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

These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 27, 2007.
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Animal VC for Sadie, the heroine of Kabul

This tickled my fancy in The Telegraph this morning.

A black Labrador who saved the lives of dozens of soldiers in Afghanistan by detecting a bomb has been awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

Sadie will become only the 25th canine recipient when she receives the medal from Princess Alexandra at a ceremony next week.

The bomb had been planted underneath sandbags, yards from where a suicide car bombing had earlier killed a German soldier outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul in November 2005.

Animal VC for sniffer dog Sadie

However, the booby-trap was discovered when Sadie suddenly "showed intention" by wagging her tail as her handler, L/Cpl Karen Yardley, took her on a search of the UN car park.  Bomb disposal experts then used a robot to make the device safe.

"We're all are extremely proud of Sadie," said L/Cpl Yardley, 27, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. "She definitely saved lives that day. She certainly saved mine."

Sadie has already served in Bosnia and Iraq and is part of the 102 Military Working Dog Support Unit based in Sennelager, Germany.

Since its introduction by PDSA's founder Maria Dickin CBE in 1943, the medal has been awarded to 24 dogs as well as to 32 Second World War messenger pigeons, three horses and one cat.

Cat lovers may be interested to know that the cat was Simon, the ship’s cat of HMS Amethyst who was with the ship during the 100 days the ship was trapped during the incident on the Yangtze River.  He was commended for his companionship to the crew and his role in keeping up morale. Cats are good at that.

Posted on 01/27/2007 1:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Mosque disputes claim
A little local colour to add to the Channel 4 Dispatches programme from 2 weeks ago. My parents lived in Leyton for over 20 years, and I lived there with them for nearly 20 years. I knew the area very well.
LEADERS of a Leyton mosque have criticised a television documentary associating them with international Islamic extremism. The Masjid-al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton High Road appeared in Undercover Mosque, a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary screened last week.
The programme focused on extremist preachers encouraging congregations to practise violence against women, homosexuals and non-Muslims. Among those featured was Shaykh Suhaib Hassan, senior Imam at Masjid-al-Tawhid. He was quoted predicting the establishment of an Islamic state under Sharia law and detailing some of the extreme punishments, such as flogging of drunkards, that would be carried out in such a state.
Shaykh Hassan says, however, that his remarks were taken out of context, and that he has never said Sharia law would be appropriate for Britain.
Shaykh Hassan's son, Dr Osama Hassan, is Imam and vice-chair of the trustees at Masjid-al-Tawhid. He said he believed that sectarian tensions within Islam were being played out in the documentary, with the filmmakers siding with Sufi Muslims against followers of the conservative Wahabi and Salafi traditions, such as those who attend Masjid-al-Tawhid.
Dr Hassan said his father may have been singled out because he is secretary general at the Islamic Sharia Council and consultant to the Saudi Arabian embassy on religious matters. He said that while extremists such as Abu Izzadeen (formerly Omar Brooks) (he is really Trevor Brooks, but that doesn’t sound right for a jihadi does it?) who lives in Leytonstone, can pray at Masjid-al-Tawhid, they cannot lead worship there.
A Channel 4 spokesman said not all the academics quoted in the documentary were Sufis and added that it had been made because of concerns among the British Muslim community.
Meanwhile in nearby Ilford both Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin from Chabad Lubavitch Centre, Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill and Tahmina Saleem, who is affiliated to the Ilford branch of the Islamic Society of Britain are unhappy at the teaching of Murtaza Khan, who teaches Islamic studies at Al-noor Muslim Primary School. From The Ilford Recorder.
Posted on 01/27/2007 2:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 January 2007
We come for your women

There's still time to enter Friday's It Shines for All caption competition:

French President Jacques Chirac addresses reporters during a press conference closing a conference to raise funds for Lebanon, Thursday Jan. 25, 2007 in Paris, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, and Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Saud Al Faysal look on. International donors pledged some US$7.6 billion (euros5.84 billion) in aid, loans and other help on Thursday for war-scarred Lebanon and the economic reform plans of its embattled U.S.-backed prime minister.

(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Posted on 01/27/2007 6:04 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Another pertinent viewpoint
on last week's Daniel Pipes - Ken Livingstone debate from Carol Gould, a documentary producer, here.
Posted on 01/27/2007 6:10 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 January 2007
I'm not a pheasant plucker...

