At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, March 31, 2008

CULTURALLY SENSITIVE POST

Courtesy of Treppenwitz (http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/) and some guy in Britain, I have listened to an eloquent Englishman making some boffo points about the archbishop.


I shan't summarize them. Just take the time to visit his blog and find the clip yourself.


I will, however, tell you a little story.


THE THREE LITTLE INOFFENSIVE FARM-ANIMALS AND THE WOLF

"Once upon a time there were three little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep. Who after moving out of their mother's house decided to build their own houses. The first little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep built his out of straw. The second little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep built his out of wood. And the third built his out of bricks and mortar. Along came a big bad wolf, who stood outside the first little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep's house demanding to be let in. The little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep refused, so the wolf huffed and puffed as he had promised to do, and blew the house in, and ate the little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep's tofu.
Then the wolf visited the second little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep. Same end-result. Then he stopped by the third little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep's house. The little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep, in his house of brick and mortar, told him to go piss up a rope. So the wolf came down the chimney instead, fell head-first into the little XXXXXX -fat-tailed sheep's roaring fire, and was burned to a crisp.

Following the wolf's martyrdom, thousands of his supporters staged an angry protest in Gaza."


Okay, I added that last little bit.

For the rest, it hews faithfully to the non-offending halal version of the story. And the bit about Gaza is neutral, no judgement pro or con anything. Just a note of contemporary culture, do with it what you wish.

Please don't throw your poo at me.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

FITNA NO LONGER ON LIVELEAK, STILL ON YOUTUBE

The company hosting FITNA, LiveLeak, has removed the Geert Wilders' movie from its servers.


Their statement below makes clear why:

"This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realized LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.

Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one another's culture.

We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.
"


Their statement was quoted in an article in the NRC Handelsblad:
http://www.nrc.nl/media/article1029097.ece/Liveleak_verwijdert_film_Fitna_na_bedreigingen

[Note: article includes link to YOUTUBE copy of FITNA, which bypasses need to log in or sign up. YOUTUBE also here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCrCsTMokTU]



REACTIONS

As of this writing, there were over 8050 comments underneath the clip, representing every possible point of view, in the most vociferous and ungentle ways imaginable. Including the two extremes that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that Christianity is a peaceful religion, as explained by armchair savants in such terms as to prove the contrary.
Some of those savants, by the way, are barely literate. As you probably expected.

Meanwhile, in a part of the world where it is not likely that people even know where the country Great Wilds is on the map, or who this person named Miss Fitna Dutchmans could be or why she is so famous, the usual manifestations have already taken place: hundreds of people (nearly two thousand in Peshawar alone) in Pakistan have publicly demanded that the government sever all ties with the Netherlands, and a few militant Muslim leaders have threatened bloody vengeance.

[And, according to Nasrullah Shaji, local functionary of the Jamaat-e Islami in Karachi, the Dutch are barbarians. Certainly he is in a position to know barbarism in Karachi.]


It should come as no surprise that the extremist fringe, on both sides of the ideological divide, are gleefully watching FITNA like it was porn. For the rabid anti-Islamics it shows what they have always known to be the true face of Islam, and for the Jihadis it encapsulates their great victories juxtaposed with Quranic verses in a boffo recitation.


Rational people will not let it affect them much. It is doubtful whether the movie will have any significant effect on Islamic-Western relations.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

FITNA

Geert Wilders has released his movie FITNA. It can be viewed by clicking the links below.

It is, for Westerners, perhaps not as shocking as it has been made out to be - we've already seen footage of planes slamming into buildings, non-Muslims being slaughtered, and gays and women being executed. We've obediently watched the educational films coming out of the Muslim world for years, and have seen Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl, and hundreds of others losing their heads repeatedly.

[We've also watched tapes of angry gentlemen with beards sternly lecturing us from such places as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. We've watched footage of the praestations of their followers with great interest. It's almost an obsession, especially when the football season is over]


English version:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7d9_1206624103

Dutch version:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ee4_1206625795


[Update at 3:18 PM: FITNA can also be seen on YOUTUBE here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCrCsTMokTU ]


But I can imagine that for some of the more out-of-the-loop people elsewhere, the movie may prove disturbing. Following bloody-minded quotes from the Quran and hate-sermons with actual footage of those messages being taken literally could, conceivably, be offensive to some.

[A few simple cartoons upset them a while back. A work of fiction by a distinguished British author of subcontinental derivation gave Ayatollah Khomeini indigestion. Two office buildings and two subway systems really irritated some people in Afghanistan. Danish butter disagrees with lots of people (especially in the Sudan). These are profound mysteries.]


But the danger that Geert Wilders perceives is real, and the polarization of Dutch society is a fact.
It was not Western liberals who polarized Dutch society. It was not Western liberals who sliced off the heads of captives. It was not Western liberals who rioted against cartoons and screamed threats of death. It was not Western liberals who killed Theo van Gogh, chased Ajaan Hirsi Ali out of the Netherlands, and regularly threaten brutal death to politicians in Amsterdam and other cities of the lowlands.


Far be it from me to say who it is.
But I have a pretty good idea.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CORPORATE QUISLINGS

Network Solutions has taken down the notice "Fitna - the movie: coming soon" (http://fitnathemovie.com/), which was the internet parking spot for Geert Wilders' polemic fifteen minute film about the Quran (to be released before the end of March).

Network Solutions has so far,not given any reason other than that they are "investigating whether the site's content is in violation of Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy".
Network Solutions states that they have received complaints about the site. As I'm sure they have. And clearly they have surrendered to those complaints.



What kind of complaints did they receive?

Probably not polite rational letters with well-thought out arguments. More likely screaming threats of death, annihilation, plagues, and religious war. Plus official guarantees that they might lose business in certain parts of the world....... And be burned in effigy.


See how easy that was?

This is rather reminiscent of Yahoo collaborating with the government of the People's Republic of China.......

Law abiding citizens cannot pressure corporations. But radicals, dictators, and brutal regimes do it with ease. Network Solutions has proven that profit outranks principle.
There is no money in free speech.


Network Solutions
Roy Dunbar, CEO
10 Azalea Drive
Drums, PA 18222
800-333-7680
www.networksolutions.com


Do please feel free to contact Mr. Dunbar. Just remember that if you aren't a jihadi or a cleric, he may not take you seriously. As a private individual you probably do not count for much. And please note that this is just an opinion - an opinion based on what I perceive to be craven corporate behaviour.

But nevertheless. An opinion.

I have absolutely no basis for believing that Mr. Roy Dunbar is not a complete gentleman in his private life, treating his family and possible liaisons with anything less than love, courtesy, and devoted consideration. Assuming that there are people that close to him.
Other than shareholders and jihadis.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

RANT FOR THE RECORD

A friend taunts me by sending an excerpt from an anti-Muslim screed by some shtrenge ferkrampte reformed church preacher.
[And by reformed church is meant Dutch Reformed.]

Not entirely by coincidence, it is by an author whom I had previously read, and rejected as being a heretic, member of one of the oompty-thousand unacceptable split-offs and schisms.

There is nothing worse than a Dutchman who is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.
[Especially when I am right.]


It's a social and cultural thing much more than a religious thing. But it's also part of Dutch Reformed Church culture, and hence dominates and pervades all Dutch life. Even among those who are not members of one of the oompty-thousand unacceptable split-offs and schisms.

The dislike of groups of other Dutch people, based on some minor difference or scarcely perceived deviation, manifests itself sometimes absurdly.

Such as several years ago having one newspaper for Catholic socialists, one newspaper for Protestant socialists, and one newspaper for atheist socialists. Plus one that disagreed with all of the above.

For several years there were so many split-offs from the Dutch communist party that none of them were represented in the government, despite all of them together comprising the largest voting block - they just couldn't stand each other.

Which is by no means unlike frumme Calvinists from the Dutch Bible belt, who sneer as they pass each other's churches, and don't shop at each others stores (even if they have to go to another village for their groceries). In order to avoid contamination by "them", you know.

Then there was the couple who ran the local porno-boutique in the town where we lived. They sent their children to a rigidly Calvinist grammar school twenty miles away. For fear that the little dears would be corrupted by rubbing shoulders with us heathens.


