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May 31, 2002, White Plains, New York.  Well, today ends my 8 months or so here in White Plains, New York, located 38 miles or so from the house in Brooklyn.  This is a bittersweet day; I will miss the folks up here in the suburbs.  On the other hand, your TD started up here in the post-9-11 maelstrom as a temporary worker, and just stayed on.  As of late September and early October, downtown Manhattan was literally still on fire, and New York's economy appeared in shambles.  Things have settled down, your TD is tired of spending around 3-4 hours a day just getting to work, so it is time to move on, and hence, your TD's professional address will shift to Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

This semi-swan song coincides (poetically?  did I plan this?)  with the closing ceremonies for the Ground Zero cleanup efforts.  I understand that the ceremony (at least yesterday's) was, for the most part,  a moving SILENT tribute.  This is the sort of reason I LIKE the new mayor:  he's rich enough so that he can do things in a MODEST way.  Hopefully, his quiet manner does not mean that our once ungovernable city is not being governed...  Your TD will also leave his Westchester sojourn quietly and tastefully (as he does everything!)

Meanwhile, for the IDF (Israeli Defense Force), it’s out of Hebron, and into Nablus.  If, in fact, the IDF is simply ignoring the Palestinian Authority and arresting perpetrators of crimes against Israel, you know what I have to say:  GOOD!  This, in the end, is the problem even with partition plans -- and especially international forces between the two:  the Palestinians will commit crimes (it’s about time we stopped even calling what they do TERRORISM, and just call their acts what they are) and then dive back into the safety of their semi-sovereign enclave.  Uh, uh.  This shit has to stop.  The Palestinians had an offer to build on from Barak (a crazy and indefensible offer from Israel's standpoint, by the way); they could have negotiated further -- indeed, they might STILL be negotiating, for even crazier concessions from a tired Israel.  Instead:  the intifada (that's Arabic for crime wave).  Sadly, our President has dispatched arch-incompetent George Tenet to the region again to "shore up the Palestinian security forces".  Oy.  Perhaps he has some sort of stalling agenda, as he did when he sent Secretary Powell a few weeks ago to circle the Arab world.  We will hope that there is a grand strategy.

Well, God bless you, every one.  See you in June.


May 30, 2002, White Plains, New York.  Well, welcome to my penultimate day here in my suburban digs; starting Monday, your TD will be corresponding from Manhattan (or at least, he will be working in Manhattan -- the logistics of blogging will be determined later). the news on this "literal" Memorial Day (it used to be celebrated on 30 May regardless of whether that yielded a 3-day weekend), as I write this, a ceremony is underway at the site of the former World Trade Center, commemorating the end of the clean-up.  There is something to be said for leaving part of the site -- just part of it -- to remember, forever, what reactionary hatred of this country and its freedom and tolerance could do in less than a couple of hours.  As to the former mayor's STUPID and politically expedient suggestion to make the WHOLE site a memorial:  please.  If the site is not restored into an engine of jobs and commerce, the terrorists will have won (I'm reminded of a New Yorker cartoon of a man sitting at a bar saying "If I don't have a third martini, the terrorists will have won") -- but New York is about action and enterprise (and has been since the early 1600's).  100,000 or more jobs were lost (including your TD's) -- on top of the 3,000 lives lost, thousands and thousands more were disrupted.  The downtown area has to be rebuilt; fortunately, it looks like the project is proceeding post-haste, and there are some top people working on it.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey has enjoined the continuation of secret deportation hearings.  Some judges still believe that we have a constitution.  God bless them.  This at the same time FBI Director Mueller admits that with a less dysfunctional FBI and other intelligence agencies, the horrors of 9-11 may have been averted.  (We can't find a link to the web version of the magazine, "Duh").

Finally, frustrated by the recent terrorist attacks that have killed half a dozen Israelis in recent days (including three high school students), Israeli troops briefly occupied, and then withdrew from, Hebron.  Your TD had an epiphany this morning on this subject:  the specific mechanism by which the PLO/PA enables terrorism.  It is far more subtle than Sharon's scrap book of Yasser's funding of terrorists: Yasser can (and does) say:  what do you mean?  I fund lots of people!  I can't help it if some of them intend to be martyrs toward ending the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people, er, terrorists.  Actually, even your TD finds something credible in that.  Trying to directly link Yasser to terrorism is probably not the answer; to be frank, Yasir is too busy stealing aid money to bother with the day to day handing of terrorism anymore.

