Monthly Archives: August 2006

Awesome free verse spam

I have been loving reading some of the spam I’ve gotten recently. Who writes it? Where does it come from? Is it computer-generated or does some underground Cialis dealer write it his/herself?

Hi
look
it was housebroken and didnt shake out its grate here.
ticket, recording my face and destination. A normal
beginning to collect along my spine now. The drives,
know.

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Halfway there

We are halfway there…please help us reach our first goal of $500 and help us support ACCESS in their efforts to deliver medicine to the people of Lebanon!
Despite the ceasefire between Israel and Hizballah, the humanitarian crisis created by the U.S.-supported bombing of Lebanon continues. On Tuesday, Jean Fabre, a spokesman for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) reported, “The damage is such that the last 15 years of work on reconstruction and rehabilitation, following the previous problems that Lebanon experienced, are now annihilated.” According to the UNDP, amongst the major problems that Lebanon faces is that of access to clean water as a result of bombing of underground waterpipes and sewers. Along with the mass destruction of civilian infrastructure, unexploded munitions now litter Southern Lebanon.

While the people of Southern Lebanon need our political solidarity and our organizing against any continued aggression from Israel and the U.S., what they need most right now is humanitarian relief and a chance to survive this crisis.

Critical Moment is offering the following fundraiser offer for humanitarian relief in Lebanon: Thanks to the generous contributions of a donor who would prefer to remain anonymous, every donation (up to $500.00) raised will be matched dollar-for-dollar with a donation to Critical Moment. This is an excellent opportunity to express your solidarity with the people of Lebanon while also supporting Critical Moment. Funds raised for humanitarian relief will be given to the Dearborn-based Arab Community Center for Social & Economic Services (ACCESS) who are working to ensure that our donations go directly to helping provide relief for the people of Lebanon.

Make your secure donation here.

Best pancakes ever

pancakes.jpg
Damn these pancakes were good. I found a recipe for crepes on epicurious.com and changed it up a bit. It didn’t make crepes, it made pancakes, and they were delicious.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half white pastry flour)
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, margarine, or shortening, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (for brushing skillet)

Directions

1. Whisk together flour, milk, eggs, shortening, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until just smooth. Be careful to not overmix or wonderful things might not happen. Chill covered for 30 minutes.

2. Heat up a cast-iron or non-stick skillet. When the pan is warm, brush lightly with butter.

3. Use a measuring cup and pour into the center of the skillet about 1/2 cup of batter. Use the bottom of the measuring cup to spread the batter around slightly.

4. Cook the pancake until the edges start to firm up and it is bubbling (probably 2-3 minutes), then use a spatula to flip the pancake and cook on the other side for another minute. Then, flip again to the original side for another 15 seconds.

5. Keep making pancakes in this manner, brushing skillet with more butter before each one and transferring them as cooked to plate and stacking them.

You can put jam, maple syrup, powdered sugar, etc. on them. Amazing!

Penn Station Die-In

Way to go! Let’s do something like this in Michigan…

Let’s turn Israel’s defeat into a victory for justice

But the Israeli military defeat has some further implications. Israel without a victorious army, has nothing to offer to world Jewry either. It can never present itself as the ultimate cosmic Judeo bunker…While just six weeks ago the loud supporters of Anglo-American interventionism were still pushing for democracy in the Arab world and beyond, they were enthusiastic about killing in the name of human rights and about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East. Somehow, since the war began, since Israel revealed once again its murderous tendencies and Hezbollah proved to be the new Robin Hood, these voices are caving in. Many among the global Zionists do already understand now that the Anglo-American assault on the Arab world just suffered a major blow. Some of them probably grasp that it is just a question of time before more and more Europeans and Americans join the sacred battle against the Americanized Global Zionism, i.e., neo-conservatism.

-Gilad Atzmon, Israel Must Win, Counterpunch.org.

I’m not sure about the whole Zionism-is-in-a-state-of-collapse thing. I think that idea is hopeful/optimistic. There certainly is a growing movement of Jews gaining visibility that is ready to criticize Israel and the US (see this report of a recent die-in in NYC, this radio segment on Jewish anti-Zionists, and this article on Refuseniks in this conflict). On the other hand, I think that for many Jewish people (even “progressives”), the current situation only confirms their belief that Israel is an underdog besieged by merciless Arab hordes out to destroy the Jewish people (don’t laugh, it’s a more common belief than many readers of this blog might think).

So what do we do about that? One response is for more Jewish people to be more visible, outspoken, and organized about their criticisms of Israel and of Zionism (this is definitely happening in the US). We cannot remain silent as violence is done in our name. I think there is also an opportunity to identify fissures in the ideology of Zionism, which could have more promising results in the long run.

We need to create ways to talk about these issues with people who don’t have a radical critique of Israel, but might agree on many other points (anti-Iraq war, critical of the ‘War on Terror,’ anti-gutting of social services, for example, etc.). Jewish “Progressive Zionists” are, in my opinion, more of potential allies than simply a group to oppose. Progressive Zionism is an ideology that collapses under close scrutiny—there are so many inconsistencies: democracy vs. Jewish supremacy, right of return vs. law of return, two state solution vs. 1948 refugees, commitment to progressive values vs. commitment to an ethnically homogenous state. I still have faith that adherents of this belief can apply this scrutiny if given some information and encouragement—I sure didn’t come up with all these ideas myself, nor have I always agreed with them. There are many liberal/progressive Jewish people that need to be reminded of their commitment to social justice, human rights, and anti-imperialism, and need to be shown how these values can and must be applied to their beliefs about Israel.

