Friday, July 13, 2007

Palestinian Patients

Here's an under-reported piece of information. According to the Israeli Health Ministry, sixty thousand Palestinians received treatment in Israeli hospitals in 2006. And the payment? Expedited delivery on the back of a qassam.

Friday, June 29, 2007

US Charitable Donations - $1000/capita

Interesting - americans donated the equivalent of 1.7% of GDP to charity last year. 30% to religious groups, 15% to educational institutions.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Every year its a relief when the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem concludes without serious incidents. This editorial sums up how I feel. There was some excitement though:
Two dozen haredi and modern Orthodox protesters were arrested in the course of the evening. Several had planned to throw eggs at parade participants, and one had dressed up as a homosexual with the intention of infiltrating the parade, police said.
It is my most earnest hope that the police release pictures of this haredi individual who no doubt donned revealing undergarments and a pink wig for the occasion.

"News" Media Bias

Surprise - journalists are left-leaning. You could argue that a really honest reporter wouldn't allow their personal party affiliations to color their reporting. But when a huge majority of the news media leans left, its hard to really believe that this doesn't somehow introduce a smidgeon of bias into the news.

If its too much to ask that journalists try to refrain from having an opinion on current affairs, then news media needs to either:
(1) Explicitly declare the political position of the culture of its staff, or
(2) Ensure that staff composition reflects social structure. Just as its good to have ethnic diversity on staff, its essential to have a diversity of opinions.

I know its outrageous to ask that the NYT is 10% black, 10% hispanic and 50% republican. It's unreasonable for NPR to be 50% male. But until then, lets not pretend that the news media isn't broken. Frankly I'm surprised that journalists make donations to either party. For the skewed coverage they offer on almost any political topic their services to the Democrats are immeasurable - in a fair world, reporters would be on DNC staff.

Sidenote: BBC would have written this headline better: "Journalists" give campaign cash.

Update: Hilariously, one of the 'public-spirited' donors was Randy Cohen, who covers ethics for the NYT and NPR.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gaza Fatah Gaza Hamas Harass Harass Gaza Hamas

People often say to me, "Tofuhawk, what do you think of what's going on in Gaza?"

I can only reply Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo..

Monday, June 18, 2007

Don't Call Me Sir

The Pakistani religious affairs minister responded with aplomb to the knighting of Salman Rushdie:
This is an occasion for the world's 1.5billion Muslims to look at the seriousness of this decision.
Right on! Lets respond with dignity and proportion!
The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism
Ignorant racists that they are...
If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so, unless the British government apologises and withdraws the 'sir' title.'
Err... Perhaps we could call him 'Madam' instead?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Columbia President - Boycott US

The President of Columbia University has issued a surprisingly strong statement against the UCU Boycott. Surprising because this is the same guy who rigged an investigative committee to ensure that Columbia Professors would be exonerated on charges of anti-semitism.

Any statement against the boycott is a good thing but in Bollinger's case its impossible not to be cynical as to his motives. It's transparent posturing - he isn't actually proposing any concrete steps in support of his stance. Given the antipathy in US academic circles toward boycotting Israel, it doesn't take much bravery to issue a toothless press release.

Lets see Columbia deal with its problems in the department of Middle East and Asian Language and Cultures where supporters of Israel have been intimidated and threatened. Then we might believe that Bollinger is serious about "fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas".

Ashrawi See a Veil in her Future

Edward Said's protege Hanan Ashrawihas been a 'leader' of the Palestinians for 30 years. Now she can gaze in pride at her achievements
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said the Palestinians 'are entering a slippery slope of a civil war.'

At issue, she said, is the shape a future Palestinian state will take -- 'whether we're going to have a Palestinian state that is a national secular state; or is this going to become an Islamic state with a more closed ideological society.'

But she said the battle is currently over 'minuscule spoils.'
Odd. Is she suggesting that this violence is due to Islamic fundamentalism? Isn't it Israel's fault?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

No NIH Money for British Boycotters

It's heartening to read that the UCU Boycott of Israel is not going to be without negative consequences for those promoting it:
Prof Dershowitz said he had started work on legal moves to fight any boycott.

He told the Times Higher Educational Supplement that these would include using a US law - banning discrimination on the basis of nationality - against UK universities with research ties to US colleges. US academics might also be urged to accept honorary posts at Israeli colleges in order to become boycott targets.
The NIH alone spends around $30 million giving research grants to investigators in the UK. Clearly these researchers should declare their non-participation in the boycott.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thanks Ms Pelosi

Yours sincerely,
Bashar al-Assad

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Blue Murder

According to Dr Riad al-Aqra of the Gaza Hospital for mental health, Palestinian terrorists are depressed. And what criteria does the good Dr al-Aqra use to diagnose 'emotional depression'? Apparently it includes such psychotic symptoms as a reluctance to murder people:
One member of the Hamas security force came to me suffering from high tension, which was causing physical problems. He said he felt fear from the fact that he would burn in hell forever if he fired even one bullet at someone,' the doctor said.
Not quite DSM-IV.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

An Anti-Candide

A former chief rabbi of Israel claims that the Holocaust was God's wrath, apparently directed against the Reform movement. It's kind of like the opposite argument to Voltaire's Candide. Pangloss cheerfully argued that behind every disaster lies part of a benevolent plan for humanity. R. Eliyahu agrees that genocide is no mere depressing reminder of man's inhumanity, but rather represents the plan of a savage deity. Apparently the Reform movement went wrong in trying to "act like goyim". If this is true, the Haredi movement better change out of the black garb pioneered by the Polish gentry and the Chassidim drop the Sufi inspired mysticism. I'm sure they'll get right on that...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Israel Sells All Armed Dogs

The Israeli Defense Force sold all dogs for Pesach, promising to reacquire them after the festival. My own sources - even more secret and better informed than Debka - have revealed that the IDF reneged on part of the deal, refusing to take back all military chihuahuas. Chihuahuas are looked down upon by the IDF as they are cowardly little mongrels. Druze community leaders are furious, as - very reasonably - they also dislike these rat-like canines. Closed door negotiations are underway with a solution likely involving release of the loathsome beasts on the foothills of the Golan Heights.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

British Journalists Stand Against Israel

Impressive - at least now we can take it for granted that any story written by a British journalist has more than an even chance of being written by a bigot.
The National Union of Journalists has voted at its annual meeting for a boycott of Israeli goods as part of a protest against last year's war in Lebanon.

Today's vote was carried 66 to 54...

The vote on the motion was taken after it was split from a larger motion that condemned the "savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel" last year.

This motion, known as Composite B in Order Paper 4, was carried by a large majority and also condemned the "slaughter of civilians by Israeli troops in Gaza and the IDF's [Israeli Defense Forces] continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah".

*** Note from Blog Management.

While this blog is a supporter of free speech, it also feels that popular discourse has become contaminated by unncessary nastiness and vitriole. Gratituitous slurs, such as the first comment to the previous post, even if disguised as satire, do not help this blog to set an example for the Mainstream Media about how to discuss issues without resorting to abuse.

On the other hand, this blog is not in favor of censorship and doesn't think that comments ought to be removed unless they incite violence. Nor does this blog think that radio commentators, irrespective of their offensiveness, should be fired until the public stops listening in protest. In a market of free ideas, the market should choose which ideas gain exposure and which are buried.

Thus the comment in question was only removed to give its author the chance to think about whether s/he shares this philosophy. If not s/he is welcome to repost the the comment and it will not be deleted.

Thank you,

Blog Management.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Israeli Melon Bombs

Hilarious - next Israel will send over some reason-infested raisins.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cocoa for Health and Vigor

A new meta-analysis argues that daily consumption of cocoa reduces blood pressure. The useful dose seems to be about 100g of dark chocolate per day.