Sunday, 29 October 2006
... as Sheikh al Hilali might say, were he writing for The Sun and running out of veil jokes.
Nice cartoon in The Speccie:
'Since I’ve started wearing a hoodie, no one knows I’ve got a veil on.’
Posted on 10/29/2006 2:45 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Razib Khan over at the ever-fascinating Gene Expression site
reminds me of a thought I've been thinking myself recently: I really should watch more TV.
As Razib says, if you don't watch TV you get behind on a lot of cultural referents. It's transient stuff, of course, but helps to keep the social wheels turning, and occasionally delivers some social or political significance.
My ongoing Ally-McBeal-DVD-a-thon
has brought this home to me. Having now watched four of the five seasons of this show, I have things to say about it. Unfortunately no-one's interested, because everyone's totally forgotten the durn thing.
So I want to watch some cutting edge TV, to get better acquainted with the zeitgeist, and enhance my social life. What should I watch? All suggestions gratefully accepted. Well, not quite all: I shall NOT watch any sitcoms that end each episode with the participants affirming their love for each other in spite of all the conflict they've been going through for the previous 25 minutes. (I believe this group-hug finale is known in the TV screenwriting biz as "the moment of s***.") NOR any lawyer shows—I believe I have fulfilled my lifetime quota with all that Ally McBeal. NOR any cop shows in which the ballsy woman detective is just as good as the slightly-slower, slightly-dimmer, way-less attractive male detective. NOR any sci-fi shows at any level of scientific plausibility lower than Firefly's
. NOR any political dramedies in which wise, sensitive, handsome liberals spend their time outwitting stupid (though cunning), coarse, ugly conservatives. NOR any shows with cute kids with names like Timmy in them. Exceptions, in all cases, will be made for any shows at all featuring Morena Baccarin.
[NB on Razib's post: Don't watch the Nelly Furtado video if you own one of my POP CULTURE IS FILTH T-shirts. Don't watch the Katie Melua video if you have a weak stomach for surgical procedures.]
Posted on 10/29/2006 2:30 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 29 October 2006
This is not a new idea, there have been warnings from several sources, but it bears repeating.
Researching his latest thriller Frederick Forsyth was made aware of the threat from the sea. From The Sunday Times.
When I began to look at terrorism around the world for a new project, it was not long before I found that the prospect of in-air sabotage of transatlantic airliners was but one of the nightmares with which the West’s anti-terrorist agencies wrestle on a daily basis. The unrevealed and undiscussed horror is the burgeoning world of marine terrorism.
Megadeath coming at us from the sea is envisaged as a seemingly normal and legitimate merchant ship, maybe a tanker but not necessarily, stolen by Al-Qaeda and staffed with a suicidal crew, bearing inside her hull a simply devastating cargo, quietly cruising into the very heart of a city before detonating
Such an outrage, the subject of daily study by experts on marine terrorism and their colleagues in the hazardous cargoes division, could easily match the death toll of 9/11. For the last wild, unpoliced and lawless frontier on this planet is not what or where you might think.
The place where there is no viable, enforceable law is the sea. For one thing, it is simply vast. Were you to put put every square inch of the world’s landmass together, it would only cover one seventh of the planet’s surface. The other six-sevenths are the oceans. And on those oceans a vessel can simply lose herself. Or be caused by others to vanish. Do ships disappear at sea, never to be seen again? Yes, all the time, and they are not all sunk.
There are about 44,000 merchant ships out there somewhere, and let us not even attempt to count the leisure craft. Most of the merchant seamen no doubt fit into the “reputable” category described above. But several thousand do not.
Greed and rapacity have led to the creation of a weird and shady underworld where licence fees are optional, taxes avoided, safety margins ignored and controls a fiction. In that world the crook is a normality and the terrorist a dangerous newcomer.
Thus the MV Attila may be registered in the island of ABC in Micronesia but apparently owned by XYZ Shipping Lines, which is really only a brass plate in an NQB banking resort. . . But supposing the MV Attila is secretly owned by Al-Qaeda. Could it be? That is the disturbing new dimension.
Every year, almost every month, in various parts of the world but mainly along the Malacca and Sunda straits and round the Celebes Sea, legitimate freighters disappear. There is no secret about what happens. Helpless and slow, they are boarded by sea dacoits (bandits) from faster vessels, taken over and hijacked. Why that part of the world? Partly because dacoits of land or sea are a traditional form of local crime; partly because there are a score of coasts so dense in jungle and so unpoliced that an entire ship can disappear into a creek and become invisible from any search by sea or air.
Later, reflagged, repapered, repainted, reregistered and recaptained and crewed, she can resume her trading life, but now working and making profits for the Mr Big who commissioned her hijacking in the first place and secured her for nothing.
It is not the criminality that keeps the lights burning late in the offices of the West’s counterterrorism agencies. It is the nightmare of the invisible ship, the suicide crew, the deadly cargo and the unsuspecting destination.
Posted on 10/29/2006 11:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Ayaan Hirsi Ali in The Sunday Times
Ayaan Hirsi Ali lives under a death threat for daring to challenge the Islamic patriarchy and says the West must support women like her if it wants to spread freedom
Ideas can be dangerous. I have learnt that the hard way. But I know that when it comes to freedom and human rights these precious ideas, so valued in the West, are worth fighting for.
So for me, the debate that is raging about the veil, particularly the niqab, which covers most of the woman’s face save for the eyes, goes to the very heart of the matter of liberty for Islamic women. Not just freedom for its own sake, but from a life of repression, subordination and violence.
Last week, for example, a senior Muslim cleric in Australia alluded in a sermon to unveiled women as “uncovered meat”. Sheikh Taj El Din al-Hilaly’s remarks prompted outrage, but he will have many faithful followers who agree with him.
Such insults to women are all the more reason to welcome the recent stand by Jack Straw and Tony Blair on the niqab. Not only is it a “visible mark of separation” as Straw described it, but also a visible sign of subjugation. At the same time it serves to condemn the male as well. If I were a man I would find it insulting because it supposes that all men are incapable of sexual self-restraint.
Like Straw I have also drawn on my experience of dealing with constituents. I served three years as an MP in the Dutch parliament, devoting myself to speaking out about female rights in Islamic societies. I often had to translate for poor women immigrants who were usually barely educated and nearly always in thrall to men.
The arguments for and against the veil will rage on, but what increasingly alarms me is the emergence of a post 9/11 generation of young women in the West who are out to make a statement by wearing the niqab. They enjoy all the western freedoms but choose to flaunt the veil. They are the female equivalent of the radical young men who travel to Pakistan and come back wanting to blow up trains.
Such men see themselves as companions of the prophet and they are “high” on religion. Both groups have completely succumbed to totalitarian seduction; they are the worst enemies of Islam, both to its image and to its chances of reformation.
The existence of this noisy female minority, many of them wealthy and educated, hides the fact that there are thousands of poorer women in Europe and millions across the Muslim world who have no voice and no choice. They are punished and threatened for daring to follow a different path.
Posted on 10/29/2006 11:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 October 2006
It has been 18 months since Rebecca Bynum posted her article Slouching Towards Vietnam at Jihad Watch. I first thought of waiting until April 29, 2007 to ask her to repost it, but then thought, since General Casey and Tom Friedman are always talking in terms of six-month increments -- "the next six months should tell" or "we have about six months to get it right" -- that having had three six-month periods elapse since the piece first appeared, no need to wait another six months. One hopes for the contents of the piece to date, to be proven wrong by future events, but alas it hasn't happened, and won't.
In National Review's cover story of May 9th, 2005 "What Went Right," Richard Lowry makes the following bold assertion, "It is time to say it unequivocally: We are winning in Iraq."
Are we? This article is based on "conversations with administration officials and key combatant commanders," and as such, it provides a valuable, even if disturbing, window into the thinking of the Pentagon and the administration concerning how they perceive and counter the enemy.
As we enter our third year in Iraq, there are important questions to be asked. How does the continuing conflict in Iraq fit into the larger context of the war on terror? How do we define success? What are the enemy's goals and how should we counter them? Will democracy really bring peace and stability to the region? Unfortunately, this article does little to answer these questions and serves rather to obscure them instead.
The Iraq war, coming as it did on the heels of the 9/11 attacks, could reasonably have been expected to provide answers to two key questions concerning the larger Islamist threat, also referred to as the "war on terror":
1) What is the strength of the enemy? Would jihadist fighters converge on Iraq from all over the world to fight the infidel Americans in a protracted insurgency, as would reasonably have been predicted by an even the most cursory knowledge of Islamic political philosophy? Or, would the country be quickly liberated and secured so that American corporate investment could be brought to bear, in order to help jump start the Iraqi economy, thus helping the Iraqis move toward the modern, secular world, (which seems to have been the expectation, but turned out not to have been the case)? In other words, how strong is Islamism as a force in Iraq, which was one the most secular and modern of Muslim countries? And if it is strong there, what does that say about the direction of the rest of the Islamic world?
2) Even more fundamentally, can Islamic countries be democratized at all? Which is to ask, since democracy is the fruit of Christian civil society and the long tradition of law and liberty, can this fruit be grafted upon the tree of Islamic society and be expected to survive?
Both of these questions are crucial to the larger struggle we face, but unfortunately, judging by this article, neither the administration, nor National Review, in the person of Mr. Lowry, seems to be confronting the answers we are receiving. The field commanders in Iraq and the administration officials Mr. Lowry interviewed all seem to be more interested in buying into delusions born more of our own politically correct culture than they are with confronting the hard facts on the ground.
read the rest here
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
Regarding Joel Mowbray's column in the Washington Times this morning:
Walk back the cat.
Walk the cat all the way back to the real problem, which is not the nauseating speech given by Rice, wildly inaccurate and wrong in its every phrase, wrong in its diseased sympathy, wrong in its implied geopolitical calculation.
Whoever crafted this speech with and for her -- was Philip Zelikow now coming into his own? -- and whoever has been bending her ear and making of this dutiful student of Kremlinology, not particularly adept either at Russian history or Russian language (her one attempt to use it in public, while in Russia, led to all kinds of mockery and she won't be repeating that kind of thing), but as far as George Bush is concerned a towering intellect (one understands why he may think that)-- reveals that she still hasn't a clue as to what the immutable geopolitics of Islam are about. Indeed, she has demonstrated not only a belief in various falsehoods -- the entire edifice of the Arab rewriting of the history, cadastral and demographic, of the sliver of territory, that of the Mandate for Palestine, intended by the League of Nations for the sole establishment of the Jewish National Home (without prejudice to the "religious and civil rights" of "other communities" but carefully leaving out the phrase "political rights") -- but in the idea that the local Arabs have in any way, or could in any way, abandon their goal of Jihad against Israel.
Unless this is grasped, unless the difference between Fatah and Hamas is seen only as one of tactics and facade, between those who like Abbas believe, but only out of necessity, in the Slow Jihad, and Hamas that believes, out of ideological firmness, in Fast Jihad, unless the impossibility of Muslims ever accepting an Infidel state continuing to exist --whatever its size -- on land once possessed by Muslims, then there will no possibility of an intelligent American policy (assuming that the survival of Israel is seen as it should be, as essential to the moral, intellectual, and possibly physical survival of the West) -- nothing will come of this nothing.
