Thursday, August 31, 2006
A silly yet completely hilarious thread.
Ridiculous article of the week award. New game? Count the hypocrisies!
The first Muslim to be crowned Miss England has warned that stereotyping members of her community is leading some towards extremism.
Hammasa Kohistani made history last year when she was chosen to represent England in the Miss World pageant.
But one year on, the 19-year-old student from Hounslow feels that winning the coveted beauty title last September was a "sugar coating" for Muslims who have become more alienated in the past 12 months.
She said: "The attitude towards Muslims has got worse over the year. Also the Muslims' attitude to British people has got worse.
"Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway. It will take a long time for communities to start mixing in more.
"People may feel I am just a sugar coating on the situation. I am a symbol to show it's not really that bad.
But at the same time, she said, "there is this hostility", which comes "mainly from the Government".
The Prime Minister told MPs last month that moderate Muslims were not doing enough to tackle extremists in their own community.
Miss Kohistani said: "Tony Blair addressed Muslims in particular, telling them that they need to sort out the problem within. That was a huge stereotype of the Islamic community. Even the more moderate Muslims have been stereotyped negatively and feel they have to take actions to prove themselves.
Born in Uzbekistan and raised in Afghanistan, Miss Kohistani divided Muslim opinion when she entered and won the Miss England pageant in Liverpool.
Several community leaders openly declared her to be betraying the laws of Islam while radical Muslims sent the teenager and her family death threats.
But after a busy year travelling around the world as an ambassador for England, Miss Kohistani said she feels Muslims are unfairly being branded as terrorists.
She added: "For a Muslim to represent England is asking for controversy at the moment. I feel after everything that's happened Muslims are being stereotyped negatively. The whole community has been labelled and, whether they are guilty of crime or not, they are getting penalised for it.
"I like being in the limelight because people can look at me and see I am a Muslim but good. Most of the people being pinpointed are judged by their outer appearances and people assume because they are Muslim and have a beard they have done something wrong.
She continued: "The bridge I have made is slowly being broken by more and more wars. Now the Iran situation is brought up and another Islamic country is under scrutiny - and the recent Heathrow scare. I guess I am needed even more now than last year to an extent because of what has happened.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Kudos to Daniel Pipes for the brilliant new term -- Sudden Jihad Syndrome.
For an event that would turn a page in American history, former president Jimmy Carter has agreed in principle to host former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami for talks during his visit to the United States starting this week.
Carter's term as president was dominated by the rupture in relations after the 1979 Iranian revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days until the day he left office.
Iranians made the overture for the meeting, and the Carter Center in Atlanta is working on the possible timing, said Phil Wise, the former president's aide.
"President Carter, in his role since leaving the White House, has made his office and services and center available to basically anybody who wants to talk. He believes that it is much better to be talking to people who you have problems with than not to, and that's the approach he takes now," Wise said. "I can confirm that President Carter is open to a meeting if the former president of Iran would like to have one."Despite mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over the latter's nuclear program, the Bush administration issued a visa for Khatami yesterday, as well as for about a dozen family and staff members, for a visit lasting about two weeks, the State Department confirmed. Khatami is expected to arrive in the United States tomorrow.
Great FReeper comment here:
George Will was right again:
Jimmy Carter actually is an even worse former-president than he was a president!
And that's really saying something.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Wow... he's actually worse than Gore.
Absolutely worth the read.
Many of the cases are being brought by pensioners who as children were interned in Drancy, the transit camp north of Paris known as the "antechamber of death" - from which about 67,000 Jews were sent to their deaths in the concentration camps. They were transported to the camp on the national railway system, often crammed into cattle trucks. SNCF classified them as third-class passengers and continued to send bills for their tickets even after the liberation of France.
Now that's what I call the epitome of shameless bureaucracy. I don't think Orwell could have written it better.
Monday, August 28, 2006
"The enemy is so much better at communicating," he added. "I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say - all of which are not true - is harmful. It's cumulative. And it does weaken people's will and lessen their determination, and raise questions in their minds as to whether the cost is worth it," he said alluding to Americans and other Westerners.
Come on Rummy, you're smarter than that... you know the reason why they succeed is because the majority of the "Western media" is ON THEIR SIDE.
Same tale as earlier (Saddam forced to watch SP), with a little added tidbit:
The American animators also confirmed that Tom Cruise threatened to pull out of all publicity for Mission Impossible III unless Paramount, which also makes South Park, axed a repeat showing of an episode lampooning him.It showed a Scientologist character called Tom Cruise struggling to come out as gay. Cruise was dumped by Paramount last week.
TORONTO (Reuters) - Posters and a Web site mocking President Bush have put the spotlight on a small Ontario university that thought a bold and edgy recruiting campaign was just the ticket to attract potential students.
The Web site, http://www.yaleshmale.com, has a black and white picture of Bush, with the caption: "Graduating from an Ivy League university doesn't necessarily mean you're smart."
Uh, he also has an MBA from Harvard, siwwy wabbits.
A little update on the Mental Ward.
The University of Colorado student union voted Thursday in support of firing tenured ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill.
The union's legislative council voted 9-6 in favor of a resolution supporting former Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano's recommendation to fire Churchill for plagiarism and research misconduct.
The resolution will be sent to the student government's tri-executives and will go into effect if two of the three student leaders sign it.
"This is not a problem that is attached to the entire ethnic studies department — just a not-so-good professor and he doesn't deserve to be employed here," ...
"He takes away from the value of our degree."
Churchill drew national attention over an essay that compared some Sept. 11 victims to a notorious Nazi.
A subsequent investigation into Churchill's work found that he committed serious, repeated and deliberate research misconduct, prompting the chancellor's recommendation that he be fired.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
"Tempest in a gloss pot". LOL.
The ending snippet:
Multiculturalism insisted that communities always changed, were in a permanent state of flux and that if you were white and lived in Oldham or Burnley or Tower Hamlets then you had better get used to the idea quickly.
This was a doublethink because the same latitude was not extended to the host population; while it was accepted that immigrants would naturally wish to band together and preserve their cultural identity, when the white working-class communities made similar protestations, this was regarded, once again, as evidence of an antediluvian racism. Your fish and chip shop is now a halal butcher? Your daughter’s school now has a majority of Urdu-speaking children? Good! Celebrate the change! Get over it.
One assumes that Kelly would still be telling the white working class to get over it were it not for the BNP’s inroads into the Labour vote (where they have candidates who can read without moving their lips over every word) and, of course, the presence within our midst of people who are possessed of such a loathing of our culture, of our very existence, that they wish to kill us all.
It has transpired that this was the final triumph of multiculturalism — to create within British society a sizeable body of people who have been assured that it is absolutely fine not to integrate because, if we’re honest, the prevailing culture is worthless: oppressive and decadent. People who are, as a result, perhaps terminally estranged and who have been relentlessly encouraged in their sense of alienation.
The news that the bombers of July 7 last year and those who allegedly plotted to blow up a whole bunch of aeroplanes were British born apparently came as a shock to the government. Well, it did not come as a shock to those of us who viewed multiculturalism as both dangerous and inherently racist.It seemed, to people like Honeyford, a simple case of cause and effect. In the end, it is not the mad mullahs at whom we should direct our wrath, but the white liberals who enabled them to prosper. That the creed has now been binned should be a cause for celebration; but don’t for a moment expect an admission that they got it wrong in the first place.
Chatting on the internet is similar to speaking on the telephone. It is not permissible for male or female to speak on the telephone to the opposite gender who is a Ghayr Mahram (not prohibited in marriage) freely and without necessity. If there is a genuine need which is valid in Shari’ah, then members of the opposite gender may speak through the telephone with modesty and confine the discussion to the need.
To speak freely and beyond necessity is a sin. The same rule applies for chatting on the internet. No person should decide him/herself what is a valid reason in Shari’ah to speak on the phone or chat on the internet. Many people have their own interpretations of genuine need which is not acceptable in Shari’ah. We are aware of many such people who have caused ruin to their lives especially by chatting on the internet with the opposite gender. The expression of smiley faces and sad faces through internet chatting falls in the category of drawing pictures of animate objects which is prohibited. As an alternative, one may express his/her happiness and sadness in words.
Oldie but goodie:
She explains, "I refuse to be pulled into the politics of war. But once these soldiers sign up, go to war and come back to a hospital, I will do whatever it takes to make them better." Nicks has provided iPods loaded with her music, along with fellow artists Aerosmith and Elvis Presley.She has also sent baby clothes to war widows, joined bedside vigils and with the United Service Organization (USO), hopes to provide every returning soldier with a music player. She adds, "Any one of them could be my own child. You can't help falling in love with every one of them."
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
'M okay. Israel best set stUN phasers to ignore.
CNN will mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by replaying on the Internet the cable network's coverage of that day's events.Viewers can watch how events unfolded starting at 8:30 a.m., minutes before the first reports of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center. The feed will run in real time, as the network showed it five years ago, until midnight.
For the day, CNN will make its online video service, CNN Pipeline, available for free. Normally, viewers pay $2.95 a month or $24.95 a year for four separate video feeds.
Online viewers will be able to watch live reports of memorial services through one of the feeds. So that viewers won't accidentally stumble upon graphic footage from 2001, the replay feed will be covered with a notice instructing users to click only if they want to watch.
"Our users may choose to view the stream of coverage from Sept. 11, or live coverage of memorial services at Ground Zero, or they may click through the numerous interactive elements on the site," said David Payne, senior vice president and general manager of CNN.com. "They have the power to determine the best way for them to remember the anniversary."CNN is a unit of Time Warner Inc.
BY NEIL STEINBERG SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Never been to Mexico. Been close: San Diego. Just north of the border. Went there to interview Tom Landry, the late Cowboys coach. He was very religious. We spoke of God and football.
The evening was my own, however, and thoughts of faith far away. I considered driving into Tijuana. But rattling around Tijuana by myself for a night seemed a Bad Idea, and the same self-protective instinct that keeps clams in their shells told me to stay put at the hotel.
So I haven't been to Mexico. I understand it is a much poorer nation than the United States, and many Mexicans eagerly abandon it to come here to work and live, finding this country an improvement over their former home.
But Mexico isn't hell, right? A hundred million people live there, often lives of richness and satisfaction. Right? Because you wouldn't know it, not the way that activist Elvira Arellano, holed up at a Humboldt Park church, has been carrying on. The way she -- or rather her lawyer -- has been talking, you'd think perdition awaits her and her son south of the border.
I don't want to romanticize the place -- as I said, I've never been there. But I don't think I'm going out on a limb betting it's somewhere a woman can live and raise a child -- heck, she already speaks Spanish, which is helpful in Mexico. Or so I hear.
And today's new right is ...
One last thing -- people are always conjuring new rights for themselves. Flattering to the ideal of American freedom, I suppose. But the truth is that freedom goes only so far. Your right to make a fist, as a legal light once said, ends at the tip of my nose.
Arellano's son certainly doesn't have the right as an American citizen to keep his mother from being deported to Mexico. There's nothing in the Constitution about having mom at hand. If that right existed, then no parent could ever be sent to jail. The government can put mothers in prison, it can execute them, it can certainly send them to Mexico, which is not as bad as prison or death. Or so I presume.
There is a thudding lack of sympathy for the woman. This space normally stands tall for immigrants -- but it draws the line at dreaming up new rights where none exist. Or dragging God into police matters.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Hizbollah pushes past guards in show of force. (Hat tip: Ethel.)
Hizbollah mourners on a funeral parade shoved aside anti-tank barriers at a United Nations base in Lebanon yesterday in a demonstration of their new political strength.
The party had been told it would be allowed to bury three “martyrs” at the Naqoura town cemetery inside the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) compound, but only if there was no flag-waving or political sloganising.
When the chanting procession, several hundred strong, reached the gates, it found the way barred by cruci-form steel tank traps. Mourners argued with the French guards, but failed to gain entry.
A mob of young men then dragged the barriers away and the UN opened the gates. “They will eat us alive,” said a middle-aged official as the throng surged in.
Indeed they will.
This is classic.
Paris Hilton is no stranger to self-promotion. But when she asked DJs to play songs from her upcoming debut album, "Paris," last spring, she wasn't so confident.
"People go crazy," the 25-year-old socialite/reality TV star/singer says in an interview in the September issue of Blender, on newsstands Tuesday. "They love it. Everyone's like, `Who is this?' I don't tell. Because I don't want someone putting their phone up and recording it and making a ring tone off of it.
"I think when people don't know it's me, they won't judge it. But if they know it's me, then they'll be like, `Ugh.' They won't even dance."
...Of her album, she says, "I, like, cry, when I listen to it, it's so good."
Hmmm... Ditzy Chix and Paris. Guess the world, unfortunately, isn't anywhere close to ending today.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
I'm too pressed for time today, or this would have produced the mother-of-all-rants.
I'm really starting to get irritated.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Almost three quarters of the British public are now convinced that we are fighting a new world war against extremist Islamic terrorists — and although they may not recognise the names, on this issue at least, most are in the same camp as leading US conservatives such as Eliot Cohen, Norman Podhoretz and Newt Gingrich. The public is also deeply concerned at how this new conflict is developing, with four out of five judging the West to be losing and the terrorists to be winning. Almost nobody believes that last week’s foiled plot to blow up a large number of transatlantic flights will be the last such attempt, or that the police and security services will be as effective next time; 86 per cent of respondents believe that Britain is likely to suffer a major terrorist attack within the next year.
What will stun Westminster most, however, is that the public is convinced that the key to winning this new global war against terrorists lies in a much more aggressive foreign policy, as well as in severe reductions in civil liberties in Britain. One of the most important lessons from the Spectator/YouGov poll is the growing chasm between the views of large portions of the chattering classes, including most of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, and the views of the population at large.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the public’s extraordinary dismissal of civil libertarian arguments. In a bitter blow to the Conservatives and the Labour Left, who have long opposed the policy, the public supports Tony Blair’s favourite option of detaining suspects without charge for up to 90 days by three to one (69 per cent to 23 per cent). When asked whether Britain should change its foreign policy in response to terrorism, just 12 per cent say that it should be made more conciliatory, against 53 per cent who say it should become more aggressive and 24 per cent who don’t want to change the current relatively tough stance.
Perhaps most controversially of all, the Spectator/YouGov poll reveals that by a majority of 55 per cent to 29 per cent the public supports the introduction of ‘passenger profiling’ by the authorities in airports. There is also mass support for tougher security at airports, regardless of inconvenience: almost two thirds say they feel safer as a result of increased airport security.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.
The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.
It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.
"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.
"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.
"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."
A who's who of Hollywood heavyweights joined Kidman on the ad.
The actors listed included: Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.
Directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi also signed their names.Other Hollywood powerplayers supporting the ad included Sumner Redstone, the chairman and majority owner of Paramount Pictures, and billionaire mogul, Haim Saban.
Denial isn't just a river in Egypt... apparently it runs through Lebanon as well.
Looking closely at the photography, he saw an odd pattern in the thick, black clouds of smoke rising from the bombed area. He recognized the effect, a bit of Adobe Photoshop magic called cloning.
To clone, you simply click on part of a picture, then paste an exact copy of that part somewhere else on the photo. Thorson recognized the effect because he'd used it. Sometimes he'd worked on catalog photographs of the tools his company distributes. Sometimes, on close inspection, he would find on the photograph a speck of dust, a piece of dirt, a hair or some other imperfection. By cloning, he could replace the imperfection with a clean image.
The photo on the Yahoo site was different, though. It was supposed to be journalism.
"I was shocked," Thorson said later. "This is supposed to be serious. Reuters is a very well-known and respected wire service."
Within minutes Thorson went to the political blog Little Green Footballs and sent a comment about his suspicions that the photo had been doctored. He thought of the blog because it had been among those questioning the authenticity of the documents "60 Minutes II" used in a report on President George W. Bush's record in the Texas Air National Guard.
The very next morning, Aug. 6, Thorson saw his suspicions posted on Little Green Footballs, and the story soon caught fire.
"I was really surprised that the story got to be as big as it did," Thorson said. "I certainly didn't mean for anybody to lose their job or anything like that. I am glad that it was exposed."I think people do need to have some sort of skepticism about the news: What's being presented? Who's presenting it? Do they have an agenda? What's being left out?"
Twisted young British parents planned to sacrifice their precious baby in the evil cause of jihad by mass murder.
Fanatical terror suspect Abdula Ahmed Ali, 25, and his wife, Cossor, 23, are among those being interrogated by police as suspects in the massive plot to attack trans-Atlantic flights in midair.
What the outwardly normal couple had secretly plotted is almost too horrifying to consider, cops said.
The Alis planned to use 6-month-old son Zain's baby bottle as a liquid bomb, blowing themselves and their child up, along with hundreds of others aboard the flight.
To their stunned friends and neighbors in a housing project in north London, the Alis were known as quiet, struggling parents and observant Muslims who showed no signs of terror ties.
But British security experts suspect that Cossor Ali is an example of a chilling phenomenon that is growing in popularity among the terror set - a woman willing to use her innocent appearance to allay suspicions and carry out a suicide bombing. At least 20 Muslim women have blown themselves up in such attacks.
Particularly disturbing was Cossor Ali's apparent intent to conceal the liquid trigger for a bomb in Zain's baby bottle when the family boarded a jetliner.
"It may be beyond belief, but we are convinced that there are now women in Britain who are prepared to die with their babies for their twisted cause," a security adviser to the British government told The Times of London.
"They are ruthless, single-minded and totally committed."
Cossor, a British citizen like her husband, lived with her parents and two older sisters before marrying Ali three years ago. The couple moved into the project and were receiving government assistance.[snip]
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Muslim leaders summoned to talks with the Government on tackling extremism in their midst called for public holidays to mark their religious festivals.
The Whitehall meeting was set up in response to last week's airline bomb plot discovery.
Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly had prepared an uncompromising message on the need to tackle dangerous radicalism.
But, in what she admitted were 'sharp' exchanges, some senior Muslim figures turned the tables yesterday and made a series of demands which also included the introduction of Sharia law for family matters.
Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, secretary general of the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland, said: 'We told her if you give us religious rights, we will be in a better position to convince young people that they are being treated equally along with other citizens.'
Dr Pasha said Miss Kelly had agreed to look at the proposals, though her spokesman insisted later that she did not favour any legal change which would give 'special treatment' for the Muslim community.
Some of the 30 moderate Muslim leaders at the meeting told Miss Kelly that important days in their two main religious festivals - Ramadan and Eid-ul-Adha - should be made public holidays for followers of the faith.Sharia law, which is practised in large parts of the Middle East, should also be introduced in Britain, they argued. While it specifies stonings and amputations as routine punishments for crimes, Dr Pasha said he wanted it only for family affairs.
Don't ask me why, but I loved this line:
Professor Tian first met Dr Perelman at New York University in the early 1990s. “He is easy to talk to on mathematics. He likes to walk a lot,” he said. “I did not find him strange.”
Monday, August 14, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I'm not sure the title is apropos... I'll watch this tomorrow and perhaps relabel this link myself.
This article is just a little too freaky.
A mosque in Walthamstow, east London, is emerging as the hub where a number of the terror suspects may have met each other and become friends, writes Abul Taher.
At least eight suspects worshipped at the Masjid-E-Umer mosque regularly, three of whom were well known to those that run it.
Waheed Zaman, 22, lived opposite the mosque on Queens Road, and is believed to have prayed five time a day. Zaman, a final-year biochemistry student at London Metropolitan University, is understood to have become friends there with Ibrahim Savant, 25, a white convert to Islam, and Muhammed Usman Saddeque, 24. All three were known as “good Muslims” to mosque officials.
Savant is believed to have converted to Islam about five years ago.
It is understood that the Hussain brothers, Umair, 25, Nabeel, 22, and Mehran, were all frequent worshippers at the mosque, though they are known to have worshipped at others in the area. They used to sell alcohol-free perfumes outside mosques during prayer times.
All three brothers are believed to be students at universities around London.
A senior Muslim leader said brothers Assan Abdullah Khan, 23, and Waheed Khan, 25, also visited the mosque.
The Umer mosque, which is one of the biggest in the area with a capacity of about 1,300, adheres to the strict Deobandi sect of Sunni Islam, which derives from the Indian subcontinent.
No extremist Muslim groups have infiltrated the mosque but it is believed that local fanatics have distributed leaflets outside during prayer times.
Iqbal Mehtar, a trustee of the mosque, said: “Every mosque has that problem. There is nothing we can do about it.”
The mosque does allow a missionary Islamic group, Tablighi Jamaat, to preach inside. The sect is known for its tendency towards secrecy.
Western security services have in the past accused the global Tablighi movement of being a “conveyor belt” for terrorism.
However, members of the Tablighi Jamaat say they do not advocate any kind of terrorism or violence, and forbid their followers from discussing politics during prayers.
The Umer mosque, which was formerly a synagogue, was reopened after a refurbishment that cost more than £2m three years ago.
This weekend friends of Zaman rallied in support of the arrested men outside the mosque. Mohammed, 24, a fellow student at London Metropolitan University, said: “Wahid used to do a lot of community work on his own. He used to go and force people to get off drugs. He used to preach to them about Islam.”
Another friend of Zaman, who identified himself as Ali, 30, said: “Look, this mosque has had no problems with extremism. It’s just a normal mosque.”
The IT consultant added: “These people they have grabbed cannot be the people they really wanted because if British or US intelligence are saying they are capable of bringing planes down then we are very worried. These are very simple people who would not be able to do this.”
Last week, after Friday prayers, Maulana Shoaib, the imam of the mosque, appealed for calm.
Reading from a statement, he said: “The Masjid urges the Muslim community to remain calm and assist the authorities with the ongoing investigation.“We urge all to be mindful of the fact that despite what is said in the media people are innocent until proven guilty.”
Friday, August 11, 2006
I'd roll my eyes, but it's been such a material-filled week that they've already left the building.
Callers to my radio show today ran the gamut over this latest example of terrorist threats. One man made the perfect analogy, comparing the way we teach our children to stand up to the schoolyard bully to the way the United States is leading the world-wide war on terror. “Every culture understands this concept”, he said. “If the bully is left alone, he never goes away. Ned Lamont and many liberal Democrats think if we leave the terrorists alone, they’ll just peacefully mind their own business, never bothering us again.” I thought his point was terrific.
And then there was Amanda.
She was calling from Colorado, and she chastised me for embracing violence as a solution to violence. “You right-wingers love blood and guts and you never have any sympathy for the other side”, she said. “The other side?” I asked. “You mean the terrorists?” She responded with a sneer in her voice: “You just don’t understand. They feel that WE’RE the terrorists. You conservatives are wrong in defining this war as something between good and evil.”
I had just about had enough. “Amanda, let me ask you something”, I said. “Do you consider the 19 hijackers of 9/11 evil?” Long pause. “No, I do not,” she replied. “We should look at ourselves to discover what we did to make them hate us so much. This is all our fault.”
Make no mistake, this woman was serious. I actually told her I hoped she was a comedienne, someone making a prank call to a national radio show. She assured me that she was not. So I had to ask her what she did for a living. Her answer will haunt me for a long, long time: “I’m a schoolteacher.”
This war is so complicated because we are fighting an entity that is all over the world, an enemy with no geographical boundaries. It’s also tough because we all know that it’s a war that will be fought for many, many generations.
But most of all, it’s so difficult because not every one of our enemies are named Ahmed and Muhammad and Abdul.
Some of America’s enemies in this war are named Ned. And Cindy. And Amanda.
As the saying goes, if he didn't have double standards, he'd have no standards at all.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
This is totally off-topic today... but, for future reference...
Prophet of Decline
An interview with Oriana Fallaci.
NEW YORK--Oriana Fallaci faces jail. In her mid-70s, stricken with a cancer that, for the moment, permits only the consumption of liquids--so yes, we drank champagne in the course of a three-hour interview--one of the most renowned journalists of the modern era has been indicted by a judge in her native Italy under provisions of the Italian Penal Code which proscribe the "vilipendio," or "vilification," of "any religion admitted by the state."
In her case, the religion deemed vilified is Islam, and the vilification was perpetrated, apparently, in a book she wrote last year--and which has sold many more than a million copies all over Europe--called "The Force of Reason." Its astringent thesis is that the Old Continent is on the verge of becoming a dominion of Islam, and that the people of the West have surrendered themselves fecklessly to the "sons of Allah." So in a nutshell, Oriana Fallaci faces up to two years' imprisonment for her beliefs--which is one reason why she has chosen to stay put in New York. Let us give thanks for the First Amendment.
It is a shame, in so many ways, that "vilipend," the latinate word that is the pinpoint equivalent in English of the Italian offense in question, is scarcely ever used in the Anglo-American lexicon; for it captures beautifully the pomposity, as well as the anachronistic outlandishness, of the law in question. A "vilification," by contrast, sounds so sordid, so tabloid--hardly fitting for a grande dame.
"When I was given the news," Ms. Fallaci says of her recent indictment, "I laughed. Bitterly, of course, but I laughed. No amusement, no surprise, because the trial is nothing else but a demonstration that everything I've written is true." An activist judge in Bergamo, in northern Italy, took it upon himself to admit a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch. The complainant, one Adel Smith--who, despite his name, is Muslim, and an incendiary public provocateur to boot--has a history of anti-Fallaci crankiness, and is widely believed to be behind the publication of a pamphlet, "Islam Punishes Oriana Fallaci," which exhorts Muslims to "eliminate" her. (Ironically, Mr. Smith, too, faces the peculiar charge of vilipendio against religion--Roman Catholicism in his case--after he described the Catholic Church as "a criminal organization" on television. Two years ago, he made news in Italy by filing suit for the removal of crucifixes from the walls of all public-school classrooms, and also, allegedly, for flinging a crucifix out of the window of a hospital room where his mother was being treated. "My mother will not die in a room where there is a crucifix," he said, according to hospital officials.)
Ms. Fallaci speaks in a passionate growl: "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty." Such words--"invaders," "invasion," "colony," "Eurabia"--are deeply, immensely, Politically Incorrect; and one is tempted to believe that it is her tone, her vocabulary, and not necessarily her substance or basic message, that has attracted the ire of the judge in Bergamo (and has made her so radioactive in the eyes of Europe's cultural elites).
"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Ms. Fallaci's. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: "The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavor of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed. When I ask her what "solution" there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, Ms. Fallaci flares up like a lit match. "How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It's like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did?" She then says "Phwah, phwah," and gestures at slashing her wrists. "He committed suicide!" Seneca was accused of being involved in a plot to murder the emperor Nero. Without a trial, he was ordered by Nero to kill himself. One senses that Ms. Fallaci sees in Islam the shadow of Nero. "What could Seneca do?" she asks, with a discernible shudder. "He knew it would end that way--with the fall of the Roman Empire. But he could do nothing."
The impending Fall of the West, as she sees it, now torments Ms. Fallaci. And as much as that Fall, what torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward its precipice of choice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!"--a reference to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the conservative father, with the radical Garibaldi, of Modern Italy. Ms. Fallaci, rarely reverent, pauses here to reflect on the man, and on the question of where all the conservatives have gone in Europe. "In the beginning, I was dismayed, and I asked, how is it possible that we do not have Cavour . . . just one Cavour, uno? He was a revolutionary, and yes, he was not of the left. Italy needs a Cavour--Europe needs a Cavour." Ms. Fallaci describes herself, too, as "a revolutionary"--"because I do what conservatives in Europe don't do, which is that I don't accept to be treated like a delinquent." She professes to "cry, sometimes, because I'm not 20 years younger, and I'm not healthy. But if I were, I would even sacrifice my writing to enter politics somehow."
Here she pauses to light a slim black cigarillo, and then to take a sip of champagne. Its chill makes her grimace, but fortified, she returns to vehement speech, more clearly evocative of Oswald Spengler than at any time in our interview. "You cannot survive if you do not know the past. We know why all the other civilizations have collapsed--from an excess of welfare, of richness, and from lack of morality, of spirituality." (She uses "welfare" here in the sense of well-being, so she is talking, really, of decadence.) "The moment you give up your principles, and your values . . . the moment you laugh at those principles, and those values, you are dead, your culture is dead, your civilization is dead. Period." The force with which she utters the word "dead" here is startling. I reach for my flute of champagne, as if for a crutch.
"I feel less alone when I read the books of Ratzinger." I had asked Ms. Fallaci whether there was any contemporary leader she admired, and Pope Benedict XVI was evidently a man in whom she reposed some trust. "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true. It's that simple! There must be some human truth here that is beyond religion."
Ms. Fallaci, who made her name by interviewing numerous statesmen (and not a few tyrants), believes that ours is "an age without leaders. We stopped having leaders at the end of the 20th century." Of George Bush, she will concede only that he has "vigor," and that he is "obstinate" (in her book a compliment) and "gutsy. . . . Nobody obliged him to do anything about Terri Schiavo, or to take a stand on stem cells. But he did."
But it is "Ratzinger" (as she insists on calling the pope) who is her soulmate. John Paul II--"Wojtyla"--was a "warrior, who did more to end the Soviet Union than even America," but she will not forgive him for his "weakness toward the Islamic world. Why, why was he so weak?"
The scant hopes that she has for the West she rests on his successor. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI wrote frequently on the European (and the Western) condition. Last year, he wrote an essay titled "If Europe Hates Itself," from which Ms. Fallaci reads this to me: "The West reveals . . . a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; the West . . . no longer loves itself; in its own history, it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure."
"Ecco!" she says. A man after her own heart. "Ecco!" But I cannot be certain whether I see triumph in her eyes, or pain.
As for the vilipendio against Islam, she refuses to attend the trial in Bergamo, set for June 2006. "I don't even know if I will be around next year. My cancers are so bad that I think I've arrived at the end of the road. What a pity. I would like to live not only because I love life so much, but because I'd like to see the result of the trial. I do think I will be found guilty."
At this point she laughs. Bitterly, of course, but she laughs.
Sources identify the three, who are now in custody, as:
--Mohammed al-Ghandra--Ahmed al Khan
I think I'm going to throw up.
AP via Yahoo! ^ | 08/10/06 | AP
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of harboring imperial ambitions and demanded the administration change its behavior, in an interview with a US television network.
The Americans "want to build an empire," said Ahmadinejad, according to excerpts of the interview published by the CBS network on its website Wednesday.
"And they don't want to live side-by-side in peace with other nations. The American government, sir, it is very clear to me they have to change their behavior and everything will be resolved," said Ahmadinejad.
The interview, which was to be broadcast in full on Sunday on the "60 minutes" program, coincides with rising tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran's disputed nuclear program and Israel's offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The hardline Iranian president said the administration of President George W. Bush had adopted a condescending attitude towards Iran over its nuclear program and criticized a UN Security Council resolution requiring Tehran suspend uranium enrichment activities or face the prospect of sanctions.
"Well, please look at the makeup of the American administration, the behavior of the American administration. See how they talk down to my nation. And this recent resolution passed about the nuclear issue, look at the wording."
The July 31 resolution was pushed through after Iran ignored a previous non-binding deadline and failed to respond to an international offer of a package of incentives in exchange for a moratorium on nuclear fuel work.
Ahmadinejad said Iran was still reviewing the package of incentives.
Western powers had "presented us with a package which we are studying right now," the president said. "We even gave them a date for our response. Ignoring that, they passed a resolution."
Ahmadinejad also expressed disappointment that the US administration had not responded to a letter he sent to Bush in May, which Tehran had presented as an important diplomatic initiative.
"Well, (with the letter) I wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective," he said.
The Bush administration, however, dismissed the 18-page letter as little more than a rambling philosophical treatise that offered nothing new on the nuclear crisis.
Ahmadinejad scoffed at Bush for refusing his "invitation" in the form of his letter.
"We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate," he said.
"You see that his approval rating is dropping every day. Hatred vis-a-vis the president is increasing every day around the world."CBS said the interview was conducted on Tuesday.
Here's my FR response:
66 posted on 08/10/2006 11:38:29 AM CDT by AnnaZ"Well, (with the letter) I [Ahmadinejad] wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective," he said.Ahmonajihad is once again here reiterating his invitation to Bush to convert to Islam. (First the letter, then a verbal declaration to other Muslin leaders shortly thereafter in Indonesia. Now directly to "us".)
The Bush administration, however, dismissed the 18-page letter as little more than a rambling philosophical treatise that offered nothing new on the nuclear crisis.
Ahmadinejad scoffed at Bush for refusing his "invitation" in the form of his letter.
"We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate," he said.
Within the media we are beset by such stultifying ignorance and/or denial that it is breathtaking.
Thanks, SeeBS, for giving this fanatic a forum for America to hear the invitation. You've succeeded in clearing the nutjob's conscience for whatever carnage he envisions.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
(IsraelNN.com) The day after it was revealed that a Reuters News Agency doctored photographs to show an anti-Israel bias, the news service incorrectly reported Tuesday afternoon that the IDF bombed a funeral procession in Lebanon.Reuters has corrected without apology its earlier story that the IDF strafed a funeral procession and updated the report to state that the bombs struck a village at the same time the funeral was taking place, adding that "the air strike was not in the immediate vicinity of the funeral."
Monday, August 07, 2006
I couldn't make this event -- conflicts, Shabbat... -- but there it is.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
I've been kvetching about this to my friends for a couple of weeks now. Every "hottest day ever" this summer has been lower than other same-days in the past.
Don't believe the hype -- even if Gore makes a sequel.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Iran, of course. My fave line:
"The investigation of individuals' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief," is the rule of law in Iran's constitution.
However, a secret service official with responsibilities for minorities, identified only as Mr. Bagani, advised that Motamadi will not be freed unless he renounces his faith and returns to Islam.
Bagani told sources for the Commission the judge in the case will accept no other solution. He also hinted it may take several executions before Iranians realize the consequences of apostasy.
Bolton rocks, Dims and RINOs are fools. But that's redundant.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Delusion, madness, lies, insanity... this speech has got 'em all:
Tehran, Iran, Aug. 02 – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted United States policy in the Middle East and warned of an impending Muslim “jihad”, or holy war, against the West.
“Today, it is clear for everyone that the aggression against Lebanon was a premeditated U.S.-Zionist action as a key step in the path of dominating the Middle East and the Islamic world”, Khamenei said. His comments were reported in the official news agency IRNA and aired in part on state television on Wednesday.
“Today, Muslim nations more than ever despise the U.S.”, he said.
“With its support of the Zionists crimes and criminals and its blatant aggression against the rights of Muslim nations, the U.S. regime must be prepared for a hard slap and a destructive punch by Muslims”, Khamenei said.
“The U.S. is following a policy of creating insecurity, crisis, and war in the region”, he said, adding, “It must know that the more it expands insecurity, the more it will arouse the anger of nations against it and make the world insecure for itself”.
Khamenei praised the Lebanese militia Hezbollah for taking part in a “jihad” against the “enemies of Islam”, stating that the group was on the “frontline” of the defence of Muslims.
“The aggressive actions and nature of the U.S. and Israel will revive the spirit of resistance in the Islamic world and will make the value of jihad more prevalent for it”, Khamenei added.“Islamic Iran believes resistance against American bullying and aggression and mischief by Israel to be its duty and will stand alongside all oppressed nations, especially the dear people of Lebanon and the combatant Palestinian nation”, he added.
The head of the Federal Government's Muslim Advisory Group says Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation and should be removed from a list of banned organisations.
Dr Ameer Ali has also accused the Australian Government of having no independent policy on the Middle East, saying it follows the United States and Israel.
He says Hezbollah should not be considered in the same league as Al Qaeda.
Dr Ali says he is going to write to Mr Howard asking for the group to be removed from a list of banned terrorist organisations.
"Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation, it's not a organisation like Al Qaeda which is bent on creating wanton violence all over the world," he said.
"They are not doing that, it's a part of Lebanese politics, it's part of south Lebanon."
But the Prime Minister has strongly rejected Dr Ali's call."Rethink our proscription of it as a terrorist organisation? No chance, full stop. No chance at all," Mr Howard said.
Clementine Ford of Adelaide, Australia wrote in response that because the "reasoning for abortion is personal…there can be no definable ‘valid’ reason for having one."
"Personally, I aborted my parasite because of failed contraception and a fervent desire not to breed right now. I feel no guilt for my actions."
Yowsers... a real lovin' doll, that one.
McKinney dismissed the recent poll in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and said her attorney sent a letter to the newspaper demanding that the newspaper stop publishing poll stories that show Johnson in the lead.
"We notified them of their libelist writing," McKinney said in an interview. "We advised them to cease and desist and offer a retraction."
Good ol' Cynthia McKooky.
Lots of pix at (my) thread.
What does this have to do with important world events? Nothing.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Originally in Macleans.
The scandal isn't a tardy evacuation; it's that we've fostered so many indifferent citizens
Here's one of my favourite numbers: 50,000 -- as in "50,000 Canadians," as in "As many as 50,000 Canadians are believed to be in Lebanon" (CBC News), and "There were an estimated 50,000 Canadians in Lebanon when fighting broke out" (Canadian Press), and "There were some 50,000 Canadians in harm's way, trapped in a country that Israel was relentlessly bombing" (the Toronto Star).
The question is: Why are they "in harm's way"? How did "50,000 Canadians" come to be in Lebanon? Is it one of our major trading partners? Has Bombardier opened up a Ski-Doo plant there? Is Beirut where the Quebec Nordiques wound up? 50,000 Canucks out of a total Lebanese population of 3.8 million works out to about 1.3 per cent of the population. Hezbollah claims 400,000 supporters in Lebanon after 20 years of diligent recruiting and investment by Iran, but Canada has managed to amass an eighth of that figure with nary a thought. Despite significantly smaller populations than our G7 colleagues, we have more citizens in Lebanon than the Americans, British and Germans.
France is the former colonial power in Lebanon and the Western country with which it maintains the closest ties, yet even the French can muster only 30,000 citizens in the country. Formerly known as "the Paris of the Middle East," these days Beirut would appear to be the Saskatoon of the Middle East. Another decade or two and Lebanon will boast more Canadians than most of the Maritimes. If Canadians were represented within the global population as generously as they are among the Lebanese, there would be over 81 million Canadian citizens living outside Canada.[snip]