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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Monday, February 28, 2005
Freedom is on the March

Lebanese protesters celebrate after Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned in Beirut, February 28, 2005. Lebanon's Syrian-backed government resigned in a surprise decision greeted with jubilation by thousands of protesters in central Beirut gathering to demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops.
Photo by Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
The Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web is required reading - I could link to it every day. But that would become tiresome. But I just loved today's top item about the New York Times and the Joe Wilson/Valeria Plame kerfuffle too much.

Here's a timeline for you (well, no dates listed but it's the chronology that's important):

1.) Someone in the White House: "Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA agent."

2.) The New York Times editorial page and columnists: "It's a criminal act! A crime, a crime I tell you! Appoint a special prosecutor!"

3.) Special prosecutor: "We're gonna need your reporters' notes and stuff, or they could go to the big house."

4.) The New York Times: "Dude, maybe it wasn't really a crime after all. I mean, who says it was?"

Delicious. No, scrumptuous. No... delicious.
EU Constitution
I've felt from the get-go that the European Union is a slow motion ship wreck. Any attempt to bring such a diverse group of nations (languages, cultures, customs, animosities...) together under one umbrella government was bound to be frought with difficulty under the best of circumstances. The direction of such an effort by French and German Utopian social engineers is full steam ahead into the ice pack.

EU Constitution
A Patriot in the Holy Land
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots was in Israel recently... to promote football. No, I don't mean soccer.
The Healthcare Marketplace
Many people believe that healthcare and medicines have become too expensive, especially for the working poor – those not poor enough to qualify for government programs but whose jobs don’t provide insurance and whose wages are too low to purchase insurance privately. I’ve frequently thought of writing an essay explaining my understanding of the current problems in American healthcare delivery and suggesting a free-market solution that I believe would make care more affordable. I then realized it would have to be a series of essays since there are several distinct issues that need to be explained: the role of insurance, the role of tax incentives, the role of Medicare… I thought for sure a libertarian policy institute like Cato would already have such essays, but everything I found there was way too detailed. Each publication was about a specific law or policy, nothing that stood back and explained how the whole market should work.

I’ll write them eventually, and before your eyes glaze over, I’ll try to make them interesting.

Meanwhile, Psychotoddler mentioned exactly this problem in a recent post about a patient of his who was being squeezed out of access to care. This started an interesting thread on this issue with vehement but polite disagreement. You may find it interesting. (Obviously, since the issue is contentious, if you comment, use perfect manners.)
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Is it kosher?
Due to some ferkakhta ruling, the state of New York now has its very own kosher database.

And, no, I have no idea how to actually spell ferkakhta.
Moo. Moo. MOO?!

hat tip:galley slaves
The End of Arafat's Intifada
Following up on the Tel Aviv bombing that Ralphie brought to us two days ago, LGF points out the following AP story:

Palestinians Angry Over Tel Aviv Attack
JENIN, West Bank - Palestinians expressed anger Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.
In contrast to the dozens of previous suicide bombings, no celebrations were held in the West Bank on Saturday and militant groups didn't hang the customary posters of congratulations at the bomber's home.
This is a major change. Of course, their anger has to do with the belief that the bombing harms Palestinian aspirations, not that it's wrong to murder innocent civilians, but baby steps are still encouraging. The absence of crowds on the street handing out candy, ululating, and shouting "Death to the Jews" really gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy.
Sorry to change the subject so abruptly, but we got a notice from my kid's preschool that a case of pinworms has been confirmed in the student population. The notice includes symptoms to watch for, including increased itchiness at night since the worms crawl out at night to lay their eggs.

Question: How does a pinworm know when it's night, 'specially when it spends most of its time where the sun don't shine?
Saturday, February 26, 2005
The Bush Doctrine Is Winning: Syria
This month, in his State of the Union Address Bush said
Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act -- and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom.
Syria to redeploy troops in Lebanon
BEIRUT, (AFP) - Syria, under intense international pressure to end its tight military and political grip on neighbouring Lebanon, prepared to redeploy its troops toward the border, Lebanese officials said.

That news came as Al-Arabiya television said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had demanded that Damascus pull its troops out of Lebanon by April or face "measures" from the Security Council. But Annan's spokesman denied the report, issuing a clarification.

Damascus' move comes as the Syrian-backed Beirut government was braced for a parliamentary no-confidence vote, which could bring to a head a crisis sparked by last week's assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri.
Does anyone think this has nothing to do with the posture of the Bush administration? Would Kerry have brought this about by getting the French to join us?
The Bush Doctrine Is Winning: Egypt
This month, in his State of the Union Address Bush said
The great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.
Today, Hosni Mubarak ordered the Egyptian legislature to allow multi-candidate presidential elections. Mubarak is certainly no Thomas Jefferson, and Egypt is a backward America-hating pit, but this may be a step in the right direction. We’ve supported “secular” dictators in the Middle East for too long, afraid that democracy would bring the Islamists to power. What we got for the bargain were totalitarian regimes that showed us a tolerant secular face while secretly paying protection money to Islamist anti-American groups. Free elections in Egypt may very well mean a three way run off between the Death-to-America Party, the Death-to-Israel Party, and the Death-to-Married-Women-Seen-in-Public-Without-Their-Husbands Party, and the first few democratically elected governments may well be worse than Mubarak. But power derived in the ballot box tends to be sobering. Eventually, the rulers will have to deliver some sort of economic and social progress or be thrown out of office. The average Egyptian will eventually see that his standard of living is better if he trades with Israelis than if he kills them, and this will have a powerfully moderating influence in the ballot box.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing Kills Several
Fatah blames Hezbollah. Will it affect the current "truce"? The accelerated Gaza pullout?
Charles Krauthammer: Grownup Israel is headed for peace
Charles Krauthammer: Grownup Israel is headed for peace

"The Israeli right has grown up and given up the false dream of Greater Israel encompassing the Palestinian territories. And the Israeli left has grown up, too, understanding that you don't trust your children to the word of an enemy bent on your destruction. Sharon, unlike Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, who bargained land for a piece of paper, is giving up land for a stable defensive line."
A Place Where Hope Can Survive
Mrs. Ralphie attended a private screening of Hotel Rwanda last night at Fox studios (what can I say? She knows people). Other than closing her eyes whenever a machete came out, she really enjoyed it. Well, maybe enjoyed is not the right word, but you know what I mean.

