The above link goes to an article for those interested in historical/geographical trivia. A l0t of folks, myself included, made a fuss in 2008 when Barack Obama claimed to have visited 57 states. Perhaps he would have been right if the proposed states in the article had been approved. I had heard of half of them; how about you?
This month marks twelve years since I uploaded The Xenophile Historian to its current location, on Freeservers.com, a Utah-based company. Obviously I am pleased with the performance of Freeservers as a host; twelve years is nearly a century in Internet time, right? If you haven’t read the story behind the website, you can go to it here.
Over the years I have added webpages, pictures, and a few other files, like sound files and PowerPoint presentations. Thus, the site has grown from 10 megabytes (the size when I left Geocities, the original host), to about 129 megs. In 2001 I started paying for hosting, and that gave me 200 megs of space. Therefore I probably could have kept growing for another couple of years, but it was starting to feel cramped.
A year or so ago, I learned that the original package I signed up for was out of date; I was still allowed 200 megs, but people who signed up more recently were getting much more space than that, and paying less for it. No surprise there; server space and bandwidth have gotten cheaper as more and more computers get connected to cyberspace.
Last year I called Freeservers and found out I could change my membership to take advantage of the newer packages, but was put off when they wanted me to pay up front for two years’ membership. I couldn’t afford it at the time, so I waited until now to take the plunge. The package I ended up choosing costs 1/5 less per month than what I was paying previously, but increases server space from 200 megs to a whopping 5 gigs. Bandwidth will increase too, but I have never needed to worry about running out of that, especially since 2003, when Wikipedia started taking away visitors that used to come to me.
I don’t know yet what I will do with all that space; I don’t need gigabytes to write history papers for the parts of the world I haven’t written about yet (Latin America since 1830, Central Asia, the South Pacific, and updates to previous papers). Most likely I’ll throw in some multimedia, like videos. In the past I never was big on multimedia, but maybe that will now change; I won’t have to post links to YouTube videos, anyway. Maybe more music, too. Those are the biggest changes you are likely to see. Keep on coming back to see what’s new, and have fun!
It’s a crying shame that these days, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, two comedians who get their jokes from current events, give us a less biased look at the news than the people who are supposed to report it, especially NBC, CBS and ABC. Earlier this week I commented on how President Obama is too busy campaigning to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but appeared on David Letterman and “The View.” Now Jon Stewart is making fun of Obama’s priorities, too. Stewart is firmly in the tank of Obama supporters, so I guess Obama made a bad mistake when it becomes fodder for Stewart.
By the way, Stewart complained at the beginning of that clip about how UN General Assembly meetings mess up traffic in Manhattan. One more reason why the UN headquarters should be moved out of the US, preferably to a Third World country like Haiti, where the organization can do something to justify its existence.
Mark Twain once said that history does not repeat itself, but it sure rhymes a lot. Well, this year’s election is rhyming with the one we had in 1980. In both cases we had a failed president trying to win a second term with negative attacks, hoping that voters would choose the known devil in the White House, rather than take a risk with the not-so-well-known challenger. 2012 isn’t a perfect match with 1980 – we don’t have a strong independent like John Anderson, and we don’t know yet who is this year’s equivalent of Ronald Reagan (perhaps Paul Ryan fills that role better than Mitt Romney). And Reagan only pulled ahead in the polls during the last week before Election Day; that may be why the media is reporting the race is tied, or that Obama has a narrow lead.
Finally, Obama did not suffer from an incident as embarrassing as the attack from a rabbit that Jimmy Carter dealt with. Nor did anyone in the media call Obama’s policy “more mush from the wimp.” Therefore comedy bits like the one above may be the closest thing to criticism of Obama that we see from anyone besides the Republicans.
Regarding the Netanyahu snub, this article suggests that it happened because Obama does not want to meet with the prime minister anymore:
The good news is that such cold relations will not exist under a Romney presidency. Romney has known Netanyahu since 1976, long before either of them entered politics, so they are old friends.
If the riots over the past two weeks have proven anything, it is that socially, the world’s Moslem community is woefully behind everybody else. I trust that only fools still believe that Islam is a religion of peace. It seems that we can’t do anything anymore without outraging folks in the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia and Dearborn, Michigan. Now that the French have to close their embassies, just because of rumors of violence over another Muhammad cartoon, I’m sure a lot of folks besides Pat Condell and myself are tired of it:
Compare it to the reaction when anti-Christian artists smeared elephant dung on a picture of the Virgin Mary, or photographed a crucifix in a jar of urine. Folks like me were offended, but no one was mad enough to attack an embassy or kill somebody. Likewise, Buddhists did not riot when the Taliban blew up the world’s largest statues of Buddha in Afghanistan.
Recently The Onion, probably the modern world’s best-known source of satire, tried to offend the non-Moslem world by posting a picture of a group sex scene involving Moses, Jesus, Ganesha and Buddha. In the name of decency I won’t share the picture or a link to it here. The point is, as The Onion proudly said, nobody has been murdered because of that outrageous picture. As they put it, “Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.”
Of course if we tried to kill or beat some sense into every Moslem, we would be no better than they are. They haven’t had their version of the Reformation or the Thirty Years War, to teach them that the Middle Ages is over; no wonder some of them are obsessed with the Crusades. Last Friday Daniel Pipes suggested that we keep publishing cartoons of Muhammad until Islamists become desensitized (see the link below), and they realize the futility of declaring every Friday a “day of rage.” Maybe our government should post the pictures of Osama bin Laden’s body that they are hiding, too; after all, didn’t they say they were classified to prevent more Moslem unrest?
I think I just found the place where I want to retire. Now if only I can convince my wife. Because it is in the tropics and the natives speak Spanish, it will probably look a lot like the Philippines to her. The main difference is the Mayan ruins; how close will this city be to Copan, anyway?
Anyway, go to the link above the picture for details.
Once again, President Obama has turned down a chance to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to meet with Hollywood celebrities again. This time he is going on “The View.” Or perhaps it would be better called “The Spew”; I said once that only our enemies should watch that show. Elizabeth Hasselbeck is the only bright spot there; if it wasn’t for her, you could show the program at Guantanamo and it would be considered torture.
As for Netanyahu, he will instead be meeting the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper. There’s no doubt about it, Canada has replaced the United States as Israel’s best friend. God once said, regarding Abraham and his descendants, “I will bless those that bless thee, and curse those that curse thee” (Genesis 12:3). Therefore I don’t think it is a coincidence that Canada’s economy is doing a lot better than ours right now.
By the way, have you noticed that the Israeli and Canadian flags look nice together? Both have a combination of white and a primary color, both have two bars, and both have the national symbol in the middle.
Myself, I’m hoping for the biggest electoral upset since the polls predicted Thomas Dewey would win in 1948.
It came more than sixty years late, but I’m glad to see it nonetheless. In case you haven’t heard of the Middle East’s Jewish refugees, it is because they weren’t kept in refugee camps for generations, the way the Arab refugees were; they got permanent homes in Israel and the Western nations. In fact, there wasn’t much of a difference between the number of Arabs driven from western “Palestine” and the number of Jews driven from Moslem countries, so I’d call it a fair trade. Here is what I wrote about it in Chapter 16 of my Middle Eastern history series:
One aspect of the 1948-49 war that still affects us today is the departure from the land of hundreds of thousands of Arabs. Sometimes they simply fled the fighting, in other cases they were driven out by groups like the Irgun. However, most left because Arab leaders said they wanted a clear field of fire against the enemy. An Arab victory was an absolute certainty, they argued, and after the war ended they could come home and have the whole land to themselves. But because the war ended in a Jewish victory, most of the Palestinian Arabs found themselves without a country. When Israel declared independence, its government had stated that those Arabs who wanted to stay were welcome, but those who left would not get a second chance. The Arabs who stayed (plus a few that managed to return after the war) numbered 160,000 by the end of 1949, most of them in the hills of Galilee. This group, known as the Israeli Arabs, enjoys full rights as Israeli citizens, including the right to vote. We rarely hear from them in the West, however, because those Palestinians committed to the destruction of Israel have always claimed to represent all Palestinians, and have a nasty habit of assassinating Arabs who openly disagree with them.
The UN estimated that more than 725,000 Arabs fled; the Israelis estimated that between 550,000 and 600,000 Arabs fled. One reason for the discrepancy is the little-known UN definition of what a “Palestinian” is: anyone who has lived within the land for at least two years. This means that some Arabs who claim to be “Palestinians” were never actual citizens of Palestine when it was under British rule; they were immigrants from other Arab countries who may have arrived as recently as 1946. Whatever the case, they all now claim to be citizens of Palestine, and the Arab governments treat them as refugees from there.
Simultaneously Israel had to deal with a tidal wave of Jewish refugees coming in. So many arrived, in fact, that it is remarkable the Israeli economy did not collapse under their weight. To start with, 600,000 Jews, most of them holocaust survivors, came from Europe between 1948 and 1970. Another 60,000 came from Iran and 20,000 from India. About 100,000 came out of the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, before the USSR put severe restrictions on that kind of immigration.
Most important to Israel’s future, however, was the arrival of the Sephardic Jews. In 1945 there were more than 870,000 of them living in the Arab world; some of their communities had existed for 2,500 years. For them life in harmony with their Arab neighbors ended with Israel’s independence, because the Arabs now saw them as enemy agents. In 1947 and 1948 there were anti-Jewish riots in Aden (where 82 Jews were killed), in Egypt (where 150 Jews were killed), in Libya (where 14 Jews were killed as a follow-up to a savage 1945 pogrom), in Syria (where Jewish emigration was forbidden), and in Iraq (where “Zionism” became a capital crime). Fleeing their persecutors, the Jews were forced to abandon their property and possessions, and most of them escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs. About two thirds of them became Israeli citizens, while the other 260,000 found refuge in Europe and the Americas.
The transfer of populations on a massive scale, either by war or by state policy, is a distinctive feature of twentieth century history. In almost every case, those uprooted from one place found a new home in the country that took them in. The movement of more than 580,000 Jews from the Arab lands to Israel, and of a similar number of Palestinian Arabs out of Israel, was typical of such movements, though it was far from being the largest (e.g., compare it with the exchange of 8.8 million Hindus for 8.5 million Moslems that took place between India and Pakistan at the same time). Still, the uprooted Jews became an integral part of Israeli life, while the Palestinian Arabs remained, often as a deliberate act by their host countries, isolated, neglected, and bitter.
In 1975 the Iraqi government invited all former Iraqi Jews to come back, to prove that the Arabs are not racists. Only one ex-Iraqi is known to have accepted the invitation. When Iraqi officials told Western reporters in Baghdad that a trickle of Iraqi Jews had returned, the reporters started calling Yusef Navi “Mr. Trickle.” After a year in Iraq, Navi re-emigrated to Israel.
The world at large forgot the handful of Jews that remained among the Arabs. As of 2009, there are an estimated 4,000 Jews left in the Arab world–most of them in Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen–and they were an unfortunate lot. As dhimmi (second-class citizens), their ability to travel is severely restricted, they have to pay special taxes, and they are subject to discriminatory laws. Four hundred stayed in Yemen, for instance, because they belonged to a Satmar, a non-Zionist sect. When Moshe al-Nahari, a thirty-year-old teacher, was killed in 2008 by a Moslem who was religiously motivated, and the judge ordered the murderer’s family to pay “blood money,” instead of passing a death sentence, the last Jews of Yemen realized that the Arab world does not tolerate even non-Zionist Jews, so they began to leave.
An unfortunate side effect of the Jewish departure is that except for the Palestinians, few modern Arabs are likely to meet a Jew in their lifetime. Because separation breeds prejudice, and prejudice breeds more separation, this makes the Arabs more susceptible to the anti-Semitism and crackpot conspiracy theories so common among Islamic fundamentalists.
Yes, I’m a little bit late in announcing it, but I had writer’s block for two days. The energy I devote to writing went to my current history project, rather than to this blog.
Anyway, yesterday was the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall in this hemisphere. We certainly felt it, due to a cold front coming in yesterday; it was 38 degrees at sunrise this morning. Some homes and businesses are decorating with seasonal props like pumpkins and dried corn stalks; soon the leaves will be changing color, too. Here is a Radio Shack ad showing one of their phones already dressed up with fall colors:
A new season also means a time of change. In this household, we are now moving from Leive’s time of the year to my time of the year. She is most likely to be outside during the spring and summer months, while fall and winter seem to be better suited for me. Like I said before, it makes more sense to start a new year at the beginning of spring or fall, instead of in the middle of winter. The Israelis have the right idea, since their new year started a week ago.
When you’re not following the same routine as most people, your outlook on the week is different. Most people work Monday through Friday, and look forward to rest and recreation during the weekend. For me on the other hand, one day is a lot like any other. I’m more likely to enjoy Monday than you are, because I get a spiritual charge from my LegalShield business briefing on Monday nights, and Monday is the first day of the week when I can get paid. Likewise, Labor Day wasn’t a holiday for me, because I don’t have work to take the day off from, and because Labor Day got in the way, a payment I was expecting was delayed 24 hours.