Monday, 31 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: Yes, Yes! (Eddie Cantor)
Posted on 08/31/2009 11:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 31 August 2009
by Esmerelda Weatherwax (September 2009)
I still don’t know what to make of this brewing brouhaha in Loughton that I reported on earlier this month here. This isn't really an update, merely some further information and a few more thoughts.
As I said, I have been following the story of Mr Noor Ramjanally of the pleasant Essex town of Loughton and his allegations of increasing threats for his attempts to spread Islamic worship in town. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:57 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Popular Culture and Human Nature
by David Hamilton (September 2009)
I remember being in The Yacht, a fine pub in Torquay, 3 years ago. They had murals of various rock stars and I remarked on their insincerity and the landlady and the barmaid seemed offended. It was as if I had insulted their friends or family: so much part of people’s psychological lives are these icons. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:56 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
The Black Album
by Mary Jackson (Sept. 2009)
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and what better than fragrant, spicy food to turn a man’s heart to Islam? Especially if the man is a lonely young British Pakistani, newly arrived at college in the East End of London, still grieving for his father - and missing his mother’s home cooking. No need for those “honeyed pastries”, the honeytrap of which Hugh Fitzgerald writes so scathingly. A bought-in platter of curry and samosas and he’s on the way. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:55 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
The Importance of Being Google
by G. Kim Blank (September 2009)
“I hope this world evolves so that there exists a time where somebody sitting at a terminal can access all the world’s information.”
–Tom Clancey, Engineering Director, Google Book Search
Caught in headlights of the present, it may be difficult to imagine that there was a time before poststructuralism, postmodernism and—heaven help us—postcoloniality. And a time before we uttered with utter banality, “Google it.” more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:54 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Jewish Democrats Split with Obama Over Israel: An Interview with Jim Lafferty of the TVC
by Jerry Gordon (September 2009)
In late July Rabbi Jon Hausman went to a Dick Morris presentation in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Morris, a nationally syndicated columnist, indicated that a survey of American Jewish opinion about Israel and President Obama was in the works. On August 7th, the New York Post published a column by Morris and Eileen McGann “Where Bam Breaks with Jewish Dems.” The Morris McGann piece detailed findings of a fascinating poll sponsored the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) conducted during late July. The Morris McCann column highlighted the stunning disagreement between American Jewish Democrats over Obama’s policies towards Israel. American Jews had overwhelmingly voted (78%) for Obama in the Presidential elections last November. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:53 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Fascist Italy and Austria Hand Hitler His First Defeat
by Norman Berdichevsky (September 2009)
Jonah Goldberg’s brilliant best seller book “Liberal Fascism” (Doubleday, 2008) lays bare the century long manipulation of the terms LEFT and RIGHT in “political science.” Those on the Left who dominate academia and the media typically create a straw man, misleadingly confusing conservative and traditional values that are consistently in favor of individual rights and limited government with the extremist, racist, ultra-nationalist, “religious” and “anti-popular” forces they immediately label as “Fascist,” conflated into what they call the RIGHT. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:51 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Are We Doomed?
by Rebecca Bynum (September 2009)
Reading John Derbyshire’s work is like drinking a fruity alcoholic beverage. It's easy going down and only afterward do you feel a kick, and then, much afterward, awaken with a hangover, feeling slightly uneasy about the whole experience. more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:46 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Robert Gates, Pakistan & The Pressler Amendment
by Hugh Fitzgerald (September 2009)
The Pressler Amendment was passed in 1985. It was intended to ensure that the enormous amount of aid that was being given to Pakistan would not be used to further Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions, but would be used, as the State Department and successive administrations kept assuring Congress and the American public, in order to make Pakistan feel secure, so that it would not develop nuclear weapons.
Among those who had been most astute and most critical of the policy of continued ceaseless appeasement of Pakistan was Senator John Glenn of Ohio. It would be useful, I suspect, to remind people who have not been in government about that Pressler Amendment by quoting at length from what Senator Glenn said in Congress more>>>
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:45 PM by NER
Monday, 31 August 2009
Bus attacked in Savile Town...
From The Press Newspaper a Yorkshire weekly.
A MAN was left bleeding after a gang of Asian youths attacked a bus in Savile Town.
Yobs targeted the Thornhill-bound Arriva bus as it pulled away from a stop in Savile Road late on Saturday night.
It was the second successive night the Thornhill bus had been attacked.
The passenger who was injured, a man aged 56, told how stones smashed windows on both sides of the bus. The attack happened at 11pm opposite the BP garage.
The man, who is white and a local businessman, rushed off the bus to chase the youths, bleeding from a cut to his face.
“They told me not to come shouting in their area,” he said. “I told them it was my area as well. I was born and bred in Dewsbury. . . When the stones hit the windows it was like explosions going off or machine gun fire. Everybody ducked but I wanted to see what was going on.”
Police attended and an ambulance was called before the bus was taken away.
The man said he had been told a bus had been attacked the previous night and police were supposed to have been shadowing the Saturday service. However the bus was running early.
Two weeks ago The Press reported (their archive search is a bit odd and I couldn't get to this report) how three white boys, one aged 12 and two aged 14, were set upon by a gang of Asian youths nearby.
The teenagers were confronted and asked why they were walking through Savile Town. One boy was struck on the side of the head, causing his ear to bleed.
A spokesman for Dewsbury police confirmed that two passengers were hurt and a bus damaged.