Grim recognition of the basis of Muslim jurisprudence in regard to all treaties with Infidel lands would not or should not dishearten. If Rice, or Zelikow, or the others who have exhibited for decades a kind of genius in reverse by avoiding coming to grips with clear Islamic texts and doctrines -- does no one in the State Department have a copy of the Qur'an and Hadith? Does no one have a potted summary of the Life of Muhammad, the Perfect Man? Does no one read the Muslim jurisconsults? Does no one have a CD-Rom of the Encyclopedia of Islam? Does no one have the money -- cannot the American government spring for -- a copy or two of Majid Khadduri's "Law of War and Peace in Islam"? Yes, I know the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost a lot, but you can find a copy on Amazon for about $20, so why not give it the old college try, and then once you have the book, skip a reception or photo opportunity or two, or just napping on the damned plane, and actually start to inform yourselves about the one subject you most need to know: the doctrines, the tenets, the attitudes of Islam. And it is not merely a matter of reading, and re-reading, but of making sense of what one reads, of thoroughly assimilating it, of applying what one reads, or making connections between what one reads, Islamic history, and the present, and the likely future. It means, above all, stopping the grotesque amount of attention given to ways to appease Muslims or to pretend that they can be appeased, and to focus instead outside the Middle East, and especially on present and growing threats to the West, through the instruments of Jihad known as Da'wa and demographic conquest. What will happen to the armories of the Western countries, what will happen to NATO, in thirty years, or twenty, or even ten, if Muslim populations, if adherents of Qur'an and Sunna, continue to grow, and grow more powerful and more demanding, and if Muslims are taken into the security services, and the military, and into the inner sanctums of political power? Anything? Nothing?
That someone of Rice's incapacity, aiding and abetting someone of Bush's incapacity, and whisperingly advised by those of the incapacity that this hideously ill-advised speech, dripping with misconceptions, demonstrates, is cause for the greatest alarm. And those who continue to prate, as loyalists to Bush, that "he knows what he is doing" should, at long last, shut up or, still better, distance themselves completely from him and his crew of incapables, beginning but not ending with Rice and her vaporings.
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
AN Islamic group praised by the Howard Government as preaching moderation has advised its followers that a woman cannot refuse to have sex with her husband. - from this Australian news item
The obvious problem here is that the reaction of Western men may not be, as it should, one of unambiguous condemnation.
Scarcely a century has passed since the time when the phrase "England expects that every man will do his duty" rang out on recruiting posters during the Great War, and those same men in turn found nothing wrong with the attitude captured in that famous phrase "lie back, and think of England."
But now I am doing the work of a Muslim apologist. Of course the phrase must be taken in its context -- the context of an attitude toward women as inferior beings, not only supported by Qur'anic passages and many stories in the Hadith, but by the details of Muhammad's life, and by the whole business of the burqa, the niqab, the chador, the hijab -- all those words that have now entered the English language, along with jihad, and dhimmi, and hadith, and sira, and dhimmitude (not the same as "dhimmi"), and ayatollah, and hudna, and taqiyya, and kitman, and Dar al-Islam, and Dar al-Harb (and can Bilad al-kufr be far behind?). The O.E.D. makers must be having quite a busy time -- and just how are they going to define jihad anyway? The way Esposito and Armstrong would have it, or the way every Muslim writer on Islam, not aiming to fool an Infidel audience, would define or describe it?
One waits. Samuel Johnson in his own 1755 Dictionary, that one-man monument, famously described the lexicographer as "a harmless drudge." Well, apologists for the Arabs and Islam have over the past 30 years been having a field day rewriting entries on such matters as "Palestine" in various encyclopedias and dictionaries (articles have been written on this, and protests made, to little avail -- the economic power of the Gulf states, and their ability to influence such things, is a subject that needs to be brought to public light, preferably a glaring and unforgivable light).
So when those words "jihad" and "dhimmi" and "dhimmitude" are offered up by the O.E.D., updated for the new constantly changing on-line edition (there will be no more bound editions of the O.E.D., and the 20-volume work, having gone from $3,000 to $995.00, is now down to $895.00 and sinking bathetically), keep careful watch to see what they come up with. Anyone volunterring to play the late Marghanita Laski, and send the good word doctors of Walton Crescent a thousand or ten thousand little pieces of paper with the use, by Muslims, as well as by non-Muslims, of the word "Jihad."
Just to make sure that they stay honest, and do not emulate the disgraceful appeasement of Muslim groups that so many compilers of reference works have, over the past 30 years, engaged in. No need to curry favor with CAIR operatives and Tariq Ramadan and John Esposito. Make sure that those "harmless drudges" remain so, and not "harmful" drudges, as so many have, pace Johnson, in recent decades turned out to be.
But don't bet the farm on this being handled correctly. Don't pawn or pledge your lives, your fortune, or your sacred honor on the lexicographers and encylopedia-makers (not to be confused with "encyclopedistes") to do the right thing and not engage in subtle or not-so-subtle appeasement or shading or sfumating into cleverly nuanced nothingness the real meaning of certain terms.
As Samuel Johnson -- whose spirit asked me this morning if I would mind, just for a few hours, channeling him (I agreed, and in the bargain got an extra hour of morning's sleep) -- might say, when it comes to pledging one's trust in the accuracy of those who supposedly instruct us in the doctrines and attitudes and vocabulary of Islam, nothing oppignorate.
Posted on 10/29/2006 9:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"an MP for the formerly neo-fascist National Alliance..."
-- from this article in The Guardian
That little phrase is put in, by The Guardian, in order to blacken the Italian MP in question, Daniela Santanche, in the minds of its readers. But the Alleanza Nazionale under Fini distanced itself in a thousand ways from Fascism, not least in Fini's declared disgust for the "racial laws" (legge razziali") of 1938 and for any form of antisemitism. Mussolini's granddaughter left the party in a fury a few years ago at its clear new direction. It is not "neo-fascist." Real fascists have gone elsewhere.
The Guardian has no history of using any Homeric epithet to describe, and therefore "place" in the reader's mind, any political figures or writers whom it likes, whom it approves of, whom it finds "on the left" but never needs to say that, because the "left" is the "center" and there is no need to describe the previous positions, left or right, of those it approves of, if it would harm them.
A newspaper such as "The Guardian" -- it bears the name, but nothing else, of C. P. Scott's Guardian, could, with reason, routinely describe a certain German political figure as "the former Baader-Meinhof sympathizer Joschka Fischer" or a certain LSE professor (despite the best efforts of Donald Watt and Kenneth Minoque to stop it) as "the former Trotskyite Fred Halliday" or a a late French prime minister as "the former Vichy collaborator Francois Mitterand."
But why stop there? George Galloway deserve a Homeric epithet to spare readers the effort of finding out all about him -- "the louche George Galloway." Or what about inventing a new adjective -- eurabisant, on the model of marxisant, so The Guardian could helpfully describe Solana and Patten and others of that ilk as "so many former or present members of the eurabisant E.U. which poses a threat to the continuance of the nation-states of Europe and that intelligent interest and love for the national and local that helps to immunize against the menace of pan-national Islam"?
The Guardian could do all kinds of things. It could begin to see that it is a defender, not of "neo-fascism" -- what it accuses the Italian MP above of being connected to -- but of outright Fascism. For that, in the end, is what the Total Regulation of Life, and Complete Explanation of the Universe, that rejects or limits almost every form of artistic expression, and every kind of free and skeptical inquiry -- that belief-system or as Bush and Rice would have it, that "religion" with all that word's ----- called Islam.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"Azmi, who was employed as a bilingual support worker helping British Pakistani children learn English..."-- from this news item
"British Pakistani children" -- who are these children? Are they born in England, or are they recent arrivals? If they are recent arrivals, why are they in England, where beginning with the sums spent to teach them English and make it easier for some of them to circulate, to rise high, to promote or have their own children promote, the goals of Islam (who knows when a "moderate" will become "immoderate" or what the children or grandchildren will do or wish?) Should policy be made on the basis of a few delightful and charming exceptions, or on the basis of likelihood, of statistics, of probabilities intelligently calculated from all the date we already possess, of the behavior and attitudes of Muslims within the nation-states of Western Europe?
The immigration from Muslim lands ought to have been turned off at once, and it still can be. No nonsense, no sentimentality, only a desire to prevent, in the end, far worse. People in England have a right to defend themselves physically and civilizationally. They keep misunderstanding this right, they are still prisoners to the mind-forged manacles that they have slipped on themselves, and that inhibit them. Do what you reasonably and with perfect justification, to prevent further anguish and chaos and then if not terror in the streets, the rapid decline into something like a quasi-Muslim state (for examples, look around the world), have a right to do. Slip off those mind-forged manacles, just in time (that time is now) and, retaining all your amused and intelligent Western ways, without becoming any kind of monster -- did Western man become a monster during the Cold War? During World War II? Did the Czechs become monsters when in 1946 they put into place the Benes Decrees? -- do what you must.
But first, you have to slip out of those mind-forged manacles, that you yourself, with a little help from the damned Zeitgeist and the sappy-sentimentalism of this incredible age, put on long ago.
Every man his own Hephaestus should become: Every man his own Houdini.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 October 2006
"Dr. ]Mohamed] Habib, [the first Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood] described the cabbies’ position as 'absurd' and added 'Muslims must respect and comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they live in and be a good example for their fellow citizens'"
--- from this letter sent to Little Green Footballs from a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood
This is akin to the about-face of the imam Hilali in Australia who, having been secretly taped at his mosque making his remarks about women dressed in non-Muslim fashion as "meat" who deserved whatever they got from inflamed Muslim men (apparently likened, in the somewhat clumsy metaphor, to the beasts that are attracted to that "meat"), and after indignation had been expressed too loudly and consistently to be ignored, pretended he had meant no such thing and apologized for any malentendu.
Now we have the Muslim Brotherhood telling us the usual nonsense about about Muslims who "must respect and comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they live in." But that is not what Muslim websites say. What Muslim websites tell those who ask if they must obey the Infidel laws of Infidel nation-states is that they need do so only now, when Muslims do not yet rule, and only to the extent that those laws do not conflict with the laws of Islam.
Go to any of a hundred Muslim websites. Check out the various Ask Mr. Fatwas and Ask the Imam. Go to www.islam-online.org. Have fun. Find out what Muslims are told to do, and why, and why it is all, in the end, utterly phony, because they must do whatever they have to do, temporarily, to avoid arousing Infidel counter-measures, until such time as it is too late for those Infidels and their countries (countries carefully left unspecified by Muslims -- for who cares if it is the United States, or Canada, or France or England -- they're all just part of the Lands of the Infidels, part of Dar al-Harb).
How much nonsense do Muslim spokesmen and apologists of every kind think that they can continue to get away with, when any Infidel, at a click, can go to any number of Muslim websites and see exactly what is being dispensed as advice to Muslim Believers. How much of this stuff do they think they can permanently hide from the view of Infidels, when at the same time they keep disseminating it far and wide to Muslims?
The jig is up. Or will be. It's a race -- will Infidels rouse themselves from a deep dream of pseudo-peace and "understanding" in time to save not merely themselves but the legacy of the past that they hold in trust -- the legacy that creates, and was created by, that civilization we call "Western"? Or will Muslims practicing taqiyya, and their non-Muslim collaborators -- who include, inter alios: the bought-and-paid for (directly or indirectly, and usually with Saudi money); the antisemites who, but only because they can thereby do damage to Jews and to Israel, end up making excuses for Islam, or pooh-poohing the scope and severity of the menace; and the largest group of all, the merely weak-minded or the merely uninformed who remain too lazy to inform themselves, and of both kinds of the latter there are always a great many. The age's many distractions -- iPods, computer games, finding out how much Tom Cruise paid George Clooney for that villa next to the Villa Oleandra in Laglio (7 million euros, I believe, for a house that Clooney bought a few years ago for 2 million euros, but on the other hand -- there goes the neighborhood!)--also prevent focusing, at a time of maximum and unprecedented peril, especially in Western Europe, on the nature of Islam, the tenets of Islam, the attitudes which naturally arise in those who grow up in societies suffused with Islam, and from which it is hard to escape.
Some are worried, and some are not. Some understand the problem of trying at the same time to disseminate to Muslims in the West the true, the real doctrine, and at the very same time trying to hide the true, the real doctrine being disseminated, from Infidels who might have the gall to eavesdrop upon Muslim-Muslim communications, whether they are easily retrieved on Internet sites (even if often in Arabic or Urdu or other relevant languages), or delivered in mosques, where agents of the Infidel nation-state now dare to observe, and even secretly record, these sinister khutbas.
They worry only about insuring that a sufficient number of Infidels are kept for a sufficient period sufficiently in the dark. So far they are doing fairly well. The Infidels have not yet disappointed them.
But many of those Infidels, and for the same reasons, disappoint us. Stamina, thick skins, self-assurance required.
Posted on 10/29/2006 8:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Tonight the clocks go back. We get an extra hour. How should we spend it?
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every op’ning flower…
In works of labour all of skill
I would be busy too
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do
Just think – a whole sixty unforgiving minutes to fill with 3,600 seconds worth of distance run.
Sod that for a lark. I’m staying in bed. Busy is overrated. Here's Robert Louis Stevenson:
"Extreme BUSYNESS is a symptom of deficient vitality, and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity."
More here. Daydreaming, mooching - I don't know if that means the same in American English, thinking vaguely of Minnie the Moocher, who was a lowdown hoochy coocher (?) - pottering about, are all seriously underrated activities.
UK readers, you have an extra hour. Make the least of it.
Posted on 10/28/2006 6:34 PM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 28 October 2006
The posting below (Tonne or ton?) consists in part of recyclable material. This has been done in conformance with all relevant Federal and state statutes. The following provision of the relevant statute has been observed to the letter:
"the recyclable [the words that appear in the posting below] could have been a replacement or a substitute for a virgin material [the original posting from which some of the material above was taken and recycled], or the product to be made from the recyclable material could have been a replacement of or a substitute for a product made, in whole or in part, from a virgin material (§ 127 (c)(4))."
And there is a higher law than man-made law -- the law of the Conservation of Energy, which I refuse to break, especially around midnight, when the spirit flags, and one tries to conserve one's energy as much as possible for autres temps, autres coeurs. And besides, having made energy conservation a centerpiece of my platform, I thought it best to offer an example of how to recycle practically everything, including one's own weigh-ins or ways with words, so that, before turning in, I could say to myself, Say naught the struggle naught availeth.
Or is the first "naught" "not" but the second "naught" still not "not" or is it that possibly both are not "naught" but rather "not"?
O God. Aparte de mi este caliz.
Posted on 10/28/2006 5:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 October 2006
"'Jews came back to Israel to resettle their ancient homeland, often forced to buy land at exorbitant prices from absentee Arab landlords, and after 1948, inheriting the nearly 90% of the land that had passed to the Mandatory authorities from its previous owner, the Ottoman State.'" [from my previous posting]
"Hugh, I think that's incorrect because the British lopped off more than 70% of their mandated territory to create the Hashemite Kingdom of Trans-Jordan, now simply Jordan." -- from a reader
The first paragraph was not meant to imply that the territory originally intended for the Mandate, that is historic "Palestine" as clearly understood by everyone at the time the Mandate for Palestine was being set up (see the entry under "Palestine" in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica), in fact had actually been subject to the Mandate's provisions. As everyone knows, the British unilaterally closed to that part of "Palestine" (a word that needs to be kept in quotation marks in order to indicate that it had a meaning in Western Christendom, but was never a separate political unit under its Muslim rulers and masters) to the east of the Jordan River, the provisions about "close Jewish settlement on the land" and "facilitating Jewish immigration."
What I was attempting to point out is something else. Nearly 90% of the land that the State of Israel took possession of had never been the private property of anyone, always had been "state and waste land" under the Mandate, as before under the Ottomans. That is important to remember when one gets all these fantastical tales, with the apparently endless series of people who "remember" their "house in Haifa or Jerusalem" and who "still keep the key." There were some of those, possibly 1/10th as many as there were Jews who never got to keep even the key of the houses in Arab lands from which they had to flee, during all the attacks before 1948, and during, and after, the 1948 war. Most people in the West simply have never bothered to find out about the land ownership records in what was Mandatory Palestine, and the Israelis, of course, have with their usual maladroitness not bothered to point this out, to clear things up, to make their case which is so overwhelming, if only they would make it.
Posted on 10/28/2006 3:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 October 2006
From the announcement of this Contest by the "Islamic Human Rights Commission":
What is Islamophobia? A contemporary and emerging form of prejudice Islamophobia can be described as stereotypes, bias or acts of hostility towards individual Muslims or followers of Islam in general. In addition to individual acts of intolerance and racial profiling, Islamophobia leads to viewing Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level and perceiving their views to be intrinsically problematic, violent or unethical.
And the Awards:
Islamophobia Awards: The Islamophobia Awards is an annual event to acknowledge - through satire, revue and comedy - the worst Islamophobes of that year. Centred around a gala dinner, the 'awards' themsleves are both entertaining and raise awarness of a serious and growing prejudice. Real awards are given to those who have battled against Islamophobia - often against enormous odds.
Note the last sentence in the definition of "Islamophobia":
Islamophobia leads to viewing Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level and perceiving their views to be intrinsically problematic, violent or unethical.
A security threat "greater" than what? Greater than that posed to non-Muslims, by other non-Muslims, in non-Muslims societies? But surely we don't need to know much of anything to know that that is true. After familiarizing yourself with Qur'an, Hadith, and the biography of Muhammad, do you perceive that those who claim to believe that the Qur'an is the uncreated and immutable word of God, and who take Muhammad to be the Perfect Man, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, to hold views that might be described by you as "intrinsically problematic, violent, or unethical"?
Of course you do. Every single person who actually reads the texts, even without waking up to the day's Jihad News from around the world, must if not crazy regard the views that those who call themselves Muslims must be assumed to hold (unless they signal to the outside world that they are not real Believers but merely "cultural Muslims" -- i.e., Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only Muslims) as "intrinsically problematic, violent, or unethical."
And what exactly is "Islamophobia" that it should be discouraged? It is a dislike, or fear, or even hatred, of a belief-system that uncompromisingly divides the world between Believer and Infidel, dar al-Islam and dar al-harb, and demands that the Believers owe their sole loyalty to the umma al-islamiyya, and must work to convert, to kill, or to permanently subjugate all Infidels, reducing them to a state of humiliation and degradation. Is that something of which Infidels are supposed to remain unaware? Or if they do manage to become aware, despite the best efforts of Western governments and media and in academic centers taken over by those dancing to the tune of Arab paymasters and, in many cases, staffed by Muslims and non-Muslims eager to accommodate their Muslim colleagues' every wish, should they not react in some way?
Is not what we mean by "Islamophobia" a completely rational response to the situation? Is it not the fear and dislike of Islam as a belief-system? Given what that belief-system is all about, and given the 1350-year unbroken record of aggression and suppression or murder of non-Muslims and their civilizations, is not such a response rational? The indigenous non-Muslims were almost entirely wiped out from the Middle East, North Africa, from Sassanian (i.e. Zoroastrian) Persia, from Christian Byzantium, from parts of formerly Orthodox areas of the Balkans, from much of Hindu (and Buddhist) India -- in short, everywhere that Islam went, it damaged, and most often thoroughly managed to wipe out, all pre-Islamic and non-Islamic peoples and histoires. In a few places -- in Egypt with the Copts, in Lebanon with the Maronites who retreated to the northern mountains -- non-Muslims held on. Jews came back to Israel to resettle their ancient homeland, often forced to buy land at exorbitant prices from absentee Arab landlords, and after 1948, inheriting the nearly 90% of the land that had passed to the Mandatory authorities from its previous owner, the Ottoman State.
Given what is known of that history, given the cultural and mental impoverishment that Islam brings with it everywhere, why should not Infidels, becoming aware of those tenets and that history, not react with views which others may call "Islamophobia," but which are based on a rational and clear-sighted view of reality?
The word "Islamophobia" is a scare-word like "racism." It by now should scare, or distract, or fool none but those who want to be scared or fooled into silence.
Posted on 10/28/2006 3:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Fascinating article on homosexuality at MercatorNet
with a psychiatrist who specializes in the field. He points to simple things like the lack of eye-hand coordination in young boys as a precursor to adolescent same sex attraction and about the effeminate little boy: “there is the issue of gender identity disorder in children. I'm referring, mainly, to little boys who act feminine. In our practice we find that when fathers get very involved in the lives of these boys, teaching them how to kick a soccer ball at an early age -- 4 or 5 -- these children over the course of a year or two can change remarkably. They begin to feel comfortable with their masculinity, confident to fit in with other boys, and in many cases their effeminate mannerisms resolve.”
He doesn’t answer the situation of many male soldiers and athletes who are homosexual, though, but the interview is quite brief, and the fact is that we may not be able to account for every instance of homosexuality.
But he does point out how fluid sexual identity in adolescence can be.Yes, there is a fair amount of research showing that same-sex attraction (SSA) is not something that is locked in at a certain stage, but it can be fluid and actually change over the course of a person's life. But young people are being told by educators, the media and health professionals that SSA is genetic so they will be that way for the rest of their lives. In fact, there is no proof that it's genetic. If it were, then all identical twins should be completely concordant for homosexuality, and no study has shown more than 50 per cent concordance. The thing that troubles me greatly is that in asking young people to embrace a particular identity at an early age they're denying that child the right to self-knowledge. It's easier to think, "Oh, I have same sex attractions," rather than, "I was deeply lonely for a male friend when I was growing up," or, "I was too afraid to trust men, to trust my father." Another issue is the danger of entering a relationship where you use another human being as a sexual object. A totally utilitarian sexual philosophy permeates the homosexual lifestyle, as evidenced by numerous studies which document a high level of promiscuity, and it can be very traumatic for a young person to be repeatedly used by another human being. Ultimately this trauma can lead to severe depressive illness and even suicidal ideation.
Posted on 10/28/2006 2:30 PM by Mark Butterworth
Saturday, 28 October 2006
In a sermon during Ramadan Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali, Australia's most prominent Muslim cleric, said that women invite rape by not covering themselves head to toe:
"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside ... and the cats come to eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's?"
"The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred" …
Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward said al-Hilali's comments encouraged rape and that Muslims should force him to quit.
Hmm, then I suppose that straight men need to cover up themselves since their exposed meat would incite homosexual males to rape them, too. At least cover up the boys and put an end to pedophilia.
Posted on 10/28/2006 1:52 PM by Mark Butterworth
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Bet GWB never even considered
Solution to Iraq: pull our troops out and send in the mimes...
This direct from the International Landmime Foundation's website:
"One of the most deadly legacies of the 20th century is the use of landmimes in warfare. Anti-personnel mimes continue to have tragic consequences years after a battle has ended.
Read the rest here.
Posted on 10/28/2006 12:21 PM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 28 October 2006
A brilliant piece by Peter Beinart this morning in America's Newspaper of Record
(but the article is not yet online as I write). Beinart suggests that the Democrats are moving towards a full embrace of Lou-Dobbs-ism
. Beinart is writing from a New Republic squishy-left standpoint, but every conservative should read this piece.
Beinart points out that all the Dems need do to be full Dobbsians is to embrace Dobbs's very strong stand ("Dobbs is downright obsessive about the issue," says Beinart) against illegal immigration. He then produces some signs that the Dems are, in fact, doing this:
"Democratic challengers are staking out immigration positions to Bush's right. And Democratic incumbents are doing the same thing. ...In the Senate, a large majority of Democrats just voted to build a fence along the Mexican border. ... Many liberals would like to pick and choose their anti-globalization politics — arguing for more regulation of international trade and investment, but resisting punitive measures to regulate the flow of international labor. Morally, that's perfectly defensible. But politically, it is likely to fail....."
[Derb] Immigration enforcement is the golden amulet for the Dems. If they pick that up and run with it, Republicans could be out of power for a generation. You think Democrats don't know this? Plenty know it, and the rest will catch on.
[Amongst other things, this disposes of Stanley Kurtz's argument for voting Republican in the midterms—that only by doing so can we be sure of good immigration-law enforcement. A better strategy for those of us who care about the National Question would be to (a) send a copy of Peter Beinart's article to evey Democrat we know, and (b) stay home Election Day.]
Posted on 10/28/2006 9:54 AM by John Derbyshire
Saturday, 28 October 2006
I was delighted to see that people are now going to fancy dress parties dressed as i-Pods. Something like that anyway.
I love my i-Pod - it played me through many a long bus journey in Ruritania. However, it is a recent acquisition, and I cannot say that I belong to the i-Pod generation. My costume for this recorded music lovers' party would have to be a Sony Walkman, cassette rather than CD.
NER contributors even older than me might prefer to go as one of those "stereo music centres" from the Seventies or a "Dansette". Hugh Fitzgerald, who claims to be 98, would have to dress as a wind-up gramophone. I'm sure he would find plenty willing to turn his crank handle.
Posted on 10/28/2006 9:30 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Yesterday I applauded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s stance against enforced secularism, while lamenting his failure to understand the unique danger of Islam. This is not France – the restaurants are better for a start. We should keep our established Church, our crosses and yarmulkes, our morning school assemblies, and last but not least, our faith schools. Church of England, Catholic and Jewish schools have been around for a long time and nearly always provide better discipline and better results than ordinary state schools. It ain’t broke, so let’s not fix it. But what about Muslim schools?
Charles Moore, writing in today’s Telegraph, seems to share my view. He also shows a good, but not yet perfect, understanding of the threat of Islam:
What is behind all this anxiety? The answer, of course, is Islam.
There are now Jewish schools, Sikh schools, and there are Muslim schools. There are said to be about 115 Muslims schools now seeking state money, on top of the half-dozen that already receive it. Most people do not like the idea of Muslim schools acquiring this status, but few, except Lord Baker, dare say so. In order to euphemise the problem, the Government thought up a general rule to apply to all religions, and so prevent the Muslim expansion that it fears. You could call it the veil wagging the dog.
People are right to worry. Unlike church schools where, in the great majority of cases, the Government can deal with the clearly recognised command structures of bishops, Muslim schools have no such central authority. Sunni Islam is as fragmented as extreme Protestant sects: it will be very hard for the people paying out the taxpayers' money to know with whom they are dealing.
The more fundamental problem lies with the state of the religion itself. Just as, once upon a time, it was the case that being a Catholic in England put great strain upon your loyalty to the nation, so in Islam today. Although most Muslims seem pleased to be British, polls also show significant minorities who support or condone terrorism. Many repudiate the way of life, even the language, of the host nation.
That is why the Archbishop of Canterbury is wrong to equate the wearing of a cross and of the veil. The first is not intended, in most cases, as an angry statement of difference. The veil is, and many moderate Muslims fear its imposition.
Inside Islam is a strong strand, currently growing stronger because of the propaganda of the radicals, which believes in "territoriality". Such Muslims – for example, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, whom Mayor Ken Livingstone greets as a hero – reject the legitimacy of all non-Islamic society. They regard what they call "man-made" laws as non-operative. Only the laws of God apply, and these laws, expressed in the Sharia, should turn our land Muslim by imposition. It would seem mad that people who believe such things should get state money to teach our fellow citizens.
It is not obvious, though, which is the best way forward. The history of the state-funding of Catholic schools could be argued to show that integration is best promoted that way. Mightn't the refusal of funding to reasonable Muslims hand more power to unreasonable ones? I don't feel at all sure of the answer, but it is in these frank terms that the debate should take place. To start dictating the admissions policy of a third of the schools in this country is just displacement activity.
And there is another point. The sub-Dawkins orthodoxy of modern education is that the secular state is the best focus of loyalty. Really? Isn't it rather sobering that the July 7 bombers were brought up in schools which seemed well integrated? What makes Alan Johnson, or anyone else, think that godless comprehensives are good at inculcating the knowledge of and loyalty to our country that could bind us all together?
Charles Moore is correct to say that we should not let the veil wag the dog, attacking all faith schools when Islam is the problem. He is also correct to spell out clearly the desire on the part of Muslims to replace man-made law with Sharia. However, he talks about “some Muslims” or “radical Muslims”, as if this desire for Sharia were not part and parcel of Islam itself. His comparison with Catholicism, Catholics being thought of as having divided loyalties, is misleading. The divided loyalties of Catholics were a product of the political situation at the time. The divided loyalties of Muslims are part of Islam and Islam is immutable. To the extent that he is a true Muslim, a Muslim must reject democracy and fight for Sharia, either violently or non-violently. This is not radical Islam, but true Islam.
Posted on 10/28/2006 9:22 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 28 October 2006
Posted on 10/28/2006 9:03 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 28 October 2006
to half-measure border fence bill from Mexican leaders: "useless," "a shame," "deplorable."
Murderous Hispanic gang chieftans
and greed-head American employers of illegal aliens so far express only eloquent silence.
Posted on 10/28/2006 8:19 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 28 October 2006
"Egyptian police seize one tonne of high explosives."
-- the title of this Reuters article
Just when one thought that the wordsworth of comment on "Taliban" and "Taleban" would be enough for the day, the "ton" and "tonne" problem lifts its heavy head.
A "tonne" is not a "ton." A "ton" is 2,000 pounds. A "tonne" or metric ton, is 2,204.6 pounds. Did the writer of the title above know that? Did he not give a thought before writing his title that he might confuse American readers, who will have silently assumed that it is merely a matter of spelling, and would have replaced the "tonne" as a matter of habit with the American "ton," in the spirit of those who on the late Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, that female parts be filled by males, and that satisfied everyone, including Master W. S.?
No doubt there are all kinds of excuses the writer could offer for sticking with "tonne" when "ton" might have done.
Here are some of the possibilities:
1. The word "tonne" is to be employed when the the article being weighed (in this case, "explosives") is, even in genderless English (niente sesso, siamo inglesi), impliedly more one thing than another. What, you might ask, would cause someone to think of "explosives" as female? Surely some men are known to explode, and surely some women quietly simmer. And so they do. But we think of The Taming of the Shrew, and the fiery fit of Anna Magnani spouting her romanaccio in a rice paddy or in the office of a Roman talent scout, or the flashing eyes of Katy Jurado, as she proceeds to give John Wayne a well-deserved whack, and he rubs his jaw in mock pain before grabbing his hellion by both arms until she simmers, pantingly, down.
2. This is merely a case of quaint Ye-Olde-Englande spelling, akin to Donne's "Busy old fool, unruly Sonne..." which he adopted for an obvious "sun." By the way, in America the name of that poet and preacher is spelled "John Don."
3. My dog ate my Webster's 2nd.
4. My not knowing that the difference between a "tonne" and a "ton" might not be obvious to all should not be held against me. A person capable of that kind of mistake deserves only pity.
5: I am aware of this "multiple intelligences" poppycock and like so many others will pretend to believe that there is not a single measurable "intelligence" but rather all kinds of mutually exclusive "intelligences"; therefore, while my multiplication "intelligence" may be found wanting, my "division" intelligence overflows; indeed, divisiveness is my specialty.
To which stern taskmasters will reply: Une femme est une femme, and not a feme as in the legal term "feme sole." Similarly, a "tonne" is a "tonne" and not a "ton." A "tonne" may in the end slim down to a "ton" as English English yields to American, but not quite yet. That transformation will require the wear and tear of time. Or the tare and tret of travel. Or something.
One begins to see Mr. and Mrs. Ton as a couple, with the latter, nee Tonne, looking and behaving much like the o'erweening Hyacinthe Bucket, in the BBC comedy "Keeping Up Appearances," hectoring her long-suffering and smaller, in every dimension, husband, Richard, whom she drags along in tow.
Perhaps, being a thoroughly modern couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ton will choose not to have her shed but rather to retain her maiden name (or her pounds in order to become not only in name but in fact "Mrs. Ton"), or still more rather, for both of them to assume the same hyphenated name, conjoined by a dash at the hip, so that henceforth they are to be known (and let no man put that new name asunder) -- as the Ton-Tonnes, or possibly the Tonne-Tons, or even possibly -- don't ask why, it just came to me -- as merely our good neighbors, the Macoutes.
Posted on 10/28/2006 7:36 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 28 October 2006
As reported by A. L. Gordon in the NY Sun
The 500 newswomen who were gathered Tuesday at the Waldorf-Astoria had much news to share, but they were silent when the International Women's Media Foundation distributed its Courage in Journalism Awards to Jill Carroll, a freelance reporter who spent 82 days in captivity in Iraq; May Chidiac, a television broadcaster in Lebanon who lost a hand and a leg in a bomb explosion in her car after she participated in a show examining Syria's involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri; and Gao Yu, an economic and political reporter who stimulated the free press movement in China – and meanwhile served time in prison for "leaking state secrets" to a Hong Kong newspaper. Much applause followed, including a big hand for the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Elena Poniatowska, a journalist and author who paid homage to Mexico, where she spent most of her career, by wearing a colorful national costume.
The link doesn't provide the photo of the four honorees found in the Sun's print edition yesterday; what caught my eye while reading was not Poniatowska's colorful "native" garb but her name. In the course of reading State of Emergency
this past week, I had highlighted this quote:
Mexico is recovering the territories yielded to the United States by means of migratory tactics....The common people--the poor, the dirty, the lice-ridden, the cockroaches are advancing on the United States, a country that needs to speak Spanish because it has 33.5 million Hispanics who are imposing their culture...it fills me full of joy because the Hispanics can have an ever-greater influence all the way from Patagonia to Alaska.
Author: Elena Poniatowska
, circa July 2001.
Other attendees at the awards ceremony included media heavyweights Diane Sawyer and Judy Woodruff. Caroline Kennedy was also in attendance.
If there were present any courageous female journalists who cover, say, immigrant gang warfare plaguing even the most affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C.—such as Heather Mac Donald
or Michelle Malkin
—they stayed out of the spotlight.
Posted on 10/28/2006 6:06 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 27 October 2006
If Jacques Chirac can say that "Europe owes as much to Islam as it does to Christianity," that is far worse and more damaging a lie than most of the lies politicians tell as a matter of routine. Why the French are entangling themselves in lies, little and big, and how their ruling classes think that will get them out of the real fix they are in, is beyond understanding.
But most of the French are concerned only with the great business of living: metro, boulot, dodo. Besides, it wasn't my car. And no one I know had a car that was burned. And about the so-called crisis in schools -- well my kids are out of school. No, I forgot, I don't have any kids. And I don't live anywhere near those quartiers. Why would I? And what do I care if I can't visit St. Denis? I don't care about old kings of France. And who wants to go to the Eiffel Tower anyway? And the Champs Elysees -- that's been going downhill for years, full of record stores and fast-food joints. Why should I care if no one goes there anymore?
Listen (they say), this whole thing just depresses me. Stop talking about it. I'm thinking of taking my holiday this year outside France. All this blablabla from Monsieur Le President is getting to me. I don't want to think about it. J'en ai marre. Possibly a holiday even outside of Europe. But I want to make plans now, well in advance -- that's always a smart thing to do. Saves time, money, and if you can make your plans way in advance, you can get a real bargain. But I'd like to go to someplace with lots of museums, and sleeping greens sloping to baby rivers in college towns, and concert halls, and old stones, everything patina-ed by time and Western man, and nowhere a hint or a whiff of Qur'an and Hadith, and therefore of Jihad and dhimmitude as well, as carried by so many nowadays in their mental baggage.
Where do you recommend I go? And for how long will that recommendation remain valid?
Posted on 10/27/2006 6:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald