Archive for February, 2008

Fresard blog GOES PRIVATE

Friday, February 29th, 2008

         Looks like our old friend Donn Fresard (see some of our previous comment) is not being very social, at least not with the public: see what happens now when you click on ””, which is that you go here, where we learn that “This blog is open to invited readers only”!!

         Now how’d that happen?? ! 
         Maybe he’ll re-emerge next…February 29th!!!

RIP William F. Buckley, Jr., 1925-2008

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

(A similar diary of mine is at Daily Kos)

         “Mr. Conservative”, William Frank Buckley, Jr. has died at 82.

         My personal Buck anecdote is that once when I was in New Haven, I heard people saying that during his visit to the Yale Political Union that night, he was visibly red-faced and showed other signs of drinking. …WFB was no worse than Ted Kennedy, though, one must admit.

         Anyway, God rest his soul. As Drudge says, RIP WFB.

Israel women to maximize male leverage with Maxim, or “Zionism by bikini”??

Monday, February 25th, 2008

         You couldn’t make it up. Oy gevalt!

         For maybe our final installment of the “Israel and pop culture” series for now, let’s look at these items from a little while ago (I’ve just been too busy to post on them until now): see first NY Times, “The Lede”, Holy Land’s New Lure: Bikini Babes, 

         “During the conflict with Lebanon last year, Israeli tourism industry didn’t disappear; it just went south, away from the fighting. Now, with a new set of life-or-death concerns emerging, the nation’s tourism industry again soldiers on.
         This time, with bikini babes. Hold on - It’s actually perfectly logical:

  • Problem: “Israel’s image among men aged 18-38 is lacking,” an Israeli official noticed, according to Israeli Insider.
  • Solution: Form an alliance with the magazine that rules that demographic, Maxim.

         Soon, a deal was sealed between the rulers of the Holy Land and the “girls, sex, sports” glossy. Maxim pledged to publish a piece about visiting Israel, and its photographers would shoot some of the local models for a spread in the July issue.  …
         “This pornographic campaign sponsored by the Foreign and Tourism Ministries is an outrage,” said Colette Avital, who became the first woman to seek Israel’s presidency last week. “I wonder if the best way to encourage tourism is by advertising sex.”
        Another lawmaker told an Israeli newspaper that she preferred the campaign to focus on “women of substance and accomplishments.”
         One of the models disagrees. Tali Handel, who was an air force sergeant, believes that this particular bit of bikini modeling draws from the same spirit as the original Israeli settlers.
         The Insider summed up her thoughts during an interview by saying she considered it “an act of Zionism.”

         Ah Zionism. Not sure that the founders of Zionism would have agreed with her…       

         See also israelinsider, “Israel the Beautiful”, Government invitation to “Women of the IDF” event called ‘pornographic’,

         “Female Knesset members were aroused by a provocative photo of ex-Miss Israel Gal Gadot, lying down on her back with her legs spread and up in the air, attired in the skimpiest of bikinis, appearing on a formal invitation to a club event — celbrating the “Women of the Israel Defense Forces” — being held this evening by the men’s magazine Maxim and the Israeli consulate in New York, sponsored by Israeli government ministries and the pro-Israel communications organization ISRAEL21c and the American-Israel Friendship League. …
         “Israel’s image has been tainted by sex-scandals involving high-ranking officials as it is. I wonder if the best way to encourage tourism is by advertising sex,” added Avital, who finished under Shimon Peres in the recent Presidential election before giving in to his entreaties to withdraw. …”

         , as well as the Guardian, Girls with guns: In any western country, Maxim’s pictures of female soldiers in their smalls wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. They shouldn’t shock us in Israel either.,

         “…I think it’s a pretty low blow by the Israeli tourism board when they have to resort to such measures to promote the country’s image abroad.
         However, and this is where I differ from many of the outraged politicians and commentators who took such umbrage at the “Women of the Israeli Defense Forces” feature, it has nothing to do with Israel as being unique, and all to do with western standards as a whole. Israel does not need to be held up to any higher level of scrutiny, in my eyes, from within or without: its advertising campaigns, its sex scandals in public office, its supermodels running off with Hollywood actors are no more or less noteworthy than if they were to take place in any other western country.
         If Israel’s tourist board chooses to objectify female soldiers in order to fill more hotel rooms, then I, for one, am not in favour. But that would be as true if the story were about female sailors in the British navy given similar treatment, as it is with the IDF soldiers in Maxim.”

         , and ISRAEL21c, Stories about Israel21c: Globe & Mail: A land flowing with babes and beaches - Israel aims to increase U.S. tourism with a PR attack in a racy men’s magazine,

         “…The idea of showcasing scantily clad Israeli girls in a U.S. men’s magazine — which made headlines here just days after the Hooters restaurant chain announced it was opening its first Israeli branch on the Tel Aviv beachfront later this year — came under immediate fire from the country’s religious right, which bombarded Israeli news websites with allegations that the government was degrading the Jewish state and promoting sex tourism.
         “The fact that this campaign to increase tourism is supported by the Israeli Consulate, Israel 21c, and the American Israel Friendship League is very unsettling,” read one representative posting on the Ynet news website.
         “We have ceased to be a light unto the nations, we are now merely a mirror that reflects what is wrong with society today.” …”

         Hm. Strong words. You won’t hear any words from me on “thou shalt worship no graven images”, though.

         On that note, shall spare you any of the “Hot Israeli Girls in Bikinis: New Tourism Campaign by Israeli Government” video links to be found on the Internet. . .

Take Back the Night 2008 benefit dinner

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

         Take Back the Night–Ann Arbor are having their 2nd annual Benefit Dinner on Saturday, March 1 at Weber’s Inn. I hear they would appreciate your support in attending the dinner as it is one of the main ways they raise money to put on the event. (An event I myself have had the pleasure of attending about 8 times or so…)

         Tickets are $35 each or two for $65, which includes dinner and dancing (live music by the Danny Tyrell Project). There will also be a silent auction where 100% of the money raised from that goes to benefit the rally. Items include hotel stays, gift certificates and gift baskets.   

          Tickets are available at  - the specific page is 

         (The Take Back the Night rally itself is on Thursday, April 10th.)

A blog star rises in West Michigan

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

         Check out West Michigan Rising, a new political weblog using Soapblox software. So call it a soap star!! (klunk)
         Talk about celestial events.

         It’s tha bom.

Navy missile misses satellite, hits moon and causes eclipse

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

         …Wait a minute, I have to verify that.

Kwame Kilpatrick resigns as dictator of Cuba

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

         …Whoops, I mean FIDEL CASTRO resigns as d of C, see, e.g., CNN, Cuba quiet after Castro announces resignation,

         “…Castro, 81, revealed his plans in a letter published in the middle of the night in the online version of Cuba’s state-run newspaper, Granma.
         “I will not aspire to, nor will I accept the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief,” Castro wrote. “I wish only to fight as a soldier of ideas. … Perhaps my voice will be heard.” …”

         Given the crazy and unaccountable way that “on an assignment from God” KK has been running the D, though, it’s a natural mistake to make. (I’m not saying Motown is like Havana, though may be saying that Kwame K has similarities to Foo Foo Fidel. . .) 

Larry Kestenbaum fundraiser today at Leopold Brothers

Monday, February 18th, 2008

         Larry Kestenbaum is preparing to run for county registrar again, and is having a fundraiser today/tonight Monday, February 18, 2008, 5-7 p.m., at Leopold Brothers. (523 S. Main St., Ann Arbor)        

         It’ll be his 3rd annual President’s Day fundraiser, for the Larry Kestenbaum for Washtenaw County Clerk/Register of Deeds campaign. (Giving a more formal name what’s mentioned above)

Australia apologizes to its abused aborigines

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

         After all these years…..see, e.g., AP via CNN, Australia to apologize to Aborigines, from January 30,

         “Australia will issue its first formal apology to the country’s indigenous people next month, a senior minister said Wednesday, a milestone that could ease tensions with a minority once subjected to policies including the removal of mixed-blood children from families on the premise that their race was doomed. [!!!]        
         The February 13 apology to the so-called “stolen generation” of Aborigines will be the first item of business for the new Parliament, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose Labor Party won November elections, had promised to push for an apology, which has been debated in Australia for years.
         “The apology will be made on behalf of the Australian government and does not attribute guilt to the current generation of Australian people,” Macklin said in a statement. …”

, and the Guardian, We should say sorry, too: Australia’s apology does not absolve Britain of its role in the degradation of the Aboriginal race, 

         “The historic apology offered by prime minister Kevin Rudd to the “stolen generations” was a crucial step for Australia, as Richard Flanagan wrote on these pages this week. But it does not make amends for the role played by the British in the destruction and degradation of the Aboriginal race. Initially soldiers, convicts and settlers killed Aborigines as if they were animals threatening the crops. Later, in the 20th century, Fabian socialists provided the intellectual justification for the eugenics policy that led to the stolen generations scandal.
         The British exterminated the entire tribe of Tasmanian aborigines, leaving only 40 survivors who were herded off their land and placed on an offshore island gulag. The governor’s wife led the hunt for their skulls to decorate London mantelpieces. [!!! !!] At least there was a parliamentary inquiry, which reported in 1836 that “not a single native now remains upon Van Dieman’s land … the adoption of any conduct, having for its avowed or secret object the extermination of the native race, could not fail to leave an indelible stain upon the British government”. That “indelible stain” was, a century later, termed “genocide”. …
         AO Neville (played by Kenneth Branagh in the Phil Noyce film Rabbit-Proof Fence) held the title chief protector of Aborigines in Western Australia and was the leading proponent of the policy. He was an Englishman who, inspired by eugenics, took very young girls from Aboriginal settlements and had them trained for domestic service with white families, relying on miscegenation - and rape - to produce by the third generation an acceptable skin colour and a lack of any distinctive aboriginality. His aim was to “merge the blacks into our white community” so that “we could eventually forget that there ever were any Aborigines in Australia”.
         Much as white Australians may castigate themselves today for their deluded assimilation efforts, it is necessary, as with every genocide, to sheet home responsibility to the intellectual authors of the policy. These were the Fabian socialist heroes who believed eugenics principles could be applied to produce a “superior” society. Sydney and Beatrice Webb, John Maynard Keynes and Bertrand Russell all supported this cause. George Bernard Shaw argued for humane extermination of “the sort of people who do not fit in”. Marie Stopes publicly pleaded for the sterilisation of the “hopelessly rotten and racially diseased”. Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence privately urged that the state should eradicate “imbeciles”. Their slogan was the vile aphorism of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “three generations of imbeciles are enough”.
         Against this background, Neville’s “absorption” policy, adopted in 1937, was regarded as progressive. It was in line with modern thinking in the UK, where a Department of Health report had in 1934 recommended compulsory sterilisation of the “feeble-minded”, a class comprising “a quarter of a million mental defectives and a far larger number of the mentally subnormal”. It was not implemented, mainly because of opposition from Labour MPs, who feared working-class people would be the real victims of the Fabian intelligentsia.
         Historical wrongs cannot be put right by belated apologies unless there has been a genuine attempt to understand - then remember and condemn - the thinking behind the policies that have had such appalling results. This is why we establish truth commissions, and why international courts now try the “intellectual authors” of widespread and systematic atrocities.
         For that reason, the UK government should find a way to endorse the apology to Australian Aborigines, for whose sufferings Britain has been in part responsible - not only for the massacres and for the introduction of disease and alcohol that further ravaged the indigenous population, but by a much later and more insidious dose of eugenics theory. Every Holocaust Day we should remember the Tasmanians, and ask how it came to pass that the finest minds in the socialist pantheon were incapable of imagining the inhuman cruelty entailed by their plans for a Fabian utopia.”

         See my own “related” post here, U. of Virginia apologizes for employing slaves, and the Michigan Liberal diary linked in that diary, Michigan should offer official apology for slavery/segregation, which mentions that free blacks used to have to pay $500 to live in Michigan. Shame in Australia, Albion (England), and maybe in Albion, Michigan, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day/Virginity Day 2008

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

         You never know what “V-Day” means, see, e.g., MBTI Central, ”CestMoi” on the “Where’s the V-Day Rant page?” page, here,

         “I personally prefer Virginity Day. That’s a cool rename, IMO. LOL.”

         As they say.