Monday, November 08, 2010

Politics – October 2010

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

 ~ Baruch Spinoza

Gilad is still in captivity. Veshavu banim legvulam.

At present it seems Ed Miliband better fits the Green party.

 ~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

We received hints that the IDF is searching for Gilad Shalit in Gaza. At present, it is all about good intelligence, finding the lead for Gilad’s whereabouts. At the same time, there are changes in the negotiation team. Hope this will yield good results and that Gilad will celebrate the coming Pesach at home, with his dedicated family.

In a recent poll conducted by Haaretz, Prime Minister Netanyahu received the support of 40% of the public; 47% are dissatisfied with his leadership. Minister of Defence Barak received the support of 27%; the vast majority, 62%, are dissatisfied with his performance; Minister of Foreign Affairs received the support of 34%; 54% are dissatisfied with his performance. The moderate right find Lieberman’s conduct more and more difficult.

Netanyahu is still the most popular leader in Israel. No one else is perceived to be fitter for the role. The three most important issues that embody the agenda setting for the Israeli electorate are the economy, security, and ability to reach some sort of a deal with the Palestinians.

Reflections on August-September Blog
Avigdor Lieberman
Loyalty Oath
Israel Public Opinion
Liu Xiaobo Won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize
Free Speech Cases Top American Supreme Court Docket
Ahmad Zeid-Abadi Receives WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom
Drug Deals in Cemetery – Advice Sought
The Most Candid Lecture I have Ever Heard in England
New Books
Monthly Poem
Light Side

Free Gilad Shalit. The government should invest in his release. It should be one of its top priorities. Veshavu banim legvulam.

Reflections on August-September Blog

From Amos Guiora, Professor of Law, University of Utah, LT COL (ret) IDF-JAG:

From 1994-1997 I served as the IDF Legal Advisor to the Gaza Strip; in that capacity I had the opportunity to work closely with Yoav Galant when he was Commander of the Gaza Strip.

I served as Galant’s Legal Advisor. In that capacity I worked intensively with Galant on a wide range of legal and policy issues relevant to operational counterterrorism, implementation of the Interim Agreement (Oslo Peace Process) in the Gaza Strip and preparing answers to petitions filed to the Israel Supreme Court (sitting as the High Court of Justice) with respect to IDF decisions in the Gaza Strip.

Galant always impressed with the following; all essential to an IDF Chief of Staff, particularly given the extraordinarily complicated dilemmas and threats facing Israel at this most complex juncture (on so many levels)

1) Willingness to listen to alternative view points;
2) Willingness to change his mind if convinced;
3) Outstanding leadership skills;
4) Ability to present in English (he worked in Alaska years ago, perhaps that helps);
5) Sure sense of self/self-confidence devoid of ‘gamesmanship’ and undue facade
6) Respect for legal parameters without cutting corners or ‘selling’ positions without intending to honor those positions.

Avigdor Lieberman

The day I sent you may latest blog, September 28, 2010, Foreign Minister Lieberman spoke at the UN with his usual sincerity, saying that there is no chance for a permanent settlement for a generation and it is necessary to "exchange" populated areas and adjust the state to its correct size. A final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians has to be based on a program of exchange of territory and populations.

In other words, as long as Lieberman in the government you can forget about any peace agreement. This is not viable.

In other words, Lieberman is declaring before the community of nations that Prime Minister Netanyahu deludes you. The “peace process” is a charade, meaningless theatre, and you President Obama, you are a fool who is wasting your time. And you, Abu Mazen, you will see the settlements growing and eating your land. Enjoy. Ahh, so good that Israel has a candid foreign minister who tells you exactly what he thinks and wants.
This is the Israeli way: Be blunt and honest about everything.

Under Lieberman's scheme, part of Israel's Arab population would be moved to a newly created Palestinians state, in return for evacuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

I am sure that the 19% of Israeli-Palestinians will be delighted to hear of this proposal.
They will embrace Lieberman and rush to write letters of support.