As the old saw has it, one Dutchman is a believer, two Dutchman are a congregation, and three Dutchmen means a schism.

There's the joke about the two Dutch-reformed shipwreck survivors on the deserted island: "This is my church, that's his church, and the third one over there is the one we both broke away from."


As a fluent speaker of Dutch, a descendant of Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam, having lived in the Netherlands for a portion of my life, and being an opinionated argumentative person besides, you can probably imagine what I think of that preacher whose words were forwarded. It isn't pretty.
He is the kind of person with whom I could probably have a splendid conversation (because of all of the things we have in common), but whom I would not want to ever pollute my house, and whom I would never introduce to my loved ones, my friends, or anyone I cared about or whose estimation I valued.

I am tempted to go into a rant about all the various branches of Calvinism, and how most of them consist of stark-raving demented Dutchmen, pathetic Dutchmen wannabes, or pussy Presbies who are little more than Anglo-lite.

But I shall not do so.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

ROZ ROTHSTEIN HURTS TENDER FEELINGS OF UN MEMBERS

Apparently a few short words by a Jew can turn some Arabs and Persians into badly behaved little boys.
How sad!

I am referring to the extremely short speech by Roz Rothstein at the seventh Human Rights Council of the United Nations on March 19th. 2008.
The horror, the horror!


It was interrupted by Egypt, a stalwart paragon of human rights, democracy, and free speech, as well as by Iran, a champion of freedom of expression, tolerance, and liberal-humanist ideals.
Bravo!
Roz Rothstein is the director of Stand With Us (on the net here: http://www.standwithus.com/ ), who, as befits a height-deficient and non-threatening Jewish-mother type, is a notorious firebrand, rabble-rouser, and 'slam-disturber. She is infamous for disagreeing with the righteously oppressed peaceful Hamas-members and Hezbollah supporters (mostly Euro-left and Berkeleyites), and blatantly refuses to adhere to any commonly accepted standards of political correctness.
Bad girl!

The representatives of Egypt and Iran, justifiably irked by her assertions, jumped up and down waving their little fists, shaking their bushy tails, and screeching loudly in the cutest manner. Several other representatives hastened to do nothing to prevent this, remaining loudly and supportively silent while the Egyptian and Iranian lost control of their rhetorical bowels.
Oh the humanity!


Here is her speech and where it was interrupted:


[UN Watch Oral Statement, Agenda Item 9: Review of Mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Doudou Diène]

Thank you, Mr. President.
We strongly support renewing the mandate against racism.
We wish to address the draft resolution that is before us.


For me, the issue of racism is not academic.
My parents survived the Nazi Holocaust. Eighty of my relatives were murdered.

Mr. President, I know what racism, hatred and anti-Semitism can lead to.
What began with racist words, ended with genocide.
The United Nations and its Commission on Human Rights were created to prevent such evil from ever happening again. Tragically, however, it has happened-in Cambodia, Rwanda, and today in Darfur.
(INTERRUPTION BY EGYPT)


Equally, the evil of anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head, and it is rightly addressed in the proposed resolution.
There are many examples. Iran's President Ahmadinejad actively promotes Holocaust denial, and calls for eliminating the Jewish state. We salute the expert on racism for condemning this.
Hamas and Hezbollah,
(INTERRUPTION BY IRAN)



DID NOT READ THE FOLLOWING: (UN WATCH stopped her due to fear of another outburst)
Hamas and Hezbollah however, systematically promote the same kind of genocidal
anti-Semitism in their sermons, websites and media broadcasts. A terrorist translated this incitement into deed in Jerusalem two weeks ago, murdering eight young Jewish students in a religious school.

And in Gaza, the Hamas government-whose Charter openly advocates killing Jews and destroying the Jewish state-passed out candy to celebrate.

RESUMED HERE:

Organizations such as Stand With Us are doing vital work to educate against hatred.
But the UN, and all nations gathered here, must do more to fight words that kill.
At Durban in 2001, a conference meant to combat racism saw some of the worst displays of anti-Semitism since the Holocaust. Leaflets were distributed with Hitler's picture, calling for the destruction of Israel.


As this Council prepares the 2009 follow-up conference, its noble goals must not be hijacked by the forces of intolerance. Nations must rise to defeat words that kill.
For all these reasons, we support a strong mandate to combat racism.

Thank you, Mr. President.


[Note: Text courtesy of StandWithUs - E-mail: info@standwithus.com Web: http://www.standwithus.com ]--- --- --- --- ---


The honourable members of the UN, deeply aware of the great historical role played by Hitler in the founding of their institution, have an obligation to remain silent and do naught when such respected entities as Iran and the Palestinian gang propagate an appreciative interpretation of that man's legacy.
It is, after all, greatly due to that man that ancient European traditions of anti-Semitism and discrimination have been seamlessly absorbed in the Muslim world, and made palatable (nay, sweet even!) in Berkeley, Brussels, and Moscow.

Not to mention in our very own city of San Francisco, where every speaker at International ANSWER's anti-war rally two days ago dwelt lovingly on the plight of the poor huggable Palestinians and condemned Israel in the most poetic, over-the-top, and lyrically imaginative terms - but more on that display of surprisingly immaterial and irrelevant Jew-hatred later.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

TWO VERY SMALL ITEMS

Number One: Thanks to Treppenwitz, I have used the word clyster for the first time in two decades. That man has so much to answer for.

Number Two: I have received a plaintive e-mail, which states: "Hello! I am bored today. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you. Email me at Sydney@GreatGolovaSite.com only, because I am using my friend's email to write this. I want to show you some pictures."

[The friend whose computer she borrowed is Arturo Bullard at 99tovelldav@allsaints.dorset.sch.uk ]

I am so sorry I missed the chance to chat with ms. Sydney - she sounds sweet, and I would have loved to have told her all about a fortune in a bank in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (the Switzerland of West-Africa).

A QUESTION OF MINHAG

Following an exhaustive and lomdish debate on the absolute and relative values of studying Torah, in a comment-string on Dovbear's blog (http://dovbear.blogspot.com/), which undoubtedly prompted much reflection among the readers, some wise words were placed in the comments underneath a far different post (http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2008/03/funny-funny-fox.html).

They reflect an insight that, once you grasp it, is transcendently obvious - but it takes genius to think of it first. The author is Margavriel.


This is what he wrote:


MG: (some line about something from the New Testament)

SAM: I've never read the New Testament, at least not large portions of it.

MG: On Purim, it's a mitzvo to read the New Testament! ונהפוך הוא

SAM: No, it should be a mitzvè to read the New Testament on Nittel, because you're not allowed to lern Torah then. Davkè, you should lern anti-Torah.

MG: Ah, right! If we were lerning Torah, it would look like we were celebrating their holiday. So instead, we lern the New Testament, so it is clear that we are not celebrating their holiday.

SAM: Yup! You're getting it!

MG: Right. You should go into the subway station on Nittel, and read the New Testament, loud and clear, so that everyone can know that you are not celebrating their holiday. Preferably, you should leyn it out of a klaf.


------Mar Gavriel


=======================================
GLOSS:
1. The Subsequentia is not infrequently called the New Testament in the common tongue. That name means merely that someone held on to a regenerative gland or organ while speaking, in the manner of Roman witnesses in a court case.
2. Klaf is also 'qlaf'. It is not the same as its Arabic cognate 'quluf'.
=======================================

ADDENDUM (RECEIVED FROM MARGAVRIEL AS I WAS POSTING):

MG: You know the minhog not to eat mattzo 30 days before Pesach?

SAM: Yeah.

MG: Well, my minhog is not to shake lulov 30 days before Sukkes.

SAM: Mine, too.

MG: And not to hear shôfor 30 days before Rôsh Hasshono. (I accomplish that by not going to shul.)

SAM: Mine, too. Plus, my minhog is not to say Slichos 40 days before Yom Kippur.

MG: Why 40? Why not 30?

SAM: Oh, you're right. I only have to stop going to Slichos 30 days before Yom Kippur. I could theoretically go to Sfardi Slichos during the first 10 days of Elul. But I'm not Sfardi, so I don't.

MG: But if you stopped by at a Sfardi minyon, you could.

SAM: Right. That would not be in violation of my minhog.

