“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The existential threat of the Palestinian Puppets to Israel.


JERUSALEM — Puppeteers from the Israeli version of Sesame Street protested Monday against Israel’s closure of a Palestinian children’s puppet festival, arguing that puppet theater poses no threat to Israeli security.
Ariel Doron, the voice of Elmo on the Israeli version of the popular children’s television show, and Yousef Sweid, who plays an Arab Muppet on the show, created a Facebook group named Puppets4All calling on Israel to permit the festival. Two other Israeli Sesame Street puppeteers, along with a number of fellow Israeli actors, uploaded photos to the Facebook group holding puppets and signs protesting he closure.
“I think every boy and girl deserves to see puppet theater,” said Doron. “There is no sense to this.”
He said Monday his initiative was private and not coordinated with Sesame Street. Miri Yanai Meir of Israel’s Sesame Street said the show had nothing to do with the puppeteers’ initiative.
Israel’s Ministry of Public Security last week ordered the temporary closure of the Hakawati Theater, the Palestinian national theater in east Jerusalem, canceling a children’s festival set to feature puppet shows and plays. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said organizers of the theater illegally received funds from the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank.
Israel prohibits Palestinian government activity in Israeli-controlled east Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern section of the city seized in the 1967 Mideast war.
Sesame Street, while steering clear of politics, has promoted messages of peace and tolerance in local versions of the show on Israeli and Palestinian television. Sesame Workshop, the American producer of the children’s television show, re-launched the local programs in 2007 after the original versions went off the air due to lack of funding.
The new Israeli version of “Rechov Sumsum” includes a Muppet of Arab origin, as well as characters representing Israel’s diverse Jewish immigrant population.
“Sharaa Simsim,” the Palestinian counterpart, has sought to offer positive role models to Palestinian children. The show went off the air last year after the U.S. government cut funding, one of many Palestinian programs affected by a funding suspension aimed at punishing the Palestinians for a unilateral appeal to the U.N. for statehood.
Layla Sayegh of the Sharaa Simsim staff said the show will resume on Palestinian TV this fall with financing from Sesame Workshop and a local source. The U.S. will not resume funding for the program, Sayegh said.


  1. The US Conga Line in complete synchronous supplication with our indispensable unshakable ally.

    “Sharaa Simsim,” the Palestinian counterpart, has sought to offer positive role models to Palestinian children. The show went off the air last year after the U.S. government cut funding, one of many Palestinian programs affected by a funding suspension aimed at punishing the Palestinians for a unilateral appeal to the U.N. for statehood.

    Layla Sayegh of the Sharaa Simsim staff said the show will resume on Palestinian TV this fall with financing from Sesame Workshop and a local source. The U.S. will not resume funding for the program, Sayegh said.

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    2. Not to worry...

      Hamas: 100,000 children to train at military camps this summer

      It’s summer again, and as has become customary in recent years, thousands of Gazan children will flock to terrorist-organized summer camps to engage in semimilitary training, including the use of live ammunition and simulated kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, Ynet reported Tuesday.
      The summer programs — offered by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees — view the training as a serious recruitment tool for finding dedicated young soldiers to help fight Israel, Ynet reported.
      Senior Hamas officials say some 100,000 children are expected to take part in the various summer camps. The Islamic group’s leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said the goal of the summertime activities is to “instill children with values, strengthen their moral core and spread the spirit of Jihad,” Ynet said.

      Read more:

      This is reality.

    3. PA names Ramallah street after Hamas terror mastermind

      The future Palestinian Authority presidential compound will be built along a street named for an infamous Hamas arch-terrorist, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

      The Ramallah street was named for notorious Hamas suicide bomb mastermind Yihyeh Ayyash, also known as the "engineer," who was the architect of multiple attacks, including a 1994 bombing of a Tel Aviv bus, which killed 20 people, and injured dozens.

      Ayyash was killed in 1996 in what was most likely an Israeli assassination, after his cell phone exploded in his Beit Lahia home, in the Gaza Strip.

      According to the Channel 10 report, the street sign posted at the Ramallah location read: "Yihyeh Ayyash, 1966-1996, born in Nablus, studied electrical engineering in Bir Zeit University. Was a member of the Iz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and was linked by Israel to a number of bombings. Was assassinated by Israel in his Beit Lahia (Gaza Strip) home in 5.1.1996."

      This is reality.

    4. This is from a few years ago but it's still valid...

      A major soccer tournament glorifying arch terrorists is underway in the Palestinian Authority [PA]. While terrorist glorification is not unusual in the PA, this tournament is striking because it is sponsored very prominently by the heads of the PA, including Yasser Arafat; Saib Arikat; Gibril Rajoub; the Minister of Sport - Abdul Fatach Hamal; the Mufti of the PA Ikrama Sabri; and 10 other senior PA officials.

      Each of the 24 soccer teams is named for a terrorist or other Shahid [the term of supreme honor designating "Martyrs" - those who died in the combat with Israel] including some of the most infamous murderers. Among those honored are Yechya Ayash, the first Hamas bomb-belt engineer, who initiated the suicide bombings; Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist woman who hijacked a bus killing 36 in 1978; Abu Ali Mustafa, the Head of the Terrorist Popular Front; Az Adin Al Kassam, the name of the suicide bombers' wing of the Hamas; Raid Carmi, Commander of the Suicide Bomber wing of Fatah, the Al Aqsa Brigades, in Tul Karem; Hassan Salame, Black September terror group, involved in the Olympic massacre of Israeli athletes; Abu Jihad, PLO leader; Thabit Thabit, Head of the Tanzim terror group in Tul Karem; Jamal Mansour of Hamas; Salah Khalif, PLO leader; Salah Drowza of Hamas; Kamal Adwan PLO leader. [Al Ayyam, Sept. 21, 2003]

      Presenting terrorists as heroes and role models is common practice in the PA

      This is reality

  2. “Israel’s Ministry of Public Security”


    1. New York – Mahmoud Abbas, holocaust denier and chief of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has named its newly-opened Rafah border crossing the Shahid (martyr) Al-Aqha, in honor of the terrorist killer Al-Moayed Bihokmillah Al-Aqha, who was killed in December 2004 carrying out a terrorist attack that killed five Israelis (Palestinian Media Watch, December 15).

      In addition, on the very day that Abbas criticized Monday’s terrorist attack in Netanya that killed six Israelis and wounded 30, he approved a law and budget designed to pay money to families of such terrorists who die while murdering Jews. This law refers to those terrorists as shahids or martyrs, a shahid is the highest honor attainable to a Muslim and signifies a death for Allah.

      The PA regularly labels suicide killers as “Shahids”. The sum of the allowance is estimated to be $250 per month, but if the shahid was married [at the time of death], another $50 are to be added to the sum mentioned above, and if the shahid had children, [an additional sum of] $15 will be allocated to each of them. In addition, if the shahid had a [living] father or mother, a sum of $25 will be allocated to each of them. If the shahid had brothers, whom he had been taking care of, each of them will be allocated [a sum of] $15. This is only the most recent outrage clearly illustrating Abbas’ promotion and support of terrorism against Israel.

      Read more:

      This is reality

    2. Abbas denies Jerusalem’s Jewish heritage
      By Marcy OsterAugust 22, 2012 4:43pm
      JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s Islamic and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.
      Abbas also said that Israeli authorities want to build a Jewish Temple on the site of the al-Aksa mosque and Dome of the Rock, in a statement issued Tuesday on the anniversary of an attempted arson of the Al-Aksa Mosque in 1969 by an Australian Christian, who was later found to be clinically insane.
      “Their ultimate goal is to rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy the Al Aksa mosque and build the alleged Jewish temple,” he said.
      He also said that Israeli excavation work in Jerusalem, and in the Western Wall tunnels beneath the mosque, “will not undermine the fact that the city will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian.”
      Abbas concluded that "there will be no peace or stability before our beloved city and eternal capital is liberated from occupation and settlement.”

      Read more:

      This is reality

  3. Sleep tight to night
    Everything is all right.

    No need for puppet fright
    Public Security up tight.

    Blue star shining bright
    US funding out of sight.

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    2. Just a leak through the peephole of the venality of an apartheid state, where the state security system, from the heights of their self assured superiority interfere in the daily lives of ordinary people.

      You can be assured the norm of civil rights practiced in the civilized world are in suspension for the underclass under the existing government in Israel. The hypocrisy of the US Cong Line could not be more obvious than over this petit incident. We do not have to look back very far in history to make a comparison of US policy with other states that established apartheid on the territories controlled by them:

      U.S., After 35 Years, Lifts Arms Embargo Against South Africa
      Published: February 28, 1998

      The United States is lifting a 35-year-old arms embargo imposed against South Africa at the beginning of the apartheid era, Vice President Al Gore said today.

      In a joint statement issued with South Africa's Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, Mr. Gore said the state-run South African weapons company, Armscor, which controls the nation's arms trade, will no longer be barred from acquiring American-made weapons and weapons technology.

      ''The suspension of disbarment opens the door for normalized defense trade between the U.S. and South Africa,'' the statement said.

      The announcement marks the end of Armscor's status as an international pariah. In the days of apartheid, it helped the white Government arm the police who patrolled and terrorized black townships.

      It also trafficked in arms in defiance of international law, smuggling American-made components into Iraq. The embargo remained in place after the formal end of apartheid in 1994, while Pretoria and Washington settled a dispute over the extradition of South Africans indicted for arms deals that violated United States and United Nations embargoes.

    3. Israel: An Apartheid State?
      Is there any truth at all in this oft-repeated calumny?

      South African Apartheid. “Apartheid,” the Dutch-Africaans term for separation, was the social order of the former South Africa. It meant exactly that. The Black majority of the nation and the so-called Colored were kept strictly apart in all aspects of life. White domination over the native population was mandatory. For instance: Non-Whites had to carry a “passbook.” Passbook infringement could lead to deportation to one of the Bantu “homelands.” Blacks and Coloreds were being kept from a wide array of jobs. Black-White sex was a serious jail-time criminal offense. Hospitals and ambulances were strictly separated. Whites enjoyed free education until graduation. Not so for Blacks, whose education was strictly limited by the oppressive “Bantu Education Act.”

    4. What are the facts?

      South African Apartheid. “Apartheid,” the Dutch-Africaans term for separation, was the social order of the former South Africa. It meant exactly that. The Black majority of the nation and the so-called Colored were kept strictly apart in all aspects of life. White domination over the native population was mandatory. For instance: Non-Whites had to carry a “passbook.” Passbook infringement could lead to deportation to one of the Bantu “homelands.” Blacks and Coloreds were being kept from a wide array of jobs. Black-White sex was a serious jail-time criminal offense. Hospitals and ambulances were strictly separated. Whites enjoyed free education until graduation. Not so for Blacks, whose education was strictly limited by the oppressive “Bantu Education Act.”

      By law, no mixed sports were allowed. Park benches, swimming pools, libraries, and movies were strictly separated. Blacks were not allowed to purchase or imbibe alcoholic drinks – etc, etc, etc. And that is only a partial and small list of the many abusive impediments that non-Whites suffered under the South African apartheid regime.

    5. Israeli Equality. To tar Israel with that kind of brush is utterly malicious. The exact opposite is the case. Not one single apartheid practice applies to Israel. Israel is by far the most racially mixed and tolerant nation in the entire Muslim Middle East. Arabs, who are about 20% of Israel’s population, enjoy, without any exception, the same rights and opportunities in all fields as their Jewish fellow citizens. The total equality of all Israelis is assured in Israel’s founding document. All non-Jews (which means primarily Muslim Arabs) have full voting rights. At present, eleven Arabs sit in Israel’s Knesset (parliament): Three Arabs are deputy speakers. Arabs are represented in Israel’s diplomatic service all over the world. Arab students may and do study in all Israeli universities. All children in Israel are entitled to subsidized education until graduation, without any restrictions based on color or religions. In short, Muslim Arabs and other non-Jews are allowed everything that Jews are allowed, everything that non-Whites were not allowed in apartheid South Africa.

      But, yes, there is one difference: Jewish Israeli men are obligated to a three-year stint in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and serve in the reserve until they are 50 years old. For Arabs, this service is voluntary. Except for the Druze, hardly any Arabs volunteer to serve in the armed forces.

      Israel has granted permanent residence and full citizen rights to a large number of legal and illegal foreign workers and their families – from the Philippines, Eritrea, Colombia, Nigeria, and from many other countries. Nobody, of course, is forced or requested to convert to Judaism as a condition of their being allowed to stay. Israel has accepted a shipload of Vietnamese refugees who had sought asylum. No Arab country has accepted a single one of those refugees. Israel has brought in about 70,000 black Ethiopian Jews, who have become fully integrated citizens of Israel. Everything that Blacks were not allowed to do in South Africa is totally open to non-Jews in Israel.

    6. The “Apartheid Wall.” Another reason for which left-wing zealots and anti-Semites like to refer to Israel as the “apartheid state” is the fence between Israel proper and the territories. This fence (which is indeed a fence and not a wall over most of its length) was constructed at great cost in order to prevent the suicidal attacks that had killed hundreds of Israelis and grievously wounded thousands more. Thankfully, this “wall” is exceptionally successful and has totally prevented any such attacks since its completion. There is little question that this separation fence is the cause of inconvenience for some of the Arab population. But it is an annoyance that they have brought about themselves. And, of course, there are walls for protection all over the world. The Chinese invented it hundreds of years ago. Our own country has a long, high, very sophisticated wall across our border with Mexico. It is a wall, not to keep out criminals who want to kill Americans, but people who want to come here only in search of a better life. To call the Israeli fence an “apartheid wall” is an expression of ignorance and of malevolence.

      Israel is a light unto the nations. It has, regrettably, many enemies – all or most of the world’s Muslim nations and left-wing ideologues who mostly hate the United States and who consider Israel to be America’s cat’s-paw in the Middle East. The reality, of course, is that Israel is the exact opposite of an apartheid state. It is a country in which all residents, all citizens, enjoy the same full rights. All other countries in the Middle East are benighted theocracies, ruthless tyrannies, or mostly both. To call Israel an apartheid state is an expression of ignorance, anti-Semitism, and malice.

    7. South African lawmaker: Israel NOT an apartheid state

      Reverend Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, an outspoken member of the South Africa Parliament, recently expressed ongoing frustration with accusations that Israel is an apartheid state, calling such claims an insult to what his own nation went through.

      Earlier this year, Dr. Meshoe visited San Francisco just around the time that American universities, especially in California, were swarming with anti-Israel propagandists whose new favorite ploy is to label Israel as a practitioner of apartheid against the Arabs of the region.

      "As a black South African who lived under apartheid, my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa," Meshoe wrote in the San Francisco Examiner. "Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is."

      Meshoe explained that under South African apartheid, which was "a legal system of segregation and oppression based on skin color," black people such as himself could not vote, freely travel, or hold high government positions. Furthermore, they were subjected to segregation everywhere from pubic restrooms to schools to hospitals.

      "In my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above," stated Meshoe. "Black, brown and white Jews and the Arab minority mingle freely in all public places, universities, restaurants, voting stations and public transportation. All people have the right to vote. The Arab minority has political parties, serves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) and holds positions in government ministries, the police force and the security services. In hospitals, Palestinian patients lie in beds next to Israeli Jews, and doctors and nurses are as likely to be Israeli Arabs as Jews. ...None of the above was legally permissible in apartheid South Africa!"

      In short, Dr. Meshoe, who heads the African Christian Democratic Party, said it was "slanderous and deceptive" to make such accusations against Israel as doing so "trivializes the word apartheid, minimizing and belittling the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color."

      In conclusion, he wrote that "Israel is a model of democracy, inclusion and pluralism that can be emulated by many nations, particularly in the Middle East."

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  4. Thousands of websites will launch a July 4 online protest against the NSA surveillance programs. Reddit, Wordpress, and Mozilla will take part in the 'Restore the Fourth' campaign online, while live protests take place in cities across the US.

    ‘Restore the Fourth’ is aimed at restoring the fundamentals of the Fourth Amendment – the part of the Bill of Rights which protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. Participants will display an online banner which reads, “This 4th of July, we stand by the 4th Amendment and against the U.S. government’s surveillance of internet users.”

    The campaign, which was spawned on Reddit, has the support of several privacy and press freedom advocacy organizations, including Mozilla, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and

    The rally was largely organized by Fight for the Future – another non-profit agency which fights against internet censorship. The organization’s co-founder, Tiffiniy Cheng, said in a statement that “the NSA programs that have been exposed are blatantly unconstitutional, and have a detrimental effect on free speech and freedom of press worldwide." The rally is expected to be Fight for the Future’s largest online mobilization since its actions against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

    But the protest doesn’t stop online. Organizers are planning live protests in dozens of US cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta. Doug MacArthur, a member of Restore the Fourth’s national board and moderator on Reddit’s r/news, expects between 10,000 and 20,000 people to take part in the protests in the nation’s larger cities.

  5. Bill Bennett is moaning about Mobs and the rapes (didn't mention deaths, nor who administered them):

    If you took a population of 17 MILLION from say, Detroit, Chicago's South Side, South Central LA, and someplace in Florida (for a mix of non-color) how many rapes and murders would regularly take place in 24 hours?

  6. (Bennett bemoaning the Coup in Egypt)

  7. but of course, from another master of bullshittery.

  8. Here is how it went down from Al-Ahram, Cairo:

    On the first anniversary of his inauguration as Egypt’s first ever elected president Mohamed Morsi found himself facing demonstrations, unprecedented in size, demanding his dismissal. At times it felt as if the entire population was on the streets, the vast majority asking Morsi to go.

    The size of nationwide protests on 30 June wrong-footed not just Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership but also key Western capitals, not least Washington.

    The mass protests were accompanied by a show of sympathy for the Armed Forces whose leadership was receiving assessments suggesting that protester numbers would exceed 10 million.

    Demonstrators also received a sympathetic nod from both the grand sheikh of Al-Azhar and the patriarch of the Coptic Church.
    “I don’t need encouragement from anyone to join the demonstrations. I have never protested before, not during 25 January Revolution or afterwards, but I am protesting now because things cannot go on this way. I spent five hours last night queuing to get fuel for my car and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of our problems,” said Ahmed, an accountant, on the eve of 30 June demonstrations.
    A day later and Ahmed’s sentiments were being expressed by millions of demonstrators who flocked to the presidential palace.

    Complaints of deteriorating living conditions dominated, but there was also concern over attacks on freedoms, especially the freedom of expression.

    Informed sources say that as the demonstrations were growing Morsi, “secured” in an annex of the offices of the intelligence, was insisting that protesters numbered only tens of thousands, all of them supporters of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak.
    “He was not just arguing, he really believed it. When he was shown pictures of Tahrir Square he actually claimed the pictures were false,” said one source.

    The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had anticipated a much smaller turnout, was left clinging to claims of legitimacy. Numbers obviously meant nothing. “Legitimacy is on our side. People have the right to express themselves, but it doesn’t change a thing,” railed Sobhi Saleh, a leading member at the group.

  9. {…}

    The Army General Command — a 50-member committee of top brass — had already issued a 48-hour ultimatum for “all the parties concerned to bow to the will of the people”. The ultimatum was designed to prompt the president to acknowledge the mass call for early presidential elections. It failed. The president, according to one informed source, “was furious when he heard the ultimatum”.
    Morsi’s fury was shared by a vast majority of the Brotherhood’s leaders, though stories circulated that there was some dissent voiced within the organisation. Sources say that Saad Al-Katatni argued for a more realistic approach only to be overruled by his colleagues.
    “We are doing this for a reason. Morsi is the elected president; the statement of the army is a military coup. It is a slap in the face of legitimacy,” said Muslim Brotherhood member Hamdi Hassan. “To bow to the call for Morsi to step down is to overthrow the results of the free and fair presidential elections.”

    Not so, says political scientist Rabab Al-Mahdi. A coup would involve the army, for its own reasons and away from any public pressure. “We saw this happening in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez but the people went to the streets and reinstated Chavez.”

    A political activist who long opposed the Mubarak regime, Al-Mahdi insists that “what we are looking at here is the military going with the popular will”.

    “Democracy manifested itself when Morsi was elected,” she argues, “and it re-manifested itself when the masses took to the streets to ask Morsi to step down.”

    Like many opposition figures, Al-Mahdi accepts the military’s reassurances that it will not “rule the country from the driver’s seat”.
    A military source tells Al-Ahram Weekly that Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, appointed less than a year ago by Morsi to replace Hussein Tantawi, declined the Muslim Brotherhood’s offer, supported by the US, to become prime minister and retain Morsi as a “symbolic president”.
    “He is very clear that there will be no military rule. Al-Sisi declined all suggestions that there should be a military prime minister with expanded prerogatives,” he said.

    On the second day of the ultimatum sources say Morsi was close to agreeing to delegate his powers to a new prime minister and call early presidential elections in exchange for a safe exit and immunity from prosecution for himself and other Brotherhood leaders, only to make a U-turn and broadcast a televised statement insisting he would remain. “This is the rule of legitimacy; if we deviate from legitimacy, our democratic march would suffer a setback… and the country could fall into civil unrest.”


  10. {…}

    The statement shocked the crowds in Tahrir and in front of the presidential palaces in Heliopolis and Al-Qubba who had been expecting “a moment of celebration”.

    The president’s strategy, an impression reinforced by the frantic tweeting of his aides Essam Al-Haddad and Pakinam Al-Sharkawi, had crystallised: the goal now was to persuade the international community that Morsi was threatened by a coup.

    Western diplomats speaking to the Weekly insist their governments cannot endorse a military coup and want to see a resolution to the crisis via a mechanism that cannot be judged extra-constitutional. Washington issued conflicting reports, eventually telling the army leadership that it would have to suspend military aid to Egypt even in the event of a “grey coup”, according to CNN. The US capital later denied the report.

    While the US embassy and the Muslim Brotherhood were pushing to keep Morsi as a “symbolic president” pending fresh presidential elections, Morsi was grabbing at an initiative that when it was proposed by the Salafist Nour Party he resolutely ignored. Suddenly he conceded that a national unity government and revisiting controversial articles of the constitution might not be such a bad idea after all.

    Such were the concessions an increasingly beleaguered Morsi offered in his Monday evening speech. This time, though, it was the protesters who resolutely ignored them. “We accept no offers from him. We don’t accept him as a president, honorary or otherwise. He just needs to go. No more,” said Amr, an activist making his way to Al-Qubba palace on Tuesday afternoon. “This evening he will have to be gone. We expect a statement from opposition forces and the army any moment.”

    1. - 03-07-2013 09:16PM ET


      People power ousted Morsi, writes Dina Ezzat

  11. Replies
    1. ...too bad we didn't bug out of Afghanistan after Special Forces and the Northern Alliance kicked the Taliban's Ass, like Rummy wanted.

      Powell and other lifers in the Military and DC wanted to repair the China Shop.

      ...the Compassionate Conservative caved in the name of compassion.

      Causing the vast number of casualties pictured in link above.

      ...and the destruction of Iraq, elimination of Christians there, and a return to power of the Taliban in a more totally destroyed Afghanistan.

  12. Slate on just what to call this day.

    If you want to be truly authentic while barbecuing and watching the fireworks, should you refer to the holiday as “the Fourth of July” or “Independence Day?”

    “Independence Day,” or even “Independent Day.” When 18th-century state legislatures planned the first July 4 observances, they didn’t bother to give the day a proper name. “Independence Day,” however, had slightly more currency than “Fourth of July” in contemporary writings. A Royall Tyler poem dating to the late 18th or early 19th century, for example, commands Americans to “squeak the fife and beat the drum, independence day is come!” Tyler also refers to the holiday as “Independent Day,” which was a widely used alternative.

    The phrase “Fourth of July” was in use by the end of the 18th century, but not quite as often. While traveling through Connecticut in 1807 and 1808, early American chronicler Edward Augustus Kendall saw citizens assembling on a knoll to celebrate “the Fourth of July, or Independent or Independence Day.” “Fourth of July” overtook both “Independence Day” and “Independent Day” in newspaper articles and toasts to George Washington during the 19th century. In an article for New England magazine in 1890, historian Edward Hale wrote, “in my boyhood, the event … was called independence day much more than it is now.”

    Congress established the first federal holidays in 1870: “the first day of January, commonly called New Year's day, the fourth day of July, the twenty-fifth day of December, commonly called Christmas day, and any day appointed or recommended by the President of the United States as a day of public fast or thanksgiving.” The decision to include common names for New Year’s Day and Christmas, but not Independence Day, indicates how rare the phrase had become. In 1938, Congress granted pay to federal employees on holidays, listing all by name, including Fourth of July, rather than Independence Day.

    As many history buffs know, there’s some irony to rise of the phrase “Fourth of July” since the date itself has little significance. Congress approved a declaration of independence on July 2, 1776, and John Adams expected that to be the most important date in American history. The official Declaration, however, was approved two days later by a committee. The first printed copies read “In Congress, July 4, 1776.” Since that broadsheet was tacked up in cities all over the nation, the date stuck.

    The phrase Independence Day has experienced a slight bump over the past 20 years, appearing approximately as often in books as July Fourth and Fourth of July combined. The current U.S. Code uses both names for the holiday.

    1. I've been reduced to refering to it as my Mom's birthday:

      Her 93 years here represents more than a third of this country's history.

  13. Congratulations to your mom and “Cent'anni!"

    1. She loved the Firework Displays every Fourth.

      ...they're still having them in AZ where 19 perished in a firestorm.

      Maybe 'Rat can report from onscene.

  14. I think the ardor to intervene in Syria and Iran may have been deflated this morning:

    Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsi was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources have said.

    At the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word “infidels” to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr Morsi at home.

    Mr Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.

    “The armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conference at a time the state was going through a major political crisis,” said one officer, whose comments reflected remarks made privately by other army staff. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to talk to the media.

    Crippling flaw

    The controversy surrounding the Syria conference pointed to a crippling flaw in the Morsi presidency: though the constitution names Mr Morsi as supreme commander of the armed forces, the military remains master of its own destiny and a rival source of authority to the country’s first freely elected head of state.

    The army’s dramatic ultimatum demanding Mr Morsi and other politicians settle their differences by tomorrow afternoon caught the presidency completely off guard. Triggered by mass protests against Mr Morsi’s rule, it amounted to a soft coup by a military that has been a major recipient of US aid since the 1970s, when Egypt made peace with neighbouring Israel.

    The army has cited the need to avoid bloodshed as its main motivation. It is also worried by other major problems facing Egypt, including an economic crisis that has wiped out more than a tenth of the value of the currency this year, making it harder for the state to import fuel and food.

    Speaking on the eve of the protests, the president had dismissed the idea that the army would take control again.
    If Mr Morsi was aware of irritation in the army, he chose to ignore it, believing his mandate as Egypt’s democratically elected leader gave him licence to make policy the way elected leaders do elsewhere in the world.

    For the army, the Syria rally had crossed “a national security red line” by encouraging Egyptians to fight abroad, risking creating a new generation of jihadists, said Yasser El-Shimy, analyst with the International Crisis Group.

  15. Replies
    1. Saw a Glimpse of Stevie Wonder Somewhere and wanted to see his version of America.

      All I came up with is this collection of losers Led by (the then coke-addicted rageaholic) James Taylor.

      Stevie Steps in Later and is never shown to Sing.

      ...give the guy a break: He's blind and dumb.

      (absolutely loved a lot of his music)