discarded lies: saturday, march 25, 2017 11:41 am zst
a little down in the mouth
daily archive: 03/17/2005
throbert in Channel Ж:
HOT WWII MEN!
Wow! Thanks, floranista, for the awesome gift from Amazon:



As the cover suggests, it's a compilation of photos from WWII archives showing Navy men hanging around shirtless and sweaty in close quarters. In other words, as an irate reader review at Amazon phrased it:

This is a work of homosexual soft-pornography, framed with an almost campy Village People "In the Navy" subtext that insults the innocent ingenuousness of the Navy veteran of World War II.



Homosexual soft-pornography? AND HOW! But the "almost campy Village People 'In the Navy' subtext" is in mind of the irate reader, who I suspect might really be a plant by the publisher. He continues:

Accordingly, every photo in the book appears to have been selected for its homoerotic suggestiveness: sleek, muscled backs and long strong legs of sailors in unusually close physical proximity, camped out on flight decks, and generally crawling on top of each other.



Yep, that's what a lot of the photos are like, though I should point out that the book is ONLY photos -- there are no captions encouraging the viewer to invent homoerotic subtexts.

The irate reader -- okay, maybe he really IS irate -- accuses the book of having a political agenda, and I think that's silly: if anything, the book illustrates why having openly gay sailors would be a source of tension, since it depicts men, nearly all of whom are presumably straight, cuddling up close together with the understanding that the close body contact IS NOT foreplay. Of course, he's right that the imagery is replete with homoerotic suggestiveness -- just as to a straight man or a lesbian, photography of attractive, half-dressed women in close physical contact is going to seem "homoerotically suggestive," even if the women being photographed had no sexual feelings for each other (i.e., they were just being sisterly).

On that note, I think that many straight women will find At Ease to be IMMENSELY STIMULATING, in that it portrays hunky, macho young military men being puppyishly tender with each other.

(And on the current Don't Ask, Don't Tell issue: in my younger adult years, I've roomed with straight guys who knew I was homo, and there were no problems, so I think it's "do-able" to have openly homo personnel. On the other hand, I believe it would be wisest to wait another decade or so before implementing a fully inclusive policy -- one thing that's changing now is that more gay youth are coming out in high school, meaning that straight teens now contemplating a military career are more likely to have socialized with gay peers than was the case 10 or 15 years ago. As a corollary to this, the idea that people with same-sex desires can be committed to conservative values is gradually trickling into the nation's consciousness. I have faith that the American spirit of accepting those who are "different" will eventually prevail.

Moving on, I thought I'd inaugurate a new semi-regular feature -- Throbert's Bachelor-Pad recipes!



I love Sine's stuff in the diner, and have gotten inspiration for new ingredients and flavor combinations to try -- adapting them to my limited budget when necessary. But even if you've got the money to spend on the raw materials, a lot of the gourmet recipes she finds are just too damn complicated for the average person to actually put together from start to finish, except maybe for a very special occasion like a holiday. So I thought I might offer some much simpler recipes for the everyday enjoyment of DL readers. Today's installment is:



BARGAIN BASEMENT BAKED ALASKA

1 Pop-Tart
1 heap big scoop of ice cream, firmly frozen
1 bag mini-marshmallows (you won't need anywhere near the whole bag for one serving!)

Preheat broiler (top heating element) of oven at 450°. Toast the Pop-Tart® generic toaster pastry. Allow toasted pastry to cool for a minute or two, then place scoop of ice cream on pastry. Stick mini marshmallows onto scoop of ice cream to create a thermal-insulating layer of fluffiness around frozen ice cream -- it should look like an "igloo" that a third-grader would make for a school project. Slap whole thing on a cookie sheet or square of aluminum foil and place on highest oven rack. Watch carefully and remove from oven when marshmallows look brown and toasty. Serve immediately, with chocolate syrup, if desired.

Note: A graham cracker or a toasted waffle makes an excellent flat base for the scoop of ice cream, as an alternative to the Pop-Tart.



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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Occupation
A short background:

Following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 in which Greece was defeated, overt anti-semitism in Greece increased and propaganda and violence became commonplace. But still, on the eve of World War II, Salonica had the largest Sephardic community in the world.

Greece remained neutral when the Second World War broke out. In October 1940, Italy attacked Greece but the Greeks managed to force the Italians back to Albania. Thirteen thousand Jews fought in the Greek army and six hundred and thirteen Jews from Salonica were killed in action. In January 1941 the Governor-General of Salonica wrote to the president of the city's Jewish community: "In the name of the Greek state, I congratulate you on the heroism displayed by the Jews on the field of battle."

The Germans brought troops to help the Italians. Though the Greeks were helped by a British expeditionary force in March of 1941, German forces successfully invaded in April.

The British force was evacuated and the Greek King and his government fled. Italy occupied most of Greek territory, while the Germans occupied Macedonia and Eastern Thrace. Bulgaria, a German ally that provided the transports for the German troops into Greece was rewarded with Western Thrace. Finally, in 1941 the Germans invaded Crete and drove the British out of there as well.

The Germans installed a puppet Prime Minister in Athens whose jurisdiction included both the German and the Italian zones. Germany itself maintained a military government in Greece, with Max Merten, councelor to the military governor, in charge of civilian affairs. Soon, conditions of famine intensified in the Greek cities and resistance activities became more widespread. In Thessaly, where partisans were trying to deprive the Germans of the harvest, Leon Sakkis was among several Jewish resistance fighters in action against German military units. On the night of June 14, 1944 he was killed by machine gun fire as he was trying to help a wounded colleague.

In September 1943, after the Badoglio government in Italy surrendered to the Allies, German forces occupied Italian-held Greece and extended their military rule over all of Greece.

Note to long-timers: if this sounds familiar, it's because it's a rerun! Since we're using zorkie's Terra Nostra posts as our weekly feature over at Winds of Change.NET we decided to start the series over from the beginning because it makes more sense that way. We don't really have to rerun it here in order to post it there, but we decided to anyway, because our traffic then was about 200 unique visitors a day and is now about 2000, so, um, that's a lot of people, and this deserves their attention.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
TAKE ACTION! LAST CHANCE TO SAVE TERRI
via the indispensable Hyscience:
URGENT ACTION TO CONTACT: As part of the House adjournment resolution, congress must agree to the Senate's HABEAS CORPUS bill to save Terri.

From a reliable source:

The House (Federal) has left for the night, but they have not adjourned for recess, as was originally thought. There must be a resolution tomorrow morning, first thing to adjourn.

House leaders, listed below, can make a condition of adjournment the approval of the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act (Habeas Corpus) a requirement.

We know as little about these things as anyone possibly could, but we've been directed to ask you that you please flood the following with emails, phone calls or faxes to insist on these conditions prior to the House adjournment.

Remember, both chambers have already approved, in some form, the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act. This is a very small step for them to finalize the measure before they recess and there is no time left for our representatives to squander.

Please make contact and encourage others to.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert
Phone: 202-225-2976
Fax: 202-225-0697
http://www.house.gov/hastert/write1.shtml

Majority Tom Delay
Ph. (202) 225-5951
Fax (202) 225-5241
http://tomdelay.house.gov/contactmecase.htm

Representative James Sessenbrenner
(202) 225-5101
mailto:sensenbrenner@mail.house.gov
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Domestic Violence Widespread in Pakistan
A survey in Pakistan found that over 90% of married women are abused.
LAHORE: Over 90 percent of married women reported being physically and sexually abused by their husbands, according to a Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences survey. The women said they were abused when their husbands were dissatisfied with their cooking or cleaning, or because they had failed to give birth, or produced a daughter rather than a son.

The survey was reported by Amnesty International Lahore, a non-government organisation (NGO), in a session arranged to commemorate International Women’s Day. Fayyazur Rehman presided over the session, which was attended by graduates and postgraduates of various institutes.

Naeem Akhter, group president of the NGO, Aasia Khan, general secretary, and Zarghoona Gishkori, the campaign executive, said that domestic violence was widespread in society. They said that violence against women in the home, community and in police custody was on the rise. They acknowledged that women’s rights and civil society organisations had raised awareness among women about the problem.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Palestinian Cease Fire Blah Blah
Palestinian Groups to Honor Cease-Fire. I won't get happy just yet:
Nevertheless, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — the main groups that have waged a campaign of violence against Israel — preserved a broad loophole allowing them to call an end to the cease-fire. The declaration says the halt in violence is conditional on Israel's halting all military operations against Palestinians and releasing all 8,000 Palestinian prisoners, a step Israel has shown no sign of taking.
Fatah is not staying out of the loop, either:
The final agreement issued by the factions, including Fatah, also underlined that the Palestinians maintain their "right to resistance in order to end the Israeli occupation."
And in case you still think this might be a move towards peace, rest assured that it's not even a "cease-fire" or a "truce", it's an "atmosphere of calm."
The term "atmosphere of calm" — in Arabic, "manakh al-tahdi'a" — was used instead of the word "truce" — which the armed groups apparently view as more binding and long-term. The term in Arabic, "hudna," is steeped in Islamic history and means a truce of a fixed duration, usually between Muslims and non-Muslims. Israeli skeptics have said in the past that even the term hudna implies the Muslim side can break it off at any time, a claim denied by Palestinian scholars.

Hamas called the June 2003 truce a "hudna."
And that lasted all of six weeks.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Meet Long Hair
A Rebel in the Emperor's Court-he's a Commie, but I think you'll like this rogue, cos I sure did.
The Legislative Council of Hong Kong meets every Wednesday afternoon in a three-story building that looks like any state capitol, with standard-issue neo-Classical dome and high columns all around. From the council's roof, a statue representing justice brandishes a sword and raises a scale into the tall shadows cast by fabulously expensive Asia-boom-era skyscrapers with designer pedigrees -- a pocket of the 19th century sandwiched amid the castles of global capitalism.

The meetings of the Legislative Council, or Legco, also seem anachronistic, a surprisingly seamless blend of Asian and Western pomp and circumstance. The clang of a gong calls the bilingual sessions to order, and proceedings operate according to a precise set of rules adapted from those of the British Parliament. Upon entering or leaving the chamber, Legco members -- all except one -- bow to Rita Fan, the council president, who dominates the body from her high leather chair like a representative of the emperor (which in a way she is, since she also serves as a delegate to Beijing's rubber-stamp National People's Congress).

On one Wednesday afternoon in January, all of Legco's 60 members -- except one -- arrived in their best dark suits (the women favored Chanel). Hong Kong's chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, was about to make one of his infrequent appearances before the Legislature, to deliver his annual policy address -- a Hong Kong version of the State of the Union. A shipping tycoon's son handpicked by Beijing eight years ago (he was ''elected'' by a committee of 800 businessmen and community leaders), Tung is wildly unpopular in Hong Kong. More than half a million people marched in Hong Kong's streets on July 1, 2003, and again in 2004, demanding Tung's resignation and the right to directly elect the chief executive.

Nevertheless, when Tung strode into the Legco chamber, everyone respectfully rose. As Tung took the podium, the representatives sat down.

All except one.

The Honorable Mr. Leung Kwok-hung, better known in Hong Kong as Cheung Mo, or ''Long Hair,'' remained on his feet. For a moment he said nothing, pausing to let the effect of his disobedience -- and maybe, also, his appearance -- sink in. In a sea of suits and ties, Long Hair, 48, was dressed like a 60's-vintage campus radical, in a ratty tweed jacket over a pair of black trousers patched and repatched with a million tiny stitches. Under the jacket, he wore a blue sweatshirt bearing the face of his idol, an unlikely hero for a Hong Kong-born Chinese politician: Che Guevara. Long Hair tossed his head slightly, causing some of his thick black hair, which falls past his shoulders, to come loose from the black scrunchie that keeps it tamed, sort of, in a ponytail. Finally, he pointed an accusing finger at the chief executive and declared, in a loud, deep voice thickened by 30 years of street demonstrations and thousands of cigarettes: ''You! Mr. Tung! You are not qualified, and have no right to address this body. We have been elected by the Hong Kong people. You were not. You were appointed by a clique of 800 tycoons. You don't defend the interests of Hong Kong people; you are in collusion with tycoons. . . . ''

Before he could say another word, Rita Fan hastily adjourned the meeting and Tung scuttled out of the chamber. Fan instructed Long Hair to meet with her in her private chamber. Five minutes later, they returned, and she spoke to him in front of all the representatives, adopting the voice of a mother scolding a child: ''Would you promise not to interrupt the chief executive's speech, Mr. Leung?''

Long Hair stood his ground. ''He is not qualified to speak before elected officials. . . . ''

''Mr. Leung! . . . ''

''And I want to say one more thing. Absolute power leads to absolute corruption.''

Then Long Hair turned on his heel and walked out.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
BREAKING: Senate passes Terri's Bill
Now the House and Senate versions must be reconciled, then this expansion of habeas corpus goes to President Bush to become law.A thimbleful of cognac to Sherri for breaking this news (via a reader's email)...
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
$55 Oil is a bubble
I agree with Larry Kudlow that $55 oil won't last-it can't last. One US company claims to have achieved a $10/barrel cost of extraction for shale oil-the same stuff that there's 3 trillion barrels of under Canada and Venezuela.
When I put a $55 barrel of oil on the table and look at it from all angles, there’s no way the current price can be justified. As a free-market disciple, I am compelled to accept the market’s verdict: $55 a barrel. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to last.

Today’s oil episode is demand-driven, quite unlike the supply shocks of 25 years ago. Back then, OPEC withheld oil because they disagreed with the U.S. policy-tilt towards Israel. Additionally, under Presidents Ford and Carter, U.S. energy policy generated strict price controls and supply allocations, a most bizarre policy combination that kept oil from those population centers most in need of it.

Oil is certainly flowing today, but at much higher prices. In fact, in real inflation-adjusted terms, today’s oil price is the highest since 1983. To a certain extent, we owe this to a favorable development: the global spread of market capitalism in emerging economies such as China, India, and Eastern Europe. At the margin, the increasing oil demands of these countries have undoubtedly boosted the barrel price.

It is instructive to note how much higher oil prices have jumped in comparison to other commodities. From the 2001 low, oil has increased 214 percent. Over the same period, an index of metals -- equally in demand from the emerging economies -- has risen 122 percent. Seemingly along for the ride, gold prices have increased 73 percent. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 stock index has rallied 55 percent from its late 2002 low point while the broader Wilshire 5000 has gained 62 percent.

The fact that oil has increased so much more than these commodity and financial-asset prices is important. It suggests that the oil sector is way out of line. Increased China demand cannot alone explain it -- over-speculation is also a culprit.

It is rumored that hedge funds have used low interest rates to leverage and borrow for the purchase of oil market contracts. Big oil companies may also be speculating on higher future oil prices, with or without leveraged borrowing. It may also be that tanker companies have slowed down their deliveries as they wait for still higher prices.
So it may be that by slowly ratcheting up the interest rate, the Fed is making it harder for hedge funds to speculate on oil prices, bringing prices to a more realistic level and countering the slow-down effect of higher rates with an easing effect from lower oil prices.
Fortunately, the U.S. economy is much less susceptible nowadays to the tax-hike impact of higher oil prices. Numerous studies have shown that greater efficiencies in oil and energy usage have lowered our vulnerability to energy shocks by roughly 50 percent in relation to 25 years ago. Rather than stagflating, today’s economy is quite healthy.

So, what to do?

Ultimately, the answer to high oil prices is a lot more production. That’s exactly what the Bush administration intends to do. New Energy Secretary Sam Bodman has been put in place to implement Bush policies for greater nuclear energy use, increased use of clean coal, the development of a free-trade national electricity grid, and the foreign coordination of liquid natural gas. Also in the policy mix is new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Is Bodman the right man for this job? Absolutely. Bodman, a chemical engineering scientist who has taught at MIT, was the chief operating officer of the super-sized Fidelity mutual fund company and is a former venture capitalist. This is a guy who will quietly manage the U.S. effort to break out of the current OPEC-reliant paradigm and shift to the development of multiple new energy sources.

We’re already seeing signs of progress. The Excelon utility company has just received an early site permit for nuclear power, and Duke Power has nearly completed its combined operating license permit, which includes a pre-approved reactor design.

Meanwhile, there’s still a lot of oil out there. “Hard Green" author Peter Huber has suggested that there are 3 trillion barrels of oil buried in Venezuela and Alberta, Canada. Washington policy analyst James Lucier also notes that individual states are taking matters into their own hands by exercising states’ rights to drill on the outer continental shelf. In Virginia, Democratic governor Mark Warner is expected to sign an OCS drilling bill from his legislature to do exactly that.

The key point is to let markets work. Free-market pricing will best allocate the shifts in both demand and supply. Spiking energy prices will reduce consumption. They will also attract capital investment leading to much greater production. That is, if government policies allow markets to work.

In the meantime, small investors thinking about jumping on the gravy train of higher oil prices should beware. Bubbles happen. And a major oil bubble could be on the verge of bursting.
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throbert in Channel Ж:
Let's go to the movies!




Hey, Root Cellar visitors -- let's go to the movies!

The Food vs. Non-Food thread got me thinking about Tampopo, a delightful film from the mid-'80s that satirizes the supposedly peculiar obsessions of Japanese food fetishists.

(I say "supposedly" because although the ingredients and flavors may differ, the outlandish lengths these characters will go to in search of culinary perfection will seem perfectly reasonable to any Westerner who's ever gotten over-excited about creating the World's Best Spaghetti Sauce.)

But while I'm working on the full review of Tampopo, in hopes that I can convince you to rent it, why don't you entertain yourselves with some of those old classroom hygiene films I mentioned in a past installment of the Cellar? If you've got a high-speed Internet connection, you can download 'em free of charge at the Prelinger Archives.

I get a kick out of Boys Beware, a black-and-white short that advises teenage guys to steer clear of homosexuals -- 'cause at first they just take you to the movies and buy you hamburger sandwiches, but eventually the homosexual will lure an unsuspecting young man into a cheap motel room, where they will -- well, possibly they'll redecorate the place while trading bitchy quips about Oscar gowns, or maybe the homosexual will convince the unsuspecting youth that it's in his best interest to vote Democrat for the rest of his life... ~shudder~ Anyway, the film is pretty vague about what exactly Ralph the Homosexual intends to do in the motel room. On the other hand, the next homosexual in the movie turns out to be a psychopathic killer, which is too bad, because he's much hotter than Ralph.



What, are you done with the hygiene movies already? Okay, going back to Tampopo. It's been called a "noodle western" -- a play on "spaghetti western," because the plot structure of the main story recalls those Italian-produced horse operas that made Clint Eastwood famous. In this case, Goro the trucker and his shotgun-riding sidekick, Gun, show up at a shabby ramen noodle joint run by a pretty widow named Támpopo. (Note: we in the West think of ramen noodles as a dried, packaged, ultra-cheap staple of college students; in Japan, fresh ramen in broth is a fast-food favorite that you buy in restaurants and that has passionate connoisseurs. If Tampopo were to be remade in an American setting, you could replace the ramen-teria with a pizza parlor.)

Anyway, Goro decides that Ms. Tampopo isn't living up to her full potential as a ramen chef, so he makes it his mission to whip her into shape. This involves a brutal training regimen à la every martial arts movie ever made, along with a bit of "industrial espionage" as the pair attempt to learn the secrets of Tokyo's established ramen-masters.

Interwoven with the main story of Goro and Tampopo are short vignettes that comically portray the central place of food in the Japanese soul. Most memorable are the erotic escapades of a gangster and his girlfriend, who combine two of life's greatest sensual pleasures by using food in their lovemaking. Now, licking whipped cream off your lover's nipple doesn't take much imagination, but that's just the warm-up for this pair -- let's just say you'll never look at a raw egg in the same way again. But it was a verbal exchange between the two that made me think of Tampopo as I read Lewis' comment about "natural casing" sausages. Near the end of the movie, the gangster is shot and lies dying, in the pouring rain, cradled in the girlfriend's arms. To comfort her, he talks of food:

GANGSTER: There's an island... where... wild boars roam. I always [coughing] wanted to take... you there. You see... in the winter... the boars have... n-nothing but... but yams to eat.
 
GIRLFRIEND: [sobbing] Yes?
 
GANGSTER: And after you kill the boar [gasping for breath], you cut out the in-intestines... and... grill them on hot... coals. Yam sausages, you see?
 
GIRLFRIEND: [stops sobbing] Hmm, they would be good with wasabe! [resumes sobbing]



On top of this, you get lovable street-people with gourmet sensibilities; tips on eating noodles Western-style (the actress is credited as supageti sensei -- say it out loud); and the most inventive use of live crustaceans for comedic effect since the lobster scenes in Annie Hall.

Go rent it! Now!





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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Today's Terri Roundup
First off, the Florida Department of Children and Families is declining to take any further action because they say there is insufficient evidence of abuse. I guess all those bone breaks meant nothing. The Executive Branch lets us down again, as did the Judicial Branch, but the Legislative Branch, the truest voice of the people, hasn't finished speaking yet and there's still hope to save Terri's life.
It passed the US House of Representatives-UNANIMOUSLY! It also passed the Florida House. It's now in both Senates. Who's holding it up? Senator Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader. Hyscience: BOTH SENATORS WITH LAST NAME REED ARE HOLDING UP LEGISLATION FOR TERRI


It's BOTH Senator Reeds that need to be encouraged to support Terri - Urgent that EVERYONE CALL NOW - ONLY TWO HOURS LEFT!

ASK THEM TO PLEASE support: "The Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act."

Reed, Jack - (D - RI) Class II
728 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4642
Web Form: http://reed.senate.gov/form-opinion.htm

AND

Reid, Harry - (D - NV) Class III
528 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3542
Web Form: http://reid.senate.gov/email_form.cfm
Get on the phone now!!!!!
Here are the wavering Florida senators, you must contact them as well:Hyscience: ACTION ALERT: The Following Florida Senators Could Vote Either Way - Please contact


The following Florida Senators may not be giving favorable consideration to SB 2128 (the companion now to HB 701). If you can, please hit the phone lines. If you can email, please do. This is to be considered in both chambers today in Florida. We need your help.

We've been asked to relay that the best use of language is something very concise and brief, such as " Pass a law that is constitutional, good public policy and that will protect the interests of Florida's disabled and elderly."

EMAIL AND TELEPHONE THEM ASAP!

email list to cut and paste:

argenziano.nancy.web@flsenate.gov, bennett.mike.web@flsenate.gov, bullard.larcenia.web@flsenate.gov, carlton.lisa.web@flsenate.gov, portilla.alex.web@flsenate.gov, dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov, jones.dennis.web@flsenate.gov, king.james.web@flsenate.gov, lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov, saunders.burt.web@flsenate.gov, villalobos.alex.web@flsenate.gov

Nancy Argenziano (R)
argenziano.nancy.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5017
Rm 311

"Mike" Michael S. Bennett (R)
bennett.mike.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5078
Rm 216 (senate office building)

She might be willing? Maybe
Larcenia J. Bullard (D)
bullard.larcenia.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5127
Rm 218

Lisa Carlton (R)
carlton.lisa.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 4875081
Rm 412

Alex Diaz de la Portilla
portilla.alex.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5109
Rm 314

Paula Dockery
dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5040
Rm 326

Friend of Jim King probably will go the same way
Dennis L. Jones
jones.dennis.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5065
Rm 222

"King" James E. King
king.james.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5368
Rm 416

Evelyn J. Lynn
lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5033
Rm 324

Burt L. Saunders
saunders.burt.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5124
Rm 418

Alex J. Villalobos
villalobos.alex.web@flsenate.gov
(850) 487-5130
Rm 330
Finally, NRO's Andrew McCarthy says she'd be better off if she were a terrorist. Here's another excellent article: Cruel and unusual punishment: the starving of Terri Schiavo. Don't read any of this yet, go and call Senators! It works!
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Arab Summit: What Not To Expect
Arab summit: No recognition of Israel expected
TUNIS, Tunisia -- Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa predicted Thursday the upcoming Arab summit would not approve normalizing relations with Israel.

Mousa was quoted in the Tunisian daily al-Shourouk as saying: The Arab leaders will reiterate their commitment to the 2002 Arab peace initiative and there is no intention to break that framework."

The Saudi-inspired initiative offered full normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Arab territories captured in the 1967 Middle East war, namely the West Bank and Gaza, Syria's Golan Heights and the Shabaa Farms in Lebanon.

Moussa was responding to Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom's recent claim Arabs would declare normalization of relations with Israel at the summit in Algiers on March 22.

"If such claims are to be believed and if the wishes of the Israeli officials are realized it will be a catastrophe," Moussa said.
Yeah, it would be a catastrophe. Peace might break out in the Middle East and then what would happen?
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kianb in Pahlaver:
Javier Solana And 'Spreading Democracy'
Iran va Jahan:
In March 14, 2005 issue of the Financial Times, under the heading of 'Europe's leading role in the spread of democracy,' Mr. Javier Solana, (High Representative for European Union's Foreign Policy) asserts that 'the point of politics is to change things'. But in reality, Europe can hardly claim any credit for the changes that are occurring in the Middle East today. Europe, as represented by Mr. Solana, is doing everything in its powers to retard, if not reverse, the march toward democracy in the Greater Middle East.

Take the case of Iran as an example. While President Bush and his administration have used every opportunity to encourage and support the struggle of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy, not a single European head of state or official, such as Mr. Solana, have ever spoken or written one word in that context. They have not even dared to raise the issue of gross violations of human rights, at least publicly, in the course of their frequent meetings with the officials of IRI. More than two decades of documented violations and even criminal indictment of the leaders of IRI by a German court has been systematically ignored. In the collective memory of the Iranian people the images of European leaders happily and proudly posing in pictures with the criminal leaders of the Islamic Republic are bitter souvenirs for the future.

Mr. Solana states: "The values of democracy and human rights are in our collective DNA." One should ask when was the last time that any manifestation of this deeply placed conviction was manifested? For the people of Eastern Europe, when they were under the yoke of dreadful communist regimes, it was the United States of America beaming rays of hope for eventual liberation through the Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. At the same time Mr. Solana's socialist comrades were marching against the American initiatives and in support of appeasement of communism. Even as late as 1988, the European leaders, with the exception of Margaret Thatcher, were calling President Reagan's famous Berlin Wall speech dangerously reckless.

Once again, the Europeans are missing an opportunity by not placing themselves, along side of the United States and the freedom-loving people of Iran. It should not be difficult to decipher which powers and what 'tyranny' President Bush had in mind on the 8th of March during his speech at the National Defense University when he said: "By now it should be clear that decades of excusing and accommodating tyranny, in the pursuit of stability, have only led to injustice and instability and tragedy. It should be clear that the advance of democracy leads to peace, because governments that respect the rights of their people also respect the rights of their neighbors. It should be clear that the best antidote to radicalism and terror is the tolerance and hope kindled in the free societies. And our duty is now clear: For the sake of our long-term security, all free nations must stand with the forces of democracy and justice that have begun to transform the Middle East."


Whose Side is Europe On?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
'You have to expect a little bit of anti-Semitism'
The fact that anti-Semitism is alive and well and thriving sixty years after the Holocaust is proof that it'll never go away. And isn't it classic, holding Jews responsible for Judenhass?

Anti-Jewish incidents mushroom in Canada
"We are raising the red flag to warn the government and the community that we are following very much in the footsteps of Europe" in the scope of anti-Semitism, Frank Dimant, executive vice president of B'nai Brith Canada, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

"People are becoming more brazen... virtually at every level," he added.

According to an annual report released by B'nai Brith Canada's League for Human Rights on Tuesday, anti-Semitism in Canada is at its worst point in more than two decades. A total of 857 incidents were reported in 2004, nearly 47 percent more than the previous year, according to the report. It also said that the number of incidents had increased more than three-fold since 2000.

Dimant believes the real number of anti-Semitic incidents could be even 10 times higher, saying that the vast majority go unreported. While most of the incidents in 2004 were "merely" cases of harassment, the report noted that the greatest increases were registered in vandalism and violent attacks.

Synagogues were targeted 74% more often than in 2003. Cemetery desecrations increased more than 300%. As in Western Europe, Canada has seen a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic attacks carried out by Arab immigrants.

"Kill the Jews" graffiti scrawled in a university library in Hamilton is but one example of anti-Semitic incidents that are multiplying on campuses across Canada. Jewish students were now very afraid, Dimant said, because the "atmosphere has been poisoned."

What's worse, he added, is that university authorities refused to admit they have a problem. "Some have told us, 'You have to expect a little bit of anti-Semitism,'" Dimant said. "But why? Why do we have to tolerate any anti-Semitism?"

Dimant criticized the government for doing too little to combat the phenomenon.

"When a rash of violent crimes breaks out, the government makes fancy speeches, and that's all," he said. "There's plenty of political rhetoric, but no political will to deal with problem. We expect a lot more."

Police were too slow in investigating hate crimes, he added. "Our government isn't dealing very rapidly with perpetrators. So, words are good, but if people think they can get away with... hatred, they will only continue to raise the bar."

B'nai Brith has recommended to the government that it criminalize Holocaust denial and implement a zero-tolerance policy for anti-Semitism in public schools.

A solution must be found soon, Dimant said, because "a whole generation of Canadians is growing up with a perverted view of what Jews are."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Female Imam Gets Death Threats
Woman imam gets death threats, venue changed
LAHORE: Dr Amina Wadud, who is all set to become the first Muslim woman to lead a Friday prayer to a mixed congregation on March 18, has received death threats, leading to a change of venue. The new location will now be kept secret until the last moment. Dr Wadud, who teaches Islamic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, is aiming to achieve spiritual equality. Talking to Naseeb Vibes, a Pakistani webzine, she said the idea of having a woman imam (prayer leader) was not a revolutionary step, but a return to the true spirit of Islam. “Islam is growing, and it is an ongoing situation, and Muslims need to be proactive members of this experience," she said. “The Quran and Sunnah operated in a system requiring human interactions, ideas and changes to implement those ideas can better demonstrate the Quranic mandate for justice; not its patriarchal interpretation of the past where women were submissive," she added. Rejecting Islam’s alleged patriarchal overtones, she said Islam was a liberator of women.
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guest author: floranista in Discarded Lies:
Cead Mile Failte
Today everyone is Irish as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the wearing of the green. Let’s start with a look at Croagh Patrick, the 2,510-foot peak in County Mayo where St. Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days and nights in 441 A.D. while banishing all snakes from Ireland.
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