These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 3, 2009.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
A Musical Interlude: Ain't She Sweet (Ben Bernie Orch., voc.Scrappy Lambert)
Posted on 03/03/2009 7:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Eight dead in Pakistan as Sri Lankan cricket team attacked.
From The Times
Gunmen have opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, killing eight people and injuring at least five cricketers.
The gunmen opened fire as the team travelled from their hotel to a cricket stadium in Lahore. They ambushed the team's convoy at a traffic circle close to the main sports stadium in the eastern city of Lahore ahead of a test match against Pakistan's national team, triggering a 15-minute gunbattle with police guarding the vehicles.
Six policemen and two civilians died in the attack, said police chief Haji Habibur Rehman. He described the attacks as the work of "well-trained terrorists".
Sri Lankan team manager Brendon Kruppu confirmed the incident and said batsman Kumar Sangakkara, was among the injured who were being treated by the team doctor.
The team's captain Mahela Jayawardena was slightly wounded in the foot, his father told a local television station after speaking with him by telephone.
Local television has shown pictures of gunmen wearing backpacks opening fire on the team bus and police, but no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Australian freelance cameraman Tony Bennett who was at the cricket grounds told Australia's ABC news: "We heard a bomb go off, rapids rounds of machine gun fire outside the ground, small arms fire.
"Next thing we knew, the Sri Lankan team bus rolls up being sprayed by bullets."
Posted on 03/03/2009 1:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Here is Puffy, described as "the world's ugliest cat":
But Puffy may be pipped to the post by Ugly Bat Boy. The BBC has a video, sadly not available outside the UK, but it is available on YouTube. Here is a still photo:
Ugly Bat Boy purrs away contentedly, and appears to be quite free from any neuroses about his looks.
It's all in the fur, isn't it? One attribute makes all the difference: no fur means an ugly cat, and a cute squirrel is merely an ugly rat with a bushy tail.
Posted on 03/03/2009 5:48 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Talking of ugly cats, does anyone else remember this postcard by Ronald Searle from way back when?
"Unusually repulsive cat startled by a gesture of affection"
I like the word "startled", particularly in this context.
Posted on 03/03/2009 6:10 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Bearing Witness, Or The Truth About Gaza
Puzzled in Gaza
I'm a poet, an English Jew and a frequent visitor to Israel. Deeply disturbed by the reports of wanton slaughter and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, I felt I had to see for myself. I flew to Tel Aviv and on Wednesday, January 28, using my press card to cross the Erez checkpoint, I walked across the border into Gaza where I was met by my guide, a Palestinian journalist. He asked if I wanted to meet with Hamas officials. I explained that I'd come to bear witness to the damage and civilian suffering, not to talk politics.
What I saw was that there had been precision attacks made on all of Hamas' infrastructure. Does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticize the surgical destruction of the explosives cache in the Imad Akhel Mosque, of the National Forces compound, of the Shi Jaya police station, of the Ministry of Prisoners? The Gazans I met weren't mourning the police state. Neither were they radicalized. As Hamas blackshirts menaced the street corners, I witnessed how passersby ignored them.
THERE WERE empty beds at Shifa Hospital and a threatening atmosphere. Hamas is reduced to wielding its unchallengeable authority from extensive air raid shelters which, together with the hospital, were built by Israel 30 years ago. Terrorized Gazans used doublespeak when they told me most of the alleged 5,500 wounded were being treated in Egypt and Jordan. They want it known that the figure is a lie, and showed me that the wounded weren't in Gaza. No evidence exists of their presence in foreign hospitals, or of how they might have gotten there.
From the mansions of the Abu Ayida family at Jebala Rayes to Tallel Howa (Gaza City's densest residential area), Gazans contradicted allegations that Israel had murderously attacked civilians. They told me again and again that both civilians and Hamas fighters had evacuated safely from areas of Hamas activity in response to Israeli telephone calls, leaflets and megaphone warnings.
Seeing Al-Fakhora made it impossible to understand how UN and press reports could ever have alleged that the UNWRA school had been hit by Israeli shells. The school, like most of Gaza, was visibly intact. I was shown where Hamas had been firing from nearby, and the Israeli missile's marks on the road outside the school were unmistakeable. When I met Mona al-Ashkor, one of the 40 people injured running toward Al-Fakhora - rather than inside it as widely and persistently reported - I was told that Israel had warned people not to take shelter in the school because Hamas was operating in the area, and that some people had ignored the warning because UNWRA previously told them that the school would be safe. Press reports that fatalities numbered 40 were denied.
