tears, still distress me after 35 years. But nobody refused to print them, as they did the 9/11 photo. Nobody looked away.
France has set up a 'timetable' by which the U.S should run Iraq. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has stated that a provisional government should be established in Iraq in a month, a draft constitution by the end of the year and elections next spring. The words 'who the hell do they think they are' spring to mind. Fortunately, Colin Powell seems to have picked up a thing or two since our last dealings with the Frenchies. Calling the plan "totally unrealistic", Powell, sounding positively 'neo-conservative', then reminded them "We've done a lot of liberation in Europe after other Europeans had occupied parts of Europe." Finally.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the tinfoil-hat brigade has gone mainstream. Of course America hasn’t been attacked again. That’s because 9/11 was a neocon conspiracy to give Washington a pretext to grab Iraq’s oil and Afghanistan’s, er, rubble. The conspirazoids now include the Rt Hon Michael Meacher, MP, a man who until a few weeks ago was one of Her Majesty’s ministers of state, a fellow who sat at the Cabinet table with Tony Blair and discussed troop deployments. But now, with time on his hands, he’s frolicking merrily on the wilder shores of the Internet. In the Guardian on Saturday, he demanded to know whether US air-security operations had ‘been deliberately stood down on 11 September’ in order to facilitate the attack. Who would do such a thing? Why, Rummy, Cheney, Wolfie and the other sinister graduates of the Project for a New American Century.
Meacher is late to the Mad Hatter’s tea party. I’ve had a gazillion emails a day about this for almost two years. Condi Rice apparently warned all kinds of people not to fly on 11 September. If that’s true, it seems odd that Don Rumsfeld, one of the architects of the conspiracy, didn’t warn himself not to go to the Pentagon that morning. You’d think, being in on the plot, he’d warn himself not to be sitting at his desk as the plane sliced through the building. If Michael Meacher had had advance warning that a plane was going to slam into the Department of the Environment that day, would he have had the cojones to be sitting there dictating a memo to Miss Jones as the nose cone ploughed into the photocopier? Or maybe that’s just how well planned the conspiracy was: Rumsfeld knew the plane would hit the other side of the Pentagon well away from his office, so, if he coolly went to work as usual, he’d throw even expert conspiracy-sniffers like Meacher off the scent. Or maybe there was no Pentagon plane at all; it was a pure invention of the administration, as that French bestseller argued. Or maybe the Pentagon itself is just a thought-form generated by the microchip implanted in Meacher’s brain when he sat next to Dick Cheney at a G7 buffet lunch. Or maybe....
If 9/11 liberated the Bush administration to put into action its scheme to take over the world, then it also liberated the Western elites to embrace finally and wholeheartedly anti-Americanism as the New Unifying Theory of Everything. It didn’t have to be like that: the intellectual class could have sided with the women of Afghanistan or the political prisoners of Iraq. But the advantage of sour oppositionism is that whatever happens there’s always something to sneer at. If Osama pops up, see, he got away. If he doesn’t pop up, how do you know he didn’t get away? If he turns up dead, whoa, now you’ve made him a martyr, a thousand more will bloom in his dust. # Posted 4:02 PM
For me, 9/11/03 was spent at a meeting in school, making a return at Bloomingdales, having a quick lunch with my boyfriend, going to a small dinner with Frank Gaffney, attending a NY Young Republican Club meeting, going for drinks afterward with Doug, Scott and others, meeting up with my friend who is visiting from Boston and finally heading home when it was already the 12th. I guess that it's right that I spent the day living my life but I really felt that I missed out on the rememberance side of this important day. I didn't get to read enough or think enough about it.
