Saturday, September 30, 2006

So this is what ‘land for peace’ gets you.

Ynet News is reporting:
Four Egyptian policemen and five Palestinians have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle ammunition and hand grenades into the Gaza Strip, security officials said Saturday. A local Bedouin was also detained with the group Friday in the northern town of El Arish, on Egypt's Sinai peninsula. The policemen were handing over the weapons to the Palestinians, when Egyptian authorities interrupted the deal and arrested them, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The ammunition was stolen from Egyptian stockpiles, while the grenades were provided by local Bedouin, the officials said. The plan was to smuggle the weapons into Gaza through tunnels or through the Rafah border crossing, the officials added.

What’s next - the West Bank or the Golan?

C’est la vie

Years ago, I was good friends with a woman originally from Mexico. She was working for an airline in Montreal when she met a young man on a vacation from Toronto. They eventually married and had three children. Mary wasn’t a poor uneducated Mexican immigrant trying to make it in the big city. In fact, she came from a wealthy privileged background and her mother was a prominent businesswoman of some renown in Acapulco.

Things went well for them until the children started to arrive. John became increasingly possessive and controlling. Eventually, it came to the point where she dreaded going out even on family outings such as picnics, Marineland or even the grocery store with John. As inevitably, John would accuse Mary of acting in a manner improper for a mother and a wife. Maybe Mary would smile and say thank-you to a male teller as he handed her change or a man would give Mary the once over while she waited for her turn in a line. Sadly for Mary, she was an incredibly beautiful young woman and was an easy target for the appreciative glances of other men.

There was no rhyme or reason as to what would set John off but once John got going the going got rough for Mary. I met Mary while in college and we hit it off and for the first time in a long time Mary was allowed to have a friend and that friend was me. I haven’t a clue as to why I passed muster with John but I did – at least for a couple of years. John and Mary and their children were frequent guests in my home. My children adored Mary and in truth, it was hard not too. She had the most beautiful easy laugh and the face and manner of a Madonna. Besides she could cook up a storm and I have a real fondness for Mexican cuisine. Mary was the only woman that I ever turned over total control of my kitchen to.

A few months after the birth of her third child Mary showed up at my door swollen and battered with her babe in arms. For a long time I suspected John beat Mary but I was never entirely sure until she showed up battered at my door looking for a safe harbour. I didn’t hesitate to take her in and she cried out her sad story in my arms. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to stomach was to take in the depth of her despair and then listen to her tell me of her “great” love for John and her need to only be a better “wife” to him.

I didn’t force Mary to leave John and I laid out Mary’s options; call the police, lay charges, leave John and I did offer my home as long as she needed to get on her feet again. Mary stayed about a week until John begged, groveled and pleaded enough to convince her to come home, and this time, things would be different. John’s ultimate trump card was the bible. It was wrong for a wife to leave her husband and it was her duty to accept “correction” from her husband. And even if he was wrong, it was her duty to offer forgiveness as a Christian which is why I have been tempted over the years to pray to be saved from the occasional Christian mercy.

Maybe I was wrong but I never came outright and told her what to do. That is just not my way. I expect grown-ups to make their own decisions. I can advise what I would do, but ultimately, they must live out their own lives. I can’t live out their lives and my own too.

When Mary left, I figured that John would never allow Mary to be friends with me again as I had seen the handiwork of his sin, but strangely my stock with John only rose as I did not insist that Mary should leave him. Things went well for a couple of months, but then one day out of the black and blue Mary showed again up at my door - bleeding and with all three children in tow. This time I needed to take Mary to the hospital, and this time, the police were called. Stitches and statements were given and pictures were taken.

She held out two weeks this time. When John came to collect Mary and family, the children and I followed them out to the car as grim as a funeral dirge. I glanced down at my son Montana who must have been 8 years old at the time. He was hyperventilating and clinching his small fists over and over again in an impotent rage. He adored Mary, and I knew instinctively that he knew this was wrong, very, very wrong. At that moment something snapped in my head. This time, for my children’s sake, I would make the stand that Mary couldn’t find it in her being to make.

A very public scene ensued and it got ugly. Always being small I have learned to be a very dirty fighter. I rely more on surprise and wits than actually brawn, and frankly, John wasn’t use to women who fight back. I drew a line in the sand that day for Mary as well as my own children. Some things are always wrong, and no amount of patience, love and understanding can make right what is just flat out wrong.

My last words to Mary were that if she left with John, she cannot come to my home again and our friendship is over. I told her in my opinion she was doing a great harm not only to herself but to her children as well. In fact, it was tantamount to abusing her children by exposing them to a home where immense psychological and physical harm is the norm.

I never spoke to Mary again. I only saw her once after she left my home and it was in a provincial courtroom as I listened to her lie about how she received her injuries. After giving testimony, I left without ever learning how the case ended. Hearing Mary lie was all the resolution I needed.

I miss our friendship and I often wonder what has happened to her. I still pray for miracles, but ultimately, if abusive relationships are to end; it has to be because the abused spouse takes responsibility over the quality of their own lives. No amount of laws metered out to punish abusers, nor shelters to give safe refugee to a battered spouse for a moment and a day replace the need for an individual to take responsibility and control over their own life and choices.

Years later, as a commissioner of oaths it was my duty to witness an affidavit for one of the most badly beaten woman I had ever the misfortune to lay eyes on. She had been beaten so badly that even two weeks later she still didn’t look human. A crowbar had been taken to almost every bit of body she possessed. It was a miracle that she was even alive, and she had her neighbors and the police to thank for that. When the police came crashing through her door her common-law husband was seen fleeing out the back window. The police pursued him out the back and eventually caught up to him with her blood and bits of her guts still on his clothes as well as the crowbar in his possession.

Her statement to police was that she was a prostitute who had brought a ‘john’ home and it got ugly. The ‘john’ started to beat her when her common-law husband came home and attempted to stop the beating. When the police came charging through the door the ‘john’ used the distraction to get away from the ‘spouse’ and went out the back door. The spouse followed so that the ‘john’ wouldn’t get away Scot free. The police didn’t believe either him or her, and duly arrested the ‘spouse’ on the charge or attempted murder. I was asked by my employer (who was defense counsel to the ‘spouse’) to witness the woman’s statement.

Why do I think of these things? Because tonight, I woke up to the sounds of a woman being beaten outside my bedroom window and I rushed outside to stop it. When I appeared and raised my voice, the man fled and I attempted to help the woman. Even though it was obvious she was bleeding, she still wanted to follow the man. I tried to help her get help, and for my time and trouble; I got called me an ‘interfering old fucking bitch’.

In the end, you cannot help those who refuse to help themselves.

Friday, September 29, 2006

This one we grew ourselves

I think this is one of the most horrendous cases of spousal abuse I have ever read. And just our luck - not only is he a Canadian, he’s been deported back to Canada. Taken from the National Post:
A Canadian man who spent six years in a Washington state jail for keeping his wife on a squalid sailboat for years and forcing her to fight with German shepherds for food has been deported to Canada.

By the time police in Everett, Wash., found Linda David stuffed into the bow of the boat amid seven growling dogs in early 1997, she was covered in vomit and feces. She had suffered brain damage and could barely move. Her ears looked like those of a boxer and scars from scrapping with the dogs crisscrossed her face. She weighed 105 pounds.

Her husband -- Victor David, 66, a Canadian citizen -- told social workers his wife had multiple sclerosis, and he had been collecting government cheques as her caregiver.

But there is a little tinsy tiny bit of light on the horizon. He may go and drive an oil tanker in Iraq (that’s the light) but the downside is he wants to take his wife with him.

h/t Jack’s News Watch

Soon no one will leave home without their ipod

Generally speaking, I leave places where I am hollered at. I don’t patronize restaurants or shops where the staff yell or scream. I do my utmost to avoid taking public transit because the whole beggars screaming in your face demanding money I find somewhat off-putting, but hey, I recognize that's just me. The TTC driver’s never seem to find the behavior objectionable. Taken from the BBC:
Seven cameras in Middlesbrough town centre have a facility, which allows operators to bark orders at those involved in anti-social behaviour. Officials hope the additions to the town's 160 cameras will help to further reduce street crime.

It is the latest crime prevention move for Middlesbrough, whose elected mayor is Ray Mallon, the former senior police officer who was dubbed Robocop. Barry Coppinger, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for community safety, said: "CCTV is making Middlesbrough safer and this added facility will make it more effective.

"For example, if an operative now sees someone dropping litter, they can tell them to pick it up, or if they see an incident starting to get out of hand, they can give advice that will hopefully nip it in the bud. "I think that it will give people extra confidence as they go about their business and re-enforce the message that Middlesbrough is a place that is constantly thinking about community safety."

A similar "talking" system was piloted in Wiltshire in 2003. Mr Coppinger added: "Middlesbrough's CCTV network is one of the most comprehensive in the UK and in 2005 was responsible for helping net 678 offenders. "It was also responsible for helping locate 15 missing people." The system is managed from a command centre in the town's main bus station and linked to Cleveland Police headquarters.

I am not sure how I would cope with security cameras following my every move on the street - let alone security cameras that started to scream at me while I walked to work. I might have to consider moving to somewhere like the Amazon basin in order to keep what little piece of mind I have left.

h/t Jay Jardine in the Comments via Occam's Carbuncle

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Barbie Crackdown in Tunis

Now this is a change from your typical Islamic story. Taken from IslamOnline:
TUNIS — No sooner had as the new academic year begun in Tunisia than security forces raided soft-toy shops across the country to withdraw Fulla, the doll, which inspired millions of Muslim girls worldwide, eclipsing the American and world's best-selling Barbie.

"Security forces have cracked down on shops and confiscated all goods bearing Fulla's photo," Tunisian shoppers and merchants told Friday, September 22, on condition of anonymity. "Authorities claim that the hijab-clad doll invokes sectarian feud," they added. "In addition to being quizzed, we have sustained heavy losses."

Fulla has become a household name basically in the Muslim world since it was first introduced in 2003 as an alternative to the curvaceous flashy Barbie. With long-sleeved dresses, hijab and a prayer mate, the dark-eyed doll provides an ideal role model for little Muslim girls and reflects the flourishing of Islamic values.

"I fear that female students would be questioned by police for having schoolbags bearing the photo of Fulla," said Abdullah al-Zawari, a journalist. He said authorities could "stretch" law no. 108, which bans Tunisian women from donning the hijab, and accuse those students of violating the law. The law was ratified in 1981 by late Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba (1956-1987). Samira, a teacher, also lashed out at the security oppressive policy."It is tarnishing the image of Tunisia and a blatant violation of civil liberties," she fumed.
I am really conflicted on this. On the one hand, I applaud Tunis for attempting to enter into the 21st century and join the rest of us, but my inner civil libertarian is squirming big time on this crackdown.

h/t Sandmonkey

The Kindness of Strangers

It is easy to slip into a kind of easy cynicism about the world we live in when one reads the newspapers or watches the television news with any kind of regularity, but every once in a while one finds a report that acts as a kind of balm for all the bad. This one from Ynet News does it for me:

How would you have reacted had you entered your grocery store and found out that all your debt had been paid in full ahead of Yom Kippur? This is what happened to hundreds of families evacuated from Gush Katif last summer and who are currently living in temporary caravans. This scenario repeated it self over an over at the mini market in Nitzan.

Families who asked to pay their debts ahead of the holidays were informed that an anonymous benefactor had already paid the debt. The mini market proprietor, Yossi Avitan said reactions ranged from absolute shock to suspicion. "It’s not possible, I know I have a debt owing, check again," were the type of responses Avitan heard. Alternately, he also heard remarks such as "who are these wonderful people, how can we thank them?" Avitan himself didn’t know who the generous people were but later found out that the benefactors were a Jewish millionaire couple who had made their wealth on real estate.

During the war in Lebanon the couple donated a quarter of a million US dollars for purchasing flack jackets and head lamps and also contributed generously to hospitals and civilians seeking refuge in the bomb shelters. Avitan said that at the end of the war in Lebanon the couple informed an Israeli friend that "the evacuees shouldn't be forgotten."

The friend toured evacuee settlements such at Nitzan, Yated, Shomriya and Shafir, stopping off at grocery stores and mini markets where he covered debts that often totaled more than NIS 5,000 per family. "I have customers that still don't know their debts have been paid, "said Avitan. "One woman asked for a chair to sit on while she recovered from the shock that someone had actually paid her debt. It is a very moving gesture.

The Israeli Gaza Refugees have been asked to sacrifice much and in return have received very little of even what was promised. In the big scheme of things this gesture won’t go a long way in making right what was made wrong but speaking as a one who has learned to live on a limited income it is still a blessing to be cherished. I am glad to share my humanity with people who are capable of these kinds of gestures. And to the anonymous couple I can only say with all my heart:
L' shanah tovah tikatevu ve-tehateimu

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Norwegian Radical Feminism in Action

In the ongoing search for gender equality the Norwegians are drawing lines and trying to establish parity where I would never wanted to tread. Aftenposten reports:
The head of The Democrats Party, a splinter group of former Progress Party hardliners, Vidar Kleppe, is outraged that boys at Dvergsnes School in Kristiansand have to sit and pee. Kleppe accuses the school of fiddling with God's work, and wants the matter discussed at the executive committee level of the local council, newspaper Dagbladet reports.

"When boys are not allowed to pee in the natural way, the way boys have done for generations, it is meddling with God's work," Kleppe told the newspaper. "It is a human right not to have to sit down like a girl," Kleppe said.

Principal Anne Lise Gjul at Dvergsnes School would not comment on Kleppe's plans to make political waves and regretted if anyone was offended by the ban on standing and passing water.

Really, it is all just so very German of the Norwegians.

Why are the streets of Brussels starting to resemble Paris?

When three nights of rioting by "immigrant youth" go under reported in the main stream media and the Fat Lady hasn’t even begun to sing yet.

Narcissism is thy Governor’s Game

I have very little interest in the sex lives of other people and I have, more or less, always been that way. My philosophy has always been; if it is not my sex life, who cares? But every once and a while something will happen that will make me peep out of my self-imposed isolation and peek at another’s sex life.

The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal made me raise my eyebrows and I probably wouldn’t have bothered but for two things that grabbed my attention. The asinine denial from the former US President (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”) and who in their right mind keeps a dress hanging in there closet for a year with semen stains on it? I just couldn’t imagine the circumstances where I would want to bring the dress out as a keepsake to show off the dress I was wearing when I blew Wet Willie. It is just not the kind of thing I would do nor would I want to imagine what the children would say.

I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey when he resigned over the open closet sex scandal and I can’t say I caught him sharing his pain on Oprah either. Frankly, I think his pain pales beside the horrendous ordeal he chose to put his wife and children through by practicing such a deception. If anything, it was the plight of the wife and children which initially caught my attention. Thank my lucky stars that I had not to live through that kind of nightmare, but apparently, the wife and children are not the only victims of McGreevey’s selfish hubris reports Ynet News:
Since the case made waves on two continents over two years ago, Golan Cipel has been hiding from the media. The story of the relationship between the governor of New Jersey and the advisor from Israel was all over the American and Israeli papers, but until now Cipel has refused to be interviewed. With the publication of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey’s tell-all book The Confession, Cipel has decided to break his silence.

Since the story died down, Cipel has attempted to lead a quiet life. “It took me a long time to find work,” he notes. “At first I wanted to continue my struggle from abroad, but after I saw that my family was being attacked by journalists I decided to conduct my struggle from Israel. The whole story is painful. What hurts the most is that my entire life I’ve kept my integrity, and suddenly I got involved in this case because of someone else. I wanted to get married, to have a family, and because of him I’ve lost a good many years of my life.

“When I returned to Israel my feeling was that this man would try to return to public life, and that’s what’s happening now. That’s why I’m no longer prepared to remain silent. Why is he writing a book? If his only concern was his two daughters, the two families he destroyed, he would have focused on his personal life. But he needs the public’s sympathy, the applause, for them to love him. That was his main motivation for getting into politics.”

The case exploded in August 2004 when James McGreevey held a press conference in which he confessed his homosexuality, told of a long affair he’d had with Golan Cipel, and claimed that Cipel had blackmailed him. Cipel vehemently denied the charges, claiming he’d been sexually harassed by the governor and had never had sex with him. An FBI investigation examined both the blackmail allegations and the sexual harassment charges, but the case was closed and none of the people involved was put on trial.

learning to dance all over again

I woke up crying this morning all because my husband came to bed with me last night.

There’s a room in my mind and the walls of that room are shelved from floor to ceiling. All my griefs, dreams and heartaches are stacked neatly row upon row on those shelves, though, not all the shelves are yet filled.

It’s a place where only I can go and rarely do. Mostly I keep that door locked shut but every so often a storm blows in and batters down that door. When that happens, there is no cure but to mount the stairs to that room and stand alone in the midst of my heartbreak. As one by one, all the hurt and pain of a lifetime of grieving comes falling down on my head.

I never know what ill wind will blow down that door but it always happens when its least expected. That’s what happened today, all because my husband came to bed last night. He slipped right in beside me, in the room I share with my daughter, as if he has never been gone and it’s the most natural thing in the world that we share a room with a daughter.

We spent a long time catching up and talking about the children, and just when I felt finally secure enough to trust his presence and was drifting safely towards sleep listening to the soft cadence of his voice; he told me that he had to go. When I protested, he told me he had stayed far longer than he was allowed and just as suddenly as he came, he left. And just like the first time, he left me crying all alone to struggle with my grief in the dark.

The Roma believe that when one dreams of another, your soul has reached out and left your body to meet the other in the realm of the neither-world; the only place where souls can safely meet and interact. I have only dreamed once before of my husband. The night my youngest son was born. I still remember that dream vividly.

We were riding in the back seat of a car under a strange city’s underpass when an oncoming car swerves and crosses into our lane, hitting the car we were traveling in head on. Our friends in the front are killed instantly, but somehow I survive and manage to pull him from the car. I cradle him in my lap on the road as he lay dying.

I beg, I cry, I plead with him and my G-d not to leave me. Suddenly, his mouth gasps and his body contracts and I see his soul rise up. I cried out to him not to go. And for a minute he pauses only long enough to say that we will meet again in the next life, and this time, we would have a life together. He promises that when we meet again, we will have the five children I always wanted. And this time, he will build me the house I always dreamed of. I didn’t get the five children and the house I cannot bear to visit.

For a long time I believed in the common wisdom that time heals all wounds, but it wasn’t until my own griefs came calling, one by one, that I learned just how untrue that was. The passing of time gives one space to distance and separate one’s sense of self from the grief, but with every new loss the old ones come tumbling back home to visit.

Nor had I realized until I had experienced my own griefs that grief had a physical dimension and a tangible sense of weight. I had just thought it was a state of mind, a feeling, and not the weight or cost of being. Now I know better, but I am not sure it has left me wiser. And now I have to go and batten down that door so that I can once again - buck up, as I have children to raise and a life to live.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

IDF Gotcha Moment with UNIFIL Commander

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that talks between UNIFIL and the IDF have broken down:

While Israel had hoped to pull its last troops out of Lebanon by the end of the week, talks between IDF officers, representatives of the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL broke down Tuesday, threatening to delay a complete withdrawal indefinitely.

A source in Northern Command said the talks at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura, north of Rosh Hanikra, had failed, adding that the IDF had told the other parties it would stay in Lebanon until UNIFIL "took its job seriously.

Brig.-Gen. Udi Dekel, head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division, led the delegation that met with UNIFIL commander Maj.-Gen. Alain Pellegrini and representatives of the Lebanese army (LAF). "We told UNIFIL that we plan to pull our troops out of Lebanon by Yom Kippur, although we haven't committed to a specific year," a high-ranking IDF officer said after the meeting.

Not while some might accuse Brig.-Gen. Dekel of a little ill-will and larceny if the context is not fully understood. The next paragraph explains the IDF context succinctly:
The talks broke down when the Israelis demanded that UNIFIL adopt more aggressive rules of engagement. What particularly angered the IDF officers was an interview Pellegrini gave The Jerusalem Post last week in which he said the peacekeeping force would not actively engage Hizbullah guerrillas, even if they were in the midst of an attack against Israel.

The officers even presented Pellegrini with a copy of the interview at the meeting and confronted him with his comments, which they said were in direct contradiction to previous understandings and interpretations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. "We demand more effective rules of engagement," the high-ranking IDF officer said. "If they don't adopt them, we are prepared to stay in Lebanon for as long as necessary."

Talk about getting slapped upside the head with your own lips. All of which should make us question why this re-vamped UNIFIL force is any different than the last one.

Papal Infitada Watch 3

No respite for the Pope from the sermons emanating from Palestinian Authority's state-controlled television reports Ynet News:
Pope Benedict XVI is "arrogant," "stupid," and "criminal," and will be judged by Allah on the day "when eyes will stare in terror," declared a sermon delivered this past weekend on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' state-run television station. The sermon coincided with a cartoon also published this weekend in an official Hamas-run daily newspaper in which the pontiff is depicted holding a swastika while wearing a scarf of American and Danish flags.

To this arrogant Pope – criminal and arrogant – this message is from Allah the Elevated and the Exalted, as it was said: 'Think not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but gives them a respite until a day when eyes will stare (in terror),'" stated Gaza preacher Osama Al-Mazini in a sermon broadcast by the official television station of Abbas' Fatah party.

"For this ignorant and stupid pope, who has no one to attack besides Islam and the prophet (Muhammad) ... (the pope) characterized Islam as a cruel religion and characterized Muhammad, may the Creator have mercy on him and protect him, as a cruel man, spilling blood, who strove to kill," Al-Mazini said in the sermon, which was translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
Aren't you glad that we can all breathe a sigh of relief that a ‘moderate’ like Mahmoud Abbas is in charge of the state-run Palestinian Authority television? There is just no telling what harm could come if extremists were allowed to rack up the incitement level by broadcasting sermons seeking only to inflame the passions of the followers of the Religion of Pieces.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ah Egypt, the de-nial bastion of a free press

Taken from Ynet News:
The Egyptian state news agency MENA said on Sunday that the country has banned editions of two French and German newspapers, Le Figaro and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, because of articles deemed insulting to Islam. Under a decree issued by Information Minister Anas el-Feki, the two editions will not be able to enter the country, it said.

They published articles which disparaged Islam and claimed that the Islamic religion was spread by the sword and that the Prophet ... was the prophet of evil," it added. The edition of Le Figaro, dated September 19, contains an opinion piece on Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by French philosopher and high school teacher Robert Redeker.

"Merciless warrior, pillager, murderer of Jews and polygamist - that is how Mohammad portrays himself in the Koran ... Hatred and violence live in the book by which every Muslim is educated, the Koran," Redeker wrote. The edition of the German newspaper, dated September 16, contains an article by German historian Egon Flaig looking at how the Prophet Mohammad was a successful military leader. Flaig presents other arguments supporting the view that Islam has had a violent history.

Ironic, how Christians seem to be able to own up to Christianity’s own historical bloodied hands, and yet, Muslims refuse to acknowledge that Islam has a historical record for violence - either in the here and now, or the past. All of which makes me wonder if one one’s ability to remain in a constant state of psychological denial is an Islamic tradition or teaching of some standing.

Refusing to learn from history

Ynet News is reporting that Lebanese Defense Minister is seeking armaments to re-arm the Lebanese Army and effectively counter “Israeli” aggression:
Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said that the Lebanese army was in need of antiaircraft missiles and antitank missiles in order to defend his country "against the Israeli aggressiveness." He also asked for helicopters in order to transfer infantry corps to different areas, as well as armored vehicles, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Monday morning.

The Lebanese minister referred to the speech delivered Friday by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah , who said that his organization was running out of patience in light of the Israeli violations in southern Lebanon . "When the Israeli enemy withdraws and the Lebanese army deploys along the Blue Line, the Lebanese army will respond to any Israeli violation, using all means, that's for sure," he said.

The Lebanese defense minister met Sunday with his Belgian counterpart Andre Flahaut, along with the Belgian ambassador to Lebanon. After the meeting, the Lebanese minister discussed his country's participation in UNIFIL and the aid Belgium plans to give the Lebanese army.

The Lebanese minister said: "There are two important aspects in the relations between Lebanon and Belgium. The first is the active part Lebanon takes by participating in UNIFIL forces, while the second one is the aid Lebanon is working on providing through the European Union and rearming the Lebanese army with modern means."
If various Lebanese administrations had not allowed the PLO to use Lebanon as a staging ground for attacks on Israel, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon would not have happened. If the Lebanese Administrations had disarmed Hezbollah, this summer’s invasion would not have happened.

If the Lebanese government was really serious about routing "Israeli aggression" they should take the mote out of their own eye and disarm Hezbollah which would leave them with a winning hand in a win-win scenario. No Israeli aggression and they get to keep and utilize Hezbollah’s allegedly substantial arsenal that Nasrallah brags about.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Don’t let the door hit on the way

And take your compatriots with you - as in no man left behind etc.

The Call for the Burqa-ization of Girl’s in Hockey

I am very fond of the gang at the Dust My Broom and I generally try not to repeat myself but some days there is nothing else for it but to repeat myself; well either that, or borrow my daughter’s hockey stick and get a flight out to Manitoba and go old school.

This post or as I have deemed it; The Call for the Burqa-ization of Girl’s in Hockey hit a nerve. Letting two sister’s try out for their high school boys’ hockey team and try to win a spot based on merit will not end the world as we know it.

Nor will there suddenly be an increase in teenage pregnancies or sex in the locker room because two sisters made the grade on the boys’ team. Nor do I see a stampede of girls suddenly “ruining” the boys’ teams or vice versa. Furthermore, even the suggestion that the girls will be cutting off their opportunities for sport scholarships to university is simply bollocks. Not limiting opportunities based on genitals, or lack thereof; is one of the primary things that distinguish us as a society from the Taliban.

Ironically, this all reminds me of the up roar that was raised by the panty-waster Athenians when a Spartan woman disguised herself as a man in order to watch her son compete in the Olympics who she personally trained. The sons of Sparta were proud and rejoiced over her initiative while the Athenians cried foul. But then again, the Athenians demanded their women be cloistered, or fully covered in public, ignorant and untitled, rendered physically unfit and were to be considered only another form of chattel much like a goat or a cow. Let’s not even bring up what bad grace the Athenians displayed when a Sparta woman won the chariot races.

I am not a radical feminist nor have I ever been, and in 2006, I had hoped we as a society had moved beyond allowing one’s ability, talent, merit or opportunities to be limited by one’s sex. My bad, and for those that missed this post the first time, let me go on record again:

Ka-ching, Ka-ching
The Last Amazon called me at work today as soon as she arrived home from school. She was breathless with excitement and it took several minutes for my normally articulate daughter to express herself. I was expecting her wanting to discuss a new math theory or a science experiment but no, it was about – HOCKEY.

In gym class she played her first game of hockey. She had skates but has never played hockey before. She had to borrow a helmet and a stick but once she got on the ice she was good to go. Now she is talking about wanting to join a league and finally finding her true sport……

I admit I was a little taken back last spring when she and her brothers wanted to take up golf but I understood the appeal factor. You get weapon and a ball and the goal is to hit the ball with the weapon and get it in the hole. I understand the appeal but HOCKEY?

I don’t like hockey, I didn’t start out that way but I learned to loathe hockey with a passion that has never left me. When I was a young girl I even played hockey back in the day when the schools let you play hockey and every elementary playground had an outdoor rink made by the school janitor with old planks and water as soon as the first snow fell. I played in the morning before school, at recess and lunch, after school and I was always ready for a game on weekends too.

I admit I didn’t play hockey with many girls, most didn’t seem to like it and if I really was going to be a ballet dancer skating was a no-no, but I didn’t care. I loved hockey. I loved racing down the ice and literally giving the shoulder to anyone that got in my way. In those days we didn’t play with helmets or padding. It was a tough, fast game and you had to be prepared to take your licks and get your butt in gear, no matter what.

That all changed when I got to grade 7. Suddenly, I was no longer allowed to play hockey in school. Girls played Ringette. You were not allowed to body check in ringette. You played with broken hockey sticks – and not because you busted it over someone’s head and were forced to finish the game that way - it was really meant to be broken so that no one would get hurt. There wasn’t even a puck but a stupid soft rubber ring so no one would get hurt. Girls played Ringette because it was not as tough as hockey.

Furthermore, real girls didn’t play hockey with boys because the boys were too big and rough or so I was told over and over. Years later I met Wayne Gretzky by accident and couldn’t stop smirking because I figured I could take him out in less than 10 seconds with either my chair or a bottle; so much for big and tough. I grew angry and frustrated that what I loved was being taken away from me; not because I could not compete or that I wasn’t good enough but because I was female and females didn’t play hockey.

It didn’t matter how I begged to be allowed to try out for the boys’ intramural teams. It cut no ice with the teachers that I could out skate or out stick any of my male contemporaries. It didn’t matter that in pick-up games I was always picked first by any of the boys for their team. It didn’t matter that the guys wanted to me to play. This was 1974 and girls played ringette. I wasn't demanding to use the same change room as the boys. I'd have been happy with a broom closet by myself to change in. I hated ringette and if I wasn’t allowed to play hockey, f**k hockey and the stick you rode in on.

I was never able to get over my apathy towards hockey and could come up a long litany on why I wouldn’t sign either the Last Amazon or her brothers for hockey. It also helped that my husband was a Chinese-Jamaican immigrant. Jamaicans don’t do hockey; cricket, basketball, rugby, soccer, boxing, football, the odd bobsledding but no hockey. The schools today made it easy for me to ignore hockey; they don’t teach the sport and they no longer allow rinks to be made outside - even floor hockey is banned. It promotes aggression and competition. Yes, things were working out just grand until the Last Amazon won a scholarship to a private prep school where not only does everyone play hockey but the school has its own indoor rink.

One thing I have learned running this home is where the Last Amazon dares to tread; the Spartans will want to follow. All I can think of now is ka-ching, ka-ching and I have to fight the urge to close my wallet. I will probably have to look around and see if I can’t come up with a part-time job to help her and her brothers play. And now you know why, when I grow up I want to be my daughter.

One final note, I find myself standing with Alan at Gen X at 40 on this one. Call it the inner MacGregor DNA struggling to assert itself in my being but every once and while Alan is right and thank the heavens for small mercies because he might be a red but at least he’s not a Campbell.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A hog just went flying pass my window.

I agree with Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. According to this Toronto Star article I am not alone. John Tory, Opposition leader in the provincial parliament agrees with us too. Who would have thought?
The strange phenomenon of students engaging in violent fights just so they can post videos of the clash on the Internet is something for parents to deal with, not Canadian lawmakers, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.

And Opposition leader John Tory agrees with him. Orangeville District Secondary School in Orangeville, a small town north of Toronto, is the latest to have its students featured in fight videos posted on popular websites like

As parent, I think it is completely reprehensible,” McGuinty said. “The only word that comes to mind is it’s sick for people to attack each other as some form of entertainment, either for themselves or for others to somehow, in some perverse sense, enjoy later.”

And while police in Orangeville say they can’t lay charges because the fights were consensual, McGuinty made it clear he believes it would be wrong to outlaw consensual fighting in order to stop the teens. “Rather than resort to the Criminal Code at the outset, I think parents ought to understand what it is their children are doing, and ought to provide them with the appropriate guidance and direction,” he said.

Opposition Leader John Tory, whose riding includes Orangeville, said he agrees that the problem is for parents to deal with, not legislators. “There are some things that government just can’t legislate,” said Tory. “I think if it gets out of hand and trespasses over the existing Criminal Code line, then police will deal with it.”
Thank heaven for small mercies but one of the consequences of our new age is the presumption that we can eradicate all of our aggressive tendencies and punish any thirst to be competitive from our nature. We are at constant war with our own biology. We punish our young for aggressive behavior and try to substitute the thirst to complete with non-contact non-aggressive forms of play like skipping, rather than providing outlets to challenge or direct our children’s aggression. We punish our children for excellence by banning winners and extol those who lose by giving rewards to all.

Our elementary school phys-ed programs have substituted dancing and gymnastics for football, field/floor/ice hockey and soccer. Basketball, hockey, football, soccer and baseball have all been banned at the downtown elementary school all of my children have attended, and not just in phys-ed class but from the playground at lunch and recess too.

The risk of injury can be high and the education gurus tell us that it brings out and develops aggressive qualities in our children, as well as fostering an unhealthy spirit of competitiveness. Skipping and dolls are still allowed on the playground but I hear rumors that danger lurks there too. Even a doll or a rope can be weapon.

I don’t think it's such a strange phenomenon nor do I think its sick for people to attack each other as some sort entertainment. Actually, it’s a sport and one of the oldest of Olympic sports. It is called boxing. I suppose it’s not so odd that Premier McGirlieman has never heard of it. He probably knits for entertainment.

I have a son who boxes. I worry about head injuries. He worries about stats/points and dreams about executing the perfect right, left, right combination into some other woman’s son’s head. Originally, I signed my son up at boxing as a last resort and punishment for being suspended for fighting at school with his best friend. Funny thing happened with the boxing. My son became the most passive and self-assured young man I have ever long as he goes to the club a few times a week.

But passivity hasn’t been the only benefit for either him or I. He has developed a confidence and a real sense of ease within his own skin that it rare for someone his age to display. He has developed discipline and learned when to rein in his emotions and channel his anger so that it works in his best interests rather than against.

The benefits of boxing don’t end there. My son is in superb physical shape and if he wants to continue to spar or fight he has to keep his license in good standing with the provincial bodies that regulate the sport – that means regular drug testing. Fail your piss test and you will not be sparring and everyone knows your using (including your mother). It’s one of the few win-win scenarios for a parent.

Then there’s the sense of fraternity which has filled a void in his life that the loss of his father has created. Though that has been a bit of a mixed blessing as the gym has a wide range of ages so my son is receiving a far more colorful of sex education than I would have chosen. For example, after my son had been going to the gym for about six months he pulled me aside and stated he needed to talk to me about something.

After much humming and hawing, he broke down and asked if it really was okay to masturbate with a shop-vac because it can take both wet and dry. It’s a moments like these that I am often drive me to curse the dead. I asked where he heard that bit of foolishness, and he told me the guys in the gym were discussing which vacuum cleaners worked best. I told him about Richard Gere, and then I warned him to keep his hands off my Hoover upright.

I have another son who is counting down the days till January 1, 2007 when he can join his older brother at the boxing club.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Let’s invade Turkey and rename the country “Chicken”

I just received an email from a friend passing on that joke, at least, I am assuming it’s a joke to suggest that Canada invade anyone, let alone Turkey, but there is a kind of twisted quirky appeal in the idea. Whatever would the UN say? If Canada invades Turkey, and the USA is known as the Big Satan and Israel the little Satan; what does that make Canada - Beelzebub?

Anyhoo, he also sent a follow-up link from the Guardian Unlimited reporting on the British writer who was on trial in absentia in Turkey for insulting “Turkey” (the country not the bird). She has been acquitted.

The Only Leader who makes even GWB's poll numbers look outstanding

Ynet News is reporting that only 7% of the Israeli electorate believe Prime Minister Olmert is fit to lead the country of Israel.
A poll conducted by Yedioth Ahronoth and the Dahaf Institute headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach, 27 percent of the public believe that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is the most suitable person to head the government. He is followed by Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman with 15 percent, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni with 14 percent, and Vice Premier Shimon Peres with 12 percent of support.

Olmert is only at the fifth place, with only 7 percent of the public supporting him as the right person to lead them. Mofaz gets 5 percent and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak is supported by 3 percent of the public. Defense Minister Amir Peretz is at the bottom of the list with 1 percent of the public's support.

I’m just surprised that Olmert got over 5% but in typical Olmert fashion he believes he is the only Israeli in the country with enough experience to lead the country and does not hesitate to say so.

In a special Yedioth Ahronoth interview ahead of the Jewish New Year, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated, "I am the most suitable for leadership."Looking at the political and military establishment, Olmert said he could not see one person more experienced than him in managing an operation as big as
second this war.

In the interview, the prime minister defended the decisions he made during the war and refuted the claims that he was not experienced enough to make them. "I did not feel I had to deal with the type of decisions for which I lack something in order to deal with them," he said.

I look at the entire Israeli public system and at the entire military establishment. Has anyone there managed a war with three divisions? Who? ((Former IDF Chief of Staff and former Defense Minister) Shaul Mofaz? (Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe) Boogie Yaalon? (IDF Chief of Staff) Dan Halutz? (Deputy IDF Chief of Staff) Moshe Kaplinsky? (Outgoing Northern Command Chief) Udi Adam?

"Which one of them managed such a large-scale war that I could say – this is the person I want to rely on? The last person with experience one could rely on was Ariel Sharon," the prime minister stated, more than one month after a ceasefire in Lebanon was declared.

And we all know how well Olmert managed the recent war with Lebanon but 'decisive win' is not the phrase that comes to mind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If I can’t get a fatwa, I’ll settle for trial

The first reference I saw to this story was at Relapsed Catholic and I am ashamed to say I didn’t click in. It wasn’t until I noticed the little blurb at the National News Watch that I clued in.

Regular readers of the Last Amazon know that I am in the process of writing a book, and hoped to be done by December. Or I was until my hard drive fried its circuits and took my unbacked up finished chapters with it. Without giving too much away the main character in my story is a Mal’akh Ha’maret (excuse my Hebrew – I am still struggling with plurals) or an Angel of Death.

I don’t know how other writers write (and to be honest, I just don’t care) but for me, I have literally have seen every thing I want to write already in my mind’s eye. Before I actually sat down to write the first words, I was able to write an outline of each of the 21 chapters of my book so I know exactly what how each chapter is to flow into the next part of the story.

Now I will admit that in the process of writing each chapter things happen that surprise me. Some things come to light or thought that weren’t part of my original vision but they either work or they don’t. The beauty of writing is that I can put in anything I want – after all, it’s my mind’s eye. Since my main character is Angel of Death I certainly can work in the Armenian genocide angle. What can I say? The idea of any country hoping to join the European Union would actually think it’s a good thing to put a writer on trial in 2006 for a what a couple of fictional characters say in her novel is just so 7th century of them that I am so game. Maybe I can get Occam to defend me.

Does a gay Muslim suicide bomber get male virgins?

If he does; I hope they all look like Yassir Arafat, but I haven’t a clue as to what sayeth the Koran on this matter. Furthermore, I shamelessly stole that line from a commenter from this Ynet News article which is reporting on the current state of incitement against the Jews by the Palestinian Authority on state-run television:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' state-run television the past few weeks has broadcast a music video in which viewers are encouraged to "martyr" themselves in exchange for eternal paradise and beautiful "maidens."

The Israeli-based monitor Palestinian Media Watch reports the video, airing on television controlled by Abbas' Fatah party, depicts a Palestinian woman who is shot in the back by Israeli soldiers. The woman then is transported to "paradise" where she joins white-robed "maidens" dancing in water while waiting to marry a male Palestinian who "martyrs" himself.

In the next scene, according to PMW, a grieving Palestinian man is shot in the back by Israeli troops while visiting the grave of the woman killed at the start of the video. The man immediately is brought to "heaven" where he is rewarded with several white-robed "maidens," including the original woman he was mourning. "This recurring image of the martyr being rewarded by receiving the Maidens (is) part of the multifaceted Palestinian Authority campaign glorifying and encouraging terror, and promoting suicide terror as idyllic," states a PMW report. PMW cites other recent instances in which Palestinian television encouraged suicide terrorism for the reward of paradise ripe with beautiful women.

In one recent video, a Palestinian about to blow himself up among Jewish civilians is depicted reciting a prayer hoping for "paradise." "Angels of mercy, escort our souls to Heaven after we fulfill this duty of crushing the descendents of monkeys and pigs. Dear father and mother, blessings of honor and respect to you, while you escort me to the Maidens of Paradise as a Martyr," states the soon-to-be suicide bomber.

In a sermon broadcast on PA television, Ismail al-Radouan, a prominent Palestinian sheikh, declares, "When the Shahid meets his maker, all his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood. He is exempted from the torments of the grave; he sees his place in paradise, he is shielded from the great shock, and marries 72 Dark Eyed (Virgins)."

I have seen countless articles and watched countless broadcasts, and by this time you could reasonably assume that I had grown immune to this kind of blatant ‘poke in your eye’ anti-Semitism, but it still always manages to take a bit of my breath away. I am utterly amazed that I share my humanity with the same kind of people who are capable of producing this kind of filth on a regular routine basis. I try to comfort myself by thinking that they reside only on the outer edges of the human gene pool.

So the Little Man of the Mullah's

went to New York to give a speech at the UN. Why Iran has not been expelled for repeatedly calling for the destruction of another UN state is beyond my ability to comprehend. Apparently, I am not alone. Elie Wiesel thinks so too, and he has much more important friends than I, reports Ynet News.
With the opening of the UN General Assembly on September 12, 2006, Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel has joined a call by Israeli legal scholars and public personalities who are calling for the expulsion of Iran from the UN due to the statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other members of the Iranian national security establishment.

The group said in a statement that it was established at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs “in order to warn of the violations by the Iranian president of the 1949 Convention to prevent and punish the crime of genocide and to propose the initiation of legal proceedings against Ahmadinejad within the UN framework.”

Members of the group include Dr. Meir Rosenne, former legal advisor to the Foreign Ministry and Ambassador of Israel to the US and France; Dr. Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and today President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; lawyer Irit Kahan, former director of the International Affairs Department at the State Attorney’s Office; Eytan Bentsur, former director-general of the Foreign Ministry; attorney Justus Reid Weiner, former director of the American Law and External Relations Department of the Justice Ministry, and MK Danny Naveh. “The Jerusalem Center’s legal group has determined that the Iranian president is in violation of the 1949 Genocide Convention, which outlaws incitement to genocide,” Dori Gold said.

Eytan Bentsur added: It is inexplicable and inexcusable that the international community is not reacting vehemently to Ahmadinejad’s Nazi-style utterances. If there is no international uproar, he will be led to believe that he can get away with murder.”

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz and Professor Irwin Cotler, a member of the Canadian Parliament and former justice minister of Canada, have also joined the group’s call as of late.

"It’s quite incredible that 70 years after World War Two the president of a member country of the UN is stating load and clear that his intention is to wipe the Jewish State off the map and to realize the indifference of civilized countries when such a threat is uttered against the Jewish people," Meir Rosenne said. “Nobody will be able to claim that we did not know and therefore did not react.”

The group said it believes that Ahmadinejad’s statements constitute “direct public incitement to commit genocide and participation in genocide” and that “the Iranian threat is not a potential or theoretical one. On the basis of international legal standards, the president of Iran has violated the explicit prohibition in the Charter on the prevention and punishment of crimes of genocide. This violation is punishable by the UN, its main bodies and judicial organs the international, regional and municipal jurisdictions.

“The request to expel Iran from the family of nations is not only legitimate, but is the mandatory moral obligation of all those who see themselves obligated to the peace of mankind. Iran today endangers the peace of the entire world. It is necessary to do everything to prevent the president of Iran from fulfilling his plans, which pose a real threat to humanity," the statement said.
MP Irwin Cotler may not a CPC member but I am glad to see a Canadian politician standing up for what right rather than prostrating himself in supplication before the maddening rabble a la Jack Layton style.

All about the Benjamins

The Jerusalem Post claims the Israeli security forces have made a dent in the seemingly endless treasury of Iran:
Security forces raided 14 offices and homes of money-changers in the West Bank on Wednesday whose owners were suspected of transferring funds to Palestinian terror activity against Israel. During the operation Israeli forces confiscated NIS 5 million as well as 17,000 dinars and various documents. Money-changers were arrested after being found in possession of three pistols and a rifle.

The Shin Bet said that most of the money-changers located in Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm and Ramallah were behind the transfer of funds from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah headquarters located in Syria and Lebanon to the terror cells operating in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Most of the money, which came from Iran, was used to fund terror attacks, purchase weaponry, train terror cells and manufacture Kassam rockets.
I look forward to the day when the Mullah’s pocketbooks resemble my own after the children hit me up before school.

Fat Chance Sweetie

There seems no discernable change on the streets of Paris since the last riots reports the Jerusalem Post:
Youths wielding iron bars beat up two riot policemen patrolling a rough housing project in a southern Paris suburb, police officials said Wednesday. One officer was hospitalized with a double fracture of the skull during Tuesday night's incident in Corbeil-Essonnes, a police source said. His colleague reportedly sustained facial and body injuries.

Police were called in to disperse the gang of up to 30 youths who stoned the unmarked police car as it patrolled the area, police officials said. The police got out of their car, were encircled and attacked. Some of the youths were armed with iron bars, according to reports.

Ironically, the Last Amazon has been attempting to convince me that I should allow her to attend a French immersion summer program in Paris, alone, without family, or her brothers, and the US Marine Corps….I think not.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No more gloom and boom

For at least a few hours. Time for some really good news. I was out strolling through the bookstores on my lunch hour and discovered there is a new Sharpe book out. There is just something utterly irresistible about a rifleman.

Papal Intifada Watch 2

The BBC has a slideshow of “anti-pope protest” pictures from around the world.

I have been waiting for days for the Toronto Star’s editorial board to comment on the Papal Intifada. And not because I expected any wisdom from heaven to fall off the page as manna fell from the skies (after all it is the Toronto Star) but I have been taking bets on how long the editorial staff would hold out before it was forced to offer some commentary.

The Toronto Star finally succumbed today, and I have to own up to a tad bit of disappointment since the T-Star chose to farm out the op-ed to a couple of outsiders rather than put the editorial board in the driver’s seat. You can read the full editorial here but I can save you a few minutes by summing it up like this; the standard wife beater’s defense is invoked.

You know the one, where the husband terrorizes his wife and children so thoroughly that they are convinced every time he beats them to a bloody pulp it is their entire fault for making him just so mad. Ironically, the piece ends with a call to all moderate Muslims (wherever they maybe hiding) not to lose an opportunity to show the world that Islam has another face and can turn a cheek as well as the next faith.

I am going to have to ask for some pre-emptive Islamic forgiveness here because I am just not feeling the love or seeing the other cheek – I think the burqa’s in the way.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Unity Government Employees Riot

So much for that much vaunted “unity government” of the Palestinian Authority Ynet News reports:
Hundreds of government employees protested outside the Palestinian parliament compound on Monday, and succeeded in bringing to a suspension of the Legislative Council's session that was set to take place at the time.

The meeting was set to focus on the situation in the Palestinian Authority, and include a speech by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. However, upon the PM convoy's arrival at the complex, protesters attacked the vehicles in a bid to prevent Haniyeh from entering the Mukataa. In response, the PM's bodyguard fired in the air in order to disperse the strikers. According to eyewitnesses, the guards also beat up several of the strikers.

A Fatah parliament member claimed that she too was beaten by Haniyeh's guards. Consequently, the faction decided to suspend its participation in the meeting, this despite the fact that the faction has presented a parliamentary question to the Palestinian internal minister on the issue of the deteriorating security situation and the pervasive anarchy in the PA, which was set to stand at the heart of the discussions.
Hamas is blaming outside agitators led by Israel and United States for the increased tension and incitement within the Palestinian Authority. I am only6 surprised that he didn't ask for the Pope to apologize for this as well.

The Flea

draws the line in the sand, and rightly so.

I only wish he would bring back the Winston Review Saturday Nights.

Papal Intifada Watch: we shall break the cross and spill the wine…

The outrage continues. Reuters is carrying one of my new current favourite bits of homicidal outrage expressed by an al Qaeda group in Iraq:
We tell the worshipper of the cross (the Pope) that you and the West will be defeated, as is the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya," said an Internet statement by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an umbrella group led by Iraq's branch of al Qaeda.

"We shall break the cross and spill the wine. ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome. ... God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen," said the statement. It was posted on Sunday on an Internet site often used by al Qaeda and other militant groups.

Pope Benedict said on Sunday he was deeply sorry Muslims had been offended by his use of a Medieval quotation on Islam and violence. The remarks outraged Muslims and triggered protests and attacks on churches in several Arab towns. Another militant group in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunnah, also vowed to fight Christians in retaliation. "You will only see our swords until you go back to God's true faith Islam," it said in a separate Internet statement.
It is official. Islam is the Religion of Piece - as in lots of bits and pieces.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This is absolutely freaking hilarious.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has called for a victory rally to be held in the southern suburbs of Beirut reports the Jerusalem Post:
Hizbullah's leader on Sunday called for a massive rally in Beirut's bombed out southern suburbs to mark the militant group's "victory" over Israel during the month long fighting this summer. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the rally, to be held Friday evening, would show Hizbullah's "absolute commitment to our right to recover our land and prisoners and defend our nation, its dignity, freedom, sovereignty and real and full independence in the face of [Israeli] occupation."

"I call on all of you to participate in this victory rally," he said in a brief, televised speech broadcast on Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV station.
Nasrallah has been in hiding and has not been seen in public since July 12 nor is it known if Nasrallah will come of hiding to attend his victory rally.

Egad - Hooker Goats, Dogs and Cats!

Online Danish News paper Jyllands-Posten reports that the animal sex trade is flourishing in Denmark.
The animal sex business is thriving in Denmark. Next week, parliament is taking up the issue and will determine whether a law change regarding bestiality should be implemented.
In just a few hours work, the newspaper found 22 Danish website adverts for bestiality and managed to arrange meetings with two providers of animal sex via SMS and e-mail. Germany, Sweden and Norway are the industry's primary customers, according to 24timer, and a website in Germany refers to Denmark as one big 'animal whorehouse'.

Peter Sandøe, chairman of the Council on the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that it is difficult to determine the extent of the problem and how many owners actually lease their animals for sexual purposes.

There is something terribly wrong with the moral compass of a people who do not see sex with the family or the neighbor’s pet as morally reprehensively behavior whether the animal suffers in the act or not.

Just put this down as reason #9999999999 that I am eternally grateful that my ancestors left the Old World. This brings a whole new connotation to the term "Danish Style".

those who live by the sword

As security for the Catholic Pontiff is beefed up, I find this story continues to fascinate and hold my attention.

Today, I am struck by the wide ranging Muslim groups and clerics issuing condemnations censuring the Pontiff for quoting 14th century Byzantine Emperor in a speech concerning faith and reason (and I paraphrase the 'offensive phase':
"everything Mohammad brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".
But why weren’t any of these illustrious Muslim groups/clerics howling in outrage with their pens, voices and boots a few weeks ago when an obscure Palestinian terror group released a video of the forced conversions to Islam of two kidnapped Fox reporters?

I cannot find a single reference from any formal Muslim organization or esteemed Muslim cleric condemning the actions of the Palestinian terrorist group for the “by the sword” conversions of the two Fox reporters.

I guess for some the Truth can really suck.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sanity, Madness and the Muslims

I admit I have a hard time warming up to current pope and I wouldn’t have voted for him, but then again, I don’t have a say and the Catholic Church makes no pretense of being a democracy.

The hoopla over the Pope’s quote of a 15th Byzantine emperor is absurd. Muslims who are protesting, rioting and firebombing churches need to get a grip on sanity.

The calls for the Pope to issue an apology are equally absurd, but the Pope being the Pope will no doubt apologize but what is he really going to apologize for? By that I mean; is he to apologize for what someone else said a really, really, long time ago or for repeating what someone said a really, really, long time ago?

Damned if I get it.

Increasingly, I find myself thinking that the West should be marshalling teams of psychiatrists for immediate deployment to Muslim nations or into Muslim communities in the West to help these people come to grips with the fact that the 7th century has ended and is never coming back.

The psych commando units could have practicing psychiatrists drawn from all of the major psychiatric theorists. I can picture it now; the 101st Jung, 66th Freud and 78th Adler battalions to start. No doubt it would be probably be wise to give them basic firearms and explosive training as well – just in case of fatwas.

Friday, September 15, 2006

No surprises with this poll.

A Leger poll reported in the Canadian Jewish News reports this bit of Quebec poll trivia;
Thirty-eight per cent of Quebecers think 9/11 was at least partly the result of Israel’s actions in the Middle East, the highest of any region of Canada, according to a poll commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies (ACS).

Overall, 31 per cent of all Canadians, including Quebecers, hold the same opinion. When Quebec responses are deducted from the national total, about 27 per cent of the rest of Canada think Israel’s actions were a “primary cause” of 9/11. ACS director Jack Jedwab said the more than 10-point spread on this question between Quebecers and other Canadians is significant.

In addition, the great majority of Quebecers, more than three-quarters – well above the Canadian average of 63 per cent – believe the Sept. 11 attacks were also at least in part caused by U.S. foreign policy. When Quebec is compared to the rest of Canada alone, the spread is about 20 per cent, which Jedwab also sees as a wide gap.

An equal proportion of Quebecers and Canadians as a whole, about two-thirds, said a primary cause of 9/11 was a reaction of Islamic fundamentalism against the West. “While the proportion of all Canadians citing the U.S. and Israel as bearing some of the blame for 9/11 is quite high, the results suggest that other Canadians do see the problem as more multidimensional than Quebecers,” he said.
I really do not put much stock in polls in general, but I gather I would be able to safely conclude that Quebec’s love affair with anti-Semitism has yet to come to a well deserved end, and a significant proportion of Quebecers are not only out of touch, but out of sync with the thinking in the rest of country – surprise, surprise.

h/t: Iris Blog

La Passionata, Oriana Fallaci, has died.

In her beloved Florence reports CBS news:
AP) Oriana Fallaci, the Italian writer and journalist best known for her abrasive interviews and provocative stances, has died, officials said Friday. She was 76.

Fallaci, who had been diagnosed with cancer years ago, died overnight in a private clinic in Florence, said Paolo Klun, an official with the RCS publishing group, which carried Fallaci's work. Klun said Fallaci, who lived in New York, had come back to her hometown days ago as her condition worsened.

Fallaci, a former Resistance fighter and war correspondent, was rarely seen in public.

During her journalistic career she became known for challenging interviews with such world leaders as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Her work _ both interviews and books _ was translated across the world.
I first was introduced to Madam Fallaci's work in the 80's with the English publication of "A Man".

Front Page Magazine translated from Italian a December 2002 article Fallaci wrote for Corriere della Sera.

I find it shameful that in obedience to the stupid, vile, dishonest, and for them extremely advantageous fashion of Political Correctness the usual opportunists--or better the usual parasites--exploit the word Peace. That in the name of the word Peace, by now more debauched than the words Love and Humanity, they absolve one side alone of its hate and bestiality. That in the name of a pacifism (read conformism) delegated to the singing crickets and buffoons who used to lick Pol Pot's feet they incite people who are confused or ingenuous or intimidated. Trick them, corrupt them, carry them back a half century to the time of the yellow star on the coat. These charlatans who care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the charlatans. That is not at all...

I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders, progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth. I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. ("I know you've come to add another scalp to your necklace," he murmured almost with sadness when I went to interview him in 1982.)

I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let themselves be exterminated a second time.

And disgusted by the anti-Semitism of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States, but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.
Though I did not always agree with her politics, her writing always demanded an emotional and intellectual response from the reader. What greater tribune to be said of a writer than that they had the ability to make a reader think and feel? The world seems a far poorer place with her passing.

She was a life long passionate defender of freedom and a woman of truly Amazonian proportions. She was also a committed atheist but I doubt that she would be offended if I offered my prayers wishing her the rest of the righteous into eternity.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Let's get radical - BANN GUN CONTROL

I don’t really have much to add to the Montreal School Shooting except to point out that the National Gun Registry was designed as safety measure by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien to avert shooting deaths. Gun control fails miserably ONCE AGAIN. Now we can pass more draconian gun laws while we wait for the next school shooting, and we can even supplement those draconian guns laws with a law banning or regulating Goths and/or Vampire type people. And if that turns your crank; good luck with that.

I don’t want any part of it nor will it keep our loved ones any safer. There is very little one can do to deter a deranged individual who is determined to carry out nefarious deeds. But what if we tried a different and far more radical approach by having less gun control and allowing ordinary citizens to carry a concealed weapon for protection? Yesterday’s tragedy might not been had such a high injury toll. When you consign your safety to the government you become nothing more than a spectator in your own fate.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

where there is life, there is always hope.

I don’t know how you can read this and not weep for Terri Schiavo and her parents. Like I said before there is no "right" to murder your wife.

A Turn of the Screw or Take that Human Rights Watch

A group of 100 Israeli Arabs protested outside the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv reports Ynet News, but the remarkable thing is what they called upon Egyptian President to Mubarak to learn:
Some 100 Israeli Arabs held a rally Wednesday outside the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv in protest of what they perceive as the country's failed handling of the traffic accident in Sinai which left 12 Israelis dead. The demonstrators also protested the lenient sentence handed to the bus driver involved in the accident, who will serve only one year in prison.

"Learn from Israel what human dignity means. Human dignity is a primary value in Israel," the protesters shouted. Participants in the rally held up signs saying, "12 killed, 12 months in jail – justice Egypt-style," and "State of Israel – don't abandon injured and killed citizens."

One of the protesters was a woman whose son was wounded in the accident and who died later because he was not evacuated to the hospital in time. Assad Gaban from the community of Mazra'a lost his brother Najub in the accident. His daughter was seriously injured and is still hospitalized. Gaban called on President Hosni Mubarak to come to Israel and "learn from the Israelis what value for life means."

"I tell the Egyptians that they should be ashamed of themselves. They didn't send any letter of condolences. We want Israelis to learn from this not to go to Egypt or to Sinai. If anything happens to them there, they will not receive any treatment," he stated.
Too bad this protest will not receive any play in the Egyptian press - only because I just like the thought of a few Muslim brotherhood types squirming as they read or watch it on television.

Now, if only Olmert would follow suit

The first Israeli military resignations has occurred reports Ynet News:
Northern command chief, Major-General Udi Adam, informed the IDF chief of staff Wednesday morning of his request to be relieved of his duty at the earliest convenience.

Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz complied with the request. In the course of their meeting, held in northern Israel, the two agreed that a replacement for Adam will be appointed as soon as possible.

Major-General Adam has been walking around with a belly full of complaints, following his effective replacement during wartime after it became clear that the aerial offensive failed in fully curbing Hizbullah's attacks. At that point Halutz sent in his deputy, Major-General Moshe Kaplisnky, who took over the command of the ground onslaught in the north.

Following Kaplinsky's appointment, Adam, who was pushed aside, declared that he plans to consider his future moves after the war. Sources close to the northern command chief estimated then that he would not remain in the role for much longer.

Sources close to Adam said on Wednesday that the major-general has on several occasions expressed to them his difficult feelings regarding Halutz's and the general staff's conduct during the war, and the lack of support given to him. According to an army official, the senior officer decided to delay his resignation until the fighting was over.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

French Protection

E-GAD, the French Unifil forces have arrived and it looks like they have sent the village people.

You cannot make this shit up.

G-d Save Israel.

h/t Israelly Cool

Zionists & Iranian Agent Provocateurs = Allies

Ynet News is reporting this highlight from the trial of Saddam Hussein:
Saddam Hussein thundered out against “Agents of Iran and Zionism” and vowed Tuesday to “Crush your heads” after listening to Kurdish witnesses at his genocide trial tell of atrocities against them nearly two decades ago. In a moment of defiance, one witness turned to the ex-president and declared: “Congratulations Saddam. You are in a cage.”

Saddam and the six other defendants sat silently in the courtroom as witnesses related the horrors of Operation Anfal, the 1987-88 campaign to suppress a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq during which the prosecution claims about 180,000 Kurds lost their lives.

But when Saddam heard a lawyer describe Kurdish guerrillas, known as peshmergas, as freedom fighters, the ex-president bellowed: “You are agents of Iran and Zionism. We will crush your heads.” Before the judge cut off his microphone, Saddam said the Kurdish guerrillas were rebels and “In any country in the world where there is rebellion, the authorities ask the army to defeat it.” He demanded that the word peshmerga, Kurdish for “Those who face death,” Be stricken from the trial record and complained that the five-judge panel had tolerated “Lots of violations” Of judicial proceedings during the Tuesday session.
Really it’s no surprise that Saddam Hussein is carrying on and raving about Iranian agent provocateurs and the evil Zionists tag teaming to conspire against him, but what surprises me is how long is the farce has been going on. Truly, there is nothing as tiresome as a former tinpot dictator using the docks as his personal bully pulpit.

US Embassy in Syria Comes Under Attack

Reports are still sketchy but it appears that an attack occurred on the US Embassy in Syria. Reuters carries this report:
DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Four armed men attacked the United States embassy in Damascus on Tuesday but the assault was repelled and Syrian officials said all diplomats were safe.

The officials said the four men shouted religious slogans, threw a grenade into the yard of the embassy. One official said the four attackers were killed and witnesses said at least one Syrian guard was killed.

Ynet News has this report:
Gunmen apparently blew up a car outside the US Embassy and exchanged fire with Syrian guards in a bold attack inside Damascus' diplomatic neighborhood Tuesday, a witness said. It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

A Syrian who works at the US Embassy contacted by The Associated Press by telephone said there were no US casualties. He spoke on condition of anonymity and said Syrian security forces were handling the situation. In Washington, the US State Department said it had no immediate information and was looking into news reports of the attack.

Security forces cordoned off a neighborhood where the American Embassy is located in the Syrian capital. A witness said two gunmen stopped a car on the street in front of the embassy, got out of the car, shot at the Syrian sentries in front of the building's entrance and then detonated the car.

The witness said the security personnel shot back, and security forces in the area quickly rushed to the scene, said the witness who was in the area. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

There are no reports of any American casualties.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I have no 9/11 posts. I find myself increasingly reluctant to join 9/11 memorial events whether in the blogsphere or in real life. It’s not that the event did not have any impact on my life or the victims themselves are not somehow worthy of remembrance. I have been wrestling with the 'why' I am so reluctant to join and my frustration with today's events.

9/11 was the first large scale offensive by a group of Islamic Fascists on civilian targets who had declared war not just on the United States but the entire Western World. The war is not over by a long shot, if anything, it has hardly begun. Five years in and already there are increasing calls for 'dialogue' with our enemies. How one finds common ground with a group that calls for your death is beyond my ability to fathom.

I do not understand those who have so utterly intellectually disarmed themselves that they are perfectly content to calmly accept every blow or stone of appeasement which our enemies lobby and call it deserved. Pre- 9/11, I would have been quite content to let the Left dialogue themselves all the way to oblivion; but the problem of ‘now’ is that appeasement requires my family and love ones to be offered up as sacrificial lambs to their discourses.

I find that I am angrier now, than I was then, but the source of my fury has spread from the original perpetrators and now includes those same people who seek to prolong this war by their calls for "restraint" and "dialogue", or those who refuse to acknowledge there is even a war on, and finally, with those who will not just get on with it, and do what has to be done in a war without going all wobbly. Five years later and the war is a long way from over. There is a phase that keeps bouncing around in my head: "I will mourn my loved ones when our enemies are vanquished."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Purse alert

I got tagged by Suzanne in this what do you carry in your purse meme. On occasion, I am a good sport with time to kill so here goes:

Wallet – not anything exciting I am afraid, stuffed with pennies in the change compartment, bank cards, credit cards, health insurance card, and SIN card. I absolutely adore the fact that I live in a country that issues you an official “SIN” card. For the non-Canadians out there, the SIN cards stands for Social Insurance Number which is comparable to a Social Security card.

Now on to the actual purse:

Purse sized bottles of L’Amariage and Happy. Whatelse does a woman need? Organza! Note to self: look for a purse size bottle of Organza. Do they even make purse sized bottles of Organza?

Lipstick (terra cotta red) keys, gym card, reading glass case – glasses are (of course) currently on my nose, security passes (work & home), Werthers, Blockbusters card, keys.

Passport - I really shouldn’t carry around my passport and not only because the picture is absolutely horrid. Note to the wise - don’t be cheap and go for the black & white photo – pony up the extra $4 bucks and get the colour pictures. It’s amazing how much older I look in that picture then I do now considering the fact that it was taken 4 years ago. I had very short hair and for the first time I noticed that I bear a striking resemblance to my Grandmother Rose at the time of her death. I have actually had custom’s agents ask me if it really is my passport and requested addition ID to back-up the passport. The truth is I can’t bear to not carry my passport. Blame my Gypsy heart. I need to know that I can flee at anytime and can travel anywhere.

Health card – much better picture though I do look very dark, and the hair is rather unkempt looking. Plus there is a rather wild look in my eyes and expression to my face. I really loathe the thought of having to show up at the Ministry of Health to get a new picture taken next July. The last time I was there the clerk propositioned me and I had a hard time getting away from him. Frankly, I don't have the slightest desire to play Cougar to his Mrs. Robinson fantasies.

Extra Strength Advil and Aspirin – blame the dancing.

And finally, my Ipod Shuffle, my new best friend.

Now to the tagging thing – I really hate to tag anyone for anything, and usually prefer to let this memes die with me, but I am being a good sport. So I tag Glenda because summer should be over now and I want her to get back to blogging because I miss reading her over coffee. And I tag Suzy Snapper, who I am sure has much more interesting things in her purse than I do and I bet, unlike me, she carries pictures of her love ones. The final tag has to be Wendy because I just know that whatever she carries in her handbag is what all real women should be carrying and I probably could use the instruction.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Do you have a conscience?

The public fallout with the Olmert Kadima government continues. Ynet News is reporting that 30,000 have turned out in Rabin Square to demand that the Israeli government establish an official State Commission to investigate the government’s handling of the Israeli-Lebanon War.
Almost a month after the end of the second Lebanon war, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel (MQG), in conjunction with the Baltam Forum – representing reserve soldiers – gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, under the banner 'State Commission of Inquiry Now'. Some 30,000 protestors attended.

Carrying signs reading, among others, 'What is there to hide?', 'Conscience demands inquiry' and 'State, state, state', protestors demonstrated their disapprobation of Olmert's investigative efforts thus far.

Chairman of the Baltam forum Roi Ron told Ynet: "We demand a state commission of inquiry to determine how reserve soldiers were sent to war without ammunition, without protection, without food and without water. Soldiers who hadn't trained in years."
Apparently, a number of protesters were carrying signs asking the government the rhetorical question "Do you have a conscience?" Someone needs to ask CBC journalist Nahlah Ayed the same thing.

Saudis Ban the sale of dogs and cats

I realize that Saudi imans regularly refer to Jews as ‘dogs’ but the Saudis are not banning the sale of Jews – just in case there is any confusion concerning the terms. Ynet News carries this report:
Saudi Arabia's religious police, normally tasked with chiding women to cover themselves and ensuring men attend mosque prayers, are turning to a new target: cats and dogs. The police have issued a decree banning the sale of the pets, seen as a sign of Western influence.

The prohibition on dogs may be less of a surprise, since conservative Muslims despise dogs as unclean. But the cat ban befuddled many, since Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet Muhammad loved cats — and even let a cat drink from his ablutions water before washing himself for prayers.

The religious police, known as the Muttawa, have the role of enforcing Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic code. Its members prowl streets and malls, ensuring unmarried men and women do not mix, confronting women they feel are not properly covered or urging men to go to prayers. But the government also gives the Muttawa wide leeway to enforce any rules they deem necessary to uphold the social order.

The decree — which applies to the Red Sea port city of Jiddah and the holy city of Mecca — bans the sale of cats and dogs because "some youths have been buying them and parading them in public," according to a memo from the Municipal Affairs Ministry to Jiddah's city government. The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, urges city authorities to help enforce the ban.
Personally, I prefer dogs but I do like my cat. I’d say we have the perfect arrangement. In exchange for food and water he kills mice. It works out well but using water the cat’s drank out of for bathing is a just little too much over the line for me, which is reason #99999999 I could never convert to Islam. I just wouldn't want to attempt to emulate or rever a man who used the cat’s water for washing – or even marry one who did. That’s just too twisted for me - call it one of those women thingies.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Personal is Political and I refuse to let my womb play victim

In the course of 44 years of life as a woman, I have faced discrimination from time to time and I dealt with it by moving on. As in, over and above, or just plum mowing down whoever tried to hold me down or back. If the law is on your side; all else is just details.

I came of age in the late seventies. Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir were mother’s milk to me. But a funny thing happened on the way to achieving equality before the law regardless of sex. The agenda changed in the feminist movement, and no longer did I have a place, nor was I valued for my feminism because it was in the political mold of a Margaret Thatcher rather than in the sneering gender contempt of a Greer. We achieved equality before the law but Equality got replaced with a concept called "Equity" which is now considered political and economic social ‘justice.’ Don’t ask me to define political/economic social justice as I can’t keep the competiting gangs of legal thieves straight nor their rationale for being.

When I was young, I thought that feminism was all about a woman’s right to choose whatever innately suited her talents or temperament. I learned the hard way that unless you are choosing to have an abortion, unlimited sexual encounters with as many strange stray males that pass one by, or pursuing a career rather than choosing husband, family and motherhood – not only are you letting down the sisterhood but you have failed as a fully functioning self-actualized woman.

There is one exception to the motherhood role. Choose motherhood sans male and then your status is ennobled and you are once again revered. But claim that children need a father as much as a mother or that your experience of raising girls and boys leads you to deduce that male and female children brain’s process information differently right from birth, and your feminist credentials are rescinded. You might as well write "Traitor to the Sisterhood" in big red letters across your forehead. Oh, and get use to being called "Stupid Cunt, Slut, Whore, Harlot" by all those anti-sexist pro-feminista types of both sexes. There is nothing a progressive/feminista male loves more then free license to call another woman a "stupid cunt." I swear they positively revel in it.

But you know what is even stranger? To live in the land where successive government administrations insist on funding an organization who reputedly speaks and acts on my behalf but refuses to believe in the validity of my differing opinion; or even acknowledge that I have a voice as worthy to be heard or considered as any other woman’s.

Help end discrimination and the government funding of the Status of Women. Put your signature on this petition.