Saturday, July 29, 2006

A new voice crying in the wilderness!

We've always known the English are capable of courage and straight thinking. That's why the BBC and their articulate but biased cohorts that we knew and loved so well prior to the last quarter century or so, has proven to be so outrageous an anomaly.

Now comes a new blog from a delightfully clear headed straight speaking Brit lady living and working in the holy land. I heartedly recommend a daily read of JANE'S FIGHTING TALK for a fresh look at the struggle for survival now underway in Israel. For example:

First question "Who ARE the refugees on the run from the bombing?"

  • 1. They are in the main originally Palestinians, Shiite Moslem, who had fled Israel in the 1948 war of independence. The population is between 400 and 500,000; press reports say that 600,000 + refugees are on the move
  • 2. They live in overcrowded refugee camps, villages and suburbs, mainly in south Lebanon and south Beirut. They survive through (a) UNWRA aid (b) menial labour (c) salaries and ex-gratia payments from Hezbollah – routed from Iran.
  • 3. Palestinian refugees do not have Lebanese citizenship. (Not a well-known fact.)
  • 4. They are excluded from Lebanese society. Palestinian refugees were banned from 73 professions (including law and medicine) in Lebanon until last year.
  • 5. The Palestinian refugees provide Hezbollah its army and its civilian infrastructure. They provide their homes and land for bunkers, tunnels, and underground cells. Ready to fire rockets are tucked away in populated Hezbollah Shiite neighbourhoods, in apartment buildings, parking garages, out-houses, mosques and schools. Not exclusively, but mostly, Palestinian refugees and Hezbollah are one and the same.
  • 6. Hezbollah is a closed area for the rest of Lebanon. It is entirely independent, providing its own services, its own policing, its education system, its own laws and its own army. The original Lebanese population has no connection with the refugees and their descendents. The Palestinian refugees have been mired in poverty and hopelessness, although shored up in recent years with millions of dollars worth of military equipment. Hezbollah is therefore extremely dangerous.

Has our arrogant and proud western media recently discussed any of these points at length? Do they even consider this might be information that could make a difference, or the free world would want to know this background? Does the media even care? Does any of this support their own corporate agendas? Or sell any more papers or adverts? The answers are obvious, I believe.

People of Good Will may always disagree on the means to an end. But IMHO this particular bully needs to be thrashed until he looses both the will and the capacity to fight. That has not yet occurred. Go IDF! Fight! Fight! Fight! (OK, it's almost football season here in the states, so cut me a little slack, will you?)

God bless you, Jane, as you almost single-handedly take on the slimy, pasty, yellow, lily-livered rats that now inhabit the empty halls of the once great BBC, et al.!


The MSM's "Gap" Widens

Update on this subject at 1915 hrs PDT. Belmont Club posted interesting speculation.

News headlines today from MSNBC touting claims from Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, that Israel has suffered a MAJOR DEFEAT in their three week war - passed on apparently either tongue-in-cheek or by an almost unbelievably uncritical and adoring media - illustrate just how wide the gap has grown between what has happened, and what is reported to have happened.

Let me see now if I can figure this out.

HZ shoots rockets randomly and without much aim, hitting mostly fields, outbuildings, private homes and a few civilians. IDF destroys HZ rocket launchers (which have surprisingly been placed in public buildings and residences) almost as soon as they fire.

HZ has gone underground and mostly hides in bunkers, hunkering down amidst (and holding onto) women and children as human shields, relying only on its random rockets to strike back at Israel. IDF owns the skies over Lebanon and has pretty well destroyed HZ's headquarters compound in Beirut, plus about 35% of its other facilities - including deep bunkers - scattered around the country.

HZ - a guerilla movement - is now defending its land, the worst tactical mistake one such can make. IDF has blocked avenues of resupply by almost totally destroying the local infrastructure.

HZ has lost forces at the ratio of 10 highly trained warriors to 1 reservist.

Yep, it all figures! Israel HAS suffered a major defeat! And in a welcome gesture of humanitarian kindness Nasrallah now offers his beat up foe a chance for a cease fire, so it can "catch its breath". Yeah, it makes perfect sense.

Does it sound a little like the schoolyard bully laying on the ground with a bloody nose, asking the kid standing over him if he's "ready to give?"

Nothing here is saying war is great! It isn't. But it certainly isn't difficult to figure out who bit off more than he can chew. Well, he probably needs to choke on it for awhile, until he learns a little respect for peace and quiet. The tragedy, though, is that while "he" is doing that innocents will die.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once again, we survive !!!

Had a few problems earlier this morning resurrecting the "Gap", but once Q let me know of the problem and I was able to contact Blogger, everything else soon fell into place and we are once again live from the Monterey Bay! Thanks again, Q - and thanks to Blogger support, too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nature photos from the UK

A blogging friend, Q, recently posted several neat photos of a family of ducks, including one particularly brave duckling, while the ducks were on a day outing swimming in a Canadian canal. Several folks commented on the pics and there occurred some discussion as to the proper genus duckus of his subjects.

Which reminded me of the 200 plus photos Mrs. Dweet took during our recent UK holiday. (Notice, please, all 49er is claiming to have done here was make sure the photographer got on and off the proper trains and buses so as to complete the trip. Nothing else). But from comments received since our return the photos seem to hold a certain general interest, therefore a few are being posted here - along with some obviously uninformed comments. Most of these photos were taken at Leeds Castle, which has a large, charming "Duckery" lying astraddle its mile long entrance path.

I'm assuming this first bird is a wood duck drake or hen, but could not prove it if challenged.

This guy wanted nothing more than a early afternoon siesta, and the warm sun sure made that idea seem inviting.

The graceful Black Swan, imported from its native Australia, has been the official bird of Leeds Castle for decades.

This mystery bird is dramatically beautiful, but we don't know what it is.

One of many colorful peacocks strolling the grounds.
All photos © 2006 suzikayatpacbellnet.

And lastly, this proud fellow made sure EVERYONE got the opportunity to take plenty of great photos of his distinctive plumage. A rare sight, there were actually two albino peacock families on the castle grounds.

Well, that's all for now. Maybe later I'll post two more of Mrs. Dweet's outstanding UK photos - one an exterior shot of Leeds Castle itself, and the other of the intricate ceiling works inside Bath Abbey. Many of our friends thought she'd purchased professional shots for these. But that will have to wait for later.

"As exciting as watching grass grow!"

49er was reminded of this comment from a friend recently when he heard the news of his "retired" brother-in-law's new temporary job.

Here are some additional details. He has the ideal part time job. A job as a "Field Observer" at the 'gap' in highway 140 created next to the Merced River by the recent Ferguson Rock Slide in the Sierra National Forest. He watches rocks roll down hill! All night long! And afterwards he hurries home, sleeps and hurries right back to work! Exciting, eh?

Of course there is some paper work to do - keeping track of the latest "rollers" so the crews in the morning know what's happened during the night - but how's that for a great profession - rock watcher? What tales he'll have to tell his grandsons!

OK, enough already. It is an economic disaster for hundreds of folks living in Mariposa County and working in El Portal or Yosemite NP, so we shouldn't take too much glee with this, but the BIL has sure put in his years fighting fires all over the west during many, many summers - so we don't begrudge him a season at home, even though he is forced to work nights for a change. Good go, Dennis!

PS: For those interested in personal memorabilia, the linked publication is the modern version of the same weekly newspaper 49er edited for a couple of years during the late 1960's. Another of his many, many fun jobs!