These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 6, 2007.
Monday, 6 August 2007
The late John Diamond once wrote in The Spectator about a correspondence course run by The Writers [sic] Bureau:
Mr E H Metcalfe has written from Manchester to tell me that if I send him £189 "The world can literally be your oyster."
A test then:
- Does E H Metcalfe know what the word "Literally" means?
- Does E H Metcalfe know what an oyster looks like?
- What do you think are the chances of my becoming a well-paid and successful writer under Mr Metcalfe's tutelage?
Mr Metcalfe is principal of The Writers Bureau (no, I don't what's happened to the possessive apostrophe either) of Dale Street, Manchester....[P]ersevere ("The most important quality you require is not
brilliance, but perseverence" (sic) confides Mr Metcalfe) and eventually the literal thing with the oysters will start to happen.
Diamond's piece is very funny, and it is a great shame that he died at only forty-seven while many a dullard lives to a ripe old age. His mocking of the misuse of the word "literally" is the best I have seen.
But is it misuse? I have always thought so, believing that the word should be reserved for real cases rather than used for emphasis. In my piece here, I comment in passing on how "literally" has been cheapened by overuse and incorrect use. And I have always assumed that "literally" used to be used correctly, and that sloppiness has crept in recently. However, I now find that I am mistaken, and must literally eat my words. Jessie Scheidlower writes:
As is often the case, though, such "abuses" have a long and esteemed history in English. The ground was not especially sticky in Little Women when Louisa May Alcott wrote that "the land literally flowed with milk and honey," nor was Tom Sawyer turning somersaults on piles of money when Twain described him as "literally rolling in wealth," nor was Jay Gatsby shining when Fitzgerald wrote that "he literally glowed," nor were Bach and Beethoven squeezed into a fedora when Joyce wrote in Ulysses that a Mozart piece was "the acme of first class music as such, literally knocking everything else into a cocked hat." Such examples are easily come by, even in the works of the authors we are often told to emulate...
How did literally come to mean the opposite of what it originally meant? The earliest uses of literally were "in a literal manner; word for word" ("translated literally from Greek") and "in a literal sense; exactly" ("He didn't mean that literally").
By the late 17th century, though, literally was being used as an intensifier for true statements. The Oxford English Dictionary cites Dryden and Pope for this sense; Jane Austen, in Sanditon, wrote of a stormy night that, "We had been literally rocked in our bed." In these examples, literally is used for the sake of emphasis alone...
Why, though, did this usage of literally suddenly come under such fire? It is not the first, nor will it be the last, instance of a word that is used in a seemingly contradictory way. There are many such words, and they arise through various means. Called "Janus words," "contranyms," or "auto-antonyms," they include cleave ("to stick to" and "to split apart"), dust ("to remove dust from" and "to sprinkle dust upon"), moot ("able to be discussed; arguable" and "purely theoretical") and peruse and scan (each meaning both "to read closely" and "to glance at hastily; skim"). Usage writers often criticize such words as potentially confusing and usually single out one of the meanings as "wrong," the "right" meaning being the older one, or the one closer to the word's etymological meaning, or the one more frequent when 18th-century grammarians began to examine language systematically. It's not always possible to predict when something will be condemned
In the case of literally, the "right" meaning is said to be "exactly as described; in a literal way," because that's what the base word literal is supposed to mean. In fact, the literal meaning of literal would be something like "according to the letter," but it's almost never used this way. "He copied the manuscript literally" would be one possible example. So when we use literally to refer to something other than individual letters—to whole words, or to thoughts in general—we are already walking down the figurative path, and if we end up with people eating curry so hot that their mouths are "literally on fire," how surprised can we be?
To think that I have been literally barking up the wrong tree for so long. One question remains: what do you say if you really have been barking up the wrong tree, rather than just getting the wrong end of the proverbial stick?
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:08 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
Why are these men smiling?
Because "authorities" are arguing over the definition of "bomb."
These would be the two Quakers arrested near an important U.S. Naval facility in South Carolina.
Bill Riehl has fine updates on the contortions mainstream media have gone through and are going through in their efforts to avoid stating the obvious.
Posted on 08/06/2007 5:19 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 6 August 2007
NYC public school principal defines "Intifada"
The NY Post runs with a story all over the blogosphere last week:
Activists with ties to the principal of the city's controversial new Arabic-themed school are hawking T- shirts that glorify Palestinian terror, The Post has learned.
The inflammatory tees boldly declare "Intifada NYC" - apparently a call for a Gaza-style uprising in the Big Apple.
The organization selling the shirts, Arab Women Active in Art and Media, shares office space on Brooklyn's Third Avenue with the Saba Association of American Yemenis.
Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser, principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy - which is scheduled to open in Brooklyn next month - is a board member and spokeswoman for Saba.
Members of AWAAM refused to comment.
But Almontaser downplayed the sig nificance of the T-shirts.
"The word [intifada] basically means 'shaking off.' That is the root word if you look it up in Arabic," she said.
"I understand it is developing a nega tive connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli areas. I don't be lieve the intention is to have any of that kind of [violence] in New York City.
"I think it's pretty much an opportunity for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . . and shaking off oppression."
Perhaps these girls should start with the chains Quran shackles them with.
More on Almontaser here.
Posted on 08/06/2007 5:46 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 6 August 2007
What are our leaders reading?
Giant book chain Waterstones has asked 180 MPs what they plan to read during the summer break. From The Telegraph:
It appears that the Tories are swotting up on Gordon Brown on their holidays.
A biography of the Prime Minister by Tom Bower is among the most popular book choices in the Conservative ranks this summer, a survey of MPs' reading habits shows.
Labour politicians, on the other hand, are questioning the existence of God with The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins at the top of their party's list.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Alastair Campbell's The Blair Years is also proving a must-read.
William Wilberforce: The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner by William Hague, the former Tory leader, came top for the Lib Dems. However, some prefer to curl up with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling's final instalment about the boy wizard.
Mr Hague's Wilberforce biography is the most popular choice across all parties.
Other picks include classics such as Don Quixote, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, as well as books about the environment such as Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Islam is another popular topic with The Islamist by Ed Husain and The War of Ideas: Jihadism Against Democracy by Walid Phares.
It is good that MPs are reading about Islam, but why Ed Husain's book? According to Husain, the problem is an extremist version of Islam rather than Islam itself. It would be better if they read Robert Spencer's Politically Incorrect Guide, or Ibn Warraq's "Why I Am Not a Muslim". Of course there may be a difference between what MPs read and what they say they read, as a rather jaundiced Telegraph Leader points out:
Care should be taken when interpreting the summer reading preferences expressed by our MPs. This is, after all, an age when people fib on Desert Island Discs for fear of appearing either snooty or naff.
But our MPs surely can't be dissembling; no one would pretend to favour a biography of Gordon Brown (this year's top Tory choice), or Richard Dawkins's strident The God Delusion (Labour) over, say, a decent history, a good novel or even a heart-warming romance.
One of the most common criticisms of our MPs is that they are a caste apart: that, obsessed with politics and government, they have become divorced from the constituents they are meant to serve.
Their depressing choice of holiday reading serves to vindicate such prejudice. It doesn't make our legislators look diligent; it makes them look like workaholic, constipated bores. They really should get out more.
Posted on 08/06/2007 5:57 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
Shots Fired In Korea on DMZ
AP reporting on Fox. North started it. Is Kim Jong Il, having gotten the up-front goodies for promising to shut down the nuke program, fomenting yet another crisis to avoid compliance? AP notes:
The shooting comes a day ahead of working-level talks to agree on the details of an aid-for-disarmanent deal with Pyongyang in the truce village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas.
North Korea has already received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil from Seoul in return for the shutdown of its sole operating nuclear reactor and accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The energy-starved North is to eventually get further economic incentives equivalent to 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in return for irreversibly disabling the reactor and ending all nuclear programs, but has yet to set a deadline.
Naaahhh. Probably just a coincidence.
Posted on 08/06/2007 6:25 AM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 6 August 2007
Defamation of Islamist
Mark Steyn is good on the Cambridge U. Press cave-in to Saudi Warbucks:
Who is Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz? Well, he's a very wealthy and influential Saudi. Big deal, you say. Is there any other kind? Yes, but even by the standards of very wealthy and influential Saudis, this guy is plugged in: He was the personal banker to the Saudi royal family and head of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, until he sold it to the Saudi government. He has a swanky pad in London and an Irish passport and multiple U.S. business connections, including to Thomas Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission. I'm not saying the 9/11 Commission is a Saudi shell operation, merely making the observation that, whenever you come across a bigshot Saudi, it's considerably less than six degrees of separation between him and the most respectable pillars of the American establishment.
As to whether allegations about support for terrorism by the Sheikh and his "family, businesses and charities" are "entirely and manifestly false," the Cambridge University Press is going way further than the U.S. or most foreign governments would. Of his bank's funding of terrorism, Sheikh Mahfouz's lawyer has said: "Like upper management at any other major banking institution, Khalid Bin Mahfouz was not, of course, aware of every wire transfer moving through the bank. Had he known of any transfers that were going to fund al-Qaida or terrorism, he would not have permitted them." Sounds reasonable enough. Except that in this instance the Mahfouz bank was wiring money to the principal Mahfouz charity, the Muwafaq (or "Blessed Relief") Foundation, which in turn transferred them to Osama bin Laden.
In October 2001, the Department of the Treasury named Muwafaq as "an al-Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen" and its chairman as a "specially designated global terrorist." As the Treasury concluded, "Saudi businessmen have been transferring millions of dollars to bin Laden through Blessed Relief." Indeed, this "charity" seems to have no other purpose than to fund jihad. It seeds Islamism wherever it operates. In Chechnya, it helped transform a reasonably conventional nationalist struggle into an outpost of the jihad. In the Balkans, it played a key role in replacing a traditionally moderate Islam with a form of Mitteleuropean Wahhabism. Pick a Muwafaq branch office almost anywhere on the planet and you get an interesting glimpse of the typical Saudi charity worker. The former head of its mission in Zagreb, Croatia, for example, is a guy called Ayadi Chafiq bin Muhammad. Well, he's called that most of the time. But he has at least four aliases and residences in at least three nations (Germany, Austria and Belgium). He was named as a bin Laden financier by the U.S. government, and disappeared from the United Kingdom shortly after 9/11.
We've gotten used to one-way multiculturalism: the world accepts that you can't open an Episcopal or Congregational church in Jeddah or Riyadh but every week the Saudis can open radical mosques and madrassahs and pro-Saudi think-tanks in London and Toronto and Dearborn, Michigan and Falls Church, Virginia. And their global reach extends a little further day by day, inch by inch, in the lengthening shadows, as the lights go out one by one around the world.
Posted on 08/06/2007 6:36 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 6 August 2007
Norquist and Keene Pushing For Iraqi Resettlement In US
DKShideler posts at the 910 Group:
Grover Norquist’s Wednesday Group, Congressmen Blumenauer and Shays, and Senators Kennedy and Smith are trying to destroy the laws that protect us from terrorists entering the U.S., in the guise of rewriting refugee policy for friendly Iraqi translators. Their efforts are a significant and potentially deadly effort to undercut homeland security efforts.
Refugee Resettlement Watch reports they received a forwarded email allegedly sent from the office of Grover Norquist:
Refugee Resettlement Watch (Refugee Drumbeat: signaling our defeat in Iraq) received a forwarded email, with an attached draft letter (below in entirety) that may reveal who is behind the drumbeat to open the floodgates to Iraqi refugees. We can’t disclose the source of the email forwarded to us. However our source alleged it had received the email from someone in Grover Norquist’s office. Norquist is the once-respectable conservative (Americans for Tax Reform) who has since become a major apologist for the Islamist Lobby according to Paul Sperry in his book Infiltration, and founder of the anti-surge, pro-defeat lobbying group American “Conservative” Defense Alliance.
The source also alleged that the email included this line: “If you are interested in signing on to this letter, please contact David Keene at [email protected] with your signature and logo.” That would be David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and also a lobbyist with the Carmen Group in Washington, D.C. Keene spoke recently at a rally sponsored by ACLU and the extreme leftwing “United for Peace and Justice,” opposing Bush administration policies for homeland defense. For more on Keene’s retreat for conservatism into Islamism, see here and here.
The file attachment was named “wedletterdraft.com”. Norquist is known for holding a Wednesday weekly meeting that includes lobbyists such as Keene.
So what was in this attached letter? It was a call to admit Iraqi refugees in the name of loyalty to our friends, but with a real message of calling for surrender to Al Qaeda. The argument in the letter is that anyone who has worked for the U.S. government is marked for death (without any mention of the surge working). If that were true, we would have to accept as refugees entire provinces, since our coalition forces are receiving help and cooperation from entire villages now that the surge strategy is working. The author of the letter (possibly the Carmen Group, given the [email protected] email address) states that thousands of Iraqi refugees are in danger, and then contradicts himself saying that “This would not open the gates to a flood of Iraqis fleeing the uncertainty and general danger within which they live today…”
Here’s the bottom line - a demand for advocacy for two bills:
Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to address this issue. HR 2265, introduced by Congressmen Blumenauer and Shays in the House, and S. 1651 introduced by Senators Kennedy and Smith in the Senate that would provide emergency resettlement options for these Iraqi friends of the United States.
Continue reading this post
Christine has more here.
Posted on 08/06/2007 6:35 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 6 August 2007
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Armory
: The Pentagon
has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47
assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq
The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction...
The Pentagon did not dispute the GAO findings, saying it has launched its own investigation and indicating it is working to improve tracking. Although controls have been tightened since 2005, the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.
"They really have no idea where they are," said Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information who has studied small-arms trade and received Pentagon briefings on the issue. "It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors."
One senior Pentagon official acknowledged that some of the weapons probably are being used against U.S. forces. He cited the Iraqi brigade created at Fallujah that quickly dissolved in September 2004 and turned its weapons against the Americans...
Posted on 08/06/2007 7:23 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 6 August 2007
"For God's sake, push ahead!"
Serendipitously, the discussion of women's equality earlier at the Iconoclast still fresh in my mind, the twisted definitions of Intifada and oppression just about absorbed, the evidence of mainstream media dhimmitude piling up, I remembered where I had read Charles Péguy's poem "Liberté" (in the current Chesterton Review, subscription req'd.). Excerpts, wherein "God Speaks" (among the translations of Péguy from the French by Anne and Julian Greene):
A beatitude of slaves, a salvation of slaves, a slavish beatitude,
how do you expect me to be interested in that kind of
thing? Does one care to be loved by slaves?
When you once have known what it is to be loved freely,
submission no longer has any taste.
All the prostrations in the world
Are not worth the beautiful upright attitude of a free man
as he kneels. All the submission, all the dejection in the world
Are not equal in value to the soaring up point,
The beautiful straight soaring up from one single invocation
From a love that is free.
From a Roger Kimball appreciation of Charles Péguy, Dreyfus partisan and French patriot:
Péguy was a lieutenant in the reserves; it is said that when war was declared in August 1914, he left off writing in mid-sentence to join the mobilization. On the first day of the first battle of the Marne, about twenty-five kilometers from Paris, Péguy was felled by a bullet through the head. “For God’s sake, push ahead!” are said to have been his last words.
Posted on 08/06/2007 7:25 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 6 August 2007
Take a knob of butter
While not quite on a par with "gently break the heart of a young lettuce," this instruction is fun to read in a recipe. But how big is a knob? For that matter, how small is a smidgin, and who gets to decide? The Times letters page has a few ideas:
Sir, We are used to comparing size with London buses, Nelson’s column or Wales, but how does gloop (“Brownie points,” times2, July 30 ) or even a glug rate compare with a splodge or a dollop? Presumably they are more than a smidgin. Possibly only Brownies know.
JOHN UNSWORTH, Sheffield
a dollop would be a sensible helping of ketchup, a splodge rather more than sensible (a splodge of paint would simply be more than a splash or a drop, though). a glug of wine is a good mouthful, whereas a gloop would be far more than you can get in without swallowing. needless to say, a smidgin is too little ketchup or wine to be worth bothering; it's barely more than a sniff. glad to help.
jem, london, uk
Sir, In the days when the Royal Navy received a daily rum ration, our “tot” was often used as a form of currency (letters, August 1 and 2). They were either “sippers” or “gulpers” and the correct amount was strictly adhered to at all times.
DEREK A. GOLDSBURY, Stroud, Glos
Sir, When we had central heating installed, I needed some plasterboard to plug a hole. I told the assistant at the builders’ merchants that I didn’t need “a whacking great big piece”.
This caused smiles — apparently, it wasn’t an exact measurement.
THE REV MICHAEL BENTLEY Bracknell, Berks
M J: I have heard the rather coarse expression: "He lives in a f**k off big house." I'm not sure how big that would be, but the implication is: "too big for the rotten little b*gger."
Sir, The size of “smidgin” and “dash” always needs to be clarified by indicating whether it is metric or British Standard.
ALAN PARSONS, Barton under Needwood, Staffs
Sir, Our foreman in the piano factory had his own measurements of degrees of thinness. The largest was a shaving; slightly thinner was a wafer. Next came the snivel and the finest of all was a “fly’s wee-wee.”
VERNON KENNARD, Loch Ness Pianos, Inverness
Sir, There is an engineering measure of “a gnat’s gnacker”, which I assume is larger than “a fly’s wee-wee” (letters, August 3) but smaller than the British Standard handful. All are clearly non-metric.
Sir, I would suggest that smidgin and dash are clearly Imperial measurements (letters, August 3 and 4); the metric equivalent must be the soupçon.
Sir, Back home in Glasgow once I went into a shop and asked for a dod of cheese. “Certainly, sir. A big dod or a wee dod?”, was the reply.
So now you know. Before I get to heating up that knob of butter, I'll treat myself to a massive wee dock and doris, washed down with lashings of beer.
Posted on 08/06/2007 8:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
South Carolina Bomb Scare Update
State authorities in South Carolina are saying there will be a press conference later this morning to announce charges. The FBI, meanwhile, seems to be throwing cold water on the whole incident — sometimes they do that because it really is a false alarm, but they have also been known, much like the mainstream media, to understate things when Muslims are involved, so we'll just have to see.
Here's what I think the reporting indicates at this point. In the late evening on Saturday, two non-Americans of Middle Eastern descent, Ahmed Mohamed and Yousef Megahed, who appear to be in the U.S. to pursue engineering studies in Florida, were pulled over for speeding in a van on Highway 176 in Goose Creek, near Charleston, South Carolina. Goose Creek is home to the United States Naval Weapons Station, which, among other things, houses the brig where some U.S. citizens alleged to be unlawful enemy combatants have been held.
One of the men reportedly tried to hide a laptop computer. Police became suspicious. Eventually, the vehicle was searched. Initially, there was a report that one completed bomb and other explosives related compounds were found. Later reports indicate that police found PVC (polyvinyl Chloride) piping (which can be used in making pipe bombs but also has many other industrial uses), model rocket motors (model rocket engine igniters can also be used as charges for pipe bombs), and other "suspicious" materials which have not been revealed yet (to make pipe bombs you would need some kind of explosive substance).
Police closed the highway for several hours, well into Sunday morning. Moreover, at about 2:45 a.m., they did a controlled detonation of something — not yet described although it apparently sounded to witnesses like fireworks.
The FBI is said to be casting doubt on whether there really was a bomb. Based on what we think we know, this sounds to me like there could be a dispute about whether the components were assembled into something that would qualify under the federal bomb laws (18 USC Sec. 841) as an "explosive material" — as opposed to either (a) uncoupled "blasting agents" and "detonators," which might indicate an intention to assemble bombs, or (b) something totally innocent, which would suggest there has been misreporting about what was found in the van. I do not know whether South Carolina law defines bombs (or "explosive materials") the same way federal law does.
An FBI spokesman is also reported to have said there are no "links to terrorism." As the possession of a bomb would actually be an incident of terrorism, not merely a link to it, I have to think this means there is — at least as yet — no indication that the men being detained have ties to known foreign terrorist organizations. As the intelligence community's recently released NIE related, however, the mass availability of jihadist ideology (via the Internet in particular) is catalyzing jihadism even in the absence of formal connections to a group like al Qaeda. Thus, the lack of links to known terrorist groups would not be very comforting. I'd also observe that it's been less than two days since these guys were arrested (on a late Saturday night no less), so there has hardly been time yet to do a thorough investigation of their backgrounds and associations.
It will be interesting to hear what the state authorities have to say.
UPDATE: Charleston Post & Courier reports that the vehicle was a sedan, not a van. Press conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Any charges filed at this point will be state, not federal. A CAIR spokesman says it's all a misunderstanding according to the family — the two men are "really naive kids" who were riding around on a pleasure trip to South Carolina in a car that happened to have fireworks left over from the 4th of July. Feds are continuing to investigate but, again, saying that there are no known links to terrorism at this point.
Posted on 08/06/2007 10:55 AM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 6 August 2007
Dispatches, Channel 4 - 7/7 supporter given air time
Channel 4 has produced some good programmes recently, for example Undercover Mosque and Richard Littlejohn's documentary on anti-Semitism. Tonight (8 pm) they give air time to a "radical Muslim" who supports terrorism and justifies the July 7 bombings.
In fact I think it is good that we hear what some Muslims - and not just a handful - really think of us. This programme may well do some good in opening people's eyes to the true nature of Islam, which would indeed justify the 7/7 bombings and other terrorism. However, the filmmaker, Phil Rees, exhibits a contemptible moral equivalence when he defends his decision to make the film, arguing that this supporter of mass murder is simply telling the other side of the story. From The Guardian blog (h/t) Alan:
Rees argues that "a government policy (eagerly endorsed by the media) that denies a credible arena for the views of people like him contributes to, rather than reduces, the risk of a violent attack on Britain."
"A policy of excluding extremists is not working. Bush's dictum that 'you are either with us or the terrorists' is being applied here and the results are simply pushing more young people into the terrorists' camp. MI5 admits monitoring at least 2,000 British Muslims who are 'actively promoting violence'.
"It was with some irony that I recently watched a 1997 interview with Blair, after he had invited Adams and Martin McGuinness to Downing Street. 'If you are at least talking to someone, you have . . . some chance of something better emerging.'
"Journalists need to present the views of radical Muslims in a way that does not push them toward further violence. Journalism has a duty to reflect and not condemn the views of people such as Abu Muhammed. In denying them a voice, it is contributing to the radicalisation of British Muslims."
So, we should let them call for mass murder, because if we don't they will commit mass murder? A reader comments, correctly using "might":
That's right. I mean, if it wasn't for Lord Haw Haw's broadcasts then the Luftwaffe might have bombed the crap out of London during 1940.
Posted on 08/06/2007 11:41 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
Thank God And Our Mother Country
Following up on Mary's and my discussion about Rachel Ehrenfeld's book, Funding Evil, and the lawsuit brought in Britain by Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz:
Rachel Ehrenfeld (though her publisher Bonus Books) tells us that in order for her to prove the case in England, she would have to produce the raw intelligence used by government officials (and that of course, is not available).
This, of course, sheds a whole new light on the subject. And once again we in America should thank God (and Great Britain, from whence they came) for the freedoms we have secured by our Constitution.
Posted on 08/06/2007 2:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 6 August 2007
Couple of big death anniversaries coming up: The King
of course, 30 years ago next Thursday. Who of that generation will ever forget where he was & what he was doing when he heard the news?
Less prominently, but as important to some, the 50th anniversary—tomorrow—of the passing of Oliver Hardy
. I didn't realize until someone just told me that Stan & Ollie got an Academy Award—Best Short Film, for "The Music Box" (1932). A treat at elementary school when I was a kid was to be shown old Charlie Chaplin & Laurel & Hardy films in the school auditorium. I can't recall ever thinking Charlie Chaplin was funny, but Laurel & Hardy used to make me laugh.
Posted on 08/06/2007 2:51 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 6 August 2007
South Carolina Bomb Scare Update: Two Defendants Charged with Felony Explosives Possession
Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed, 24, and Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, have been charged by authorities in South Carolina with possession of an incendiary advice, a felony punishable by at least two and up to fifteen years' imprisonment. AP quotes the sheriff as saying: "They admitted to having what they said were fireworks. Based on the officer's judgment at hand, based on what he had seen, we judged it to be other than fireworks." Authorities remain tight-lipped about exactly what they found in the car. Their bomb technicians did detonate something seized from the car at 2:45 a.m. Sunday.
The two are engineering students at the University of South Florida's campus at Tampa — the same school where Prof. Sami al-Arian, while a computer science professor USF's College of Engineering, was running an outpost of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization. Al-Arian pled guilty in 2006 to conspiring to provide services to PIJ. The FBI, it should be noted, has not altered its earlier statement that no terror ties have been established.
Posted on 08/06/2007 2:53 PM by Andy McCarthy
Monday, 6 August 2007
Money Can't Buy You Class
Tom Wolfe explains hedge-fund managers for us:
...These people are hedge fund managers such as the bratwurst in blue jeans we just met, private equity fund managers (who have become increasingly indistinguishable from hedge fund managers), stock and bond traders (but nobody else in the investment banking firms they work for—especially not that pathetic creature the C.E.O.), and various lone-wolf entrepreneurs such as real estate developers. Everybody who cares at all knows their occupations, but what’s their problem?
There are some heavy-hitting Medicare-qualified hedge fund managers, notably Carl Icahn, 71, and the home run king, T. Boone Pickens, 78, who made $1.5 billion—personally—in a single year, 2005. But most of these people are in their late thirties and early to mid forties. For men making, in many cases, tens of millions and up per year, they qualify as young. They talk about business in young-warrior metaphors: “pulling the trigger” (making huge risky bets on the market); “mowing them all down” (overpowering companies that try to block your strategies); “This is war!” (get out of my way—or else I’ll make you suffer); “Surrender your booty!” (I’m a corporate raider poised to take over your company); “We don’t eat what we don’t kill” (if you, the investor, don’t make a profit, then we in the hedge fund’s management don’t take a profit ourselves, something oddly true in spirit although, as we shall soon see, not in fact). These people tend to be bright and well-educated, many at Harvard, Princeton, and other top-ranked colleges. They come from well-educated families. They still enjoy the virgin animal health of youth. They are flush with optimism and confidence, as well as money. With all that going for them, what inna nameagod is their problem?
The collision of new money and old money or, to be more accurate in our American context, slightly older money, has been a recurring drama. At the turn of the 20th century, Edith Wharton established herself as perhaps America’s greatest female novelist by focusing on precisely that. But the current new breed stands apart from all the rest for two reasons.
First, they have more money, infinitely more, than any of the various waves of new money that preceded them, with the possible exception of robber barons on the order of John D. Rockefeller, who, incidentally, was regarded as a rude Pocantico hillbilly Baptist by society in New York a hundred years ago. Hedge funds have what investment managers call “the greatest business plan of all time,” known as “2 and 20.” Each year the typical fund takes 20 percent of the return plus 2 percent of the total investments. Some of the hottest managers, such as Icahn and Stevie Cohen, reportedly take 50 percent of the profits...
The many of these people who spend entire meetings with eyes cast down at their BlackBerrys, thumbing out text messages to God-knows-what-people elsewhere—
The hedge fund manager who, during a 40-minute meeting, takes four telephone calls from his wife on the subject of a dinner party they’re planning, down to the level of who should sit next to whom, whether to serve the champagne in the new flutes or the art deco bowl-and-stem glasses, whether or not endive works as an hors d’oeuvre or is it a little too bitter?—
The hedge fund managers who hold meetings with their shirttails hanging outside their jeans, like college boys—
The former manager of Tremont Capital Group who came to meetings with the fund’s investors barefoot—
The twinkie wives of these people who arrive at real estate offices seeking to-die-for houses and apartments wearing jeans and stiletto-heel boots, with gotta-be-blond hair streaming down to their shoulder blades, holding a baby on a cocked hip with one hand and a cell phone to the ear with the other while a limousine waits outside, motor running— ...
Posted on 08/06/2007 3:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 6 August 2007
Too Important To Be Left To Mere Generals
"The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq."-- from this news article also linked by Rebecca below
The whole worshipful cult of Petraeus, as the Great Uniformed Hope, is utterly misplaced. It is he who seems to take seriously, or perhaps even originated, the utterly unhelpful idea that "in general, insurgencies last ten years." This is a pointless, even silly, notion, for it ignores the nature of insurgencies. When they are directed at, say, a colonial power (the MauMau), or against the local government because of its perceived injustice (the Greek Communists), and there are ways to satisfy demands at the same time that military defeat is inflicted (Jomo Kenyatta came to power -- in other words, the English gave up; in Greece there was, presumably, some attention to winning the hearts and minds of the impoverished who might be most vulnerable to Communist propaganda). But in Iraq there is not one insurgency, but many, and while they are all conducted by various groups of Muslims against each other, they are also -- to varying degrees depending only on what temporary use they may have for the Infidel Americans -- all hostile, permanently hostile (temporary smiles and wiles are transparent, or should be), to the Infidels.
What would you think of me if I were to write an article, or promote a doctrine, in which it was maintained that "in general, civil wars last 6.7 years." A pointless, silly notion, isn't it? You would make fun of me for such a thing. You would say, that such a statistic has no ability to help us in a particular situation. Why then do we applaud Petraeus, whose previous term as a supposedly successful "trainer" of Iraqi forces did not train up a great many loyal, true-blue Iraqis, nor did the area he supposedly pacified remain pacified?
Of course he is of thoughtful mien. Of course he is very brave, and not only brave but mediagenic. But so what? Someone who starts using the pronoun "we" to include Americans and Iraqis as one group, with identical interests -- Infidels and Muslims do not have, anywhere, identical interests -- and who furthermore has continued to think that "hearts and minds" matter, is not someone whose thoughtful demeanor and bravery (shot in the stomach in an accident during training, insisting on going right back to active duty as soon as he could, etc.) should cause us, desperate for a hero on a horse, some General Beranger, to put Petraeus on a pedestal or pediment.
Furthermore, he has not dropped any hints that he understands that in the larger Jihad, the one which consists of all the local Jihads (which cannot be reduced to merely "local" and "non-Islamic promptings, as either he, or possibly Kilcullen, or possibly both, seem to think), the one that relies mainly on the Money Weapon, and campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest, and whose theatre is now Western Europe -- will not be affected in the slightest by bringing some kind of temporary harmony to Iraq.
Far better to let Iraq be a source of constant internal strife within the Camp of Islam. But how can a general, his entire effort spent in fulfilling this or that task, and not seeing beyond that hideously difficult task, to ponder why the task itself, and its fulfillment, makes no larger strategic sense, possibly turn himself into a real strategist, a Halford Mackinder, who sees just how trivial Iraq is in the larger scheme of things, except as a place where American lives, and money, and war matériel, have been and are being squandered for all the wrong reasons, for a policy based on a lack of understanding of the forces at play in Iraq and potentially outside Iraq, and most of all, a lack of understanding, by most of those who love Bush, and most of those who hate him, of Islam, its texts, its tenets, its attitudes, its atmospherics, that guarantee that there will never be a settlement between Sunnis and Shi'a in Iraq that will look anything like what Infidels, people of reason, people used to compromise and not schooled up in a victor/vanquished view of the universe as are Muslims, with the victors being the Believers, and the vanquished being the Infidels -- but the attitude carries over to the Sunni view of Shi'a and, to some extent, vice-versa -- would think is possible.
It won't happen in Iraq. And if it did, it would be of no help in weakening the Camp of Islam.
Does Petraeus even think in such terms? Has he realized what the demographic conquest of Western Europe would mean -- first for a change in foreign policy, then to the weaponry of NATO, and then to the very nature of the societies that form, along with North America, the heart of the West?
Does he? Or is he merely a general? Because this war is too important to be left to mere generals. Even quiet, mediagenic generals such as David Petraeus.
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 6 August 2007
Long time no quiz
Hedge funds, as mentioned in Rebecca's post here, must not be confused with funds set aside to buy a ditch or a ha-ha. Here is a hedge:
And here, thanks to Esmerelda, is a ha-ha:
Ha-ha hanky panky features in a Jane Austen novel. One of the chief ha-ha-hanky-pankiers, in that context, quotes a line of poetry which is then used in a saucy novel by Nabokov.
Who? What? Which? What?
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:06 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
Everything You Learned In Kindergarten Is Not Enough
"73% of the attacks that wounded or killed U.S. troops last month in Baghdad were launched by Shi'ite militiamen, nearly double the figure six months earlier."-- from this news article
This should surprise no one. The Shi'a have received, or taken, a great many weapons from the Americans, and training, and have learned to fight, and gained experience, as members of the "Iraqi" police and the "Iraqi" army, that make the Americans less immediately useful. Besides, the American effort to win over Sunni tribes in Anbar must disturb the Shi'a, showing them that the Americans really mean it about bringing the Sunnis "back into the fold" when the Shi'a have no intention of doing so.
And meanwhile, the Sunnis -- not those who are convinced they will win once the Americans leave, but those that fear they will not (once the Americans leave) -- here and there, will no doubt be better-disposed toward their Infidel enemy/temporary protector.
In neither case should the slightest sentimentality cause wavering. Nor should anyone making American policy, policy that will make our American and Infidel lives better off, more secure, by weakening the Camp of Islam, be swayed by any such appeals of the "we-just-can't-leave-them" variety, or "don't-we-owe-it-to-the-Iraqis-to-stay" or "we-broke-it-we-fix-it" nonsense of the tom-friedmanesque school of contemporary kindergarten thought.
Leave, for god's sake. Let them fight. Or not. It hardly matters. Just leave, and let whatever happens to Sunni and Shi'a, which one hopes will involve not only fighting, but a using up of men, money, and matériel from co-religionists outside of Iraq, be observed from a safe distance.
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 6 August 2007
Dispatches - update
Despite my reservations about the reporter's views, this was a very informative documentary. Islam's tenets of jihad, covenant of "security" and above all the importance of loyalty to the ummah were spelt out very clearly.
A transcript may be available soon. Most of the programme consisted of Muslim voices, both "extreme" (true Islam) and "moderate" (watered down Islam). Even the "moderates" maintained that the ummah was central and not negotiable, thereby bringing the loyalty of Muslims into question. The "extremists" were more upfront.
Unlike many documentaries on Islam, this one quoted extensively from the Koran, and showed that terrorism, or support for it, or "understanding" of it, was fully Islamically justified.
While Phil Rees tried to throw in a few red herrings about "colonialism", the Muslims were allowed to speak for themselves. And their message was clear.
Consciously or not, perhaps in deliberate opposition to the BBC, Channel 4 is carving a niche for itself in telling the truth about Islam.
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:21 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 6 August 2007
Right here in Goose Creek, South Carolina
Were they going after these babies?
Or just letting us know they can?
Will we ever know?
Riehl is updating this faster than anybody right now.
(Thank Col. Sanders we're fightin' them over there in Iraq so we don't have to fight 'em here, in Goose Creek, your Goose Creek, right around the corner, anywhere in the U.S.A.)
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:43 PM by Robert Bove
Monday, 6 August 2007
How We Should Deal With Mahfouz
"the authors dispute the Cambridge claim of sloppy editing and Mahfouz's charge of libel, saying they mentioned the Saudi sheikh only 13 times in their book and they in no way labeled him a terrorist....Mahfouz has successfully brought at least four prior lawsuits against authors."
-- from the WND article linked below
Congress should hold hearings on this matter: the repeated and apparently successful attempt of Khalid bin Mahfouz to have books destroyed, or never published, and also to force their authors to endure great travails, including untoward expenses.
Let Rachel Ehrenfeld, let the authors of "Alms for Jihad," J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, let publishers and civil libertarians such as Floyd Abrams and Lawrence Tribe testify about this. And then throw the book at Khaled bin Mahfouz.
Declare him -- and more importantly -- his whole family (no rich Arab likes to be kept out of the United States, for education, medical care, shopping, and all the delights of the West) -- persona non grata for his campaign of intimidation.
Go ahead. The entire civilized world, including that which claims to be interested in free speech, will support such legislation. There is no good reason not to support it.
Fight back. Make life less pleasant for such people and that may teach them not to bully and intimidate in such a consistent manner.
Someone, or preferably several Congressman of both parties should introduce such legislation right now. There really is no need to wait for hearings.
Posted on 08/06/2007 4:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 6 August 2007
Sweden 'risks becoming terror base'
From The Local, Swedish news in the English language.
Sweden's security service, Säpo, has warned that there is a risk that Sweden could be used as a base for recruitment of terrorists. At least 20 Swedes have been arrested around the world on suspicion of terror offences since 2001.
"There is a risk of Sweden becoming a recruiting base for terrorists, and a base for the financing and planning of attacks in other countries," said Säpo's information director, Anders Thornberg, to Svenska Dagbladet.
Thornberg's comments follow the publication of the Security Service's annual report earlier this year, in which it was said that there was a "high risk" that Sweden would be used as a base for "recruitment, logistical support and planning" of terror attacks abroad.
The paper said that nearly all Swedes arrested had suspected links to Islamic extremists. Most of these were arrested abroad.
Säpo's Anders Thornberg told The Local that the risk of a terrorist attack in Sweden was "low", but that "there is a somewhat greater risk of an attack against American, British or Israeli interests in Sweden. But it is also important to ensure that Sweden does not become a safe haven for terrorists planning attacks elsewhere. In our globalized world people move all over the place. Every country has to take its responsibility." Thornberg said. "The fact that there are a lot of people in Sweden with foreign backgrounds means that there could be a small number of people with links to terrorism,"
Terrorists with Swedish connections were more likely to be active abroad than on home turf, he said.
Posted on 08/06/2007 5:41 PM by Esmerelda WEatherwax