The problem actually relates to a more basic concept of policing.  How do the police usually stop gangs, or the mafia, or other organized criminal enterprises (such as Hamas, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, or Islamic Jihad, to name 3 such criminal enterprises).  How?  You know:  snitches, undercover agents, and the occasional turncoat lead authorities to foil crimes, and catch perpetrators.  But wait a minute:  in the Palestinian Authority controlled territories, the only crime for which punishment is actually meted out by the Authority is "collaborating with the Israeli occupiers" -- not terrorism, not car theft, certainly not stealing aid money.  (I am reminded of an episode of the “Powerpuff Girls”, where a villain named Princess buys the city and declares crime legal, meaning that if the PowerPuff Girls were to try to STOP a criminal, THEY could be arrested for violating the "crime is legal" rule!)  Recall the recent spate of PA executions of "collaborators".  The message is simple:  if you're a terrorist, "shame on you" (which in Arabic means, Allah and Saddam and Crown Prince Abdullah will see that your family gets at least $10,000).  However, if you try to snitch on a terrorist, we will hang you.  Result?  Well, we see it on the news on a daily basis:  more terrorism, not less.  THIS is the reason why the lawless and insane PA has to be dismantled -- not reformed, dismantled.  Yasser can be the figurehead -- but basically, until someone in the Palestinian hierarchy is willing to acknowledge that encouraging terrorism against Israel will (1) not cause all the Jews to leave and (2) WILL increase the suffering of the Palestinians – it’s business as usual.


White Plains, NY, May 29, 2002.  Well, for those of us who try to think of these things in anyway that makes sense, the five Supreme Court justices who basically said that the federal court has an interest in overturning how a state court interpreted state laws in an election (you remember Bush v. Gore, of course) now tells us that the federal government, after over 200 plus years of basically exclusive sovereignty of navigable waters, must yield to the states in the arena of harbor management, relying on the heretofore never used for this purpose 11th amendment of the Constitution.  See this  OK.  You figure it out.  I can't.  It’s one thing if the Court just makes a bad decision; its another thing if it just makes no sense!

Meanwhile, the FBI will "reorganize" to aid in assisting in the nation's security and fighting terrorism.  Its a good thing our president has a hobby ranch:  he should be familiar with the timing of when to close the barn door.

In the "I told you so" department, I give you:  Operation Buzzard.  Apparently, those feisty Taliban, led by Mullah Omar himself, are trying for a comeback.  Well, here's rooting for our British allies to stop them -- and to keep them in...Pakistan?

Stock advice for investors in the Cheney-Bush administration:  Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Chevron-Texaco.  (Sorry about that Enron tip; who knew?)


White Plains, NY, May 28, 2002.  Well.  A 17-year-old Palestinian male decides to blow himself up in an obscure strip mall in suburban Tel Aviv near an ice cream parlor, so he can take out a grandmother and a 2-year-old girl (as well as another person and wounding dozens; as in the Haifa bombing, this mall employed a lot of Palestinians!).  This on top of waves of other civilian attacks and bombings, that are often documented here, and are well, TOO MUCH.  This is not a national liberation struggle.  This is a crime wave.  The Palestinian people, for whatever reason, have thrown away their societal health and the values of a normal people, and have instead opted for CRIMES.  You know where the TD stands on this: if you want to play with illegitimate means, you don't get to have your ends met.  That the world singles out Israel for exercising its sovereign prerogative to STOP CRIMES AGAINST ITS PEOPLE can, at least in the context of European and Arab interlocutors, unfortunately be attributed to anti-Semitism.  Alas, things are more complicated with respect to this country.  Let's just say that oil is an important industry, and poor Israel just isn't sitting on top of any.

Meanwhile, as (unfortunately, because I often end up being right about such things!) suggested in this blog last fall, it appears that both the Taliban and al Qaeda upper echelons are intact and "regrouping" under the friendly tutelage of their long time allies, the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) agency, despite an increase in vehemence in the American campaign in Afghanistan (there WAS a time we probably had these bastards on the run, but at the time, this was a proxy war designed NOT to incur American casualties).  By doing it that way, we must now play catch-up, as well as being burdened by an inability to run through our "friend's" backyard in Pakistan.  Result:  far more extensive U.S. field casualties, than if done the right way the first time.  Consequences for letting Mullah Omar escape?  More U.S. casualties, though General Franks (who should have been fired and court-martialed for that particular catastrophic error in military judgment of seeking a legal opinion before pushing the button on Omar) is, instead, still in charge, with the president's full confidence.  Ditto Messrs. Tenet and Mueller, of course.  Failure just is not cause for concern among the Bushie upper echelons.  And our Veep tries to preemptively strike out against a proper investigation of pre-9-11 intelligence failures.  Conclusion?  There must be something to hide.  I didn't say it:  the Vice President did.  Just as he did with respect to the GAO's inquiries regarding his energy task force.  There simply must be something to hide.  We've come to expect this from presidents lately, but especially those named George Bush.