MG: What about not drinking thirty days before Purim?

SAM: Well, I fulfilled that this year. I haven't drunk anything -- except small amounts of wine -- for the thirty days before Purim this year.

MG: What about the brandy that I convinced you to drink last night (11th of Ador)?

SAM: Yes, but last night was already Purim!!! Don't you remember?

MG: Oh, right. I forgot.


=======================================

NOTE: Please be aware that reading the Subsequentia on nittel nacht only applies to people from whom one actually expects a serious demeanor and a scholarly habitus. In the B.O.T.H. household this is not required - my savage outbursts of fury and insane ranting, and Savage Kitten's increasing frustration with allergies, shoppers, Chinese-Americans, relatives, recalcitrant lobsters, and sickening children's choir recordings in the kretchmutch season, should be enough to convince nearly everybody that we are not celebrating their holiday. We will tell them so if they still doubt. Nix from celebrate.

I, however, will be celebrating Purim. But you didn't hear it from me.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

THREE O'CLOCK ANTIWAR PROTEST UPDATE

Mild ruckus down at Market and Montgomery Streets - about two hundred rather disreputable people confronting the very patient constabulary. Traffic blocked in all directions, with a white arrestee bus on South Montgomery near the art school. Two people with megaphones making what sounded like airport announcements.

No news helicopters overhead.

I'm bored.

Twelve Galaxies guy was also bored. He moved off before I could take a photo.

Some simple-minded fat man got into a screaming match with an unwellspoken young person with a bad haircut. Even though he presented his arguments supporting the war in an unconvincing manner, it was evident that he and his opponent were intellectual equals - the top-of-their-lungs conversation revealed no surprises, no talent for rhetoric, no cogent argumentation. Such a perfect match, they should've made passionate love to each other right there and then - I doubt that they would have ever found each other again, and despite their repulsiveness and unaesthetic physiques, they made a lovely couple.
Unfortunately, they simple kept it at high-decibel flirting. Shoot.

I'm soooo bored.

Eventually most of the police moved off. There was little point in staying, as they had expeditiously packed the dangerous people into the prison bus.

I really must commend the police in San Francisco. Patient, forbearing. Courteous. Very well-mannered. Such a contrast with our visitors from Berkeley. Better dressed, too.

Crap this is boring.

For your information, the city is still not shut down. This is a breach of promise on the part of the Direct Action to Stop the War folks and their cohorts.

Frank Chiu is wandering around looking for a protest. The guy selling his own rap-ceedees outside the Wells Fargo on the corner is doing no more and no less business as usual. The newspaper vendor seems happily in his own world, unconcerned with the unimpressive ruckus two blocks away. There are several people in the window-lounge of the cigar shop, less than half a block from the angry hairy folks at Market and Montgomery street, enjoying what appears to be a quiet and relaxed post-prandial smoke. An unbalanced person at Sansome and Sutter Streets is hollering at an invisible friend to stop kicking him. The gaunt engineer in the office across the street from me is smoking a pipe while correcting some documents.

There are no helicopters. The sky is nice and blue, with spots of white. A gentle breeze stirs the fresh green of the trees. Did I ever mention that I smoke a pipe?

Krikey I'm bored.

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DIRECT ACTION IN SF TO STOP THE WAR - UPDATE ao 1:35 PM

Man I'm bored. Sooooo bally boooored!


"What a totally gay performance. Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay! Damn hippies!"

------- Eric Cartman


Really, this is a waste of time. There aren't any protestors to be found. There are no hovering news helicopters overhead marking the spot of a confrontation.
Occasionally a desperate television copter scoots across the downtown sky looking for action. There are no sirens, no platoons of blue with billy clubs getting set to move off into a distant fray. No paddy wagons. No motorcycle brigade four abreast with sirens. Nothing. Nada. Zip.


How much more total zero nix diddly can it get?


I left the office with my disposable camera to get lunch. Past the Import Export Bank. No protests, no heavy security presence, no peaceniks.
Went over to the plaza with the bankers black heart in front of the Bank of America building (targets: Carlyle Group , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley), where I took a photo of a lovely sun-drenched plaza with American and Californian flags gently flapping in a mild spring breeze -- not a single peacenik to be seen.

Over to the TransAmerica Pyramid (URS Corp. and Carlyle Group). Photo of a sunny street with a normal flow of traffic, some amiable pedestrians -- no peaceniks.

Back down Montgomery Street, past the Israeli Consulate (yes, also a target). Peace, peace, peace, sunny, sunny, sunny... photo!
Not a nik in sight.

California Street between Battery and Sansome (345 California Street, Chevron Energy Solutions, a major target). Such a lovely shady courtyard area, so quiet, so restful. Said howdy to Abdullah from Yemen (salaam, ya akhi, keyf-ak hal? Bi kheyr, alhamdulillah.....).
And, as could not possibly have been praedicted, no peaceniks anywhere!
Didn't even bother taking a photo.


Man I'm bored. What is it with you folks? You promised a day of direct action, a day of raging against da man, fury, righteousness, traffic jams, civil disobedience, flags, banners, signs, and broken glass. Not that I approve of most of that, but shee, can't y'all even organize a storm in a teacup? Where are y'all? Why aren't you at least providing entertainment? Street-theatre? Revolutionary interpretive dance? Impromptu mime performances? An overturned garbage can?


Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored!


Anyways, I had a half-way decent biriani for lunch, along with some rocking mango lassi. So it wasn't a complete waste of time. And I saw Abdullah from Yemen.

Maybe later in the afternoon something will happen. After the folks in Berkeley finish their leisurely breakfast, and down the last of their organic fair-trade lattes and cappuccinos.


Probably made with 0% fat 'Cream-o-Soy' instead of dairy.

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DIRECT ACTION LAYS AN EGG

Quick report on events near my office , as of 12:00 PM
[Note: The anti-war community spent two months preparing for mass-protests to shut down San Francisco today, it being the fifth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. This is supposed to be the last big huzzah before Bush is out of office, my office is located right in the centre of events. Whoopee.]


Intersection of Sansome and Sutter: a table with some activists, two or three very nice professionally done banners, and a backdrop banner stating that it is a non-violent direct action to stop the war. Including passers-by, maybe ten people.
Nobody at the Citicorp plaza or the BART exit. Earlier there had been some people with George Bush and Cheney masks dancing to the music of Barbarella - or something like that. It didn't interfere with anyone coming to work in any way at all.

At 9:30 AM a peloton of maybe forty anti-Chevron bicyclists had come down Montgomery and turned onto Bush. They did not interfere with traffic.

Fewer sirens than normal in this neighborhood for the past two hours. It is quiet. Traffic has been a bit slower and more sludgy than usual, but transit was/is not interrupted.

---

Montgomery and Market at 11:30: About three hundred to four-hundred wheatish-looking people blocking traffic on Post Street, dully listening to speeches, being very unphotogenic.

Market street is clear. Montgomery is clear. The cops are calm, the bystanders bored.

---

If this is an attempt to "shut down the city", it isn't working.
There is no anger. There are no furious chants and screams. There is nothing to photograph.
Many of the participants are having a bad hair-day and their mom dresses them funny.

Anaemic. Pathetic. Futile. Silly.

However, as many of the people likely to come to SF for further protests are only just now waking up, who knows what else will happen.

At least it looks like 'stark-nekkid fer peas' is still on at four-thirty.




-----BOTH


PS. I'll be posting more later. At this point I expect the "Day Of Direct Action' to end up an anticlimax - their grand plans appear to have fizzeled, and whatever advantage there may have been to spreading action out (both in time and place) seems negated by the sheer convenience to the police of having small isolated groups who can easily be arrested in stages rather than a large unruly and potentially violent mass of demonstrators.

Taking these people into custody is much more like a leisurely dimsum brunch than a hot-dog eating contest. And who doesn't like dimsum?

The SFPD should really thank the extremists for so nicely sabotaging themselves. It was very kind.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NUDE PEACE RALLY

As part of the SF Bay Area's contribution to protesting the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I wish to inform y'all of one particular action planned for tomorrow.


Nudes for peace:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/19/18480200.php
March 19,
Wednesday:
Nudes4peace will gather at 4:30 pm, in United Nations Plaza, San Francisco; near the equestrian statue (Simon Bolivar on his horse).



