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The Real Nature of Religion
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As Far As The Eye Can See
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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
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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by J. E. G. Dixon
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Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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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
















Wednesday, 31 January 2007
How to approach a much larger animal
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Posted on 01/31/2007 5:45 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Shameless seahorse shenanigans
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The Times on the secret sex life of the saucy seahorse:

Seahorses may be graceful and elegant but the idea that they are monogamous and mate for life is just a myth, according to research.

A study indicates that the sea creatures are promiscuous, flighty and more than a little bit gay — none more so than the Australian seahorse. And unlike human rules of attraction, it was the members of the Hippocampus genus with the biggest bellies that attracted the most partners.

The results also suggested that of 3,168 recorded sexual encounters, 37 per cent were same-sex liaisons.

Scientists at fifteen Sea Life Centre aquariums around Britain studied ninety seahorses of three species from Australia, the Caribbean and the Channel. Until now many marine biologists had believed that seahorses were monogamous, and that theirs was one of the few species in which the male becomes pregnant and carries the eggs.

However, individual seahorses were recorded flirting with up to 25 potential partners a day. The Australian bigbellied seahorse was the most indiscriminate, mating with both females and males several times a day. Caribbean slender seahorses were also promiscuous. Of the three species studied, only some of the British spiny seahorse were faithful to one partner. Out of those, five pairs remained faithful, while twelve did not.

Flirting? Does this include remarks of an unbridled nature, as made by Charles II?

Paul Bullimore, a Sea Life Centre marine curator, said: “The results of the survey came as a revelation to all of us. The fabled monogamy of the seahorse really has been exposed as a myth. We were pretty sure there was far more promiscuity among seahorses than is generally acknowledged, but we hadn’t picked up on the same-sex liaisons.

“This bisexual activity was both a great surprise and a shock to many of us that work with the creatures. The observations of big-bellied seahorses suggest that neither males nor females of this species had any preferred partner. They really are indiscriminate and shameless creatures.”

The scientists were looking for signs of courtship, including colour changes, knotting of tails and synchronised swimming. The information was studied at the national seahorse breeding centre in the Sea Life Park, Weymouth.

A total of 1,986 “contacts” were recorded between males and females, and another 836 between females and 346 between males.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 5:23 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Chez Reid
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Not exactly Club Gitmo, Esme, but more than adequate.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 4:27 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Ivy League
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"Hugh! I was about to comment on precisely that phrase. "An Ivy League-educated doctor" is worth knowing because it tells us (again) that those who believe in the divinity of the Koran (and the protection and license it gives the believer) is not restricted to the socially marginal.

It is interesting that you objected to the phrase, as if you were saying, "Why are we giving credence to an Al Qaeda sympathizers, why are we suggesting that Al Qaeda-ism has a respectable pedigree?" In a way, your objection is frightening."-- from a reader

You misunderstood my laconic point. It had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or a thousand other similar groups and groupuscules. It had to do with the worshipful phrase "Ivy-League-educated."
This kind of thing promotes the silly and hollow hierarchies that have now become the stuff of U.S. News and World Report legend (the "Best" Colleges, the "Best" Graduate Schools, the "Best" of this and that), but the legend, alas, is devoutly believed in by many, and that is one reason that the high school semi-farce becomes so worrisome, what with all that planning, and scheming, and the summer "visiting colleges" ("Dick is going to take Kimberley to visit colleges in California while I stay home with Josh"), and the SSATs, and the SATs, and how many Advanced-Placement Tests did you take, and what were your scores, and what are your reach schools, and what are your safeties, and do they force Early-Admission on you or can you wait and so on and so hysterically and maddeningly forth.

It's all part of marketing. It's all part of getting people -- students and parents -- to be so grateful for getting in to this or that place, that they will ignore the outrageous cost of attendance, ignore the crappiness of so many of the course and so many of the faculty members, as they proudly tell their friends about the college their child attends, and even put a sticker on the car, to proclaim urbi et orbi this marvelous event.

Meanwhile, somewhere, and somehow, a few people do still manage to give themselves, sometimes with a little help from some inspired faculty members, a real education.

That was what my comment was about.

