Thursday, April 20, 2006

As the worm turns

Originally, I started to blog because the Last Amazon wanted me to do it. I had never even heard the word "blog", let alone knew what one was until my daughter introduced me. She was curious not only about the opinions I hold, but how I came to think the way I do. So we made a pack. I would blog about anything that interested me and for her part; she would read it and email her thoughts or criticism of whatever I chose to comment on.

Hence, my introduction to blogging was just another form of dialogue between mother and daughter. In time, the dialogue was expanded to include other people’s sons and daughters, parents and grandparents. I have met some wonderful people and many of your emails have touched me deeply - while others have just met the delete key.

My mother has always told me that I should write books. I have always answered I would as soon as I had a story to tell. I finally found a story to tell last January and I have been busy writing on and off. It's been a bit of a hard slog writing the book and keeping up the blog. I find that I am only able to write when I am alone and being the mother of many means, I have very limited opportunities to be alone to write. For example, I was trying to finish a chapter after the boys got up last Monday. While I was busy writing in a final push to finish the chapter, my oldest son broke the toilet seat. His account is still a little vague and I can't quite picture in my mind how he managed to break it while he was bathing in the tub. I am chalking it up to one of those inexplicable male things.

The Last Amazon has advised me that she no longer can keep up her side of the bargain, and frankly, no one else engages me as much as she does. If she isn’t reading, I really don’t have much desire or motivation to keep blogging. So this is good-bye and farewell for now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Jordan plays hard ball with Hamas

Jordan is accusing the Hamas Palestinian Authority of smuggling weapons into Jordan. Here’s how the Jordan Times reports the story:
AMMAN (Petra) — The government on Tuesday said it postponed a visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar after authorities recently seized weapons and explosives that were smuggled by Hamas into Jordan.

“The government considers this as a proof that the Hamas movement was exercising a dual approach in dealing with Jordan,” Government Spokesperson Nasser Judeh said. “In light of the recent developments, including the seizure of weapons and explosives that elements from the Hamas movement had brought into Jordan, Zahar's visit, scheduled for today, was postponed indefinitely.”

According to Judeh, security services observed several attempts by Hamas elements to smuggle various types of weapons into Jordan and store them. “Such extremely dangerous weapons included missiles, explosives and machineguns,” Judeh added.
Security services also observed at different stages activities by Hamas elements in Jordan, including surveillance of vital targets in Amman and other cities, he said. “Such practices contradicts the nature of the Jordanian-Palestinian ties as well as the repeated positive affirmations by the new Palestinian government, which pledged not to use the Jordanian arena for any purposes that would jeopardise the security of the Kingdom or interfere in its internal affairs,” Judeh said.

He said “the government emphasises the deep relationship between Jordan and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.” “Such actions do not serve this relation or the higher interest and the cause of the Palestinian people. Jordan historically considered supporting the Palestinian cause as one of its political constants.”

Hamas, of course, denies the charges of the Jordanian government but what surprises me is that they are not blaming the Joooos according to this Ynet News Online report:
Hamas denied on Wednesday accusations by Jordan that the Islamic militant group had stored weapons on its territory and said it regretted Amman's cancellation of a visit by the Palestinian foreign minister. "These accusations are false and completely contradict the well-known Hamas attitude that it does not intervene ... In the internal affairs of other countries," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

A Jordanian government spokesman on Tuesday said security forces had seized rocket launchers and other weapons from a Hamas arms cache and had scrapped a visit by new Palestinian Foreign Minister and senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.
The Islamist faction, which is sworn to Israel's destruction and took over the Palestinian government on March 29 after winning January elections, was also accused of using Jordan to engage in anti-Israeli activities.
Palestinian deputy prime minister Naser al-Shaer, also from Hamas, said the new government was not involved. "We have no information about this incident and we are certain the brethren in Jordan will find out the Palestinians are not involved in such acts," Shaer told Reuters. Zahar is touring Arab states to urgently try to raise funds after the United States and other world powers suspended direct aid, saying Hamas must renounce violence and recognise Israel and past interim peace deals. "We regret the way the Jordanian government used (this) to justify the cancellation of the visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar at the last moment," Abu Zuhri said.

Interesting to note that Khaled Mashaal, the current leader for Hamas, was once expelled from Jordan for his, shall we say, “activities” in the Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Who would stand up for Muhammad Abu al-Hawa?

This week in Carolyn Glick’s Our World Column, she asks the question: Why is Muhammad Abu al-Hawa dead?

Muhammad Abu al-Hawa was a 42-year-old father of eight when he died last Wednesday night. As Israeli Jews were beginning our Pessah Seders and retelling the story of our exodus from Egypt and our rebirth as a free nation, Abu al-Hawa was being tortured by Fatah terrorists. As we ate our Seder meal, he was shot seven times. As we called out "Next year in Jerusalem," Abu al-Hawa's body and car were torched.

Abu al-Hawa was tortured and murdered because he stood accused of committing what the Palestinians consider a capital crime. Eight young children were orphaned last Wednesday night because their father allegedly sold an apartment building in Israel's capital city to Jews. The building in question is located in Jerusalem's A-Tur neighborhood, just above the Temple Mount on the Mount of Olives.

Muhammad Abu al-Hawa was buried in a makeshift cemetery on the road between Jerusalem where he lived, and Jericho where he was murdered. His body was buried there because the Palestinian Authority's mufti in Jerusalem, Ikremah Sabri, has barred all Muslims accused of selling land to Jews from being buried in a Muslim cemetery.

When the PA was established in 1994, the first legal step its chairman Yasser Arafat and its justice minister Freih Abu Medein took was to declare null and void all laws that had been in force until that date. After plunging Palestinian society into legal chaos, Arafat and Medein reinstated one law. That law was a Jordanian law which Israel had revoked in 1967. It made selling land to Jews a capital offense.

SINCE 1994, dozens of Arab Israelis and PA residents have been murdered on suspicion of selling land to Jews. Abu al-Hawa's murder - like those that preceded it - tells us several important things about Palestinian society. It tells us that like the PA today, any successor Palestinian state will be a racist, apartheid state where laws will be promulgated based solely on race and religious origin. Jews will be denied all basic human rights and Arabs who peacefully coexist with Jews will be accused of treason and made targets for murder.

On Saturday night Sheikh Raed Salah, the former mayor of Umm el-Fahm and the head of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic Movement, spoke to an audience of some 30,000 Israeli Arabs in Kafr Kana. There he placed Abu al-Hawa's murder in the context of the Arab-Islamic strategy for conquering Jerusalem. His address, which was broadcast live by al-Jazeera, was devoted to calling for the expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem. He called on his Arab brethren to "save Jerusalem from the hands of the Jews," promising that "Jerusalem will soon be the capital of the world Islamic nation, and it will be governed by a caliphate."

Salah's speech placed him in the company of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Qatar-based Sunni cleric who acts as a religious authority for both Hamas and al-Qaida. Speaking in Sanaa, Yemen, last December, Qaradawi, who chairs the Al-Quds Foundation, referred to the goal of Islamizing Jerusalem by ending coexistence with Israel as "a civilian jihad that should go side by side with armed resistance."

Glick goes on and in the process indicts all those who bear responsibility for the brutal murder of Muhammad Abu al-Hawa, but it is not a complete cabal of all the usual suspects. But it is not only Palestinians who have been made to suffer for the racists policies of the Palestinian Authority.

After reading the whole opinion piece, I was left asking myself why do Western nations accept so calmly the rabid Jew-hatred of Muslim nations? And when we do happen to think of it; we dismiss it as nothing more than empty rhetoric of absolutely no consequence? An ancient irrational hatred of Jews lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Get pass that and all the other issues can be resolved at a negotiating table among equals.

Exodus Decoded: Full Report - maybe after next Sunday

I taped the Discovery Channel’s broadcast of Exodus Decoded. Well, actually I didn’t but I had the Last Amazon set up the VCR to automatically tape it for me. The electronic jobs around the house are delegated as such that I do initial set-up and am called in for repairs; but all programming is the sole responsibility of the other Tribe members. They like reading manuals and I don’t. This relationship has generally worked quite well for me.

So the Last Amazon stepped up to the plate and made sure there was a tape in the VCR; and the machine was programmed on the right channel, and set to begin recording at the appropriate time. I neglected to tell her not to program the end- time as I wasn’t quite sure how long the documentary actually ran and I was too lazy to hunt around to find out. Besides, if I have to do more work than point the remote in the direction of the television, I just can’t be bothered to watch anything.

So what happened? The tape ended halfway through Exodus Decoded. I only made it as far as the 9th plague. The LA being the dutiful daughter that she is programmed the VCR to end after 1 hour. It will be re-broadcasted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 10:00am (EST). So if you missed it for whatever reason the first and second time around there is a third chance coming up.

Just a few off the cuff thoughts on what I did see; so far it appears very plausible once you get over a little dodgieness over the timeline but that takes a big leap of faith. Trust me, the first thought that came to mind when I read the original Globe and Mail piece on The Exodus Decoded was; why didn’t Jacobovici submit his theory for publication first and be subjected to a full peer review?

Jacobovici did mention the little bit of obfuscation he had to indulge in; in order to receive the necessary permits issued by the Egyptian authorities to have access to film at the Avaris excavation site. Apparently, using the words Exodus, ancient Hebrews or Jews is a complete non-starter in the permit department.

There was one moment in the documentary that I did see and found extraordinarily moving. It concerned the investigation of an ancient Egyptian mine. Found low on the walls of the mine was a piece of graffiti craved in ancient Hebrew script that was a plea to God.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Murder by Shawarma Stand: Hamas Claims Self-Defense

The Israel Defenses Forces literally receives notice of dozens of threats to the lives of Israeli civilians on a daily basis. And while terrorist attacks declined in 2005 to only 2,990 attacks which resulted in a 30% drop from the 2004 levels; all it takes is one successful suicide bomber to strike to bring untold grief into the lives of hundreds. A shawarma stand in Tel Aviv that was the target of a suicide bomber last January was hit again by another suicide bomber today reports Ynet News Online:

Nine people were killed Monday after a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself at a crowded fast food stand near Tel Aviv's old central bus station, in the city's southern Neve Sha'anan neighborhood. At least 66 people were wounded in the huge blast, which was heard kilometers away, including one person who is in criticial condition and nine others who sustained serious wounds.

The explosion occurred around 1:30 p.m. at a shawarma stand, where a previous bombing took place. This time, however, the blast was much more powerful and deadly. According to a videotape released by the Islamic Jihad in Jenin, the attack was carried out by Sami Salim Khamad, who entered Israel from the West Bank. Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades also claimed responsibility for the attack. According to one eyewitness account, the terrorist entered the store and detonated himself when a security guard at the site asked him to open his bag for inspection.

Ynet News Online carries this account of the bombing as it related to one of the victims of this senseless carnage - Philip Balhasan, 45 of Ashdod, and father of two:
Balhasan's relatives said he traveled to Tel Aviv with his two children, Linor and Uri, after promising to buy them CDs and computer games for Passover. The family was apparently standing next to the fast food stand at the time of the explosion. Balhasan, who was still conscious, yelled out to his son to grab his cellular phone and call his mother to inform her of the attack. The son, Uri, recounted the moment of horror: "When we heard the blast, dad wrapped his arms around me and Linor and hugged us tightly. Then he said 'grab the phone, call mom and tell her about the attack.'" Shortly thereafter, Balhasan collapsed, but police officers who led him to an ambulance were able to talk to him and heard him say he was hurt by shrapnel and by the force of the blast. It appears some of the shrapnel hit Balhasan's heart and he died on the way to the hospital.

Balhasan's wife, Etti, was at work when she received her son's call. Her managers quickly drove her to Tel Aviv hospitals so she could look for her husband. After failing to locate him, the wife was forced to head to the forensics institute, where she identified her husband's body. The two children, Uri and Linor, sustained light wounds and were released from hospital following treatment. At this time, relatives are still in shock over the day's events, with Uri constantly repeating: "Dad was on the floor." Balhasan's brother-in-law, Emil, said "Philip loved to laugh and was loved everywhere. He had a presence. He was a great father." Balhasan is survived by his wife Etti and four children, Liran, 21, Lital, 19, Linor, 15, and Uri, 12.

