Thursday, June 20, 2002

Israel's New Strategy May Be Working

Following Israel's announcement that it would retake Palestinian land following terrorist attacks, Yasser Arafat called on Palestinians to stop the attacks.

I think this new plan can be effective, as long as Israel is willing to return the land when the attacks stop. Furthermore, I think it can easily be combined with a proposal like the one I stated earlier, in which Israel offers to give complete Palestinian control over a piece of disputed territory if the attacks stop for a substantial amount of time.

Because many Palestinians believe "martyrdom" is the path to heaven, and because pro-Palestinians groups provide financial rewards to the families of suicide bombers, Israel needs to use "carrot and stick" methods to stop terrorism. Taking land following terrorist attacks, and granting land following periods of no attacks, are virtually the only techniques at Israel's disposal to make suicide bombings unattractive to the Palestinians.

William Saletan posts a similar analysis of the new policy on Slate. He points out that this new policy is in fact an extension of the idea of 'land for peace': "Take our peace, lose your land."

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

On other websites:
The Quiet Giant, The Wye Oak

Not many trees get obituaries when they die, but this 460-year-old oak did. It fell in a storm on June 6th. It even got a tribute from Maryland's Governor: "I was deeply saddened tonight to learn of the loss of one of our state's most historic, beautiful and stately natural resources," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening. (And, as my husband just noted, many trees have been logged, but this is probably one of the first that's been blogged.)

Monday, June 17, 2002

Review of Polygon, the Dancing Bear

I liked this blog by Wastenaw County (MI) Commissioner Lawrence Kestenbaum. Larry is already well-known on the internet for his website the Political Graveyard, a biographical database of American politicians with an emphasis on where they are buried. Polygon, the Dancing Bear, is a more free-form site, with in-depth essays on whatever strikes Larry's fancy. Currently, a particular focus of the site is the congressional redistricting underway in Michigan. Other essays discuss Google, the decline of newspaper quality, and copyright law. It also features 50 versions of the "Nigerian" email scam. (That's the one where a person claims to have large sums of money stranded in some African country, and asks for your help -- and bank account -- to get it out.)

At points, the writing on this site approaches the poetic. Here is Larry's description of the operating room where he was about to undergo surgery: "The hushed crowd of doctors and retainers in immaculate uniforms, made me think of ... the inner sanctum of the grand lodge of some great secret society." Another interesting feature is that the site uses custom-written html, rather than using one of the available blogging applications such as Movable Type or Blogger.

Many of the essays have a Michigan focus, and perhaps they will be of less interest to people in other regions. Still, as one of the few blogs written by a working politician, this site is a good source of insights into the operation of local government.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

On other sites:
Madeline Albright, Femme Fatale

An Egyptian newspaper has this to say about former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright: "The American president Bill Clinton, with the most famous scandal regarding women, was in love with the childish Jewess Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state. He would make no decision without getting the approval of this woman, who became notorious for her short garments…” (Translation courtesy of the Middle East Media Research Institute.)

That is my new goal for when I’m Albright’s age – to have the Arab press denounce me for my revealing clothing and claim that the President is in love with me.