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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 11, 2006.
Monday, 11 September 2006
The Path to 9/11
Having just watched ABC’s The Path to 9/11, I am both impressed and distressed by it. As a movie, it is rich in detail, texture, intelligence, but makes difficult demands upon the audience. It is everything that Syriana had hoped to be in its wildest dreams without being ridiculously partisan.

It features a narrative style which is exhausting. The jitteriness of the camera, the nervous documentary cinema verite manner of things may lend a certain verisimilitude and create deserved anxiety, but alienates a general audience which prefers a more straightforward and less irritating form. And I don’t want Americans to be turned off from watching this because the director is cute with an auteur compulsion.

Even so, there are powerful things this drama reveals. The cuts made don’t hurt although the movie would be better if they hadn’t made them. That is, it would be more infuriating if more of the truth was included.

Yet, to give ABC credit, they stuck it to Clinton and his friends in their follow-up on Nightline right afterwards with the spare time leftover devoted to explaining clearly the facts of Clinton’s fecklessness. They substituted their fictional rendering with an even more explicit finger pointing at the true sequence of events and the cupidity of the decisions of Clinton et al.

The most horrifying fact that this story reveals, though, is pure human contrariness. There are never more than a few serious people in any group. The rest are mediocrities who will spend their lives and careers avoiding responsibility and risk.

The only consolation is that the enemy is filled with people as weak, stupid, venal, and egotistical.

I was surprised by ABC’s retaliation to Clintonistas, though. That was a nice riposte. “Okay, Bill, we’ll take out the obvious fictional dramatizations, but then we’ll use the time to explain even more clearly just what it was you failed to do in a non-fictional account. How’s them apples, bubba?”
Posted on 09/11/2006 1:19 AM by Mark Butterworth
Monday, 11 September 2006
My kind of Wedding breakfast

From the Eastern Daily Press.

Luke Scott, 43, and Saffron Paffron, 36, shunned the delights of a traditional wedding meal after tying the knot at Oulton Chapel, near Aylsham.

Instead, they ordered 18 giant pork pies from butcher Tavern Tasty Meats in Swafield, near North Walsham (I had lunch in North Walsham myself last week, very interesting motorcycle museum nearby).  Mr Scott, of Swanton Morley, near Dereham, said: "We wanted to be able to give guests something a bit different that they'd remember. We're big food lovers and the pies are simply amazing, the best I've ever tasted."

After the ceremony, family and friends piled out of the chapel and on to the nearby field for their feast. As they separated into groups of 10, guests were provided with a giant potato crate filled with a rug, cheese, a giant pork pie and Saffron's mother's home-made chutney.  And instead of a wedding cake, the healthier alternative of freshly picked berries was on offer.

Guests also supped a unique drink as they toasted the couple's special day.  ". . . a friend who has his own brewery has concocted a special honeymoon beer for us."

Posted on 09/11/2006 3:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
Online initiative is bonus novus for the revival of Latin in schools

I have mentioned something similar before, but this is actually in schools and is very welcome. From The Times

LATIN appears to be enjoying a quiet revival in Britain’s secondary schools. Teachers and classicists across England have noted a dramatic rise in the numbers of children starting secondary school who are expressing an interest in the subject. It is 40 years since it was dropped as a compulsory subject at school, but specialists are hoping that the resurgent enthusiasm will result in more children studying Latin at GCSE and A level, in spite of it being seen as a difficult subject.

However, as Latin teachers retired and fewer schools offered the language, the Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) embarked on a scheme to teach Latin online. Its package, designed for schools without Latin teachers, consisted of books, a CD-Rom interactive project and “e-tutors” to answer pupils’ questions by e-mail and help to mark work.

Will Griffiths, director of the CSCP, said that about 1,200 schools were offering Latin. He said that the increase had been caused partly by the number of non-specialist teachers able to offer the subject with the help of computer study aids, and because schools were having to find new ways of keeping bright children interested.  “The Gifted and Talented initiative has forced schools to provide for bright children, so schools are perhaps associating Latin with the more able children, and also more money is going into different out-of-hours learning projects,” he said.

Posted on 09/11/2006 3:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
New York/London
This will not be an easy day for those in New York and elsewhere. 
Posted on 09/11/2006 4:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
McCarthy vs. Peters
Our Andy McCarthy cooly takes on a sputtering and emotional Ralph Peters here
Posted on 09/11/2006 5:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 11 September 2006
Mediation vs. contemplation
Drowned, yet, in the spectacle? 

If we remember one thing that occurred as a result of the 9/11 attacks it should be this:  The memorial to those killed and wounded in the 1993 Islamist bombing of the World Trade Center was obliterated on 9/11.
Posted on 09/11/2006 6:23 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 11 September 2006
Kurdish loyalties

Al-Zawahiri calls on Muslims to fight U.S. allies in Somalia, where an Islamic militia recently pushed a U.S.-backed alliance of warlords out of the capital, and urges Iraq's Kurds to take up arms against the Americans. - from this news item

Having experienced the full welcome provided by the Arabs of Iraq during the Anfal campaign, not unlike the treatment meted out to all other non-Arab Muslims at the hands of Arab Muslims (Kateb Yacine, the late Berber writer, wrote about this; in Darfur, the non-Arab Muslims who survive tell others to tell their story), a campaign of mass murder that did not provoke a single syllable of condemnation, not at the time, and not since, by any Arab government, Arab spokesman or representative, or anyone from the Arab League. And why should it have? Aren't Arabs the "best of peoples" to whom, and in whose language, the Qur'an was revealed? Of course they can do what they want with Kurds and Berbers and black Africans.

There are a few of the Kurds whose loyalty to the Umma and to Islam outweighs their loyalty to fellow Kurds. These are the ones who join the Sunnah al-Islam, just like Mr. Krekar -- you know, the "Norwegian" Mr. Krekar, who has adopted so beautifully to all the benefits of life in sunny snowy still-infidel Oslo?

Posted on 09/11/2006 6:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 11 September 2006
Racists Go Home?

Ted Hayes, with the United American Committee, holds the rope to a noose that holds an Osama bin Laden effigy, across the street from the King Fahd Mosque.

AP CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Activists protesting radical Islam conducted a mock hanging of Osama bin Laden across the street from a mosque on the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks.

With a crowd of about 100 people shouting "Remember 9-11!" and "No more Jihad!" two men on the back of a pickup truck Sunday slipped a noose around the neck of a dummy wearing a bin Laden mask and strung it up, while the crowd pelted the effigy with shoes.

The protest near the King Fahd Mosque was organized by the United American Committee, a group that says it promotes awareness of internal threats facing America.

About 70 counter-protesters described the mosque as a peaceful center for area Muslims and yelled "Racists go home!" during the ritual. A group of clergy joined hands with some of the mosque's worshippers and stood in a circle in front of the mosque.

Posted on 09/11/2006 6:57 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 11 September 2006
People Ralph Peters will go after when he's appointed Political Correctness Czar

Two are at Townhall today.

Burt Prelutsky:

[...] what do we hear from America’s Muslims? Silence when it comes to military service, bellyaching when it comes to ridiculous claims of racial profiling.

Quite honestly, I suspect that the only way we could get the Koran crowd to go fight in the Middle East is if the United States declared war on Israel!

Charles Colson:

The failure to understand the threat stems, in part, from the West’s own loss of faith. For many of us, religion is something we do - or don’t do - depending on how it makes us feel. We don’t look to religion to tell us how we should live our lives, and, thus, we fail to understand how religion, and the worldview it inspires, might affect other people.

Thus, the British, after allowing jihadist preachers to operate freely, are now shocked to learn that their citizens pose “the biggest threat to U.S. security,” as the foiled plot to bomb airliners illustrates.

People who have stopped taking their religion seriously have troubl[e] appreciating what other people’s religion might drive them to do. And it’s not just Europe. At home, our secular elites totally miss the point. When they are not downplaying the threat, they are making grotesque comparisons between Islamist radicals and politically active Christians.
Posted on 09/11/2006 7:26 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 11 September 2006
Ralph Peters Unhinged

My piece in The American Thinker ends with:

Finally, I have two questions for Mr. Peters regarding the obscene immoral equivalence he made in a February 2006 essay published in the Weekly Standard, which gives the appearance of glorifying jihad terrorists. Peters wrote,

We write off the suicide bomber as a criminal, a wanton butcher, a terrorist. Yet, within his spiritual universe, he’s more heroic than the American soldier who throws himself atop a grenade to spare his comrades: He isn’t merely protecting other men, but defending his god.

1) Who is Peters to say that the American soldier’s act of true self-sacrifice isn’t “defending his god” by Loving His Neighbor?

2) Is saving comrades really comparable to killing and maiming innocents, the latter in pursuit of an imagined heavenly harem of compliant Muslim virgins?

Peters comparison of jihad terrorists and American soldiers in this thoughtless essay is dangerously unhinged—about as unhinged as the crude innuendos in his New York Post piece, which the Council on American-Islamic Relations enjoyed enough to include in its “American Muslim New Briefs” of 9/8/06.

Posted on 09/11/2006 8:52 AM by Andy Bostom
Monday, 11 September 2006
Racism and reparations

"we have no plan to deal with the 6 million Muslims in the US..."
-- from a reader

Why is Muslim propaganda, the inflated numbers that go with that false mantra about "the world's fastest-growing religion" repeated here? There are not 6 million Muslims in this country. There are about 3 million, 2 million of which belong to the sect of Black Muslims, correctly regarded as unorthodox in many of their practices, and some of whose disaffected members have left the sect and reported on it. One wonders whether it will survive successfully beyond the charismatic Farrakhan, or whether, if black ministers, aided by the government or foundations, produce the evidence about slavery in Islam, both as permanent doctrine and as permanent practice (and the Arab slave trade in Black Africa started before, and ended -- where it did end -- much later, than anywhere else, and retains its legitimacy to this day). The Arabs have received nearly ten trillion dollars in oil and gas revenues, money they did nothing to deserve. They should be asked, repeatedly, to make amends, and since there are so few blacks alive in the Arab states to be given any share of the national, that is, oil wealth -- the amends cannot be made internally through government programs, but must be made by the transfer of wealth from the Arabs to black states and black populations. Let this become a demand made on the rich Arabs, a demand echoed within the Western world by black leaders. It will focus attention, and should, on the historical record that the Arabs choose to ignore, even as they present themselves, so falsely, as members of the "Third World" (at a certain point the vast sums taken in by the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and others, and the behavior of the Arabs toward non-Muslim blacks, or even non-Arab Muslims, in Africa, including the slow-motion mass-murder in the southern Sudan and Darfur of more than 2 million black Africans, ought to have an effect. But only if it is made an issue, and related to the thousand years and more of Arab slavers in Africa, engaging in "The Hideous Trade."

In the same way, cunning campaigns of Da'wa have targeted black prisoners, a captive audience in every sense, who are ripped out of their own cultural context and history (the Black Church, with everything about it -- all of which, including the music, has nothing similar in Islam), and they are imperiled still further, distanced still further, from American life and from possible futures when they are signed up for the Army of Islam, and condemned to work not for the advancement of themselves or others, but only for the goal of ensuring that in this country, as in all the other Infidel lands that indifferently make up the Bilad al-kufr, that someday Islam dominates, and Muslims rule. But the Muslims who rule will not, in the Arab view, be black -- they will, of course, be Arab.

In any case, of the one million Muslims of the orthodox, Arab or Pakistani kind, how many can swear allegiance -- and mean it -- to the Constitution of the United States? How many can swear allegiance -- and mean it -- to individual rights, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, with the same kind of full-throated ease as other immigrants, Hindus and Buddhists and Confucians and all kinds of bearers of what might be called alien creeds, but unlike Islam, not creeds both alien and hostile? How many will be truthful about the contents of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, because any attempt to continue to mislead Infidels on this matter itself constitutes a dangerous form of war or Jihad -- the kind that Muhammad was referring to when he said that "War is Deception." Any further participation in taqiyya-and-tu-quoque, denial of the clear texts and the meaning that any apostate can tell you is derived from those texts, is an act of Jihad, and should be interpreted as such by intelligent and knowledgeable Infidels.

Posted on 09/11/2006 9:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 11 September 2006
Exiled cleric Bakri rejoices over deaths of RAF servicemen

From The London Evening Standard

Exiled radical Islamic preacher Omar Bakri has claimed the deaths of 14 British servicemen in Afghanistan were revenge for the arrest of 14 Muslims in anti-terror raids the previous day.  He added he was "happy" when the RAF Nimrod crashed killing all on board on September 2nd.

The controversial cleric said it was "so strange" that the same number of servicemen died as Muslims were arrested, adding: "Allah does certain things. People should get some lessons from it."  He went on: "I was happy at the fact that it is some of the military used to kill Muslims in Afghanistan. I would myself be happy to see them be defeated."

I like the comments.

Would this be the same upstanding chap who begged the Royal Navy to evacuate him from Lebanon a few short weeks ago? An oxygen thief of the highest order.
- Confused, UK

I'm so glad that this undesirable excuse for a human being and his hideous ideology has been banned from returning to the UK. It's a shame the Israelis didn't manage to capture him.
- Jenny, Coventry, UK

Posted on 09/11/2006 9:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
Lame Lines
Whether Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, I don't know.  To be blunt about it, I don't care, either.  What are the Iraqis to me?

I do think, though, that administration spokespeople should retire the line about the world being a better place without SH.  This line is lame.  Setting aside the fact that the proposition itself is arguable, even if it's true, so what?  The world would be a better place without Kim Jong Il, or Robert Mugabe, or Fidel Castro.  It's not the rightful business of the U.S. govt. to go around making the world a better place.  It's their business to defend and advance U.S. interests.  There is a case that the d & a of U.S. interests was served by removing SH.  Admin. officials should stress that case.  But for heaven's sake spare us the world-saving stuff.

Second-lamest line (I am working here from Cheney's appearance on MTP yesterday):  the one about how SH was so involved in terrorism, because he was paying money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.  This is deeply unconvincing.  Any secular-Arab dictator looking to do a little triangulation with the religious elements in his population & neighborhood would have done the same.  And these folk were blowing themselves up in Israel, not the U.S.A.  I don't approve of suicide bombers, in Israel or anywhere else, but to advance this as evidence that SH was hunkered down in conference with people planning attacks on the U.S.A. is, again, lame.

There's a case to be made for admin. policy, and it should be made with energy and conviction.  Folk like Cheney would be a lot more credible, though, if they'd drop these lame lines.  It's depressing to see someone like the Veep, with all the access he has to ideas people, speechwriters, TV coaches, and so on, coming out with these thin, tired cliches.  Leaves the impression that what we have here is a thin, tired administration.
Posted on 09/11/2006 10:07 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 11 September 2006

Palestinian gunmen Saturday attacked and set fire to the Young Men's Christian Association headquarters in Qalqiliya, a large West Bank city controlled by Hamas. - from this news item

Qalqilya sits right on the armistice lines of 1949, the armistice lines which Israel offered at one time to make into permanent border lines. This offer was not accepted, but rejected by all the Arab states, because they were not about to recognize the Infidel state of Israel in any armistice lines, but hoped to whittle away at it through the attacks of those who, without the weaponry of today, made raids, usually killing Jewish farmers and destroying their crops. The raids from Jordan were put paid to by the special Unit 101 formed by Ariel Sharon, and that border became quiet. With Egypt, things were much more difficult, and more than 19,000 separate attacks, many of them failing in their attempts, were made by "Egyptian" fedayin (that is, by the Arabs in Egyptian-ruled Gaza -- whom the Arabs had not yet thought to call "Palestinians" for the invention of a "Palestinian people" and then the promotion of its "legitimate rights" as that people only came about after the defeat in the Six-Day War sent Arab propagandists scurrying to the old drawing board -- the one they keep in the Ministries of War.

Qalqilya is right on that armistice line which was never a border, because the Arabs never accepted it as a border. And of course, the first thing that first-year law students learn in Contracts class is this: when an offer is made, and there is no acceptance (and the Arabs had many decades to accept) that offer, the offer lapses. Israel, just like the Offeror in the Contracts cases, is under no obligation to revive that offer, to keep it forever open. Does A, in the contracts case, make an offer that B rejects -- rejects not only with a loud and repeated No, No, No, but with terrorist attacks and warfare -- economic, propagandistic, diplomatic, military -- of every kind -- have to keep that original Offer open, so that Acceptance may be given (and an Acceptance that, those who understand the Law of War and Peace in Islam, cannot be sincere, cannot lead to an end of Muslim desire, and attempts to wipe out, even if employing in the main other instruments than terrorism, and on a more extended timetable) whenever the Arabs feel like it? It doesn't work in Contract Law, and what is a treaty if not a Contract?

And where is Qalqilya? It is exactly eight miles from Qalqilya to the Mediterranean. That is how Israel could be cut in two -- eight miles at the waist, the waist of those 1949 Armistice Lines to which some in the Western world think Israel should return, because, you see, then there will be "peace" and then the Arabs and other Muslims will calm down, will realize there is no further point in attempting to destroy Israel.

As you think about that, wherever you are sitting, think of some place eight miles away. How far was your commute today? How far away do you routinely travel, even in a city, that might take you eight miles from your house? That is how far Qalqilya is from the beach and the sea, the same white-sea-in-the-middle (as the Arabs call the Mediterranean) into which they for decades promised openly they would push the Jews, and the goal remains the same, even if presented in terms more acceptable to the West, or at least to the ears of those whose minds are willfully empty of any knowledge of Islam, and who choose to believe that the tenets of Islam have nothing to do with implacable Muslim opposition to the wellbeing -- and existence -- of Israel.


Posted on 09/11/2006 11:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 11 September 2006
Obituary of the Day
The King of Tonga, "the world's only Methodist sovereign and for many years, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's heaviest."

The king's Mom, Queen Salote, was the butt of one of Winston Churchill's jokes.  At the coronation of the present British monarch in 1953, leading politicians of the day, including Churchill, were seated in Westminster Abbey well beforehand.  Churchill had been there a while and was getting grouchy when Queen Salote entered, with a little Tongan boy holding up the train of her dress.  She was a striking figure (Tongan monarchs are respected in proportion to their girth), and one of Churchill's colleagues commented on her, adding: "...but I wonder who the little fellow is."  Churchill, from the sour depths of his grouchiness:  "Her lunch?"

Posted on 09/11/2006 11:09 AM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 11 September 2006
Trouble at t'BBC - Is this the Way to Al-Jazeera

This is not yet on line so I am copy typing from the lunchtime edition of the London Evening Standard. Readers will be familiar with the dismay that the BBC's anti Israel bias causes, which bias is shown by (inter alia) the number of BBC staff who join the Middle East TV station Al-Jazeera.  The latest recruits are assistant news editor Simon Torkington and his wife, former ITV (the BBC's rivals) news anchor Shiulie Ghosh.

To see him on his way his colleagues have made a spoof video of Peter Kay's popular video and chart hit Is this the Way to Amarillo?  Or as the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards had it in their version Is this the Way to Armadillo?

Journalists are seen with tea towels on their heads,  dancing in a stair well and leaping out of a BBC van.  Singing as they go:-

When the day is dawning

On a muggy old Doha morning

How I long to be there

With Osama who’s waiting for me there


Every lonely news room

Where I lay my hat

Ain’t half as pretty

As where my Shiulie’s at 

Is this the way to Al-Jazeera?

This is the end of the BBC era

Dreaming dreams of Al-Jazeera

And sweet Shiulie who waits for me 

Is this the way to Al-Jazeera?

I’m going to get paid lots of lira,

Storkies off to Al-Jazeera 

But the sand is blazing

Crown Price Hamid bin Khalifa is waiting

Though it may be harder

I’ll be reporting on the intifada.

Just beyond the sand dunes

There’s a world so new

Oh jilbabs and palms trees

And there’s camel poo…..

There are still photos in the paper edition but nothing on line. Yet......

A copy of the video was leaked to the Standard by a "BBC insider" angry that licence-payers money was used to make a "tasteless skit" that was "offensive to Muslims"  The BBC describe it as meant for private viewing but ill judged and they will be "speaking to those involved"    Reading between the lines I see this as a protest against the atmosphere at Al-Beeb.  If I hear any more I will post it here.  I hope the video will get onto Youtube.

Got it, but you have to go through the Daily Mail to get to it.  Thank you Shy Guy, much obliged.

And the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards did it better.

Love that funky medallion - man!

Posted on 09/11/2006 10:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
More on Peters

"Ralph Peters writing on the war since 911 has been insightful and some of the best military analysis around..."
-- from a reader

Not insightful enough to recognize that terrorism is but the tip of the Jihad iceberg, only one of its instruments, and that the same goal can be achieved through a variety of other instruments about which those whose duty it is to protect and instruct us have paid no seeming attention.

As for his other analyses, at what point did he suggest that the sectarian and ethnic fissures in Iraq should be exploited to the fullest, and that only the Iraq War #1 -- that undertaken to scour the country for major weapons and weapons projects, and to destroy or seize the first, and interrupt if not permanently end, the second.

Here, another analysis, one that recognized that the messianic project made no sense, was made on a misunderstanding both of Islam and of Iraq, was presented. It was reasonable for the Administration to be indulged long enough so that it might capture Saddam Hussein, his sons, and the Fifty-two Pick-Ups, facecards and jokers the lot of them, and to search for those weapons of mass destruction. A year, but no longer. That year was up at the end of March 2004. Check what was written at JW in the first week of April to see what analysis, nothing like what Ralph Peters continued to offer until a month ago, was set out.

Posted on 09/11/2006 11:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 11 September 2006
All Burnoose and No Camels?
Texans are turning to Islam, it says here. (Page down a bit.)

How long before the Lone Star State boasts it has the biggest mosque in the world?

Posted on 09/11/2006 1:37 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 11 September 2006
Nike agrees to pay council £300,000 for using their logo
In the kind of David and Goliath tale of which the sports industry dreams, Hackney Council in East London has won £300,000 after Nike used the borough’s logo on a range of sportswear without permission.

Nike, recognised all over the world for its tick logo and "Just Do It" slogan, used the borough’s name and logo on goods including trainers, T-shirts and a football. The range has been taken off the market as part of the settlement.  The Hackney logo, which has been associated with the council since the 1960s, comprises a green, dumb-bell shaped H and adorns council uniforms, vehicles and benches.

. . . the range, which sought to tap into Hackney’s image as the home of some of England's best amateur football.  The borough holds Hackney Marshes, which has a reputation as a fertile breeding ground for footballing talent. The likes of former Arsenal striker Ian Wright and Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler have graced its pitches in recent years, and it was the setting of Nike’s famous 1997 "Parklife" advert in which Eric Cantona played amateur football.

With a ladder and some glasses, you could see to Hackney Marshes; if it wasn't for the houses inbetween.

Hackney Marshes straddles the River Lea and the London Boroughs of Hackney and Leyton and Walthamstow. It used to contain the largest number of public football pitches in the world, 120.  There are now only 88, the most in Europe but the entire East Marsh will become a tarmaced car park for the b****y Olympics in 2012.  I don't know how many will remain after that. 

Posted on 09/11/2006 1:48 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 11 September 2006
Bottum Line on J.F. Powers
Fans of Catholic novelist J.F. Powers might enjoy Joseph Bottum's piece on him here.
For my own appreciation of Powers, see here.
Posted on 09/11/2006 2:32 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 11 September 2006
The Kellogg-Briand Pact aka the "why can't we all get along" treaty

"I seem to recollect that out of the wreckage of the First World War there arose a proto-Rodney King movement that believed that there would be no more war if we all got to know one another better."
-- from a reader

Not exactly proto-Rodney King -- in those days few in the ruling elites would have understood a phrase such as "why can't we all get along" because there was much less sentimentalism about "peoples" and "people" and how "we" (the Plain People of Ireland, and the World) got along with one another; what mattered were the policies of governments, and the governments of the major countries, in August 1928, they decided that it would be a fine thing to condemn “recourse to war for the solution of international controversies" and their pact essentially was intended, after the hideous waste of the Great War (World War I) to outlaw war.

And so they did, those representatives of the major powers. The Kellogg-Briand Pact it came to be known (formally, the Pact of Paris) and the signatories renounced war as an "instrument of national policy." Among the signatories were not only the United States, Great Britain, and France, but also Germany, Italy under Mussolini, and Imperial Japan.

Within five years, Hitler came to power in Germany through a vote ("all people""all people want democracy"; "all people want freedom" also sprach The Great Hallucinator). One might have thought that would spell trouble, for now it was not Weimar Germany, but Germany under Hitler, and Hitler had spelled out in his writings and in his many voluble speeches, exactly what he was all about, what his goals were. But fortunately, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, by which war had been outlawed, was already in place and there was nothing Hitler and the Nazis could do about it.

And so war was avoided, and there was no problem, and things turned out just fine.

One postcript:

Frank Kellogg was later followed, as Secretary of State, by Henry Stimson, who shut down the code-breaking efforts of the United States because "gentlemen do not read one another's mail." You see, we were all "gentlemen" in those St. Grottlesex days, just as we are today. Admiral Yamamoto was a gentleman (Groton, class of 1904), and the Nazis were gentlemen (Putzi Hanfstaengl, Harvard, class of 1909), they were all gentlemen.

Remember that, along with the much-used line of Mr. Justice Jackson, that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact," the next time eyes are rolled over the tappping of phones of Muslim "gentlemen" who have done nothing to deserve our suspicion, or so very little.

[Postscript to the postcript: Yamamoto did not attend Groton. The rest is all true.]

Concluding sorta-kinda-most-unscientific postcript:

Though Briand's name is forever linked to that of naive Frank Kellogg, Briand was not quite as naive as his connection to that Kellogg-Briand Pact, as the 1928 Pact of Paris was informally known (because of the discussions between the two that had taken place the previous year, in 1927, then embodied in the 1928 pact which representatives of more than sixty states ultimately signed, and the commitments were ratified by their respective governments). That Briand was not a true or blind believer in the treaty with which his name has become associated, and that he was aware of the need to use force in some situations, and certainly would have done so for the likes of Hitler (Briand died in 1932, so did not know of Hitler), comes from his former aide, the poet and diplomat Alexis Leger, in art St. John Perse. I cannot recall exactly where, in what writing by Leger, I read this to-me unexpected, but entirely convincing, defense.

Posted on 09/11/2006 2:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 11 September 2006
Fifth Anniversary?
Possibly not.  A friend e-mails:

"The Islamic year is shorter than the Gregorian year. 2001 September 11 was 1422 Jumada t-Tania 22 in the Islamic Calendar. Corresponding to 1427 Jumada t-Tania 22 was 2006 July 19. So if the attackers use the Islamic calendar, a fifth anniversary attack would already have happened. I knew that the Islamic year was shorter than the Gregorian year when I got my first almanac in the sixth grade. But no one in the entire Federal security apparatus knew this and warned our country of a possible first anniversary attack on 2002 August 31. So we were quite unprepared, even though the attack never took place."

[Derb]  Well, I guess he has a point.  However, if the terrorists are going for psychological effect, which they surely are, they might make a point of picking OUR fifth anniversary, not THEIRS.

Posted on 09/11/2006 2:45 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 11 September 2006
Melanie Phillips: How Britain is turning Christianity into a crime

This attack on Christianity is not merely something that seems straight out of Alice In Wonderland.

It is not merely a threat to freedom of speech and religious expression. It is a fundamental onslaught on the national identity and bedrock values of this country — and as such will destroy those freedoms which Christianity itself first created. 

Read it all here.

Posted on 09/11/2006 2:53 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 11 September 2006
Douce France

Hugh Fitzgerald invites your comments on:

   Douce France

Posted on 09/11/2006 3:19 PM by NER
Monday, 11 September 2006
Is the U.S.A. Unclean?
Or, as the Muslim lady in this news story asks:  "Is it haram or halal to live in the United States?"

haram is the Arabic for "forbidden"
halal = "in accordance with or permitted under the shari'a" (American Heritage Dictionary)

Meanwhile, more and more Muslims are settling here.  In 2005, permanent-residence status was awarded to 96,000, according to the New York Times.

Now, I know it's impertinent—very likely "racist"—to ask, but are the American people at large OK with this?  Is this what Americans want—a million or so new Muslim residents every decade?  If it's not what we want, why is it happening? 

Posted on 09/11/2006 3:25 PM by John Derbyshire
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