Sgt Sarah Baker, of the Dewsbury and Mirfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, said patrols would be stepped up in the area.
Savile Town is nearly 90% Muslim and dominated by the Tablighi Jamaat and their flagship Mosque. My father-in-law was a curate there many years ago. His church no longer exists.
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:39 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 31 August 2009
Tory Muslim fumes after Ramadan community service request refused
From The Birmingham Mail
A TOP Tory Muslim, found guilty of racial harassment, claims he is being “persecuted” after a request to postpone his community service during Ramadan was refused.
Gulfram Khan, from Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, was ordered to carry out 270 hours community work after admitting racially abusing an Irish policeman – and a second offence of harassing a judge.
The sentence means the 43-year-old, who once met former Conservative leader Michael Howard, should complete eight hours unpaid work every Wednesday until December.
But the father-of-two asked West Midlands Probation Service for a two-hour break throughout Ramadan – the month-long religious ceremony which bans Muslims eating and drinking during daylight – as he feared he would lack enough energy.
His demand was turned down, leading the Aston-born Conservative to accuse the service of being “prejudiced against people of Islamic faith”.
Mr Khan said: “I asked for a couple hours rest each week so I could carry on the community work as normal. But they flatly refused and said I must complete my hours by December.
“Yet I work in the evenings and find it quite tiring during Ramadan because I can’t eat or drink for hours on end. I’ve spoken to other Muslim lads about the situation. We’re not frightened to do our community service, we are happy to do it but feel a sense of persecution. We can’t do community service on Christmas Day because the offices are shut. So why should there be a different rule for Muslims? I’m standing up for myself and other Muslims who are being persecuted at this time of year.”
Mr Khan, who lives with wife Nasrin, aged 37, and their children Ayesha, aged 13, and nine-year-old Khalid, was given 120 hours community work after racially abusing an Irish police officer – who, he claims, had discriminated against his family.
The Indian takeaway boss says he received the additional 150 hours after losing his temper with a judge presiding over a financial management hearing at a Birmingham civil court.
West Midlands Probation Service was unavailable for comment last night.
But a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “I would have thought they might allow him to defer some hours. . . In exceptional circumstances, the probation service can look at whether to adapt the hours to reflect a change in circumstances of the offender.”
The correct response by the Ministry of Justice spokesman (who was almost certainly a woman, btw) is that MOJ cannot comment on a decision made by the Probation Service but if Mr Khan makes a formal complaint it will be looked at under the proper procedure. But there are very few left there who know how to do things properly.
When I first saw this I thought it contrasted rather with the comments of head of the Union for the Communities and Organisations of Islam in Italy (UCOII), Mohamed Nour Dachan, on the subject of the manager of Inter Milan, Jose Mourinho, when he substituted Sulley Muntari during a match saying
"Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan - perhaps with this heat it's not good for him to be doing this fasting. Ramadan has not arrived at the ideal moment for a player to play a football match." He did go on to say that he appreciated that the fasting was for a religious purpose.
"I think Mourinho should talk less," Dachan told La Repubblica. "A player who practices Islam does not perform less on the pitch. We know that medicine in Sport and mental stability, and psychology make players perform well."
Of course Khan and the other Muslim offenders of Birmingham may not be young, fit, highly trained athletes like footballers. How old is he? So I called up the news report from Birmingham Mail when he was convicted and senteced 3 weeks ago. He is 43.
Again The Birmingham Mail
A MAN who bombarded a police officer, a member of court staff and a barrister with racist abuse has been branded an “arrogant fool” by a Birmingham judge.
In passing a 40-week jail sentence suspended for two years, Judge William Davis QC said he was bound by the ruling of a previous judge telling Gulfram Khan “I can do no more than impose a suspended sentence because that is what you were promised.”
Khan, 43, of Wood Lane, Handsworth Wood, who had previously admitted a charge of harassment, was also ordered to do 120 hours’ unpaid work.
Claire Harris, prosecuting, said that the defendant, after being stopped by an officer and receiving a summons for a driving matter, had made racist remarks about the officer, who was of Irish origin, on numerous occasions. She said these included making references to the Irish potato famine, suggesting he and his family led a criminal lifestyle and calling him a “plastic paddy”.
Miss Harris said Khan also had a previous conviction relating to abusive calls he made to a barrister who had represented Lloyds Bank in a county court matter in relation to an unsecured loan.
She said he also traced the court clerk in the case and bombarded her with calls which had “racist and sexual overtones”. That never happened to me personally but such a thing would have been dealt with most severely in my days as a Court Clerk.
(Khan said ) he believed he had been the victim of racism when the court judgment was made.
I think he has found a situation and a climate where the race card no longer works. How sad! He can fast, work and pray as a penance for his crimes.
Picture left from the Birmingham Mail - not a face to inspire confidence.
Posted on 08/31/2009 5:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 31 August 2009
Al-Qaida claims attack that injured Saudi prince
From Associated Press - CAIRO — Al-Qaida claimed responsibility Sunday for a suicide attack that injured a Saudi prince and said the bomber — a wanted militant who had fled to Yemen — arrived on a royal jet after convincing the ruling family he wanted to surrender.
Despite the attack on Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, his father, Interior Minister Prince Nayef, said the kingdom would not change its offer for militants to repent. Saudi Arabia has been praised for having one of the world's best terrorist rehabilitation programs in the world.
Saudi officials have said the prince was lightly wounded in the bombing at his home in Jiddah Thursday night while he was receiving well-wishers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. If al-Qaida's claim proves to be true, it would be an embarrassment for the prince and his father, two of the kingdom's top anti-terrorism officials. Prince Nayef is a half brother of Saudi King Abdullah and one of the most powerful members of the royal family.
"You tyrants ... your bastions and fortifications will not prevent us from reaching you. We will come to you soon," al-Qaida warned in an Internet statement. The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, but it was posted on militant Web sites often used by al-Qaida.
Al-Qaida identified the bomber as Abdullah Hassan Tali Assiri, a Saudi citizen. Yemen's foreign minister and al-Qaida both said he crossed the border from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.
Al-Qaida and a Saudi newspaper have said the attacker, who also goes by the alias Abu al-Kheir, was on Saudi's list of 85 wanted militants, most of them Saudi. Al-Arabiya said Assiri is 23 and has a 27-year-old brother Ibrahim who is also on the wanted list.
The Saudi Gazette has some family details.
Abdullah Asiri’s father, meanwhile, said in an interview that he was “shocked” when he found out about his son’s actions, and offered his “utter condemnation of the criminal act” that targeted Prince Muhammad.
A former member of the armed forces now in his seventies, Hassan Taali’ Ahmed Asiri said his son had been “snatched from his family”, adding: “We denounce this despicable act, and we stand right beside our guardians in the face of the enemies of the nation and the Ummah.”
Abdullah Asiri was brought up alongside three brothers in addition to Ibrahim, namely Mohammed, Ahmed and Abdul Rahman, and three sisters, in a pious family in the Al-Jazira district of east Riyadh
Asiri’s father Hassan served in the army for four decades and recalled his last contact with his son Abdullah.
“We were living in Makkah two years ago and were planning to move back to Riyadh, but Abdullah and Ibrahim said they wanted to go to Madina before coming back with us,” Hassan recalled.
“Abdullah later contacted us to say he was out of the country, but didn’t say where, and from that day on we had no more news of him until we saw his and his brother’s pic-tures a few months ago in the media as on the list of wanted people. We had already been visited by security officials to take blood samples from myself and another of my sons for DNA testing.”
Hassan described his son as “pious and in his rectitude a model for others.” Abdullah used to call for prayer at a mosque in the area they were living in and sometimes led the prayer, the father said. “In Ramadan he used to stand at traffic lights before the Iftar and hand out food,” Hassan said. “I’m amazed at how this strange transition in his life could have occurred.”
Upon hearing the news that her son had committed the attempt on Prince Muhammad’s life, his mother, Hassan said, broke down in tears.
President of Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University Soleiman Bin Abdullah Aba Al-Kheil describ(ed) the act as “cowardly and criminal”, prompted by “evil ideas in a dark chain of deviation”.
“We all must be aware of the size of the danger,” Aba Al-Kheil was reported by Saudi Press Agency as saying. “We must all protect the ship of society from sinking by facing up to these criminals who have deviated from society, particularly educational institutes, preaching bodies and the media, to tighten the cord around the purveyor of this form of thought.”
Considering that so many of these acts of terrorism in the world are financed by Saudi money (the Laden firm anybody?) and Saudi ideology that’s a bit rich.
Posted on 08/31/2009 2:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 31 August 2009
Correcting Congressional Misstatements On Health Care
Sorting Fact From Fiction on Health Care
Current congressional proposals would significantly change your relationship with your doctor.
In recent town-hall meetings, President Barack Obama has called for a national debate on health-care reform based on facts. It is fact that more than 40 million Americans lack coverage and spiraling costs are a burden on individuals, families and our economy. There is broad consensus that these problems must be addressed. But the public is skeptical that their current clinical care is substandard and that no government bureaucrat will come between them and their doctor. Americans have good reason for their doubts—key assertions about gaps in care are flawed and reform proposals to oversee care could sharply shift decisions away from patients and their physicians.
Consider these myths and mantras of the current debate:
• Americans only receive 55% of recommended care. This would be a frightening statistic, if it were true. It is not. Yet it was presented as fact to the Senate Health and Finance Committees, which are writing reform bills, in March 2009 by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (the federal body that sets priorities to improve the nation's health care).
The statistic comes from a flawed study published in 2003 by the Rand Corporation. That study was supposed to be based on telephone interviews with 13,000 Americans in 12 metropolitan areas followed up by a review of each person's medical records and then matched against 439 indicators of quality health practices. But two-thirds of the people contacted declined to participate, making the study biased, by Rand's own admission. To make matters worse, Rand had incomplete medical records on many of those who participated and could not accurately document the care that these patients received.
For example, Rand found that only 15% of the patients had received a flu vaccine based on available medical records. But when asked directly, 85% of the patients said that they had been vaccinated. Most importantly, there were no data that indicated whether following the best practices defined by Rand's experts made any difference in the health of the patients.
In March 2007, a team of Harvard researchers published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at nearly 10,000 patients at community health centers and assessed whether implementing similar quality measures would improve the health of patients with three costly disorders: diabetes, asthma and hypertension. It found that there was no improvement in any of these three maladies.
Dr. Rodney Hayward, a respected health-services professor at the University of Michigan, wrote about this negative result, "It sounds terrible when we hear that 50 percent of recommended care is not received, but much of the care recommended by subspecialty groups is of a modest or unproven value, and mandating adherence to these recommendations is not necessarily in the best interest of patients or society."
• The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th In the world in quality. This is another frightening statistic. It is also not accurate. Yet the head of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a powerful organization influencing both the government and private insurers in defining quality of care, has stated this as fact.
The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. No. 1 among all countries in "responsiveness." Responsiveness has two components: respect for persons (including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to make decisions about their own care), and client orientation (including prompt attention, access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider). This is what Americans rightly understand as quality care and worry will be lost in the upheaval of reform. Our country's composite score fell to 37 primarily because we lack universal coverage and care is a financial burden for many citizens.
• We need to implement "best practices." Mr. Obama and his advisers believe in implementing "best practices" that physicians and hospitals should follow. A federal commission would identify these practices.
On June 24, 2009, the president appeared on "Good Morning America" with Diane Sawyer. When Ms. Sawyer asked whether "best practices" would be implemented by "encouragement" or "by law," the president did not answer directly. He said that he was confident doctors "want to engage in best practices" and "patients are going to insist on it." The president also said there should be financial incentives to "allow doctors to do the right thing."
There are domains of medicine where a patient has no control and depends on the physician and the hospital to provide best practices. Strict protocols have been developed to prevent infections during procedures and to reduce the risk of surgical mishaps. There are also emergency situations like a patient arriving in the midst of a heart attack where standardized advanced treatments save many lives.
But once we leave safety measures and emergency therapies where patients have scant say, what is "the right thing"? Data from clinical studies provide averages from populations and may not apply to individual patients. Clinical studies routinely exclude patients with more than one medical condition and often the elderly or people on multiple medications. Conclusions about what works and what doesn't work change much too quickly for policy makers to dictate clinical practice.
An analysis from the Ottawa Health Research Institute published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2007 reveals how long it takes for conclusions derived from clinical studies about drugs, devices and procedures to become outdated. Within one year, 15 of 100 recommendations based on the "best evidence" had to be significantly reversed; within two years, 23 were reversed, and at 5 1/2 years, half were contradicted. Americans have witnessed these reversals firsthand as firm "expert" recommendations about the benefits of estrogen replacement therapy for postmenopausal women, low fat diets for obesity, and tight control of blood sugar were overturned.
Even when experts examine the same data, they can come to different conclusions. For example, millions of Americans have elevated cholesterol levels and no heart disease. Guidelines developed in the U.S. about whom to treat with cholesterol-lowering drugs are much more aggressive than guidelines in the European Union or the United Kingdom, even though experts here and abroad are extrapolating from the same scientific studies. An illuminating publication from researchers in Munich, Germany, published in March 2003 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that of 100 consecutive patients seen in their clinic with high cholesterol, 52% would be treated with a statin drug in the U.S. based on our guidelines while only 26% would be prescribed statins in Germany and 35% in the U.K. So, different experts define "best practice" differently. Many prominent American cardiologists and specialists in preventive medicine believe the U.S. guidelines lead to overtreatment and the Europeans are more sensible. After hearing of this controversy, some patients will still want to take the drug and some will not.
This is how doctors and patients make shared decisions—by considering expert guidelines, weighing why other experts may disagree with the guidelines, and then customizing the therapy to the individual. With respect to "best practices," prudent doctors think, not just follow, and informed patients consider and then choose, not just comply.
• No government bureaucrat will come between you and your doctor. The president has repeatedly stated this in town-hall meetings. But his proposal to provide financial incentives to "allow doctors to do the right thing" could undermine this promise. If doctors and hospitals are rewarded for complying with government mandated treatment measures or penalized if they do not comply, clearly federal bureaucrats are directing health decisions.
Further, at the AMA convention in June 2009, the president proposed linking protection for physicians from malpractice lawsuits if they strictly adhered to government-sponsored treatment guidelines. We need tort reform, but this is misconceived and again clearly inserts the bureaucrat directly into clinical decision making. If doctors are legally protected when they follow government mandates, the converse is that doctors risk lawsuits if they deviate from federal guidelines—even if they believe the government mandate is not in the patient's best interest. With this kind of legislation, physicians might well pressure the patient to comply with treatments even if the therapy clashes with the individual's values and preferences.
The devil is in the regulations. Federal legislation is written with general principles and imperatives. The current House bill H.R. 3200 in title IV, part D has very broad language about identifying and implementing best practices in the delivery of health care. It rightly sets initial priorities around measures to protect patient safety. But the bill does not set limits on what "best practices" federal officials can implement. If it becomes law, bureaucrats could well write regulations mandating treatment measures that violate patient autonomy.
Private insurers are already doing this, and both physicians and patients are chafing at their arbitrary intervention. As Congress works to extend coverage and contain costs, any legislation must clearly codify the promise to preserve for Americans the principle of control over their health-care decisions.
Posted on 08/31/2009 4:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 31 August 2009
Fulfilling their side of the deal
With Obama and Clinton in charge of negotiations, the "Palestinians" are obviously feeling emboldened. According to the AP, Abbas and PLO/PA/Fatah spokesman Shaath have categorically stated that the peace talks for which Obama is pushing will not occur unless there is a "freeze of settlement activity" the Israelis. They said that there would be no exception for East Jerusalem or for "natural growth" of Jewish families already living in the settlements.
Shaath also dismissed the requirement of the "Palestinians" to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. He also said that the "Palestinians" had met their commitments to halt violence against Israel under the 2003 "road map" to peace.
Here are some of the jihadist attacks against Israel by Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade since 2003, from ADL:
- February 4, 2008: A 73-year-old woman was killed and 40 people were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping center in the southern city of Dimona. A second bomber was shot by a police officer who noticed him reaching for his explosive belt. Both Hamas’ armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, and Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack.
- January 24, 2008: Rami Zoari, 20, from Beersheba, a border police officer, was killed and another female officer was seriously wounded after terrorists approached the entrance to Shuafat refugee camp in northern Jerusalem and opened fire on a group of Israelis. The Battalions of Struggle and Return, a previously anonymous offshoot of Fatah's Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack.
- April 17, 2006: Nine people were killed and at least 40 wounded in a suicide bombing near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. The blast ripped through Falafel Rosh Ha'ir, the same restaurant that was hit by an attack on January 19. The Islamic Jihad and Fatah’s Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack. The Hamas led PA government defended the suicide bombing, calling it an act of "self-defense." Hamas official spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the attack "a natural result of the continued Israeli crimes against our people".
- March 30, 2006: Four people were killed in a suicide bombing outside Kedumim in the northern West Bank. The Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility for the attack.
- October 16, 2005: Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis and wounded as least 5 others in two separate drive-by shootings in the West Bank. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for both attacks.
- June 24, 2005: Two teenagers were killed and three others wounded in a drive-by shooting near Hebron. The Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.
- January 13, 2005: Six Israelis were killed and five other civilians were wounded in a double suicide bombing at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The two suicide bombers used a very large explosive device to blast through a defensive wall that separates the Israeli and Palestinian sides at the crossing. Following the blast, the bombers crossed into the Israeli side, carrying explosives on their bodies, which they detonated. Hamas and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed joint responsiblity for the attack.
- September 22, 2004: Two police were killed and at least sixteen people were injured when a suicide bomber detonated a bag packed with explosives at a crowded bus stop in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. The Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, affiliated with Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, claimed responsibility. The slain police had stopped the 18-year old woman, Zainab Abu Salem from the Askar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus, from approaching the bus stop, and she detonated the explosives.
- May 2, 2004: An Israeli woman, in her eighth month of pregnancy, was shot dead along with her four daughters when two Palestinian terrorists fired on their car at the entrance to the Gaza Strip settlement bloc of Gush Katif. After the car spun off the road after the initial attack, the terrorists approached the vehicle and shot the occupants at close range. Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for the attack.
- March 14, 2004: Ten people were killed and 16 wounded in a double suicide bombing in the area of the Ashdod Port. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack.
- February 22, 2004: A suicide bomber attacked a bus in the center of Jerusalem, killing 8 people and wounding 70. The Palestinian terrorist group Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.
- January 29, 2004: A suicide bomber attacked a bus in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood, killing 11 people and wounding 50. The Palestinian terrorist group Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility.
- January 14, 2004: A female suicide bomber killed four people and wounded 20 at the Erez Crossing in the Gaza Strip. Hamas and the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
- January 13, 2004: An Israeli motorist was shot dead and three of his passengers were wounded when their car was fired upon by Palestinian terrorists near Talmon, west of Ramallah. The Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
This list does not include attacks by the other major jihadi groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Hizb'Allah, whom Fatah does not control and whom, therefore, Fatah has no authority to bargain on their behalf. It does not include attacks for whom no group has claimed responsibility, nor attacks carried out by individual jihadis who have no proven ties to the aforementioned groups.
Fatah claims that in carrying out these attacks, they are upholding their side of the "road map" to peace. We are currently enjoying the fruits of Islamic peace, and we didn't even know it.
I grit my teeth and with as much respect as I am able to muster, I ask the Obama Administration for what ends are negotiations being carried out, given these facts? If the Israeli-Islamic conflict were truly about "land for peace," which it surely is not, but is instead about slaying the infidel Jews wherever they can be found, but even if it were about "land for peace," what exactly would Israel be gaining in return for donating the very tangible assets of Israeli land to the "Palestinians"? In all honesty I don't see what there is to discuss.
Posted on 08/31/2009 2:57 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 31 August 2009
Kill The Owners Of Television Stations, But According To Islamic Law
An excerpt from a longer transcript posted at www.Memri.org:
"The people who spread corruption in the land - whether highway robbers, drug dealers, or the owners of these TV channels, who are even more dangerous... These channels broadcast corruption and nudity. They are all people who spread corruption in the land, and they should be tried in an Islamic court of law and sentenced to death. This [fatwa] is clearly in accordance with Islamic law. There’s no doubt about it."
Interviewer: "The ferocity of this fatwa has cast fear in the hearts of..."
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad: "... of the hypocrites."
Interviewer: "In everybody’s hearts. Even in the West, it received much attention."
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad: "Islam itself casts fear..."
Interviewer: "No, it doesn’t. Islam is a religion of tolerance and leniency, Sheikh."
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Ahmad: "Allah says otherwise. Islam is lenient, but the infidel West trembles in fear of it. Allah has ordered us to prepare: 'Prepare for them what force and steeds of war you can, to cast fear in the hearts of Allah’s enemies and of your own.' Our human nature may tell us that stoning is unacceptable, but this is a punishment decreed by Allah. If Allah decrees death - this is how it should be. If the Islamic scholars ruled that the punishment for drug dealers is death, this is how it should be.
"I believe that [the TV channel owners] are more dangerous than all of these. Forget about whether or not they should be killed - we demand that they face trial in an Islamic court of law.
Posted on 08/31/2009 8:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 31 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: You're Driving Me Crazy (New York Twelve)
Posted on 08/31/2009 6:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 31 August 2009
Indonesian jihadi infiltrated airline
The jihadi known as "Syahrir", who is wanted for the bombing of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta on July 17, had been working as a ("sleeper-cell") technician for Garuda airlines in Indonesia. According to Indonesian officials, Syahrir was planning a much larger attack on airlines.
There is also mention of a bomber ("Urwah") who was convicted for the Jakarta bombings, sentenced to 7 years but then released, and who immediately returned to bombing.
See story at AP:
Posted on 08/31/2009 2:44 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Just The Tip Of A Midian Iceberg
Digging up the Saudi past: Some would rather not
But far fewer know Madain Saleh, a similarly spectacular treasure built by the same civilization, the Nabateans.
That's because it's in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives are deeply hostile to pagan, Jewish and Christian sites that predate the founding of Islam in the 7th century.
But now, in a quiet but notable change of course, the kingdom has opened up an archaeology boom by allowing Saudi and foreign archaeologists to explore cities and trade routes long lost in the desert.
The sensitivities run deep. Archaeologists are cautioned not to talk about pre-Islamic finds outside scholarly literature. Few ancient treasures are on display, and no Christian or Jewish relics. A 4th or 5th century church in eastern Saudi Arabia has been fenced off ever since its accidental discovery 20 years ago and its exact whereabouts kept secret.
In the eyes of conservatives, the land where Islam was founded and the Prophet Muhammad was born must remain purely Muslim. Saudi Arabia bans public displays of crosses and churches, and whenever non-Islamic artifacts are excavated, the news must be kept low-key lest hard-liners destroy the finds.
"They should be left in the ground," said Sheikh Mohammed al-Nujaimi, a well-known cleric, reflecting the views of many religious leaders. "Any ruins belonging to non-Muslims should not be touched. Leave them in place, the way they have been for thousands of years."
In an interview, he said Christians and Jews might claim discoveries of relics, and that Muslims would be angered if ancient symbols of other religions went on show. "How can crosses be displayed when Islam doesn't recognize that Christ was crucified?" said al-Nujaimi. "If we display them, it's as if we recognize the crucifixion."
In the past, Saudi authorities restricted foreign archaeologists to giving technical help to Saudi teams. Starting in 2000, they began a gradual process of easing up that culminated last year with American, European and Saudi teams launching significant excavations on sites that have long gone lightly explored, if at all.
At the same time, authorities are gradually trying to acquaint the Saudi public with the idea of exploring the past, in part to eventually develop tourism. After years of being closed off, 2,000-year-old Madain Saleh is Saudi Arabia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to tourists. State media now occasionally mention discoveries as well as the kingdom's little known antiquities museums.
"It's already a big change," said Christian Robin, a leading French archaeologist and a member of the College de France. He is working in the southwestern region of Najran, mentioned in the Bible by the name Raamah and once a center of Jewish and Christian kingdoms.
No Christian artifacts have been found in Najran, he said.
Spearheading the change is the royal family's Prince Sultan bin Salman, who was the first Saudi in space when he flew on the U.S. space shuttle Discovery in 1985. He is now secretary general of the governmental Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.
Dhaifallah Altalhi, head of the commission's research center at the governmental Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, said there are 4,000 recorded sites of different periods and types, and most of the excavations are on pre-Islamic sites.
"We treat all our sites equally," said Altalhi. "This is part of the history and culture of the country and must be protected and developed." He said archaeologists are free to explore and discuss their findings in academic venues.
Still, archaeologists are cautious. Several declined to comment to The Associated Press on their work in the kingdom.
The Arabian Peninsula is rich, nearly untouched territory for archaeologists. In pre-Islamic times it was dotted with small kingdoms and crisscrossed by caravan routes to the Mediterranean. Ancient Arab peoples — Nabateans, Lihyans, Thamud — interacted with Assyrians and Babylonians, Romans and Greeks.
Much about them is unknown.
Najran, discovered in the 1950s, was invaded nearly a century before Muhammad's birth by Dhu Nawas, a ruler of the Himyar kingdom in neighboring Yemen. A convert to Judaism, he massacred Christian tribes, leaving triumphant inscriptions carved on boulders.
At nearby Jurash, a previously untouched site in the mountains overlooking the Red Sea, a team led by David Graf of the University of Miami is uncovering a city that dates at least to 500 B.C. The dig could fill out knowledge of the incense routes running through the area and the interactions of the region's kingdoms over a 1,000-year span.
And a French-Saudi expedition is doing the most extensive excavation in decades at Madain Saleh. The city, also known as al-Hijr, features more than 130 tombs carved into mountainsides. Some 450 miles from Petra, it is thought to mark the southern extent of the Nabatean kingdom.
In a significant 2000 find, Altalhi unearthed a Latin dedication of a restored city wall at Madain Saleh which honored the second century Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
So far, there has been no known friction with conservatives over the new excavations, in part because they are in the early stages, are not much discussed in Saudi Arabia, and haven't produced any announcements of overtly Christian or Jewish finds.
But the call to keep the land purged of other religions runs deep among many Saudis. Even though Madain Saleh site is open for tourism, many Saudis refuse to visit on religious grounds because the Quran says God destroyed it for its sins.
Excavations sometimes meet opposition from local residents who fear their region will become known as "Christian" or "Jewish." And Islam being an iconoclastic religion, hard-liners have been known to raze even ancient Islamic sites to ensure that they do not become objects of veneration.
Saudi museums display few non-Islamic artifacts.
Riyadh's National Museum shows small pre-Islamic statues, a golden mask and a large model of a pagan temple. In some display cases, female figurines are listed, but not present — likely a nod to the kingdom's ban on depictions of the female form.
A tiny exhibition at the King Saud University in Riyadh displays small nude statues of Hercules and Apollo in bronze, a startling sight in a country where nakedness in art is highly taboo.
In 1986, picnickers accidentally discovered an ancient church in the eastern region of Jubeil. Pictures of the simple stone building show crosses in the door frame.
It is fenced off — for its protection, authorities say — and archaeologists are barred from examining it.
Faisal al-Zamil, a Saudi businessman and amateur archaeologist, says he has visited the church several times.
He recalls offering a Saudi newspaper an article about the site and being turned down by an editor.
"He was shocked," al-Zamil said. "He said he could not publish the piece."
Posted on 08/30/2009 9:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 August 2009
But Enough About Lockerbie And BAE Bribes -- Arabs Buy Tariq Ramadan An Oxford Professorship
The dismal news is here.
Apparently the Saudi subventions that have allowed them to control appointments to Islamic Studies Centers in Durham and Exeter, or to pay for the full-time propagandist-"scholar" John Esposito in Washington, or to pay for King Abdul Aziz Chairs of This-and-That (at the University of Southern California, at the University of Arkansas when Clinton was President), to pay for chairs and programs in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School, to give Georgetown and Harvard Universities $20 million each for what will undoubtedly be projects the Arab Muslm benefactors will approve of, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies that Kuwaiti and Emirati money pay for, and all the rest, all over the Western world -- apparently that was not enough.
Now the government of Qatar, no doubt enthusiastically endorsed by a great many other Arab Muslm states and potentates, has arranged for a professorship in Islamic Studies, and after an "international search" the very candidate for whom the whole thing was arranged - the colubrine hissing Tariq Ramdadan, a full-time propagandist for The Faith of Islam, and a leader of the effort to smoothly misrepresent Islam in Europe, to soothe the Infidels, to delay the day of recognition, that fatidic date when the civilisation-wide anagnorisis takes place, and Islam is recognized by the people of Western Europe for what it is and always has been -- Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Sina, Wafa Sultan, Magdi Allam, have been trying and trying and trying to tell you -- and the task that Tariq Ramadan has assumed is that of doing everything he can to hide, to distract, to distort, to sow confusion and perplexity, so that that anagnorisis takes place just a little -- for the non-Muslims of Western Europe -- too late.
Posted on 08/30/2009 8:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: I Know Nothing About You (Mieczyslaw Fogg)
Posted on 08/30/2009 7:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Who are Amrit Singh and Jameel Jaffer?
Who are Amrit Singh and Jameel Jaffer? They are attorneys for the ACLU which in the past has defended American Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan in the name of "freedom of expression." I found a story about them, with their pictures, in the New York Times for August 30, 2009. ( Scott Shane, "ACLU Lawyers Mine Documents for Truth About Detainees and Interrogations," New York Times). I was curious and decided to do a a cursory Google search. Although the information was sparse, I did learn that Jaffer is a Muslim born in Canada. According to Law.Com, Jaffer went to "Williams College, worked as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers, attended Cambridge University and then returned to the United States for Harvard Law School." Singh is a graduate of Cambridge, Oxford, and Yale Law School. She holds joint American and Indian citizenship and is the youngest daughter of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and is married to Barton Beebe, a professor at NYU School of Law. She co-authored with Jaffer the book, Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond , a documentary history.
I also learned from Der Spiegel, the German weekly news magazine, that Jaffer has complained that the scope of the Special Prosecutor's proposed investigation is too narrow. Apparently referring to Vice President Cheney and perhaps former President Bush, Jaffer was quoted as declaring that the probe should include "higher-ups." ("Obama Should Make Sure that Cheney is Brought to Justice") Googling a little further, I learned that Jaffer had successfully argued before the federal appeals court in New York City that a lower court ruling allowing the government to bar Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States should be reversed. The government argued that Ramadan had contributed to a charity with connections to Islamist terrorism. On August 18, 2009 Ramadan was fired by the City of Rotterdam and Rotterdam's Erasmus University from his positions supposedly aimed at "fostering integration" between immigrant Muslims and the indigenous Dutch population when Rotterdam authorities learned that Ramadan' s weekly program on Iran's Press TV was paid for by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iranian government. ("Rotterdam Fires Ramadan over Iranian TV Show," NRC Handelsblad, August 18, 2009)
I was perplexed. I asked myself, "Could it be both weird and extremely dangerous that, in the name of "human rights," two highly-trained, recent immigrants to the United States, one with dual citizenship, not only can place CIA agents and even a former President and Vice President of the United States in such jeopardy but can with impunity jeopardize the security of the United States? Could it be that by threatening to punish CIA agents for attempting to prevent a repetition of 9/11 or worse, Attorney General Holder was sending a very unpleasant message to those Americans responsible for interrogating terrorists? Even the New York Times carried a major op-ed piece protesting Holder's decision to place the CIA agents in "double jeopardy." (Joseph Finder, "The CIA in Double Jeopardy," New York Times, August 30, 2009.) On Saturday August 29, 2009, the Wall Street Journal carried a major article by Reuel Marc Gerecht, "Interrogating the CIA," outlining the permanent damage to national security the special counsel's probe is likely to engender.
Posted on 08/30/2009 4:04 PM by Richard L. Rubenstein
Sunday, 30 August 2009
EEOC succumbs to CAIR in Nebraska Muslim Prayer case
The Chicago CAIR chapter trumpeted another ‘victory’ in a string of Muslim prayer cases brought before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An EEOC letter issued August 25th indicated that a Grand Island, Nebraska meatpacking firm, JBS Swift & Co wasn’t complying with federal religious worship “reasonable accommodation” guidelines. Guidelines that appear totally unclear to puzzled management and union leaders, as well as non-Muslim fellow workers frequently riled by demands of their Somali Muslim co-workers. An AP report noted:
Muslim advocates said Friday that federal officials determined a Nebraska meatpacking plant wasn't doing enough to accommodate the religious needs of its Muslim workers but stopped short of laying out specific recommendations.
The Chicago-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlined its decision in a letter sent to the organization this week. The decision comes after a nearly yearlong investigation into conditions at the Grand Island JBS plant, where hundreds of Muslim workers walked out in protest last September because they weren't given time to pray.
"It's a favorable finding ... it's definitely a victory," said Rima Kapitan, an employment attorney who worked on the case for the council.
Company and union officials said Friday they were disappointed with the timing of the letter because they've already made progress to alleviate workers' concerns. The letter came a week into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
EEOC spokesman James Ryan declined comment, saying the agency is barred from publicly discussing complaints or its investigations.
The day after the Sept. 15 walkout, plant management adjusted work schedules to accommodate the Muslim workers. But that prompted a protest by hundreds of non-Muslim workers who said Muslims were given preferential treatment. Plant managers responded by ending the shift changes, saying the new break times weren't working.
The Greeley, Colo.-based company later fired 86 workers at the plant for walking off the job. It eventually hired back about a dozen.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations helped file some of the dozens of complaints with the EEOC that alleged discrimination based on religion, race and tradition or national origin. The council received the EEOC letter because of the group's involvement, said council spokeswoman Amina Sharif.
The problem is that this EEOC ruling as noted came without instructions as to how to provide reasonable accommodations to the roughly 250 Somali Muslim workers. Further it comes at an awkward moment at the start of the month long period of Muslim Ramadan observances. Last year at both the Grand Island, Nebraska and Greeley, Colorado JBS Swift & Company plants near riots broke out over shift and prayer times and workers at both plants were fired. Further, the Grand Island plant pitted Hispanic and South Sudanese Christians against Somali Muslim workers. In Greeley, it was Somali Muslims against Hispanic co-workers and supervisors.
It is this acquiescence that Coloradans Against Sharia Task Force (CAST) has protested at the Greeley JBS Swift plant on which we have reported. It is manipulation by CAIR of federal EEOC rules that have forced the issue of Somali Muslim Sharia doctrine on fellow non-Muslim workers at meat packing plants throughout the American heartland in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Colorado. The Chicago CAIR chapter calls it ‘unlawful harrassment’; we call it “Stealth Jihad.”
Perhaps, the Delphic oracle quality of the EEOC letter in the Grand Island JBS plant case may require a federal law suit by a class of companies, unions and non-Muslim workers endeavoring to define the limits of reasonable accommodation for religious observances. Added to that are sex-segregated Muslim worship areas in work places that could constitute violations of US Civil Rights laws. Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus in America hold religious observances in their own houses of worship, but not in the workplace. The EEOC issuing such administrative letters makes any workplace with Muslim workers into sex-segregated Mosques, replete with foot baths, bidets and other Sharia compliant paraphernalia.
Posted on 08/30/2009 6:38 PM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Obama Should Tell The Grim Truth About New Orleans
Someone other than Obama might tell some unpleasant home truths about climate change and the folly of huge investments made to rebuild New Orleans, placed in an area that was always inappropriate for a city, but now will be subject to the climate disruption that makes events such as Hurricane Katrina, formerly regarded as once-in-five-hundred years events, much more common.. A president has to be the one to break the news, and for all the obvious reasons Obama is the perfect president to make clear that New Orleans, always perilously poised, is more and more a city that should not be massively rebuilt but instead allowed to shrink. Time, and especially in this case Tide, wait for no man. For who else but Obama can avoid having his melancholy message rejected by the black population of New Orleans who, were he white bearing the sad tidings, would be charged with choosing to “write off New Orelans” because of a “racist agenda” or some such variant on the usual nonsense.
There are all kinds of truths about the future of New Orleans that are not being forthrightly told. Sometimes they are not being told because the implications are too disturbing. Sometimes they are not told because those in power do not know enough. Sometimes it is sheer go-with-the-flow don't-upset-any-applecarts cowardice. In the case of New Orleans and its "rebuilding," it appears to be the latter.
No profiles in environmental courage here.
Posted on 08/30/2009 12:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 August 2009
This was truly the Check-Cashing That Will Live Forever.
Or, as the Russians are sure to call it:
30 Aug 2009
What is Cash-Check Bessmertnij?
30 Aug 2009
Posted on 08/30/2009 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Olmert At Long Last Charged With Corruption -- Stupidity, Apparently, Is Not A Crime
Posted on 08/30/2009 12:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald