Tuesday, 27 June 2006
"The life of a man happily married cannot fail to be influenced by the character and conduct of his wife"
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New Duranty has this story

The remains of Nathaniel Hawthorne's wife and his daughter were reburied Monday in the Hawthorne family plot in Concord, Mass.

To describe Hawthorne or his career as an author without mentioning his wife, the former Sophia Peabody, would be like imagining, Julian wrote, "a sun without heat, or a day without a sun."

Although they were the closest of partners in life, for 142 years — until Monday — Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne were separated in death.

After burying her husband at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery here in 1864, Sophia moved to Germany and then London, where she died in 1871. She and the couple's daughter Una, who died in 1877, were buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

On Monday, the remains of Sophia and Una Hawthorne were reinterred in a plot next to their husband and father.

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Posted on 06/27/2006 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 27 June 2006
British Muslims polled
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Police have no right to attempt to prevent terror attacks in Britain say British Muslims because the intelligence they are acting on could possibly be wrong. The Guardian has it.

The dome of a mosque is seen rising above terraced houses in Blackburn. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty

In the poll, carried out two weeks after the [Forest Gate] raid, Muslims were also asked: "Do you think it is right or wrong for the police to act to pre-empt potential terrorist attacks, even if the intelligence, information and warnings may turn out to be wrong?" Thirty-one per cent said it was right and 57% said it was wrong.

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Posted on 06/27/2006 6:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 27 June 2006
Ahmadinejad to visit Iraq
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According to IranFocus, the people's choice in Iran lead a large delegation to visit the people's choice in Iraq in order to cement the natural alliance between two naturally Shia states.

The report quoted an “informed source” as saying that Ahmadinejad would hold talks with several top Iraqi officials.

He would lead a large delegation to Baghdad, the report said, adding that several political and economic agreements would be signed between the two states during his trip.

As you recall, Iraq signed some sort of defense agreement with Iran back in November of last year and on May 23rd Secretary Rice had this to say about the warming reproachment between the two former enemies:

"Iran will clearly play a role," Rice told the Al-Arabiya satellite channel. "The question is: Will it be a positive role? Will it be a role that is befitting a good neighbor?"

"If Iran chooses to play a stabilizing role, chooses to play a transparent role, chooses to play a neighborly role, that would be a very good thing for Iraq," Rice said.

Isn't that special.

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Posted on 06/27/2006 6:24 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 26 June 2006
Somalia falling fast
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 Members of a Somali Islamic Court militia cradle their weapons in the Jowhar area of Somalia after clashes with a coalition of warlords June 14, 2006.

 AP: The radical cleric named to lead the Muslim militia controlling most of Somalia's south said Monday that he envisions an Islamic state, a stand likely to reinforce U.S. fears the nation could become a haven for extremists.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who already was on the U.S. terrorist watch list as a suspected collaborator with al-Qaida, made the comment while discussing efforts to form a functioning central government in Somalia for the first time in 15 years.

"Somalia is a Muslim nation and its people are also Muslim, 100 percent. Therefore any government we agree on would be based on the holy Quran and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad," Aweys told The Associated Press in a telephone interview, his first comments to the media since being named head of the Islamic militia Saturday.

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Posted on 06/26/2006 4:28 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 26 June 2006
Immigration Must-Read
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A hundred years from now, if the USA still exists, they'll be building statues to Mark Krikorian, Steve Camarota, and those other Americans who stood up against the grand national suicide project known as "comprehensive immigration reform."

 

Here is one of Mark's links.  You really should read the whole thing.  If you haven't time to read the whole thing, just go to the long piece of testimony by Rosemary Jenks, about halfway down, and read that.  Then tell me, if you dare, that the U.S. Senate is a guardian of our national interests.

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Posted on 06/26/2006 4:24 PM by John Derbyshire
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Monday, 26 June 2006
After Londonistan
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This is a long article from yesterdays New York Times Magazine which someone Mary and I know pointed me towards.

It is quite strange to hear the American  view of events and places, like Bethnal Green where my fathers family are from, Forest Gate and Dewsbury where my husband lived as a teenager.  If you are not British I can confirm that Christopher Caldwell's assessment is accurate.  If you are then it is illuminating to see ourselves as others see us, albeit sympathetically.

"Behold!" reads an official police notice on the waiting-room wall at the Bethnal Green police station, in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets. "Fear from people should not prevent one from saying the truth if he knows it." It is a hadith saying of the Prophet Muhammad, stuck amid a row of posters urging Britons to do their civic duty and report any crimes they might get wind of. Tower Hamlets, which includes large Bengali and Somali communities, is a majority-minority borough. Someone there apparently felt that the hadith poster might help woo those for whom civic duty was an insufficient spur."

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Posted on 06/26/2006 10:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 26 June 2006
They?re Just More Important Than You Are
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Andy McCarthy continues to blast the NYTimes in this important piece at NRO.

The echo trails off the last defiantly gleeful chorus of “We Are the World.” Reality stubbornly dawns on you: There really are bad people out there. They are the world, too. And they want to kill you.

They refuse to be reasoned with. They can afford to. They’re not a country. They don’t have to worry about defending a territory. They are seeped into places that can’t be bombed into submission. They are the world, after all. They are the children — or at least hidden among them. No “Mutually Assured Destruction” here.

No, you have only one defense: Intelligence. Superpower power is useless. What are you gonna do? Hit them where they live? Bomb Hamburg? Bomb London? Bomb New York?

Not an option. Your nukes, stealth fighters, carpet bombers … they’re largely irrelevant. This is not about killing an advancing brigade. It’s about killing cells. A handful of operatives here and there, nestled among millions of innocents.

The real challenge is not how to kill them — or at least capture them. It’s how to find them. How to identify them from among the hordes they dress like, sound like, and even act like … right up until the moment they board a plane. Or wave cheerily alongside a naval destroyer. Or park their nondescript van in the catacombs of a mighty skyscraper.

The only way to prevent terrorist attacks is to gather intelligence. It is to collect the information that reveals who the jihadists are, who is backing them with money and resources, and where they are likely to strike. There is nothing else....

Simple as that. Modernity has changed many things, but it hasn’t changed that. In command of the first American military forces, and facing a deadly enemy, George Washington himself observed that the “necessity of procuring good intelligence is apparent and need not be further urged…. [U]pon Secrecy, Success depends in Most Enterprises ... and for want of it, they are generally defeated.”

What on earth would George Washington have made of Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, and his comrades in today’s American media?

What would he have made of transparently politicized free-speech zealots who inform for the enemy and have the nerve to call it “patriotism.”

Who say, “If you try to isolate barbarians to make them hand up the other barbarians, we will expose it.”

“If you try to intercept enemy communications — as victorious militaries have done in every war ever fought — we will tell all the world, including the enemy, exactly what you’re up to.”

“If you track the enemy’s finances, we will blow you out of the water. We’ll disclose just what you’re doing and just how you’re doing it. Even if it’s saving innocent lives.”...

Okay, here we have public officials endangering American lives. Public officials whose violation of a solemn oath to protect national defense information is both a profound offense against honor and a serious crime.

What about the public interest in that? What about the public interest in rooting out those who betray their country in wartime?

Not on your life.

National-security secrets? All fair game. If it’s about how we detain, or infiltrate, or defang the monsters pledged to kill us, the New York Times reserves the right to derail us any time it finds such matters … interesting.

But the media’s own sources? That, and that alone, is sacrosanct. Worth protecting above all else.

National-security secrets, after all, are merely the public treasure that keeps us alive. Press informants are the private preserve of the media.

And they’re just more important than you are.

[I have cut out some important paragraphs, so you best read it all - RB]

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Posted on 06/26/2006 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 26 June 2006
Yesterday's scholars
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"Olivier Roy, a respected French scholar of Islam, says Muslim silence is a 'classical psychology of immigrants' -- wanting to be 'normal' and become mainstream. 'For them, integration means to be recognized as citizens. They don't want to be recognized for their specificity.'" -- from this silly AP article

What gives the writer for this singularly jejune AP piece the authority to insist that Olivier Roy is a "respected French scholar of Islam"? He's not respected by all kinds of people who know about Islam. Bernard Lewis thinks little of him, and I heard him telling this to someone. The intelligent scholars of Islam at the Universite of Aix-en-Provence, possibly the most solid program in Islam in France, do not think much of Olivier Roy. All kinds of people find him only marginally better, in his repeated misunderstanding, over at least a decade or two, of the nature of Islam and the menace of French Islam, than that other pontificating sociologist, Gilles "Always Wrong" Kepel.

Don't tell us so-and-so is an "expert" or "respected." Tell us only that so-and-so "teaches" X or "has written" on Y or "has studied" Z. None of this argument from authority stuff here. We'll decide, after we study what X or Y or Z says, whether or not X or Y should be respected. Should I be impressed that Cornel West is a University Professor at Princeton? Should I be impressed that Jeffery Sachs has written 5 books, or 8 books, or 12 books, while someone else has written half as many, or possibly none at all? Should I be impressed that Professor Hamid Dabashi is the Kevorkian Professor at Columbia, the very same school at which Jacques Barzun taught for nearly fifty years, and in the same department, practically, as those two great scholars of Islam, Professor Joseph Schacht and Professor Arthur Jeffery? No. No. No.

 

What about Olivier, respected or possibly, man, "disrespected" right here by me and my posse? What shall we say of his observations in the AP article? What do you think of his attempt to make us believe that the problem with Muslim immigrants is nothing special, nothing worrisome, nothing out of the ordinary, just what all immigrant groups have always exhibited or endured? Do you think that the Muslims in France now, in their behavior and attitudes, are merely one more group in a world they never made, who simply want to become "normal" and "mainstream"? Is that what they are taught in mosques and madrasas? Is that what they acquire, from the general attitudes of Muslims, even those who never attend a mosque? Is that how most of them think, or begin to think as they become a generation or two removed from those who came to France from elsewhere, and have been born there, and speak French, and have that linguistic and cultural barrier torn down by the remarkable efforts of the French state and its pedagogic civilizing mission?

Are they, in other words, as Olivier Roy claims, merely trying, perhaps a little uncertainly, a little awkwardly, to integrate fully into French society? (Help them, help them, French people, have patience, help them to find their way!) Are they merely trying to accept its laws, its customs, its institutions, to embrace with an immigrant's touching enthusiasm the essence of being French? (Who can forget those immortal maserpieces by Leo Rosten, "Hyman Kaplan" and "The Return of Hyman Kaplan," both set in a night-school of English for all kinds of immigrants in New York, circa 1930?) So, are they just like the Portuguese, say, who came to France in the 1950s? Or the Indochinese who came in the 1960s and 1970s? Is it merely a case of immigrants trying to be "normal" and fitting in, and not quite succeeding, and nothing more?

This difficulty has nothing whatever to do, in other words, with the actual contents of the Qur'an and Hadith, nothing about the figure of that Perfect Man Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil? Nothing about what they have been taught, in every possible way, at every possible turn, to think about Infidels, with whom, for now, they must live, and whom, for now, they must endure until such time as the goal of Islam -- to remove all obstacles to its dominance and to the rule of Muslims, which accords with the natural Allah-given and Allah-driven order of things -- comes to pass?

And let's look outside France for a minute. We have Spain to look at. How do the Muslim immigrants behave in comparison, say, to all those Ecuadorians now in Spain? Oh, you will say-- but those Ecuadorians are fellow members of the Hispanidad. Not fair. Alright then, how do they compare, the Muslim immigrants, with the black African Christians? With the Eastern Europeans? With the Chinese who can now be found all over Europe?

And the same question must be asked of the Muslims in Italy. How are they doing, as compared to, say, those Filipinos who now make up the army of GOLF, or maids, nannies, domestic help of all kinds? Why is it that the Filipinos fit in, even if they do not know any Italian, while Somalis, for example, many of whom do know Italian, or even Libyans (ditto), remain such a problem for the Italians? In Germany, which has received all kinds of immigrants, from the former Yugoslavia, from the former Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern Europe, from the former Soviet Union, and also large numbers of Muslims from Turkey and, to a lesser extent, assorted Arab countries, why is it that most of the problems with crime, with hostile behavior in schools (including, as in France, the refusal of Muslim students to obey or to study certain topics in the required curriculum) are linked to Muslim students?

Scandinavia? See the essay at Jihad Watch by Fjordman for more on the crime rates of Muslims in Scandinavia. Compare the behavior of Muslims in Malmo, Sweden, or in Denmark (where Muslim immigrants joined in not merely opposing, but in whipping up hatred and death threats made against Danes among Muslims outside of Denmark), or in Norway, with the behavior of the non-Muslim immigrants -- say, Chinese, or Hindus, or Bulgarians, or anyone else.

Belgium? Holland? Switzerland? It doesn't vary.

No. Olivier Roy, the "respected French scholar of Islam" Oliver Roy, refuses to recognize the peculiar problem that the belief-system of Islam poses to Infidels. He refuses to recognize that at the heart of this belief-system, which owes its origins, at least in its present form, to the need for a "faith of our own," a faith for the Arabs that would both promote, and justify, their conquest of far more advanced, wealthy, settled populations of Christians and Jews, in the lands that were their first conquests.

Olivier Roy will not see, cannot allow himself to see, just as the willfully blind author of this AP piece cannot see, that something important here is being missed. That something important is that belief-system's uncompromising division of the world between Muslim and non-Muslim, between Believer and Infidel, who are engaged in a struggle that will not end except in the final triumph of Islam. For it is the duty of Muslims to participate in the struggle to spread Islam, until Islam dominates everywhere, and everywhere Muslims rule.

Of course it is understandable why the "respected French scholar of Islam Olivier Roy" could not possibly bring himself to recognize this, just as Gilles Kepel could not. Nor could any of the other "experts" who have for years been enablers to those successive French governments that did nothing to stop, and everything to encourage, Muslim migrants from entering France. This has gone on with government after government failing to study the matter of Islam, failing to appoint real, as opposed to the Kepel-Roy variety of experts, to study what problems large numbers of Muslims pose to the political and social cohesion of France, to its institutions, to the continuity of its history, to the physical safety of French Christians and Jews and even French Hindus and Buddhists. For France also has a duty, of sorts, to those immigrants who arrive and who assume that the advanced Western society of which they would willingly be a part, will protect them from those who would willingly destroy that society.

He's part of the problem. He can't admit it. Nor can Chirac, Dominique de Villepin, or Giscard d'Estaing, who fell for that policy of letting the Algerian and other maghrebin workers "be reunited with their families" (i.e., their numerous wives, their endless children), which was accepted as a way to end the otherwise inexplicably sociopathic behavior of those Arab immigrants.

We can see the results. We can draw conclusions about those who refused to permit, as the philosopher (perhaps I should add, for those who like to be told what to think, "respected" or "world-famous" philosopher) Jacques Ellul noted back in the 1980s, any criticism of Islam to be voiced. We can draw conclusions about those who mocked anyone who knew about Islam, including Jacques Soustelle. Soustelle was the "respected" scholar of Mexico who made the fatal mistake of not being quite enthusiastic enough about handing Algeria over to the Arabs. And he was not quite willing to dismiss as a shameful episode, the 132 years of French rule, with its hospitals, universities, publishing houses, modern agricultural techniques, that gave Algeria exactly 132 years of civilization between, to borrow a phrase from Nabokov, "two eternities of darkness."

We can draw conclusions about Olivier Roy as well, for he was one of those who never saw the problem, would not see it, still cannot allow himself to see it. And so he is one more of those who can be pushed to the side, seen as part of the problem, as Yesterday's Man.

"respected." "scholar." "Islam." "French."

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Posted on 06/26/2006 6:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
Two items from my Sunday paper.
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What with church, football and the televised party I didn't get to sit down with the paper until later.  These two articles from the Sunday Mirror are rather nasty.

WIVES of British troops fighting in Iraq are getting chilling phone calls to their homes from terrorists telling them: "You will never see your husband again... he's dead."

Army intelligence experts fear that insurgents working with Iranian agents are tapping into soldiers' mobile phone records and downloading the numbers of loved ones in the UK.

Soldiers' friends and other relatives in Britain have also received terrifying threats, according to secret documents seen by the Sunday Mirror.

Around 20 calls have been received since the middle of last month which have been tracked back to Iraq by intelligence officers. But Army bosses fear that figure could be "the tip of the iceberg" and are urging families who have received any strange calls to immediately report them.

Our source added: "It appears highly likely that Iranian secret services who monitor calls are passing over numbers to those leading the insurgency. 

"Strenuous efforts are now being made to stop troops using their mobiles for calls home. Our own security forces are also investigating who is making the threatening calls as a matter of urgency." 

Troops in Iraq are allowed limited use of secure satellite phones to call home. They also have access to the internet to send emails as well as the traditional "bluey" airmail letters. 

But as improved phone networks are set up, British mobile phones now work in parts of Iraq.

Last night a Ministry of Defence official confirmed that they were aware of up to 20 nuisance calls being made so far to the friends and relatives of British troops serving abroad.

This mornings Times now carries the story, and maybe more weight with those in authority than a tabloid no matter how good that tabloid's football coverage may be.

The second story concerns the people with the power to do something positive.

TERRORISTS have hatched a plot to kidnap and behead senior British politicians.

The plan is the latest in a series of outrages thwarted by MI5, which is scrutinising information ahead of more expected arrests.

The latest plan was uncovered after the arrest of 17 terror suspects in Canada earlier this month.

They were accused of planning to behead the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper if demands for the release of Muslim prisoners and the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan were not met.

The revelation has sparked fear among backbench MPs.  

Tony Blair, Chancellor Gordon Brown, Home Secretary John Reid and Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett get 24-hour security. But one senior Labour MP said: "Cabinet Ministers won't be the target. It will be ordinary guys like us that the terrorists come after."

Just like ordinary guys were killed in London, Madrid and New York. So do something, why don't you?

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Posted on 06/25/2006 3:14 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
more Steusand & Tunnell nonsense
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The men [Douglas Streusand and Harry D. Tunnell IV] also want officials to stop using the term "caliphate" as the goal of al Qaeda and associated groups. The Caliphate came to refer to the successors of the Prophet Mohammed as the political leaders of the Muslim community. 'Sunni Muslims traditionally regard the era of the first four caliphs (A.D. 632-661) as an era of just rule, the men wrote. 'Accepting our enemies' description of their goal as the restoration of a historical caliphate again validates an aspect of their ideology.'” -- from this article

Robert Spencer makes the point in his comments on this article that, however, restoration of a Caliphate in fact mentioned as a goal and to pretend that it is not, convinces no one that the goal does not remain, for many, a vividly immediate one.

 

However, it is also a goal so impossible of achievement at this moment (and we immediately think not of the West as barring the way, but rather of a powerful, self-assured East Asia doing so, especially China -- which itself is a telling commentary on how Westerners have lost faith in their own ability to resist) that there is another and good reason for de-emphasizing this "caliphate" business.

All the relevant authorities should today be attempting to educate large numbers of Infidels, many of whom will not read the texts, will not read the relevant history, will not follow the examples of Muslim behavior today around the world toward non-Muslims, but instead will wish to deny the menace and believe, whatever it costs, that Islam in the West will somehow be "reformed" and somehow Muslims will lose their hostility, will jettison or come to permanently ignore much of what Islam inculcates (and pass down such ignoring to their children, in a remarkable late validation of Lamarck), and will fit right in, just as if they were Andean Indians, or Indian Hindus, or Buddhists from Vietnam or Thailand. That is, Islam would be an alien creed, at that point, but not an alien and a hostile creed. There is no evidence to support this, no logical reason why it should come to be. If Islam could have been reformed, surely over the past 1400 years someone would have managed to reform it -- especially during the last two centuries. But no one has, not in the slightest. In fact, the Islam that is practiced and preached is more aggressive, more violent, than it has been since Europeans first entered the modern Middle East in 1798, and second and third generation Muslims in Europe's Infidel lands are far more militant than the first generation. Should one ignore this, or worry about it?

Talk about the "caliphate," however, should be limited because it fails to convince. It seems so crazy, so far-fetched. And it is crazy, and it is far-fetched. What is not crazy, and what is not far-fetched, is the inexorable islamization of the countries of Western Europe and possibly even of Canada. It is proceeding apace, through clever use of the money weapon, through sustained and well-financed and cleverly targeted campaigns of Da'wa (directed at prisoners, and college students, and certain immigrant groups -- all seen as vulnerable to the appeal of Islam as a vehicle of protest, expressing alienation, falsely hinting at "social justice") and demographic conquest (there are about 2 million Muslims now in America, but suppose there were ten or 20 million? Imagine what it must be like in France or Germany today, with that rising Muslim population, and you, a citizen, not knowing how to stop it, how to urge others to halt and reverse this disturbing, unsettling, expensive, dangerous presence).

In order to instruct people, one must have their attention. Invoking plans for a "worldwide caliphate" simply loses an audience. It is not necessary. It gives more than a whiff of the empty alarmist. For that reason, but only for that reason, that goal of a worldwide caliphate should be infrequently mentioned, and then in a way that quietly introduces the theme.

For example, one can say that the texts of Islam clearly impose a duty of Jihad on all Muslims, whether an active or passive duty of support depends on the circumstances. Jihad is merely the "struggle" to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam throughout the world, so that Islam may rule and Muslims dominate. And at that point, one may add that some Muslims dream of a worldwide caliphate, and certainly those in Al-Qaeda do. However, that is not the main worry, because it seems so unlikely. What does worry, what is realistic to worry about, are the gains to be made on the path to attaining that seemingly unattainable goal.

And there, what is happening in Western Europe is most disturbing, and most in need of attention.

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Posted on 06/25/2006 2:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
Derb TV debut!
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Here's the DerbTV world debut! (Quicktime/Mac users use this .)
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Posted on 06/25/2006 2:41 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
What a lovely day it has been
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England are through to the Quarter finals of the World Cup having beaten Equador this afternoon, 1-0. David Beckham scored in the 60th minute. They will play the winner of the match between Holland and Portugal which I am listening to as I write, next Saturday.

Then we watched the live play which was the climax of the Childrens Party at the Palace to celebrate the Queen's 80th Birthday with a celebration of 80 years of childrens literature. 2000 children and 1000 adults were invited via a ballot. The play centred round the storybook baddie's (Captain Hook, Cruella de Ville, the Childcatcher etc) attempt to wreck the party by stealing the Queen's handbag containing her reading glasses and thus preventing her from reading her party speech.

Guardsmen and Winnie the Pooh

All the usual suspects of childrens literature were at the palace to entertain the children. This is a picture of  Pooh who danced with Tigger and Piglet in the first courtyard.   

The cockney chimney sweeps of the current show of Mary Poppins danced on the room of Buckingham Palace and when they sang "On the rooftops of London, coo! What a sight!" the camera panned out over my city  and it was very affecting, or effective....or something.

The BBC has got some lovely photos on overnight.

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Posted on 06/25/2006 2:11 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
Eating black pudding to the sound of tubas
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Many, many years ago, a friend and I took great pleasure in playing Gloria Gaynor's shrill anthem to female independence "I will survive" at a speed of 16 rpm on an old turntable. "It sounds like a tuba," we shrieked in delight. It went without saying, and still goes without saying, that a tuba was something to laugh at.

Paul Johnson, writing in The Spectator (subscription required), has some interesting observations on low notes and bass instruments:

From early times there seems to have been a feeling among religious aesthetes that vocal noise and profundity were unpleasing, and that beauty of sound was confined largely to the higher registers, kept strictly under control. Isidor of Seville (559–636) was contemptuous of what we would call bass voices. ‘In fat voices, as those of men, much breath is emitted at one,’ he wrote...

A bass voice, like a bassoon, was often used for funny bits or characters, or the two were used in combination. The basso buffo was a stock element in early opera, and remained so into the 20th century. It is inevitable, for instance, that Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier should be a bass. Alternatively, the bass was a villain...

Abrupt low sounds are funny because they resemble farting, which gave rise to the first joke, once the rise of gentility made joking feasible.

So jokes about farting were once a mark of gentility? I must remember that. I suppose it is all relative. To break wind unashamedly without any snigger of embarrassment:

Where e’er ye be, let your wind blow free

Church or chapel, let it rattle

is one step down in the gentility stakes. One step up would be not to find farting funny. I haven't got there yet, but I'm in good company. For example, Auberon Waugh once said: "A fart is always a good joke." And he was right. Anyway, back to tubas:

Even funnier than bassoons, the original bass voice in the orchestra, are tubas, which date from the early 19th century. Tubas are funny not merely because of the noises they make but also because of their actual appearance, and the shape and physiognomies of the people who play them — a point whose comic possibilities were splendidly explored by the artist Gerard Hoffnung. Once the tuba escaped from the military band and reared its snout in the back ranks of the orchestra, instrument-makers competed to produce monsters with exceptionally low notes. That genius Adolph Sax invented two giant saxhorn-bourdons as he called them, and Gustave Besson made a tuba, called a Trombotonar, which was nine feet tall.

I love the nomenclature of these big, brassy, foul-mouthed doom-sounders. Some names strike an optimistic note: the euphonium, the helicon, the ophicleide. Others stress the pessimism or aggressive note of orchestral hellfire. Thus we have the bombardon, with its valve system aptly known as a Berliner-pumpe, the flicorno basso or basso-grave, the bassetuba, the ophicleide-monstre and the subcontratromotar. Wagner was a great tuba man for his giant scoundrels, and Berlioz and Gounod for devil-music. Greatest of all was Rimsky-Korsakov, who had been inspector-in-chief of Russian naval bands, and insisted they hit lower and lower (and louder) notes. As George Formby said, parodying Sydney Smith, ‘My idea of heaven is eating black pudding to the sound of tubas.’

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Posted on 06/25/2006 6:56 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
Trouble at the mosque
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Much has been written on the elusive moderate Muslim, and the even more elusive moderate Islam. The consensus among those in the know is that, as Ibn Warraq says, there are moderate Muslims but there is no moderate Islam. But what happens to such moderate Muslims as do exist and openly advocate a moderate form of Islam? They do not fare too well, even here in the UK. Here is Charles Moore, writing in The Spectator. A subscription is required, so I have reproduced the relevant extract in full:

Everyone agrees in theory that moderate Muslims should be encouraged and extremists isolated, but does this happen in practice? This week the Sunday Times had an interesting piece about a mosque in Brighton. An undercover reporter had attended the mosque. In conversation, Abubaker Deghayes, who runs the mosque, told him that Tony Blair was a ‘legitimate target’ for terrorists, and he prayed to Allah to support men who carried out such attacks. What is particularly depressing about the Abubaker story is that he won. He came to Britain from Libya, helped, for humanitarian reasons, by Imam Abduljalil Sajid, who set up the mosque. Dr Sajid is a genuine moderate. His mosque was the first in Britain to admit women, and he preached there in English. He was a magistrate for 22 years, and does ecumenical work with Jews and Christians (through which I have met him) and strives to keep politics out of worship. As a sort of reward, he was the only person, apart from the Queen, to have a speaking part in her Christmas broadcast of 2004. Yet he lost. In the 1990s Abubaker turned on his patron and accused him, because he was a magistrate, of enforcing corrupt man-made laws instead of the laws of God. Because he had attended a church, Dr Sajid was accused of converting to Christianity. Radicals besieged his mosque and he was physically attacked on several occasions, losing control of the building in 1997. All the authorities were extremely reluctant to help, the police saying it was a private dispute, the council refusing to act against breaches of planning permission (for example, the setting-up of an unauthorised school on the site), the Charity Commission — even to this day — failing to withdraw the mosque’s charitable status though it is operating ‘in breach of legal requirements’. Dr Sajid fought all this for years, but although he did get a court injunction against Abubaker, whom the court described as a liar, he lost his battle for the mosque and now concentrates on international work and no longer worships in Brighton. If you translate all this into church terms, it is as if IRA supporters were free to take over a Catholic church, put in a pro-terrorist ‘priest’, use the premises to promote their cause, and still be treated as a charity. So fearful are the authorities of doing anything which could be seen as anti-Muslim that they do nothing effective to rein in the extreme and defend the decent. If this sort of thing can happen in mosques, isn’t it time for them all to come under a state register which defines what a mosque is?

In Singapore and Turkey, mosques are strictly regulated. Unless Islam is contained, it is dangerous. Charles Moore does not spell this out, but he is beginning to recognise it.

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Posted on 06/25/2006 6:32 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 25 June 2006
Magen David Adom accepted as full member of Red Cross
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I returned from morning service this morning (for a change I attended the earlier, more traditional, service at my church; we sang "Fight the Good Fight with all thy Might" which I take as a sign)  and had my weekly look at the site Anglicans for Israel. Which linked to this good news from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have finally voted to include Israel's Magen David Adom as a full member of that organization.  Readers who also peruse JW/DW will recall the article in the Jerusalem Post last week about the continued objections raised.

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Posted on 06/25/2006 6:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 24 June 2006
PAKISTAN : WOMAN RAPED FOR LEAVING ISLAM
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Attacked by her own family, one Muslim’s decision to convert to Christianity highlights the precarious situation of Muslims in Pakistan who leave their faith.

"Her family belonged to Ahle Sunnat wa-al Jimmat, a non-violent Muslim group that focused on converting non-Muslims."
-- from this article

Not engaged in terrorism. Not engaged in violence. But if those who belong to a group such as Ahle Sunnat wa-al Jimmat, carefully plotting their full-time work to convert Christians and Hindus in Pakistan to Islam, what are they doing? They are expanding the power of a politico-religious belief-system known as Islam. They are conducting Jihad.

But it is not Streusand and Tunnell's "hirabah" and by their definition we should not worry at all about such activities.

Vary the story slightly. Suppose that the group Ahle Sunnat wa-al Jimmat were conducting a campaign of Da'wa not in Pakistan (where so many are already Muslims) but in South Africa? Or in London? Or in Newark, New Jersey or Portland, Oregon, or Houston, Texas or Boston, Massachusetts? Suppose Ahle Sunnat wa-al was well-funded by the Saudis, with hundreds of millions of dollars. Suppose it was building mosques all over the United States, and madrasas. Suppose it had agents now deep within every American prison, and last year Congress revealed that 48% of American prisoners had been approached by members of Ahle Sunnat wa-al Jimmat and that fully half of them, in just that year, had converted to Islam.

Any worries? Any worries that the word "hirabah" which is all about "sinful warfare" as a word won't quite cover this situation, and this is precisely a situation, a means of warfare, an instrument of Jihad, that ultimately, if successful in the Western world, would mean the transformation of that Western world, and an end to the legal and political institutions, including the rights of individuals, the equality of sexes and the equal protection of the laws afforded minorities, achieved over time by those Infidels?

That is one example of why the word "Jihad" must be used, and used accurately, and the word "hirabah" be seen as part of a sly campaign on behalf of Islam, suggested by Muslims themselves "offering to help" the American government or its officials by "suggesting" the right terms.

The word "hirabah" is not the right term. One ought to figure out how that term came into existence (this is discussed at the thread under the original article), why it is employed by the Al-Saud and Mubarak and other Arab despots to describe their domestic opponents of the Al-Qaeda and Muslim-Brotherhood variety, but in those cases the only kind of opposition is violence, not Da'wa or demographic conquest or even the "money weapon."

But in the world-wide campaign against Infidels, Infidels within the camp of Islam (in this article, members of Ahle Sunnat wa-al Jimmat were converting non-Muslims within Pakistan) and still in Dar al-Harb are subject, in addition to violence (much more often used against Infidels in Muslim lands), to other more effective instruments of Jihad -- the money weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest, that are not covered by, are not even implied by, that word "hirabah."

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Posted on 06/24/2006 6:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 June 2006
Muslim leaders condemn terrorism...uh huh
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So declares this headline

This is transparent. As a condemnation of the deliberate killing of civilians, it is meaningless. It has meaning only as an attempt, after the realization is dawning that too many non-Muslims are beginning to find out too much about Islam, to shore up the Muslim position in England (and other Muslims in other Western countries are doing the same phony thing, at long last, and with enough loopholes so that the Muslim audience will not actually come to believe that the killing, say, of any man, woman, or child in Israel is wrong, or the killing of any Danish tourist walking around the souk in Cairo is wrong). Say just enough to please the most naive and unwary of Infidels, and so that it may be quoted in press releases.

That's all there is to it. Sickening.

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Posted on 06/24/2006 10:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 June 2006
NY Times is aiding and abetting the enemy
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Scrappleface's Scott Ott has a  two very funny spoofs on the topic Andy McCarthy so ably covered yesterday. From the McCarthy piece:

Yet again, the New York Times was presented with a simple choice: help protect American national security or help al Qaeda.


 Yet again, it sided with al Qaeda. 

Once again, members of the American intelligence community had a simple choice: remain faithful to their oath — the solemn promise the nation requires before entrusting them with the secrets on which our safety depends — or violate that oath and place themselves and their subjective notions of propriety above the law.

Once again, honor was cast aside.

For the second time in seven months, the Times has exposed classified information about a program aimed at protecting the American people against a repeat of the September 11 attacks. On this occasion, it has company in the effort: The Los Angeles Times runs a similar, sensational story. Together, the newspapers disclose the fact that the United States has covertly developed a capability to monitor the nerve center of the international financial network in order to track the movement of funds between terrorists and their facilitators.

Read it all.

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Posted on 06/24/2006 8:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 June 2006
More money than sense
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Auction at Christie's

One of Andy Warhol  trademark silver wigs that sold for $10,800 (5,934 pounds).

A pair of the late artist's paint-splattered Ferragamo shoes went for $7,800 while a paintbrush raised $3,840.

The memorabilia sale also drew high prices for items associated with other stars, notably Marilyn Monroe. A cocktail dress she wore in "The Misfits" raised $66,000 and her personal address and telephone book from 1960-62 went for $31,200.

Two wristwatches owned by Clark Gable were sold for $26,400 and three photographs of Marlon Brando on the set of "A Streetcar Named Desire" raised $20,400.

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Posted on 06/24/2006 7:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 June 2006
Mansour district, Baghdad
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Echoing Ambassador Khalilzad's leaked report that the formerly upscale neighborhood surrounding the Green Zone, the Mansour district, has become an "unrecognizable ghost town." is this report in the New Duranty Times:

Mansour is Baghdad's Upper East Side. It has fancy pastry shops, jewelry stores, a designer furniture boutique and an elite social club.

But it is no longer the address everyone wants.

In the past two months, insurgents have come to Mansour to gun down a city councilman, kidnap four Russian Embassy workers, shoot a tailor dead in his shop and bomb a pastry shop.

Now, Mansour, a religiously mixed area just three miles from the fortified Green Zone, feels more like wartime Beirut than Park Avenue, and its affluent residents worry that the wave of violence that has devoured large swaths of Baghdad has begun encroaching on them.

"It's falling to the terrorists," said Hasaneen F. Mualla, director of the Hunting Club, Mansour's social center. "They are coming nearer to us now. No one is stopping them."

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Posted on 06/24/2006 7:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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