Friday, March 31, 2006

Another Soap Legend Dies

Sorry to my political readers but as you know, there is another facet of my life that occasionally I need to address. Today is one of those days.

Gloria Monty, the former executive producer of General Hospital who made the couple Luke and Laura into iconic figures in pop culture as she saved that show from cancellation, died yesterday of cancer. She was a fascinating woman. She was a small and frail looking woman who could instill more fear in a person than a 4-Star General. She changed the face of daytime, turning the 'washboard weepers' into fast-paced action-packed episodes with sweeping romantic adventures, turning love-on-the-run into a soap staple -- copied by everyone else. She was an original. May she be creating some incredible soap opera in heaven with Irna Phillips, Douglas Marland and all the other tremendously talented people we've lost from this dying genre.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Don’t Get It

Kadima won the Israeli election. Apparently, Labor will be making up a large portion of the government as well, so much that some say Peretz could become prime minister. I realize there was low voter turnout but to my mind, this spells disaster. How can Israelis think Kadima and Labor are a recipe for success? Or am I completely wrong to be worried?

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Politically Incorrect? Who Cares?

On the run-up to the Israeli elections, I thought we could probably use some comic relief. So, when a friend of mine who lives in Italy sent me some Muslim jokes, I decided I would share the most offensive ones with you.

What do you say to a Muslim woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You told her twice already!

A Palestinian suspect was being grilled by Israeli police. "Honest, I'm not a suicide bomber," he pleaded. "I didn't say I wanted to blow myself up so I could sleep with 72 virgins. All I said was I was dying to get laid!"

What does the sign say above the nursery in a Palestinian maternity ward? "Live Ammunition."

Obviously, the word "offensive" is a relative term, and compared to the genocidal ideology of Hamas, the Hitlerian rantings of Mahmoud Amadinejad, and the carnage in Iraq, this sort of politically incorrect humor somehow seems to pale in comparison. But then, a lot of us probably felt the same way about those Danish cartoons.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Prime Minister Candidates Speak To AIPAC

All three candidates for the job of Israeli prime minister had an opportunity to speak to the AIPAC delegates gathered at the 2006 policy conference. The following are my miniscule notes on all of the speeches.

Olmert: I found only one thing he said worthy of writing down. He called for a Palestinian state to be contiguous. I was appalled.

Peretz: They will not negotiate with someone who won't disarm. Israel will leave every option on the table. He finds that poverty is what's separating people. He stopped just short of calling for socialism. I was a bit appalled by him as well.

Netanyahu: I didn't even take any notes on him. Not sure why. He seemed to not be his usual blustery self. More tired, unkept... like he'd worked a full day and was staying up way past his bedtime to speak with us. I'm guessing he didn't say anything terribly egregious or I would have written it down, so no notes probably means I was okay with what he said. I know he's pretty controversial, but there really seems to be no good choice for Israelis. He really does seem to personify the idea of the lesser evil.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Diversion From AIPAC To Address Stupid Article

I have to ask, WTF? So I’m checking out this article that says the Jericho raid was a blow to Abu Mazen’s prestige. WHAT?? And what was this smack?

"What happened is an unforgivable crime and an insult to the Palestinian people," Abbas said as he toured the complex.

If I’m not mistaken, for the last week or two, I’ve seen article after article with Abu Mazen threatening to release Israeli Cabinet Minister Rehavam Zeevi’s killers while at the same time saying he couldn’t guarantee what Israel would do if that release were to happen. I remember thinking, “Wow, he’s letting everyone know that if they’re released, Israel can/will kill them. Interesting.” But if he didn’t want Israel to take matters into their own hands, why constantly say you plan to release these men?

But what’s more, why the hell is AP accepting Mazen’s rhetoric of being “shocked” or “upset” about it all? And saying this “weakened” him as a leader is ridiculous. It’s like calling someone very dead. Once you’re dead, you can’t be very dead. Mazen has never proven to be anything but weak. Then again, I expect Mazen to be brazen with his inane rhetoric. I just didn’t realize AP wouldn’t mind looking galactically stupid.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

AIPAC Policy Conference Speeches

I finally found where they hide the transcripts! OK, so they aren't hidden. I'm just slow. But you can read Bolton's amazing speech, as well as many others, right here. I will still write up stuff from my take, as well as things of interest from some of the breakout sessions but I learned my lesson last year. I didn't take many notes this time since I realized everyone puts their speeches online. This year... I enjoyed.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

David Kay: Former U.N. Weapons Inspector

OK, disclaimers once again: keep in mind that I try my best with my notes but there is a chance I've misunderstood something, so don't hold me to it.

He said his reports were open to the public so every time they were released, the first three people in line were always representatives from Iraq, Iran, and North Korea -- so they know how to cheat.

He thinks it's impossible to ever have "surprise" inspections.

In Iraq, records were found of every fax sent to Vienna/New York -- actual faxes, not just electronic copies!

Non-proliferation treaty has lots of flaws. Once you have enrichment, you have military capability.

They lie about their true purpose, site locations, etc.

One thing you need to understand about countries like Iran/Iraq, is that there is no embarrassment about lying OR getting caught telling a lie.

Iran has best cloaking ability to hide their nuclear facilities.

OK, now some decent, if not good news:

IAEA finally knows they lie.

Inspectors do slow things down even if it is easy to circumvent inspectors. On the down side, International inspections can delay other actions that should probably be taken.

Inspections can't do:

Hard to tell when country has program. And then most importantly, by itself, they can't stop a country from making nuclear bombs.

I wish I could remember the story he told about Hans Blix but suffice it to say, it illustrated why we've been in such a mess thanks to weapons inspectors.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

AIPAC: Now Is The Time

I’m back. My hope is to type up some notes later this afternoon, after work, but in the meantime, there is some stuff you guys can check out if you want. First off, the speech by Dick Cheney was positively historic. He vowed that the U.S. will not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb. This was HUGE. If you can, catch it on C-SPAN or their Web site to see it or some of the other speeches for yourself. Another great one, which I’m hoping will have a transcript turn up, was John Bolton. Amazing! More later…

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Off To Policy Conference

Headed for the plane in a few minutes. Click on the ad I made on the right if you want to learn more about the AIPAC Policy Conference. I'm very excited to hear John Bolton speak, in addition to the many others. Will give reports when possible but it might not be before Wednesday, when I return. In the meantime, take care all!

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Paradise Never

Forget the film, Paradise Now, that's nominated for an Oscar. As we all know, it's a bunch of baloney. See the real thing here, final tapes of violent suicide bombers, ones that are raw and not gussied up for Hollywood glorification... see the villainy in all of its ugliness. Hat tip to Naomi Ragen.

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