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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
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Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
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An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
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Jihad and Genocide
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Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 26, 2008.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Livni To Seek Early Elections

New Duranty:

JERUSALEM — Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Israel ran out of options in her efforts to form a government and decided her only choice would be to press for early elections, now likely to be scheduled for February, party officials said Saturday night.

(...)

It will be a high-stakes election, in which Ms. Livni is expected to face two candidates who have already been prime minister: Mr. Barak, of Labor, and Benjamin Netanyahu of the opposition Likud, the current front-runner in election surveys.

Posted on 10/26/2008 7:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Agincourt

Is there no end to French perfidy? From The Telegraph with thanks to Alan:

Exactly 593 years after King Henry V's legendary victory, a revisionist conference will be held at the scene of the triumph.

Academics will suggest that the extent of the feat of arms was massively exaggerated, with claims that the English were hugely outnumbered a lie.

More controversially still, they will say that the foreign invaders used numerous underhand tactics against an honourable enemy.

These included burning prisoners to death and setting 40 bloodthirsty royal bodyguards on to a single Gallic nobleman who had surrendered.

'There's been a distortion of the facts and this conference will attempt to set the record straight,' said Christophe Gilliot, a distinguished French historian who is director of the Medieval History Museum in Agincourt, where the conference will take place.

'We have historians arriving from all over France, and all will produce hard facts concerning the battle, rather than rumours and speculation.

'At the very least the English forces acted dishonourably. The middle ages were a very violent time, of course, but some might accuse the English of acting like what might now be called war criminals.'

It was on Friday October 25 1415 - St Crispin's Day - that a force led by Henry V engaged the French at Agincourt, a small village not far from Calais in northern France.

The English army, made up mainly of archers using longbows, massacred a vast force of noblemen in the most famous battle of the Hundred Years' War.

Immortalised by William Shakespeare in his play Henry V, Agincourt has since become a byword for English heroism in the face of apparently insurmountable odds.

The French have form for this kind of skullduggery. They even claimed to have won the Battle of Trafalgar:

Our loss was trifling while that of the English was immense...Having acquired so decisive a victory we wait with impatience the Emperor's order to sail to the enemies shore, destroy the rest of his navy, and thus complete the triumphant work we have so brilliantly begun.

Good luck with that. The real story of Agincourt is as follows:

ON the death of Henry IV Part II, his son, Prince Hal, who had won all English hearts by his youthful pranks -- (such as trying on the crown while his father lay dying, and hitting a very old man called Judge Gascoigne) determined to justify public expectation by becoming the Ideal English King. He therefore decided on an immediate appear­ance in the Hundred Years War, making a declaration that all the treaties with France were to be regarded as dull and void.

Conditions in France were favourable to Henry since the French King, being mad, had entrusted the government of the country to a dolphin and the command of the army to an elderly constable. After capturing some breeches at Harfieur (more than once)by the original expedients of disguising his friends as imitation tigers, stiffening their sinews etc, Henry was held up on the road to Calais by the Constable, whom he defeated at the utterly memorable battle of AGINCOURT (French: POICTIERS). He then displaced the dolphin as ruler of Anjou, Menjou, Poilou, Maine, Touraine, Againe and Againe, and realizing that he was now too famous to live long expired at the ideal moment.

Posted on 10/26/2008 7:29 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 26 October 2008
What Mama don’t allow, linguistically speaking

I have just stumbled on this linguistic campfire song, to which various people have contributed. I include my favourite verses, but it’s all pretty good:

 

Mama don't allow no back-formation round here.
No, Mama don't allow no back-formation round here.
Well, we don't care what Mama don't allow;
Gonna back-formate anyhow.
Mama don't allow no back-formation round here.
 

Mama don't allow no talkin' in Latin round here.
No, Mama don't allow no fancy-pants Latin round here.
Well, Mama can catch us in flagrante;
Gonna talk Latin non obstante.
Mama don't allow no talkin' in Latin round here.

Mama don't like no enjambment round here
No, Mama don't like no enjambment round here
Well, we don't care what Mama says is
Wrong, we gonna' do just what is necess-
ary; she don't like enjambment round here

 Mama don't allow no expletive infixin' round here.
No, Mama don't allow no expletive infixin' round here.
Well, we don't care what Mama don't allow
We'll in-goddam-fix things anyhow.
Mama don't allow no expletive infixin' round here.

 

Mama don't allow no synecdoche 'round here.
No, Mama don't allow no synecdoche 'round here.
Well, we don't care if she's wrong or right;
Those apron-strings are tied too tight.
Mama don't allow no synecdoche 'round here.

 

Mama don't allow no placeholder words around here.
No, Mama don't allow placeholder words around here.
Well, we don't care what whatshername say,
We're gonna blah-blah-blah all day.
Mama don't allow no placeholder words around here.

  

Mama don't allow no double negatives round here -
(there seems no point in going on)

 

Posted on 10/26/2008 8:00 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Obama Eligibility Lawsuit Dismissed

WND

A lawsuit filed by Democratic attorney Philip Berg alleging that Sen. Barack Obama is ineligible to be president was dismissed by a federal judge yesterday on grounds that Berg lacks standing to bring the lawsuit.

In a 34-page memorandum that accompanied the court order, the Hon. R. Barclay Surrick concludes that ordinary citizens can't sue to ensure that a presidential candidate actually meets the constitutional requirements of the office.

Surrick defers to Congress, saying that the legislature could determine "that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the Presidency," but that it would take new laws to grant individual citizens that ability.

"Until that time," Surrick says, "voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that Plaintiff attempts to bring."...

Posted on 10/26/2008 10:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Careful What You Wish For

Indignation, by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, 256 pp., $26); On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan (Anchor, 224 pp., $13.95)

The idea that mankind might find life beautifully easy if only the right laws could be promulgated and the right social attitudes inculcated is a beguiling one. It suggests that dissatisfaction and frustration arise from error and malice, rather than from the inescapable and permanent separation between man’s desires and what the world can offer him. Difficulty, however, cannot be abolished; it is the condition of human life itself. We try to avert our eyes from this truth as we avert them from death itself.

In different ways, Philip Roth’s Indignation and Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach force us to confront difficulty. Both are short, and both contain surprises at the end. Both raise initial fears in the reader that he will be subjected to a politically correct tract; both subvert political correctness in the end.

Keep reading here.

Posted on 10/26/2008 11:39 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Bond or bondage?

Once again, those wise folk at The Guardian know what's good - and bad - for lesser mortals. David Thompson reports on how Guardian writer Theo Hobson wants to save us from the evils of James Bond:

The Guardian’s Theo Hobson tells us why he doesn’t approve of James Bond: 

It feels like breaking rank with modern heterosexual British malehood, to which I more or less belong, but here goes. I hate James Bond. The continuation of his cult disgusts me, embarrasses me, depresses me.

Poor lamb.

Call me Licensed to Killjoy, but it has to be said: this cult hero is a deeply malign cultural presence. He represents a nasty, cowardly part of us that ought to have been killed off long ago.

Er, killed off by whom, and how? A hail of bullets? Laser beams? Or just the weight of tutting and pretentious disapproval?

Of course there is a very serious case to be made against 007 on strictly feminist grounds. The women in the books and films are silly, naughty, flimsy things who need hard male mastery.

It seems Mr Hobson hasn’t seen recent Bond outings, in which lead female characters are spies, assassins and fighter pilots and typically portrayed as tenacious, resourceful and absurdly competent, no less so than Bond himself. Hence, perhaps, the continuing popularity of this “malign cultural presence.”

I don't know how offensive this is to women, but it’s offensive to me. Indeed I think the real victims of the Bond cult are men, who are impelled by a vile peer-pressure to worship at the shrine of this lethal lothario… The fact is that James Bond’s sexual career does real harm to the male psyche… I seriously believe that Bond is a big factor in the sexual malfunction of our times; the difficulty we have finding life-long partners, and the normalisation of pornography.

As so often, Guardian commentators are singularly immune to the “vile peer pressure” which presumably controls all other sentient beings. Still, at least we can count on them to direct us in our tastes, i.e. away from amusingly hyperbolical cinema and towards socio-political righteousness. I’m sure it will be good for us, if not exactly fun.

Is my complaint based in jealousy? Do I condemn this Don Juan because I’d like to be him, bedding every attractive woman I encounter, treating the opposite sex like a lovely fleshy playground? Well, sort of, yes – that’s just obvious. But such fantasies ought to be frowned on rather than celebrated. The cunning trick of the Bond phenomenon is its ability to disguise its core appeal, which is soft porn.

I can honestly say I’ve seen every Bond installment with neither an urge to emulate nor the merest flicker of improper titillation. Even when Daniel Craig managed to restart his own heart, or emerged from the waves with a postmodern nod and a slightly comical bathing suit. Now maybe that’s just me, but it does, I think, suggest that “soft porn” may not be the only, or most obvious, reason to enjoy two hours of explosive quality trash. It seems to me that a huge part of Bond’s appeal, as a character and a franchise, is precisely the rejection of many PC assumptions and their petty, emasculating tenor. Unlike many Guardian writers, Bond isn’t prone to disabling fits of quasi-Marxist handwringing. And nor is his boss, ‘M’, played by a pleasingly firm Judy Dench - hardly a “flimsy thing who needs hard male mastery.” Directness has an appeal, especially when writ large. In the world of Bond, bad guys are decidedly bad and recognised as such, and, several set pieces later, they’re typically dispatched with ingenuity and force rather than fretful equivocation. Combine this with diabolical schemes, tight jams and extraordinary stunts and, well, the appeal is pretty obvious.

More obvious, at least, than Hobson’s conviction that,

We ought to have learned by now that combining sex with ironic fun is dodgy. Anyone who fails to see a connection between Playboy bunny girls and paedophilia is culpably blind.

Honi soit qui mal y pense, that's what I say.

Posted on 10/26/2008 12:59 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Tube Map - The Movie

 

 In my short piece London-Paris-London, I wrote, "The London Underground map is a masterpiece of logic, while the Metro map is a muddle." The Tube map is not only logical, it is a design classic:

There was a period, between the wars, when European refugees like Gropius stopped in Britain. This stimulated a brief flourishing of modernism resulting in the design aesthetic of London public transport, from the Routemaster bus (the only piece of British ‘architecture’ that Corbusier liked) to moderne Tube stations such as Arnos Grove.

But the pinnacle of London Transport’s modernist design was the Tube map which rearranged distances to produce a supremely navigable schematic diagram that is little changed today.

Here is a short(ish) documentary about the map, which nerds like me will find interesting. See if you can spot Mornington Crescent - it's 6 minutes 12 seconds in, but the top bit of "Mornington" is cut off.

Posted on 10/26/2008 1:46 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Dickens On Financial Distress
Posted on 10/26/2008 4:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Why Make A Ridiculous Charge, When There Are So Many Sensible Charges To Be Made?
"Is Barack Obama a real American or a Harvard elitist?"
   -- headline to this story in The Miami Herald
 
Replace the name "Barack Obama" in that phrase above with any of the dozen names below: 
 
John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Henry Adams
Theodore Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry James
William James
Charles Sanders Pierce
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Learned Hand
Louis Brandeis
 
Read the results, with one or two or up to twelve possibilities, aloud.
 
Q.E.D.
Posted on 10/26/2008 5:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Defining Jihad

The duty of Jihad has to be defined accurately, but also in a way that can easily be grasped by auditors, so that it does not exclude, but clearly includes, all of the current instruments that Muslims employ to further Jihad.

The initial smokescreen, or deception, offered both Muslims, and such non-Muslim apologists as Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, was to suggest, or even insist, that the very recent, and most secondary, definition of “Jihad,” formulated by some “reforming” Muslims in the last century (at a time when Muslims were weak, and in apparent disarray), was the widely-accepted one. It has been impossible, given the widespread use by Muslims themselves – now copiously quoted at such sites as MEMRI, and in newspaper and radio and television accounts – to mistake the real meaning of Jihad.

And what is that meaning? To repeat: Jihad is a duty, incumbent on all Muslims, to strive to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam, all over the world. In the earliest days of Islam, those obstacles would be military in nature: Muslims invade a land possessed by non-Muslims, fight to conquer them, and then to impose Muslim rule over them, and to offer them the choice of death, conversion, or life as dhimmis under such rule. But in the modern world, when non-Muslims still possess overwhelming military superiority, it is not “qitaal” or combat in the traditional sense that is the main instrument of Jihad. Rather, even when it comes to the use of violence, the preferred method is the kind of attack on non-military targets, designed to instill terror, that we have no difficulty calling terrorism. Such attacks -- on airplanes, on busses, on schools, on subways, on office-buildings, on hospitals – are explained away, or justified, by Muslims, as perfectly acceptable variants on traditional “qitaal” or combat. And since Infidels have more powerful armies, terrorism is seen as merely a way of equalizing things, and not itself morally unacceptable. Still other Muslims, while feigning to denounce a vague “terrorism,” always leave open, in their failure to define what constitutes “innocents” or “civilians,” impliedly accept terrorism as a method, and indeed those very infrequent, and pro-forma “denunciations,” no longer fool as many as they once did, so often have those loopholes been pointed out, and too many Muslims among those denouncing terrorism have been found to support it, in one way or another.

But the definition of Jihad must be ample enough to include all the other instruments, aside from qitaal or terrorism, that are used with such effectiveness today. These instruments of Jihad include the deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa (the Call To Islam, which means the attempt to convert as many susceptible Infidels, among the economically and psychically marginal, as possible), and demographic conquest, which consists of both the deliberate, and the non-deliberate (but just as effective and dangerous) overbreeding of Muslims in Infidel lands, and the increase in numbers leads, as Boumedienne of Algeria said in 1974 at the U.N., to a conquest “through the wombs of Muslim women.” The generous benefits of Infidel nation-states allows Muslim women not to work (though non-Muslim women do), to have large families, and to take full advantage, and then some, of all the benefits – free and excellent medical care, free education, free or heavily-subsidized housing, and generous family allowances – that appear tailor-made for the large Muslim families who are busy, in their own way, increasing inexorably the Muslim presence, and therefore perceived and real power, all over the Bilad al-kufr, the Lands of the Infidels. This is accompanied by continued large-scale immigration of Muslims. And instead of halting this immigration, and constructing policies designed to limit the size of Muslim families, or at least not to be so generous with support, and even to promote policies that may make it more difficult, or at least not quite so easy, to conduct Muslim life in a non-Muslim environment, the Western world so far, now that it recognizes a problem, appears incapable of soberly drawing up the measures that it has every right to employ to protect its own legal and political institutions, the conduct of art and science, the development of individual liberties so threatened by the collectivism of that Total Belief-System that some, too easily call a “religion,” which is to say – Islam.

So, if you are asked to provide an intelligible and comprehensive definition of the word “Jihad” provide this:

Jihad is the duty incumbent upon all Muslims, to participate, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, to engage in the “struggle” (which is what “Jihad” means) to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then to the dominance, of Islam. It can take the form of combat, or qitaal. It can take the form of terrorism, It can take the form of the Money Weapon, which Saudi Arabia alone has supplied, or distributed, to the troubling tune of nearly one hundred billion dollars over the past few decades, to support mosques, madrasas, armies of Western hirelings, and every sort of pro-Islam propaganda, from textbooks in the schools, to those interfaith-healing racketeers who ply their smiling trade, some of them naïve, and some of them knowing exactly what they are doing. It can take the form of carefully-targetted campaigns of Da’wa, especially in prisons or among the psychically marginal, off on their Spiritual Searches, and finally allowing their personal mental Greyhound to stop at the station marked Islam, where they got off that bus, never to get on again. And finally there is demographic conquest, which has to be halted, and then reversed, through measures that are perfectly acceptable and that, in a rightly-ordered world, and among Infidels less willfully determined not to recognize the dangers that are daily mounting, would have been undertaken long ago.

Posted on 10/26/2008 5:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 26 October 2008
A Musical Interlude: I Still Get A Thrill (Lee Morse)
Posted on 10/26/2008 5:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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