There is also a need to promote an alternative interpretation of Zionism, one that focuses on the historic oppression of not only Ashkenazi Jews but also on its effects on Palestinians and Mizrahi Jews. And we need curriculums, info-sheets, and talking points to make it easier to get these ideas out there. Of course, many people are already doing these sorts of things. But there is plenty more work to be done in growing and supporting these efforts.

Your Brain or the Universe?

Brain/Universe


These two images were published in the New York Times Science Times. One is a picture of neurons in a mouse’s brain, and the other is a computer-rendered image of what a section of the universe looks like. What is really astounding is the similarity between the two pictures. The short sentence accompanying the images states, “together the suggest the surprisingly similar patterns found in vastly different natural phenomenon.” But the neuron and the universe are not just different, their sizes are orders of magnitude apart from each other. And so the similarity between these images reveals a fractal-like relationship across a vast scale—providing a great visual for the idea of subjective consiousness: ‘the universe is within your mind.’ The phenomenon of how the same pattern can appear in wildly different places, is, to me, one of the great mysteries of the universe. Maybe someday we will understand it more deeply, but for now it is enough to know that there are plenty of things left to figure out (assuming we don’t cut the party short by destroying the planet first).

A petition for American Jews of conscience

This statement was drafted by U.S. Jews committed to stopping and holding accountable Israel for its destructive policies and practices–most immediately for a halt to the current attacks on Lebanon and Gaza.

We are gathering signatures from Jews committed to this. Our goal is to then publish this statement in the New York Times and other publications.

Click here to add your name as an American Jew of conscience.

As Jews of conscience living in the United States, we are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the United States who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Gaza and Lebanon.

We are appalled by the blatant self-interest revealed in the U.S.’s leveraging of Israel’s actions towards a “New Middle East” agenda, which it has advanced in Afghanistan and Iraq in order to serve an increasingly unilateral economic and political program enforced through military aggression. With Israel as its military proxy, this destructive U.S. foreign policy agenda seeks to establish puppet governments across the Middle East, in a grand effort to ensure continued oil supplies to the West at devastating cost to civilian lives and democracy across the Middle East and beyond.

Focusing upon Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza as well as Iraq and Afghanistan, this vision for a “New Middle East” has facilitated hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian civilian deaths, over a third of whom are children, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani deaths. We Jews of conscience know that no justice, no democracy, and no peace can result from such brutality.

We call upon Jews everywhere to hold the U.S. government accountable for its 58-year role in facilitating and benefiting from Israel’s long-standing, military occupation of Palestine, its repeated acts of collective punishment against both the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples, and its military dominance over Lebanon and other countries in the region.

We are outraged, but by no means surprised, by Israel’s brutality-and consistent support for it by the U.S. government. We are not surprised because Israel was founded through a process of colonization. It is well documented that Israel’s founders knew then that their role in this colonizing process would require an ongoing military strategy to continue to “cleanse” the Palestinian population in the name of a “Jewish” state. They also knew that military dominance of neighboring Arab countries would be necessary in the name of Jewish “self-defense.” Israel’s current attacks on Gaza and Lebanon are consistent with this history and Israel’s founding vision.

Over and above its betrayal of Jewish ethical claims to justice, reason, and equity, Israel, the “Jewish” state, has failed to realize its stated goal to provide sanctuary for persecuted Jews. Israel’s tactics of fueling hatred and inciting fear, not least where tolerance and co-existence were once longstanding rules, cannot ensure Jewish safety but will endanger the lives of Israeli citizens and residents and of Jews around the globe.

There is no Jewish safety in a country that rehearses the violence and persecution which Ashkenazi Jews experienced for centuries through the annihilation of the Palestinian people and their homeland.

There is no Jewish safety in alignment with the current Christian fundamentalist attack on Islam, used historically not only to justify persecuting Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews but to rain terror upon Arabs and Muslims since the time of the earliest Crusades.

There is no Jewish safety in allowing the history of Jewish persecution to be leveraged in support of U.S. political and economic interests as these entail amassing funding for Israel’s military industry.

Finally, there is no Jewish safety, nor Jewish claims to justice, reason, or equity, beyond Jewish commitment to the unconditional safety and liberation of the peoples of Palestine, Lebanon and the other Arab and Muslim countries currently under assault by Israel, the U.S. and its allies.

We, Jews of Conscience, demand that the U.S. government:

  1. Require Israel to stop its brutal siege on Gaza and on Lebanon and call for an unconditional cease fire.
  2. Require Israel to stop the expansion of the Israeli Wall of Separation, dismantle the completed sections, and completely withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
  3. Support the United Nations resolutions demanding that Israel uphold international law and support the sanctions against Israel necessary to enforce these resolutions.
  4. End military and economic aid to Israel.
  5. Support reparations for the Palestinian and Lebanese people for the death and destruction they have suffered and for aid towards the rebuilding of their countries.

Sign the petition.