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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky














Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Halloween and the Celtic Samhain
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This article from The Scotsman is 2 years old  but when talking about customs which ago back millennia 2 years is as nothing.  It is also the best article I can find while our dinner cooks about Samhain, the Celtic festival between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice which we know as Halloween.
Samhain was not just about year's end and the coming of winter. It was also the feast of the dead, the season of the earth’s decay when evil was held to wander the planet. The shield of the female warrior Skathcach was lowered, and the barrier between the two worlds faded. The forces of chaos invaded our globe, and the world of the living joined with the world of the dead.
With so much evil pricking the night, man’s response was clear. Fire! Light! Illuminate the dark and cast out the shadows. Banish the witches and warlocks with ritual and rite. Druids built fires, disguising themselves in order to confuse and baffle the evil spirits. They scooped out turnips and fashioned them into skulls and placed them, lit, around their fire to keep evil at bay.
The bonfires of Guy Fawkes on November 5th are much older than the gunpowder plot of 1605. Read more
here. 

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Posted on 10/31/2007 1:02 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Madrid bombers sentenced to 40,000 years
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From The Telegraph
A Spanish court has convicted three men of murder for their part in the Madrid train bombings.
Another accused ringleader and six others were acquitted in the culmination of a politically divisive trial over Europe's worst Islamic terror attack.
The men received symbolic sentences of more than 39,000 years each but under Spanish law they will only serve a maximum of 40 years in jail (w
hich still means that they will be old men when they come out).
Two Moroccan men Jamal Zougam, 33, and Othman Gnaoui, 32, were both found guilty of planning and carrying out the attacks on four commuter trains on March 11, 2004 which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800.
A former Spanish miner, Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras, 30, was found guilty of supplying the explosives used in the blasts and was also sentenced to almost 40,000 years.
A total of 18 other people were found guilty of involvement in the bombings and given lesser sentences.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 12:49 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
And they have also lost their marbles
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From This is London
Labour's favourite think tank was ridiculed today after it cast doubt on the celebration of Christmas.
In a call for a more multi-cultural Britain, the Institute of Public Policy Research said if we can't get rid of Christmas then we must mark other big religious festivals too.
But shadow communities secretary Baroness Warsi hit out at the leaked report which also called for Parliament and the monarchy to be stripped of Christian rituals. (A Muslim, I believe.)
Ms. Warsi said: "Gordon Brown's favoured think tank's advisers have clearly lost the plot. Their comments betray a breathtaking misunderstanding of what it is to be British. These proposals could actually damage our community cohesion." She's not wrong.
The research institute's in-depth report, due to be published tomorrow, offers a range of ideas to boost race relations. To help new immigrants, the authors suggest dismantling as many "national culture" barriers as possible.
The report says: " Evenhandedness dictates that we provide public recognition to minority cultures and traditions. "If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas - and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to - then public organisations should mark other major religious festivals too."
Oh and I bet they would dearly love to abolish celebration of the birth of Christ.  Easter can be hard to get one's head round, but few can fail to understand the message of Christmas in the birth of the Christ Child.  Despite attempts to commercialise it, that is what makes Christmas so much more dangerous as a festival, in certain eyes.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 11:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Radical or Mainstream?
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After $11B in U.S. aid to Pakistan since 9/11, the Washington Post reports:

A poll in August conducted for the Washington-based nonprofit group Terror Free Tomorrow found that 19 percent of Pakistanis held a favorable view of the United States, down from 26 percent the previous year. Osama bin Laden had a far higher approval rating, at 46 percent, than either [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf (38 percent) or President Bush (9 percent).

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Posted on 10/31/2007 12:02 PM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
French thinkers in a flap
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Quel désastre. From The Times, a couple of days ago:

A row has split radical chic Parisian intellectuals over the relocation of their college from the affluent Left Bank to an impoverished, multiethnic suburb where they fear being deprived of bistros and boutiques.

Some of France’s most eminent academics are campaigning to stop the elite College of Higher Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) from moving to Aubervilliers in the Seine-Saint-Denis département north of the capital. But the move’s backers say that the real concern of the intelligentsia is to remain within walking distance of cafés in Saint Germain des Prés and shops selling Prada clothes, Ferragamo shoes, wholemeal bread and smoked salmon...

We all know that French intellectuals need the right clothes - and the right pens.

Philosophers, historians, economists and sociologists have lined up to denounce the suburb as a cultural desert, far removed from the Parisian café society they have known since the days of Jean-Paul Sartre. They say Seine-Saint-Denis – infamous as the centre of the 2005 race riots in France and known from its registration number, 93, as le Neuf-Trois – is a “zone lacking all the necessary tools for intellectual work”.

But surely a true Bohemian doesn't need any props? Can't the indomitable intellectual French spirit simply rise above its unsavoury milieu? Or is there another reason for their opposition?

Supporters of the relocation say that it could help to bridge the gulf separating Paris’s white and wealthy city centre from a periphery marked by immigration, unemployment and violence. Catherine Sautter, a member of the college administration, said: “Maybe our intellectuals are not that intelligent at the end of the day.”

Intellectuals, especially French intellectuals, are rarely intelligent. The fashionable anti-establishment Bohemianism of the Left Bank is as false and empty as Marie-Antoinette's professed empathy with the peasants when she played shepherdess. Besides, French intellectuals - especially the chic ones - are irritating, and deserve to have their silly French noses put out of joint - or at least assailed with genuinely proletarian odours. But Schadenfreude is not the whole of my reaction. Perhaps the move will be good for them. Consider what has been studiously omitted from the description of the new location, with its circumlocutory references to "immigration", "violence" and "race riots": Islam. Left Bankers - meet the real anti-establishment, who would disestablish French rule and establish Sharia. Then grow up, read the Koran and put that intellect to good use.

Michel Foucault returned to Paris from a visit Iran enraptured by the "beauty" of the Ayatollah's regime, proof - if proof were needed - that there is no fool like a French fool. Had he studied, or lived, among the beurs of le Neuf-Trois, he might have had his eyes forcibly opened, not least when they torched his "magnificent beige Jaguar".

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Posted on 10/31/2007 10:49 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
British School Makes Teachers & Students Dress As Muslims For A Day
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I'm not sure how reliable The Sun is in Britain, but this story was linked on Drudge:

A SCHOOL was yesterday accused of MAKING teachers dress up as Asians for a day – to celebrate a Muslim festival.

Kids at the 257-pupil primary have also been told to don ethnic garb even though most are Christians.

The morning assembly will be open to all parents – but dads are BARRED from a women-only party in the afternoon because Muslim husbands object to wives mixing with other men.

Just two members of staff – a part-time teacher and a teaching assistant – are Muslim.

Yesterday a relative of one of the 39 others said: “Staff have got to go along with it – or let’s face it, they would be branded racist.

“Who would put their job on the line? They have been told they have to embrace the day to show their diversity. But they are not all happy.”

The day aims to belatedly mark Eid, the end of Ramadan.

Sally Bloomer, head of Rufford primary school in Lye, West Midlands, insisted: “I have not heard of any complaints.

“It’s all part of a diversity project to promote multi-culturalism.”

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Posted on 10/31/2007 11:08 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
The Two Faces Of Fatah
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IsraelNN (with thanks to Laurie): A new music video appearing regularly on Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority television over the past week promises the elimination of Israel and the restoration of the "Arab identity" of cities throughout the Jewish State. The propaganda clip stands in stark contrast to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's recent declarations in support of reconciliation with Israel, issued ahead of the upcoming multinational Middle East peace conference organized by the United States.

As explained by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook of Palestinian Media Watch, "While the Palestinian Authority announces in English its demand for a two-state solution, to its own people in Arabic it continues to define all of Israel as 'Palestine,' and to promise Israel's destruction. A new video clip, broadcast numerous times daily since it first appeared on Fatah-controlled TV last week, passionately promises 'Mother' that every Israeli city will be 'liberated' because its 'identity is Arab' and 'Palestinian.'"

"We will liberate the Land..." the PA singer chants, "[which] is Arab in history and identity, Palestine is Arab in history and identity." The "Palestine" that is to be "liberated," according to the song, includes cities such as Jerusalem, Acre, Haifa, Bethlehem, Jaffa, Be'er Sheva, Tiberias, Hevron and Ramle, as well as the Galilee. Most of those cities listed are located within pre-1967 Israel.

"This is significant not only because it was broadcast on Fatah TV," note Marcus and Crook, "but because the constant repetition of this clip promising Israel's destruction comes at the very time that the world is preparing for a peace conference."

The PMW analysts termed the juxtaposition of English-language messages of peace and Arabic-language internal propaganda that is virulently anti-Israel "duplicity," and said that Yasser Arafat, as chairman of the PA, was a "notorious" deceiver in this regard. "Israel paid dearly for its trust in Arafat's English pronouncements," according to Marcus and Crook, "with more than 1,000 killed and tens of thousands wounded in the Palestinian Authority-led terror war.

"Today's leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, was Arafat's right hand man and partner during the first duplicity period. To Israel and the U.S. in English, he is talking peace. To his people in Arabic, through his TV and schoolbooks, he is promoting hatred and promising the destruction of Israel. Is Abbas following Arafat's successful duplicity tactic? It is incumbent upon Israel and the world to verify this before going further," conclude the PMW directors.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 8:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Teddy bear's nit-pick
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Why "Teddy Bear's Picnic" and not "Teddy Bears' Picnic"? Today is, after all, the day the teddy bears have their picnic. "Every bear that ever there was," which is about as plural as you can get. And Lord knows it isn't much fun having a picnic on your own, so that final apostrophe should have been packed along with the honey and the corkscrew.

But there's no mistaking it - the song title, accurately reproduced by Hugh, says "Teddy Bear's picnic", as if there were only one teddy bear. Perhaps teddy has a lot of imaginary friends, or perhaps he has a very big ego, such that the other bears are just furry pawns in his game.

Perhaps, on the other hand,  I'm a couple of sandwiches short of a nit-pick. Or, since this is Halloween, perhaps that should be "sand-witches", a good reason to avoid picnicking in the desert.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 7:58 AM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
The Wall Street Journal To Launch Islamic and Ethical Finance Conference
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Selling us down the river, one institution at a time. From AMEInfo (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm):

Islamic finance, the fastest-growing of all the financial sectors around the world, will be the focus of a full-day event at DIFCweek, November 17 - 23.

The event, held in association with The Wall Street Journal, will be entitled Islamic and Ethical Finance, and marks the first collaboration of its kind between Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the world's leading business publication.

The appetite for Shariah products for consumers and investors worldwide is increasing exponentially, with the current Islamic finance market estimated at $500 billion with expected annual growth of 10 to 15 per cent.

Meanwhile, financial capitals around the world, regardless of their location, are expanding their infrastructure to build sound and regulated Islamic finance systems.

Nasser Al Shaali, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: 'Islamic banking has contributed to economic development in many Muslim countries. And, there have also been substantial benefits to institutions, investors, companies and economies that are not necessarily a part of the Muslim world.

'Globally, the increased intermediation provided by Islamic instruments has helped unlock assets previously unavailable to global capital markets. It has also increased the efficiency with which capital can be allocated, both within the Muslim world and internationally.

'Non-Islamic institutions and governments are issuing Islamic securities, while non-Islamic investors are purchasing Sharia-compliant securities. This means greater access to funding, investment channels, innovation and opportunities for both Islamic and non-Islamic investors,' he added.

"The Wall Street Journal is delighted to be associated with DIFCweek," said Michael Bergmeijer, managing director, Dow Jones consumer media group in Europe.

"The Middle East offers exciting economic growth opportunities, and we support the work the DIFC does in contributing to the overall development of the region and in its advancement of Islamic and ethical finance - themes we'll be exploring in more detail at our conference in November." ...

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Posted on 10/31/2007 7:48 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
A Musical Interlude: The Teddy Bear's Picnic
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Posted on 10/31/2007 7:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Springtime In Rawalpindi
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"Chloe Mulderig ‘05, who identifies as a 'moderate Muslim'...."
-- from this article in the Dartmouth paper

What made her do it? A nice Pakistani roommate, the daughter of a zamindar, with whom she shared a room in boarding school? Or perhaps a roommate now, someone who soulfully introduced her, perhaps, to the love poetry of Rumi, and made her think that this was Islam? A professor, of the MESANostran kind (google "Mesa Nostra" and "Jihad Watch" for more) who spotted her as a vulnerable target, and instead of exploiting her in the way that some teachers used to get away with more easily, chose instead to mess with her mind? How did Chloe become a "Muslim" (moderate, forsooth!) and what's more, such a meretricious Defender of the Faith?

Is there hope for her yet? Might she actually read, and re-read, and come to understand, the texts of Islam, and then the tenets of Islam, and then the atmospherics of Islam? Give this girl a term off to study Arabic in Cairo and Damascus, or perhaps spring in Rawalpindi. The bulbuls sing beautifully that time of year.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 7:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007
US Troops Vulnerable To Iranian Attack In Iraq
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This story illustrates another problem with keeping our troops in Iraq indefinitely. One Hugh Fitzgerald has warned of for years. They are sitting ducks for Iranian bombs. We can be certain that Iran has the Green Zone and any other semi-permanent US installation in Iraq within the crosshairs of their missiles and high on the target list for their bombers.

LATimes: WASHINGTON -- While the White House dwells on Iran's nuclear program, senior U.S. diplomats and military officers fear that an incident on the ground in Iraq is a more likely trigger for a possible confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

In one sign of their concern, U.S. military policymakers are weighing whether to release some of the Iranian personnel they have taken into custody in Iraq. Doing so could reduce the risk that radical Iranian elements might seize U.S. military or diplomatic personnel to retaliate, thus raising the danger of an escalation, a senior Defense official said.

The Bush administration has charged that Iran is funding anti-American fighters in Iraq and sending in sophisticated explosives to bleed the U.S. mission, although some of the administration's charges are disputed by Iraqis as well as the Iranians. Still, the diplomatic and military officials say they fear that the overreaching of a confident Iran, combined with growing U.S. frustrations, could set off a dangerous collision.

An unintended clash over Iraq "is very much on people's minds," said an American diplomat, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly express his views.

A U.S. attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure, despite recent heated rhetoric from the White House, today "seems more remote," he added.

An on-the-ground clash could be sparked, say current and former officials, by a confrontation along the 900-mile-long border between Iran and Iraq, or in the waters of the Persian Gulf. Or it could be ignited over one of the periodic U.S. attempts to arrest those the Americans assert are members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq.

The U.S. military might also retaliate if a bombing in Iraq killed a large number of U.S. troops and there was clear evidence of Iranian involvement, U.S. officials have warned.

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Posted on 10/31/2007 7:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Musical Interlude: Eddy Arnold
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Eddy Arnold made his debut in June 1945, with "Each Minute Seems A Million Years". In October 1946, scored his first big hit "That's How Much I Love You", #2 for 4 weeks. Then May 24,1947 scored his first #1, "What Is Life Without Love" for one week.

Part 1:

1. June 14,1947 scored his next #1, "It's A Sin" for 5 weeks.
Was pushed out of the #1 by Tex Williams, and then Nov.1, 1947 all the way to Nov.12, 1948, Eddy Arnold held the #1 position with four records.
2. Nov. 1, 1947- "I'll Hold You In My Heart (Til I Can Hold You In My Arms)", held the position for 21 weeks, his biggest hit. In the All-Time Top 100, it ranks at #2.
3. April 3,1948- "Anytime" for 9 weeks. In the All-Time Top 100, it ranks at #53.

Part 2:

4. June 5, 1948 - "Bouquet Of Roses" for 19 weeks. And it's flip side,
5. "Texarkana Baby" - for 3 weeks.
In the All-Time Top 100, "Bouquet Of Roses" is at #6
6. "Just A Little Lovin' (Will Go A Long Way)" for 8 weeks. In the top 100, #61.

Eddy Arnold became the #1 artist of the 1940's, and the #2 of the 1950's. and he has earned the title of #1 artist of All-Time. Known as the "Tennessee Plowboy" he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1966. In 1968, he was the first artist to have charted 100 songs.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 6:21 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Mosque land plan is rejected
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A CALL to use taxpayers' money to buy the 18-acre site of the "Mega Mosque" at West Ham was rejected by councillors last night.
It also earned the proposer of using compulsory purchase powers, Christian People's Alliance councillor Alan Craig a rebuke and a charge that "as ever he seeks to promote division."
In his motion Cllr Craig made claims of breaches in planning regulations by the mosque trustees and that reports on contamination of the Caning Road site had been kept from the public.
He proposed the council and 2012 Olympic Games organiser get together and buy the site "as soon as possible" for redevelopment as a park or for homes or retail purposes.
The Christian magazine Inspire reported over the weekend that Councillor Craig planned to say thatin view of Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat's troubled track record of irresponsibility and illegality at the site, the Mayor should liaise with the relevant statutory authorities with a view to bringing the site into community ownership as soon as possible.
"Over recent years Tablighi Jamaat have flouted planning regulations, breached building control, broken a formal Memorandum of Agreement and failed to deal adequately with the health and environment risk from the highly contaminated soil," said Cllr Craig. "They have a lamentable track record of irresponsibility and illegality”.
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Posted on 10/30/2007 5:23 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Interpretation Is Everything
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"Amrozi became known as the smiling bomber because of his constant grin during his trial. 'People ask me, why am I smiling? I am happy because I will be united with 72 angels in heaven,” he said in an interview with Reuters and a local television network. “I have killed many with my bombs. I have been tested by spending time in this prison, but if you make infidels angry you will be rewarded.'"
-- from this news article


This is such an ambiguous statement. It's open to all kinds of different interpretations.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Lunchtime in London, as the band played Downtown.
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Hugh speaks of London currently Saudi Arabia celebrating
Not really, I have never seen so few people in the Mall for a State event.
I slipped out lunchtime hoping to get a look at the human rights, anti corruption demonstrations. They were at the other end of the Mall and I’m afraid after the Queen’s car went down the Mall toward Horseguards being a sucker for bands, especially the quality of a Guards band, I stayed where I was in the Mall opposite St James listening to the music while we waited for the Royal Family to return with the Saudi party.

The Queen was applauded on her way out. The return trip met silence. In the picture above I believe the man in  white to the left is Crown Prince Sultan and the Queen is opposite them in a dark red dress.
P
Prince Charles in a open landau abovewith some Saudi Princes gave a wave but there was more enthusiasm for the horses.
The procession began and ended with mounted police on greys, the Guards trotted on blacks either side of the coaches.
                                                                                                                   The green sword and shaheeda didn’t look right along the Mall at intervals with the Union Flag and as you can see from the picture above at some points the police and army outnumbered spectators.
Demonstrations are to continue tomorrow outside the Saudi embassy. 
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Posted on 10/30/2007 4:35 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Today's tally
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out and about in London:-

Urban Foxes                                                            2

Pretty punk rockers with flourescent incarnadine hair      1

Islam is Peace, Proud to be a British Muslim posters        0

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Posted on 10/30/2007 4:13 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Back from Borat country
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Greetings - back in Blighty, where there's honey still for tea and das Betreten's not verboten. Fascinating as Kazakirgiturkbekistan may be, one can tire of mutton, mutton, mutton - not even dressed as lamb.

I'll catch up with the news later; for now I'd just like to say that I was sorry to see Alan Coren has died. Coren was a wonderful humorist. I first heard of him as the man who, on hearing that the most marketable subjects for books were golf, cats and Hitler, wrote a book called "Golfing for Cats" with a swastika on the cover. Michael Bywater, friend and colleague, writes in The Times:

Alan Coren died on Thursday night. The obit pages will do their stuff but, hell, it doesn’t feel right somehow. Some sort of cockup. There’ll be repercussions, you wait. Words will be had. Red faces. Deputy heads will roll . .

Some of his finest “stuff” (we always called it “stuff”, concerned to avoid writerly pretension) would be impossible now: The Chronicles of Magoon (latest of the small African independencies) with its cast of small-time incompetents holed up in the gouting greasy tropical rains but, at heart, no more than a pastiche of a self-important, underfunded parks committee in Coren’s beloved Cricklewood; or The Diaries of Idi Amin, a merciless parody of the abominable Amin as a sort of bumbling innocent with a taste for explosions of irritability. These would be intolerably politically incorrect now...

Al’s life was governed by the principle of family honour, known in Yiddish as yiches. He defined it to me in a row about adultery – he declared it not only wrong but also incomprehensible. “I would never have an affair,” he said, “because I wouldn’t want my children to have for their mother the sort of woman who would be married to a man who would cheat on her.”

He could always find the joke, perhaps the most serious and important of skills in an intolerably earnest age. Last winter he e-mailed me in reply to an invitation to say that he had had a dreadful case of necrotising fasciitis. “All I lost was my left armpit,” he wrote. “Got big hole now, perfect for carrying Walther PPK 9mm should Daniel Craig chuck in the sponge. Also got ulcerative colitis, so, director please note, scenes should not be longer than ten secs. But I will cork up for 14/11, if you send embossed stiffie . . . Yours in the ranks of death, A” There’ll be laughter in the ranks now; but less for the rest of us.

Alan Coren's son Giles, the restaurant critic, has inherited some of his father's wit, and I hope he will carry on the tradition. He will be missed. Sixty-nine is too young.

Overnight flight with long stopover and bureaucratic hassles, so my body clock is shot to buggery. Off to bed, but first I'm going to flush lots and lots of paper down the toilet. Because I can. Oh, to be in England.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 1:47 PM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
A Woman Needs A Man The Way A Man Needs A Bicycle
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From The Telegraph:  

Man who had sex with bicycle in court:

By Richard Alleyne

A man has been placed on the sex offenders’ register after being caught trying to have sex with a bicycle. Robert Stewart was discovered in his room by two cleaners at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr, south west Scotland, in October last year.On Wednesday Mr Stewart admitted to sexual breach of the peace in Ayr Sheriff Court, where depute fiscal Gail Davidson described how he had been found by the hostel workers.

She said: "They knocked on the door several times and there was no reply. They used a master key to unlock the door and they then observed the accused wearing only a white T-shirt, naked from the waist down. The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex." Both witnesses, who were extremely shocked, notified the hotel manager, who in turn alerted the police. Mr Stewart was placed on the sex offenders’ register but his sentence was deferred until next month. He is not the first man to be convicted of a sexual offence involving an inanimate object, however.

Karl Watkins, an electrician, was jailed for having sex with pavements in Redditch, Worcs, in 1993.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 12:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
If It's a Criminal Investigation, Call the FBI First
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Big story in the Washington Post this morning is about the Blackwater controversy in which State Department contract guards are implicated in the September 16 shootings in which sixteen Iraqis were killed.  It turns out that potentially incriminating statements made by the guards may not be used against them because State Department investigators effectively immunized them. 

Under the rules, the guards are treated as if they were government agents.  Government agents can be compelled to answer questions by their agencies on pain of losing their jobs if they demur.  But there's a price tag:  if they choose to speak under that compulsion, any statements they make may not be used to prosecute them due to the Fifth Amendment's proscription against compulsory self-incrimination.

This is a weighing government always has to make in a situation fraught with political implications:  Do we treat it as a diplomatic incident or a crime?  Is it more important to find out what happened quickly so it can be explained or to find out what happened methodically so culprits can be prosecuted? 

Sometimes, you can do both — but you need to have people who are experienced in this sort of thing.  The State Department is perfectly good at getting to the bottom of certain things, but murder (if this was murder) is not in its bailiwick.  The FBI, on the other hand, knows how to do this — and knows, in particular, that if you can't crack the case without giving someone immunity, you don't turn around and give everyone immunity.  Instead, you try to assess what knowledgeable person has the least culpability and immunize that person — you lose the ability to prosecute him, but the trade-off is you can use his information to prosecute everyone else.

Looks like that may not have happened here.  In theory, the FBI may still be able to prosecute, but it would have to do it on the basis of other evidence, and it would have to be able to prove the immunized statements did not advance the case against anyone who gave them.  That can be very hard to do.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 10:17 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Reply From An Imam In London
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From a reply written by an imam in (currently Saudi-Arabia-celebrating) London:

Thank your for your Letter.

Of course, although we understand from your letter that you disliked our sticker, we cannot stop doing whatever we can to better the British society for all of us, including you, me and everyone else. This cannot be done without to change the British Culture, removing all the British Values and teaching the people the Islamic Values. We must continue to discuss and debate this issue openly, especially in light of the British Governments recent arrogant efforts to push corrupted values and enforce this "britishness" that has already caused so much corruption and trouble in this country and abroad.

If it wasn't for the man-made way of life in britain, we would never have seen such high levels of crime, rape, alcoholism, homosexuality, adultery, theft, burglary, exploitation and terrorism in the UK and the world today! Why should we put up with all of this and so much more corruption in the society? Rather we must continue to struggle and change the British way of life and introduce and teach the Islamic Values to all, so that all the people in Britain can flourish.

Abdul Ilaah
Webteam
www.alghurabaa.co.uk

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Posted on 10/30/2007 10:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
How AIDS Came To America
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The AIDS virus invaded the United States in about 1969 from Haiti, carried most likely by a single infected immigrant who set the stage for it to sweep the world in a tragic epidemic, scientists said on Monday.

Michael Worobey, a University of Arizona evolutionary biologist, said the 1969 U.S. entry date is earlier than some experts had believed.

The timeline laid out in the study led by Worobey indicates that HIV infections were occurring in the United States for roughly 12 years before AIDS was first recognized by scientists as a disease in 1981. Many people had died by that point.

"It is somehow chilling to know it was probably circulating for so long under our noses," Worobey said in a telephone interview.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 7:42 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
A Musical Interlude: Knees Up, Mother Brown
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at-AkK7fjP0

and for those who feel like dancing to it, but want to know how, some tuition from Adele England, mother of the Lambeth Walk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5yO7OFNE00

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Posted on 10/30/2007 7:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Mosul Dam On Brink Of Failure
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On more example of the incompetence and graft plaguing the new Iraq - same as the old Iraq.

WaPo: AT THE MOSUL DAM, Iraq -- The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.

Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. "The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability," in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.

At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.

"In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the Army Corps concluded in September 2006, according to the report to be released Tuesday. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."

The effort to prevent a failure of the dam has been complicated by behind-the-scenes wrangling between Iraqi and U.S. officials over the severity of the problem and how much money should be allocated to fix it. The Army Corps has recommended building a second dam downstream as a fail-safe measure, but Iraqi officials have rejected the proposal, arguing that it is unnecessary and too expensive....

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Posted on 10/30/2007 7:18 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Another Turkish Power Grab
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In 1979, Dr. Frank Weber published a seminal study of Turkey's World War II era duplicity, entitled, "The Evasive Neutral"

Here are Weber's relevant conclusions:

...Turkey, though bound to Britain and France in mutual assistance treaty since October 1939, broke her pledge to them on numerous occasions and declared war against Germany and Italy only in February 1945, when the fighting was all but over..Turkey despite her flagrant bad faith toward the Allies, has become a member in good standing of the United Nations, a participant in NATO, and the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in American equipment and aid. Westerner's have tended to forget Ankara's ambiguous foreign policy during the Second World War, and, as if by international agreement, the true story of Turkey's wartime diplomacy has been left deliberately obscure, Only with the rise of Turkish demands for a federally constituted Cyprus has there been a tendency to examine the past in a harsher light...

Anthony Eden...commented [in 1944]...that Turkey would always have to be placated beyond her due to preclude an outbreak of her aggressive tendencies. "This may seem far-fetched, " he wrote, "but I know that all the Iraqis have it at the back of their minds that Turkey might well descend on the Mosul oilfields if for example we [the British] should be embroiled with the Arab world over the question of a Jewish State in Palestine."

Turkish diplomacy during the war was a brilliant accomplishment by all standards except honesty and integrity. Only thirty years later, when they invaded Cyprus, did the Turks reveal that, after all, they had been dissatisfied with what that [World War II era] diplomacy had gained for them.

From Youssef Ibrahim's column:

This would not be the first Turkish grab for hegemony in the Middle East. Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on July 15, 1974, using the pretext of defending the Turkish minority of the island against its Greek majority. They are still occupying an independent pro-Western democracy.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 7:06 AM by Andrew Bostom
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