Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Spaceballs approach to apocalyptic

Our digital converter box won't pick up the Trinity Broadcasting Network. This means that my days with these crazy TV preachers are numbered. So I'm trying to enjoy them while I can.

Good ole John Hagee has delivered a couple of gems recently. For example, he asserted with great confidence that the second coming would be occurring within his lifetime. (Looking at the guy, it is evident that this is a bold claim indeed.) He quoted some scripture in support (?) of this claim, including one of the last sentences in Revelation: "Yes, I am coming soon." (22:20).

Get it? Soon!

I couldn't help but be reminded of this:

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I do dimly recall this story about this Palestinian man, Duwiyat, going on a rampage with a bulldozer in Jerusalem. And now Israel is going to knock down his family's house. Not his house, mind you, but his father's house, in which he lived, along with the rest of the members of his extended family, none of whom went nuts in a bulldozer in Jerusalem. Presumably a bulldozer will be involved in the demolition, which could count as poetic justice, assuming we imagine that collective punishment just might count as justice.

This is explicitly being done in the name of deterrence, as is apparently commonplace: Palestinian does something bad, Israel destroys home of Palestinian. I find this incomprehensible. I don't see how anyone could possibly consider this a permissible form of response. And besides that, it's just so stupid. The article notes "in 2005 a military committee ruled that the tactic did not serve as a deterrent for future attacks"--and how in the world could it? In what world is this practice going to stop Palestinians from going on rampages?

The idea that this is seriously intended to be a form of deterrent makes no sense, and I don't think it even makes sense to those who say it. "Deterrence" here is a convenient word, used to make a place in supposedly decent society for indecent aggression.

And if it were just a few houses, well, who (aside perhaps from the militants with the rocket launchers) would pay attention to something so trivial going on in the middle east. But when it used as a cover (albeit one of many--variety is the spice of life) for the death of hundreds of civilians, that's something to take notice of.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chas Freeman throws in the towel

Last month Chas Freeman was selected to be chair of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman thinks true things about Israel and US-Israel relations, and in the past has even been so bold as to give voice to those thoughts. This was cause for great concern to the "pro"-Israel lobby. As a result, Freeman became the target of intense smear campaign. This campaign was idiotic. And it worked. Says Freeman:
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign
So that all sounds very reasonable. But surely this will serve to encourage this, the ugliest side of "pro"-Israel lobby.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

My kind of shopping

I just got a pair of Goretex-lined leather boots, used but in good condition, for $6. That's $3 a boot!

(That would be at the N. Halsted Brown Elephant.)

Friday, March 06, 2009


This is a brief article on Will Allen, and the urban farming business he started up. It sounds like he's doing happy work, but the first few sentences are terrifying:
Forget organic and locally grown food—in America's poorest urban neighborhoods, it's hard to find any affordable fruits and vegetables at all. Six grocery stores serve South Los Angeles' population of 688,000. West Oakland has no supermarkets, but close to 60 liquor stores.