Finally, it is ironic while we in the New York area swallow a bit before crossing, say, the Brooklyn Bridge, a barge slams into the I-40 Arkansas River bridge in Oklahoma, killing at least a dozen people.  What else can you say?


May 24, 2002; White Plains, NY.  As your TD wends his way through the close of his professional exile in suburban Westchester County...  Breaking news: our own Rabid Dog (remember him?) has scooped everyone with the definitive Chandra story.  Well, don't the rest of us feel bad for poor Congressman Condit?  He seemed like such a nice, upstanding man: to have his career wrecked over something like this...

Meanwhile, our own fearless leader is in Moscow takin' it to his good buddy (a man whose heart he looked into and saw someone he could do business with) Vlad "the Derailer" Putin.  Dubya had better be talking some serious turkey about Iran: like, hey Vlad:  WE'LL pay you NOT to sell oil rich (and Hezbollah-sponsoring) Iran both nuclear power plant (read:  plutonium manufacturing) technology AND medium range (about 2,000 kilometers -- enough to more than reach Central Europe, let alone Central Tel Aviv) ballistic missiles.  Got that Vlad?  Honestly: in the midst of our war on terrorism, the thought of our new “friends" arming the biggest member of the Axis of Evil just ain't good bidness.

Nonetheless, despite the upturn in violence in the Middle East, your TD is bizarrely optimistic for a resolution of the Israeli-Jew Hating Murdering Bastard Palestinian crisis.  Why?  Because, finally,  Ariel Sharon has shown some balls -- i.e., he no longer gives a shit about being re-elected.  Thus, he summarily dismissed his former allies in the Shas party, and turned Bibi Netanyahu's "no Palestinian" state resolution back on him, rubbing it in Bibi's smug face.  If Sharon shows the same balls-to-the-wall creativity in dealing with Arafat (and he's coming round to the fact that he'd BETTER deal with him), then we can have some real leadership on at least ONE of the competing sides, and maybe an ultimate resolution (i.e., other than the Jews leaving).  In the meantime, check out The National Review for an article on how the Palestinian dismissal of the laws of civilized conduct of war will only bite them in the ass ultimately.


White Plains, NY, May 23, 2002.  Slow news day?  Chandra Levy's body turns up in Washington, DC just about the only way the DC police were ever going to find it:  somebody's dog just happened to discover it completely at random.  This will doubtless be of comfort those, such as uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan who have tacitly supported soon to be ex-Congressman Condit in his defenses, such as the "random attacker" theory.  Obviously, it is a tragic day for the Levy family, who now, alas, must give up the gossamer hope of Chandra's well-being somewhere.

Unapologetic septugenarian White Supremacist Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted of the 1963 murders of Addie Mae, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson by a jury of 9 Whites and 3 Blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, and faces an overdue mandatory life sentence.

Suicide bombings are on the rise in Israel, including attempts at some spectacular targets, such as Tel Aviv's own twin (50 story) towers and a gas processing terminal.

And the White House, apparently in a move designed to DIVERT attention from its handling of apparent indications of a major terrorist incident coming last summer (which may or may not have put it in a position to foil the events of 9-11, though we know we will never REALLY know the answer to this while anyone alive today is, well, still alive), the White House has now admitted to more contacts than previously disclosed with Enron!  (By the way, it now appears from the same "debriefings" that convinced us all that the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge are about to be blown up, that the actual destination of Flight 93 was not, in fact, San Francisco, as the airport monitor said, nor even the Capitol, but the White House!  Todd Beamer and company, in their heroism, may well have saved the White House.  More on this, unless the White House finds further need to suppress ALL references to September 11th!


White Plains. NY, May 22, 2002.  Well, I was wondering what I would find at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge this morning from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, given the heightened paranoia regarding that span expressed in local and national news reports.  Alas, it was the usual lone police officer who, until this week, had been making sure there were at least two occupants of vehicles crossing into Manhattan below 14th Street between 6:00 am and 10:00 am (given the virtual completion of the Ground Zero clean-up, this was what we had all thought was a really stupid rule, particularly since it forced me over a toll bridge every morning).  Now we learn, of course, that this bridge and the Statue of Liberty were, according to distant hearsay accounts of al Qaeda detainees now held in Cuba and/or Afghanistan, who noted that these "famous landmarks" are on the al Qaeda list of places to blow up.  I suspect that the lone officer's task (which I do not envy) is now all the more urgent.

My personal feeling is that the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty were additional targets for 9-11, assuming that ALL of the al Qaeda hijackers then in motion could crash their respective planes where they wanted, although only 4 made it off the ground and only 3 crashed into cities, thanks to the quick decision to ground all non-military aviation that morning.  (Your TD, for logistical reasons involving having gone to Manhattan's Civil Court building that morning, crossed the Manhattan Bridge on foot on the morning of 9-11, rather than the Brooklyn Bridge; I did fear that either or both spans might also be targeted, though the Brooklyn Bridge seemed a more fitting prize for the Arab bastards than the busier, but uglier and less historically and symbolically significant Manhattan Bridge.)  Your TD believes that the far likelier target is the George Washington Bridge -- if for no other reason, because of its name (despite the fact that the Wahabi extremist bastards should LOVE George Washington himself, as he owned slaves, though admittedly, Martha apparently didn't have to wear a burqa).

Obviously, 9-11 taught us all that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans have provided us with only the illusion of "security", the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, etc.  But isn't creating a national panic just at the very moment the nation is questioning the Bush Administration's handling of a national security matter...  Clintonesque?  (With apologies to the Fox News Network:  I make my call, but you decide.)


White Plains, May 20, 2002.  Kudos to Vice President Cheney on his clear and well thought out warning.  I'm going to avoid all of those likely terrorist targets for the foreseeable future.

And congratulations to the people of East Timor, who, after a long and horrible struggle against our "friends" in Indonesia, have finally joined the family of sovereign nations, as the world's newest basket case.


White Plains, May 20, 2002.  And it’s nice to see everyone's favorite TV character, Osama, making more videos.  We are offering a free The Talking Dog tee shirt to the first person who correctly identifies Osama's whereabouts, based on the background in the new tape.


Brooklyn, May 18, 2002.  Well, once in a while, your TD gets to bask in the coming to life of some of his "predictions" (which are simply yet to be disclosed truths!)

Thus, we are all shocked, SHOCKED WE TELL YOU, to hear that the nation's intelligence services (any more Tenet plans, anyone?) notified the president of "threats" -- some taken so seriously that cabinet members vacation plans were altered so they would be in or near Washington -- but these threats were too vague to act on.  We can come back to why no one sought, or got, permission to search Mr. Massoui's computer (until well AFTER 9-11!), or looked into the flight schools, etc.

Of course, airlines were also warned of "threats", which amounted to "beware of Arabs" -- and even these were extraordinarily vague!

Your TD will be the first to say:  the prior government's handling of similar affairs left a great deal to be desired, and indeed, in many ways it can be argued, led inexorably to 9-11.  Your TD predicts that sufficient documentation will NEVER (and that means 100 years from now) be declassified in order to determine if, or whether, in fact, the government really DID have sufficient information to have foiled the 9-11 plot.  What we do know, FOR SURE, is that certain government agencies failed the rest of us, and failed us badly.  And rather than do what one might expect as a consequence of catastrophic failure -- i.e., firing Mr. Tenet (and others) for obvious intelligence failures -- quite the opposite happened.  (This may either be another unfortunate legacy of the Clinton administration, remembering that Slick Willy failed to ask for future Florida Governor and then attorney general Janet Reno's resignation after the Waco fiasco.  Or it may be a result of rewarding personal loyalty that seems to be a Bush family hallmark.  What this signals is that failure, of a catastrophic nature, is just not a cause of concern among members of the Bush team.  Your TD leaves it to the imagination as to what it DOES mean for the rest of us, especially residents of the City of New York!)

Further, there are intimations that Yasser is going to call for democratic elections (you are respectfully referred to the TD's April Fool's day posting in our archives).  While, despite my occasional ravings, neither the United States nor Israel is likely to level Mecca, it IS interesting that years of "restraint" by Israel in the face of an all-out war against its civilians led to progressively increased levels of progressively nastier violence.  On the other hand, a couple of weeks' worth of sustained IDF military actions seems to have brought not only the level of suicide bombings way the hell down, but seems to have re-started the peace process and "reform of the Palestinian Authority".  It would be more than a little ironic if the first true democracy in the Arab world ended up being the Palestinians -- and especially so if the second were Iraq.

It’s about time we realized that the anger at the United States (at least the anger resulting in 9-11) did not come from poor and free peoples, but from well-off (or at least relatively well-off nationals of) dictatorships (a/k/a our "moderate Arab allies").  In the end, the United States' expedient "alliances" with countries that are NOT liberal democracies has always come at a high price.  Maybe we have finally realized too high a price?  Your TD can't hold his breath for very long...


