Friday, December 12, 2003

A chance for peace

Taking my umpteenth study break this evening, I came across a snippet of news (scroll down to "Olmert's Choice") that gave me more hope for the future of Israel than anything I've seen in the last three years.

The article, from the editors of the center-left Jewish weekly The Forward, mentioned "the decision by Ehud Olmert, Israel's deputy prime minister, to speak out last week in favor of a unilateral withdrawal from most of the territories. "

When I saw that, my jaw dropped six inches.

Let me explain why I was so stunned. My family and I had the privilege of meeting Olmert, then the mayor of Jerusalem, when we visited Israel in the summer of 2000, in recognition of a vast favor a distant cousin of mine had done for Olmert's grandparents.* At the time, Ehud Barak was prime minister of Israel; he was at Camp David, with President Clinton and Yasser Arafat, trying one last time to create a viable peace agreement. Barak had invited Olmert along, and Olmert had refused to go. Reading between the lines Olmert spoke to us, we could easily tell that the reason Olmert wanted to stay behind was so he could badmouth the peace process on behalf of the Likud party. (Barak is Labor.) Olmert spoke admiringly of the settlements, and even told us that he'd had a street named after our cousin... in a settlement. We (at least those of my family who are center-left on Israel, which is by no means all of us) concealed our horror until we left the government offices.

If Ehud Olmert himself thinks Israel should withdraw from the territories, the tide may have turned. G-d grant that it may be so.

*My distant cousin, Eliyahu Lankin, was one of the leaders of the Zionist terrorist movement the Irgun; he was best known as the commander of the Altalena, a ship carrying weapons to Israel during the War of Independence. The ship was destroyed on its entrance to Israel by the less radical Zionist militia the Haganah. He also, apparently, rescued Olmert's grandmother from Russia by masquerading as her husband; her real husband was an Irgun operative in then-Palestine.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Why I Want To Be A Librarian

"Libraries are brothels for the mind. Which means that librarians are the madams, greeting punters, understanding their strange tastes and needs, and pimping their books. That's rubbish, of course, but it does wonders for the image of librarians."

UK columnist Guy Browning on how to use a library,
The Guardian, October 18th

Dear Nuns,

Bush is really getting on my nerves today. First he defends his idiotic and childish policy of 'rewarding' supportive nations with Iraqi contracts, then I hear that the Pheonix program (asssassination teams from back in Vietnam) has basically been restarted for use in Iraq. With or without Isreali involvement, this is soooo stupid!

Bush, get a clue! Rummy's ideas suck, and we need more troops on the ground. We also need to make it possible nations that Iraq is in DEBT to feel welcomed into the rebuilding process.

PS--your US contracts are chickens, and the only people getting anything done on the ground in many places are Iraqi civilians and our good old us army folks. Give THEM the contracts, and then we might get something done.

Monday, December 08, 2003

CRUD! Lets SCRAM!

Interesting bit of trivia.. do you know where the terms crud and scram come from? Well Dad came home from work and told me about someone he saw who worked on the Manhattan Project, who told him that Crud was a term used for the unidentified deposits they pulled from the Chalk River when searching for uranium. This fascinated me, so I looked it up on the web and here is what I found:

Crud
A colloquial term for corrosion and wear products (rust particles, etc.) that become radioactive (i.e., activated) when exposed to radiation. The term is actually an acronym for Chalk River Unidentified Deposits, the Canadian plant at which the activated deposits were first discovered.


While I was looking that up, I came across

Scram
The term used to mean the sudden shutting down of a nuclear reactor, usually by rapid insertion of control rods, either automatically or manually by the reactor operator. May also be called a reactor trip. It is actually an acronym for "safety control rod axe man," the man assigned to insert the emergency rod on the first reactor (the Chicago pile) in the U.S.

I've been away for a week, but now I'm back!

I just skimmed the NYTimes Mag article on Dean from Sunday, and boy am I tempted to join the campaign strictly for the social benefits. I've come to the conclusion Clark seems to reach people my parent's age more than my own. I'm involved with that demographic enough as it is through attending events with my father, and working out during "stay at home mom" hours at the gym.

I perused the Dean site, and found that in my area there will be a meeting of Deansters in a middle school parking lot near me.. I am tempted, but what if I go there without Dean in my heart?