Heavens.
As Dildo Bob often yells at people in the bar: GIT NEKKID!

Seeing as most of the people in Nudes for Peace are significantly beyond retirement age, this is one place where any of us can truly make a difference. By sheer dilution of the ghast-factor.

Not that I have any intention of doing so.

I shall be both dressed and entertained.

My idea of entertainment at times involves either nose-wrinkling or schadenfreude.

And this qualifies as far more edumacalacational than anything else the peace movement is planning.



PS.I: Scrotal-inflation guy will be there. So bring your family, they've never seen anything like it. Tell them it’s a cultural experience. A San Francisco treat.

PS.II: If the nudists pour baby-oil over themselves, they will be much harder to arrest.

PS. III: Peace is manifestly not a pretty sight.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

I'M ONLY DRINKING COFFEE!

The Chag Ha-sinpaddim is two days in the land, three days outside.
Why is this?
Because outside the land one celebrates not only the chag itself, but also the fact that one is outside the land.

But another opinion is that without liquor one cannot possibly stomach corned beef and cabbage - a punishment (chumrah) that they do not actually observe inside the land. It is accepted custom to eat the leftovers before they turn green, hence the additional day.

[Eating corned beef and cabbage is, d'rabbanan, one of the mitzvos asei shehazaman grama from which women are excused. It is enough that they HEAR it. ]


As the Dubliner Maggid said, "everything is dependent upon either beans or fermentation - no wonder life stinks".
How wise these words.


Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzhok, 1040 - 1105) says that one goes from the lesser to the greater - start with Guiness, finish with Whiskey. But Rabbeinu Tam (Yakov ben Meir, 1100 - 1171) advocates the Whiskey first, going by the hair. Many modern Chassidim hedge their bets by doing both. But this is kilayim!
According to the Mishneh Toreh, there are five prohibited mixings: plowing by cattle and asses in the same furrow, grapes and other crops in the same arbor, wool and linen in the same garment, Jews and Midianites in the same world, and hard and soft liquor at the same meal (one should wait six hours in the land, or three hours in Boro Park).


Errrm, enough with the St. Paddy shtuss - happy Policeman's Heritage Day, y'all.

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For a complete calendar of feasts and fasts, please see this post:http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/09/jewish-calendar-for-5768.html

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In other news, there is a fascinating discussion of bedikes on Dovbear's blog.
[See here: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2008/03/perfect-example-of-how-over-ritualized.html ]

Bedikes invariably reminds me of Renegade Rebbetzin, Potatoes Paprikash, what Dovbear eats after the fast (Letsho), the two Irish girls I used to work with down in Palo Alto, vitamin C, Lucky Strike Filter cigarettes, Motzei Shabbes. There is a logical sequence to that series of associations. But I do not want to explain it in any great detail - you already have some doubts about how grounded I am on a Monday, right?

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Friday, March 14, 2008

DUTCH PARLIAMENTARY LYNCH MOB

Dutch parliamentarian Sybrand van Haersma Buma accuses Geert Wilders of cowardice because he refused to attend a debate about freedom of expression and freedom of religion in the second chamber.


"Here is where it will be decided how far one may go with offensiveness", according to a peevish Haersma Buma, "if you always have an opinion about that outside the chamber, you should also have the guts to defend that here. I think that it is really cowardly to now walk away from the debate about this".

[Quote in Dutch: "Hier wordt bepaald hoe ver je mag gaan bij het kwetsen. Als je daar buiten de Kamer voortdurend een opvatting over hebt, moet je die ook in de Kamer durven verdedigen. Ik vind het echt laf dat hij nu wegloopt voor het debat hierover."
Source: http://www.ad.nl/binnenland/2134098/lsquoLaffersquo_Wilders_ergert_Kamer.html ]


What's to debate?


I do not see how the issue can be argued, nor what use discussing it will have. There are laws that permit Mr. Wilders to criticize religion, irrespective of who, or what group of who, feels itself insulted. Dutch laws on this matter are pretty specific (lèse-majesté is pretty much the only exception to freedom of speech - they're still a monarchy over there). Either these laws maintain, or, as several politicians wish, they are abrogated, and with them democracy in the Netherlands.


Geert Wilders may say what he thinks about the Quran, and unless his fifteen minute video-polemic against that book actually advocates violence or criminal acts, it should be shown to everyone that wants to see it. There is no defensible argument for banning it, nor is there any morally justifiable reason that Mr. Wilders should be kept from voicing his opinions.


It is only the worry about possible reactions by the Muslim world that prompted this desire to debate and attempt to curtail ancient liberties. The very real danger that inflamed Muslim mobs will attack Dutch diplomatic offices and businesses, or lynch Dutch citizens traveling abroad, has put such gutless fear into some Dutch politicians that they are willing to toss the fundamentals of democracy out the door.

Freedom of speech (and freedom FROM religion) is the very basis of Dutch independence - the revolt against Philip of Spain was sparked by the execution of Egmont and Hoorne in 1568 for speaking their minds. The eighty years war that followed was for rights which are now considered fundamental to democracies and open societies. To put limitations on what over four centuries ago was so hard won, which has subsequently been proven just and worth winning by every western society since, is to dishonour every generation of Dutchmen since that war, and devalue everything that the Netherlands has represented as an independent nation.

Frustrated commisars who would limit liberty have no business walking the halls of power in a democratic society. It is up to the Dutch people to recognize that, and remove these traitors from office.


A few months ago someone accused the Netherlands of being 'onafwendbaar laf' (irrepairably chickenshit). A mob of quislings in the second chamber, come together for a bully session, would indeed make it so.

At present, only one man keeps the accusation that the Netherlands is irredeemably gutless from being true. That man is the parliamentarian accused of cowardice by Sybrand van Haersma Buma.

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Note: this posting is further to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, his polemic film against the Quran (which has not been shown yet), and the attempts by Dutch politicians and prominenti to forestall Muslim rage by caving in.
[Please see previous relevant postings by clicking the labels 'Fitna' and 'GeertWilders' underneath this post.]

I do not see eye to eye with Mr. Wilders about Islam, but I absolutely support his right (and his duty as an elected public servant) to speak his mind, and to speak out against what he sees as a danger to society. If the Muslims outside the Netherlands do not like what he has to say about the Quran, tough - they may go do something obscene to themselves with that bloody book; whatever happens in the Netherlands is really none of their damn' business and unless they can speak about it in Dutch to the Dutch, they really should shut their traps. If the Muslims INSIDE the Netherlands don't like it, they should counter-argue Mr. Wilders. Either these matters are fully open to debate, or Mr. Wilders is right, and we are at war with a repressive ideology bent on destroying us.

In either case, Mr. Wilders must speak.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

WARNING!

You are all familiar with warnings on certain products, yes?

The explanation that smoking causes cancer, bad breath, crooked teeth, pimples, idiocy...... As well as the stern advisement that pregnant women shouldn't drink alcohol...... or drive.

These are all comfortingly familiar texts.


While reading the fine-print on a cortizone ointment which I purchased for alleviation of a persistent skin-allergy, I found this bijou of a sentence:

DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO ANUS!

Thank you so much for putting the idea into my head. I had heretofore not considered it.



It's the kind of soothing warning that, in my mind, belongs on many things. Toys. Cigars. Bottles of French wine. Type writers. Can openers. Opposable digits. Perfume.

Political flyers. Candidates. Editorials. This phone number: 415-992-7612.

Iguanas. Hamsters. Bubba Hotep.


I'm sure you can add many more things to the list. And I want you to do just that; underneath this post you will find a handy clickable link, which will take you to a comment form. Go ahead, type your suggestions there. Wax poetic. Let your imagination run riot. Free-associate.
Just do not apply direc......

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EURABIA? HMMPH! AN ABSURD CONCEPT!

In an article in The Brussels Journal, journalist Paul Belien paints a picture of a Europe destined to disappear before a tide of Islamists and non-Europeans. He writes that Muslims will outnumber, by outbreeding, the European natives, and that in twenty-five years immigrants will take over from a population that has neither the will nor the spirit to resist.


