Tuesday, November 16, 2004

No Post Today...

...because I'm going to bed now because I'm getting up early tomorrow. Of course, this is technically a post...

Monday, November 15, 2004

More About Arafat

Wow; so much to blog about today. Let's start with this: an article published today in the Jewish World Review. Yesterday, I posted some thoughts about what the future might hold for Israel. In the post, I neither completely nor accurately depicted Arafat's legacy. The article explains what I did not and seems to allow for a scenario similar to what I described. Two quotes:
[Arafat's] promised land was never the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat founded Fatah in 1959 - eight years before Israel even acquired these territories. His objective then, and until the day he died, was a Palestinian state built on the ruins of an eradicated Israel.

Deploying every instrument of propaganda - television, radio, newspapers and, most importantly, schools and summer camps for children - his Palestinian Authority fed his people a diet of such virulent anti-Semitism and denial of the Jewish connection with the land that no successor will even be in position to contemplate breaking Arafat's rejectionist precedent.
The whole article is very good. Check it out.

Rehnquist's Resignation Not a Good Thing!

Many uninformed pro-lifers are eagerly anticipating the departure of Chief Justice William Rehnquist from the Supreme Court. They believe that this might be golden opportunity for a justice to be appointed who will swing the high-court in favor of reversing Roe v. Wade.

Sorry, folks, not this time. We really don't want Rehnquist to step down. Rehnquist was appointed by conservative republican Richard Nixon in 1972 and is actually the author of the dissenting opinion on Roe v. Wade. Chief Justice Rehnquist is one of the court's most emphatic pro-lifers. If many in the senate get their way, his replacement will be far more moderate (read "pro-choice") than he is.

If he goes, we lose an ally.

(Many thanks to my Sweetie who pointed this out to me while we were washing dishes last night.)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Big Potholes in the Roadmap to Peace

Although George Bush and Tony Blair are moving full-speed ahead to push-start the peace process, I seriously doubt that things will go as easily as they hope. What follows is my opinion of how events will play out in Israel and the so-called "occupied territories".

The death of Arafat leaves a huge power vacuum in the Middle East. Arafat was a demagogue in a class all his own; no other leader has successfully captured either the heart or respect of the Arab people in the way that he did. Whoever is elected to replace him - either Abbas or someone else - will not have enough power to advance the cause of the Arab people in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

This vacuum will be quickly filled by extremist groups: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others whose idea of peace is "Evaporate the Jews; we will have peace only when they're all dead." These rival terrorist organizations will fight each other for prominence and in the process, the PLO and PA will disintegrate into various factions of its own. There will be a sharp spike in terrorist activity as Hamas, IJ and the rest seek to advance their agenda [of the destruction of Israel] without the restraint of Arafat and the PLO. These groups will also be joined by the more extreme elements of the PLO - those that Arafat was able to keep successfully under wraps.

As hell breaks loose in Israel and the territories, Israel will begin to crack down. It will seem as though the terrorist attacks are coming from every direction and so the Israeli military will retaliate in an almost panicked fashion claiming innumerable Arab civilian lives. This will of course infuriate the Arabs and the eye-for-eye justice system that has governed the Middle East for thousands of years will escalate the war to untold heights.

Naturally, America, the U.N., and the rest of the world will plead with Sharon to exercise restraint, but the pain in the hearts of Israelis after years of terror and fear will be too great. Israel will do what it feels it has to do, indifferent that its approval rating in the global arena has dropped to zero. Even the United States will turn its back on its ally of 57 years.

We in the west do not understand the hatred that most Middle Eastern Arabs feel for Jewish people and for the state of Israel. We also do not understand the fear and pain that years of terrorist attacks have inflicted on Israelis. These two ingredients are a bomb just waiting to explode. I am afraid that Arafat's death is the spark that will detonate that bomb.

God, I hope I'm wrong. Please let me be wrong.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

HaloScan is Here!

The bad news: all the old comments that people wrote are gone.
The good news: there was only one comment.
The better news: HaloScan is way cooler.

Prenatal Justice, Revisited

Yesterday, an anonymous commenter called me to task with how I stated my case on prenatal justice. Their point is well-taken and I would like to take the time to clarify my position.

In April of 2004, President Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. This bill essentially states that if a fetus is killed during any assault crime against a pregnant woman, the death of her unborn baby will be considered a separate offense. This law, also known as "Laci and Conner's Law" naturally drew heavy fire from pro-choice groups such as the ACLU, NOW, NARAL and Planned Parenthood. It is the first federal law to recognize the independent legal status of a fetus and was seen as an attempt by Republicans, yea the "religious right", to undermine Roe v. Wade.

Setting aside, for a moment, the scientific question of when life begins (at conception or points south), and the debate of personal vs. univeral ethics, (i.e. the push to overturn Roe v. Wade being an attempt by a minority of religious fanatics to impose their morals on the rest of America), consider the results of this poll by Fox News/Opinon Dynamics on April 22-23, 2003 (MOE +/-3%). In this poll, 900 registered voters were queried on the issues raised by what was then the Laci and Conner Bill. The results are staggering. A full 84% of respondents said that if Scott Peterson is found guilty of killing Laci, he should be charged with two counts of homocide. Only 7% said he should be charged with just one count!

In another poll by the same agency taken a few months later (N=900, MOE=3%), 79% said that if a violent physical attack on a pregnant woman leads to the death of her unborn child, prosecutors should be able to charge the attacker with murder for killing the fetus. (Sixty-nine percent of respondents who said "yes" also identified themselves as "pro-choice".)

Wow. Eighty percent of Americans believe that killing a fetus should be considered murder. No pro-life rhetoric here. This is simply the opinion of the citizens of our beloved democratic republic.

What angers me about this whole thing is the ridiculous double standard that exists in our nation. As Americans, we seem to agree that the death of Laci's unborn baby is a crime of its own accord. We believe that Connor was a genuine human being with his own legal rights. Yet, in this same nation, it would have been perfectly acceptible for Laci to walk into an abortion clinic and terminate her pregnancy. Nobody would raise an eyebrow.

Either the fetus is human or it isn't. If we as Americans believe Connor's death to be murder, then we also need to call 43 million abortions murder.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Prenatal Justice

Why is it that if Scott Peterson had forced Laci to get an abortion instead of killing her and her baby, the murder of his unborn son would have simply been called "choice"? Killers of unborn children have been convicted before, but I pray that this verdict is the shot heard round the world that begins the war for life and freedom to the future unborn of this nation. After forty-three million murders, enough is quite enough.

Pico de Gallo

I love the internet! You can find anything. Pico de Gallo anyone?
  • 6 medium Tomatoes diced
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro chopped
  • 2 to 4 Fresh serrano or jalapeƱo seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch oregano

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Israeli Leaders Comment about Arafat's Death

Benjamin Netanyahu:
"I believe that Arafat missed a historic opportunity and led our people to a terrible tragedy with thousands of deaths and orphans."
Ehud Barak:
"The worst of his sins was poisoning the souls of the young Palestinian leadership with hatred of Israel. Time after time over the years Arafat failed the test of leadership at moments of truth.
Labor Minister Ehud Olmert:
"The grief of the Palestinian people is not our grief. We can't mourn for someone who killed our people, murdered our people, spilled our blood. But on this day we respect the grief of our neighbors."
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, in a meeting with President Moshe Katsav, put Arafat in the same category of Jewish oppressors as Haman and Hitler.

(From The Jerusalem Post.)

Do the Palestinians really think there is a chance for a diplomatic agreement to bury Arafat on Jerusalem? No, way! Arafat should no more be buried in Jerusalem than Osama bin laden should be buried in Arlington National Cemetary.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The End of an Era

We can all stop holding our breath. Yasser Arafat is dead. Looks like he will be buried in Ramallah after a funeral in Cairo. The truly funny thing is that we still don't "officially" know the diagnosis that sent him to Paris in the first place!

Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid diplomatically offered this eulogy (as reported by Israel Radio): "I hated him for the death of Israelis..."

About the Blogosphere

Here's a great article about the Blogosphere by John Hiler.

Very educational for bloggers who want to move past "Here's what I did today" or worse, "I can't think of anything to write about so I'm just going to write crap". (There's a rant waiting to happen...)

We Need Stories

I watched a full hour of The West Wing tonight. Compared with the rest of America, this isn't much, but it's a lot for me. A whole hour of television! Yesterday, I would have moped about shamefully after berating myself harshly for such abject sloth, punishing myself for not doing something productive with that hour.

My response is different today. I still cannot bring myself to justify the voracious consumption of mental junk food via the TV set, but I think I understand why I spent that hour fascinated by the lives and events of people who do not exist. Television drama (along with movies and other forms of narrative entertainment) satisfies a deep visceral hunger inside of every human being. We need stories.

Why do all cultures have myths and legends about their heroes? Why do they tell these stories over and over again at public gatherings? Why are the storyteller, the bard, the actor, the filmmaker, the icons of their society? Why do children beg for their parents to read them books? Why does the average American spend two full months of every year watching television? The answer is simple. We need stories. We cannot survive without them.

Here's the punch-line: I believe that our hunger for stories was put there by our Creator as a mechanism to pull us toward Him. The running themes of all good stories - romance, adventure, conflict - whisper of the larger story in which we each play a significant role. We are loved like we could never imagine. Our Hero fought to the death against a dangerous enemy just so that He could be with us forever. The life that awaits us on both sides of the grave is a fraught with adventure and drama of the highest kind. His story is the water that keeps our hearts fresh and alive, madly devoted to our Beloved not out of duty, but out of joy and excitement.

My heart is thirsty. I need to hear His story again, and again.