These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 14, 2007.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
A tale from the latter days of newspapers
Free daily papers have their fans, but I am not one of them. It's hard watching people read them on the train when you suspect it's the only leisure reading they will do all day. (h/t John Hawkins).
Say what? 'Nobody reads newspapers anymore' allegedly gets columnist fired
The Internet, as we all know, has taken a toll on the venerable newspaper industry--so we'd understand that print media folks would be a little bit sensitive when their writers crack jokes about it. But, as it turns out, they might be more thin-skinned than we thought. Humor writer Elliot Kalan, who writes a column for the free daily newspaper New York Metro, might've just gotten fired over it.
Kalan, who is also a segment producer for Comedy Central's The Daily Show, wrote a column in the publication's August 3 edition entitled "Newspapers: Information's Horse & Buggy, in which he asserted that "Nobody reads newspapers anymore...As this very copy of Metro shows, the only way to get most people to read a newspaper is to literally force it into their hands." Ouch. A potshot not only to the print media as a whole, but also to the phenomenon of free dailies that are ungracefully waved in your face like giant newsprint mosquitoes as soon as you emerge from the dank underworld of New York City's subways.
New York magazine's Web site reported that the powers that be over at Metro, which also runs Boston and Philadelphia editions, weren't too happy, and sacked Kalan immediately.
Betting pool time: Which blog will hire him now?
Posted on 08/14/2007 5:12 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
New Khalil Gibran public school principal same as the old
This is a fine example of what you will not read in your newspaper this morning. Stop the Madrassa reports:
[New York City Schools] Chancellor Klein has predictably chosen Danielle Salzberg as the interim acting principal for [Khalil Gibran International Academy]. The actual KGIA problems of separation of church and state, and separation of education and Islamist ideology, will now become more acute behind the camouflage of a principal who, according to the NY Daily News, is a member of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance , was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household and belongs to a Manhattan synagogue, according to the New York Sun.
Salzberg has had “direct responsibility” for the KGIA’s flawed design that explicitly preferences Islam and Muslim religion in the curricula, and Islamist and sharia ideologies in the teacher “partners” for the school. And that she continues to have that “direct responsibility.”
She has direct responsibility for appointing Almontaser as principal, even while Almontaser serves on the Muslim Consultancy Network with a host of extremist organization participants including the unindicted co-conspirators in terrorism financing, ISNA and CAIR, the second of which also awarded her efforts with a major award.
Salzberg has direct responsibility as senior program officer for choosing an entirely religious Advisory Board for a public school, in apparent contempt of constitutional separation of church and state.
There's much more at Stop the Madrassa, including a critique of Salzberg's sharia-safe work at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Posted on 08/14/2007 5:50 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
AKP sticks with Gül as presidential candidate
Turkish Daily News
: The Party Executive of Turkey's Islamic-oriented ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) met behind closed doors for several hours Monday and decided to nominate Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül again for president despite strong opposition to his candidacy from the opposition and secularist establishment, including the military
Gül's candidacy signals that Erdogan's party apparently bowed to pressure from grass-root supporters despite serious concerns raised by secular circles about Gül's candidacy.
The presidential candidate of the AKP is expected to visit Tuesday opposition leaders and seek support. Parliament holds a first round of the presidential election next Monday, more than three months after the secularist elite, who include powerful army generals, derailed a first bid to have Gül, an ex-Islamist, elected as head of state.
It was Gül's candidacy that triggered a political crisis months ago, forcing the government to hold early parliamentary elections. When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed Gül as his party's candidate in April, it ignited a backlash from the secular opposition, which accused the government of having an agenda to scrap the secular traditions of the predominantly Muslim nation and of seeking a lock on power so it could impose Islamic ways unchecked...
Still, Gül's nomination showed that the government could be heading toward another showdown with secularists, including the military...
The job of president is critical to overall control of the state. The post is largely ceremonial, but the incumbent has the power to veto legislative bills and government appointments. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the current president, often frustrated the government by blocking its initiatives. ..
Posted on 08/14/2007 7:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Nearer my Quetzalcoatl to thee
When Catholic Bishops go bad: The Baron has the sickening story of a Dutch bishop who says,
I worked eight years in Indonesia, and prayed together with other priests. In the Eucharist of the Holy Mass God is there named Allah. Why don’t we look at this example and do the same thing? Why can’t we celebrate mass together?
Somehow I think Pope Benedict will expedite this bishop's request to take early retirement.
Posted on 08/14/2007 7:16 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Sword Swallowing to Oblivion
by Andrew G. Bostom
A review of Robert Spencer’s Religion of Peace?—Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t , Regnery, 2007, 246 pp.
This past December, 2006, a British radiologist, and the executive director of the Sword Swallowers Association International published a fascinating survey which evaluated, “information on the practices and associated ill-effects of sword swallowing.” The respondent sword swallowers typically required extended daily practice for months or years to appropriately desensitize their gag reflex,
…sometimes by repeatedly putting fingers down the throat, but other objects are used including spoons, paint brushes, knitting needles, and plastic tubes before the swallower commonly progresses to a bent wire coat hanger. The performer must then learn to align a sword with the upper esophageal sphincter with the neck hyper-extended.
Not surprisingly, such “desensitization” training does not spare sword swallowers from the predictable hazards of their chosen profession, including serious morbidities—perforations of the pharynx or esophagus and associated neck abscess or aspiration, pneumothorax, pleurisy, pericarditis, and intestinal bleeding, ranging from melena (frankly bloody stools), to blood-transfusion-requiring hematemesis (vomiting blood)—and even death.
Posted on 08/14/2007 8:07 AM by NER
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Protect the American Media
Whether They Deserve It or Not
It is a hard thing to defend the American media. Even when they are right and even when they badly need defending.
In large part, that’s because press hypocrisy is so striking. Journalists demand two sets of rules: one for themselves, one for everyone else.
They claim monopoly over the dark corners where their sources and sometimes deceptive intelligence-gathering practices must be shielded from public scrutiny. Everyone else -- even those upholding not the public’s dubious “right to know” but its constitutional right to life -- are expected by the selfsame media to operate in the sunshine.
Now, moreover, we find the American media -- those post-sovereign, Global-Village-lovin’, We Are the World-hummin’ transnational progressives -- insisting that they, uniquely, must be swaddled in the majesty of enlightened American law, protected from such well-known retro-bastions as Europe and Canada which seem not to have heard of American libel law, as laid down in New York Times v. Sullivan. Naturally, the media would have the rest of us cowboy chauvinists hew to the Geneva Conventions even when they don’t apply, knock down life-saving security fences because they offend the World Court, and refrain from defending ourselves until Ban Ki Moon gives us the high-sign. We, it seems, are relegated to the glorious International Community, but when it comes to their day-to-day, the Fourth Estate prefers Love American Style, thank you very much.
Intellectually, it is not difficult to grasp that some of this asymmetry is necessary. The mind can separate the role of the press in a functioning democracy from the smugness with which modern journalists perform it. There can be no self-determination without knowledge. Period. Journalists are our eyes and ears, informing us of what we haven’t the time or resources to learn for ourselves. They obviously need to be cut some slack.
Though it’s right up my alley, I have found it very difficult to get worked into a lather over the latest treachery perfected by our friends the Saudis: The use of the International Community’s benighted libel laws to stifle American First Amendment freedoms.
International law may be a gorgeous mosaic when the media want to slap around some nettlesome conservative daring to suggest that maybe the Supreme Court shouldn’t be using other countries’ precedents to interpret U.S. legal principles. But not when journalists are hoist on their own petard. So now the media suddenly see the wisdom in letting America be America. There’s no need to evolve the First Amendment’s settled American jurisprudence. This is the media, after all. This isn’t some one-horse town seeking justice for a victim viciously murdered. For those rubes, better the Supreme Court study the law of Sierra Leone than apply settled American death penalty precedents. For really important people with really important problems, like journalists facing libel suits, who cares what Great Britain thinks when we’ve got good old press-friendly standards made right here in the U.S. of A.?
The rest is here.
Posted on 08/14/2007 8:14 AM by Andy McCarthy
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
A Sensible Policy Toward Turkey
What would constitute a sensible American policy toward Turkey -- sensible, that is, for American and Infidel interests?
It would, in the first place, be based on the recognition that the American assumption that Kemalism -- i.e., the systematic constraining of Islam as a political and social force -- was not only here to stay, but its effects would become ever wider and ever less reversible in Turkey -- was flatly wrong. Islam is like Rasputin and keeps coming back, but unlike Rasputin, it cannot, at long last, be put paid to. The reason that there are sensible Turks, people to whom one can talk in a way that one cannot, for example, talk to Arabs with (save for those few remarkable exceptions Westerners keep confusedly assuming are representative of more than a handful), people who are or are on their way to becoming recognizable members of the modern, secular world, is because of Ataturk and his intelligent efforts to weaken Islam.