Wikipedia entry for the author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Belien
Link to the front page of the Brussels Journal:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/
The article in question:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1609/print


That point of view is unnecessarily defeatist.


A generation from now, many of those Muslims will be European - much more European than their more noisy elements seem at present.

[They are more likely to blend into the overwhelming majority and common culture than blend into each other - on the way to sameness with an Algerian, for instance, a Pakistani will have to go through English and French first. A Dutch Moroccan will need German to speak to a Berlin Turk. And your average Somali in Rotterdam has nothing in common with a Bengali in Warsaw. Not even religion unites them, even though they claim that in common. The idea of a pan-Islamic Umma is an abstract concept that only grabs your loyalty if you speak the same language as whoever else is in your mob.]


There are already intellectuals, professionals, scholars, and businessmen of Muslim background - some of the best writing in Dutch today is by people of Turkish or Moroccan extraction. Their writing is secular, and humanist. And while they appreciate their parents culture and history, to them it is mostly something they know second or third-hand; they read about it, in Dutch, from an academic pov.
Hell will freeze over before they think of "returning" to the back of the Riff mountains or Anatolia.
If they were forced, by rising European xenophobia and intolerance, to do so, they would upset the applecart in North Africa and Asia Minor. They are too European.


The other tendency that is often overlooked is that underneath that flinter-thin veneer of civilization, most Europeans are still too darn close to the homicidal maniacs that they were for twenty centuries.
Europe has indeed experienced peace longer than ever before..... As a continent. As individual countries, much of Europe has experienced civil discord and repression: Spain was a brutal dictatorship until the seventies, along with Portugal and Greece. All of Eastern Europe was under the boot of Stalin and his successors until the eighties. Northern Ireland has barely had ten years of peace. The Balkans haven't even had that.
The Dutch didn't start getting over the loss of their empire till the seventies. The French still hold on to a few scraps of empire, and fought savagely in Indochina and North Africa till barely one generation ago. The British have sent troops overseas fairly regularly, even up to the present. Europeans are less removed from organized violence than we think.

Underneath that seeming calm (remember, flinter-thin veneer), the average European has less tolerance towards otherness than many Americans. The likelihood of ethnic bloodshed is probably greater than when anybody still felt any guilt over the Jews.


Turkish and Moroccan neighborhoods conveniently concentrate the probable victims of future pogroms, in combustible substandard housing, away from the limelight. The Banlieus of Paris will never be economically developed - any Arab living there who wants a better life will have to yank himself out of that environment and into the middle-class. And there is no other way to do that than by becoming middle-class. That same Arab will not look kindly on thuggery and goon-style behaviours from his kindred; they more than anything else will be a hindrance, and a threat to his family's wellbeing and future. And he knows that. Boy does he know that. The cries for a stronger police come loudest from the people on the verge of escaping poverty. They do not want the open doorway and the beckoning brightness to be shut off by Abdoullah the high-school drop-out or Iftakar the drug-dealer and petty-thief. Heck, they won't even admit that Abdoullah is their cousin, or Iftakar their former classmate.


Meanwhile, in the small towns of Europe, the inhabitants beat the crap out of anything too foreign. And shut off their society from weirdoes, freaks, and outsiders.

Trust me - I grew up in liberal, tolerant, humanist Holland. You do NOT want to be an immigrant in the country districts of that society. Those folks simply haven't discovered lynching yet; when they do, they'll take to it like they were to the manner born.

Every week, there are reports of immigrants being persecuted, beaten up, harassed out of their homes, threatened........
Pogrom doesn't seem to be a Dutch word.... Yet.
Other Europeans aren't any better. They too will discover the meaning of that practice, even if they have to invent a different word for it.

[Perhaps the term Serb will become a verb - even though many people seem to have forgotten that the Serbs committed mass-Hutu in the Balkans. It's worth speculating about.]


I do not fear for the Europe I know. It was not a very pleasant place to begin with, and that which was indeed pleasant will quite probably survive. The immigrants have already enriched the host countries - not only by their cheap labour, but also culturally.
As just one facet of that change, English food nowadays is even half-way edible (both Chicken Tikka Masala and Vindaloo compete for British National Dish), the Dutch certainly would face gustatory boredom were it not for Indonesian, Surinamese, Turkish, and Moroccan influences, and the best that can be said for German and Scandinavian cuisines is that they do not particularly offend (well, other than 'Curry Wurst' - that offends beyond all reason).

More Europeans today speak English than ever before, and European horizons have expanded enormously.
The world has become a different place. That is all. There is no deluge.

Now if only the twentieth century would finally penetrate to the provinces, things would be perfect.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

LITTLE MISS MAYHEM

Sometimes I come up with ideas of such astounding brilliance I am utterly surprised no one has thought of them before.

Often these are ideas for products which would sell like cupcakes. And make me very rich.

One such idea is for a product aimed at the teenage girl market. And you, dear reader, can have it for free - just make sure you do something with it.



Coming soon to the toy-aisle at a store near you...


The Little Miss Mayhem™ Junior Chainsaw
With neat-o accessories

Suitable for ages 8 through 12.



It's empowering. And it speaks to the little woman within, the little woman who has not yet fully explored all the options available to her. Plus it appeals to the fiercely independent streak of today's young woman: punky, pugnacious, yet soft and vulnerable.

Someone's vulnerable, at any rate.


As recommended by child-psychologists, it is also adaptable to role-playing games.

She can be a lumberjack......
Or a Texan madman.
Her choice.
It's a voyage of personal discovery.


I expect to see this product on store shelves by the time next Christmas rolls around. With all the accessories. Appliqué butterflies to personalize it. Rhinestones. A little pink Hello Kitty carrying case.
Stain-resistant, and headless, Hello Kitty.


There should also be a fan-magazine, of course. With letters from sweet little girlies who own a chainsaw.
You may submit your testimonial in the comment section provided. Just click.
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This post is dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Bruzelius, who any moment now will be the parents of a daughter. Point her to this post as soon as she is able to read, you two.
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CHARING CROSS MIXTURE BY G. L. PEASE

The tin description states that this is a Balkan mixture of "fine Virginia leaf, richly seasoned with smoky Cyprian Latakia and spiced with the exquisite and exotic tobaccos of the Orient".

This does not entirely enlighten the customer - there is enormous variation among Balkan blends, and Oriental tobaccos (Turkish, Greek, Macedonian, or even Black Sea Russian) also differ quite a bit from each other. But most smokers will know roughly what to expect.

Here is the review I cross-posted at somewhere else dot com:


CHARING CROSS

If you were being exiled to a desert island with only one tobacco, this blend would be a wise choice.
It's a medium-full Balkan with a voluptuous mouthfeel. Not overly rich, but well balanced - the key concept is restraint; not a single one of the components hijacks the smoke, but all the main players co-operate. It is a symphony, rather than a samba.


I think there is some toasted Cavendish in here. If so, it unites the Turkish and the Latakia rather than adding a third stream of flavour.

This is enjoyable all the way down. It burns evenly to a fine ash. But some rubbing of larger pieces of tobacco is advisable before loading the pipe, to prevent the top surface not lighting evenly, or slow embers from occurring at the end of the bowl.

Ceylon tea. Gin and tonic. A good solid Burgundy.

===========================

There are several other reviews of Charing Cross at that same other internet address dot com. The overwhelming majority of writers seem to like it, but you might have to wade through entire pages of dense wafflegab to know that, as some of us do rather go on a bit.
Honestly, no one cares where you bought it, how long the beard of the salesman who sold it to you was, which particularly collectable instrument you smoked it in, or how amazingly pure-bred the handsome dog that gazed up at you adoringly while you sat in your favourite armchair by your favourite fire with your favourite wife by your side when you smoked it.




TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

MINOR BIO-DATA - SULU

Pursuant a comment I left on his blog, e-kvetcher writes:


If I don't see some auto-biographical posts on this blog that talk about all the stuff that happened to you in your life and depriving your readers of some quality reading material, I am going to drag your Dutch ass to Den Haag to stand trial for Crimes against Humanity!

Inquiring minds want to know!


[The comment was this: "Oh, and by the way - I used to be able to speak Tausug. I was in Sulu back in the mid-eighties, when I was younger and stupider."]

This post is for e-kvetcher. In partial response to his kvetch, and the kvittel therein.



ABOUT TAUSUG AND PHILIPPINOS

Tausug is a fairly standard variation on the Visayan language pattern, albeit with a vocabulary that in its deviation from Visayan roots shares words of a more Malay and Indonesian derivation. And like many of the dialects spoken by Muslims, it also borrows from Arabic.

During the eighties I knew a fair number of Manilenyos and Cebuanos, due to a "family connection", as well as a number of other Philippinos. So when I went to the Philippines it wasn't exactly as a stranger. In that I had been reading up on the place for ages before I arrived, and spoke Tagalog (errrm, Taglish - more English than anything taggish), Indonesian (tolerably well) and Tamarao (quite lyrically and eloquently), I was perhaps somewhat better prepared than most visitors.

[Indonesian is a relative of the Philippino languages, Tamarao is a language from Eastern Borneo which shares a number of cognates with Yakan, Samal, and Tausug (southern Philippino languages). Yakan and Samal rather resemble Indonesian dialects. Do not get me started on Nabaloi - it is northern (and upland-tribal), and hence not at all relevant to this post.]



MABAKTI IN TAO MUSLIM HA BANGSA NIYA
[Devoted is the Muslim to his nation]

Jolo, at that time, was newly open to travelers after the unrest during the seventies when the irredentists and the Philippine Constabulary (PC) had their difference of opinion. And it was mercifully free of NPA (New Peoples Army - the Philippine Communist Guerillas), so it was one of the places in the south where one could travel without fear of being whacked as a CIA agent. The Moros where rather appreciative of our efforts in Afghanistan.

[In February of 1974 the Philippine Army had retaken Jolo in house-to-house fighting that destroyed the larger part of the city. Many of those who did not leave their houses before the fighting started were not alive when the fighting ended.]

JOLO

The centre of Jolo city still showed the scars of the reconquest by Marcos' troops. There were "vacant lots". The central mosque had been burned but was still standing, many of the buildings were bullet-marked, and there was a strong police presence at China Pier. The entire city was occupied by the troops of the South West Command division (SoWeCom), headquartered in Zamboanga.

Can't remember the name of the place where I stayed, but it was Chinese owned. And noisy. The walls ended about one foot from the ceiling, where wooden rods took over - for ventilation. Which meant that every snore, borborigmus, cough, hiccup, and gut-ventilation in the entire building contributed to a general sense of murmuring, babbling, gasping life.

The centre of the Island (from Buwalo and Adjid all the way to Talipao) was not precisely off-limits, but not advisable to visit either. Some of the settlements apparently were quite flat, and being kept so by periodic visits from the army. Because of separatist activity.

There was a firefight outside of Silangkan (west-coast of the island, about six miles or so from Jolo city) while I was in Jolo. There was another incident either on Pangutaran or Teomabal (both islands to the north of Jolo city), and some very minor violence in Talipao involving a man on a scooter with a gunman sitting behind him, and some PeeCees.
Kabukaan and Bubuan (islands visible from the harbour) were considered risky.

Maimbung (south-southwest coast) had been burnt by government troops in the seventies - it had not recovered.


I tried to get to Siasi while I was in the area. And I was told it was possible to get there. But no boat was going there, and no one knew anyone who planned to go, nor would anyone admit to ever having been there. A few days later I heard that there had been a fierce battle on the island, and half the town had been destroyed.

Didn't bother trying to get to Tankil, where the Samal had fought so desperately against the Spaniards more than a century ago - a scene of that much sadness (most of the Tankil Samal had been killed, the survivors had been taken into exile) is perhaps not good to visit.


TAWI TAWI & BONGAO

Bongao City, on an island just off the tip of Tawi Tawi, further towards Borneo, had once been described as a charming stilt-village, with a smaller permanent settlement on the shore. When I saw it, it no longer matched that description in the slightest, having been destroyed during the war, then over-run by Tagalogs and Visayans. In the mid-eighties it was occupied by Philippine military with their families and hangers-on. Probably about fifty thousand non-natives, whose waste and garbage polluted the waters and choked the streets. A very smelly place, the residents of which, native and non-native alike, were stressed, tense, and fearful.
This was a city of nastiness and paranoia.

[In Tamarao the name Tawi-Tawi means 'choral song'. A very poetic appellation. I suspect that in Samal and Badjao it must mean something very similar.]


Directly south of Tawi Tawi and Bongao were several small islands on the Tii-Tii (tee-hee tee-hee) reefs. All had been thoroughly brutalized by the PC, who since then used them as bases for smuggling, casual violence against whatever locals were within easy reach, and similar gifts of civilization.

Out in the smaller Islands there was an old American whose family had been there since before the war. He was half Moro, and had adopted Islam. Which allowed him to have four wives (in addition to having several non-wives in various places). A rich man by local standards, and well-connected among the natives, his principal wife being the daughter of an important dato (chiefly) lineage, and another wife being dumato (chiefly class from the Pulangi area on Mindanao). He was visiting one of his wives in California while I was there, with much of his household. But I would have liked to have met him.


BADJAO STILT DWELLINGS IN THE SEA

Its about thirty miles south-west from Bongao to Sibuto and Tumindao, where there are picturesque stilt-villages built on the reefs, from Sitangkai at the tip of Tumindao to Tong Tong out in the water, even as far as Bulo Bulo. The Badjao who live there harvest trepang, agar-agar, kelp, and reef-fish. The water is very flat, and on cloudy days one can see lightening along the edges of the horizon.
It is best to travel these waters in swift Tausug craft, as Badjao and Samal sikayangs are easily captured. But do not go out too far, as the Philippine military regard all native boats here as legitimate targets - they will shoot everyone on board and take the smuggled goods to sell in Zamboanga, Cebu, and Manila. Most of the time this area is off-limits, because of the proximity to Borneo, where everyone has relatives.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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Monday, March 10, 2008

KIPPAH

In a discussion of the Yeshiva massacre on Dovbear's blog, France and the rest of Europe were mentioned. In connection with safety, or lack thereof, for people who may be living while Jewish.
I added my two shekels worth. Which I reproduce, along some remarks that my comment helped generate, below.



"france is not the entirety of continental europe!
yoni"

It's perhaps the worst example.
Rabban Gamliel

Gentlemen, Being an avid reader of foreign publications and web-based forums, and having lived in Europe (The Netherlands) and having revisited Europe several times since returning to the US in 1978, I have a certain, shall we say, relevant expertise.

A majority of Europeans are not anti-Semitic.
A minority are.
And some are rabidly anti-Semitic nutcases.

There only two places where I would consider walking around with a kippah on my head: Le Marais (Paris) and the Diamant-Buurt (Antwerp).
In many of the cities, even those without Muslims, a kippah is an invitation to some people that makes a sign saying 'kick me' attached to one's back look like child's play.

Again, it isn't the majority of Europeans that one need worry about. But it takes only one subhuman to ruin one's day. And even in public, the apathy and blame-the-Jews mentality of many passersby will probably keep other people from interfering.
In liberal, tolerant, alledgedly Jew-friendly Amsterdam, wearing a kippah has proven dangerous. Foolhardy, even.
[The Back of the Hill]
- - - - -

"In liberal, tolerant, alledgedly Jew-friendly Amsterdam, wearing a kippah has proven dangerous. Foolhardy, even.
The Back of the Hill"

Sad that hatred of the Jew fits in with liberal democratic life. A constition and laws are only as good as the people behind it. The U.S. is one great place.
[Rabban Gamliel]
- - - - -

Sad that hatred of the Jew fits in with liberal democratic life. A constition and laws are only as good as the people behind it. The U.S. is one great place.


Odd. I'm a liberal democrat and not only my best friends, but my ONLY friends are Jews.
[DovBear]
- - - - -

"Sad that hatred of the Jew fits in with liberal democratic life. A constition and laws are only as good as the people behind it. The U.S. is one great place.


