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“Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

Archive for December, 2007

Israel Holiday: So Far, So Good, So What?

Posted by Atilla89 on December 21, 2007

I’m into the end of the 2nd week in Israel and right now I’m in a little place called Ra’anana near Tel Aviv on the west coast of Israel. Now to the important part of this post, here’s the lowdown of what I have been doing in Israel during these 2 weeks.

Day 1

After not sleeping for about 24 hours, I touch down in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv in the morning and begin my day; needless to say, I am not in the best of moods. I spend the day going to Jerusalem and praying at the Western Wall and exploring the Jewish Quarter, (most of this stuff I do in Jerusalem I have done before on a previous trip). I took all the usual pictures and managed to get ripped off by about 10 Shekels by a street vendor (which did nothing to improve my mood).

Day 2

After catching some sleep, I realised just how long this day is going to be. We begin by going to the city of David located in the Old City of Jerusalem and explore the ruins and the Southern Excavation. All of which was a lot of fun. We head back to the Jewish Quarter and go to Mt Zion. After this, our group goes to King David’s Tomb, which was pretty boring, as all we did was gawk at what appeared to be a wooden box wrapped in velvet. After this, at around 6pm (it is now fully night in Israel), we explore the Kottel tunnels and the lower parts of the Western Wall, all of which are beneath the Arab Quarter. This was easily the highlight of the day as walked down through the narrow tunnels with the wall on our right. To make matters even more fun, when we reached the end of our tour, we had to walk back through the Arab Quarter at night to get to the meeting place. To be honest, it wasn’t that crazy, but I was a little bit nervous walking through incredibly dodgy markets, where everybody was sporting guns or a weapon of some kind.

Day 3

This day opened up with our group volunteering to help out at a soup kitchen. This involved preparing food, etc… So began one of the most pointless hour of my life as I was asked to sort through 25kg worth of rice to try and find the ‘bad ones’. Now I don’t know about you, but I have never known there was such a thing as ‘bad’ rice! I even have pictures of me doing this, just to prove it. From there, we took a bus to go and visited the Israel Supreme Court, where there was a court case going on about materials that were being used to build the separation wall. The building itself, was very interesting as it had a lot of symbolism behind it. From there we went and visited Nachlaut and finished the day 2 hours later.

Day 4

Since this day was Friday, we really didn’t do much except go to the Machne Yehoda market. These markets are the open air, store vendors yelling at the top of their voices type. They are very crowded with people constantly pushing each other; basically a haven for thieves and pick pockets. To cut a long story short, they were quite interesting. From there, our group got on a bus and went down to the Western Wall to be there in time for Shabbat. We prayed and danced around the wall for about an hour. The atmosphere was great, with everybody singing and dancing at the top of their voices. After that, since it was Shabbat, we had to walk back to our hotel, which took 2 hours!

Day 5

Shabbat, the day of rest. Most of this day was spent relaxing and playing games in the hotel. We went to shule in the morning for about 20 minutes (we were there for the experience). In the afternoon, we were introduced to a new game called ‘the kissing game’. It is very simple, yet a lot of fun. Basically you need about 40 people, everyone sits in a circle and is given either a number or a letter (letter for boys, number for girls). A volunteer sits in the middle, for example a girl. Both a number and a letter are called; the male who is called must kiss the girl in the middle while the other girl who has been called must kiss the boy (before the girl in the middle is kissed). If the male is kissed before kissing the girl in the middle he then sits in the middle. Obviously the roles are reversed when there is a male in the middle.
The game is a lot of fun and has quickly become the most popular game for our group. After this, we had Havdala and after that we had a famous academic called Neil Lazarus who I got a photo with.

Day 6

This is a very special day. Our group received our 8 soldiers from an intelligence devision. I quickly made friends with a Lieutenant called Shlomo who was softly spoken yet he could do the most amazing card tricks. He was very intelligence and spoke near perfect English; this was the last week in the army for him after 5 years! Next week on Sunday he will go to Thailand for about 4 weeks as a holiday. Today we went to a place called Caesarea which was a place built by King Herod to appease the Romans. We didn’t spend much time there as it rained out after 1 hour. From there we went to Osfia to experience Druze hospitality. The food there was absolutely beautiful, I loved eating every part of it.

Day 7

Today we finally went to Haifa, which in my opinion, one of the more beautiful cities in Israel. It has a beautiful deep water harbor and nice mountains (more like hills but whatever). Our first stop was the Hanging Bahaii Gardens. Let me say first off that these are the more amazing and beautiful gardens that you will ever go to. The view from the top was wonderful and gave a great view of the surrounding area of Haifa. From there, we explored the Arab section of Haifa, were I purchased a lovely type of sweet food. This food which is orange (if someone knows the name, please tell me) filled me up for about 4 hours!

Day 8

We started the day by traveling to Akko, a lovely little town near to Haifa. This turn is filled with history from old Mosques to a ‘hotel’ for the Crusaders who were in the area 800 years ago. The hotel consists of a stable and rooms. As well as this we went on a hike and were about 100 metres away from the Israeli-Lebanon border. We explored a bit of Rosh Hanikra before watching a beautiful sunset. When I returned back to the hotel, I knew that something strange was going to happen. We usually have night activities but there had been no mention of what they were for this night. My suspicion was multiplied when Shlomo, my room mate and the rest of the soldiers came into my room and told me to go down with everyone else to the bomb shelter (our group’s meeting place). About 20 minutes later, all the army guys came in wearing their uniform and started shouting at us. To cut a long story short, it was army night. After much shouting and push-ups, we got into army uniforms and were divided into 3 groups. We all had to learn some of the basic skills that raw recruits to an army have to learn. To put it bluntly, most of the night I was laughing or trying to laugh myself stupid after watching a lot of people trying (and failing) to do push ups. The girls were the funniest, with many of them upset that they had to put a little bit of camouflage on (some complained that it would cause a rash which turned out to be bull shit). At the end of the night we got a lot of special items from our soldiers who had clearly raided their base and took whatever they didn’t have to sign out ūüėÄ

Day 9

Today our group went further into the Galilee and arrived into Safed or Zfat. Safed is know as the city of Jewish Mysticism or Kabalah. The city is one of 4 holy cities in Judaism, each of the four representing a different element. Safed is air, Jerusalem is fire, Hebron is Earth and Tiberius is water. I have many an interesting story about Safed and it is easily one of my favourite cities in all of Israel, not in the least because there is a store which makes the best schnitzel. From there we went to a place called Rosh Pina and after that, back to the hotel. Later on in the evening, I got my results back from my HS, the last test you do at school, and found that I was able to do my course. To sum it up, it was a late night involving lots of alcohol.

Day 10

Today was a short day was we would be going to our relatives place for the week end later on. We went to a Kibbutz which doubled as a museum for those killed in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising called Lochamei Hagetaut or something like that. It was not a fun day and by the end of it, I was exhausted namely because I had such a late night partying. At the end of the day our soldiers left us, which was sad. Thank you so much for giving us such a great time!

At the moment I have a free week end and I am staying at my step Grandfather’ s place. On Sunday, I will spend days in the IDF doing a program called Gadna, which is basically the first week of basic training. I can’t wait to see the reaction on every girl’s face when they realise what they signed up for! I doubt I will be able to do another big post like this, it will probably come when I get home.


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Heroes Volume 3 ‘Villains’ preview

Posted by shkoles on December 19, 2007

Last week, during the ‚ÄėJules Verne Adventure Film Festival‚Äô in Los Angeles, was presented an exclusive preview of ‚ÄėHeroes Volume 3: Villains‚Äô.
Cameras and video cameras were not allowed but, as often happens, somebody managed somehow to film the preview… not the best quality, but we’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.


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Holiday To Israel

Posted by Atilla89 on December 8, 2007

On December 10th, I will be leaving to go to Israel for 6 weeks. This will mean that there will be much less posts, simply for the fact that I am going to be very busy for those 6 weeks. In the rare free time that I have, I might be able to post a few things, but that will not be a priority for me at all (namely emailing friends and family). I should be back to regular blogging by January 20/21, depending on how fast I get over my jet lag. In the mean time, maybe my other co-bloggers might consider posting for once…

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An Interview With Max Boot And A Rant With Alan Dershowitz

Posted by Atilla89 on December 8, 2007

LGF just posted an interesting video from Commentary Magazine called An Interview with Max Boot. For those that don’t know, Max Boot is a pretty much a writer and a historian who currently works as a foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain (so he has a lot of insight and knowledge about what he is talking about). The video is about Max Boot’s ‘his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, the NIE, and the progress we’re making in Iraq.’ I’ve posted a video with Max Boot previously, where he talked about similar issues, which you can see here.

Max Boot makes some interesting points about the NIE Report in which he says that people shouldn’t put that much faith in, because (paraphrasing) that there is not enough evidence to be able to say for sure that what the NIE Report says is completely accurate. Indeed in my previous post about the NIE, which you can see here, I mentioned (according to Bolton) the 5 points to keep in mind when reading or talking about the NIE Report.

Keeping this in mind, I also want to talk about what other people think about the NIE Report, namely one of my favourite academics, Alan Dershowitz. Now he believes that the NIE Report, to put it bluntly, is a load of crap.

The tactic is obvious and well-known to all intelligence officials with an IQ above room temperature. It goes like this: There are two tracks to making nuclear weapons: One is to conduct research and develop technology directly related to military use. That is what the United States did when it developed the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project. The second track is to develop nuclear technology for civilian use and then to use the civilian technology for military purposes.

What every intelligence agency knows is that the most difficult part of developing weapons corresponds precisely to the second track, namely civilian use. In other words, it is relatively simple to move from track 2 to track 1 in a short period of time. As Valerie Lincy and Gary Milhollin, both experts on nuclear arms control, put it in a New York Times Op Ed on December 6, 2007:

“During the past year, a period when Iran’s weapons program was supposedly halted, the government has been busy installing some 3,000 gas centrifuges at its plant at Natanz. These machines could, if operated continuously for about a year, create enough enriched uranium to provide fuel for a bomb. In addition, they have no plausible purpose in Iran’s civilian nuclear effort. All of Iran’s needs for enriched uranium for its energy programs are covered by a contract with Russia.

I just want to add something to this, considering the huge oil reserves that Iran has, why would they need additional nuclear power? The answer should be obvious to even the most dim witted person in politics. Dershowitz continues to prove my point:

“Iran is also building a heavy water reactor at its research centre at Arak. This reactor is ideal for producing plutonium for nuclear bombs, but is of little use in an energy program like Iran’s, which does not use plutonium for reactor fuel. India, Israel and Pakistan have all built similar reactors-all with the purpose of fueling nuclear weapons. And why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing in value? And why is Iran developing long-range Shahab missiles, which make no military sense without nuclear warheads to put on them?

Read the rest of this at FrontPage here.

Hat tip to LGF

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Bolton: The Flaws In the Iran Report (NIE)

Posted by Atilla89 on December 7, 2007

I am sure everyone has now heard about the NIE Report about Iran. Of course, Ahmadinejad is labelling this as a victory for Iran (I honestly have no idea how he figured that…). The report is being used by many anti-war activists to say that Iran is not a problem in the nuclear sense. However, John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the UN (and in my opinion, probably one of the best), has written a report called The Flaws In The Iran Report. Its a very interesting read and can be basically summed down to 5 points.

  1. The headline of the report is written in a way that ‘guarantees the totality of the conclusions will be misread.’
  2. The NIE is ‘internally contradictory and insufficiently supported’. This is important because it implies that diplomacy has worked in Iran, yet the only thing that would have made Iran stop trying to get nukes is the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. in the search of WMD’s.
  3. The risks of disinformation by Iran are real and this is important because the U.S. ‘have lost many fruitful sources inside Iraq in recent years because of increased security and intelligence tradecraft by Iran. The sudden appearance of new sources should be taken with more than a little scepticism.
  4. The NIE suffers from a common problem in government: the overvaluation of the most recent piece of data. Now this means that the bias toward the new appears to have exerted a disproportionate effect on other intelligence analysis of Iran.
  5. Many involved in drafting and approving the NIE were not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department, brought into the new central bureaucracy of the director of national intelligence.

You can read the full article here, hat tip to LGF.

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Jihad Made In Britain

Posted by Atilla89 on December 7, 2007

A very interesting article here from Pajamas Media by Mary Jackson (actual article) which puts Islam into perspective in the UK. It pretty much talks about how some (possible a majority – I have no idea) Muslims refuse to assimilate into British culture, or, they assimilate by using their modern technology (mobiles [cell phone], Internet, etc) to spread their ideologies (Islamism).

Jawa Report comments by saying: “Why assimilate when the government will pay you to sit on your ass and make YouTube videos all day about how unjust and oppressive that very government is to Muslims? Think I’m wrong? Recall that even though Omar Bakri Mohammed has been barred from coming back to Britain, that his wife and kids still live in London off government welfare. It’s one thing to sit at home wearing a burka, but try to go get a job wearing one and let’s see where that gets you. Or how about starting a business wearing the attire of choice for young Islamists in the U.K., M. C. Hammer pants?”

And of course, some Muslims can be very intolerant of when they don’t get what they want… (hat tip to The Jawa Report)

British culture has been coarsened and cheapened by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But Mary Jackson argues that Muslim rejection of English tradition and its exploitation of her society’s failings is uniquely dangerous.

Not long ago, my colleague at the New English Review observed a young Muslim woman on the London Underground:

She was wearing tight dark trousers, a trendy silver plaited belt slung about her hips, a parka with luxuriant fake fur trim pulled up over her head and a bright turquoise scarf over her face. At first glance I thought she had cut eyeholes in the scarf but on closer inspection she had folded it niqab style about her forehead and the rest hung down over her nose mouth chin and neck. The bulk of the hood held it all in place.[…]

She got out her mobile phone.

‚ÄúYeah, but, yeah, nah, I can‚Äôt breath can I? I got this thing over my face naw, innit? ‚ĶNah, I see ya later ‚Ķ station, innit?‚ÄĚ

It is ironic that someone un-British enough to wear a niqab is nevertheless British enough to prattle away in Estuary-English ‚Äúyoof-speak‚ÄĚ. Then again, I have often observed Muslims adopting the least attractive aspects of modern Britain, while spurning its more admirable offerings.

Read the rest below.

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Kevin The Chicken

Posted by Atilla89 on December 6, 2007

I just received a very clever email about Kevin, enjoy!

Kevin the Chicken

Trevor the farmer was  in the fertilised egg business He had several
hundred young layers (hens), ¬†called ‘pullets’ and eight or ten roosters,
to fertilise the pullets’ ¬†eggs.

Trevor kept records and any rooster that didn’t perform went into ¬†the
soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time so  he
bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each  bell
had a different tone so Trevor could tell from a distance, which  rooster
was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an  efficiency
report simply by listening to the bells.

The farmer’s ¬†favourite rooster was Kevin, and a very fine specimen he
was too, but on this ¬†particular morning Trevor noticed Kevin’s bell
hadn’t rung at ¬†all!

Trevor went to investigate.

The other roosters were chasing  pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets,
hearing the roosters coming, would run ¬†for cover but to farmer Trevor’s
amazement, Kevin had his bell in his beak, ¬†so it couldn’t ring.

He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to ¬†the next one.

Trevor was so proud of Kevin, he entered him into the  Brisbane
Exhibition and Kevin became an overnight sensation among the  judges.

The Result?

The judges not only awarded Kevin the No Bell  Piece Prize but they also
awarded him the Pulletsurprise as  well.

Clearly Kevin was a politician in the making: Who else but a  politician
could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards  on our
planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and  screwing
them when they weren’t paying attention.

Do you know a ¬†Pullitician called ¬†Kevin?………….

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Rudd Has Garrett Gagged – Question Time Viewing Levels Drop Dramatically

Posted by Atilla89 on December 5, 2007

The most useless politician in the world has been effectively gagged as Kevin Rudd has decided that Treasurer Wayne Swan will now be responsible for climate change discussion in the House of Representatives. Poor Garrett, now the rest of the public will be denied to the chance to laught themeselves stupid at his attempts to answer questions in public, here and here. Hat Tip to Tim Blair.

More from Sky News:

Peter Garrett has campaigned heavily on climate change in the past, but Opposition MPs won’t get a chance to question him when parliament resumes next year.

In a move that has baffled some, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is ensuring his new Environment Minister keeps his mouth shut on such sensitive topics.

Having already been stripped of the Climate Change portfolio, Peter Garrett will also lose his climate change voice; with Kevin Rudd making Treasurer Wayne Swan responsible for climate change discussion in the House of Representatives.

This is should be no surprise to most, considering that Garrett is such a liability in parliment. However, I believe that through this event, both sides of politics, left and right, can come together on a agreement to get Baldy back into the hot seat!

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The 2nd Annual Worst Quotes From The Daily Kos (2007 Edition)

Posted by Atilla89 on December 5, 2007

I am sure that everyone reading this would know about the blog, Daily Kos; for those that don’t it is a left wing blog in America and is argueably the most influential.¬†Just to underscore this point, “Democratic members of Congress post on the blog, Democratic presidential contenders cater to them, and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas is considered to be a mainstream figure amongst Democrats. Keep all of that in mind as you read these excerpts and quotes, all of which come from the Daily Kos writers, not from commenters on the blog.”¬†Well, LGF has got a post¬†by John Hawkins¬†that shows the very worst of Daily Kos, here’s a few, now¬†go read the rest,¬†enjoy!

10) “I wrote a diary a short time ago about how the Bush administration helped ruin my marriage. It wasn’t because my husband was a Bush supporter or anything…it was because of all the stresses from job loses, living without health insurance and getting sick, to my husband being forced to take a job where he wasn’t home much that helped ruin my marriage.” — angrybird

9) Islamic Countries Can Suck Jesus’s Chocolate Covered C***…Meanwhile, over here in this part of never, never land, the Catholic crazies are all freaked out over a chocolate Jesus. So what????????

I just don’t get it. I’m being literal. I don’t understand what’s offensive about a chocolate Jesus. Maybe I didn’t read the part of the Bible that talks about not making graven images of the Lord in chocolate (and it’s possible, since the Bible has so many other things that are institutionally nuts I wouldn’t rule it out). Why does anyone care that it’s in chocolate?

…The other part of this so-called chocolate Jesus controversy is his c*ck. Apparently he has one. Someone hide the children. It turns out humans have d*cks. No, you don’t say.

My guess is that if Jesus actually existed he would get a good belly laugh out of people being offended that he had a penis. Yeah, don’t worry about feeding the poor or anything. Just obsess over Jesus’s chocolate covered penis. I’m sure that’s what the good Lord would have wanted.

So, is the argument that Jesus didn’t have a d*ck?” — Cenk Uygur

8) “I know I‚Äôm a Jewish lesbian and (Ahmadinejad would) probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon…Okay, I admit it. Part of it is that he just looks cuddly. Possibly cuddly enough to turn me straight. I think he kind of looks like Kermit the Frog. Sort of. With smaller eyes. But that‚Äôs not all…

I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor ‚ÄĒ locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can‚Äôt help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.” — sallykohn

I would just like add that I wish Alex Horton good luck as he has now left the U.S. Army (and Iraq). His blog, Army of Dude, is pretty much a soldiers account of the war in Iraq, it is very good and I really recommend reading it.

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Turnbull twice as popular as Nelson

Posted by Atilla89 on December 4, 2007

It should be clear to you now just who I support out of the Liberals, if you haven’t been following, it was Turnbull. Now just recently Turnbull criticised the opposition leader, Brendan Nelson to toughen up, I’m still not over that yet, I mean who wants a weak opposition¬†leader (especially if they are in charge of your prefered party)? I think it is time for Chopper Read to sort this out and give out some advice¬†(note, this is not school/work friendly).

Now the next thing that bugs me is that not only is Malcolm the better leader (in my opinion) but also a lot of other people believe that as well. From The Australian:

A Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend also found 61 per cent of voters named Kevin Rudd as their preferred prime minister, with Dr Nelson rating only 14 per cent. The poll showed that Mr Rudd had almost as much support as prime minister among Coalition voters as Dr Nelson. The Newspoll figures emerged last night after Dr Nelson, the former defence minister, confirmed that Mr Turnbull had given him a “pep talk” moments after last Thursday’s leadership ballot, in which Dr Nelson scored a narrow victory over Mr Turnbull by 45 votes to 42.

As the Liberals and the Nationals continued to come to terms with Labor’s stunning election victory, the Newspoll – the first since polling day – found Mr Turnbull was the most favoured Liberal Party figure. Thirty-four per cent of the 1125 respondents named the millionaire former banker and environment minister as the best person to lead the Liberals. Dr Nelson scored 18 per cent. West Australian Julie Bishop, who was elected as Dr Nelson’s deputy last Thursday, scored 14per cent.

Former health minister and Howard loyalist Tony Abbott won the support of 9 per cent of respondents, while 25 per cent were undecided. Mr Abbott originally nominated for the Liberal leadership but dropped out, stressing that he would consider another leadership bid in the future. Mr Turnbull had particularly strong support among male respondents (38 per cent).

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