Friday, 29 June 2007

Is Stephen Fry’s excellent quiz programme, QI (Quite Interesting) shown on American television? If not, it should be. The programme is not like other quiz shows:

It is distinguished by the awarding of points not necessarily for the correct answer, but rather, for an interesting one. Many of the questions and answers are extremely obscure. Points are deducted from a panellist who gives an obvious but wrong (that is to say, boring or conventional) answer, typically one that is generally accepted as true but is, in fact, false. It is therefore possible (and quite likely) that a panellist will have a negative point score at the end of the game.

Hugh would do exceptionally well on this show. If he ever got the wrong answer, his answer would, as in the case of my quiz, be more interesting than the right one. Americans are allowed – there is at least one regular on the panel.

Because of the show's expectation that hardly anyone would be able to give a correct answer without significant prompting, it instead encourages sheer interestingness. As such, tangential discussions and even complete non-sequiturs abound on the show, for panellists are apt to branch off into frivolous conversations, give voice to train of thought, and share humorous anecdotes from their own lives.

Questions are sometimes misleading or fiendishly difficult. Providing an "obvious but wrong" answer results in a sequence of klaxons.


The klaxons would certainly sound if Alan Davies, the joker in the pack, answered the question: “What is the derivation of the word posh?” Alan would sound his buzzer, grinning from ear to ear, and cry: “Easy. Port Out, Starboard Home! First class cabins were shaded from the sun on outbound voyages (east) and return voyages (west). Everyone knows that.” After the klaxons had died down Stephen Fry would smile indulgently and say something like: “Dear, oh dear. This is a common misconception. The word 'posh' never stood for Port Out, Starboard Home. This is a reverse acronym formed after the original word by making the letters stand for something. It is, in other words, a bacronym.” A “quite interesting” discussion of bacronyms would follow. S.O.S., someone would say, is not an acronym meaning “save our ship” or “save our souls”. The Morse signal came first, because it is easily recognisable, and the acronym was made up later. Nor does “golf” stand for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden”.


Dot Wordsworth discusses a bacronym, although she doesn’t use the word:

[A] modern tendency Hugo Williams lighted upon is the assumption that new words are mostly derived from acronyms. One true acronym he mentioned, twoc, comes from ‘taking without consent’. This he calls a ‘coy’ word for ‘steal’. Really it is a separate crime, of driving away a ‘conveyance’ under the Theft Act 1968, section 12.

But he’s right about the acronymic assumption, and gives a folk-etymology for chav as ‘council house and violent’. I’d heard ‘cheap and vulgar’ and ‘Cheltenham average’. But as Mr Williams notes, it certainly derives from the Romany for ‘boy’. He, with Michael Quinion, the online etymologist, cites the Romany word as chavi. John Sampson’s Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales (Oxford, 1929), as I noted here in 2002, lists it under cavo (where the ‘c’ would be pronounced as ‘ch’.

The Spanish form, which Mr Williams cites as cheval, is more usually chaval and, according to the big dictionary by Corominas, this comes from cavale, the vocative masculine plural of cavo. In Catalonia they write it xaval, and in Barcelona use the form xava. In Chile, they say chey. In some Spanish gipsy dialects, the feminine is chavi. None of these have the connotations of our chav, and mean instead ‘lad’, ‘lass’, ‘prostitute’, according to context.

The vogue identity of British chavdom has changed in the past five years, and in a century’s time, readers will be hard put to get the force of each example from our days precisely right.

By the way, what does BACRONYM stand for?

Posted on 06/29/2007 10:27 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 29 June 2007
Who Is This Evelyn Wow?

"This evening, Catholic society will discuss the works of the great Catholic novelist Mr. Evelyn Woff." -- from John Derbyshire, recalling a moment in an English refectory

In one of her letters Flannery O'Connor describes her mother Regina O'Connor (with whom she lived at "Andalucia" in Milledgeville) asking her: "Who is this Kafka? Who is this Evelyn Wow?"