On October 10, 2010, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos had meetings in Jerusalem. The most memorable meeting was with their counterpart Lieberman who told them in his well-known, diplomatic way: "Before you teach us how to resolve conflicts here, I expect at the very least that you solve all the problems in Europe. Maybe then I will be open to accepting your suggestions". Lieberman also shared with them some history lessons: "In 1938 the European community decided to appease Hitler instead of supporting the loyal ally Czechoslovakia, and sacrificed it without gaining anything. We have no intention of becoming 2010's Czechoslovakia and will insist on Israel’s vital interests".

Mr. Diplomacy Lieberman also told his counterparts that the West has failed in resolving conflicts and that he does not understand why Israel was being singled out: "It seems as though the international community is trying to make up for its failure to resolve conflicts in Somalia, Afghanistan, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and other places by trying to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian agreement within a year".

According to reports, Kouchner and Moratinos heard from Netanyahu that he aspires to reach a peace agreement within a year, and the same day, two hours later, Lieberman told them that whoever thinks this way is naive.

The day Lieberman received the foreign ministry I said that he is a misfit, that Israel could not have chosen a worse representative. Lieberman confirms my worst expectations. Elephant in a china store is an understatement.

I repeat: The only way to advance with the peace process is to oust him and his party from government and welcome Kadima. I was asked whether this will guarantee that the peace wagon will move forward. True, this will not be the end of the story, as the peace camp has many opponents within the Likud, including senior ministers in Cabinet: Yaalon, Begin, Shalom (an opportunist who is now for the settlers as Bibi ignores him) plus Yishai from Shas. The majority of Bibi’s cabinet is hawkish. Is it possible to go forward? Time will tell. First we should see that Lieberman relieves the government of his presence.

Loyalty Oath

On October 10, 2010, the Israeli government approved a controversial bill that would require all non-Jews taking Israeli citizenship to swear loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state". The law, which has angered Israel's Arab minority, still has to be passed by the Knesset. A similar measure was rejected by the cabinet in May 2009.

When Likud leader Netanyahu held negotiations with Yisrael Beitenu to compose a government, this was one of Lieberman's main demands. Netanyahu pledged that the law will pass, and now he abides by his word.

The Law’s wording: "I swear that I will be a loyal citizen to the state of Israel, as a Jewish and democratic state, and will uphold its laws."

At first, the new law was said to mainly affect Palestinians married to Israelis, foreign workers, and other special cases where people seek to be naturalised as citizens.
However, a few days later Netanyahu announced that the law will be applicable to Jews as well so that it won’t be perceived as discriminatory against Arabs. But while Jews would have little or no difficulty to make the pledge, non-Jews face substantial difficulties.

All five ministers from the left-leaning Labour party voted against the law proposal, as did three members of Netanyahu's own Likud: Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan.

Israel Public Opinion

A recent poll published by Yedioth Ahronoth (October 15, 2010) showed that 63% think that Israeli Arabs should be entitled to vote. 37% wish to infringe this basic right from Arab citizens. Among religious Jews, only 42% believe Arabs should have this right.

26% wish to have a strong leader who makes decisions alone. They prefer this over democratic decision-making. Among immigrants, 53% prefer the strong leader option. The Putin syndrome is alive and well in Israel. Among religious people, 24% prefer this option.

60% of the poll thinks that Avigdor Lieberman contributes to extreme nationalism, bordering on Fascism. Elie Yishay, the Shas leader, is the second who receives such attribution with 40%. Prime Minister Netanyahu is third, with 30% who think that he contributes to extreme nationalism.

Source: Mina Zemach, "36% of Jews: Infringe Israeli-Arabs of the Right to Vote", Yedioth Ahronoth (October 15, 2010), Political Supp., p. 9.

Liu Xiaobo Won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo, an impassioned literary critic, political essayist and democracy advocate repeatedly jailed by the Chinese government for his writings, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his pursuit of nonviolent political reform in China.

Mr. Liu, 54, perhaps China’s best known dissident, is currently serving an 11-year term on charges of “inciting the subversion of state power.” He is the first Chinese citizen to win the Peace Prize.

In awarding the prize to Mr. Liu, the Norwegian Nobel Committee delivered an unmistakable rebuke to Beijing’s authoritarian leaders at a time of growing intolerance for domestic dissent and spreading unease internationally over the muscular diplomacy that has accompanied China’s economic rise.

The Norwegian Nobel committee praised Liu Xiaobo for his "long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The ... committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace."

Although there was no immediate response to news out of Oslo, where the prize was announced, the Chinese government in recent weeks has not been shy in describing Mr. Liu as unworthy of such an accolade. “This person was sentenced to jail because he violated Chinese law,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said last week.

The prize is enormous boost for China’s beleaguered reform movement and an affirmation of the two decades Mr. Liu has spent advocating peaceful political change in the face of unremitting hostility from the ruling Chinese Community Party. Blacklisted from academia and barred from publishing in China, Mr. Liu has been harassed and detained repeatedly since 1989, when he stepped into the drama playing out on Tiananmen Square by staging a hunger strike and then negotiating the peaceful retreat of student demonstrators as thousands of soldiers stood by with rifles at the ready.

His most recent arrest in December of 2008 came a day before a reformist manifesto he helped craft began circulating on the Internet. The petition, entitled Charter ‘08, demanded that China’s rulers embrace human rights, judicial independence and the kind of political reform that would ultimately end the Communist Party’s monopoly on power.

Sources: Andrew Jacobs et al., “Chinese Dissident Awarded Nobel Peace Prize”, NY Times (October 8, 2010), ;
Tania Branigan, “Nobel peace prize goes to Liu Xiaobo”, The Guardian (October 8, 2010),

Free Speech Cases Top American Supreme Court Docket

First Amendment cases top the Supreme Court's docket as it begins a new term with a new justice and three women on the bench for the first time.

The court will look at provocative anti-gay protests at military funerals and a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children. These cases worry free speech advocates, who fear the court could limit First Amendment freedoms.

Another case involves a different aspect of the First Amendment, the government's relationship to religion. The justices will decide whether Arizona's income tax credit scholarship program, in essence, directs state money to religious schools in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Under Chief Justice John Roberts, marking his fifth anniversary on the court, and with the replacement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor by Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been more sympathetic to arguments that blur the line between government and religion, as long as one religion is not favoured over another.

The newly appointed Justice Elena Kagan will not sit on 24 of the 51 cases the court has so far agreed to hear. The former Obama's solicitor general solicitor is required to abstain from hearing those cases.

Kagan's absences create the potential for the eight remaining justices to split 4-4 in some cases. That outcome leaves in place the decision reached by the most recent court to have the case, but leaves unsettled the issue the high court was set to resolve.

A second Arizona law, imposing penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, also is before the court this term. At issue is whether the state law intrudes into an area, immigration, that really is the federal government's responsibility.

Several cases that pit consumers against business also revolve around when federal law trumps state action. In one case, parents of a child who suffered severe, lasting damage from a vaccine want to use state law to sue a drugmaker, even though Congress has established a special court to hear disputes over vaccines.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., backed by many business groups, wants the court to toss out an enormous class-action sex discrimination suit over allegations that it pays women less than men and promotes women less frequently. The case could involve millions of women who once worked at the world's largest private employer.

Source: AP,

Ahmad Zeid-Abadi Receives WAN-IFRA Golden Pen of Freedom

An Iranian journalist who was imprisoned following Iran's disputed presidential election last year has been awarded the 2010 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WANIFRA).

Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, who is serving a six-year prison sentence, was honoured during a ceremony at the opening of the World Editors Forum for "his courageous actions in the face of persecution and for his outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom."

Mr Zeid-Abadi was among at least 110 journalists arrested following the disputed reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009. At least 23 remain behind bars, about a fifth of all journalists imprisoned world-wide.

"Though we honour Mr Zeid-Abadi here today, it is also important to remember the other jailed journalists, the ones who don't win awards but nevertheless suffer under despotic regimes," said Xavier Vidal-Folch, President of the World Editors Forum, who presented the award. "We should never forget them and we in the international newspaper community should do our utmost to win their release."

The award was accepted on behalf of Mr Zeid-Abadi by Akbar Ganji, the 2006 Golden Pen laureate who had also been imprisoned by the Iranian regime.

"Iran today is under the occupation of a band of deceitful liars," Mr Ganji said, at times breaking into tears during the ceremony. "The occupying regime of the Shi¹i clerics has targeted the moral foundation of the society and is determined to portray moral vices as virtues. Usually foreign occupiers occupy a country territorially. But these occupiers have targeted the dignity and integrity of a nation. In what these people in position of power do there is not a trace of commitment to ethics, propriety, or truthfulness."

Mr Ganji's full speech can be found at .

Mr Vidal-Folch's can be read at .

Ahmad Zeid-Abadi, an academic and political commentator as well as a journalist, is known for an open letter he wrote from prison in 2000 protesting the judiciary's treatment of imprisoned journalists. The letter was widely distributed despite attempts by the authorities to suppress its publication.

Mr Zeid-Abadi, the former chief editor of the Azad newspaper and a contributor to the Tehran-based daily Hamshahari and the BBC Persian service, was among dozens of journalists who were systematically rounded up and detained following the disputed presidential election in June 2009. He was tried in August 2009, along with more than 40 other journalists and 100 prominent supporters of the country's pro-reform movement, on charges of plotting to overthrow the clerical theocracy with a "soft revolution." He was sentenced to six years in prison, five years in internal exile and a lifetime writing ban.

"Ahmad Zeid-Abadi languishes in an Iranian prison, held under appalling conditions, merely for the crime of doing a job that most of us in this room do without fear of intimidation, attack, imprisonment or even death," Mr Vidal-Folch said to the more than 500 chief editors and journalists gathered for the annual World Editors Forum.

Mr Zeid-Abadi has been in and out of prison since 2000. In an interview following his imprisonment nearly a decade ago, Mr Zeid-Abadi described conditions in Evin prison this way: "The desperation they create in prison is so bad you think it's the end of the world. The criminals use rape, especially with newcomers. And when you're taken everywhere blindfolded and hear horrible, scary screams, and you are put in a tiny cell, you have the feeling that you will never see normal life again.

In presenting the award, WAN-IFRA and the World Editors Forum again called for the release of all jailed journalists in Iran.

The Golden Pen of Freedom is the annual award made by WAN-IFRA to recognize the outstanding actions, in writing and deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the case of press freedom.

Past winners of the Golden Pen, awarded annually since 1961, include Argentina's Jacobo Timerman (1980), South Africa's Anthony Heard (1986), Vietnam's Doan Viet Hoat (1998), Zimbabwe's Geoffrey Nyarota (2002), and China's Shi Tao (2007) and Li Changqing (2008). The 2009 laureate is Najam Sethi of Pakistan. A full list of laureates can be found at



The first-ever English translation of the 1759 Swedish language pamphlet, Tankar om Borgerliga Friheten, translated as Thoughts on Civil Liberty, has recently been published. Tankar was written by the Finnish-Swede Peter Forsskal. He is well-known as one of Linnaeus´ "disciples" and for his botanical discoveries whilst part of an expedition to Egypt, the Red Sea and Yemen. He died there in 1763 aged 32.

Until now, though, his contribution to political thought and the literature of the Enlightenment has lain hidden, inaccessible to all but a very few Swedish scholars.

Uppsala University did not permit Forsskal to defend the pamphlet’s text as a thesis because he wanted it published in Swedish as well as Latin. So, he went around the University and approached a publisher in Stockholm, Lars Salvius. The version printed by Salvius was the censored one, owing to Forsskal’s plea for freedom to publish - even if the content offended the religious authorities’ sensibilities.

So, Linneaus was ordered to retrieve and destroy all the (500) copies that Forsskal brought with him to Uppsala. It seems as if Linneaus did comply with the order, but without too much diligence, and only 79 copies were found.

This publication reprints and uses the uncensored version, located in the Swedish National Archives. The work was published by Atlantis Bok (Stockholm) during October 2009, and launched at an event in the Old Parliament in Stockholm on November 18th 2009.

The book is complemented by a (beta) website,

A German language translation of Tankar is available there, as well as a specially commissioned French translation. Russian and Spanish translations will follow soon. Discussions about a Swedish-Arabic translation are ongoing.

Forsskal’s pamphlet is an almost unknown, but a significant contribution to Enlightenment literature, in particular from an area of Europe that is not so much neglected as impenetrable because so much of the literature remains un-translated. Although there is no entry for Forsskal in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, its Editor-in-Chief has written (privately) that “Forsskal's work should occupy a major place in the history of liberty.”

To purchase the book, click on

On 23rd November 2010, the second annual Forsskal Symposium will be held at Uppsala Law School in the room dedicated to him there.

Please contact David Goldberg, the project co-ordinator, for any information, comments and the etc. <>

Drug Deals in Cemetery – Advice Sought

Dr Judy Stone from the USA asked me to post this, seeking your advice. Please forward comments to me and I will post them on my next Newsletter.

I wanted to let you know about something creepy that happened Sunday...and am hoping you might give me some direction.

I wandered out to Mt. Lebanon cemetery (Adelphi Rd) this afternoon to visit my folks and ran into a disturbing situation--I believe it was probably a drug deal--in an adjacent section. After a call to the PG police and the Mt Lebanon people, and then talking with Heather's roommate briefly, it seems that on the weekends or after hours, this is not a good place to visit alone like I did. I was told there is a fair amount of gang activity around there as well. Although nothing happened, the incident was disturbing on a variety of levels.

I was totally taken off guard by this encounter and didn't want others to find themselves in a similar situation...

I just spoke to the cemetery manager, whose major suggestion was not visiting alone (like that is real easy to do...and shouldn't be necessary). I suggested that they consider some sort of surveillance system and alert families about safety issues. I also suggested they should perhaps rotate their staff's hours so they have a presence during the hours people are likely to visit their loved ones.
I would hate to have someone killed there just from naivete. I am also sickened at the thought of gangs desecrating graves, but particularly as there are Holocaust survivors buried there.

Any suggestions about making them more responsible for safeguarding both the graves and the visitors would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

The Most Candid Lecture I have Ever Heard in England

On October 5, 2010 I heard the most candid lecture I have ever heard in England. For a moment, it reminded me of Israel... The lecturer, Sir Andrew Motion, a distinguished poet on his own right, spoke of his friendship with Philip Larkin, who is considered as one of the greatest post-WWII poets of England. Larkin was also the Hull librarian for many years, one of the most important figures Hull has ever produced. The lecture started calmly, when Motion spoke of himself and what Larkin meant for him as a young boy. Motion decided to apply for a job in Hull in order to meet Larkin. He got the job, came to Hull, met Larkin. A beautiful friendship developed between them. So far so good.

Motion gave hints of what is ahead when he described Larkin, his home, his life. But that was nothing compared to the real things that came about. Larkin made Motion his literary executor, in charge of all that he left behind. And Larkin had left quite a bit, including very personal letters and diaries. Motion wrote a very revealing biography of Larkin (Larkin: A Writer's Life, I have not read it. Until this lecture, I knew very little about Larkin. I only read some of his poetry. I teach in a building that carries his name. His name flies about in the university quite often. But I knew very little about Larkin’s personal life.

Now I know. I would not have liked to meet him.

What a guy!! An egomaniac, misogynist, racist, exploiter, insensitive, drunk person. Larkin detested children, and coldly played women friends off against one another in order to preserve his solitude. Larkin liked to drink, Thatcher and pornography. And he adored himself.

What a lecture. What candour. I never heard such a thing here. In England, it is all about subtlety, reading in between the lines; what is not said is often more important than what is said; a language of understatements. And suddenly this!!

I came to Sir Andrew at the end of his talk and told him this was the most candid lecture I have ever heard in England. He asked: Where are you from? Israel, I said. Well, he answered smiling, you know something about candidness. Right, I said.

I asked him: Did you love him? Motion said in the lecture that he loves Larkin’s poetry. They were very close friends. Motion answered: I thought it was clear about my affection to Larkin.

I asked: Did you discover anything you did not know after Larkin’s death? Was there anything that came to you as a surprise? He said: Yes, many things. I knew some things, but all became clear upon reading his material.


New Books

Richard Bellamy and Antonio Palumbo (eds.), Public Ethics (London: Ashgate, 2010).

Richard Bellamy and Antonio Palumbo (eds.), Political Accountability (London: Ashgate, 2010).

These are two compilations of already published articles on two important subject areas. In two volumes the reader finds some of the most important literature on public ethics and political accountability. These are rich and diverse, with articles of the highest quality that were published in some of the most distinguished forums in the world.

Political realists are accustomed to argue that ethical considerations had no place in
 public affairs. This is always a debatable view - not least because realism habitually employed a crude utilitarian morality rather than being totally amoral - ethical considerations have played an ever more prominent role in the thinking and actions of policy makers and politicians. Increasingly citizens expect policies not only to be efficient and effective according to some purely economic or prudential calculation, but also to be equitable and just in certain respects as well. Both the private and the public morality of politicians and public officials have come under ever greater scrutiny, with their actions being examined for their moral consistency and probity. They are expected to be procedurally correct, refraining from bias and partiality, and to respect particular moral side constraints, notably human rights considerations. The essays collected together in this volume explore how far these are reasonable expectations. Starting with the classic debates on dirty hands, they discuss the degree to which it is possible to either clean up politicians or politics.

Political accountability forms a cornerstone of modern democracy: it directs the political system towards the public interest and allows the exercise of the principles of autonomy and self-determination that lie at the core of democratic politics. Sadly, actual existing democracies, with their large, centralized bureaucracies, have evolved in ways that progressively undermine the ability of citizens to keep their representatives accountable and political regimes responsive. Far from reversing this trend, the neoliberal reforms introduced since the 1980s have increased that accountability gap. Globalization and the alleged passage from 'government' to 'governance' have, if anything, aggravated the problem further. The notion of accountability that survives these changes is a problematic form of auditing carried out by a constellation of Quangos, autonomous agencies and NGOs whose own accountability is problematic. This volume collects the main contributions to current debates on political accountability. It explores the challenges traditional conventions of accountability face today at the domestic, trans- and international levels and indicates the distinctive solutions those challenges require.

For further information, see

I am most grateful to Ashgate for copies of these two excellent volumes.


Shooting dogs 2004

This film is about the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Specifically it is about deep-seated fear turned into murderous hatred, and about the failings of UN peace monitoring forces. The film tells the true story of one single school run by a Catholic priest which the UN turned into their compound. When violence broke out, some 2500 Tutsis found refuge in the compound. Outside were waiting large numbers of incited mobs with machetes ready to kill. Outside genocide was carried out. The UN and the world at large knew about this and did not care. Yet again, the world turned a blind eye to horrific events and allowed them to happen. Then one day the UN captain received an order to evacuate his small force from the compound and retreat to the airport knowing full well what will happen the moment they leave. Instead of sending troops to stop the genocide, the UN deserted the people who came for their help.

This film is one of the few films made about the terrible genocide in central Africa. Yet again we witnessed the power of words, of the well-designed incitement against the Tutsis, portraying them as cockroaches that need to be destroyed; stripping them of human identity and legitimising their merciless massacre by happily knifing Hutus. Some lessons of the Nazi regime were learned in Africa. Yet again we witnessed what can happen to normal law-abiding citizens when they are brain-washed and authorised by their government to kill their perceived enemy. How happy they are leaving their normal daily life to participate in the blood-bath. This film will shake you, move you, startle you because you know reality exceeds imagination; what you see actually had happened and no one cared.

Monthly Poem


Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Light Side

To keep all happy, two versions of the same joke (?).
For sale: Encyclopedia Britannica. 25 volumes in excellent condition. $1500 or best offer.
I got married last week. My wife knows it all.

For sale: Encyclopedia Britannica. 25 volumes in excellent condition. $1500 or best offer.
I got married last week. My husband knows it all.

Peace and love. Have a warm and cosy winter.

Yours as ever,


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