Wednesday, 30 September 2009
U.N. Diplomat fired for warning of fraud in Afghan election
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It is worth listening to the audio of the interview, 4 and a half minutes long.  From National Public Radio:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fired the top U.S. official at the U.N. mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday over differences the official, Peter Galbraith, had with his boss over how to deal with charges of fraud in the Afghan presidential election.

A statement issued by Ban's office said the secretary-general had decided to "recall" Galbraith and end his appointment as the U.N.'s deputy special representative to Afghanistan. Galbraith, the former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, was publicly critical of apparent corruption in the Aug. 20 presidential election, and was at odds with his boss, Special Representative Kai Eide, over how the U.N. should have responded to the election.

Preliminary results from the Aug. 20 election show that President Hamid Karzai won a majority, but final results have been delayed by fraud allegations that prompted a partial recount.

Galbraith tells NPR's Robert Siegel that the disagreement with Eide centered on "ghost" polling stations — set up in insecure areas and that could be used to produce votes that were never cast. He says he also disagreed with Eide on sharing U.N. data on fraud with Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission.

Eide, Galbraith says, opposed sharing data, and decided that the U.N. would say nothing about the polling centers after the Afghan government complained about Galbraith's call to close them.

"The dispute was whether the United Nations should do anything about the fraud that took place," Galbraith says.

What principles does the United League of Nations stand for at this point, besides rampant antisemitism, cynical disregard for human rights, and anti-Americanism?  I have said for years that the U.S. should withdraw from participation, withdraw all funding, and withdraw hosting of the offices in NYC.  The headquarters should be moved to more suitable environs;  Damascus, say, or Tehran, Tripoli,  or Kampala.

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Posted on 09/30/2009 11:33 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
G-droppin', jaw-droppin', top-drawer-droppin' facts
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Careful with your careful enunciation - if you try too hard, you'll sound a bit lower middle and Hyacinth Bucket. Droppin' Gs, and even aitches, can be posh, but it's a special kind of posh, known as "county". Huntin', shootin' and fishin' is the name of the game, and posh totty is always game. How to Speak Posh, by Mark Barrowcliffe in The Times:

I could just slightly posh up my own accent and get away with that. However, I am nothing if not ambitious. I decide to go county. This is the huntin', shootin' and fishin' accent of the landed gentry. It's characterised by its brief endings to words, clipped consonants and short vowel sounds, probably best summed up by Edward VII's enquiry to Lord Harris, who had made the mistake of wearing a brown bowler at Ascot: “Goin' rattin' 'arris?”

Pronounced differences

RP The “neutral accent” of Radio 4. SingING, not singin'; little, not li-ool.

Hyperlect As RP, but more identifiably posh. Brine trisers for brown trousers. Princess Enn, not Princess Anne.

County The accent in which you marshal hounds and warn poachers just before you shoot them. Huntin', shootin', fishin'.

Sloane A lazy version of county, slurring its pronunciation under the influence of estuary English. Yaah, not yes; riii, not right.

Medja Not quite as languorous as Sloane. RP, rather than county, with some urban overtones. Gestures towards the glottal stop without quite going so downmarket. Tony Blair. Cool, yeah?

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:27 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
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by Ares Demertzis (October 2009)


He eagerly unfolded the small paper rectangle, tapping anxiously at the edge of the crease, coaxing the white crystals to tumble down to the surface of a hand mirror lying on his desk. Using the sharp blade of a pocket knife, he initiated the practiced ritual of crumbling the tiny, hard white granules, fluffing them up into narrow, elongated powdery lines. He could have accomplished the same task on any hard surface, but the mirror served to make the cocaine appear more abundant; a gratifying illusion. more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:45 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Veterans, Victoria Crosses and Degrees of Separation
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (October 2009) 


Over the summer holiday I read Henry Allingham’s autobiography – Kitchener's Last Volunteer.

I knew that Henry Allingham was born in Upper Clapton, the posh end of Clapton, which is now part of the London Borough of Hackney in 1896, some 60 years before I was born in Lower Clapton in a maternity hospital that was not even built until Henry was raising his own family.  more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:43 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Islam Has Already Been Interpreted By Sharia
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by Nonie Darwish (October 2009)


The majority of Muslims say that Islam is misinterpreted or misunderstood especially by those who harbor hatred towards Muslims. I hear it over and over again even by well intentioned Muslims, that Islam is innocent from violent jihad, totalitarian regimes, honor killing, killing of apostates, oppression of women, slavery etc. That leads me to seriously question if such Muslims have read Sharia, Quran, hadith or life of Mohammad? Could this be a massive wishful thinking by people born in a religion that forbids criticism under penalty of death.  more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:42 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Why Did Muslims Choose Capitol Hill to Pray to Allah?
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by Mohammad Asghar (October 2009)


The Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C. is the center of the United States’ legislative branch of government. It is known as Congress, which consists of two parts: the House of Representatives, and the Senate. This Congress makes laws and studies problems that affect the well being of the American nation. In other words, it is a vital and effective organ of the American government. Abolish or cripple the Congress, there will be no democratic government in the United States.  more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:41 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Opposing Islamization
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by Rebecca Bynum (October 2009)


Remarks given at the launch of “Stop Islamization of America” in Washington, DC., Rayburn Building, Sept. 25, 2009
 
Washington DC., like other cities across America, is filled with people who claim to respect Islam and yet you will find very few who actually take Islam seriously. Among our leaders, very few have taken the time to study Islamic doctrine, or to ponder the sermons of the imams and mullahs delivered both here and abroad, and fewer still show any awareness of the extensive writings of modern Islamic theorists about how they view Islam’s role in the modern world. Simply showing up at interfaith dialogues or an open house at the mosque is not a sign of respect but of condescension and smacks of intellectual cowardice.  more>>>
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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:40 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Halacha, Sharia and the Religious Acceptance of Constitutional Governance
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by Rabbi Jon Hausman (October 2009)

Delivered at the Stop Islamization of America launch in the Rayburn House Office Building, 25 September 2009


I am currently studying the Jewish tort laws contained in the Rabbinic tractate Baba Kamma. The tractate itself contains all kinds of abstruse cases dealing with damages and liability under specific circumstances.
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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:38 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The White Rose: An Interview with Mrs. Susanne Zeller- Hirzel
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by D. L. Adams (October 2009)


Background

The White Rose was a civilian resistance organization that actively opposed Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany during WWII. It was composed of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor, Kurt Huber. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, calling for active resistance to the Third Reich. Upwards of 9,000 copies of the White Rose leaflets were distributed across Germany leading to an investigation by the Gestapo. Six members of the group were arrested; endured show trials conducted by Nazi Judge Roland Freisler and were executed by decapitation in 1943. The story of the valiant White Rose resistance group has been the subject of a film  Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days), Weisse Rose (White Rose) a chamber opera by Udo Zimmerman that debuted in Hamburg in 1986 to international acclaim and many books, most recently: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose  in 2006. more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:38 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Equalities, diversities, and other twaddelties
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Friedrick Hayek, quoted in an article linked by Tina Trent:

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in   conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time”

Obvious, really, though not to people who send out questionnaires demanding that we "self-identify".

 

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:01 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Hebrew?s Exalted Status
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- and Source of Inspiration for the Revival of Small Peoples (Irish, Maltese, Basque, Welsh and Catalan)

by Norman Berdichevsky (October 2009)


No literate person can expect to read a daily newspaper or listen to a discussion of the arts and sciences, law, psychology, physics, mathematics, military affairs or any other professional field without encountering a wealth of phrases and expressions of foreign origin which have become a part of the English language. Expressions such as status quo, casus belli, laissez-faire, déjà vu, savoir-faire, haute cuisine, allegro, pogrom, de facto, de jure, sine qua non, prima facie, modus vivendi, leitmotif, blitzkrieg, lebensraum, etc. (yes, even et cetera itself) and thousands more, are part of our everyday language. For those to whom "classical languages" are synonymous with "dead" ones, modern languages at least offer a practical tool to aid study in prestigious professional fields - French, so closely associated with high fashion, cuisine and art. Italian with music and the opera, German with philosophy, medicine and psychology
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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:37 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
From Habiru to Hebrews: The Roots of the Jewish Tradition
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by Robert Wolfe (October 2009)


I come from a secular Jewish background, the son of Jewish parents who belonged to the Communist Party during the 1930s. They left the Party in 1939, around the time of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and also left each other, getting divorced when I was about two years old. I was raised in the home of my mother in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in Manhattan which at that time was about half Jewish. Most of my boyhood friends were Jewish, and so too were most of my mother’s friends, who tended to the same “progressive” point of view as she did. My father too remained a “progressive”, meaning someone who agreed wiith many of the positions of the Communist Party without necessarily belonging to it. So from an early age I received a heavy dose of Jewish secular culture along with a sense of identification with the progressive current in American life.  more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:36 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The Tasteful Ape: Darwinism and the Arts
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by Mark Signorelli (October 2009)


