Friday, June 25, 2010

Color Video of Israel in 1947

Thanks to my friend Shaul Kelner for sending me to this video below:
Fred Monosson, a Bostonian, came to Israel beginning in 1947 with the latest model COLOR movie camera. His son recently discovered reel upon reel of film stored in an attic and was about to throw it away when he happened to mention it to an Israeli film director. The trove was saved. No other color film of this era is known to exist.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day

Flag Day always brings up, for me, this classic Onion piece:
Nation Hoping For A Windy Flag Day
June 5, 2007 | ISSUE 43•23
Have a flappy Flag Day everyone.

Pic from here.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flotilla Context: Another Mexican Shot by US Border Patrol

Just to give some context to the Gaza Flotilla-Palooza, see this top-story from the AP (not found on the NYTimes front page) about the murder of a Mexican teenager by the U.S. Border patrol. OK, you can say that it's not news because we're Americans and we generally get a free pass to kill people whenever we want (it's called He Who Has the Most Nukes Makes the Rules) - like the unmanned wedding-crashing drones in Afghanistan - but let's dig deeper:
The killing of the Mexican by U.S. authorities — the second in less than two weeks — has exposed the distrust between the two countries that lies just below the surface, and has enraged Mexicans who see the death of the boy on Mexican soil as an act of murder. Mexico's government says the number of Mexicans injured by U.S. immigration authorities has increased this year. ... [The boy] was found 20 feet (six meters) into Mexico, and an autopsy revealed that the fatal shot was fired at a relatively close range, according to Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state attorney general's office. Mexican authorities said a .40 caliber shell casing was found near the body, suggesting that the Border Patrol agent might have crossed into Mexico to shoot the boy.
Compare and contrast.

Pic presumably of the Mexico-US border from here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Helen Thomas and Applying the Double Standard

As you doubtless have heard, Helen Thomas - the bubbie-like senior White House Correspondent for the world, a chum of Steven Colbert and champion of freedom under George "The Scumbag" Bush - turns out to be a raging wacko anti-Semite. Thankfully, she has announced her retirement after her these comments were spread all throughout modern technology's platforms:
Thomas was asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff on May 27 if she had "any comments on Israel."

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said.

Nesenoff, who was attending the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, asked where Jews should go.

"Go home," Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said: "Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else."
Ya see, simple point for Helen and her fellow Nazis: it rankles many of us Hebrews, or really any thinking educated human, when someone tells Jews to go back to Germany. It's clear Nazi talk. Just a reminder.

You got to see the video for the full effect. She's one crazy Nazi:

OK, now that she's been successfully retired, let's apply a little bit of the double standard that's normally applied to us (Jews/Israelis). First, it should be noted that her comments were made before the Flotilla Debacle, so unlike her soul-brother Mel Gibson, who made his drunken comments in the midst of the Second Lebanon War, she was neither drunk nor responding to a recent crisis.

Second of all, it turns out that she's the child of Lebanese Christians - which shows that it's not easy to profile the enemies of Israel and the Jews into simple categories.

Third: a good sign for an anti-Semite is the automatic conflation of "Israel" with "Jew." Israelis should go back to where they came from? Yeah? And that's Germany & Poland - the wonderlands of genocide - or America (part of the Jewish American notorious Israel lobby, no doubt). An anti-Zionist non-Anti-Semite (who may exist) would say, possibly, "Europe" instead of the concentration-camp intensive specific countries. Just playing Devil's advocate. Almost literally.

Fourth: let's apply the double standard here. This evil woman was a "dean" of the Press Corps and she's a closet neo-Nazi. I think that just as every Jew is put on the hot-seat every time Netanyahu commits another in his colossal string of screw-ups, so now every journalist should be under the presumption of being a barely hidden anti-Semite. Payback's a beeyatch.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The History of Assaulting Progress

I own many books in the genre of "non-fiction miscellany" (I find 'trivia' to be too, uh, trivial a term for these things). In any case, I just read in Panati's "Browser's Book of Beginnings" about the formation of FM radio (p.221-2). Basically, Edwin Howard Armstrong patented FM to provide a clearer, less static, signal than the currently dominant AM radio. His patent was in 1933 but FM didn't become available until the late 40s. Why? Well, before I answer that, I will ask you that if you *do* listen to radio, do you do so on AM or FM. I believe the majority will answer FM. OK, so let's continue.

According to Panati and the Wiki, RCA successfully sued the FCC to prevent FM from being allowed on the radio. The suit lasted years. Sarnoff, head of RCA, also sued to prevent Armstrong from getting patent royalties from inventing FM and Armstrong committed suicide in 1954 as a result of that battle.

Why did RCA try to block FM? Because they owned AM. Did RCA succeed in getting the FCC to hamstring and restrict FM? Oh yes indeed. Was this good for the world. No, I don't think it was - considering that everyone prefers FM.

Does this remind you of anything? I'm sure somebody put a list up somewhere, in some book, about these types of things - The History of Assaulting Progress - where a company, or the government - uses all of its resources to hurt others, and hurt progress, in order to keep its own money flow.

I'm not naive, so I am not arguing against commerce or against companies looking out for themselves. But if there's any mature theory of government (libertarians, Marxists, and fellow travelers need not apply), all of these theories try to strike a balance between individual rights and community rights. The corporation ("Big Business") is basically a private collection of individual rights - but the rest of society has a right to progress.

I'll look for the list of those who've assaulted progress but off-hand we can include all those Oil Companies, and their marionettes in the Republican Party including their bought and paid for President G.W.B, who furiously try to keep us from alternative fuel.

Pic of RCA from here, of Armstrong from the Wiki.