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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 Tuesday, 13, 2007.
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
National Secular Society and Camridge row

The National Secular Society (h/t Harry's Place) has joined the fray:

Staff and students at Clare College should make a stand for free speech instead of backing those who would destroy it, says the National Secular Society (NSS).  

Reacting to news that a student who published a satirical issue of the student magazine that poked fun at religion is to be disciplined, Terry Sanderson, President of the NSS said: “We are shocked that the staff and even the students union at this supposedly liberal college have joined the attack on this student because he had the temerity to poke fun at religion. Free expression is such a precious commodity and is under such ferocious attack at present from religious interests that it is disgraceful that no-one is standing up for this young man’s right to be rude about religion – even about Islam.”

No, not "religious interests", just Islam. Mockery of any other religion would not have had the same effect.

Mr Sanderson has written to the master of Clare College, Professor Tony Bader and to the Senior Tutor, Patricia Fara as well as the president of the Students Union, Calum Davey, as follows:

“We write after seeing reports in the local Cambridge press indicating that a contributor to your student magazine Clareification faces disciplinary action for having printed items that some people thought were “offensive” or “inflammatory”.

“If these reports are true, we wish to register our profound disquiet that a supposedly liberal college has reacted in this way. The reaction risks undermining one of the most precious and important rights that we have in this country: freedom of expression.

“Satire aimed at religion is no different to satire aimed at any other ideas and should not be punished or restrained. The freedom to poke fun at those who take themselves too seriously is a time-honoured tradition in this country. Regrettably, it is rapidly being eroded by cases like this. We urge you to think again and stand four-square behind the satirists, instead of disciplining them.

We would like to remind all concerned that satirising religion – even if that religion is Islam – is not racism, as this episode has been dubbed. Religion and race have very different characteristics. We would have heartily joined the condemnation if the satire had been racially motivated, but according to the reports we have read, the issue of Clareification in question was devoted to religious satire.

“We would like to draw your attention to a case that is pending in France at the moment, in which a satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has been brought to court by an Islamic organisation for re-publishing the Danish cartoons that are at the centre of so much controversy. In the French case, academics, artists and politicians of all hues have rushed to the defence of the magazine. Letters of support and statements defending free speech have been issued by some of the most influential people in the country – including Mr Sarkozy, who is potentially the next President of France.

“Your own reaction – as reported – does not bear comparison with the principled French reactions. It sides with the oppressors and censors who are doing so much to retard open debate in academe and elsewhere.

“We call on you to support the publishers of the magazine and to tell the would-be censors that their protests have been heard but that they will not prevail. Without the freedom to debate, discuss and, yes, mock, ideas and ideologies, there can be no informed political discourse. Satire is an indispensable tool in the operating of a truly free society.”

A problem with many atheists and secularists is that they see all religions as equally bad. Islam is uniquely dangerous, however, because it is so much more than a religion.

Posted on 02/13/2007 4:06 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Hurrah for the NSS

Good news, that, Mary, the fight to frame the issue as one of free speech vs. one of Muslim sensitivities, concern for their "feelings" now so ubiquitous throughout the West.  As I said, the kid is yelling fire in a burning building, and for that he is being sequestered in an undisclosed location.  (The classic example of when not to exercise free speech is the yelling of "fire" in a crowded theater where there is no fire.) 

Yes, there are differences between America and the U.K., which I acknowledge, the former having the First Amendment being another.  Those differences pale, however, in comparison to the gulf between EU notions of free speech, as they are now evolving (devolving, I would say), and what originates in English Common Law.  Adopting the EU's strictures on freedom of speech, where expression of nationalistic sentiments is being proscribed, comes with membership.  Shades of Napoleon's Contintental System. 

So freedom of speech is under attack from every direction.  It always is, though now the overt attacks appear daily, in waves.

Posted on 02/13/2007 5:22 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
New Defense Secretary: Count Me Unimpressed

The mainstream media is swooning over the "velvet" touch of Robert Gates, the new Secretary of Defense who declined, at this weekend's European security conference in Germany, to take on Vladimir Putin after the Russian president's provocative anti-American speech the day before. 

Why can't I help thinking that the New York Times is impressed by Gates not only because he decided not to respond to Putin, a thug, but also because Gates — who is obviously a walking laugh-riot — decided the time was right, in Europe of all places, to take a shot at his predecessor, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld?  Here's the Times account from today:

The speech by Mr. Gates was delivered under the long shadow of his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, who both charmed and offended European audiences during his tenure as defense secretary, which included several speeches to this conference. Mr. Gates cast himself as a geopolitical realist and drew a knowing laugh when he focused on Mr. Putin’s assertion that the United States and its allies were dividing Europe. “All of these characterizations belong in the past,” Mr. Gates said. “The free world versus those behind the Iron Curtain. North versus South. East versus West, and I am told that some have even spoken in terms of ‘Old Europe’ versus ‘new.’ The last was a reference to a characterization Mr. Rumsfeld made in January 2003 to contrast Germany and France, which objected to the United States plan to invade Iraq, with neighboring supporters, not all of which are NATO members.

So Gates massages the obnoxious rhetoric of Putin but figures it's fine to take a shot at a patriot, Rumsfeld.  And why?  To appeal to those stalwart U.S. allies in France, Germany and the rest of old Europe.  What a guy.
Posted on 02/13/2007 6:26 AM by Andy McCarthy
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
The North Korea Deal Stinks

Don't take my word for it.  Take John Bolton's.  As the Washington Post reports this morning:

"This is a very bad deal," former U.N. ambassador John R. Bolton told CNN. "It contradicts fundamental premises of the president's policy he's been following for the past six years. And second, it makes the administration look very weak at a time in Iraq . . . when it needs to look strong."

When I mentioned the North Korea negotiations here over the weekend, there was some hope that we were on the verge of a Libya-type breakthrough — where the Norks would not only pledge to give up their nuclear aspirations but also surrender whatever they've actually developed to this point.  Instead, it looks like this deal is 1994 all over again:  We make energy aid and other concessions to them in exchange for their mere promise to take initial steps toward denuclearization. 

You'll hear a lot of chatter about how, no, no, we are requiring concrete steps and the concessions will be conditioned on those steps actually being taken.  Sure.  How can there be any other step, or any aid, absent, at the very least, North Korea coughing up what it has built in the dozen-plus years since it violated the last deal in which we naively accepted its pledges?  And if we're desperate enough to have this deal to agree to these terms, why should anyone believe we'd really blow up the deal when North Korea, having taken our measure yet again, inevitably cheats?

We are entering a very dangerous and depressing phase:  making deals the principal accomplishment of which is the demonstration that we're not unilateralist cowboys — diplomacy celebrated for its own sake rather than because it actually, materially furthers American interests.  It may make the Europeans happy and make our diplomats' dealings with their counterparts more pleasant; it doesn't make us any safer or advance our interests.

Posted on 02/13/2007 6:32 AM by Andy McCarthy
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Kosovo

The period of international supervision envisaged by the plan [for the final status of the Serbian province of Kosovo], as well as a host of “guarantees” and promises of “substantial” municipal autonomy for the few remaining Serbs and other non-Albanians in the province, are but a fig leaf meant to conceal the plan’s reality: that on the fundamental issue of Kosovo’s legal, constitutional and political status Ahtisaari gives everything to the Albanians and nothing to the Serbs. Even without using the “I” word, the plan proposes de facto separation of Kosovo from Serbia. Its primary focus is to finalize the detachment of Kosovo from the last formal vestiges of Serbia’s authority, with the definition of its future status a secondary consideration. --Serge Trifkovic

The same administration that has been willing to spend $750 billion in past, present, and committed future costs in Iraq, to "fight them over there so we won't have to fight them over here" (surely one of the most absurd remarks in the history of geopolitics), is unwilling to prevent the enlargement of a Muslim state in Europe itself, at the expense of those -- the Serbs -- who have been misunderstood (their justified fear of Izetbegovic and all that he represented to them -- (which is to say, the centuries of Ottoman domination, the principles of Shari'a, the devshirme), and badly mistreated, by the Clinton Administration, and by European states that do not realize what Islam is all about, and take as a given that the most plausible, most secular, most Western of Albanians represent the future of Islam, when the presence of Saudis and other Arabs, the attacks on Serbian monasteries and villagers, the establishment of a beachhead for future acts of terrorism throughout Europe, guarantees that this terminally naive vision will soon be disabused, or perhaps has already been disabused, but everyone is too afraid to recognize the truth. Meanwhile, Clinton, and Wesley Clark, and Richard Holbrooke, no doubt think they did a fine thing in the Balkans. No they didn't.

Posted on 02/13/2007 6:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
EU Paper: Economic Sanctions On Iran Not Enough

Financial Times:

Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.

In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.

The downbeat conclusions of the “reflection paper” – seen by the Financial Times – are certain to be seized on by advocates of military action, who fear that Iran will be able to produce enough fissile material for a bomb over the next two to three years. Tehran insists its purposes are purely peaceful.

“At some stage we must expect that Iran will acquire the capacity to enrich uranium on the scale required for a weapons programme,” says the paper, dated February 7 and circulated to the EU’s 27 national governments ahead of a foreign ministers meeting yesterday.

“In practice . . . the Iranians have pursued their programme at their own pace, the limiting factor being technical difficulties rather than resolutions by the UN or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“The problems with Iran will not be resolved through economic sanctions alone.”

Posted on 02/13/2007 7:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Newfoundlanders brace for Viking invasion as earth heats up

From James Taranto:

Bambi vs. Global Warming

In response to our item Friday about Ellen Goodman's likening global-warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, reader Marlon McAvoy sent us a letter he wrote to Goodman, care of the Boston Globe. "I doubt they'll use it, or pass it on to Ms. Goodman, but perhaps you'll like it," McAvoy writes. Indeed we do; here it is:

Dear Ellen Goodman!

Hey, I love your trash talk ("damned Nazi apes," right? Nice). Boo-hoo, Taranto at the WSJ didn't like being bullied; he should learn to pick winners, then.

So anyway, I'm wondering...you got that thing on tape? The debate, I mean. I missed it live; guess I was working that night. But I hear the buzz, such as it is; a million people all yelling, "debate's over." Well sure it's over; who would talk that kind of trash unless she'd already won? Debate's over, right. SO WHERE CAN I GET A COPY OF IT?!

Yes, I know the difference between a debate and a boxing match. My Daddy is an old-school country preacher. He's all into debate. He'll take on professors, priests, authors, atheists; anybody, anytime. That's how these guys are. They pay their respects, there's rules and a referee, but then the bell rings and it's all about yanking the other dude's idea away and strangling him to death with it. Strangling a guy to death with his OWN IDEA...it's so hardcore; you gotta see it to believe it. No one comprehends the intellectual savagery of the unleashed egghead until they witness it for themselves. Those over-the-top displays of reason and logic always happen when a man sublimates the normal human urge to play football.

So, Ellen, you know I gotta see that debate. DVD, VHS, heck, a written transcript would be great. Natch, I'll cover all expenses. I mean, holy cow. It's the greatest drubbing in the history of intellectual warfare; there is not one single word of debate about the entire debate. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?! The biggest laugher in history, without a single trace. HOW? There's already a zillion Colt tributes from this year's Super Bowl; you're telling me NOBODY YouTubed this fate-of-the-world conflict? And come ON! The whole debate, start to finish, couldn't have run 15 seconds. It's not like this was Ali-Frazier. Not even Tyson-Spinks. Nope, this had to be Godzilla-Bambi.

Well, guess what? I SAW that Godzilla versus Bambi matchup, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1982. Here, I'll share it. Remember this isn't a recap, Ellen; this is the entire dang fight:

Godzilla by squash-out, a quarter-second in.

See? The global warming debate had to be something like that. So...can I see it now?

In appreciation,


Marlon McAvoy

We thought our response to Goodman was pretty good, but this humbles us.

Interesting new science on what causes global warming (and cooling) here.

Posted on 02/13/2007 7:15 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Nashville Mayor: English Only Ordinance Would Make City "Less Friendly"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed a measure Monday that would have made English the official language of Nashville, saying it was unconstitutional, unnecessary and mean-spirited...

Purcell said his legal staff had advised him the bill violated the U.S. and state constitutions and would be costly to defend.

"If this ordinance becomes law, Nashville will become a less safe, less friendly and less successful city," Purcell said. "And as mayor, I cannot allow that to happen."...

Councilman Eric Crafton, who sponsored the measure, said it would offer an incentive for immigrants to learn English. Opponents including the Chamber of Commerce worried it would hurt the image of Nashville, which bills itself as "Music City USA."

Crafton told WKRN-TV: "It's almost ridiculous to the point of being absurd for the mayor to say, 'Well, I'm afraid that somebody might sue us because we want to conduct our business in English.' To me it's a lack of courage and a lack of leadership."...

Nashville, a city of more than 600,000, is home to the nation's largest Kurdish community and has been a resettlement site for refugees from Africa and Southeast Asia. The Hispanic immigrant population also has boomed.

Researchers say Nashville's foreign-born population has grown 350 percent since 1990.

Posted on 02/13/2007 7:14 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Israel, Egypt and The Sinai

"It looks like Israel gave back the Sinai Peninsula for absolutely nothing. Egypt never changed its stripes. It is still the same old enemy it always was."-- from a reader

Israel not only surrendered the entire Sinai, which in its entirety was never part of modern Egypt until the 1920s, but furthermore, with the Sinai it surrendered three major airfields that Israel had built, oil fields it had developed, and billions of dollars in infrastructure -- roads and so on -- that it had spent.

For this it got worthless promises, promises to end all hostile propaganda and, what's more, to actually encourage friendly attitudes toward Israel. How non-stop media campaigns against Israel as a monstrous regime, including the use of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for a mini-series on Egyptian television, and of course constant references to Jewish use of Muslim blood in religious ceremonies (a charge which mimics that to be found in medieval Europe) constitutes "encouraging friendly relations"is beyond me.

But, but, but, someone splutters. How can you be so unfair? Didn't Egypt make "peace" with Israel? Has Egypt gone to war with Israel? No, Egypt has not gone to war with Israel - though it conducts its warfare through many other means, and of course has allowed all kinds of weaponry to be smuggled into Gaza. Egypt has not declared war, of a military kind, on Israel for the exact same reason Syria has not, or Jordan, or Saudi Arabia: fear of what would happen if it went to war, and lost. For even the Egyptians may now understand that the Israelis now understand, that if there is another war, and the Sinai is taken, it will never ever be given over to Egypt again.

That's what the whole idiotic Camp David Accords, that some still think were an "achievement" of that evil man, that clear antisemite, Jimmy Carter (and his most recent book did not make it clear: his actions at Camp David, his behavior at Camp David, should have made it clear to all), led to -- led to, for Egypt, the entire Sinai with $16 billion dollars in Israeli improvements, and on top of that, the $60 billion that started to flow as a reward, by the American government, to Saint Sadat.

What idiocy it all was. What idiocy is still is.

Posted on 02/13/2007 8:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
The Contest

The conviction that this phenomenon should be “countered by all possible means” has prompted the Guardians of the House of Opinion – a group of muftis in the south of the Philippines – to write 55 sermons that will be read in mosques across the country throughout the coming year...

The mufti said the decision to write the sermons was taken because “there is nothing in common between Islam, which stands for peace, harmony, order, justice and compassion, and acts of hatred, vengeance and evil committed by a fringe of Muslims.” --from this news item

If copies of these khutbas can be obtained, then one will be able to see just how they do it: what they avoid, and what they willfully misconstrue, and what they use to divert attention from the essence of Islam.

And if those copies can be obtained, they should be published on-line, so Infidels can point out just how removed they are from the reality of mainstream Islam. They did the same in Turkey, for 80 years. They managed, by systematically constraining Islam as a political and social force, to make Turkey what it is today -- which is to say, a country that has indeed created a "secular" class that, however, constitutes at most a fourth of the population, and is under constant threat by the Turks who, despite every effort, and all those pre-fabricated khutbas written in a ministry of religion especially devoted to constraining Islam and monitoring the mosques, have remained loyal to the true, that is the menacing, Islam with which we are all, alas, now so familiar.

Or we can skip our own punching of holes in these efforts, and wait for Muslims to do it themselves. It will not be hard to do. You only need a Qur'an, copies of Bukhari and Muslim, and the Sira in any of the authoritative, for-Muslims-only versions. That's all. And the futility and hopelessness of the project will be clear.

No matter how many times the mantra is repeated that "moderate Muslims are the solution," it remains untrue and unprovable. That the West needs to find ways to divide and demoralize, and thereby weaken, the camp of Islam is true. But it is not the "moderates" facing down the "immoderate" Muslims, with those "moderate" Muslims being given every assistance, and we Infidels doing nothing, saying nothing, about Islam that might "offend the moderates."

No, the real divisions within Islam that need to be exploited are those between:

1) Sunnis and Shi'ites (Ibadi Muslims hardly count). It is to the advantage of Infidels that this sectarian conflict in Iraq continue, widen, and have spill-over effects in neighboring countries, which will undoubtedly feel they must send "volunteers" and money and weapons to aid their co-religionists in Iraq. It is no different from the Iran-Iraq War which, from the Infidel point of view, should have gone on forever.

2) Arab and non-Arab Muslims. An independent Kurdistan might serve as a heartening example to other non-Arab peoples -- especially the Berbers in Algeria and elsewhere in North Africa -- who might observe the Kurdish example, and, deeply resentful of Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism, the most successful in human history, insist on re-berberizing themselves (how many of those who bear Arab names in Algeria, or who think of themselves as Arab, are in fact Berbers forcibly converted long ago, who need to rediscover their own individual and collective history, and to come to regard Islam, which intelligent people born into Islam will seek reasons for fleeing, as mainly a vehicle for Arab supremacism.

 

3) Oil-rich Arabs and Muslims, and the other Arabs and Muslims, who right now obtain vast sums, and every other kind of assistance, not from fellow Muslims, but from Infidels. All Infidel aid must stop, and Arabs and Muslims without oil wealth encouraged to go to the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris, the people of the Emirates, and ask them to help fellow members of the Umma. Either they will be turned down, or they won't. If they are turned down, they will be furious. If they are not turned down, they will still be angry, because whatever they are given will, they feel, not be enough, and they will resent the rich members of the Umma for squandering what should, some of those Arabs and Muslims will start to insist, be part of the collective wealth of the whole Umma. And the givers, the Saudis and others, will also resent those they are giving money to, and there will be constant mutual recrimination and resentment, which can only be good for Infidels. And of course, every dollar sent to Egypt or Jordan or "the Palestinians" for staples, will not be money available to spend building mosques, and maintaining them, and paying for propaganda and well-financed systematic campaigns of Da'wa, or for those traitorous Western hirelings to be found all over the West, doing the Saudi bidding.

These are the three potential divisions within the Camp of Islam that the Pentagon and the State Department, and Congress, and the press, and the television, and people who pay for all all of that, to focus on.

Here's an idea. Let there be a contest. Let it be announced. Let the prize be big. Not as big as Richard Branson's $25 million offered to the person who can come up with the best idea for saving the world from further environmental damage. Let it be offered for the best set of proposals on how to contain the world-wide Jihad. Let's set the prize at, say, $5 million.

That's big enough.

Oh, I claim the first annual one, based on about a thousand postings setting out precisely those things that must be done, at this very website.

Where shall I pick up my check? Now I can discharge other duties, sweetly, and put it all in book form.

Posted on 02/13/2007 8:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Daw’ah stalking horses enter Herouxville, Quebec

At 910 Group, a follow-up on the little town that said no to Islam:

Note: This visit by the Muslim women is a typical Daw’ah ploy, soon to be followed by a more stern rebuke for the good town of Herouxville. Then off come the gloves, out come the lawyers. And Andre Drouin, the town councillor, looks to be ready for a good fight. This is re:  Feb 3, 2007 post.

Muslim women visit Que. town that passed code of ‘norms’.
Canadian Press (National Post)

HEROUXVILLE, Que. —

Clad in traditional Islamic head scarves, a delegation of Muslim women paid a visit Sunday to the Quebec town that passed a controversial code aimed at potential immigrants.
Six women, accompanied by a handful of male and female Muslim students, appealed for changes to a so-called “code of life,” which lays out societal norms for Herouxville, 165 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The declaration, passed by the town council last month, says a person’s face should not be covered, except at Halloween, and that children should sing Christmas songs in December.

It warns would-be immigrants that women can vote, drive and dance if they choose.
It says adults can drink alcohol and children cannot bring weapons, religiously symbolic or not, to school despite a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that has already upheld that right for Sikh Canadians.

Although the list has no legal weight, it clearly targets religious minorities, said May Haidar, one of the women who made the journey to the community of 1,300 on Sunday afternoon.

Read it all here.

Posted on 02/13/2007 8:35 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
For Those in Peril...

...on the sea, the incomparable Peter Dawson sings the Navy Hymnn to a picture montage.  Get yer hankies out.

Posted on 02/13/2007 9:39 AM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Bad to verse

Recently there was talk on this site of Steppenwolf. The band, that is, not the book. Their most famous song – I think it must be their most famous because it’s the only one I know – is Born to be Wild. Here’s how it starts:

 

Get your motor runnin’

Head out on the highway

Lookin’ for adventure

And whatever comes our way

 

That last line isn’t good. First of all, it’s an anticlimax. The singer and his darlin’ are charged with adrenalin, taking to the open road and ready to take on all comers. They are seeking out new challenges or “adventures”. Then suddenly, in line four, they go from active to passive. Whatever comes their way will have to do. They run out of steam. Moreover, “our way” doesn’t rhyme with “highway”. “My way” does, but “my way” and “highway” belong in another song, and in any case there are two of them in this motor.

 

This isn’t the worst rhyme in the whole history of popular music. Here is another bad rhyme from Rod Stewart’s You’re in my Heart, You’re in my Soul. He spots the woman of his dreams:

 

Breezing through the clientele

Spinning yarns that were so lyrical

I really must confess right here

The attraction was purely physical

 

Lyrical doesn’t rhyme with physical. A better rhyme would be “spherical”, but would he fall in love at first sight with a yarn-spinning lady who was rotund, and if he did, would he confess it right here? “Empirical” is an even better rhyme for “lyrical”, but it isn’t very romantic.

 

So is this the worst rhyme in pop music? No, there’s a worse one. Here is a verse of Don’t Stand So Close to Me by The Police. The song is about a schoolgirl who has a crush on a young teacher. He also has feelings for her, which he tries to suppress:

 

It’s no use, he sees her

He starts to shake and cough

Just like the old man in

That book by Nabokov

 

Now that is bad. “Shake and cough” (not to be confused with “Shake ‘n’ Vac") is forced to rhyme with Nabokov. You can only do this if you stress Nabokov in the wrong place, and even then, it’s only the “cough” that rhymes.

 

Shake and cough/Nabokov has a rival. This, by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, is the worst rhyme in the history of popular music, and probably the worst rhyme in the world, if not the worst thing in the world:

 

 

Ebony and ivory

Live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard

Oh lord

Why don’t we?

 

Keyboard/Oh lord. And it isn’t even a decent tune. 

Posted on 02/13/2007 1:05 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
What Surprises and Amazes

I know someone who, on behalf of various NGOs, has spent a great deal of time in the Muslim lands. Jordan, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, are places he knows well. It has taken him quite a while, but he has finally reached the conclusion, after years of thinking it could not possibly be so -- could it? -- that what all visitors to this website know about Islam, and the real intent of Muslims, is true. And has come to this conclusion slowly, reluctantly, and after years, he admits, of not wishing to see it, of trying to deny it.

Recently he described to me certain "Palestinians" whom he befriended long ago and who, therefore, think he still holds to the views he might, thirty or twenty or ten years ago, and who, therefore, speak openly to him. And what do they say? They say what will come as no surprise to anyone here, familiar with Muhammad's "war is deception" or with taqiyya or kitman, or merely the endless displays of hemming, hawing, dodging, lying, that one can see from every Muslim spokesman, about everything - in the Middle East, or right here at home.

And what did these "Palestinians" tell him, so openly? They told him that they would say whatever the West wanted them to say, pretend to believe whatever they had temporarily to pretend to believe, in order to get the Israelis to surrender yet again, but that now, with a fanatical fervor he had never heard, or perhaps had never quite recognized before, they told him that "of course Israel must be destroyed" and "of course we will only say these things in order to destroy Israel." He said this to me with surprise, and amazement.

I was not surprised. I was not amazed. Nor are you -- and you know why you are neither surprised nor amazed. But what does surprise you, what does amaze you, is something quite different. What surprises and amazes you is how little, apparently, so many people in positions of responsibility, in the government, in the media, in so many countries, including the United States, and Israel, and Great Britain, and France, and Germany, and another dozen European countries, do not know enough, know hardly anything, and seem to believe they should not be held responsible for knowing, anything at all about Islam, its doctrines, and its practice.

That is what surprises. That is what amazes.

Posted on 02/13/2007 1:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Time to Put English First

Newt Gingrich writing at Human Events:

One of the most frequent complaints I hear when I'm out traveling and speaking to groups is the lack of importance given to English as the language of success in the United States today. Whether it's the government's printing election ballots in other languages or bilingual education, Americans are concerned about the future of English as a unifying bond in our country.

Of course, don't expect to hear a lot of discussion of this topic in Washington. When was the last time you heard a politician talking about the fact that the Rasmussen poll reported that support for English as the official language was 85 percent? Or that the Zogby poll had it at 84 percent? With overwhelming public support like this, you would expect that promotion of English to be on the agenda of every elected official. But it's not. Instead, talking about English as a unifying bond -- and about learning English as the essential precondition for success in America -- is taboo. Why? Because the left labels anyone who talks about the importance of learning English as bigoted against immigrants...

the rest is here

Posted on 02/13/2007 1:49 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
I'd Do The Police In Different Voices

The personnel of The Police include the son (possibly in its earliest days, two sons) of Miles Copeland, he of the C.I.A., whose own understanding of the Middle East do not withstand scrutiny. But if Copeland of The Police 'scapes whipping for his father's politics, he does not for pronouncing the name Nabokov as a dactyl rather than, as the Russian requires, amphibrachically. Ben Jonson once said  that for "not keeping of accent" John Donne "deserved hanging." Ours to reason why, but having reasoned, not to disagree.

If I had my druthers, I'd re-record the song myself. In other words, I'd do The Police in different voices.

Posted on 02/13/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Nothing To Be Done?

Iran will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.--from this posting

I wonder if all those, including of course Wolfowitz and Feith, who are not unintelligent but who were ignorant of so much (just look at how Wolfowitz allowed himself to believe what plausible Shi'a in exile, and also his female Arab great and good friend, assured him about Islam), who thought they were doing the right thing in going into Iraq had any idea that unless the Americans pulled out just as soon as the regime was completely disrupted and the country scoured for weaponry (and both tasks were completed by the first few months of 2004), inevitably Tarbaby Iraq would keep them stuck, while the Islamic Republic of Iran inexorably continued on its nuclear project.

But the prediction that there is "nothing that can be done" is false or rather self-fulfilling. Out of Iraq now, not in order to go into Iran, but in order to destroy, from the skies (no invasion necessary or desirable) as much of that program as possible. And if booster shots are required, give those booster shots as needed.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
You and What Army?

GAZA CITY (AFP) - Radical Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad has threatened to attack US interests to avenge any harm inflicted on its leader after the United States put a five-million-dollar price on his head.--from this news item

"Threaten American interests"? They already threaten and do more than merely threaten, American interests. The 278 Marines in Lebanon killed by Hezbollah are not Americans who are "threatened" but dead. William Buckley, the C.I.A. agent in Beirut, was long ago tortured to death. The American citizens killed by Islamic Jihad are already dead, and many more would be dead were it not for the constant, unceasing detective work of the Israelis.

And yet these are among the people who are outraged that the Jizyah of aid to assorted "Palestinians" (the name given to the local Arabs who are the shock troops of the Lesser Jihad against Israel) should even temporarily be halted. And the world's press relays, or repeats, without comment, the very idea that such a halt in completely undeserved aid, that is a halt in this particular transfer of wealth from Infidels to Muslims (as if the ten trillion dollars given to Muslim states in OPEC since 1973 were not quite enough), an "economic blockade" or "boycott." Since when, if you choose not to give assistance to someone or some thing become an economic "boycott" or "blockade"?

If one chooses to no longer give a cent, say, to the university one has attended, because it has become obvious that that former staid but sober academic institution has inexorably become a grasping corporation with inflated salaries for its administrators, and with a teaching staff not entirely, but mostly full of self-promoters who, in the fields that matter most to be, are content to dish out to their semi-starved students the thin gruel of intellectual fashion ("post-modern or postcolonial or postsomethingorother discourse about Western world's putative mistreatment of 'the Other,' along with humorless and exaggerated complaints -- good especially for women on the make intent on riding this particular hobby-horse right to the top -- about the Wehrmacht-helmetted phallic hegemony of men, when the place you had long ago attended, the place you thought still existed (and that is something the Development Office of that university or college, the beating heart of it all, still wants you to think, until they relieve you of still more of your allowance) and that you would support, had it remained an educational institution dedicated, however imperfectly, mainly to the advancement and diffusion of knowledge.

No "blockade" or "boycott" there if you don't remember them in your will or give to them now. And no "blockade" or "boycott" of the "Palestinians" if we insist that they get their absurd handouts, inevitably to be used to conduct the Lesser Jihad against Israel (there is no evidence, none, to the contrary), from fellow members of the malevolent Umma, the Community of Believers, of Islam.

"Threaten American interests"? Any further attacks on the United States will lead to such a sea-change, now that the ground has been or is being prepared, in the attitude toward Islam, and toward those in our midst to carry within them that belief-system, and sole loyalty to it and to fellow Muslims, that the consequences will be great, beginning with the creation, of an atmosphere as intelligently hostile to the belief-system of Islam, and its adherents, as the American public was hostile to the Nazis during World War II, or to Communists and Communist sympathizers and collaborators during the Cold War. Such an intelligent response has been slow in the coming, but as people inform themselves, and are able to make sense of all their dimly perceived suspicions and jumble of observations that merely require the explanatory theory that will make sense of the data already accumulated, and possess predictive value for the future, there will be no stopping them. And those who think they can "threaten America" more than they do will have regretted making that assumption.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Autres Temps, Autres Moeurs

"Thank you for your time."
-- the final sentence in this open letter to Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza regrets. You see, Dinesh D'Souza, the man with a different book about a different subject every four, or three, or two years, not to mention all those conferences, all those meetings, all those lecture tours, all those ways to get money, money, money, and push that career, career, career, as a Bright Young Conservative, doesn't have the time to read widely, and think, and re-read, and read some more, and think some more. He is not a cultivated man, and he has no vast stores upon which to call, even though he is quick to prate about "illiberal education" there is no sign that, from his Dartmouth Review days onward, he ever had the "time" -- it takes time, time and deliberate otherworldiness, at least for a time -- to give himself that education.

It is instructive to compare his frenetic and empty prose with, say, that of C. S. Lewis in "The World's Last Night and Other Essays." Take, for example, "Screwtape Proposes a Toast." Or to compare the busy careerist, so like those he deplores, or pretends to, with Jacques Barzun, any page of Jacques Barzun, say one page in "The American University" or "Teacher in America" or "The House of Intellect." A product of a different age, with different standards, and not really as far from the things he deplores as he thinks.

If you want to see why Dinesh D'Souza, and the Rest of the Boys in the Racket, don't have "time" to think, just go to www.dineshdsouza.com, and once you have read through, by clicking on the left, the potted autobiographical self-promotion, click on "Events" and this is what you will find:

EVENTS CALENDAR 2007


FEB 13, 2007 Hillsdale College event, Fort Myers, Florida
FEB 13, 2007 Palm Beach Republican Club, Florida
FEB 15, 2007 San Diego Institute, San Diego
FEB 16, 2007 Reagan Ranch, Santa Barbara
FEB 21, 2007 Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
FEB 22, 2007 Malibu Women’s Republican Club
FEB 23, 2007 Republican Leadership Conference, Colorado Springs
MAR 08, 2007 Service Management Conference, Las Vegas
MAR 09, 2007 FTI Consulting, Vail, Colorado
APR 11, 2007 James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
APR 12, 2007 St. Sebastian School, Boston
APR 21, 2007 Daughters of the American Revolution, Columbus Ohio
APR 23, 2007 Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois
APR 26, 2007 Young Presidents Organization, Palm Beach, FL
MAY 11, 2007 Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa
MAY 17, 2007 Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Oklahoma City
JUNE 11-12, 2007 Freedom School, Tempe, Arizona
JULY 07, 2007 FreedomFest, Las Vegas
SEP 20, 2007 Whitworth College, Spokane, WA


Busy, busy, busy, is Dinesh D'Souza. In a way that those poor old fuddy-duddies C. S. Lewis, and Jacques Barzun, would never have been, would never even have comprehended.

Autres temps, autres moeurs.

And how.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Medieval?

"most of the religious doctrine that is practised in the mosques here is backward, tribal, from a medieval period"-- from the comments of Robert Kilroy-Silk

One can approve of Kilroy-Silk's (whose very name makes an American feel he is in P. J. Wodehouse land) recognition that there is something wrong with the practice of Islam, and at least in the Lands of the Infidels Muslims had better start setting it right.

But the notion that what is wrong can be described as "backward, tribal, medieval" is false and dangerous. The claim echoes those pseudo-reformers who pretend, for example, that the problems with the practice of Muslims has "nothing to do with Islam" (see Shirin Ebadi on the mistreatment of women in Iran) but are "cultural" or "tribal" (as if the most suave of Muslims, raised outside of any tribe or outside of a society suffused with Islam, cannot, merely by dint of being a Muslim, of thinking of himself as a Muslim, embrace totally the teachings of Islam -- see, for example, Tariq Ramadan or a thousand other well-spoken plausible smiling serpents or servants of Islam hissing all over the Western airwaves).

Nor is the problem with Islam its "medieval" practices. The "practices" enshrined as those of the exemplary figure, the Model of Right Conduct (uswa hasana), Muhammad, the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil), are not "medieval" at all, but rather date to the seventh or eighth centuries, and not the "medieval" period in Europe, but rather is identified quite differently in Dar al-Islam. Second, these practices of seventh or eighth century Arabia (as they are believed by Muslims to be -- (we of course are free to believe, based on the evidence, that the origins of the Qur'an, and of Islam, cannot be found in Mecca or the Hejaz, but further north and east, possibly in southern Syria, or possibly elsewhere, and at a time later than that ascribed to it in the Official Muslim Narrative)--are taken as worthy of emulation for all time, as out of time, in a sense, just like the Qur'an itself.

Kilroy-Smith, in calling these practices "tribal" and "medieval" lets Islam itself off the hook. But Islam enshrines, for all time, the "tribal" and the "backward" from the seventh or eighth centuries. That is Islam itself, not some strange addition to it, or some strange inability to get beyond what non-Muslims may not fully realize is the essence of Islam. They can't get out of what some might, in exculpatory fashion, call "tribal" or "backward." All that is part of the uncreated and immutable text of the Qur'an and the unchangeable facts of Muhammad's life, his acts, his words, even his silences.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Koran Quoting Non-Muslims
At YouTube, You can say pretty much whatever You want, as long as it's not about Islam. If that's not true, YouTube user Nick Gisburne begs to differ after his account – his entire account – was deleted for its "inappropriate content." What exactly did he say? Well, nothing really. He let the Koran speak for itself. --from this news item

He is guilty of what those two pastors in Australia were guilty of: actually quoting from the Qur'an and Hadith. That is not allowed. And of course the unforgivable act of Robert Spencer in his own books on Islam is his insistence on such copious quotation from the Qur'an and the Hadith. Why, just look at his book on Muhammad. There is not a single vague phrase in it. There is not a single non-Muslim authority in it. It's all based on what Muslims themselves, and only Muslims, have written. It's the Qur'an, the Hadith, it's the Sira, it's the Muslim commentators down through the centuries on all three.

How dare Robert Spencer, or those Australian pastors, or Nick Gisburne, read the Islamic texts, and what's more, how dare they quote them, not being Muslims? That's not right. That's not just. That must be stopped.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Danish Anti-Dhimmitude

In Denmark:

1. "The party [of Pia Kjaersgaard] generates a climate of anti-immigrant hatred [no, it is not "anti-immigrant hatred" but an attack on the permitting to settle deep within the country, and even favoring, those immigrants -- that is Muslims -- who do not and cannot support the legal and political institutions of that country, or its social arrangements and understandings, and do not, can not, wish the indigenous Infidels well] by suggesting, for example, that Muslims are appropriating apartments that should go to homeless Danes. The party also opposes the establishment of mosques and Muslim cemeteries. After a heated debate both in parliament and in the media in October, the party proposed the deportation of entire Muslim families if one family member was involved in a criminal offense."

2. "[Mogens] Glistrup has never been one to mince his words regarding what he describes as the 'Mohammeadan threat' facing the nation, proposing that all Moslems - regardless of their status of residence - should be forcibly expelled. ' We have no need for Mohammeadans in this country,' he said this week. 'We intend to draft a new law which would mean they lose their citizenship and can be physically thrown out of the country.'

Neither Pia Kjaersgaard nor Mogens Glistrup, based on these examples of what they say and think, appears irrational or malignant in the manner of Le Pen, and should not be confused either with him, or any other group. The views they express are certainly defensible, at least as defensible as the Benes Decree of Masaryk and Benes in 1946.

There is nothing "racist" about them, and while that charge can be made ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million times, it still is baseless, and easily shown to be so.

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Pseudsday Tuesday

Apophthegm of the week from Mark Kaplan:

Form without content can be useful if it shows that the form has a content of its own.

What does this mean? Does it apply to hats and cattle or to mouths and trousers? And what if there is neither form nor content? What if something is without form and void?

For those of us who puzzle over Kaplan's words,  Le Colonel Chabert comes to our rescue in the comments with this helpful insight from Machinic Critique. Forms, it seems, are no longer what they used to be:

Forms are no longer static grids through which a creative soul is pushed like a block of cheese, nor do they depend on the efforts of modernist innovators to craft and reshape them. They are machines, capable of reproducing themselves free of all extraneous input. Mourning of the lost ideal of novelty transforms into awe at the sheer productivity of the machine itself, “overwhelming us in spite of ourselves.” The ironic delivery and ironic reception, repeated today by the strategies of ‘meta-advertising,’ initially provides self-defense against having to acknowledge our proper role as the machine’s prostrate victims. One might say that it is the experience of a self-defense that always in the end fails (or reveals its fundamental failure through superficial maintenance) which typifies the ‘peak’ aesthetic pleasure of the contemporary era, a kind of Sublime that functions off of the contemporary faculty of Wit, the replacement of Reason.

Peak? Should that be pique, as in cheesed off?

Posted on 02/13/2007 2:58 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Regarding Cambridge

This, from Andrew Roberts' A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900:

There are plenty of causes for hope amongst the English-speaking peoples:  Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, until recently had more Nobel Prize-winners than France [.]

More hope, too, when one considers capitalist, democratic India with its vast number of English speakers, and its accelerating investment in science and technology.  They know Jihad, the majority of them don't like it, and they have fought it almost from its pestiferous advent on the world scene. 

Posted on 02/13/2007 4:47 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Robert Kilroy-Woollover

One can approve of Kilroy-Silk's (whose very name makes an American feel he is in P. J. Wodehouse land) recognition that there is something wrong with the practice of Islam, and at least in the Lands of the Infidels Muslims had better start setting it right.  (Hugh)

Lots of English people, never mind Americans, think Robert Kilroy-Silk is a bit posh. Wrong. In origin he is almost as common as muck. He comes from Birmingham, home of the worst accent in the world, and a place about as far removed from P. G. Wodehouse as it is possible to be.  His father, William Silk,  a stoker in the Royal Navy, was "lost at sea". His mother, Rose, then married his best friend John Kilroy, a car worker, who adopted the boy and gave him the first part of his surname.

Kilroy-Silk went to grammar school and beyond, as was possible before those excellent institutions were destroyed. But no silver spoon.

Alfred "Alistair" Cook, from Blackpool, has a similar history.

Not that it matters, but it is rather funny.

Kilroy-Silk gets quite a few things right, but he is a little bit bonkers, and a bit smarmy and a bit too tanned.

Posted on 02/13/2007 4:53 PM by Mary Jackson

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