Friday, May 10, 2002


        I've been meaning to comment about 'Ulster' and the CAMERA dinner- especially the perspectives they give me about the Mideast.

        First 'Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme,' a powerful, if somewhat verbose, play by Frank McGuinness. This production starred Justin Theroux and Scott Wolf of 'Party of Five.'

        The play is about eight Ulster Protestant enlistees in WW1, as recalled by the sole survivor 54 years later. In 1915, the survivor is a cynic who wishes to see himself as an outsider, enlisting in the hopes that he will fall in combat. The others are proud of King & Country and fiercely loyal Orangemen. They loathe the Catholics. They talk about how the shipbuilders who built the Titanic cursed the Pope with every rivet they installed. They laugh about fighting 'Fenians,' even a bullying a boy who painted the tricolor on a wall.

        Remarkably, McGuinness, an Irish Catholic (other plays), presents all the men sympathetically. Even the most thuggish Catholic haters have tender souls under their bluster.
While watching them men deal with their fears of both the Germans and Fenians, I thought of something James Lileks wrote in his blog.

"If Saudi Arabia had a Star Trek, do you think they'd put a Jewish Chekov at the helm?

Not anytime soon. It's as if they believe that the very act of hating the Jews ennobles them."

        I tried to imagine an Egyptian, never mind a Palestinian or Saudi, writing such a play about Israelis. Sadly, with the hate endemic in Dar Al Islam, the Jews they would portray would be one-dimensional monsters.

        Western societies wish to see other civilizations clearly. Indeed we are often enamored with them. But in the Islamic world, self-deception and prejudice reign.

        Of course not all who seen to understand Dar Al Islam are enamored with it. Case in point is Steven Emerson, who was the keynote speaker at the CAMERA dinner. Emerson is a very courageous writer. All to often 'courage' is applied to journalists who risk snubs at Upper East Side cocktail parties. Emerson risks ending up dead. As in Daniel Pearl dead. Imagine getting into a cab and seeing, on the front seat, a newspaper with a bulls eye superimposed over your photo on the cover. Emerson does not have to imagine it.

        The honorees had copies of Emerson's latest investigative book, 'American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us' in which he details activities of Islamic radicals and terrorists in the US. The activities include fund raising, infiltration and even murders and terrorism.

        He signed a copy for me. Very nice guy. Very brave guy. We need more investigative reporters like him.

        In one passage, he described one of these Islamofasicst fifth columnists defending killing Israeli children on the grounds that they could grow up to be the next Golda Meir or Shimon Perez.

        Very true. But what is the destiny of the children of Jenin's refugee camps? As they watch their classmates sing odes to the 'martyrs' (sic), we should reflect that they will not be the next Arafat. He will come from the Palestinian elite already in place behind the wrought iron gates of the villas paid for by money extorted and looted from foreign aid. The role of the average Palestinian child is to be fodder for the Jihad. His destiny is to be another member of the downtrodden, politically oppressed masses, just like the majority of citizens in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

        The jihad screamers do well to fear a society where any child can grow up to be the great leader of a free people. Or rather one of several.
While the Israelis get new blood into office, Arafat, for all his failures, endures with an iron grip though he sinks into senile dementia.

        Every so often, pity tempers my contempt.

Thursday, May 09, 2002


        I dearly love Massachusetts and Boston. The geographically small city is large enough to have wonderful museums and art house cinemas. The college dotted state has the seasons in the right combination: winters with snow, yet not too cold and hot summers, but not oppressively so. It is a good thing I am such a booster for this state, because the political class here is as loathsome as any found across the US.

        Let me explain the latest. A couple of years ago the voters, by referendum, passed a 'Clean Elections' law that, among other things, had public funding for candidates. I did not vote for the law because I am always leery of any 'reform.' But it passed. The problem was the State Legislature did not wish to be bound by the law like the plebian taxpayers. They decided to make the law a dead letter by not funding it.

        Then the scatological material struck the air circulation device. The good government goo-goos retaliated. In time-honored American tradition, they sued. And won. A state judge ordered selling of assets to fund Clean Election candidates. That meant the SUVs with the low license plates and luxurious office furniture. Finneran, the Speaker of the House and the main opponent of the Clean Elections law, nearly had his office suite under the gavel, but a judge decided that was gratuitous.

        Finneran was not amused. Retaliation soon followed. One of his minions added a provision to the latest budget proposal stripping the state judiciary of its power to hire its own clerks and manage itself.

        As for the budget itself, it included a 1.4 BILLION dollar tax increase and was submitted the day after the filing deadline for candidates for House and Senate seats.
        Like liberal pols everywhere, Finneran's ilk hold democracy in contempt, except for the elections against token (if any) opposition. Last time in the Speaker's Soviet, 8,172 voters in his sent him back to his de facto governorship. This year he has no opposition.

        How can you throw the bums out when there are no replacements?

Wednesday, May 08, 2002


Shaenon K. Garrity of the hilarious tore into me for taking my date to ‘Kissing Jessica Stein.' She is a huge pro wrestling fan. Take a look at these sample strips.


This entry on Oxblog about the internal calls for reform among the Palestinians bring up this semi-related thought. The Palestinians are violence junkies and addicted to hate. The Arab/Islamic world is their co-dependents and the UN and EU are their enablers. They need to hit rock bottom for their moment of clarity.


The EU has a new logo, eschewing stars for stripes. To reflect their true character, they need a single yellow stripe.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002


For some reason today's strip was just perfect.

This strip is dedicated to the Kirby Grips.

I have no idea what the dedication means.

        David Carr says, "I think those tectonic plates of history just juddered. Stay tuned." I seem to recall the murder of another controversial leader often called racist. Rabbi Kahane. His killing signaled the beginning of Islamic fundamentalist terror on US soil.

        Pity we did not pay attention even back then. Everyone was too busy assailing Kahane's views.

        Even though his killer was a white Dutchman, Reuters described...

Elsewhere in Rotterdam, police said they responded to a handful of incidents where men of North African origin had been shouting and celebrating Fortuyn's death.

        Celebrating murder. It's déjà vu all over again.


        The Swedes could always be relied on to criticize us backwards `Mericans and hold themselves as our superiors. Their system was better at providing for their citizens than racism strapped America. Their foreign policy was morally superior and they were less crime-ridden.

        So much for the Swedish Model. They should stick to kinds of models that prance around in swimsuits.

        "Ah… smug mode” [3 point ref]


        There is a perfectly good explanation for my lack of updates. I’m utterly useless and lazy. Plus I had a bunch of prior appointments, including hearing Steve Emerson speak at a CAMERA function. I’ll have a few words on that soon.

        I also saw 'Spider-Man' last night. I am glad to say it was very true to the ideas of the original Marvel character. Kirsten Dunst was a bit disappointing, though and Rosemary Harris rung false as well. However, Tobey Maguire was perfect and J.K. Simmons, who is utterly amazing in ‘Oz’ steals his scenes as JJJ. Willem Dafoe clearly enjoyed himself as he chewed the scenery.

        To make this political, I nearly did not make the movie because of the MBTA. It took so long that I walked from Coolidge corner to the Fenway theater. There it was sold out. So I took the ‘T’ to another theater downtown, where, despite the streetcar’s leisurely pace, I (barely) caught the last showing.

        This was not the first time reliance on public transportation nearly caused me to miss a show. This Thursday, despite leaving with, what I had thought to be plenty of time, I barely made the curtain of ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.’

        So it was with a seething attitude I thought of all the drawbacks to taking public transportation: late, slow cars; the fees; trains ending before the nightlife does (at least in Boston); filthy stations and cars; torn seats; having to trudge from the stops to your destination- or worse, having to take additional trains/buses; and of course other people.

        The chattering classes extol the virtues of public transportation. But the car is still better…. if you can park it.