Robert Fagan begins his course for the Teaching Company on “Human Evolution and Prehistory” in precisely the manner which would be expected of any good scientist nowadays – with an expression of contempt for religion, and an insistence that his account of man's origins will be untainted by “mythology” and claims of the “supernatural.” True to his word, the immensely intriguing narrative he unfolds throughout the first dozen or so lectures, beginning from man's primate ancestors, and continuing through the Australopithecines – robust and otherwise – to the various hominid migrations out of Africa, progresses with nary a hint of theology. But when he arrives at the topic of the cave paintings of Lascaux and Altamira, those beguiling phenomena, Dr. Fagan's wonted empiricism fails him, and he can employ only the most unscientific terminology to express himself; he pronounces those works “a miracle."
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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:34 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Kashmiri girl shoots, kills jihadi
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This is one way to run an anti-jihad program.  This incident took place in Kashmir, along the border with Pakistan.  You can see a map of the area here.  From the Gulf Times:

Her immensely brave act has turned young Rukhsana Kausar into a heroine and people now see her as a fighter against the “zulm” or atrocities of militants.

She had taken on a group of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who barged into her house on Sunday night, snatched an AK-47 from one intruder and shot him dead. An earlier report claimed that Rukhsana had used an axe to kill the militant

She is full of smiles at her house in Upper Kalsi in Shahdhara Sharief of Rajouri district, as she is besieged by television reporters asking her how she did it.

Posing with the AK-47 that she grabbed from the militants, she recounts for the umpteenth time how she shot dead LeT terrorist Abu Osama in her house up in the hills, while the locals cheer her.

The girl, in her late teens, fought militants and saved her family, especially her parents.  When the terrorists barged into her house late Sunday night, Rukhsana might have been provoked by the terror unleashed by the ultras on her parents - Noor Hussain and Rashida, and by a premonition that her own dignity was in danger. But what she did was an act of supreme bravery.

“One thing is for sure that the girl exhibited rare bravery, and she deserves all praise for it,” said Superintendent of Police, Rajouri, Shafkat Watali.  “This is a clear manifestation that the people are willing to fight back militants. They are sick of the atrocities of militants.”

Rukhsana is aware that the new spotlight has come on her after she shot the militant with his own gun.

“I knew that they were up to something, and saw them trying to do something terribly wrong with my daddy,” Rukhsana said, brimming with anger. “I snatched the gun by pulling his hair and then opened fire on him.”

This act of the girl is being termed as a fight against “zulm” by the locals - who feel this would begin a new chapter in the anti-militancy feelings of the people.

“Now, we feel that militants are not invincible. They can be overpowered and killed,” said Showkat Hussain, a villager who had come to see Rukhsana from Darhal, about 30km from here.

The villagers, some of whom have dish antenna fixed on their houses, have seen Rukhsana on their TV sets. Many others came to see the new brave girl of the area.

“She is another Sher bibi,” say people, referring to a legendary Gujjar woman who used to venture into the jungles in Banihal area, where lions used to roam many decades ago.

After Rukhsana shot dead one terrorist, the other ultras ran away, including one who was injured.

The family members handed over to the police two AK-47 rifles which they had snatched from the terrorists.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has lauded the exemplary courage and bravery of the fearless young girl.  “The governor has asked for a formal report from the Director General of Police so that he can recommend the young girl for a gallantry award,” an official release said.

“The governor also intends to invite this brave girl to the Raj Bhavan to honour her,” the statement said.

Instead of writing a formal report, or arranging a photo-op meeting with the governor, how about sending some troops to protect this girl and her family?   Jihadis worldwide have a long history, going back to the hadiths, of running when confronted, then slinking back when the coast is clear.  If you are so inclined, please send some prayers for her safety.

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Posted on 09/30/2009 4:47 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The Cult of Insincerity
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by Theodore Dalrymple (October 2009)


I once had a patient who had had the words ‘Fuck off’ tattooed on his forehead in mirror writing. When I asked him for the reason for this, he said that it was to wake him up in the morning when he looked at himself in the glass. It never failed, he said.

Newspapers perform more or less the same function for me. There is always something in them to irritate me profoundly, and there is nothing quite like irritation to get the juices circulating and the mind working. Oddly enough, only the print version of a newspaper, not the online one, has this tonic effect upon me; perhaps this is a conditioned response. I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs, who salivated at the sound of a bell. I have only to hold a newspaper in my hand to feel a pleasant frisson of outrage coming on.  more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:33 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Turkey, Secularism and the Need for Eternal Vigilance
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by Hugh Fitzgerald (October 2009)


T
he many decades during which the systematic attempt, by Ataturk to remove Islam in Turkey from the political sphere and to limit its power to fashion society, over time managed to allow the formation of a class of Turks who, in their mental outlook are not as distant from Western man as are, say, Arabs or Pakistanis. more>>>

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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:31 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The Religion of Sacrifice and Abraham, Isaac and Jesus
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by Richard L. Rubenstein (October 2009)


As Rebecca Bynum has shown in her articles on Jesus and Paul, a singularly important avenue to the understanding of Jesus and his relation to first century Judaism is to stress his role as the culminating prophet in the long list of Hebrew prophets.[1] As she indicates, I have chosen to focus primarily on the role of religious sacrifice in my attempt to understand Jesus in relation to his time. I believe that that issue exhibits simultaneously elements of both continuity and discontinuity between the two traditions. more>>>
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Posted on 09/30/2009 5:30 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Denmark - virginity tests worry social workers
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From The Copenhagen Post
Medical association calls on doctors to stop performing tests to prove virginity of young women
Concerns that an increasing number of young Muslim women are being sent to doctors to prove that they are virgins has social workers and doctors taking steps to help them, reports DR News.
Kristina Abu-Khader Aamand, a social worker and the founder of the website NyMødom.dk (New Virginity), said about a third of the 50 or so girls that contacted her each month, asked about virginity examinations.
‘These girls are incredibly afraid of this examination, because many aren’t virgins,’ she said.
The exams are reportedly used by families when seeking a spouse for their daughters.
Aamand said many parents would refuse to allow their son to marry a woman who wasn’t a virgin. Girls that had lost their virginity feared they would be ostracised by their families, she said.
The Danish Medical Association has urged its members not to carry out virginity exams.
I take it that use of the nifty gadget has been rumbled.

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Posted on 09/30/2009 4:33 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
'Taint Nobody's Business
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The first part of a form, sent to faculty and students and alumni by University Y, and forwarded to me by an indignant friend X at that university, one who has no intention of complying with the request:

Welcome X

 
In order for University Y to be in compliance with 
the new federal mandate on collecting 
and reporting race and ethnicity data, it is important 
that we have accurate information 
on our employees. Below are the questions with the 
ethnic and racial categories 
presented in the new 2-question format, with the 
federal definitions. For each 
question, please select the categories that best 
describe your race/ethnicity 
and how you self-identify. Additionally, we are 
requesting that you please complete 
the supplemental gender and veteran status questions. 
Your responses will be kept 
confidential and reported in aggregated form only. 
Completion of this form is 
voluntary, but your participation will help Y 
remain in compliance with 
the new requirements.
 
Please review each question below and select the 
categories that best describe
you.
A. Ethnicity (please check if applicable)     
 
        
Hispanic or Latino
 
A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Central 
or South American, or other 
Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race 
(note: does not include persons 
of Brazilian or Portuguese culture or origin).
B. Race (please check one or more races)      
 
        
American Indian or Alaska Native
 
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of 
North and South America 
(including Central America), and who maintains tribal 
affiliation or community 
attachment.
        
Asian
 
A person having origins in any of the original peoples 
of the Far East, Southeast 
Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, 
Cambodia, China, India, 
Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, 
Thailand, and Vietnam.
        
Black or African American
 
A person having origins in any of the black 
racial groups of Africa.
        
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
 
A person having origins in any of the original peoples 
of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, 
or other Pacific Islands.
        
White
 
A person having origins in any of the original peoples 
of Europe, the Middle East, 
or North Africa.
 C. Gender      
 
Female Male
 
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Posted on 09/30/2009 3:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (Ben Bernie Orch., voc. Scrappy Lambert)
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Listen here.

Note that both "g"'s are clearly pronounced by the singer; others may think that one, or both, depending on the circumstances, should be facultative, as when you choose to sing  the song  "I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'" as "I've Got A Feeling You're Foolin'" or as "I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'" or even as "I've Got A Feeling You're Fooling" - that is, I've got a feelin' you're foolin, I've got a notion it's make-believe, I think you're laughin' right up your sleeve, foolin' with me.

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Posted on 09/30/2009 12:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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