Odd. I'm a liberal democrat and not only my best friends, but my ONLY friends are Jews.
DovBear"

Wow even in America no Goyim like DovBear!
[Rabban Gamliel]


=================================
BLOGGIM CITED:
Dovbear: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/
Rabban Gamliel: http://www.rabbangamliel.blogspot.com/
Yoni: http://www.yonirants.blogspot.com/
The Back of the Hill - That is I!
=================================

Rabbosai, you will notice something peculiar in the exchange above. No, it isn't any of the statements themselves or the logical flow of thought - it was a minor detail which was overlooked. No doubt both Lipman and Spiros will spot it instantly. I would ask them to not mention it, so as not to spoil the search for any of my other readers.

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ZIONIST CHOP SQUAD

A report on our counterdemo to the protest in front of the Israeli consulate last Friday organized by MECA (Middle East Children's Alliance - a probable HAMAS front group) and ANSWER (an umbrella organization of various well-known extremist Marxian groups and individuals who have taken over the anti-war movement, and front for several reprehensible and outright repulsive causes).

TIME: Friday, March 7th, 4PM-7PM.
PLACE: Downtown San Francisco, 456 Montgomery Street.



How did it go?

Not as bad as the old Irish war song: "Our foes were united and we were divided, we met and they scattered our ranks to the wind".
But we did not do very well. And they were better prepared. They reacted less to us, listened more to their speakers, chanted fairly damn well in unison, and made a darn good stab at avoiding certain phrases which always discredit them. No dogs, no rivers to the sea.


SPEECHY-WEECHY

Chatem Bazian spoke - he's good, real good. Ninety percent bullshit delivered eloquently, with no qualms and no shred of shame.
The Lubin woman - emotional, but collected. Mostly to the point. More bs.
[Chatem Bazian is a notorious Jew-bater and academic low-life, Barbara Lubin's sole claim to fame is hanky-panky - rumoured to have had a torrid affair with a mayor of a local burg. She's a classic kapo.]


Some dunce ranted for a while about how he promised his dad that he would never lose this key, and if not him then his son would someday open the door of their house in Yerushalayim with this key. Emotional, nearly weeping - the crowd loved it.
A fellow dunce gibbered about Haifa University, buses, apartheid, graduating but not being employable in Israel because of those bad, bad, bad Jews (bad Jew! No bagel for you!).
[Both of them are friends of Shawkat, who was also there. Shawkat is the Palestinian fire-brand with the devilish twinkle in his eye and the sunny smile. He's utterly likeable, and absolutely dangerous. None of these three should be allowed anywhere near a jerrycan of gasoline - Arabs and oil don't mix.]


Some old lady of the Berkeley self-guiltied ilk went off on a gibbering tangent. A speaker from Answer gave a toned-down revolutionary-comrades speech at the end of which he advertised for the nineteenth (*). Another Answernik spoke warmly and at length about how they would always be there for Palestine and the poor Palestinians, they would never leave them, they would always stand with them, their sacred duty, their heartfelt friends, etc, etc.
Someone mentioned sending aid to Gaza - a ship or something, someone else talked about an Islamic charity.

By around six o'clock they ran out of steam, having said everything thrice, and left.


There had been about one hundred to 150 of them, mostly local Muslims, but well-leavened by Answerscum, self-haters, student morons, and one or two of the weiben oyf shwortz.
Jewish Mom and Angry Biker Dude can identify the known members of the dark side.



WE FEW, WE HAPPY FEW, WE BAND OF..... WHAT?

On our side, we had about a dozen of our core cadre, plus a rightwinger who makes Geert Wilders look like a warm and fuzzy communist, a mother and her daughter who are very nice, and two little old ladies. One or two more. Twenty would be a mild exaggeration.

There are a few people we need to keep from the megaphone at all times. Off the top of my head, I would say anybody in the legal profession - a street fight is not a court case with rational arguments, but a question of short, sweet (or bitter, vicious, venomous - same difference), to the point noise barrage.

Our chants were mostly not.

And we need to police ourselves a bit.

No playing in traffic. No fingers (shoes and the Italian meh gesture are okay). Keep an eye on who walks behind you. Look to your left and right. Keep an eye on the cops, the other side, the flags and signs, the passersby.


It was, more or less, the usual semi-anarchic 'Yeshiva of the streets' performance. We're good conversationalists (when our blood-sugar level is up, and we've got our inhalers). That's probably not something you could've guessed.

==================================

(*) The nineteenth: a group of Bay Area activists re-started Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), with the intent to shut San Francisco down on the fifth anniversary with a series of direct actions against corporations and government offices.
They promise a day of decentralized, multiple-target direct actions - probably involving vandalism, flying objects, and office take-overs.

In training sessions, garbage-can fires, breaking windows, and pouring water on computers are all being touted as "non-violent protest", in addition to the usual traffic blocking, barricading of doors and entry ways, plus random distribution of noxious substances.

Direct Action starts at 7:30 AM.

A group will probably be chaining themselves to the fence around the Montgomery Bart Station or the door to the office building at McKesson Plaza around late morning, others will be attempting to trash some of the corporate offices along Market Street as well as attempting to storm the British Consulate, Citicorp, and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S .

The anarchists will probably join in once they wake up - noonish, my guess. They're the window-breaking types. And if no-one is watching, they will torch trash receptacles and smash car-windows. Think of juvenile hoodlums without an organized gang-structure. Drug-addicts, unemployables, and Berkeleyites, mostly.

International ANSWER has a rally in the evening in Civic Center, after which groups will disperse over downtown for anti-government actions and manifestations (specific plans and targets unavailable).

It promises to be an exiting day. I expect that laws will be broken with gay abandon.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

IN MEMORY OF THE STUDENTS OF YESHIVAT MERCAZ HA RAV

Rabbosai, I am not good at writing posts such as this. Especially not at a time when I'm virtually airborne with anger.

So I'll paste two recent messages which I have received here.
One by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo in Jerusalem, one by David Wilder in Hebron.





In Search of the “Real” Israel (1)

(Reflections on a yet another war)

In Memory of the Talmidim of Yeshivath Mercaz HaRav
Who lost their Lives only a Few Hours Ago at the Hands of Terrorists
in Jerushalayim

Nathan Lopes Cardozo


Throughout the many centuries, historians, philosophers and anthropologists have struggled with the notion called “Israel” more than with nearly any other topic. While trying hard to place Israel within the confines of conventional history they constantly experienced academic and philosophical frustration. Whatever definitions they suggested, they would always discover that these definitions would break down due to some serious inconsistencies. Was Israel a nation, a religion or an altogether mysterious entity which would remain unexplainable? Sometimes it was seen as less than a nation and more as a religion, only to be challenged by others who believed the reverse to be true. Still others claimed that it could not fit into any of these categories.

What was, and is, clear however, is the impossibility to fit “Israel” into any specific definition or known scheme. It resisted all historical concepts and generalities. The uniqueness of Israel necessarily thwarted the people’s natural desire for an explanation, since this always implies arrangement in categories. Anything which flies in the face of such an attempt is alarming and most disturbing. This fact became even more obvious once the Jew was forced out of his country by Titus the Roman and specifically after the collapse of the Bar Kochba rebellion. It was at that moment that the Jews were hurled into the abyss of the nations of the world and ever since then they have been confronted with a new condition: Ongoing insecurity. While mankind at large has always been confronted with moments of insecurity, it was the Jews to whom destiny has been denied even the smallest share of a dubious security which others possess. Whether or not the Jews were aware of it, they always lived on ground that could give way beneath their feet any moment.

Since 1948 Israel once more became a country. But many forgot that it also became a country – it became again a country, yet not only a country. All the other dimensions, such as nationhood, religion, mystery, the lack of definition and insecurity, continued to exist. Today, the people of Israel does not find itself exclusively in the land of Israel and, instead of one Israel, the world now has two. But the second new Israel has, up till now, been seen as responding to the demands of history, geography, politics and journalism. One knows where it can be found. At least one thinks that one knows where it is to be found. But it is becoming clearer that the new and definable Israel is now seriously on the way to being as much a puzzle and mysterious entity as the old Israel always was. In fact it already is.

Throughout its short history, the State of Israel has gone through the most mysterious notions modern man has ever seen. After an exile of nearly two thousand years, during which the old Israel was able to survive in contradiction to all historical criteria, it returned to its homeland. There it found itself surrounded by a massive Arab population forever incapable of mentally making peace with the idea that this small mysterious nation lives among them. After experiencing a Holocaust wherein the Jewish nation lost six million of its members, it was not permitted to live a life of tranquility on this tiny piece of land. Once more the Jew was denied the right to feel at home in his own country. From the outset, Israel was forced to fight its enemies on all fronts - it was attacked and condemned for fighting for its very existence and defending its population. Over the years Israel has had to endure the policy of double standards employed by the international community. Both in the past and also today, when Israel calls for peace, it gets condemned for creating war. When it tries, as no other nation, to avoid hurting the citizens of those countries which have declared war on it, Israel is accused of being more brutal than all the nations which have, and still do, conduct atrocities against millions of people. Simultaneously, and against all logic, this nation alone continues to build its country as no other, while repeatedly being forced to fight war after war. What took other nations hundreds of years, Israel has succeeded in accomplishing in just a few. While bombs and katushas fall on its cities, and calls for its total destruction are heard in many parts of the world, the citizens of Israel continue to build, give birth to children, create unprecedented technology and manage to create an even stronger economy. Yet the more it succeeds, the more Israel’s enemies become frustrated and irritated and consequently Israel’s security becomes more dubious. The more some nations would like to try and destroy this country, the more the world is forced to deal with its small nation and its capacity for survival. Israel now occupies more space in any major newspaper than any other political issue or general topic, as if to say that its dubious security and its irritating population are at the centre of world history.

Jews must ask themselves what this non-classification really signifies. Is it merely due to a lack of vision and insight on the part of the nations? Could Jews really fit into a system, but the other nations have not yet learned how? Is it a negative phenomenon or a temporary one until, in future times, this will rectify itself?

We have only one way to comprehend the positive meaning of this otherwise negative phenomenon and that is the way of faith. From any other view point, the inability of Jews to fit into any category would be intolerable and a meaningless absurdity. What needs to be understood is that our inability to fit into any category is the foundation and meaning of our living avowal to the uniqueness of Israel. Israel’s very existence is the manifestation of a divine intervention in history of which Israel has to give evidence. In it history and revelation are one. Only in Israel do both of the components, history and revelation, coincide. While other nations exist as nations, the people of Israel exist as a reminder of Gods’ interference in world history. Only in Israel is humanity touched by the divine.

The realization of this fact has become the great challenge for modern Israel. Its attempt time and again to overcome its geographic and political insecurity by employing world politics will not work. Driven by its desire to overcome its insecurity, Israel veers from geography to nationhood, appealing to its history and religious culture but without finding a place anywhere to be known as its existential habitat.

Reading Israel’s prophets we see how they warned against such false notions of security. The prophets predicted that Israel would perish if it insists on existing only as a political structure. It can persist, however, - and this is the paradox of the reality of Israel - when it insists on existing as a vocation of uniqueness.

Israel was summoned to remind the world of God’s existence, not just as a religious category, or with a concern for religion, but as a historically reality. There is no security for Israel unless it is secure with its own destination. It must assume the burden of its own uniqueness, which is nothing other than to assume its role as God’s witness. And it must take strength from this phenomenon, especially in times such as ours in which, once more, Israel’s very existence is at stake. And once it recognizes its uniqueness, it will - paradoxically - have security and, undoubtedly, be victorious.

****

1. This essay was (re)-written hours before the terrible tragedy in Yeshivat Merkaz Ha-Rav in Yerushalayim in which several students were killed and many were wounded. May God have mercy on Israel.


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The David Cardozo Academy
Machon Ohr Aaron
In Memory of Aaron and Betsy Spijer

7 Cassuto Street
Jerusalem 96433Tel: 02-652 4053

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Thoughts after the terror attack -Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav
by David Wilder
29 Adar 5768, 3/6/2008


I was sitting in my office tonight, meeting with the director of Mattot-Arim, activist Susie Dym, when the beeper started beeping. I read it, wiped my eyes, and read it again: 20:42 - (8:42 PM) - Magen David Adom Jerusalem reports shooting inside Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem. Details to follow. The beepers kept streaming, each one bringing terrible news. Shooting for somewhere in the vicinity of ten minutes, the terrorist killed eight students and wounded at least another eleven, three of whom are in critical condition.


Listening now to the radio, the Yeshiva's director, Rabbi Sasson, spoke of how the yeshiva students all participated in a mass prayer gathering at the Kotel, the Western Wall, earlier today. This evening they were preparing Rosh Hodesh (New Month) festivities, celebrating the beginning of the new month of Adar and the upcoming Purim holiday. Only moments before the beginning of the dancing, the Rabbi said that he heard shooting in the building and immediately realized that a terrorist had infiltrated the yeshiva.


Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav is the spiritual center of Religious Zionism, founded by Israel's first Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook. His son, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook led the movement of the Jewish people back to Yesha following the 1967 Six Day War. The Yeshiva's dean, Rabbi Avraham Shapira, died a few months ago, and his son, Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira replaced him.


I worked at Mercaz HaRav some 15 years ago for about a year. The Yeshiva has a very unique atmosphere, very spiritual, and very Torah-oriented. Many many students fill the huge study hall, day and night, 24 hours a day. Many of the students are IDF officers, serving in elite units. The yeshiva's students are amongst the most patriotic Jews in Israel, serving their country, their land, their people, their G-d, in body and in spirit. Many of Israel's most important spiritual leaders are graduates of Mercaz HaRav.


It is very sad to see the pictures, to hear the voices, to feel the pain of young Torah scholars, studying Torah, celebrating the joy of the month of Adar, cut down by a terrorist's bullets, for no reason other than that they are Jews.


Earlier today I spent a couple of hours with journalists from Finland, questioning me about our presence in Hebron and in Judea and Samaria. I stressed to them that the enemy we are facing are nothing more than wild animals; only animal can perpetrate such horror attacks. Tonight another one of these animals escaped from his cage and, let loose in civilization, attacked, as does a wild lion or tiger.


I continue hearing on the radio reports how the police and security are continuing to prepare for tomorrow's "Friday prayer on Temple Mount" referring of course, to Arab, Islamic prayer. I do not understand why the Israeli authorities are going to allow these prayers to take place, especially taking into account that according to the latest reports, the terrorist who perpetrated the murder tonight is a resident of Jabal MuKaber, a neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The first thing that should have been announced tonight is that those prayers, on Temple Mount, are canceled. The second announcement should be that any and all 'peace talks' with the Arabs are suspended until further notice.


Third, the Knesset should meet in special session and pass a law which will allow immediate suspension of Knesset members who incite the enemy and who celebrate such murderous attacks as we've witnessed tonight.


Now we cry together with the yeshiva, with the families of the victims, with Klal Yisrael, But crying is not enough. Israel cannot allow such terror in our eternal capital to be ignored. The enemy must be punished.

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The Jewish Community of Hebron
P.O.B. 105 Kiryat Arba-Hebron 90100Tel: 972-9965-333 - info@hebron.org.il
The Hebron Fund - hebronfund@aol.com
Tour Hebron: Tel 972-52-431-7055 or tour@hebron.com
Help Hebron: http://www.hebrontruma.com/
Web: http://www.hebron.com/ http://www.machpela.com/ http://www.hebrongifts.com/
Subscribe or unsubscribe to the Hebron list:
hebron.mail-subscribe@hebron.org.ilhebron.mail-unsubscribe@hebron.org.il

=========================================

NOTE:
There will be an anti-Israel demonstration in front of the consulate tomorrow. It is highly unlikely that the other side will have the tact, or decency, to call it off. It is much more likely that they will be in a festive mood. Please find the time to come stand with us and counter-protest them.

Friday, March 7th, 2008
4:00 - 7:00 PM
In front of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco 456 Montgomery St. (at Montgomery & California Streets) (4 blocks north from the Montgomery Bart station) San Francisco

If you show up, there are two things to bear in mind:
1. People will remember in detail slogans that seem to dehumanize those poor Pallies, but be unable to hear any outright anti-Semitism from the other side. It's remarkable.
2. The anti-Israel crowd tomorrow may be more venomous than usual - it's Friday, and that means robed radicals from some of the mosques, and lots of screaming venom.

Remember to dress warmly - the Montgomery Street corridor is a frigid wind tunnel in late afternoon. And feel free to bring a pocket flask. Not that we encourage Dutch courage, dot-dot-dot.

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