I’m the pheasant plucker’s son

I’m only plucking pheasants

Till the pheasant plucker comes


At one time, cuts in funding to the police service meant that they couldn’t afford breathalysers to test motorists suspected of driving over the alcohol limit. Instead, suspects who slipped up on the above rhyme were arrested and charged immediately. Borderline suspects, who were merely hesitant, were given a second, more refined test (if refined is quite the right word), and told to say:


Mrs Puggy-Wuggy had square cut punt

Round at the corners and square at the front

Not a punt cut square but a square cut punt

Mrs Puggy-Wuggy had a square cut punt


This is difficult even after half a pint or a small glass of wine. In fact, if you can say it quickly, it could be called a cunning stunt.


Ooops, there I go again.

Hugh objects to what he calls my “lubricious spoonerism”, claiming that it was “unseemly”, even when Nabokov used it. Is being as bad as Nabokov one step on the way to being as good as Nabokov?


Hugh is wrong, as happens so often when he argues with me about words. A spoonerism, whether intentional or not, is where you start off with some normal words and make them funny: “You have tasted two worms and you will leave Oxford by the next town drain.”


The pheasant plucker, the cunning stunt and the square cut punt are tongue twisters or traps designed to make you commit a lubricious spoonerism or to make a rude word swim before your eyes when it isn’t actually there.


Here are some more:

  • I'm not a smart feller, I'm a smart feller's son And I'll keep felling smarts 'Till the smart feller comes.
  • I'm not a fog ducker, I'm a fog ducker's son And I'll keep ducking fogs 'Till the fog ducker comes.
  • I am not the fig plucker, I'm a fig plucker's son. And I'll keep plucking figs 'Till the fig plucker comes.
  • I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit; and on the slitted sheet I sit.
Posted on 01/27/2007 6:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Mohammed stopped at Ephesus
I've noticed an influx of Turkish beers such as Efes Pilsen appearing on supermarket shelves in NYC.  At first, I thought to take home a sample, thereby encouraging the growth of sharia-proscribed activity.  Then, I remembered the Great Calamity.
Posted on 01/27/2007 6:47 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Islam and Democracy

Often, nowadays, one reads a statement such as the following: "Democracy is not easily transplantable." Or "Iraq is not the same as Japan and Germany." Or "it takes a long time to allow democracy to take root."

All of these statements are very imperfect and groping attempts to explain the failure of the "democracy" project of the polypragmones in Washington. But all of them, while taking note of the difficulty of the task, miss the main point.

The main point is not that democracy is more than mere head-counting, but also requires the firm rule of law, that is man-made law, law which reflects the expressed will of the people. It requires guarantees for minorities, of equal treatment at law. It requires a belief in the rights of individuals, as opposed to the power of the state (see the Bill of Rights, see and read and re-read and memorize), and the power of the collective more generally.

And Islam is not merely a belief-system which is stony soil but rather a desert for the transplantation of democracy, as unlikely, and as impossible to maintain, as a golf course in the Empty Quarter.


In Islam the individual is unimportant. He is unimportant for several reasons. First, he is unimportant because he is a mere individual, and Islam is a collectivist faith: the supreme good is that which furthers Islam, or that which furthers the well-being and power of the Believers, the umma al-islamiyya, and not what permits an individual to achieve or to be permitted to achieve. He is unimportant because, in the end, he is a mere mortal, and the dignity of the individual is merely a rumor in Islam, and the exercise of free will an impossibility. Theirs not to reason why; theirs but to do, and die, if necessary, while conducting their lives, and fulfilling their Muslim duties, and that supreme duty of Jihad, Jihad fi sabil Allah (Jihad in the path of Allah), that no Muslim can escape. The Believer in Islam is a slave to Allah: he submits to Allah. Islam means "submission." He submits to Allah, and then, according to the will expressed by Allah in the Qur'an, and as glossed by the Sunnah (the practices, manners, and customs of Muhammad and his Companions, as recorded mainly in the Hadith and the Sira). He is not a free agent. He does not submit the articles of his faith to scrutiny or to the claims of reason. He must accept: Allah knows best.