As a parent I fully comprehend why Balhasan’s first impulse was to wrap his arms around his children and use his body as a shield to keep them from harm, but it is the grief that these two boys will have to carry for the rest of their lives that tears my heart. It is far too heavy and great a burden for ones so very, very young.

Hamas officials did comment and justified murder by shawarma stand as a case of Palestinian self-defense.

Hamas, whose heads said they would not recognize Israel's existence, has at the same time mostly refrained from resorting to violence – at least on the surface – but today that calm ended. Hamas spokesman Sami abu-Zohari said that the attack was an act of self defense: "Our public is carrying out defensive fighting and it has every right to use all means to defend itself." Minister for prisoners in the Palestinian government, Waspi Kabaha, said that the "the attack was carried out in the context of the legitimate Palestinian resistance and as a response to the violations of the occupation and its crimes."


Saturday, April 15, 2006

File this under whatever will think to do next.

A low-carb, lower calorie potato – it sounds like heresy but apparently it’s a specialty of southern Israel that’s making a big hit in Western Europe and Russia according to Israel 21c:
A low-carb 'diet' potato grown in Israel has quickly become a staple on dinner plates in Great Britain. With American consumers increasingly weight conscious, it is clearly only a matter of time before the 'Vivaldi' potato crosses the ocean to the other side.

In an age where the glycemic index (GI), which measures the amount of carbohydrates food contains, is the new diet phenomenon, the Vivaldi potato, which contains up to 38% less carbohydrates and half the calories of the average potato, has tremendous potential. Potatoes are known to be an excellent source of vitamin C and also contain vitamin E, B vitamins, and minerals calcium and magnesium. Tests are ongoing to ascertain the precise levels of these nutrients in Vivaldi, but these are not expected to be significantly less than in other varieties.

The potato is being grown in Israel by 13 kibbutzim that make up the Hevel Maon cooperative in the Western Negev desert. Due to its mild climate, Israel is a very attractive place for growing all kinds of spuds, according to Shimon Warshavsky, potato quality specialist at Hevel Maon's research and development department. Because there are two Israeli potato 'seasons', consumers can have Israeli potatoes on their plates all year round.

"Our advantage is that it is never too cold for potatoes," Warshavsky told ISRAEL21c. "We can grow two crops here. Some people are willing to pay higher prices for new potatoes all through the year." With temperatures never dropping below zero degrees centigrade (32 degrees Farenheit), there is never a problem of frost. And with rainfall as high as 250 millimeters a year, Hevel Maon grows around 150,000 tons of potatoes annually. Forty percent of the crop is exported, primarily to Western Europe and Russia, through Agrexco, Israel's largest exporter of fresh agricultural produce worldwide, from flowers to plants. The time from the field to a European dinner table is only twelve days, quicker in holiday season.

The only downside is that it is not available in North America and I will have to wait for the day when I can make low-cal latkes and pierogi.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Storm clouds on the horizon

The Iran President Ahmadinejad was a featured speaker at a Palestinian funding raising conference held in Teheran reports the Jerusalem Post:
Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hizbullah members in Teheran on Friday in a conference aimed at raising funds for the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

Opening the conference, Ahmadinejad fired a series of verbal shots at Israel, saying it was a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated, and questioning the validity of the Nazi Holocaust against Jews in World War II. "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihiliation," Ahmadinejad said. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm," he said.

How any reasonable person can accept that the Iranian government does not intend to develop nuclear weapons program is beyond my ability to fathom. I can’t shake this feeling that I am part of some kind of a surreal time warp, and instead of a Hilter and his final solution; we have the Mullahs and their nuclear storms.

A Biblical Perry Mason?

I am not a big fan of “seeking to expose the secrets of the ancient world” documentaries and rarely watch any. It’s not that I don’t have an interest in ancient societies but the seventies were full of such like things like Chariot of the Gods and unlocking the scared ancient powers of the pyramid and I have had more than my fair share of such schlock.

I still have vivid memories of my grandparents sitting in their lazy boy chairs watching television with my grandfather’s homemade pyramids strategically placed over various parts of their bodies that were giving them trouble in hopes of a healing. It was really quite a sight, and retrospect, is it any wonder that I became extremely circumspect in who I invited home? But this Globe and Mail article on “Exodus Decoded” by a Toronto filmmaker has piqued my interest.
A provocative $4-million documentary by Toronto filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici claims to have found archeological evidence verifying the story of the biblical Exodus from Egypt, 3,500 years ago.

Religious Jews consider the biblical account incontrovertible — the foundation story of the creation of the nation of Israel. Indeed, they celebrated the Exodus Wednesday night and last night with the annual Passover recitation of the Haggadah.
But among scholars, the question of if and when Moses led an estimated two million Israelite slaves out of pharaonic Egypt, miraculously crossed the Red Sea ahead of the pursuing Egyptian army and received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai, has long been a source of contention.

Absent definitive proof, archeologists have argued variously that the biblical account is simply a nice fable or that it may have happened, but not on the scale suggested by the Book of Exodus. Nor is there any consensus about when it might have occurred. Now, in Exodus Decoded, Mr. Jacobovici says he has found almost a dozen overlooked relics that confirm the biblical story.
Two scholars who have seen it are more positive. Barry Wilson, a professor of religion at York University, calls it "a fabulous detective story ... Perry Mason goes biblical. It's a remarkably well-executed study." Kenneth Green, a professor of Judaic studies at the University of Toronto, says the film is "provocative and challenging."It's all 'maybes,' but it's plausible and coherent. I think he's going to be attacked viciously, but he's made a case that has to be answered."

Mr. Jacobovici, who recently sold the film to the History Channel in the United States, concedes that many scholars will "scoff at my evidence. It's a closed club, after all. But they can't just dismiss it. There's a cluster of evidence here. If it walks like an Exodus and quacks like an Exodus, it is an Exodus. That's not Egyptology. That's logic."

Of all the stories contained in the bible it has been the Exodus that has hit the strongest personal chord with my psyche. I don’t know about the quacks, but I’ll bite and watch. It will be airing on the Discovery Channel Sunday at 8pm (EST).

Coptic Christians experience first hand the Religion of Peace: 1 dead, 17 stabbed

The Globe and Mail is carrying this Associated Press account:
Cairo — Three knife-wielding assailants stabbed worshippers in simultaneous attacks during Friday Mass at three Coptic churches in the northern Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen others, police officials said.The attackers fled, and police cordoned off the churches and set up checkpoints in an effort to find them.

One worshipper was killed and at least two others were in serious condition, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. Initial police reports said a total of 17 people were injured. Hundreds of Christians gathered in angry protest outside the churches.

Witnesses said clashes erupted between Christians and Muslims in the Sidi Bishr neighbourhood, the site of Saints Church, where 10 people were reported wounded in the knife attack. Police said three people were wounded at the nearby Mar Girgis (St. George) Church, and four attacked at a church in Abu Qir, a few kilometres to the east.

The AP account does point out that Coptic Christians celebrate Easter a week later but I can’t help but speculate if this move by Egyptian authorities had any influence over today’s events (African News Dimension):
Some 950 former members of the militant Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) have been freed from detention in the past six weeks by the Egyptian authorities, police sources said yesterday. The latest batch of 300 detainees were released on Tuesday.

The Egyptian government detained many thousands of Gama'a members or sympathisers in the 1990s, when the group was waging a low-level guerrilla war against the security forces, mainly in the south of the country. Hundreds have been released over the years after renouncing the use of violence to overthrow the government. Gama'a leaders declared a truce with the government in 1997, after an attack on tourists at a pharaonic temple in Luxor.

The big release on Tuesday was to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, a traditional occasion for setting prisoners free, the police sources said.

The Inevitable

Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, I figured it was only a question of time before this had to happen (YnetNewsOnline):
An IDF force entered the Gaza Strip in order to secure a road 50 meters (about 150 feet) beyond the Gaza security fence Thursday afternoon. The move follows the killing of two terrorists who attempted to place a bomb south of the Kissufim crossing last night.

The move marks the first time IDF troops enter Gaza since the disengagement. In the past, PA police officers would neutralize explosive devices placed by terrorists, but as a result of the severance of ties with the Hamas-led government, soldiers were forced to complete the mission themselves.

IDF engineering troops scoured the area in order to ensure no explosive devices were left behind at the site. Such bombs could threaten soldiers patrolling the Gaza security fence. The operation lasted several hours but no explosives were discovered. Army officials said the operation had to be carried out in light of the circumstances.

"We're not talking about a ground operation in the Strip but rather, handling a specific incident using a military force, after commanders on the ground ruled this was the correct way to protect soldiers," an IDF Southern Command official said. A senior Gaza Division officer told Ynet: "We had to discount the possibility of a detonation of an explosive device against forces in the future, and that's why we chose this operation."

"It's possible the terrorists wanted us to reach the fence in order to hurt the troops or detonate the device using another terrorist left behind. We scoured the area in order to identify the path used by the terrorists," the officer said.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, and there is nothing to suggest that it is not all downhill from here on, but eventually the government of Israeli will be faced with the decision to move IDF ground troops back into the Gaza Strip or sacrifice the lives of Israeli civilians.

Ever wonder what Canadian border officials are up to when they are not busy running away?

I think that most reasonable Canadians could come to the agreement that child pornography is not a desirable element to have in our society and a child pornographer is not exactly the type of immigrant Canada should be seeking to attract. But if this is where our current laws on child pornography have taken us, the majority of Canadian parents and grandparents can look forward to stay in her Majesty’s goal. Taken from the Toronto Star:
A California man who arrived at the Canadian border expecting to become a landed immigrant and join his Brampton wife and children was instead detained, denied entry and cited for attempting to smuggle child pornography into the country on his cellphone.

In a time of heightened vigilance — at borders, and against porn — what had landed him in trouble was a picture of his own unclothed baby son, snapped a couple of years ago so "we could all tease him at his wedding one day," says his wife, Shinderpal Singh.

The 36-year-old mother of two got a call shortly after midnight last Friday from a Canada Border Services Agency officer in Sarnia informing her that her husband, Paramjit Singh, had been sent back to the United States. Paramjit says he was pressured into signing a document withdrawing his application to enter Canada and handed a notice to appear May 1 in a Sarnia court.

While processing Singh's documents, border officials checked his phone and found a photo of a boy naked from the waist down wearing a taraggi — a thread with tiny silver bells worn by Sikh boys as an auspicious charm. Officers looked through Paramjit's U-Haul truck and found albums containing two other questionable photos, one of son Nevjot, then 3 months old, unclothed in his father's arms, and another taken a couple of years later showing the boy naked after a shower.

The cellphone and photos were confiscated, and the 39-year-old man was cited for possessing and "attempting to smuggle an electronic image of prohibited and obscene material." Paramjit said officials demanded he sign a document declaring, "I hereby voluntarily withdraw my application to enter Canada and agree to leave Canada without delay." He has since returned to Fremont, Calif.

"I was so shocked," his teary wife said yesterday. "The officer said my husband was charged because of child pornography. I asked him, `What's pornography?' I had no idea what it was. "I know what photos he was talking about," she said, flipping through albums of photos, some showing their boy unclothed at various events and ceremonies. "I took some of those photos myself. It's just part of our culture and there's nothing unusual about it." Shinderpal, a landed immigrant, had sponsored her husband to join her in Canada, along with Nevjot, now 5, and daughter Priyinka, 2.

A machine operator, she has been in Canada since 1995. She was introduced to Paramjit, then a chef at an Indian restaurant in Fremont, in 2000 through family connections. The two were married in the United States and both children are U.S. citizens. Although Paramjit received a green card in 2004, allowing him to stay permanently in the United States, the family decided to settle in Canada. The application was approved in February.

"We had been travelling back and forth for years, and were looking forward to this day when the whole family could finally be together," she said. "My husband is a nice, caring man. We just took those photos for fun. How could something like this happen to us?"

The man is no more a child pornographer than pig’s fly, and I want to believe this is just a flat out case of bigotry and racism on the part of Canadian immigration officers. But bigotry and racism are issues that can be successfully tackled. Remedies exist under the law, but legislative stupidity is a chronic malaise that seems utterly incurable. Furthermore, one cannot legislative common sense but I really do think that a lack of common sense should not be seen as a desirable trait in any custom or immigration official.

MP Colleen Beaumier is going to bat for the Singh family and I wish her godspeed. No doubt the Singh family will be happy to have the criminal charges resolved in a dismissal and be re-united. But speaking as a Canadian, I won’t be happy until a formal apology is issued and the immigration officials involved are dismissed. This would be a good time for Monte Solberg to step up and show us the mettle he is really made of.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

One for the Bumf Brothers

In a follow up to Brother of Bumf’s post. Sons of Pigs and Monkeys Get No Respect, I found this at Arutz Sheva:
( About 1,000 Christian Arabs flee Arab-dominated areas because of Arab terrorism and harassment, according to Reuters News Agency. Examples were cited of Moslems beating up Christians, uprooting their olive trees and scrawling graffiti that show nuns being raped.

Hardest hit has been the Christian community of Bethlehem where tourism has declined since Arabs began the Oslo War attack against Israel. "If the situation continues, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity will become cold, empty museums," said Samir Qumsieh, a Palestinian-Christian businessman.

What can I say? Bethlehem just isn’t what it use to be. What would be interesting to note; is how many claims have been received by Canadian immigration authorities from Christians claiming refugee status on the grounds of religious persecution, and whether or not these claims were allowed.

Is anyone surprised by this?

I haven't taken one of these stupid quizzes in a long time so I could not resist this one at The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns:

You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

Samantha only scored as a pussycat.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Talk about ugly

Odds are that you never really contemplated the idea that a Palestinian civil war could easily spiral exponentially from the Gaza Strip and West Bank to every country that harbours a Palestinian refugee camp within its borders? Arutz Sheva is reporting this:
Hamas has defined the PLO as its next target for political takeover, demanding elections throughout what the Arabs call the "Palestinian diaspora." This would mean elections in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere, where Hamas feels it has very strong support. A victory in these elections would help Hamas attain positions currently held by PLO figures, such as the observer post in the United Nations, membership in international organizations, material assets, and the like.

A Hamas leader-in-exile, Mousa Abu Marzuk, declared recently that the PLO's institutions have essentially stopped working. "The PLO can no longer represent the Palestinian nation until real reforms are carried out within it," he said.

The Palestinian Refugee camps in Lebanon are not only well armed but are complete no-go zones for the Lebanese Army or other militias. There is no way that the protection rackets that the PLO has spent decades establishing in these camps will just go gently into that dark night. Potentially, there is not a Middle East country that would be able to remain unscathed by the violence that could erupt if Hamas attempts to challenge the PLO hegemony in those camps.

Census Day: May 16, 2006, oh joy.

The census is a complete invasion of personal privacy. I fail to see any value in completing the form, and I don’t buy the argument that if the government knows my race, age, ethnicity, domestic sleeping arrangements, income level, religion or what language is spoken in my home it will magically improve my neighbors, garbage pick-up or the television broadcasting fare offered by the CBC.

But non-compliance is a criminal offence. The London Fog says it better than I could hope to In determining the value of human commodity.

Here is brief sample of my potential possible responses to the Census Questions:

Race: Predominately Chinnegro
Age: (Marlena Dietrich squared)y + x=D
Ethnicity: Roma-Chinnegro
Domestic Partnerships: Bestial Feline
Income level: 5 Billion plus (USD)
Religion: Ritual Amazonian
Language predominately spoken in my home: Foul

Time to Toss the Coin on the Rubicon

According to this Toronto Star report, Iran has joined the nuclear club. From here on in, all we really need to decide is if its time to do the full Bushy or change track and pull a Jimmy Carter.

A year ago, I would have bet on the full Bushy. Now I am not so sure that the West won’t opt for the full Carterization process. Just because a full Carter has never been demonstrably effective doesn’t mean it can’t work somewhere or sometime – even a broken clock is accurate twice a day. I don't think its a stretch to see which approach the editorial board of the Toronto Star will favour given this opinion piece likening the Iranians to the Cubans.

Steyn nails it in this edition of the City Journal.

I can't wait for Russians to spell Chechen as HAMAS

Russia’s Foreign Minister has been busy criticizing the decision to cease direct funding of the Hamas controlled Palestinian Authority undertaken by various Western government until such time as Hamas changes its spots reports this Jerusalem Post article.
On Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister criticized the West's "boycott" of the Palestinian government, saying the only way to force the new Hamas leadership to soften its militant ideology was to engage it.

Sergey Lavrov said the cutoff of international aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas' election victory will only destabilize the region further. Lavrov, whose country hosted a visiting Hamas delegation last month, said an aid freeze is the wrong way to try to force Hamas to meet international demands to recognize Israel, give up violence and acknowledge existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

"Of course Hamas must fulfill the demands made by international mediators. ... But to have that happen, it's necessary to work with Hamas, not boycott it," Lavrov told reporters after meeting his Jordanian counterpart, Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib. "The rejection of aid to the Palestinians only because they chose a government made up entirely of Hamas members in the elections is wrong," Lavrov said.

Oh Grozny, I have to admit being lectured by a Russian on ethical political behaviour is a rather novel twist but there are times I really wish I was a journalist asking the questions when Foreign Ministers speak. What I would have given to been in the room for that little lecture. I would have asked if this means Mother Russia is prepared to step up to the plate and let the Palestinian Authority suck off the Russian teat now. And just when will Russia be doing a complete about face in policy and extend the same courtesy and understanding towards their own homegrown Chechen terrorists now that the Russian have seen the softer, gentler side of Hamas?

There are two current canards that cause me to mumble under my breath and sputter my coffee. It is long past the time when the Palestinians need to be either patronized or infantized. I have never seen a more compelling case or call for some tough love. The second has been wide circulation since the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority. At no time in the lead-up to the Palestinian elections did Hamas attempt to hide from the Palestinian people; its’ charter, short or long-term goals. Nor did Hamas attempt to hide or white wash the blood of innocents from its collective hands. Instead, Hamas raised them in the air as proof of commitment.

If anything, it was just the opposite. Hamas’ claimed that the bloodthirstiness of its Martyrdom operations was the driving force behind the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Every single Palestinian who voted for Hamas knew exactly what Hamas was, and if the results of the Palestinian election is any guide, the majority of Palestinian people were more than a little a-okay with that. There are many who have taken up the position as official Palestinian Apologistas in the West who have tried (rather successfully if any reading of main stream papers is an accurate guide) to sell the idea that a vote cast for Hamas was not a vote for Hamas, but a vote against the Fatah/PLO’s innate corruption. Really Now? This isn’t Kansas but the Middle East. Corruption and bribery have been raised to the level of a fine art and is mother’s milk for what passes as successful governance.

Furthermore, every single poll of the Palestinian people shows an overwhelming level of support for the violence of barbarism that has been perpetrated against the Israelis in the name of the alleged struggle for Palestinian statehood. I would suggest that average Palestinian voter perceived the PLO/Fatah under Abbas was lacking the necessary fire in the belly and thirst for martyrdom that Arafat professed to possess regularly when he lead the PLO/Fatah. If anything, the prestige of the PLO/Fatah fell dramatically under Abbas’ tenure and you could say that this was strictly a vote for blood and more blood.

Hamas did not dupe the voters and the voters knew exactly what they were voting for. Those same ordinary Palestinians, who western leaders claim to be so solicitous of their welfare, are the same people who voted overwhelmingly for an organization that is committed to undertake genocide by any means necessary. While Western governments are prepared to honour the choices of the people, how exactly does that make them hypocrites by refusing to bankroll a genocide or translate into an unethical action?

I can understand the Russians being miffed. They have been gung-ho to sell the Palestinian Authority attack helicopters and heavy armory, and if the West isn’t picking up the tab Hamas’ has little credit to burn.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hope - The Language of the Soul

At my desk at work I have a little post-it note hanging above my desk phone where I have written the words of Philo’s of Alexandria circa; 1st century BCE:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

These are not the only words I live by, but they remind me that no matter how annoying or irritating any individual is that I encounter in my daily life, that they too, have their own dark night that tries the soul. Those words are not the only concept that I try to live out my life with. There is also Tikkun Olam, which roughly translates from Hebrew as “repairing the world” with acts to make the world a little better place than the world you inherited.

All of which brings me to an email that I received tonight from someone who is not known to me personally, but who brought my attention to Elem’s Light a Flag of Hope and asked that I consider a making a donation. I admit the subject line grabbed my attention: Calling all Jewish Bloggers. Now I am not Jewish nor am I an Evangelical Christian, and I prefer to characterize myself as a collapsed Catholic though I do have a Star of David T-shirt with the words “Six Days, Bitch” that I wear around the house to torment my neighbors. I saw another one the other day that I have to get. It read “Guns & Moses”.

Now there are many worthy organizations all over the world who are dedicated and worthy of our time, support or money. Elem is simply one of many organizations that are attempting to repair the world one tear at a time. That is something that I can relate to. The cost a white light bulb for the Israeli Flag of Hope is only US$2.50 and US$4.50 for a blue one. I couldn’t decide if I wanted blue lights or white lights of hope, so I just donated a lump sum and let the Elem people decide where my lights should be best lit.

This will be my third year that I will not be attending Pesach or Passover at my best friend’s home. Oddly enough, I find that I dearly miss celebrating the holidays that are not really my own, and the one I miss the most is Pesach. Someone once remarked to me that most Jewish holidays could be summed up as; 'They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat' which is perhaps why I can relate so well. When I first met my friend we instantly hit it off. She was a single parent at the time and owing to a rather cruel twist her family had sat Shiva on her which is the Jewish ritual of mourning for the death of a love one.

In one of those ironic turns we discovered that her Father came from the same place and neighborhood that my great grandfather had come from, and yet, we met a world away in another time and place. One of the hardest things she found was to celebrate the holidays with just her daughter and herself. It was not that there were not others among her acquaintances where she would be more than welcomed to join, but the experience of sitting at their Seder, intensified her own sense of loss and made it just that much harder to bear. She has struggled all through her life with dyslexia and felt that it hindered it her in having a proper Seder for her daughter.

So I enlisted the Tribe – trust me, we are loud enough to fill anyone’s home and leave them deaf for weeks. So for years we have celebrated all the High Holidays, and I, have stood in her place when it came time to read. Now my friend has reconciled with her family and when Pesach begins, she and her daughter will be with those they belong most with in this world – the one’s who love them the most. My friend had lost hope of ever reconciling but in the end hope was found when it was least expected.

I cannot fix the whole world but I can manage a tiny tear, now and then, and I can manage to help light a few bulbs in a corner of the world that deserves hope, and for all those, who have felt that they have lost hope.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

Here’s something one does not read everyday from the Jerusalem Post:

Palestinians claimed to have prevented terrorists from launching Kassam rockets at Israel from Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday. Army Radio reported that armed members of the Beit Hanun Kafarne family forcefully drove out would-be launchers.

The home of one of the family members was damaged by a fire that erupted as a result of an IDF attack in response to the recent increase in rocket launches from the area. The IDF noted previous incidents where residents of both Beit Hanun and Beit Lahiya confronted terrorist cells in an attempt to prevent Kassam rocket launches from residential areas.

Good on Beit Hanun Kafarne family. Too bad they are not running Gaza.

Things that make me go eeww!

The current Egyptian Foreign Minister reminds me of when my children were pre-schoolers. One child would come to me crying that such and such hit and hurt them. I would make the appropriate murmurs of sympathy and sneak in the dreaded question – “why?” “No reason” was always the response. Then I would ask, “What were you doing just before such and such hit you?” And I would receive the answer playing and then victim took their hand, their toy etc. and walloped the other. Then for no good reason the perpetrator would retaliate in kind. Ynet News Online is reporting that Egyptian Foreign Minister is denouncing the IAF strikes in the Gaza Strips during the weekend.
Egypt's foreign minister on Sunday condemned recent Israeli raids against Palestinians and suggested they instead should focus on returning to peace negotiations. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip that have killed 15 Palestinians since Friday were a violation of international conventions. "The time has come for the Israeli leaders to realize that by negotiations, and not violence, they will restore peace and security to Israelis," Aboul Gheit said in a statement issued by his office after a meeting with the Palestinians' top Muslim clergyman, Mufti Ikrema Sabri.

At no time does Ahmed Gheit acknowledge that the Palestinians may be a little more than culpable for the attack launched by the IAF. And he neatly side steps the fact that the Israeli air strikes were the response from the almost constant daily Kassam rocket barrages emanating from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper beginning a few short weeks after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in late August. No doubt the Kassam’s that continue to fall into Israel is a moot point that would be lost on the likes of Gheit.

