These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 25, 2007.
Friday, 25 May 2007
Man killed 'over religious talk'
A young Muslim convert stabbed a man to death for talking about religion, the Old Bailey has heard.
Painter and decorator Michael McKenzie, 40, was attacked in Peckham, south London, in April last year.
The court heard he was stabbed in the neck at a bus stop shortly after going for a drink after work.
The youth, who was 15 at the time, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Thursday and remanded in custody until sentencing on 5 July.
Mr McKenzie went for a drink and then to the bus stop outside Peckham library to catch the number 63 back to his home . . . (the deceased) was heard to be shouting. He pointed towards the sky and said `there is no Muslim, there is no Christian, the God I believe in is this God'," Mr Goose said.
He sounds a bit tipsy, but a belief in a universal God who supersedes denominations is not offensive.
The youth initially did not react but when a bus pulled up at the stop the driver saw him stab Mr McKenzie in the neck.
He ran off back to the children's home where he lived, leaving a trail of blood, and washed his clothes in the laundry.
The court heard that the teenager was a convert to Islam who was living in care after suffering abuse at the hands of his father.
Now 17, he was said to be a "psychiatrically disturbed, vulnerable and potentially dangerous young man".
My father-in-law says that some naïve people think that Muslims are like Anglicans, just without hymns Ancient and Modern and have no idea how dangerously wrong they are. I suppose the children’s home workers thought that finding faith would help this boy. Had he turned to a fascist ideology I’m sure efforts would have been made to separate him from his mentors, but I suspect the conversion to Islam was encouraged.
It won’t be easy to achieve in people's minds but if Islam could be redefined as an ideology not a faith we would be getting somewhere.
Posted on 05/25/2007 1:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 25 May 2007
The size of your fingers, that is.
We ordinary folk can't tell how clever someone is, but scientists can. For example, scientists proved conclusively that people with red bits in their brain are cleverer than people with blue bits. Click on the comprehensive and informative diagram below for more details:
Now scientists have got more sophisticated. It isn't just about the colour of your brain bits. Thanks to Rebecca for this:
A quick look at the lengths of children's index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims.
Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.
Scientists have known that different levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the womb account for the different finger lengths, which are a reflection of areas of the brain that are more highly developed than others, said psychologist Mark Brosnan of the University of Bath, who led the study...
"Finger ratio provides us with an interesting insight into our innate abilities in key cognitive areas," Brosnan said, in a prepared statement. The results will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the British Journal of Psychology.
In the future, his team will see if finger-length ratios are related to other cognitive and behavioral issues, such as technophobia, career paths and possibly dyslexia.
It's well known that people with longer ring fingers leave the toilet seat up, hog the remote control, never ask for directions and never remember birthdays. But this business about finger length is a bit too sophisticated for me. When it comes to measuring intelligence, there is a much simpler method: head size. I posted about this a while ago:
British scientists have just confirmed a link between head size and intelligence.
It’s obvious, when you think about it. A bigger head means a bigger brain. And you can see how big somebody’s head is and draw your own conclusions. Self-confessed big head Helen Rumbelow asks a very pertinent question:
When we imagine the classic (super-intelligent) alien, it has a gigantic head. Could we eventually evolve into something like that?
By the way, do you know what they say about men with big noses? They smell good.
Posted on 05/25/2007 3:38 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 May 2007
Bill Deedes doesn't believe in grammar schools:
Yes, of course we must foster the bright child if we are to maintain our competitive position in the world. But the Conservative Party would be insane to go back half a century as the right way of doing it. It would stand Cameron's endeavour to bring his party into the 21st century on its head.
You young whippersnapper, you. Just because something's old, it doesn't mean it's useless. And where did Bill Deedes to to school? Harrow, that's where.
I don't know which is worse - hypocritical left-wingers who oppose selection but send their children to private school, or privately educated Tories who oppose selection for common people but think it was fine for them.
Bill Deedes is coming up to 94. Old codgerdom can only be postponed for so long.
Posted on 05/25/2007 4:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 May 2007
The French are going to bribe immigrants to return home (h/t DW):
New French President Nicolas Sarkozy made immigration a central issue of his campaign. Now, his new minister for immigration and national identity says its time to start paying immigrants to leave the country.
France is home to over 5 million immigrants -- and the new conservative-led government doesn't plan on making things any more comfortable for them. While the new regime in Paris is determined to curb illegal immigration, it is also looking to encourage legal migrants to reconsider their decision to stay in France -- by paying them to go back home.
Under the scheme, Paris will provide each family with a nest egg of €6,000 ($8,000) for when they go back to their country of origin. A similar scheme, which was introduced in 2005 and 2006, was taken up by around 3,000 families.
On the surface this seems like a compromise between tolerating unlimited immigration with its associated problems, and expulsions, which could be called inhumane. However, while we must let the results speak for themselves (as with that other revolutionary French idea, it's too early to say), I have strong reservations.
First, the policy does not appear to distinguish between types of immigrants. Some immigration is good for a country, and should be permitted in a controlled way. Muslim immigration is bad for a country and should not be permitted.
Secondly, there is something ludicrous about paying people, Muslim or not, for doing nothing other than turning up in your country and being unwanted. I can imagine thousands of immigrants collecting their €6,000 as they pass Go, then telling their friends back home about this "nice little earner". France will be swamped in no time.
In the case of Muslims, while arguably better than having Muslims settle in the country, isn't this payment the most absurd kind of Jizyah?
Posted on 05/25/2007 6:02 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 May 2007
Mosques Awarded Homeland Security Grants
Yes, you read right. WND has the story (with thanks to Jerry Gordon):
While the European Union investigates mosques for ties to Islamic terrorism, the U.S. government is giving mosques security grants that are designed to protect churches, synagogues and other nonprofit groups from Islamic terror.
Most recently, the Islamic Society of Baltimore landed a $15,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to upgrade security at its Maryland mosque.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations since April has been urging leaders of mosques and Islamic schools across the nation to apply for the DHS grants, even though the agency's program was set up to help protect nonprofit facilities that are at high risk for attacks by Islamic terrorists...
Posted on 05/25/2007 6:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 May 2007
The Serious Degradation Of Our Army
America's grand strategy for democratizing an Islamic society will never produce anything but Islam and more Islam. This should be obvious by now in Iraq. The longer we remain, putting down the very sectarian and ethnic conflicts we should be welcoming, the more degraded our armed forces will become and the less prepared we will be to deal with a major attack on our own soil or a crisis in another part of the world. Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin T. Ryan writes in the Seattlepi:
...The author of the surge, Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, had predicted in November that his idea might require units to deploy "not as well trained as one would like." No one can accuse him of not appreciating the impact of his plan on conditions in the Army. It got so bad by April that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to order the Army to keep units home a minimum of a year so troops wouldn't deploy into combat lacking equipment and training.
Our ability to react to any other crises is almost zero. Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who has traveled to the war zone and studied the situation firsthand, told Congress in April that 40 percent of the Army and Marine Corps equipment is either in Iraq or in repair. McCaffrey told Congress it will require $212 billion and years to repair that equipment. The National Guard estimates that 80 percent of its units in the states are incapable of performing their wartime mission. Those facts were undoubtedly part of the Army's brief to the president...
[T]he institution of our Army has been contorted beyond recognition to sustain untenable deployment levels. The Army Times reported this month that only four Army brigades out of 39 remain available in the U.S. for other contingencies. For the past four years, strategic planning staffs have reinforced tactical staffs working near-term crises rather than thinking ahead to future conflicts.
Training units, the greenhouses of our force, are gutted to provide cadre for deploying units. Tomorrow's armor and artillery battalion commanders are growing up expert in infantry tactics but knowing little about their own branches. It will be years before we regain our balance between operations, training and manpower.
At the briefing with the president, the Army's chief, Gen. George Casey, undoubtedly told him all that. What Casey wouldn't have told the president was how to proceed in Iraq, because he isn't calling those shots anymore.
It's Petraeus, Casey's replacement in Baghdad, who has that job, and his plan remains based on conditions in Iraq, not back home. His idea to enhance security by concentrating troops in Baghdad and Anbar province and dispersing them into neighborhoods is essentially sound.
But it must be done with fewer U.S. troops. Until conditions on the ground back here are included in the calculations, our oversized plan will continue to bankrupt our ability to sustain it. The Army has said repeatedly that to sustain a deployed force for a long time in Iraq we need to draw down to about 10 brigades (or about 100,000 troops). If this truly is a "long war" and, if we are serious about not abandoning Iraq and the region, we need plans based on realistic demands. We will lose the race if we continue to run this marathon like a sprint.
Posted on 05/25/2007 6:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 25 May 2007
More grist for Betjemanistas
Poet David Gwilym Anthony review's A. N. Wilson's Betjeman bio here and provides this Wilson quote:
Larkin’s admiration for Betjeman was heartfelt, and it was reciprocated, Betjeman admiring the competence and control of Larkin’s own verse, as well, of course, as its relentlessly pessimistic content. It should not be supposed that Larkin merely liked Betjeman as part of his innate Toryism. He really admired him as a craftsman and saw how cleverly his poetry was made. At a time when confessional poetry such as Sylvia Plath’s was fashionable, and the Beat poets beginning to make their mark, while sour old hangovers, imitating the great modernists but having none of their skill, tried to produce their own slim costive volumes, Betjeman and Larkin stand out not simply as two poets who were intelligible, but as two poets who valued, as all the great poets of the past had done, form. Larkin could also see that what made Betjeman’s poetry live was an absolutely transparent sincerity.
That Betjeman could work poetic forms without calling attention to them (or to his labor) signalled mastery; that he did so in the teeth of a society suppossedly screaming for "liberty" from form took courage; that he found a huge audience should be a lesson to today's major publishers. I doubt they will learn it as long as they insist on filling the ranks of their editorial staffs with graduates of colleges whose sole purpose sometimes seems to be the refinement of the neuroses of the self-absorbed. In the meantime, there is plenty of Betjeman (and Frost) to keep us occupied.
Posted on 05/25/2007 6:59 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 25 May 2007
Bush's Rose Garden
"It's better to fight them there than to fight them here."
-- from Bush's comments in that Rose Garden We Should Never Have Promised Him
So how are "they" going to get here? Trains, planes, automobiles? Which airlines, leaving from which cities, and with an estimated arrival time of what, and at what American cities?
And will no one notice when "they" arrive? No customs officers? No one from Immigration and Naturalization to check over their papers, and send them right back?
They are just going to come on over here, and start plotting?
Or have some already arrived here over the past decades? And are there not others who, living in Great Britain or France or other Western countries, can also obtain with ease the same kind of visas that non-Muslim Englishmen and Frenchmen can obtain, because our INS does not know how to explain why it would engage in wholesale denial, as it should, of Muslims wishing to come to this country?
And how has the Bush Administration done? It has instituted an Iftar Dinner as an annual event. It has repeatedly praised the splendor, the wonder, of Islam -- Bush, Rice, the execrable Karen Hughes, they've all done. Al Hurra does it all the time, and American taxpayers pay for that Islamocentric view of the universe. The Bush Administration hears of a group of Muslims somewhere who need entry -- those Mesketian Turks from Russia, for example, and immediately invites many thousands of them in, when it could easily have arranged for them to be taken in by Turkey. It continues to allow its runaway State Department officials, Muslims and Arabs, to extend tourist visas, and other kinds of visas, in all kinds of places (and on this I have received reports from, inter alios, Christians amazed at what they observed at American consulates and embassies, and the obvious wool being pooled over all kinds of eyes).
So there's just nothing we can do except continue to add to the $880 billion already spent (or committed) to the WMD-securing, Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations establishing, freedom-to-ordinary-moms-and-dads-in-the-Middle East-bringing, Al-Qaeda-over-there-so-we-won't-have-to-over-here-fighting, that is the folly of Tarbaby Iraq.
Because if we don't keep it up -- mark his words, mark his wise words -- and stop, at the cost of $200 billion a year and the weakening of the American military in a dozen dangerous ways, then we "will not be fighting them over there."
And if we "don't fight them over there, then we will have to fight them here." Said again, yet again, for the hundredth or two hundredth entirely unconvincing time, yesterday at the White House Rose Garden, by its current claimant, its current pretender to power.
Posted on 05/25/2007 7:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
A Little Quiz
A little quiz for George Bush.
One of the books by Oleg Grabar, the celebrated student of Islamic Art, is "The Formation of Islamic Art." In it there is a passage that, if properly grasped by you, will help you to understand why failing to withdraw American troops from Iraq is folly, is madness.
Quaere: What is that passage? And what does it tell us about what will happen after American troops withdraw?
Everyone in Washington was outraged that the members of the Iraqi government were planning a little warm-weather estivation, leaving Baghdad for a full two months, while 150,000 American troops, sweltering in full body army and lugging all kinds of gear, whether on foot or in fetid metal vehicles also enduring, not very well, temperatures of 120 degrees fahrenheit, were to do what one would think, by now, enough of the 27 million brave Iraqis could be found to do for themselves: that is, protect their own country and its people and government, if indeed they truly believe in the idea of Iraq, and are patriots.
But apparently you have no plans to cancel your vacation, although the continued war in Iraq is your baby, entirely your decision. That does not sit well with many of us. It should not sit well with the troops. Here, at least, is one thing you can do. You can get hold of that book by Oleg Grabar. You can read it. You can look for that passage. And then you can tell us what it was, and why it matters.
But of course that is only in a fantasy world. Not a fantasy that someone on your staff might read this posting. Not a fantasy that you might acquire the book. But a fantasy that you might actually read it, or even have someone else read it for you (isn't that what Washington is full of? A reversal of nature, and mommy birds and baby birds. Isn't it in Washington that staffs, especially the most callow members of the staff, are told to read this or that, and chew it up, and then, having properly made it simplified mush not, as with birds, for the still younger, but in this case for the lazy boss, who cannot be bothered to read or think or himself, or perhaps never acquired the habit).
Well, go ahead -- find someone to read the book for you.
And then have that young staff member explain to you what passage was meant, and why.
Or, for god's sake, when not cheerfully chopping wood at Crawford, do it your self -- you owe that to 150,000 people now in Iraq, and another million who, one way or another, have already been there.
Posted on 05/25/2007 7:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
A Threat Unfinished
..."If you think that by bombing and assassinating Palestinian leaders you are preparing ground for new attacks on Lebanon in the summer, I am telling you that you are seriously wrong," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in the city of Isfahan.
"If this year you repeat the same mistake of the last year, the ocean of nations of the region will get angry and will uproot the Zionist regime." --Ahmadinejad
Those hydra-headed oceans -- to muddy the metaphor -- may not all be running in the same direction. Currents, counter-currents, waves and decumans and eddies and swirls -- oh, the seas can be dangerous, even to themselves.
And why, when he makes his threat, does he not really finish it? He tells us that the perfidious Zionist regime will be uprooted, but not how, not when, not where, not exactly by whom.
We are put in mind of the unfinished threat of trident-waving Neptune in "The Aeneid" (Book 1, lnie 135) who says "Quos ego...." but does not finish. He has no need. For classical rhetoricians, and even for little boys named William Shakespeare studying at the local grammar school the figures of speech and grammar through the examples from Greek and Roman writers furnished by Puttenham and Peacham, this Virgilian example remains a locus classicus illustrating the rhetorical device of deliberate breaking-off known as aposiopesis.
Ahmadinejad has been called many things. To this we should add one more, and let him make of it what he will: aposiopetic. He doesn't quite finish the threat.
For Iran, it will all end in tears -- that "portable and compendious ocean" of the old poet. Lachrymae rerum, alright, lachrymae rerum americanorum, of the kind that come down from on high, and then proceed to lay low.
Posted on 05/25/2007 7:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
Being A Pundit Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
"It will be funny to see how all the "Stay in Iraq" people deal with this. Most of them think Bolton is a god."-- from a reader commenting on John Bolton's remarks here
Even in those quarters, the ones that have for so long kept up their sinking spirits by whipping up their own outrage over this or that "surrendercrat" instead of actually looking steadily and whole at the full folly of Iraq, and thinking about the "mission" defined, more or less, as being that of bringing "freedom" or "democracy" (those purple thumbs, that vote on the Constitution) to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East so that Iraq, newly Shi'a-ruled Iraq, might somehow become a "Light Unto the [Sunni-ruled-and-Sunni-populated Arab] Nations.
They don't quite at this point know what to do, so they keep focussing on the latest idiocy (and there are many) from this or that Democrat, and keep applauding, without understanding, the "world's greatest authority on Islam" (as Norman Podhoretz in "Commentary" formulaically calls him -- but on what authority does Podhoretz do so?), Bernard Lewis, and Victor Davis Hanson as he continues to be unable to see things as his colleague Bruce Thornton so clearly does, and still cannot make the break, and of course Krauthammer the enthusiast, and all the others who have not been able to simply announce, or even to hint (for being a pundit means you never say you were wrong -- it cuts down on the adoring base, who need that air of authority, and it cuts down on those all-important lecture fees and positions at think-tanks "to write that book"), to write some version of mea culpa, mea maxima culpa that goes like this: "I was wrong about Iraq. I didn't know enough about Islam. I didn't know a thing about Iraq. I was as foolish, in my own way, as the Administration itself. And I kept being so annoyed by the wrong kind of opponents of the war, and their obvious appeasements, that I stubbornly refused to accept reality."
Wolfowitz and Feith, long out of office, won't do it. Cheney and Bush and Rice and Hadley -- don't be silly. The kagans and kristols -- they're in it up to their necks, and if the policy goes down, so do their careers and those lecture fees and who knows -- perhaps Murdoch will put My Weekly Standard under new management (how about John Bolton as the new editor, with a new staff?).
A lot of people have their own careers riding on this. What is the continued squandering of men, money, matériel, and damage to morale, both civilian and military, and the inability to come to grips with the kind of things that need to be done to halt the advance of Islam through its most important instruments of Jihad, the Money Weapon, Da'wa, and Demographic Conquest, what does all that mean compared to damage to one's own comfortable living and career?
Posted on 05/25/2007 8:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
U.S Pressure on Serbia
Here is one more bit of evidence, if any more was needed, for those who cling to the idea that Bush, and the Bush Administration, "knows what it is doing." These loyalists, who put their Faith in George, range from Norman Podhoretz at "Commentary," to Charles Krauthammer, to any number of others who cannot bring themselves to recognize that the Bush Administration does not know where to put its feet and hands when it comes to Islam. How else can one explain the failure, over six years, to come up with an energy policy, especially one that includes much higher taxes on gasoline, and government support for nuclear reactors (as in France, where nuclear energy supplies 80% of the electricity), or subsidies for solar energy (as in Germany), designed to diminish the Money Weapon? How else explain the failure to change or even to begin to discuss the need for changing, immigration policy as it pertains to those who are loyal to the umma al-islamiyya (that is, all who identify themselves as Muslims) and, one is perfectly justified in assuming, adherents of the worldview that is inculcated in the Qur'an, Hadith, and sira? How else can one explain the failure to take full advantage of the Arab Muslim genocide against black Africans, Christian and animist in the southern Sudan, Muslim in Darfur, that provides the excuse needed to seize those territories and hold them for a referendum that will ensure that the oil of Sudan will no longer be available to the Muslim Arabs of Khartoum, and that the Islamic thrust southward in East Africa will not only be halted but reversed? How else to explain the continuing failure to support Western European countries opposed to the admission of Turkey into the E.U.? How else to explain the idiocy of the non-oversight of runaway Al Hurra? Of Karen Hughes' vacuities? Of Condoleeza Rice's saccharine and dangerous pieties, that rival those of Bush and of Blair, about Islam?
And finally, there is Serbia. Serbia, a permanent member of the Western world. Serbia, not under Milosevich but under his political enemy -- that is, Serbia Under Good Government. Yet the indifference to Serbian interests, the cruelty of the way in which the history of the region, under the Turks and indeed right now, with the destruction by Muslims of venerable Serbian monasteries and churches, and every sort of atrocity that, for some reason, never has gotten the attention that atrocities attributed to the Serbs always received, also bespeaks a foolishness in the Bush Administration and in the State Department, permanently biased, as it seems to be, in favor of the forces that wish to appease Islam. So Serbian interests are thrown to the dogs. And plans are made to throw Israel to the howling "two-state-solution" wolves. And Pakistan is supplied with fantastic weaponry. And other weaponry is piled on to every Arab regime that can pay for it in the Gulf. And nothing whatever is done to educate the public about Islam, because if that public did learn about Islam, then the criminal negligence of our rulers here and in Western Europe would be obvious.
Listen to Dodik's complaint. Unlike Milosevich, Dodik cannot be demonized in order to call his cause into question. He helped, after all, to oppose Milosevich; he replaced Milosevich.
Now think about the centuries of Turkish Muslim rule. Think about the devshirme. Think about the cultural impact of that Turkish Muslim rule on the Serbians -- see, if you need to see, Ivo Andric's doctoral dissertation on this subject. Now think about World War II. Think about the Bosnian S.S., and Hajj Amin el Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, visiting Hitler, and the Handjar Brigade. Think of Jasenovac, and Operaton Kozara, and a good deal more. Think about about what Izetbegovic openly declared as his goal -- the re-imposition of Muslim rule in whatever part of the Balkans he could start with, and he looked forward, as part of that, to bringing the Shari'a back.
Now think about the letters and telephone calls and emails you intend to write over the next week about the State Department and the pressure on Serbia over Bosnia.
Posted on 05/25/2007 8:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
Belly of the Beast
I thought Ramesh Ponnuru's response to that clip of the Wall Street Journal editorial conference was basically sound. I'm just amazed that Ramesh stayed so calm all through it. Me, I was... well, no, not foaming at the mouth, but gaping in wonder at such a concentration of smug rich-guy arrogance on display all in one place.
What color is the sky in these guys' world? I've modified a trillion or so pixels scoffing at the Left's blithe indifference to actual human nature, but Gigot & Co. take the biscuit. It's pretty routine now to mock the WSJ editorial crowd for believing that there is no such thing as a nation, only an economy. Well, there it is. You saw it. That is what they actually, literally believe. We kick around phrases like "arrogant elites" pretty carelessly, but here they are, out in the open, brazen and unashamed.
The show-stopper was Daniel Henninger saying that the immigration bill's opponents' objection to illegal immigration "is fundamentally cultural and they can't say that."
Well, to deal with the "can't say it" clause first, plenty of us say it all the time. Sam Huntington wrote an entire book saying it!
I'll offer the following translation of Henninger's remark. "These foam-flecked National Review types aren't really talking about economics at all, even though they must surely know, as all enlightened people know, that nothing else is the least bit important. They are really, though they try to hide it, talking about, Euiw!, *culture*—which is pretty much equivalent to talking about—Oh my God!—race. No wonder they try to hide their true intentions!"
I doubt any of the following would make sense to any of the Journal editorial crowd, but I'll say it anyway.
A nation has a distinctive culture. The U.S.A., which is much further than the world average from any other consequential country, and has endured several character-forming great national crises, has a culture more distinctive than most. Small boys in 1950s England could pick out an American at 200 yards. Our football (which we love) is nothing like the rest of the world's soccer (which we find extremely boring, and which the rest of the world can keep, far as we're concerned).
Most of the people of a nation are strongly attached to that nation and its culture. (This is called "patriotism." Try the word out a few times. Stress on the first syllable. It's not that hard to spell.) They like their culture. They don't want to see their culture transformed by uncontrolled mass immigration from places with utterly different cultures.
You may think it would be good for them to have their nation so transformed, but they don't believe you. They like their culture. They're attached to it. They don't want to see it transformed in ways they do not approve, and have never voted for. This is called "conservatism." (Another vocabulary item you might want to jot down.)
You can rail at this obtuse primitivism until you're blue in the face. You can put forward any number of arguments from economics to prove that Americans, and their children and grandchildren, will be richer
and more fulfilled in an America with twice as many people and half as much cultural distinctiveness. They won't believe you. You can sneer and scoff at them as "nativists" and "immigrant-bashers." They will sneer right back at you, calling you out-of-touch elitists, never raising your eyes from scrutiny of the economic indicators to look over the walls of your gated communities at actual America, where MS-13 rules the streets at night, entire zones of employment opportunity for unskilled citizens have been wiped out, and people seethe at "Prensa dos para espanol." They are right, and you are wrong.
Posted on 05/25/2007 8:36 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
Now Here's a Thing
Now here's a thing. On the way to the tree house this morning with my breakfast tray (did I mention that recent upgrades to Treehouse 1.0 include a dumb waiter—essential for the citizen who wants to eat brekkie amid the leaves, with birds singing dawn songs all around him as he scarfs down his Quaker Oats) I saw two rabbits on the lawn. This was not surprising in itself—our neighborhood is infested with the little critters—but what they were doing was so peculiar I had to stop & watch.
First they face off in a sort of tense crouch, about a rabbit's-length apart. Then one leaps straight up—dead vertically—in the air, as if a spring was just released. Then the other does the same. This drill is then repeated three or four times. but now with some forward movement, as if the jumper was trying to land on top of the other (though this never even comes close to happening).
After a couple of rounds, I notice something odd and probably icky. At the apogee of the second or third jump, a cloud of fine mist is briefly visible beneath the jumper, apparently sprayed out from his underside.
Courtship? Fighting? Territorial marking? Bunny Olympics? Or what? I don't remember anything like this from Watership Down.What's going on?
Posted on 05/25/2007 8:47 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
Something silly for a Friday afternoon
In contrast to my usual solemn and serious posts, here is something silly for a Friday afternoon. This is not just any Friday afternoon, but the afternoon before a Bank Holiday Weekend, so I'm feeling demob happy.
Had he been alive today, Shakespeare would not have attended the local grammar school, but rather the local diversity-ridden (for which read full of thickos) bog-standard comprehensive. Of course he would have achieved high grades - not difficult in these days of dumbing down and grade inflation - but he would not have bothered with anything as useless and old-fashioned as Virgil. (Virgil's Ahmadinejad, was it?) Instead he would have had lessons on diversity and proactivity, and, of course, happiness. This last would have stopped him writing King Lear and all the other plays that are full of negativity because he wasn't in a good place back then.
Armed with his iPod and his Blackberry, he wouldn't have bothered with all that long-winded stuff. Never, never, never, never, never? Whatev-ah.
It is difficult to imagine somebody who writes proper English writing the semi-literate nonsense you see on the internet. Drunken Blogger found this site, which may help. It is called the AOLer Translator. It translates proper English into the language of a twelve-year-old AOL user.
It's fair to say that, of the writers on this site, Hugh writes the least like a twelve-year-old semi-literate, Blackberrying, i-Pod-wearing rapper. So let's try something of his and see what happens.
Here's the original:
We are put in mind of the unfinished threat of trident-waving Neptune in "The Aeneid" (Book 1, lnie 135) who says "Quos ego..." but does not finish. He has no need. For classical rhetoricians, and even for little boys named William Shakespeare studying at the local grammar school the figures of speech and grammar through the examples from Greek and Roman writers furnished by Puttenham and Peacham, this Virgilian example remains a locus classicus illustrating the rhetorical device of deliberate breaking-off known as aposiopesis.
Here's what comes out:
W3 R PUT IN MIND OF DA UNFINISHED THREAT OF TRIEDNT-WAVNG N3PTUNA IN THE AEN3ID (BOK 1 LNEI 135) WHO SAYS QUOS EGO.!!111!!11!1!111 OMG LOL BUT DO3S NOT FINISH!!!!!1!1 WTF LOL HA HAS NO NED!1!1!111! LOL FOR CLASICAL RHE2RICIANS AND 3VAN FOR LITL3 BOYS NMED WILIM R STUDYNG AT TEH LOCAL GRMMAR SKOOL TEH FIGURES OF SPECH AND GRMMAR THROUGH TEH EXMPL3S FROM GREK AND ROMAN WRIETRS FURNISH3D BY PUTANHM AND PEACHM THES VIRGILIAN AXMPL3 REMANES A LOCUS CLASICUS ILUSTRATNG DA RHA2RICAL DAVIEC OF DELIEBRAET BREAKNG-OF KNOWN AS APOSIOP3SIS!1!!!11! WTF LOL
Posted on 05/25/2007 8:47 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 25 May 2007
A reader, on that WSJ editorial conference:
When I am at my most cynical, I think that the reason why our political elites want so much immigration, especially from Latin America, is because they envy the elites of Latin America. The U.S.A. is a really messy place for the rich. New rich are constantly coming up. Average people are constantly doing things like voting and flying first class and staying in nice hotels. In Latin America none of that happens. If you are one of the elite, you live completely separate from the average rabble. The elite have complete control over society and are accountable to no one.
I think he has a point. Net-net, the Latin-Americanization of the U.S.A. would be a sweet deal for the established wealthy, a terrible deal for the rest of us. In lieu of any other explanation for why the Bushes, Gigots, and Clintons all favor open borders, this one looks pretty good.
Posted on 05/25/2007 10:56 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
The 'H' and the 'Z'
A reader who is in this country on an H-1B visa (defined on the Customs & Immigration Services website as "Specialty Occupations, DOD workers, and fashion models") offers the following interesting comparison between his visa—hard to get, and to get which you have to prove you are bringing some useful skill into the country—and the Z visa proposed in the Senate immigration bill:
Derb—Here's a quick comparison of the provisions that matter to me:
1. H1-B: 6 years max, with option for green card (several year wait).
Z-visa: can remain in U.S. indefinitely, just have to renew every 4 years; also path to citizenship.
2. H1-B: tied to one employer, must obtain new visa if change jobs.
Z-visa: fully transferable (essentially, a renewable green card).
3. H1-B: Must pay taxes (I've paid six figures in two years).
Z-visa: Tax amnesty for all unpaid taxes.
Which status would you rather have?
Posted on 05/25/2007 10:59 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
A helpful reader in Montana, where they know this stuff, and have time to ponder it:
Mr Derbyshire—-What you saw this morning with the two rabbits was territorial marking. Since you say that your neighborhood is over-run with rabbits, then there is going to be competition for food, mates and land. Although clans of rabbits live communally, it's usually only as extended families. That spray you saw as the rabbits were jumping was from a scent gland at the base of their anuses. So, basically, they were creating a border between their two properties.
Which leads to a whole new insight into the current NRO debate on the immigration bill, doesn't it?
I don't know that "debate" is quite the right word, since our commentary so far has been pretty solidly anti-bill. Perhaps Larry Kudlow, who I think lines up with the WSJ editorial-page guys, or Stephen Moore, who is actually one of them & writes for us too now & then, might contribute something pro-bill. Failing that, anything Larry or Steve might have to say about rabbits & their scent glands would I am sure meet with keen general interest.
Posted on 05/25/2007 11:00 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
A Healthy Economy Vs. A Healthy Country
The Wall Street Journal's loyalty to the Bush Administration over Iraq must surely be based, in part, on its concern with doing in perceived "enemies" rather than on analyzing the rationales that arrive seriatim, each sillier than the next.
And the deep belief of so many members -- all of them -- of its editorial staff, in the rightness of homo economicus, and Growth, and all the rest of it -- the pursuit of happiness so narrowly defined and understood by them. But how, given the American system of education, and the self-selecting group that shows up to be hired, and is hired, how could it be otherwise?
The idea that things matter beyond GDP and GNP to a country, or its citizens, and should -- that is beyond them. A little more attention to Jacques Barzun, a little less to the latest hedge-fund avatars of Ivan Boesky, would be welcome. Welcome to us, that is. Not to the members of the editorial staff of the Wall Street Journal.
One more reason for opposing those Defenders of Privilege who benefit from the cheap migrant labor, whether in the form of cooks and babysitters and gardeners, or in the form of labor to be exploited on megafarms or in megafactories, and who do not recognize the costs to fellow Americans, economic and more importantly, beyond the realm of mere economics.
The people seen on that tape have little need, apparently, to think about what constitutes a country, and a country's cultural continuity, or should. For them, people are fungible. After all, isn't the economic movement of capital around the world, searching for the cheapest labor (while that labor, the labor of one's fellow Americans, is fixed in place), a Good Thing? Isn't it good that China now supplies so much of everything, and that its food exports have risen 20% in one year, and that many of our vitamins now come from China because China, you see, has a comparative advantage in just about everything? Isn't that wonderful? Isn't Comparative Advantage, writ large, the only thing that matters in international "free" trade?
We are here to live so that the "American economy" can "continue to flourish." Ask yourself what that means. Ask yourself how the editorial writers for The Wall Street Journal would define a "healthy economy." Ask yourself how they would define a "healthy country."
Posted on 05/25/2007 12:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
Our Army In Iraq
There are other examples of desperation and disarray. Air force and navy personnel are now being taken and given training so that they may serve, in effect as part of the army, in Iraq. I don't know as yet how many people are affected, nor what their new tasks will be or how slender is the connection between what they were expensively to do and what, after brief training in something else, they will now be doing.
Then there is the problem of morale. The troops are told nothing about Islam and about Iraq. They are there to fulfill a "mission" that impliedly depends on, makes sense only, if Islam itself is just fine and there are only these crazies who have "hijacked a great religion." They get to Iraq and find that almost everyone is meretricious, grasping, corrupt, hostile. They find that the Iraqi troops cannot be trusted, and they are appalled at their performance, at the way they hold back, and rely almost entirely (with a very few exceptions, a few officers, who are made much of, and talked about as if they were the rule, when they are the obvious exceptions). But they don't quite know why this should be. And not having been, before deployment, trained in Islam -- presumably the Army is afraid to let them know, for word would get out, and CAIR and Arab ambassadors would make a fuss. Furthermore, if one gave the troops the kind of elementary training about Islam and the inculcated hostility toward Infidels, that would make them realize how hopeless or silly the "mission" they are on is -- and the Bush Administration would not wish that, would do everything to prevent that.
So they go off to war in Iraq without any appropriate mental preparation. Had they had something about Islam (other than that stuff about Muslim attitudes toward "their women" and about what to do in order not to offend and, presumably, to "win hearts and minds" -- a phrase so idiotic when it comes to Muslims and Infidels, that it should be regarded as a permanent sign of stupidity, and its utterer mocked) they would be able to make some sense of the situation.
Nor do they learn anything about Sunnis and Shi'a, save perhaps that both sects exist, that supposedly their mutual hostility is a recent thing, caused by Saddam Hussein or by those who are now trying to "destabilize" Iraq (an "Iraq" that was always -- see Elie Kedourie -- a place of violence, coups, and vicious internecine struggle). It would not do to explain to them the true depth and duration (some 1350 years) of Sunni-Shi'a hostility, would not do to explain that the doctrine of "Taqiyya" arises in Shi'a Islam as a reaction to Sunni oppression and murder of the Shi'a. Nor would it do to explain the fearful situation of the Christians, and why they are now leaving (Under Saddam Hussein it was better for them? Sir, I don't understand, Sir!). Does the Army see any reason to begin offering such courses? It does not. And if it did, it would undoubtedly not be employing non-Muslims for the task, but in the same naive spirit that informs so much of what is going on, find plausible Muslims, just like that Egyptian, the nice soldier Mr. Mohammed who used to be employed by the army to tell fellow soldiers about Islam, and who then turned out to be involved in the first, smaller World Trade Center bombing.
General Ryan's analysis of the damage done to the army does not include, either, the numbers of young officers -- many of the best ones -- leaving the army because of the Iraq fiasco, and the National Guard and Reservists who are not re-enlisting, and are almost entirely unenthusiastic, or far worse, about the Iraq venture.
Finally, his article does not offer statistics on the morale in the army, among those who have not been to Iraq, and those who have already served at least one tour. For the former may still retain their artificially-induced enthusiasm (that is part of training); the latter, having felt Iraq along their own pulses, are not inclined to accept, for much longer, the Bush Administration's analysis, and line, about cut-and-running, fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, Al Qaeda will somehow inherit Iraq if we leave, and all the rest of the steady nonsense that, unfortunately, some of the generals have not dared to question, and it is those generals who, when the fiasco is finally over, should be out, and the questioners, the skeptics, among the colonels, should be recognized and promoted. And the "long war" -- a war that has no end, but is permanent, for in Islam, the state of war between Believers and Infidels is permanent, even if actual warfare in the combat sense may be intermittent, and dependent on Muslim capacity.
Posted on 05/25/2007 12:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
Camp 'infiltrated' by extremists
PALESTINIANS who fled their refugee camp as Islamists battled the Lebanese army have described how foreign Arabs infiltrated their communities, at first claiming to be aligned to a recognised group.
From a squalid schoolyard inside a nearby camp, in which thousands of refugees are seeking shelter, three men told The Weekend Australian of a trojan horse operation they said was launched last November by Fatah al-Islam militants.
"They were Arabs from outside," said Abu Ahmad, whose home in the Nahr al-Barad refugee camp was levelled on Monday by Lebanese army artillery shells.
"There were some Lebanese among them, but mostly they were Iraqis, Syrians, Moroccans, Algerians and even Turks.
"Of the 300 men they claimed to have, only about five were Palestinian. When they arrived last November, they said they were from Fatah al-Intifada" -- the Syrian-aligned pro-Palestinian group that was instrumental in forcing former PLO leader Yassir Arafat to leave Lebanon in 1983.
"But one day earlier this year, they handed out leaflets and raised a flag above the mosque," said a second man, who identified himself as Khalil.
"From that day they said they were Fatah al-Islam, and they threw the people out of the Fatah al-Intifada offices."
The jihadi views of the interlopers quickly became obvious to many of Nahr al-Barad camp's 31,000 residents. Their puritanical interpretation of the Koran and loathing of the Lebanese Government overshadowed their initial claims to be aligned to Palestinian refugee causes.
By March this year, the strangers, often wearing Islamic gowns and Taliban-style headgear, could be seen walking freely around the camp carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles.
"By then, we knew their main cause was not Palestinian," said a third man, Abu Mohammed.
Most Palestinian factions have distanced themselves from the militant group.
"We have nothing at all to do with those they call Fatah al-Islam," Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas told a press conference in Gaza City. "We do not approve of the actions by this group."
Posted on 05/25/2007 12:49 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 25 May 2007
Quote of the Day
"The rewards for being sane may not be very many but knowing what's funny is one of them."—-Kingsley Amis in Stanley and the Women (quoted in The New Republic, 7/21, p.61)
Posted on 05/25/2007 4:14 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
Take but degree away...
The government should support a system of elite schooling, where admission to the tuition-free schools is based solely on mental merit, with no other conceivable criterion, and certainly no "diversity" of any kind considered as a relevant goal.
Many decades ago, Professor R. B. Heilman gave a presidential address to the Association of American University Professors (which was then a different thing):
"One of the most disquieting of the phenomena of democracy is a suspicion of various kinds of superiority, a desire to ignore it, or at worst to ridicule and undermine it; the converse of this is the misuse of democracy to glorify the commonplace or even the meretricious. ...The worst blow that can be struck against a democracy is for standards of excellence to be identified with exclusiveness, and therefore to be considered 'undemocratic.'
La carriere ouverte aux talents is not enough. It is not enough to have well-trained administrators, well-trained technicians at every level. There needs to be something more. The Spirit of the Age, and the confusion of education with mere vocational training, is dragging us all down.
As for those who think they are educated, think they know the world, but do not , if you seek their monument (after you've seen those erected to Washington, to Jefferson, to Lincoln), then by all means look around. Look at foreign policy, and those who as "defense intellectuals" (a phrase used by some with straight faces) helped supply the "thought" that produced the hideously damaging and expensive mess (quer pasticcaccio bruto) of Tarbaby Iraq. Or, in domestic policy, look at the Party of Levelling Sentimentalists who brought us the madness of that make-a-silk-purse-out-of-a-sow's-ear-or-we'll-tan-your-teacher's-hide No Child Left Behind nonsense.
Take but degree away, untune that string, and hark, what discord follows.
Was he ever wrong?
Posted on 05/25/2007 4:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 25 May 2007
Depend on Johnson
A reader remarks that the WSJ editorial conference put him in mind of a Dr. Johnson quote that I myself have retailed more than once: "Sir, the insolence of wealth will creep out."
(And I should like to record that this is the first time I have found any actual use for Google Books.)
Posted on 05/25/2007 4:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 25 May 2007
Civil Liberties Debate at Cato
Yesterday in Washington, I debated Bruce Fein at the Cato Institute on the question whether President Bush has endangered our civil liberties in the War on Terror. For those interested, Cato has now made the debate available on its website to be watched or listened to. It's here.
Posted on 05/25/2007 4:31 PM by Andy McCarthy