With such a belief-system dominating entirely the mental formation of those who grow up in societies suffused entirely with Islam -- in a way that those who think they know what a "religion" is cannot possibly conceive of, for every phrase, every allusion, every shared historic memory, of Muslims relates to Islam, and even to Islam of 1350 years ago. The sense of time, the sense of what is significant, is far different in Islam than it is in the other belief-systems that we traditionally call "religions" and that are far more concerned with matters of a relation of a believer to the presumed God or gods available for worship and gratitude and communication, in some cases, through prayer, than is Islam, in which ritual prayer is quite different, and the relationship to Allah also quite different, than in any other of what are too easily called by the same phrase, "world religions." Islam is a Total System. Outside Islam, for Muslims there is not to be, for the true Believer, anything else. The Qur'an contains all of wisdom, and it is only a question of finding it, of understanding where that wisdom -- or those scientific discoveries of last year, or the year before -- are to be found.

Given all this, it should be no surprise -- but apparently to those who make American policy it is a great surprise -- that in Islam political legitimacy is located, by Believers, not in the expressed will of mere mortals, mere slaves to Allah, but in the will of Allah, as expressed by him in the Qur'an,and further glossed, most importantly, by the words and deeds of Muhammad. There are some in Iraq, as elsewhere in the Muslim world, who would wistfully wish that somehow that were not so, and would wish that in fact real democracies could be established to replace the corrupt regimes and ruling dynasties that are such a feature of Islamic countries. But they can only wish, and do not dare to publicly proclaim, or even to admit to themselves, that the chief brake on an end to those corrupt regimes, and on democratic reforms, consists of the attitudes of many, or most, Muslims -- and the primitives in any society will always outnumber the non-primitives. In Muslim societies, the relative number of primitives is far greater than in the advanced West, which has managed to channel and tame and educate, to some degree, its own primitives -- though constant vigilance is required, for the forces of disorder and entropy and misunderstandings of "legal equality" are constantly threatening the legacy of well-ordered Western societies that took centuries to achieve, a legacy left to those who so often do not appreciate, nor know what to do with, much less how to preserve that legacy intact.

It is true to say that "it's tough to transplant democracy." But one must add more: in any society suffused with Islam, so that the majority of the population owes its allegiance to Islam, planting democracy will be like, as noted above, constructing an Arnold-Palmer-designed course in the middle of that Rub al-Khali, a sandy St. Andrew's, possibly a palm-fringed Pinehurst, its grasses forever thirsty, and the course itself doomed to disappear with the next season of simooms.

Aside from the flat contradiction between Western democracy and Islam, there is another thing that those making policy, and even those criticizing that policy, in Washington, completely overlooked. They overlooked the fact of Sunni-Shi'a hostility, that is not merely a matter of Saddam Hussein, and therefore somehow to be solved by Saddam Hussein. I doubt if one in one hundred of those making policy can sit down and explain exactly the history of what divides Sunnis and Shi'a in terms of doctrine, and what, outside of doctrine, has furthered the split. And the same goes for the press and pundits who are now giving to referring, as if they knew all along all about it, to the "Sunnis" and the "Shi'a" but still haven't the faintest. Go ahead -- ask Tom Friedman, ask Dinesh D'Souza, ask Bush or Cheney or William Kristol, to tell you about Sipaha-e-Sahaba in Pakistan, and what the existence of that organization signifies, or should, for American policy in Iraq. Ask them about the Zaidis in northern Yemen, and exactly what the relations are between Sunnis and Shi'a, in Yemen, this year, ten years ago, during the civil war in which one side -- the "Royalists" -- were backed by Saudi Arabia (could Saudi Arabia ever have backed the Shi'a in Yemen? If so, why?) and the "Marxists" [a term J. B. Kelly has mocked as inappropriate to the context] of the south were backed by Nasser and the Egyptian army.

Coasting, coasting. So many are so lazy, so many are coasting. And meanwhile, other people pay with their lives or with their wounds or with their lives disrupted, and taxpayers pay with their money, $700 billion and counting, for the laziness and ignorance and stupidity of their self-confident leaders, or rather - those "taking a leadership role."

Enough. More than enough.

