Sunday, 30 March 2008
Spring forward - trip over.
The clocks went forward an hour in the UK this morning on to British Summer Time. They also went forward in Sweden but I expect there they call it Swedish Summer Time.
I am now somewhat discomknockervated. I had a late night on Friday in the Pub With No Beer which didn’t help my sleep pattern yesterday but the change has unsettled me more than usual.
I can see the sense in it, making the utmost use of available daylight. If it was important during two world wars I can see the use in this current concern for energy saving. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Some people grumble when the clocks go back in October. Every year some society for the purpose declares that there will be x number more accidents because the clocks are returned to the natural rhythm for the longitude and latitude of the British Isles once the summer is over. They think we should be in line with Central Europe Time all year. The fact that Sweden and Finland and Iceland are not on CET much of the time (if at all) either cuts no ice. They refuse to recall the experiment in 1969-71 when we didn’t turn the clocks back for two years and everybody was miserable because we went to school and work in the dark and got home in the dark. Which is why we went back to the tried and trusted method.
I don’t like the very late light nights of June. I would be no good in northern Scotland or Norway with the Land of the Midnight Sun. I absolutely hate going to bed at 10pm and hearing birds tweeting and sun still streaming through my curtains. I don't sleep well during June and it makes me grumpy.
I like getting up when it is dark and watching the dawn in russet mantle clad walk o’er the dew of yon high eastern house over the back.
I wish we stayed on Greenwich Mean Time all year.
But never mind, it’s being so cheerful as keeps me going.
Posted on 03/30/2008 2:58 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 March 2008
For various reasons, last week was a bit of a bugger. The sound of BBC newsreader Charlotte Green, who has the vocal equivalent of a poker face, collapsing into giggles on Friday's Today Programme, was therefore exactly what the doctor ordered.
Click here to listen. Do not, under any circumstances, laugh. Laughing is strengst verboten. The Times reports:
The normally austere tones of the 8 o'clock news on BBC Radio 4's Today programme were replaced by fits of hilarity this morning when a newsreader was unable to stop laughing after hearing a clip of an old sound recording.
Charlotte Green had just finished reading an item about what appeared to be the earliest recording of the human voice, made in 1860, when she fell into an uncontrollable fit of laughter from which she was unable to recover.
Ms Green's latest "corpsing" episode was immediately reported on the BBC sister station Radio 5 Live and prompted thousands of calls to the BBC press office and instant replays on websites.
The giggles were triggered by a recording of the French song Au Clair De La Lune, unearthed by American scientists, that was apparently made 11 years before Thomas Edison first demonstrated the gramophone. The strange, scarcely audible, wail was too much for Ms Green, who was unable to recover her composure and broke down intermittently during the next item: a report on the death of the esteemed screenwriter Abby Mann.
The BBC said that Ms Green's giggles started when she heard in her earpiece a colleague's remark that the clip sounded like "a bee buzzing in a bottle". A spokeswoman said that the programme had so far had 20 comments about the incident, "all positive, about how funny they found it" and no complaints.
The Times leader comments on the strange phenomenon of "corpsing":
Nobody is sure why it is even called corpsing, except that it so often turns out to be dead funny. As when the BBC newsreader Charlotte Green was seized by giggles yesterday on the Radio 4 Today programme while sombrely announcing the death of the Oscar-winning screenwriter Abby Mann - and all the more so because Ms Green generally declaims in the glacial register of a theology don. What had set her snorting so helplessly into her microphone? A snatch of Au Clair de la Lune that was being touted as the first known recording of a human voice.
The only other thing we know for certain is that, as with a tango, it takes two to pull it off. You can no more corpse in private than you can tickle yourself. Scientists suggest that a fit of corpsing is triggered when you find yourself ambushed by an inappropriate and incongruous emotion while you're straining to keep a straight face on account of being in the throes of simulating a very different, far more serious emotion.
Hence corpsing's tendency to afflict actors, newsreaders and commentators - famously the cricket commentator Brian Johnston, who regularly convulsed himself and radio listeners from Trent Bridge to Trenchtown with his corpsing.
Corpsing is such a legendary part of theatrical lore that some believe the term might even have originated from the theatrical prank of goading a fellow actor who's playing a corpse on stage into laughing. Peter Cook was notorious for tossing ad libs, like surreal grenades, into dialogue to provoke his comedy sparring partner Dudley Moore into corpsing. Why were such unscripted moments not cut from the subsequent TV broadcasts? Because the joy of corpsing is that it is as infectious as chicken pox.
Posted on 03/30/2008 11:42 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Eat your words
Ben Macintyre gives us some food for thought:
Food is surely the single most important conveyer of words between and among languages. Early travellers traded in exotic goods, but also in words. Just as our palates were changed and expanded with foreign tastes, so the English language has been constantly enriched by new and strange food words, which were themselves gradually absorbed into everyday speech.
Chocolate was only one element of the linguistic banquet laid on by the Aztecs. They gave us guacamole, chilli and tomato, the supposedly aphrodisiac qualities of which persuaded hopeful Italians to dub it the “golden apple”, pomodoro. Some Nahuatl words were quite indigestible. Tlilxochitl, for example, was a prized delicacy meaning “black flower”. The Spanish simply couldn't get their tongues around it, so Willem Piso, a Spanish doctor serving under the governor of Brazil, renamed it vanilla (meaning “little sheath”).
[...Read the original to find out about avocados...]
Food words invade with the invaders. Wine, pepper, butter, radish all came to English from the Roman invasion. Cheese is related to the Latin caseus. The Norman Conquest brought a banquet of table words, as sophisticated French cookery colonised simpler Saxon fare. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the Normans invented English cooking words: Saxon animals (sheep, pig, cow) became Norman terms when cooked and seasoned: mutton, pork and beef. More exotic words followed: gravy, mustard, liquorice.
Food words were exported from wherever the empire spread. And when no word was easily available for import, its very foreignness became its description. Walnut, for example, comes from Old English walhnutu, which means “foreign nut”, since the first walnuts seen in Britain came from Italy.
While English was almost omnivorous, a few food words have been too big to swallow. Early visitors to Hawaii were thrilled to find a fish called a humuhumunukunukupuaa, but as a food, and a word, it never caught on. Some words, like some foods, are best consumed where they originate.
Posted on 03/30/2008 2:40 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 30 March 2008
The Duty To Instruct And Protect
Australia has added its voice to the international chorus of outrage over an anti-Islam film posted on the internet by a right wing Dutch politician.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Geert Wilders' film Fitna equated Islam with acts of terror and violence and was "highly offensive".
"It is an obvious attempt to generate discord between faith communities," Mr Smith said.
"Like leaders in the Muslim world and in Europe, I strongly reject the ideas contained in the film and deplore its release.
"In Australia we believe in the right to freedom of expression but we don't believe in abusing that right to incite racial hatred."
--from this news article
In "Fitna" not a single word that was heard, or that was seen on screen, was spoken or written by a non-Muslim -- that is, until the very end. Every passage displayed was from the Qur'an. Every voice heard in the tapes was that of a devout Muslim, save for that voice of a non-Muslim heard at the very end, uttering the words that explain that the sound of the ripping page was of one not from the Qur'an, but from a phone book, because "it is not for" non-Muslims to rip a symbolic page -- the page of violence, hatred, jihad to subdue the Infidel and ensure the dominance of Islam and rule by Muslims -- from the Qur'an, as from the other implicated texts of Islam (Hadith, Sira), but for Muslims to metaphorically do so -- a challenge to them, a task for them.
And that's it. The rest is all from Islam and from Muslims.
For Foreign Minister Stephen Smith of Australia to denounce a text that is both an act of pedagogy, and an appeal, as hate-mongering, disgusts. That the same Foreign Minister appears to believe that an attempt to present certain undeniable -- but by Westerners such as himself, so nervously, so nearly hysterically, denied -- as "racism" when he knows perfectly well that an ideology is not a race, and that David Hicks, and Adam Gadahn, and John Walker Lindh, are every bit as malign and dangerous to Infidels as were Atta and his nineteen immediate collaborators, or those in Indonesia who murdered so many Australian tourists in Bali, shows a misguided attempt at the "pre-emptive cringe." Does Smith, do others in the Western world who utter this kind of thing really believe it?
Some, no doubt, are confused because they cannot believe that a billion people could possibly accept such malign doctrines. But that is not what the movie "Fitna" argues. It is not what it suggests. It attempts to show the most obvious truth: that the texts of Islam, those that are being, and have been in the past, since the beginning of Islam, taken to heart, are dangerous to Infidels. Muslims who do not take those passages -- in the Qur'an, the immutable and uncreated Word of God -- to heart, may not do so for a variety of reasons. They may be illiterate villagers, whose Islam consists only of the Five Pillars, and who somehow remained largely unaware of the rest, though they have always known that they were "Muslims," that this "Muslim" identity was the main thing in their lives, and that loyalty was owed to Islam and to the Umma, and that this tended to elevate Muslims above all others. Look at all the accounts, over the centuries, by European travelers, by Hindu historians, by Christians who endured Muslim rule (Arakel of Tabriz, the celebrated Armenian whose chronicles have just been re-published in a scholarly translation), by Jews (see Maimonides' Epistle to the Yemen, see Benjamin of Tudela), and no doubt there are also Zoroastrians who have left their accounts.
What do they say, all those chroniclers and historians? Does Foreign Minister Smith know? Does he care to find out? What do the Western scholars of Islam say about the history of Islamic conquest, what prompted it, and what happened to the non-Muslims in the lands that were conquered, over the past 1350 years? Does he know that for a very long period, and especially in that century between roughly 1860 and 1960, before the Great Inhibition, all kinds of Western scholars, German and Dutch and Italian and Russian and English and American and Spanish, studied Islam and the history of Islamic conquest, and their works are not to be ignored nor denied, in the intolerable rush to embrace the assorted espositos and armstrongs, who have nothing like the learning of Schacht, Hurgronje, Jeffrey, Zwemer, Lammens, Dufourcq, and hundreds of others.
This kind of thing cannot be endured. It is not for this or that temporary placeholder in the Western world to decide, peremptorily, because he lacks the wit to figure out how to talk, intelligently, about the meaning and menace of Islam, in a way that cannot be denied, and lacks the wit to figure out the minimal measures that can be taken, if he is to fulfill the duty that high government officials in democracies all have, expressly or by implication, which is to both to instruct and to protect those who, by electing them, or those who appointed them, have entrusted these officials with certain responsibilities, and expect more than the kind of idiocy that Foreign Stephen thinks is acceptable, thinks will satisfy. (DW)
Posted on 03/30/2008 10:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 30 March 2008
MAKE OUR CHURCHES SAFE
Our move comes after the brutal assault on Canon Michael Ainsworth who was kicked and punched as he went to tell youths to be quiet in a passageway by his St George-in-the-East parish church in Shadwell in March 5.
That attack highlighted a sorry lack of security at church properties, many of which have faced regular vandalism and become magnets for bored antisocial youths. Gravestones at St Dunstan's church just a mile away in Stepney are regularly daubed in graffiti and other buildings have had windows smashed.
Too often, religious leaders said last week, vandalism against churches was treated as just that, 'vandalism', but similar graffiti on mosque properties is treated as 'faith hate crime'.
There is a feeling among many that the authorities treat churches with less importance.
Yet we have some of the most magnificent London churches in the East End, three of which were created by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th century, St George's, St Anne's at Limehouse and Christchurch at Spitalfields. Our churches should not be neglected.
Canon Ainsworth, writing in the Advertiser last week, called on Tower Hamlets council, which is responsible for the upkeep and security of 12 church grounds and burial sites, to "play its part" in reviewing security.
But Mr Ainsworth feels that by investing in the derelict nature study centre in St George's Gardens in Canon Street-road, there would also be some good emerging from the horror of the March 5 attack.
The Advertiser urges Tower Hamlets councillors to give this issue the attention it deserves.
We are looking at some of the East End church grounds over the next few weeks and campaigning for improvements.
Posted on 03/30/2008 10:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Mob forces Punjabi girl, 9, into marriage to punish father
A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl in Pakistan has been forced to marry a man of 24 to punish her father for eloping with a neighbour’s daughter.
Nazia Nawaz, who lives in the village of Babrianwala in rural Punjab, described last week how a mob of 30 men, led by a mullah and the local council, stormed her family home and demanded that she and her seven-year-old sister marry two male relatives to settle the dispute.
The forced marriage of Nazia to her adult cousin had just been completed when other family members arrived to stop the wedding of her younger sister, Shazia.
This weekend human rights campaigners in Pakistan criticised successive governments for failing to stamp out the system of village justice known as vani, which is common throughout remote areas of Punjab.
The case emerged when Nazia and her mother made a public statement seeking protection from the man she had been forced to marry.
Her mother, Anwar Bibi, said the dispute began last year when her husband fell in love with his cousin and married her. “My husband developed relations with his cousin, Shamim Bibi, about three months ago. Her father, Muhammad Yar, said Shamim had been abducted and started pressurising me to give my two girls in return.”
Yar demanded that her two daughters be given in marriage to his two adult sons, one of whom was 30 years old and already married with a child.
Villagers said Yar’s sons had planned to take the girls and rape them to punish their father, Rab Nawaz.
Police have arrested 20 men in connection with the ceremony, including Yar and his two sons. The local police chief, Ghulam Mustafa Pahure, said the marriage was in breach of a women’s rights act that came into force last year.
Nazia’s father, whose elopement ignited the family feud, said he had no regrets. “I married for love and we want to stay together, and for this I’m prepared to pay any price,” he declared.
A report published last week by Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) revealed widespread sexual violence against women, often in attacks sanctioned by village councils. In 2007 the commission discovered 354 cases of gang rape, 377 rapes and 21 cases where women were stripped naked as a family punishment.
Pakistan has faced condemnation for its failure to protect rural women in a number of high-profile cases in the past two years.
In one landmark case a former defence minister was found to have been part of a jirga, or community council, that ordered five daughters of a man accused of murder to be handed over to the victim’s family. The youngest was two years old.
Posted on 03/30/2008 9:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Al-Sadr Calls Off Militia
BBC: Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has ordered his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities in an effort to end clashes with security forces.
He said in a statement that his movement wanted the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed and maintain the nation's independence and stability.
The government, which had set a deadline to hand over weapons in return for cash, called the move "positive".
Cash coming from American taxpayers, of course. Why should they spend Iraqi oil money when the American purse is still wide open?
The fighting has claimed more than 240 lives across the country since Tuesday.
In Baghdad, the city's military command has extended a round-the-clock curfew for an indefinite period. The curfew had been due to end on Sunday morning...
Moqtada Sadr's statement said: "Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed, and to maintain the unity of Iraq and to put an end to this sedition that the occupiers and their followers want to spread among the Iraqi people, we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces.
"Anyone carrying a weapon and targeting government institutions will not be one of us."
The cleric also demanded that the government apply the general amnesty law, release detainees and stop what he called illegal raids.
Moqtada Sadr also told his followers to "work with Iraqi government offices to achieve security and to file charges against those who have committed crimes". ...
Posted on 03/30/2008 9:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 30 March 2008
The language of administration
I have never served on any kind of Diversity Committee, and it is unlikely that I would be asked to do so. I do not know the precise words Diversity Officials use to say: "We should take more black people even if they aren't good enough." But this is what "diversity" means, so it must be said, one way or another. Of course, "precise words", are precisely what diversocrats do not use. If anyone were to state clearly that skin colour mattered more than talent, you would hear a pin drop in Diversity Offices all over the world.
Stupid and wicked ideas are often couched in obscure language because clarity shows up stupidity and wickedness. Some people cannot write clearly, but even more are afraid to.
The Underground Grammarian, a journal excoriating poor English, is a real find. This short piece from J. Mitchell Morse, explains why administrators are some of the worst offenders. He means academic administrators, but I think it applies equally to other bureaucrats and to managers in industry:
Just as the citizens of a paper-mill town don't smell the sulfur fumes that thicken their yellow air, so we tend to be unaware of the pervasive fear of mental clarity, and to share it unconsciously. We turn off our minds for the same reason that we turn off our lights: we want to sleep in darkness.
Every ruling group wants the masses to be docile, uncritical, unquestioning, unthinking. Virtue, therefore, has always been associated with ignorance and inarticulacy. In view of the exacerbated official anti-intellectualism of the last quarter-century, bad grammar is now a badge of safety, an assurance that we are real folks, not pointy-headed innaleckshals or elitist snobs. The basic cause of bad writing is not lack of brain power but lack of courage.
That is why many of those who are drawn to administration write poorly. Not all but many administrators--although they don't know it--don't dare to write well. They have subconsciously surrendered the power to think with literate clarity, lest they be unacceptable in the way that Adlai Stevenson and Morris Udall were unacceptable.
So have many of us teachers. We are afraid of the pseudo-populists. The most unconsciously reactionary of us all are those who--in the name of radical populism--want our students to remain complacently ignorant of the English in which books are written.
Is it any wonder that our students think and write confusedly?
The first step toward curing this disease, I have found, is to make the patient aware that he has it. Once our students realize that they have the bad habit of intellectual timidity, they begin to have the possibility of writing clearly. For many administrators, however, I fear there is no cure. They have chosen the life of clumsy obfuscation. They have long since consented to sin. They love it.
Posted on 03/30/2008 8:47 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Once again, the Israelis have promised something actual, concessions that will likely endanger their own citizens, while the Palestinian Arabs have promised something ephemeral, that costs them nothing.
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel and the Palestinians agreed Sunday to a series of 'concrete steps' aimed at paving the way for a final peace agreement later this year, beginning with an Israeli pledge to remove some 50 roadblocks in the West Bank.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the region for the second time this month trying to energize faltering talks, announced the measures, saying they 'constitute a very good start to improving' the Palestinian economy, which has been crippled by Israeli restrictions.
Notice how Israeli restrictions (which are simple measures of self-defense against the relentless terrorism against their citizens coming from the Palestinian side) are blamed for "crippling" the Palestinian economy, such as it is. Palestinian dysfunction is never the Palestinian Arab's own fault.
Under the plan, Israel will remove about 50 roadblocks, upgrade checkpoints to speed up the movement of Palestinians through the West Bank and give Palestinians more security responsibility in the town of Jenin with an eye toward looking at 'other areas in turn.'
The Israelis also pledged to boost the number of travel and work permits it gives to Palestinians and support economic projects in Palestinian towns.
In return, the Palestinians vowed to improve policing of Jenin 'to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror,' according to a State Department statement released shortly before Rice spoke.
Posted on 03/30/2008 8:57 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Intra-Shi'ite Fighting Poses Problems For McCain
New Duranty: The heavy fighting that broke out last week as Iraqi security forces tried to oust Shiite militias from Basra is reverberating on the presidential campaign trail and posing new challenges and opportunities to the candidates, particularly Senator John McCain.
The fierce fighting — and the threat that it could undo a long-term truce that has greatly helped to reduce the level of violence in Iraq — thrust the war back into the headlines and the public consciousness just as it had been receding behind a tide of economic concerns. And it raised anew a host of politically charged questions about whether the current strategy is succeeding, how capable the Iraqis are of defending themselves and what the potential impact would be of any American troop withdrawals.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has made the Iraq war a centerpiece of his campaign; he rode to success in the primary season partly on his early advocacy of the troop buildup. The battle in Basra broke out as he returned from a trip to Iraq this month, proclaiming that violence there was down and that the troop escalation was working.
Mr. McCain, of Arizona, said he was encouraged that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government had sent its troops to reclaim Basra from the Shiite militias. “I think it’s a sign of the strength of his government,” Mr. McCain said Friday at a stop in Las Vegas. “I think it’s going to be a tough fight. We know that these militias are well entrenched there. I hope they will succeed and succeed quickly.”
Or, it could be that we have been so successful in controlling Sunni-Shi'a fighting (or that the populations have simply separated on their own) so now we see the smaller fissures, both intra-Sunni and intra-Shi'a open up.
The Democrats, who are calling for phased troop withdrawals, are beginning to point to the fighting in Basra as evidence that the American troop buildup has failed to provide stability and political reconciliation — particularly if the fighting leads one militia, the Mahdi Army, to pull out of its cease-fire; that could lead to a new spate of sectarian violence across the country. Some are saying the fighting strengthens their case for troop withdrawals.
But the McCain campaign is hoping to turn that argument on its head, asserting that the battle in Basra shows just how dangerous the situation on the ground in Iraq is. It says this bolsters Mr. McCain’s argument that a premature withdrawal of American troops would lead to more widespread violence, instability and perhaps even genocide.
I want a commander-in-chief who can watch with cool equanimity while our enemies fight each other, and who will not be drawn back into Iraq's civil war on humanitarian grounds. I want a commander-in-chief who values American lives above the lives of Iraqis and who recognizes the difference between American national interest and Iraqi national interest.
“I think that what this demonstrates is that there are very powerful forces that still remain that do not want to see the success of the central government and that would relish the prospect of the American withdrawal so that they could try to fight or shoot their way into power,” said Randy Scheunemann, the McCain campaign’s senior foreign policy adviser. “Would you rather have the Maliki government in control, or the Iranian-backed special groups in control, or Al Qaeda in control?”
This is a false choice. The Maliki government is Shi'a and is already aligning itself closely with Iran. The Sunnis will fight or be crushed by the Shi'a, which is unlikely to happen because they will receive backing from the Sunni states, especially from Saudi Arabia. The likely long-term outcome is a low-level civil war that will flare up from time to time. The Sunni states and the Shi'a states will continue to sell oil to finance the war and they will be more likely to increase production because they will need the money so the price of oil is more likely to drop than rise. The Kurds are likely to split from the rest of the country and we should support that in exchange for a base in Kurdistan. That's all we need. It's long past time to admit that the Iraq "Light-Unto-The-Muslim-Nations" project has failed. It's time for plan B.
Posted on 03/30/2008 7:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 29 March 2008
A Great Attorney General
Boy, it's nice to be proved right, day in and day out.
As the New York Sun put it yesterday, "It's hard to recall a moment when we have heard this combination of emotion, logic, and straightforwardness in an attorney general." The Sun's editors were speaking about Attorney General Michael Mukasey's speech on Thursday, right in the hear of Pelosi-Land, which was covered by the paper's superb reporter, Josh Gerstein. As the editors recounted:
That was quite a moment when Attorney General Mukasey appeared yesterday at San Francisco, we gather from the dispatch by our Josh Gerstein. The general was making a plea for broad surveillance authority in the war on terror, warning, as Mr. Gerstein paraphrased him, "that the price for failing to empower the government will be paid in American lives." He argued that officials "shouldn't need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that's the call that we may really want to know about. And before 9/11, that's the call that we didn't know about. We knew that there has been a call from someplace that was known to be a safehouse in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn't know precisely where it went."
That was the point, Mr. Gerstein reported, that the attorney general "grimaced, swallowed hard and seemed to tear up as he reflected on the weaknesses in America's anti-terrorism strategy prior to the 2001 attacks. 'We got three thousand ... We've got three thousand people who went to work that day and didn't come home to show for that.'" Mr. Gerstein pointed out that at the time of the attacks Mr. Mukasey was chief judge at the federal court house a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. He said in his speech yesterday on the coast that the bench did little to prepare him to deal with the daily briefing he receives about the threat to America. "It is way beyond, way beyond anything that I knew or believed. So, if I was picked for the level of my knowledge of what I actually see, that was a massive piece of false advertising," he said. "There's a lot going on out there."
The attorney general, incidentally, said that the tactic of profiling Muslims isn't used at airports, but, Mr. Gerstein reported he used "blunt language to defend extra scrutiny the Justice Department gives to militant Islamic groups. "So far as focusing investigations, we investigate where the threat is coming from. The threat is coming from Islamist extremism. It's not coming from Calvinism," the attorney general said. "We'd be out of our minds, not to mention the waste of resources, to look everyplace simply in the name of being correct." Mr. Gerstein said the attorney general added that religion is never the sole basis for an investigation. "We don't look at Muslims simply because they're Muslims. That doesn't happen," he said.
The Sun's editors summed up: "These columns issued an early call for Mr. Mukasey to be nominated to our nation's top law enforcement post, and we got a glimpse yesterday of the character that made us, and many others, feel that way." Amen.
Posted on 03/29/2008 5:22 PM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 29 March 2008
What The Dutch Response To A Boycott Should Be
Any boycott of Dutch products should be swiftly followed by the following measures, made known in advance:
1) an end to all Muslim immigration into the Netherlands
2) a ban on the transfer of outside money from Muslim states -- such as Saudi Arabia -- for mosques, madrasas, propaganda, campaigns of Da'wa, and other support for Muslims whose numbers in the Netherlands have gone -- as "Fitna" notes, from about 1,600 in 1960 to 1 million today.
3) solidarity among Western exporters, who will refuse to supply whatever goods and services were, before such a boycott, supplied by Dutch firms.
4) denial of access to Western higher education and to Western medical care for Muslims who have been allowed to assume that they can continue to take, or buy in the West, all the products, all the advancements, all the technology, all the ways of transmitting information, that are the product of Infidels and, ultimately, of the mental freedoms that Infidels, but not Muslims, possess, and that if they could, they would deprive us of in order to make us conform to their rules, their Shari'a, their everything.
5) a statement by all the member nations of NATO that amplifies the meaning of the phrase "an attack on one of us shall be considered an attack on all" so that this is no longer confined to a military attack, but includes such things as this kind of economic boycott, designed to bring not only the Netherlands, but the entire West to heel.
6) an attempt to start fashioning a common response to Muslim attempts at blackmail and bullying that will not be stopped if, suddenly, Muslim states adopt an attitude of (entirely meretricious) sweet reason, but will continue, and deepen, the ties between Western security services, policy planners, treasury officials, immigration and nauralization officials, working in tandem to diminish the Muslim threat, a common threat, throughout the Western world, based on, prompted by, the texts, and the tenets, and the attitudes, of Islam.
There are a half-dozen measures that, if those who presume to protect us had any sense, they would have come with, and would have been acting on long ago.
But they haven't possessed that sense. And still do not. Not yet. For the mere and horrifying fact that in the Netherlands officials permitted the Muslim population to grow and grow and grow, through both virtually unlimited immigration, and through the providing of every possible benefit, every possible assistance that a generous and advanced Western state can provide (a system that was and is paid for by non-Muslim taxpayers, but milked in every way by, above all, Muslims on the dole, the recipients of every conceivable kind of subsidy or benefit) shows the criminal negligence of the Dutch political and media elites, a negligence shared by the elites of the other countries of Western Europe.
Some are coming, others will come, to their senses. It is a question of when. It is a question of how fast, and how unsentimental they in the end will turn out to be, and how grateful they feel toward the civilizational legacy constructed by others, that they did so little to deserve, and now will have to do so much to preserve. (DW)
Posted on 03/29/2008 5:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
The police worker who fought forced marriages is facing dismissal for speaking publicly about their plight.
A police worker praised by MPs for protecting thousands of girls from forced marriages is facing dismissal for speaking publicly about their plight.
Philip Balmforth has been removed from his duties and faces a disciplinary hearing next week after giving an interview to The Times about Asian children who go missing from schools in Bradford.
The former police inspector, regarded as a national authority on “honour-based” violence, stands accused of “damaging the reputation” of West Yorkshire Police by speaking to a newspaper without consent.
It is understood that the force, which has investigated 176 cases of forced marriage in the past year alone, took action against Mr Balmforth after receiving a complaint from Bradford council. Senior figures on the local authority are said to have claimed that his high-profile work was damaging the city’s image and was “bad for regeneration”.
Last week 56 MPs signed a Commons early day motion praising Mr Balmforth. It was tabled by Ann Cryer, the MP for Keighley and a campaigner for the welfare of ethnic minority women.
The motion applauds his work “in protecting thousands of vulnerable girls in the Bradford district” and commends the police “for having the foresight to engage Philip 12 years ago, thus enabling him to give so many young women the right to choose whom and when to marry”.
Ninety per cent of the victims who have been dealt with by the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit are from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background and the majority are taken to their families’ countries of origin to be married, often to a first cousin.
Mr Balmforth, a full-time police support worker whose post as vulnerable persons officer (Asian women) is partly funded by Bradford social services, has been contacted for help by more than 2,000 local women in recent years.
He was interviewed by The Times this month after the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into domestic violence established that 33 pupils had vanished from schools in Bradford.
Mr Balmforth suggested that every education authority in the country should be asked: “How many children did you lose last year? And where are they?”
The comments are telling, especially from local people.
Bradford council refused to comment most probably because there are so few councillors that can speak English. I would be very surprised if Mr Balmforth ever returns to his role as he has committed the most heinous of hate crimes in this country today. He has turned over a rock and told us what **** under it, which this government absolutely hates.
History repeating itself....?
Anyone remember Ray Honeyford . . .
Posted on 03/29/2008 4:47 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 29 March 2008
What Muslim Websites Are Saying About Fitna
Here's an open letter to Geert Wilders from anonymouse.org
Verily, our religion will stay the same till the Day of Judgment. We are happy that there are people like you to expose themselves to the wrath of Allah. We are also happy because it makes us comfortable knowing that there are true enemies of Islaam as Allah has mentioned in the Qur’aan.
We are not interested in condemning this or condemning that, but we are interested in letting you know that Islaam will dominate all of Europe, including your hometown, and the Jizyah will be established upon your Country, leaving all of the disbelievers in humiliation until they come to Islaam. Let us remind that there are thousands of Muslims living near you; so always expect the unexpected.
Near the end of your film, you wrote,
For it is not up to me, but to Muslims themselves to tear out the hateful verses in the Qur’an.
This statement of yours proves a verse in the Qur’aan:
And never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their Millah (way of life/form of religion). (2:120)
So by Allah’s grace, He has shown us another practical example of a Kaafir (i.e., that would be you Geert) who will never be pleased with the Muslims until we follow their form of religion.
By Allah, the only thing that we will tear is your heart, the heart of democracy, and the heart of those who fight the Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) promises dominance, and so we too promise dominance. And how will you be O Geert, when Prophet Jesus returns to earth from the heavens and destroys Christianity and wages Jihaad against the world successfully?
That time is coming very soon.
You also said,
The Government insists that you respect Islam, but Islam has no respect for you.
One can write volumes on this, but in short: Islaam doesn’t respect the disbelieving Governments.
Islam wants to rule, submit, and seeks to destroy our western civilization.
Just as your civilization seeks to destroy ours, our civilization seeks to devastate yours. Take a guess as to when we’ll stop.
Now the Islamic ideology has to be defeated.
As long as this world exists, you can never destroy the Islaamic ideology; and our ideology is meant for expansion.
Stop Islamisization, Defend our Freedom.
We say: stop democracy, and defend your basic human rights.
But we don’t hate you for your freedoms as we don’t consider those freedoms. We hate you for your disbelief and defiance.
So keep warning, and we too will keep warning. Islaam denounces Democracy, Islaam denounces Christians and Jews, Islaam denounces the corruption of the disbelievers upon the earth, and Islaam is coming to crush the armies of disbelief and smash the false governments and religions of the world to bring humanity from darkness into light.
Although we hate you for the sake of Allah and pray for your destruction, we are happy that you made this film because no matter how negative the disbelievers try to portray Islaam, in the end, it is Islaam that spreads far and wide. The media in America did its best to portray Islaam as an evil religion after the 9/11 attacks, but just look to how many thousands of people accepted Islaam after the invasion. So Islaam will spread all over Europe, and we will win in the end and we will humiliate you in the end.
Posted on 03/29/2008 2:26 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 29 March 2008
More On North Dakota Oil Controversy
Thanks to Andrew Bostom who sends this research paper on the North Dakota Oilfield. As Hugh Fitzgerald noted, circumspection is called for.
All researchers agree that the Bakken Formation is a tremendous source rock. The controversy lies with how much oil has been generated, what other formations it may have sourced, and how much is ultimately recoverable. Early research on the Bakken started with a 1974 landmark paper by Wallace Dow, a UND Geology graduate, that addressed the oil generation capacity of the Bakken shale. Since that time, several additional papers have re-evaluated the Bakken, each bringing its own controversy over how much oil the Bakken is capable of generating and more importantly, how much of that oil can be economically produced.
The current controversy involves a paper by the late Dr. Leigh Price formerly of the United States Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. He was an innovative thinker that challenged many of the traditional viewpoints of petroleum geochemistry. After an extensive oil sampling program by the North Dakota Geological Survey showed oil from the Bakken is compositionally distinct, further work, additional analyses, and many discussions with Dr. Price resulted in the controversial paper under review.
The methods used by Price to determine the amount of hydrocarbons generated by the Bakken and the idea that the oil has not migrated out of the Bakken are under dispute...
Posted on 03/29/2008 2:13 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 29 March 2008
A Matter Of History
"why [should] the historical record of Arab rule, or of Islamic powers generally, ha[ve] anything to do with the legitimacy of Israel today, or with the right or lack of it to the land on which they have been living as a people for many centuries on the part of "Palestinian" (forgive me, this term is useful shorthand) Arabs[?]"
-- from a reader
There are several reasons why the "historical record of Arab rule, or of Islamic powers generally, has anything to do with the legitimacy" of the Arab attempt to destroy Israel, not because of any real interest in those who have been carefully named "Palestinians" but because the Infidel nation-state of Israel (or indeed any other Infidel nation-state, controlled by non-Muslims, or, in the Middle East and North Africa, any state controlled by non-Arabs even if Muslims) matters.
Symmetry matters, in the first place. It does matter if the Arabs already have not one, not two, but twenty-two states. Furthermore, in every single one of the states controlled by Arabs, all non-Arabs are denied rights, autonomy, even cultural and linguistic rights. Look at the Kurds in Iraq. Look at the Berbers in Algeria. Look at the Copts in Egypt. Look at the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Maronites, and the smaller groups -- Yazidis, Mandeans. Look at Christians in Jordan. And so on.
You may be familiar with the Anglo-American legal notion, the "clean hands doctrine." (If not, see here.) Something like the "clean hands doctrine" should prevail in international relations.
Given that prior to the 1967 war, not a single Arab ruler or diplomat, not a single Arab newspaper, referred to the "Palestinian people" but always either to the "Arabs of Palestine" or, more rarely, to the "Palestinian Arabs," why is it illegitimate to point out that this construct was created by the Arabs for obvious propagandistic purposes? Surely you are familiar with the statement of Zohair (or Zuheir) Mohsen about this; if not, see here. Find out about how the leader of As Saiqa, one of the constituent parts of the PLO, explained frankly this business of the "Palestinian people." For that matter see the statement about a month ago of the Hamas leader essentially echoing Mohsen, claiming there was no such thing as the "Palestinians" but only Arabs.
But the notion that all of these smaller peoples -- the Jews, the Kurds, the Berbers -- do not have a right to autonomy or independence, in the vast areas that we call, in our modern inaccuracy, the "Arab world" (thereby conceding the entire area to precisely one people, the Arabs) -- is one I think fairminded people will reject.
Obviously, anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa, since there are Arabs everywhere, if one were to create a state for this or that non-Arab minority, there would be Arabs within it. That was true for the "Jewish National Home" that was the whole point of, the reason for being of, the Mandate for Palestine. If, as I hope happens, there will come into being an independent Kurdistan, there will be an Arab minority within it. If there were ever to be an independent Berber state, say in part of Algeria, or in Morocco, it would also include an Arab minority. So what? Are we to conclude that the Arabs should not anywhere have to live as a minority under rule by others? And thus we would deny all the other peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, or those who originated there, from having a state? What sense does that make?
The great Western statesmen -- such men as Clemenceau and Smuts -- who worked for the post-World War I settlement, and those on the Mandates Commission for the League of Nations, knew exactly what they were doing when they set up the various mandates. It is too bad that the independent states promised the Kurds and the Armenians were not achieved; the Armenians have only recently managed to throw off Soviet rule, and have now what can reasonably be called an "independent and free Armenia." The Kurds are still waiting.
Furthermore, you appear to believe that the "Palestinian" Arabs were in that area of the Ottoman Empire since time immemorial. This is a staple of Arab propaganda. But it's false. The area that then made up Mandatory Palestine was largely "ruin" and "desolation." There were Bedouin, and a handful of towns. The only one that had more than a few thousand inhabitants was Jerusalem, which in 1850 had 15,000 inhabitants, a plurality of them Jews. Look at all of the reports, from Lamartine to Herman Melville to Mark Twain, and from others, too, besides well-known writers, who report on the fantastic "emptiness" of the Holy Land. There were many such reports, too many to be denied, though the Arabs have constructed a false history, and the Israelis, so eager to "make peace," have stopped defending themselves, stopped pointing out these home truths.
The more one studies the demographics of the area, and comes to realize that more Arabs entered Mandatory Palestine than did Jews, even though that Mandate was set up (at the same time as the other mandates, for Syria/Lebanon, for Iraq, and for Jordan, which was merely that part of Eastern Palestine, originally to have been subject to the express terms of the Mandate, that was closed off to the express terms of the Mandate, those which specified the intent of "encouraging close Jewish settlement on the land" and “facilitating Jewish immigration.”
Many of the Gazan Arabs are just two or three generations removed from Egyptian ancestors; and many Arabs from other Arab states, particularly Iraq, in the period 1920-1940, entered Mandatory Palestine and settled. This is not written about enough -- the migration into Mandatory Palestine, of Arabs, who were attracted by the economic development (and indeed, had been coming from 1900 on, when the Jewish settlers were already bringing greater economic activity to the area).
Start with "Battleground" or "Since Time Immemorial" (the latter has a few mistakes in its claims, but much of it withstands criticism). Both books, however, were written by authors who did not understand, or take into account, the texts and tenets of Islam. Had they done so, the case would have been even stronger.
You appear to believe that all areas have such checkered histories, that essentially no one can claim a right to anything. I don't agree. I think that there is no substitute for detailed study, but that such study, not limited to a particular conflict but putting that conflict in a larger context (such as the differing fates of Muslim Arab conquerors, seizing so much, destroying so much of what the peoples they conquered had built, and, per contra, the history of Jews exiled from their historic homeland because of Muslim overlords who so mistreated them from 661 A.D. on, and whose fate, at various hands, all educated people know about, and by this point, comprehend.
Start with "Battleground" and "Since Time Immemorial" -- as I noted previously -- but make sure that you now read with an understanding that neither Peters nor Katz possessed about the promptings of Islam. Nothing that happens in the Middle East, or anywhere that Muslims are deeply involved, can be understood if one ignores the texts and tenets and attitudes of Islam.
Is demography destiny, or does it confer right? Do you think that if this or that European country, in twenty or thirty years, has a Muslim majority, should that Muslim majority's view of things should prevail? Would you agree that that Muslim majority could close all the museums, so that paintings of humans, and all sculpture, would be off-limits -- or perhaps destroy the contents of those museums? And symphony orchestras? And other forms of music? What about science -- would you agree that that Muslim majority could prevent the non-Muslims from studying science, whenever and wherever it contradicted Islam? Would the Shari'a rules relating to how Infidels are to be treated be welcomed by you, or at least defended, as being supported by the majority?
Keep that in mind, as you seem to be most focussed not on morality, or historic rights, but on numbers, and numbers alone.
Israel is only a small part of the problem, only one victim. Your country, even if that country is the United States, is not immune, and certainly will not remain unaffected by the Muslim presence in Europe, for Infidels the source of so much that is unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous.
Remember, the Arabs refused the UN partition plan of 1947. Having refused it, they are in no position to attempt, through the back door, to resurrect it. That would be akin to someone making an offer, and it being refused, and then twenty or fifty years later, the offeree coming back to the offeror, and saying that now he "accepted that offer" that had been made 20 or 50 years ago. See any basic Contracts course, as to the effect of a rejection by the offeree on the offeror's offer. The situation is no different.
Furthermore, the U.N. was not free to meddle with the terms of the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine. That Mandate, set up for the sole, and express, purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home, was a creature of the League, and was accepted by the U.N., as were all the other mandates then in force when the League of Nations dissolved before World War II. The U.N. was not free -- though it behaved as though it was -- to change the terms of those mandates, which it had agreed to take over. That is never mentioned. It should be. (DW)
Posted on 03/29/2008 1:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
A Musical Interlude: Head Over Heels (Jessie Matthews)
Posted on 03/29/2008 1:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
"Mullen said the marriage of text and visual elements [in Satrapi's "Persepolis"] will attract students to the book."
-- from a reader
Of course. Akin to the audio-visual English courses said to be given at Beverly Hills High, where students in Senior English can watch movies of "Hamlet" as a supplement to, or possibly as a substitute for, reading boring old Shakespeare's boring old words in his boring old play "Hamlet."
The existence, and popularity, of "Maus," "Persepolis," and other such efforts both recognize, and further, the retreat from the word.
"Attract students to the book" -- yes, by not making too-heavy demands on them. Texts, unrelieved by pictures, are unlikely to please modern students, Three decades ago that sober all-text of Morison & Commager's "Growth of the American Republic" gave way to textbooks full of graphs and charts and pictures. That was representative of what has been happening in the textbook industry. Nor is it merely an American phenomenon. In France, La litterature bede -- from "bande dessinee" -- is all the rage, as a way of making, for the intended audience of the young and the restless, the history of France accessible, by giving it the comic-book treatment. And in "Persepolis" one has the history of the old regime in Iran, and then the one that replaced it, all in pictures, like a Spanish telenovela.
Yet how wedded to text Iranians used to be. I am now flipping through another book with the same title -- "Persepolis" -- this one not a novel about the Islamic Republic of Iran but a guidebook to the Takht-i-Jamshid museum, was published in 1975 by the Musavi Printing Office in Shiraz. Written by one "Ali-Sami" and translated by "The Reverend R. Sharp, M. A. Cantab" this guide contains, by way of illustration, only three or four dim photographs of kingly or noble heads in relief.
The word is in retreat, being pushed to the side. Does it matter? Not to many. But it is depressing to think that "Persepolis" was chosen apparently as much for its audiovisual manner as for its matter.
If, as a way of introducing students to the Nazi murders, a course syllabus contained "Maus" rather than any of the scholarly works, by Raul Hilberg or Lucy Davidowicz, would that constitute a useful and intelligent recognition of what students are like today? Would it be a way to make this subject accessible, or would it merely pander to the apparent need of students today to have works assigned that make few demands on them, texts that are less verbal than audiovisual, because that is what the students have grown up with, what they are used to, by way of stimulation, sport, and pastime.
Some subjects do not lend themselves to coverage by picture-book, telenovela, or cartoon. The Nazi murders is one such subject. The destruction wrought in Iran by the Islamic Republic is surely another. (DW)
Posted on 03/29/2008 12:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Qaradawi: Wilders Opened Fire On Koran
CAIRO — Prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi refuted allegations by a far-right Dutch lawmaker that the Noble Qur'an incites murder and hatred, outlining five ways to stand up to Islam offenders.
"What the Dutch politician did is tantamount to opening fire on the Qur'an," Qaradawi said in exclusive statements to IslamOnline.net.
"Calling the Qur'an a 'fascist book' is a groundless, fabricated allegation that can only come from an ignorant," added the president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars.
--from this article at IslamOnline
Remember who Qaradawi is. He is the Sunni cleric man who defended, by defining out of existence, suicide-bombers. For him their modus operandi is akin to that of the Muslim warrior who, sword in hand, attacks a much larger group of Infidels. He knows he will likely die, but cannot be certain of it, and besides, he is killing Infidels as part of Jihad -- a sure way, the surest way, to Paradise. Qaradawi is the one who, hands shaking with rage, denounced Wafa Sultan on Al-Jazeera, in a broadcast you can find at MEMRI. He is the one whom Ken Livingstone famously has played host to, for Qaradawi likes to visit England. After all, he has two daughters who live there. And why not? It's their country, isn't it? The world belongs to Allah, doesn't it? (JW)
Posted on 03/29/2008 12:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
The Wandering Songstress
I was told long ago that this phrase comes from the name given by English and American sailors to a celebrated sing-song girl in old Shanghai, or possibly Macau. She was known as "Any Time Soon." Possibly I was misinformed.
"The Wandering Songstress" may provide a clue.
Posted on 03/29/2008 12:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Where have I heard that before?
It used to be that much literary creation was frankly re-creation. There were a handful of stories, and the trick was to recycle them in some compelling way. Our culture, heir to the Romantics, puts a great premium on “originality.” The quotation marks are deliberate, since hardly anyone is really original, though no one likes to admit it. (Really, we continue to recycle a fairly confined number of stories, though we don’t always notice.)
Actually, I didn't write that. Roger Kimball did. But I put it in Times New Roman, the font I generally use for my own thoughts, as opposed to quotations, to see if it would fool anyone. The American punctuation is a bit of a giveaway. Kimball writes:
I have been reading a lot of Kipling lately. “Recessional,” written in 1897 for Victoria’s Diamond Jubliee, is widely (and rightly) acknowledged as one of Kipling’s masterpieces. It is obviously laden with Biblical references. It is not always noticed, however, that it also contains a line that any vigilant counter-plagiarist would pounce upon: “Beneath whose awful hand we hold/ Dominion over palm and pine—.” Compare that with Emerson’s couplet: “And grant to dwellers with the pine/ Dominion o’er the palm and vine.” (I hasten to admit that I appropriate this bit of detective work from David Gilmour’s The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling.) All of which means—what? I am not sure. It is certainly true that people oughtn’t to fob off other people’s work as their own. And yet many writers get their start from cold-blooded assimilation.
Not just writers. Apparenty Mozart nicked quite a few of his tunes. Robin Holloway in The Spectator:
[N]othing surpasses the detail with which Italian opera, Mozart’s most celebrated genre, is filled in. Phrase after phrase one has whistled or hummed for decades, treasuring its especially Mozartian contour (not just from his Italian operas, but from the whole range of the output) turns out to be a standard turn, even a cliché, from his numerous predecessors in this field. Or, less often, something rather unusual that one’s delighted ears have remembered. Mozart now emerges as a crowning synthesis of a whole voluminous and voluble tradition — supreme by far among figures by no means negligible, and far more ignored when Abert first researched them than nowadays, when the precursors of baroque and rococo are so exploitatively gleaned. If the idea of plagiarism — the dismal climate that has eventuated in the notion of ‘intellectual property’ — had existed in his day, Mozart wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on! The fact that he invariably enhanced what he ‘stole’ or ‘borrowed’ or ‘remembered’ would not mitigate the offence. He emerges as the most flagrant cribber, in this epoch of common property freely exploited, since Handel, the most notorious of all.
As for me, well I'm nothing if not original. Nothing it is then. (That's one of my old jokes - I just plagiarised myself.)
Posted on 03/29/2008 9:53 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Any time soon
Charles Moore writes:
More and more people — I may have done it myself — include the phrase ‘any time soon’ in their articles, as in ‘Don’t expect it to happen any time soon’. Apart from sounding tough and worldly-wise, does the phrase add anything not conveyed by the solitary word ‘soon’?
Oh dear - I think I may have used this phrase myself. I should probably avoid it on the grounds that it is a cliché. We should avoid clichés like the plague.
But does it really mean the same as "soon"? Not quite. It has connotations of "in the foreseeable future", which "soon" on its own does not. Still, I won't be using it again. Not any time soon.
Posted on 03/29/2008 9:35 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Wright Gets Ovation At Angelou Bash
AP: CHICAGO: Barack Obama's former pastor, who canceled several public events following an uproar over his incendiary comments, surprised a Chicago congregation by attending an event to celebrate poet Maya Angelou's birthday.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright got a raucous standing ovation when he entered Saint Sabina church on the city's South Side on Friday night, according to video from WBBM-TV. Members yelled "Hallelujah!" as Wright embraced the Rev. Michael Pfleger, Saint Sabina's pastor...
Who can forget the poem Ms. Angelou recited at the Clinton Inaugural:
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
The River sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold..
I think McCain will try to stay above the fray as the culture wars heat up during this election and the battles of the 60's are played out once more. He will probably be the one who looks more like a "uniter" by the end of it.
Posted on 03/29/2008 9:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 29 March 2008
The Underground Grammarian
Thanks to David Thompson for introducing me to a very promising website, which puts on-line Richard Mitchell's journal, The Underground Grammarian. I had never heard of Richard Mitchell or his journal until a moment ago, and it looks as if I'm in for a treat. Here is its Mission Statement - a term that Mitchell would deplore:
The Underground Grammarian is an unauthorised journal devoted to the protection of the Mother Tongue at Glassboro State College. Our language can be written and even spoken correctly, even beautifully. We do not demand beauty, but bad English cannot be excused or tolerated in a college. The Underground Grammarian will expose and ridicule examples of jargon, faulty syntax, redundancy, needless neologism, and any other kind of outrage against English. Clear language engenders clear thought, and clear thought is the most important benefit of education. We are neither peddlers nor politicians that we should prosper by that use of language which carries the least meaning. We cannot honorably accept the wages, confidence, or licensure of the citizens who employ us as we darken counsel by words without understanding. And so, to the whole college community, to students, to teachers, and to administrators of every degree, The Underground Grammarian gives WARNING! RAPE OF THE MOTHER TONGUE WILL BE PUNISHED!
Mitchell seems not to have had much time for "inclusivity" or "dialogue":
No one is safe. We will print no letters to the editor. We will give no space to opposing points of view. They are wrong. The Underground Grammarian is at war and will give the enemy nothing but battle.
My kind of man - unless he writes something I disagree with, in which case he is wrong.
In January 1977, his target was the pretentiously-suffixed "advisement":
This month's target is any barbarian who says advisement. We can advise, or give advice, or even do some advising. Advisement permits nothing beyond what we can already mean with the words we have. Perhaps, by analogy to confinement, it might name a condition in which we suffer the consequence of having been advised; or, like government, it might indicate some cloud of loosely related abstractions and institutions. Those who say it to us must simply mean advising, but they fear that a clear naming of what they do will reveal how little it needs doing, and they will find themselves in the streets selling wind-up toys. Such people feel degraded unless what they do ends with -ment or some other official sound such as -ation or -ivity. Work that ends with -ing makes them nervous.
Do not boo and stamp your feet when some barbarian says advisement; it will bring reprisal, for barbarians are vindictive. Simply mutter, just loud enough to be heard, "Clickety-click-click." This requires no lip movement and suggests a wind-up toy. With a female barbarian, an equally good response is "Ding-dong," familiar to all television-addicted barbarians and suggesting some more appropriate career in cosmetics.
When advisement appears in a document sent by campus mail, smear it with something foul and return it to the sender.
I bet Mitchell used "transportation" to mean "transport". I am not obligated to mention that, but I thought I would, just for the hell of it. Still, I like the look of his journal, and intend to dip into it from time to time. It will be interesting to see if any of his targets have now become accepted by good writers, as they were always accepted by bad ones.
Mitchell attacked "advisement" in 1977. If he were writing today, what would he make of Helen Hatchell's hegemonic masculinities?
Posted on 03/29/2008 9:00 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Obama, The Woods Fund, And Taxpayers' Money
Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch posts the following:
The article that caught my eye appeared first at World Net Daily on February 28th entitled, “Obama raised funds for Islamic causes,” and then I saw some of the same information posted at Atlas Shrugs here. The articles suggest that Senator Obama is a closet supporter of the Palestinian cause (not a surprise in light of his Reverend buddy) and thus may be connected with questionable characters in the terror world, but I can’t speak to that. What interested me is the more mundane issue of taxpayer money flowing through the ”community” organizations of Chicago.
Here are some of the quotes from World Net Daily that sent me searching tax returns.
Abunimah (Ali Abunimah, a Chicago-based Palestinian-American activist) serves on the board of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe” and supports intense immigration reform, including providing driver’s licenses and education to illegal aliens.
WND reported yesterday the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit on which Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist, provided $75,000 in grants to the AAAN.
Obama’s advocacy on behalf of Palestinians comes after WND reported yesterday the presidential candidate served on the board of the Woods Fund alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombings against government buildings.
It’s a free country, and groups can form and advocate for their causes all they want. It is one of our greatest freedoms. But,what if the taxpayers are funding some causes and not others. The Woods Fund is a private foundation with assets, in 2006, of over $70,000,000. The fund owns shares in companies of every sort, but pays a pittance in taxes because it gives some (about $3,000,000 in 2006) of its earnings to charities of its choice. It also hires such people as Bill Ayers and Barack Obama to govern it.
The Woods Fund gave grants to such groups as the above-mentioned Arab American Action Network, Prison Reform, Latinos United, Inner City Muslim Action Network .and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. I was looking for groups with names like Suburban Redneck Rights Coalition, or Nascar Fans United for Peace, or Unemployed Conservative Trailer Park Citizens for Human Rights. This community-organizing that Obama brags about is strictly left-wing political organizing, couched in the language of multicultural grievance language, and paid for, in the end, by all taxpayers.
Maybe you don't care, for it’s a private foundation. But nota bene: the Arab-American Action Network (AAAN) is getting direct government (taxpayer funded!) grants to work against your interests. In the most recent Form 990 I could find, for the year 2004, they received $122,327 in government grants as part of their $394,687 income for the year. That is about 31% of their budget to “organize” Chicago Arabs, which means organize, for political pressure, Arab Muslims. Lest you think they are running bake sales or barbecue fundraisers, much of the other “direct public support” they receive comes from grants from the likes of the Woods Fund.
I wanted to know about this Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). See what they do here. And, while you are reading its description, think about the fact that in 2005 you funded this group to the tune of $5,276,202 out of its total income of $6,779,751. You, if an Illinois taxpayer, are paying 78% of that ICIRR budget.
But the ICIRR isn’t greedy; it doesn’t hold onto your money it passes it on to groups like Council of Islamic Organizations, Chinese Mutual Aid Assn., World Relief (Moline), Instituto Del Progresso Latino, Muslim Women Resource Center, Arab American Family Services, Bosnian-Herz American Community Center. and of course the Arab American Action Network ($82,000 in 2005) among 40 similar groups.
Posted on 03/29/2008 8:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum