Wednesday, August 31, 2005
When I was young we lived in Whitechapel. For my brother and me, there was no nonsense about us being "half English, half Irish" or, worse still, "British-Irish". We were British, and that was that. But others who lived in our corner of Whitechapel in the late 1970s and 1980s had a different idea of what immigration was about. The area was then, and is still, an insular and regressive Muslim ghetto, of the type that exists in towns and cities across Britain.
As part of the post-mortem into the July 7 bombings, everyone is asking how we can confront the threat of extremism among young Muslims. On the streets where I grew up, round the corner from the gigantic East London Mosque, imams are interviewed and young worshippers scrutinised for signs of extremism, while wide-eyed young children beam innocently and disarmingly at the cameras.
The answer, to me, is obvious: now we must really integrate. If we do not, then more areas will come to resemble my part of east London. In recent years gangs of unemployed, disaffected young Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, dressed in fake designer labels, with cropped hair and mobile phones, have been patrolling the streets. Walls display their gang names in graffiti - the Brick Lane Massive, Stepney Green Posse, the Shadwell Crew.
At the annual Brick Lane Festival, which is supposed to celebrate diversity, large groups of militant young Muslims dressed as Hamas supporters march down the street, proclaiming it as their own. It is a thoroughly depressing sight.
Infuriatingly for the tiny white minority watching, these immigrants' access to benefits, healthcare and education did not depend on their learning English, for translators were available on demand.
It is with these memories that I challenge Sir Iqbal Sacranie's insistence that Muslims are trying their hardest to integrate into British society, and that British people must work harder to welcome them.
In an article in this newspaper last December, in which he put his case for the creation of new laws banning the incitement of religious hatred, Sir Iqbal said: "Muslims in Britain do not seek to create an enclave or a parallel culture. They want to be respected as British."
As the child of an immigrant I know how integration works. The onus is on the immigrant, not the residents of the host country, to find work and find his own place. It is not for him to impose his own requirements on to the rest of the population. Hosts do not owe immigrants anything, apart from the acknowledgement of their right, if they have one, to live here. My father and his fellow Irish immigrants would never have dreamt of claiming benefits, speaking in Gaelic or complaining that they weren't being accepted.
Those who believe that racial and religious segregation can be ignored need to wake up. We should have listened to the headteachers who, since the 1970s, have been desperately struggling with the problem of how to educate children who cannot speak English.
More faith schools are manifestly not the answer. If we do not create a properly integrated society in which Muslim immigrants feel at home, at ease and at peace with their fellow Britons and their values, this country could become a breeding ground for far-Right political parties such as those in France, Holland, Austria and Italy. Even worse, if Britain's ghettos are not tackled, they will produce even greater numbers of alienated Muslims, compensating for their alienation in the most fundamental and uncompromising way of all.
Posted by miriam at 3:55 PM
Barbara Streisand--it's not her stupidity, it's her immense self-regard I don't like.
Nancy Grace--another word for ugly.
Greta van Sustern--she's one of the few people who didn't go far enough with the plastic surgery.
Martin Sheen and family. If they have cats and dogs, I'm sure they're annoying too. Well, maybe the parakeet is okay.
Robin Williams--no-one is funny all the time. His time is over.
Clint Eastwood--I'm sorry you're old, Clint, but it's time to stop playing dudes no 25-year-old hottie can resist.
Woody Allen--same as Clint. Plus--his last four films were lousy.
Joseph Wilson--liar, liar, pants on fire.
All the op-ed columnists who write for the New York Times. Special kudos for Krugman, but Maureen Dowd the kittenish gives him serious competition.
Geraldo Rivera, for obvious reasons.
Mick Jagger, another who seriously needs to get over himself.
Posted by miriam at 12:02 PM
The scale of the disaster in Mississippi and Louisiana is unimaginable here in the Midwest. It's not a very edifying response, I know, but I can't help being grateful for living in a part of the world where natural phenomena may be inconvenient, but are almost never deadly.
Sorry to bust your bubble, but a tornado struck Xenia, Ohio in 1974. My recollections are scanty, but I believe one town was hit so badly that only the golden arches of the local McDanalds remained standing.
No-one is immune to misfortune.
Posted by miriam at 11:43 AM
Monday, August 29, 2005
Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BAMC) the other day. This is where soldiers that have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the States, especially burn victims. They have buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a hotel wher e soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base but as you can imagine, they are almost completely filled most of the time.
While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.
And he's so damn good-looking! My hero!
Posted by miriam at 3:29 PM
Jewish power is behind the drive for racial mixing, open borders, raceless globalism, and international capitalism, just as it was behind racially-destructive international Communism. But what is really waking people up is the Jewish power behind the current war in the Middle East, and the outrageous hypocrisy of Israel as Jews maintain an aggressive racial state (armed to the teeth, by the way, with Weapons of Mass Destruction) while doing everything in their power to open the borders of and multiracialize and multiculturalize other peoples’ countries.
I’m sure that all of you are by now familiar with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey, her son who was killed in Iraq last year, and her vigil outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her story has moved the hearts of millions just as it has angered the neocon spinmeisters who pushed for this war. Though she has hesitated and backpedaled more than once, she has brought out into public view the one flaming truth that the Jewish-controlled left and Jewish-controlled right are desperate to conceal: that her son, and all the other Americans being brought back home in body bags, died for Israel, not America.
Via Richard Miller.
I'm Jewish, and I have to wonder: where was I when all this wealth was handed out to my people? Oh right, I stayed home from school that day! And I could not get my commie registration papers in on time, cause I had to take the cat to the vet. Missed the deadline. Darn!
Posted by miriam at 2:35 PM
Sunday, August 28, 2005
William Safire, claiming a higher authority, Sol Steinmetz, says these are the top ten Yiddish words in English:
According to Sol, a data-bank search shows klutz to be among the Top 10 Yiddishisms in English. The others: glitsch, kosher, bagel, maven, mensch, schlock, schmooze, tush and chutzpah.
I can't believe that! glitch doesn't seem like a Yiddish word to me, anyway. And I kind of dispute bagel--I think it's German. And maven and kosher, it can be argued, are Hebrew words. But my candidates for the most popular yiddishisms are: meshuggah, shlemiel, shlemozzle, dreck, schmatta, putz, balebusta, mensch, shlock and tush--in any order you like.
Posted by miriam at 9:53 PM
Like guilt. Up to 100 comments now, for an article first posted on August 2.
Update, August 31. 113 comments now. Commentors are now heaving brickbats at each other, at Beth Twitty, at the press, at society, at Aruba, and at male chauvinists and feminists. Wow!
Posted by miriam at 6:03 PM
Saturday, August 27, 2005
The truth is that there’s less racism in America than anywhere else on earth. Just from the little corner of Asia where I came from: the Vietnamese hate the Chinese, who can’t stand the Japanese, who despise the Koreans, who of course loath the Japanese, and you can complete the circle yourself. Even amongst Vietnamese, Southerners hate Northerners, and vice versa. Even in my tiny hometown of Da Nang, people from District One consider those in District Three (on the other side of the Han River) backward and stupid.
Am I making too broad a generalization here? Of course I am. And that’s the point. There’s prejudice everywhere you go. There are good people everywhere you go, too, and there are plenty of them in America. Just go to any American embassy abroad and look at the long lines of people waiting to apply for a Visa, and tell them that America is a racist country.
Posted by miriam at 9:53 PM
From their creepy rhetoric so far, Palestinian militias have proclaimed that Gaza is the first step toward the eventual destruction of Israel proper. But once again that only plays into Israel's complaint that withdrawal is seen by Palestinians as something to be manipulated rather than as an opportunity upon which to build a just society.
While there probably won't be a single Jew in the new Palestinian nation, there are more than 1 million Arabs inside Israel. Even more bizarrely, more than 100,000 illegal immigrants have left Arab lands to reside in the "Zionist entity." Politically correct Arabs will not even employ the word "Israel" in their lexicon, but tens of thousands of Arabs seem to want into it nonetheless.
Read the whole thing, which is brilliant.
Posted by miriam at 9:23 PM
I can sympathize with Akaky .
As ever, the Truth Laid Bear system has me a bit bamboozled. Only yesterday I was a flappy bird, happily ensconced between the 6,600's and the 6,900's, and content with my lot. Today I learn that I am a slithering reptile again, which I can live with if I have to, I suppose, but the Bear now says that I am now listed at 10,000 or so and the graph with my links has fallen faster than a drunk on a bobsled run. I concede that I may have fallen greatly in the estimation of my fellow bloggers....
I, too, was once a bird and am now a rodent again. My glory days were when I posted about blogging naked. This just goes to show how bloggers are alive to important issues. Like Natalee Holloway.
Posted by miriam at 8:53 PM
Friday, August 26, 2005
Apparently not satisfied with mere rumors of gayness, the The Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays announced their oppositionto Roberts' nomination on Thursday.
Judge Roberts history of plaid wearing, gourmet cooking, single living, children adopting, spotless housing and assisting his firm's gay right activities notwithstanding, these gay groups have shown they have no sense of humor.
They call themselves gay, but they make us very sad.
I did not make this website up.
Posted by miriam at 10:14 PM
Thursday, August 25, 2005
MSM Refuses to Take Genocide in Darfur Ad
Think Progress has the news that NBC, CBS, and ABC affiliates are refusing to run Be a Witness ads covering the genocide that is going on in Darfur. They haven't covered any of the news during the year except for token sound-bites because apparently Natalee Holloway takes precedence.
Turns out that for every 100,000 dead in Sudan, the issue gets 1 minute of press. To add insult to injury they won't let people even pay them to cover it.
Posted by miriam at 9:14 PM
FRANCE is facing an unprecedented new-generation exodus as many of its disillusioned younger people leave in search of a better life abroad.
French organisations offering help to those seeking to emigrate have reported an increase in requests for assistance from young people.
Fed up with a country they describe as rigid, racist and old-fashioned, French youngsters are opting for a new start in Britain, Canada, America or New Zealand where they can find housing and jobs more easily than in France.
Unemployment among the under-25s in France stands at 23.3 per cent, and 40 per cent of 18-30 year-olds describe their financial state as "difficult".
Many cite French employment practices as being at the root of the problem. (NSS) No, S, Sherlock)
Or would "quelle suprise" be more appropriate?
Posted by miriam at 8:50 PM
Another item on clerical dress for those of our readers (both of you) who find such information riveting, as I do, being a fan of P G Wodehouse and Anthony Trollope.
Actually, it's an amusing site. Anglicans can be funny, too.
Posted by miriam at 5:16 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
I posted a couple of mild criticisms of the press's obsession with Natalee on on the blogcritics*
site. Boy, oh boy, did I get comments. These can be classified into two groups: those who think anyone criticizing the press is being hateful about a young girl, and those who think the press is way out of line. Here's one of the latter:
Aruba, Summer 2005. A nation held hostage. By CNN and Fox.
I couldn’t find Natalee anywhere I looked. In fairness, I only looked in the bar, but she wasn’t there. She isn't at the pool, either. She is, however, on every American news channel the satellites could beam down to Earth. The stations trumpet every increase in reward money, as though terrorists are holding Natalee until the reward reaches just the right amount. (“When it gets to two million, Ahmed, sell!”)
You can't avoid talk about her, of course. It’s just that - it's only the Americans talking. The Arubans aren't avoiding the issue. I asked a few women working at the resort what they thought. Nearly all shook their heads as if to say “my three daughters are stuck in a Colombian whorehouse back home and I’m earning a dollar an hour to buy their freedom. You think I give a shit?”
The Arubans are sensitive to the story. They are sorry for the family. They are embarassed by the negative attention the Aruba police has been getting. And they can’t for the life of them understand why their island is being portrayed as if Dr. Moreau were in charge.
A FORWARD-THINKING BACKWARDS PAPER
There is a cute local newspaper in Aruba called “Aruba Today.”
“Aruba Today” ...[is] given out for free at the hotel - on the days it arrives, anyway. It is every inch a teeny tourist rag; it is full of articles like “Harry and Jessica Wed on Eagle Beach” and “Marriott introduces new sous chef.” You could publish a better-looking paper with a 1990-vintage Mac Classic and Aldus PageMaker. The newspaper is barely a newspaper.
One other thing that separates it from our media? “Aruba Today” is showing perspective and restraint on the Natalee Holloway story.
BLOWING A STORY INTO PROPORTION
My first reaction after reading a couple of days worth of Aruba news was that the island was trying to cover up the obviously important Natalee story. I mean - don’t they see the posters? Don’t they see the tons of American journalists outside the Aruban Parliament Building? (It’s next to the mall and the Renaissance Hotel with the roof pool and private island. No self-respecting journalist could possibly miss it.)
But no. This was more insidious. The Aruban journalists (and I am not sure if using the plural of that word is, in fact, accurate) are daring to cover the Natalee story exactly as it should be covered: a tragic but minor event in an otherwise remarkably safe, polite, affordable nation of happy people and Dutch cigarettes.
One day, “Aruba Today” dared to lead with the London bombings investigation over the Natalee story.
CUTE WHITE GIRLS: A SWEEPS DREAM STORY
God, Nancy Grace really can’t shut up about Natalee. Nancy Grace can’t shut up normally, but on this story she REALLY can’t shut up. She is the answer to the question “What does terminal verbal diarrhea sound like?” And of course, everyone’s favorite career Dad-In-Mourning, John Walsh, is trying to add something “new” to the two-month-and-holy-shit-they’re-still-counting days of coverage.
And we get lots of “new details” here. “CNN Larry King Live” just informed me that there are “still many more questions than answers.” One reporter told me she saw a helicopter go “up and down several times.” Really? A helicopter went up and down?
I was told the “massive search” of the island “goes on around the clock” with “helicopters lighting the way.” I’m glad they told me, too. I haven’t seen any of that. I did see a cop car, but it turned out to be the one behind me as I was making an illegal left while trying to hide my Balashi beer.
One night on the tube, Dr. Henry Lee, he of OJ trial fame, said “they are running out of leads.” I don’t know if he was talking about the investigation -- or the news.
I can’t blame the Holloway and Twitty families, some of whom remain here. If it were my daughter, I would turn the island upside down. .... I would scream and shout every night the television news people would train a camera on me. I would try to keep the story in the limelight as long as possible, if it meant an entire island’s police force would spend an extra minute looking for my kid. I would increase the reward by a hundred grand every day it would buy me another second of TV time. I would. I would. I would.
But if I were a news director, I wouldn’t listen.
If Natalee is dead it is a terrible loss for her family. Terrible. I can’t imagine life going on after the death of a child. But Natalee’s death is not a tragic loss for our country. It is not worth damaging the Aruban economy over. It is not worth some bumpkin Alabama politician’s grandstanding bullshit that everyone in his state should boycott Aruba until “they do something about Natalee.”
... Natalee is getting international - international! - coverage for one reason: she’s a Cute White Girl. American news loves a cute, virginal blonde in distress....
Nancy Kerrigan was a CWG who only had to be hit on the knee to merit round-the-clock coverage. Denise Brown Simpson? Well, a formerly cute WG, anyway. Take a twofer like Laci Peterson and you’ve got a jackpot; first she was a Missing CWG, then she was a Dead CWG. The tragedy of Missing-And-Presumed-Dead-Only-To-Be-Found-With-Religious-Wackos CWG Elizabeth Smart is that the hype of her disappearance and miraculous recovery is giving false hope to a lot of people.
CONTEXT? WHAT CONTEXT?
On November 1, 1994, I was at a crash scene in Cozumel, Mexico. A helicopter carrying American tourists from a nearby ruins site suddenly went into the drink. 12 people, all Americans, died. 
It wasn’t the only time a tourist chopper took a sudden dive. A few months later, ABC News ran a story on helicopter crashes in Hawaii, Mexico and other tourist locations. People were going on honeymoons and dying because of bad maintenance records, ill-trained pilots and dirty motor oil. And these trips were still being booked.
In Cozumel that day we had an actual tragedy, and it exposed an actual danger facing actual people. Helicopter crashes were killing Americans just out for a good view. This had to be told. CNN had the item on the news late that night. It was a copy story. The dead made a critical error: they weren’t six CWGs.
Journalists, good ones anyway, are supposed to do more than report facts. (And thank me for not putting “facts” in quotes. The Natalee story seems full of “facts.”) We are supposed to put stories into proper context. We are supposed to use stories of individuals to tell a larger tale. We are supposed to examine a story, hold a critical light to it, and see how much coverage it merits, if any at all.
So far, only “Aruba Today” seems to understand that.
by Steve Safran
*In case anyone is interested, I posted the first comment August 2--69 comments so far; the second got 42. Every day, more e-mail! It drew more comments than Diet Coke with Splenda!
Posted by miriam at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
P. G. Wodehouse somewhere mentions a Bishop who has too many orfreys on his chasuble. During the course of wasting my valuable time, I discovered a chasuble site. Wow!
Now what's an orfrey?
A band of elaborate embroidery decorating the front of certain ecclesiastical vestments. American Heritage Dictionary , also spelled orphrey.
Posted by miriam at 4:42 PM
Monday, August 22, 2005
A marine is surprised:
I guess someone wants me dead simply for having a different opinion. It was my belief that the left was supposed to be tolerant of all views.
Cindy Sheehan is obviously a good woman who is morning and you are obviously a brain washed redneck if you have the nerve to say that she takes away her sons honor. It's pieces of trash like you who fuck things up for good people and who put liars like George in office. You are worthless and I hope that you die while in Iraq since you feel so strongly.
WOW. Such hate and intolerance this person has. I actually feel sorry for him/her. In this persons world, feeling strongly is punishable by death.
Posted by miriam at 10:11 PM
Our move to Delaware is a cliffhanger. Maybe, maybe not.
This puts me into a rather odd position. People keep taking me to lunch, saying their last tearful goodbyes, only to encounter me in the Pathmark the next week. I sense they're getting irritated: "Stand not upon the order of your going, but leave at once!"
It sounds something like the person who is at death's door, but hasn't found the key yet. There he lies, quietly breathing, not saying much, while the would-be survivors wonder what to wear to the funeral (Will it be too hot for my dark suit?), whether he will be buried on the very day of the theater tickets, the big ball game, etc., when can I start dating again? etc. Touchy.
If I don't go, I have an awful number of lunches to return.
Posted by miriam at 11:39 AM
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
I was cleaning out some stuff left behind by previous inhabitants of this house and I discovered this letter:
Dear Aunt Mary:
I am at Camp Whitewasp. It is in the Poconos. I am haveing fun, I guess.
We went canoing and swimming.
The wether is lousy. The food is lousy. When my counseler asked me how the food was, I said it was lousy and there was not enough of it. He did not know it was a joke, Aunt Mary. When he grows up, he wants to be a US Senator.
Well, that's about it. How are you and Uncle George?
The envelope indicates it was sent by a certain Johnny Roberts in 1964. I am immediately turning it over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, to assist them in their deliberations.
Pretty sinister, eh?
Posted by miriam at 11:01 AM
Friday, August 19, 2005
I'm so impressed when bloggers post about What's on My Nightstand: a history of the Peleponnesian War; Sowell's latest; a technical book about nanotechnology, a little volume of verse in the original Macedonian.
My nightstand is so embarassed. If this house were shaken lightly by an earthquake, everything jolted loose would be on my nightstand--oh, wait, it already is.
My nightstand contains, and I'm not kidding, night cream, day cream, wrinkle cream, fade cream (lightens skin), sunless tanning cream (darkens skin); moisturizer that tightens skin, moisturizer than makes skin luminous. In the balm department, we have foot balm and lip balm.
Also, a pill bottle, a prescription that should be filled, the cable bill, and a letter from my Aunt Lil that I've been meaning to answer. A small French phrase book. (I'm not currently in France).
Oh, and a box of tissues. Dental floss, dental floss threaders, battery operated flosser (needs batteries, which I'll get to right after I answer that letter).
What, no books? And me an intellectual, an upholder of literature, a bearer of the torch of enlightenment!
There's no room for books. They are all over the floor.
Posted by miriam at 9:08 PM
Jailed Women's Rights Activist Needs Your Help
Dr. Roya Toloui, a champion of the rights of Iran's Kurdish minority and of women was detained from her home in Sanandaj on August 2. She is reported to be facing charges of "disturbing the peace" and "acting against national security." Human Rights First is calling for her immediate and unconditional release from detention.
Toloui's detention is consistent with a pattern of harassment and persecution that she and other human rights activists in Iran's Kurdish region have suffered in recent months in reprisal for their legitimate, peaceful activities in support of basic rights and freedoms.
There has been mounting unrest in Iran's Kurdish region since the presidential elections in late June, which saw the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a candidate closely identified with Iran's ruling clerical establishment. President Ahmadinejad is viewed as hostile to Kurdish aspirations for greater equality and respect for their distinct cultural and religious traditions. Roya Toloui is an outspoken critic of the policies of the Islamic Republic and its negative impact on the rights of women and religious and ethnic minorities. She and other human rights activists in Kordestan and West Azerbaijan provinces have been vocal in protesting a wave of repression unleashed on the region in recent weeks that has resulted in more than twenty deaths and hundreds of arrests of protesters. Regional magazines that reported on the unrest have been closed by the authorities, but information about continuing disturbances in the region continues to reach the outside world.
At this time of tension in Iran the role of independent human rights monitors is vital. Don't let the Iranian government commit human rights violations behind a cloak of secrecy. Please join Human Rights First in calling for the immediate release of Dr. Toloui and her colleagues.
Posted by miriam at 4:32 PM
Dayna Shields reports that the current oil crunch is due to our failure to check our oil levels:)
The problem is purely geographical. The oil is in Alaska, California and Texas, while our dipsticks are located in Washington.
(Found in The Oklahoma Observer, 10 August, which for some reason just got here today.
Posted by miriam at 3:51 PM
Nat Hentoff and Ray Bradbury discuss Cuba:
Meanwhile, Nebraska Gov. David Heineman conducted a trade mission to Havana in August that, as the Aug. 10 New York Sun reported, "is to negotiate the purchase of Nebraska-grown dry beans — one of the state's largest exports — by the Cuban government."
Republican members of Congress Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wrote Gov. Heineman, telling him his mission would be "sending the appalling signal that the cash of tyrants is more important than the lives of pro-democracy leaders." These members of Congress asked the governor to at least meet with leaders of the pro-democracy movement, as well as some of the political prisoners.
Heineman's spokesman Aaron Sanderford told Meghan Clyne of The New York Sun — one of the few American newspapers keeping tabs on the story of this heroic resistance to Castro — that the governor would not meet with any dissidents, and would "certainly not engage in the politics of the day."
Replied Lincoln Diaz-Balart: "It's like saying politics is not part of a trip to Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. It's not a question of politics — it's a question of elemental human decency."
Read the whole thing. HT to Tim Blair.
Posted by miriam at 9:35 AM
Want to know why no-one watches the network news? Lileks knows:
I heard today via HH that CBS is seeking to retool its evening news by going hard and fast up front, followed by a “60 Minutes” type piece, concluding with something funny. This is news? That’s been the standard format for as long as I can remember. “Our top story tonight: a nuclear bomb has gone off in Moscow. After a commercial break, domestic news: “Something looms or threatens in some city most of our CBS news staff has never visited, except for the intern, who grew up in its suburbs but was of little help. Here’s a report from our national correspondent, complete with tone-deaf references to local clichés.” At the end of the show, a reminder that they will continue to follow the nuclear devastation of Moscow tomorrow, and in conclusion, a heartwarming story about a little girl who brought her pony back to life by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation....
Posted by miriam at 9:18 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
There was some "management outing" today. Don't worry, it's not what it sounds like. Nobody was forced to admit their gayness in a closed board meeting or anything. It just happens to be what we call our "forced fun" activities.
Basically, it's when a bunch of managers and some of their chosen department members go "off-site" to someplace "fun" and blow off a little steam. Maybe they drink a little, maybe they gamble a little, and, if things work out the way they're supposed to, bond a little.
It's really just a chance for people who usually only talk on the phone to actually meet in person, and for upper management to hobknob a bit with the common folk.
All team-building, co-worker bonding aside, they usually suck, and I usually hate them. Let me tell you why.
Here's a little hypothetical brainteaser for you: You have ten people. 5 people are active and athletic, and 5 people are sedentary and overweight. Now -- try to think up something for this group to do that allows everyone to be happy....
Well, it turns out that one of the things that apparently appeals to a majority of people who aren't me is: "A Day at the Track."
Up in my neck of the woods, this means horses, jockeys and a big dirt oval. I live near Saratoga, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand the fascination with this whole process. Maybe you need to be a gambler to appreciate it. I am not.
I went on one of these trips last year. It was really the first time I had ever gone to a live thoroughbred race. I had no idea what to expect. I had flipped past horseracing on the television before, but never really stopped long enough to figure out what it was all about. So this was my first experience being at an honest to god Betting Establishment....
Needless to say, I learned a few thing my first time out. I will list them for your reading pleasure.
1. The horses only go around the track once.
Once. That's it.
Seriously, what the fuck? I was all primed for some Nascar-like action. I am not a big Nascar fan, but at least if there's an accident you might actually see something exciting. Once around the track? That's incredibly lame.
I wanted to see those big bastards run until there was only a single horse left standing. I wanted mid-air collisions! Excitement! Edge-of-my-seat suspense!...
Once around and back to the ticket window.
Goddammit, I'm glad there was beer.
2. You have to know what you are doing at the window, or people behind you will get pissed.
There is an entire list of codewords you have to know in order to just place a bet. There's crap I won't even get into here, but suffice to say that unless you want the bald fat guy with the cigar behind the ticket to (a) sigh, (b) mutter something that sounds a lot like "jesuschristonafuckingpopsiclestick" and then (c) wave you away with a motion that looks like he's fanning a fart, you had better find someone who knows what the fuck they are doing to prep you.
Better yet, just hand this same someone your money and say "bet this on the blue guy"* which is pretty much what I ended up doing until my money ran out.
3. Don't listen to the guy in your group who thinks you should bet all your money on something called a "long shot."
Do you know why? Because -- and remember this, it's important -- "long shot" is actually fancy horse language for "half-dead-loser-piece-of-shit-glue-factory-reject."
I bet on one of these "long-shot" horses, and he was so far behind the other horses that the camera on the jumbo screen couldn't even keep him in the frame. I'm serious.....
The "highlight" of our day was that we got to have our picture taken with the Jockey who won against the crippled-ass donkey I bet on.
4. Horses stink up close.
Not-so-coincidentally, they stink like horseshit.
5. Jockeys also stink up close.
The only difference here is that they smell like sweaty horseshit with aromatic undercurrents of Old Spice.
6. Invariably, there will be someone who is never you, who knows even less about horse racing than you do, who will win big on something with a name you never heard of.
There's something called a Trifecta, for instance. Just so you know, this is not a device that the landing parties on Star Trek use to scan for life signs on hostile planets.
No, the Trifecta is the name for the phenomenally impossible task of picking first place, second place and third place, in the exact order they come in. My odds of ever winning this are roughly the same as my odds of knowing how to actually bet on it.
That's all I have for you. I will however, leave you with one last piece of free advice:
If you ever get a hankering to host a "management outing" -- you might want to see if you can actually scare up a gay guy. It will probably be way more entertaining, it'll certainly cost you a whole helluva lot less, and you won't have to take a shower when you get home just to get the horse-stink off you.
Unless you're just doing it really, really wrong.
*Note: This is not an effective betting strategy.
Posted by miriam at 10:17 PM
I'm aware that this will be a difficult 6-7 months (I should return in March), for many of you. My suggestion, through experience, is for you not to believe everything you see on TV or read in the newspaper. Talking to my friends and fellow Marines over there right now tell me the same thing. Obviously, I will be gone during the holidays. This is bitter sweet because I would much rather deal with missing a few holidays than to have to deal with the extreme heat during Iraq's summer months. Dry heat or no dry heat, a 130 degrees is 130 degrees.
Being a Marine and serving in a war time Marine Corps is what I do, and I do it by choice. I am aware of the reality and dangers of my job. I volunteered to be a Marine and I volunteered to join a combat unit, as I knew they would be going back to Iraq. I realize that everyone has a difference of opinion, therefore I request that my name and/or my service not be used to speak out against this war. This is my choice and I know the risks I take. I support your right to say what you feel but please do not use my name, our relationship or my service to do so....
The next portion is from Warriorswife. I've replaced the names with our blog names but the majority of everything else is unchanged.
Hi All, hope you're doing well....
So, where do I start. Well , my motto is making a positve out of a negative, so here I go. This deployment to Iraq is going to be very different for Jason........and all of us.
Reason #1 - We'll all have pretty good (direct) contact with WarriorJason via email or telephone, rather than snail mail like the last time. And let's face it, although I know you all LOVE to hear from ME, hearing from WarriorJason himself is so much better :-).
Reason #2 - Jason was very well trained the first time he was in Iraq and now he is with a very good unit that is highly trained and very well skilled in the specific job that they do. Combine that with his prior experience and we've got one very well prepared and "in-tune" Marine, brother, son, uncle, friend and husband (& one day DAD....he he).
Reason #3 - (Though it's not as different as the first time)....He is in God's hands. Yes, I said God. I'm not a very religous person, but I do consider myself a pretty spiritual one. Just as God watched over WarriorJason the first time, I have no doubt He will keep him safe and well the second time. This gives me much comfort and I hope it does the same for you.
Please know that you can call me any time you like if you have any questions or just need to talk. Just keep in mind that I will return the favor and will be calling you as well!
Love you all,
This is a portion of what Warriorwife and I sent out.
Posted by miriam at 10:03 PM
Rachel gives her opinion of spammers:
Neo-neocon clicks on a spambot site and finds herself strangely moved by bloggers who are actually grateful said spambot visited their site..
I'm not. And I'm not interesting in online gambling, thank you very much. I'd just as soon flush my hard earned cash down the toilet. For whatever reason, I've been deluged by comment spam the past couple of days. This after a lull, following an invasion of trackback spammers. This after a lull, following an invasion of trackback spammers. For the record: I don't need any viagra either.
Posted by miriam at 9:50 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I've been reading lots of smears and putdowns about George W taking a five week vacation. This leads me to a stroll down Memory Lane, since I go back a ways. As I recall, there was sniping aplenty when Harry Truman went to Key West--especially when he wore a lurid Hawaian shirt. In case you don't remember, Truman was the official bumbling idiot then. The press didn't think much of him. Only the voters liked him.
I also remember a lot of criticism about Eisenhower--not only did he play golf, wasting time when he should have been working, but he couldn't frame a coherent sentence. He was the official dunce-in-office at the time. I remember thinking, how dumb can this guy be, if he won World War II? The voters continued to ignore Ike's stupidity and re-elected him.
Reagan, that dope, was always chopping wood while the world was going to hell. According to the pundits, chopping wood was about as much cerebral activity he was capable of. Re-elected! What dumb voters!
I'm sure George W Bush did not take the phone off the hook when he got to Texas. I'm sure he gets briefing papers and meets with varioous officials, including foreign dignitaries, all the time.
Posted at Blogger News Network.
Posted by miriam at 5:53 PM
Again--there aren't any.
Meanwhile I can report that Ms. Holloway has an outstandingly good-looking family, all of whom have been interviewed ad nauseum every night on tv. Fox is alive with her sisters, her cousins, and her aunts. O'Reilly, Hannity and Colmes and Greta van Sustern feature a Holloway relative almost every day.
They are all angry. And upset. They want to get to the bottom of this. They hope the FBI can help. They hope the Dutch government can help.
When they are not interviewing someone, speculation is rife on Fox, CNN, and the others. They interview forensic experts. They talk to policemen and prosecutors. They talk. And talk.
A suggestion to break the impasse? Why don't we take up a collection and send Cindy Sheehan down to camp outside the doorstep of the head honcho of Aruba? Yeah, that might work.
Posted by miriam at 5:11 PM
Monday, August 15, 2005
The people of Darfur, Sudan are waiting for the international community to listen. Are they being heard? While citizens of both the United States and abroad continue to rally and push for stronger action to stop the genocide in Darfur, effective international action remains to be taken.
Read the whole thing.
Posted by miriam at 9:31 PM
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Bookworm points out that something momentous happened on that date besides a sailor kissing a girl:
Do you think it was political correctness or sheer ignorance that led the AP to miss entirely that Sunday, August 14, 2005 is the 60th anniversity of V-J Day -- the day the most devastating war in modern history (in all history?) ended following the Japanese defeat? Considering the TLC this same journalistic institution lavished on the Hiroshoma bombing, I can't help but suspect that some squeamish headline writer just couldn't acknowledge that the pure joy animating this photo was because, after four bloody years, the war was over, and this sailor knew he wasn't going to die on the receiving end of a Japanese bullet.
Posted by miriam at 3:22 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
Our happy little burg is home to a number of homes for the reality challenged, many of whom use this egregious mold pit when they are not busy annoying the clerks down at the local Dunkin Donuts. You haven’t really lived until you’ve tried to figure out just what it is some of these people are asking for, assuming they know themselves. One Saturday I did get one who did know what he wanted; he wanted the postal clerk-carrier test book, which is a perennial favorite around here. As we went looking for on the shelves for the thing, he insisted, in a very loud voice, no less, on telling me that he also needed books about mature sexual relations because he had sex on the brain and he needed help because Jesus was coming in 25,000 years and there was no telling when he would get sex before then. After locating the book, I brought him and the book up to the front desk, where I hoped to finally ditch him and his inane driveling. Alas, it was not to be. The clerk and the page, both proud daughters of Puerto Rico, took one look at this guy and I could see the curtain fall. Both of them speak excellent English, but when Mr. Sex-on-Brains arrived their mouths opened and then closed, their faces reassembling themselves into the mien I still call the No Habla look; not only did they all of a sudden not speak English, no one they knew spoke it either. In fact, they had never heard English spoken in their entire lives and had no intention of learning at any time this particular dimwit was in the building. It is very disconcerting, to say the least, that your friends will not take a loony off your hands when you really need them to, but I’ll get even someday; I’m just not sure how.
In our library it was the patrons who pretended not to speak English. One particular group of Korean high school students lost their English-speaking ability whenever anyone asked them to pipe down. At other times, they spoke perfect valley girl.
This year I am missing the Summer reading brouhaha. Whew! When presented with the Summer Reading List, the students immediately looked for the shortest book on the list, which was always out. 1984, the Pearl, and the Old Man and the Sea were extremely popular with the scholastically challenged. Particularly on the day before Labor Day, when school was about to start.
Posted by miriam at 3:47 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I have to agree with Sarah. Sometimes even the thought of that healthy green stuff makes me want to puke.
I want to put out a preemptive apology to all of those people who know me and will have to be around me for the next few weeks. If I am in a bad mood, it is because I am on a diet. It is completely self-inflicted, and it won't be your fault, but there is a distinct possibility I will act like it is your fault.
Here is why I am most angry. I went to the grocery store tonight, and here is a list of some of the items that I bought:
fat free turkey
fat free chicken
absolutely no pop
oh and did I mention salad
Now here are my general feelings on every single thing on this list:
I would rather chew on tin foil.
Seriously look at that list. Stupid effing pointless horrible salad. Why don't I just eat a box of Kleenex since it tastes just as good and is just as satisfying. Plus I am only drinking water which definitely does not have cola in it nor does it fizz and kind of make your nose burn when you drink it too fast. What is fun about that. And don't get me started on yogurt. I don't like it. I don't understand it. I want it to go away...forever.
Why am I doing this if I hate it so much?
1. My doctor is like, "You're fat."
2. I was kind of half-assing it the past few weeks, but then I saw pictures of me from Put In Bay. I quickly created a noose out of some spare birthday ribbon I had, but the damn thing didn't hold so I decided to go this route.
I also notice that being on a diet makes me intensely, excruciatingly hungry.
I had a salad today at the diner which was really, really good. It had spinach, apples, nuts, bacon, and blue cheese. I ate it all, except the spinach.
Posted by miriam at 9:35 PM
James Lileks discovers nature red in tooth and claw, as well as stingers.
OUCH: there’s something jabbing the back of my leg. I brush off an insect, make it a few more steps before the enormity of the pain becomes apparent. There’s nothing quite like a bee sting – the injection that keeps on giving. Am I allergic? Do I swell up and die, perhaps exploding at the end in a shower of hot angry meat? We’ll find out! Stay tuned! I hobble to the door,,, and examine the latest insult from Our Enemy, Nature. Nothing bad. But it stings. Duh: it’s a beesting. Hence the name. At least I know the bastard died in the process. Then again, he was successful in his mission, which I suppose means we are losing the war against bees.
I've heard so much maudlin piety about the environment that I'm getting quite hostile to nature. Let the natural world take care of itself, I say. It has been managing quite well for eons.
Posted by miriam at 10:13 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Obviously she is giving this a lot of thought:
I would also have to admit that after considering a wet suit draped with seaweed (T. Kennedy) for my son's Halloween costume, we then considered naked with a thong on his head (too cold), and then the black ragged dress and hood (figured no one would get it).
We're still trying for the perfect idea, but we're leaning toward an Azkaban prisoner.
What a good mom! I admit that I shuddered as Halloween approached. I tried to avoid thinking about it until the very last minute. Then I would go out and buy one of those cheap costumes sold at Woolworth's (remember them?) My creative ideas began and ended with a sheet with two holes in it for eyes, and that was a stretch.
But AFW has a real problem here, and it's up to the blogosphere to come to her aid, being as she's such a good mom--and reads my blog. I will strike only people who link to me--or at least comment--now isn't that an incentive?, such as akaky,basil; mean old meany,and Matt, who likes this sort of thing. I'm only meme-ing guys, we women have been doing this for years.
Here's my idea, which I stole. Make a hole in a round piece of cardboard. Paste a paper tablecloth, plates and napkins on it, plus a cake and candles, and have him go as a birthday party. The child fits inside the hole. Maybe with straps over his shoulders to keep his costume in place.
Now the rest of you, everyone: come up with one fiendishly good idea for a Halloween costume so AFW can have a variety to choose from. We only live to help each other, right?
Posted by miriam at 8:58 PM
Be the Boy honors a family superstition:
Generally I'm not one for superstitions until someone puts a pair of shoes on the table.... On my father's side of my family shoes on a table are like comets to the ancient Romans, a sign of certain doom to come. This was instilled in me as a child when the mere contact of a shoe with the tablecloth was enough to make my great grandmother start praying in Italian and wake Uncle Tony from his nap. It seems odd that shoes would come anywhere near a tabletop but surprisingly it happened at least a few times a year. No one ever explained why this was bad luck, it just was understood that it was very bad.
This past Saturday Nora ... bought shoes and wanted to try them on again and ask what I thought. I told her they looked great and went back to watching TV when I see that she has left the shoes on the table. In my head I see my late great grandmother praying, my aunts gasping in horror and my father drinking a beer (this last one has no bearing on the shoes, just how I see him).
My grandmother had many superstitions, some of which I never knew about, so I am sure I am breaking them every day. Here are some I remember: Don't put a hat on the bed; if you sew something on a live person, said person must have a piece of thread between their teeth; don't open an umbrella in the house; don't walk under a ladder.
My cousin recently informed me that our grandma had one iron-clad superstition which she never shared with me: your slippers must be pointed out from the bed, not toward the bed. I know I'm crazy, but now I follow this religiously.
Posted by miriam at 10:51 AM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I'm preparing to move (the triumph of hope over experience) and trying to get rid of things. But I didn't realize I had so many duplicates.
Whenever I couldn't find something around the house, I ran out and bought another of whatever it was. Consequently I now have three hammers, a scissors in every room, three bottles of Elmer's Glue, and a pair of reading glasses in every room, plus one in my purse in case I forget to take them with me.
Only two staplers, but four toilet brushes. Also, two copies of Wuthering Heights, two copies of Pride and Prejudice, two Old Goriots, and three copies of Excellent Women by Barbara Pym. What's up with that? Well, I was never sure which books I actually owned and which belonged to the library. So I brought books home, figuring you never know when you'll need an extra copy of Excellent Women.
Also three copies of my own book, Distinguished African-American Aviators and Astronauts. Remember when that one topped the charts? The publisher actually gave me six. I gave three away to relatives who promised to read it, and got pissed off with other relatives who looked like they didn't really want to read it. I felt they weren't worthy.
Posted by miriam at 8:59 PM
Christopher Hitchins poses a question:
How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East? Is Abu Ghraib really the only subject that interests our humanitarians?
I would have to say the answer is yes.
Posted by miriam at 8:25 PM
Monday, August 08, 2005
Read this blog and then go rent yourself a nice apartment.
And particularly don't buy a house in another state.
And don't put your house up for sale. I guarantee tht if you are putting a house up for sale, a nice house, a house with nothing wrong with it, it will immediately (when the deal is signed) start losing hubcaps, the fenders will fall off, and the motor will start making a really funny noise.
No wonder our ancestors lived in caves.
Posted by miriam at 9:47 AM
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I am always trolling for sites of librarians, past and present. Here are a few: Rachel, in Maryland; heretican librarian; Passing Parade, who is in upstate New York; and libraries for dummies.
Are there others out there? Maybe we could have a carnival of bitching librarians? Let me know.
Posted by miriam at 3:20 PM
Saturday, August 06, 2005
I love to link to other librarians, especially when they reveal the kind of patrons we have to put up with:
Being a librarian, I'm having all new experiences with teachers that make me worry about the future of mankind.
By and large, the worst offenders with overdue materials are teachers. And how do we know they're teachers? Because they announce their profession like it entitles them to certain privileges and exemptions from everyday life. They will walk in the library and demand service, waving in my face a badge they wear around their neck which identifies them as employees of a local school.
Obnoxious Patron: Hello, I need all the books you have on every state in the U.S.
Me: Ma'am, I'm sorry, I'm helping this patron right here. I'll be with you shortly.
Obnoxious Patron: Hmmpf! [She shifts her weight from leg to leg, rolling her eyes as I explain the Dewey location of an item the patron I've been helping is after.]
Me: Okay, thanks for waiting. You said something about needing books on states?
Obnoxious Patron: Yes! Every state. Every book you have on them all.
When I worked in the Children's Department, I dreaded teachers worst of all. They never return their books, for one thing. They give ridiculous assignments, for another.
One teacher gave each of his students the name of a person to look up at the library. Some were easy. Others we could not find, with our best effort. It turns out some of the names were fictitious. The teacher made them up!
Posted by miriam at 10:14 PM
I'm always putting down New Jersey, so I have to say something nice about it sometimes, or people will ask, Why do you live there?
The Newark Museum is a gem. Go to their website (which is hideous) to see the wonders contained therein. It is the first place I take visiting out-of-towners, and they always enjoy it. Two really fine things: the Ballantine House, a real Victorian house attached to the Museum, which was owned by a rich brewer in Newark's glory days; and a Tibetan exhibit which will knock your eyes out, complete with an altar built to Tibetan specs and blessed by the Dalai Lama.
What brought that up, you ask? Well, I was reading the New York Times Arts Section about a new museum being planned by the Dia Foundation. This caught my eye:
After all, Dia has pulled off more improbable feats. Two years ago, when it opened a 31-acre outpost along the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y., many in the museum world doubted that it would draw much of an audience. Today, that giant, sky-lighted museum, with 250,000 square feet of gallery space devoted to installations of works by artists who emerged in the 1960's and 70's, attracts almost 100,000 visitors a year, more than twice the number Dia ever drew in Chelsea.
I started to wonder: is 100,000 visitors a year good? How many visitors does the Newark Museum have? I know many people who made the trek to Beacon Dia, just to see the new building, and say they will never go there again.
Then there is MassMOCA, in North Adams, MA.* I went there once, and can only say, "Once a philosopher, twice a pervert."**
The Newark Museum is a wonderful museum. Can it help it that it's in Newark, New Jersey?
*Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art; I forget what the acronym stands for.
**Attributed to Voltaire. I think.
Posted by miriam at 9:08 PM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Is it ever good manners to have a heated argument with a significant other on your cell phone while standing in a long line at the Korean fruit, vegetable and sushi store? Possibly breaking up, or at least making dire threats to do so?
Hopeless in New Jersey
Did you notice that lady with the full basket standing right behind you while you shared your innermost thoughts and feelings? That was me.
My advice is, have passionate discussions in the privacy of your home or car, or at least on a private patch of sidewalk. People have enough misery in their lives without having to share yours. The fruit and vegetable store is for fruit and vegetables (oh, yes, I forgot sushi).
Posted by miriam at 9:22 PM
hedgehog has a lengthy post, with lots of links, about the Scouts and their jamboree, where President Bush is now appearing. It is well worth reading.
When I was writing about black astronauts and aviators, most of them had several things in common: one of those was membership in the Boy Scouts. It was an activity an African American boy could participate in, even as other activities were closed to them--for instance, public libraries, municipal swimming pools.
Not every African American boy went on to be an astronaut or aviator. But at least they had opportunities to be in a wholesome environment, learn to appreciate outdoor activities, and have good (in most cases) mentors.
Posted by miriam at 10:37 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
All over the world, people must be baffled by the obsession of British politicians - government and opposition alike - with the question of whether or not the police should be concentrating their searches on members of ethnic minorities....
Everybody with an ounce of common sense must see that the police are duty-bound to focus in particular on those who look most likely to be carrying bombs.... that inevitably means stopping and searching a disproportionate number of men and women of Asian or African appearance who are carrying packages or wearing suspiciously bulky clothing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, of course, the person stopped and searched will turn out to be entirely innocent.
But no sensible commuter, of Asian or African extraction, could possibly feel insulted by being singled out in this way. On the contrary, he should feel comforted by the thought that the police are not wasting their time on searching white grandmothers.... An innocent young Asian carrying a rucksack is quite as much at risk from the fanatics as everybody else, after all.
Yet Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister in charge of anti-terrorism measures, tied herself up in politically correct knots yesterday, as she tried to pretend that elderly whites were just as likely as young Asians or Somalis to be al-Qa'eda terrorists. Asked on the BBC's Today programme if she accepted "racial profiling" by the police, she recoiled from the idea as if ordinary common sense were a thought-crime.
People all over the US, meanwhile, are wondering why Mayor Bloomburg has ordered the police not to racially profile commuters on the New York city subways. No doubt the friends and relations of those killed in the next attack will be comforted that their governing bodies did not stoop to racism, the ultimate unforgivable sin, in an effort to protect their loved ones.
Posted by miriam at 8:03 PM
Monday, August 01, 2005
How does he find the time? Well, he doesn't have to shine his shoes, drop off his clothes at the cleaners, wash the car, look for a parking spot, wait for a plane, listen to voice mail or canned music on the phone, or commute a long distance to work.
All he has to do is run the free world, conduct a war, and fight off the Democrats. He can plan how he will do these things while he rides his bike.
Posted by miriam at 10:33 PM
I find the actions of your Lieutenant Governor [of Pennsylvania], uninvited but attending the funerals of deceased U.S. Marines, insensitive and naïve.
She has reached the epitome of insensitivity with her reported remarks, "Your government is opposed to this war" to grieving graveside relatives.
Posted by miriam at 12:32 PM
This is a long post, with lots of links and comments. My title line is linked to it.Read the whole thing, if you have all day. In brief, it suggests that Jimmy Carter is within his rights to criticize Iraq, Gitmo, Laura Bush's hairstyle, or whatever. I don't dispute this.
But if he were a man of honor, he would keep his mouth shut and behave with dignity.
HT to Instapundit.
Posted by miriam at 10:55 AM
Tim Russo appears to believe it.
If they are good guys compared to the jihadists, Stalin was a good guy in comparison to Hitler. The IRA has made many, many promises, al of which they have broken when it suited them. They have been involved in the drug trade, bank robbery, assassination, and the murder of the innocent. They also helped train Al Queda (I'm not sure how you spell it, nor do I give a damn).
So they don't blow themselves up? Whoopee! They blow other people up.
You can't trust people who can't be trusted.
Posted by miriam at 10:34 AM