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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Muslims come to pay respects to victim of Seattle shooting
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The light is better over here
You know that old joke, the one where the guy is looking under a streetlight for his keys because the light is better there than where he actually lost them? That's what comes to my mind when people say that Israel should be attacking Syria and sparing poor Lebanon. Syria's really behind it, they say, but Israel doesn't have the stones to attack her.

This assumes, of course, that Israel is trying to punish Lebanon. That's not the case, of course - Israel is simply trying to destroy Hizbullah. And Hizbullah is in Lebanon. You can't attack Syria just because the light is better there.

And let's face it - if Israel did attack Syria, then Syria's civilian population would be in the same situation as Lebanon's. And it's not the civilians' fault that their unelected "government" chooses to fund and supply terrorists. I don't expect the world would give Israel a pass if Syria's civilian population were at risk instead of Lebanon's.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Lebanon crisis reveals an Anti-Jewish Israeli State
I can't bring myself to read this entire article. Suffice it to say that it has a caption that characterizes Leo Strauss as "a Zionist who sought to re-create German Nazism in a scheme of 'World Domination'" and features a photoshopped image of an Israeli soldier pointing a machine gun at a woman and two children. And, yes, it was written by a Jew and appears in "Canada's new socially progressive and cross-cultural national newspaper." Of course it does.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
"Today’s calls for peace are calls for Israeli surrender"
Israel Deserves our Support

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

President, The Board of Rabbis of Southern California

It seems that it all happened in the flash of an eye. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Israel is at war again, its air force and navy bombing sites throughout Lebanon. The usual calls for Israeli restraint have been issued. The claim that Israel is acting disproportionately has been repeatedly asserted. Both non-Jews and Jews have called for Israel to return to the paths of peace and non-violence.

But this conflict did not begin in the flash of an eye, nor did it come out of nowhere. And all of the criticisms of Israel’s actions at this time are the result of the failure to understand these facts. Hezbollah, sworn to Israel’s destruction, has been parked on the border between Israel and Lebanon since Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon six years ago. Syria and Iran have conspired to provide Hezbollah with the necessary training and arms to kill Israeli civilians in the north, harass the Israeli troops that guard the border, and generally wreak havoc whenever the prospect of real progress toward peace is in the air. The Lebanese government has been unable and unwilling to fulfill its UN-declared obligation to disarm Hezbollah. The violence we are seeing today has been in the works for years, waiting only for Hezbollah’s (or Syria’s or Iran’s) decision that the moment had come to begin the shooting war.

What is the “proportional” response to an enemy whose objective is to destroy you utterly? How much more restraint could Israel have shown beyond the decision to not attack preemptively? And what can peace even mean when confronting a foe which exists for the sole purpose of seeing to it that peace is never ever achieved?

Every attempt that has been made to bring peace to the Middle East – including the successful ones between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan - have all been premised on the readiness of all parties to recognize the right of the other to live as a State in peace. The reason that Israel does not have peace today with the Palestinians is simply that Yasir Arafat never sincerely accepted this premise (as was dramatically evidenced by his rejection of the Camp David accords in July of 2000), and because Hamas explicitly rejects the idea. The only way that Israel could achieve peace with Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, or Iran is by agreeing to dismantle itself. Today’s calls for peace are, in effect, calls for Israeli surrender.

Israel deserves our support in the same way that any nation victimized by terror deserves our support. And beyond that, Israel deserves our support as a democratic nation that wakes up every morning with radical Islamic anti-Western forces within easy rocket distance of its civilian population. Support of Israel when it faces off against these forces, is the only thing that will one day – may it come soon – bring peace.

In a vacuum, who could argue with calls for restraint and calls for peace when innocent civilians are in harms way? But Israel isn’t in a vacuum. It is in the Middle East.
Monday, July 17, 2006
I am Peace
I see PT's Psalm 83 and raise him Psalm 120:

A Song of Ascents. In my distress I called unto the LORD, and He answered me.

O LORD, deliver my soul from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given unto thee, and what shall be done more unto thee, thou deceitful tongue?

Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of broom.

Woe is me, that I sojourn with Meshech, that I dwell beside the tents of Kedar!

My soul hath full long had her dwelling with him that hateth peace.

I am peace; but when I speak, they are for war.
Let's not forget...
...that on top of the crisis in the north and in the south, the usual suicide bombing attempts
and West Bank ambushes are continuing apace.

That's a lotta stuff.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Protests against Israeli military actions
...in Tel Aviv.

Funny, no one's protesting up in Metulla...

I mean, hey, there's self-hating and then there's self-hating.
Treppenwitz: Handy 'To-Do' List
Things to do to support Israel
Friday, July 14, 2006
Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon
Vatican condemns Israel for attacks on Lebanon

The Vatican on Friday strongly deplored Israel's strikes on Lebanon, saying they were "an attack" on a sovereign and free nation.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said Pope Benedict and his aides were very worried that the developments in the Middle East risked degenerating into "a conflict with international repercussions."

"In particular, the Holy See deplores right now the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and assures its closeness to these people who already have suffered so much to defend their independence," he told Vatican Radio.

I call bull****.

Ed at Captain's Quarter's elaborates.

Forgive me, Father Sodano, but that argument has no bearing on reality. I do not necessarilly think that attacking Lebanon makes the best strategy, but Israel has plenty of justification for it. The attack on Israel also came against a "free and sovereign nation". Hezbollah's armed forces exist with the complicity of the Lebanese government, and they launched their attacks from Lebanon's sovereign territory. That constitutes an act of war, and Israel has the right to respond militarily to destroy the threat to their own sovereignty. etc.
It's funny cuz it's true
Dry Bones Cartoon:
Israel at War on Two Fronts
WSJ on current Israel crisis
An interesting take.

Some tidbits:

In the case of Hamas, perhaps Israel could rain indiscriminate artillery fire on Gaza City, surely a proportionate response to the 800 rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli towns in the last year alone. In the case of Hezbollah, it might mean carpet bombing a section of south Beirut, another equally proportionate response to Hezbollah's attacks on civilian Jewish and Israeli targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

We aren't being serious, but neither is a feckless international community that refuses to proportionately denounce the outrages to which Israel is being subjected. That goes also for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who says "all sides must act with restraint." But Israel's current problems result in part from an excess of restraint in responding to previous Hamas and Hezbollah provocations.


Israel can and will handle the immediate military threats on its two borders. But ultimately there will be no resolution in Lebanon and Gaza until the regimes in Syria and Iran believe they will pay a price for the wars they are waging through their proxies.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Stuff I've Read Since May
Among the Mansions of Eden: Tales of Love, Lust, and Land in Beverly Hills, by David Weddle. This is a book about Beverly Hills - its history, its demographics, and some of its most interesting characters. The author is a great story teller.

Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by the Arbinger Institute. My boss recommended this. It's kind of an introspective look at the way we should deal with others in the workplace. Rather than focus on others' faults, we should focus on our own. In fact, the book seems to argue that most of our problems are our own making.

The Natural History of the Rich, by Richard Conniff. The author studies the rich as a naturalist might study some exotic monkey. Some good anecdotes.

The novel I'm on right now is The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. This one has a gruesome premise. A dead girl tells the story (from Heaven) of life on Earth after her brutal rape and murder.

I'm going on a business trip to China for a week, starting this Saturday. That means no posts from me during that time - China restricts access to blogspot. Y'all have a good week.
Monday, July 10, 2006
The Weekend in Sports
I subscribe to an investment newsletter, and I frequently get junk mail from other newsletters trying to persuade me into buying a subscription. On Friday, I got an e-mail from Nick Vardie, the Global Guru. His letter read,


Fellow Investor,

This week, Germany is awash in optimism. Winning the 1954 World Cup helped to heal Germany's national psyche after the war and kicked off the Wirtschaftswunder -- its post-war economic miracle. Hopes are high that the surprisingly strong (if ultimately unsuccessful) performance of Jurgen Klinsmann's German team in the semi-final of the World Cup will help bring Germany out of its self-imposed funk.

The letter went on and on about Germany's economic opportunities, but something about the first paragraph struck the wrong note.

I replied,

Dear Global Guru,

Germany lost in the semifinals to Italy, 0-2.



The following day, Germany beat Portugal 3-1 for third place. It's interesting to me that they have an extra game to see who comes in third. But Saturday's Main Event was not the World Cup. A buddy of mine from business school had a surprise 40th birthday party at a friend's house in Los Angeles, not too far from the Beans. My buddy studies Krav Maga - it is some kind of Israeli martial arts that I'd never heard of before - and he is big on Ultimate Fighting. So the friend, our host, rented a dozen Mexican wrestlers to compete for our amusement in a ring in his backyard! You've seen the ads for Nacho Libre? That's essentially what it was - all masks, capes, and costumes. It was nuts. The highlights (lowlights?): Wrestlers getting thrown out of the ring into the audience. One of the female guests, hit by a flying wrestler, was hurt. Is there no word for liability in Spanish? Another wrestler, flipped upside down through the air by his opponent, made such an impressive arc with his legs that they snagged and severed the cable TV feed to the house. The controlled chaos lasted about forty minutes, and then the mighty gladiators changed back into their street clothes, ate as much food and drank as much beer as they could get their hands on, disassembled the ring, and then drove off into the sunset. Only in L.A.

On Sunday, the Italians beat the French on penalty kicks. This agreed with me - I preferred the Italians for their non-Frenchness. The only thing that might have improved the match was masks.
Where are we?
Yes, it seems like coffeehouse activity has waned lately. The only things behind the counter are stale pastries and day-old coffee. Bitter stuff, that.

Personally, I am in the midst of dealing with a newborn and a yearly production cycle at work that my colleagues agree is more grueling than years past, for some reason (I was at work the day after the baby was born. And that was a Sunday). To make you life easier, add our RSS feed somewhere and just check that every now and then to see what's brewin'.

Our other members can feel free to post their own sob stories, either in the comments here or in separate posts.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
That didn't take long
The U.N.'s new Human Rights Council has passed a resolution against Israel. For responding against rocket attacks originating in Gaza.

Alternative titles to this post: second verse, same as the first; the king is dead, long live the king, etc.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Do you ever have so much to do that you can’t do anything? I am sitting here in my dirty house with loads of tasks to do for both Dr. Bean and the Beanlets. There is nothing to make for dinner and I’m so low on food I had to resort to powdered milk for the children’s cereal this morning. So, what am I doing? Blogging. Wish me luck!
Monday, July 03, 2006
Independence Day 2006
Tomorrow marks the 230th anniversary of our great nation's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Enjoy it, fellow Americans, and count your blessings. I intend to watch my kids in a neighborhood parade, throw some water balloons, barbecue some sausages, drink some beer, and watch the fireworks. May your holiday be just as pleasant. I think the Founding Fathers would approve.

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed... else, like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." Dwight D. Eisenhower

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