I caught up on a little of the writing from yesterday and, of course, Lileks has some of the best of it around:
Now I am resigned, in advance, to the loss of an American city by a nuclear weapon. The End of the World now looks like a comic-book premise, a Heston-movie conceit. We feared it would all be gone in a day, our world upended like an Etch-A-Sketch. What we never considered was a long, slow war, a conflict that burned and sputtered, skittered from one spot on the map to the other. The old wars were simple: the other side had accents, uniforms, nations, cruel habits and urbane sneers. The old wars took years. The old wars were in black and white. The old wars were monophonic, scored by Max Steiner, released by Warner Brothers, and the only proof they really happened at all was the small battered box in the back of Dad’s sock drawer, the box that held some oddly colored metal bars. The next war would be horrible, total, and short.
Two years ago today I was convinced that every presumption I had about the future was wrong. This war, I feared, would be horrible, total, and long.
Two years later I take a certain grim comfort in some people’s disinterest in the war; if you’d told me two years ago that people would be piling on the President and bitching about slow progress in Iraq, I would have known in a second that the nation hadn’t suffered another attack. When the precise location of Madonna’s tongue is big news, you can bet the hospitals aren’t full of smallpox victims. Of course some people are impatient with those who still recall the shock of 9/11; the same people were crowding the message boards of internet sites on the afternoon of the attacks, eager to blame everyone but the hijackers. They hate this nation. In their hearts, they hate humanity. They would rather cheer the perfect devils than come to the aid of a compromised angel. They can talk for hours about how wrong it was to kill babies, busboys, businessmen, receptionists, janitors, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - and then they lean towards you, eyes wide, and they say the fatal word:
And then you realize that the eulogy is just a preface. All that concern for the dead is nothing more than the knuckle-cracking of an organist who’s going to play an E minor chord until we all agree we had it coming.
I’ve no doubt that if Seattle or Boston or Manhattan goes up in a bright white flash there will be those who blame it all on Bush. We squandered the world’s good will. We threw away the opportunity to atone, and lashed out. Really? You want to see lashing out? Imagine Kabul and Mecca and Baghdad and Tehran on 9/14 crowned with mushroom clouds: that’s lashing out. Imagine the President in the National Cathedral castigating Islam instead of sitting next to an Imam who's giving a homily. Mosques burned, oil fields occupied, smart bombs slamming into Syrian palaces. We could have gone full Roman on anyone we wanted, but we didn’t. And we won’t.
Which is why this war will be long. # Posted 1:52 PM
Howard Dean calls Hamas 'soldiers' in the 'war going on in the Middle East'. You know things are bad when Europe (who just recently discovered Hamas is a terrorist group) is to the right of the probable Democrat candidate for president.
Urg. It's just my luck that after my biggest blogging day, hits-wise, I would have some major problem with my domain server. If you're reading this this morning then you are probably one of the few that knows that you can reach this site by both www.alarmingnews.com and http://kashei.blogspot.com. Hope to be back online soon under the alarmingnews.com name. # Posted 11:01 AM
Wednesday, September 10
I just want to say a quick welcome to all the readers I've had today. I'm nearing 5000 hits, up from my 100 or so a day, and its been really great. Thanks so much to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit and James Taranto at Best of the Web (and maybe others I don't know about because my counters don't give me that info-so please email me if you've linked here) for linking the below post. I really feel that it is a necessary one for everyone to read. If any of the new visitors are in NY, or the surrounding areas, and would like to get involved with the democracy in Iran group, please drop me an email. # Posted 3:58 PM
I mentioned a few months ago that I met with some people (including Ken and Yevgeny) who are interested in supporting the democratic movement in Iran. We've been in touch since then and have slowly begun thinking of some things we can do. Today I got an email from one of the guys in the group. He forwarded an email from an Iranian girl who is very involved in the democracy movement. The email literally took the wind out of me. I realize that I should not be surprised by the unbelieveable hypocrisy of the biggest anti-war group, ANSWER, but somehow the below disgusted me to no end.
This is the email:
I've been working VERY hard on getting the word about the plight of the people of Iran, out, as you know.
Recently I contacted a group called A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION which organizes marches. After having introduced myself and explained to them the situation in Iran (after 4 phone calls and messages) I was told that they won't help the Iranian activists and their friends in organizing marches against the Islamic Republic as they're afraid the Iranian student movement might be run by IMPERIALIST!!!!!