So she says to me as we were drifting off to sleep that the movie made her realize that some people are born into a Hell they can't control, while some others are born into a democracy where they have the freedom to create their own Hell.

That's right, people, I got sunshine on a cloudy day.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Trackers Kill Tiger in Ventura County
A sad day for golf in Southern California.
Justices Reject Segregation in State's Prisons
Segregation is now allowed only for university campus housing. Our priorities are in order!
Jack Dunphy on LAPD on National Review Online
And so Los Angeles becomes that much more unsafe - unless you're a criminal, of course!
Bush in Germany: Could George W. Bush Be Right? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Bush in Germany: Could George W. Bush Be Right? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Nod to the Scot for emailing this to me. He notes that the Spiegel isn't exactly a Bush-friendly publication.


"President Ronald Reagan's visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush's visit to Mainz on Wednesday. Like Bush's visit, Reagan's trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate -- and the Berlin Wall -- and demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this Wall," he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany."
Jackie Robinson
With Jackie's picture up, I remembered some comments I left in an old MLK thread, where I mentioned Jackie. I just thought I'd repost them:

I agree with both Bean and Stern here. There are some accomplishments that rise above the rest of the noise. MLK's was one of those. At great personal risk, he stood up to a great injustice, and as a result, changed the dynamic for all posterity.I will add one name to the short list of real heroes in this respect: Jackie Robinson. If you've never read about him or watched a documentary on him, take the time to do so. Jackie walked proudly and quietly into a world that despised and resented him and everything he stood for. His silence in the face of an onslaught of abuse and threats belied the passion with which he played the game of baseball.

Every word he didn't speak with his mouth, he spoke at volume with an all-out, no apologies brand of baseball that would, alone, have him standing as one of the all-time greats. That he did so with dignity and grace amidst a cacauphony of hatred set the stage for those who would follow.

Like King, Robinson changed the dynamic at great personal risk and sacrifice. I have no idea what his politics were, and I will never care.

For those that don't follow baseball, or know about Jackie Robinson's accomplishments, Jackie was the first black player to play Major League Baseball (since the 1800s). For years, black players had been accomplishing great things in the Negro Leagues, but were barred from playing in the Majors.

In a game played nearly every day for 6 months at a time, Jackie stood up to hate-filled abuse day after day in his rookie season, (first year in the Major's; not his first year in baseball), and well beyond it. Despite this hardship -- which would have derailed not only lesser men, but many greats as well -- Jackie not only played the game, but played it better than most. In that rookie season, despite the enormous pressure of being a trailblazer in an unfriendly wilderness, Jackie won the Rookie of the Year award. He went on to win the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1949.

Of Robinson, Henry Aaron -- the Major League's all-time home run king, and no stranger to racial abuse -- said,
To this day, I don't know how he withstood the things he did without lashing back. I've been through a lot in my time, and I consider myself to be a patient man, but I know I couldn't have done what Jackie did. I don't think anybody else could have done it. Somehow, though, Jackie had the strength to suppress his instincts, to sacrifice his pride for his people's. It was an incredible act of selflessness that brought the races closer together than ever before and shaped the dreams of an entire generation.

Jackie was inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1997, he became the only man to have his number (#42) retired by every Major League team. No player will ever where that number again.

Jackie made Time's "100 Most Important People of the Century". The tribute, written by Henry Aaron, is well worth the read.

Footnote: In addition to his baseball and civil rights accomplishments, Jackie also served his country for 3 years in the U.S. Army. Prior to that, was the first man in the history of UCLA atheletics to letter in 4 sports (football, baseball, basketball and track) in the same year. The track stadium at UCLA bears his name.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
No good deed goes unpunished
There is some sort of ad against antisemitism that features, among others, rap mogul Russell Simmons (second item in the link above). The ADL is complaining that Simmons defends Farrakhan, who is himself something of a Jew hater. I say, why publicly knock a man if he's helping out? You could contact him in private and say that if he's really against Jew hating he could tone it down on the Nation of Islam front.

But my real question is - where are they running these ads? In France, or, say, the Palestinian Authority, hopefully?
War on Militant Islam
Andrew C. McCarthy on War & Election 2004 on National Review Online

Since the point was raised in an earlier post, about the war against Islamic terrorists, I thought I'd dig up this piece from several months ago in the National Review.

""War on terror," as previously argued here, is an ill-conceived and vaporous term. "Terrorism" surely is not our enemy. It cannot be an enemy because it is not an entity, it is a method. But even if one entertained the possibility that we could be at war with "terrorism" — loosely construing it as shorthand for "terrorists" — the phrase still fails. We are not even pretending to be fighting all terrorists. The Basques, the Tamil Tigers, and the many other regional groups that practice terrorism but do not target the United States are objects of our disdain, but they are certainly not our adversaries in this war. Indeed, if they are, we should stop now because it is then true, as the critics bray, that this war can never be ended or won.

No, we are fighting a very particular enemy: militant Islam. It is a global network of identifiable militias, as well as their state and non-state sponsors, who espouse and support an interpretation of Islam that calls for violent jihad against the United States and our allies. In the short term, that enemy seeks to alter American policy; in the long term, it would supplant our constitutional order with a caliphate that accords with Wahhabist principles. That is the enemy.

The forces who adhere to the enemy's creed and its imperatives, moreover, have demonstrated themselves incorrigibly dedicated to our destruction. They are thus not to be cultivated, co-opted, or otherwise negotiated with. They must be eliminated, as the Nazis and other totalitarian regimes have had to be defeated utterly — until they were no longer a dire threat."
Yahoo! News - Official: Bird Flu Pandemic Is Imminent
Yahoo! News - Official: Bird Flu Pandemic Is Imminent

Again, there's obviously reason to be concerned, but this hasn't developed a reliable or potent human-to-human spread mechanism. My gut tells me that the mutation it will take for that to happen isn't trivial, and that there's no certainty it will retain its potency in the process.

Mama Nomad points the 76% mortality rate. That definitely raises my eyebrows. But, it seems to me that ebola has a higher mortality rate, and already spreads human-to-human (albeit with decreasing potency as it proceeds from generation to generation). Meaning, to me, that, as a pathogen, it's a greater threat; the difference being that it's been (so far) relegated to remote regions, and so not subject to the rapid air-travel spread that would be likely in the event of the avian flu, due to its being located in heavily populated and well-traveled areas.

