Israeli Settlements and International Law

How is this legal? The West Bank was acquired by Israel, in 1967, in the course of a preemptive military action. In other words, the 1967 War was not even fought defensively. Rather, it was a militarily offensive move. Yet, Israel has since built “settlements” on the land which, though Israel rejects the claim, the rest of the world agrees that Israeli West Bank settlements violate the Geneva Convention.

There is something so seriously wrong with this.

Hong Kong: Other Shoe Dropping?

Apparently, some Hong Kong residents did not get the memo (back in 1997). Let this link provide a reminder about just what happened:

With the British departure from Hong Kong (HK), the People’s Republic of China (PRC) began a methodical socioeconomic assault on the city. Adjacently, Shenzhen was built with the express purpose of moving manufacturing and commerce into the PRC proper. The idea was simple: When in Rome, people do as the Romans do. By 2001, Hong Kongese seeking work had little choice but to look to Shenzhen, which many did. Economically re-rooted Hong Kongese would learn how to properly keep their lips zipped about their new masters. Those whose roots remain completely in HK have apparently not learned the same lesson and may be seen by the powerful as needing some “re-education.”

How do I know? I was there.

By the time I’d first visited HK, it was the year CE 2004. Though still beautiful, the city was already in clear decline. Most notably, its passenger railroad systems appeared “shabby,” shining only ever so slightly with the afterglow of a previous period, like the hands of a radium clock.

People of HK who’ve failed to receive or chosen to ignore the PRC’s memo and who think that they have any real control of their lives, living in Hong Kong, are about to get a taste of something quite bitter.

Oh God, the Bag Bill Passed the State Senate

This comes as little surprise. I do not and I will not support it:

The following statement found within the article is made wholly incorrect by one word: “The hotly contested bill, strongly supported by environmentalists, would allow stores to charge customers 10 cents for paper or reusable plastic bags as an alternative” (2014, LATimes, McGreevy & Mason). To read the entire bill, click here. What makes less-than-truthful the statement in McGreevy and Mason’s LATimes article is the verb, to “allow.” It indicates that a store has a choice about whether to charge for paper and compostable plastic bags at the point of sale. Actually, SB-270 mandates that stores charge “not less than ten cents” per bag, and that minimum fee may be raised. In my opinion, it represents a regressive tax similar to a sales tax (which is up to 8% in Orange County, CA). The wording of that sentence, alone, suggests either a lack of understanding or a bias.

While I agree that plastic bags have been a problem for as long as they’ve been used by retailers, the same was never true of paper. Paper degrades in the environment, by itself, and quickly. One could argue that paper does not degrade once buried in a landfill. While that is true, I can’t imagine that bags are the biggest problem at landfill sites.

So-called “reusable” bags must be kept on hand. Some people do not own a car. So, wherever they go, they’ll be carrying those reusable bags (made of thick plastic), or they’ll have to pay 10 cents per bag when they purchase products at retail stores. This is something that many car-less people can ill afford.

The legislative bill is one of at least two recently attributed to State Senator Alex Padilla that I oppose. The other disagreeable Padilla legislative bill has to do with mandating that public school students complete a computer programming class. I will save telling that story for another time.

I anticipate that Governor Brown will sign the bag bill into law. I’m sure that Californians will swallow this so-called environmental medicine, and remember, a spoon full of sugar may help the medicine go down, but it will cost an extra 10 cents for the bag to carry that sugar home!

Oy Vey! Look @Joan Rivers’s Throat Surgeon!

As a loudmouthed New York Jew, Joan, you know better! Only the best, and always get references! That goes double after comments, such as yours, about Israeli bombing of Palestine (OOPS! I mean “Transjordan!” There’s no such thing as Palestine!)!!!!!! I’m a Jew, just not this kind of a Jew or that kind of a jew!!! It would be an honest shame if such ugly comments are the last things that I remember about Joan Rivers.

(Dr. Slaughter: Working His Magic on Contract Reporter, James Foley
Joan Rivers is next up!

A “Tool” in the Airline Seat Wars!

In my Platinum days on American Airlines (a time I’d rather forget), I encountered a few people who were real pains (in the back) about reclining seats. I’ll not forget one woman on Cathay Pacific (part of the “One World Alliance”). She and I met on a San Francisco bound flight, out of Hong Kong. Sitting directly behind me, she would not let me recline my seat more than an inch or so before yelling and screaming. Certainly, I could not put up with that. After all, how can one sit in an upright position for close to eighteen hours? Luckily, there was an open seat just a few rows aft. So, I moved, and perched from behind I could observe that see-you-next-tuesday of a woman apparently having no qualms about reclining her own seat to its maximum extent. I was furious, and I steamed all the way home, across the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Bering Sea, and the Pacific, like I was the Titanic!

Now, someone named Ira Goldman has come up with a “tool” permitting a passenger to restrict the movement of the seat immediately in front. It’s called the “Knee Defender.” Any person who should ever try using that sort of thing on me will be eating that Knee Defender. As for Ira Goldman, he should catch the next flight of bin Laden Airlines, bound for the side of the Empire State Building, and he should be strapped into one of those non-reclining seats just forward of the above-wing emergency exits!

You’re Such a Tool!

The word, “metrics,” was the mot de la décennie précédente. Managers across the US found a way to use “metrics” at least five times, daily, during the double-aughts.

Now, the word of the moment (not sure if it yet qualifies as the word of the decade) may be “tool.” This seems particularly true of legislators and psychologists. Legislators refer to new restrictions and taxes they wish to impose as “just another tool.” Psychologists refer to self care abstractions in very much the same way. Meditation is now a “tool.”

Keep your ears open. The word’s been bouncing around for several years, and now it seems to have reached a loud crescendo.