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The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
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
















Saturday, 31 December 2011
A Radio Interlude: Gracie For President (Burns And Allen)
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Listen here.
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Posted on 12/31/2011 11:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Rami Khouri, Anti-Israel Propagandist, Always Welcome At NPR's On Point
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From CAMERA:

Dec. 29, 2011

Rami Khouri’s NPR Platform: A Triumph of Polemics Over Reality

Onpoint.logo.with.Ash.jpgOnpoint.logo.with.Ash.jpgrami-khouri.jpg
On Point host Tom Ashbrook and Rami Khouri

Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of Lebanon’s Daily Star, appeared December 22 on the National Public Radio (NPR) syndicated program On Point (click here to listen) hosted by Tom Ashbrook. Mr. Khouri has appeared previously on the program. Khouri, quasi journalist, quasi anti-Israel propagandist, is a frequent NPR guest. The discussion, “The Arab Spring In Winter,” also included panelists Shadi Hamid (Middle East specialist at the Brookings Institution) and Anthony Shadid (New York Times foreign correspondent). in this broadcast, Mr. Hamid and Mr. Shadid took neutral stances on Israel.

About half-way through the broadcast, Mr. Hamid frankly observed, “Let’s be honest about it. Arabs hate Israel. They would rather it not be there if they had the choice. That said, I think you have to distinguish between what people want in theory and what they’re willing to accept in reality.”

Ashbrook asked Khouri, “What makes you so sure that the Arab world is committed to a negotiated, peaceful path [with Israel]?” Khouri observed, repeating much of what he said earlier in this broadcast,

I think we see this from [Arab] public opinion polling, we’ve seen it from government positions but governments don’t always reflect the people. We’ve seen it from – you know I’ve lived here for the last 45 years around the region – people are willing to live with an Israeli state that is willing to live with a Palestinian state and resolve the Palestinian issue on the basis of equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians. I think the question is not about the Arabs, the question is about the Israelis. They are the ones who are colonizing land and building settlements and imprisoning Palestinians. So, we really need to know from the Israelis, are they prepared to respond constructively.

But specifically, what Arab public opinion polling? Khouri is not asked.

Contradicting Khouri's claim regarding Arab public opinion polling is a recent opinion survey of Palestinians carried out in Gaza and the West Bank by the respected American pollster Stanley Greenberg who found that 73 percent agree with the Hamas Charter's urging Muslims to kill Jews wherever they can find them, 53 percent favored teaching songs about hating Jews to school children, and 66 percent see the two-state solution as an interim stage en route to the ultimate goal of a single Palestinian state in all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Other Arab public opinion polling shows similar hostility toward Jews and Israel. For example, recent reliable polling of Egyptians indicates that as little as three percent have a positive impression of Israel and a majority want to annul Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Recent reliable polling of Jordanians indicates that less than 25 percent think Israel has the right to exist -- and a large majority supports the use of rocket attacks against the Jewish state.

As to Khouri’s claim, “They [Israel] are the ones who are colonizing land and building settlements and imprisoning Palestinians.” In fact, the settlement activity referred to by Khouri consists of expansion within Jewish communities on Jewish-owned land in the West Bank or in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. The “imprisoning” is generally of those committing terrorist acts or apprehended preparing to commit terrorist acts aimed at slaughtering Israeli civilians.

Yet again, an NPR program provides a platform for unchallenged anti-Israel propaganda.
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Posted on 12/31/2011 9:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Suggestions for a New Years Eve
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (January 2012)


It’s New Year’s Eve and a night at ones local pub is as good a way as any to spend it.

My preference would be for a nice glass of beer and, as you can imagine, there are many pubs named for, or with signs celebrating the brewing process.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 2:08 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Games of Survival
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How Some Holocaust Children Learned To Conquer Death
 
by Thomas Ország-Land (January 2012)

 

Many child survivors of the Holocaust owed their lives to the deadly serious business of games played collectively or alone, that enabled them to adjust to dangerous situations, sometimes even to control them, and to relieve tension in relative safety. This is an area still demanding substantial academic research. more>>>
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Posted on 12/31/2011 2:02 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
My Mother Told Me the Whole Story
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In Yiddish: Mein Mutter Hat Mir Gesagt die Ganze Geschicte

by Thomas J. Scheff  (January 2012)       


My mother came from a poor Jewish family who had emigrated from Russia to New Orleans. When their father disappeared in the Alaska Gold Rush, all the children were put to work. Their mother couldn’t find work because she spoke only Yiddish, no English. And she still didn’t when I was a child. When my family visited her in Gladwater, Texas, where she lived with her daughter Hannah and son-in-law, Leslie, she and I played the card game Casino in Yiddish, give or take.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:57 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
The Golden Renaissance of English Music
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by Em Marshall-Luck (January 2012)


“These people have no ear, either for rhythm or music, and their unnatural passion for piano playing and singing is thus all the more repulsive. Nothing on earth is more terrible than English music, save English painting,” wrote the German poet Heinrich Heine in 1840s, whilst in an 1866 study about national music, the German researcher Carl Angel announced that "Englishmen are the only culture (people) without their own music", and in 1904 Oscar Schmitz published a book concerning English society with the sub-title Das land ohne music.   more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:48 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Out of the Shadow of God
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by David Hamilton (January 2012)


For most of our history art was produced within the Christian tradition and presented a Christian message and awe-inspiring, positive feelings. In more recent times with the growth of secular ideology art has become negative and spreads misery and unhappiness and, what is worse, this is largely sponsored by public money; by money taken off the population in taxes and distributed to people who are destroying our art. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:43 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
A Parable for Our Time
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by Dexter Van Zile (January 2012)

Imagine yourself up in heaven, prior to your birth. You are an unborn soul standing before the Creator of the Universe. He speaks to you.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:36 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Faust’s Guilty Conscience and Other Crimes Against Opera
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by Janet Tassel (January 2012)


I’m reading from the liner notes for my very old LP of Gounod’s opera, Faust. Here we are introduced to Faust himself:

“The curtain rises and we are in the study of Dr. Faustus, the learned alchemist, in a town in mediaeval Germany.  There he sits, the great scholar: an aged man, his back bowed by years of bending over books and parchments, his eyes, that should have delighted in beauty, worn and enfeebled by fruitless study.  It is the hour before dawn; the hour when most men see life stripped of its illusions. Faust looks back on the years and sees in them only a ghastly futility. He has learned, but he has never lived.”  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:30 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Per Ardua Ad Astra
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by Jack Dixon (January 2012)


The motto of the Royal Air Force is famous. It is Per Ardua Ad Astra (roughly: “through struggle to the stars”).

This motto was adopted to symbolize both the goal, and the striving to achieve the goal, of the Royal Air Force from the day of its creation on April 1st 1918. It had previously been the motto of the Royal Flying Corps from shortly after it came into existence in 1912. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:23 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
The Car on the Shore
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Nightmare at Scapa Flow reconsidered

A review by David Wemyss (January 2012)


At twenty-seven minutes past midnight on 14 October 1939, soon after the beginning of the Second World War, the German submarine U-47 sailed quietly alongside the little village of St Mary’s on the Orkney mainland and slipped into the historic British naval anchorage at Scapa Flow. Moving through Kirk Sound - one of four narrow eastern entrances - Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien’s objective was to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible and then get his ship and crew back out again.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:18 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Unreading Julius Caesar
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by David P. Gontar (January 2012)

           

          I.    Introduction:  A Tale of Two Critics             

IN 1998 and 2004 appeared two of the most significant surveys of the plays of William Shakespeare: Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, by Yale's Harold Bloom, and Shakespeare After All,  by Marjorie Garber of Harvard. These  critics are well-known and held in high esteem. Yet to examine them in tandem is to come away disappointed. Bloom is altogether omitted from Garber's General Index (Garber, 947), while his own volume contains no index at all. There seems to be a yawning disconnect between them. Worse,  treatment of some of the best-known plays is uneven and often unsatisfactory.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 1:06 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Arab Spring and Future Scenarios
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by Samir Yousif (January 2012)


The Arab Spring

It may be correct to assume that the masses in the Middle East have a very short memory, or they are not willing to learn from non-Arab experiences. At this point I am referring to the Iranian Islamic Revolution of the 1970’s. Any re-evaluation of the Iranian Revolution, after over three decades, indicates clearly that it failed to fulfill its basic promise of a better life to the Iranian people, and that Islam has turned out not to be the promised solution, as the Revolution once claimed. These days, the Iranian economy suffers greatly from stagnation, unemployment, poverty, and widespread corruption. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:54 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
A One Plank Platform, Please!
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by G. Murphy Donovan (January 2012)

 
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” - Hans Hofmann


Making promises that can not possibly be kept may be the fatal flaw of all social democracies. America is no exception. Continuing to fund programs, at home and abroad, that clearly have failed, is a subordinate defect. Rational nations can not finance social salvation and foreign policy fiascos for very long.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:45 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Dialogue with Radical Muslims is Dangerous for American Jews
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by Jerry Gordon (January 2012)

Introduction

Jewish interfaith dialogue with Muslims has moved beyond mere episodes to one of joint services and soon, joint sanctuaries. It is an insidious form of Da’wah (call to Islam) that some Jewish communal groups are dangerously courting, an act of self destruction undermining the future of the Jewish community in America. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:39 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Camels, Canoes and Timbuktu
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exploring the history of a fabled city

by Geoffrey Clarfield (January 2012)

…is the rumour of Timbuctoo
A dream as frail as those of ancient Time?
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Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1829

 
In 1829 when Alfred Lord Tennyson was writing his poem on Timbuctoo as a student at Cambridge University, educated Europeans knew almost nothing about the history of sub-Saharan Africa, and even less about Timbuktu.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:32 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
The Bee and the Lamb
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Part 3

by Takuan Seiyo (January 2012)



Pendulum in the dark (continued - part 1, part 2)

We concluded the last installment with a video of the opening of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. It was Yuletide alright but there was a broader reason. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:27 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Thoughts on American Exceptionality
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by Mark Anthony Signorelli (January 2012)


To make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely.
– Edmund Burke, Reflections

In 1880, at the ceremonies surrounding the unveiling of a monument to Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky delivered a speech on the greatness of the poet. This greatness lay, according to Dostoyevsky, in Pushkin’s embodiment of the “prophetic” mission of the Russian people, a mission to create “the universal brotherhood of peoples.” In the height of his oratorical rapture, Dostoyevsky maintained that this historical duty fell upon the Russian people because of their preeminent sanctity: “Our land may be impoverished, but Christ himself in slavish garb traversed this impoverished land and gave it His blessing! Why may we not contain His ultimate word?”  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:22 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
The Fate of the Roman Cities of the Near East and North Africa
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by Emmet Scott (January 2012)


The great Roman cities of the Middle East and North Africa some of the most iconic archaeological sites on earth. There are literally hundreds of them, in various states of preservation. In most cases the pillars of temples and public buildings still stand, like the “bleached bones” (as Kenneth Clark described them) of classical civilization. The Roman cities of Europe tend to be in a much poorer state of preservation because they were not abandoned. In Europe settlements such as London, Paris, Trier, Regensburg, Cordoba, etc, were occupied continuously from ancient times, and the fine cut stones of the temples and palaces were reused and remodelled on numerous occasions throughout the Middle Ages. And because people still lived in the localities many meters of debris came to cover the Roman settlements. It was not so in the Middle East and North Africa; here the great classical settlements were (with a handful of exceptions) abandoned and never reoccupied. more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:17 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Forgiveness Is a Kind of Wild Justice
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by Theodore Dalrymple (January 2012)


Recently I was asked at a public discussion of crime and punishment at which I was a speaker whether I thought it was right that the government (in Britain) had made it illegal for an employer to ask a prospective employee whether he had a criminal record and, if so, its nature and extent. This is a question that I have turned over in my mind, or at least let bubble away in my subconscious, ever since, for it in turn raises several interesting and important questions.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2011 12:14 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Nigeria leader declares state of emergency - Boko Haram a 'cancer'.
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From AFP and The Vanguard

ABUJA — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday declared a state of emergency in areas hard hit by violence blamed on Islamist sect Boko Haram and announced the closure of part of the country's borders.

"While the search for lasting solutions is ongoing, it has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country especially within the affected communities . . . Consequently, I have... declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation," he said, listing parts of the states of Plateau, Yobe, Borno and Niger.

The sect, “started as a harmless group….They have now grown cancerous,” he said, speaking at a church in Madalla, outside the capital Abuja, where 44 people were killed during a Christmas bomb attack claimed by the group. “And Nigeria, being the body, they want to kill it. But nobody will allow them to do that,” he said.

Jonathan also said he had "directed the closure of the land borders contiguous to the affected (areas) so as to control incidences of cross-border terrorist activities".

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Posted on 12/31/2011 10:41 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 31 December 2011
Soldier's guide to surviving Afghanistan war - written 92 years ago
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A SOLDIER’S guide to surviving war in Afghanistan will go on public display – 92 years after it was written. A 24-page diary by Corporal Charles Kavanagh, written in 1919, told how insurgents ambushed and murdered British soldiers. He even described how Afghan militia would dress as women in burkas to approach a British camp.

Cpl Kavanagh lied about his age to join the Cheshire Regiment at 15 and was sent to the Third Anglo-Afghan War in May to August 1919.

He wrote: “The endurance and experience gained by the tribesman from years of incessant raiding make him a formidable enemy. He will sometimes hide his rifle and appear as a peaceful villager.”

One tip to young recruits was: “Avoid shaking hands with a strange Pathan. They will seize with their left hand and stab with their right.”

Cpl Kavanagh continued serving with the British army and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940. He died in 1992, aged 87.

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Posted on 12/31/2011 8:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 30 December 2011
Chloe Breyer And Stephen Breyer
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Among the (few) non-Muslim clergy who signed the letter to Mayor Bloomberg  demanding an end to the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims in New York City was "the Rev. Chloe Breyer (invitee) -- Executive Director, The Interfaith Center of New York."

The Rev. Chloe Breyer  is the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. In an interview he mentions her  as a Jewish girl who became an Episcopalian minister, his face expressing Only-In-America bemusement at how things, at how his own children, turn out.

His daughter has identified herself as a  worshipper at the Altar of two Idols of the Age, Diversity and Tolerance, and the burnt sacrifice she offers on that altar, in attempting to constrain the New York Police Department in its admirable efforts to protect people,  is -- all of us. When cases involving Muslim plaintiffs, complaining of this or that example of "unfair treatment," come before the Supreme Court, as they no doubt soon will, perhaps Justice Stephen Breyer will make sure that his affection for his daughter does not cloud his intellect or, better still, perhaps he will do the right thing and recuse himself.

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Posted on 12/30/2011 8:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 30 December 2011
Maldives bans spas after ‘prostitution’ protests
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From Capital FM News Kenya

The Maldives has ordered hundreds of luxury hotels to close their spas after protests by an Islamist party which claimed they were a front for prostitution, an official told AFP Friday. The tourism ministry instructed all resort hotels across the nation’s 1,192 tiny coral islands to shut their spas and health centres offering beauty treatments and massage with immediate effect.

The opposition Adhaalath party, a conservative religious movement whose website features an article criticising “lustful music,” staged protests in the capital Male last week accusing spas of being used as brothels. “An Islamic party has been agitating against spas hoping to embarrass the government,” a senior government figure told AFP by telephone, confirming Thursday’s ministry order but asking not to be named.

Despite the Islamic republic’s reputation as a laid-back holiday paradise, burnished by frequent international marketing campaigns, there is growing concern about the influence of a minority of religious fundamentalists. There have been anti-semitic protests recently about the transport ministry’s decision to allow direct flights from Israel, while a restaurant that hung up Christmas decorations last year was also targeted. In 2010, a marriage celebrant was filmed abusing a Western couple as “swine” and “infidels” in a religious-tinged hate speech during a ceremony conducted in the local Dhivehi language. Most recently, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay has sought to highlight the plight of Maldivian women who can be publicly flogged for having extra-marital sex.

Industry sources said they expected the government to revoke the decision on spas considering the huge revenue earned from the business. . . The government move to shut spas will directly affect an opposition leader, Gasim Ibrahim, head of the Jumhoory Party, who owns five, the independent Minivan news website reported.

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Posted on 12/30/2011 2:21 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 30 December 2011
State of the EUnion
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Supporters of the Euro, and - because one is not possible without the other - a pan-European superstate, have been proved spectacularly wrong. David Aaronovich is among them, but will he admit it? Will he Hanover. Instead, he tries to be funny but fails. Daniel Hannan picks up on his Times post, which is behind the apartheid paywall, in the Telegraph:

In George Bernard Shaw's 1928 play, The Apple Cart, the American ambassador blurts out some momentous news to Britain's King:

The prodigal, sir, has returned to his father's house. Not poor, not hungry, not ragged, as of old. Oh no. This time he returns bringing with him the riches of the earth to the ancestral home. The Declaration of Independence is cancelled. The treaties which endorsed it are torn up. We have decided to rejoin the British Empire!

David Aaronovitch plays with the same idea in The Times today. I think he's trying to be funny, though I'm not completely certain. He uses the word 'ironically' in his column but, like many journalists, uses it to mean something along the lines of 'oddly enough'.

'We British pro-Europeans are beginning to sound more and more like Betamax enthusiasts arguing the superior merits of their systems against the unstoppable VHS tide', Aaronovitch writes. 'The people of Britain don’t get Europe, don’t like Europe and don’t want Europe'. Indeed.

And, since Britain is apparently too small to succeed on its own (pace Singapore, Switzerland, Qatar, Monaco, Norway, UAE etc), he suggests that we join the US. While, as I say, the proposal seems to be intended lightheartedly, the analysis that underpins it – the recognition that our two countries have a shared political culture and that Britain could benefit in many ways from repatriating the American Revolution – is moderate and reasonable.

The flaw in the Shavian fantasy of full amalgamation is, of course, that Americans are as jealous of their sovereignty as any people on Earth. Look at their (justified) suspicion of the United Nations. Look at their reticence vis-à-vis NAFTA. Do you really imagine that they'd accept a political union with 60 million Britons?

Just for the record, what we Atlanticists want is not a merger, but a free trade area. We'd like an organic, not a governmental union; ties between citizens, businesses and civic associations, not a combination of state structures. And we aim for it to embrace, not just Britain and the US, but the community of free English-speaking democracies – the Anglosphere. In fact, by coincidence, Iain Murray and James C Bennet explain how it would work in today's Wall Street Journal.

At least Aaronovich doesn't call his piece "a modest proposal". The next journalist who does should be stewed, roasted, baked or boiled. Or rather, as Giles Coren said, partially parboiled one day and fully parboiled the next.

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Posted on 12/30/2011 7:27 AM by Mary Jackson
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