Trapped behind the blockades surrounding the Gaza Strip, there are many things that the resident Israelites must do without. Goods from the outside world are heavily restricted, and most Palestinians are as cut off from the rest of the world as the East Germans were before the Iron Curtain fell.
Apparently, however, there is one thing that residents of Gaza cannot do without: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Khalil Efrangi, 31 of El Arish, Egypt, began a smuggling operation has begun, whose sole purpose is to sneak KFC across the border to Israelites who have just got to have some of the Colonel’s greasy goodness.
Efrangi business, Yamama – which is supposed to mean “pigeon” in Arabic, but I believe it to be the short version of the business’ complete title: Not Yamama’s Chicken Shack – has successfully delivered over 100 meals in the past few weeks, with Efrangi making about a $6 profit on each meal.
That’s pretty good, considering that the chicken has a long way to go after being Kentucky-fried in El Aresh, which, itself, is a long, long, long way from Louisville.
First, the delivery must be lowered 30 feet after reaching the mouth of the tunnel on the Egyptian side and then carted down a short, 650-foot hallway crossing under the border.
Once that original recipe gets into Gaza, it still has to get loaded into the car, driven into the city and delivered to the salivating customers at home.
As a delivery fee, the lucky recipients pay about double what they normally would to get the fresh stuff at the store.
Adeeb al-Bakri, who already owns four KFCs and Pizza Huts and is currently working out plans to open an official KFC in Gaza, disapproves of the fact that Efrangi’s method of delivery typically takes four hours, telling the New York Times, “We usually dump it after half an hour.”
Last week, the Morgan County Citizen carried a front page story that began: “The Morgan County Board of Education Monday unanimously approved a modified 2013-2014 school calendar that includes five furlough days from Thursday, Aug. 1 to Wednesday, Aug. 7.”
This move will cut student days and save the school system about $500,000.
Morgan County is not alone. Two weeks ago Cobb County, one of the most prosperous in the state, was saving money by cutting 182 teaching positions and requiring five days of unpaid furlough days for teachers.
The problem is not our local counties. It is the State of Georgia and its priorities. School districts across the state are dealing with sharp cutbacks in state school funding.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) noted in a recent report, “The Quality Basic Education program, the primary mechanism for distributing state money to local school districts, is underfunded by $1 billion in the governor’s budget for the 2014 fiscal year… For districts and schools across the state, there will be little relief from larger class sizes, shorter school calendars and teacher furlough days.”
Don’t just blame the Great Recession. The GBPI’s inflation-adjusted data shows that state spending per student started its long decline a decade ago. As the Atlanta Journal and Constitution’s Jay Bookman pointed out, “That decline occurred not because we as a state were too poor; it began because even in good times, our leaders made a conscious decision that we could find better uses for that money than the schools that were educating our children.”
“They warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner,” said our president just two weeks ago.
After Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS and AP scandals…can you blame us?
Obamaworld is crumbling. Finally, after five years of sycophantic praise, the Pravda Press of the mainstream media is paying attention.
It’s both odious and bizarre that the murder of four Americans in Benghazi failed to interest the press. It’s immeasurably worse that our government still hasn’t done a single thing about the assassination of our ambassador on American soil. The fact that Obama told falsehoods during a Presidential debate – garnering four Pinocchio’s from the Washington Post – is nothing short of breathtaking.
“What difference does it make?” Hillary proudly decreed. I’m sure Nixon thought the very same thing. Remember, nobody died during Watergate.
The press was similarly disinterested when the IRS harassed TEA Party and pro-Israeli groups since 2010, then lied to Congress over the past two years. The IRS admits they demanded Pro-Life groups give them “the content of their member’s prayers” yet contend “it’s not illegal to target conservative groups.” In one instance, a tiny nonpartisan training program was investigated 17 different times by Federal agencies.
Can you imagine being audited 17 times? Can you imagine telling the government what you pray about?
The IRS is now the enforcement arm of Obamacare. While everything else in this horrible economy is getting smaller, the IRS is getting bigger, much bigger, in order to take on this colossal task. In a bizarre and arrogant twist that even a novelist wouldn’t be crazy enough to write, the very same IRS official who was in charge of this scandal is now overseeing Obamacare.
Is it any wonder why we’re so concerned?
This week I am setting aside the usual politically inspired thoughts. Frankly my heart just isn’t in it. My wife and I (along with thousands of others) have been vicarious witnesses to every parent’s worst nightmare: the death of a child. A close friend, teammate and classmate of our son’s took his own life last week. There were no warning signs. To say we are all shocked would be a gross understatement. This tragedy has reminded us all how quickly that which we take for granted can vanish in an instant. The pain and anguish we have experienced have been but mere shadows of what his family has endured. I am humbled by their strength of character for I doubt I could muster the strength to get out of bed. Many ask “why” in these situations but it may be the most pointless question of all. There is no answer that could ever be given that would make any sense or console anyone. We hope an answer might help us prevent others from doing the same. But every situation is unique. Following our hindsight leaves us blind to what is before us. The challenge is not in addressing every potential scenario that might lead a teen down this path but rather in making sure they understand there does not exist even the possibility that any event or situation in their life could ever justify such a course of action.
I usually end my columns with a book recommendation but this time I am starting the column with the title of a book. Tom Cox and John M. Ruter have combined their efforts and written a book about conifers that could only have originated from their love of these wonderful plants. And, yes, I am also a lover of conifers too, which is why I had to buy this great book that talks about conifers that are happy living in our hot, humid environment and yet gives us such stately beauty. Who could not love a plant that is evergreen, requires minimal maintenance and that deer don’t really give a hoot about.
So what is the name of this wonderful book? Try something as easy as Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgos for the Southeast by Tom Cox and John M. Ruter. Let me give proper accolades to each of these authors before I go on about the plants they love. Tom Cox is the past president of the American Conifer Society and is the founder and owner of Cox Arboretum and Gardens in Canton, Ga. John Ruter is a professor at the University of Georgia, a plant breeder and has authored or co-authored over 400 publications, along with this wonderful book.
I first fell in love with conifers after visiting Piccadilly Farms Nursery in Bishop, Ga. Sam Jones, the owner of this lovely nursery, has a beautiful specimen garden that you can walk around and see how the conifers will look beyond the three-gallon size that you usually buy.
We’ve all heard of people blowing up at their family, but this is ridiculous.
69-year-old Czeslaw Kaminski (he’s Polish, in case you couldn’t tell) woke up one morning in his home in Lodz to find nothing in his bed with him except the note his wife left, explaining that she took the children for a picnic.
Apparently losing his mind at the thought of an idyllic late morning in the great outdoors, Czeslaw called his wife, Grazyna, and leveled threats at her, none of which she took seriously.
Further enraged that his insane concerns were not being taken seriously by his own wife, Czeslaw took additional steps to prove to Grazyna that he was indeed the man of the house.
Czeslaw made his way to the basement of his home, where he lit a fire and threw two combustible containers upon the blaze.
And wouldn’t you know it, Czeslaw hadn’t clearly thought out his escape route before finalizing his plot, causing his house of – well, heavier materials than cards – to come down around him.
(I’ve been watching a lot of All in the Family recently, so I’m fighting the very strong impulse to make a Polish joke right now.)
Czeslaw suffered critical injuries after his explosive performance, which brought the house down.
Well... half of the house, at least.
After being airlifted to a hospital, Czeslaw is still being treated while sleeping the decision off in a coma.
Let this be a lesson to you: picnics are messy, and are often more trouble than they are worth. Especially if the result is having to rebuild your home.
Printed in the May 16, 2013 edition.