A right way and a wrong way to counter Israel

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 20 2006, 12:18 am

The UN General Assembly has, quite rightly in my opinion, condemned Israel for the killing of Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun on November 8. Their attacks on, and blockading of, the Gaza Strip represent a continuing outrage bordering on the genocidal.

An article posted on the highly recommended Haaretz.com today tells of some of the most heartening news I have heard from Gaza for a while. The IDF called off an air raid in northern Gaza on Saturday night after hundreds of civilians barricaded a house earmarked for attack. The best defence against attack, by sheer weight of humanity, and something the locals should have organised sooner.

More on:

Tresco

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 19 2006, 11:46 pm

Marcus Trescothick is one of my favourite cricketers of the last few years, and it's sad to see that's he is out of the Ashes series with what is apparently a recurrence of a depressive illness. Let's hope he does return to the England team once he is well enough. It was good to see a broad consensus of sympathy towards Trescothick among Australian fans this week after the news broke.

CHAD: Communities turn on one another

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 15 2006, 9:51 pm

CHAD: Communities turn on one another - Chadian human rights groups say what began as cattle raiding has become “a veritable armed conflict” in southeastern Chad as inter-communal clashes escalate, imperiling efforts by aid agencies to help the wounded and displaced. [OCHA-IRIN]

The disturbing news from Chad should be the lead story everywhere today. See also this report from today's New York Times,

Yabba wouldn't have said it

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 14 2006, 1:50 pm

Some unhappy news in today's press about reports of racial abuse directed at Monty Panesar at the SCG during the England v NSW game this week.

My heading says it all. The great man, Yabba, was a witty barracker in his day ("Hey Jardine! Leave our flies alone!"), but he would never have hit below the belt.

There are plenty of good-natured ways of getting a point across without resorting to abuse, racial or otherwise.

No-fly zones

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 14 2006, 10:38 am

What do you think when you hear the term "no-fly zone"?

There's the exclusion zones set up to stop prying eyes getting close to top security bases, for example Pine Gap, the top secret US intelligence satellite tracking base in the Northern Territory that everyone has known about for three decades.

There's the no-fly zone set up in northern and southern Iraq in the 1990s by the US and UK governments, ostensibly to stop Saddam from gassing his neighbours.

There's the no-fly zone over the White House, Camp David, the "Western White House" at Crawford Texas, and anywhere else those pesky terrorists might try and mow down His Beloved Dubyaness.

Jack Palance 1919-2006

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 11 2006, 11:24 am

With the passing of Jack Palance at the age of 87 on Friday, I thought it might be worthwhile to compile a list of my favourite Jack Palance performances on film (with the help of IMDb to jog my memory):

  • Shane (1953) memorable western villain
  • I Died A Thousand Times (1955) Great villain from that sub-genre of film noir called "Shelley Winters gets murdered again"
  • I Mongoli (1962) Hamming it to the hilt as a warlord of Genghis Khan, dubbed into Italian and subtitled back into English

American decisions

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 10 2006, 12:31 pm

In Seattle, 63% of voters have opposed changes to strip club regulations, while 74% of them have supported an initiative to ban taxpayer-funded subsidies for professional sporting teams. The Supersonics are threatening to take their basketball and dribble somewhere else.

In San Francisco, 59% of voters have called for the impeachment of George W Bush and Dick Cheney. In the City of Berkeley, the impeachment vote was 69%.

An unknown known becomes known

Submitted by Rick Eyre on November 9 2006, 3:51 pm

Goodbye Rummy.

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones."

- Donald Rumsfeld, Pentagon press conference, 12.2.02