Friday, 21 April 2006
United 93
clear
Ed Driscoll has posted at his blog a United 93 trailer here.  No special software required:  It's You Tube. From Deroy Murdock's review  of the film at NRO:
 
"This is no PC film crafted by moral relativists in Malibu.  As soon as Universal Studios’ logo fades to black, a man  quietly prays in Arabic. He holds a small Koran in his palms while sitting atop a motel bed. 'It’s time,' one hijacker announces, and their murderous journey begins."
clear
Posted on 04/21/2006 7:30 AM by Robert Bove
clear
Thursday, 20 April 2006
DESPAIR IS THE NEW IRRITATION
clear

"X is the new Y." I groaned at the title Ann Coulter gave to her piece on the illegal-immigrant demos the other day: "Brown is the New Black." (Gay was the new black about 10 years ago, I recall.) Reading that Hugh Hefner thinks that "80 is the new 40" was the last straw, though. Could we retire this one, please?

After I posted this at the Corner, a reader, responding to my plea for the "X is the new Y" rhetorical figure to be retired.

"Retirement is the new beginning."

Please make it stop.

clear
Posted on 04/20/2006 2:45 PM by John Derbyshire
clear
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Mark your calendars
clear
It's never too early to begin planning your Flavio Biondo Day festivities.  Biondo (1392-June 4, 1463), of course, coined the term medieval (medievale, in the Italian), his description for the era beginning with the fall of Rome and ending on the doorstep of his own miraculous era, the summa of all previous  eras.  That would be the Renaissance. (Such is the vanity of the living--even of living historians, who should know better.) 

Now, ahem, as to the term: If not cliched, it is certainly overused. But so is the term Victorian. Big deal. So are a lot of words. My specific complaint is over its use in describing anything related to Islam. I suggest that the term civilization also is misapplied to things Islamic. Not that Islam lacks a history that can be divided into discernible eras; not that it fails to organize society in discernible ways. By all means describe the history accurately. By all means analyze how Islam organizes society, starting with male-female relations and moving on from there.

But, like Biondo, we should coin terms when we do. The folks in the Middle Ages (or in the Renaissance) didn't gaze upon Islamic navies poised off shore and say, "Gee, better put out the good silver--we've got civilized guests!"
clear
Posted on 04/20/2006 1:51 PM by Robert Bove
clear
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Taking the ......er, em, ........mickey.
clear

Jail toilets face away from Mecca

 

Facilities in a prison are being built so Muslim inmates do not have to face Mecca while sitting on the toilet.

The Home Office said two new toilet blocks are being installed as part of a refurbishment at Brixton jail in south London.

Faith leaders had told prison bosses it was unacceptable for Muslim inmates to face Mecca while using the toilet.

"The refurbishment has been carried out with due consideration for all faiths", a Home Office spokeswoman said. 

My first thought was “all faiths”?  What other religion has issues with the direction of a former market town in the Middle East?  

 

That aside I can think of better things that the Prison Service could spend its money on. Vocational training courses in things like bricklaying, or even Braille transcribing have been cut these last 15/20 years.  And it is only common sense that a man or boy released with better job prospects and a better trade is less likely to re-offend. Cut backs in staffing levels hamper the control of drugs, to name but one problem.

 

There was a time when a toilet, and not just in prison was a luxury. I don’t advocate a return to the practice of slopping out. For those who don’t remember this controversy this was the use of a slop bucket (with lid) for use when locked in the cell.  Emptying and cleaning was called slopping out. By 1999 all prison cells had en suite facilities.  I know the buckets had lids after a particular visit I did to a busy local prison some 15 years ago.  The post I had at that time within the Department of Lightbulb changers frequently involved me visiting certain prisons to interview inmates.  Because of the pequliar nature of this particular case I was, most exceptionally, allowed to conduct the interview in his cell, chaperoned by officers who discreetly ensured that all was tidy before introducing me.

 

I grew up, as did many children post war, in rooms in a shared house with no bathroom or running water, the toilet in the garden reached by the family upstairs through our kitchen down stairs. Because I was an only child we did not qualify for a council house as it was considered acceptable for me to share a bedroom with my parents up to the age of 9 by which time Mum and Dad had taken the huge leap into home ownership.  Once the house was locked up for the night no one wanted to stumble down the garden so every bedroom was equipped with a bucket.  This sounds revolting to modern thought but my dad smoked, not just indoors but in the bedroom. He had a cigarette on waking; I would lie in my cosy bed, watch the glow, hear the hiss as he threw it in the bucket and know that all was right with my world. My dad was awake, and nothing could harm me while he was around.

 

So I never felt quite the revulsion to the concept of slopping out as many people did. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, speaking on the Soviet Gulag practice of restricting access to toilet facilities as a means of discipline, said it was not the presence of the slop bucket that was an affront to humanity, but its absence.

But to have proper facilities available for prisoners is the right thing to do. I just don’t see why they have to face any particular direction. 

They will be asking for their own exclusive purpose built mosque next.

clear
Posted on 04/20/2006 1:43 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Wakey wakey!
clear

Rise and shine. Breakfast is ready:

Looks lovely, doesn't it? However, the  great British breakfast is under threat from Continental-style snacks of croissants and lattes. From The Telegraph:

A survey found that almost one in three people was aware of a café closing down in their neighbourhood, and in London the number of independent cafés has declined by 40 per cent since 2000.

Meanwhile, there has been an explosion of coffee shop chains across the country, and the likes of Starbucks, Caffè Nero, Coffee Republic and Costa Coffee now represent nearly a third of the market.

The Save the Proper British Café campaign is to ask members of the public to sign an online petition, and buy brown rubber wristbands to show their commitment to the cause. Hundreds of café owners will be doing their bit by offering an extra breakfast free with every one purchased. 

The Save the Proper British Café campaign? Now there's an initiative I can support.

Paul Harvey, a spokesman for the campaign, which is backed by HP Sauce, said cafés were a "national institution", but he feared they could almost vanish by 2010.

"Britain has already suffered the demise of institutions like the red phone box and the faithful Routemaster bus, which is why it seems so important to start this campaign to Save the Proper British Café." ...

With the regeneration of the area in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, he fears new competition from American-owned coffee shop chains.

Overpriced, over-clean and over here.

"They have no soul," he said. "They seem so impersonal. I know all my regulars and their likes and dislikes. People are always going to want a proper breakfast. There isn't much call for croissants from the Irish labourers who come here."

Well that's a sweeping generalisation if ever there was one. Before he was famous, Samuel Beckett once worked on a building site, and he didn't achieve the tortured artist look by eating fry-ups. A croissant would be much more his tasse de thé. (The site foreman was naturally unimpressed by this weedy intellectual, and asked him whether he knew the difference between a joist and a girder."Easy," said Beckett, "Girder wrote Faust and Joist wrote Ulysses.")

The Telegraph leader gives food for thought:

To eat well in England, Somerset Maugham said, you should have breakfast three times a day. In our own time, it would be a start to have it once. As we report today, cafés serving traditional breakfasts are dwindling, just as the health benefits of early morning ballast are being realised.

Breakfast is the glory of Britain, and breakfast isn't breakfast without cutlery. The takeaway muffin and the cardboard cup of coffee are the flaccid fodder of failure. Knife, fork and spoon (greasy or not) instil sociability, teach dexterity and allay anxious hurry.

The most famous victories were won on the breakfast plates of Britain. Without breakfast, schoolchildren absorb nothing more at their lessons. Without solid fuel, the sterling British workman cannot run at full power. The future of Britain is the future of breakfast, that most forward-looking of meals. "Hope is a good breakfast, but a poor supper," wrote one of our finest stylists - who else but Bacon?

Off at a tangent here, but what is The Iconoclast for if you can't go off at tangents? From my childhood I remember a comic strip called "Ivor Lott and Tony Broke", a latter-day prince and pauper. Here they are. Marx would be turning in his grave, that Communist Plot in Highgate Cemetary:

Ivor Lott had a "pater" and ate at the Restaurant du Posh. Tony Broke had a "dad" and ate at Joe's Caff. But he always managed to come off better than Ivor, and the two boys were often able to bridge the class divide, with Ivor Lott treating Tony Broke to the occasional posh nosh, or "slap-up meal". Invariably, the slap-up meal consisted of a pile of mashed potato with sausages sticking out at all angles. Quite why this was regarded as haute cuisine I never knew, unless it prefigured the kind of nose to tail eating you now get at classy restaurants like the St John's in Clerkenwell.

clear
Posted on 04/20/2006 4:58 AM by Mary Jackson
clear
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Beckett - the lost plays (1)
clear

Adapted from this entry on an obscure website:

Samuel Beckett, the lost plays: "Waiting for Vladimir and Estragon" (1954)

A country road. A tree. Evening. Godot, sitting on a low mound, smokes a cigarette and checks his watch.

GODOT: "...Bloody tramps..."

GODOT: ...

GODOT: ...

GODOT: "...Sod this for a lark. I'm going home to watch Top Cat." 

clear
Posted on 04/20/2006 4:24 AM by Mary Jackson
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
James Joyce Underappreciated Society
clear

The annual meeting of the James Joyce Underappreciated Society will this year be held at 7 Eccles Street, Dublin, on a date to be decided. Under no circumstances, however, will the date chosen turn out to be June 16, for all the obviously obvious reasons. We've had quite enough, thank you, of Bloomsday Ceremonies, marathon readings by too-enthusiastic enthusiasts, agents the Irish National Tourist Board, and the rest of it, on poor little over-exploited June 16 in dear dirty Dublin.

There is a Call for Papers. Topic:

A Cross Examination of "Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress."

Special attention will be given by prosecutors and defenders alike to the contribution to "Our Incamination for Factification of His Exagmination of Work in Progress" by the late Vladimir Dixon (whose papers are preserved in western Massachusetts). Despite his Christian name, Dixon was not quite as Russian as Barclay de Tolly or even Baudouin de Courtenay, but he was chosen as the main subject of this year's Underappreciatd Society meeting because Beckett had come into the discussion above and, as many by now have hastily or even hostily guessed at this informative website, the name "Vladimir" for a certain personage's name in "Waiting for Godot" was first suggested by the first name of Beckett's fellow contributor to "Our Factification Round His Exagmination for Incamination of Work in Progress." Even the crisrixians have missed this.


A high old time should be had by all, especially during the planned climb of the Hill of Howth. The High Kings of Connaught have written that they plan to attend.

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 8:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
CITIZEN DERB
clear

Four years today. Celebrating? Sure--dinner with Harvey Mansfield (& 15 other guys). Been reading his book--much harder than I'd thought. "Thus science is unpretentious on behalf of mankind but in a manly, pretentious way; this is the wrenching complication to which Nietzsche compels manliness to perform..." ( p.115). Um, right. Note to self: Give those Teaching Company Nietzsche disks another try. In event failure, GIVE UP ONCE FOR ALL THIS PRETENSE OF BEING INTELLECTUAL, write geometry textbook.

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 4:35 PM by John Derbyshire
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
Dalrymple in City Journal
clear

NER's own Theodore Dalrymple gives us his usual interesting insights in City Journal:

The newspapers confirmed what I had long perceived before I left Britain: that the zeitgeist of the country is now one of sentimental moralizing combined with the utmost cynicism, where the government’s pretended concern for the public welfare coexists with the most elementary dereliction of duty. There is an absence of any kind of idealism that is a necessary precondition of probity, so that bad faith prevails almost everywhere. The government sees itself as an engineer of souls (to use the phrase so eloquently coined by Stalin with regard to writers who, of course, were expected to mold Homo Sovieticus by the power of their words). Government thus concerns itself with what people think, feel, and say—as well as with trying to change their freely chosen habits—rather than with performing its one inescapable duty: that of preserving the peace and ensuring that citizens may go about their lawful business in confidence and safety. It is more concerned that young men should not smoke cigarettes in prison or make silly jokes to policemen than that they should not attack and permanently maim their elders and betters.

One definition of decadence is the concentration on the gratifyingly imaginary to the disregard of the disconcertingly real. No one who knows Britain could doubt that it has very serious problems—economic, social, and cultural. Its public services—which already consume a vast proportion of the national wealth—are not only inefficient but completely beyond amelioration by the expenditure of yet more money. Its population is abysmally educated, to the extent that in a few more years Britain will not even have a well-educated elite. An often cynical and criminally minded population has been indoctrinated with shallow and gimcrack notions—for example, about social justice—that render it singularly unfit to compete in an increasingly competitive world. Not coincidentally, Britain has serious economic problems, even if the government has managed so far—in the eyes of the world, at least—to paper over the cracks. Unpleasant realities cannot be indefinitely disguised or conjured away, however.

Therefore I have removed myself: not that I imagine things are much better, only slightly different, in France. But one does not feel the defects of a foreign country in quite the same lacerating way as the defects of one’s native land; they are more an object of amused, detached interest than of personal despair.

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 4:25 PM by Rebecca Bynum
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
discussing strategy
clear

Kuwait, Qatar and other sheiklets, and the Other Big Bad Wolf of the region, Saudi Arabia, are less likely to scream in feigned outrage over an attack on Iran if it takes place while large-scale Sunni-Shi'a hostilities are taking place. And if those hostilities should include signs of Iranian intervention in attacks on Iraq's Sunnis, and if further Hezbollah forces from elsewhere (e.g. Lebanon) were to join the fray, and if it were clear that fears of Shi'a loyalty to Iran, the kind expressed so helpfully by Mubarak last week ("Shi'a are not loyal to Arab regimes, but are loyal only to Iran"), at the very least the Americans might have to endure a slightly less shrill pan-Muslim outcry, as Sunnis take grim satisfaction in the damage done (after all, those potential Shi'a bombs might have someday been used to blackmail or actually be used, on them --there's no telling with those wild-and-crazy Iranians, is there?

One more reason to get out of tarbaby Iraq, as if even one more were needed. Obstinacy, a refusal to change policy, an inability to see that Shi'a-ruled Iraq could never, will never be a "Light Unto the (Sunni Arab) Muslim Nations," and the colossal waste of men, matériel, money, and of morale, both that of the military, and that of civilians who need to have their enthusiasm for war, war using all kinds of instruments, carefully husbanded rather than recklessly squandered -- all this needs to be articulated by someone in public life.

Someone, anyone -- Tancredo, Weldon, or a Senator or two.

What about those generals? Well, there one must be careful. Zinni did not serve in Iraq, and Zinni hates Rumsfeld, and Zinni is a long-time self-promoter of the Scowcroft appeasement-of-the-Arabs school. He in fact wants to get rid of Rumsfeld, but like the silly Lawrence Wilkerson, wants the American forces to remain in Iraq to ensure "stability." The other five generals are different in their criticisms. But all of their criticisms are, and because they are generals, must be, about tactics: how many men were sent, whether the Iraqi army should have been disbanded, etc. Those generals have been taught that they have no role in discussing strategy, so none of them do -- they do not say, as they should: We who served in Iraq now realize that the idea of an "Iraqi" army or an "Iraqi" police force is a will-o'-the-wisp, that will keep receding as we keep marching toward it; that the hostility felt by Kurds for Arabs, and Shi'a for Sunni, and Sunni Arabs for everyone who wishes to take power from them, ought rather to be exploited for the aims of Infidels.

No, they can't say that, those generals.

But we can. And so can those in Washington who become aware of -- as they should -- what has appeared, without change, and with the validation of developments in Iraq and outside Iraq, at every single step -- as both prediction, and as prescription.

There is no other place where one can scroll back in time and find such a record. Surely that entitles those making such predictions, and suggesting such prescriptions, to be at least read, and possibly -- if obstinacy in pursuing a policy based on ignorance both of Islam and of Iraq can can be seen not as virtue but as vice --even heeded.

There will be no charge for saving this country another trillion dollars in Iraq, and allowing the armed services to be used more wisely.

That would appear to be a bargain.

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 3:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
Beckett
clear

Plays in which nothing much happens are nowadays pretty routine. Harold Pinter wrote a shelf-full of them, and got the Nobel Prize for his efforts. (As, by the way, did Beckett, in 1969.) Even in the 1950s such plays were not a new thing; Eugène Ionesco had already launched his "theater of the absurd," and prototypes can be traced further back, to the Dadaists of the 1920s. Godot would not have been such a success in its time, and would not still be remembered and performed, if it did not stand at least level with both its predecessors and its successors (Pinter's plays, for instance). Very briefly speaking — and this is just my own take on the matter — the predecessors were either too nakedly nihilistic, too solipsistic, or too pointedly anti-bourgeois, while the successors were too content-free, too easily satisfied with creating a mood while offering only faint hints, if any, of what referent, what human situation, might lie behind the mood. Beckett's work stands above what came before in that line, and above what came after, for having adapted form so uniquely well to some actual content.

For Beckett's plays and other works, though nothing much happens in them, are not about nothing — are not content-free — and it is not particularly difficult to grasp their point. Beckett himself explained what he was doing very well, his reputation for secretiveness and obfuscation notwithstanding. (The first mini-biography I ever read of him, in some "Modern Dramatists" series, included the arresting sentence: "Some of his friends think he is married.") Here he is doing so in the New York Times, May 6, 1956:

I'm working with impotence, ignorance... My little exploration is the whole zone of being that has always been set aside by artists as something unusable — as something by definition incompatible with art.

Beckett set himself to make what he could from the dross of life, rather like those sculptors who take their raw materials from junkyards. For his later works, in fact, even that analogy is too strong. It would be more accurate to compare late Beckett with a sculptor who had decided to work with dust bunnies, lint from the spin drier, and fluff out of his navel. His raw material is, as he said, the discards, the negatives of life.

...A lot of people — this one, for example — think Beckett is all hokum. Obviously I don't agree.

In the first place, plainly Beckett was not consciously a charlatan. He toiled away, plowing his narrow furrow, until he was well into his forties, living in poverty, with very little to show for all his efforts. That doesn't guarantee quality output, of course. You could say the same of Tiny Tim, or any number of other artists who lived, and frequently died, in well-merited obscurity. It does indicate sincerity, though.

And then there is the clarity and consistency of Beckett's vision. His account of the world is not a very comforting one, and you may think it's not a true one, but it's clearly stated and thought through, it hangs together, and Beckett pulls no punches. You were surely born; you will surely die; in between, not much of consequence will happen, and you'll forget most of it by the end, anyway. "And no, there is nothing elsewhere." Our nature as creatures, however, is to keep buggering on. With any luck you'll make it through, and you may get a few laughs, and transient moments of tenderness, along the way, though likely you'll forget them too, eventually. People who think they can make sense of it all are kidding themselves; but good luck to them anyway, and to you.

Well, it's not the height of life-embracing affirmation. It's not quite nihilism, either, though, and it might very well be true. All of us, I think, have moments, at least, lying awake on a gray early morning perhaps, when we suspect it is true. When those moments arrive, here is Samuel Beckett to describe the scenery.

Complete column here

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 8:04 AM by John Derbyshire
clear
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
WANTED: BRITONS WILLING TO BLOW UP ISRAELIS
clear

From today's Jerusalem Post:

An Iranian terrorist group stated on Wednesday that it was recruiting Muslim British citizens to come to Israel to execute suicide bombing attacks against Israelis.

A spokesman for the group, Mohammad Samadi, told the London-based Guardian that Israel was the primary target of their attacks. "All the Jews are targets, whether military or civilian. It's our land and they are in the wrong place. It's their duty to pay attention to the safety of their own families and move them away from the battlefield," he stated.

He claimed that there were many disaffected Muslims throughout Europe that could volunteer for such a mission. "We understand the suspicion with which Britain, America and other western countries regard their Muslim populations," he said, adding "We don't condemn them for this because we believe every Muslim has the potential to turn into a bomb against the west."

The terrorist group, called The Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign, reportedly received strong support from the Iranian regime, though it claimed to be independent. The British embassy in Teheran had called upon Iran to renounce its support for the group.

According to The Guardian's report, the prospective terrorists were to enter Israel using European passports under the guise of visiting tourists. Samadi claimed that obtaining a British passport was not a difficult task. He noted that dozens of Iranian asylum-seekers receive passports every day.

clear
Posted on 04/19/2006 7:52 AM by Andy McCarthy
clear
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
Taqqiya for Tourism
clear

Within the last week, I checked my Yahoo! email to find this ad promoting tourism in Malaysia (main site here) on the main post-login page:

This automatically raises some eyebrows, but following said directions brings up several further examples of flagrant sugar-coating of reality in Malaysia, which beg to be deconstructed.

 

 

 

  

First off:

 Commentary will have to suffice in lieu of a pre-recorded laugh-track, with respect to the bit about "the value of family life and peace." Note also the gender-mixing and lack of veiling. This display of "moderation" belies the increasing Arabization of the Muslim world, driven in part by ideological exports from Saudi Arabia.

An interesting contrast to this bit of sugarcoating is at Malaysia Today, in an article entitled ‘Muslim moderates’ are not for hire, which notes that the alleged "majority of moderate Muslims" could not speak out if it wanted to (per the request of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi), as doing so would run afoul of the militant, authoritarian government, and land one in prison without trial under Malaysia's Internal Security Act. That, of course, was somehow omitted from this ad. Somehow.

And now for minorities in Malaysia:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to start? How about the Bumiputra system? They may look happy and equally-valued in the ad, but as non-Bumiputra ("Sons of the Soil," i.e., Muslim Malays), they face discrimination in business, real estate, university admissions, and much more.

Then, of course, there's the general climate of fear under which non-Muslims live in an officially Islamic country, which only seems to get worse, where criticizing Islam can land one a jail sentence or a nearly $2000 fine-- this in a country where the per capita income is US $10,400, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Those are only a few examples of holes one can poke in this presentation by Tourism Malaysia. I shudder to think of how much they spent on this particular ad campaign, but for at least one reader, the exercise in taqqiya was for naught.

clear
Posted on 04/18/2006 10:53 PM by Marisol Seibold
clear
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
How we laugh the day away
clear
Mary's "What is happiness" post should reassure everyone that the Eloi Factory is humming along very nicely--and that they've finally brought "closure" to disturbing notions like "academics."

At the other end of educationalism spectrum, this memo reminding English faculty at a college where I have taught to attend the semester-ending department meeting:

"Dear Colleagues, Please remember that there is a department meeting on [...] from [...] in the [...] conference room. The first half hour of the meeting will be run by [...] who will discuss suicide prevention; his office is providing light refreshments and drinks for us."

It's not clear if this little talk is to be for the benefit of students on the verge or of faculty. At any rate, I doubt that "light drinks" will be adequate.
clear
Posted on 04/18/2006 7:48 AM by Robert Bove
clear
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
What is happiness?
clear

This question and many others will be answered here at The Iconoclast.

What is happiness? A cigar called Hamlet?

To be honest, I don't know what happiness is. But that's because I never had happiness lessons at school. From The Telegraph: 

Pupils at an independent college are to be taught how to be cheerful and content.

Wellington College, in Crowthorne, Berks, said yesterday that it was introducing a subject called "well being", which would be taught by masters coached in positive psychology.

Anthony Seldon, the head of the boarding school, said: "We are introducing classes on happiness. We have been focusing too much on academics and missing something far more important. To me, the most important job of any school is to turn out young men and women who are happy and secure.

"Celebrity, money and possessions are too often the touchstones for teenagers but these are not where happiness lies," he said. "Our children need to know that as societies become richer they do not become happier, a fact regularly shown by social science research."

Mr Seldon said that when the lessons were explained to teachers at a meeting they were "very enthusiastic".

Dr Nick Baylis, a psychologist at Cambridge University, will oversee the trial of the happiness lessons at the start of the next academic year.

I wonder if the pupils will be asked to fill in one of those ubiquitous (and iniquitous) "customer satisfaction surveys" at the end of the course:

How do you feel about your happiness lessons?

A Ecstatic B Very satisfied C Indifferent D Dissatisfied E What's the point? I can't go on

This, of course, would be the test. Pupils who put D or E would fail.

It is sometimes said that a cheese sandwich is better than complete happiness. You see, nothing is better than complete happiness, and a cheese sandwich is better than nothing.

Have a nice day...

clear
Posted on 04/18/2006 5:38 AM by Mary Jackson
clear
Monday, 17 April 2006
Humor and the Religious Police
clear

"At Riyadh restaurants, all-male parties enter through a "singles" door and sit where they please. Mixed groups must use the "family" door and be seated either in a separate room or behind screens. But the men and women have to be married or closely related or they risk running afoul of religious police who are empowered to detain them for mixing illegally." - from this AP story

Often very funny is The Religious Policeman, a completely Westernized Saudi (who for some reason continues to call himself a Muslim, possibly out of that well-known filial piety -- but clearly his Islam is of the most vestigial sort, and he an example of a "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslim. Lots of stuff about that country named after a family by that family, and now suffering from all those princes, princelings, and princelettes who, when they are not busy funding assorted Jihad activities, are outdoing even Lee Raymond (retiring head of Exxon-Mobil) in their greed, and Paris Hilton in their decadence, all funded by the oil money that they are still permitted to appropriate for themselves, and to which those who object find themselves forced to offer as the answer not simply, as we would in the West, anti-corruption measures, or a revolution to destroy the regime, but Islam and more, even more, Islam.

While Islam and humor are ordinarily immiscible, humor among those "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslims who, having been raised in the West, knowing a Western language perfectly, have more or less rejected Islam even if they claim to be Muslims, and have somehow acquired a borscht-belt-or-Sid-Caesarish sensibility (Call for Papers at the MLA or the American Political Science Association: Jewish Humor and Muslim Dissident Blogs), can be found here and there. The Religious Policeman is one example.

And no doubt, in the whole wide world, another five or six can be found.

clear
Posted on 04/17/2006 3:36 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Monday, 17 April 2006
IS DERB THE STUPIDEST MAN ALIVE?
clear
clear
Posted on 04/17/2006 3:24 PM by John Derbyshire
clear
Monday, 17 April 2006
DEAR CHINA, MUCH AS WE APPRECIATE YOUR SAVVY DIPLOMATIC HELP ...
clear

IRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "rotten, dried tree" that will be annihilated. "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," he said at a conference for supporting the Palestinians that opened in Tehran on Friday. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm," he said.

CHINA: "We hope all parties will adopt a cool-headed approach," Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a news conference Friday. "Dialogue is better than confrontation. We should work together toward this end."

OK, if you’re Israel, what exactly is the responsive “dialogue” here?

clear
Posted on 04/17/2006 10:18 AM by Andy McCarthy
clear
Monday, 17 April 2006
European Education
clear

In France, Muslim students refuse to study World War II, the Resistance, and the murder of Europe's Jews. They disrupt classes, and refuse to read, those writers -- Voltaire among them -- whom they think, or have been told to think, were "anti-Muslim." Their refusal to follow the syllabus of the Ministry of Education disrupts not only their own education, but that of others in the class or in the school. I have received from teachers in the French system horror stories, one after the other, of how even in a small town, far from the banlieues of Paris, Marseilles, Lyons, a single Muslim family can, with its six or twelve children in a small local school, utterly disrupt things.

The result? More non-Muslim French will take their children out of the public system, at much greater expense. A loss to the state, a loss to the state's cohesion. And that greater expense, now factored in as part of the price of raising a child, will lead non-Muslim French, already at a below-replacement level of reproduction, to have still fewer children. And the proportion of Muslims, with their gigantic families on the French cradle-to-grave dole paid for by Infidel taxpayers, will continue to increase. Bruce Bawer gives the figures for representative suburbs or cities in Norway and Holland. But the same applies all over Europe.

So will Europeans decide that the legacy of their own civilization deserves to be protected, even if they, in their own present debasement, do not -- do something about this, including a halt to all Muslim immigration and then the institution of measures, up to and including something akin to the Benes Decree. That Decree, by which more than 3 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia, was believed by Masaryk and Benes and everyone else in the Western world to be justified, given the considerable evidence that much of the ethnic German population -- the "Sudeteners" -- provided, both before and during the war, of where their deepest loyalties lay. And the belief-system of Islam makes clear that Believers must be loyal to, and only to, the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers, and to Islam, and cannot conceivably be offered to Infidels or to an Infidel nation-state that flatly contradicts, in almost every way, the principles of Islam.

This is not a problem that will go away, or that one can pretend does not exist. It is there. Look at it. Study it. Do you want the civilization of Europe to be preserved, or to disappear, as all the pre-Islamic or non-Islamic civilizations have disappeared, at varying rates, with remnants holding out, just a little, everywhere that Islam triumphed, and came to dominate?


What is worth saving -- saving at very little cost, if only people come to their senses in time, and allow themselves the minimal act of self-defense that the government of Czechoslovakia thought entirely justified, and so did the rest of the civilized world then, and now, when it passed the Benes Decree?

clear
Posted on 04/17/2006 10:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
clear
Sunday, 16 April 2006
Please...Listen to us.....
clear

From The Telegraph.

White working-class families feel so neglected by the Government and angered by immigration that they are deserting Labour and flocking to the British National Party, a minister admitted yesterday.

In a sensational claim, Margaret Hodge, one of Tony Blair's closest allies, said that eight out of 10 white people in her east London constituency of Barking are threatening to vote for the far-Right party in next month's local elections. Once traditional Labour supporters are angry at a lack of affordable housing - and blame immigration, and Labour, for the changes.

"When I knock on doors I say to people, 'are you tempted to vote BNP?' and many, many, many - eight out of 10 of the white families - say 'yes'. That's something we have never seen before, in all my years. Even when people voted BNP, they used to be ashamed to vote BNP. Now they are not." Mrs Hodge said the pace of ethnic change in her area had frightened people. "What has happened in Barking and Dagenham is the most rapid transformation of a community we have ever witnessed.

I lived in Dagenham for 9 years, from1981 to 1990. I still have strong ties there.  Margaret Hodge is right about rapid change, changes far more rapid than those in the other London boroughs where I was born and brought up.

 

As the Telegraph opinion says

The growth of support for the British National Party is extremely disturbing…..It is a trend that has been noticed in several other working-class areas of Britain - and for which New Labour must take responsibility.

Too right it is disturbing, although I believe that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats deserve equal share of the blame.  As anyone who has ever noticed the debates that Mary and I have contributed to on JW/DW the British National Party are racist, with a nasty history that modern packaging and gloss cannot disguise.  Yet unfortunately they are the only party that says anything truthful about the particular ideology that does indeed threaten us, and to name that threat as dhimmitude. 

The Telegraph interviewed local people. These people were, are, my neighbours. I buy flowers, I eat pie and mash. These are not evil people to be casually dismissed as ignorant racists.

Perry Horton, 45, director of Roy's Pie & Mash Shop
"I can understand where the people voting BNP are coming from. People are prepared to mix, but when they think they are getting overrun……

The Telegraph realises this.

Britain is a multi-racial society, and by far the majority of Britons are happy with that: racism is not the sole explanation for the growing number prepared to vote for the BNP. But distrust of, and disaffection with, "multiculturalism" is a different matter. Many Britons do not want to see their communities fragmented into different and isolated factions; nor do they want their traditional values of tolerance and liberty replaced by conformity to religious diktat.

The problem is that these people have not been consulted about the vast social experiment in which they have been forced to participate. Nor can they discuss their anger without being labelled "racist". Until the Government - and the opposition parties - confront the issues raised by immigration, directly and honestly, the poison of the BNP will continue to spread.

Please, please, give us all, black and white, young and old, viable leadership.  The BNP are a tiger we cannot ride.

Soon! Now!

Bank holiday Monday update.  Even the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and Operation Black Vote believe that there are issues to address. Played down by the Home Office. Of course.

As reported by the BBC.

clear
Posted on 04/16/2006 8:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
clear
clear
Showing 41-61 of 107 [Previous 20] [Next 20]