White Plains, May 16, 2002.  Reports are now surfacing confirming the conspiratorially minded TD's suspicions (raised obliquely in this blog frequently last September, with lower Manhattan still smoldering and the dead still not fully counted):  the Bush Administration had specific information that bin Laden -- by name -- was planning to highjack airliners, and that American flight schools were one aspect of his plan.  While the Administration (by that free-speech champion spokesman Ari Fleischer) is quick to point out obvious facts like (1) it gets a lot of terrorist threats, most not specific; and (2) the information it had did not reveal that the plan was to hurl airliners INTO OFFICE TOWERS using suicide bombers.  (After the Cole, of course, there was no reason to suspect that bin Laden would use suicidal Arabs as a weapon of choice -- oh wait, he did).  I suppose he should ALSO point out that the information the White House had (keep in mind that Mr. Massoui, the "20th hijacker", was ALREADY in custody at that time as a result of immigration charges and his activity at a Minnesota flight school -- having said "stop with the take-offs and landings, just show me how to steer") did not include the exact flight numbers and the date of the intended hijacking, or flight plans, I suppose, either.

In all fairness, the prior administration wasn't very good at dealing with Osama, either.  I recall encountering a clipping from June, 1999.  The article concerned an important case on behalf of the State of New York being handled by Mrs. TD, concerning the constitutionality of the so-called commuter tax whereby non-City residents who work in the City were subjected to around a 1-2% income tax surcharge, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in City revenue, which, interestingly, Mayor Bloomberg, New York's answer to Silvio Berlusconi, says does not have to be reinstated, despite the City's desperate need for revenue.  Of relevance here:  on the flip side of the New York Post page was a picture of, you got it, Osama himself, with another article concerning his role in the Cole and embassy bombings, and how he seemed to be eluding American "efforts" to pick him up.

Nonetheless, any information regarding Osama (and particularly any indication that he was taking his reactionary terrorism directly to American soil) should have been, well, treated more seriously than it apparently was.  Ari reports that the nation's law enforcement was put on "alert" -- was it Code purple, or Code Chartreuse, or Code, wait, Tom Ridge was not on the job at the time.  Sorry.  As your TD further suspected, this FBI memo to the Prez has existed since, well, last summer, but has successfully been suppressed until now.  It appears that the suppression efforts have been more successful than any "national security" reactions taken in response to the memo.  Your TD is somehow not surprised...

White Plains, May 15, 2002.  Well, part of being a leader is, occasionally, admitting you made mistakes.  Of course, if that leader is Yasser Arafat, one must watch very carefully just what mistakes he admits to.  In this case, it concerns deals made regarding the imprisonment and/or exile of Palestinian killers, in order to end costly, mutually embarrassing stand-offs both in Ramallah and Bethlehem, and his "mistake" was agreeing to the deals that ended these situations!  (These are Yasser's MISTAKES!  Obviously, as your TD does not speak or read Arabic, he is unable to tell you what Yasser publicly claims as "successes", but I think you can measure those at Israeli cemeteries.)

Unfortunately, as your TD noted, despite decrying Yasser as "irrelevant", by needlessly confining Yasser to quarters for weeks on end under IDF house arrest (as opposed to, say, simply not letting him leave Ramallah), Sharon has, unfortunately, reinstated Yasser's tarnished liberation leader credentials among the rank and file Palestinian killers.

Doubtless, there are some Palestinians who are NOT homicidal Jew-haters -- to be honest, maybe MOST Palestinians are rational, put-upon people who resent the shit that their "leaders" and the rest of  the Arab world have thrust upon them, and want peace as much as the average Israeli or New Yorker.  Alas,  these rational Palestinians tend to be rather reticent, as the only known active Palestinian "justice" seems to be reserved for "collaborators".  Thus, the news reports only let us hear about the proud families of suicide bombers; one chillingly telling picture showed the mother of a Palestinian "martyr" walking around holding the photograph of her now exploded son (who took out a dozen or so innocent civilians, whose crime was being in a restaurant, with him) in the same pose as relatives of missing September 11th victims shortly after those events.

Meanwhile, in other historical action, it looks like Russia will be tacitly joining NATO; the president raised THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS for the GOP at a fundraiser, Shaq and the Lakers are steaming toward a three-peat...  (I guess if its REALLY important, you'll probably read about it in The Talking Dog!)


White Plains, New York, May 13, 2002.  Well, Bibi Netanyahu, proving he, IS the Bill Clinton of Israel (Right, left, does it matter?  Telegenic, articulate, brilliant, self-serving and evil – that's Bill, or Bibi – the rest is less important!)  Bibi and the Likud Party have passed a resolution embarrassing Ariel Sharon stating that more or less under no circumstances will Israel (i.e., the Likud Party) consent to the creation of a Palestinian State.  Guys, its a little late for this!  The Palestinian State is coming.  Yes, thanks to US-UK might (perhaps enforcing a Cyprus-style green line), democracy can be imposed on it, by force, and we can impose Yasser as its president, and he can have as much (or less) power than the ceremonial president of Israel (or Queen of the UK, for example).  But Likud guys (they are mostly guys), that Palestinian State, on, perhaps 96% of the former West Bank and all of Gaza is coming, with an elevated highway connecting the two enclaves.  Like Clinton before him, however, Bibi doesn't really give a shit about the future of his country, just the future of, well, Bibi...

Meanwhile, in the chess game that is the Bush Administration's foreign policy, an apparently historic nuclear weapons reduction agreement with Russia was just signed.  If reduction of nuclear weapons everywhere is the policy goal of this Administration, then great.  (Perhaps the Administration should also better fund the agency that buys old fissionable material to keep it out of the hands of you know whom, as well.)


Brooklyn, May 12, 2002.  Happy Mothers Day.  Perhaps if former President Carter's mother Lillian were alive, she would have told him to go back to peanut farming for real, and stop with the "peanut farming of international diplomacy" in which he seems to be devoting the rest of his time.  While, obviously, he is mostly harmless (and as you know, your TD thinks Habitat for Humanity is a GOOD thing), especially compared to the pure self-serving evil of a Jesse Jackson, he is also proving as dangerously ineffective as an ex-president as he was as a president.

This takes us to Havana.  I heard of an historic "petition campaign" (11,000 Cubans signed a document demanding various human rights and freedoms, such as freedom of assembly).  If anything changed, Castro would have played it the way one of the dissident groups in Cuba did -- and said: you see, of course we are a free country, we have petitions!  Instead, the knee jerk response, this is another US public relations stunt.  Which, to be fair, it probably is!  Hey, Castro is a Stalinist style dictator, but honestly, he is barely a monster on the scale of, say North Korea's Kim Jong Il, who (current president aside) this country has been trying to woo for a long time.  Castro remains a special case because of his demon-status among an ever less important Cuban voting bloc in Dade County Florida.  If anything has changed, it is because politicians recognize that EVERY OTHER voting bloc in Florida resents the Cubans, and supporting them could result in a backlash.  That's all.

As to Carter, or meaningful change in Cuba, your TD won't hold his breath (Castro is bound to die in, say, 10 or 15 years, of old age; we can have meaningful change then).


White Plains, May 10, 2002.  Well, its about time: apparently, a "European Union" sponsored initiative, the Church of the Nativity fiasco has finally come to an end.  Again, in conjunction with the end of the Ramallah house arrest, your TD is optimistic that we may have the model for an ultimate resolution of the currently untenable Mid-East situation.  A combination of American and British force can simply intervene and keep the two parties apart (possibly forever).  An unfortunate Cyprus-type solution, but as good an idea as it gets.  Jews, to the left of the green line; Arabs, to the right.  Ironically, the first point of embarkation for the exile of 13 of the Palestinian killers (to be honest, two words that your TD thinks will become as common as "homicide bombers"-- no wait-- as common as "Druse militiamen") will be...Cyprus.

Meanwhile, domestically, in Boston, Bernard Cardinal Law will now have to PERSONALLY justify the withdrawal of settlements of various cases involving abuse by priests.  Your TD notes, for the record, that not getting the cardinal's resignation is going to prove extraordinarily expensive to the Church -- not just for its loss of moral weight, but now, its growing financial cost.  While vows of celibacy and women's role in the Church are issues that will ultimately need to be considered carefully by the Church in the context of a great many things, Cardinal Bernard "I Am The" Law does not seem to be a hard question.  Oh well.

And, frankly, are we to believe that the 21-year-old bored Wisconsin college student charged with the Midwest bombing campaign did this just as some sort of a sick prank?   Maybe we are, I don't know.  At least he didn't have access to a bio-chem lab and anthrax spores, I suppose.  (More to follow!)


May 9, 2002, Brooklyn, New York.  Well, its happy 65th birthday to TD's Dad, and happy 4000th hit to this site; we are finally findable on Google -- it took long enough!  Perhaps other search engines will follow.  As always, thanks for your continued support, without which, we would probably get bored and update this site as regularly as the proprietors of

In other personal news of note, the commissar of labor has decided that the TD has sufficiently served his exile to suburban Westchester, and he will soon be barking at a doghouse in Midtown Manhattan.  Look for the "Manhattan" dateline coming in June.

Meanwhile, in World News, we are saddened to hear of yet another massive suicide bombing in Israel; obviously, Israel will retaliate, as it must.  But, of late, our featured link The Weekly Standard is running articles on UN (and, ergo American taxpayer) sponsorship of the suicide bomber training camps -- also known as the Jenin refugee camps.  The UN does other valuable services of course (enabling genocides, condemning democratic Israel on a more or less clockwork basis, throwing the US off of the human rights commission), but few of us are aware of the valuable contribution to world peace the UN makes with respect to Palestinian "refugees" (why, for example, do they continue to live in refugee camps in what is ostensibly, their own country of origin?  Perhaps Yasser likes it that way?)

Finally, kudos to the FBI for capturing the perpetrator of the Midwest bombings -- a 21-year-old kid for whom we still don't have an adequate explanation of his actions.  Obviously, the Europeans will snicker about yet another "stupid American".  Had he been a EUROPEAN lots of people would have DIED.  (They are SO kick-ass compared to us!)


White Plains, May 7, 2002.  Well, the mirth and merriment continue out of the Mideast:  with Ariel in Washington with his scrap book of Yasser's financial ties to terrorism (we at The Talking Dog are SHOCKED to find that Yasser Arafat and the PA have ANYTHING to do with sponsoring terrorism -- SHOCKED we tell you!), his negotiating team forgot to ask Italy about taking suspected terrorists as part of the Bethlehem deal.  When asking other countries to voluntarily accept some of the most dangerous people in the world, it IS often a good idea to ask them.  Also, a housewarming gift might be in order as well.  We understand PM Berlusconi is partial to Danish hookers and Remy Martin.  No wait, that's Kim Il Jong of North Korea.

Meanwhile, a bizarre rash of pipe bombs continues to haunt the Midwest, once again, bearing disproportionate pain upon our postal workers.  As with the anthrax case, we can conclude that our FBI is, at least at the moment, apparently clueless as to the perpetrator(s).  (The only thing we know for certain about both the pipe bomb case and the anthrax case is that these acts were NOT committed by agents of Iraq).  [Editor’s Note:  Unless this is another Richard Jewel scenario, perhaps the FBI isn’t actually so “clueless.”]

Well, unfortunately, we are the recipients of that ancient Chinese curse:  may we live in interesting times.


White Plains, May 6, 2002.  Well, obviously the Burmese (or Myranmarese or whatever the hell they are) finally decided that they didn't want to be the only place holding a Nobel Peace Prize winner in house arrest, and released Madame Aung San Suu Kyi.   Apparently she is now free; we'll hope for the best.

Meanwhile, fearing Le Pen-type protests, the Dutch simply arranged to have THEIR right-wing candidate, Pym Fortuyn, gunned down and killed!  (Again, the Europeans proving that they are just better than us state-siders in EVERYTHING, but especially in gun violence!).  As always:  the Europeans can stick their moral superiorities up their stuck up noses.  Fortuyn's shtick was an anti-immigrant platform; he didn't have a lot of the Fascistic baggage associated with Le Pen and the National Front (or even the Italian Northern League).  He was simply RELATIVELY conservative.  That's enough to get knocked off in Europe these days, especially when his non-lefty elite party might pick up seats!  And ESPECIALLY when taking on "immigration", which, to be blunt about it, is code for "rampaging Arabs".

Which takes us back to...Jean-Marie Le Pen himself, duly trounced with around 19% of the vote to Chirac's 80+ per cent.  It is ironic that Le Pen, le rightwing nut with periodic forays into fascism and old-style anti-Semitism, billed himself in part as someone who could HELP France's 700,000 or so member Jewish community against North African hooligans who were rampaging synagogues.  (The Chirac government has all but said:  go ahead and attack the Jews!  The irony is, of course, on THIS score, Le Pen may have been right!)  The French, of course, lead Europe in polls supporting the Palestinians -- even though their brethren Arabs are most likely to take out their violence on the average Frenchman than on just about any other European!  While one could just chalk all of this up to "anti-Semitism", Le Pen's pissoir poor showing (his usual 17-18-19%) belies this, and suggests something possibly even more sinister.  In fact, the intellectually (and morally) bankrupt French left (the dominant sentiment) basically sides with "Le Underdog", which in this case, are Les Arabs, especially against Les Judens, who, by doctrine, are supposed to be the victims anyway (how dare they and those arrogant Les Americains defend themselves!)  Thus, the French, the vanguard of European elites and elitists, regard the Mid-East differently from we naive Americans.  [Editor’s Note:  Very nuanced thinking.  Though the worldview of The New York Post is perhaps elsewhere available to our readers.]  We foolishly think that the people who target airliners and office buildings and bat mitzvahs and pizza parlors and hotel dining rooms and school buses have lost any entitlement to our sympathy while simultaneously undermining whatever legitimacy their cause may have.  The sophisticated French see this as a battle of North-South, strong-weak, third-world vs. first-world.  Needless to say, most of Europe is fucked up in this regard, and we should ignore them (lest we ALSO forget how much MONEY they make in trade with places like...Iraq, Iran, Syria).

Well, we are pleased that the Palestinians appear on the verge of another paper victory, while the Israelis get the real victory by getting themselves off the front page, if the Church of the Nativity situation can be resolved.  Let's hope it can.  This sideshow has to end soon.  Meanwhile, the US has to stop screwing around and finish off the damned Taliban (as we predicted last fall, they are "regrouping" amidst the chaos of the Afghan countryside which we allowed by refusing to allow peacekeepers outside of Kabul), and then take on Saddam once and for all.


White Plains, May 2, 2002.  Well, National Palestine Radio (NPR) reports that the crowds in Ramallah were exultant, with Yasser flashing the V-sign, after he was released from his "siege" (i.e., IDF house arrest) this morning.  In exchange, the handful of Palestinians apparently responsible for the wanton murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Zevi (one of the last of Israel's "founding fathers" who was such a maverick, he refused governmental bodyguards) have been moved to detention at Jericho, under a joint American/British guard team.

What we have here may be the nucleus of the ultimate cold peace in the region:  George Bush has publicly remained neutral (calling for Israel to "withdraw immediately".  "I said immediately, I meant immediately".  "Come on, hurry up".  "No, really, I mean it") while everybody really knows that in his heart, he wants NOT to repeat the mistakes of his father, and as a result, favors Israel, even if it is headed by the overweight and disagreeable lout, Ariel Sharon.  As such, he is the perfect "dishonest broker" the region needs.

Bush more or less imposed the end of this standoff on Arafat and Sharon:  Israel gets some measure of security (6 Palestinian killers are out of circulation) backed up by American (and British) might, and the Palestinians get a symbolic victory (actually, the Israelis get ANOTHER victory, because Sharon's childish incarceration of Arafat simply raised his stature and gave him some measure of victory at a time when the IDF was ACTUALLY eliminating any real power he or the PA had through the destruction of the "infrastructure of terror", also known as, well, the PA).  Thus, Arafat's personal "martyrdom" comes to an end -- which, frankly, will prove ultimately to benefit Israel more than the septuagenarian terrorist and murderer.


White Plains, NY, May 1, 2002.  Happy May Day.  Workers of the World, Unite; you have nothing to lose but your gains.  Was that Lenin, or the Enron employee manual?

No matter:  welcome to another month (and a fresh column, so you don't have to scroll that far to get to the talking dog joke and our links!) here at, the best of whatever the hell it is, and the only one of its kind (except for all the others).  We're up to 3800 hits, despite, as always, being on no known search engines, and on the links of no other bloggers!  Bloggers on, help!  Tell your fellow internetters, on chat rooms or discussion groups or something.  Or, of course, don't do anything at all, if you want.  That's why America is great!

Well, let us take this May Day opportunity to congratulate Generalissimo Musharraf, for successfully pulling off his blatantly extra-constitutional personal referendum to coronate himself the "legitimate" ruler of Pakistan (making him the first recipient of the "Robert Mugabe Democracy Medal").  Obviously, if Musharraf played it by the book (i.e., let the democratically-elected parliament pick the president) he might not win!  Notwithstanding  the fact that he has bought our indulgence and silence through his impressive support in our war against the Taliban as well as cracking down on Pakistan's own Islamic extremists, your TD kind of has a problem with pronouncements of "legitimacy" since there was a "higher than expected turnout for the referendum" (largely because usual rules, such as voting age, were greatly relaxed to ensure such a high turnout).  The successful coup leading general and self-proclaimed President (whose coup, by the way, actually interfered with what was then a U.S.-Pakistani operation to hand the United States bin Laden for his role in the Cole and African Embassy attacks) now claims "legitimacy" from his own leadership.  I don't think so:  your TD don't play that.

While the United States has every reason to be pleased with Musharraf, and has rewarded Pakistan in terms of foreign aid and lifted sanctions (though, to satisfy that the short term political gains of a handful of southern senators, NOT tariff reform on textiles which Pakistan actually desperately needs), there is no reason to declare him the "legitimately elected" leader of Pakistan.  He is not.  While most Pakistanis were glad to see the coup replace the inept prior government, the bizarre streak of certain leaders (Mugabe comes to mind!)  for "legitimacy" is impressive; of course, we tacitly supported the coup AGAINST democratically elected Hugo Chavez in Caracas (remember Chile, anyone?), because as always, there are democratic principles, and then there are profits (ESPECIALLY oil profits).


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