Posted on 01/27/2007 6:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 January 2007
A Strategic Threat

"They [Muslims] lack credibility as a strategic threat."
-- from a reader

Really? What happens to the armories of the NATO countries when Muslims are not 5% or 10% of the population, but 20% or 30%, and after deliberate campaigns to persuade Muslims to join the army and police? Anything? Nothing? What is happening today in Europe, not only in cities such as Malmo and Rotterdam and Bradford and Leeds, but in the capitals of Europe, and even in the midst of the most Tuscan of sites, Colle Val d'Elsa, where a huge mosque has been proposed (the one that Oriana Fallaci, that permanent anti-fascist and freedom-lover, said she would take pleasure in burning down herself, were it ever to be built). What effect has the large-scale presence of Muslims already had on the physical security of many Infidels, beginning but not ending with the remaining European Jews who may wear or wish to wear identifying garb and have been urged not to? What happens to the police when, as in France, there are whole swaths of territory regarded as no-go places, nogolandia, where ever Muslims live in large numbers? What happens to any sense of national unity or identity when large numbers of people openly, or secretly, harbor only hostility toward Infidels among whom they live, and toward the man-made, and still worse Infidel-man-made, legal and political institutions of the Infidel nation-state, that has no right to permanent existence, that must in the view inculcated by Islam, must eventually yield, cease to be part of Dar al-Harb, and become part of Dar al-Islam - that is, a place where Islam dominates ("Islam is to dominate and is not to be dominated") and Muslims rule.

This is hardly the time to minimize the threat. If you wish to make the point that the threat is not, at this point, mainly a military one, that makes sense. But to deny that another ten or twenty trillion dollars, which will be received in the next decade by the Muslim oil states, will not be put to use funding more mosques and madrasas and propaganda, funding more arms-buying of every kind and arms projects of every menacing kind, and to buy up still more Western hirelings who may, in fact, rationalize their greed and treachery by telling themselves that "really, there is no strategic [whatever that adjective means -- I presume it means here something like "major" or "big" or "life-threatening"] threat from Islam."

But there is. And to deny it, when already most of the world is busily denying any kind of threat at all, or insisting that it is just, in the tortured formulation of London Police Chief Ian Blair, merely "the extreme view of one austere strand" of Islam, is both misleading and dangerous.

Yes, the menace, as a military matter, is manageable, as you note. But at the same time, the menace is real and great. Those two sentences do not contradict each other.

Posted on 01/27/2007 7:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Kenneth Stein

Apparently Kenneth Stein, now a favorite on the synagogue circuit, where by all reports he is given repeated standing ovations by those who do not know of his long, close, loyal, association with Jimmy Carter, even helping Carter (so Stein himself has said) to write his previous awful book, "Children of Abraham," which is almost as vicious, and scarcely to be distinguished from, the latest one with the more obviously provocative title. Carter knows nothing about Islam. But he knows what he doesn't like, and he doesn't like Israel. He doesn't like its people, he doesn't like its leaders, he doesn't like those who support it or identify with it, and his sympathies lie completely with Yassir Arafat, for whom he voluntarily wrote material so as Arafat might improve his image with the American public (see Douglas Brinkley's biography of Carter).

Stein now presents himself, or is presented by others as, some kind of profile in courage? But what kind of profile in courage? He has been a Carter adviser and close collaborator and admirer (oh, how he gushed to his class and to the Emory College newspaper when Carter, who had been lobbying for it for years, finally got that ill-gotten Nobel Prize). He, Stein, has never bothered to figure out what the Arabs want, what motivates them. Islam is a mystery to him. He's all for the two-state solution. And Stein is embarrassingly maladroit in presenting the case against Carter, perhaps because he has for years agreed with so much of what Carter has said and written and thought about the Arab-Israeli dispute, that it is only now, finally, at long last, when others were resigning after Carter had finally gone just a bit too far -- not really very different from what Carter had shown his attitude to be all along, but now openly expressed, with slightly more malevolence than usual -- and so Stein did what is now being perceived as some kind of act of mental heroism, when it was nothing of the kind. 

Stein claims to have helped Carter with "The Blood of Abraham," a vicious depiction of the Israelis, a sanitized presentation of the "Palestinians" in both their Slow Jihad (Fatah) and Fast Jihad (Hamas)incarnations, a book full of treacly nonsense, a guide to nothing -- but similar to all of the things that are signed by Carter. Apparently, if he helped Carter on the book, either Stein agreed with much of it, or if he didn't, was unjable to influence Carter. And at that point he was not ready to make the grand gesture of resigning. In fact, he was able to avoid all such grand gestures, or even expressions of dismy, right up until the last book, which is merely a bit more of the same, until it became unavoidable given the book's title and the final outrage of that title, and besides, more than another dozen people were resigning too, and Stein saw the handwriting on the wall, if he wanted to "retain his credibility" with the movers and shakers of  his Atlanta. 

Apparently he found the original comment on him here objectionable because he was never, he writes, a "member of the Carter Administration" -- but the objection is misdirected, because it is nowhere claimed that he was a member of the Carter administration, merely that he has been a long-time adviser to Carter, which he has, as well as being a collaborator on a previous book about the Arabs and Israel and, one assumes, given their thirty-year association and proximity, a friend of Carter as well.

Stein has known Carter for thirty years. If there is any sign of his modifying Carter's views so that they might be minimally fair to Israel, might show a glimmer of understanding that what underlies the Arab opposition to Israel are the tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics of Islam. But there is no such sign. Either Stein has been completely ineffectual in presenting Israel's case or, what is more likely, Stein agrees with a great deal of what Carter thinks, and shares his same dreamy ignorance of Islam and is satisfied with the same clichés about the "two tiny peoples, each struggling for a homeland, etc." that is a clever staple, for Western audiences, of Arab propaganda. For all I know, Stein believes in the existence of a separate and distinct "Palestinian people."

There are those who, as students of the Arab-Israeli conflict, finally realized that they had a duty to learn about Islam, the most important cause of that dispute, and the reason that further surrenders of territory by Israel for that "two-state solution" that Kenneth Stein still favors, will do nothing to sate, and everything to whet, the territorial appetites of Muslim Arabs, who cannot conceivably accept the permanent existence of an infidel nation-state on land once part of Dar al-Islam, and can only accept it if they are convinced Israel is so overwhelmingly and obviously powerful that they would be justified in not moving against it.

Carter's last book was so egregious, that even Kenneth Stein had to distance himself. But no one who knows of his long association with Carter, his role as an enthusiastic adviser to Carter while the latter was at Camp David pummeling Begin,  his collaboration on "The Blood of Abraham," and his long and apparently perfectly serene tenure at the Carter Center,  all undercut his current performance. And why did Stein say nothing when his old friend Jimmy Carter delivered himself of that anti-American speech when he, Carter, received that Nobel Prize he had been lobbying for so shamelessly for so long, and finally received several years ago.

No one should take Kenneth Stein as what he now presents himself to be. No standing ovations, no ovations, no nothing would be a fit response to his appearance before those who actually support Israel but do not take the time to find out more about what menaces, and has always menaced Israel, and why.

Look at the nearly thirty years of Stein's hitherto uncurbable enthusiasm for Jimmy Carter, his every assistance  to Jimmy Carter, his enthusiasm for Jimmy Carter and that Nobel award, his refusal until now, when the offense was too rank, and the pressure too great from others in Atlanta, for him not to resign from the Carter Center.  Pocket his change of heart, if it is real, but sit on your hands when he enters the room for that by now well-rehearsed and certainly well-reimbursed "profile in courage." 

Posted on 01/27/2007 7:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 January 2007
MPACUK Training Academy Arrives In Leeds

I wonder who is funding this?  A nation perhaps, two words, begins SA.  From the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK.   I am not putting a hyperlink but if you want to visit the address is

Are you tired of Politicians rushing to attack you? How the Media is making people fear and hate you? How the Government backs states like Israel? Is there any way you can defend yourself against such powerful forces?
The answer is yes!
Groundbreaking courses with modules on Strategy, Political Affairs, the Media, Islamophobia and Political Jihad will teach you how. MPACUK Training is based on practical results. You will gain an understanding of some of the most important challenges facing Muslims in Britain and the world. It will deliver successfully proven and innovative solutions to these challenges and teach you how to counter an increasingly dangerous and threatening environment.
You will return to your communities with practical, proven and effective methods of initiating positive change in all walks of life. It won’t cost you anything, except your time and your sense of civic responsibility inherent to Islam. The programme is free though expected to be heavily over subscribed - thus booking early is imperative.

Leeds MPACUK Training Academy
Sunday 4th February 2007
Sunday 18th February 2007
Sunday 11th March 2007
East London Open Day
4th Feb 2007
A truly revolutionary training course, never before to have been delivered in Britain!
Needs looking into I think.
Posted on 01/27/2007 8:18 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Re: MPACUK Training Academy

It has been observed more than once that, while rejecting much of what is good about Western civilisation, such as art, music, scientific objectivity, democracy and individual freedom, Muslims are more than willing to use some of its products, particularly technology, such as mobile phones, DVDs and the internet. Often these technological innovations are used to spread an ideology which is directly opposed to the civilisation that made innovation possible.

Esmerelda's post here about the "training course" shows a chilling example of this. The "course" is designed to train Muslims to subvert the West and propagate a backward ideology. Yet it is couched in the dead language of modern management speak. I have highlighted in bold the jargon which would not look out of place at a management consultants' training course or a new-agey life coaching session:

Groundbreaking courses with modules on Strategy, Political Affairs, the Media, Islamophobia and Political Jihad will teach you how. MPACUK Training is based on practical results. You will gain an understanding of some of the most important challenges facing Muslims in Britain and the world. It will deliver successfully proven and innovative solutions to these challenges and teach you how to counter an increasingly dangerous and threatening environment.
You will return to your communities with practical, proven and effective methods of initiating positive change in all walks of life. It won’t cost you anything, except your time and your sense of civic responsibility inherent to Islam.

Delivering "solutions" is what so many companies do these days. They don't make things or deliver things, but they deliver "solutions". This word is a bit of a joke, and has been mocked in Private Eye and elsewhere. In the context of Islam, however, "solutions" has an unpleasant ring to it. Islamic solutions have a way of being final.

Posted on 01/27/2007 8:34 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 January 2007
"throne of human felicity"

Inspector Rebus creator Ian Rankin loves a pub. From his wide-ranging if a bit pedestrian meditation in the Scotsman:

Beer has always been part of the experience of living in Edinburgh. It's strange to stand in the Caledonian Brewery and realise that it is the only working brewery left in the city, when there used to be more than 40. The Scottish Parliament sits on the site of a brewery.

When I came here as a student, one of the things you were aware of was the smell of hops. You couldn't escape it. If you were walking along early in the morning or late at night, you would always smell that smell. It permeates the books.

A lot of the major buildings in the city, such as the Usher Hall and the McEwan Hall, were named after brewing dynasties. These were the people who made the money and they ploughed it back into creating buildings like concert halls. Now, I think the resonances are in danger of being lost. People don't realise the connection because you can't get a pint of Usher's any more.

I'm not saying all pubs are good, and you shouldn't sit in pubs all day to the detriment of other parts of your existence, but a good pub is a godsend. It can be your entertainment centre, your psychiatrist. If you're down, people ask you what's wrong with you. The Scots are quite reticent as a race, we don't easily spill our troubles to strangers, but there's something about a pub that means you can do that, and you're not going to be judged. There's nothing judgemental about a good pub.

Good pubs are in danger. There's a trend in the industry towards uniformity, and to me a good pub is something unique. If you walk into a place and it looks the same as another pub, it has the same music system playing the same songs and you get the same beer, it can be a little deflating.

What you want from a good pub is character.And these are the days of superpubs, huge ghettos piling people in for half-price drinks. To me that's not a pub, that's a meat market. A good pub is somewhere fairly quiet where you can enjoy a good conversation, and it should be a manageable size for the people who use it, not a vast aircraft hangar with a few loudspeakers.

Posted on 01/27/2007 8:56 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Livingstone-Pipes clash apparently not newsworthy

Posted by the 910 Group:

Saturday January 20. Renowned historian, author, and Islamic expert Daniel Pipes debated the current Mayor of London Ken Livingstone about the “Clash of Civilizations”. Although around 150 representatives of the media attended, there has been little to no media coverage. Fortunately, a 910 member was in attendance and we have some video that we will make available. If you see any media coverage, videos or transcripts available, contact our PR Coordinator, dkshideler in the 910 Forum.

Here is an update from Pipes’ blog:

“… One organizer on the mayor’s staff told me that the audience numbered about five thousand and that over 150 media had registered for the conference. Despite the many journalists and video cameras, and despite the GLA having recorded and simultaneously transcribed the event, and despite two and a half days having passed since it took place, there has been – quite to my surprise – not a single media account of the debate, nor a video made available, nor a transcript.”

A few bloggers who attended the debate offered their perspectives:

Also: WRITE to the media outlets, especially the TV channels and newspapers in the UK – and ask them why this event was considered so ‘un-newsworthy’, when it had 150 media representatives, 5,000 attendees, and was hosted by the Mayor of London! What do they base their decision upon?

Posted on 01/27/2007 9:20 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 27 January 2007

The Israeli army says it has blown up two Hezbollah bunkers discovered near the Jewish state's border with Lebanon. Israeli forces "uncovered two connected bunkers which had been used by the Hezbollah terrorist organisation, apparently as a forward base for its operations," the army said in a statement.--from this news item

Hizbullah bunkers are merely the outward and visible sign of an internal danger -- a danger that menaces Israel, but also England, and France, and Germany, and Spain, and Belgium, and Italy, and the Netherlands, and Denmark, and Norway, and Sweden, and Russia, and even, if lessons are not learned from all of the above, whose situation needs to be keenly observed, in other Infidel lands in the New World, north and south. Naturally the reader will care the most about his own country, but he should also realize that the slow but steady demographic advances made by Islam, promoted by the failure of governments and men to recognize the essence of this hostile creed, in this or that advanced nation of the West, will have, has had, civilizational as well as obvious military consequences.

Posted on 01/27/2007 10:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 January 2007
D'Souza on NPR

Serge Trifkovic discusses D'Souza and his new book at Frontpage.

Mention of Dinesh D'Souza reminds me of his brief but self-assured appearance on NPR yesterday. He was discussing not his book, but why "Iraq is not Vietnam." And why is "Iraq not Vietnam"? Because in Iraq "our vital interests" are involved, and so "we have to win." He doesn't tell us how he defines "winning" apparently because he thinks that is obvious: "winning" is "winning" as the Administration defines it. Some vague never-quite-defined outcome, but one where Iraq stays in one piece, Sunnis and Shi'a lie down together like lambs, and Kurds and Arabs ditto.

And why is this so important? Because if we don't "win" then the "terrorists" will take over in Iraq. You know, just like that. The "terrorists." No analysis, no consideration of the relative power of Shi'a and Sunnis, or of their co-religionists almost certain -- no, certain -- to send "volunteers" and money and war matériel from abroad; no conception that the Kurds might take that occasion to make a run for independence; no notion that the Iran-Iraq war was a very good thing from the viewpoint of Infidels and that, if the opportunity arose to see a repetition, it should be taken, but this would be more than a repetition because the Sunnis are now, in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt, even in Lebanon (and who knows what is happening between Sunnis and Shi'a in Pakistan, or Yemen, and how uneasy lies the head of Sunni "King" Hamid of Bahrain?) enraged about the loss of Baghdad and the Land of the Two Rivers, which plays such an important part in Sunni Arab mythology about past greatness, and must not be surrendered to those "Rafidite dogs," those "Persians."

Not a hint from Dinesh D'Souza of any calculation. He's without guile or cunning, is straightforward, "moral" or "moral-majority" or "family-values" Dinesh D'Souza. Not quite as narrow or as holier-than-thou as Jimmy Carter, but not someone you want in your policy-planning room, especially not in the Pentagon.

Posted on 01/27/2007 10:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Pub quiz - all is revealed

Well, not quite all. I'm still rather confused. More on the Lord Palmerston meets Che Guevara story from the website The site gives pub a "three pint" rating, and gives its name as Lord Palmerston (El Commandante):

The visible title of this pub is something of a misnomer - rather than being a homage to the late, great Victorian Prime Minister, we find El Comandante himself staring moodily down from the pub sign. Inside, you are first struck by... yes! More pictures of Che Guevara, nicely set off by a plethora of themed decorations including palm trees, a ceiling fan and some unobtrusive South American music playing in the background. This may sound rather ghastly, but it's actually a nice friendly little place, that seems to function well as a local pub with a bit of a difference. There are two small TVs, a pool table and the usual range of drinks - all in all, not a bad pub in which to spend a quiet half-hour.


On another website, Beer in the Evening, one visitor, who may well be an ex-neighbour of mine, had this to say:

samba posse pop down there for a jar or six and let the latin flavour flow. they don't play though the band says they're too loud. the commendente behind the bar is alright too. but it could be bigger and have a working hand dryer but life throws us these things, I'll wipe my hands on my trousers.

I'm intrigued, and feel an urge to go and investigate. Anyone care to join me for a pint? We can always decamp to The Spaniards afterwards, where a working hand dryer is in operation and where there is no "commendente".

Posted on 01/27/2007 11:32 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Pigs learn how to play.
Most pet owners like to train their animals to perform some basic tricks - sitting, begging, rolling over. Katie Mason is setting her sights on a higher goal - she is teaching her pet piglets to play the piano.
Pigs are very intelligent animals
Ms Mason decided that teaching the pair to play a variety of instruments would make an interesting topic for the zoology masters degree she is studying for in Devon.
The 25-year-old has so far taught Rupert and Penny to recognise the piano, tambourine and drums - and has given them their own miniature versions to practise on.
Ms Mason said: "Rupert is quicker at learning, and his sister Penny copies him. He bangs around on the piano with his snout and pushes the tambourine around. He uses his nose for everything - opening cupboards and knocking rubbish bins over."
For those interested in seeing the pair in action, a show is being planned at the Pennywell Farm tourist attraction, near Buckfastleigh, where Ms Mason works.
Pigs are supposedly the third cleverest animals, behind primates and dolphins.
Posted on 01/27/2007 1:56 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 27 January 2007
I'm a little teapot
ABC: British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a "hot" teapot at London's Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.

A senior official tells ABC News the "hot" teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko's death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.

The official says investigators have concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a "state-sponsored" assassination orchestrated by Russian security services.

Officials say Russian FSB intelligence considered the murder to have been badly bungled because it took more than one attempt to administer the poison.  The Russian officials did not expect the source of the poisoning to be discovered, according to intelligence reports.

Russian officials continue to deny any involvement in the murder and have said they would deny any extradition requests for suspects in the case...

Posted on 01/27/2007 2:03 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Kerry, Unbecoming

US Senator and former Presidential Candidate John Kerry called the US "A Sort of International Pariah" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Then he actually signed an autograph for the former President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, who then went on to say ,"the door to negotiations between his country and the United States is open."

    "The relationship between Iran and the United States can be great for the region and the whole world," Khatami told a session of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

U.S. Senator John Kerry called on President George W. Bush to engage with Iran and Syria. There is an opportunity for Bush to be a bigger person, he said.

 He said he had "deep, abiding" differences with the Bush Administration on its Middle East policy.

But he said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks on the destruction of Israel and on the Holocaust were unbecoming of a nation of greatness.

Hot Air has video on the Kerry "pariah" remark. He also said that Americans have an unfortunate tendency to view the world as Americans, that is, "through the American lens."  Humm. How about that. How should Americans view the world if not as Americans? Perhaps Americans can metamorphize into something more pleasing to Senator Kerry and Former President Khatami. Something with a more servile and apologetic attitude, I suppose. Something a bit more dhimmified.

Posted on 01/27/2007 2:21 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 27 January 2007
Assuming the position, journalism division

Fjordman regarding erasure of Little Green Footballs from BBC message boards:

The BBC are Fascists, pure and simple:

The Fascist Left have turned the Nanny State into the Bully State. There is no limit to their intolerance in the name of tolerance. [Richard Littlejohn]

Fascists?  Doubtful.  Frightened to death?  Absolutely.  ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR and a host of big city U.S. dailies have reacted similarly, at least in how they cover the war against resurgent Islam, what with non-stop Islamic intimidation, threats, and terror—and their own blindness, brought on by ideological intertia and the smugness of past successes in the domestic political arena.

It takes courage to be a big-time journalist because one must face one's equally amibitious competitors, inside the corporation, corporation to corporation, day and night, year in and year out.  This war will require more courage and more mental labor of each of us, journalist or not, than most of us will be able to muster. 

A toast, then, now and later, many more toasts, to Charles Johnson

Posted on 01/27/2007 3:39 PM by Robert Bove

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