Posted on 06/29/2007 10:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
The Limits Of Melanie Phillips

Melanie Phillips still supports that "mission" in Iraq. She thinks that a less unstable Iraq, a more prosperous Iraq, where assorted lions lie down with assorted other lions, the whole held together by force of Western arms, will promote Infidel interests by bringing transformative "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads," and that Shi'a-dominated Iraq can be a Light Unto the (Sunni) Muslim Nations. She fails to explain exactly why this makes sense; she identifies that Bush-Blair policy with a "muscularity" that she apparently admires, and does not stop to ask if the West would not do better to exploit pre-existing fissures in Iraq and in the greater Camp of Islam. And while she identifies the problem of Islam in the Lands of the Infidels, she still draws back, still will not reach certain conclusions, and continues to confuse her audience and herself, in her failure to think things through.  She has not, I think, called for a halt on Muslim immigration, has failed to discuss the un-usefulness, and even comical unhelpfulness, of the phrase or concept of the "moderate" Muslim -- who, if that word "moderate" could be defined, could still lie about his "moderation," or could be "moderate" today and "immoderate" tomorrow.

She writes about Israel, but never about the war on Israel as a Lesser Jihad, with the two camps, Hamas and Fatah, differing not on ultimate goals but only on tactics and timing: a case of the Fast Jihadists and the no-less-unpalatable and dangerous Slow Jihadists. Nor has she pointed out that the mere swelling of Muslim numbers in the West will, in democracies, with pusillanimous politicians, inevitably swell Muslim power, and cow or overwhelm those attempting to defend against that power. She has her points. But she hasn't shown a desire to have her readers grasp the whole, to make the connections, and to begin to think about the kinds of measures that are perfectly justifiable, and made sense to such advanced and tolerant representatives of High European Civilization as the Czech statesmen Eduard Benes and Jan Masaryk.

Posted on 06/29/2007 10:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
Muslim-Jewish Doubles Pairing at Wimbledon

We'll be watching developments with interest for, despite her protests to the contrary, Sanja Mirza is treading on thin ice with the Muslim masses. From Reuters (with thanks to reader, and donor, David):

LONDON, June 28 - India's Sania Mirza hopes her decision to renew her doubles partnership with Israel's Shahar Peer at Wimbledon does not stir up another religious storm.

"We're playing tennis, we're not making statements. We're just here to play tennis and we're here to perform and be the best we can be," the Indian number one said on Thursday.

"Me and Shahar are playing just like the way me and (Eva) Birnerova played the French Open, just like the way I played with anyone else the last six weeks. It doesn't make any statement."

The last time Mirza, a Muslim, joined forces with Peer at the 2005 Japan Open, their association was short-lived.

Under pressure from militants furious over a Muslim and a Jew playing together, Mirza called for some time out.

She hopes their second stab at success will be remembered more for their on-court exploits.

"We've grown up together. We're great friends. So we said, why not?" said Mirza, who comes from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

"We were both very lucky to find each other because it's someone who suits each other's game. I have a big forehand, she has a big backhand. We've done well in the past.

"We really don't care whether she's from Israel or I'm from Pakistan. At the end of the day it matters whether we win a match or not."

From Pakistan? I thought she was from Hyderabad, India. Maybe she was trying to say Muslim without saying Muslim. Clearly she's caught between two worlds.

Posted on 06/29/2007 9:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 29 June 2007
Kristof and Friedman: Running Neck and Neck

The complete inability of the Western world to mention the source of Arab behavior in Darfur -- the Arab supremacism that is at the heart of Islam, whereby the "best of people," those to whom the Qur'an was given, and "in their language," to Muhammad, himself an Arab, as were his Companions, and to understand the role of Islam in the behavior of the Sudanese government both in southern Sudan (where 1.8 million Christians and animists died as a result of deliberate policies of starvation, as well as mass-murder, by the Arabs of the north), and in Darfur (where 400,000 black African -- i.e., non-Arab--Muslims, died as a result of mass murder) is quite something.

These "divest for Darfur" or "Rallies for Darfur" or "Let's Save Darfur" events, movements, campaigns, never ever mention what animates the murderers. Islam is never mentioned. But it is the texts of Islam that justified the killings of non-Muslims in the southern Sudan. And it is the attitudes of Islam -- that is the "attitude" by which Arabs are superior to non-Arabs, an "attitude" that explains the complete indifference to, or even secret support by the Arab League and all the Arabs (save for Kanan Makiya), to the Anfal campaign in which 182,000 Kurds were killed, and which explains the complete indifference as well to the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs in Algeria (and Morocco), against the Berbers, and their use of the Berber language, and attempt to preserve Berber customs and ways. Islamization is ordinarily accompanied by such cultural and linguistic imperialism -- an example of which can be found in the Arabic names, and the deep desire to be taken as having an Arabic lineage, by so many in Pakistan, where every third person appears to be a sayyid, or "descendant of the tribe of Muhammad."

Nicholas Kristof, who specializes in heart-on-his-sleeve reports, and who has gotten a lot of mileage, and a Pulitzer as well, out of his supposedly "superb" coverage -- it has been resolutely mediocre, substituting dimestore sentimentalism and cheap anguish for what would be helpful, that is an intelligent apprehension of events, no making sense of them (it's all a mystery to the likes of Nicholas Kristof, simply inexplicable, just one more damn case, apparently, of man's inhumanity to man) and, at best, mere reporting with no sense made of men and events -- of the mass murder in Darfur, has not ever understood the role of Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism and, indeed, hasn't the faintest idea what Islam is all about.

It's hard to beat Tom Friedman for sheer self-assured vacuity, but with Nicholas Kristof in the race, especially in his reporting on the Sudan of which he is so proud, and for which he has been so lavishly rewarded, one would have to say that they are running neck and neck.

Posted on 06/29/2007 9:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
Burqas and Benefits

THE HAGUE – A majority in Parliament wants the government to allow municipalities to cut benefits if the recipients are unable to find a job because they wear a burqa. --from this news item

A start.

But the generous cradle-to-grave benefits, put into place by Infidels, and paid for over decades by Infidel taxpayers, are now being taken full advantage of, by large numbers of Muslims -- free medical care, free and excellent education (including special tutorial classes in language, everywhere now being offered in the dreamy belief that the inability of large numbers of Muslims to integrate is a matter that can be solved by courses in the local European language, history, and culture -- for every Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there remain a thousand implacable enemies of the Infidels). And then there is all the fiddling, with numbers of wives, and huge families (look only at the reports in the newspapers, from Gaza for example -- all about So-and-so, "trying to feed" his ten, his eleven, his twelve, his fourteen children -- and yet we are supposed to accept this, not to point out that Westerners have no obligation to support, within their own countries, or outside, those whose ideology inculcates hatred of those Infidels, and who -- as a deliberate act -- continue to have gigantic families and to throw the burden of their upkeep on Infidels, while the Infidels themselves, carefully limiting for economic reasons the number of children they raise, are still afraid to put a stop to this. And to make matters still worse, Muslim behavior in schools, and the refusal to learn about the history of the Infidels, and much of their literature (the French example is instructive), makes it even more difficult for Infidels, who now must factor in the likely cost of private schooling).

The burqa business is a step. A good step, but a very small step. In every way, Islam flatly contradicts, as a collectivist faith that fails to recognize, that strives to prevent, the autonomy of the individual. Islam forbids the free exercise of conscience (as that of apostates), attempts to censor all criticism of Islam and, in so doing, to force Western peoples to give up the exercise of their own right of free speech in their own lands. Islam is not merely one more non-Western religion. Unlike Hinduism, or Buddhism, or the religions of the Sikhs or the Jains or the many "ways" of China, Islam is uniquely hostile to, and demands that it be accorded deference and more than deference, over all others. And if Muslims have a sense of rage in the West, the main reason is that they believe that Islam, and Muslims, do not have the place of dominance that by right they should and must have, and are impatient. If some Muslims are less outwardly enraged, either they are not True Believers (and that cannot be counted on to be a permanent condition) or they are simply, like Tariq Ramadan, willing to be a bit more patient, understanding that one has to wait until the percentage of the Muslims in the population is greater and it becomes impossible for Infidels -- or so Tariq Ramadan assumes -- to then deal with the matter, and to save themselves and the civilizational legacy that they have so far shown signs of not understanding, or appreciating, or being able to properly preserve and defend.

Posted on 06/29/2007 9:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
Al-Masjid Al-Aksa

"How come the al Aqsa mosque is built ON TOP of the Temple of Solomon"? Who was there first?"-- from a reader

As a display -- a flaunting -- of the power, and triumph of Islam, the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, in Damascus, deliberately chose the Temple Mount as the place Believers were to place or fix, that "al-masjid al-aksa" ("the furthest mosque") mentioned in the Qur'an as the place from which Muhammad went on his Night Journey ("miraj") on his fabulous winged steed Al-Buraq, all the way to the Seventh Heaven.

The phrase, some thought at the time, did not have a fixed worldly address and one way for Muslim "Reformers" to lessen Islam-prompted tensions is for them to look again at that phrase "al-masjid al-aksa" and give it a mystical, out-of-this-world, interpretation. But they can't and won't do that, because Islam is deeply of this world, it is all about this world, and the power in this world, of Muslims to lord it over non-Muslims, as it is, at the same time, about the need for Muslims to be unquestioning and submissive "slaves of Allah." Dominance, over non-Muslims, slavish obedience to what Allah has set down in Qur'an, as glossed, for some, by the Sunnah (roughly, what is in the Hadith and Sira).
Quite a blend.

For more on early Islam, and the choice of the Temple Mount as the site of "al-masjid al-aksa," and on the Dome of the Rock and its curious inscriptions (Arabic, yes, but Islamic?) see the article on this by Louis De Premare (now only in French, soon to be published in English).

Posted on 06/29/2007 9:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
The Large-Scale Presence Of Muslims...

A statement put up frequently here and at Jihad Watch:

"The large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of Western Europe has created a situation that for the indigenous Infidels, and other Infidels among recent immigrants, is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without such a large-scale presence."

Few intelligent and aware Infidels will disagree with that statement; and none can disagree convincingly.

And the only modification to that statement that might now be required is to add, after "of Western Europe" the phrase "and North America."

Despite every conceivable kind of propaganda designed to make Infidels unwary, to stifle discussion and to censor critical scrutiny of Islam, despite this at every level among those who presume to decide what others "should" think and "should" feel, and there is plenty of that in Canada, despite that, more than a third -- without any prompting, and despite all the propaganda inflicted on them to prevent them from coming to such a conclusion -- believe that Christian (really: non-Muslim) relations with Muslims will worsen.

In fact, they cannot be good, because of what the texts of Islam so clearly inculcate, and what every apostate from Islam, every defector from the Camp of Islam, has so frighteningly described to us.

In Western Europe many wish they had known thirty years ago what they know now, despite their elites and their rulers who have trifled so cruelly with their safety and wellbeing in letting in, without much or any thought, so many Muslims, allowed to settle deep behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines. In Canada and the United States there is still time to learn from the unhappy experience of the Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Italy, France, Spain, Germany. Still time.

And whether or not there is agreement on what should now be done, what makes the best and most obvious sense, whether or not one is offended by, or finds justified and unremarkable the measures undertaken by the wise, advanced, tolerant statesmen of tolerant and peaceful Czechoslovakia in 1946, in dealing with another perceived threat (that of the Sudeten Germans) -- one can hardly disagree with that initial statement.

Posted on 06/29/2007 7:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 June 2007
Our Poor Illegals Living in Fear of Deportation...

Picture from the New Duranty outside the Senate Chamber.  And wonder they didn't get amnesty?

Posted on 06/29/2007 6:42 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 29 June 2007
Supreme Race Case & GOP '08 Candidates

At the Spectator, Jennifer Rubin's analysis of yesterday's Supreme Court decision has this:

It remains to be seen whether this will impact the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Rudy Giuliani was the only GOP candidate to respond to request for comment, stating: "I applaud today's Supreme Court decision striking down the racial preferences used in determining students' public school placement. I completely agree with Chief Justice Roberts that 'the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.'"

In the days ahead one can expect that Giuliani will remind voters of his strong stance against racial preferences while mayor of New York. Having run on the slogan of "one standard, one city," he can boast that as mayor he withstood harsh criticism from liberal civil rights groups and abolished minority set-asides and eliminated many race-based affirmative action programs. Senator John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney have made statements in the past opposing racial preferences and quotas. As for "testing the waters" candidate Fred Thompson, one of the former Tennessee senator's rivals pointed out shortly after the opinion came down that he voted twice in 1995 in favor of affirmative action. (His campaign did not return a request for comment.)

Posted on 06/29/2007 6:38 AM by Andy McCarthy
Friday, 29 June 2007
Will Gordon Brown help defend the free world?

Melanie Phillips doesn't think so:

So is Britain’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown going to defend the free world or surrender it to its enemies? Will he cut through all the dissimulation and manipulation by jihadis and their western useful idiots and instead call the threat to the free world by its proper name? Will he ignore the ever-increasing defeatism and pressure for appeasement, or will he genuflect to the prevalent anti-Americanism and go along with the moral and intellectual inversion that supports genocidal aggressors and blames their victims? As the dust still settles today over the shape of his government, the signs are mixed and not a little alarming.

Simon McDonald, the UK’s former Ambassador to Israel, is a stalwart defender of Israel and is free of the Arabism that is the stock in trade of the Foreign Office. It is therefore a very positive sign that he is now Brown’s chief foreign policy adviser. However, the other signals are not so good. The new Foreign Secretary is David Miliband, who was reportedly opposed to war in Iraq and who attacked Israel’s action in Lebanon last year. He was reported to have joined other Cabinet colleagues in criticising Tony Blair for not breaking with President Bush by calling for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon — ie, Israel’s surrender to Iran. His appointment is thus a clear signal that Britain is now distancing itself from America. At such a terrifying time for the free world with Iran racing towards the bomb, to give such a signal that the western alliance is weakening amounts to a treasonable boost to the enemy.

More disturbing still is the arrival in Brown’s government of the former United Nations deputy Secretary-General, Sir Mark Malloch Brown, who has been granted a peerage in order to take up the post of minister for Africa, Asia and the UN. As we know, the UN’s corruption and the way it has been turned into a mouthpiece for some of the world’s greatest tyrannies make it an urgent candidate for root-and-branch reform. Yet Malloch Brown actually actually defended the UN over the oil-for-food scandal.

Posted on 06/29/2007 6:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 29 June 2007
Fred's good day?and ours

Presidential candidate Fred Thompson blogs. His post yesterday displays his nuanced view of immigration, legal and illegal, with a special emphasis on Cuba. (It's a real blog, too, including links to an impressive list of blogs he reads.)  Needless to say, he was happy over the defeat of senators pushing illegal immigrant amnesty yesterday.

Re Cuban espionage: good to seem him bring up the case of Ana Belen Montes (more on her here; scroll down):

The best-known incident involving Cuban espionage, which many believe may have provided U.S. secrets to hostile Middle Eastern regimes, is probably that of former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Ana Belen Montes—convicted of espionage in 2002. Now, our intelligence picture has been further complicated by the emergence of oil-funded Hugo Chavez and his anti-American, pro-Castro regime. We know that Cuban intelligence officers, for instance, are in South America — presumably training Venezuelans and others in the intelligence arts.

Posted on 06/29/2007 6:10 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 29 June 2007
Renewed uproar over female circumcision
From Aftenposten -  Norwegian news in the English language. 
A new NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) television report on the circumcision of Norwegian girls in Somalia has reawakened focus on the problem.
Labour Party politician Anniken Huitfeldt wants girls from Somalia and other at-risk nations to undergo regular physical checks.
Huitfeldt told newspaper VG that she proposes that every family that comes from Somalia and other at-risk countries must sign a document saying that the circumcision of family members must not happen.
Huitfeldt wants the legal framework for such a contract, and penal reactions.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suggested something not dissimilar.
Bashe Musse of the Somalian Network also urged stricter regulations against the practice, and called for a fatwa against female genital mutilation (FGM).
Huitfeldt's proposition departs radically from the current parliamentary majority support for a regular check of all Norwegian girls to prevent circumcision.
Huitfeldt feels this is impractical and wants targeted checks, even though she is aware that such a proposal can have a stigmatizing affect on certain groups. "That is a counter-argument. But it isn't good enough. We are talking about measures against genital mutilation," Huitfeldt said.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told newspaper Dagsavisen he felt a personal responsibility for the mutilated girls, and added that he was not satisfied with the efforts of police, child care and prosecution authorities.
Despite extra funding for efforts to hinder violence towards women and children, and laws against circumcision in place for 11 years, not one person has been charged with or convicted of genital mutilation.
More than 250 girls and women have sought help from Oslo's largest hospital in recent years, because of physical problems resulting from female circumcision, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The mutilation, which many of the female patients were subjected to as young girls in several Muslim African countries and Northern Iraq, has left the women with severe urinary dysfunction, infections and problems after their vaginal openings were sewn shut.
Sarah Kahsay, a midwife at Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo, told newspaper Aftenposten that she and her colleagues have tried to help around 260 girls and women during the past three years.
Kahsay, of the National Competence Center for Minorities' Health at Ullevål, said that 90 percent of the girls and women are ethnic Somalians. Female genital mutilation has also been found, she said, among female patients from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Gambia and Senegal.
The mutilation also seems to have spread to the Kurdish community, with Kahsay mentioning that Norwegian Church Aid has claimed it's a problem for females from Northern Iraq. "Reports we've had from our health stations (in the Oslo area) involve Kurdish girls as young as 11 and 12, who've been circumcised," Kahsay said.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported over the weekend, however, that an alarming number of young girls born or living in Norway have been taken back to Somalia during school holiday periods and subjected to circumcision.
The agonized screams of one young girl being forcibly held down while her genitals were being cut shook Norwegian viewers and has led to a political outcry on the issue.  
Posted on 06/29/2007 5:41 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 29 June 2007
Bomb in theatreland

If today's bomb had gone off in the Haymarket, we would all be in a state of shock. Some of us wouldn't be here at all, or we would be very badly injured. The rest, once we had ascertained that no loved ones were involved, would be frightened or angry.

Because the terrorist attack was foiled, we are likely to be calm - complacent even. While emotions such as grief and shock are not appropriate to a failed terrorist attack, anger is. We should be just as angry as if it had succeeded.

We don't know for sure who planted the bomb, but we've got a pretty good idea: Muslims, acting in the name of Islam.

On the evening of July 8, 2005 (the day after the London bombings) I went to the theatre in the West End to see "Guys and Dolls", stopping off at a restaurant bar for a cocktail called, opportunistically, "Guys and Dolls". Bars, restaurants and theatres were packed. People were not deterred. Then again, the attack had been in the morning rush hour. I can't speak for the others, but for some reason I felt safe, and, it has to be said, fatalistic: if your time's up, staying at home every night won't keep you safe.

Of course it crossed my mind that terrorists might attack West End theatre crowds, as well as morning commuters. The very existence of theatreland is an affront to Islam. The theatre itself, acting, music, free mixing of men and women, both on and off stage, bars, restaurants, the general sleeziness, gaudiness and liberating vulgarity - all these things are unislamic in the extreme. Islam would probably classify everything associated with the theatre as fitnah (tumult). And in practical terms, you have a captive audience. Security is lax. We take our own wine, the wine you buy at theatres being mediocre and overpriced. If you can take your own wine, you can take your own bomb.

People have to go to work. Most Londoners returned to work on July 8, 2005, or shortly afterwards. But theatre-going is discretionary. Following an attack in, say, Shaftsbury Avenue or Covent Garden, we - and the tourists who contribute so much - might decide it wasn't worth the risk. Theatres would go out of business, and so would the pubs, bars and restaurants nearby. A successful attack on theatreland would rip the heart out of London.

This one didn't work, but I'm angry, and we should all be angry. Even if you don't live anywhere near London and haven't been to the theatre in a long time, you should be angry.

Posted on 06/29/2007 5:04 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 29 June 2007
Major Terror Attack Foiled In London
A little more from Sky News.
Police believe they have foiled a major terrorist attack in the heart of London's West End after a "massive" explosive device was found in a car.
The incident was in Piccadilly, near the Regent Street shopping area, and security sources say it was timed to coincide with Gordon Brown's first day as Prime Minister.
The area was cordoned off by officers who examined the car, outside an American Express foreign exchange.
They discovered what appeared to be a potentially explosive device, which was then made safe by specialist teams.
The vehicle was a metallic green Mercedes which was also believed to have contained two propane gas canisters and a large number of nails.
The back door of the car was said to be open when it was discovered near the Tiger Tiger nightclub.
Mr Brown said the incident reminds us that Britain faces "a serious and continuous threat" and the public "need to be alert" at all times
An investigation has been launched by the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command.
Officers are keeping an open mind about who was behind the foiled attack.
Sources say the device was "massive" and the perpetrators are unlikely to be Irish, suggesting Islamic extremists were the likely suspects.
Sky's Tim Marshall said: "No doubt this was an attempted terror attack."
He said the target was probably civilians because there are no major political institutions in the area.
Former head of the Flying Squad John O'Connor said the attacker had most probably "bottled it" and was likely to be a homegrown terrorist.
Posted on 06/29/2007 4:18 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 29 June 2007
Suspected bomb found in London
Officers carried out a controlled explosion after reports of a suspicious vehicle parked in The Haymarket shortly before 0200 BST (0100 GMT).
The immediate area was cordoned off while police examined what they described as a "potentially viable explosive device".
There are unconfirmed reports that gas canisters were removed from the back of the car, close to Piccadilly Circus.
One police source said the bomb was a "big device" and posed a real and substantial threat to the area around The Haymarket, which is in London's theatreland.
A witness reported seeing gas canisters being removed from the car, believed to be a silver Mercedes, at around 0400 BST (O300 GMT).  Bouncers from a nearby nightclub said they saw the car being driven erratically before it crashed into a bin. They said the driver then got out and ran off.
Dozens of forensic officers were today poring over the scene, which was covered by a blue plastic police tent.
Scotland Yard said detectives from Counter Terrorism Command were investigating the potential bomb plot and will be checking the CCTV in the area.
A spokesman said: "Police were called to reports of a suspicious vehicle parked in The Haymarket, shortly before 2am this morning. As a precautionary measure the immediate area was cordoned off while the vehicle was examined by explosives officers.  They discovered what appeared to be a potentially viable explosive device. This was made safe.  The Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command has launched an investigation."
Posted on 06/29/2007 3:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Cannes believe Jane

A month ago, yes, but read this.

Posted on 06/28/2007 5:24 PM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Rubin: Become an Instant Middle East Expert!

Barry Rubin writes at Frontpage:

Dear Career Counselor:

I am in bad shape. I cannot get a job or support myself. I want to be rich and famous and powerful but I have no idea what to do. Can you suggest a powerful, prestigious, high-paying field where I need do no study or training?

Destitute and Dumb.

Dear D&D:

I’m so glad you wrote me as I have the perfect solution: become an expert on the Middle East and Islam. It’s easy, painless (for you, though many others will pay for it with their lives), and profitable. Just look at these examples:

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Sure they were tenured professors but they hadn’t produced anything of note in years. Then they had an idea: write a paper attacking the power of the Jewish lobby. Years of study? Intensive research? Nah. A few hours by a grad student on the internet. Result: Fame, a huge book contract, invitations to speak, largely respectful media coverage! Within months.

Or how about Bob Leiken, a washed-up Latin American expert, former Marxist revolutionary. The Left hated him because he was an instrument of Oliver North in supporting the Nicaraguan Contras. Even North made fun of him. Things got so bad he had to sell his house and move his family into an apartment. Things looked dim. And then, presto! A grant from a foundation, another grant from the CIA, two articles in Foreign Affairs, a contract with Oxford University Press. Invited to brief the State Department. All this within about a year. Why? Because he decided to be an instant Middle East expert. Did he take courses, learn languages, spend hours reading texts? Nope. Just sat in a room with some radical Islamists. They told him they were moderates. He wrote it down.

And like the great language expert, the rival of Henry Higgins, who in My Fair Lady proclaims that the flowerseller Eliza Doolittle is a Hungarian princess of royal blood, Leiken proclaims that the radical Islamists are really moderates who the United States can engage. "Wow!" says Condi Rice. "Do tell," asks the State Department.

Has he read their extremist statements in Arabic? Nope, who needs Arabic. How about the translations and academic papers on the subject? Waste of time. Study of Koranic and Islamic sources? That’s for wimps and suckers. All you have to do is talk to them and then, you know. Because hardline supporters of terrorism who cheer the murder of people by kidnappers and suicide bombers wouldn’t lie to you, would they?

Or how about Mary Habeck? A military historian, lost her job at Yale. Hey, why is everyone else having all the fun! I’ll be an expert on the Middle East and on Islam too! So she loaded up the truck and took a brief trip to Iraq. Next thing you know she’s got a book, testifies to Congress, is briefing Hilary Clinton, and being consulted by the great and powerful. Does she know anything about Islam? She thinks that jihad is an inner struggle, not having much to do with smiting infidels and conquering lands. But what’s the difference? If you don’t want to do so you don’t have to see the dead bodies produced by your advice.

So what are you waiting for? How could you not decide to be a Middle East expert or a sage about Islam? You’d have to be crazy not to do it.

Operators are standing by.

(By the way, all of the above is completely true—and other examples could be cited. But if not cast in the form of a satire, who’d believe it? And remember: it isn't as if the fate of Western civilization, freedom, and democracy were at stake or anything important like that.)

Posted on 06/28/2007 4:03 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Faith lands boxer two-year drugs ban
MUSLIM boxer Omar Shaick was yesterday handed a two-year ban for refusing to give a urine sample because his religion prohibits him from exposing his genitals to strangers.
Shaick, a 20-year-old Queenslander, was training in Brisbane in June last year when he was approached by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority officials for a random drug test.
He steadfastly refused to co-operate, on faith grounds.
ASADA chairman Richard Ings said the ruling, handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, was a strong endorsement of the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.
"One of the key foundations of the WADA code is that all athletes, irrespective of religious belief, must provide a sample," Ings said.
"It is common and widespread that people of this religious belief do provide samples."
Trainer Chris McMullen said Shaick had not boxed competitively for the past 10 months, but wanted to stay in the sport. He said Shaick was a deeply religious man who had spoken with the drug officials for more than two hours, offering alternative ways of providing a sample.
Shaick had told his trainer early on in his career about his inability to comply with the anti-doping code. "He said: 'If it ever happens, I won't be able to do it'," McMullen said.
Mr Ings said that as a registered boxer, Shaick could still be tested again at any time, regardless of his suspension.
Oh that some of his brothers were as reticent about keeping their tackle under wraps.
Posted on 06/28/2007 2:45 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Saeva Indignatio
No, I haven't contributed to the blogging on this latest round in the immigration wars.  In part that's because I'm going through a very time-demanding phase of an unrelated writing project; in part because I feel (perhaps optimistically) I've written and posted enough on this topic over the years to have already made whatever useful contribution I  can make; in part because NRO's Washington guys seem to have the thing pretty well in hand...
...But also, quite largely, because I have barely been able to trust myself to say anything.  Watching the Senate exchanges, and the pro-Bill comments by our President and others, I have kept sinking into a state of quivering, bitter rage—not a common state for me.  It's great that the Bill has gone down to defeat, but how on earth did it even get this far?  Such terrible, unworkable, legislation, foisted on us with such arrogance and deceit?  Is this our legislative system? 
At one point yesterday I vented my bitterness in verse.  I wrote a close parody of John Betjeman's famous 1937 diatribe against the city of Slough, directing my lines at Washington D.C.  Some readers might find it a bit strong.  My only excuse is that I was mad as hell, in the state Swift called saeva indignatio.  I feel much better now.  (And please note that I, like Betjeman, spared most of the inhabitants of the hated place.)  Anyway, here are my verses.

Thoughts while watching a debate in the U.S. Senate on S.1639—the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" bill of 2007


(After John Betjeman's "Slough" )


by John Derbyshire


Come, friendly bombs, fall on D.C.!

It's not fit for humanity.

There's nothing there but villainy.

Swarm over, Death!


Come, bombs, and blow to kingdom come

Those pillared halls of tedium—

Hired fools, hired crooks, hired liars, hired scum,

Hired words, hired breath.


Mess up this mess they call a town—

A seat for twenty million down

And rights to the incumbent's crown

For twenty years.


And get that lobbyist who'll spin

His case to congressmen, who'll win

Amendments, raking fortunes in

For racketeers.


And smash his desk of polished oak

(Paid for by honest working folk

Toiling 'neath taxation's yoke)

And make him yell.


But spare the lesser worker bees,

Federal and private employees,

Working for meager salaries

In government Hell.


It's not their fault they cannot see

How power stifles liberty,

How citizens who once were free

Become enslaved.


From childhood they've been raised to think

That federal power solves everything

They can no longer smell the stink

Of power depraved.


Spare these folk; reserve your fire

For those who wallow in the mire—

That smug, smooth, chauffered, canting choir

Of puffed-up fools.


Come, friendly bombs, fall on D.C.!

Leave it as it used to be:

Potomac winding to the sea

By tree-fringed pools.

Posted on 06/28/2007 1:51 PM by John Derbyshire
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