That, and nothing else.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
What Part Of Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" Don't You Understand?
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"Geezer" seems a little old-fashioned now, though Paul Whitehouse revived it in the nineties in The Fast Show. According to Merriam-Webster and the free dictionary, it is the same word:

The English Dialect Dictionary defines geezer as “a queer character, a strangely-acting person,” and refers the reader to guiser, “a mummer, masquerader.” The citations for guiser refer to practices such as the following: “People, usually children … go about on Christmas Eve, singing, wearing masks, or otherwise disguised,” the last word of this passage being the one to which geezer is related. --Mary Jackson

Mary Magdalene-Jackson -- do you own Wright's English Dialect Dictionary? And if so, the original, or the 1962 reprint?

By the way, there are German rivers named Aa. There was the Dutch map-maker van der Aa, as prolific in his production as Herman Moll. There is the "aa" you utter on command for the ear, nose, and throat man with that tongue depressor. There is the famous Hidden Aa-Aa or Ha-Ha (depending on whether you choose to recognize a rough breathing mark), that played such havoc with the Viking horses at that Three-Day Eventing in which Harold the Red lost his ffrench ffooting on the Norman course.

I hope you realise that the first barrel of my surname is pronounced like the Cambridge college, not the Oxford one.

No, but I have Wright's Grammar of the Gothic Language. I'm the only person in my street to have this. My neighbours keep asking to borrow it so they can talk to the Goths and the Vandals who hang around near Camden tube station. Unfortunately, like a lot of my books, it's packed in a box underneath a lot of other boxes. --Mary Jackson

If you had it -- the eight-volume 1962 edition, liable to keep its shape for a bit longer than the original -- I would have made an offer. I need another copy for the pied-a-terre in the woods or on water that I hope one day to buy. But that day awaits the dawning, on some well-heeled readers of this site, that the best way to express gratitude for the profit and pleasure they derive daily from it, is to send a token of that gratitude for that profit, for that pleasure. Amazing how people can continue to assume that we who work for free somehow have the means to do it, so obviously don't need it, when those of us who must spend valuable time cliipping, not the coupons, of the rentier in the stories of yore, but those of the housewife, in the reality of today, all in order to save 35 cents here on a roll of Bounty, and a dollar off there on some Perdue chicken. Really: is this our, is this my, highest and best use? And all the other salti mortali that one must perform to stay afloat?

Check, money order, beloved PayPal, it doesn't matter.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 1:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Al-Qaeda Doctor
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NEW YORK (AP) -- A doctor accused of pledging to treat al-Qaida members can be prosecuted because medical care counts as material support to terrorists under federal law, a judge said Tuesday.

Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, an Ivy League-educated doctor, had argued it was unconstitutional to prosecute a doctor for providing medical services. --from this news item

"an Ivy League-educated doctor..."

Why is that worth mentioning?

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Posted on 01/31/2007 1:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Where Will It All End?
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JAIL bosses are rebuilding toilets so Muslim inmates don’t have to use them while facing Mecca. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers money are being spent to ensure lags are not offended.--from this news item from the UK

No. This should be a given in Infidel lands: unnecessary because very expensive changes only in order not to offend Muslim sensibilities. Nothing of the sort has been done before with non-Muslim prisoners, about special foods or other accommodations. Let it be considered part of the punishment.

Are we to believe that Muslims not in prison do not, all the time, use public toilets, or toilets at work, or at home, unless and until they no longer face Mecca? Do we have a record of Muslims ripping out their toilets in the subsidizing housing projects all over Europe, and putting in ones that do not face Mecca?

If the prison system is willing to accommodate, then why would the government not be willing, everywhere that there is public housing, to accommodate Muslims by building brand new bathrooms, putting in brand-new plumbing (at the expense of the Infidel taxpayers who pay a Jizyah, a vast unrecognized transfer of wealth from Infidels to Muslims, all over the increasingly impoverished welfare states of Western Europe)?

Ordinarily these where-will-it-all-end arguments are silly, and usually invoked by those who think a camera on the road means the Gestapo will come a-calling that evening. But in this case the Where Will It All End query is perfectly reasonable.

Where, indeed, will it all end?

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Posted on 01/31/2007 1:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Baghad in Sunni Arab Mythology
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"What's "model of Al-Hudaibiyyah"? --from a reader

"'in Baghdad, the most important city outside of Mecca in the mythology of Muslims, to the Rafidite dogs, those quasi-Persians, of Shi'a Islam.'" - from another reader

Others have answered the query about Al-Hudaibiya and "Rafidite dogs." I didn’t know this when I started preparing this answer ten minutes ago (I’ve been watching “Kabuyahan Swak na Swak” on television – I wouldn’t miss it for the world), but I hope there are details in it that do not overlap with what has already been posted (at JW). And it might be good to have both taken care of in the same posting.

Furthermore, aside from answering the question about al-Hudaibiyya and "Rafidite dogs" I have taken note of a piece in yesterday's "Wall Street Journal" in which Fouad Ajami makes a prediction about Sunni acquiescence in the loss of Baghdad, and this gives me a chance to predict that he's dead wrong about that Sunni acquiescence, because of the role that Baghdad plays in the Arab imagination, the Arab mythology.

Ajami can be funny and forthright about many things. He gave Said repeated whippings, though nothing so fine as what Bernard Lewis delivered. And he is often a truth-teller, and in the past has told many home truths that are more effective if given by -- well, you know, a "native." His finest hour came on television several years ago, when Dan Rather or Charlie Rose was vaporing on about Saddam Hussein's supposed "secular" and "Western" makeup, and Ajami got up, and in mick-mockery, pointing to his trousers, and somewhat exasperatedly, noted: "You wear pants, I wear pants.”

He can also write to set your teeth on edge.: “The truth of Iraq will assert itself on the ground.”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Perhaps, though the boy has been taken out of the Arab East (though he enjoys that pronoun “we” as in “we, the Americans”), the East hasn’t taken the Arab East out of the boy. A little too much of the Oriental muchness and poetic-boozy superflux is still present – though compared to Hamid Dabashi, and that tribute to Edward Said, Ajami is as laconic as Beckett. But he must come to understand that his notion of what constitutes "fine writing" perhaps comes from an Arabic or Persian linguistic mental subtext, and here in the Western world it’s something to be avoided. Unless of course you are named Dominique de Villepin, or Bernard-Henri Levy, and thank god, we aren’t..

So here goes:

1.Hudaibiyyah is the name of the place where Muhammad made an agreement with the Meccans in 628 A.D. In engage for Muhammad agreeing not to attack the city, the Meccans would permit Muhammad and his followers to enter Mecca in order to make an annual pilgrimage, the umra (now the “lesser pilgrimage”). The agreement was to last for ten years. The agreement was honored on both sides for the first year. But eighteen months into it, feeling stronger, Muhammad on a pretext attacked the Meccans.

The Western tradition has arrived at the view that "pacta sunt servanda" -- treaties are to be obeyed. The Muslim tradition says that Muslims may make a "truce" treaty (not a real "peace" treaty) that can last up to ten years, with Infidels, but that whenever they believe themselves in a position to breach the treaty in any way -- either particular provisions, or its entirety -- they are fully entitled to, and should, do so.

It is amusing to see how, in the Encyclopedia of Islam, someone -- I forget if it is Claude Cahen or Montgomery Watt -- tries to present Muhammad in as good a light as possible, but fails. Muslims will tell Infidels two things, that contradict each other:

First, that Muhammad had every right to attack because it was a tribe allied to the Meccans that first attacked a tribe allied to Muhammad.

Second, that Muhammad was a brilliant war-maker and his deception at Hudaibiyyah was truly admirable, and to be emulated.

What matters is this: as Majid Khadduri wrote in his "War and Peace in the Law of Islam," Muslims have a right to breach, and should breach, any agreement with Infidels whenever they can, in order to further the cause of Islam.
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#2. The past, the mythologized glorious past of high Islamic civilization, means everything to Muslim Arabs. It is the high point, supposedly, of their existence, and in their imagined past all kinds of Christians and Jews, or those who were non-Arab Muslims -- Persians, Central Asians, Kurds, and many others -- become "Arabs" (Saddam Hussein was not the only one to claim Saladin as an Arab, nor was Saladin the only famous figure, non-Arab or non-Muslim, from the Islamic past who has been claimed or believed by many to be, a Muslim Arab).

Baghdad was the capital of the most important Abbasid Caliphate. The fabulous city of the Caliph Haroun al-Rashid. The city of Mutanabbi, and other poets. The city of the House of Translators. Madinat al-salam, the City of Peace, for 500 years, from 762 A.D. , when it was founded, until 1258, when it was conquered and much of it destroyed by the Mongols under Hulegu, it was the most important city in the entire dar al-Islam. And in Muslim memory and Muslim mythology – they are usually the same thing – it remains the most important city even if stripped of all the glories of that fabled – in every sense – past. Cairo, that is Fustat (Old Cairo), is a distant second. Mecca has its place as the center of the religion, but for Islamic history, it is Baghdad all the way.

Now that Baghdad is in danger of falling into the hands of those “Rafidite dogs.” The exact meaning of “Rafidite” has to do with distant Muslim history, and the literal meaning – as a follower of Zaid – is not important here. What is important is that the term is one used by Sunnis to curse Shia. It was a favorite phrase of Al-Zarqawi.

Baghdad is the city where Muslim history was made. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Fouad Ajami, a piece mixing his wonted good sense and his penchant for empty and grandiose phrases that he really ought to cut out, claims that eventually the Sunni Arabs will acquiesce, will reconcile themselves, to the new Shi’a order in Iraq, and above all to Shi’a control of in Baghdad. He writes:

In the fullness of time, the Arab order of power will have to come to a grudging acceptance of the order sure to take hold in Baghdad. This is a region that respects the prerogatives of power. It had once resisted the coming to power of the Alawites in Syria and then learned to accommodate that "heretical" minority sect and its conquest of Damascus; the Shia path in Iraq will follow that trajectory, and its justice is infinitely greater for it is the ascendancy of a demographic majority, through the weight of numbers and the ballot box. Of all Arab lands, Iraq is the most checkered, a frontier country at the crossroads of Arabia, Turkey and Persia. The Sunni Arabs in Iraq and beyond have never accepted the diversity of that land. The "Arabism" of the place was synonymous with their own primacy.

I beg, I plead with you, to differ.

I don’t think Sunni Arabs anywhere would ever permanently acquiesce in the loss of Baghdad: not in Iraq, not in Saudi Arabia, not in Jordan, not in the U.A.E., not in Egypt, not in Syria. The Kurds, Shi’a, and Sunni each will now control a region, but Baghdad is where they meet (well, the Kurds a little less so), and Baghdad is the hero of the Arab narrative, a narrative in which people are identified by their cities, not by nation-states, and Baghdad is the City of Peace, that madinat al-salam that can never be allowed to be lost to Shi’a Islam, or still worse – to the Shi’a Islam of Arabs increasingly tied to, linked with, cunning, ruthless, and relentless Persian neighbors.

Now I really must go to the television -- I think I may be able to catch a  re-run of "Just Pooja." And I couldn't see it before, because it was running at the same time as that Kabuhayan Swak na Swak I simply couldn't miss. Say, I think on television they misspelled it, for obvious phonetic reasons, as "Kabuhayang." I must have a word with the station manager.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 12:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Fritz Kuhn and the American Bund
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Below I post some more about Fritz Kuhn and the Bund. It had at most 10,000 members. It had little appeal to most Americans of German descent, with one-quarter of its members being German nationals. It had little funding after the mid-1930s from the German government, because it was seen as ineffective.

Now compare the Muslim organizations standing up for a known supporter of terrorism, about whom the record of malevolence and deception is overwhelming (read about that case and about the evidence), and the sums that they receive from abroad to support them (how much do the Saudis spend, and through exactly what channels?) with the Bund.

And compare what the FBI did as soon as America entered the war. It arrested Fritz Kuhn, and interned him, and others like him, for the entire duration of the war -- and then, despite his holding American citizenship, right after the war unceremoniously deported him to Germany. No appeals, no nonsense, no nothing.

That was the way to behave in wartime, and after wartime, with those whose loyalties are with alien enemies and an alien and a hostile creed, that is opposeed in every way to the legal and political institutions of this country, and to so much else that makes America America.

And it still is.

Here's the piece:

The Failure of American Nazism: The German-American Bund’s Attempt to Create an American “Fifth Column” by Jim Bredemus


Many Americans feared the presence of a German “Fifth Column” before World War II. In the case of the disorganized and poorly led American Bund, for the most part these fears ultimately proved unjustified.

After Hitler’s rise to power 1933, some German Americans formed groups to support the Nazi party in Germany and attempt to influence American politics. The most notorious of these groups was the “German-American Bund”, which tried to model itself as an American arm of Hitler’s Third Reich. Although these groups wore uniforms and touted swastikas, in reality they had few ties to Nazi Germany and their support among the larger German-American community was minimal. Nevertheless, the group strongly promoted hatred for Jews and strove to bring Nazi-style fascism to the United States.

Initial support for American fascist organizations did come from Germany. In May 1933 Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess gave authority to German immigrant Heinz Spanknobel to create an American Nazi organization. Shortly thereafter the “Friends of New Germany” was created with help from the German consul in New York City. The organization was based in New York but had a strong presence in Chicago.

The organization led by Spanknobel was openly pro-Nazi, and engaged in activities such as storming the German language New Yorker Staats-Zeitung with the demand that Nazi-sympathetic articles be published, and the infiltration of other non-political German-American organizations. Spanknobel was ousted as leader and subsequently deported in October 1933 when it was discovered he had failed to register as a foreigner agent.

Supposedly 22,000 Nazi supporters attended an American Bund rally at New York's Madison Square Garden in February 1939, under police guard. Demonstrators protested outside (above right). An American Bund parade through New York's Yorkville district on Manhattan's Upper East Side (below) drew both supporters and protesters--and the press.

The organization existed into the mid-1930s, although it always remained small, with a membership of between 5,000-10,000. Mostly German citizens living in America and German emigrants who only recently had become citizens composed its ranks. The organization busied itself with verbal attacks against Jews, Communists and the Versailles Treaty. Until 1935 the organization was openly supported by the Third Reich, although soon Nazi officials realized the organization was doing more harm than good in America and in December 1935 Hess ordered that all German citizens leave the Friends of New Germany; also, all the group’s leaders were recalled to Germany.

Not long after the Friends of New Germany fell out of favor with the Nazis and was dismantled, a new organization with similar goals arose in its place. Formed in March 1936 in Buffalo/New York and calling itself the German-American Bund or Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, the organization chose Fritz Kuhn as its Bundesleiter.

A Munich native, Kuhn had fought in the German Army during World War I. After receiving an education in chemical engineering, Kuhn briefly had worked in Mexico before coming to the United States and in 1934 being granted American citizenship. Kuhn was initially effective as a leader and was able to unite the organization and expand its membership.

Kuhn was a perfect figurehead for the organization. A facade of swastikas and “Sieg Heil” prevailed, but in reality Kuhn was to become seen simply as an incompetent swindler and liar who spoke poor English; even the Nazis were embarrassed of him. German Ambassador Hans Dieckhoff called him “stupid, noisy and absurd”.

The organization was soon filled with those calling themselves “Germans in America” and dreamed of the day when Nazism would rule the United States. Although they were instructed not to accept German citizens in their organization, they were not about to turn down anyone interested and many immigrants joined. It is estimated that around 25% of Bund members were German nationals—the rest being mostly first or second generation Germans. Research indicates that most Bund members were of lower-middle class origin.

The Bund soon began to hold rallies filled with swastikas, Nazi salutes and the singing of German songs. The Bund created recreational camps such as Camp Siegfried in New York and Camp Nordland in New Jersey. It also established Camp Hindenburg in Wisconsin and the group met frequently in Milwaukee and Chicago beer halls.

The Bund created an American version of the Hitler Youth that educated children in the German language, German history and Nazi philosophy. Although this organization tried to differentiate itself from the previously unsuccessful Friends of New Germany, the German Foreign Ministry commented that “In reality...they are the same people, with the same principles, and the same appearance”.

The rest is here

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Posted on 01/31/2007 9:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Not One Thin Dime for Abbas
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As State presses Congress for more aid, Fatah’s terror wing murders more Israelis.

When will the madness end? When will the Bush administration and Condoleezza Rice’s State Department finally stop their deranged midwifery of the Palestinian terror state conceived by the Clinton administration amid the mood music of two Intifadas?

On Monday, a 21-year-old suicide bomber, Muhammad Faisal al-Siksik, self-detonated at a bakery in the coastal town of Eilat on the Red Sea. Three innocents were killed: the bakery’s two Israeli owners and their Peruvian employee (whose family hails from Miami). Soon after came the claim of responsibility. The operation was carried out by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, working in conjunction with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

FATAH’S “MODERATE” CON JOB
The Aqsa Brigades are not just any group of terrorists. They are the most ruthless, accomplished terror wing of Fatah, the organization bequeathed to us by the late Yasser Arafat. The Bush administration delusionally regards Fatah and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas (also known as “Abu Mazen”), as the “moderate” Palestinian faction. There is nothing moderate about them. Yet, the administration appears determined to play this foolish game to its inevitable end because, like its starry-eyed predecessor, it is entranced by the holy grail of Israeli/Palestinian peace.

Peace, of course, would require two sides desirous of coexistence. We’re one short. Palestinians do not seek to coexist with Israel. They seek to destroy Israel. But that may have to await their annihilation of each other, with Fatah and its fellow thug, Hamas, now locked in a struggle for control.

Hamas is proudly unyielding in its announced intention to vaporize the “Zionist entity.” By contrast, Fatah is cagier but no less determined. In the Arafat style, it feints every now and again toward negotiation with Israel. There is, after all, a trough of Western billions for any Palestinian leadership willing to affect aspiration toward the Clinton/Bush nirvana: two states, Israel and “Palestine,” living side-by-side in peace. Fatah needs those billions to keep its operatives loyal. Historically, it is a pervasively corrupt, creakily socialist outfit — a former Soviet client averse to elementary economic development.

But the act is just that, an act. The Fatah constitution still calls for the “eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence[,]” through an “armed revolution” which is to be the “decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence” — a revolution that “will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

Consistent with this overarching plan, the U.S.-led “peace process” has been a 14-year sham — hence, the intervening Intifada and related terror gambits. Fatah may occasionally say it will live with Israel, but it has demonstrated, repeatedly, that it will never agree to the commonsense requirements of coexistence: It not only demands land and Jerusalem as its national capital; it refuses to disarm terrorist militias and insists on a refugee “right of return” — an influx of well over a million Palestinians that would effectively destroy the tiny Jewish state from within.

By our State Department’s lights, this qualifies as “moderation” — perhaps because Hamas’s direct approach is bereft of diplomatic nicety, while the savvier Fatah seems willing to attrit Israel to death. (Such new gloss on the withering Bush Doctrine is also on display in Baghdad, where the administration now regularly consults with Abdul Azziz al-Hakim, or, as the White House describes him, “His Eminence,” leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq — a creation of Iran).

The rest is here.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 7:53 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Re: class
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The word put to good use here:

January 31, 2007 -- A sniveling, cop-killing thug feebly responded to his death sentence yesterday by sticking his tongue out at the widow of one of two hero NYPD cops he killed in an undercover gun buy.

After the jury foreman informed Ronell Wilson of his fate, the killer rolled his eyes in disgust and turned toward Detective James Nemorin's widow to make the ugly gesture.

"He's an unrepentant punk to the end. He has absolutely no remorse whatsoever," said Derek Williams, a cousin of the other slain detective, Rodney Andrews.

"If he has a speck of class, you know what he'll do before he goes to bed tonight - he'll hang himself with his bedsheet."

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Posted on 01/31/2007 7:47 AM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Police foil 'terrorist kidnap plot'
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According to Independent Television News the intended target for this plot was a young Muslim soldier in the British army who had served in Afghanistan,  film him pleading for his life and then kill him.
West Midlands Police refused to confirm claims that the target had been identified, made aware of the threat and placed under protective custody. The alleged kidnap plot was said to have been in the later stages of planning.
Remember that in the Dispatches programme, Undercover Mosque on Channel 4 recently one cleric denounced another Muslim soldier in the British Army who had been killed in Afghanistan. The newspapers called the soldier a Hero of Islam. According to the cleric the true hero was the one who struck off his head. Two of the mosques investigated by the programme were Sparkbrook and Green Lane, in  Birmingham, both of which serve the area where these arrests have been made. It looks to me like someone has taken the sermon seriously.
More here from the This is London website.
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Posted on 01/31/2007 8:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Re: Obama, Race, Loyalty and Suspicion
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From Rebecca's post:

And those white folks tend to be suspicious of any black person who wouldn’t be suspicious of white people.”...

In other words, black people have to act black. An inverted form of racism if ever there was one. Martin Luther King will be turning in his grave.

I don't know if it's the case in America, but in England the Champagne Socialists like the working classes to act working class and stay working class. They hate the working class made good, for example somebody who betters himself and moves out to Essex.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 6:54 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Obama, Race, Loyalty and Suspicion
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Bill Sammon has an interesting piece on Barack Obama and race in The Examiner:

During college, Obama disapproved of what he called other “half-breeds” who gravitated toward whites instead of blacks. And yet after college, he once fell in love with a white woman, only to push her away when he concluded he would have to assimilate into her world, not the other way around. He later married a black woman.

Such candid racial revelations abound in “Dreams [from My Father],” which was first published in 1995, when Obama was 34 and not yet in politics. By the time he ran for his Senate seat in 2004, he observed of that first memoir: “Certain passages have proven to be inconvenient politically.”

Thus, in his second memoir, “The Audacity of Hope,” which was published last year, Obama adopted a more conciliatory, even upbeat tone when discussing race. Noting his multiracial family, he wrote in the new book: “I’ve never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe.”

This appears to contradict certain passages in his first memoir, including a description of black student life at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

“There were enough of us on campus to constitute a tribe, and when it came to hanging out many of us chose to function like a tribe, staying close together, traveling in packs,” he wrote. “It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names.”

He added: “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists.”...

Harris-Lacewell said such expressions of distrust toward whites will not hurt Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries, which are dominated by liberal voters.

“To win the Democratic nomination, he's got to get a part of the progressive, anti-war, white folks,” she said. “And those white folks tend to be suspicious of any black person who wouldn’t be suspicious of white people.”...

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Posted on 01/31/2007 6:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Up Helly Aa.
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Yesterday was the last Tuesday in January when the people of the Shetland isles celebrate their Norse Viking roots in the festival of Up Helly Aa. In its current form it is not particularly ancient being about 130 years old and dating from a Victorian interest in the Island’s Norwegian roots. The celebrations last 24 hours and as I write at 7.30 am GMT celebrating Vikings will not yet have made their way to bed. Today is a public holiday in the Shetlands, for obvious reasons.
The men and boys in the procession are called guizers and I find myself wondering if that is the root form of the London expression for man, geezer, as in the phrase, which sounds a little old fashioned now, 'es a real tasty geezer.
This is a report from The Scotsman. And pictures from the BBC.
Jarl Squad
Up Helly Aa
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Posted on 01/31/2007 1:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Better than a poke in the eye
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Eye-watering story from China in today's Times:

A man found himself in ocular discomfort. His local doctor discovered that the patient had adopted a cavalier approach to eyecare: leaving his contact lenses in for a whole year. Citing difficulty of removal as the explanation for his foolishness, Liu, 40 added: “I have some eyedrops for when the lenses feel uncomfortable.” This worked reasonably well for some time . . . until his eyesight degenerated, so Liu came up with a brilliantly simple solution: he inserted another pair of contact lenses. Next, he said, he put a pair of used disposal contact lenses over the other two pairs in his eyes, by then wearing three pairs of lenses. Doctors hope that he refrains from adhering to this policy when using, for example, socks and plasters.

I'm not at all squeamish, but with one exception - I could never wear contact lenses. The idea of poking something in my eye makes me shudder. I have inherited my father's 20/20 distance vision, which means that at some stage I will need reading glasses. I rather like the idea of looking over them at people; I imagine that it will make me feel superior. The disadvantage seems to be that you have to take them off to see where you're going, then you can't read anything when you get there. Perhaps the answer is a monocle. This would take the superiority thing to new heights, as you could open your eyes wide and let it fall out whenever somebody says something untoward or confuses "may" and "might".

Monocles should be the new cool. They're a lot cooler than Ray-Bans.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 6:14 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Stumble like a Parisian
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A UCLA grad observes:

4. French people love American music but do not know how to dance to it. Even the black French people need some help in the dancing department.

Not to give the French a break, but most people of whatever demographic background can't follow a beat with their feet.  Hence, the large quantities of alcohol and drugs consumed at wee-hours clubs: they might still be unable to dance—even less able—but nobody is sober enough to notice.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 5:53 AM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Eight arrested in major terror operation
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From The Telegraph:

Eight people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act after a series of early morning raids in Birmingham.

The Home Office said the raids were part of a "major" nationwide operation, and security sources said an imminent terror attack had been thwarted.

The target was believed to be an individual, as opposed to an area or group of people, according to security sources.

If true, this would be a major departure from previous al-Qa'eda attacks in the West, which have been characterised by co-ordinated explosions aimed at causing high numbers of casualties.

Mohammed certainly assassinated individuals, so this is less of a departure than is implied. Increasingly "al-Qa'eda" is being used as a catch-all term meaning "Muslim". I'd rather they said "Muslim" or "Jihadist", but since everybody knows what they mean, perhaps it doesn't matter.

A Home Office spokesman said: "This operation is a reminder of the real and serious nature of the terrorist threat we face."

Vijay Jakkula, who lives on Poplar Road, in Sparkhill, south east Birmingham, where one of the police raids took place, said the area was predominantly Muslim.

"There are quite a few mosques around here but it is a friendly area," he said.

Today’s arrests come after police detained a total of five people in anti-terror raids in Manchester and Halifax, West Yorkshire, last week.

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Posted on 01/31/2007 4:23 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Re: speck
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Some discussion regarding "speck of class" in this post:

Hugh:  "Speck of class" A "speck of class"? A "speck of dust" but a "touch of class."

Mary:  But "touch" wouldn't be right in this context, because there is a silent "even" or "the slightest" before "speck". "Ounce" would be better.

Reconsider the context and speaker:  Even an ounce would be too much. But coming from an American speaker, and a cop in mourning, in rage, "millegram" wouldn't do. No, it's got to be speck. (Perhaps it's an unconscious law-enforcement allusion to Richard Speck.)

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Posted on 01/31/2007 4:01 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Re: dance
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Posted on 01/31/2007 3:45 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Abu Hamza may face US terror charges
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Good news from The Telegraph.
London's City of Westminster Magistrates Court today set a date for a four-day extradition hearing after being told that the House of Lords had refused Hamza leave to appeal against his convictions in the UK.
In the US he faces charges including trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon, conspiring to take hostages in Yemen and facilitating terrorist training in Afghanistan.
Washington is seeking Hamza's "temporary surrender" under the 2003 Extradition Act.
Once tried in the US he would then be returned to Britain to complete his jail term before being extradited again to serve any sentence handed down in the US.
I do like the sound of that place in the US where Richard Reid is banged up.
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Posted on 01/31/2007 3:18 PM by esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
And evaluating it will be doubly wearisome
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At Word Spy (including apt examples):

diversity fatigue (di.VUR.suh.tee fuh.teeg) n. A form of mental exhaustion brought on by the constant attention required to ensure a workforce or other group is racially or ethnically diverse.

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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:55 PM by Robert Bove
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Gander. Sauce. Goose.
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The word "algebra" comes from an Arabic-speaking mathematician. Algebra as a mental undertaking comes from India, as does the concept of the zero. You don't have to be John Derbyshire to know that. You only have to be an eleven-year-old who has just completed Launcelot Hogben's "The Wonderful World of Mathematics."

Similarly, paper-making comes from China. That it then arrived in Damascus, and thence to Europe, should not be cause for credit accruing on the Arab Muslim account. We don't even know who was the conduit: perhaps it was a Jewish merchant, one of those whose papers were disinterred by S. D. Goitein from the Cairo Geniza. Perhaps it was a Nestorian Christian, going off to visit other Nestorian Christians who were, long ago, to be found all over the area from the Middle East to China.

In any case, the transmitter or bearer of the discoveries or inventions of others are lower down on the civilizational-gratitude scale.

If Muslims want to be celebrated for locating, and bringing westward the achievements of Chinese paper-makers (see Dard Hunter) or Hindu mathematicians (see every conceivable history of mathematics), then Hindus should demand a special unit, in the same schools, on algebra, the concept of zero, and much else that came from the subcontinent before the Muslim invasion.

Two -- no, many more -- can play that game.

Gander. Sauce. Goose. 

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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Nous avons chang� tout cela
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Two can play at that game.

Should you be male and so inclined, write to Mary Magdalene-Jackson. Dr Ruth, eat your heart out.

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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:34 PM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
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Some, reading this story, will be so furious as to want immediately to do the only decent thing: that is, to rush right out and start up an illicit sexual relationship, or two, or three, pour épater ces primitifs pakistanais avec ses moeurs sauvages de Donga Bonga. Should you be female, and so inclined, please resist doing anything rash. Instead, with your thoughts partly collected in tranquillity, write to House Doctor, NER, who is one of those selfless médecins sans frontières, un vrai médecin malgré lui (perhaps you can guess his name), and he will draw up a plan for long-term therapeutic intervention.
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Posted on 01/30/2007 4:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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