Archive | July 2014

I’m for Peace, and I’m for Israel

I know it’s trendy and hipster-y, and liberal these days to bash on Israel and say they’ve made the entire Gaza Strip a concentration camp for Palestinians by securing the Israeli-Gaza border, but I’m not drinking that Kool-Aide. It’s total bullshit. Keep in mind there are many people here in the USA saying we need to build an even stronger, taller wall between us and Mexico. Heck, it looks like we’re about to deploy National Guard troops on our Mexican border because a bunch of children have been crossing it. Would that mean we’d turn Mexico into a concentration camp, that we’d be an apartheid country? Of course not.

It’s ironic that agnostic, even atheistic hipster liberals are drawn to bash on Israel as Judaism is one of the most benign, moderate, and secular (for lack of a better word) religions out there. Yes it has an orthodox side, but by in large Jews have never sought to convert others or launched crusades or issued fatwahs or any of that. If you dislike fundamentalist and extremism in a religion, you’re going to prefer Judaism over Islam. (Not that any of us should be picking winners and losers when it comes to religions, I’m just making a point and trying to provide some context.)

And before you go and say “yeah but the Jews stole the Arab’s land!!” you should know that the Jews are essentially kicked out of and are not really welcome in any of the 22 Arab countries. Oh, and 6 million of them were exterminated by Nazi Germany.

Fun Fact: followers of Islam represent 23% of the world’s population, followers of Judaism represent 0.2%.

Another Fun Fact: the landmass of the 22 Arab countries is bigger than that of the USA, the landmass of Israel is about the same as New Jersey.

Unfortunately the idea that the Palestinian people in Gaza will morph into a moderate and productive people as soon as Israel opens its border with it is naive. During the time the border has been most locked down, Hamas has used the few resources coming into Gaza to build up its arms stockpile and to build tunnels into Israel to launch attacks, not to build infrastructure and institutions for its people. A lot of the schools in Gaza were actually built by the UN. There are plenty of other Arab countries that don’t have this border issue with Israel that aren’t exactly thriving: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt. These countries are all involved in civil wars where Arab against Arab violence is killing many people. As the writer below notes, some 200,000 Arabs (and rising I’ll add) have been killed by other Arabs in the past few years. I’m not being an Arab basher here, I have nothing against Arabs or any people, but one has to take an objective look at current events in the entire Middle East region before forming an informed opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Both Hamas (the ruling government in Gaza) and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are Sunni Muslim, and both are officially recognized as terrorist organizations. ISIS has been called an existential threat to the USA due to its desire to export terrorism beyond the Middle East and to stead Sharia law everywhere. It’s not hard to imagine Hamas and ISIS uniting at some point, if Israel didn’t stand between them they probably would have done so already.

After we didn’t find WMD’s and toppled Sadam Hussein in Iraq, we tried to set up a moderate, inclusive government there. We failed. We spent a decade, trillions of dollars, thousand of US soldier’s lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives trying. That’s how hard it is to set up a moderate government in the Middle East and it’s a testament to what Israel has accomplished.

Look, Israel isn’t perfect, no country is, not even the USA (or Norway!), but Israel is doing a remarkable job in one of the most lawless and barbaric parts of the world. This article sheds a lot of light on the situation and you should read it right now.

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/shalom-motherfr/

Putin prediction …

I’m kind of thinking Putin (or Russian media) will say the two Ukrainian jets shot down today had shot down Flight 17. “Got ‘em!” he’ll announce, with his shirt off most likely.

Never mind the SU-25 is a ground attack aircraft that can only climb to about 23,000 feet and isn’t any faster than a 777.

Flight 17

Hmm, so if Flight 17 was hit by an SA-11 missile that disables its target with shrapnel rather than with a concussive explosion, it seems possible that many of the people on the plane would have survived the missile attack and would not have died immediately, but would have lived as the plane fell from the sky and died upon impact with the ground. Yes, cabin depressurization and the resulting lack of oxygen would have rendered the passengers unconscious. But if the oxygen masks deployed properly it’s possible the passengers did not lose consciousness. If the masks did not deploy and the passengers passed out, they may have regained consciousness once the plane descended to thicker air with more oxygen.

The photos of the crash site also seem to suggest that large sections of the fuselage crashed intact and that the plane was not disintegrated by the missile at 33,000 feet as originally reported/suggested by the media. Reports initially said the missile “slammed into the plane”, but now it has come to light an SA-11 missile explodes about a hundred meters in front of or underneath the plane it’s targeting, creating a cloud of small bits of shrapnel that the plane flies into which then disables the plane. The photos also show a large area of scorched earth, suggesting that the fuel in the plane did not ignite from the missile attack but ignited upon impact with the ground. Yet media reports are still saying the fuel exploded in mid-air at the time of the missile intercept. Also, the reports of many of the bodies being found intact on the ground is further evidence that there was not a massive, catastrophic explosion mid-air.

I guess the data recorders will shed light on this all.

Strong Sales for Apple

Apple sales are up 13 percent from the period a year ago, selling 35.3 million iPhones, 72.4 million replacement iPhone touch-screens, and 999.9 million replacement iPhone white power cords with that shitty connector that lasts about three months if you’re lucky.

Iron Dome

One question that no one is asking: why does Hamas launch rockets into Israel when it knows the rockets won’t make it past Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system? Might as well fire them west into the Mediterranean.

Putin is getting some PR savvy …

“Confusion”? Hmm, sounds like Putin may be figuring out how this works: you don’t deny the entire thing and try to cover it up, you call it a mistake made at the command level and throw a few lieutenants under the bus. Obama most have given him some tips on their last phone call: “Vlad, weren’t you paying attention to how I handled my VA hospital scandal over here?”

I prefer smokers

As a non-smoker I’ve come to prefer the sight of someone smoking over the sight of someone vaping.

The smaller units with the clear reservoir where you can see the nicotine fluid are especially disgusting to watch someone suck on. When someone smokes a cigarette at least you might be reminded of some of the great, classy smokers like Bacall, Bogart, Dean, Lake, etc. Not so with vaping, no one has made that look sexy yet. Also, most smokers these days have the tact to smoke inconspicuously but vapers have no issue vaping right in your face.

Doctors need to change, not patients.

Since it appears that people will continue to use the emergency room for minor health issues even after getting health insurance, doctors and hospitals should adapt to the behavior of the people and not the other way around.

Health care is perhaps the only industry were sellers expect buyers to adapt to them, rather than accept and operate as nearly ever other industry where organizations are always adapting to the needs and preferences of consumers in a ever-changing marketplace.

Expecting people to self-triage, and then charging them a penalty (in either time or money) when they get it wrong is how it works in American healthcare today.

The current system expects the patient to know the difference between whether, for example, they have the common flu or SARS and to choose the proper doctor and facility to match exactly what they have. Is it appendicitis or just bad gas? You better know before you decide where to go to seek relief or you may wind up having to pay out of pocket for a bill five times what it should be.

World Cup Logo

For all the criticism of FIFA for corruption and match fixing, you have to hand it to them for awarding the 2014 World Cup logo and graphics contract to Mrs. William’s PS 281 “Art is Smart!” special ed art class.

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