Saturday, July 22, 2006

Live BE Radio, Tonight at 8pm Eastern

Hey everyone!  It’s Saturday again, and you know what that means….time for LIVE BE RADIO!!! This is the last radio show hosted by your friendly neighborhood Nomad before I step aside and let our esteemed host, Orange Haired Boy, host the Blogathon.  So this show I’m going to have to let it all hang out with some great tunes and lots of fun.

Of course, this is your radio show, and the only thing that can make it better are your requests. So tell me what song you wanna hear! (Freebird!!!) If it’s something I haven’t heard before, better to get them in during the day so I can review them first. Also, send me headlines to read, dedications to play, and thoughts for hosting contests, because it will all happen tonight!

And of course I will be holding another raffle for 1,000 credits! That’s right, any comments you leave here will register you for a 1,000 credit raffle that will take place some time during the show. This is the largest raffle on BE, so make sure you’re registered.  And feel free to register often, and listen in for the raffle, so you can claim your 1,000 credit prize.

And anyway what better way to spend a Saturday night than with a bunch of bloggers partying and listening to good tunes. So come on by the chat room, turn up the music, and hang out for a great evening. And add a comment to register for your chance at 1,000 BE credits. Live BE Radio: Radio for bloggers, by bloggers, and yes, even about bloggers!


Posted by Scottage at 10:58 AM / | |  

Friday, July 21, 2006

Israel Fights for its Security and Survival

Israel Fights for its Security and Survival

Yesterday, I wrote about the nature of Israel as I see it, and how Israel is so essential to the Israeli people because it stands for the survival of the religion and the members of it.  This of course brings up various questions about the war with Lebanon and Gaza, and I want to address them here.

The attack 10 days ago which result in 8 Jewish deaths and the kidnapping of 2 more Jewish soldiers, was only one example of attacks from Lebanon into Israel, though most of these attacks have been rocket launches as opposed to incursions. They come from a group, Hezbollah, which is not largely comprised of Lebanese people, and which was supposed to be demilitarized after Israel unilaterally pulled out of Lebanon.

Each of these attacks threatens the security of the state of Israel. Israel attempted to prevent them with the Grapes of Wrath attacks, but was stopped short of their goal when Israel hit a UN Aid Station. And instead of completing its mission, Hezbollah has impacted Israeli security ever since, leaving the northern border as the least secure border in the nation, including the border with Palestine.

My heart goes out to the people of Lebanon; to me they are innocent victims.  They never had the strength to combat Hezbollah, and now they are in no-man’s land between a vicious army and a terrorist group that cares little for their well-being.  But to me there is no question that, if Israel wants to maintain any level of security within their borders, they must stop the rocket attacks.

And I feel the same sympathy for the people of Gaza, many of whom want nothing more than a peaceful existence with Israel and now stand in the line of fire.  My fellow Israelis who point to the election of Hamas and say that all Palestinians want terror against Israel miss the fact that the PA was not brokering a deal that was beneficial for the Palestinian people. These people simply want a fair shake, and thought they could get it from Hamas.

But having elected Hamas to power also means living with the consequences of having Hamas in power. Israel cannot stand by as Qassam rockets are fired from Northern Gaza into Israel, hoping that the range does not increase to the level of being able to hit the most major Israeli cities.  Israel has to achieve security, or it will cease to exist, and mark the beginning of the end for the Jewish people.

If I was a Gazan or a Lebanese person, I would be asking who is fighting for my rights, who is fighting for my survival.  But one thing is clear; neither Hamas nor Hezbollah are fighting for these innocent civilians.  These groups are engaged in their own war with Israel based upon their set of beliefs, at the expense of the rights and beliefs of the people of Gaza and Lebanon.

I hold no sympathy for the members of Hamas.  They won power by saying they would be a partner for peace with the Israeli people, and a stronger advocate for the rights of Palestinians than the Palestinian Authority, and then refused to take the necessary steps to open negotiations. To me they are traitorous to the people they represent, and deserve whatever fate lies ahead of them.

I also hold no sympathy for Hezbollah. They are cowards, fighting from a foreign land because their benefactors fear the wrath of the country they attack. They use the people of Lebanon as pawns, as human shields, while inciting their opposition to violence with the hope of attracting sympathy for the innocent Lebanese.  Their actions are deplorable, and I’m not sure a fate exists which is bad enough to be merited by this group.

The Israeli people simply want security, want to live their lives without fear of the next attack. In fact, the attacks become so normal that people just live their lives around them, like this woman sunbathing despite the bombs falling within a mile of the beach she is on. They want a secure life, something so simple, yet so unattainable.

I hate the violence we see today, the wanton death and destruction. But I can’t help but believe that, should these two groups loose their capacity to perpetrate these attacks, Israel would be a more secure country, and the whole region, including the areas housing these radical groups, would be a safer place.  

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Posted by Scottage at 10:49 AM / | |  

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What Is Israel To Me

Several months ago I wrote four pieces on what Israel meant to me, and after a long delay I posted three of them. Before I posted the fourth, tensions broke out, first after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier in Gaza, and then when two more soldiers were kidnapped in Lebanon. But in reading back, the piece is more poignant now than ever, so I post it in its original format. Additions based on recent events will be posted later today.

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While many people try to make Israel as complex as possible with definitions and cross-definitions, religious vs. secular, morality vs. necessity, Israel to me is very simple: Israel is the survival of the Jewish people.

The history of Judaism is replete with stories of the near-extermination of the Jewish people.  In the Bible (or Torah, depending on your faith), motivations moved outside the realm of military conquest in the book of Esther, as Haman wanted to kill the Jewish people to defend his pride.  Since then, call it a crusade, pogrom, holocaust, assimilation, or whatever, people have been trying to rid the world of Judaism.

Israel becomes a beacon of hope for the Jewish people.  It is a nation that, at all times, stands for the right of the Jewish people to exist.  It defends Judaism in times of extreme hatred and prejudice.  It becomes a voice for the people in our hour of most extreme need, not necessarily voicing the conscience of the entire people except on one issue: Judaism must survive!

The people of Israel note that the small country resides in a region that unquestionably hates it, and wants it removed.  In some ways, this mirrors the plight of the Jewish people around the world.  If you are reading this and saying that anti-Semitism is dead, let me tell you, you are fooling yourself.  It may not be politically correct to be anti-Jewish (or anti-anyone), but the hatred is still out there, lying just below the surface everywhere we look.

If Israel’s situation mirrors the situation of the Jewish people, the fate of the country mirrors the fate of Jewish people around the world.  Additionally, the fight and perseverance seen in Israel mirrors the same in the Jewish people around the world.  Neither Israel nor the Jewish people simply accept the hatred of their neighbors; they rally against it, and either by force of will, force of character, or force of arms, Judaism will no longer be a victim.

You see, the fight is for survival, for survival of the people, survival of the beliefs, and survival of Jewish dignity.  It is a fight faced by both the Jewish people and by the state of Israel every day. But it is a fight that the Jewish people must win, at any cost; as the cost of losing even one battle is far too great.  This is survival, folks, and if your race, religion, or creed were in a battle for survival, you would feel the same way as well.

Other Essays I've Written on Israel:
Israel Meme: The Torah Comes to Life on Gilboa
Real Solutions Between Israel and Palestine
Israel: Many Different People, One Nation
Israel and the Power of God: An Indescribable Force Described
The Danger of Daily Life and Surviving Terror

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Posted by Scottage at 11:01 AM / | |  

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jump Up, Jump Up, and Jump Down….For Global Warming

This is very cool, although perhaps unrealistic.  Hans Peter Niesward of the Department of Gravitationphysik in Muich believes we can stop global warming by all jumping at the same time and realigning the Earth’s rotation. Niesward is actually a fictional figurehead, but the concept is real, as is the site they developed to promote the jump, scheduled for Thusday, 7/20 at 11:39:13 GMT (or app 6:40 am on the East Coast of the US).

The basic scoop is that at that time the Earth will be in one of the most fragile positions in its orbit, and by making a slight adjustment we can greatly alter the affects of global warming?  Do I believe it? Probably not, but I registered anyway, because I figure it’s better to give something a try than to sit back and do nothing.  I always prefer action to inaction!

There is a group that believes the jump should not be made because it will make the Gregorian calendar obsolete. Another group has dedicated a website to proving scientifically that this won’t work. But do we really care?  Not me! I think it will be a fun way to show a bit of solidarity with those who care about global warming, and if a bit of good is accomplished, so be it.  

So if you prefer not to live on a polar ice cap, consider showing it with a jump.  If you like, call it a leap of faith.  And who knows, maybe we’ll jump to the conclusion that we made a difference!

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Posted by Scottage at 4:56 PM / | |  

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Middle East War Takes Subtle Turns

Over the past 48 hours, basically since the end of the Sabbath in Israel, tensions and chaos in the fight between Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza has escalated exponentially.  But it has not escalated randomly, as we are seeing some very distinct changes in the fighting from both sides.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has made the calculated move from Katyusha rockets to longer-range, more accurate and more powerful weapons supplied from Syria. The Katyushas were incapable of reaching the major Israeli cities, or the Israeli warship attacked Saturday. But the Syrian made missiles are able to hit cities like Haifa, 3rd largest city in Israel that was hit multiple times Sunday, and other cities like Afula, Sefad, Tiberias, and Northern Nazareth.  Left you see a Haifa building after being hit by a Hezbollah missile.

However, the strikes on Upper Nazareth, boyhood home to Jesus, is a direct indicated of the limitations still faced by the weapons being used by Hezbollah today. The city is largely comprised of Muslims, with many Christians living there as well.  While there is a large market where many Israelis shop, few if any Israelis actually live in the city.  It is an indicant of the lack of accuracy in the Syrian weaponry, and the desire for Hezbollah to spread chaos today, as opposed to utilizing a specific military plan to win this war.

The next decision for Hezbollah, or realistically for their backers Iran and Syria, is whether to use Iranian missiles. These weapons have a much greater range, can carry 132 lbs of explosives as opposed to the 50 lbs of explosives carried by Syrian rockets, and are far more accurate.  They could hit Tel Aviv, a true cosmopolitan wonder in this desert battleground and a city that would remind you of a small New York.  But using these missiles would directly implicate Tehran, which has been avoided to date.

Israel’s moves have been more calculated, and follow a game plan that they have followed time and again.  They began by blockading the country and attacking supply lines, making sure no weapons can go in or out of the region.  Now they are attacking the weapons themselves, going after launchers and weapons stores, taking out the main instruments used by Hezbollah to attack Israeli towns.  All this is done through the air.

But the time is rapidly approaching where Israel will have to enter Lebanon with ground troops. The goal will be two-fold: to re-establish a buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon that can be used to protect Israeli cities, and to take out the leadership of Hezbollah, either by capturing or killing them, leaving the organization relatively inoperative while limiting the killing that is required by Israeli Defense Forces.

Already Kofi Annan and Tony Blair are discussing an international force for the region, and Vladimir Putin is considering contributing troops to such an effort.   But don’t be surprised if those forces are only allowed to be implemented after Israel has achieved its objectives and created the buffer zone.  At this point, perhaps both sides will agree to allow an international force to patrol that zone.

Meanwhile, the war rages on, the world holds its breath, and the casualties mount. Questions abound, such as whether Iran will permit their missiles to be fired, and whether Israel will go after either Syria or Iran for their part in this conflict. Only time will tell, but lets hope the international peace-keeping efforts are effecting before we see too many more casualties.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:54 AM / | |  

Notes From The Weekend

Just a few quick notes from the weekend.  First of all, thanks to all the people who listened in for the radio show Saturday night.  Fun was had by all, with some great requests and a total party in the Shoutbox Chat Room.

Along those lines, Butterflydiva of It’s Just Jill won my raffle for 1000 credits.  Check out her site, it’s very cool. BFD is a mother of an adorable girl, and shares my love of travel, though her passport may not have as many stamps as she would like. Anyway, it’s a cool site, and you should hit it when you have a chance.

I will be holding another raffle this Saturday night, and yes, it will again be for 1000 credits.  Leaving a comment here will get you registered.  And while you’re at it, if you have a song to request for this Saturday’s show that I may not know, it’s best to enter it here so I can listen to it before the show.  Otherwise, I may not feel comfortable playing it.

I also have a new roommate, the extremely cute JJ of The World of Jess.  This Georgia Peach has started her own superhero team, which I am a part of, and is an active participant in Shoutbox.  But I have renamed her JJ, since she’s Dy-No-Mite, and I hope others will use the nickname as well.

With that, another week begins.  Survivor starts up again tomorrow night, and I’m excited to move towards the merge.  I got a bicycle to get myself in better shape, and have been riding all over Rochester. Add in that I’m supposed to play guitar at an open mic this Thursday night, and I’m really psyched for the week to start.

Thanks to everyone for reading, and for helping make my week so much fun. And get ready for a great show this Saturday night, as I’m already putting together some of myk best music to date.  Happy Monday, and welcome to the working week!


Posted by Scottage at 12:53 AM / | |