Thursday, November 18, 2004


This blog is going on hiatus. It will return some time after now. Bye.

Today's OED antedating: "whatchamacallit"

Whatchamacallit, colloquial, code for an unrecalled word (first use cited 1928): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, November 17, 1915, p 9, col 1: "It is, one might say if one were desperate for a two-line ¶, a what-you-McCall-it shame."

Thursday 11/18 links

Blogger Hugh Hewitt offers his list of candidates to replace William Safire at The New York Times; they are: Jonah Goldberg, Stephen Hayes, James Lileks, Peter Robinson, and Mark Steyn. I'd be happiest with Goldberg or Steyn, then Lileks, then Hayes, then Robinson. As though they're going to ask me.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist
Robert Novak reports that Sen. John "McCain told [Porter] Goss the CIA is 'a dysfunctional organization. It has to be cleaned out.' ... McCain told Goss that as director, he must get rid of the old boys and bring in a new team at Langley." And that is what Goss is doing.

London Times Washington correspondent
Gerard Baker explains to his slow-learning readers how "The day of reckoning has arrived for the Bush-hating foreign policy elite."

Canny Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey supplies two interesting posts:
first, he argues that it would be bad tactics for Colin Powell to run against Hillary Clinton in the 2006 New York senatorial race; and second, he reveals that Nebraska Democratic senator Ben Nelson may be offered Sec'y of Agriculture--the Democrats don't want him to take the job, but Nelson's no idiot and he saw what happened to other Democrats in Red America two weeks ago.

The understated and demure syndicated columnist
Ann Coulter: "As we wait for CBS to concede the election, Democrats are claiming Kerry lost because Americans are stupid – and if there's one thing voters respond to, it's crude insults."

Syndicated columnist
Emmett Tyrrell admits he wrote his 1984 classic The Liberal Crack-Up twenty years too early.

Syndicated columnist
Thomas Sowell observes that the liberals' widely-bruited support of the military did not survive past the election.

Wall Street Journal columnist
Peggy Noonan offers a great suggestion: "Ssssshhhhhhhh'"

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "to clean house"

To clean house, transferred, anti-corruption action (no entry): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, September 29, 1920, p 10, col 5: "The managers of the league, The Paterson Call believes, should have taken the bull by the horns and cleaned house ... ."

Wednesday 11/17 links

Conventional wisdom held that Pres. Bush would purge the neoconservatives after the election. Wrong! Los Angeles Times editorial writer Jacob Heilbrunn reports: "Far from being headed for the political graveyard, neoconservatives are poised to become even more powerful in a second Bush term, while the 'realists' — those who believe that moral crusading is costly and counterproductive in foreign policy — are sidelined."

Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley: "With the nominations of Condoleezza Rice at State, Porter Goss at CIA, Donald Rumsfeld (or an equally tough replacement) at Defense and Stephen Hadley at NSC, the president has created an all-Patton foreign and defense team. Moreover, he has a team that understands that among the necessary targets of their firepower must be, not only our foreign enemies, but also the slouching, sly, insubordinate bureaucrats under their chain of command."

New York Times columnist
William Safire: "This president is no sore winner, and has learned the hard way to have in hand a post-victory plan. In decisively choosing those who stay and those who come in, he shows a determination to win the policy battles of his second term. "

Former Army major and now New York Post columnist
Ralph Peters analyzes why "Why the Dogs Didn't Bark."

30-1. That's the KIA ratio in Fallujah--and in urban warfare it is almost invariably the attacker who bears the brunt of the casualties. We've built a new and apparently invincible Army, which New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets describes in "The victory beyond Fallujah."

Why are people so stupid? Why do they presume the terrorists are supermen, rather than inferior fanatics? A Wall Street Journal editorial also wonders, and concludes: "The Lessons of Fallujah: Killing terrorists doesn't make them stronger."

Re Condoleezza Rice's upcoming confirmation hearings, Washington Post columnist George F. Will offers suggestions to senators who wonder "What to Ask the Nominee."

It is not clear whether the title of Front Page Magazine managing editor
Ben Johnson's piece re Condi Rice is misspelled or not; you decide: "Reigning in Foggy Bottom."

Washington Times columnist Joel Mowbray doubts that Rice--or anyone else--can reform the State Dept.

Wall Street Journal columnist Claudia Rosett: "Come Clean, Kofi: The U.N. secretary-general ducks responsibilty for the Oil for Food scam."

Hugh Hewitt wonders whether Chris Matthews will ever grow up. Fat chance.

Jerusalem Post columnist
Herb Keinon reveals that the Israelis are pleased with the new Rice-Hadley team: "Both, as one official put it in diplomatic understatement, are 'positively predisposed toward Israel.' Or, as another said, 'they are both our good friends.'"

Aussie blogger
Arthur Chrenkoff explains "How Poland came to say 'Non' to France and hitch up with America."

Janet Dailey in the London Daily Telegraph: "Europeans and American Democrats are in denial. George Bush has just got the mandate for pursuing his global policy on terrorism that he did not have in his first term: his position is stronger, not weaker. For the domestic market (which is all that matters to an American president), he has less need than before for the spurious credibility that European approval might offer."

National Review Online columnist
Stephen Moore proposes subsidizing lefties who threaten to move to Canada with an "Export a Liberal Fund. From this pool we will donate $100 to every liberal who agrees to give up his U.S. citizenship and flee the country permanently. Warning #1: There's no coming back for health care when you get sick. Warning #2: There will be no amnesty program. These are one-way tickets."

The prolific satirical blogger ScrappleFace Scott Ott offers not one, not two, but three hilarious items:
first, "Sears, Kmart Merge to Set New Bankruptcy Record"; second, "Expert Warns of 'Bickering Deficit' in New Bush Cabinet"; and third, "NBC Reporter Declines Al-Jazeera 'Best Video' Award."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pardon for Barghouti?

The Israelis launched a trial balloon via Dan Izenberg's piece in today's Jerusalem Post, titled "Background: Only Katsav can free Barghouti":

Barghouti had been touted by Palestinians as a possible successor to Yasser Arafat, and as a possible replacement by some Israelis; even after he was captured by the IDF in Ramallah, there were rumors in Israel that the government was grooming him for the job. Before the outbreak of the intifada, Barghouti had been regarded as a moderate who supported the Oslo Accords.

By the time of his capture, however, he had come to be viewed as the most dangerous figure among the non-Islamist forces arrayed against Israel.

Even now, there seems to be ambivalence in Israel regarding Barghouti. It appears that many outside observers and military and government officials still believe he would be the best choice to end the chaos in the PA.