They claimed to be "intelligent" and very well informed though essentially they had NO IDEA what on earth I was talking about. They were not only unaware of the crimes committed by the Islamic Republic, they had never even heard that an organized group of hoodlums, called the BADR Brigade, trained by the KGB and Palestinians, armed and bankrolled by the Islamic Republic's ruling theocrats, were infiltrating Iraq to run a muck in killing American soldiers and destroy the future of Iraq! When I explained that the people of Iran are acting on their own but that encouragement from the PEOPLE of the west was crucial in holding anti-Islamic Republic demonstrations etc. (that's all I had asked them for: help in organizing demonstrations) the woman basically said that they won't help because their cause was to eradicate Imperialism! I explained that Iranian oil was being pilfered by member nations of the EU and other countries such as Japan, at which she replied: since we don't live in Europe or Japan, I cannot help! I guess imperialism is concentrated only in the U.S.!!!!! AND that Mullahs can't be "Imperialists!"
I then explained that Hossein Khomeini (Khomeini's grandson) is now one of the biggest opponents of the Mullacracy in Iran...She told me that he was probably being bought by Americans!!! In other words, she was convinced that there could be no dissent among the Mullahs themselves!!!!!
I told her about my father and other political prisoners in Iran (not to mention the number of people stoned to death, hung, assassinated, raped...), she thought for a moment and said that my father is probably a dissident and that the Islamic Republic was possibly justified in putting him in prison!!!!! I don't know, but doesn't that seem oxymoronic coming from someone working at an "activist/protestor" organization?????
Please contact these people and let them know how unbelievably misguided, tyrannical and hypocritical their attitude is and that in order to do the right thing, they must embrace the entire picture and not some random corner of it. Please help educate and properly inform these self-proclaimed defenders of humanity. Their phone numbers and e-mail are:
'I think I'll simply note this event without comment — for if one doesn't understand the power of it, there is little anyone else can do to explain it: "Three Israeli F-15 jets piloted by descendants of Holocaust survivors circled [Auschwitz] to pay tribute to the victims" last week. "During the flyover, some 200 Israeli soldiers stood at attention at the former Birkenau death camp, adjacent to Auschwitz."
Predictably, some imbeciles at the Auschwitz Museum objected, decrying the flyover as a "demonstration of Israeli military might" at "a place of silence."
You're damn right it was a demonstration of Israeli military might: and, as such, it was a demonstration of the refusal to die. Far be it from me to speak for the dead, but I would be shocked if they objected — if they could know about it.
Oh, and, by the way: Why should Auschwitz be a place of silence? There's enough silence about genocide — don't you think? # Posted 10:46 AM
Monday, September 8
Local Political News:
There is a Bush2004 meetup happening tomorrow night at the Auction House bar on East 89th between First and Second Avenues at 7pm.
Also, tomorrow is primary day. I direct your attention to two great candidates in Manhattan who are facing a primary tomorrow:
The first is Jennifer Arangio, a Republican on the Upper East Side. This is the first time in years that there is more than one Republican running in a City Council race in Manhattan and that in and of itself is pretty interesting. Jennifer is really dynamic and interesting. You can read more about her here.
The second is Pete Gleason, a Democrat in TriBeCa/Chinatown/Battery Park City. Pete is really an amazing candidate. He has been a firefighter, a policeman, a member of the Coast Guard and most recently an attorney. His opponent, Alan Gerson, has done some of the sneakiest political gaming I've seen. For more information on Pete visit his site. If you're a registered Democrat living downtown, come out and vote for Pete tomorrow. # Posted 12:53 PM
As for the Iraq situation? I’m stunned that a country whose face was held mouth-down in the mud for 30 years hasn’t spontaneously produced a civil society in six months. I don’t think they’ve even started thinking about a new national anthem. Let’s give it all to the French.
-James Lileks in a great post in which he also rips into Republicans who have been complaining lately that Bush isn't conservative enough (admittedly, I am one of these). # Posted 11:02 AM
Bay Ridge is a neighborhood in Brooklyn where I went to high school. # Posted 10:57 AM
How dumb do you have to be to be governor (hanging on by a thread) of an immigrant-heavy state yet make fun of your opponent's accent? Saying "you shouldn't be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state", Gray Davis wants to go down in a blaze of glory as the dimmest leader around. Good job. # Posted 10:49 AM
Friday, September 5
Hey, remember when I was deciding whether to write a letter to my old boss who happens to be in prison for murder? A movie about him, called Party Monster, is coming out today. # Posted 12:48 PM
What did I do before Lileks? What did I read that made me nod my head the entire time? Who kept me amused and interested and enthralled?
Today, Lileks writes about the 'get over it already' call to those of us who have the nerve, two years on, to not be able to forget falling buildings and 3000 dead people. We're so lame yo.
Funny how it's easy to disregard the Rwanda and Bosnia genocides and yet remain the eternal victim because of 9/11.
James Lileks: What the hell does he have to be angry about? He's Caucasian, male, and living in the richest nation in the world. He has more opportunities in one day than a Third World citizen has in a lifetime. Is he being targeted because of his ethnicity? Is he being thrown into a camp and being repeatedly raped? Is he being buried alive in a pit by hateful condotierres paid a pack of cigarettes a day?
The 9/11 victimhood seems to me an excuse for the Angry White Male to make a comeback. Except this time it seems to be justified, even if you weren't anywhere near the WTC. And that's the sick cancer festering within the American psyche.
Lileks responds (and yes it's long but I was afraid you wouldn't follow the link and read the whole thing and it's just that good):
This reminds me of a gentle tut-tutting I got from some guy on a webpage I stumbled across post 9/11 - he was just so . . . bemused at how I’d lost my grasp on reality. I had been describing my reaction to the men who’d kill my daughter for the glory of Allah: give me the gun, show me the cave. The author of the piece suggested I would be perfect for the role of the WW2 black-out warden who scolds people for half-closed windowshades.
Why, it’s almost as if I thought we were at war, or something.
Obviously the guy had no kids. I’m not saying childless people can’t have a visceral reaction to terrorists, or that parenthood has imbued me with a special glowing Field of Righteousness - but until you have children you can’t quite realize what you’d do to defend them, because the emotion comes from a place you didn’t know too much about. The weeks after 9/11 we all thought that we were in for more of this - more planes, more bombs, and come the winter, Smallpox. I would jerk awake from nightmares where Gnat had the pox. You do everything you can to keep them safe - then this.
I was nowhere near New York when it happened, of course. But you’d have to be unusually thick not to see that this was the start of something that would affect more than the lower portion of the island of Manhattan. I don’t know what compelled me to grab the videocam off the shelf and start shooting, but I’m glad I did, because what I caught captured something I needed to remember: the TV has the picture of the twin towers engulfed in smoke: my little 14 month old child is grinning with unbearable delight, holding out her Elmo phone. Hi! Hi! Hi! Jasper’s in the corner of the picture, on his back, paws up, whimpering; whatever I was giving off, he got. But Gnat was in Elmo-world, a happy little place in which she’d always be safe, and I’m wondering if her future will be all downhill from here.
At that point I thought the fires might go out. I thought the towers might be saved. Then they fell. And you knew that the future had just taken the wrong exit.
Angry? Almost two years later I’m still f*#king furious about it, if you want to know the truth. I’m not sure what emotion these people want me to have. An appropriate amount of sadness mixed with an appropriate amount of shame mixed with a soupcon of perspective and a dram of self-hatred? Can you send me the precise recipe, please? Because from where I stand, I see the two forces I thought the left deplored: religious intolerance and fascism. Together at last! Swirled into one cone! If Kluxers had flown planes into the UN building, these people would be insisting that America was bubbling over with millions of Bubbanazis, and the failure of the networks to mount Second Anniversary specials would be proof that the media secretly embraced the White Power agenda.
