Thursday, 30 November 2006
Baker Commission -- Why Stop at Iraq?
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This "bipartisan study group" approach that has real possibilities, no?  Imagine ...

 

WATERFRONT STUDY GROUP TO ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The New York Times, Dec. 6, 2006

 

The bipartisan Waterfront Study Group has achieved consensus on a plan to address rampant crime on New York City’s docks.  Its top recommendation will urge the Justice Department to pressure the FBI to scale down its enforcement efforts in order to entice John Gotti and Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, leaders of the Gambino and Genovese crime families, to attend a “Good Neighbors Conference” aimed at carving up stabilizing commerce on the waterfront….

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:57 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: aural malapropisms
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I'm not sure. I think malapropisms are more the fault of the speaker than mondegreens are the fault of the hearer. Mondegreens generally arise from songs, which very often make as much sense if not more the wrong way as the right way. There could well be a Lady Mondegreen. It isn't as silly to think there is one as to suggest that she is the pineapple of perfection.

To put it another way, many makers of mondegreens often speak or write good English and would never make a malapropism. They might, however, spake a moonerism.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:11 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Aural malapropisms
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You are quite right to say that Lady Mondegreen has a life of her own. She is a mischievous creature, and her utterings are sometimes a little salacious, as: "Buy, buy me some merkin pie." Don McLean cleaned this one up for his audience of good old whisky drinking chevy drivers.

Mondegreens and malapropisms are not exactly the same. Mondegreens are just mishearings, whereas malapropisms reflect a certain mangling of words and are the fault of the speaker. --Mary Jackson

The phrase "aural malapropism" conveys exactly the same idea and contains the same elements, translated to another sense, of a verbal mistake that only one party, either the utterer or the hearer of what is uttered, makes.

In the case of the malapropism, the mistake is made by the utterer of the words and the audience recognizes it as a mistake as expressing the imperfect understanding of the utterer. In the case of the aural malapropism, the mistake is made by the listener, who "mangles" the words in his understanding of them as he hears or mishears them, because he hasn't grasped the full sense of what the phrase must mean (hence "laid him on the green" becomes "Lady Mondegreen" for the hearer who hasn't paid sufficient attention to the context, thus has not been able to understand words that could, without that attention, lead to homophonic confusion.

I think "aural malapropism" is fine. But then I also ride allegories along the banks of the Nile.

Erratum sheet:

For "ride" read "fill in"
For "allegories" read "the blank"
For "along the banks" read "within the solander"
For "the Nile" read "her smile"

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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Nepotism for me, but not for thee
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Read this morning's NY Sun editorial, which expertly flays the often laughably clueless New Duranty Times.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:30 AM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: The busy business
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Robert Louis Stevenson:

Extreme BUSYNESS is a symptom of deficient vitality, and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:26 AM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
In a Texas state of mind
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Like all of you, I receive piles of catalogs this time of year, most of which are recycled the day they arrive.  Yesterday, however, I found a truly amazing catalog in my mailbox published by Vision Forum, a San Antonio Christian patriot type outfit that sells books, dolls for girls and among other things crossbows.  Real crossbows.


Here's how they describe this All-American Boy's Crossbow:

Whether your All-American Boy “commando team” is pretending to protect the home from intrusive squirrel invaders or enjoying target practice to develop hand-eye coordination, the toy of choice is the crossbow. Our miniature crossbow is perfect for the fellow who is not quite ready for the genuine article, or for the Dad who still thinks he is a boy. This heavy duty crossbow shoots only soft, suction-cup-tipped safety darts (three provided). Safe for indoor use. Multi-color target included.

Other products for boys include All-American Boy's Blowdart Gun, a Three-Man Slingshot, the Warwolf Trebuchet Kit, and this Lion and Cross Shields and Swords Set:


Deus lo volt, you all!
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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:53 AM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
The busy business of Helping Humanity
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"one thing this whole Islam business has taught me is just how negligent so many people are about doing their homework."-- from a reader

And not just about their "homework" about Islam, though certainly the training of those who enter the government and the so-called think-tanks, those who pullulate in Washington at Centers for ThisandThat, or if they can't get a job at this or that Center for ThisandThat, find a few sugar daddies to set them up in their own individual centers, where they are set, and never have to really set to school. (Say, anyone want to endow a nice little one-man Center for someone who loves doing homework, has done it all his life, and has the evidence to prove it?)

No, the crew on the S. S. Narrenschiff consists of those who go to the Kennedy School or the Woodrow Wilson School or the Johns Hopkins School, or somehow happen to be the figlio di papa of a well-known "conservative" who helps set things up, or following another tenure track, go to a good law school (Harvard and Yale will do nicely) and then, "not wanting to make money" (i.e., having a trust fund or some such safely in the background) decide they want to go into "public policy" so it's the government or an NGO that is, by its very nature, incapable of making moral distinctions because that would be ultra-vires, that would be unacceptable if one is in the busy business of Helping Humanity (and the apotheosis of these Hamburger-Helping-Humanity types is the unctuously and piously sinister and morally intolerable Jimmy Carter).

Now, about that One-Man Center I'm proposing...

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
The Azeris of Iran
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One of Iran's most senior clergymen has issued a fatwa on an Azeri writer said to have insulted the Prophet Muhammad. -- from this news item

If some Persians wish to be lackeys and slaves of the Arab religion, some radio station sponsored by Infidels can point out, that is their affair. The Azeris, on the other hand, that same Azeri-speaking broadcaster can say, have fortunately put Islam "in its place" in the purely religious sphere, and are too advanced to be kept back by the troglodytic Islamic Republic of Iran. And that goes for the Azeris oppressed in Iran, and they might be better off, and their "sacred Azeri soil" in what is now "northern Iran" better integrated into, the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Ideas whose time has come, are coming, will come.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: Words that sound rude but aren?t (cont.)
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"merkin"

In regard to that word it is not Lady Mondegreen, that quick fiction, but rather Humbert Humbert, recalling Valeria, Valerochka, in Paris, as "a glorified pot-au-feu, an animated merkin," who deserves pride of place. He should, given that pride of place, come first, with that place being a particular endroit or detroit, but right now tais-toi, please, there are ladies present. Anywhere else he'd gang agley.

As for the aural malapropism that explains Lady Mondegreen's existence ("Laid him on the green"), to which you make chain-linked reference, whatever her doubtful origins, now that she has been endowed with life she should be allowed all the privileges of it, including use of a libertine line ("No red nor white was ever seen/So amorous as this lovely green") to hide behind, and once suitably hid, to lie down on that now-amorous green, smoothed in advance by a rake's progress, without having, if she turns out to be the girl one hopes she is, to think -- quite unlike poor Rabbie Burns who often had to keep in mind the sassenach audience, and in standard English to compose lyrics for it -- of England.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Captain Ed
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Since I took issue with Ed Morrissey on the First Amendment, I should also have taken the opportunity to note that he is, as usual, spot-on regarding the awful decision by a California federal judge purporting to invalidate the heart of the law that proscribes providing material support to terrorist organizations.  Captain Ed's analysis is here.  I've previously written about the California courts' jihad against the material support law here and here.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:16 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Correction Re: Duelling Psychometricians
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I am sorry; in an earlier post I said that you couldn't see Charles Murray's PowerPoint slides on the AEI website.  In fact you can see the Powerpoint slides here.

Once again, I think this was a superb presentation by two fine scholars.  Both these men—Murray the libertarian and Flynn the socialist—would make simply terrible citizens of a totalitarian state.

Magna est veritas et praevalebit.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:14 AM by John Derbyshire
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Newt & the First Amendment
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Captain Ed offers an uncharacteristically overwrought analysis of Newt Gingrich’s sensible argument that the current threat – jihadists plotting mass-murder in a world where weapons of mass destruction are increasingly accessible – requires a rethinking of First Amendment principles.

 

The Speaker is right, and the fact that he is treading on this third rail is further indication that he will be formidable as a presidential candidate.  Plainly, he understands that the modern threat environment requires going back to first constitutional principles rather than simply accepting the law as sculpted by the Warren Court.

As Judge Bork has often pointed out, as late as the 1942 case of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the Supreme Court unanimously decreed:

There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or “fightingwords—those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. [emphasis added]

The contention that speech inciting violence and lawlessness cannot be regulated is a legacy not of the Constitution but of the Warren Court, which held in Brandenberg v. Ohio (1969) that government could not proscribe advocacy of the use of force (or of other violations of law) “except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action” (emphasis added). There is no reason why the current Supreme Court could not reconsider whether Brandenberg is faithful to the original understanding of the First Amendment. 

But even if – for argument’s sake – we concede that it is, what was “imminent” in the 1960s was far different from what is imminent with today’s technology.  What seemed “likely” before the World Trade Center was built is not the same as what is “likely” now that the World Trade Center no longer exists. 

Captain Ed says, “The remedy for bad speech is more speech.”  This, effectively, is the Holmesian “marketplace of ideas” trope that is just an excuse for not thinking.  If someone’s bad speech is a fatwa that sets a WMD attack in motion, my ability to speak out against the fatwa will be cold comfort to the dead.  The First Amendment does not countenance commands to murder, and Speaker Gingrich is entirely correct to challenge us to think through these principles.   

McCain/Feingold says the political speech that was the core of the original First Amendment protection can be regulated.  Are you really telling me that we can stop someone from speaking out on behalf of a candidate for public office but we have to allow jihadists to call for mass murder?  I don’t think so. 

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:08 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
The limits to integration
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This explains a lot. From the BBC

In a small village, in the foothills of the Himalayas, a group of men are discussing the challenges faced by Pakistanis when they go and live in the UK.

Should they integrate? How much should they take on the values of their new homeland?

We are several thousand miles from Bradford and Birmingham. But nearly everyone here has a relative in Britain. And the debate there about multiculturalism has clear echoes round this table. . . If you want to understand the culture of Pakistanis in Britain, you have to understand Mirpur.

It is conservative, even by Pakistani standards. Rural life here has not changed much over the years. And families are not only a source of rigid hierarchies, but also the guiding influence behind everything from marriage to business. Alliances are built, deals negotiated, all with an eye to how this affects relations between the different households.

I asked Rashid if he had experienced any difficulty adjusting from this, when he went to work in the Midlands and East London for eight years, selling cosmetics and serving in a restaurants.  "No trouble at all," he said. "It was all a pleasure." But it turned out that he faced no challenges to his values, because he never mixed with anyone who lacked them. 

Rashid reckoned that 80% of his customers in Britain had been Mirpuris, the rest from other sub-continental backgrounds. He is a sociable man, lively and entertaining. But he never made a single white, British friend the whole time he was there.  "I regret it," he says, "but there was no chance. I did not go anywhere I could meet English people."

It is one way to avoid the difficulties of confronting cultural difference - to avoid cross-cultural contact altogether. And it seems to be the route taken by many people of Pakistani origin.

I also explains why the Moslems  who came from East Africa first have done better (although still not as well as the Hindus and Sikhs who were expelled at the same time)  than the more recent arrivals direct from Pakistan.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 1:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Irshad Manji and What is a moderate Moslem.
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As the Pope visits Turkey, Irshad Manji says this is a good moment to re-enter the debate raised by his comments on Islam and violence.

This is the link to her article in today's Times. She is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task she is attempting.

"And, as Imran demonstrates, those of us who dare to imply that the Quran can be questioned are not real Muslims. We are Jews." I can think of worse things to be.

 As I have said before I believe that any attempt at an Islamic "reformation" will result in what is effectively a new religion which will then be persecuted as mercilessly as all the others. But she retains a faith in God, I admire her courage and she must be supported.

 

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Posted on 11/30/2006 1:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Words that sound rude but aren?t (cont.)
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And that, and these are not the only words that sound rude but aren’t. Greenmamba in the comments has been cogitating and speculating:

 

I wonder how large a supply of these you have. Is there any chance you might run out?

 

To paraphrase Burns – whose love works are second to none – when all the seas gang dry, my dear, when all the seas gang dry. Greenmamba adds:

Here are some that come immediately to mind.

Thespian

Sects

Proselyte

Formicate (a favourite)

And of course, homophone

You might also want to delve into words that don't sound rude but are:

Merkin

Merkin is indeed an innocuous sounding word for something really quite saucy. Lady Mondegreen, of whom there is more here, first used it in an entreaty to her lover, Earl Amore: “Buy, buy me some merkin pie.”

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Posted on 11/29/2006 6:35 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Worse than Nazism?
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"There is...something far worse, more evil than Nazism, than Hitler even that is staring us in the face.  (from a reader)

I don't agree that something "worse than Nazism, than Hitler even" is "staring us in the face." The problem is that Islam is far more resilient, and with much greater, possibly even a universalist appeal even if it is a vehicle for Arab supremacism. And its own followers exhibit a kind of sliding-scale of adherence that makes it more difficult to combat, or rather, to persuade others to combat, because those others among the non-Muslims keep mistaking this or that personable or outwardly friendly and sweet-seeming Muslim for the doctrine of Islam, and possibly even, very likely even, the real feelings of that smyler with the knyf under his cloke.

But there is no need to make such pronouncements as "Islam is worse than Nazism." Few will be convinced, and many will be repelled, by such inaccurate hyperbole. Islam, as a doctrine, is dangerous for all non-Muslims, and for the mental freedom of Muslims as well.  It is more effective and potent in its appeal than Nazism, but not worse in its ideology.

After all, one could not save oneself from the Nazis by becoming a Nazi if one was not an Aryan (and had the Germans succeeded, it would not have been the Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs alone who would have been declared, step by step, to be untermenschen). One always has the option of submitting to Islam in order to save one's life or to get out from under the condition of the dhimmi. That's where Pakistanis come from. That's where Bosnian Muslims come from. Not a good fate. But not what the Nazis had in store for those they decided were permanently inferior (or in some cases, seen as not inferior but as too gifted, and dangerous), who were not permitted to live.

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Posted on 11/29/2006 5:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Post-Christian Europe?
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The actual numbers, courtesy of Gene Expression: Those Godless French!  (Presumably the numbers include French Muslims.)
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Posted on 11/29/2006 4:55 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Cheer Down, Derb
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A reader: 

Derb—-You say that it gladdens your heart to see so much pessimism flying around.  Surely there is a downside to all that pessimism.  At the very least, it seems to me that you should be upset that they're horning in on your territory.  C'mon, don't let the bastards get you up.

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Posted on 11/29/2006 4:15 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Re: Duelling Psychometricians
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I mentioned on Monday the debate to be held Tuesday (i.e. yesterday) at the AEI, between James Flynn and Charles Murray, on closing the black-white test-score gap (concerning which the New York Times magazine last Sunday ran a long article).

Audio and video of the event is now up on the AEI site so you can watch the debate for yourself... Except that both speakers, though Murray more than Flynn, rely on diagrams & slide shows that can't be seen.

I was gratified to see that both speakers expressed pessimism, though of very different kinds.  Murray sees "reasons for pessimism in seeing any further narrowing of the [black-white] gap."  Flynn declares that: "When I view American society I'm always filled with pessimism."  He means with pessimism about the prospects of us ever undertaking the vast programs of social engineering he'd like to see.  It gladdens my heart to see so much pessimism flying around.

It is a very collegial debate.  (Though I note Murray's curious way of pronouncing that word with a hard "g."  Well, he is a psychometrician.  (That's a psychometric in-joke.)  These two guys obviously like and respect each other a lot, for all the vast difference in their outlooks—Murray the skeptical libertarian, Flynn the 1960s radical with burning faith in our ability to improve our societies by spending wads of government money.  When I mentioned Flynn once to Murray, he replied that Flynn is a fine & conscientious researcher, and that: "His numbers look good."  There speaks the true datanaut.   

For all Flynn's leftism, he does not seem to have fully internalized the restraints of Political Correctness—see his joke about Irish vs. Chinese at about 27:40 into the show.

On the substance:  Flynn relies heavily on the 1961 Eyferth study, a great favorite with nurturists.  After ten minutes of Eyferth, I found myself thinking: "Yeah, yeah—what else you got?"  Though he does get a bit more general later... but then circling back to Eyferth.  There are thousands of studies on the b/w gap; it's a bit disappointing to see a big-name psychometrician leaning so hard on just that one, against which (as Flynn admits) all sorts of objections can be raised.

Murray is more heavily technical, and if you don't know basic statistics his presentation will be tough going.  He takes a (well-documented) swipe at the stupid No Child Left Behind rigmarole, and ventures into some still quite taboo territory—correlation of g (core intelligence factor) with brain physiology, and so on. 

Charles Murray on the No Child Left Behind Act:  "A disaster for American education and ought to be repealed forthwith."  Yee-hah!  Go get 'em, Charles!

Very touching wrap-up at the very end, with Charles appreciating James Flynn, and Flynn giving a moving tribute to Arthur Jensen.  This—Flynn, I mean—is a guy who had earlier said: "Someone described me as a liberal.  I'm not.  I'm a socialist."

Flynn's last words in the wind-up:  "You're not protecting blacks or Chinese or Irish if you make their plight un-discussable.  Anything that's undiscussable you then leave to prejudice and opinion and ignorance.  They are the only gainers when you ban discussions of this sort."

I feel my atavistic affection for the **old** Left stirring... 

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Posted on 11/29/2006 4:06 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo
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"Moderate" Muslims are simply the Velvet Glove which surround the Iron Fist of Jihad.

The Iron Fist says "We want to subjugate and kill you."

The Velvet Glove says "We are peaceful -- and if you don't agree, this Iron Fist I'm working so hard to conceal will punch you very hard."--from a reader

The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove described by the reader above reifies the phrase "fortiter in re, suaviter in modo." As a tactic for Muslims, it had some early success, but such success is not capable of being sustained.

Things, you see, are not quite working out. The messages by the Akbar-Ahmeds and others desperately trying to disguise or camouflage ort explain away or distract Infidel attention onto the trivial isn't quite up to the world-wide task at hand. Not only do Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri and Nasrallah and other terrorists get in the way, but so too is Sheik Al-Qaradawi, and so many other Muslim clerics, from Tantawi the former Sheikh al-Azhar to all kinds of people in Saudi Arabia and Iran and Pakistan, each more blood-curdling than the next.

Problem for Muslim apologists (and their well-paid running dogs, such as Esposito) is that as more and more Infidels begin to read and study and observe and make sense of what they observe, they  discover - a bit too much fortiter, and not nearly enough convincing suaviter, in that particular re. One is playing fast and loose with the Latin here, but what else is to be expected of someone who demonstrates a liking for the adverb of manner "fast and loose"?

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Posted on 11/29/2006 3:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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