August 12, 2008
After last week's fiasco where thousands of Blogger blogs, including this one, were locked down by Blogger due to an error in their algorithm that detects "spam", I decided to set up a new site on a brand new hosting service where I wouldn't have to worry about censorship, outages or someone else's algorithms and if there were any mistakes that occured, they would be entirely my own fault and no one else's.
I'm calling the new blog Smooth Stone because, well, I really, really like the name. ;)
I'll be updating the new site with new features each day and will try to export some of your favorite features and posts that have lived here to the new location.
I've updated my feed so you won't have to change your subscription information but several dozen of you have written that your Yahoo feed has not been rerouted.
If anyone else has a problem with their RSS feed to Smooth Stone at its new location, http://smoothstoneblog.com, please email me at
Please be sure to bookmark the new location: Smooth Stone at http://smoothstoneblog.com, and please visit and comment there.
Looking forward to seeing you at my new home.
August 10, 2008
Last month, archeologists from Tel Aviv University digging at Kibbutz Ramat Rachel near Jerusalem found a hoard of coins dating from the time of the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE). A ceramic cooking pot from the 1st century CE containing 15 large gold coins was found under the floor of a cave. Dr. Oded Lipschits described the find: "We discovered the hoard with a metal detector, and then we went down into the niche and found this small cooking pot inside it." According to Lipschits, the pot was covered up in a way that indicates that it had been concealed in a hurry.
Posted by Smooth on 8/10/2008
Some Israelis have described being moved almost to tears by a rare viewing of the Great Isaiah Scroll, the best preserved and most complete Dead Sea biblical scroll, on special exhibit this summer at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum for the first time in 40 years. Ordinary people are able to read, and at least partly understand, the ancient Hebrew text on the 2,100-year-old scroll.
"The Bible is first of all our connection to the land," said Ruvik Rosenthal, a popular Israeli language guru.
August 09, 2008
Nearly seven years after Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda is bloodied, but not bowed - leaving it still capable of dealing a devastating blow. Al-Qaeda is a different organization than it was in 2001. Today, bin Laden is more inspirational than operational. Although he is still dangerous, for the moment, he is more of a terrorist icon than a terrorist operative. It is believed he is not directing al-Qaeda's day-to-day terrorism operations around the world like he did before 9/11.
Al-Qaeda has long sought to recruit terrorist operatives already in place in the West and bin Laden has been especially keen to recruit converts to Islam. These new adherents can often easily overcome the challenges of racial profiling. There is a sinking sense that Islamist radicalization is catching fire in Europe, based on the increased number of plots in recent years involving homegrown terrorists there, as well as Europeans serving in violent jihad overseas. An April Europol report indicated that terrorist attacks in the EU were up almost 25 percent in 2007 and that Pakistan-based al-Qaeda groups are the main drivers of extremism and terrorism concerns in the EU.
We've also had terrorism attempts in the U.S., too, by "self-radicalized" people who were inspired by, but had little or no physical contact with, al-Qaeda. Terrorist cells in Ohio, Illinois, California, New York and New Jersey targeted the U.S. government, the military and critical infrastructure.
The writer is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.
From No More Gestures:
On Wednesday I met with Noam Shalit, the father of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The same day, we heard about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' request for a goodwill gesture. Abbas asked that Israel release 150 prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, the man who planned Minister Rehavam Ze'evi's assassination.
We too want gestures. We want Gilad Shalit to be handed over to the Egyptians. We want Gilad to be granted the basic humanitarian right of Red Cross visits. We have made plenty of gestures already. Sick Gazans receive medical treatment in Israel, and Israeli doctors have been saving lives in Gaza without asking whose children they are saving. The children of Hamas men have also been treated. Yet somehow we do not get any gestures. Goodwill gestures must secure something in exchange.
Miki Goldwasser is the mother of fallen IDF reserve soldier Ehud Goldwasser.
August 08, 2008
Why Do Arab Nationalists Demand the Liberation of Palestine If They Gave Up on Other Occupied Regions?
We know why. Arabs are resentful that Jews are not going to apologize for surviving a 60+ year war that Arabs started, the same war that the detestable Arafat the Egyptian perpetrated when he created the PLO in 1964 - three years before there was an "occupation" in 1967. The 1967 war was a direct result of Arab aggression towards Israel, and a war which the Arabs lost.
Arabs themselves are occupiers in the Middle East. Arabs belong in Arabia and have no right to Egypt, Syria, Jordan, or Lebanon.
In addition the tactic of Muslims to usurp synagogues and churches and supplant them with mosques is all part of the Islamic warlord tradition and a telling example of Islam's iconoclasty. Islam thrives on symbols and symbolism and reinventing history. "Palestine" has a fabricated neo-history and the use of the word is part of Palestinianism. It only became injected into America's lexicon in 1964 when Arafat reinvented and revised the history of the Middle East, and the rest of the world, which was already being gobbled up by hippies, communists, radicals and Jane Fonda-types, all fell for The Big Lie.
Following are excerpts from a TV debate with Oslo-based Palestinian author Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar and former head of the Arab Writers Union 'Ali 'Oqla 'Orsan. The debate aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 22, 2008:Click here for more facts about the tenuous Islamic identification and "connection" with the Jewish and Christian Holy Land.
To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1827.htm.
Ahmad Abu Matar: "Where are all the masses with regard to the Alexandretta province, which was occupied 80 years ago?! When the Turkish-Syrian border was demarcated a few years ago, any mention of the occupied Alexandretta province was erased from the Syrian curricula - from elementary school to university.
"They have forgotten all about occupied Al-Ahwaz, the Alexandretta province, and about Sabta and Malila. Who is against normalization? The resistance and Hamas, you say? Examine this shameful paradox - several months ago, Hamas would launch 'decorative' missiles, and would accuse the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas of oppressing resistance fighters. Now, for the past two or three months, Hamas has given normalization a cute nickname - tahdiya - which sounds slightly nicer than 'normalization,' and it began to arrest people who launched missiles. What is this paradox?"
'Ali 'Oqla 'Orsan: "A people that participates in a campaign on the scale of the Arab-Zionist conflict and whose land is occupied cannot open a second front in Alexandretta or anywhere else. This does not mean that it has forgotten its rights, but that it would be crazy to open several fronts simultaneously all over the world. We learned this lesson painfully in 1967, when our army fought both in the south and in the north. We must not live in delusions."
Ahmad Abu Matar: "My colleague, Dr. 'Ali 'Oqla 'Orsan, said, regarding the question of why we have forgotten Alexandretta, that it is all a question of priorities. To be honest, I do not understand these priorities. Alexandretta was occupied in 1936, and we have forgotten about it, and Al-Ahwaz was occupied in 1925, and we have forgotten about it. Palestine was occupied in 1948 - so what are the priorities? Do you want to liberate the first region to fall, or the last? If you want to start with the last region - go ahead and issue just one statement about the UAE islands occupied by Iran. This proves that there is a defect in the thinking of the anti-normalization committees."
August 07, 2008
In 1656, the Jewish elders of Amsterdam issued an excommunication notice against Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was a philosopher who postulated that God and nature are equivalent, and that the Bible is purely allegorical. Spinoza is known as the "Jewish Atheist," and he is considered the founder of modern biblical criticism. Spinoza believed that there is no Divine intervention, and that all events are fatalistically destined to occur (thus there is no free will).
For these and other heretical ideas, Spinoza was officially shunned by the Jewish community.
Via JWR: Think the Bible is only for the holy? Think again! Meet highly successful, functioning folks -- Hollywood screenwriters, musicians, mutual fund managers, CEOs -- who are proud believers and who value their eternal heritage. They attribute their professional successes to the Good Book.
Important. Spread the word. Received by email:
I am writing to you in the hopes of you writing a few words of support for Canadian author Howard Rotberg. He was invited to give a lecture at a Canadian book retailer on his book, The Second Catastrophe, when pro-Palestinians supporters showed up and caused a disturbance.
The book retailer cancelled the lecture and later issued a press release accusing the author of racism. Consequently, his books are no longer being carried by Canada's largest retailer and his good name is being unjustly maligned. Howard Rotberg decided to fight back and his trial is set to start August 27th and 28th.He is more or less been on his own and left hanging in the wind. He could use all the support he can muster. I have written a blog post for him but I would like to enlist your aid as well. I don't need a link to my piece, a few words about his case, or even a suggestion to buy his book would go a long way to help. He also has just starting blogging and his blog can be found here.
Every summer, Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, dispatches hundreds of rabbinical students to small Jewish communities around the globe. Known affectionately as the "Roving Rabbis," these young men sport a boundless energy and share their passion for Jewish life, encouraging Jewish awareness and observance wherever they go.
Learn More and take a front-row seat as they share their experiences on their new blog.
Tom Burnett Sr. entered the lion's den on Saturday to oppose the crescent memorial to Flight 93 (now called a broken circle). An excerpt from the beginning of the Somerset Daily American's banner headline story about division amongst the families:
"Tom Burnett Jr. led the effort to take the plane back," his father said. "When I was on the design jury, I saw the red crescent of embrace and realized it was an obvious and blatant symbol of Islam. It does not properly honor our people — those Flight 93 heroes. I think it's a travesty that it's moved along so fast." He called for an investigation into the design. When he has brought up his concerns, some of the task force and advisory commission members have dismissed him, he said. "This is a cataclysmic mistake," he said. "I'm going to save you from yourselves. I'd like to ask for an unbiased, transparent, honest investigation. This is just a terrible, terrible mistake. I'm asking every American — we must stop this mistake. This panel doesn't own the design, I don't own it, Pennsylvania doesn't own it, all of America and all of the world own it." He said he is also tired of the controversy, but that they must honor the heroes properly. It will reverberate in history. "I'm not going to stop fighting this thing, it is very, very bad," Burnett said. "Wake up. Get your heads out of the sand."Other Flight 93 family members roared back. What is usually a three hour quarterly meeting of the Memorial Project stretched to five hours as over twenty people signed up to speak on both sides.
One side wants scrutiny. The other is desperate to avoid it.
The pattern at the meeting was simple and consistent. Critics of the crescent design pointed out damning facts and called for independent investigation. Defenders of the broken circle insisted that there is nothing to investigate, and cried out for critics of the design to stop putting them through this agony. If the claims of the critics are not accurate, independent investigation would end the agony. If the crescent/broken-circle does not actually point within two degrees of Mecca, then put this explosive claim to rest by showing where the crescent does point. If there are not actually to be 44 inscribed translucent blocks emplaced along the flight path (matching the number of passengers, crew, and terrorists), it is a simple matter of opening up the design drawings and counting. If the defenders of the crescent had truth on their side, they would be eager to have it exposed. Unfortunately for them, the giant crescent does point to Mecca, and somehow they don't want the public to know it.
Todd Beamer's father is on the side of the crescent?
The highest profile defender of the crescent design was Mr. David Beamer, whose son Todd issued the "Let's roll" signal to re-take Flight 93. Mr. Beamer, beloved by conservatives for his opposition to Congressman Murtha, had not previously taken a public position on the crescent design. He has apparently gotten involved in fundraising for the memorial, and announced at the meeting that he has undertaken two months of due diligence, looking into criticisms of the design. Listeners expected Mr. Beamer to continue with a report on his fact-checking efforts, but he did not have a single word to say about any of the claims that Mr. Rawls and Mr. Burnett have put forward, launching instead into an extended condemnation of Alec Rawls for his "obsessive" persistence. If he found that the giant crescent does not point to Mecca, surely he would have said so. Similarly for the terrorist memorializing block count, or the placement of the 9/11 date in the exact position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag. What better way to be rid of this dastardly Rawls fellow than to expose his claims as a fraud? Mr. Beamer's silence about what he found speaks volumes, and not just about the crescent design. Who could fact check these claims and then be silent about his findings?
Don't look at the design drawings!
Every defender of the crescent had his own scheme of evasion and obfuscation. Patrick White, Vice President of Families of Flight 93, took Alec Rawls to task for holding up a 2005 graphic of the top of the Tower of Voices, where an Islamic shaped crescent soars in the sky above the symbolic lives of the 40 heroes. This old graphic should not be taken as indicative of the current design Mr. White suggested, as the design has evolving for three years now. Yet the exact same graphic was brought to the meeting by the Memorial Project itself, and was on display right outside the courtroom where the meeting was held. That's going to make some great video, as will one particularly scurrilous attack on Mr. Burnett, and the victim card played by Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley. Several videographers will be sending raw footage, which Alec will start putting together when he returns to California next week.
Big enough to check the facts yet?
How big does the conflict have to get before some major media outlet is willing to do their jobs and actually check the facts for themselves? David Dunbar and Brad Reagan of Popular Mechanics were willing to fact-check the "9/11 truth" morons, finding that most of their evidence is deliberately taken out of context, and that none of their claims stand up to the least bit of scrutiny. Come on PM. If we are a bunch of frauds then we are just as much in need of debunking. We've even got Flight 93 family members at loggerheads and crying out for relief. What are you waiting for? (A handy dandy list of damning facts to check here.) To join our blogbursts, just send your blog's url.
Via Washington Times:
# Our next president should focus on reforming the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). For nearly 60 years, UNRWA has perpetuated opinions among the Palestinians that could hardly be better calculated to impoverish and embitter them, and subvert the achievement of the two-state solution that Annapolis envisaged.For a further dissection of UNRWA, see this excellent post by GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD.
# UNRWA's very existence promotes the belief among Palestinians that a two-state solution is essentially unjust. It encourages Palestinians to believe that the international community owes them repatriation to the land their parents and grandparents fled when five Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948.
# For nearly 60 years, the United Nations has maintained a successful and respected organization for refugees apart from Palestinians - the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR's aim is to enable refugees to become citizens somewhere as quickly as possible. In contrast, for the Palestinians, the UN has effectively eliminated local integration and third country resettlement as desirable or even possible outcomes, and instead has enshrined in UNRWA's mission the 1950s promise of repatriation that was implicit in the resolution that established the agency.
# Moreover, contrary to the policy that it generally applies to refugees, the UN regards Palestinian refugee status as transferable from parents to children without limit. This enables UNRWA to fuel the conflict with Israel by cultivating a trans-generational belief among Palestinians that the one-and-only solution to their plight consists in returning to homes and lands vacated more than half a century ago.
# America should seek to bring to an end to UNRWA's mandate that reinforces the Palestinians' false hopes. The U.S. must persuade the UN to fold UNRWA into the UNHCR, where it belongs.
Posted by Smooth on 8/07/2008
Last year Random House signed a $100,000, two-book deal with journalist Sherry Jones for The Jewel of Medina, a racy historical novel about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Jones learned Arabic, studied scholarly works about Aisha's life, and came to admire her protagonist as a woman of courage.
In May, Random House abruptly called off publication of the book, fearing it would become a new Satanic Verses, the Salman Rushdie novel of 1988 that led to death threats, riots and the murder of the book's Japanese translator, among other horrors. After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House, said the company decided "to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."
August 06, 2008
I'm not the only one who thinks Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a pompous genocidal braggart. His political brother, Muammar el-Qaddafi, leader of Libya, thinks he's one also. From Libyan Leader Says Iran Shows "Vanity":
Iran risks the same fate as Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, said Tuesday.
"What Iran is doing is pure vanity," Qaddafi said during a visit to Tunisia.
"If a decision is taken against Iran, it will suffer the same fate as Iraq. Iran is no stronger than Iraq and will be unable to resist."
Qaddafi, whose relations with the West improved when Libya scrapped its efforts to develop nuclear weapons, said countries that chose isolation were doomed to fail.
On Tuesday, while Mahmoud "monkey man" Ahmadinejad arrogantly bragged about a new weapon his theocratic dictatorship supposedly tested for use at sea which can "easily" close a major oil passageway, the Israel Air Force simultaneously unveiled Sniper, a system developed by three Israeli companies that identifies a target, whether missile or plane, while it is still hundreds of kilometers from Israel, enabling it to be struck with missiles.
The IAF stressed that this system is currently reserved for Israel's exclusive use; U.S. Patriot batteries elsewhere in the world are not equipped with Sniper.
A senior officer said the first Sniper units were deployed about a month ago, and more will be deployed in the future. He added that Israel now has the ability to bring down dozens of missiles simultaneously, and to select which missiles to target based on each missile's projected landing site.
Click for a video of the Israel Air Force's anti-aircraft division carrying out a large exercise testing its response to simultaneous missile strikes by Syria, Hizbullah and Iran.
Sniper. Just one more reason why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his minions better learn to sleep with one eye open.
August 05, 2008
August 04, 2008
This sort of Israeli-sanctioned participation in the suppression and arrests of their fellow Israelis smacks mightily of Olmert's / Peres' virtual Vichy regime. It's the identical philosophy of moral capitulation, compromise and relative equivalency to appease Israel's enemies by cooperating with them in undermining Israel's legitimate and sovereign possession of her own land and the righteous defense of it. Via INN:
A police detective admitted in court last week that police forces hid as Bedouin Arabs attacked Jewish hikers, and then jumped out to arrest the Jews who fought back.
The incident occurred last Tuesday, on the third day of a week-long "Land of Hilltops Trek" from the northern Shomron to southern Judea. As the 200 youths and adults passed by Maoz Esther (near Maaleh Michmas, between Jericho and northern Jerusalem), they were attacked by Bedouin Arabs with clubs and rocks.
Posted by Smooth on 8/04/2008
More on the stench known as Yesh Din. Via NGO Monitor:
- Yesh Din, an Israeli NGO founded by members of Machsom Watch, claims to monitor legal procedures applied to Palestinian complaints against Israelis – both civilians and members of the security forces in the West Bank – in Israeli civilian courts. It also follows proceedings against Palestinian defendants in military courts.
- Yesh Din is funded by the European Union, the Irish, Dutch, German and British Foreign Offices, the New Israel Fund, the Open Society Institute, and private donors and foundations. As with other European-funded political NGOs based in Israel, Yesh Din’s agenda is one-sided, and ignores Palestinian violations of Israeli human rights, including terrorism.
- Their main activities consist of soliciting reports from Palestinians regarding alleged “criminal behavior by Israeli civilians”, and publishing reports on these topics. In these reports, many of the claims are subjective and cannot be verified.
- Reports generally omit the context of terror and use pseudo-legal human rights terminology and “apartheid” rhetoric to condemn Israeli policy.
- The appearance of academic methods notwithstanding, the methodological problems in the reports reduce Yesh Din’s credibility. In its report on military courts, conclusions are based on a small, unrepresentative sample of 800 cases, out of 42,000 indictment and arrest hearings conducted in the military courts in 2006 alone.