January 2009

In “Ohio Terror Charity Threatens Legal Action After PJM Exposé” Patrick Poole writes:

On December 29, aircraft of the Israeli Defense Forces bombed Hamas terror labs located at the Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) that the IDF said were used by IUG faculty members to make explosives for the terrorist group. The following day I reported exclusively here at Pajamas Media that the bombed terror labs were financed and built by the Dublin, Ohio-based Arab Student Aid International (ASAI). As I noted, ASAI is chaired by Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz, half brother to Saudi King Abdullah, who is also the organization’s primary benefactor.

In response to our reporting, the Columbus Dispatch published an article two weeks ago by reporter Dean Narciso quoting ASAI director Ishaq Y. Al-Qutub that they are considering taking legal action against their detractors — namely, Pajamas Media:

“There has been a serious misunderstanding and misinterpretation of what we do,” he [Al-Qutub] said, adding that they eventually will consider legal action.

Is it likely that ASAI will follow through on their legal threats? Not really.

For one, Al-Qutub confirms virtually every component to our story…

..And it would be hard for ASAI and Al-Qutub to claim that IUG has no connection to Hamas, as IUG officials aren’t bashful about their relationship to the terrorist group. In 2006, IUG professor Jameela El Shanty told the Baltimore Sun:

Hamas built this institution. The university presents the philosophy of Hamas. If you want to know what Hamas is, you can know it from the university.

And federal prosecutors last year named IUG as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial, which resulted in convictions on all 108 counts, where IUG was listed among the “individuals/entities who are and/or were part of the Hamas social infrastructure in Israel and the Palestinian territories” (pg. 2, no. 43).



The Capuchin monastery in Palermo is a discreetly blank building. It sits in a quiet square beside a graveyard, across town from where, in 1992, the Mafia settled its account with Magistrate Borsellino. Outside the door, tucked into a corner, are a couple of hawkers peddling post­cards and guidebooks; inside, a friar sits behind a table selling tickets and more postcards and votive trinkets. It’s a slow day; he reads the paper.

Down a flight of stairs, past a wooden statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, is the door to the catacomb, the waiting room of the dead. Surprisingly large, with high, vaulted ceilings and long corridors stretching away at right angles. It’s cool and dank and smells of sour, spiced dust and rotting cloth. The windows are high and diffuse the sunlight into a pale glow. Fluorescent bulbs vibrate, adding a medically forensic, anemic brightness. Hanging from the walls, propped on benches, resting in their decrepit boxes, are nearly 2,000 dead. They’re dressed in their living best, the uniforms of their earthly calling. There’s no one else down here.


Updike was a great American realist, who used words the way Wyeth, Katz or Hopper used paint, to show real beauty and life, unadorned.

A clip from his short story, A & P

In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. I’m in the third check-out slot, with my back to the door, so I don’t see them until they’re over by the bread. The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs. I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. I ring it up again and the customer starts giving me hell. She’s one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I knowit made her day to trip me up. She’d been watching cash registers forty years and probably never seen a mistake before.

By the time I got her feathers smoothed and her goodies into a bag — she gives me alittle snort in passing, if she’d been born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem — by the time I get her on her way the girls had circled around the bread and were coming back, without a pushcart, back my way along the counters, in the aisle between the check-outs and the Special bins. They didn’t even have shoes on. There was this chunky one, with the two-piece — it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and her belly was still pretty pale so I guessed she just got it (the suit) — there was this one, with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn’t quite frizzed right, and one of these sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too long — you know, the kind of girl other girls think is very “striking” and “attractive” but never quite makes it, as they very well know, which is why they like her so much — and then the third one, that wasn’t quite so tall. She was the queen. She kind of led them, the other two peeking around and making their shoulders round. She didn’t look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima donna legs. She came down a little hard on her heels, as if she didn’t walk in her bare feet that much, putting down her heels and then letting the weight move along to her toes as if she was testing the floor with every step, putting a little deliberate extra action into it.

..and yes, I will forgive him for this:

You never know for sure how girls’ minds work (do you really think it’s a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glassjar?)

Also: Updike’s “On Not Being a Dove,” from the March 1989 issue of COMMENTARY.

Kind of a 21st century Tintin-meets Keith Haring?


Via the Telegraph:

Julian Opie doesn’t want to be interviewed for a profile. ‘I find that people coming here with a bunch of questions they’ve surmised from being on the internet for two hours is frustrating. You get the same stuff regurgitated.’ Instead, he wants to give me a ‘lecture’. He is going to give me a tour of his three-floor studio in Shoreditch, east London, talking about the new work that will be in his show at the Lisson Gallery. The work is up, leaning on walls, or being fiddled with by a team of four assistants. Some of it is making a noise. The sound of cars zooming on a motorway and birds tweeting recurs at random intervals throughout our interview/lecture.

We stand in front of a formal portrait of a woman, knee-length. Maria Teresa could almost have been drawn by Hergé, except that Tintin isn’t quite so minimal. Tintin is two-tone, with flushed cheeks. Maria Teresa’s face and body are an even, standard ‘flesh’ inside thick, black lines. Her nose is two dots. Her eyes are brown with two pinpoint reflections in each. As I examine them, they blink at me. Her dress is painted in a completely different, far more detailed style. Its crystal fringe sways every now and then. The sequins on it shimmer. Then the leaves of the cartoon-style rose she is holding rustle.

This is not, as you will have gathered, a portrait in oils. It is a custom-made LCD screen with a computer tucked in the back that operates an animation. ‘These sparkles off here,’ Opie says, pointing to her diamond and pearl earring, ‘are slightly copied off Cinderella. You know when the prince holds out the shoe and it seems to have these effervescing sparkles? I was watching it with my daughter and I thought, “Yes.”

His website is here and his shop is here

…in an attempt to save the Palestinians by destroying their economy:

The latest victim in the “smash something up for peace” campaign is a branch of Tesco in Swansea. Luckily no one had to be hospitalised after this incident, unlike a previous attack in which a Tesco delivery driver’s head was smashed by a brick hurled by a peace protester in Shoreditch…

…The bizarre assumption seems to be that West Bank Palestinians live in tents or something and it is only the Israeli settlements that are economically active. This is far from the truth.

Of course, all sensible people realise the link between economic stability and prosperity – and peace. So leave it to know-nothing British fuckwits to wreck any prospect of that!

Twenty years ago, black South African musicians like Ray Phiri, Joseph Tshabalala, Bakhiti Kumalo and Vusi Mahlasela were queuing up for the opportunity to work with Paul Simon and to bring black South African music to the world. So what did the know-better fuckwits in the UK do? Led a boycott of Simon and picketed his concerts, of course.

What does it take to survive a crisis?

Why do some people live and others die? Why do a few stay calm and collected under extreme pressure when others panic and unravel? How do some bounce back from adversity while others collapse and surrender?…

… In any emergency, people divide into three categories, Leach says. First, there are the survivors like the 155 people on US Airways Flight 1549, who manage to save themselves in the worst situations. Second, there are unavoidable fatalities: people who never have a chance, like so many of the 200,000 people in Southeast Asia who were swept away by the tsunami of 2004. Third, there are victims who should have lived but perished unnecessarily.

After examining countless disasters and categorizing the ways people respond to life-threatening situations, Leach came up with what might be called the theory of 10-80-10. First, around 10 percent of us will handle a crisis in a relatively calm and rational state of mind. The top 10 percent are leaders, like a few passengers on the US Airways flight who took charge and guided others off the plane.

Leach says the vast majority of us—around 80 percent—fall into the second category. In a crisis, most will “quite simply be stunned and bewildered.” We’ll find that our “reasoning is significantly impaired and that thinking is difficult.” We’ll behave in “a reflexive, almost automatic or mechanical manner.” We’ll sweat. We’ll feel sick, lethargic, numb. Our hearts may race. And we’ll experience “perceptual narrowing” or tunnel vision. We’ll barely hear people around us. It’s OK—it’s not necessarily fatal—and it doesn’t last forever. The key is to recover quickly from brain lock or analysis paralysis, shake off the shock and figure out what to do.

The last group—the final 10 percent—is the one you definitely want to avoid in an emergency. Simply put, the third band does the wrong thing. They behave inappropriately and often counterproductively. In plain terms, they freak out and can’t pull themselves together…

Then there are the people who don’t fit into any category. I have a friend who was run over by her own car (she was dropping off the kids, left the car running and forgot the emergency brake). She walked away from the experience, embarrassed by the whole thing, shooing off the emergency responders. She told me that she was unhurt because of the angle the car rolled over her, or something like that. I still suspect that she’s some sort of Hancock-type in hiding. Some stories of survival or heroism in crisis are just too remarkable. Like the story of Dave Karnes

What’s your survivor IQ?


More Hoboken photos on flickr and panoramio

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