But while the Egyptians are busy denouncing the Israelis for violations of international conventions the Jerusalem Post is reporting Hamas is attempting to point fingers and stake out the claim of their being the “last of the good guys”:

Some Fatah-affiliated militias are behind the latest wave of Kassam rocket attacks, in the hope of prompting a massive IDF operation in the Gaza Strip that would eventually bring down the new Hamas cabinet, Hamas officials claimed on Sunday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that the timing of the recent increase in attacks -almost immediately after the Hamas cabinet was sworn in - was not coincidental. They also accused some elements in the rival Islamic Jihad of working together with Fatah militias.

"Their main goal is to drag Israel into a major confrontation in order to bring down the Hamas administration," a Hamas minister said. He pointed out that Hamas was not involved in firing rockets and that the movement would continue to honor the unofficial truce with Israel. He said he did not rule out the possibility that some of the Palestinian Authority's security forces were also involved in he "conspiracy" to topple the Hamas cabinet. "The situation is very dangerous," he said. "I don't rule out the possibility that some of the security forces and their commanders are behind the rocket attacks. They want to plunge the area into anarchy so that they can say that Hamas has failed."

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas cabinet, said the latest wave of violence was clearly aimed at confusing the new cabinet. He expressed regret that the international community was more interested in finding ways to isolate Hamas than in forcing Israel to halt its "state terror."

Another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused Israel of trying to bring down the new cabinet. "The latest Israeli military escalation is aimed at forcing the Palestinians to succumb and bringing down the new cabinet, which was elected in democratic elections," he said. "The Zionist crimes won't break the will of the Palestinian people and the occupation will pay a heavy price for its crimes." Both Hamad and Zuhri refrained from openly blaming Fatah or any of the PA security forces.

Meanwhile, a row has erupted between Islamic Jihad's political and military wings over whether to stop Kassam attacks. Sources close to the military wing, al-Kuds Brigades, announced on Sunday morning that the group had decided to halt its attacks for at least one week because of the IDF strikes over the past few days. "The decision was taken to prove to the world that Israel is initiating attacks on the Palestinians and that we are only responding," it said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza City. "We want to show the world that we are only defending ourselves and that we don't love bloodshed." Hours later, Khaled al-Batsh and Khader Habib, the top political leaders of Islamic Jihad, denied that the group had agreed to suspend its rocket attacks.

PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh chaired an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Sunday to discuss the latest cycle of violence. The cabinet decided to request an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians were entitled to "resist the occupation."

If people weren’t dying, I would be tempted to make popcorn and sit back to watch he show. Justifying the Kassam barrages originating from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper as legitimate resistance to the “alleged” occupation by a people who withdrew 8 months ago breaks out of the bounds of acceptable chutzpah and veers firmly into the delusional.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This and That

The youngest had the need to bring home and share a cold and apparently it’s my turn to be on the receiving end of his gift, so I really am only up to few quick links. Carolyn Glick has an interesting article up on the Jerusalem Post on The Rise of the Islamist Axis that is worth a read.

Iris Blog has carries a post on the US Administration “re-directing it’s foreign aid from the Hamas led Palestinian Authority to the UNRWA for more “humanitarian pursuits. It sounds all good until you realize that the UNRWA has been caught with its pants down in the terrorist camp. Iris has the links here and here as well.

On a posted this morning I made reference to a Palestinian “work related” explosion in Hebron yesterday but it is from Ynet News Online where I found a detailed report on the bomb factory in question. And will wonders never cease; it just happens to be a Hamas run operation.

Overall, I am more than a little apathic towards Canadian politics which seems to be centered strictly on Prime Minister Harper’s hair, his handshake to his son, his weight and clothing choices. The other political news that the MSM is all agog over when it is not focusing its energies on the superficial seems to be the ongoing and never-ending search for a leader for the Liberal party.

Let me come out and state now that my preference is for leader is Bob Rae, aka the worst Premier of Ontario in the province’s history. I remember Rae’s painful tenure and my memories remain extremely vivid and I have an absolute treasure trove of material to draw upon if he wins the nomination.

Into the Lexicon

I think it was three or more years since I first read bloggers describing Palestinians who were killed or injured in the act of assembling bombs as a “work related” accident. The phrase suited the often snarky undertone of the blogsphere. Now even the Jerusalem Post launches the phrase into the lexicon of main stream media discourse:
IDF forces located an explosives laboratory in the Abu Sneinah neighborhood in Hebron on Saturday morning. An explosion rocked the laboratory on Friday night, apparently as a result of a "work accident" in which three Palestinians unintentionally detonated an explosive device they were constructing in preparation for an attack on IDF forces in the city. The three Palestinians were wounded in the explosion and were evacuated to a hospital.

Security forces found several pipe bombs and other explosive devices in the laboratory, which was blown up by Border Police sappers later in the morning.

The really tragic circumstance is how apt the expression truly is.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My Inner Geek is struggling to assert herself.

About two weeks ago I was having a discussion with the Tribe in a toy store searching for never-ending appropriate gift to bring to one of the many parties the children get invited too. I remarked on the lack of models available to build cars, trains, and ships or well anything for a child over 6.

The children wanted to what model toys I use to build. I had to explain that it was a different time and that kind of gift that was considered highly appropriate to give a girl child so I never got model kits. I do remember the closest thing I received to a model kit was a portable knitting machine that my father sent for my 6th birthday but my childhood building experiences were not a complete washout. My grandpa and I spent many hours in his workroom in the basement making wooden cars and trains. Not only did I get to learn how to use all this tools, but he showed me a few tricks to pick locks with – quite a handy skill to have as I have discovered in the course of living my life.

Now one of the decided perks of having children is that any deficiencies or things that were lacking in your own childhood you get to make up for in theirs. For example, I always wanted Operation and Battleship and now not only am I the reining Operation/Battleship Queen of the house but there is always someone to play with me. I always wanted to have a model kits to build 16th - 18th century ships; clippers, schooners, galleons and maybe work our way up to a full scale replica of HMS Victory. Now I have gotten the Tribe all hyped up on the idea of building and I cannot find a store that sells model kits for ships which really blows. But what is even worse is the idea that modern toymakers presume that this new generation of children won’t enjoy making things with their hands.

Damn Straight.

Never mind the hyperbole in the rest of the Jerusalem Post article on the possibility of peace talks with Israel. Here's the money quote from the Hamas Foreign Minister, and I quote;
“We are not the owners of Palestine.”

Too true. Too true.

If this keeps up, who knows where it will lead? Perhaps we can finally have a discussion about ending the occupation of Jewish lands.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So just who does have those missing 250 nuclear warheads?

I have no idea at the authenticity of this report from the Persian Journal but the implications are absolutely chilling:

The chief of Russia's General Staff said Monday he could neither confirm nor deny reports that Ukraine had sold 250 nuclear warheads to Iran. "Russia's General Staff has no information about whether Ukraine has given 250 nuclear warheads to Iran or not," General Yury Baluyevsky, also deputy defense minister, said in response to an article in Novaya Gazeta newspaper Monday. "I do not comment on unsubstantiated reports."

The newspaper said that Ukraine had failed to return 250 warheads to Russia in the 1990s when the former Soviet republic declared itself a nuclear-free zone. The paper suggested the warheads could have been sold to a third country, including Iran.

Whether the Iranian government purchased the warheads years ago or not this should have been a priority for the Russian government or at the very least for the IAEA to determine the whereabouts of warheads long before now.

via Iris blog

Past the Post

I will never again underestimate the combined twin power of blogging and guilt. Henceforth expect mulitple posts on the virtue of picking your clothes off the floor or rinsing your dishes and putting them in the dishwasher. Late last night a long-time friend came to my door to return the books he borrowed 10 years ago and never returned which just happened to be paperback copies of three of the Walter Mosley books I was looking for.

It was after B. borrowed the books and neglected to return them despite reminders that I established my rule of never allowing another book to leave the shelf for any distance further than my sofa. If B. would let you down, then no one is to be trusted when it comes to books. B. did see another book that caught his eye and he he considered himself redeemed but I now operate on the Oscar Wilde principle; everyone can resist anything but temptation.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ugly Canadians

Think the whole world loves Canadians, eh? Think again. I found this Korean Herald article at the Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns and I just could not resist the temptation to post it myself.
An organization that promotes cultural understanding and brings together people from different nations is open for anyone in Seoul to join. Anyone that is, except Canadians.

In a classified ad in KScene, a free biweekly magazine, World Class describes itself as a group that "brings together all nationalities to discuss world issues and break down cultural barriers and prejudices." Breaking down the prejudices, however, doesn't extend to all countries. "No Canadians please," the ad continues.

When contacted by a Korea Herald reporter by e-mail, the organizer of the group, Bernard Carleton, elaborated further, "The thing is, CANADIANS ARE SCUM! They are self-loving, welfare supporting, over taxing, work ethic hating scum!!! They are not welcome in our group."

Ah, the benefits of a liberal education, but really, isn't this just the natural consequence of letting Canadian liberals travel aboard?

Carnival of Liberty

The Thirty-Ninth Carnival of Liberty is up at the new home of Below the Beltway.

Playing chicken: operation green prophet

The Mullah’s have announced their second test of a missile in less than a week that can fire multiple warheads and is an allegedly radar avoiding missile reports the Jerusalem Post.
Iran said Tuesday it has tested a second new radar-avoiding missile, the latest weapon to be unveiled during war games in the Gulf that the military says are aimed at preparing the country's defenses against the United States. The new surface-to-sea missile is equipped with remote-control and searching systems, the state-run television reported Tuesday.

On Friday, the country tested the Fajr-3, a missile that it said can avoid radars and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads. Since the war games began Friday, the country also has tested what it calls two new torpedoes.

The Revolutionary Guards, the elite branch of Iran's military, have been holding their maneuvers - codenamed the "Great Prophet" - since Friday, touting what they call domestically built technological advances in their armed forces.

A report of the first test of the Fajr 3 missile can be find here, and let us not forget that Mullahs don’t just have their eyes on the sky but on the sea as well.

But it’s only after reading the Lebanon Daily Star’s report can I speculate that purpose of Operation Green Prophet is to allow the Mullah’s an opportunity to play a game of Chicken with the West.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PA Foreign Minister dreams of a world without Israel

The Jerusalem Post is carrying this report from Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar on his aspirations and hopes for a Palestinian statehood:
Other Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, have not ruled out over the past few weeks the possibility of negotiating with Israel or recognizing its right to exist.

"I dream of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it," Zahar said in the interview. "I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (will materialize)." This dream, he added, "will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land."

However, Zahar, who is the overall leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, said he didn't rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state, adding that the Palestinians never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli occupation was their enemy.

The only thing that can be said for Zahar’s dream is that it is a refreshing change for Palestinian government official to findly openly admit to his true aspirations, though, it still irritates that Zahar and his ink never discuss the Jordanian or Egyptian occupation of the alleged “Palestinian” land? Are we to conclude that only a “muslim” groups are capable of righteous and just occupations?

Just tell me where I can buy the bra.

I am not really one to watch award shows, let alone the Juno Awards, (where the vast majority of people winning awards I have never heard of), but I gather organizers thought this year’s Juno Awards would be something special when Pamela Anderson agreed to host.

The Globe and Mail offers a snippet of Anderson’s edgy repartee:
HALIFAX — Pamela Anderson took her anti-seal-hunt campaign on national television last night, launching the 2006 Juno Awards show with a blunt denunciation of the hunt.

"I don't mind seeing a little blood on the ice if it's a hockey game," she said. "But as you know, I hate seeing blood on the ice when it's baby seals."
To boos from the capacity crowd at the Halifax Metro Centre, Ms. Anderson said, "I can take it, I can take it." She also joked that "one of my favourite artists couldn't get here tonight: Seal," referring to the British soul-hop singer. "He was afraid he was going to get clubbed."

Ms. Anderson's ripostes went unchallenged until late in the broadcast, when presenter Jann Arden quipped: "I want everyone to know that my brassiere is entirely made of seal eyelid."

I like clarity, and by gosh, Pamela Anderson delivers it. When she opened her mouth, she effectively proved and removed all doubts that there was any possible collation between the size of her breasts and the size of her brain. I can’t wait to see who they ask to host next year – Bridgette Bardot or Sir Paul and wife? Personally, I would enjoy watching Heather Mills McCartney go on a rant against Canadians drinking milk between presenting.