The usual disclaimer: I'm talking mostly out of my rump here. I know very little about epidemics and contageous diseases in general that the average Joe doesn't know. I'm simply a bit suspect when officials from large, multinational bureaucracies start raising the alarm; as often as not, there are ulterior motivations at play (financial, political), and I just don't have a lot of confidence in the competency of personnel at these large international agencies.

Anyhow, it's making headlines. Interesting to follow...
The Coffeehhouse Turns One Third
Four months ago a handful of friends set out to create the journal of record for conservative opinion, personal reflections, social commentary, and household cleanser ratings. We have blown off work, annoyed our spouses, lost some sleep, and ignored our kids, which is exactly why we wanted to start this in the first place.

So pull up a chair, mark us as a favorite, and come back a few times a week. If you start commenting regularly now, in a year, when we're famous, you'll be able to say "I remember when most threads just had me and Irina".

Oh, and bring your own coffee. We're still working on making it pour out of your USB port.
Oh, the Magic!
Yes, I realize there is a lot going on the world. North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons and isn't interested in negotiating. People are dying of hunger and AIDS. However, I can cope with all of this if my house is clean. If you're like me (and few of you are) you are disturbed by the dirt in your home that resists all attempts at cleaning. For example, fingerprints on walls and scuff marks on walls and floors. You can remove some of the fingerprints, but, over time, the oils and dirt become ground in and can't be removed. Since I have four kids, many of the walls of my home are covered with these black, smudgy marks. I even repainted with washable paint, yet the problem persists. A few weeks ago, on a whim, I purchased a box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers at Costco. The box is so light; I thought it might be empty. Yesterday, I opened the box. It is difficult for mere words to describe the ease with which I removed years of ground-in dirt from my walls and floors. You do the math, forty fingers times four years leads to one ugly mess. I swear, it saved me from having to repaint my children’s rooms and the wall behind the sofa (the one the children use as their personal jungle gym). Ladies, race out and buy a box today! Gentlemen, run out and buy a box for your wives! Your lives will never be the same.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Judeo-Christian values versus liberal/leftist feelings
This morning Dennis Prager read his latest article on his show. The article was about how the Left makes decisions based on feelings and the Right makes decisions based on traditional Judeo-Christian values. I wanted to know what Dennis makes of liberal religious movements and leaders. What do you tell the person who reads this article, says, "Hey, I should rely less on my own feelings and more on Judeo-Christian values," then goes to a church where the minister preaches divestment from Israel. Or to a synagogue where the rabbi preaches the evil of the war on Iraq and of George Bush in general.

You could easily argue another viewpoint - what if this person goes to a place of worship that preaches the necessity of racial segregation? I don't think the parallel is all that strong, since clearly this latter case is outside of the mainstream of public thought and the others are in step with most widespread media and/or the policies of big, established religious institutions.

Anyway, that's not even the point of this post. The point is I called the Prager show to ask how the liberal representatives of the religions referred to in the phrase "Judeo-Christian values" fit into this picture. You could do a lot with this - take it in a number of directions. But all the screener could say was "what is your question?" So I tried to phrase it another way. She said, "We're only taking questions on the article." I said my question was about the article. She asked if I had read it. Since Dennis wasn't through reading it (he read only a few lines per segment), and I was in my car, I said no. She said that my question would be answered by reading it. As I guessed, and as you can verify by clicking the title of this post and reading the article yourself, the article does not answer the question in the least. All you can say is, well, those liberal leaders are following their feelings and not traditional Judeo-Christian values. Well, duh to that. That's my question - how does this happen, how do you avoid such pitfalls, etc.

Look, maybe I wasn't expressing myself clearly while doing 65 on the freeway, but it was all I could do not to be banned from calling in by calling the screener an idiot. I'm no genius and the Prager show will go on without my brilliant insights, but I felt she was doing a disservice to the show by not allowing me to bring up this point so Dennis could comment and the audience could mull it over. It was almost as if she were acting as a firewall just to be a firewall - without any smart filters, if you know what I'm talking about.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I called a few weeks back after I thought Dennis had made a misstatement. I had to explain it to the screener three times before she finally put me through. While I was on hold, Dennis wound up correcting himself, so I dropped off. But it was clear he had erred, and fairly obviously so, since he went back and corrected himself (without reviewing the tape, obviously).

What I'm trying to say is this woman ticks me off.

Charlie Rangel: Don't Call it 'Islamic Terrorism'
Top House Democrat Charlie Rangel said Tuesday that it was an act of discrimination to label groups like Hezbollah "Islamic terrorists."

"To call it Islamic terror is discriminating, it's bigoted, it is not the right thing to say." Rangel even questioned whether, in fact, a worldwide Islamic terrorist movement even existed, saying, "We just take for granted that there is an Islamic terror movement because we do have some fanatic people who come from Islamic countries."

The Harlem Democrat complained: "When we had the Ku Klux Klan we didn't call them Baptist terrorists. When Hitler was killing Jews, we didn't call it Christian terrorists."
What!!?! Does he really believe this? I guess what I’m asking is, is he saying something he knows is false, or is he foolish enough to not get why Hizb’Allah should be called an Islamic terrorist group? OK. Take a big breath. Let’s assume he just needs to be informed. Here goes:

The KKK weren’t called “Baptist terrorists” because they didn’t do what they did in the name of the American Baptist denomination. They didn’t refer to themselves as a Baptist movement, and as far as I know, they didn’t speak out against Lutherans or Presbyterians. They did what they did in the name of white power, so we called them “white supremacists”. See how that works? With me so far? Good. Let’s go to the next one.

Hitler’s movement didn’t quote Jesus very much. It didn’t refer to itself as Christian. It didn’t say “We need to take over Europe for Christianity.” The National Socialists (Nazis) claimed to be working for National Socialism and for the ascendancy of Aryan people. So we called them “Nazis”. The only Christian terrorists, as such, are in Northern Ireland, and they’ve been fairly quiet sine 9/11. Not complicated, right?

Now, Hizb’Allah is spelled “Hezbollah” in the mainstream media to conceal that their Arabic name means “Army of Allah”. Everything they do, they do in the name of Islam. They publicly announce their desire to kill infidels and bring the world to Allah. Get it? They’re not terrorists who oh-by-the-way-did-I-forget-to-mention happen to be Muslim. They're Islamic terrorists!

As a final example of accurate labeling, When Charlie Rangel rants about his opinion that breakfast cereals are too expensive, and when he thinks that The Army of Allah are not Islamic terrorists, we are right in calling him a socialist moron.

(The link is via LGF. The rant is my own.)
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
Today is the anniversary of George Washington’s birth. He was a man whose courage and leadership was pivotal to the American Revolution, to the creation of our Constitution, and to the establishment of religious liberty as a cornerstone of our nation. Power Line has a wonderful tribute to this great man. His correspondence with the Newport Congregation, which is linked in the tribute, marks the first occasion that a nation established equal rights for Jews.
Yahoo! News - CDC Chief: Bird Flu Could Become Epidemic
Yahoo! News - CDC Chief: Bird Flu Could Become Epidemic

Mama Nomad sends me a lot of stuff on epidemics. This one looks like it may be scarier than SARS, but until it develops a strain that passes consistantly and potently from human to human, I'm inclined not to worry very much... although I may withdraw my application for a job as a Hong Kong poultry inspector.

It's probably a matter of time before we get a major epidemic that rocks the globe. On the other hand, healthcare and other factors have improved greatly since the 1918 pandemic, which might sap a massive outbreak of its killing power.

I'm talking out of my layman's posterior here, but it would seem to me that antibiotics would help to prevent secondary infections from killing those who survived, but were weakened by the viral outbreak. It also seems to me that simple developments in medical care, such as IV hydration and nutrition, the use of anti-inflammatories, and advances in hospital sanitation would be a great aid in preventing loss of life as the result of an epidemic.

On the other side of the equation, we have a population of elderly whose lives have been prolonged by modern medical science. It is possible that, in this population, whose strength I'm presuming to be much less than that of the rest of the population, there would be a high mortality rate. Of course, in countries where medical treatment is substandard, any major outbreak is going to be deadlier than it would be here, in other Western countries or Japan.
Yahoo! News - Emergency Stay Issued in Right-To-Die Case
Yahoo! News - Emergency Stay Issued in Right-To-Die Case

In the absense of a written DNR order, this just seems to be a straightforward matter of it being wrong to starve a person to death. I hear the side that wants her killed telling me to ignore her movements and facial experessions; that she's really braindead. To me that sounds like "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." I was surprised to learn that there is an issue of a $1 million malpractice suit in the background, and that this might provide some of the motivation behind the push to kill Terri Schiavo.
Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide
Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide

Update by Doctor Bean:
James Lileks had these comments in yesterday's Bleat:
HST killed himself. He never would have “turned his life around” – that’s a hard thing to try when the room’s been spinning for 40 years. Depression? Wouldn’t be surprising. A bad verdict from the doc? Wouldn’t be surprising. A great writer in his prime, but the DVD of his career would have the last two decades on the disc reserved for outtakes and bloopers. It was all bile and spittle at the end, and it was hard to read the work without smelling the dank sweat of someone consumed by confusion, anger, sudden drunken certainties and the horrible fear that when he sat down to write, he could only muster a pale parody of someone else’s satirical version of his infamous middle period. I feel sorry for him, but I’ve felt sorry for him for years. File under Capote, Truman – meaning, whatever you thought of the latter-day persona, don’t forget that there was a reason he had a reputation. Read "Hell's Angels." That was a man who could hit the keys right.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Rose’s Story
Mark Skier is a thirty-something internist in Milwaukee. His blog, Psychotoddler, documents his (frequently very funny) reflections about religious Jewish life, doctoring, and parenting. Recently, I’ve made it a daily read. He’s even had the poor judgment to blogroll us! Thanks!

His mother, Rose, lived in Poland during WWII. I’ve mentioned in a comment in Nomad’s recent post about Iwo Jima that my dad was deported from his home in Romania to a work camp during the war. That he survived was lucky; about half of Romanian Jews were murdered. Polish Jews fared much worse. Rose agreed to be interviewed by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation. Mark has decided to transcribe his mother’s interview word for word in her own blog: Rose’s Story. The entire interview is 2 hours, so he’s transcribing and posting it a bit at a time.

I haven’t read it yet, but I will. You should too.
Estrich v. Kinsley
Liberal Smackdown at the LA Times

I just ran into this most excellent email slap fight between one of my favorite liberals, Susan Estrich, and one of my least favorite, Michael Kinsley. At issue is Ms. Estrich's contention that women are the victims of editorial discrimination at the Times. I don't read the Times, so it's hard to say if Susan's got a legitimate gripe, but I like her, and tend to take her a little more seriously than others on her side of the political rainbow, and I don't like Kinsley (did I mention that twice?), so I'll sit in the Estrich cheering section on this one... even if she does teach at the wrong university.

Go Susan!! Highly entertaining reading.

(pro forma hat tip to Realclearpolitics.com which is where I scour up most of my political reading)

Excerpt (Susan writing to Michael):
You owe me an apology. NO one tried harder to educate you about Los
Angeles, introduce you to key players in the city, bring to your attention,
quietly, the issues of gender inequality than I did - and you have the arrogance
and audacity to say that you couldn't be bothered reading my emails, spending
time in the city where all of us are raising our families ... and then we should
stop our efforts because you're "pissed off."
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Iwo Jima

60 years ago, today, "D-Day" (the day marking the beginning of an invasion) occurred on Iwo Jima as the United States Marines launched their bid to take the piece of land that would be the strategic lynchpin to ending the war in the Pacific.

My grandfather was among the 110,000 marines and sailors who began the fight for Iwo Jima on February 19th, 1945. He was a member of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Regiment, of the U.S. Marine's 5th Division. Like many other companies fighting on Iwo Jima, F-2-26 sustained heavy casualties over the course of the 36 day battle for an island only 7 and a half square miles in size; volcanic atoll, with little or no vegitation, and the enemy dug in, and fighting from a system of underground tunnels and fortified pill boxes. In fact, the Marines fighting on Iwo Jima rarely saw the enemy, despite killing almost all of the nearly 21,000 Japanese who defended the island to the death.

Of the approximately 250 members of my grandfather's company, 98% would be KIA or WIA. My grandfather was one of many Marines to succumb to "combat fatigue" after fighting for 13 days on Iwo. He was evacuated on March 3rd. I had the fortune to find a close buddy of his from Iwo Jima last year. For several days, Howard "Pop" Meyers commanded the squad adjacent to my grandfather's in battle. On several nights, they "dug in" together, between their squads.

Howard related devastating stories of what the battle was like for him and my grandfather. A particularl sad example was that of a mortar shell which landed in a fox hole where two of my grandfather's marines were dug in. One of the kids was a pitching prospect for the Detroit Tigers, PFC Mettling. My grandfather tended to him first, but was told that his buddy was hurt worse. My grandfather turned to tend to the other marine, but he was already dead. When he turned back to Mettling, he too was dead.

This story is just one of thousands like it that occurred on Iwo Jima. The great sacrifices that men made there in the middle of the Pacific ended up being vital to the eventual winning of the war in the Pacific. The island from which Japanese fighters were able to run roughshot over Allied bombers on their way to Japan, now served as a safe haven for wounded planes returning from combat, saving (astonishingly) many more American lives than were cost in the battle.

May the men who fought and died on Iwo Jima always be remembered and honored.

Fox Company Casualties on Iwo Jima

From today's WSJ

A story on History.net

The World War II Memorial

Edited to add: "Flags of Our Fathers" is a must-read book for anyone interested in Iwo Jima. It is written by the son of one of the 5 marines and 1 navy corpsman seen in the famous picture above, and details much about the battle, as well as the lives of the 6 flag raisers before and after the battle. The lives of these 6 men are diverse, and represent an interesting cross-section of the men who fought in WWII both in the Pacific and in Europe. Sadly, their casualty rate is also representative of the broader group who fought on Iwo Jima. Only 3 of them made it off the island alive. Buy "Flags of Our Fathers" here.

Friday, February 18, 2005
One Book List
In 1994, Paul Phillips asked the members of rec.arts.books (a Usenet newsgroup) to name the one book that was the most influential, or thought-provoking, or powerful, or enjoyable, or whatever. He published the responses as the One Book List and it generated a lot of enthusiastic attention. I loved it, because it pointed me toward some great books that I may never have discovered otherwise.

One day I was disappointed (crestfallen, really) to discover that the original List site had been discontinued. Such an important reference - gone? After some searching, I came across this page on which the List had been copied. I now have a personal copy.

If you've never browsed the List, I recommend it. You may find as I did some really wonderful reads.

A question to the readers: What is your favorite book and why? See if it made the One Book List.
Satan’s Fax Machine
Last week (I don’t remember the day) ball-and-chain and I were awakened by our phone ringing at around 3 am. We waited for voice mail to pick up after the fourth ring and tried to go back to sleep. A minute later the phone rings again, which makes us both worried, because maybe something horrible happened and someone is actually trying to get a hold of us. I answer the phone in a croaky voice appropriate for that hour. It’s the electronic mating chirps of a fax machine (or I suppose a dial-up modem, but that seems less likely). Oh, no! Some yahoo is trying to fax us. We have a fax machine, but on a separate dedicated phone number. So some fax machine in the great big world was trying to fax our voice line in the middle of the night, and of course it was persistent. It kept calling back no matter how many times I answered and hung up. Finally, we decided to keep letting voice mail answer, and after a few more calls, the evil fax machine relented.

We don’t have Caller ID, so I have no clue where this fax is. I tried *69 (the feature that lets you call the number that called you most recently) but I just got a fax machine.

We went back to sleep and forgot about the whole thing until last night when it happened again. I was already having a bad night’s sleep since one of my kids just infected me with the latest malady that’s been going around, and this just added insult to sleep loss. So now I’m exhausted and fuzzy-brained. Fortunately, all I do all day is make decisions about people’s health. Oh, and blog.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. So we have no clue what to do about this faxing. We might be on some distribution list that will call us weekly until the end of days and wake us up every Thursday night. It doesn’t even seem malicious. It’s probably some business that made a typo in a fax number. How do we find them and ask them to stop? Call the phone company? Call the FBI? Call the National Registry of Incredibly Annoying but Irreparable Errors?

Any suggestions will be welcomed.

If the weather allows, my son and I are going camping Sunday and Monday, so I will out of the Coffeehouse for a little while. I’m sure Godby will pick up the slack.

Have a good weekend, Coffeehousers! Shabbat shalom, Ralphie.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Blogs vs the MSM
Peggy Noonan, a favorite of the Coffehousers, on the new news media: blogs.
(Hat tip Lileks.)
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
More on Buy Blue
Just thought it would be fun to list some of the more popular companies that buyblue.org categorizes as 100% (or almost 100%)blue or red (gives exclusively to one party or the other):

100% Blue:
Apple Computers (99%)
Barnes & Noble
Bed, Bath & Beyond (97%)
Costco (99%)
Fredericks of Hollywood (who woulda thunk it? The Hustler store is not rated yet)
LL Bean (97%)
Loews Hotels
Powell's Books
Progressive Insurance (well, duh)

100% Red:
Best Buy
Fruit of the Loom (tee hee)
Hershey (95%)
Mickey D's (96%)
Outback Steakhouse (98%)
Russell Stover
Starwood Hotels (Sheraton)
Urban Outfitters (94%)
Wendy's (94%)

Interestingly, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets all come in at 50%.
BuyBlue.org : Alphabetic Company List
Last night Al Rantel interviewed one of the founders of BuyBlue.org on his radio show. Buyblue tells you which companies contribute to Democrats and which to Republicans, with the implication that you should patronize the blue companies at the expense of the red. Rantel pointed out that Reddies can use the same info to buy red!

Soon I received a call from Dr. Bean - ball&chain had been listening as well - asking me if I like Blockbuster's online rental service since they're red and Netflix (the Beans' current provider) is blue. Well, Blockbuster's great. So they're switching.

Thanks, BuyBlue!
Don't Panic

Anyone who is even close to being as big a Sci-Fi geek as I am has long been a fan of Douglas Adams's four book trilogy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The first two books are about as funny as any I've read. The movie is coming. Click on the picture to go to the movie site and watch the trailer. IMDB has some pictures and other info. I really can't wait.
(Hat tip Redsugar Muse)
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Keeping Neo-Nazi New
Here are two disturbing stories that are separated by two weeks, happen on different continents, and are interestingly connected by an ideology of hate.

The first is a picture of the Palestinian security forces training on February 1 in the West Bank. Remember, these are the proud, disciplined soldiers who, under the leadership of the newly-elected Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, are going to crack down on the “militants” in Hamas and thus bring about a warm and fuzzy peace.

So, you’re the officer training these Palestinians and you’re thinking to yourself “We need a sharp, professional salute. We don’t want to blend in with every other ‘security force’. We want some panache. We need a salute that says ‘We like to murder Jews, and we’ve never won a war.’ I have an idea!”

The second story is from Dresden, Germany. Two days ago was the 60th anniversary of the allied fire-bombing of Dresden. In about two days allied bombers burned the city down, killing over 35,000 Germans, mostly civilians. I frequently use this as an example of the horror that must be inflicted on an enemy in order to win a war, and as an example that the ultimate target is psychological -- the enemy’s willingness to fight. The people of Dresden had a peaceful ceremony to remember those who died, but a band of Neo-Nazis with torches and black flags marched during the ceremony to denounce the “bombing Holocaust” and say some nice things about Hitler. Fortunately, it sounds like the vast majority of the people at the ceremony were vocally against these goons, either because they recognize evil when they see it, or because they know we can burn the city down again.

(Hat tip LGF and Israellycool.)
Monday, February 14, 2005
A different kind of tagging in schools
Parents in a California school district are up in arms that a school has outfitted its students with RFID tags and installed scanners throughout campus. Just in case you don't know (and I don't mean to insult anybody's intelligence), an RFID tag is that thing you wear around your neck and swipe at a scanner in order to get into your office building. I couldn't tell from the story whether students have to hold their cards up to a scanner or if the scanner is strong enough to read the card as its holder passed by. According to the story, the point of the system is to keep tabs on attendance. Sounds like the school didn't do a great job of communicating to the parents what was going on, but in theory I am hard pressed to find anything wrong with the system itself. Okay, there's the odd blip about scanners at bathroom doors, but even that could possibly be used to keep tabs on kids out of the classroom with a bathroom pass.

Just seems to me people are too paranoid about Big Brother scenarios. Why would anyone - goverment, business, or other entity - want attendance records other than to, um, record attendance? Color me naive, I suppose.

On the other hand, these guys ain't complaining about it.

Move the large block from the upper left to the upper right.

This is a great sliding-block puzzle. Jim Lewis (of Quirkle.com) is the inventor.

Here is an article that describes how it was made and why it is so clever.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
A 48 Hour Work Week? I Surrender!
Outrage as French legislature votes to lengthen work week from 35 to 48 hours

Hilarity ensues as it slowly dawns on the French government that short work weeks and lots of mandatory vacation time does not make for a world-class economy. The legislature votes to allow employers to have a longer work week -- allow, mind you, not require. The socialists are up in arms.

"But we have already more cheese than we need!" complained Jean-Paul.

(Hat tip Israellycool)

Our previous observations on matters froggy:

Holocaust lessons meet Muslim rebuff in France 01/20/5
I Thought They Only Had Troops For Parades 11/06/4
French Jew-Hatred 10/31/4
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Going Around
There are some characteristics that are universal among patients. All patients are afraid they have cancer. All patients to some extent do not believe they are mortal. All patients want their parking validated. These human qualities are easy to understand. What I don't understand is why all patients need to know that their illness is "going around".

Anytime I diagnose someone with an infectious disease, their first question isn't "Do I need antibiotics?" (that's frequently their second question) or "When will I start feeling better?" Their first question is invariably "Is it going around?" They desperately want to know if I've seen a lot of the same illness in my other patients recently. The reason for this question completely mystifies me. Initially I thought it was a simple case of misery loving company. A sick patient might be comforted knowing that there a lot of people in the same phlegmy febrile boat. But now, I think the reason is more complicated. I think patients believe that unless lots of other people have had the same thing recently, their diagnosis may be incorrect. They think that if they are part of a large herd with similar symptoms, then it's likely they have a cold, but if the last time I saw the same symptoms was a month ago then they must have something more serious -- lymphoma, or maybe lupus, because everyone knows that lymphoma and lupus don't "go around". But that's simply not how diseases are diagnosed. A runny nose and a cough in the absence of sinus tenderness, red eardrums, or abnormal lung sounds is a cold regardless of how many or how few other colds have been diagnosed in the same county recently. Lymphoma and lupus have entirely different symptoms -- symptoms which would be no less alarming if many patients had them in the same week.

Before learning of this unvarying patient need, I would frequently fall into a trap.

Me: Well, it looks like you have a cold. Some Sudafed might help keep your nose clear, and you can take Robitussin DM for the cough. I expect you'll be better in a few days.
Patient: Is this going around?

I'm a stickler when it comes to being honest with patients, so, not knowing any better, I walk right into the open manhole.

Me: I haven't seen any colds in the last few weeks, but the virus is around year-round. You probably got it from someone at work.

The patient's smile fades and is replaced by growing concern.

Patient: But no-one was sick at work. Maybe I need a second opinion...

[A second opinion for a cold? Are you trying to get me laughed out of the profession?]
Me: I'm sure you'll be better soon and if not, I'll be happy to send you to a specialist.

The patient leaves dissatisfied, wondering why I'm hiding from her the fact that she probably has pancreatic cancer. As soon as she gets home she gets the name of an oncologist from her sister-in-law.

After a few of these disasters I realized I'd have to modify my approach (though I still have no idea why). This is the only situation in which my answer to a patient is always the same, regardless of the facts.

Me: Well, it looks like you have a cold. Some Sudafed might help keep your nose clear, and you can take Robitussin DM for the cough. I expect you'll be better in a few days.
Patient: Is this going around?
Me: Yup.
Patient: [smiling broadly] Thanks a lot. I really appreciate you squeezing me in on such short notice.

My wife imagines a doctor working in a remote African village that is being decimated by Ebola. The doctor goes to the bedside of a very sick woman.

Doctor: Let’s see. Bleeding from every orifice, dangerously low blood pressure, very high fever... I’m pretty sure you have hemorrhagic fever, probably Ebola.
Patient: Is it going around?
Doctor: Oh, yes. The whole village has it. I’m catching the next flight out of here.
Patient: That’s good! I’m glad you stopped by.

My previous reflections on doctoring:

What Is It?
The Secret To Longevity
Thank You, Doctor
Senior Sadness
VDH's Private Papers :: Why Democracy?
Great stuff from VDH...

"Neoconservatives hope that a democratic Iraq and Afghanistan can usher in a new age of Middle Eastern consensual government that will cool down a century-old cauldron of hatred. Realists counter that democratic roots will surely starve in sterile Middle East soil, and it is a waste of time to play Wilsonian games with a people full of anti-American hatred who display only ingratitude for the huge investment of American lives and treasure spent on their freedom. Paleoconservatives prefer to spend our treasure here at home, while liberals oppose anything that is remotely connected with George W. Bush or refutes their own utopian notions of a world to be adjudicated by a paternal United Nations. All rightly fear demonocracy — the Arafat or Iranian unconstitutional formula of "one vote, one time."

Yet for all its uncertainties and dangers in the Islamic Arab world, there remain some undeniable facts about democracy across time and space that suggest with effort and sacrifice it can both work in the Middle East and will be in the long-term security interests of the United States. So why exactly should we support the daunting task of democratizing the Middle East and how is it possible?"

Read the rest...
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Media too Right
Just had an amusing - but not heated - conversation with some co-workers who feel the mainstream media is too conservative. That Dems need to get a foothold in media to get their message across. This isn't a new misconception, of course - it's the reason Air America exists (although at least it's true that the Right pretty much has a stranglehold on the AM dial). Get this - turns out the LA Times is Republican! I had no idea. Good stuff.
My wife and I are already falling into the cliche where we're fascinated with what our kids take for granted that we never had, or that they've never heard of. Cell phones are an obvious example of somethign they take for granted, but they've also never heard of a phone cord. Have no idea what that even means.

So now I'm trying to predict - or guess is more like it - what their kids will experience in these areas. Here are a couple of my guesses:

- It's already possible for kids today to have no idea what a VHS tape is (our kids have 'em). But I think our grandkids will not see any media whatsoever. Everything will be hard-drive based. No CDs, DVDs, anything. Just downloads & uploads. And central server storage.

- Toilet flushers, water faucet knobs, possibly even light switches. It'll all be automated. A lot of this is standard fare in the workplace right now - can homes be far behind?

That's all I got for now. I know, pretty bold.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Real Alchemy
Q: What do you get when you cross a beam of uranium ions with liquid hydrogen?

A: Almost everything. More specifically, all the elements from uranium to nitrogen (and 1,400 isotopes among them).

Physics News Update 710
New Direction

I keep referring to the Democratic Party driving off a cliff. It's nice to see that Cox & Forkum see it the same way.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Next Axis of Evil Target: Iran, Part III
Iran tells US nuclear sites cannot be destroyed
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran warned the United States that its nuclear sites cannot be destroyed by air or missile strikes, as Britain entered the fray by declaring that Tehran is a state sponsor of terrorism.
Well thanks for sharing. So you've got a nuclear program for strictly peaceful reasons because you need nuclear reactors for electricity. You need nuclear electric power plants because you don't want to keep using all of that inexpensive oil you have to generate electricity like you have been so far. That makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is that now you're just letting us know that your facilities for your peaceful humanity-loving not-at-all-intended-to-incinerate-Tel-Aviv program are in deep underground hardened bunkers and under population centers. How much you gonna charge per kilowatt-hour?

(Hat tip Jack's Shack)

Previous posts relating to Iran:
2/02/05 Next Axis of Evil Target: Iran, Part II
1/21/05 Next Axis of Evil Target: Iran
12/15/4 Mullah Pet
11/27/4 Iran Dug Tunnel for Military Nuclear Work
11/4/04 Pic of the Day
OpinionJournal - The 'Exit Strategy' Democrats
OpinionJournal - The 'Exit Strategy' Democrats

"On Sunday, some eight million Iraqi citizens risked their lives to participate in parliamentary elections--as vivid and moving a demonstration of democratic ideals in action as we've seen in our lifetimes. Whereupon Senate Democrats Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry took to the airwaves to explain that it was no big deal and that it was time to start casting about for an 'exit strategy.'"
Monday, February 07, 2005
The Dems' Week from Hell
The Dems' Week from Hell

"THE DEMOCRATS' WORST WEEK AND a half since Black Tuesday (November 2, 2004, when the U.S. election returns came in) began on January 18, when Barbara Boxer took on Condi Rice in the Senate, and ended on Black Sunday (January 30, 2005, when Iraq held its first free election). In one comparatively short window of time, the Democrats managed to exhibit all of the class, grace, wisdom, presence, good sense, and strategic and tactical brilliance that had allowed them to move from absolute parity after the 2000 election to the loss of the House, Senate, and White House in the 2004 election, and left them apparently poised to lose even more. You too can turn yourself into a loser if you study and follow their recent behavior, and the cases to look at are these..."
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
Today would have been Ronald Reagan's 94th birthday. He stood up to the Soviets when much of the world didn't want to. He saw containment and balance-of-power for what they were -- defeatist compromises. He understood that freedom is infectious and that the surest path to peace is strength. We miss him.

Two bloggers have posted fitting tributes:
Jackson's Junction
Red State Rant

(hat tip: GayPatriot)
VDH on How Wrong The Left Is
The Global Throng
Why the world’s elites gnash their teeth.

I don't think there is currently an author who more than Victor Davis Hansen so clearly states the conservative foreign policy position, and, when I'm surrounded by lefty retreatnicks, makes me think "Right! That's what I believe. Perhaps I'm not insane." Krauthammer, now that I think of it, would rank with him.

Here are highlights, but read it all:
First, there is a tremendous sense of impotence. Somehow sharp looks alone, clever repartee, long lists of books read and articles cited, or global travel do not automatically result in commensurate power. So what exactly is wrong with these stupid people of Nebraska who would elect a dense, Christian-like George Bush when a Gore Vidal, George Soros, Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, or Ted Kennedy warned them not to?
Second, political powerlessness follows from ideological exhaustion. Communism and Marxism are dead. Stalin and Mao killed over 80 million and did not make omelets despite the broken eggs. Castro and North Korea are not classless utopias but thugocracies run by megalomaniac dictators who the world prays will die any minute. The global Left knows that the Cold War is over and was lost by the Left, and that Eastern Europeans and Central Americans probably cherish the memory of a Ronald Reagan far more than that of a Francois Mitterrand or Willy Brandt.
Is it possible that some middle-of-the-road liberals might read him sufficiently to realize that their ideology and their party have long ago driven off a cliff?
Friday, February 04, 2005
World of reggae opens the door to reverent songs of Hasidic Jew
Well, Bob Marley always sang about Zion and stuff...
Bomb Shelters, Part III
The Federal Emergency Management Agency published detailed bomb shelter plans in 1983 - Home Blast Shelter.

If you are facing a nuclear attack within 48 hours and need a bomb shelter FAST, Cresson H. Kearny wrote Nuclear War Survival Skills in 1987, a great reference guide on nuclear preparedness with instructions for six expedient bomb shelters. Chapters include Psychological Preparations (#2), Warnings and Communications (#3), Ventilation and Cooling of Shelters (#6), Protection Against Fires and Carbon Monoxide (#7), Water (#8), Food (#9), and Surviving Without Doctors (#13). Sorry for that last one, Bean.

If you have the time and money, bomb shelters can be built for you by a variety of vendors. I especially like the beautiful modern bomb shelters that are available from Radius Defense at prices between $25,000 (for the six-person SP6) to $186,400 (for the 25-person CAT25).

The same bomb shelters are available from Alpine Survival Group at a markup. I include their link because they have some really nice interior and exterior pictures. These guys sell gas masks and rifles too, among other goodies.

This is the last part of my series on bomb shelters. Is anybody out there? Anyone at all?


Back to Part I
Back to Part II
Meet Joe Ohio
James Lileks is doing something very interesting this year. He has long been a fan and collector of Americana from the 50s, 60s and 70s. His website overflows with pictures scanned from old cookbooks, comic books, magazines, and much else. He also collects matchbooks and has a part of his site devoted to them.

Recently, he bought a whole collection of matchbooks from a man who lived and traveled in Ohio in the 50s and 60s. He knows nothing about this man. After tossing the matchbooks that were in bad shape he was still left with over 200. What he has decided to do with them is oddly addicting. He has scanned them all and alphabetized them. Then, starting about a month ago, he began writing an entirely fictional story of Joe Ohio, with each daily episode (M-F) constructed around the next matchbook. Unlike much of his other writing, there’s no attempt at humor; he’s just telling a story and building a character. I’m finding it very compelling. Check it out.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
bumper sticker overload
Galley Slaves has a bit about lefty bumper stickers on a next-door neighbor's car. I have a bit of that going on myself. Way back before the Iraq invasion, my KFPK-listening (KFPK is the so-cal option for people who think NPR is too conservative) neighbors slapped a "war is not the answer" sticker on their bumper.

I'm not a confrontational type by nature, so I put a sticker on my car that reads, "Sometimes war has to be the answer - it depends on the question."

A few days later they added a sticker: "You know what I mean."

Okay, so that didn't really happen. But it's true about the first sticker. They also have one that says something like "Work Harder, we need your tax dollars" - which strikes me as non-Leftist, in that it seems to be a dig against taxation...

Anyway, what I'm really interested in is the religious war waged via metallic bumper decals...

UPDATE: One of the commenters on the galley slaves post links to this hilarious, must-see-right-away guide to bumper stickers.
Happy Days are here again
Just watched the Happy Days 30th Anniversary reunion extravaganza. Thought they were good sports to include a nod to "jumping the shark" - don't think they quite got the idea of what it means but, hey, that phrase has jumped the shark anyway.

I didn't remember the late episodes where Ritchie grew his hair out, sported a 'stache and punched out Fonzie in a bar.

I now have a nearly uncontrollable urge to buy the entire series on DVD, if it's out. I won't succumb, but I have to admit the urge is there.

On a related note, I once saw Henry Winkler in the food court of my office park. I was getting onto the elevator and saw him from afar. I asked a guy in the elevator if he saw The Fonz. "Huh?" he asked. "You know, Henry Winkler? Happy Days? Aaaaayyyy," of course I did the ol' thumbs up on the last one.

The dude looked me in the eye, and sincerely as heck, said, "I don't think I'm old enough to know what you're talking about."

He was old enough to get thrown through the plate-glass window that made up the back of the elevator, I'll tell you that.
O Have You Seen the Mufti Man?
The title doesn't do justice to this piece in Newsweek - a rabbi's commentary (so to speak) on Holocaust memories. It's about more than the Arab states' boycott of the UN Holocaust commemoration ceremony, but it is about that as well. And I guess Newsweek couldn't resist the clever title.

Man, I even bash the media when they print a worthwhile article. I'm hopeless.
Kosher Sports Bar
I had no idea there was a demand for such a thing, but here you go. This Sunday will see a kosher Superbowl party at what is thought (by me) to be the world's first and only kosher sports bar.

If you happen to be in South Florida, wanna see the superbowl on a big screen and would like to have some rabbinically approved snax on hand, here's the dealio:

Watch the Super Bowl on a GIANT 30' x 29' TV screen at Contact Sports Bar & Grill, South Florida's first Kosher sports bar.

Free admission, free snacks. Buffet & full bar available. Glatt Kosher under the ORB.

Contact Sports Bar & Grill is located at the Palladium Athletic Village, 3367 N. University Drive, Davie (between Stirling Road and Sheridan Street).

For info, call (954) 447-7529 or (954) 662-6702.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Next Axis of Evil Target: Iran, Part II
Looks like our Department of State is still turning up the rhetoric on Iran.

Bolton: US 'very concerned' Israel might attack Iran

Here are the highlights. The stick:
An American envoy repeated US allegations Monday about an Iranian nuclear weapons program and said Israel might attack Iran's nuclear sites because the Jewish state has "a history" of such actions.
Kind of weird, no? An American using Israel to threaten Iran. "I'm not sayin' they're gonna do it, but they done it before..."

The carrot:
"Libya provides a case where a regime can give up weapons of mass destruction and stay in power," he said. "We didn't make any deals with Libya. Libya made its decision based on what it saw in Iraq," Bolton said. "They came to the decision that it was safer to give up nuclear weapons than to pursue them."
I hope this doesn't mean that we'd agree to keep the Mullahs in power if they surrender their nuclear fuel, but I do hope it means that we're trying to scare them that we'll overthrow them if they don't.

And with Bush in power, you know Iran has to be worried. The unknowables are (1) what are we doing with the Iranian resistance right now? (2) what is the Iranian government going to do?

Previous posts relating to Iran:
1/21/05 Next Axis of Evil Target: Iran
12/15/4 Mullah Pet
11/27/4 Iran Dug Tunnel for Military Nuclear Work
11/4/04 Pic of the Day

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