These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 30, 2008.
Friday, 30 May 2008
Beryl Cook OBE died on Wednesday.
Beryl Cook was known for the outgoing, rumbustious women she painted, but she, although warm-hearted and blessed with an engaging sense of humour (especially at her own expense), was intensely private. She could not be prevailed upon to attend her own private views or even to receive her insignia in person when appointed OBE in 1995. Attracted to the bright lights so long as they did not shine on her, she preferred to sit on the periphery of the action with her husband and a drink, looking on in shy appreciation as any of life’s extroverts who felt like doing so provocatively twanged bra straps or nonchalantly juggled with wine bottles.
Her paintings are accessible, fun, exuberant and thoroughly unpretentious. But, contrary to popular belief, not all her characters are singing, clapping or throwing their heads back in glee. What caused so many to identify with her paintings was partly, it is true, the vicarious pleasure of seeing big girls singing, dancing, eating, drinking, flirting and creasing up with laughter, but also the artist’s knack of capturing with economy, precision and humour, a huge range of quieter characteristics.
Cook was the mistress of evanescent facial expressions and body language — the furtive glance, the hint of competitiveness, the deep concentration, the studied indifference and the momentary indecision — just as much as she was mistress of the rounded limb, the heavy eyeshadow, the fat fingers, the stubby cigarette and the strangely opaque wine glass.
Cook did not enjoy talking about her paintings, and in any case their simplicity and lack of pretension defied dissection by experts — not that this prevented the art critic Brian Sewell from dismissing them, although Cook, an experienced judge of the performing arts, endearingly forgave him because he was, she said, so entertaining.
Others have been hugely more enthusiastic. Beryl Cook pictures hang in the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art and in the Plymouth and Bristol City Art Galleries; the Portal Gallery has staged a further 18 solo exhibitions of her work, roughly one every two years, its permanent window display of her prints prompting many passers-by to stop and laugh out loud;
Still painting every day even in her late seventies, Cook did it for love — not for the £30,000 to £35,000 apiece that her pictures fetched by that time. She and her husband kept up their appearances at the Dolphin once or twice a week, and she continued to make many of her bouncers, barmen and ballroom dancers look just like her husband of nearly 60 years.
Beryl Cook, OBE, painter, was born on September 10, 1926. She died on May 28, 2008, aged 81
She painted people like me, and my friends.
Clockwise, The Accordionist, Grandma and mouse, Ladies who Lunch (aka the NER London division AGM) Dinner for One.
I should point out however that neither Mary nor I smoke, and even if we did we would not smoke at the meal table. However I did once have a pair of pink high heels and still occasionally use a pink handbag.
Posted on 05/30/2008 6:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 30 May 2008
CIA Chief Says Al Qaeda Is Losing
Al Qaeda is but one of many, many Islamic terror organizations and in many ways, 9/11 not withstanding, they are the least of our worries. As with communism, our main concern should be the spread of Islam around the globe, in Britain and Europe, Asia and Africa and in the United States. Al Qaeda helped put the wind in the Islamic sails and they are sailing on the breeze of what is, in their minds, historic inevitability, just as was the case when communism was on the rise.
WaPo: Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA chief cited major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership.
While cautioning that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat, Hayden said Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.
All that has changed, Hayden said in an interview with The Washington Post this week that coincided with the start of his third year at the helm of the CIA.
"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," he said.
What the Islamic world is pushing back against is 1) al Qaeda's violent tactics against fellow Sunni Muslims and 2) the Shi'a are fighting their traditional Sunni enemies which includes al Qaeda and 3) Muslim governments are cracking down against subversive groups like al Qaeda and al Qaeda's mother organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to maintain their hold on power. There has been no real ideological break with "their form of Islam," rather it's all about tactics and timing in the overall struggle between Islam and the infidel world. I wonder if Hayden could pass Mary's Islam quiz.
Posted on 05/30/2008 6:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
All Is Not Well In The Ummah
Ann Corcoran has an interesting post on the growing rift between American black Muslims and the Muslim immigrant community over at Refugee Resettlement Watch
Posted on 05/30/2008 6:57 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
Gordon Brown tries to be human
Objectionable as Tony Blair was, Gordon Brown is worse. Completely lacking in charisma, he is probably the dullest Prime Minister we have ever had. His dullness created a reputation for prudence, but he is in fact extremely profligate - with taxpayers' money. He is a traditional tax-and-spend Socialist, with no understanding of wealth creation. He calls the tune, while we pay the piper. At least Blair and his greedy wife know about making money as well as spending it.
Like a walking, snarling quango, Brown manages to be both dangerous and dull. For some dull people it is worth trying to be less dull. Not Gordon Brown. He is irredeemably drab and awful, and any attempt to appear "more human" - witness his gruesome smiling on his last, forgettable, visit to the US - is doomed to failure.
All things considered, you really wouldn't want him ringing you up, would you? From The Times:
People who dash off letters to 10 Downing Street should be warned. They may get more than they bargained for.
Complaints, queries and commendations — written about anything from benefits and bus services to the weather — normally receive a polite letter of reply on behalf of the Prime Minister, signed by an official.
But some of them, perhaps as many as two dozen a week, prompt a personal call, and the distinctive gravelly baritone of Gordon Brown.
The listening Prime Minister, as he has promised to be, is taking his pledge very seriously after several maulings in the polls.
Mr Brown, an inveterate reader and writer, is known to take a particular interest in almost everything that goes on in No 10, or comes into it. And sometimes, it was revealed yesterday, he asks the No 10 switchboard to get his correspondents on the phone.
The telephonist will call the number, say they have the Prime Minister on the phone and after the shocked listener has composed himself or herself, Mr Brown will be put through. “It’s Gordon Brown here,” he will say. “I was interested in your letter/e-mail . . .” and a conversation, often of several minutes, will ensue.
His new tactic has been tried and tested by politicians in the past, and can be traced back to Jimmy Carter’s 1976 US presidential campaign.
That is hardly a recommendation. If he calls me, I will say two words guaranteed to get rid of him: Boris Johnson.
Posted on 05/30/2008 6:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 May 2008
Top police chief: 'We must start negotiating with Al Qaeda now to stop terror'
I know Sir Winston Churchill said "Jaw-jaw is better than war war" but this would be the triumph of hope over experience. Some people still don’t get it. The comments sum it up.
One of Britain's most senior policemen says the country should talk to Al Qaeda to try and end their bloody campaign of violence.
Sir Hugh Orde, a front-runner to replace Ian Blair as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said he could not think of a single terrorist campaign that ended without negotiation.
And after 30 years of tackling the IRA Sir Hugh, head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said he was convinced that policing - detecting plots and arresting people - was not enough alone to defeat terrorists.
His comments come the day after Al Qaeda released a shocking image of their vision of America - devastated by nuclear attack.
The terrifying computer generated picture showing the ruins of Washington DC was released on an Islamic extremists' website.
Sir Hugh admitted that negotiating with terrorists meant 'thinking the unthinkable' and said some of the biggest risks his officers took were talking to people that 'historically they would not have dreamed of talking to'.
Asked if he was saying 'we should talk to al Qaeda', Sir Hugh said: 'Well that's the logic of...I don't think that's unthinkable, the question will be one of timing.'
He added: 'If you want my professional assessment of any terrorism campaign, what fixes it is talking and engaging and judging when the conditions are right for that to take place.
'Is that a naive statement? I don't think it is ... It is the reality of what we face.
'If somebody can show me any terrorism campaign where it has been policed out, I'd be happy to read about it, because I can't think of one.'
He may be right about policing – the Nazis of WWII were not arrested by the constabulary but defeated militarily, although the police played a huge part internally dealing with spies and espionage.
The comments may disappear. This one from Adam of Harrow sums up more or less what I think.
There's been a concerted attempt to compare Al Qaeda with the IRA. The difference could not be more profound. The IRA had one simple goal: The removal of British forces from Northern Ireland and the inclusion of the six counties under the wing of the Irish Republic. Home rule for Ireland. They didn't have any desire to rule the English mainland or convert us all to Catholicism on pain of death.
Al Qaeda also has one simple goal: We all convert to Islam or we die. There's no opportunity for negotiation. Al Q want a pan-Islamic world free of democracy, socialism, capitalism and all religion except Islam.
If Sir Hugh Orde can't understand this then he is not the right man to replace Ian Blair, even if Blair was never the right man for the job in the first place.
Posted on 05/30/2008 7:08 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 30 May 2008
Four Japanese Gang Figures Got Liver Transplants At UCLA
We posted a story in April about illegal immigrants receiving liver transplants (in one case, multiple transplants) at taxpayer expense and at the expense of American citizens awaiting transplants. Medical ethicist Dr. Michael Shapiro was quoted in that article saying, "People are people, and when you make an incision in an organ donor, you don't find little American flags planted on their organs." But how are people going to feel about donating organs when those organs are being used in this way. Isn't this abuse of public trust?
LA Times: UCLA Medical Center and its most accomplished liver surgeon provided a life-saving transplant to one of Japan's most powerful gang bosses, law enforcement sources told The Times.
In addition, the surgeon performed liver transplants at UCLA on three other men who are now barred from entering the United States because of their criminal records or suspected affiliation with Japanese organized crime groups, said a knowledgeable law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The four surgeries were done between 2000 and 2004 at a time of pronounced organ scarcity. In each of those years, more than 100 patients died awaiting liver transplants in the Greater Los Angeles region.
The surgeon in each case was Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil, executive chairman of UCLA's surgery department, according to another person familiar with the matter who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Busuttil is a world-renowned liver surgeon who co-edited a leading text on liver transplantation and is one of the highest-paid employees in the University of California system.
There is no evidence that UCLA or Busuttil knew at the time of the transplants that any of the patients had ties to Japanese gangs, commonly called yakuza. Both said in statements that they do not make moral judgments about patients and treat them based on their medical need...
Unfortunately for the nonjudgmental Dr. Busuttil, his actions are subject to the moral judgments of the taxpaying citizens who support UCLA.
Posted on 05/30/2008 7:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
What Keepers Of Public Safety Should Know About Islam
What this kind of remark by Sir Hugh Orde demonstrates is not merely the that the dullness, or mediocrity, of such minds is no longer merely amusing, fit for some updated Dunciad, but that, when such minds are found among those whose task it is to protect us, that Dullness translates into physical danger.
What is most needed is to find people who can grasp why such a recommendation -- to "talk to Al Qaeda" as if Al Qaeda alone were the problem, or as if talking would produce anything other than a list of demands to be met, merely the first installment in what necessarily is an inexhaustible list of such demands, and should any of those demands be met, this will not be taken, as it would in Western or non-Muslim man, as a sign of compromise to be met with an equal willingness to yield, but rather as a sign that Allah's people, the best of peoples, are on the march and unstoppable, a triumphalist reaction that this hapless policeman does not understand because he does not understand, lacks possibly the time, possibly the wit, possibly both, to understand, what Islam is all about.
What is required, one comes to realize, is first of all a campaign to educate Infidels not merely as to the texts and tenets of Islam, but to something less mechanical, subtler, and more important -- education into how Muslims see themselves and see non-Muslims, that is the psychology of Islam, what can be called the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, what is left when particular Qur'anic passages or Hadiths or details of Muhammad's life have been forgotten or perhaps never learned, but the mere growing up in an environment -- a state, a society, a family, suffused with Islam -- or even just an awareness that one "is a Muslim" and therefore one "must" think and act as Muslims must (an astonishing phenomenon, the mere labelling or self-labelling causing many to behave zombie-like as agents of a doctrine they may never have thought about, are not deeply immersed in, and may even be quite vague about), -but they know one big thing: that they "are Muslims" and so blindly comply with what they are told Muslims must think and what Muslims are told to do. For many of them, astonishingly, that is quite enough.
Posted on 05/30/2008 7:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
A Musical Interlude: All Of Me (Frank & Milt Britton Orch., voc. Scrappy Lambert)
Posted on 05/30/2008 8:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
Researchers Say Stonehenge Was a Family Burial Ground
WaPo: The secret of Stonehenge has apparently been solved: The mysterious circle of large stones in southern England was primarily a burial ground for almost five centuries, and the site probably holds the remains of a family that long ruled the area, new research concludes.
Based on radiocarbon dating of cremated bones up to 5,000 years old, researchers with the Stonehenge Riverside Project said they are convinced the area was built and then grew as a "domain of the ancestors."
"It's now clear that burials were a major component of Stonehenge in all its main stages," said Mike Parker Pearson, an archaeology professor at the University of Sheffield in England and head of the project. "Stonehenge was a place of burial from its beginning to its zenith in the mid-third millennium B.C."
The finding marks a significant rethinking of Stonehenge. In the past it was believed that some burials took place there for a century but that the site's significance lay in its ceremonial and religious functions, including serving as a center for healing.
A combination of the radiocarbon dating, excavations nearby that have revealed a once-thriving village and the fact that the number of cremated remains appeared to grow over a 500-year period convinced researchers that the site was used for a long time and most likely was a burial ground for one ruling family.
Parker Pearson said the discovery of a mace head -- the enlarged end of a clubbing weapon -- supports the theory that it was the province of a ruling family since it was long a symbol of authority in England and still serves that function in the House of Commons.
He said family members for as many as 30 to 40 generations were buried there, with the number of individuals increasing with each generation.
The team also excavated homes nearby at Durrington Walls, which they said were especially well preserved and appeared to be seasonal dwellings related to Stonehenge.
"It's a quite extraordinary settlement. We've never seen anything like it before," Parker Pearson said. The village had at least 300 and as many as 1,000 homes, which apparently were occupied in the midwinter and midsummer. Broad avenues leading from Stonehenge to the River Avon, as well as another leading to the river from a circle of wooden pillars close to the village, were oriented to the winter and summer solstices.
"All in all, we're finding that Stonehenge was a sophisticated society with great achievements," he said. The site fell into disuse around 1500 B.C., and over the centuries some of its stones were hauled off and broken...
Posted on 05/30/2008 8:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
The Times reports (or does it?) on British guile:
The British people are natural deceivers, using guile by instinct, according to intelligence chiefs in the 1970s at a meeting of the newly formed Defence Deception Advisory Group, a declassified file has revealed.
After a visit to the United States to discuss American deception capabilities, the advisory group, which had been set up in 1969, reported: “There is a considerable difference in national characteristics between the US and UK. It's suggested that it's almost a way of life for a UK citizen to use guile in almost all dealings with fellow human beings, whether friend or foe.”
The report went on: “Therefore, in military circles even a junior commander will invariably, as part of his nature, attempt to fox his adversary as to his real operational intentions.”
The Americans did not have to worry about being cunning because they had so much money to spend on defence equipment that the subtleties of deception were not so important in defeating the enemy. The report said: “[In the US] no financial and logistic constraints have in recent times hampered the commander in the field. There has been little requirement to consider the use of tactical deception. For the British, on the other hand, it could be said that the inclination to deceive is already available as a natural asset.”
That's our story and we're sticking to it.
Posted on 05/30/2008 8:19 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 May 2008
So what's new? This time it's about wine. From The Times:
After long scorning the international appetite for “vulgar” wine, France joined the fray yesterday and allowed growers to make and market their product in the fruity fashion of the New World.
Wood chips, added tannin and other “foreign” techniques will be tolerated in a new category of mid-quality wine that will be defined by grape variety rather than origin.
In a heresy for traditionalists this means, for example, that you may grow gewurtztramminer, the classic Alsace white, anywhere in France and sell it as gewurtztramminer in the new Wine of France category.
Under the law the main label on a bottle will identify the wine as merlot, cabernet, grenache, chardonnay or other variety, as well as mentioning its vintage.
President Sarkozy and his Cabinet approved the measures as part of a five-year plan to win back market share from the all-conquering Californian and southern hemisphere wines. With its antiquated classification and concentration on the mystique of le terroir — the soil and traditions of the vineyard — France has lost out in the past 15 years as world consumption has risen.
The New World has won drinkers over with what the French regard as simple, standardised fruit-forward wines with brand names. Supermarket shoppers prefer labels with Australian marsupials to Appellation d'origine contrôlée from obscure villages with six syllables. “French wine is complicated and often little understood,” the Agriculture Ministry said.
While it might raise some purist eyebrows the scheme has caused little offence. “I have faith in the savoir faire of French winemakers,” said Jean Claude Ruet, chief sommelier at the Paris Ritz hotel. “We will not fall as low as the Americans, who make vin rosé that is sugary and fizzy like soda.”
Sections of the French industry have already been adopting New World methods to fight back. The Languedoc region of the Mediterranean has been particularly successful, importing New World vintners and playing up grape varieties.
Some have gone as far as inventing “critter labels” to compete with Australia's Yellow Tail and assorted other parrots and wallabies. These include Rhôning Stones and Bois-Moi (Drink Me). A French Languedoc wine sold 1.3 million bottles to Australia last year under the brand of Arrogant Frog.
Unperturbed, The Times leader notes that this is not the first time the French have "tiptoed into the world of hybrids":
Jacques Chirac was famously half president, half sneer. Johnny Halliday is half rock star, half laughing stock. The world's tastes are evolving in response to our pick-and-mix culture. For instance, one of today's most fashionable dog breeds is the labradoodle; half labrador, half poodle. Why cannot France's new range of wines become the labradoodle of viniculture? “Wine”, as Benjamin Franklin astutely spotted, “is constant proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
I'll drink to that. The Irish way, perhaps: half Guinness, half whiskey and half cut.
Posted on 05/30/2008 8:33 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 30 May 2008
One More Vicious Demagogue For Obama
Posted on 05/30/2008 9:36 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
Lost At Stonehenge
In 1969 I went to Stonehenge and lost my glasses in the grass. Anyone happen to find them?
I ask, even at this late date, not only because I miss those non-National-Health frames, but because I'd hate it if those glasses had been trampled underfoot, and then archeologists were now to find their crushed remains and draw the wrong conclusions. It's not a theoretical problem. Just look what crazy things were concluded about the Bog People after some visitor to one of the more remote sites dropped his Blackberry, and two years later, some Estonian graduate student in archeology came to the site, and found what the visitor had lost, and made his find the centerpiece of his revolutionary thesis, the one involving UFOs and Lost Atlantis. The whole thing was published to great acclaim in the Acta Universitatis Upsalensis. It took years for the profession to recover.
Posted on 05/30/2008 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
Unlike Americans, The British Are Masters Of Deceit
And that is why the Americans were led by the nose by Burgess and McLean and Philby, while the British had their number all along.
And that is also why those masters of deception, the British, have been similarly on to the Muslims --- the ones who have been steadily filling up their country, by the hundreds of thousands, and now the millions -- all along. When the time is right, the British will show how cleverly they've handled the whole thing.
They're masters of deceit, those British. They know exactly what they're doing.
But Americans -- oh, you can look high, and you can look low, but you'll never run across a diabolically clever American. Such people just don't exist. Americans? Mere children. Every last man jack of them.
Posted on 05/30/2008 9:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
A Baseball Analogy
For all those who follow baseball with a passion, the current political drama of the 2008 Presidential Electoral campaign offers numerous and obvious points of coincidence. The one that comes most to mind is that of the brilliant “rookie” switch-hitter, Barack H. Obama whose eloquence, demeanor, and campaign achievements in more than two dozen primaries has made him a veritable slugger of Babe Ruth dimensions.
Yet as the season has lagged on and is about to enter the doldrums of June and July, it is clear that the rookie has not simply fallen into slump but has begun to hit an astounding number of ground balls that have been fielded and converted into classic double-plays by that outstanding team in the field rivaling that great trio from the old World Champion Chicago Cubs team of 1902-1910, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance.
Newspaper columnist and Chicago native, Franklin Pierce Adams(1881-1960) who frequently wrote for the New York evening Mail and New York Tribune under the pen-name FPA, and was perhaps best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower," and appearances on the radio show Information Please expressed the dismay of many New York fans who were forced to acknowledge the powerful Chicago Cub infield trio with his poem Baseball’s Sad Lexicon….. ..
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double --
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
For the past two months however, Obama has been mired in a terrible slump marked not so much by strike-outs as by his increasing propensity to hit into double plays fielded by his former teammates, the peerless fielding stars of the D.P. art, “Pfegler-to-Farrakhan-to-Wright. Whenever he has managed to smash a line drive, it has been caught by roving outfielder and ex-All Star team mate, Bill Ayres (Champion pinch hit batter of the Viet-Nam League).
Baseball is full of such stories of ex-teammates who haunt a former star player that was traded to another team or left of his own free will to follow his quest for stardom and a much bigger salary. The old teammates frequently tell stories of how the great star was once a “regular guy” who shared with them with the same enthusiasm and gusto all the same familiar pleasures of wild nights on the town, fast women, chewing tobacco and the slick tricks of the trade that could turn a hit into an extra base with the proper use of your spikes flying into the face of the second baseman or the use of an illegal extra weighted bat.
Now that the old hometown team-mate is an “allstar” and shadowed by the press and t.v., he has had to tread the straight and narrow path, pretending that, while his old gang may occasionally resort to such illicit and morally reprehensible tricks, he must reject all such ploys because, as a role model for American youth, he has to be above all such deception and suspicions. It hurts of course to disappoint the home town fans who still delight in the use of the spitball, hidden balks, dangerous baserunning, the weighted bats, and the disruptive behavior of the fans themselves to unnerve the opposition, but everyone knows today that these techniques no longer work before a huge crowd and nationally televised game. If the baseball analogy holds true going into the World Series, we are likely to witness a repetition of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem, “Casey at the Bat” , The San Francisco Examiner - June 3, 1888. (Substitute Obama for Casey)
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said "Strike two!"
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.
Posted on 05/30/2008 9:56 AM by Norman Berdichevsky
Friday, 30 May 2008
That Prophetic Powerful Pulpiteer Michael Pfleger
This "prophetic powerful pulpiteer" is merely Father Coughlin updated for the times. The target has been widened -- not "International Jewry" but "whites" -- those "whites" who in Michael Pfleger's view all have fat 401(K) plans and, bien entendu, trust funds, and have had it so easy because, being "whites," they merely walk into family-owned businesses and sit right down at the desk that has been awaiting them -- oh, and that includes those whiners who have been made into burnt offerings on the altar of Affirmative Action. Yes, a veritable Father Coughlin. a "pulpiteer" doing a welcome guest turn at Trinity Church, offering the same demaoguery and the same viciousness and the same essential stupidity, and the crowd, the same crowd with whom Barack Obama has been attending that church for twenty years, just loved it.
And were Obama not now running for poltical cover, one can be sure that had he and his family been at the church that day, that at the very least his wife Michelle would have been clapping enthusiastically at every demagogic pause, while Obama might judiciously have held himself a little more in check, have merely mildly clapped but, at the same time, have looked on at his wife and at others, entirely un-disapprovingly.
Posted on 05/30/2008 10:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Juanita Banana (Henri Salvador)
Posted on 05/30/2008 11:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
Marines In Trouble For Handing Out Bible Verses in Iraq
This goes to show how resistant Muslim are to learning anything about Christianity. They see any knowledge of it as a threat to Islam.
AFP: The US military said on Friday it was probing complaints that marines handed out coins inscribed with a verse from the Bible to a group of Sunni Muslims in Iraq, sparking outrage among local residents.
The coins probably said something like, "Love thy neighbor." Now they're ready to riot.
UPDATE: Emerelda finds that the verse was from the Gospel of John - "And God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life."
It said a service member involved in the incident in the former flashpoint city of Fallujah west of Baghdad was removed from his duties on Thursday.
"US forces initiated an investigation into reports that a coin with a Bible verse written in Arabic was distributed to Iraqi citizens as they passed through a Fallujah entry control point," the military said in a statement.
"A coalition force service member was removed from his duties Thursday amid concerns from Fallujah's citizens regarding reports of inappropriate conduct."
Residents of Fallujah, scene of one of the bloodiest post-invasion battles between insurgents and US forces in Iraq in 2004, said that marines had been doling out the token-like coins to residents to promote Christianity...
The marines are charged with promoting democracy but are forbidden to promote the religious understanding of universal brotherhood that make democracy possible. Is there any wonder why this isn't working?
Posted on 05/30/2008 11:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
Harvey Korman Has Died
For those of you who may not remember The Carol Burnett Show, here is a classic sketch
where Korman plays the straight man trying to keep a straight face.
Posted on 05/30/2008 12:33 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
Geraldine Ferraro On Obamolatry
Geraldine Ferraro in today's Boston Globe:
"Here we are at the end of the primary season, and the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day. Perhaps it's because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn't an issue, but reverse racism is.
The reaction to the questions being raised has been not to listen to the message and try to find out how to deal with the problem, but rather to denigrate the messenger. Sore loser, petty, silly, vengeful are words that have dominated the headlines. But scolding and name calling don't resolve disputes. The truth is that tens of thousands of women have watched how Clinton has been treated and are not happy. We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman's candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.
In response, a group of women - from corporate executives to academics to members of the media - have requested that the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University and others conduct a study, which we will pay for if necessary, to determine three things.
First, whether either the Clinton or Obama campaign engaged in sexism and racism; second, whether the media treated Clinton fairly or unfairly; and third whether certain members of the media crossed an ethical line when they changed the definition of journalist from reporter and commentator to strategist and promoter of a candidate. And if they did to suggest ethical guidelines which the industry might adopt.
That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know. But I do know that it will never happen again as long as women are willing to stand up and make sure that it is just a one-time bad experience.
As for Reagan Democrats, how Clinton was treated is not their issue. They are more concerned with how they have been treated. Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white. It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory "Our Time Has Come" they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.
Whom he chooses for his vice president makes no difference to them. That he is pro-choice means little. Learning more about his bio doesn't do it. They don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate. His experience with an educated single mother and being raised by middle class grandparents is not something they can empathize with. They may lack a formal higher education, but they're not stupid. What they're waiting for is assurance that an Obama administration won't leave them behind.
Hope, change, and inspiration don't do it. A speech on racism might persuade editorial boards, but to these voters it's "just words." Obama has less than six months to make the case."
Posted on 05/30/2008 2:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
They Sent The Jewish Monica
More interesting ideas from that alternate universe: the Arab world.
MEMRI: Following are excerpts from an interview with Saleh Riqab, Hamas deputy minister of religious endowment, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on May 14, 2008.
Saleh Riqab: The goal of the Zionist movement is to establish a state in Palestine, which would become a base for ruling the entire world. Its other goals are to destroy the religions it opposes, particularly Islam, to corrupt values and morality, to spread permissiveness and sex, and to generate moral decline. They have come up with many means to achieve this, such as inventing philosophical theories that destroy religion and morality. The French sociologist Émile Durkheim founded the theory of the formation of religion, which attributes it to reason – which means that religion did not originate from God. This is known as the theory of "collective thought." Jean-Paul Sartre, founder of existentialism, which is based on atheism, was a famous French Jew. The psychologist Freud, who interpreted the infant's relations with his mother as sexual, said, when he was given an award: I have never renounced my Judaism.
There are also theories that were invented by non-Jews, but they disseminate them, knowing that they are scientifically false, such as the theory of Darwin. Darwin was not Jewish, but they exploited his theory. Even though new Darwinist theories have appeared, they spread the original theory, because the concept of "survival of the fittest" serves their colonialist needs.
Interviewer: That's what the theory says.
Saleh Riqab: Yes. It serves the goals of global Jewry. In addition, they established destructive movements to fight religion and morality, to corrupt the leaders throughout the world, and to break down social relations among nations. This was led by global Freemasonry, which was founded by three prominent Jews, the first of whom was Herod. This is a long well-known story – the role of the Jews in creating the Masonic movement. The Freemason movement used various methods to bring the political, philosophical, and literary leaders worldwide to their knees. I remember the names of Arab leaders – some are dead and others are still alive – who joined the Masonic movement. They were brought down. There were even Palestinians among them. By the say, I'd like to say something... I don't want to mention names. The viewers will know what I mean. There is a book called Les Fous de la Paix, which was written by two Jewish journalists. I have a copy. It was translated into Arabic, and I've read it. It mentions that one of the architects of the Oslo Accords was meeting with the Jewish negotiator at an hotel in Britain. According to the book, in an adjacent room, the son of the Palestinian negotiator was with the daughter of the Jews, and they locked the door. That's when the Palestinian negotiator was brought down.
We see this clearly in the U.S. elections. Both Democrats and Republicans compete to please the state of the Jews. That's why when a Democrat comes to occupied Palestine, he puts on a religious skullcap, goes to the Western Wall, bangs his head against the wall, and says: "Your philosophy and the need to please you is now inside my head." They all compete with one another, but the Jews maintain a balance, and they always prefer the Christian Zionists. If a Democrat comes to power, like [Bill] Clinton – who served them well in Oslo and elsewhere, and almost served them in the second Camp David, but then, he made statements [they didn't like] – what did Zionism do? It sent him the Jewish Monica, with whom Clinton had sex in the American White House. Clinton left [the White House], but there are thousands of pages documenting his sexual depravity, because he had sex in the White House. I read a report that Clinton used to call Arab leaders and talk to them, while she was having sex with him.
Interviewer: My God!
Saleh Riqab: These things are documented, but the Arabs don't read them.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which are a product of the 1897 Basel Congress, discuss how the Jews should seize control of the world. In Europe, and especially in the U.S., there was a quick Jewish takeover of the major mass media, because in the West, the mass media shapes their mentality and their views. They don't read very much, they just listen.
Posted on 05/30/2008 2:56 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 30 May 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Lay Down Your Arms (voc. Anne Shelton, from Lipstick On Your Collar)
This is the last bit of "Lipstick On Your Collar." The song, sung by Anne Shelton, was an English hit in 1956 and, since the characters in Dennis Potter's television series either work ,, or are related to those who work, at the War Office at the time of the Suez Crisis, it was a perfect choice. But even without knowing this, and even without having seen the series which this scene brings to an end, a viewer can enjoy this song, in this scene:
Posted on 05/30/2008 3:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 30 May 2008
The War Against The Qadianis
That indispensable organization of translators, and analysts, of material from the Islamic world, MEMRI, today offers a piece about the campaign in Pakistan against the Ahmadiyya. Not recognized in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia as Muslims the Ahmadiyya are persecuted for not regarding Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets, and also for refusing to accept the necessity of Jihad:
In Friday Sermons Across Pakistan, Islamic Clerics Accuse Jewish-Qadiani Nexus of Conspiring Against Islam
On May 23, 2008, Islamic clerics aligned with Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan delivered sermons during weekly Friday prayers in different mosques across Pakistan to mark the Yaum-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, or the Day of the Finality of Prophethood of Islam's founder the Prophet Muhammad. 
The Day of the Finality of Prophethood was organized as part of the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat week that began on May 22, 2008. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (Assembly of Pakistani Clergy), which is organizing the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat week, had announced that imams and khutba'a (preachers) would especially highlight the role of the Jewish-Qadiani nexus during the Friday sermons. 
Ahmadi Muslims are sometimes called Qadianis by hostile Islamic groups, after the town of Qadian in India where their leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the movement in the 1880s. They have been declared non-Muslims in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for allegedly not believing that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet of Islam.
At a Lahore press conference, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Secretary General Qari Zawwar Bahadur said that public rallies would be held as part of the week-long programs to condemn anti-Islam conspiracies and blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. He said that participants in the rallies would renew the pledge to combat anti-Islam conspiracies, among them the Qadianis, the Danish newspapers' reprinting of the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, and Geert Wilders's film Fitna. 
The following are details about the Friday sermons.
Qadianis Consider Jihad Haram (Forbidden by Islam) and Should Be Ejected from the Pakistan Army
In May 23 Friday sermons in various mosques, Islamic clerics said that the Jewish-Qadiani nexus was engaged in promoting conspiracies against Islam and Muslims. According to a report in the Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Express, they said that the Danish newspapers' publication of Prophet Muhammad's cartoons and Geert Wilders's release of the anti-Koran film 'Fitna' was proof that they surrendered before the truth of the Koran and Islam.
According to the report, the clerics said: "The Jewish-Qadiani nexus is busy with anti-Islam conspiracies. The Muslim Ummah will not permit these conspiracies to succeed, and will not tolerate the gutless and cheating leaders thrust upon the Muslim nations."
The Friday sermons were delivered in key mosques in towns across Pakistan: by Shah Muhammad Ans Noorani in Karachi, Dr. Muhammad Zubair in Hyderabad, Allama Shabbir Ahmed Hashmi in Patoki, Qari Zawwar Bahadur in Lahore, Hafiz Naseer Ahmad Noorani in Lahore, Mufti Hidayatullah Pasrori in Multan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal Azhari in Shujaabad, Sahibzada Ahmed Mian in Multan, and Mufti Ashraf Jalali in Kamonki.
Sermons were also delivered by Maulana Muhammad Aslam Rizvi in Gujranwala, Maulana Ghulam Mohiuddin Sultan in Rawalpindi, Mufti Abdus Subhan Qadri in Peshawar, Maulana Habib Ahmad Naqshbandi in Quetta, Maulana Abdul Quddus Sasoli in Quetta, Pir Hasnain Farooq in Attock, Sahibzada Saeed Daryasharif in Attock, Qari Ghulam Yasin in Mianwali, Haji Aslam in Rokhri, Qari Abdur Rahman Noorani, Malik Bashir Ahmad Nizami, and others.
According to the report, the clerics said that Qadianis are the enemies of Islam and Pakistan, and should be dismissed from top positions in the government and the armed forces. They said: "Qadianis consider jihad to be haram [forbidden by Islam]; therefore they have no right to be recruited by Pakistan's armed forces. They should be dismissed from army posts."
Qadianis Threaten Pakistan's Ideological Foundation
At another conference held by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, at the Minar-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Memorial) in Lahore, a number of religious leaders and clerics delivered speeches criticizing Ahmadi Muslims. During the conference, billed as the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat conference, the group announced that it had finalized a public awareness program against Qadianis, to be launched across the province of Punjab. 
According to a report, the speakers said: "A threat has been created against the ideological foundation of Pakistan. Qadianis have once again begun conspiring against Pakistan. No sacrifice will be spared in protecting the ideological foundation of Pakistan."
The speakers at the Minar-e-Pakistan conference blamed all Pakistan's current problems on the Ahmadi Muslims. Qari Zawwar Bahadur told the conference that Qadianis were created only to spread discord among Muslims. Sahibzada Muhammad Atiqur Rahman said that Qadianis were conspiring to end the Kashmir issue. Pir Muhammad Abdul Khaliq said that the Western powers were engaged in negative propaganda against Islam. Sahibzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair called the Qadianis were the biggest source of mischief against Islam in contemporary times.
The speakers expressed their dismay over the performance so far of the new coalition government in Pakistan under Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. They were worried over the new government's move to change Pakistan's current constitution back to its 1973 version - a step that could lead to the removal of the "non-Muslim" label from Ahmadi Muslims. It was in 1974 that the Ahmadi Muslims were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan.
Speaking at the conference, Justice (Retired) Nazir AKhtar said that the demand to restore the 1973 constitution in its original version originated with the Qadianis.
The conference also passed a number of resolutions, declaring the two-month-old coalition government the most incompetent and unsuccessful in Pakistan's history, demanding the release of disgraced nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, urging the restoration of the 60 judges fired by President Pervez Musharraf under an emergency law, and calling for strong ties between ruling coalition partners Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (N), among others.
* Tufail Ahmad is the director of MEMRI's Urdu-Pashtu Media Project.
Posted on 05/30/2008 4:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald