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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 Sunday, 6, 2006.
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Hezbogandapalooza at al Reuters
JW reports that al Reuters (which also recruits in the Guardian's classified pages a la the BBC?) has employed a crack team of photo doctors to ensure that the Western public feels pity for the Hezbollah.  Will they save the patient?  Stay tuned.
Posted on 08/06/2006 6:00 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Bye Bye Brooklyn
One of the great things about living in Brooklyn used to be the borough's physical proximity to Manhattan and its psychic distance from the boozy, bleeding heart of celebrity culture manufactured in Manhattan.

No more.  They're here, they're celebs, and they will be noticed.
Posted on 08/06/2006 6:24 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Potatoes, tomatoes etc

You say potato and we say tomato, but if we have more than one of each we both say “potatoes” and “tomatoes”. In this piece, the writer invites us to “damn” more than one torpedo: “Damn those torpedoes, full steam ahead!”. Several torpedoes do more damage than one torpedo does.


Hugh Fitzgerald recalls a visit to Chutney Mary’s restaurant in London. In this restaurant, now part of a chain and better known as Veeraswamy, you can almost certainly eat mango chutney, that is chutney made with mangoes. But if there is a shortage of mango chutney, the one solution that you cannot propose is a “panel of quangoes”, which is what Hugh proposes here. The plural of quango, perversely, is quangos. That’s just how it goes. I have seen “quangoes” but I don’t think it’s correct, although if enough people write it this way it will become correct.


On the subject of potatoes versus potahtoes, I have recently begun listening to Radio Derb. I could talk at length about how wise, perceptive and funny it is, but that goes without saying. So I will mention an aspect of it which Americans may not have thought about: John Derbyshire’s accent.


To me John sounds 80% British. To an American he may well sound nearer 100% British. I don’t know how long John has lived in the US, but if the late Alistair Cooke is anything to go by, by the time he is 90, he will be speaking in a bizarre hybrid. Cooke’s accent to me sounded 80% American, but again, to an American it may have sounded more British.


My own accent has changed over the years I have lived in London. I have not made a conscious effort either to change my accent or to retain it. To a Londoner I still sound like a Northerner, but to a Northerner I sound like a Londoner. I find it hard to judge my own voice, as we all do, but I know that it has changed because on visits to the North, the regional accent sounds stronger than I remember it.


John’s Americanisms creep in at the end of his sentences, taking you by surprise. They are quite subtle, and often take the form of differences in intonation rather than vowel sounds. But one Americanism stood out: instead of pronouncing the word “leisure” as we do, to rhyme, appropriately, with “pleasure”, or “treasure”, he pronounced it so as to rhyme with “seizure”. This is nasty. If I had to learn to speak American English I could handle “gotten”, and even “toon”. In fact I  would “write” my friends back home  and tell them what a great lark it all was. But lawks-a-mercy, if I had to keep saying “leeeezure”, I would find it bloody difficult to keep my pecker up.

Posted on 08/06/2006 6:25 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Reuters photoshop
Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has evidence of what looks like photo doctoring by a Reuters photographer, Adnan Hajj, in Beirut. This could be a major scoop and could possibly expose Islamintern propaganda on a much wider scale. Bravo Charles!

oops, I see Robert beat me to this story.
Posted on 08/06/2006 6:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Nasrallah gets his way
France, U.S. agree on Lebanon resolution:

France and the United States buried their differences over a United Nations resolution that could be a first step toward ending the war between Israel and Hezbollah.French ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière said the measure called for "a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations.
Posted on 08/06/2006 6:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 6 August 2006
A reader writes
Your articles are excellent. Give my thanks to everyone.
Dan B.
Posted on 08/06/2006 7:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 6 August 2006
What the British Jews think of Israel's war

This is from The Sunday Times

There are doubts about tactics, but also resentment of media bias, says David Rowan

Remarkable. . . to see such a high degree of unity in support of Israel’s assault on Hezbollah. . .But publicly, for all the doubts being expressed about the efficacy of Olmert’s military strategy, there remains an extraordinary degree of agreement that he is absolutely morally justified in pursuing his lonely battle against the terror force next door. Because this conflict, it is widely understood, is a battle for Israel’s very survival against an enemy — backed by Iran and Syria — committed to eliminating the Jewish state.

For a mere newspaper editor (David Rowan is editor of The Jewish Chronicle) to claim to speak for the diversity of British Jewry would be to invite an e-mail rocket assault as ferocious as anything raining onto Haifa and the Galilee. So what we have been doing, as the paper where the debate is taking place, is listening to readers’ views, asking questions and reflecting the breadth of opinion, from gung-ho heads of public companies to liberal Peace Now activists . . .

More representative of our mailbag are the comments we reported from the writer Simon Sebag-Montefiore, who berated the few “silly Jews in comfortable Hampstead villas” who failed to see that “Israel has every right to defend itself against Hezbollah, a powerful anti-western, Iran-backed terror state-within-a-state [that had] fired missiles from civilian areas precisely to provoke tragedy”.

Maureen Lipman (a Yorkshirewoman, and Jewish - a double helping of no nonsense), too, was contemptuous of “assimilated, sometimes self-despising Jews such as Gerald Kaufman and Harold Pinter” who had been openly critical of Jerusalem. “What exactly is a proportionate response to unprovoked attacks on a country’s borders and to the kidnapping of members of its armed forces?” she asked. “A letter? A sanction? A slapped wrist?”

There are two aspects of this conflict that continue to unite most readers in agreement. First, there is a widespread perception that much of the British media — in particular the BBC — is failing to report the conflict fairly. With more than 2,000 Hezbollah rockets pouring into Israel, with hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians displaced, with loose talk on broadcast discussions of Israeli “war crimes” and rather less focus on Hezbollah’s own breaches of international law — there is an assumption among many of our readers of an instinctive anti-Israel bias. (we have discussed that here before now)

Second, and far more significantly, there is a fear that events in Lebanon will make life more difficult for diaspora Jews wherever they stand on Lebanon. In last week’s paper we covered the desecration of Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, the vandalism of Jewish shops and synagogues from Sydney to Rome, and Mel Gibson’s outburst about Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world”. We also reported on growing evidence of anti-semitic attacks in Britain including the swastikas and phrase “Kill all Jews” daubed onto a Jewish doctor’s home in Hampstead Garden Suburb. (I had never seen anti Jewish graffitti until a mosque opened near where I once lived, in a building that had previously been a synagogue.  The petty theft from the cemetery opposite where my parents are buried lessened, but a different vandalism began elsewhere.)

That, in essence, is why what unites British Jews matters more at a time like this than what divides us. Because, as a rabbi reminded me last week, when a Lebanese-born Hezbollah suicide bomber killed 85 Jews in Argentina 12 years ago, he didn’t stop to inquire where they each stood on the war.

PS  I am not going to put this as a separate post, but carry on and read this further article from The Sunday Times, which postulates "Beirut, some years on, when Hezbollah has driven out the “Crusader-Zionists” and begun building the model Islamic state it has promised since the 1980s."   Although I would disagree with the writers distinction between "Islam" and "Islamist"

Posted on 08/06/2006 8:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Iran's plot to mine uranium in Africa

As the great big saw comes nearer and nearer

and nearer and nearer

to Vera.  From The Sunday Times again.


IRAN is seeking to import large consignments of bomb-making uranium from the African mining area that produced the Hiroshima bomb, an investigation has revealed. A United Nations report, dated July 18, said there was “no doubt” that a huge shipment of smuggled uranium 238, uncovered by customs officials in Tanzania, was transported from the Lubumbashi mines in the Congo.  Tanzanian customs officials told The Sunday Times it was destined for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, and was stopped on October 22 last year during a routine check.


It has also emerged that terror cells backed by Iran may be prepared to mount attacks against nuclear power plants in Britain. Intelligence circulating in Whitehall suggests that sleeper cells linked to Tehran have been conducting reconnaissance at some nuclear sites in preparation for a possible attack.


Lubumbashi is the capital of mineral-rich Katanga province, home of the Shinkolobwe uranium mine that produced material for the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The mine has officially been closed since 1961, before the country’s independence from Belgium, but the UN investigators have told the security council that they found evidence of illegal mining still going on at the site.  In 1999 there were reports that the Congolese authorities had tried to re-open the mine with the help of North Korea. In recent years miners are said to have broken open the lids and extracted ore from the shafts, while police and local authorities turned a blind eye.

I don't like the sound of this, not even a little bit.

Posted on 08/06/2006 8:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Muslim integration has come to a halt

Coming thick and fast from The Sunday Times this afternoon.

I (Jon Snow) recently went on a journey around Britain to make a film about one of the most difficult and controversial questions facing our country today: to what extent do Muslims pose a threat to Britain and its values? 

We were attempting to delve behind the results of the most comprehensive survey to date of Muslim opinion in Britain. Conducted by NOP for Channel 4’s Dispatches, one of its most startling results suggested that Muslim integration into British society has effectively come to a halt.

Immigrants have usually tended to become more secular and less religious than their parents by the second generation. But the survey shows Muslims have gone in precisely the opposite direction.  .  .  By contrast, today’s young British Muslims are less liberal and more devout than their parents. Their beliefs render many of them determined not just to be different but also to be separate from the rest of the nation. The issues that bring them into direct conflict with Britain as a whole include freedom of speech and how the “war on terror” is being fought at home.

Stoke is no ghetto, but a conversation with young Muslims playing football showed how out of step their views are with wider public opinion. These young men simply did not believe that 9/11 was the work of Islamic terrorists, but rather an American conspiracy.  .  .  A sizeable number of British Muslims to whom I talked were convinced that Princess Diana was killed because of her relationship with a Muslim .  .  .  Many youngsters from Bradford are going to university and in a sense having it both ways — benefiting from this country’s facilities but taking with them core beliefs that sometimes lead to separateness.

Indeed, a 19-year-old Muslim studying biomedicine at a London university explained that the very fact of his education had led him to think the way he does. At one point I asked him and his two friends: “You’d like me to become a Muslim, wouldn’t you?” They said I’d be much better for it, and talked about the positive aspects of converting.

An overwhelming number of British Muslims believe free speech should not extend to insulting their religion, and one-third would rather live under sharia law, as laid down by the Koran. A 29-year-old of Turkish Cypriot origin told me: “I feel that democracy altogether isn’t working as a system. I believe that man-made laws aren’t really the answer.”

 In our sample, almost one in four said the July 7 bombings were justified in the light of Britain’s support for the war on terror. Those under the age of 24 were twice as likely to believe this as those over 45. For the moment, British Muslims are on side. Eight out of 10 we questioned said someone who knew of a terrorist act and did not report it would be equally to blame as the terrorists themselves.

We had just finished the programme when Lebanon blew up. I have no doubt it is adding to the Muslim community’s sense of anger and alienation. 

Jon Snow presents Dispatches: What Muslims Want on Channel 4 at 8pm tomorrow. He was talking to Stuart Wavell

When I was young my elders would use the phrase "What she wants" in the sense not of "what she desires" but  "what she lacks or is in need of".  Eg  "what she wants is a good hiding" or "what she wants is to grow up and learn to behave".  I suspect that Dispatches is going for the former sense - ie what Muslims desire from us (submission) and their desire for the future (domination), not what is really needed.

Posted on 08/06/2006 8:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Re: Reuters photoshop

"War is Deception" said Muhammad. And there is not a believing Muslim who does not accept that Muhammad is the Perfect Man, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, the Model for All Muslims For All Time.

The altering of photographs for propagandistic purposes is most famously associated with Stalin's rule. It began with legitimizing his rule by publishing retouched pictures of Lenin and his crew or retinue, but with some Old Bolsheviks, annoyingly close to Lenin, airbrushed out, so that no one came between Stalin and Lenin, and in some cases, even managing to move Stalin closer to, or right next to Lenin. The device was one that appealed to the Soviets.

And of course it appeals now to photoshoppers of the world, not least the almost entirely Arab crew of photographers who are giving the world not "the war in Lebanon" but a doctored war, a war with miseries of the locals exaggerated or even invented. Does anyone think that the photographer, Adnan Hajj, understands and respects the idea of journalistic truth -- or that so many others of his ilk are not working hand-in-glove with Hezbollah or, for that matter, Hamas, or still a little earlier, the PLO? Would it make sense, knowing what we know of Arab Muslim precepts, and loyalty to the umma, and that "war is deception," not to think that Arab photographers would refrain from doing all they could to either carefully take misleading pictures (those of who think Beirut is "in flames" should hear the reports from the splashing in the hotel pools, see the bustling and even the traffic jams all over untouched Beirut (that is, save for the Hezbollah neighborhood -- to call it a "quarter" is to exaggerate its size). Those who think because a bridge or a road in the north, capable of carrying missiles and men from Iran and Syria, that "Christian areas are being hit" should think again. If the target is always and everywhere connected to Hezbollah -- and the roads into and out of Syria (and roads also means bridges) are hit, wherever they are, that is a special case: they are directly connected to preventing the resupply of Hezbollah. But the pictures are made, whenever and wherever they can, to hide this.

The American military has been a victim of this in Iraq. The coverage of its activities, the inattention paid to all the good works (good works in one sense, wasteful acts of kindness in another, on people whose hearts and minds cannot be won, and the effort to win them squanders our resources, and prevents us from recognizing what it is that menaces us, and planning accordingly, in and out of Iraq.) Programs should be given in the military academy, showing how Al-Jazeera, for example, covers the Americans in Iraq: the endless scenes, over and over, of the very same supposed American "atrocities," the deception in those scenes, the exaggeration and the fabrication. And not only military audiences should be shown these Al-Jazeera and similar acts, but civilians -- the propaganda war of Islam should be a subject of study in colleges, and examples should be presented for analysis on, say, the more intelligent news shows.

Why? Why should Muslim and Arab propaganda in the reporting on, and photographing of, scenes of war between Muslims and non-Muslims be made the subject of study? Because it is now a permanent feature of the Jihad, the Jihad that is above all a "war of deception," and in order not merely to be fair in the depiction of how the Israelis fight, or how the American soldiers fight, but in order to make sure that Infidel populations are not, through their own supposed media -- the BBC, or Reuters, or AP -- which because they are not labeled Radio Berlin, or Radio Tokyo, or TASS, those credulous Infidels believe must "be telling the truth."

Of course they are not doing so. And the photographs photoshopped so crudely and obviously are only the latest, and the easiest to spot, but every day, on the radio, on television, in your newspapers, in the inability to cover so many telling stories (think of what you read here, and think of how little of it appears, and always with a delay, in that supposed newspaper of record, The New Duranty Times), and to make sense -- by beginning to hint at what is in the Qur'an, in the Hadith, in the Life of Muhammad.

It has been nearly 5 years since 9/11/2001. What has the major press anywhere in the Infidel world done about looking into, and reporting on, unretouched and unphotoshopped, what Islam inculcates, and what a very large percentage of Muslims so devoutly believe? Not a hint as yet, not a single Qur'anic passage, as far as I know, has yet been quoted even once in The New Duranty Times -- save when it inadvertently appears because it has been quoted by Bin Laden, or Al-Zawahiri, or some member or leader of one of the lesser jihads. But never does the writer, never has a columnist -- certainly not Tom Friedman, who "for 27 years has been reporting on the Middle East" and "who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and who, not once in his colossally idiotic career, ever managed to quote a single Qur'anic verse.

The doctored photographs, worthy of the NKVD in their crudeness, are the least of it.

But let's start with them. Let's not forget the nonsense and lies that are our daily portion from Arab photographers, and Arab Muslim reporters -- but also, alas, from those who are non-Muslim and non-Arab, but out of incurable ignorance, as in Friedman's case, or out of a wish to deny or an inability to make the mental effort to understand the mental makeup of Muslims, perhaps because one knows a handful of "Muslims-for-identification-purposes-Muslims" who have lived in the West and are so affable, so plausible, so friendly that they become barriers to mental entry into the real world of Islam, and then there are those Western reporters on the Lesser Jihad against Israel in particular who exhibit the signs of both ignorance and denial and a clear mental condition that one also finds among the pat-buchanans, david-dukes, and roger-garaudys of this world (see Orla Guerlin, see Barbara Plett, see Caroline Hawley, see so many it would take forever to name them).

Posted on 08/06/2006 12:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 August 2006
and speaking of deception

"Generally those who teach Arabic or Islam, get to become apologists or propagandists for Islam"
-- from a reader (also see for example, Juan Cole)

There are several reasons for this. One is that many who go into this field may be self-selecting. Something about it "attracts" them and makes it "appealing" to them not so much because of the fascination of what's difficult, or what needs to be studied by Westerners because it is only they who can dare to study, say, the origins of the Qur'an, or the Hadith (think of Ignaz Goldziher), with a mental freedom, and often with the scholarly resources that only the West, but not the Islamic world, provides. If you want to find out about the warsh and nafs versions of the Qur'an, you do so in the West. If you want to study and publish on the Qur'an the way Mingana did, or Arthur Jeffery in that lavish publication on foreign words in the Qur'an, paid for by the Gwakior of Baroda, you do so in the West. If you want to study, as Joseph Schacht did, Muhammadan Law, you may spend time in Egypt, gathering material (when Schacht lectured in Cairo, he was capable of doing so in Arabic), but you will write in the West. Those were different people, entirely of a different level (as is true in so many academic fields based on the study of history and literature) of linguistic and other training, of broad cultivation, who above all were steeped in, and had been from an early age, a system of rigorous education that assured their knowledge of, and therefore the natural appreciation for, the artists, the scientists, the thinkers, of the Western world, of the Western tradition.

And since the Western world has not quite realized how difficult, if not impossible, it is for a Believer, who is also teacher of any subject having anything to do with Islam, to be, at the same time, anything other than a stout if sly Defender of the Faith, a Defender who has no conception of, or fealty to, the idea of disinterested academic study, and who will attempt to prevent others from learning about, much less teaching about himself, the real progress being made in Western study of early Islam, or indeed, will not permit any study of Islam that appears to open up Islam to Western criticism. Thus the entire subject of the dhimmi is either ignored, or reduced, in the Lewisian manner, to a few paragraphs, or a single completely misleading phrase, of the kind any of us can so easily compose.

Here's my version: "Non-Muslims living in the Islamic world were treated with far more tolerance than were non-Christians living in Christian-ruled countries; they could live quietly, practice their religion, and of course everyone knows that the Ottoman Sultans, just like the chivalrous Saladin, always had Jewish doctors." Sometimes, if the instructor thinks the undergraduates may have heard about it and wants to pre-empt any doubters in the house, will refer to the "Jizya" as "a tax on non-Muslims which was simply a substitute for the 'zakat" that Muslims had to pay." All completely false in the sly meaning so slyly conveyed -- but to deconstruct every phrase, to show what is misrepresented, and what is omitted entirely, takes time -- and most students will have no idea how deeply and gravely they have been mislead.

MESA, or as it is more accurately known around here, MESA Nostra (the Middle East Studies Association) in 1970 had a membership with perhaps 5% Muslims. Now the Muslims among its members constitute 60%. But that is not the only important thing. The non-Muslims who must work with, attend departmental meetings with (how awkward to be in the same department with people who will bear an eternal grudge against you if you dare say one word about Islam that they find is not to their liking, if you dare to present Islam as anything other than something wonderful, and if you dare to suggest that the Muslim and Arab view of the universe is not always and everywhere to be endorsed), rely on Muslim colleagues, who have and will always have power over you -- whether for obtaining grants as a graduate student, or on your doctoral examination committee, or vetting your thesis, or recommending that your thesis be published by a certain press, or later giving you teaching assignments, and then voting on your tenure, and then even if (and how many who are not deemed suitably compliant, insufficiently "collegial" as that curious criterion is now officially deemed important in judging one's fitness for academic promotion and tenure -- an absurdity that would have appalled Joseph Schacht and Franz Rosenthal and so many others, as part of the simpering sentimentality that would have kept out so many great teachers and scholars, and favors the careful-to-offend-no-one mediocrity, and thus are whole departments ruined, degree by degree, appointment by appointment). Forever you will need those book blurbs, those easier teaching assignments, those recommendations for grants, grants, grants, that trip to Bellagio and the Lago di Como. It never ends. And if that depends on your not offending so many powerful Defenders of the Faith -- well, you are not going to say a word about Luxenberg or Patricia Crone, or Ibn Warraq's anthologies of scholarly writing, you are not going to say a word about the "Jihad" that makes real sense, you will never refer to the Shari'a in a way that conveys just what it means for non-Muslims, you will not discuss the tenets of Islam and their incompatibility with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, you will not discuss the real treatment of non-dhimmis, never mention the killings of 60-70 million Hindus under Muslim rule, never come to grips with what it is in the statements of Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri and so many others that come straight from the Qur'an, the Hadith, the details of Muhammad's life, will never discuss inshallah-fatalism in courses on "economic development in the Arab/Muslim world," will never discuss the Islamic suppression of free and skeptical inquiry, or narrow limits placed on acceptable vehicles for artistic expression. You will, essentially, lie and be a collaborator in lies. And your courses will be almost entirely worthless, and the keenest students, capable of reading on their own, capable of comprehending along the way, what is happening, are likely simply to leave the field, not to enter it -- and the ones who enter it will be those well-satisfied with what, say, Hamid Dabashi or Omid Safi or any number of others tell them about Islam, and clutching their copies of Sells's bowdlerized "Approaching the Qur'an" (the "lyrical" parts only, so as not to trouble anyone), or Carl Ernst's apologetics, or that favorite for Muslim instructors on these new concoctions "Islam and the West," that compilation of old romantic clichés and up-to-date misinformation, Maria Rosa Menocal's "The Ornament of the World," all about that "convivencia" in Islamic-ruled Spain that so many still want to believe, because if it somehow was true somewhere, then won't, please won't it be again, in the islamized Europe toward which we are heading, and which we do not know how to stop?

MESA, MESA Nostra. And it is just as bad wherever, of course, Arab money has managed to create "Centers of Islamic Studies," or endow certain chairs for certain purposes -- and when the Saudis and other Arabs give money, they make sure that their rules are applied, and they install local enforcers in those centers, and departments, to make sure that they get their money's worth. Look at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, at Georgetown, run by lean, mean, jogging apologist John Esposito, making a living far beyond what he ever dreamed of before he found his true calling. Look at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, also at Georgetown, so convenient to both the corridors of uninformed and unwary power, and to those members of the press and television who will call you up to take advantage of your proffered, amiable, furrowed-brow serious, "expertise."

I could go on. But you get the dismal picture. A crock, almost everywhere you look.

Posted on 08/06/2006 12:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 August 2006
20 years ago today...
Happy anniversary, honey.
Posted on 08/06/2006 12:18 PM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Reuters admits doctoring photo, kills doctored version
Reuters' head of PR says in response, 'Reuters has suspended photographer until investigations are completed into changes made to photograph.' Photographer who sent altered image is same Reuters photographer behind many of images from Qana, which have also been subject of suspicions for being staged - from this news item

The difference in the impression made by the photographs may be too subtle for all to grasp. But they should be able to grasp this: Reuters was detected by Charles Johnson of LGF in a lie, a photographic lie, and that lie was published around the world. Had he not detected it, had he not had a website up and running in which to publish and disseminate and be confirmed by others in his finding, Reuters would not have admitted to doctoring the photographs.

What does this mean? What is its larger significance?

The larger significance is that we have every right to question other photographs published by Reuters, by the same photographer. We have every right to question photographs published by Reuters by other Arab and Muslim photographers, and not only in Lebanon, but in Iraq (where the American military have some scores to settle with some of those photographers who always seem to know just where those bombs will be going off, and where other atrocities will occur). We have every right to question not only Reuters, but Agence France Presse (remember the Mohammad al-Dura mounted spectacle? Shall we allow everyone to forget that quite so quickly?)

We in the Western and larger Infidel world have a right to inquire as to what the newspapers and television of that Western world thinks it is doing, when it continues to publish the photographs, and the reports, of people who have been caught offering up, transmitting, and even aiding in creating, propaganda for Arabs and indeed, for other Muslims (as in the disgraceful coverage of Muslim terrorism directed at Hindus and other non-Muslims not only in Kashmir, but in India itself, and in Bangladesh). We have a right to know why there are not articles of self-criticism and self-examination, especially by those who preen themselves, a bit too quickly and too self-assuredly, that they are to be trusted, that they are reliable. Given the embarrassing history of how, for example, The New Duranty Times covered not only famines in the Ukraine, but life in the Soviet Union all through the 1930s, thanks to Walter Duranty, or how that same newspaper failed so miserably (see Laurel Leff's book on the subject) in its non-conveying of the truth about Hitler's war on the Jews, again all through the 1930s, when some might, if duly informed, even have managed to save their relatives, and to work much more frantically to alert others still living in what were regarded as the safety of France, or Holland, or other inevitable future victims of the Third Reich. The newspaper has blood on its hands, and in such circumstances, it has a higher duty than any other newspaper of, by, or for the so-called goddamned record.

Posted on 08/06/2006 1:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Gays flee Iraq
From The Observer: ...Homosexuality is seen as so immoral that it qualifies as an 'honour killing' to murder someone who is gay - and the perpetrator can escape punishment. Section 111 of Iraq's penal code lays out protections for murder when people are acting against Islam...

One photograph is of the mutilated, burnt body of 38-year-old Karar Oda from Sadr City. He was kidnapped by the Badr Brigade in mid-June. They work with the Ministry of Interior and are the informal armed wing of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who make up the largest Shia bloc in the Iraq parliament. Oda's family were given an arrest warrant signed by the Ministry of Interior which said their son deserved to be arrested and killed for immorality as a homosexual. His body was found ten days later.

· Jennifer Copestake's film on homosexual executions in Iraq will be shown on More4 News on August 7 at 8pm
Posted on 08/06/2006 2:09 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Going gray

Emmylou Harris caught a lot of grief in the industry when she refused to color her hair. I remember executive types shaking their heads and saying what a mistake they thought she was making. Gray is just not supposed to be cool.

Beth Frerking writes the following in Slate:

Today, estimates of how many women color their hair vary widely. Hair-product manufacturers place the number as high as 75 percent. Independent market research reveals significantly lower numbers but is often incomplete. In its spring 2005 adult study, for example, the New York-based Simmons Market Research Bureau found that 16 percent of women over 18 reported using hair-coloring products at home. The proportion rose with middle age—a quarter of women ages 45 to 54 dyed—but dropped back to 16 percent among women 55 to 64. However, the survey did not include women who have their hair colored at salons.

Andre Nizetich, president of the California-based American Board of Certified Haircolorists, agrees with the more conservative numbers and believes that about 35 percent of women ages 18 to 60 color their hair. He said that most start in their 30s to cover the first signs of gray. They stop in their 50s because they're tired of the hassle and expense, have been married for at least 20 years, and figure "my husband loves me the way I am."

To me, it feels like 80 percent of women my age [49] cover their gray. Perhaps it's my upbringing. Growing up in Texas, blondes ruled, and when I visit today, most women my age appear to dye, frost, bleach, highlight, or lowlight. More likely, though, my sense of membership in a hair minority reflects society's prejudices against silver-haired women, especially those who go gray early. In women's magazines and on beauty-product Web sites, premature gray hair is something to be disciplined or exiled. It's the pushy gal of hair, often described as "stubborn" and "pesky." The contrarian in me loves that my hair is a troublemaker. Who wants wimpy hair?

But the women who stop me about my hair seem to have internalized the negative associations. Most start with a compliment, but many go on, unprovoked, to explain, justify, and apologize for coloring their gray. These are women I've never met, with whom I find myself playing the silent partner in a fraught internal debate. I don't mind serving as a short-term therapist, but I feel sad that they're so defensive—and torn—about going, or not going, gray....

Posted on 08/06/2006 2:30 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 6 August 2006
Polar Bear hits Southend Pier. (not literally)

Lewis Gordon Pugh reached Southend-on-Sea in Essex today and finished his 21 day swim of the entire length of the River Thames. He finished at the famous Southend Pier, which re-opened to the public after last years fire only yesterday.  What a lovely first visitor. Most people take the little train.

Lewis said on local news that this was the toughest swim that he had even done, harder than he expected, and never again.  This is the notice on the home page of his website.


He travelled with a kayak next to him, and a support launch behind. My husband went out to the river bank yesterday and took this photo as he passed the ADM works in Erith Kent.  Interestingly ADM trade in vegetable oils, some of which go to make biodiesel.  You can see Lewis's head in a cap just behind the kayak, but not his support craft. The river is very wide at this point.  I won't end by saying that only mad dogs and Englishmen would attempt such a thing as he is South African.  But I have been intrigued and impressed by the expedition, as you may have gathered

Posted on 08/06/2006 2:13 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

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