Second, the Americans should themselves realize, and make those Turks they have dealings with realize, that the Cold War is over, that Turkey is no longer quite as necessary as a listening post and site for airbases (not least because of the new possibilities in formerly communist states such as Bulgaria), and that since Turkey shows no signs of allowing the present bases to be used for operations against Muslim states, those bases are in any case of far less worth than they once were.
Third, the American government should stop supporting Turkish entry into the E.U. Such support merely antagonizes, rightly, Europeans, who do not relish the notion of a country with 80 million Muslims entering the E.U., its people allowed then to travel and settle at will anywhere they wish within that E.U., and furthermore, given the already-horrific security nightmare that large Muslim populations present, given that along with Turks and Turkish Kurds all sorts of others will be able to slip in (how easy will it be for the border police in, say, Italy, to detect the difference between a Turk, say, and an Arab who has a false passport and a few words of Turkish?). The Turkish lobby in America is very strong; among those who have been agents of Turkey are Richard Perle (who introduced Erdogan two years ago at an A.E.I. event -- the same Perle who was so intelligent about the Soviet Union when he and Dorothy Fosdick worked for Senator Jackson has never, apparently, felt the need to study Islam) and Douglas Feith; Brent Scowcroft is now an agent of Turkish interests.
Fourth, there should be a recognition that the thoroughly westernized Turks who form the officer class in Turkey, and who meet with their Pentagon counterparts, do not represent Turkey but represent, possibly, one-quarter of Turkey. The Turkish Muslim masses never gave up on Islam, just as the Iranian Muslim masses never did -- to the great surprise of the reformist Bakhtiars and revolutionary Abolhassan-Bani-Sadrs and all the others who either tried to modify the Shah's regime, or to work against it, and as leftists in the Mossadegh line thought they could work with, and use for their own purposes Khomeini, when it was Khomeini, of course, who used them. The secular class in Turkey, the class that goes to the shopping malls, that thinks of itself as thoroughly modern, that sends its children to school in the West, that despises the Arabs and is largely lapsed in its observance of Islam (and no doubt mocks those Believers who come to stare at the fossilized Footsteps of Muhammad preserved at Topkapi), accepted, or rather pocketed, the Kemalist dispensation that made their lives of relative mental freedom possible, but also handed over the duty of preserving Kemalism and keeping Islam in its box to the army, and the army wasn't enough.
The replacement-myth of Kemalism, by which the nationalist narrative of "the Turk" as "the Sun People" (see Inonu), the "Turks" who apparently were in Anatolia long before the Seljuk and the Osmanli Turks arrived, practically back to the time of the Hittites, in a sense replaced, or at least competed with, the narrative of Islam, and in which the cult of personality (kult lichnosti) of Ataturk replaced the cult of Muhammad, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, needs to be given a New Release. And this New Release, Kemalism 2.1, should be based not on that super-nationalism that carries over elements of Islam (in the celebration-narrative of "the Turk," the only "Turks" who count are the Muslim Turks-- Greeks, Armenians, Jews may be Turkish citizens, but are not full-fledged Turks), but on the Enlightenment, whose time has not as yet come anywhere in the Muslim lands, but if it does come somewhere, that somewhere is likely to be Turkey, or one or two of the Central Asian Stans, or possibly neo-Destourian Tunisia.
In other words, Kemalism did not succeed, or is under assault, because the reforms instituted by Kemal Ataturk were not continued, and the secularists in their "let-the-army-do-it" have failed not only Turkey, but themselves. If Erdogan and Gul and the primitive masses bring back Islam in a big way, it will be because Turkey's secularists were insufficiently farsighted and insufficiently ruthless.
Fifth, as to that "ruthlessness" -- the Americans and Europeans should not be outraged, nor pretend to be outraged, should the Turkish military stage a coup to stop the slow, steady, systematic de-Kemalization of Turkey, the attempt to little by little undo all that Ataturk wrought. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali has noted, Infidels outside of Turkey are not aware of how cunningly the forces of Islam operate, of how they use every individual freedom -- freedoms which they would not tolerate for one minute were they in power -- and the dictates of the E.U. to Turkey as an applicant -- to tie down any conceivable response by the army as the guardian of Kemalism.
Real freedom for Turkey means freedom from the mental submission that Islam demands, and no one should be fooled into thinking that this doubly-totalitarian Total System of Belief brings "freedom" of the kind that George Bush, so dimly aware, or dim in his awareness, of so much, means or thinks he means when he talks about bringing "freedom" and "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East. In Turkey, true freedom comes only from those who uphold Kemalist constraints on Islam, and how they do it should be their own business.
Posted on 08/14/2007 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
The Road To Morocco
Westerners visit, or live in Morocco, for three main reasons.
The first is simply to enjoy the usual club-mediterranee delights of sand and sea, and if the prices are lower than elsewhere, despite the constant haggling and attempts to cheat you -- in the souk, in the taxi-tete, on the street, everywhere (but this is par for the Arab course, so that some become inured to the hideousness of it all).
The second are those French retirees who see Morocco as the place to go, a place that will be relatively safe -- in other words, a place akin to Costa Rica for American retirees. It is not out of place to note that the desire to leave France by these retirees is in part due to the expense and growing unpleasantness of life, which, in turn, is partly a consequence of by the growing presence of unreconstructed Muslims in France, and among them, of the very Moroccan Muslims among whom those retirees will now settle. Even a "cultural Muslim" such as the travel writer Shah (son of the Sufi writer Idries Shah), who has squeezed every bit of paid prose he can in the English press for his house-renovation in Morocco, must surely be having second thoughts.
The third are the Western film crews. When you need an Arab locale, Morocco is the place for you, or perhaps -- Morocco is the place that was once for you, but should not be any longer, given the expense of insuring film stars and protecting the representatives of the "decadent" Western film industry. And then, overnight, a crew can be booted out if an Arab leader decides to intervene.
Decades ago, the movie about Mohammad (script by Harry Craig, financing by assorted rich Arabs) started to be filmed in Morocco, when a phone call arrived from a Saudi prince to the King of Morocco, and overnight that entire film production company had to leave -- to go, I recall, to Libya where Khaddafy, always willing to buck the Saudis whom he cannot stand, allowed the movie to be made.
The myth persists that Morocco is safe. But in August 1994 there were coordinated attacks on foreigners (and Moroccan Jews) and again, a series of five attacks in May 2003 (with the same targets), and there have been intermittent attacks, including those on luxury hotels.
How crazy does one have to be, given such circumstances, to endure constant worry in order to see the souk, where one is being constantly cheated, or colors not more impressive than those of a thousand other places. The world is large; the Arab world is not the place for Infidels to travel to, or settle in, certainly not in the conditions of complete political and mental and moral disarray that the world of Islam, dimly aware of its own failures but unable to attribute those failures to anything but the Infidel, a view that meshes perfectly with, and indeed naturally is prompted by, the worldview that Islam inculcates, in which there must be unremitting hostility toward non-Muslims, and recognition that a permanent state of war (if not of open warfare, or qitaal) exists between Believers and Infidels.
French retirees can choose other places -- can even choose to stay in France. Movies can be made elsewhere. Tourists, rushing hither and yon, should not take a maghbrebian vacation in which, every minute, they must worry about whether or not they will be the specific targets of attack themselves, or merely present when a major tourist site is attacked on the theory that whoever is there -- at Luxor, in Egypt, where more than 60 Swiss tourists were murdered, or at Djerba, in "safe" Tunisia, or of course all over Algeria, where Westerners simply should not go, period.
Posted on 08/14/2007 10:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
The Entreaty of Breda
Why not, instead, have the Muslims use the English term "God"? This bishop of Breda, who served for eight years in Indonesia, shows no signs of having bethought himself then or in the years since, about the mistreatment and murder of Christians in the Moluccas or elsewhere at the hands of Muslims in Indonesia. One wonders when, and from whom -- was it in Indonesia? was it back in the Netherlands, in Breda? -- he absorbed and internalized the attitudes of the classic islamochristian, the dhimmi who continues to call himself a "Christian" but, having had a close encounter with Islam, aggressive and sure of itself and on the march wherever possible, can think of no response except to give in, to pretend that the apologists are right, that there really is no difference between these "three abrahamic faiths" save for a little matter of naming of parts, the biggest part being that played by God, who this dramaturge/bishop thinks might be better played by "Allah."
""Why not call God Allah" plaintively pleads the soon-to-be-put-out-to-pasture Bishop, as his mental powers are clearly failing -- dementia praecox -- and he is no longer capable of tending his flock but has become a baa-baa black sheep of the Church himself as he sheepishly calls for a pre-emptive surrender to Islam, which he allows himself to believe is merely a matter of a nomenclatorial substitution without significance.
Call it the Entreaty of Breda.
Posted on 08/14/2007 12:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Bias at the BBC
The BBC continues to be a mindless apologist for Islamic outrage and often the severest critic of American and Israeli efforts to protect themselves from such outrages but this morning (Aug. 14, 2007) they outdid themselves by a an error of 100 x the real magnitude. You might like to look at this morning's 8:00 Am EST telecast of the news from the BBC-America where the news announcer without the slightest look of puzzlement or query.......
mentioned today as the first anniversary of last summer's cease-fire in Lebanon and that Hizbollah leader Nasrallah would deliver a major speech in Beirut today. She then reminded viewers that in... "that conflict, 100,000 Lebanese*, mostly civilians (sic ! and sick !), were killed;. Israel lost 187."
What this addition of two extra zeroes shows is not only the inherent bias of an institution that but that the so called "prestigious" announcers or commentators who work for the BBC have absolutely NO intrinsic knowledge of world events, but only read or misread the lines put in front of them.
* instead of 1,000
Posted on 08/14/2007 1:07 PM by Norman Berdichevsky
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Threats and Responses
"Appa [the person threatening to kill Geert Wilders in unambiguous terms], who says he represents a large group of Muslims youth in disadvantaged neighbourhoods..."-- from this news article
Why do we have this bit of irrelevant information passed on to us by the writer of the article above?
Who cares if Appa, the would-be killer, thinks or doesn't think that he "represents a large group of Muslim youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods"? What does that have to do with his death threat, made in a small country where in recent years not one but two people known for bravely defying Muslim bullying were killed, one with a gun by a simpleton, van der Graaf, who was persuaded by others that Pim Fortuyn was attacking the most "helpless" members of Dutch society -- i.e., Muslims, and the second by Mohammed B.(ouyeri), to whom Appa alludes by referring to a "Mohammed C." who may come along to finish off Geert Wilders.
The death threat was made, made in a context of previous acts that entitle Geert Wilders, and the Dutch government, to arrest and imprison, or deport (better to deport) Appa and all those who think like, or defend, or support Appa and all the appas. They clearly cannot integrate into, do not understand the basic legal and political framework of, and individual rights that are indispensable to, the nation-state of the Netherlands, the product of centuries of work and thought and industry by Infidels, with not a single Muslim contribution that even the cleverest Muslim apologist can name.
In 1970 there were 15,000 Muslims in the Netherlands. There are now one million. They are causing, they have caused, a situation for the indigenous Dutch (and of course for other, but non-Muslim immigrants, such as Vietnamese Buddhists, Hindus from India and even Indonesia, and Chinese of Confucian or Christian or other persuasion) that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than it would be without that quite unwelcome, quite unnecessary, and deeply dangerous Muslim presence, a presence that the Muslims themselves recognize as being one behind what they are taught to regard, and most do regard, as enemy lines, the lines of the Infidels.
Those countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands that pride themselves on their easy-going tolerance ought to realize that it is a false tolerance, even a diseased tolerance, to continue to tolerate in one's midst a permanent danger to real -- i.e., Western -- tolerance, based on Western enshrinement of individual rights -- tolerating a doubly-totalitarian Belief System, that offers a Complete Regulation of LIfe, and a geopolitical plan that justifies, by any instruments available and effective (and not merely qitaal, or combat, or its variant "terrorism"), the removal of all obstacles to the spread and dominance of Islam everywhere, and everywhere a situation where Muslims rule.
Benes and Masaryk were wise, tolerant, advanced statesmen, two who belonged to an older and better educated generation. They had no hesitation in implementing the Benes Decree(s) of 1946, and in banishing the Sudeten Germans who had proved to be such a threat. For them, for the Czechs, Germany lay prostrate, but they were not about to take another chance. And no one at the time, and no one since, has thought what the Czechs then did was immoral -- save for a handful of German revanchists and those who have a particular soft-spot, one that deserves to be examined, for the treatment of Germans after the war.
Why should the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, and the other countries of Europe not recognize a similar permanent danger in their midst? And if Germany was prostrate in 1946, the world of Islam is hardly prostrate today, but feels itself, with that ten trillion dollars in OPEC money received since 1973, with all the aid, a disguised Jizyah, that is received, almost as tribute, by Muslim states and nascent statelets that have no oil or gas, but are able to count on the foreign aid -- a disguised Jizyah -- that the Infidels provide.
Study the threats, and the intelligent response to recognized threats, in the not-so-distant past.
Posted on 08/14/2007 1:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
"Five Guantanamo Bay inmates that ministers want to bring to Britain are "extremely dangerous" with close ties to Al Qaeda, the Pentagon has warned.
US officials disclosed details days after Gordon Brown's surprise decision to call for their release.
None of the men is a British national but were all legally resident in the UK before they were detained and taken to the notorious US detention camp."--- from this news article
The American government has now publicly warned the government of Great Britain, about these people. If that government still demands that they be released to it, one of two things can happen.
The first is that, since none of the five is a British citizen (merely "legal residents"), they could be charged in Great Britain, and ultimately --- no doubt, given the state of things, after expensive and time-consuming procedures -- be deported. In their countries of origin, they will be drops added to an ever-replenishing bucket. It is up to the authorities in those countries -- Khaddafy, say, preparing a suitable welcome for a Libyan Al-Qaeda supporter -- to deal with each of their citizens as they deem fit. Some will be quite unpleasant, not because they are against Jihad but because they don't like threats to themselves and their regimes, and Al Qaeda is a movement uninterested in the wellbeing of individual Arab regimes, claiming (rightly) that Arab and Muslim rulers are almost all corrupt (true), and insufficiently Muslim (probably true).
The second is that they are rashly permitted to remain in Great Britain, to become a very expensive and permanent headache for the security services, and the object of stories in the Daily Mail. This will be a lesson for everyone in the impossibility of Infidel nation-states continuing their immigration policies (and offering of "asylum" of those who are not the kind of asylum seekers, innocent victims of Nazis and Communists and other terror-regimes, but rather those who would if they could inflict their own terror-regimes, and not only in the countries they came from), and begin to push people to become much more clear-headed about this permanent problem, to change their immigration policies, and to change domestic policies so that Muslims will find Great Britain not foolishly welcoming but determinedly unwelcoming, even hostile, and if that does not work to undo the effects of the past several decades of heedlessness in immigration policy, then such measures of obvious self-defense as the Benes Decree (that was put into effect by the tolerant, advanced, but much put-upon Czech government, headed by those two European statesmen Eduard Benes and Jan Masaryk, son of Tomas, who after the Czech experience with ethnic Germans -- Sudeteners -- in 1938, and then during the war, when the Volksdeutsche were treated by the invading Nazis as fellow Germans, and many of them were happy to accept what that status meant in a period of war and occupation).
Posted on 08/14/2007 1:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
They just couldn't leave well enough alone, could they?
This is one wall I would try to put back up before Halloween (from The Scotsman):
NEW evidence has been unearthed suggesting Orkney islanders once built a physical barrier between the land of the living and the spirit world.
Archaeologists are working on a Neolithic settlement, dating back nearly 5,000 years.
Only a small part of the Ness of Brodgar site has been unearthed, but already experts say it has given up fascinating discoveries and is helping them better understand the wider Neolithic complex between the Ring of Brodgar stone circle and the standing stones of Stenness.
It is even suggested that the remains of the unusual buildings recovered at Ness of Brodgar could be as historically significant as the islands' famous Skara Brae village.
Village of Skara Brae
"On the far curving shore of the bay lies Skara Brae, hazy through the sea-haar."
George Mackay Brown - Rockpools and Daffodils
Posted on 08/14/2007 1:58 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Et In Orcadia Ego
While the Orkney Islands may not offer an adjective as redolent as that offered by the accommodating Isle of Wight ("vectensian"), it is the kind of place you know you want to spend a summer visiting, rather than going off to some fetid souk-infested land. There is, or was, George Mackway Brown, who died a decade ago, and who is quoted below. There is Peter Maxwell Davies, whose works need no. There is Charles Harrison Wallace, whose animadversions on Ezra Pound and his unacknowleded copious borrowings for his versions of Anglo-Saxon verse -- "The Seafarer," I think, or possibly "The Wanderer" -- have recently animated the Letters page of the T.L.S. There is, or was, St. Magnus, who gives his name to the St. Magnus Festival.
And there is my ancestor, Murdoch Mackay, who for all I know has a stone memorializing him. And because he is buried somewhere in the Orkneys (I don't even know on which island) I like to think that there is a little part of me, reversing Brooke's military cemetery conceit, that is -- and now here comes that adjective, as previously noted not up to the level of "vectensian" but possessing its own close-but-no-cigar off-the-mark beauty, "forever Orcadian."
Thanks to Murdoch Mackay, I can scrawl -- in delible crayon -- on a wall, so as to proudly affirm: "Et in Orcadia ego."
Posted on 08/14/2007 2:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Et In Arcades Ego (Pedibus Calcantibus)
In a recent review (Times Book Review, August 2007) of essays by J. M. Coetzee, Walter Kirn discusses the famously planned-but-never-completed “Arcades Project” of Walter Benjamin. In attempting to orient American readers, he describes these Parisian Arcades of Benjamin’s imagination as “shopping centers.” Often acute, Kirn here wields an unwonted blunt bodkin, offering a gloss that simply will not do.
The “Arcades” as in “The Arcades Project” of desperate and doomed Walter Benjamin have nothing to do with giant shopping malls arrived at in shark-finned cars of the 50s and 60s, or clumsy menacing SUVs and among them, darting in and out, quickwitted little Toyotas and Hondas and Kias. “Arcades” are about a Paris Haussmannized but still humanized. They are about walking or, rather, not walking but about L’Art de Flâner, the flâneur. They look back to Baudelaire, not forward to a car-park where you emerge, packages in hand, in both hands, having forgotten where you parked your damn car, and forlornly or furiously wandering about, until at long last you remember, or perhaps, if your car is new, it will upon your pressing a button your key-chain, emit a sweet little chirp of identifying welcome, as a domestic pet should. And in doing so, it might be noted, the last line of the following stanza in Humbert’s Song to Lolita is endowed with new meaning: “Where are you riding, Dolores Haze?/What brand is your magic carpet?/And is a cream cougar the current craze?/And where are you parked, my car pet?” Yes, I find myself saying aloud in the mall parking lot at least once a week to my car, but usually when it is beyond hearing range: where are you parked, my car pet?
The word “Arcades” should put us in the roofed, protected-from-the-weather, line of shops that constitute the great original of all our “gallerias” – the Galleria in Milan, built circa….If you are English, you will no doubt also be thinking of the Burlington Arcade, those tie-shops and buying-bespoke tailors, the kind of place you go to, if well-heeled enough, to-or-from the supposedly wonderful gentlemen’s hairdresser at George Trumper, playing for your own delight a version of a remembered movie-version Regency rake, slightly updated, wandering in Belgravia or Mayfair, even possibly humming along to the remembered words of Jack Buchanan crooning “And Her Mother Came Too.”
Walter Kirn didn’t have to go into all of this. There wasn’t space. There wasn’t time. But he could simply have said that the “Arcades” are shopping-galleries, roofed-in, in the middle of cities, and not, like our shopping centers, lying in roadside inveigling wait, like stationary highway robbers. It was inaccurate and lazy of him to settle for “shopping centers.” That misses the point. What are “shopping centers”? What have shopping centers been ever since the first one was opened in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1951? A Shopping Center is out, out, out, off Route 128, or Route 495, or Route this, or Route that. A Shopping Center has one or two anchor tenants, a nice department store, or a confident Best Buy, or Sears with those Kenmore appliances that always do so well in those Consumer’s Reports lists we all find so soothing to consult, don’t we? And a changing caste of other characters that might include (choose what you like) a CVS, a Borders Bookstore, a Bruegger’s Bagels, a Dunkin Donuts, a Sears, a T. J. Maxx, a Gap, a Radio Shack, a Wendy’s or a Macdonald’s or a Domino’s Pizza, a Taco Bell or that brevetted Kentucky Colonel…Here, you’re not busy. Why don’t you go and rent out the rest of the space yourself, since you think you’re such a dab hand at commercial real estate?
Whatever the “Arcades Project” would have turned out to be, had Benjamin lived (and not killed himself when, as a desperate refugee from the Nazis, he was refused admittance at the Spanish border), it would not have been about anything resembling the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota -- “Mall of America® is located in Bloomington, Minnesota, at the crossroads of Interstate 494 and Highway 77, five minutes from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and 15 minutes from the downtown areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul” --with its Acres of Free Parking, bien entendu, “at the crossroads of Interstate 494 and Highway 77.”
Nor should readers be tempted to confuse the “Arcades Project” with the penny-arcades of the boardwalks of the American past that so inspired Joseph Cornell (who, to our good fortune, almost never tried to think outside the box).
No, those Arcades have nothing to do with “Shopping Centers” and nothing to do with Atlantic City taffy. They were not to be arrived at, or departed from by car, in the still-humanized and Haussmannized Paris that filled Benjamin’s teeming but -- in these last years -- ungleamed brain. Nor by the bus, the mocked “omnibus” of J.-J. Grandville’s “Vie privée des animaux” prints. Visitors to the Arcades Project of Walter Benjamin, and those who read reviews of books that discuss his “Arcades Project,” must arrive, and leave, as they would have to in real-life shopping arcades, walking and not driving.
That’s what “Arcades,” but not automobile-based “shopping centers,” are all about. Strictly pedibus calcantibus. I know. I’ve been there. I’ve done that.
Or as future rustics in our soon-to-be (shall we give it 50 years? 100 years?) tristes tropiques will read on the ruins of those Temples of Shopping: Et in Arcades ego.
Posted on 08/14/2007 2:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Speaking of gallerias
This one impresses a lot of folk, myself included (suggested by this post below).
Posted on 08/14/2007 5:11 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Speaking of texture
Posted on 08/14/2007 5:35 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Muslim Brotherhood Phonebook Confirms that MAS is Brotherhood's Baby
From Jeffrey Imm at Counterterrorism Blog:
As the terror-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) continued today, FBI agent Lara Burns testified that a phonebook found at the home of Ismail Elbarrasse - un-indicted co-conspirator and former assistant to HAMAS leader Musa Abu Marzook - listed the names and numbers of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the United States. On the first page of the phonebook under the title “Members of the Board of Directors” were fifteen names. Among those names are Ahmad Elkadi, Jamal Badawi, and Omar Soubani: the founding incorporators of the Muslim American Society (MAS).
This evidence confirms Counterterrorism Blog contributor Matthew Levitt’s expert testimony that MAS is the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, and is substantiated by a 2003 Chicago Tribune article that outlined the history of MAS.
Ahmad Elkadi, who told the Chicago Tribune that he was the leader of the Brotherhood in the U.S. from 1984-1994, worked with Mohammed Mahdi Akef, head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood since 2003, to advocate for the founding of MAS. According to the Tribune report, Akef and Elkadi pushed for more openness for the Muslim Brotherhood through MAS. Akef himself “says he helped found MAS by lobbying for the change during trips to the U.S.”
In fact, MAS does not deny its Muslim Brotherhood foundations. In 2004, then-Secretary General of MAS Shaker Elsayed stated to the Tribune that “Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS…” Elsayed even went so far as to admit that about 45 percent of MAS’s active members belong to the Brotherhood. Federal officials have confirmed this, noting continued ties between MAS and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A senior Muslim Brotherhood official in Cairo, Mohamed Habib, seems to explain MAS’ motivations for espousing Brotherhood ideology while simultaneously distancing itself from the movement that birthed it: “I don’t want to say MAS is a [Brotherhood] entity. This causes some security inconveniences for them in a post-Sept. 11 world.”
Also on Tuesday, Joshua Dratel, attorney for Defendant Muhammad El Mezain, asked Burns about a donation sent to the Holy Land Foundation from a man who called himself “Sultan Mahmoud” from New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1996. In a letter addressed to the New Jersey HLF branch office, “Sultan Mahmoud,” offered
“… a modest contribution for our people suffering from Jewish/ Christian (Western) crimes. In’s’Allah [God-willing] both will be defeated/slaughtered and kicked out of Islamic lands. This is for relief supplies and weapons to crush the hated enemy.”
Dratel tried to make light of the letter during his cross examination by asking Agent Burns if she thought that “Sultan Mahmoud” sounded like a nut.
During redirect by the Government, Assistant U. S. Attorney James Jacks asked Burns what happened with the donation. Agent Burns testified that HLF not only accepted the “modest contribution” but that “Sultan Mahmoud” was added to HLF’s mailing list and was later solicited for more donations.
Posted on 08/14/2007 7:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum