Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Crab Blogging

This one reminds me of M&M's.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gaza Day 30

One of the commentors on Gaza Day 24 had this to say:
And don't forget, Hamas counts in it's rank of warriors, small/young children and women. It is entirely possible that one or more of the cute faces you depict as "victims" is actually a Hamas suicide bomber.(emphasis added)
To that sentiment I only have this to reply:

Of Bats and Angels

I was struck this AM by this note on the recent plane crash in the Hudson river. As you will recall, the airliner (is this archaic?) took off from LaGuardia airport and ran into a flock of birds (migrating geese, I had assumed). After a spectacular landing in the river and rescue of all aboard, the NTSB (National Transportation and Safty Board) proceeded to spend large amounts of money recovering the engines from the bottom of the river.

Now they say:
"....they visually examined the left engine after it was finally pulled 65 feet from the river bottom but saw no evidence of organic material.

The safety board also said the left engine, which was recovered on Friday, had dents on its inlet lip and broken and missing guide vanes.

Earlier this week, the safety board said the right engine also revealed evidence of "soft body damage" and that "organic material" was found in that engine and on the wings and fuselage. A single feather also was found.

The board sent samples of the organic material to the Agriculture Department for a DNA analysis. (emphasis added)"
For crying out loud, do we need to spend taxpayers money on DNA analysis of dead birds? After all, they found a feather in the engine. Where is Sherlock Holmes when we need him.

What other "soft body" could have impacted the engines? Maybe a softball got loose from a presidential press conference. Scratching my brain I could only come up with one other alternative, an angel.

One has to be impressed with the extent of these wings. As many have commented, it takes one set of pecs to move them. On the other hand, given the current cosmology, I guess it could have been a devil.

Now I think we have Milton to thank for all of this angel and devil stuff. At least this example of the devil has a decent set of flappers. Not to be compared to the weenie ones seen on a more typical "devil."

I suspect that angels evolved from something like eagles and devils, of course, from bats. This is of course a corollary of a 6,000 year old creation since the fossil records say bats came along about 50 million years ago. Ergo, they predated angels and devils. Now this is unfair to bats who comprise 1/5 of the worlds vertebrate species (and someday we should talk about my favorite, the vampire bat). But bats are off the hook in taking down a jet engine; they don't have feathers.

To be continued.......

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gaza Day 27

It is not at all clear that at least part of the reason Israel invaded Gaza wasn't to recover a single prisoner. Please recall that Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006, (causing multiple civilian causalities and destroying a large amount of its infrastructure) because of the attack on its border soldiers.
The war began on 12 July, when Israel launched waves of air strikes on Lebanon after Hezbollah killed three soldiers and captured two more on the northern border.
Fast forward to 2009:
Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who takes part in security deliberations, told Army Radio on Thursday that Israel wouldn't let border crossings with Gaza reopen without a deal to free Schalit (an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, captured by Hamas in 2006. ed).
In line with the vast discrepancy of injuries and deaths in the current Gaza crisis (well over 1,000 Palestinian deaths, many of them children, vs the Israeli death toll at about 12, at least three from "friendly fire") we have Israel obsessing over a single soldier. In the meantime:
Many Palestinian families have relatives in Israeli prisons and prisoner releases are of supreme importance in Palestinian society. Israel holds some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in all. (emphasis added)
Doesn't this bring to mind a prior conflict?
The War of Jenkins' Ear was a conflict between Great Britain and Spain that lasted from 1739 to 1742. Its unusual name relates to Robert Jenkins, captain of a British merchant ship, who exhibited his severed ear in Parliament following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in November 1739. This affair and a number of similar incidents sparked a war against the Spanish Empire, ostensibly to encourage the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract (permission to sell slaves in Spanish America).
We have not come very far, if at all, since 1739.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Perception of Reality

Multiple posts on the Growlery, Unreal Nature and JSBlog refer to pictorial and photographic framing, and the perception of reality. This is interesting because one reports what one perceives about perception.

One post referred me to the work of artist Carl Laubin. Please follow the link to his Home Page. Once there, click on the Gallery link and you will see:

If you click on the icon that the arrow is pointing to, it will open up to a fascinating interior architectual landscape. (I did not show the picture here to avoid copyright infringement.) There are multiple classical buildings in the nave of a much larger building. Whether the buildings are themselves the size you would expect, or merely models, is a matter of perception.

However, when I first saw this picture I was immediately reminded of the ruins at the head of the Keet Seel trail: Other Anasazi ruins:

Or Mesa Verde:

What fascinated me about these pictures is the concept of a shelter within shelter. It is also interesting to speculate on the Freudian postulate that whatever comes into your mind when a subject is presented (visually or aurally or, I suppose, in print) is usually the true association in your mind. This pertains more to the emotional/sexual, of course, but I think it may still be valid for the everyday.

At one point, many, many years ago I remember an exhibit at a museum in New York. Scattered about the museum, in corners and on shelves were tiny models of adobe dwellings. It was very striking.

Maybe I am insecure because I desire shelter x 2!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gaza Day 25

I have no photos of injured children today. I simply note that Gaza has all but disappeared from the headlines. The people of Gaza bury their dead and survey the wreckage. The people of Israel celebrate a victory.

The problem, of course, for the World, is that Israel has atomic weapons. The behavior of its Army in Gaza indicates far better than any proclamation by its government their willingness to use overwhelming force against a literally defenseless enemy.

The time when this becomes an issue is fast approaching. Israel will confront Iran. Iran is not Hamas. Will Israel use nuclear weapons against Iran? There is an increasing likelihood that they will.

Our new president, Barack Obama, will have many problems in the near future. I wish him the courage to do what is right for children.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gaza Day 24

What can one say?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gaza Day 23

There is a cease fire in Gaza. Inevitably, the World's attention will be focused elsewhere. How are the children of Gaza now to survive? There is little water or food. Shelter, as can be seen in the picture here of a destroyed home, is in ruins.

At least the fighting has stopped.

Please consider reading several other blog entries on the tragedy in Gaza:
From the Growlery: here, here, and especially here.
From Unreal Nature: here
And from Thinking Through My Fingers: here

The fallout from the last three weeks has not even begun. How Barack Obama confronts this issue will be decisive for how he will begin his four years as President. His and Hillary Clinton's unwavering support of Israel makes one very afraid.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gaza Day 22

A Palestinian girl, who according to local medics was wounded during Israel's offensive, is carried in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip January 13, 2009 (emphasis added)
The insidious bias of the Western Press. One is left in doubt as to how the child was injured since it is the local medics who are doing the reporting and everyone knows that the Palestinians are capable of any kind of deceit, even to harming their own children for propaganda purposes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gaza Day 21

In 416 B.C.E., Athens was one of the strongest city-states in Greece. They frequently sought to usurp other small, independent city-states. One of these that caught their eye was the island of Melos which had, at one time, been a colony of Sparta, traditional enemies of the Athenians. However, at this time, Melos considered itself a neutral and did not lend aid to any other military power. This did not stop the Athenians from sending a convoy to the island to demand its surrender.

The Melians, on the other hand, were not amenable to this course of action as will be seen. When the Athenians arrived, the Melians requested and were granted a conference with them. The dialog of that conference is from Thucydides. (emphasis added)

First, the Athenians take the Melians to task for having a conference and not having the Athenians speak to all the people:
"Since we are not allowed to speak to the people, lest, forsooth, they should be deceived by seductive and unanswerable arguments which they would hear set forth in a single uninterrupted oration (for we are perfectly aware that this is what you mean in bringing us before a select few)....."
The Melians then observe: :
"The quiet interchange of explanations is a reasonable thing, and we do not object to that. But your warlike movements, which are present not only to our fears but to our eyes, seem to belie your words. We see that, although you may reason with us, you mean to be our judges; and that at the end of the discussion, if the Justice of our cause prevail and we therefore refuse to yield, we may expect war; if we are convinced by you, slavery."
Thus the Melians are confronted with either a war against overwhelming force, or slavery. The Athenians go on to make their argument:
"Well, then, we Athenians will use no flue words; we will not go out of our way to prove at length that we have a right to rule, because we overthrew the Persians; or that we attack you now because we are suffering any injury at your hands. We should not convince you if we did; nor must you expect to convince us by arguing that, although a colony of the Lacedaemonians (Sparta, ed), you have taken no part in their expeditions, or that you have never done us any wrong. But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where the pressure of necessity is equal, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must."
This is one of Thucydides most famous quotes, and it is important to see it in context. The Melians go on to say:
"But must we be your enemies? Will you not receive us as friends if we are neutral and remain at peace with you?"
The Athenians make another devastating point:
"...but they think that states like yours are left free because they are able to defend themselves, and that we do not attack them because we dare not. So that your subjection will give us an increase of security, as well as an extension of empire. For we are masters of the sea and you who are islanders, and insignificant islanders too, must not be allowed to escape us."
After much back and forth, the Melians state:
"But we know that the fortune of war is sometimes impartial, and not always on the side of numbers, If we yield now, all is over; but if we fight, there is yet a hope that we may stand upright."
There is much more with respect to the gods, the fates and hope. The Athenians wind up with this toothy observation:
As for the gods, we expect to have quite as much of their favour as you: for we are not doing or claiming anything which goes beyond common opinion about divine or men's desires about human things. Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a law of their nature wherever they can rule they will, This law was not made by us, and we are not the first who have acted upon it; we did but inherit it, and shall bequeath it to all time, and we know that you and all mankind, if you were as strong as we are, would do as we do.
The Melians then told the Athenians to eff off and that, although they recognized the Athenians strength, they would fight. The Athenians built a wall about the town and essentially laid siege to it. The Melians did break out once to obtain supplies but then:
...the Melians took another part of the Athenian wall; for the fortifications were insufficiently guarded. Whereupon the Athenians sent fresh troops, under the command of Philocrates the son of Demeas. The place was now closely invested, and there was treachery among the citizens themselves. So the Melians were induced to surrender at discretion. The Athenians thereupon put to death all who were of military age, and made slaves of the women and children. They then colonised the island, sending thither 500 settlers of their own.
I, of course, do not mean to draw an exact analogy between Melos and Gaza. But it striking that almost 2500 years ago the same sort of human issues are in play. At least the Athenians recognize that they are operating out of raw power and that Justice really doesn't have anything to do with it.

There can be no justification for the slaughter of innocents in Gaza. None. The attempts by prominent pro Israel pundits (as documented by Glen Greenwald) to justify the Israeli Army are specious to be sure.
An Israeli riot police officer grabs a Palestinian man as he tries to stand up after he was knocked down during a demonstration against Israel's military operation in Gaza,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza Day 20

This is a baby in an isolette;

This is a baby in an isolette, too.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gaza Day 19

While in Tel Aviv

It just does not seem right.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gaza Day 18

There does not seem to be a foreseeable end to the carnage. The question becomes, what will happen the the people of Gaza after Israel has destroyed so much?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gaza Day 17

In this second picture, the boy has been blinded by an explosion, yet still waves.

I had thought my country had turned the corner. I had naively thought that we could change. You can't change a culture that is addicted to violence. You can't change a culture that looks at these pictures and says "its their fault."

Things have irrevocably changed and I am frightened about what the future holds in store for us.

The fact that Obama and Congress do not see what is going on, the fact that they do not realize that this could torpedo any hope for peace in the Middle East, and that we will be blamed (rightly) is even sadder.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gaza Day 16

Collective punishment. Supported by my tax dollars.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaza Day 15

Israel Tells Gazans: Prepare For Escalation Of Military Offensive

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas predicted a "waterfall of blood"

Defying the international calls for a cease-fire, Israel threatened to launch a "new phase" in its offensive.

In the day's bloodiest incident, an Israeli tank shell killed nine people in a garden outside a home in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya, said Adham el-Hakim, administrator of Kamal Adwan hospital.

Palestinian paramedics said the nine people killed in the garden were from the same clan and included two children and two women.

Bush call halted US voting for ceasefire
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, was forced to step back from voting in favour of the Gaza ceasefire resolution at the UN Security Council after orders from Washington, diplomatic sources said yesterday.
With only 10 days to go George W. Bush can still cause incalculable evil.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Gaza Day 14

Red Cross Reports Grisly Find in Gaza
Israel Accused of Blocking Aid to Wounded

JERUSALEM, Jan. 8 -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday that it had found at least 15 bodies and several children -- emaciated but alive -- in a row of shattered houses in the Gaza Strip and accused the Israeli military of preventing ambulances from reaching the site for four days.


UN rights chief wants investigation of Gaza abuses

GENEVA – The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called Friday for an independent war crimes investigation in Gaza after reports that Israeli forces shelled a house full of Palestinian civilians, killing 30 people.
Pillay told the Geneva-based rights council that all parties to the conflict had a duty to care for the wounded and avoid targeting health workers, hospitals and ambulances.

Violations of international humanitarian law may amount to war crimes for which individuals should be held accountable, she said.

The 47-member council, which is dominated by Arab and African countries, is debating a resolution condemning Israel for its actions in Gaza. The motion could be delayed until Monday.(emphasis added)
So this invalidates the resolution, of course. Those pesky sand (and jungle) niggers.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gaza Day 12

Israeli strikes in response to continued Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel have killed at least 688 Palestinians since Dec. 27, including around 350 civilians, among them 130 children, according to Palestinian officials.

Surgical strikes indeed.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gaza Day 11

LONDON - Newborn babies in Gaza are at risk of hypothermia because of freezing temperatures and a cut in the power supply, the British aid charity Save the Children warned on Monday.
Israel hits UN-run Gaza schools
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Maxwell Gaylard, said Israel had the GPS coordinates of all UN buildings in Gaza -- including its schools.

"Neither homes nor UN shelters are safe" for civilians, he said in a statement which reaffirmed UN ceasefire calls.

"These tragic incidents need to be investigated, and if international humanitarian law has been contravened, those responsible must be held accountable." (emphasis added)
And just who will hold them accountable?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Gaza Day 10

If these children had been injured (killed?) in Boston, or Poughkeepsie, or Yellow Springs, the media of America would be ablaze for days. Instead, there is almost sheer silence except for some bloviators once more justifying the slaughter.

Just another ho-hum day on the Res.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Gaza Day 9

Israel has now invaded Gaza. An almost invincible military power has invaded an almost defenseless city. The only worry on Israel's side is that its soldiers will be harmed. Certainly there will be more retaliation if that happens. (Against civilians, including children, of course.) The United States has blocked the Security Council at the UN from issuing a call for a cease fire.

Glenn Greenwald says it all this AM. It is tribalism at its worst. According to Jered Diamond, in Guns, Germs and Steel, the World has supposedly moved beyond tribalism, in most societies. Sorry, Mr. Diamond, you read the cards wrong on this one.

As sad as it is for children, the instability that this will introduce into the MidEast and, ultimately, the World is incalcuable. Bush's desire for a peace treaty by the end of his presidency has been entirely shattered.

The irony, of course, is that Israel has been planning this for months and has used bombs and money from the United States to carry out the attack knowing that it would destroy any chance for peace. Did Rice and Bush know? If not, why not? Will Clinton know? She is so deep in the pocket of the pro Israel lobby in the U.S. that the next four years look grim.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Gaza Day 8

One missile killed three Palestinian children aged between eight and 12 as they played on a street near the town of Khan Yunis. One was decapitated.

Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor at Gaza's Shifa hospital who could not save a boy who had both feet blown off said: "This is a murder. This is a child."

Bush: Hamas attacks on Israel an `act of terror'

Friday, January 02, 2009

Gaza Day 7

To remain quiet is to be complicit.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day, 2009

To all the children of the World, particularly in Gaza, Iraq and Israel, may you have a year of Peace.