Sunday, 31 August 2008
Sarah Palin Sposata Con Un Eschimese

From the Corriere della Sera: 

"I media americani, dopo la notizia che John McCain potrebbe scegliere Sarah Palin, la governatrice dell'Alaska, come vice, cominciano a scavare nel passato della donna. Palin, 44 anni e con cinque figli, considerata la stella nascente del partito Repubblicano, in passato ha partecipato a diversi concorsi di bellezza. La donna, sposata con un eschimese, nel 1984 partecipò al concorso di Miss Alaska, arrivando seconda ."

Her husband is part-Eskimo, but it's fine, it's even helpful, to have her described as "sposata con un eschimese."

And while we're at it, is not the word "Eskimo" or, still better in the antique plural, Esquimaux, have something that  the Canadianly-correct "Inuit" can't possibly possess, such as a sense of the past?  

Posted on 08/31/2008 10:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 31 August 2008
A Musical Interlude: Under The Moon (Annette Hanshaw)
Posted on 08/31/2008 7:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Franco, Fascism and the Falange

– Not One and the Same Thing

by Norman Berdichevsky (Sept. 2008)

he long term misunderstanding and simplification of RIGHT vs. LEFT terminology in political discourse is responsible for the misconception that “The RIGHT” with its emphasis on traditional, nationalistic, conservative or religious values is inevitably a step in the direction of the FAR RIGHT "ending in Fascism." Yet history has demonstrated that both political extremes share a basic common appeal to the “masses” and depend on a collectivist ideology that glorifies abstractions such as "The Nation," "The People," "The Throne" or "The Working Class." more...

Posted on 08/31/2008 6:23 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Labyrinths Are (A)Mazing

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (Sept. 2008)

One of the things springing up across England these last few years, as farmers diversify and less people go abroad on holiday, is the maze. Most of the new ones are maize mazes, grown for that year, cut afresh each year through the crop of maize, also known as corn in the US, sweet corn or corn on the cob in the UK.

is no exception. more...

Posted on 08/31/2008 6:18 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Sharia in Britain: a Failure of Judgement

by Mary Jackson (September 2008) 

 Why don't we just give up now, roll over, and become an Islamic state?” asked a despairing Daily Mail reader. Earlier this year, the Archbishop of Canterbury said Sharia law in Britain was “inevitable”. Could it get any worse? Yes, according to the Daily Mail. In a speech in July at the East London Muslim Centre, our top judge implied it was desirable...more...
Posted on 08/31/2008 6:09 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
A Wide Ranging Interview with US Rep. Mark S. Kirk of Illinois

by Jerry Gordon (Sept. 2008)

Illinois Rep. Mark S. Kirk of the suburban Chicago 10th House District has been called “One of the Brightest Members of the House” by the Chicago Tribune. Morton Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call and one of FoxNews “Beltway Boys” considers Kirk as “one of Congress’s most effective moderates.”  Kirk has served the Illinois 10th district in Congress for four terms, first winning election in 2000, succeeding Rep. John Porter, who he served as Chief of Staff. This fall he goes up against Democrat Daniel Seals, a repeat of the 2006 contest for his House seat. Presuming that Illinois Senator Barack Obama is the Democratic Presidential nominee, Kirk could face some ‘coattail effects’ even in his home district.  more...
Posted on 08/31/2008 6:05 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Tempest In A Trash Can

by Nidra Poller (Sept. 2008)

The Observer, Haaretz, and the International Tribune reported at length on the brouhaha over the dismissal of the snarling Charlie Hebdo cartoonist-columnist Siné, who claimed that president Sarkozy’s son Jean was converting to Judaism the better to marry his wealthy Jewish fiancée and get ahead in life. Editorial director Philippe Val, who admits he’d taken to publishing Siné without reading his material, asked the 80 year-old to apologize to the victims of the “antisemitic” slur. Siné replied in typical Charlie Hebdo speak that he’d rather snip off his family jewels.
Posted on 08/31/2008 6:03 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
The Allegory Of The Farm

by Rebecca Bynum (Sept. 2008)

Cry Wolf
by Paul Lake
Benbella Books, 215 pgs.

Paul Lake’s allegorical novel Cry Wolf is a rare and happy find. A political fable generally dealing with the collapse of civilization, it succeeds on many levels. The overriding metaphor of the novel is the farm vs. the wild standing for civilization vs. barbarism, but in specific ways each farm animal might be seen as a symbol for one aspect of society (dogs, the police force and legal institutions, the bull, the military, the owl, the academics, the goose, middle class values, etc.). Each species of wild animals also represents one aspect of the forces working wittingly or unwittingly to destroy our way of life (the deer, a harmless refugee, raccoons, Mexican immigrants, possums, other immigrants, beavers, foreign aid entanglements, the bear, communism, and foxes, coyotes and wolves, Islam). more...
Posted on 08/31/2008 6:00 PM by NER
Sunday, 31 August 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: By Jingo (Jeeves & Wooster)
Posted on 08/31/2008 5:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Selective umbrage

Thanks to Gates of Vienna for this:


Posted on 08/31/2008 3:18 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Iowahawk: The Idiossey

Another very clever parody. We will skip ahead and take up the story at book 6:

Book the Sixth: The Rage of Hildusa

In Senatus, Obamacles laid beside the reflecting pool while a coterie of Media fed him grapes.
Again the Oracle appeared to him, this time in the form of a bowl of arugula; it said,

"You have done well, hale Obamacles, but your torments are not yet complete.
The toughest test of all awaits, and may the gods have mercy on your soul."

"Do your worst, arugula," he laughed, "for I am Obamacles,
Lord of Illinus, who single handedly conquered the LSATs
and disarmed the Chicagomon. What task would you possibly fear me with?"

"You are to lead the Demos back to the White Temple, by vanquishing Hildusa."

At the sound of Hildusa's name even brave Obamacles was driven to piss his toga,
For Hildusa, cuckolder of Bubba, was the mightiest of all the gorgons.
From her head grew a writhing nest of asps, and the mere sight of her cankles
Would turn a man to stone. Some said she came from Lesbos
But others said her only pleasure was torment and sucking the marrow from her victim's bones.
Around her at all times was a phalanx guard of mincing eunuchs,
led by Ickis, Wolfsonis, Blumenthalis and Pennis. At her side, an angry force
of menopausal PUMAs ready to strike on her command -- for the children.

But Obamacles was only momentarily dissuaded from his task,
for he knew the people of Demos longed to return to the White Temple,
where they had been banished by the idiot emperor Chimpos II.
Although the Demos knew that Chimpos was the stupidest person in the world,
and they were the smartest, they had somehow been unable to defeat him.
Obamacles seized his opportunity. On the Isle of Demos, and said:

"Citizens of Demos, I am Obamacles of Illinus. I will lead you
from the wilderness back to the White Temple."

Despite his gleaming smile the agora laughed at the stranger's folly.
"Fool, our leader is Hildusa," they mocked. "What chance has a handsome
newcomer like you against the mightiest of the gorgons?"

"For one, I will conjure our Spartans back from Babylonia," said Obamacles.
"Hilldusa voted with Chimpos. I say it is time to begin the war to end this war."

The words of Obamacles created a murmur in the agora, for on Demos the people
wished the Spartans home from war, to face trial for war crimes or be caged as madmen
Like in the many tragedies at the Demos Odeon Octoplex.

"We are with you, Obamacles," came the shout of a man, who was turned to marble
and struck by lightning before his words could be completed. Obamacles had stoked
the terrible rath of the gorgon Hildusa, and the battle was joined.

Book the Seventh: The Final Battle for Demos

All the torments suffered by Obamacles had steeled him for this final epic test.
The cliffs of Demos resounded with the approaching screeches of Hildusa
And her army of soul-eating Morpheons, spinning and faxing and conjuring position papers.
But Obamacles was unmoved, and with his right hand summoned
the Subterranean Creepos of the Nutroots to do his bidding,
Kos and Ariana and Demos Underground.
Hildusa was enraged for she thought them allies, and shot them the stink-eye.
"Destroy Obamacles!" she bellowed at her Eunuchs,
But they were retards and got busted for DUI on the chariot ride over.
Then Obamacles shot the arrow of Iowa across abyss of Dukakis,
striking Hildusa true in her cankles, no more to freeze men to stone,
And all of Demos roared approval.

"Citizens of Demos," screamed the hobbled gorgon, "fair Obamacles is not what he appears!
Look, behind him! A phalanx of Chicagomon, the demons from the pits of Illinus!"

When the Demos people saw the Chicagomon they shrugged,
but Obamacles was taking no chances for the general battle;
He had no more further use for the Chicagomon and thus he summoned
Underbus, the destroyer of memes. One by one he disposed them,
The Jeremiad and Phlegeron and Ayres, all sacrificed to Underbus.
When Hildusa saw this her eyes boiled with rage,
and she summoned her Amazon Pumas
But they were too fat and old and employed
to battle the snarky college assholes in official Obamacles tunics.

At last Hildusa summoned Bubba, who in principle was her husband.
Though the mightiest god of Demos, he trembled before her gaze;
For once she saved his sacred bacon, but yet had him castrated and banished.
"Destroy! Destroy! Destoy!" she bellowed, handing Bubba sharpened talking points,
But Obamacles would not yield, and from beneath his tunic
withdrew his razor-sharpened race card, filleting Bubba into tiny pieces.

The crowd at Demos was breathless, hardly believing their eyes.
And then winged Media lifted Obamacles across the abyss to where Hildusa
lay supine and helpless, and, grabbing her by the asps,
took one more mighty swing with his race card,
and held her severed head before the cheering crowd...

Posted on 08/31/2008 1:56 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Humpty Dumpty & Co

Talking of good eggs, Ben MacIntyre writes in The Times on the often gory reality behind nursery rhymes. There is some overlap with Esmerelda's article from two years ago:

Contrary to what schoolchildren have been led to believe for more than three centuries, it might just be possible to put Humpty Dumpty together again. It would not even require all the king's horses and all the king's men to do it: an archaeologist, a large metal detector and an expert in 17th-century guns should do the trick.

The hapless Humpty, it appears, was not an egg (that notion did not take root until 1871, with the publication of Alice Through the Looking Glass and Sir John Tenniel's illustration of Humpty as an egg). The original Humpty Dumpty was really a large cannon, used by Royalist forces to defend besieged Colchester in 1648. Royalists under the command of Sir Charles Lucas defended the town against the encircling Parliamentarians for 11 weeks, largely thanks to “Humpty Dumpty”, the nickname for the cannon expertly operated by a Royalist gunner, “One-eyed” Thompson, and mounted on the church tower of St Mary-at-the-Walls.

Eventually, however, the Roundheads managed to score a direct hit on the tower, and Humpty (and Thompson) had a great fall. According to Albert Jack, in his new investigation of nursery rhymes, the shattered cannon “buried itself in deep marshland” outside the city walls. The reason all the king's men could not put the weapon back together again may have simply been that they could not find all the pieces buried in the Essex mud. In all probability the remains of Humpty are still there.

The rhyme was pure parliamentarian propaganda, a mocking ditty to show that the most effective weapon in the Royalist armoury had been neutralised, destroyed beyond repair. Putting Humpty together again, albeit 360 years late, would be a pleasing counter-coup for those of us still rooting for the Royalist cause (“Wrong but Romantic”).

One of the oddest aspects of nursery rhymes is their specificity. The names of the protagonists have been as perfectly preserved down the ages: Dr Foster, Jack Horner, Old Mother Hubbard have been handed down from child to child without alteration and often without curiosity. Yet all of these nursery rhyme characters can be traced into history, albeit tentatively.

The Grand Old Duke of York was probably James II, who marched his troops to Salisbury to do battle with William of Orange in 1688, and then marched them back again when he realised how many of his former allies had defected. Three problems: James II was not Duke of York, although he had been; he was 55, so not particularly old; and Salisbury Plain is pretty flat.


Georgie Porgie may have been George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, James I's favourite and possible lover, who was notorious for having affairs with women at court but “ran away” (ie, survived retaliation for the weeping ladies' husbands) because he enjoyed the King's protection. Miss Muffet, pioneer of arachnophobia, was the daughter of Dr Thomas Muffet, a 16th-century physician who studied the medical properties of insects, most notably spiders.

To say nothing of Little Boy Blue, so-called because he blew his own horn.

There is a French nursery rhyme, or "n'heure souris rame" as they call them, which begins:

Géorgie, port-régie, peu digne en paille

Was he a straw man? Possibly. James I attested to his well-upholstered palliasse.

Posted on 08/31/2008 12:23 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Palin into significance

No half-baked Alaskan, that Sarah Palin chick seems to be a good egg. Anyone who favours small government can't be all bad. As a woman, she makes up for Obama being black: those who think the sex or race of a leader matters more than his policies can vote for McCain with a clear conscience.

She used to be - or perhaps still is - a "soccer mom". I have rough idea what this means, but it's a concept, like "preppy", that I don't think I will ever quite get. Americans don't really play soccer - they play American football which they call "football". (The English play football, also known as soccer.) So why aren't they called "football moms" or "baseball moms"?

Anyway, Sarah Palin is now a high muckamuck. Or muckety-muck. Or something.

Are some muckamucks higher than others? How high a muckamuck - how muckety - must one be to be a Poo-Bah?

Posted on 08/31/2008 10:04 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Muslim Astonomers In Action

An unintentionally hilarious article in the WaPo entitled, "Religion and Science Blend in a Centuries-Old Ritual"

HELWAN, Egypt, Aug. 30 -- In sync with the sun and the moon, the traditions of 1,400 years and the acts of Muslims all over the world, members of one of Egypt's seven official moon-sighting committees pulled into a parking lot high on a ridge overlooking hazy Cairo at sunset Saturday.

There were government astronomers in open-neck shirts, snapping open tripods to support their telescopes. Taking a preliminary look through the scopes at Cairo's western horizon, the astronomers didn't bother to announce what they saw at first glance: nothing.

There was a 70-year-old Muslim cleric, wearing glasses of stratified thicknesses, a gauzy black robe with gold tassels and a beatific smile. Declining a look through the telescopes, the cleric, Abdul Monim al-Berri, only sat and looked on, his presence as one of Egypt's leading religious scholars giving the gathering the stamp of religious approval. "I'm the legitimacy," he said.

And there was an al-Jazeera satellite news crew, trying to go live to tell the world the news from the parking lot, but having trouble with audio.

Frustrated, the network's reporter folded her arms across her chest and rocked back on her heels in the gravel, as she stared blindly at the sky.

Together, the committee members were on a mission: to look for the crescent moon that signals the start of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month, and to tell the world whether they had seen it.

From Senegal to Saudi Arabia and beyond, moon-spotting committees scaled minaret staircases and fanned out across deserts at twilight Saturday, as Muslims have since the founding of Islam in the 7th century, to look for a sliver of white in the sky.

Word from the committees would plunge the world's more than 1 billion Muslims into Ramadan.


The 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference even proposed to launch a satellite to monitor the moon for Ramadan.

Science has also allowed precise tracking of the moon and the sun, allowing astronomers to know in advance that the crescent moon starting Ramadan will be visible in the Middle East no sooner than Sunday.

In the parking lot and in most of the Middle East, technology deferred to religion. Astronomers went through the motions, at least, of looking for the crescent.

"It's a matter of Islamic law we have to be here. But it's 100 percent sure we're not going to see it today," Faleh Mohammed, head of one of Egypt's government astronomy institute, told the al-Jazeera reporter.

A rumor went through the crowd that Libya had announced the start of Ramadan -- different countries often pick different days for the start and squabble over each other's decisions.

Mohammed scoffed. "What do they see in Libya that we don't see with our telescopes?" he asked.

Mohammed Yousuf, an astronomer in his eighth year of moon-watch duty, rose from another telescope.

The last time a member of a moon-watch committee thought he had spotted a crescent moon at this point in the lunar month was in 1991, Yousuf said. Other members of the committee were able to convince the man he had seen light glancing off a bird's wings, and error was averted, Yousuf said.

Even in Muhammad's time, Yousuf recounted, a man who believed he had spotted the crescent moon was about to announce Ramadan to the world -- until a friend leaned in and removed a stray eyelash from the man's eye.

At the next telescope over, astronomer Ahmed Mohem Fathi grumbled at Cairo's pollution, thick enough to veil any moon.

By 6 p.m., Mohammed was speeding off, rushing toward a news conference in Cairo with some of Egypt's top religious and government officials to announce the findings.

The word of Egypt's grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, would be: No moon Saturday, therefore the moon's appearance Sunday was inevitable, and Ramadan would start Monday.

Egyptian radio and television carried the grand mufti's announcement live. For many of Cairo's 16 million people, the joint broadcasts were a jolting reminder that Ramadan almost was upon them.

Traffic slowed to gridlock in a half-hour. Families rushed to buy food for the first of the month's lavish meals and aid baskets...

Month of fasting...with lavish feasts. No contradiction here. This is Islam.

Posted on 08/31/2008 8:43 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Preachers of separatism at work inside Britain's mosques


One of the Undercover Mosque reporters writes in the Sunday Telegraph
In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent's Park Mosque in London - widely considered the most important mosque in Britain - I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.
What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? "We kill him," she says, "kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?"
Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death - and as for homosexuals, and women who "make themselves like a man, a woman like a man ... the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place".
These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. "This is not to tell you to start killing people," she continues. "There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough."
My investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches came after last year's Undercover Mosque, which investigated claims that teachings of intolerance and fundamentalism were spreading through Britain's mosques from the Saudi Arabian religious establishment - which is closely linked to the Saudi Arabian government.
Friendship with non-Muslims is discouraged because "loyalty is only to the Muslim, not to the kaffir [disbeliever]".
A woman who was friendly with a non-Muslim woman was heavily criticised: "It's part of Islam, of the correct belief, that you love those who love Allah and that you hate those who hate Allah."
One preacher even says Muslims shouldn't live in Britain at all: "It is not befitting for Muslims that he should reside in the land of evil, the land of the kuffaar, the land of the disbelievers."
Another, Um Saleem, says Muslims should not take British citizenship as their loyalty is to Allah.
watched as an interfaith group was brought in to meet the mosque's women's circle for a civilised exchange. But when the interfaith group wasn't there, the preacher attacked other faiths, and the very concept of interfaith dialogue.
One preacher said of Christians praying in a church: "What are these people doing in there, these things are so vile, what they say with their tongues is so vile and disgusting, it's an abomination."
Um Saleem was also at some of these sessions. Here, the women were given strict restrictions on their lives: it is reiterated that British Muslim women cannot travel far without a male guardian, cannot mix with men, and have to remain fully covered up at all times.
One woman in the audience queried the strict rulings that she cannot travel without a mahram - a male member of the family - escorting her. She asked: "Sister, if me and my husband, we can't go together, what do I do if I want to go?"
She was told she cannot travel by herself.
She asked again: "So what do I do?"
"You go with your husband," Um Saleem replied.
There were also restrictions on education or work opportunities. One woman, who works for the NHS, was told she should leave her job as it meant mixing with men and not wearing a full Islamic garment.
"You know that working in an environment that is not Islamic, working with the kuffaar, all this takes you away from the religion and hardens your heart and it would be lying to you if I say it's OK," Um Saleem explained.
Um Saleem also criticised Muslim women who integrate into society - a view that is counter to the aims of the Regent's Park Mosque.
"You see Muslims in every sphere of everyday life in this country, I see Muslims, it breaks my heart when I see them working in banks, short sleeves, tight scarf like this, make-up, being with the kuffaar all the time, even speaking their language," she said.
The director general of Regent's Park Mosque is Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan, a Saudi diplomat. He has denied to Dispatches that his mosque promotes the Saudi version of the faith, often called Wahhabism. And indeed, the imams in the main hall are Egyptian, and the sermons I heard from them were tolerant and moderate when you listen to them on Fridays.
But the preachers I heard in the women's section took their theology directly from Saudi Arabia.
I don’t have time to precis further; I am off to church to meet the Lord in bread and wine and to say a few vile and abominable things, “meekly on my knees”. Read it all here.
Posted on 08/31/2008 2:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 30 August 2008
How Much Matter Really Is Dark Matter?

From a news report: 

"Striking evidence has been found for the enigmatic "stuff" called dark matter which makes up 23% of the Universe, yet is invisible to our eyes.

The results come from astronomical observations of a titanic collision between two clusters of galaxies 5.7 billion light-years away.

Astronomers detected the dark matter because it separated from the normal matter during the cosmic smash-up.

The research team are to publish their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

They used the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes to study the object MACSJ0025.4-1222 - formed after an incredibly energetic collision between two large galaxy clusters.

Each of these large clusters contains about a quadrillion times the mass of our Sun. "

I beg to differ. I believe that the enigmatic "stuff" called dark matter makes up not 23% of the Universe, but rather 21%.

I can't prove it -- yet. But I'm pretty sure.

Posted on 08/30/2008 10:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Radio Talk Show Panel to Discuss Islamic Saudi Academy

Radio talk show panel to discuss Islamic Saudi Academy: August 31st:  Jerry Gordon of the NER to participate

Listen to New English Review Contributing Editor Jerry Gordon  and a panel discuss the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA)  and its sponsor, the Royal Saudi Embassy, that lease  public facilities from  Fairfax County, Virginia on Sunday, August 31st at 3:20PM EDST on the Larry & Larry Show on radio station WIBG, Atlantic City.  Listen here. Gordon has published major articles about the ISA on the NER here and here.  In addtiion to Gordon, the panel will include:

Christine Brim, Center for Security Policy, Moderator;
Jim Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition; and,
Patrick Poole, contributor, Pajamas Media.

Find out how citizen activists organized protests against  the Saudi Embassy backed ISA following the release of a study of its hate-ridden Islamic Studies texts  by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and how non-Muslim faculty were actually treated at the ISA. Learn more about what citizen action can do to find out information about Saudi infiltration in the US and why little has been done about it by the US State Department and Congress.  This is the second in a series of special reports organized by the CSP. The first one in July on WIBG featured Christine Brim of the CSP discussed the problems of Shariah compliant finance with David Yerushalmi.
Posted on 08/30/2008 5:06 PM by NER
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Palin in action
Posted on 08/30/2008 4:54 PM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 30 August 2008
New English chat-up line

"Want to come up and see my eekings?"


Posted on 08/30/2008 4:40 PM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Women preachers at moderate mosque ?urge faithful to kill gays?

From The Sunday Times (a little in advance) a preview of Monday’s Return to Undercover Mosque.
In the new documentary, a female reporter infiltrated women’s study circles. In one, a preacher using the name Umm Amira told followers: “We are not going to be like animals . . . or to be like the homosexuals, God save us from that, you understand? We have to take the judgment, the judgment is to kill them.”
Umm Amira is recorded as saying converts from Islam should also be killed. “He is Muslim and he gets out of Islam, he doesn’t want any more. What are we going to do? We kill him, kill, kill.”
In another study circle, Umm Amira describes Christians as “vile”. Another preacher, Umm Saleem, tells her congregation not to take British citizenship or become friends with nonMuslims.
In the programme, Ahmed Al-Dubayan, the mosque’s director, said the women were not authorised by the mosque.
The preachers could not be reached this weekend, but Umm Saleem told Channel 4: “We are not blind followers of any government or any clerics.  We criticise other religions, just as other religions criticise Islam . . . we encourage integration into society.”

Posted on 08/30/2008 3:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Who's Minding Our English?

I turn on the radio. Some blah-blah about the Middle East, and then I hear the distinguished guest -- some idiot -- say portentously that "that seems to be the penumbra we're in vis-a-vis Syria."

Seeking relief, I open the newspaper. I start reading an article in the business section of today's Times about Carl Icahn, corporate raider, written by the perfectly intelligent Joseph Nocera, who nonetheless writes about someone who "etches out an existence" doing such and such.

Someone is "etching out an existence" is he, possibly in the penumbra of his life? 

Well, in that case, dear reader, in reading this please remember to

"Still be kind/and etch out our performance with your mind." 


Posted on 08/30/2008 2:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 30 August 2008
A Musical Interlude: Une Femme, Un Accord?on, Un Caboulot (Lys Gauty)
Posted on 08/30/2008 2:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 30 August 2008
The Papers Pounce On Palin

Here is a summary of what the major papers are saying about Sarah Palin this morning. Notice they are all calling her "inexperienced" even though she has been a mayor and is now a governor. Normally the conventional wisdom is that governors are a good choice because they have executive experience, not just legislative experience.

All the papers lead with John McCain's surprise selection of Alaska governor Sarah Palin for his running mate. He shocked election-watchers and scrambled the presidential race with a "Hail Mary pass"--eschewing more conventional choices for the inexperienced, socially conservative, corruption-fighting "hockey mom." Appearing together in Ohio, McCain lauded her reform credentials, while Palin framed her candidacy as an extension of Hillary Clinton's quest to "shatter [the] glass ceiling."

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal call it a risky play to revitalize John McCain's "maverick" image. Choosing Palin undercuts the argument that Barack Obama is too inexperienced, raising questions about John McCain's age and judgment. But it could pay off: Palin--an NRA member and staunch pro-lifer--is energizing evangelicals and tempting Hillary Clinton voters to defect. An LAT analysis piece worries it's a sign that McCain relies on short-sighted "gut-checks," while an early version of the WSJ lead called it a "calculated bet." It's likely a bit of both--McCain's a high-stakes gambler who knows the odds.

Here is a video of her acceptance speech.

Posted on 08/30/2008 7:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Christianophobia ? Some Part Of The Problem Explicated

Earlier today I picked up on this short piece over at Reuters.

"Christianophobia" is a growing problem around the world and it must be fought with the same determination as anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, the Vatican said on Friday.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, spoke in the wake of attacks against Christians in India that have left at least 13 people dead this week.
“In order to promote this dignity in an integral way, so-called 'Christianophobia' should be combated as decisively as 'Islamophobia' and anti-Semitism," he [Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister] said.
This week in eastern India, thousands of people, most of them Christians, have sought shelter in makeshift government camps, driven from their homes by religious violence.
Hindu mobs burnt more than a dozen churches and attacked Christians after a Hindu leader was killed.
[...] Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith, the Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape a complex caste system.
Last month, Pope Benedict told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that minority Christians in Iraq needed more protection.
The Archbishop of Mosul of Iraq's largest Christian denomination, the Chaldean Catholics, was kidnapped in February and found dead two weeks later.
The Vatican has often expressed concern that conflicts in the Middle East are greatly diminishing the Christian population in the areas of the religion's birth.
This is not the sort of behaviour that we have come to expect from Hindu people, who are, by and large, tolerant and inclined to see the spiritual in almost all religions and beliefs.
It seems to me that the unrelenting attacks upon the Hindu faith, and the believers in that faith, by Muslims, both indigenous and overseas, is provoking an intolerant backlash against all non-Hindu faiths present on the sub-Continent. Much as that is to be deprecated it is understandable.
Muslims in India today seem to be intent upon promoting themselves as having some sort of status as victims of the Hindu majority. It’s a cunning strategy and one which seems to be working, but in reality nothing has changed in India for its Muslim population. They have exactly the same rights as the rest of the population; they are equal under the law; they have exactly the same opportunities as anyone else in India does. In no sense that makes sense is the Muslim population of India any different from the rest of the population, but they have managed to foment, in the Hindu majority, a feeling of being attacked from within and without and have, very successfully, led that majority to impute the worst of motives to any non-Hindu endeavour or religion.
I do not doubt but that there is a deliberate and wilful attempt by fundamentalist Islamic believers to foment discontent amongst the Hindu believers in India, for it is only by driving all the non-Hindu faiths away from tolerant Hinduism, and creating enmity between us all, that they can achieve their oft-stated and long-term goal of re-islamising India. Divide and conquer is the order of the day in India!
I could wish, I do so wish, that the great Thomine port of Cranganore (the very port where Hippalus landed and the very place of ancient Jewish settlement) – that place where Christianity first came to India in 52AD (Thomas the Apostle landed there) – had rejected Malik ibn Dinar (Malik The Damned in Hindu legend) when he landed there with his wild-eyed, crazy followers of that evil, so-called prophet Muhammed, almost six-hundred years later. How much better the world would have been had he been denied any right at all to build the Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid (reckoned to be the first mosque in India).
We cannot go back in time and change history, but we can make history – as St. Thomas (Didymus) The Apostle did when he landed on that Kerala coastline and changed the world for the better. We can make history by exploding the lies, the fabrications and the falsehoods that the evil ones, the followers of the false prophet Muhammed, disseminate amongst us today in their silly and vain attempts to drive us all apart – to divide us and to conquer us and to promote the evil that is Islam as some sort of humane life-style.
Wasn’t it Tacitus who said of some enemy or other “Solitudinem faciunt pacem appelant”. Well, that’s precisely what the Muslims of India are trying to do today. Pity we poor Christians caught in the middle. Still, and all, it’s our fight, too!
Posted on 08/30/2008 6:42 AM by John Joyce
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Out-of-office automatic email replies

I very much enjoy setting my out-of-office when I take a welcome break from work. "Let some other bugger deal with it for a change," is what I want to say. Of course one must be more polite.

Doing the email rounds today is a collection of out-of-office automatic email replies that I would like to set:

1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Please be prepared for my mood.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the  office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

3. Sorry to have missed you, but I'm at the doctor's having my brain and
heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

4. I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for
the first 10 words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

6. The email server is unable to verify your server connection. Your
message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try  sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see who did this over and over and over.....)

7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system.
You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

8. Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your
PC for my response.

9. I've run away to join a different circus.

10. I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical
reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Steve' instead of Wendy.

Posted on 08/30/2008 4:57 AM by Mary Jackson
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