Alarming News

August 31, 2009

View from Israel

Before I show a montage of photos, I just want to say this: It would probably surprise many so-called anti-Zionists to learn that Israelis desperately want peace with the Palestinians. When you talk to a mainstream Israeli, you’re talking to a person who has served in the Israeli army, whose children will serve or have served in the Israeli army. The fight with the Palestinians isn’t an abstraction for them, it’s a reality. Nobody wants a war that will last forever. I don’t believe the same can be said of the Palestinians. I don’t believe that getting Gaza and the West Bank and even part of Jerusalem will ever be enough. The existence of Jews will always be the ultimate insult to them. The Israelis I spoke to hope this is not true. I do too. Maybe I’m just more cynical because I am removed from the situation and I can hope without ever really relying on the Palestinians to change. Anyway, I knew this to be true before I went but it was brought home again and again during our visit. Israelis want peace. If the other side did too, peace would already be here.

Some pictures from our trip:

Voice of Peace recording in Tel Aviv:
Voice of Peace broadcast, Tel Aviv

Sign on Tel Aviv beach:
Go In Peace sign, Tel Aviv

Graffiti in Tel Aviv:
Tel Aviv graffiti

View from our room in Tel Aviv:
View from room

I don’t know what this ad is for but Yankees represent!:
Yankees cap

Madonna was coming and people were very excited:

Business card for money-exchange in Haifa:

Last time I was in Israel, in 1991, soldiers with machine guns were everywhere. Now they are a really rare sight. This was taken at Rosh Hanikra on the Lebanon border:

Best hummus in the whole world, at Abu George in Arab city of Akko:

Women watching men pray at the Western Wall (not sure why as women have their own section):

My husband at the wall, wearing his Dallas Cowboys hat, putting in his prayer:

Notes in the Western Wall:

The unfinished security wall:

Amid history and religion, dashes of modernity:

More graffiti in Tel Aviv:

This was a fashion shoot in Tel Aviv, I think for the brand Dolce&Gabbana:
Photo shoot

Apparently the recession is causing Israel to deport their illegal immigrants and, like here, not everyone approves:

Loosely translated, “hey hippie, get a haircut”:

One of the finalists of Israel’s version of “American Idol”, called “Kochav Nolad”, performed an impromptu rock show on the corner of a Tel Aviv neighborhood called Florentin. The cops showed up about 20 minutes in but the show was over by then anyway:

Sunset over the Mediterranean, last day in Tel Aviv:

All in all, a great trip. Israel feels so familiar to me, as it does to most Jews, I think, even those who don’t visit for years at a time (my last time there was when I was 14. 18, ahem, years ago). It isn’t home, exactly, I’m always American first and foremost, but in a pinch it could be. I also think Israel is definitely worth a visit for non-Jews too. It’s a really special place, obviously in a religious sense but also in a cool-country-to-spend-a-few-days way.

Posted by Karol at 10:27 AM | Comments (13)
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Thank you!!!

Huge thank you to my awesome guest-bloggers. I think they did a really great job. I try to get a different mix of people every time to guest-blog, and I like to think my readers like hearing different perspectives, even if they don’t agree with that perspective.

Catch my guest-bloggers in their natural habitats:

Jessica can be found on her music myspace page. (P.S I’ll be at her show in NYC tomorrow night and you should too.)

BG blogs at Verbosities and Random Thoughts and Thoroughbred Selections.

T. blogs at The Rawness.

Luckbox blogs at Verbosities.

Thanks again, guys!

Posted by Karol at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)
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August 28, 2009

Speaking of Alpha Males

Check the swagger. Best part is the little staredown around 1:22.

Yet he’s still sensitive enough to get in touch with his feminine side and groove to Stevie Nicks.

Snowball. You must respect his gangsta.

Posted by T. at 04:33 PM | Comments (1)

My Upcoming show (Jezzy)

So, in addition to allowing me to hijack her blog for a week, Karol graciously gave me permission to direct traffic anywhere I fancy. So my shameless self promotional post of the day is for my upcoming show which will be on Tuesday, September 1st at Parkside Lounge. I go by Jezzy when I perform, and you can hear a sample of my music at my myspace. This Tuesday I’ll be performing with the very talented Ivan Lenin. There will be special guests and it will be an all around good time so if you are in the New York area, please do come, I would love to see you.

I’m also in the midst of shooting a music video so keep your eyes opened on my myspace and here on this site as I will probably force Karol to post it.


(Thanks to Petitedov for the photos)

Posted by Jessica at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

Reason # 14,387 Why America > Canada

We may elevate former action heroes and beauty queens into positions of importance, but at least we don’t install self-admitted functionally illiterate former hockey coaches to our Senate*.

*It remains arguable whether we wouldn’t appoint someone like Demers, or if we simply have an ongoing national shortage of functionally illiterate former hockey coaches on which to test our will.

Posted by BG at 12:25 PM | Comments (6)

The inevitable alpha male post (Jessica)

I don’t think my stint as a guest blogger would be complete without a post about the alpha male. It is one of my favorite topics, although I rarely write about it. I’m certainly no expert on the inner psych of the genders, but I can offer my female perspective on the issue. Two of my favorite blogs to read on the subject are written by fellow guest blogger T, and Roisy from DC. I’ve never read The Game but I hear that’s essentially the alpha male’s bible.

It seems like tons of women are satisfied with what is known as the ‘beta male’ which is essentially another girlfriend in their relationship and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. For us women who still appreciate the man who behaves like a man (with a silly boyish tendency of course) I’ve listed below the three traits I think are the most important alpha male traits.

Posted by Jessica at 12:04 PM | Comments (16)

In Celebration Of Welfare Kings Everywhere – Friday Morning Hip-Hop

Famous welfare check-casher Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Baby, I Got Your Money.” Probably has my favorite line of any rap song, ever: “I don’t have no trouble with you f***ng me, but I have a little problem with you not f***ing me.”

(Can I be crass here? Probably. I’ll just be polite and leave the asterisks in place instead.)

Posted by BG at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)

Obama and the Sunk Cost Fallacy (T. from

Atlanta Fed official discusses the real unemployment rate:

The real US unemployment rate is 16 percent if persons who have dropped out of the labor pool and those working less than they would like are counted, a Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.

“If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking — so-called discouraged workers — and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent, said Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart.

Read the whole thing here. It gets pretty ugly.

Meanwhile Obama’s poll numbers continue to drop precipitously. Imagine what’s going to happen to his popularity once the official unemployment numbers hit the double digits? Many conservatives are happy that his approval ratings are dropping but still wonder how so many people can still approve of him after this dismal performance so far.

Posted by T. at 12:28 AM | Comments (11)

August 27, 2009

Even If The Minotaur Acted Inappropriately, And I’m Not Saying It Did…

Is Using A Minotaur To Gore Detainees A Form Of Torture?

Posted by BG at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)

WHO misleading the public on life expectancy (Jessica)

One thing I’d like to clear up is the idea that the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems can accurately tell us how great or poor health care actually is. According to the study, the U.S. ranks at a lowly 37th in the world. People always cite this number as the reason to discredit our health care system. However, as with most comparative statistics, people rarely question where these numbers come from.

Life expectancy takes into account a number of factors such as infant mortality, homicides, suicides, motor vehicle accidents, and other causes of death that are not necessarily indicators of an effective health care system. David Hogberg and Sally Pipes have really great write-ups laying out the specifics of comparative life expectancies. I’ll just highlight a few points.

Posted by Jessica at 03:07 PM | Comments (15)

Hope and Change Fail Alert #1

In case you forgot, nobody messes with Joe (it comes about 27 seconds in):

Well, nobody except for some powerful Democrats looking for cash for their pet projects.

Posted by Luckbox at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

Welcome to Post-Racial America

It’s official. Race is no longer a troubling issue for America. Want proof? Here it is:

The NAACP is going to rally for Michael Vick

Why, you ask? The NAACP wants everyone to know that Michael Vick has paid his dues to society and deserves a second chance. His dalliance with viciously murdering dogs shouldn’t prevent him from getting a job in the profession he loves.

That all sounds well and good except that Michael Vick has already been given a second chance and is making millions of dollars in the profession he loves. In fact, Michael Vick will be playing in the very game at which they are rallying.

I think it’s pretty clear that if the NAACP has the time to spend on a rally with no clear point that there are no real racial issues left to address.

Obama wins. We are a post-racial America!

Posted by Luckbox at 12:05 PM | Comments (4)

Shame and Poor People

Hi, this is T. AKA Ricky Raw of the blog The Rawness, a blog about human nature and sexual politics. Karol asked me to guest blog here this week, which is awesome because I rarely blog about politics any more and I miss it from time to time.

I envy bloggers like Karol who can prolifically blog pithy missives daily, but alas, that’s not me. I’m more of a once-a-week blogger who just blogs infrequent, but lengthy rambling discursive rants. Which is why you are only just hearing from me today.

But anyway, the point of this post: Shame and poor people.

Posted by T. at 10:40 AM | Comments (17)

Someday, I Hope There’s a Catfight. I Love Catfights.

I’m linking this NYU student newspaper article about Meghan McCain for Karol’s dissection at a later date. When the pay-per-view tickets go on sale, please feel free to count me in for one, especially if the weapon of choice is jello wrestling. A clip:

I didn’t vote for her father, but should Meghan McCain ever run for president, she’ll have my support.

Unfortunately, McCain, 24, wouldn’t be eligible to run until the 2020 election cycle if she chooses to do so. Although she has not garnered much media attention until recently, this member of the almost-presidential family, who has been a registered Republican since 2008, has made it clear that her views depart somewhat from those of her father, John McCain, the senator from Arizona.

She has socially moderate views. While she is pro-life, she supports same-sex marriage. At a recent convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, Meghan declared, “I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends, and yes, I am a Republican.”

In the immortal words of Hannah Montana, “Cute, blonde Republican chick say what?!”

Yes. Cute, blonde Republican chick say what, indeed.

Posted by BG at 10:01 AM | Comments (6)

And Now, A Deep Political Statement Via Hip-Hop Thursday

Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “First of the Month,” probably the best song ever written about the joys of Welfare Check Day, which I think is the holiday that George Soros and ACORN put on calendars during Obama’s first hundred days.

Posted by BG at 06:52 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2009

Jeremiah Wright Told Me You’d Dig This Joint – Wednesday Morning Hip-Hop

“Blackitolism” by Digable Planets (off the criminally ignored Blowout Comb)

Posted by BG at 06:46 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2009

Let’s talk about greed (Jessica)

Whenever I debate healthcare reform with someone, they always go back to this idea that there is some sort of inherent evilness in a for-profit system. They argue that if there are bonuses given out to employees, there will inevitably be customers who are going to be screwed over at whatever cost as though these companies are not held accountable for their actions in any way.

The beauty of the free market is that the reason companies do not charge whatever they want and screw customers over at whatever cost is because the market holds these companies accountable. That’s what competition is all about. We, as consumers, are holding companies accountable by not doing business with them. That is, given that we have the choice to do so.

The important thing to note here is that we do not by any means have a free market health care system which is why insurance companies aren’t exactly pleasing the consumers. It is not a free market because individuals are disconnected from the costs they incur. In fact, how many times have you gone to the doctor or dentist and they try to upsell you with a whole bunch of unnecessary procedures just because insurance will cover them? I think it’s despicable that these doctors who complain about insurance companies not coming through with their payments are the same doctors who incur tons of costs on the insurer by blatantly taking advantage of them. And I’m sorry, the consumer who agrees to this is no better. As my friend says “People who get unnecessary medical procedures just because the insurance company will pay for it are the same people who would stand in line for hours if they saw a sign announcing ‘free rocks.’ Mindless fools.”

So, consumers don’t have a choice in their insurer, and they don’t care about the costs they incur. Seems like anything but a free market if you ask me. So what do we do? Well, there are small changes we can make which would have a significant impact. For years people have been suggesting things like higher deductibles, less employer-tied insurance, encouraging consumers to save for their healthcare by not taxing health care savings, etc.

I maintain that people do not want these changes because they want free access to healthcare so they do not have to worry about any costs incurred, how this will affect future generations, and how this will affect long term medical innovation. I think that these are the ‘greedy’ people we have to worry about.

Posted by Jessica at 05:29 PM | Comments (6)
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