Again, I’ll ask the question: when did I overdo it? January 14, 2002? August 23rd 2003, 11:34 AM? Was that the point at which we were supposed to pack it all away in a box and store it in the attic with the newspapers and Time magazines? I pass a house every day that still has a Wellstone! sign in the front window. Should I knock on their door, and ask why they have the sign up? They’re white, male, living in the land of opportunity. Stop grieving. Stop it!
Wellstone died almost a year ago - by accident. Three thousand people died by design that day. Only a fool couldn’t help noticing what it meant: they want us all dead. They want a world in which my daughter is a slave - and even though they’ll never get it, they will kill someone else’s daughter a half a continent away just to make their point. They want a world in which there is no US, and the Bosnias and Rwandas are not only commonplace, but proof that their god is ascendant.
Sorry. No. I want a world where those who choose Western ideas can flourish and thrive. And by “Western” I mean that raped girls aren’t stoned. Gays aren’t crushed by rocks. Public cleavage doesn’t get you whipped. Jews and Lutherans and Sufis can sit on a bus together and it’s no big deal. Where citizens decide that if they don’t like their government, they try it again - and the recall pits an Austrian immigrant against a native-born man of Hispanic origin.
"The 9/11 victimhood seems to me an excuse for the Angry White Male to make a comeback. Except this time it seems to be justified, even if you weren't anywhere near the WTC. And that's the sick cancer festering within the American psyche."
There you go. The problem isn’t Islamist fascism. It’s the sick cancer of men with low melanin concentrations who can’t forget that picture of two strangers - one Asian, one Black - embracing in sobs in a bodega as the smoke and dust rolled down the street. This is why I left Metafilter right after 9/11. They don’t mind if you’re angry. You can be angry about important things, like Microsoft security lapses and Ashcroft crusades. But 200 stories of skyscraper falling to the ground? Thousands dead, ten thousand orphaned, ten million mourning?
Dude. Get a grip.
I have a friend who says 'blah blah' every time 9/11 is mentioned in any way. She is like, so over the whole thing and the idea that reprecussions from 9/11 are still happening (hello Iraq) is boring to her. No, really. She has said as much. I just can't get over it. I don't think I ever will. Walking up Fifth Avenue yesterday I saw a plane flying low toward the Empire State Building. And though the rational part of me understands that if and when we are attacked again it probably won't be a repeat of the planes into buildings scenario, the emotional side of me stops, waits for the plane to disappear past the skyscraper and then breathes out. It's a terrifying feeling to think that Americans are getting over it. It was precisely what I thought would happen while we sat on my couch that awful day and waited for news. My friends all said 'no, nothing will ever be the same again' but everything is much the same. Worrying about terrorism is so old news. Fear is what the Bush administration is promoting, not what grips your stomach every time you think of the jumpers making the choice to burn or fly. Our biggest problem is the not-so-bad-at-all economy, not the idea that there are people living among us who are planning our destruction. What has to happen for people to wake up? Do we have to lose a city? A coast? Majority dead? I mean, if 3000 people dying in one fell swoop doesn't arouse a want in you to defend yourself, what will? If I say I'm nervous on the subway, still (of course still), and you roll your eyes, which one of us has the problem? I'm not going to get over it and those that have frighten me. If watching death and destruction on your doorstep doesn't permanently mar your vision of the world and of your country, if it didn't change your opinion about war sometimes being necessary, if it didn't make you want to protect yourself and the people that you can't live without, you are someone I can not understand. And the sadder thing, for you, is that despite your moving on and not wanting to be afraid and being ready to compromise to achieve some false peace, the people that want me dead want you dead too. # Posted 11:56 AM
Yesterday, I visited the main New York library on 42nd street. I was looking for one out of print book and one periodical. I found both and sat down at a long table to do some reading. I looked up and in my scope of vision there were a row of people using the internet. One guy was surfing porn. He was just clicking on pictures, pausing, looking at them really closely, then clicking on.
Now, I'm no prude. And when there was the issue regarding online access in the library, I felt that no firewall should be set up and people should be able to surf where they please. But. I mean really. Shouldn't there be some guidelines to what people should be blatantly searching at 5pm on a Thursday? I'm not even going to give you THE CHILDREN argument, why do I have to look up and see a guy gawking at a woman with her legs spread. It's a little distracting. So what's the solution? How can we maintain freedom for people to do what they please at the library while at the same time maintaining some degree of normal public behavior? What do y'all think? # Posted 11:40 AM
The goal of democracy, according to Al-Ayyeri, is to "make Muslims love this world, forget the next world and abandon jihad." If established in any Muslim country for a reasonably long time, democracy could lead to economic prosperity, which, in turn, would make Muslims "reluctant to die in martyrdom" in defense of their faith.
-Amir Taheri on a book called "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad" by Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates since the early '90s. # Posted 1:22 PM
From Rod Dreher in NRO's Corner:
APPALLING SURVEY RESULTS I don't know about you, but I totally missed the depressing results of a global survey taken this spring by the Pew Center for People and the Press. It found that by wide margins, people from Muslim nations did not believe that it was possible for the Palestinians' rights to be respected while Israel existed. Even more depressing -- no, not depressing, infuriating -- was the finding that the global figure that 71 percent of Palestinians surveyed trusted to "do the right thing" was -- wait for it -- Osama bin Laden. # Posted 11:39 AM
Section: 1 Sunday 5:00:00 PM-5:55:00 PM AB CD # Posted 1:33 PM
First, the French ambassador to Israel calls Israel a 'shitty little country' at Barbara Amiel's dinner party. He is surprised that dinner party etiquette didn't apply when Amiel publishes the comments in her newspaper column. He gets replaced and the new French ambassador wants to make clear immediately that he hasn't learned anything from his predecessor's mistakes so he calls Ariel Sharon a 'lout' and Israel 'paranoid'. He does this, also, at a party and is stunned when a journalist prints it since 'his comments were made during a private party and thus not in the public domain.' Is there anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size that can maybe be the French ambassador to Israel? Just wondering.
I've posted some new rightwing events on the NYYRC blog, in case anyone is interested. # Posted 11:19 AM
Tuesday, September 2
I'm back! I hope you were all well entertained by the guest blog. I know I was.
My two big pieces of news:
1. I started my NYU graduate program in politics today and all of you commenters were right- I am probably the only non-liberal in the program. I can see it being an interesting year. I'm so excited about being back at school and the idea of focusing almost entirely on the practical application of politics (as opposed to say, my bachelors degree which was mostly in political theory) is pretty thrilling to me.
2. I got an email a few weeks ago from the UK publisher of a new book by the original Iraqi blogger and now Guardian columnist Salam Pax. Long time readers will know that I was (and am) a big fan of Salam's. I didn't always agree with his opinions but it was so nice and refreshing to have a true voice from inside Iraq before Saddam's government fell. Anyway, the publisher wrote and asked me if I'd like a free copy of the book. I figured they had found my site via a link in a post some time ago on Salam's site. I wrote back that I would like a copy. I received it today when we got back from Montreal and was completely surprised to discover that the reason I was contacted for a free copy is that Salam 'linked' to this site and also to Peter's old Pandavox site in the acknowledgements and blogroll section of the book. We're also linked in another place in the book. It's pretty weird, being mentioned, however in passing, by someone you've never met who lives in a country you've never been to. Anyway, the book website is here if you're interested. # Posted 9:07 PM
I understand Nader-ites. I understand Dean supporters. I even get the Pat Buchanan vote. What I don't get, the political group I most don't undestand, are these people. If there is one meet-up Republicans should attend, it's this one. # Posted 8:18 PM
"For years, and I mean thousands of years, the gay man's mind has been treated as perverted, clandestine and dirty," he went on, "and speed reinforces and glamorizes that as an ideal. And with drugs, what's more dangerous is more sexually exciting. On that drug I had really horrible thoughts that turned me on. I had a few of those real gay lost weekends, where everything goes out the window, where you want to make pornos or you want to have sex with children. I mean, your mind is just completely ravaged." # Posted 8:17 PM
The planets are in an unusual alignment. Not only are you getting two consecutive posts from me, but Mars is the closest its been to Earth in 50,000 years. If you get a chance, you should really go take a look while you can -- it's a beautiful sight.
I want to buy a telescope so I can see the polar caps and canals, but it's still very impressive to the naked eye. # Posted 1:30 AM
Thursday, August 28
As you probably already know, there was a blackout in parts of England today, including London. This comes exactly two weeks after the blackout that hit North America. Just as in the case here, British officials were quick to deny any traces of terrorism in today's power failure.
But is it too quick to dismiss both blackouts as a case of unfortunate coincidence? I've always been a little bit wary about official explanations for things; and as we learned in Iraq, both American and British officials have no qualms in "lying" to their citizenry.
It's a known fact before they took their plane ride to hell, the September 11 hijackers took dry run flights to survey airline security, flight crews, etc. It's highly possible they could cut power lines or hack into a power plant's computer system to overload its circuits, and then just sit back to see what happens. Perhaps the jihadis are in the final stages of planning their next attack and the blackouts of this month were just a test.
P.S You have been checking out the guest blog, right? # Posted 12:23 PM
I'm back from part one of my vacation and will begin part two tomorrow. I figured I'd give you all a little update on my adventures thus far.
Peter and I were looking for a beach vacation where we could lay on a beach, swim and that's pretty much it. We weren't looking for anything crazy, just a short, inexpensive getaway to relax. As it sometimes works out with trip planning, the best deal happened to be at a five-star hotel in swanky Palm Beach, Florida.
How swank is Palm Beach? The town's main drag has free valet parking. I ducked into a bar to use the restroom and there were flatscreen tvs installed in every stall. It's where the billionaires have their summer mansions. It was definitely something else.
We had a really great time and accomplished our main goal of doing little. The people in Florida, especially along the coast as they tend to be transplanted New Yorkers, were terrific. There were people in our hotel who had come from as far away as Britain and Hong Kong. At first, I wondered why anybody would make such a long journey just to lay on the beach. I don't think we would've chosen Florida if it wasn't a two hour flight away, but I can definitely see the appeal now of getting away from it all in such a mellow, pretty place.
Tomorrow we leave for our yearly Montreal trip. We're going with the drummer in Peter's band and his girlfriend. It should be a good time and I'll tell you all about it when I return. # Posted 11:29 AM
Friday, August 22
Well kids, I'm off on vacation. As I've mentioned, there is a Spot On Guest Blog for your viewing pleasure. See you in September (unless I have the mad urge to post something from paradise-not unlikely) # Posted 2:12 PM
I've been getting a lot of hits from people looking for a Manhattan liquor store open on Sundays (I covered this topic with dismay about a month ago). Since writing the rant about the stupid 6 day law, I've discovered one liquor store in Manhattan that is indeed open on Sunday. It is on Second Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets. It's called Woody's. Enjoy. # Posted 1:45 PM
"Bush good, Saddam bad!" many Iraqis tell us emphatically--and repeatedly. I'm not sure how George W. Bush is faring with the American public, but he's got a lock on Al Hillah.
Iraqis routinely ask me to "thank Mr. Bush for freeing us of Saddam" and tell me, "We are very grateful, because you have freed us of our worst nightmare, Saddam Hussein." (A lot of Iraqis speak surprisingly good English because most studied it in primary and secondary school.)
It all reminds me of my experience a decade ago in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Most ordinary Russians, Poles and Czechs hailed Ronald Reagan as a hero for bringing down the "evil empire" when few people had the courage even to call it that.
In much the same way, ordinary Iraqis have a tremendous reservoir of goodwill for the president who coined the term "axis of evil"--and who then acted to eradicate a primary source of that evil. -Report from John R. Guardiano, a marine in Iraq. # Posted 12:51 PM
My best friend is a teacher. Recently, she told me a story about a friend of hers who is a teacher as well. Her friend had given out candy to the class and then left the bag with the remaining candy in her desk. She was dismayed and upset to find out that the kids were stealing the candy when she wasn't in the room. She has a drawer that has a lock but doesn't use it because she wants the kids to not want to steal the candy. My friend, ever the realistic, strong woman that she is, commented that of course they're going to steal the candy if she doesn't lock it up. In fact, she added, it's the only thing that she uses the locked drawer to store. They're kids. They're going to take candy if it is in plain sight. Duh.
Which leads me to the story of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq. Turns out, the US warned the UN that they were an easy target. The UN felt that too much security would create a barrier between this very effective organization and those whom it hopes to help. That, and they didn't want those American types hanging around. Now, aside from the fact that terrorists bombing the UN is, as my friend Bobby would say, 'pissing in their chips', I can't understand why the UN wouldn't listen to the Americans on this. How deep does their hatred of us have to be to let that hatred cost lives? Were we lying to them about there being a potential threat on them? What could their reasoning be? Unless, they felt that there couldn't possibly be an attack on them. After all, hadn't they supported Saddam staying in power? Hadn't they tried to stop those dastardly Americans? They had. Will they now wake up to the fact that the terrorists don't just hate Israel, they don't just despise Americans, they hate everything, all of us, anyone living in freedom. And if there is an opportunity to kill us, they will. They will take full advantage of the unlocked drawer, and they don't care where you stood on the war in Iraq or what you think of the fence in the West Bank. # Posted 12:48 PM
Wednesday, August 20
Peter and I are going on vacation on Sunday. We'll be back around September 2nd. My idea for this blog while I'm away is to have a 'guest house' blog. It was supposed to begin when we leave on Sunday but some of the guest bloggers have already began said blogging. The site is Suitably Alarmed. More information can be had by, uh, visiting it. # Posted 10:44 PM
"Let the criminal Bush and his gang know that the punishment is the result of the action, the soldiers of God cut the power on these cities, they darkened the lives of the Americans as these criminals blackened the lives of the Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Americans lived a black day they will never forget. They lived a day of terror and fear... a state of chaos and confusion where looting and pillaging rampaged the cities, just like the capital of the caliphate Baghdad and Afghanistan and Palestine were. Let the American people take a sip from the same glass," Al Hayat quotes the statement as saying.
"One of the benefits of this strike is that the US will not live in peace until our conditions are met, such as releasing all the detainees, including Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, and getting out of the land of the Muslims, including Jerusalem and Kashmir," the statement continued.
While not specifying how the sabotage was carried out, the paper quotes the statement as contending that the blackout cost the US treasury no less than $10 billion, and to "break the hearts of US officials, just know that the cost paid by the mujahideen to sabotage the power plants was a mere $7,000. Die of sorrow!"
[Insert your own joke here]
If this is the new face of al-Qaeda, as those wacky jihadis warn, then keep it coming!
Except for the lack of running water, I found the blackout to be incredibly fun. As New York grew dark, I sat on our balcony and tried to eat as many ice cream sandwiches as humanly possible before they melted (I ate 10), had flashlight wars with neighbors I've never seen before or since, and joined in the merriment as our neighborhood was reduced to a mass of people behaving like little kids staying up past their bedtime at a slumber party. Then in the morning, before anyone else in our apartment was awake, I sat out on the balcony again and played solitary card games. The whole city was quiet except for one neighbor's battery-powered radio tuned to a classic rock station. Ah, I thought, summer doesn't get any better than this.
As soon as power was restored, the air conditioners and televisions roared back to life and the city was filled with noise again. But for more than 25 hours, I experienced a peace and quiet normally alien to New York City. # Posted 2:11 AM