In films libraries are places of repressed lust, where battleaxes shush recalcitrant chatterers and plain young women remove spectacles to cries of "Oh my god, you're beautiful!" Why doesn't this work for men? Is it because the specs hide the bags under their eyes, or the wrinkles that they imagine are attractive on them but not on women? But I digress - there is plenty of lust in libraries, some of it thwarted. Sathnam Sanghera in The Times:
All libraries are, of course, petri dishes of simmering lust, but the [British Library] is extreme: its walls contain more erotic pressure than an oil rig, a North Sea fishing trawler and several series of Mad Men combined. And it turns out that I’m not alone in thinking so. In 2005, Olivia Stewart-Liberty reported in The Spectator that “the whole building sighs with hothouse groans, which swell and fade to muffle other sounds”; in 2006 a gay website exposed the British Library as a cottaging ground and the regular BL readers who I’ve discussed it with concur.
Not that we can agree as to why. Explanations put forward include: the intrinsic erotic appeal of women in pencil skirts, stockings and Sarah Palin spectacles telling you off; the intrinsic filthiness of all librarians (after all, Casanova was one); the enforced silence and bookish atmosphere, which conspire to make you want to do something loud and physical in response; the safety (the theory goes that people feel free to flirt without feeling obliged to take things farther); the presence of books, which after all, are intrinsically sexy and have been connected to seduction for hundreds of years; the unexpected corners.
Though, personally, my preferred explanation is the silence. Let’s face it, human beings are animals, there is potential for sexual tension everywhere, even in parts of West Bromwich, but normally people’s attractiveness is counteracted by the noises that they make — the grunts, groans and conversation that might reveal they are married, stupid, have an unattractive accent, an obnoxious personality or, very simply, do not fancy you in return. But when everyone is sitting around in silence, you can project what you like on to them and everyone remains a sexual possibility. And the thing that convinced me of this theory is an anecdote a regular reader recently told me about the time she spent working in the Humanities 2 reading room.
A couple of weeks into it she noticed that the same man was sitting near her. It’s not something that would normally have registered, she says, but (a) this man bore a passing resemblance to Daniel Craig, and (b) she had been single for two years and, before she knew it, for the first time in her life, she had become infatuated. An infatuation she assumed was reciprocated because whenever she sat somewhere other than her normal seat, this bloke would seem to move and sit near her.
This went on for months and eventually, one Wednesday morning, when he was sitting right next to her, the inevitable happened: he passed her a folded note. And, for a moment, time seemed to come to a standstill. As she opened it, her heart was beating so loudly she thought that Tristram Hunt himself would storm over and tell her to be quiet. Blushing, feeling that her life would never be the same again, she read the words that had been scrawled in pencil.
They said: “Excuse me, but could you stop sniffing so loudly, please?” She’s been working in another part of the library since, facing a blank wall. And if I go back to “work” in the British Library, I’ll probably do the same.
If the silence gets too much, tourists are invited to try out the famous echo.
There's no real news at the moment. That's why the story on the front page of today's Times is a statement of the obvious:
Did anyone think it had? In other "news", the Met Office has revised its forecast of a "barbecue summer", and Britain is to be cold and damp, hence the gurning Les Dawson look-alike in what my mother calls a "rain pixie".
When there's no news, non-news makes the headlines, but there is also space to learn about the non-famous, who are much more interesting than the famous. From The Telegraph, where there is also very little news:
Louise Brown joined her local library in 1946. Since then she has borrowed 25,000 books. "I've always loved books," she said modestly when staff at Stranraer public library drew attention to her record. What's more, she has never returned one late.
Public libraries, a royal road to learning for all, are a quiet triumph of British civilisation. Lesser nations find that borrowers don't bring books back. When Mrs Brown joined, libraries were libraries. Philanthropists knew their value. Andrew Carnegie, who declared that to die rich would be to die disgraced, built 660 public libraries in Britain. John Passmore Edwards notched up only 24, but gave books to dozens more. In too many libraries now, for all their internet access and chatty surroundings, books are the missing element. When borrowed, they do more than decorate a room.
And libraries have provided a space for teenagers to do their homework when the home is too noisy or cramped, and a refuge for intelligent children whose comprehensive school is a hotbed of crack-dealling and multiculturalist indoctrination.
No news is good news; conversely, much that is good - books, for instance - is not news.
If libraries, in the name of "relevance", become like Starbucks, then where is the Fun Fun Fun in disobeying your father's instructions and sneaking off to the hamburger stand, now?
I'm fond of the Beach Boys, although their songs bear little relation to my life in cold, rainy London. I heard once that they went a bit weird in later life, and that the songs are supposed to be ironic. Who cares?
Update and lifetime mondegreen alert: until three minutes ago, I thought that the words were"Fun fun fun till your daddy takes your ticket away." The ticket was the decoy, and by confiscating it, the tyrannical pater put paid to any prenuptial probings. But no, the words are "Fun fun fun till your daddy takes the T-bird away."
How different from my own teenage years, when the best we could hope for was a euphemistic coffee. Still, I had fun fun fun till my daddy took my teabag away.
Islamic Extremists Kill Pastor, Raze Churches in Nigeria
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Islamic extremists killed a pastor and razed five churches in the city of Maiduguri, Nigeria, on July 27. The extremists also attacked two churches in the Nigerian city of Potiskum.
Yakubu Sabo, a husband and father of seven, was hacked to death with a machete by members of a violent Islamic militant group known as Boko Haram (which means "education is prohibited"). Sabo pastored a Church of Christ congregation in Maiduguri.
And according to Dawn.com in Pakistan, the death toll in Nigeria has topped 300:
Nigeria clashes rage as death toll tops 300
MAIDUGURI (Nigeria): Troops struggled to crush an Islamist group in northern Nigeria on Wednesday as the death toll from four days of clashes surged past 300 and thousands of people were forced to flee their homes.
Police sources said fighting was concentrated in Maiduguri city, the base of the self-styled ‘Nigerian Taliban’. President Umaru Yar’Adua has ordered the armed forces to crush the militants ‘once and for all’.
But fresh clashes were also reported elsewhere, including Yobe state where police said 43 people were killed on Wednesday.
Another police source said that fighting centred around five neighbourhoods and was at its most intense in Bayan Quarters where the group’s leader Mohammed Yusuf was based.
Yusuf’s home was shelled by forces on Tuesday evening but he appeared to have escaped. ‘The house and a mosque have been pulverised and reduced to rubble,’ the source said.
He said the offensive to crush the militants was likely to take longer than previously thought. ‘To be honest with you I don’t think the campaign will be finished within the next day or two,’ he said.
A tally of the police figures from violence shows that at least 304 people are known to have died.
A brief phone conversation with one of the Taliban leaders, Aminu Tashen-Ilimi, was punctuated by the sounds of heavy shelling in the background.
‘Don’t you know we are being bombarded, how can I speak to you in this situation?’ he said.
Muslims are the eternal innocent victims, in their own twisted minds.
Nigeria will find that the campaign will not be finished in the next day or two, or the next week or two, or the next year or two. Military attacks can temporarily diminish the threat of jihad attacks, but the long-term solution to jihad will never be military in nature. Instead, what is required is a recognition of the motivation for jihad, the teachings contained in the holy, holy Qur'an. Once that crucial initial step is taken, the corollary steps will fall into place. But the Nigerian government has not taken that initial step, nor has any government in Europe, or North America, or anywhere else in the world. The results of that failure are as horrific as they are predictable.
Another young Swedish-Somali man has been killed in the conflict in Somalia. According to the Swedish Security Service, he died in the beginning of July after being recruited in Sweden by the militia Al Shabab.
It’s well known in the Somali community that the group, which may have ties to terrorist network Al Qaida, has been recruiting youth in Sweden. Al Shabab has been especially active in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby, where a large number of Sweden’s Somali population lives.
Kadafi Hussein, youth leader at a Rinkeby community center, told SR International that he saw four young men recruit Somalis in a public square. “They talked about jihad and what was happening in Somalia. That it was right to go there, and that they’d help you out with a plane ticket if you needed it.”
According to Malena Rembe of the Swedish Security Service, the Swedish-Somali man who died in Somalia had lived in Sweden since he was very young. This type of radicalization may pose a danger for Sweden, she says.
“We fear that that they’ll develop a network, and get experience and training in Somalia that they can then use in Sweden [to plan terrorist attacks] when they come back.”
This man had lived almost his whole life in Sweden; he may not have had any memories of his former life in Somalia. And yet his loyalty was still to Islam, and to the mujahideen fighting to impose sharia in Somalia. If he had survived and returned to Sweden, to whom would he have owed his allegiance? To Sweden, or to Islam?
Manchester United targeted by Jakarta hotel bombers
From The Times The Manchester United football team was the target of a bomb attack on the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta two weeks ago, according to a message posted on the internet purporting to be from Indonesia's most wanted terrorist suspect Noordin Mohammed Top.
The message, in which Malaysian born Noordin claims responsibility for the twin hotel bombings that killed seven people, confirms that the Ritz was targeted by a suicide bomber because it was about to host "the Crusaders" Manchester United who were due to play an exhibition match in Jakarta.
It says the attack was a warning to Indonesians "against the arrival of the soccer club Manchester United" at the hotel.
"These players are Christians, so Muslims should not honour and respect these enemies of Allah," it said. I wish more of them actually were true Christians.
It also refers to the "American chamber of commerce" as a target, apparently confirming that a breakfast meeting of Western businessmen at the Marriott, hosted by US lobbyist James Castle, was specifically targeted. The breakfast meeting suffered heavy fatalities on July 17, with three Australians and a New Zealander killed in the explosions.
"They have major interests in sucking Indonesia's treasure and financing the US army to fight against Muslims and Islam," the message said.
Manchester United abandoned its planned game against an Indonesian all-star side after the bombings. The posting described the team as "salibis", or Christian crusaders, who were unworthy of the support of Muslims.
Asian man who called policemen 'white redneck hooligans' is guilty of racism
From The Telegraph
Hassan Butt, 29, who called police officers "white redneck hooligans" has been found guilty of making racist remarks. Butt, who once admitted having claimed he was a terrorist to make money from the media, was convicted of committing a racially aggravated public order offence by District Judge Diana Baker at Manchester Magistrates Court. He made the remarks after police arrested his brother, dentist Omer Butt, in a row over parking. Pc Christian Allanson overheard Butt say loudly into his mobile phone: "'I'm just here with these white redneck hooligans'." He told the court Butt also said: "'Where's my brother, you're not the Gestapo'." Pc Allanson said: " . . due to the fact we were white police officers. I believe it was a very offensive comment." Butt also taunted officers by asking if they were BNP members . . . He also asked officers who arrested and searched him: "Do you like feeling Pakis up?" Judge Baker told him: "You demonstrated towards the officers hostility based on their membership of a racial group. . . I take seriously any form of racist abuse and feel the courts must strive to protect people." The little specimen was fined and ordered to pay costs.
of how far the anti-Israel cabal in the FBI went when they double crossed Defense Analyst Larry Franklin. Bill Gertz, Washington Times Intelligence beat columnist,was granted an exclusive interview with Franklin. You may recall that Federal Judge T.S. Ellis, III in the Eastern Virginia District Court in May dramatically reduced his sentence against the objections by Federal prosecutors who withdrew the malformed case against AIPAC senior staffers, Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen after a Richmond Federal Appeals Court dismissed the government's evidentiary motions. We have posted on this murky and unsettling episode for nearly four years,originally here, and more recently, here.
Here are revelations from the Exclusive Washington Times interview with Larry Franklin:
On being doubled by the FBI
Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon analyst convicted of revealing classified information, says he worked undercover as an FBI double agent to gather information on the pro-Israel lobby in the United States before the bureau turned on him and pressured him to plead guilty to spying for Israel.
Talking to a U.S. newspaper for the first time since his arrest five years ago, Franklin told The Washington Times that he wore a portable recording device for the FBI to capture conversations between Keith Weissman, a lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Israeli Embassy official Naor Gilon and that he cooperated on other matters during a 10-week period in 2004.
He said he never sought to spy for Israel and felt betrayed when the same FBI agents whom he had assisted suddenly told him to get an attorney and threatened to send him to prison for disclosing classified information to AIPAC officials and the Israeli Embassy.
"I cooperated without a lawyer because I thought we were on the same side," Franklin said in a wide-ranging interview with The Times last week at the office of his attorney, Plato Cacheris. "And I was dumbfounded. I had no money, I told them, for a lawyer. They assigned me a lawyer who was paid by the government who wanted me to sign something that was anathema to me, an abomination."
FBI Assistant Director John Miller declined to comment on the case or Franklin's cooperation.
The Iran Iraq War connection and painting AIPAC Officials as the 'bad guys'
Franklin said the FBI first pressed him about working undercover in an investigation into alleged Israeli spying in the United States in May 2004, after he had become a subject of investigation into whether he provided sensitive information to reporters at CBS News on Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi's relations with Iran.
He said his FBI handlers convinced him that AIPAC analysts Steven Rosen and Mr. Weissman were "bad people" and that the agency needed his help in making a criminal case against the pro-Israel lobby officials. The two AIPAC officials were eventually indicted, but this spring -- after years of legal wrangling -- the government reversed course and dropped all charges against them.
Franklin Views on Iran involvement in Iraq War and alleged "betrayal' by AIPAC's Weissman and Rosen
Senior Pentagon officials, he said, mistakenly thought the United States could "persuade Iran to be part of the solution and not part of the problem" in Iraq. However, Franklin was convinced that Iranian officials would not cooperate and that Tehran remembered U.S. support to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988.
"So I wanted to delay and shock the National Security Council staff into convincing [National Security Adviser] Condoleezza Rice and others that, hey, maybe we ought to think this out a little more because there was so little time," Franklin said.
His plan was to use Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman to relay his concerns to the National Security Council (NSC) staff. Instead, the AIPAC officials, without telling Franklin, took his information, some of which was classified, to Mr. Gilon at the Israeli Embassy and to a Washington Post reporter.
I felt betrayed by Rosen and Weissman because I had risked everything for what I had thought were the interests of our republic," he said. "And, yeah, second of all, I felt very disappointed in the FBI."
AIPAC Lawyer Rebuts Franklin
Abbe Lowell, the lawyer who successfully represented Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, disputed Franklin's account about his interests in talking to the AIPAC officials.
Franklin, Mr. Lowell said, sought AIPAC's help, through Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, beyond the effort to reach the NSC as part of an "ideological war with the Department of State."
"His request of them was to try to get AIPAC to weigh in on his side of the group at [the Department of] Defense," Mr. Lowell said. "It was not singularly focused on the NSC."
Mr. Lowell said Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman had no immediate comment on the case. Spokesmen for AIPAC and the Israeli Embassy also declined to comment.
How Franklin got tripped up- "taking home Pentagon documents"
"I didn't do anything morally wrong," Franklin said. "I was totally motivated by love of this republic and knowingly risked my job, my clearance and the welfare of my family because I thought it was important to do."
Franklin also illegally kept 83 classified documents at his house in West Virginia but said he did so "because I needed to keep up my expertise that both the secretary and deputy secretary [of defense] -- that is [Donald] Rumsfeld and [Paul] Wolfowitz -- depended upon.
"I never showed a document, never gave a document to anyone ever," he told The Times. "The only other illegality I performed was I talked -- blurted out on May 20, 2004, over a phone call from CBS, from "60 Minutes." They were doing a show on Chalabi, and I said: 'Don't ask me for any good news about Chalabi 'cause he had just met with a nefarious Iranian who was guilty of killing Americans.' "
Mr. Cacheris, Franklin's attorney, said that the FBI sought the guilty plea from Franklin because the Bureau hoped to use his testimony in its case against AIPAC and that it did not make any promises to him in exchange for the cooperation.
"Unfortunately, Larry wasn't astute enough to find out during the time of his cooperation what was going to happen," Mr. Cacheris said.
Franklin said he agreed to the plea deal because he hoped it would keep him out of jail so he could take care of his seriously ill wife. He thanked Mr. Cacheris for coming to his rescue in the case.
Ken Timmerman in his book, "Shadow Warriors" had divulged the strong arm methods the FBI used to euchre Franklin into serving as a double agent. We believe that the FBI cabal was lead by former Associate Director David Szady who had let it be known that the national law enforcement agency was intent on finding an Israeli mole inside the US government, based erroneously, as it turned out in the disastrous AIPAC case. Federal Prosecutors relied heavily on the thin reed of a 90 year Sedition law, questionable evidentiary standards in filed court motions and sought a 'closed court' proceeding, which ultimately was quashed by the Richmond Federal Appellate court dismissal rulings. Messrs. Weissman and Rosen were simply doing what Washington journalists, including Gertz, have done which is revealing ex parte conversations with official sources, who don't want to go on record; i.e., 'leaking'. However, the Federal judiciary saw through this blatant attempt by the FBI and federal prosecutors effectively stopped the failed AIPAC case in its tracks, relieving former AIPAC seniors officials Weissman and Rosen from standing trial, and reduced Franklin's prior sentence under a plea bargain.
The trial of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury continued this week in Dhaka, Bangladesh.It was his second court appearance in two weeks after being called no more than once a month for the last four years.(Prior to that, he spent 17 months of imprisonment and torture for his anti-Islamist and pro-Israel articles.)The next day, he received a call from an attorney who told him that the prosecutor in his case said the government would convict Shoaib even though it did not have the evidence for it.While it would be wrong to minimize the danger facing Shoaib or to assume that the Bangladeshis would not convict Shoaib without evidence; the prosecutor’s boast is more significant for the subtle messages he conveyed.
The most important one is that the government has finally admitted that it does not have any evidence to support the admittedly false charges of sedition, treason, and blasphemy. This represents a highly significant change in the position held by the government for the past five and a half years; a position that several Bangladeshi officials have been trying to convince their governments has cost the Bangladeshi people dearly.
Shoaib’s last two court appearances appear to support that conclusion.After months of nothing but continuances and only one government witness (who has been AWOL since being asked for evidence to support his allegations), the prosecution called seven different witnesses in two weeks, who testified only to Shoaib’s alleged attempt to travel to Israel.On July 15, a computer technician added that the government seized Shoaib’s computers but did not say what was on them; and a police official also opined that Shoaib hurt the “religious sentiments of Muslims by praising Christians and Jews.” This week’s witnesses added that Shoaib communicated over the internet to people in Israel (something many Bangladeshis do), and a police officer testified that when arrested, Shoaib was carrying “banned books,” sparking the following exchange between the witness and Shoaib’s attorney.
“Did you read these books and are you sure that these are banned?”
“No I did not read them or see any ban order.”
“How do you know that these were banned books?”
“I was told by someone.”
That is about as anemic a case as one could imagine, and it is clear that the prosecution is banking on a political decision; but that decision would cost the Bangladeshi’s.First, and perhaps most important, it would put the lie to apologists who have been claiming that the current Bangladeshi government is more democratic and less patronizing of Islamists than previous ones.To that extent, it would bargain away a major negotiating ploy that the Bangladeshis are planning on using with the United States and other western countries for aid and trade benefits.
Beyond that, the prosecution through it witnesses alleges that praising Christians and Jews is a major crime in Bangladesh.How well will that sit with Christian-majority countries like the United States if the court agrees with it; or that using the internet, “banned books,” or “criticizing madrassas” is, as another witness testified?With legal scholars like Canada’s Irwin Cotler involved in Shoaib’s defense, Bangladesh can expect that a conviction contrary to law will initiate sanctions by international legal bodies, as well.
The government is not presenting any new even compelling evidence.If this is all it can regurgitate after five and a half years, there cannot be much of a case, at least on the basis of Bangladeshi law. Even the judge seemed to agree, asking the defense to explain exactly what Shoaib is accused of doing, after one day of unconvincing testimony. When his Bangladesh Minority Lawyers Association advocate said that he exposeding the rise of radical Islam and its use of madrassas, Judge Bashir Ullah said Shoaib should be rewarded and not condemned.
Shoaib said the Public Prosecutor was smiling at that point.Whether he was smiling because he knows a guilty verdict will be handed down regardless, or because he sees an end to Shoaib’s ordeal crowned with a not guilty verdict, is a matter of speculation.One way or another, according to Shoaib, the government has decided to finish the trial, perhaps as early as August. They could have done so months, even years ago but did not. Perhaps the economic hard times have led them to re-cast their strategy as regards trade. Perhaps they have read recent articles urging the United Nations to bar Bangladesh from peacekeeping missions. Bangladesh provides more UN peacekeepers than any other country except Pakistan, and doing so has become critical for the Bangladeshi economy. It was also one of the underlying reasons for the 2007 coup there. Or maybe it is they, not us, who ultimately tired of it all.(Some Bangladeshi officials cling to the mistaken belief that the West has no stomach for a long fight.)
If Shoaib is right, the court will set a date for defense rebuttal once the government concludes its case.After that, the judge will retire to determine verdicts and set a date for reading the judgment.An acquittal will vindicate Bangladesh as a nation of laws.A conviction contrary to Bangladeshi law will reinforce the arguments of those who say that Bangladesh values radical Islam over justice, political expediency even over its own constitution.Waiting to see which values hold would be an interesting exercise were it not for the fact that a man’s life and the principles of justice hang in the balance.One thing is clear, however, months of delay are coming to an end as is the trial of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury—the Muslim journalist who refuses to back down to Islamist radicals, openly supports Israel, and does so while refusing to leave the Muslim world.The world will be watching to determine what comes next.
From The Telegraph
Two British hostages held in Iraq, Alan McMenemy and Alec Maclachlan, are likely to be dead, according to Foreign Office advice to family members.
Relatives of the men were told last week that the hostage takers had claimed that the men had been shot. The bodies of two other security guards, part of a team of five kidnapped in Baghdad in 2007, were handed over last month.
No remains have been returned in the latest development and there is no proof of death. The Foreign Office said all its efforts are now focused on securing the return of Peter Moore, a computer consultant who was taken along with his security team.
The families of Mr McMenemy, from Glasgow, and Mr Maclachlan, from south Wales, were said to have reacted calmly to the news but have asked the government to press for the return of the bodies.
“We don’t want the hostage takers to take a long holiday in Tehran or where ever leaving uncertainty,” said one source close to negotiations.
The hostage takers had handed a video of Mr Moore to Iraqi authorities in March in which he said “we are all well.”
The news that four had died has shocked people involved in the crisis.
“Nothing that’s ever been said about this has ever been true, so who knows what is going to happen,” the source said. “Cynically they already knew they had dead bodies on their hands, two and probably more, when they were promising the men could come back alive.” The official response to this outrage has been so pathetic that I fear the families, while never giving up hope, because you can’t, quietly realised that their men were dead a long time ago.
The Foreign Office has faced criticism for its low profile handling of Britain’s longest running hostage crisis in decades. Officials chose to put their trust in talks with mysterious intermediaries and struggled to secure meaningful engagement from Iraqi officials. They were being run rings round by opportunists and Islamists. There is a rumour that a proposed Special Forces (SAS? SBS? Royal Marines? that I didn't hear specified) rescue mission was forbidden by the government; that rings true. Otherwise I cannot make up my mind whether the FO has been incompetent or indifferent.
If there is a right to health care, someone has the duty to provide it. Inevitably, that “someone” is the government. Concrete benefits in pursuance of abstract rights, however, can be provided by the government only by constant coercion.
People sometimes argue in favor of a universal human right to health care by saying that health care is different from all other human goods or products. It is supposedly an important precondition of life itself. This is wrong: There are several other, much more important preconditions of human existence, such as food, shelter and clothing.
Everyone agrees that hunger is a bad thing (as is overeating), but few suppose there is a right to a healthy, balanced diet, or that if there was, the federal government would be the best at providing and distributing it to each and every American.
Where does the right to health care come from? Did it exist in, say, 250 B.C., or in A.D. 1750? If it did, how was it that our ancestors, who were no less intelligent than we, failed completely to notice it?
If, on the other hand, the right to health care did not exist in those benighted days, how did it come into existence, and how did we come to recognize it once it did?
When the supposed right to health care is widely recognized, as in the United Kingdom, it tends to reduce moral imagination. Whenever I deny the existence of a right to health care to a Briton who asserts it, he replies, “So you think it is all right for people to be left to die in the street?”
When I then ask my interlocutor whether he can think of any reason why people should not be left to die in the street, other than that they have a right to health care, he is generally reduced to silence. He cannot think of one.
Moreover, the right to grant is also the right to deny. And in times of economic stringency, when the first call on public expenditure is the payment of the salaries and pensions of health-care staff, we can rely with absolute confidence on the capacity of government sophists to find good reasons for doing bad things.
The question of health care is not one of rights but of how best in practice to organize it. America is certainly not a perfect model in this regard. But neither is Britain, where a universal right to health care has been recognized longest in the Western world.
Not coincidentally, the U.K. is by far the most unpleasant country in which to be ill in the Western world. Even Greeks living in Britain return home for medical treatment if they are physically able to do so.
I once heard Ken Livingstone described as a "vainglorious twat". Any insult directed at London's erstwhile Mayor of Misrule is welcome, but this one was particularly pleasing. A long refined word is followed by a short coarse one; both are equally apposite and the whole phrase rhythmically exceeds the sum of its parts. Ken Livingstone is a vainglorious twat, and there's an end of it.
Going from the sublime to the ridiculous is one of life's pleasures - and it's usually free. Think of Great Anna, taking counsel and tea. Think of Mrs Slocombe going from posh to northern as she touched upon her pussy. But it only works if the writer - or speaker - has a feel for the ridiculous. If he thinks himself sublime, it jars. Ihab Hassan writes in the Georgia Review on the seemy side of modern life. There is a "surfeit of seeming":
I do not mean to make an essay out of the tribulations of writing an essay—that’s tacky; I mean only to explain my title as a bewildered approach to the multitudinous present, the way we have become. It’s a large topic, relevant to what V. S. Naipaul called “our universal civilization,” relevant also to all those errant souls—immigrants, refugees, displaced persons, expatriates like myself—wandering the earth. It’s a large topic, but I have tried to hew to a particular line: the tyranny of appearances, a surfeit of seeming in America. Yes, now things must seem, not be.
Bees buzz and also sting. The line I have taken may not always please. But I suspect that even Candide knew in his heart of hearts that whatever is, is not always, well, cool.
Perhaps whatever is, is well, like, whatever. And is "cool" a cool word in a cruel world?
Then there’s the leap of faith, Kierkegaardian or otherwise, that finds truth and trust—now fused—in a spiritual impulse that overwhelms doubt, defies the weight of the world.
Defies or deifies? Bees buzz, death stings, and my Kierkegaardian angel wings. On it goes in the same vain vein, then he bumps up against mind:
As to mind, its road has been long and anfractuous.
I can't speak for his mind, but the words "bust" and "ass" spring unetymologically into mine.
The setting? The Marriott convention hotel in the fashionable Dupont Circle district of Washington, D.C. Date? June 15, 2009. Participants? A coalition of big-business oriented, pro-Open Borders dedicated groups, corporations, and lobbyists. Organizer? Tamar Jacoby and her newly-formed ImmigrationWorksUSA lobbying group.
The welcome is by Deborah Marriott Harrison, who is granddaughter of the Marriott Hotels founder and V.P. Government Relations for the chain.
She announced that her dad is willing to speak on behalf of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. [CIR, big-business style, is defined later in this report.] She repeats the mantra that the "system is broken."
We are having the conference because we failed last time [to pass amnesty in 2007] and we must change. We did none of the things the opposition did. Opponents sent over a million faxes. We need to learn to leverage grass roots power. The basic goal is to promote the free flow of labor into the USA. This issue, immigration, is the top of the second tier of issues. Politicians are asking themselves if there will be public support.
Mentions Lou Dobbs and NumbersUSA shutting down the switchboard. We do not need to be even in faxes and phone calls because we have great lobbyists. But we need more faxes and phone calls than we have been getting.
We have a chance this year. The election of Obama was a game changer. The Latino electoral power is a sleeping giant that is now awake. The 2008 election reflected 3 million more Latino voters than in 2004. Latinos went 67 to 31, Obama to McCain. Other minorities were strong for Obama.
The contacts to most offices are staggeringly in favor of anti-immigration. We want to build a communication apparatus to balance out the anti-immigrants. Our side will never have the passion level. NumbersUSA has had twenty years to organize.
Competitve advantage against what? China? India? Do we have to keep the number of poor people up and wages down so we can compete in the global marketplace producing cheap stuff? If we don't keep those starvation-wage jobs plentiful, where will we be?
Your average white bread Jihadis arrested by FBI in rural North Carolina
We have been posting about home grown Jihadi terrorists. Many of them have been natural born American Somalis and others had natural roots in Wahhabist Salafist Islamic doctrine. Some have been minority prison converts to Islam who became Jihadis and were captured abroad.Now comes this shocker. The arrest of a terror cell headed by your average white bread American convert to Islam, David Boyd, who trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan and ran a day job as a drywall contractor and lived in Willow Springs, North Carolina, outside of Raleigh.CBN reported on the arrest of the seven members of the rural Jihad cell, “Seven N.C. Men charged for planning ‘Jihad.’”
Note this from the CBN report:
"It's kind of scary to me to be honest with you," said Rob Roegner, a resident of Willow Spring, N.C. "I spoke to them. I never had any idea he was involved in something like that."
Residents of the Willow Spring, N.C., neighborhood watched in disbelief as FBI agents raided the home of 39-year-old Daniel Boyd.
Agents said Boyd was the ring leader who recruited his two sons and four other young American men in their 20s. Boyd had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to receive military-style training in terrorist training camps to engage in violent jihad.
"The recruitment both then to radical jihadist movements as well as homegrown terrorists who want to attack us is here in the United States" former FBI agent Brad Garrett said. "And the real problem is how do you figure out who they are."
Erick Stakelbeck, Terrorism beat reporter for CBN had some disturbing thoughts about this and related developments triggered by these FBI arrests. As you will see one the motivating threads was animus against Israel and potential threats to Jewish targets here in America and abroad. Here are his comments on his CBN blog: Stakelbeck on Terror:
The terror arrests outside Raleigh, North Carolina are big for a few reasons. 1) This was a homegrown cell based in rural America. 2) It was led by a white convert to Islam named Daniel Patrick Boyd. 3) The cell had plotted against Israel, which means they could very well have targeted Jewish sites on U.S. soil as well. We still don't have all the details on that front. But a common thread in many recent terror arrests on U.S. soil is a desire among the suspects to hit Jewish targets, either here or abroad.
One group that has the talent and funding from largely liberal American Jewish contributors is the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama headed by lawyer Morris Dees. Go to the SPLC website and what do you find, stories about Skin heads in our military training as terrorists and combating the remnants of the Klan and neo-Nazi hate groups in America. But nothing on home grown Jihadi terrorist threats against their contributors in rural North Carolina or those Jamaat ul-Fuqra camps that the Christian Action Network have graphically documented. While the SPLC has tracked alliances between neo-Nazi extremists and some Islamist groups here in the US, their leadership is still mired in the kumbaya era of the Civil Rights movement. Maybe those American Jewish contributors should launch a call-in campaign to get Dees and his talented crew of ex-FBI and law enforcement intelligence professionals to launch an anti-Jihadi surveillance program and launch legal actions to take the funding out of the Muslim Brotherhood groups supporting ‘stealth Jihad’ and possibly Jihadi terror cells like the one the FBI arrested leaders in Willow Springs, NC. Maybe!
From The Australian A MELBOURNE Muslim convert who allegedly pledged to al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden to pursue violent jihad while he was undertaking paramilitary training in Afghanistan has pleaded guilty to two terrorism charges in an apparent last-minute deal with prosecutors.
The trial of Shane Kent, 33, on three terrorism charges, including belonging to a Melbourne Muslim terror cell that allegedly planned to attack the MCG during the 2005 AFL grand final, had been due to begin yesterday afternoon in the Victorian Supreme Court.
Instead, in a dramatic turnaround, Kent pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally belonging to a terrorist organisation and one reduced count of recklessly making a document connected with preparing a terrorist act, which related to an al-Qa'ida propaganda video he helped to produce.
A Supreme Court jury had earlier failed to reach a verdict on whether Kent was a member of the Melbourne terror group when he stood trial last year.
The seven-month trial was told how the group's plans to launch an attack on the 2005 AFL grand final at the MCG or on the Crown casino during the Melbourne Grand Prix were disrupted by ASIO raids.
Kent, the only Anglo-Saxon member of the group, had converted to Islam when he was 19. He began going by the name "Yassin" and married a Muslim.
During yesterday's brief hearing, Judge David Byrne refused to continue Kent's bail, which had been granted in October under strict conditions,
Justice Byrne said he did not accept that such exceptional circumstances had been proven and remanded Kent, who stood impassively in the dock wearing a black jacket and dark grey open-necked shirt, in custody until August 17.
Fired wrestling coach files suit against Dearborn Fordson
From The Michigan Messenger
More than a year after controversy erupted over the firing of longtime wrestling coach Gerry Marszalek by Dearborn Fordson High School over allegations that one of his volunteer assistant coaches had converted one of the team members to Christianity and baptized him, Marszalek has filed a wrongful termination suit against the Dearborn Public Schools and Fordson Principal Imad Fadlallah.
The situation began in 2005, when a volunteer assistant coach named Trey Hancock, the father of one of the kids on the team and a Pentecostal minister, was fired by the school and ordered to have no contact with students after he baptized a Muslim student
Hancock told the Michigan Messenger last year that the young man he baptized was one of his son’s best friends and had been attending his church for two years when he decided to make his conversion to Christianity complete with a baptism. The young man was not a student at Fordson high school at the time as this took place in the summer before his freshman year.
The complaint (PDF) alleges that Principal Fadlallah’s reaction upon hearing of the student’s conversion was intolerant to the point of violence:
An extract:- Subsequently, in full view of students and faculty, Defendant Fadlallah approached the young Fordson student who had chosen to be baptized a Christian at Hancock’s summer wrestling camp, punched the student, and advised the student that he had “disgraced his family” by converting to Christianity from Islam.
According to the complaint, Fadlallah then banned Hancock from even coming to the school, despite the fact that his son was a student there, and from having any contact with the wrestling team, despite the fact that his son was an all-state wrestler on the team. It continues: -
On or about Thanksgiving Day 2007, Defendant Fadlallah verbally attacked Plaintiff Marszalek shouting “I thought I told you to keep Trey Hancock out of Fordson,” or words to that effect. Defendant Fadlallah then threatened Plaintiff that if he failed to keep Hancock out of Fordson that: “You don’t know how crazy I can get!” Hancock had been in Fordson earlier that day to sign his student son up and pay for his participation in a Fordson “pay to play” sports program.
Defendant Fadlallah then expanded his mandate to Plaintiff Marszalek now barring him from mentioning Hancock, or his independent wrestling club “One On One,” and that despite Hancock’s son currently being an All State wrestler on Fordson’s team, Hancock’s existence was not to be acknowledged at wrestling meets. Defendant Fadlallah then banned the entire Hancock family
After the 2007/2008 school year, Marszalek was fired as the wrestling coach despite having been one of the most successful wrestling coaches in the entire country . . .
The complaint alleges a number of constitutional violations, including violations of Marszalek’s First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of association, as well as religious discrimination under Michigan state law.
More Open Borders, More Welfare: This pie will give you indigestion; California (with 12% of the nation's population) represents 32% of America's welfare caseload. Chuck Devore explains, "California's share of the nation's welfare recipients has been soaring since Democrat legislators severely relaxed welfare rules and eligibility while hiking benefits around 2001. The result was as predictable for welfare as California's high taxes and heavy regulations have been for jobs and business."
Even More Open Borders and More Relaxed Welfare Policies: While the Blue State of New York has its own bragging rights (highest per capita spending on welfare rolls), the distance between New York and the other states compared to California is like the distance between the Earth (other states), the Moon (New York), and the Sun (California). California is the only state that refuses to "seriously enforce the federal lifetime limit of 5 years of welfare for able-bodied adults."
California agribusiness started all this by insisting on having plenty of very low-paid disposable workers. (If your back gets bad or your knees give out, hey pal, there are plenty more where you came from.) It's not even that Mexican workers can make that much more in California than in Mexico anymore, but the combination of low wages and welfare is what makes the difference. Each Mexican family entering the U.S. costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in welfare and services. There are not enough low-priced strawberries, oranges and lettuce in the world to make up for that. Plus there is a whole sub-culture in California made up of young native Californians who have figured out how to scam the system so they don't have to work.
More Nightmare: This AP story explains how the Federal government has spent $176 million in order to create 3,236 new jobs. Trouble is, the jobs only lasted an average of 35 hours each - that's $53,000 per job. Hummm.
Brüno, which I saw a couple of weeks ago, turned out to be disappointing. It had some side-splittinlgy funny moments - and I still maintain that Sacha Baron Cohen is a comic genius - but there weren't enough of them. It wasn't a patch on Borat. Funny is the only thing a comdedian has to be. He can be offensive; he can ridicule good people; he can even be phony, but he has to be funny.
There are all kinds of reasons why Brüno was not as good as Borat. The main one is that Baron Cohen is first and foremost a clown, and clowns cannot be too knowing. Borat blundered and bumbled, and got away with making fools of hapless members of the public by being even more hapless. Brüno appeared calculating, rather than endearingly silly. Another drawback was that the film focused too much on America; he's been there and done that, and people know him. He should have stayed in Austria, a country whose überdullards, psychopaths and Mozartkugel are ripe for ruthless mockery. Finally, a strength of Borat, but a weakness of Brüno was the sidekick. Azamat Bagatov, the paunchy "producer" with whom Borat wrestles naked, was an inspired creation. Brüno's companion was limp - as would be a pun if I intended it.
Nevertheless, the film had its moments, one of which was the interview with Aymman Abu Aita, a terrorist from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. True to form, the "militant Palestinian group" is not amused. I suspect that "militant Palestinian groups" don't have much of a laugh. From The Times:
Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped up his security after being threatened by a militant Palestinian group angered at its portrayal in the film Brüno.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a coalition of Palestinian militias in the West Bank, said in a statement released to a Jerusalem-based journalist that it was “very upset” that it featured in the film starring Baron Cohen’s homosexual fashionista alter ego.
“We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man,” it said. “The movie was part of a conspiracy against the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.”
The London-born comic is taking the threat seriously and has improved security for himself and his family in preparation for violent reprisals.
Baron-Cohen's humour is not to everyone's taste. No doubt some, particularly those who don't get the joke, find him irritating or think he deserves a good spanking. He is an equal opportunities offender, but somehow I doubt the security measures will be needed to protect him against the angry Hassidic Jews, whom he also ridiculed, or against passing Kazaks, or the rodeo lovers of Tucson, Arizona.
Obama Fan and ISA alum re-sentenced to life in prison
According to this Washington Examiner report, “ Terrorist from Falls Church sentenced to Life in Prison,” Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, Unreconstructed Al Qaeda terrorist and 1999 Valedictorian of the controversial Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) of Fairfax, Virginia was resentenced to life in prison in a ruling by the Eastern Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, Monday. Note the background of ISA grad Abu Ali from the Washington Examiner report:
Abu Ali was originally sentenced in 2005 to 30 years in prison.
U.S. Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for eastern Virginia ruled Monday that Abu Ali should spend life in prison partially because he never renounced his al Qaeda ties.
After the initial sentencing, both sides filed appeals. Abu Ali completed some of his sentence in solitary confinement at a Supermax prison in Colorado, where, his lawyers said, he suffered from physical and mental trauma.
Abu Ali’s lawyers, Ashraf Nubani of McLean and Joshua L. Dratel of New York, argued the original sentence was too harsh.
U.S. attorneys argued that Abu Ali’s sentence was not long enough, given he “knowingly and willfully committed extremely serious offenses jeopardizing the national security of the United States,” a government statement says. “Given the nature of the defendant’s offense and the intended consequences, the government submits that few cases present a more compelling argument for a life sentence.”
We have written about the “hot potato” of the ISA in Fairfax County, as well as this ‘illustrious’ American-born graduate of ISA and his three terrorist fellow alum, Raed Abdul-Rahman Al-Saif, a Saudi national caught with a butcher knife at Tampa airport last month andMohammed Osam Idris and Mohammed el Yacoubi caught on trying to enter Israel on a suicide mission.
They were all products of Wahhabist hate doctrine drilled into their impressionable young minds in the Islamic Studies courses at the ISA with texts supplied by America’s ally, the Saudi Education Ministry, the subject of criticisms of the U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission and reports authored by Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute. The ISA was the subject of protests in June 2008 at the Royal Saudi Embassy sponsored K-12 school organized by grass roots activists from northern Virginia. Among them was ACT! For America Northern Virginia stalwarts, Denise Lee, Catherine Martin, Christine Brim of the Center for Security Policy, John Cosgrove of the United American Committee Virginia Chapter, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition and husband James Lafferty of Virginias Against Sharia Task Force. The controversy continues with protests against the expansion of the ISA campus in the Pope’s Head section of Fairfax County at hearings of the Fairfax County Planning Commission and the County Board of Supervisors, see here.
According to this Washington Examiner report:
While in prison, Abu Ali requested “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams of My Father,” both books by then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, but was refused them.
A Bureau of Prisons notification states “... the referenced pages contain information which have been determined to be potentially detrimental to national security,” according to court documents.
Given President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim ummah and attempts to engage in discussions with Islamic terrorists in Syria, Iran and proxies Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza, perhaps Abu Ali thought he had a shot at clemency. Apparently Federal prosecutors thought differently as he didn’t evince any contrition about the nearly 3,000 innocent victims of Abu Ali’s Al Qaeda ‘icons’’ Mohammed Atta and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Twin Towers bombing plot, mastermind.
Unrepentant home grown terrorists like Abu Ali, who plotted to kill Former President Bush, deserve to rot in federal prison for life. The ISA deserves to be shut down, unless and until the Royal Saudi Embassy eradicates the hate in the canon of Quranic Islam that propelled Abu Ali and the trio of ISA alum to take up arms against America. Given our State department’s diffidence at forcing this issue despite Congressional pressures, you can bet it won’t happen anytime soon. Pity.
The violence in Nigeria continues. This is from This Day on line
The bloody clash between the police and members of an Islamic fundamentalist group known as Boko Haram (“education is sin”), which left many dead in the early hours of Sunday in Bauchi, has spread to other states in the North.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua . . . has directed all the national security outfits to combine forces to immediately contain further spread of the religious crisis.
The militant group opposed to western education, which has been campaigning for the imposition of Sharia’h (Islamic law) on the 36 states of the federation, allegedly sparked off the crisis when its members launched an attack on a police station in Bauchi, leading to the bloodbath.
Over 150 people were left dead, while indigenes of the area are said to be fleeing their homes.
By yesterday, the attack by the group had spread to Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Kano States. But early yesterday, it emerged like a war situation in Maiduguri, Borno State as members of the sect led by one Mohammed Yusuf, who had earlier threatened to attack security installations and government establishments in the state, made good their threat.
They attacked the state police headquarters and some police stations along with some churches and mosques.
Over 100 adherents of the sect and few military personnel and police officers were said to have been killed in the clash.
It was gathered that the assault started around noon on Sunday when the fundamentalists in military camouflage stormed the police headquarters and other structures within the area in Maiduguri with petrol bomb, bows, arrows and other weapons with the aim of levelling the entire place.
The fundamentalists also gained access into the Police Mobile College, Maiduguri, beside the Police headquarters, after killing the Sergeant on guard.
They immediately moved into the quarters, burning down nine houses and slaughtering some policemen in the process before they were forced out of the area by riot policemen who shot sporadically at them.
They also attacked other parts of the town during which two police stations, Lamisula and Gamboru, were razed even as some churches and mosques were burnt with scores of civilian casualties recorded.
The new prison within Maiduguri metropolis was attacked where the fundamentalists freed inmates and killed some prison officers
It was gathered that five police officers on training at the Mobile Police College were killed at the college’s dormitory, while the Second-in-Command of the riot police in the state, simply called Superintendent Farouk, was also killed in the fundamentalists’ attack.
It was learnt that a journalist with the Daily Trust, Ahmed Salkida, was abducted for some hours by the fundamentalists for allegedly leaking information to the police authorities before he was later released after a series of appeals.
It was also discovered that all mobile networks except that of Starcomms were down for the major part of yesterday.
This was said to be for the strategic reason of preventing the militants from communicating with each other which could aid their mobilisation.
The main entry and exit points into the town have also been cordoned off and the few people moving about the town are being thoroughly searched by the police.
In Damaturu, Yobe State capital, the fundamentalists also attacked some police stations in the early hours of Monday which made the government to slam a curfew on the state.
In Kano State, the fundamentalists attacked Wudil Police Station and injured the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Sagir Idris, and one riot policeman in a gun duel.
However, the police in Kano killed three of the fundamentalists and arrested 33 others, which include some Chadians who can neither speak English nor Hausa, as they only speak Arabic.
During their surveillance on the main entrance to Kano from Bauchi and Maiduguri, the police also arrested over 100 people in two trucks, loaded with people alleged to be members of the Islamic group.
Addressing reporters at the Police Command, the state Police Commissioner Ibrahim Mamman Chafe said the suspected fundamentalists, who unleashed terror on the divisional police station and ran away with two AK 47 guns belonging to the police, left after exchanging fire with the police.
Speaking with THISDAY after being paraded at the police headquarters, one of the arrested fundamentalists, who gave his name as Mallam Abdulmuminu Ibrahim Muhammad, said he had no regret for being a member of the group.
“It is Jihad; Western education is a bad practice,” he said.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have condemned the outbreak of the religious crisis in some parts of the North.
Publicity Secretary of CAN in 19 Northern states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Rev. John Josept Hayab, said the attacks by the sect were premeditated, even as he blamed the security agencies for not averting them.
North Carolina: 7 Arrested For Terrorist Activities
WASHINGTON (CNN)-- Federal authorities have charged seven men in North Carolina with supporting terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder abroad, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Officials said one of the men, identified as North Carolina resident and U.S. native Daniel Patrick Boyd, had traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he trained in terrorist camps to carry out "violent jihad."
Boyd, 39, who went by the name Saifullah, was charged along with two of his sons: Dylan Boyd, 22, also known as Mohammed, and Zakariya Boyd, 20.
The four others also are residents of North Carolina, and all seven are accused of engaging in weapons training and military tactics in their home state, the Justice Department said.
"We consider this significant. We've been watching them for some time, and we think they were dangerous," said a federal law enforcement official who asked not to be identified.
The Boyd family and defendant Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan are identified as U.S.-born citizens. Defendant Hysen Sherifi is identified as a native of Kosovo who is a legal permanent resident of the United States, and Hiyad Yaghi and Anes Subasic are said to be naturalized U.S. citizens. Officials did not immediately identify their native countries.
The indictment, made public by the Justice Department, says Daniel Boyd and others left the United States for Israel in June 2007 to "engage in violent jihad but ultimately returned to the United States after failing in their efforts."
The defendants, with a substantial cache of weapons, had "practiced military tactics and use of weapons on private property in Caswell County, North Carolina, in June and July 2009," the indictment says...
There is an Jamaat al Fuqra camp in southern Virginia - just over the border from North Carolina. Caswell County is on the northern border. It's too soon to know if there is any connection to al Fuqra, but it wouldn't surprise me.
1) On Sgt. Crowley's arrival on scene, he radioed in a message that Henry Louis Gates Jr. was belligerent, and that backup officers were required to handle the scene, and
2) The woman (Lucia Whalen) who called in the original 911 call did not mention the race of the men whom she saw forcing the door open on the house. When prompted by the dispatcher, she offered that one of the men may have been Hispanic. Whalen has been castigated on many pro-Gates blogs for being a racist.
But the conversation has already conveniently morphed from whether Crowley was a racist for arresting a belligerent and uncooperative Gates for obstructing a simple investigation, to a litany of stories from the public about the time ___ years ago in ___ state where they were treated poorly by a racist cop. The apparent implication is that if enough examples are given, then by induction we may infer that Crowley is a racist.
But if we're using inductive reasoning, the conversation is conspicuously missing the converse side: a litany of police officers' examples for all time in all places of cases where people caught allegedly breaking into houses were in fact later found guilty. Some of those people may have been persons of color, and/or well-educated, and/or respected members of their community. Some of them might not have fit into any of those apparently unreproachable groups, but may have initially lied to the police when detained.
There is also an unstated assumption in all these cases. Blacks who are mistreated by white officers assume that their rude treatment is due to their race, when in fact the officer may just be generally cynical and surly, and may treat white suspects with equal contempt. Even more shocking are the whites who call or write in to criticise police for the respectful and deferential treatment they received by investigating officers, which they again attribute to racism.
Racism exists. Both in the overt swastika-tatooed skinhead form, and in the quiet suburban country-club form. But false cries of racism also exist, as do attempts to use the cry of "racist" as a way to immediately silence all criticism, no matter how objectively justified The case of Gates v. Crowley, or Gates v. Whalen, falls firmly in the case of the latter, according to published accounts.
From The Independent Avon and Somerset Police force is issuing its female officers with head coverings to be used in places of worship to improve relations with Muslim communities.
There are two versions of the head coverings to match the black of a police officer's uniform and the blue of the police community support officer uniforms. Both garments are embroidered with Avon and Somerset Constabulary emblem and are suitable to be worn by both uniformed and non-uniformed officers.
The head coverings were produced after the force worked with the Mosque Initiative and the Aklima Initiative.
They have already been issued to eight PCSOs and seven police officers, including Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Roberts.
Ms Roberts said: "Producing head coverings for our officers and staff to wear in places of worship is part of our commitment to engage with all our communities. It recognises and respects the cultural and religious practices of our communities. This is a very positive addition to the Avon and Somerset uniform and one which I'm sure will be a welcome item for many of our officers."
Rashad Azami, Imam and director of the Bath Islamic Society, said: "It is highly pleasing to see that the Avon and Somerset Constabulary is introducing specially designed head coverings for female officers as part of their police uniform. This will go a long way in encouraging a trustful relationship between the police and the Muslim community." This is a load of blethering nonsense. The police and PCSO uniforms already include a hat. If headcovering is required, and while it is no longer the rule in Anglican, Catholic and non-conformist churches I believe that it is considered polite in a Sikh or Hindu temple and some synagogues, that hat is perfectly acceptable. And if it isn’t - tough. The religions I named above don't require any special headcovering.
It is the convention in British society that a man removes his hat indoors, especially in a church. But if a policeman may be entering a dangerous situation he keeps his helmet on.
These are police officers, on duty. Get over it.
Teenage bombers are rescued from Taleban suicide training camps
From The Times Murad Ali, one of five schoolboy suicide bombers rescued from a Taleban training camp, looks haggard beyond his 13 years.
He was thrilled at first when he was given a gun, but Murad told The Times last week of his ordeal at the hands of the Islamists, who have kidnapped 1,500 children like him to prepare for their fatal missions.
Murad was studying in class five in Mingora, the main city in northwest Pakistan’s Swat Valley, when the Islamists abducted him and took him to their remote mountain base in Chuprial.
The next stage of his training included 16 hours a day of physical exercise and psychological indoctrination. “My instructor told me that martyrdom is the biggest reward of Allah,” Murad said quietly.
Another boy, Abdul Wahab, 15, said that the Taleban lured him to the camp from his studies at a madrassa — Islamic school — in Mingora. “I was told that it was a religious duty of every Muslim to get training to fight the enemies of Islam,” he said.
He said that he did not appreciate what he would be asked to do. “I panicked when a few days later I was told that I would be getting training for suicide bombing,” he said.
The Army believes that between 1,200 to 1,500 boys as young as 11 who were trained in Swat to become suicide bombers were recruited after the Pakistani Government signed a peace deal with the Taleban in February, handing over control of the valley to the militants.
The boys were rescued after the Taleban were forced to abandon their camps. Many are still missing, however, having been sold to militants in other areas.
The Taleban turned to children as potential suicide bombers because they were impressionable, less likely to be detected, and better able to reach their targets.
“They are told that the Pakistani Army has become an enemy of Islam, as it is fighting for Christians and Jews,” said a senior official involved in the interrogation of potential suicide bombers who have surrendered or been captured.
On the day of a planned attack, the designated suicide bomber is taken to a mosque to be congratulated for being chosen by God. “Sometimes he is also heavily drugged before the attack,” the official said.
The children were told that they should not allow anyone, even their parents, to get in the way of jihad. “You must not hesitate even to kill your parents if they are on the wrong side,” said Kurshid Khan, 14,
A recent UN report said that 80 per cent of the bombers involved in attacks in Afghanistan came from camps in Pakistan. The army has set up a rehabilitation centre for the children to help them to return to their former lives.