Barghouti clearly has the support of the Palestinian prisoners, who constitute one of the most influential forces in Palestinian society. According to media reports, the prisoners regard Barghouti as their candidate.

But in order for Barghouti to take over the Palestinian leadership, he must first get out of prison, and there is only one way he can do that: President Moshe Katsav must pardon him. Katsav has the sole prerogative to do so according to the Basic Law: The President.

On Sunday, however, Katsav said he sees no reason to do so. The Internet media outlet Ynet quoted Katsav as saying, "I do not think we have to pardon Barghouti just because Arafat has died."

And Village Voice writer
Kareem Fahim and others reported that former Bush 41 secretary of state James Baker ratcheted up the temperature last week when he told CNN's Larry King that Israel should release Barghouti:

"There is now. . . . in an Israeli prison a man named Marwan Barghouti, who is one of the young guard of Palestinians," Baker told King last night, speaking about the post–Yasir Arafat era. "And if the Palestinians are going to make this work against the really hard-line elements, the Islamists and some of the people of Hamas, they're going to have to have a coalition of the young guard and the old guard." (Hat tip to Charles Johnson/Little Green Footballs)

Yeah, right. We'll see ...

Today's OED antedating: "hard-edged"

Hard-edged, figurative, adjective, cynical, tough ("hard," a., sec 22, first use cited 1954): Essay titled "Corpora Delictorum," by Alexander Woollcott, New Yorker, November 2, 1929, p 42, col 1: "It was a compact and startling melodrama [with] ... grubby, hard-edged little French actors who looked as though they had been cut out of some old numbers of L'Illustration."

Tuesday 11/16 links

Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher reports that William Safire is retiring his New York Times column on January 24. Jonah Goldberg: "If the New York Times would like to make me an offer, I'm all ears."

Chicago Sun-Times columnist
Robert Novak picks up on the most startling implication of Colin Powell's resignation; that is, that Pres. Bush did not want him back: "There was a sense, in an administration that puts a high premium on teamwork and loyalty, that Powell was really not a team player. Critical insiders often compared Powell unfavorably with James Baker, the elder George Bush's secretary of state. While Baker was seen as the president's representative to the State Department, Powell was the State Department's representative to the president. That is, Powell was criticized for coddling career Foreign Service officers."

A Wall Street Journal editorial suggests that the Powell resignation should warn the State Dept. to join the team: "His way ... was to represent the department's consensus views in the White House, rather than represent -- and enforce -- Bush Administration policy on his department."

Brilliant stuff from Power Line blogger "Deacon," aka
Paul Mirengoff: "The deepest urge of many liberals is to prove their intellectual and moral superiority. One of the ways they accomplish this is by eschewing obvious explanations for misconduct -- greed, cruelty, or (in extreme cases) evil -- as too simplistic. Liberals would rather identify 'root causes,' as if the basic motivations just mentioned are insufficiently rooted. And the root causes that satisfy liberals generally turn out to be flaws in America and its policies."

National Review Online columnist
Michael Ledeen on the CIA: "Spymasters? The crowd that proclaimed East Germany to be the world's seventh greatest industrial power? The people who claimed to be running scads of agents in Cuba, only to find that every one was a double? The people whose counterintelligence superstar turned out to be a Soviet agent? The organization that didn't seem to have a single reliable agent on the ground in Iraq? The geniuses who thought that Saddam was in a nonexistent bunker on the eve of the invasion of Iraq?"

Washington Times guest columnist Burt Prelutsky has some ideas for the Democratic party, but they won't like them.

Influential blogger
Hugh Hewitt has lots to say about lots of things.

Los Angeles Times columnist
Patrick Goldstein: "The fact remains: Hollywood has a tin ear when it comes to understanding which issues and values matter to average Americans. Showbiz people spend an inordinate amount of time compiling research about consumer attitudes, but when you travel first class or in your private jet, you don't meet too many of those consumers."

Reuters correspondent
Michele Kambas reports that an American claims to have found Atlantis submerged a mile below the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Syria. If so, Donovan can update his song. (Hat tip to "Captain Ed" Morrissey/Captain's Quarters)

Prolific satirical blogger ScrappleFace
Scott Ott: "Iran Pleads with UN: 'Slap Us with Sanctions Like Saddam's.'"

Monday, November 15, 2004

Today's OED antedating: "sob song"

Sob song, musical genre of sad stories sung ("sob," n.1, sec 3 (b), first use cited 1927): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, July 12, 1915, p 9, col 1: "Two or three years ago we reprinted, with great pleasure to ourself, at least, a lot of the old-time sob-songs."

Monday 11/15 links

News flash posted early this morning by Associated Press reporter George Gedda: "Secretary of State Colin Powell has told top aides he intends to resign from President Bush's Cabinet."

Alas, the Associated Press is forced to admit "U.S. Ground Assault on Fallujah 'Ahead of Schedule,' Says Marine Commander."

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on Yasir Arafat: "He was single-minded, but not about statehood or a real peace."

"TIESW" (ie, "the Israeli ex-spook website") DEBKA has two breaking items:
First, no fewer than 40 terrorist gunmen strolled into a mourning tent in Gaza, killed two bodyguards, then after shooting into the air warned Mahmoud Abbas, aka new Palestinian chief Abu Mazen, that if he didn't continue the terror campaign they would kill him. And second (though perhaps irrelevant after the first item), the US, Israel, and new Palestinian chief Abu Mazen are conspiring--yes, conspiring--to establish Abu Mazen's rule. Apparently you can't trust anyone any more.

Asia Times columnist
"Spengler" examines "The assassin's master sermon."

Washington Times columnist
Arnaud de Borchgrave describes the "Mini clash of civilizations" between Moslem immigrants and native Dutch in the Netherlands. I would suggest more careful language: I would characterize the Moslems more by "culture" than "civilization," for the latter term implies a level of development that the Moslems have not achieved for the better part of a millennium.

Daily Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes details how wily spook bureaucrats are leak-leak-leaking to the MSM varsity to attempt to undermine the sweeping reform that new CIA chief Porter Goss has ordered.

Hold the presses! Scoop from New York Times columnist
William Safire: The UN is corrupt--and they're covering up the Iraq oil scandal! And Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak quotes a real live US Senator who is angry about it.

Syndicated columnist
Michael Barone is not altogether sad to say that it was "A bad election for old media."

Beldar blogger
William J. Dyer pokes fun at the "NYT's confusion on the basic concepts of government."

New York Times guest columnist and Yale economist
Michael J. Graetz, presumably left-of-center, suggests a simplified tax structure with no income taxes below $100K; 25% above that; and the usual mortgage and charitable deductions. So what the heck.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Barghouti steamroller picking up speed ...

From Donald Macintyre's piece in today's London Sunday Independent:

The jailed Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, could emerge as a kingmaker in the succession to Yasser Arafat, even if he eventually rejects growing advice to run for the Palestinian presidency himself, his supporters suggested yesterday.

With recent polls showing that, before Mr Arafat's death on Thursday, Mr Barghouti was the second most popular Palestinian politician after him, Mr Barghouti's wife Fadwa yesterday issued a pointed warning that the transitional Palestinian leadership should be "more aware of their need to have Marwan Barghouti standing beside them".

From a Saturday Associated Press report:

JERUSALEM - Imprisoned uprising leader Marwan Barghouti has decided to run for president in upcoming Palestinian elections, a source close to the popular politician said Saturday.

Barghouti, widely seen as the strongest candidate to replace Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, will only bow out of the race if his ruling Fatah movement selects a different candidate in internal voting, the source said on condition of anonymity. That is unlikely as Fatah is not expected to hold a primary.

And from an analysis by Jason Burke in Saturday's London Guardian:

The greatest challenge to the old guard - who may yet look for a reason to postpone the poll - comes from Marwan Barghouti, a firebrand leader currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison. Barghouti, who was deeply involved in running the recent al-Aqsa uprising, is hugely popular among Palestinian youth and is seen as a potential leader by many.

P&C has watched closely as Barghouti has prepared his ground well. The particularly startling and Machiavellian angle involved here is that the Israelis may be among Barghouti's strongest and most influential supporters, but they must cover their tracks extremely well because the public disclosure of their approval would be fatal to any Palestinian's chances.

Among the nearly dozen P&C posts on this unfolding story:

Friday (11/12), P&C linked to a Tel Aviv Ha'aretz column written by left-wing Israeli journalist Amira Hass:

Palestinian security detainees [ie terrorists in Israeli prisons] are waiting to hear what prisoner Marwan Barghouti has to say: What is his position on the emerging leadership? Does he intend to contend in the planned elections? According to a lawyer who met with prisoners at Nafha prison this week, the security detainees, particularly those belonging to Fatah, speak of Barghouti as the Palestinian people's new leader. They await his pronouncements as they waver between wanting to give the collective leadership now taking shape a chance and mistrusting it.

P&C's conclusion:

The Palestinian hard cases in Israeli prisons instinctively respect and defer to Barghouti. If, as has been reported, the Israelis also like him, and grabbed him up primarily to prevent rival Palestinians from clipping him--then Marwan Barghouti is the future of Palestine. You read it here first.

Monday (11/8), P&C linked to a Jerusalem Post column written by Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, who described the widespread support Barghouti enjoys on the Palestinian street.

And on
September 28, P&C introduced the subject with this post, under the title "Marwan Barghouti":

A significant development buried in
Mark Lavie's Associated Press piece about the latest carnage in the Middle East:

"The wife of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti said her husband will run in Palestinian parliamentary elections expected next year."

Until he was captured in Ramallah by an elite Israeli commando unit in April 2002, Barghouti was the area chief of the "Tanzim," an Al-Fatah offshoot that Yasir Arafat ordered established after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. Arafat needed the Tanzim because he was too closely identified with Fatah and required plausible deniability for future terrorist actions that he might personally order. Barghouti also founded the notorious Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, another terrorist group responsible for dozens of murderous attacks.

Before the newest Palestinian terror campaign started in 2000, Barghouti got along well with the Israelis and gained their respect. He speaks fluent Hebrew (he did time in Israeli prisons) and is regarded to be an opportunistic moderate. The Israelis believe that Barghouti helped to plan terrorist actions--including suicide bombings--during the two years before his capture primarily to maintain his position within the Palestinian hierarchy.

The word is that the Israelis captured and jailed the charismatic Barghouti to protect him from jealous rivals who wanted him dead--a list which included Arafat. Had Israel intended to eliminate Barghouti, it would have killed him in a targeted attack with little potential risk to the Israelis. Instead, the Israeli generals sent an elite "Duvdevan" unit deep into the West Bank to snatch him.

Then the Israelis broke with longstanding practice and held Barghouti's trial in open court--not in the closed military court where Palestinian terror suspects are usually tried. And in his trial, with the world media watching and reporting, Barghouti offered a spirited and colorful defense that in practical terms kicked off his political campaign: he shouted his defiance; he characterized himself as a patriot in a kangaroo court; he denied that the Israelis had any jurisdiction to try any Palestinian for any act committed on his own land. The performance was a great hit in the Palestinian-controlled areas.

There is talk that Israel took great care to provide Barghouti with this forum for the purpose of building his street cred among the Palestinian public. And there are whispers that Israel and the US are carefully grooming Barghouti to succeed Arafat--and that Arafat knows it.So yesterday, safely ensconced in an Israeli prison, Barghouti kicked off his formal campaign ...

And one last extract, from David Aaronovitch's column in today's London Observer. After listing a series of "solutions" broached here or there, but which he dismisses as impossible (in some instances more because he dislikes them than due to any inherent impracticability), he concludes:

In an Israeli jail, convicted of complicity in murders, sits Marwan Barghouti, hero of the camps, planner of the intifada, condemner of suicide bombings and - quite possibly - the only man who could deliver a peace. If he were brave enough to try, if the Israelis were brave enough to let him. He won't be elected this time, but he is, many think, the Nixon for this China. Remember the name.

This is just beginning ...

Today's OED antedating: "to add (it all) up"

To add (it all) up, colloquial, to make sense (of it) ("add," v., sec 5 (b), first use cited 1942): Book titled Ade's Fables, by George Ade, 1914, p 91: "[T]he poor gink who calls loudly for English Mustard ... may have his brief Hour of Triumph, but no man ever really got anywhere by doping Salad, when you stop to add it all up."

Sunday 11/14 links

Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes is talking realignment. We'll see.

Newsweek columnist
George F. Will observes that the leftist mindset simply cannot tolerate the possibility that they lose election after election for reasons of substance; therefore, it must be the voters' fault: "Belief in the infantilism of the American public has been an expanding facet of some "progressive" thinking for 50 years—since the explosive growth of advertising, especially on television, in the 1950s."

Washington Post columnist
David S. Broder suggests that lefties calm down: "Bush won, but he will have to work within the system for whatever he gets. Checks and balances are still there. The nation does not face 'another dark age,' unless you consider politics, with all its trade-offs and bargaining, a black art."

US News & World Report columnist
Gloria Borger concludes that "Democrats need a twang."

The US military has tons of shiny toys, but former Army officer and now New York Post columnist
Ralph Peters explains that it ultimately comes down to grunts going door-to-door, "Down and Dirty."

Jerusalem Post columnist
Herb Keinon is relieved that Tony Blair could not persuade Pres. Bush to screw Israel.

New York Daily News columnist
Zev Chafets was appalled by the conduct of the crowds at the Arafat funeral--"chaotic, violent and hysterical"--and concludes that the Palestinians are "Still not ready for prime time."

Los Angeles Times guest columnist
Dennis Prager, a Jew, defends the cross on the Los Angeles city seal.

Chicago Tribune columnist
James Coates explores Microsoft's new search engine, which will never conquer Google--just as MS Word could never hope to compete with WordPerfect.

Prolific satirical blogger ScrappleFace
Scott Ott can draw distinctions: "While the vice president has a history of heart trouble, spokesman Mary Matalin said tests showed that 'this time it's only an ordinary cold, not the kind of cold that Soviet leaders used to get.'"

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Jews barred from Norwegian Holocaust commemoration

From an editorial in yesterday's New York Sun:

Norway managed to forbid Jews from marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a step the French haven't yet taken. The local TV2 News reported that no Norwegian Jews participated in Oslo's commemoration of Kristallnacht. "TV2 also reported that the authorities, saying they didn't want trouble, forbade any Jewish symbols, including Stars of David and Israeli flags," according to Israel's Arutz-7 radio station.

"On the TV2 evening news, a group of Jews and their friends who wanted to take part in the commemoration were shown being firmly told by a policeman to 'please leave the area,'" according to a dispatch from an American journalist living in Norway, Bruce Bawer, on "This in a city where Muslim demonstrations take place on a regular basis, and include signs and banners bearing hateful, barbaric slogans."

The ban prompted a protest from the Simon Wiesenthal Center to the government of Norway.

So the Europeans want to involve themselves in the Mideast so-called "peace process." What do you think?

Today's OED antedating: "Wailing Wall"

Wailing Wall, the surviving portion of the western wall of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem ("wailing," vbl. n., sec (c), first use cited 1919): Article headlined "Red Liberals," by Ren Mulford, Jr, Sporting Life, June 3, 1911, p 7, col 1: "In fact, they ... emitted a howl that sounded like a symphony of sorrow at the Wailing Wall of the Sons of Abraham at Jerusalem."

Saturday 11/13 links

This one's a classic, from the Weekly Standard's "Scrapbook": "Disappointed Democrats have had two weeks to argue about what went wrong for John Kerry on November 2. And they've had any number of plausible theories to choose from. ... But none among the most commonly circulating postmortems has yet won an enthusiastic Democratic embrace. Except, that is, for this one: George W. Bush won reelection because . . . well, because there are just too many damn dumb people in this country, that's why."

One of the new favorites, Captain's Quarters blogger
"Captain Ed" Morrissey, ruthlessly fisks Brent Scowcroft's insidiously anti-Israel Washington Post column.

Andrew Sullivan on Barbara Plett, the idiot BBC correspondent who claimed she "started to cry... without warning" when Arafat left Ramallah: "Do you think she'd shed a tear for the Pope? Or Mother Teresa? The far left's attraction to foreign murder and tyranny endures, doesn't it? Notice also this BBC timeline for Arafat's life. The last two dates are his Nobel Peace Prize and the 2001 Israeli blockade in Ramallah. No mention of Camp David or Taba. The BBC has the historical objectivity of Stalin."

Washington Post reporters
Dana Priest and Walter Pincus faithfully take down notes from CIA lifers who are leaking--drip, drip, drip--ie whining that the new CIA director is mean. The leakers warn darkly that resignations are being tendered! Good! The CIA is like the Chicago Cubs--every trade or other transaction is a winner because you're getting rid of a presumably incompetent-spook/Cub and getting a presumably non-incompetent-spook/non-Cub in return.

New York Times columnist
David Brooks cuts straight to the point: "Now that he's been returned to office, President Bush is going to have to differentiate between his opponents and his enemies. His opponents are found in the Democratic Party. His enemies are in certain offices of the Central Intelligence Agency."

Weekly Standard correspondent
Irwin M. Stelzer asserts that the European Union is perhaps not not our enemy, but certainly our opponent: "The positioning of the E.U. as an anti-American force has not been lost on Washington's policymakers, who now realize that this country's historic support for a united Europe is dangerously contrary to U.S. interests."

Power Line blogger "Deacon," aka
Paul Mirengoff, examines the Democrats' newest rhetorical trick--imputing statewide statistics to individual voters. Thus Pres. Bush was only popular among less educated, stupider, and less productive Americans, who by implication are not quite equal enough to count. Of course there are much more precise statistics available, which indicate that when sorted by level of education Sen. Kerry took two classes of voter: those with post-grad experience, and those without high school diplomas. Pres. Bush took college graduates, some college, and high school graduates. What would you conclude from that?

Weekly Standard writer
Robert Satloff suggests that Palestine already possesses many of the attributes of a modern Arab state--that is, it's a mess. Then he supplies a lot of useless advice.

London Times columnist
Ben Macintyre notices blogs. Good for him. As he puts it: "Welcome to the New Tom Paines."

Alas, poor Earth Mother--IOWAHAWK satirical blogger
David Burge recounts the angst of "Blue State Blues as Coastal Parents Battle Invasion of Dollywood Values."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Suha's $22 million/year shakedown reported here (from DEBKA) 2 days ago

Uri Dan and Andy Soltis in today's New York Post:

Suha Arafat, who jealously guarded her husband's bedside during his final hours, brought his body home from France yesterday for burial — after sealing a deal that will make her a very rich widow.

Suha agreed to a settlement with the Palestinian Authority that will reportedly pay her as much as $22 million a year for divulging the secrets of her husband's fortune.

This item appeared in P&C two days ago:

According to the Israeli
DEBKA website, the Palestinian Authority surrendered to Suha Arafat's shakedown--she'll get $22 million per year for the rest of her life. If the Islamoterrorists hear about the terms of the deal, that latter contingency may occur much sooner than she expects.

Now you know where to get it first.

Yet more about Barghouti

From Amira Hass's piece in the dovish Tel Aviv Ha'aretz daily newspaper:

Palestinian security detainees are waiting to hear what prisoner Marwan Barghouti has to say: What is his position on the emerging leadership? Does he intend to contend in the planned elections?

According to a lawyer who met with prisoners at Nafha prison this week, the security detainees, particularly those belonging to Fatah, speak of Barghouti as the Palestinian people's new leader. They await his pronouncements as they waver between wanting to give the collective leadership now taking shape a chance and mistrusting it.

Hass goes on to describe how keenly Barghouti follows current events as they unfold, his democratic instincts, etc, etc--all the things a lefty swoons over in an enemy's legend--but none of that really matters.

What does matter is this: the Palestinian hard cases in Israeli prisons instinctively respect and defer to Barghouti. If, as has been reported, the Israelis also like him, and grabbed him up primarily to prevent rival Palestinians from clipping him--then Marwan Barghouti is the future of Palestine. You read it here first.

Today's OED antedating: "leak"

Leak, disclosed confidence (n., sec 1 (d), first use cited 1950): Untitled item by Franklin P. Adams, New York Tribune, January 3, 1917, p 9, col 1: "Well, it appears, in the first place, that nobody in Washington had anything to do with the 'peace leak'; and, in the second place, there was no 'leak' in the first place." And a more illustrative untitled item by Adams, New York Tribune, February 1, 1917, p 11, col 1: "Peace note leak motto: Hutton, Hutton, who got the information?"

Friday 11/12 links

Some very big stuff evidently leaked to New York Sun reporter Jamie Dettmer: Karl Rove wants Don Rumsfeld out. Dick Cheney is attempting to protect him, and will manage to keep him around until spring. Condi Rice wants Defense, and will likely move out the neocons. Douglas Feith has already announced he is leaving. Colin Powell will probably stay a few months longer than Rumsfeld.

There clearly is a concerted campaign starting here: the World Tribune quotes anonymous sources more-than-willing to leak the news that Pres. Bush intends to shake up his personnel and involve himself more in the Israel-Palestinian situation. Which is bad news for Israel.

Washington Post columnist
George F. Will urgently catalogues "What Hinges on Fallujah": "Success in Iraq, people here believe, is contingent on three ifs: if Iraqi military and security forces can stay intact during contacts with the insurgents; if insurgents are killed in sufficient numbers to convince the Sunni political class that it must invest its hope in politics; and if neighboring states, especially Syria, will cooperate in slowing the flow of money and other aid to the insurgency. If so, then the United States can -- this is the preferred verb -- 'stand up' an Iraqi state and recede from a dominant role."

Belmont Club blogger
"Wretchard" explains that "the battle for the Sunni Triangle is a single, integrated theater which does not consist of Fallujah alone."

Re the accolades to Yasir Arafat pouring in from the Arab world, London Times foreign editor
Bronwen Maddox warns that "it would be wrong to interpret these words as indicative of deep, unqualified mourning. The tributes conceal more than three decades of mutual mistrust between the Palestinian leader and the Arab world. Arafat tried to play them off against each other and ended up losing the support and respect of almost all. They found his cause useful to them — until he became an embarrassment and even a threat. "

Washington Times columnist
Cal Thomas: "As part of its obituary, The New York Times said, 'Arafat led a long and failed effort for statehood' for the Palestinians. He did no such thing. Arafat led a long reign of terror, the purpose of which was to kill Jews and eliminate the state of Israel."

US News & World Report guest columnist
Fouad Ajami: "Character is destiny. And in the end, character doomed Arafat."

London Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips also blogs, and supplies two interesting items today.
First, "a permant cessation of Palestanian violence will not happen while Blair and the Europeans insist on piling the pressure not on Palestinians such as [Gaza strongman Mohammed] Dahlan but instead upon Israel to stop defending itself, leaving Bush alone to champion the victims of terror against their slaughterers, and uphold right against wrong." And second, she is appalled to observe that "the degradation and corruption of British and western society, not to mention the United Nations, are now on sickening display for all with eyes to see from the disgusting response to the death of Arafat." Not here.

Perhaps the world's media are finally willing to hint at the cause of Arafat's death. International Herald Tribune writer
Elisabeth Rosenthal: "Low platelet counts in the blood are a common finding in a wide range of illnesses, including severe infections, liver disease, end-stage cancer, and even AIDS."

Kaddoumi and Jibril and Dahlan, oh my! Tel Aviv Ha'aretz columnist
Bradley Burston supplies a roster of Arafat's feuding would-be successors. A useful guide.

Wall Street Journal columnist
Daniel Henninger: "In the Information Age, authority is a priceless franchise. But it is this franchise that Big Media, incredibly, has just thrown away. It did so by choosing to go into overt opposition to one party's candidate, a sitting president. It stooped to conquer."

Washington Post writers
Glenn Kessler and Al Kamen report that senior White House aide Robert Blackwill resigned after hurting an embassy secretary in Kuwait. Just as well--the top Iraq guy in the White House was an old-school State Dept. Arabist.

Wall Street Journal columnist
Bret Stephens makes a splendid point: "What makes liberals think they have the right to decide what's acceptable to say?"

Classicist/National Review Online columnist
Victor Davis Hanson warns of "The Ironies Ahead--What George W. Bush faces."

Washington Post columnist
Charles Krauthammer has the numbers to comprehensively refute the "'Moral Values' Myth" and concludes: "This does not deter the myth of the Bigoted Christian Redneck from dominating the thinking of liberals and infecting the blue-state media. They need their moral superiority like oxygen, and they cannot have it cut off by mere facts. Once again they angrily claim the moral high ground, while standing in the ruins of yet another humiliating electoral defeat."

London Spectator columnist
Paul Johnson is pleased to note that "English marches on in the age of Bush and Blair."

Prolific blog satirist ScrappleFace
Scott Ott: "Bush Applauds Arafat's 'New Attitude.'"

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Mainstream media ignore Arafat AIDS angle

Note the careful language employed by the major mainstream newspapers as they fail to describe how Yasir Arafat died:

The New York Times (written by James Bennet & Steven Erlanger): "Mr. Arafat ... died at about 3:30 a.m. Paris time of complications from an unknown disease after lingering in a coma for days."

The Washington Post (John Ward Anderson & Molly Moore): "Arafat was flown to France nearly two weeks ago with what was said to be an intestinal disorder, but he lapsed into a coma and suffered a brain hemorrhage and liver and kidney failure. The doctors treating him in France never said publicly what caused the illness that led to his death."

Los Angeles Times (Laura King, Ken Ellingwood, & Sebastian Rotella): "He was being treated for a mysterious illness" and "the announcement by French authorities ... shed no light on the cause of death."

Associated Press (Lara Sukhtian): "Neither his doctors nor Palestinian leaders would say what killed him."

London Times (Philippe Naughton): "What exactly the former guerrilla chief died from is far from clear. Doctors at the Percy military hospital at Clamart in the southwestern suburbs of Paris refused to give any details, citing the family's right to privacy. Mr Arafat was taken to the hospital last week after doctors in Ramallah were unable to diagnose or clear up a mystery blood disorder."

So why did most major newspapers and wire services carefully fail to refer, even in passing, to the widespread rumors that Arafat had AIDS? The rumors could have been explicitly and accurately characterized as "unconfirmed." Is it newsworthy--that AIDS likely killed perhaps the most famous leader in a Moslem world gripped by fanatic intolerance? You must be kidding.

Even the single exception, United Press International (Claude Salhani), referred to the AIDS rumor with language calculated to dismiss it with scorn, but without leaving fingerprints as to whether it was actually true: "There were even spiteful rumors the Palestinian leader was dying of AIDS. None of these has proven true." Proven? Since when is breaking news limited to stuff that can be "proven" to be true? Virtually none qualifies. Standard practice is to report the scoop accurately while simultaneously supplying its provenance. And why are the rumors "spiteful"? Because they tend to put Arafat in a bad light? Salhani doesn't say.

On the other hand, you have five more fingers ... (thank you, Steven Wright). And you also have the blogs, such as Power Line and "The Big Trunk," aka Scott W. Johnson: "Arafat led an incredibly dissolute life. It was his dissolution that ultimately resulted in his contraction of AIDS, the disease that led to his death outside Paris yesterday. As with so many basic facts about this utterly vile human being, the truth (although baldly reported by Oriana Fallaci in the fall of 1981) remains shrouded in myth, deception and outright lies."

Is there any doubt that these rumors would have trumpeted in blaring headlines had the decedent been someone the western leftish media/intelligensia elite deemed less worthy of protection? Such as Ariel Sharon, or George W. Bush, or Tom Delay, for example? Just wondering.

Arafat lede

Here's the lead paragraph that every major newspaper should have published (more or less), but only Stephen Miller of the New York Sun managed to write:

Yasser Arafat, the terrorist leader bent on destroying Israel who insisted he wanted to die a martyr to the Palestinian cause, managed instead to die of natural causes last night at a hospital in Clamart, France. He was 75.

Today's OED antedating: "simcha"

Simchah, Jewish celebratory event, ex Hebrew (first use cited 1932): Short story titled "Lucky Numbers," collected in Lucky Numbers, by Montague Glass, 1927, p 28: "'Nu, Sammet,' he said, 'you look like a young feller to-night. What’s the simcha?'"

Thursday 11/11 links

London Daily Telegraph war correspondent Toby Harnden supplies tales from the front: Fallujah.

Belmont Club blogger
"Wretchard" analyzes the wider strategy of "The River War."

New York Post columnist (and former Army major) Ralph Peters: "In the Second Battle of Fallujah, military operations are ahead of schedule. Our casualties have been blessedly light. The terrorists who haven't fled are being killed by the hundreds. Our troops will soon achieve their goal of eliminating Iraq's key safe haven for terrorists. Our Marines and soldiers have carried the ball inside the 10-yard line. The media's response? Move the goalposts. The legions of pundits ('Will talk for food') now suggest that a win in Fallujah will be meaningless because we failed to kill or capture the terrorist leadership, because some of the thugs ran away and because Fallujah won't resemble Darien, Conn., by next Sunday."

Los Angeles Times columnist
Max Boot writes a eulogy for Arafat--but it will not be read at the funeral.

Captain's Quarters blogger
"Captain Ed" Morrissey suggests "Arafat as Rohrschach Test." Hint: Pres. Bush and Australian prime minister John Howard pass; Jacques Chirac fails.

New York Daily News columnist
Sidney Zion: "Blair [is] coming to Washington today to urge President Bush to push Israel around. He apparently considers this his marker for supporting us in the Iraq war. ... Bush, after all, got no more than 25% of the Jewish vote, so what does he owe Israel? I don't think he looks at it that way. This is the guy who once said, 'It doesn't matter whether the Jews vote for me, I will stick with Israel.'"

Jerusalem Post columnist
Uri Dan says that Ariel Sharon is pleased that Pres. Bush was reelected and it's "Business As Usual."

Syndicated columnist
Emmett Tyrrell: "One of the reasons I can say with the utmost confidence that the liberal Democrats are going to be out in the cold for a very long time has to do with a sociological observation. Almost no liberal Democrat knows a conservative Republican of whom he is not contemptuous."

Appearing in The American Spectator online,
Jed Babbin describes how the mainstream media are hemorrhaging ratings and circulation: "It's hard to keep your market share when you forfeit peoples' trust, when you look down on your audience, and when you hate a large number of your audience and the pols for whom they vote." (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

Syndicated columnist
Larry Elder has a question: if Pres. Bush is such an idiot, why does he keep winning?

Syndicated columnist
Ann Coulter takes aim at MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, who is an easy target.

Re the Van Gogh murder, National Review Online columnist
Michael Ledeen observes: "As things stand, the Europeans are so enthralled by cultural relativism and political correctness that they are totally unwilling to challenge any idea, even the jihadists' program of creating a theocratic state within Western civil society. ... The Dutch — like every other European society I know — were unwilling to recognize that they had potentially lethal enemies within, and that it was necessary to impose the rules of civil behavior on everyone within their domain. ... That's what happens when a culture is relativized to the point of suicide."

Here's a big surprise:
Mark Bauerlein, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that campuses are left-wing havens that actively discriminate against conservatives. He has some suggestions that will be ignored. (Hat tip to Arts & Letters Daily)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What do you think I am, a Rockefeller?

A sign of the times, neon-bright, from a wedding announcement in the New York Times, June 8, 2003, page IX-15:

WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Julia D'Amico, Stuart Rockefeller

Julia Elizabeth D'Amico, the daughter of Dr. Susan Armstrong and Dr. Robert D'Amico, both of Gainesville, Fla., was married last evening to Stuart Alexander Rockefeller, a son of the late Barbara Olsen Rockefeller and the late Rodman Clark Rockefeller, both of New York. ...

Her father is the chairman of the philosophy department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Her mother is a psychotherapist in Gainesville. ...

He is a grandson of the late Nelson A. Rockefeller, the vice president and New York governor. ...

Ms. D'Amico, 34, is keeping her name.

Two things: first, a girl named D'Amico marries into the Rockefeller family and she "is keeping her name"? Past generations tended to marry Rockefellers and Vanderbilts and Hiltons et al primarily to acquire the luminous surname (and the money), and to retain it after the divorce or predecease. (Just what was Teresa Kerry's first husband's name again?) And second, the disclosure is matter-of-fact: there is no hint of calculation, or reverse snobbery, or political statement--just a bland declarative sentence revealing her intent. But why should Rockefeller inherently be preferable to D'Amico? Well, of course there is wannabe aspiration, but that is ultimately pathetic. Is there anything else?

Perhaps the demure Mr Rockefeller eventually will assume Ms D'Amico's name ...

Today's OED antedating: "Eurotrash"

Eurotrash, slang, jocular, usually pejorative, jet-set Europeans living in the U. S., mainly in Manhattan, Miami, and Los Angeles (no entry): Essay titled "The Eurotrash Invasion," by Taki (Theodoracopulos), Esquire, April 1983, p 118, col 1: "It began a few years ago. The massive influx of Eurotrash, I mean. (The name was invented by native New Yorkers.) .../Eurotrash is utterly indifferent to the host culture; in fact, they are downright arrogant concerning anything American. The Eurocrowd in New York is now so large that it is self-sufficient."

Wednesday 11/10 links

According to the Israeli DEBKA website, the Palestinian Authority surrendered to Suha Arafat's shakedown--she'll get $22 million per year for the rest of her life. If the Islamoterrorists hear about the terms of the deal, that latter contingency may occur much sooner than she expects.

New York Times columnist
William Safire has a message for Tony Blair, who wants to "jump-start" the Mideast peace process, ie coerce Israel: "C'mon, Tony; we don't thank one big ally by selling out a smaller one. There's an honorable way. Let Arafat pass from the scene. Let the Palestinians show they are ready to be a nation and not a bunch of warring factions. ... Then let us invite the elected Palestinian and Israeli leaders to Camp David to work out their final settlement."

Strategy Page military analyst
James Dunnigan explains "Arab Illusions and Modern Terrorism."

Slate columnist
Christopher Hitchens supplies a superb essay: "Bush's Secularist Triumph: The left apologizes for religious fanatics--the president fights them." (Hat tip to Matt Drudge)

Washington Times columnist
Tony Blankley assumes "the Republican National Committee is busy recording and archiving the idiotic statements coming out of national Democratic Party leaders and commentators," particularly "the opinion pages of The New York Times (that would be pages A-1- D 37 inclusive)."

And Daily Standard writer
Matthew Continetti reports that "the left has decided that in the wake of Bush's victory, America is on the brink of civil war. Are they nuts?"

TCS: Tech Central Station columnist
Todd J. Weiner suggests that the election held "Lessons for Both Parties"--but guess which party will actually learn from it?

New York Observer columnist
Tish Durkin supplies "Five Reality Checks For Democrats: Dump Kofi, Moore, Dopes."

Syndicated columnist
Jonah Goldberg provides "What's bad for the party isn't necessarily bad for America."

London Daily Telegraph columnist
Janet Daley explains "Why the liberals have been left behind": "Left-wing intellectuals, of course, are never, ever wrong. Nothing - absolutely nothing - ever causes them to question their own beliefs. It is the rest of the world that is out of step. And the rest of you - the great democratic mass of people who have the temerity to think your own thoughts and come to your own conclusions - are scarcely worthy of the franchise."

London Times columnist
Michael Gove is a wonder--a gentile European journalist who takes Israel's side, such as in this column: "Fresh start. Road map. Political engagement. Choose your own cliché."

London Daily Telegraph columnist
Daniel Johnson predicts that the super-multicultural Netherlands had its own wake-up call with the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. And Strategy Page columnist Austin Bay demands the end of "the reactionaries' reign of terror."

Anonymous blogger
"A Sad American" sends "An Open Letter to the Democratic Party." (Hat tip to Jay Ornellas)

Here's the newest from satirical blogger ScrappleFace
Scott Ott: "Arafat May Soon Sign Death Certificate."

QandO blogger
Jon Henke supplies "The Dead Arafat Sketch"--"with apologies to a certain British group."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

And she's no mensch, either

From Joshua Mitnick's piece in today's Washington Times, regarding Palestinian outrage over Suha Arafat's purported extortion ploy:

"It's chutzpah. Yasser Arafat isn't the private property of Suha Arafat," said Sufian Abu Zaydeh, a Fatah official in Gaza. "I haven't heard one Palestinian who has justified what she said."

Are the Palestinians outing Arafat?

Last Saturday (November 6), David Frum posted a widely overlooked item about Yasir Arafat and AIDS in his National Review Online Diary. At least I did not see it, nor did I see any references to it. Frum's provocative question--are the Palestinians trying to expose Arafat's suspected AIDS? Some extracts from Frum's column:

Everything we have heard about Arafat’s condition seems almost designed to make us suspect AIDS – and just to underscore the point, we are further told that he is not suffering from leukemia, the other plausible diagnosis. The sources of the information about Arafat’s depressed platelet count, his weight loss, his mental aberrations, and all the rest of his symptoms are apparently all Palestinians. ...

Why are Palestinian high-ups revealing all these alleged facts? Why would they want to put out information that so strongly suggests that their leader has this particular disease? Is it possible that they wish people to know (or believe) that Arafat has AIDS? Why would they want that? After all, ... in Palestinian culture, an AIDS diagnosis is bound to be a discrediting fact.

Unless … there are people around Arafat who want to discredit the old leader. It certainly is interesting that we are hearing about Arafat’s mysterious but AIDS-like illness at exactly the same moment that we are learning about Arafat’s multibillion-dollar Swiss bank accounts. ... Are we hearing from reformers who wish to clean up the abuses of Arafat’s personal rule? Or from Islamists who wish to hold themselves out as a more moral alternative? Or both? Or somebody else altogether?

There will be more ...

Today's OED antedating: "piece of work"

Piece of work, slang, often pejorative, one conspicuous for a particular quality, ex fanciful Hamlet (II.ii.317) characterization ("piece," n., sec 7 (c), first use cited 1928): Book titled Forty Modern Fables, by George Ade, 1901, p 17: "One of the Girls was a grand little Piece of Work and she had a slew of uppetty-up accomplishments ... ."

Tuesday 11/9 links

Knowledgable Belmont Club blogger "Wretchard" explains what is happening in Fallujah.

Former Army major, now New York Post columnist
Ralph Peters insists that "Finishing Fallujah" is vital: "The most decisive battle since the fall of Baghdad has begun. ... Now we need to finish the job swiftly, no matter the cost in death and destruction, before the will of our civilian leaders weakens again."

National Review Online columnist
Michael Ledeen thinks that Pres. Bush needs "A War Cabinet," and explains why the Secs. of Defense and State, among others, must be replaced.

Associated Press writer
Karin Laub reports that "Arafat's Millions Could Slip Away." Captain's Quarters blogger "Captain Ed" Morrissey asks: "Are They Keeping Arafat Alive To Find The Money?" And the World Tribune breaks the news that the "Palestinian Authority plans to seize Arafat's bank accounts."

Why did the Democrats lose?
Mark Steyn explains in short words and simple concepts, because he is talking to Europeans in the London Daily Telegraph: "The Dems do have core beliefs - abortion, racial grievances, gay marriage, etc - but unfortunately they're not the kind of thing you can talk about at election time."

More from Captain's Quarters'
Morrissey: Pres. Bush is "Misunderestimated No More."

Chicago Sun-Times columnist
John O'Sullivan: "There is now a substantial alienated Left throughout America in big cities and university towns that in the 2004 primaries dragged a moderate Democratic party toward an anti-war position that was hard to distinguish from anti-Americanism. It is still there. It has far more passion and commitment than the party moderates. And it will fight to keep the party unelectable."

Daily Standard guest columnists James W. Ceaser and Daniel DiSalvo conclude that "The political landscape is not the same as it was in 2000. For Democrats, their situation is getting worse."

Washington Post columnist
George F. Will: "In 2000 Americans were reminded that electoral votes select presidents. In 2004 Democrats were reminded that Bruce Springsteen does not."

New York Times columnist
David Brooks provides a roadmap for those who want to know why Pres. Bush was reelected: "Take a Ride to Exurbia."

National Review online editor-in-chief
Jonah Goldberg dissects "The Sore-Loser Party," ie, the Democrats: "Take the two leading liberal columnists at the New York Times, Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman. As we all know, one's a whining self-parody of a hysterical liberal who lets feminine emotion and fear defeat reason and fact in almost every column. The other used to date Michael Douglas."

Washington Post columnist
Richard Cohen, generally to the left-of-center: "A phrase from a press release struck me: 'In voting for George Bush, religious Americans were duped into voting against their best interests.' The operative word is 'duped,' and it explains, almost by itself, why the Democratic Party is in the pits and John Kerry is not the next president of the United States. Only a dope thinks these voters were duped."

Washington Times guest columnist and screenwriter
Burt Prelutsky saw the election returns and suggests: "Deal with it, Hollywood." Oh, well, he's over 30, so he probably wouldn't be getting much work, anyway. And in the Wall Street Journal, film critic Michael Medved warns: "Bad News for Democrats: Hollywood activists vow to keep it up."

Satirical blogger IOWAHAWK
David Burge consoles Democrats with ideas for 2008, such as: "Bush may have won the Wal Mart vote, but you mopped up at Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca. In the next election, you can win back the hearts and minds of swing shoppers with money-saving store specials on organic arugula."

Gweilo Diaries blogger
"Conrad" offers 11 "Tips for a New Democratic Majority"; my favorites are Nos. 3 & 10. No. 3: "Explain to 51% of the electorate that they're stupid. They will eventually realize that you are smarter than they are and will vote as you tell them to. It has only taken them this long because they really are sooo fucking stoopid." And No. 10: "'I'm Hillary Rodham Clinton and I'm reporting for duty.'" (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit)

Monday, November 08, 2004

No accounting

Yesterday, Suha Arafat told Al-Jazeera that Palestinian Authority prime minister Ahmed Qureia and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas were trying to "bury Abu Amar (Arafat) alive." Today, Jerusalem Post columnist Khaled Abu Toameh attributed her outburst to an intense desire for revenge:

"Suha's dramatic appeal is seen as an attempt to settle accounts with all those who turned her life into hell over the past decade."

Her motive is "an attempt to settle accounts," but not in the sense that Toameh intended. Here's the more likely scenario, from the Israeli ex-spook DEBKA website:

"Arafat’s wife Suha will demand Abbas and Qureia sign documents drafted by her French lawyers guaranteeing her multimillion dollar inheritance and pension - as price for switching off life support systems."

Arafat AIDS pretext--Sharon "poisoned him"

Yesterday this column posted items by David Frum (from his National Review Online October 29 "Diary" posting) and the Israel Insider website suggesting the likelihood that Yasir Arafat was killed by AIDS. (And, yes, Arafat is dead, even in Suha Arafat refuses to pull the plug until his henchmen pay her off.)

Frum supplies an update to the Arafat AIDS story in today's "Diary" posting:

The left-wing British Labour MP George Galloway has a piece in the British newspaper, The Mail on Sunday
, describing his visit last week to Arafat’s sick ward.

"In the Percy hospital, the endless click of worry beads had replaced the chinking of china cups and there were deep, dolorous sighs instead of the sucking of cigarettes. …

"I felt justified in saying to his nephew Nasser Al-Kidwa, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations and the only one of us Arafat's wife Suha allowed at his bedside: 'Sharon has killed him finally.'

"The startling, almost Shakespearean reply was: 'They have poisoned him and they will not say with what.'

After repeating the allegation that the Israelis were responsible for Arafat’s death, Galloway goes on to cite my speculations about Arafat’s illness here at NRO and in Canada’s National Post.

"There is bloodspitting fury as someone reads in Arabic what President Bush's speechwriter David Frum (the man responsible for the phrase 'axis of evil' in the infamous State of the Union address after 9/11) has to say in an American newspaper about Arafat's illness.

"With evident distaste, it is translated again back to me: 'He says Arafat has AIDS and that he has been brought to France rather than an Arab hospital because he would be ashamed for Arab doctors to know he has AIDS.'"

But if Arafat's men don’t want the world to think he has AIDS, why do they keep saying things – even to Galloway – that point to such a diagnosis? Yesterday I asked whether somebody around Arafat might have an interest in damaging his image in the Arab world. Galloway’s piece suggests another hypothesis: Maybe the Arafat group decided that it would be impossible to keep the dying man’s symptoms secret. Rather than deny those symptoms, they chose to publicize them – but with a lot of heavy breathing mystery that would prepare the way for a postmortem accusation of poisoning that might distract Palestinians from any untoward conclusions about the late chairman.

No doubt more to follow ...