I WAS TOLD stories at Samouni Street which contradicted each other, what I saw and later media accounts. Examples of these inconsistencies are that 24, 31, 34 or more members of the Fatah Samouni family had died. That all the deaths occurred when Israel bombed the safe building it had told 160 family members to shelter in; the safe building was pointed out to me but looked externally intact and washing was still hanging on a line on one of its balconies. That some left the safe building and were shot in another house. That one was shot when outside collecting firewood. That there was no resistance - but the top right hand window of the safe building (which appears in a BBC Panorama film Out of the Ruins" aired February 8) has a black mark above it - a sign I was shown all day of weaponry having been fired from inside. That victims were left bleeding for two or three days.
I saw large scoured craters and a buckled container which appeared to have been damaged by an internal impact (its external surfaces were undamaged). Media accounts of Samouni Street don't mention these possible indications of explosive caches (although the container is visible on media footage). The Samouni family's elder told me during a taped interview that he had a CD film of the killings. As far as I'm aware, no such film has been made public. He also told me that there are members of his family who have still not been found.
The media have manufactured and examined allegations that Israel committed a war crime against the Samounis without mentioning that the family are Fatah and that some of its members are still missing. They have not considered what might flow from those facts: that Hamas might have been active not only in the Samouni killings but in the exertion of force on the Samounis to accuse Israel.
THE GAZA I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or underdressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce - the red radishes were bigger than grapefruits. Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they'd survived. Women graduates I met in Shijaya spoke of education as power as old men watched over them.
No one praised their government as they showed me the sites of tunnels where fighters had melted away. No one declared Hamas victorious for creating a forced civilian front line as they showed me the remains of booby trapped homes and schools.
From what I saw and was told in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead pinpointed a totalitarian regime's power bases and largely neutralized Hamas's plans to make Israel its tool for the sacrifice of civilian life.
Corroboration of my account may be found in tardy and piecemeal retractions of claims concerning the UNWRA school at Al-Fakhora; an isolated acknowledgment that Gaza is substantially intact by The New York Times; Internet media watch corrections; and the unresolved discrepancy between the alleged wounded and their unreported whereabouts.
The writer is a poet and freelance writer who lives in London. Her collection Boukhara was a 2008 Smith/Doorstop prize winner. She also translates the poetry of Semyon Lipkin, the Russian World War II poet.
Posted on 03/03/2009 6:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Phyllis Chesler: Honour killing is Islamic
Phyllis Chesler is my kind of feminist. If the F-word is to mean anything, it means that all mistreatment of women is condemned, and that when it comes from a “third world” religion it is not given a free pass.
Ms Chesler has written extensively about the Buffalo beheadings and puts the blame for honour killings fairly and squarely on Islam. In Pajamas Media today, she reproduces some correspondence between herself and a feminist called Dorchen Leithold, who has a light hold on reality:
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share many of the same roots, and I am struck over and over by the similarities of the three major monotheistic world religions. So many of the prophets and precepts are virtually identical. Sadly, all three in text, interpretation, and practice are pervaded with misogyny that can be used to justify violence against women. I’m not as familiar with the Torah as the Bible, but both contain passages like this one in Ephesians: “Be subject to your husbands as to the Lord: for the man is the head of the woman, just as Christ also is the head of the church…
Phyllis Chesler refutes this nonsense with far more patience than I could have mustered.
Honour killing is essentially a tribal phenomenon. It is not unique to Islam - in the UK it happens among Hindus and Sikhs too. However, Islam enshrines tribal values, including misogyny, and gives them divine sanction, which is why honour killings are more intractable among Muslims, even those living in the West.
Ms Chesler’s correspondent does Muslim women no favours by glossing over this fact.
It is worth noting that Muslim women often aid and abet honour killings. (There is little or no sisterhood in Islam, as I argue here.) This female collusion - what could be more repulsive than a mother participating in the ritual rape and murder of her own daughter? - distinguishes honour killings completely from Western crime passionale, where the woman is killed by the husband or boyfriend.
Posted on 03/03/2009 8:16 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
All 14 gunmen escape after deadly attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore
From The Times
Heavily armed attackers working in pairs opened fire on the team's tour bus and a minibus carrying match officials, as their convoy was on the way to the third day's play in the second Test against Pakistan at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.
Six policemen and a minibus driver were shot dead. Despite the injuries to the Sri Lankan players, the team appears to have had an almost miraculous escape. The shocked players told how the attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the bus, but missed.
Grenades were also rolled underneath the wheels of the bus, but failed to go off, and although the gunmen aimed at the driver of the team bus, he was unhurt and was able to drive out of the ambush.
The driver was hailed as hero for steering the bus to safety. "The gunmen targeted the wheels of the bus first and then the bus," said the Sri Lankan captain, Mahela Jayawardene, who was among the injured. "We all dived to the floor to take cover."
Another driver, Mehar Mohammad Khalil, said: “I was turning the bus towards the stadium near the main roundabout when I saw a rocket fired at us. it missed us and hit an electric pole, after which all hell broke loose."
Ehsan Raza, the fourth umpire, who was travelling in the match officials' minibus, is in a critical condition after being shot in the abdomen. Chris Broad, the British match referee, shielded him with his body to prevent his being shot again.
Experts defused two car bombs and recovered grenades, three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of explosives, a pistol and a detonating cable apparently dumped by the attackers.
Local television channels showed CCTV footage of the attackers (Three arrived on rickshaws) spraying the team bus and police with automatic fire from AK-47 assault rifles, working in pairs, using walkie-talkies and wearing backpacks over civilian dress. (So they definitely had the team in mind and not solely an attack on the police).
The Pakistani authorities immediately blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, the banned Islamist militant faction that is widely believed to have struck Mumbai in November.
The head of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, Rehman Malik, said that the country was “in a state of war” and would track down the perpetrators of the attack.
In the aftermath, two Pakistani military helicopters landed at the cricket ground and evacuated team members and officials. Discarded weapons, spent cartridges, shattered glass and splashes of blood littered the scene.
Sri Lanka was contesting the first Test series to take place in Pakistan for 14 months. It had stepped in at short notice as a replacement for India, which had cancelled its tour after relations between the neighbouring countries deteriorated in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in November last year. Australia also refused to tour Pakistan last year because of security concerns.
The match was called off and the Sri Lankan President sent a plane to fly the team home.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) condemned the attack, but was condemned in turn for allegedly allowing the tour to go ahead.
Posted on 03/03/2009 11:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Reacts to California Mosque Infiltration
From the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:
The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood is reacting to the arrest of a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard on charges of lying about his ties to terrorist groups on his citizenship and passport applications. An AP report describes the case as follows:
In the California case, information about the informant who spied on the Islamic Center of Irvine came out last week at a detention hearing for a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, an Afghan native and naturalized U.S. citizen named Ahmadullah Niazi. Niazi, 34, was arrested Feb. 20 on charges of lying about his ties to terrorist groups on his citizenship and passport applications. He will be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. FBI Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III testified at the hearing that an FBI informant infiltrated Niazi’s mosque and several others in Orange County and befriended Niazi. Ropel said the informant recorded Niazi on multiple occasions talking about blowing up buildings, acquiring weapons and sending money to the Afghan mujahadeen. Niazi has not been charged with terrorism and it’s not yet clear if the FBI was focused on anything beyond his activities. Neither the mosque nor any other of its members have been charged. A 46-year-old fitness instructor told The Associated Press last week he was the informant. Craig Monteilh of Irvine said Niazi talked about blowing up buildings and discussed sending Monteilh to a terrorist training camp in Yemen or Pakistan. Monteilh said his tenure as an informant ended after Niazi and other members of the Islamic Center of Irvine reported him to authorities. A Muslim advocacy group has demanded a federal investigation into whether Niazi was arrested because he refused to become an FBI informant after telling the agency about Monteilh.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has reacted by stating that the use of informants in mosques “stigmatizes” the mosques and erodes trust. According an article on the MPAC website:
Trust is the cornerstone of any partnership between law enforcement and communities. It can only be established and maintained through clear and open communication. Without this, trust is eroded and suspicions arise on all sides. This clearly does not serve anyone’s interests.Federal law enforcement cannot establish trust with American Muslim communities through meetings and townhall forums, while at the same time sending paid informants who instigate violent rhetoric in mosques. This mere act stigmatizes American mosques and casts a shadow of doubt and distrust between American Muslims and their neighbors. It has also led many mosques and community groups to reconsider their relationship with the FBI, including most recently the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. It is now up to the FBI and law enforcement agencies to re-engage with the Muslim American community, and re-build trust and respect. MPAC will continue to raise these community concerns with federal law enforcement officials in its efforts to help form policies that preserve civil liberties while also protecting our nation.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced that is planning to file a request for the U.S. Attorney General to launch an investigation into the FBI’s arrest:
On Tuesday, February 24, the Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) will host a news conference to announce the filing of a request for the U.S. Attorney General to launch an investigation into the FBI’s arrest last week of Ahmad Niazi. The news conference will immediately follow a court hearing Tuesday for Niazi in Santa Ana, Calif. Members of his family will take part in the news conference. Mr. Niazi is charged with perjury, naturalization fraud, misuse of a passport obtained by fraud, and making a false statement to a federal agency. He claims the charges are in retaliation for his refusal to become an FBI informant. Mr. Niazi previously reported to CAIR-LA and other community members that, during a raid of a friend’s house, an FBI agent urged Mr. Niazi to work with the agency, saying that if he refused to cooperate his life would be made a “living hell.”
MPAC was established in the mid 1980’s by individuals whose backgrounds are likely rooted in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and since its inception has acted in concert with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. The organization, like other U.S. Brotherhood organizations, has a long history of fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and support for terrorism. The organization has long enjoyed generally good relations with the U.S. government and functions essentially as the political lobbying arm of the U.S. Brotherhood.
Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the U.S. Brotherhood. Investigative research posted on GMBDR had determined that CAIR had it origins in the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and is an integral part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with a long history of support for fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and terrorism. Numerous earlier posts have reported on the relationship between the FBI and CAIR which appears to have been terminated by the FBI
Both organizations have long histories of opposing almost all elements of U.S. counterterrorism strategy. CAIR in particular has defended numerous individuals accused and/or convicted of terrorism offenses and a number of CAIR employees have also been convicted of terrorism.
Posted on 03/03/2009 12:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Spencer vs. Zakaria
Rebert Spencer takes issue with Fareed Zakaria's article in this week's Newsweek.
Posted on 03/03/2009 12:40 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Joint Statement issued by Sam Soloman, Patrick Sookhdeo and Dennis Wrigley
From the Barnabas Fund (with thanks to "The Law"):
3 March 2009
A number of accusations have been circulating in the media about Sam Soloman, Patrick Sookhdeo and the Maranatha Community, the movement which Dennis Wrigley heads.
Some of the accusations apparently have arisen in regard to discussions held at a closed meeting convened last July, which, among other issues, discussed a perceived growth of fear of Islam and Muslims felt among Christians in the UK. Some attributed this fear to aggressive teaching by Christians concerning negative aspects of Islam and advocated promoting an alternative approach. The majority of those who attended the meeting advocated maintaining a variety of approaches, which included ones that are openly critical of Islam. We would like to state clearly that we recognize that any individuals that were advocating limiting criticism of Islam were speaking their own opinions and were not following any official policy of CRIB (Christian Responses to Islam in Britain) or of Global Connections.
We are living in a context of growing polarization of the Christian community in the UK. Even figures such as Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and Baroness Caroline Cox are now considered by some Christians to be extremists because of their frank statements on Islam. We are living in a context of increasing hostility towards Christians both from secular society and from Islam. A key evangelist was threatened in public by a Muslim with a gun a week ago. A Christian leader who speaks out on Islam in Britain has received death threats. Another who writes widely on Islam had his offices burgled, apparently by Muslim extremists. In the light of this we would like to state the following:
- All Christians are called to love Muslim people and to relate to them in a gracious and loving manner.
- Yet Christians should still address the issue of Islam as a faith and ideology.
- While most Muslims in the UK are decent individuals, the issue of political Islam nevertheless poses serious and urgent challenges to British society as well as the Church in the UK and her mission.
- We want to alert non-Muslims to the aspects of Islam which pose such a challenge to our Judaeo-Christian heritage and to the Church today, both in the UK and around the world.
- We recognize that there are a variety of methodologies amongst Christians for responding to Islam.
- All of us making this statement have been involved in peace-making efforts with Muslims.
- We believe it is essential that Muslims hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to a saving knowledge of Him.
We pray for peace and unity within the Body of Christ in these difficult days, with the Church facing so many challenges and potential dangers that could damage vital and important Christian work at home and overseas.
This statement is also endorsed by Keith Small who attended the closed meeting, and Jay Smith a member of the National and London CRIB committees.
Posted on 03/03/2009 12:46 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
London to Brussels? No thanks
As the Eurostar train from London sped past Calais on my day trip to Paris, I received a text message saying "Welcome to Belguim." Suspecting French perfidy, I deleted it. Now I wonder what sort of a welcome I would get if I got off at Brussels instead. From CNN, with thanks to Alan:
LONDON, England [as if there's another one that matters - M.J.] -- When I got off the Eurostar train I’d taken from London to Brussels there was nothing to suggest I was in a city that has ties to radical Islamic terrorism.
Quite the reverse, the very nature of Euro train terminus at the Gare du Midi is, dare I say it, quintessential busy modern Europe. Neat Euro bistros bustle with a cosmopolitan collection of travelers from as close as the suburbs to people like me who’ve taken the short two-hour ride from Britain.
So I suppose it felt a little strange to be here in a city that on the surface doesn’t have a terrorism problem.
Indeed, compared to many places I travel like the Middle East or Afghanistan, it felt positively tame.
I’d come to tell the story of Malika el Aroud, a 49-year-old Belgian-Moroccan woman who had one husband killed in a high profile al Qaeda suicide attack and has herself been convicted in Switzerland of running a Web site promoting terrorism.
Somehow I felt in the wrong place. Not so, when barely an hour later we are being accosted by a bunch of angry young men while filming in a neighborhood barely five minutes' drive from the station. I was coming face to face with an undercurrent that passes most people by. It was to be an undercurrent I would come across again and again during my stay.
The Belgian police chief told us that because of high levels of immigration, seven out of 10 children at schools in Brussels cannot speak either of Belgium's mother tongues -- French or Flemish. He explained that Brussels' immigrant population has become segregated, in some places physically, from the rest of society.
Saida is not like her sister -- she is secular, doesn’t cover her hair. She runs a business employing more than 40 people. She says she hasn’t read Malika’s Web site diatribes calling for death to U.S. soldiers but she, her brother, and her young nephew and niece whom she brought to meet us, all agreed that they still feel frustrated when Muslims are killed.
By the time we ready to board the Eurostar train back to London I’d learned a lot. Not least, according to the police, the most radical mosque in the city, the Tawhid Mosque, was in fact barely a stones [sic] throw from the cobbled taxi rank at the Gare du Midi.
The reporter can be forgiven for forgetting his apostrophe. I'd forget mine if I were a stone's throw from some radical Muslims.
Watch the program: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3
Posted on 03/03/2009 2:45 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Wilders May Well Be The Next Dutch Premier
And then won't Jacqui Smith look silly? From NIS (with thanks to Pamela at Atlas Shrugs):
THE HAGUE, 03/03/09 - Controversial MP Geert Wilders has reacted with pleasure to a poll according to which his Party for Freedom (PVV) would be the Netherlands' biggest party. "As far as I am concerned elections can be held tomorrow; then I will be the next premier."
The PVV would according to prominent pollster Maurice de Hond win 27 seats in the 150-member Lower House if elections were held now. This is one more than the Christian democrats (CDA). This is the first time the PVV has emerged as the biggest party in a poll.
The PVV has risen in recent weeks thanks to apparent setbacks. First, the Amsterdam appeal court ruled that Wilders must be prosecuted for incitement to hatred and insulting of Muslims as a group. And subsequently, the UK refused him entry to the country.
In the US on the other hand, Wilders was greeted by neo-conservatives - as by a growing portion of the Dutch population - as a martyr for freedom of speech. The contrasts with Europe are great. A conservative philosopher said of his impact in the American media: "He is more than a hero. He is a celebrity".
Wilders says his criticism of Islam is dealt with much less frenetically in America. "In the Netherlands, the elite consider that you may not speak as I do, but here (in the US) freedom is in the genes. (...) I notice that in this country, at least arguments are exchanged. The Netherlands and Europe could adopt this as an example."
According to Wilders, the Pentagon shares his fears of a 'Eurabia'. "I have spoken with Pentagon staff, and they fear for the stability of Europe if the influence of Islam grows further."
Last week, the PVV leader showed Fitna, his short film against Islam, five times in the US, including in the Lyndon B. Johnson auditorium in the Capitol building at the invitation of Republican Senator Jon Kyl. "Can you imagine: in the Netherlands, you go to prison if you show the film, and here you are welcome in the parliament." Fitna was also shown in the National Press Club.
Wilders predicted in the US that his PVV would one day become the biggest party in the Netherlands. According to De Hond, this would already happen now if there were elections, which did somewhat surprise Wilders. "Really? Are we the biggest? How happy I am about this! These are of course just polls, but it is an enormous sign of confidence from the Dutch voter. (...) As far as I am concerned, elections can be held tomorrow, then I am the next premier." ...
Posted on 03/03/2009 3:50 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Feeling peckish? You won't be after reading this, from Blah-feme:
Gluttony. The friend of the dispossessed, amorous and dark succubus you haunt me and taunt me with your cakes and creams and fried stuffs. Eat, is all I want to do when you visit; like queen of the night you swoop and howl and scream my hunger, insist I eat and eat and eat. Out, out damn rot, damn urge, damn need.
The need for food is radically different from gluttony, the latter structured not at all by hunger but by the compulsion to eat structurally. The process, once started must be finished, cannot be abandoned, must be taken to its end, the empty and reproachful dish. It approaches like a little tiny itch, a small and delicate ripple across the skin and finishes in shame shame shame on me.....
Posted on 03/03/2009 4:31 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Peckish? Esurient? All 'ungry, like? Food for thought from The Telegraph:
In 1807, Charles Lamb, that very English essayist, confessed: "I always spell plumb-pudding with a b, I think it reads fatter and more suety." True Britons were made of the beef and pudding they ate. Cannon-balls of pudding were the stuff to beat the French.
Today we hardly feel we ought to eat "unhealthy" puddings, and if we wanted to, the time to boil up a roly-poly seldom seems to be available. In truth we do not always hanker for a substantial helping of jammy suet, perhaps because, unlike our sturdy forebears, we neither walk for miles nor freeze indoors. So it is cheering to learn from a new survey that, if repulsive tapioca and semolina puddings left their mark, fonder childhood memories of apple crumble and Spotted Dick endure. Puddings, in which Britain excels, may yet provide a solid foundation for future glory.
Lamb's essays, a dish best served with mint sauce, make mincmeat of today's namby-pamby pickings.
By the way, people - Americans, mainly - keep saying, "The proof is in the pudding." What they mean is: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." "The proof is in the pudding," is plum out of sense.
Posted on 03/03/2009 7:56 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Wilders Wins Praise from the Dutch and an Iranian Dissident
My colleague, Rebecca Bynum posted on the news that Geert Wilders and the PVV (Dutch Freedom Party) have polled in first place in his native Holland. That has led to speculation that the PVV might end up with the largest block of seats in the Hague parliament. This has given rise in Dutch media to speculation that he might become Holland’s next premier if an election was held, today.
Last week when the polls in Holland had Wilders jumping from second to first place, sources close to Wilders speculated that this might bolster a possible run for the EU parliament in June with upwards of possibly five seats for his Freedom party.
Clearly, the majority of Dutch citizens have been incensed about Wilders scabrous treatment by the British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith and the ludicrous decision of the Amsterdam appeals court subjecting him to criminal prosecution for ‘insulting” a religion, Islam.
After last week’s reception in the U.S. to Wilders at events in Manhattan, Stoughton, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, he has achieved ‘celebrity-hood’ among his fellow Hollanders. Not all in Holland believe he is defending their interests. The Dutch Muslim community and left radical allies are still poised to pursue legal means to deprive him of liberty in a high court proceeding, seeking a possible conviction that might see him serve a term of possibly two years. Clearly, the Dutch ‘groundlings’ (the standing audience in Shakespeare’s Globe theater in Elizabethan England) have spoken their approval of Wilders.
Douglas Murray of the U.K. Social Cohesion Center, one of the organizers of the aborted private event in the House of Lords for Wilders the occasion of the latter’s ejection from the U.K. at London’s Heathrow airport, had this to say about the incident in an opinion piece entitled: “A Fire in a Crowded Theatre” in the March edition of Standpoint:
As we are now reminded on an almost daily basis, Britain has no First Amendment. So when David Miliband used Wendell Holmes to justify the ban on Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering the UK, it hurt for more than aesthetic reasons.. "We have profound commitment to freedom of speech," said the British Foreign Secretary. Anybody hear the "but" coming?
"But there is no freedom to cry fire in a crowded theatre."
The shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, may or may not have seen the film, but supported the ban anyway, "if Geert Wilders has expressed views that represent a threat to public security." Which is to say: "I'm not sure if there's a fire. I'm not qualified to call that one. But if there were to be a fire then we would have a profound commitment to tackling it."
Wilders has not called for anybody to be murdered. He has exposed the way in which violent verses in the Koran can justify violent actions by Muslims. More of a fire fighter than a fire starter, Wilders has been caught in the nightmare of a British political establishment that cannot discern the difference.
As the fire beneath our feet spreads, our politicians are now united in stopping anyone mentioning the truth about what is going on in this theatre. A stampede for the exit should be the least of their worries.
In an email, Pamela Geller of the blog Atlas Shrugs, noted that the laudatory comments of an influential ex-pat Iranian dissident and fellow blogger, Amil Imani, in a post, “A Salute to Champions of Liberty.”
Imani paid court to Wilders as an ally in the anti-Jihad front:
Wilders gave a phenomenal speech about freedom of speech at the grand ballroom. Wilder is correct in his assertion about Islam in Europe. The Muslims' killing campaign did not end with their defeat at the gates of Vienna. Their eviction from Spain was a temporary forced retreat. But now the Muslims have, in huge numbers, penetrated the gates of every city and town of Europe without yet having to use their swords.
In Europe, the gullible, self-indulging native non-Muslims have welcomed the arrivals as a source of cheap labor to serve their needs for a life devoted to self-gratification with little concern for the future. Europe is living on credit, and the creditors are hordes of Muslims who have already started delivering their bills.
Many affluent Europeans who see the handwriting on the wall are packing and moving to North America, Australia, and other seemingly safe lands. Yet the Muslims’ bills, with compounded interest, shall continue to be delivered to those who remain behind. In response, politicians will keep bending backwards to placate the evermore powerful creditors by gradually instituting the Islamic Sharia as the law of the land. Before very long, Europe will have to turn its deed over to the new Islamic invaders or rebel and fight block by block, city by city. That’s when Europe shall bleed, once again.
Imani concluded in this post:
Reforming Islam is unfortunately not a realistic possibility. About the only universal agreement that exists among Islamic authorities is that every word of the Quran is the word of Allah and is not subject to human modification, ever. The ‘Hadith’ also enjoys a similar sacrosanct standing. And of course, the faithful Muhammad’s conduct as recorded in the Sunna is the model to be emulated. Hence, one can pick and choose, but one cannot discard or revise any part of the scripture. For this reason, a Martin Luther type reformation has not happened and will not likely ever happen within Islam.
Sell hate and people queue several blocks to buy. Sell love and you will be mostly by your lonely self. Is this a cynical view? No, it is a realistic one. It describes a human’s lower and primitive nature which must be painstakingly overcome through persistent education and awakening of man’s higher nature.
It is heartening to see that there are people such as Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Dr. Ali Sina, Dr. Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish and many others who cherish liberty as humanity's most precious treasure and risk their lives to defend it against the surging monolithic Islamism. I salute these valiant people and call upon the free people of the world over to swell their ranks and reverse the deadly tide of Islamofascism.
The stunning emergence of celebrity-hood for Wilders in Holland was predicated by the Cassandra of Eurabia, Bat Ye’or. She thought the ordinary people or ‘groundlings’ in Europe would ultimately be offended by the dream of Eurabia by intellectual elitists and push back against Muslim Islamization. It would appear that Wilders’ fellow Dutchmen are saying just that with his spike in polls in Holland. Bat Ye’or must be smiling.
Posted on 03/03/2009 8:45 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
A Musical Interlude: Something In The Night (Lee Morse)
Posted on 03/03/2009 9:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald