These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 11, 2008.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Jottings From A Small English Village
It’s autumn and the deciduous trees are beginning to shade into that glorious riot of colour which we all associate with this time of year. My partner and I are extremely busy putting up our chutneys and our jams and filling our deep-freezers with the fruits of our gardening labours. Currently, it’s crab apple season and we are very busy rendering that fruit into various flavours of jelly, each one of which has a purpose either as a seasoning, a condiment or a spread. The blackberries are filling out nicely on their branches and they will have to be dealt with next. Christmas Puddings have been made and put by to mature, and Christmas cakes have been baked and are seasoning in their airtight containers. Rosehips will be gathered next weekend and turned into that delicious syrup – the ultimate vanilla ice-cream accompaniment – which is so rich in vitamin C.
Large bunches of herbs are hanging from the cross beams in my greenhouse, drying naturally in each day’s autumn sun and, in our kitchen, the salted hams hanging above our ancient stove are slowly taking on the redolent flavours of escaped wood smoke, damp dog (unavoidable, but interesting in its piquancy), and various, stewing (and sometimes forgotten and burning) fruits reducing on the hot-plates below.
More than anything else, however, autumn in this small English village means the start of the Whist season. So, last Wednesday night R------- and I walked through the village to the Community Hall for the first Whist evening of this autumn. Now, I’m a Bridge player so Whist is naturally second best, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it! R-------, my partner, loves these evenings, so, naturally, I do as well. Seeing one’s soul mate happy, and contributing to that happiness, is very fulfilling and satisfying – a sort of harvesting in itself, perhaps.
Our Whist evenings are run by our local WRI (Women’s Rural Institute) and they are famed for the quality of the catering at halftime. The tea is excellent, the sandwiches are so freshly cut that one can almost still hear the squeal of the bread as the knife sliced into it as one bites down into those excellent savouries; but it’s the cakes, those magnificent small sweet things, which truly make the evening. They are mouth-wateringly delicious. Tiny, home-baked lemon slices, macaroons of such lightness that they almost defy gravity in one’s mouth, rock cakes of such delicacy that one cannot even begin to describe them. Choux pastry fancies smothered in such rich, dark chocolate that they positively sit up and beg for very young claret, and some pepper, to partner them on the way across one’s palate and down.
That’s not the point, however, which I want to make. Grand and wonderful though the catering is, enjoyable though the laying of the cards is, it’s not the point of these jottings. The point is, that although every religious and political hue is represented at these evenings there is one which is conspicuous by its absence – no Muslim ever attends! Granted, there are only three Muslim families in our village, a mere one percent of the total, but if they truly wanted to be part of the life we all lead here then the least that they could do would be to make some contribution to these socially important functions. Of course there is a raffle on these evenings, but then some others who are not Muslim don’t participate in that on exactly the same grounds that a Muslim would not – it’s gambling – so I’m not worried about that.
No, what I’m really worried about is that no member of those three families ever participates in anything. They don’t attend the public meetings of our Parish Council, they don’t come to our May Day celebrations, they don’t come along and gaze enthralled at our community bonfire and fireworks on the fifth of November, not a single one of them has ever stood for election to the committee which runs our community Hall, they don’t attend the PTA nor do they stand for election to the School Governors. They are polite and well mannered when encountered in the village shop or in the street but they do not engage with us in any way at all. Quite simply, they don’t take part in community life in any way whatsoever.
Just as bad as all that, however, is the fact that they refuse to dress in the way that we all do. They dress as if they were still in their countries of origin. They deliberately call attention to themselves – especially the females – by dressing as if they were still living in the primitive societies from whence they sprung.
Just last week I encountered one of them in the village shop draped from head to toe in the all enveloping black cloak which is considered to be modest by them. I couldn’t help myself but comment so I asked her why she considered such outlandish garb to be modest. “Because you cannot see the shape of my body,” she replied. “ You can’t see my femaleness,” she ventured further. Naturally, I pointed out to her that dressing in such outlandish garb simply accentuated, in our society, the fact that she was female and that, perhaps, it made her all the more alluring to the local males.
It was the sheer arrogance of what she said next which took my breath away.
“Your society!” she snarled in a loud voice, “You have no society; you are nothing but the dust we have to live with. This is ours and you will learn from us.”
The hatred in her voice was manifest and shocking. Quietly, but with throbbing anger in her voice, the owner of the shop asked this Muslim harridan to leave and never return. After she left we two laughed at her, but behind our laughter was a deep sense of disquiet.
This is Britain today. It’s a country wherein some residents, specifically the Muslim residents it seems, feel that the native population, and its culture, has no worth.
Needless to say, from now on I will be attending every Whist evening, every community event, which my partner wants me to. Every single one!
By the way, I was the lowest scoring man that Whist night. My prize for being so was a large turnip! Don’t laugh, please. OK, laugh all you want – but it was a tasty turnip when roasted with carrots and served as a vegetable side dish to minced steak and onion pie. My partner, R------- was, however, the highest scoring lady and the highest scorer of the evening. And she’s not going to let me forget that for quite a long time!
Posted on 10/11/2008 7:20 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Not afraid to die
Yesterday in the Religion of Peace™, Artemis discussed the origin of the Shi'ite "Ashoura", or Day of Flagellation, which celebrates the defeat and death of Mohammed's grandson Husayn Ibn Ali.
Husayn and his followers and then the killers were all killed in nasty ways. I wonder if there is a Shi'ite equivalent of Brave Sir Robin, a Knight of the Round Table. Click below for an account of his bravery:
Posted on 10/11/2008 9:36 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 11 October 2008
A Musical Interlude: Bye Bye Blackbird (Bennie Krueger's Orch.)
Posted on 10/11/2008 11:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Roll up, roll up, be the first to be offended at new exhibition.
This is the latest thing to offend Muslims. From The Telegraph.
Sarah Maple's exhibition poses questions that anger Muslims.
The artist . . . has a new exhibition with a headline picture showing a Muslim woman cradling a pig.
Already, Mokhtar Badri, the vice-president of the Muslim Association of Britain, tells Mandrake that his organisation plans to visit the SaLon Gallery, in Notting Hill, west London, to demand that it remove Maple’s painting when it exhibits it next week.
“Although we condemn violence, Muslims have a right to express their disgust at this work,” he tells me. “An artist has the right to free speech and to express him or herself, but people also have the right to protest. She clearly wants to provoke a strong reaction from Muslims and that is what she will get.”
Maple, 23, who was brought up as a Muslim, has already evoked Islamic wrath. Her exhibition at Rolling Stone Wood’s gallery earlier this year depicted Muslim women in provocative poses, including one suggestively sucking on a banana.
Badri explained the upset that would be caused over the image. “Muslims believe that all of God’s creatures should be treated with respect, but we are taught to keep our distance from pigs because they are unclean,” he said. “That is why this picture is so offensive to us.”
A spokesman for the gallery explained: “She doesn’t intend to offend anyone but simply wants to pose questions about Muslim culture and identity.”
Maple’s favourite subject is herself and empty chairs. I suppose it worked for Durer in a pre-photographic age. From her website her poses include paintings of herself as a mermaid on Brighton Pier wearing a niqab and in bunny girl costume.
I imagine this latest picture is assumed to be of a Muslim woman because of the robe and headcovering and Maple’s previous interest. But the garments have a mediaeval look as well as an Islamic one and it reminds me of a postcard from the shrine of Dame Julian of Norwich where the artist has imagined Dame Julian in similar garments and a similar pose, but holding the much smaller hazelnut.
I think the likes of Badri really enjoy the sensation of being outraged.
Posted on 10/11/2008 2:44 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Our Mr. Updated Chichikov Makes My Day
Reading yesteday - out of waiting-room desperation for some print, any print, no matter how idiotic, in front of my eyes -- a story ("Russia among hardest -hit in economic meltdown) in USA Today (October 10, 2008, p. 4A):
"Vladimir Chichikov, a 52-year-old customer browsing at an auto dealership in southwestern Moscow, can't believe how quickly things have changed.
"It looks like we're at the epicenter of the global financial crisis," he said as he tried to secure credit for a new car. Loans are now running at 14% interest, he says, "even though they begged people to take them at 9% a couple of months ago."
I savored the phrasing of 52-year-old Vladimir Chichikov:
"[W]e're at the epicenter of the global financial crisis."
"[T]hey begged people to take them [loans] at 9% a couple of months ago."
Gogol, Nikolai Ivanovich Gogol, to an absolute T.
Posted on 10/11/2008 7:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Chomsky As A Student Of American History
From an interview with Noam Chomsky in Der Spiegel (October 10, 2008):
Chomsky: This Sarah Palin phenomenon is very curious. I think somebody watching us from Mars, they would think the country has gone insane.
SPIEGEL: Arch conservatives and religious voters seem to be thrilled.
Chomsky: One must not forget that this country was founded by religious fanatics. Since Jimmy Carter, religious fundamentalists play a major role in elections. He was the first president who made a point of exhibiting himself as a born again Christian. That sparked a little light in the minds of political campaign managers: Pretend to be a religious fanatic and you can pick up a third of the vote right away.
"One must not forget that this country was founded by religious fanatics."
Who were those fanatics? Benjamin Franklin, the quintessential practical man? Thomas Jefferson, the Deist, who took scissors to the Bible so as to cut out all the parts he didn't like, then reassembled what remained into what can now be bought separately as "Jefferson's Bible"? Would it be James Madison, author of the Virginia Remonstrances, and the father of the Estasblishment and Free Exercise Clauses? John Adams, perhaps?
Or did Chomsky mean not that the "country was founded" but that it was "settled" by "religious fanatics"? In which case, which ones? Roger Williams, who wanted toleration for all sects? Lord Baltimore, who wanted a place where Catholics might be safe? The planters of Virginia and the Carolinas? James Oglethorpe of Virginia, who founded a colony based not on religion at all, but a place for debtors and others imprisoned for similar offenses could begin again? Perhaps what Chomsky has in mind is only the Puritans, I Puritani, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but even there, what "religious fanaticism" is he talking about, other than the very short, and in the long run very insignificant, trial of "witches" in the hysteria that for sixteen months, in exactly one place, Salem, ran through the populace, and resulted in, at most, twenty victims ? The people of Salem swept up in the hysteria were superstitious, credulous, but were they "religious fanatics" on the scale, say, of any ordinary perfectly orthodox run-of-the-mill Muslims today, in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Sudan or Iran, about whose beliefs, whose texts and tenets, Chomsky has not said a word, not to Der Spiegel, and not to anyone else? Possibly he needs to spend a week going through those television shows , starring Muslim clerics, that are routinely broadcast in the Arab lands. It might wake him up.
Who for god's sake are these "religious fanatics" who founded the United States of America, or -- in the alternative -- settled this country?
Though much of what he says in the interview about the business civilization of present-day America is true, or at least unexceptional, Chomsky, in the midst of such reductive if at first fairly plausible and unexceptional stuff, always manages to embet these nuggets of nonsense that you must stop to pluck out, hold up for inspection and study, if the method in his madness, and vice-versa, are to be properly grasped.
One other thing about the interview. Chomsky notes among America's virtues that in this democratic country, where we are all so very democratic, "the professor speaks to the mechanic." That he even has to notice what comes so naturally to Americans, shows his keen awareness of his own status -- the "professor" (as if that exhaused the category of those who are at the upper end of things on the social scale, or are in Chomsky's view those who have a monopoly on the ability to think) --is itself telling. I know some of those simpler folk -- the folk he condescendingly regards as his inferiors, but those to whom he speaks in democratic America -- who have had direct and personal dealings with Professor Noam Chomsky. And they have reported directly to me on his complete indifference to them when they performed certain tasks (such as translating for him when he was interviewed by foreign journalists), his indifference to even the requirements of simple politeness, his self-absorption, his o'erweening arrogance. That's not a tall tale told by Chomsky's enemies -- this is straight from the mouth of one of those who, right at the house of the Great Man, in North Lexington, had to perform services for him when he was being interviewed by some foreign television network. This person found him supercilious and unpleasant to a degree.
Posted on 10/11/2008 7:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Ethiopian Christian Zionist Laban Seyoum
When I lived in Connecticut I befriended and mentored a tireless, resourceful Ethiopian Christian Zionist, Laban Seyoum. Seyoum worked with me as a colleague during the successful re-election of Sen. Joseph Lieberman as an Independent in 2006. The Senator thinks highly of him for having organized student events and public forums during the critical stages of the fractious re-election campaign. So do I.
Seyoum and I became allies as a result of that campaign experience. He founded the Gideon Organization as a distinguished undergraduate at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven. The Gideon Organization brought speakers to SCSU to address the radical Islamic threat to Israel and the US. The "Gideon" comes not from the biblical Hebrew general, but his real life successor, fabled British Major General Orde Wingate, spiritual father of the IDF. Wingate led the Gideon column composed of Brits, Aussies, Palestinian Jews and Ethiopians who freed Seyoum's native country from Mussolini’s Italian fascists in 1941.
During his junior year, Seyoum was selected for the Washington Seminar program of George Washington University. While there he obtained an appointment at AIPAC as a policy research aide, learned the ropes and what levers to pull with Members of Congress. Through the auspices of Connecticut GOP Congressman, Chris Shays, Seyoum put together an important Capitol Hill policy seminar on Ethiopian US relations. Seyoum also organized a lobbying trip for fellow SCSU Gideon Organization members to meet with Members of Congress about US support for Israel that I chronicled, here.
Seyoum is completing his Graduate studies at SCSU this fall. In the meantime he has been active in the McCain campaign in New England. The New Haven Register interviewed Seyoum for a round up article about local activists involved in the current Presidential campaign.
Laban Seyoum of New Haven is organizing a McCain rally.
This is a street fight against a very well-funded opponent, says Seyoum, a 26-year-old graduate student at Southern Connecticut State University. We’re trying to organize people at a grass-roots level, because people are more inclined to trust their neighbor than someone from the outside.
To that end, Seyoum is trying to entice a variety of Republican incumbents from Connecticut and elsewhere to attend an Oct. 19 rally at SCSU’s Adanti Student Center. He’s reserved space at the student center and invited everyone from Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays to former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift.
Now he needs to get a few of the politicians to commit.
It takes a lot of work, but you have to be persistent. I learned that from Sen. (Joseph) Lieberman, says Seyoum, who supported Lieberman’s re-election bid two years ago. This is about educating the public and mobilizing the community.
Back in March, while up in New Hampshire, working for Sen. McCain, Seyoum met former Arkansas Governor and then Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee at a coffee shop. He wrote me that he found the Governor approachable, quick witted, sincere and very funny. Apparently, FoxNews thought so and launched a Saturday night program, “Huckabee” on September 27th.
Saturday, October 11th, Seyoum was seen nationally on "Huckabee" asking a question while referring to their previous encounter in the New Hampshire coffee shop. He asked the Governor about ACORN and what he thought the country would be like if strong Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and Obama Presidency resulted from the November elections. While Huckabee eschewed an answer about ACORN, currently embroiled in allegations about voter registration fraud in more than ten states, he did note that having been Governor of Arkansas with the Democrats controlling the state legislature sharpened his efforts to get through effective legislative programs.
Seyoum may have had his several minutes of fame in the FoxNews Huckabee Q+A. However, this is nothing new for him. In June 2004, he riveted the world’s attention during the UN anti-Semitism session. Alyssa Lappen in a Front Page Magazine article about the UN conference had this to say about Seyoum:
Laban Seyoum, a young Christian Orthodox Ethiopian, echoed his sentiments with quiet eloquence, moments before Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoon urged patience in the day’s closing summation. “I find it shocking that in the twenty-first century we still have to deal with anti-Semitism,” said Seyoum. “It’s a disgrace to humanity. We must stop it.” Seyoum’s support for the Jewish people has made him a pariah in his college class, he later confided privately. He considers this inconsequential, however, as prejudice against the Jewish people mounts worldwide.
Following that UN conference, Seyoum and I made a date to meet. It has been a great collaboration. I follow his exploits and development as a leader with keen interest. I suspect that after obtaining his Master’s Degree he will end up back in our Nation’s Capitol, hopefully as an aide to a Member of Congress. I’d say that’s pretty amazing for an émigré from Ethiopia who has grown to love this country and its ally Israel.
Posted on 10/11/2008 9:33 PM by Jerry Gordon
Saturday, 11 October 2008
A Musical Interlude: Trusting My Luck (Jessie Matthews)
Posted on 10/11/2008 10:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 October 2008
How To Behave During A Banking Crisis
Posted on 10/11/2008 11:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Today in the "Religion of Peace™"
On October 11th, 2002, Kenneth Bridges, a Black Muslim, was shot and killed by the "Beltway Snipers," two Black Muslim men, in the Washington D.C. area.
John Allen Muhammad, née John Allan Williams, is a convert to Islam, who joined the Nation of Islam in 1997. When the 9/11 attacks occurred, he commented that it "should have happened a long time ago." He expressed an extreme hatred for Jews, and prayed for the destruction of Israel. He was a former member of the U.S. Army; he was not the last Muslim member of the Army to use his training to kill kufirs.
His accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, was an illegal immigrant from Jamaica who converted to Islam, apparently after coming into contact with Muhammad.
Kenneth Bridges was a father of six from Philidelphia, and a graduate of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a social activist who created his own line of health and beauty products for blacks, with the assistance of Louis Farrakhan. Bridges attended Farrakhan's "Million Man March", which coincidentally John Allen Muhammad also attended as a member of the NOI security detail. On the day of his shooting, Bridges had signed a $1 million business deal. He was shot in the head as he filled his car at a gasoline station.
Muhammad and Malvo traveled around the Washington, D.C. area in a sedan that had been modified to have a sniper's hole in the trunk (boot). They would pull over, shoot a victim, then drive away. On one day alone, they shot and killed five people:
- James Buchanan was shot while mowing the grass.
- Premkumar Walekar was shot while filling his taxi at the gas station.
- Sarah Ramos was shot while sitting on a bus bench, reading a book.
- Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera was shot while vacuuming her car at a gas station.
- Pascal Charlot was shot while walking alongside the road.
Muhammad and Malvo killed at least 13 people before their capture. Their plan was to terrorize the kufirs in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, by showing them that they were not safe at any time or any place, even when engaged in the most mundane and harmless activities. They then planned to extort $10 million from the U.S. government.
During the manhunt for the "Beltway Sniper," F.B.I. profilers predicted that it would be a young white man, possibly a white-supremacist, in his 20's, with a gun collection and a love of hunting. Even as witnesses came forward to say they saw a dark-skinned man or men, those reports were brushed off by law enforcement, with explanations that the lighting was bad, or "adrenaline" had affected their judgement. Muhammad and Malvo were pulled over at least two times by the police during their spree, but since police were looking for a 20-year old white male with a gun collection, they were let go.
When they were caught and put on trial, Malvo spent much of his time in the courtroom drawing pictures, including:
- a self portrait shouting, "Allah Akbar" in the cross hairs of a gun scope.
- a self portrait as a sniper, with the word, "Jihad".
- a portrait of Saddam Hussein with the word, "Inshallah".
- a portrait of Osama bin Laden, with the words, "Servant of Allah".
- a portrait of Malvo and Muhammad, with the words, "We will kill them all. Jihad."
- a drawing of the burning World Trade Center, with the words, "Allah Akbar", and "Jihad."
- a quotation from the holy, holy Qur'an: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them."
Muhammad was sentenced to death, and Malvo was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Most people do not know that the Beltway Snipers were Muslims, and that their crimes were motivated by the religious teachings of Islam.
Previous Days in the "Religion of Peace™":
Oct 10: Charles Martel wins Battle of Tours
Oct 9: Battle of Karbala (Death of Husayn)
Oct 8: "Palestinian" pro-Osama Bin Laden rally
Oct 6: Assassination of Anwar Sadat
Oct 3: Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu
Posted on 10/11/2008 11:44 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden