Good News

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Crystal Clear

Came across this observation:
Holland—with its disproportionately high Muslim population—is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism—not the “liberalism” that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

British police tell a paper they cannot protect it from terrorist threats if they publish the Muhammad cartoon, while 500 police are assigned to protect Muslim protesters calling for the murder of those who insult Islam. Orianna Falacci is about to go on trial in Italy for defaming Islam, and the British government is still trying to get a law passed that would make criticism of Islam impossible.

The truth is as clear as daylight. Where Muslims exist in sufficient numbers to have influence, normal Western freedoms cannot long survive. Freedom for Muslims to come to the West and live freely here means the end of our freedom. The practical alternatives are therefore also as clear as daylight. Either we remove the Muslims’ freedom to enter our society and live here and practice their religion here, or we will lose our most basic freedoms—to speak, to write, to express our opinions, to move about, and to maintain a society familiar and recognizable as our own.
Like it or not, there is no other conclusion to reach, as anyone who follows the news can attest.

The above article could also have mentioned this serious blasphemy conviction of a man in Germany for insulting islam:
DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - A German court on Thursday convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by printing the word “Koran” on toilet paper and offering it to mosques.
...
The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.
Can't happen here?

We've already got girls playing high school basketball in islamic garb in Chicago, and a ban on portraitures (so as not to offend muslims) in St. Paul, MN school art classes:
As violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad continue around the world, a St. Paul charter school is quietly negotiating the delicate question of how to teach art to Muslims.
...
Out the window right away went masks, puppets and that classic of elementary school art class, the self-portrait, said Sara Langworthy, an artist with ArtStart. Revamping the curriculum “definitely requires stepping outside of the normal instincts that you fall back on,” she said.

New Addition



Just plunked down a deposit on this beauty!

The Springfield Armory "SOCOM 16", so named for its handily-short 16" barrel.

The handiness of a carbine with the full power of a battle rifle!

The upward-directed gas flow is said to mitigate barrel rise significantly.

I find the rifles of the venerable WW2-era M1 Garand family, of which I consider this to be a modern descendant, to be extraordinarly beautiful to behold.

They are of the tradition of the functional yet elegant "Kentucky" longrifles of the pioneers (actually of Pennsylvania design).

The impetus, however, to embellish them with ornate, baroque designs I find an abomination. The simpler the better.

I have seen displays of earlier crossbows and rifles at museums, that are so carved and engraved as to qualify as "art", to a degree that annoys me. I cannot abide such pointless decorations.

The beauty of the rifles I enjoy is a natural outgrowth of their function.

I find nothing appealing in modern assalut-style rifles with their space-age angles and plastic moldings.

The clean utilitarian lines of the "greatest battle implement ever devised", in the words of Gen. George Patton, are the epitome of the combat rifle's development.

The SOCOM 16 will join in my cabinet the following genuine U.S. military surplus rifles, obtained through the Civilian Marksmanship Program:

-- A 1950s Harrington and Richardson M1 Garand
-- A 1945 Springfield M1 Garand
-- An M1903A3
-- An M1903A4

Not to forget my first rifle, a Remington .22LR!

Both Garands appear to be in wonderful shape for their age. This is a Garand:



My Springfield Garand has a darker walnut-stained stock than in the photo.

The H&R may have seen service in Korea; who knows? It was then sent to Greece as a NATO ally before being repatriated to the U.S. Army.

The WW2-era Springfield was probably made too late to see action. That may account for its reasonably good condition.

In fact, according to its serial number, and the known range of numbers manufactured in April, 1945, the astonishing fact is, given the assumption of constant daily production, it was likely produced on the very day of my Mother's 5th birthday! (Happy Birthday! What a nice present!)

The M1903A3 is still coated in thick storage grease; the Garands were not. Yuck! This is an A3:



Those WW2-production bolt-action rifles were stamped-out copies of the venerable WW1-era M1903 design, that itself was based on the fine German Mauser of the late 19th century. They were hastily produced to fill the early wartime shortage of the semi-automatic Garands.

I had the good fortune to win a lottery to buy the M1903A4 -- that was a model made to tighter tolerances as the favored sniper rifle of the war. Have to get a scope for it!

To round out my collection of the major .30 caliber rifles of WW2, I just have to get an authentic U.S.G.I. M1 Carbine.

(There were some other rifles used in much smaller numbers that I won't go into, and I have no desire to get the BAR, which was basically a squad machine gun. A Thompson submachinegun would be cool, but getting a fully automatic one is complicated, and it's not .30 caliber anyway. I'll be "satisfied" the collection is complete with the carbine...)

When civil disorder breaks out, instead of worrying about damaging my pieces of history, I'll grab the SOCOM 16!

I am deficient in pistols. Only have a Russian Makarov in .380 caliber. Devilishly simple little machine, basically a simplified Walther. Inexpensive, rugged, reliable.

As this review states,
The Mak is a very simple design. Looking at the little manual (thankfully it is not printed in Russian) I see that the whole pistol uses only 41 different parts. And of those, 12 are just the sights. 3 are the grips and 4 others are the magazine. This is not a complicated gun. In fact, the rear sight on this commercial model is more complicated than most of the rest of the gun. Take down is about as simple as it gets.
...
It’s so simple that even an uneducated army conscript from a cabbage farm can do it. That means anyone; even a first time novice can do it. There are no “tricks” to it. It really doesn’t get much simpler than this.
What an interesting piece of Cold War history.

Here is a photo of a Mak:



Maybe I'll get a Kel-Tec P3-AT for concealability and common caliber, though I believe revolvers to be more "panic proof" for actual concealed carry applications. A Taurus titanium ultralight in .38 Special +P with an internal hammer would do the trick...just like mom's...

Outbreak of Sanity

Australia seems to be the only sane spot on the planet these days.

The plain talk is impressive and bracing.
Adopt Our Values or Go Home, Foreign-Born Muslims Told

(CNSNews.com) - Australian Muslims already unhappy with Prime Minister John Howard's criticism about Islamic radicalism are bristling at even tougher comments from the man likely to succeed him, who says any Muslim immigrant who can't accept Australian values should leave.

Anyone wanting to live under Islamic law (shari'a) might feel more comfortable living in countries where it is applied, such as Saudi Arabia or Iran, federal Treasurer Peter Costello said in an address to the Sydney Institute, a think tank.
...
Costello said that anyone "who does not acknowledge the supremacy of civil law laid down by democratic processes cannot truthfully take the pledge of allegiance. As such they do not meet the pre-condition for citizenship."
...
"Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objection to those values, don't come to Australia."
...
Costello, who is widely expected to take over the leadership of Howard's conservative Liberal party within the next couple of years, said anyone applying for citizenship who rejects the notion of living under a democratic legislature and obeying the laws it makes, poses a threat to the rights and liberties of others, and should be refused citizenship.

If foreign-born Muslims who have already become Australian citizens, having not been able honestly to take the citizenship pledge, they should be stripped of their Australian nationality if they also have citizenship of some other country.
...
Costello's comments come amid a debate over earlier ones by Howard, who criticized a radical minority of Muslims whom he said "rave on about jihad" and hold "extreme attitudes" towards women.
This is all so obvious, yet too few are saying it.

This is a great start!

Winners

That Danish newspaper just won a well-deserved award:
Copenhagen - Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which angered the Muslim world by publishing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad last year, has won a Danish critical journalism award for its initiative, the jury said.

Denmark’s largest daily was honoured with the Victor Prize for “having opened everyone’s eyes by showing how easy it is to introduce cracks in freedom of expression and how so-called political correctness is infiltrating what we believe to be inalienable rights,” Hans Engell, the editor of tabloid Ekstra Bladet which awards the prize, said during a prize ceremony in Copenhagen late on Thursday.

The Victor Prize, named for the late editor-in-chief of Ekstra Bladet Victor Andreasen, was handed to Jyllands-Posten’s editor Carsten Juste.

“This prize is awarded to Jyllands-Posten for its adamant defence for months of freedom of expression, which is under threat,” Engell told AFP. “Jyllands-Posten only did its duty: exercise its right to freedom of expression,” he added.

Juste, guarded by two secret service bodyguards, noted “how fragile freedom of expression is” as he accepted the award, his newspaper reported.

Dev2.0



When I heard Disney Records had created a cover band of 10-13 year-olds to do remakes of Devo songs, I was nearly apoplectic!

I mean Devo?

Perverted by Disney?

Devo had changed my life.

It was 1978. I was about the age of the kids in this new band, Dev2.0. I had no inclination to contemporary music at all. The AM radio was a wasteland of melancholy ballads: You're So Vain, Gypsies Tramps and Thieves, and the insufferable Billy Don't Be a Hero.

FM radio was dominated by arena rock and the big acts of the 70s.

Then one day I saw something incredible on Saturday Night Live.

DEVO!

They performed Satisfaction, and then later Jocko Homo, in their yellow jumpsuits doing robotic movements, tearing them off in an orgy of de-evolution at the finale (on 10/14/1978, according to this incredible site).

And the sound was like nothing I had ever heard!

It was a revelation.

It was nerd-punk with a sinister edge.

They then became the first band I ever saw live.

As well as the second.

To be followed by the likes of the Go-Go's (also discovered on Saturday Night Live), the Ramones, the Cramps, and the B-52s.

But I digress.

Checking out the "official site" of Dev2.0, I watched the videos, and immediately realized this was TOTALLY AWESOME!

SHEER GENIUS!

It was SO INCREDIBLY WRONG, that it became SUBLIMELY RIGHT!

It was so SLYLY SUBVERSIVE!

I mean, having pre-teens perkily singing those songs???

Though remade, the sound was so authentically Devo, as well as the look of the band and the videos, that it was obvious the original Devo was heavily involved in this project.

Indeed, they recorded these remakes, chose the kids, and directed the videos, all themselves.

This was a Devo project through and through.

Did they ever have the last laugh against their corporate oppressors!

Amusingly, some of the song lyrics have been re-written; for example, "Uncontrollable Urge" is no longer about a raging libido, but about a case of the munchies. And "Beautiful World" is no longer meant ironically.

Club Devo explains,
Q: DEVO + Disney = ?
A: DEV2.0

DEV2.0 is a strange, Corporate-Feudal experiment that attempts to bring the original DEVO music sensibility to children in the 5 to 8 year old demographic range.

The band is composed of 5 talented kids ranging in age from 10 to 12 years old. They are able to play and sing. DEVO produced the music for them and Gerald Casale directed all of the videos for the DVD which was funded by Buena Vista Records, a division of the Disney Company.
Brilliant. They tried to appeal to a younger segment in their New Traditionalists phase, but it didn't really pan out then (for example, consider the junior high demographic appearing in their videos for that album, and their appearance on Square Pegs -- starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker!)

They were just too ahead of their time.

Now their retro sensibilities are cool!

Be sure to listen to the videos for Big Mess, That's Good, Uncontrollable Urge, Girl U Want, and Beautiful World.

I even like their version of Big Mess better than the original, which I hated!

We're all Devo!

Infiltration Tactics

Two recent articles in the Telegraph, when taken together, paint a grim picture of Britain's future -- and indeed, of the West as a whole.

First, results of a poll:
Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.

The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.
Well, that also means 1% want to kill British civilians -- and 20% are sympathetic!

And nearly half can hardly be considered "moderate" by any means if they want to impose sharia law, an evil totalitarian and misogynistic system.

It gets worse:
Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain.
Spin it how you want, that really means about 10% ARE NOT LOYAL to Britain.

That amounts to a massive fifth column of invaders.

Their tactics are spelled out here by Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. Also,
He is currently director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He also advises the Army on security issues related to Islam.
And his outlook is sobering:
For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.
...
Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

"The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."
The disloyal should be deported and further immigration must be stopped until integration occurs.

Sharia must be stamped out from the face of the Earth.

Cowards

Cowards!
SAN FRANCISCO - State officials on Tuesday postponed indefinitely the execution of a condemned killer, saying they could not comply with a judge's order that a medical professional administer the lethal injection.

Prison authorities called off the execution after failing to find a doctor, nurse, or other person licensed to inject medications to give a fatal dose of barbiturate, said Vernell Crittendon, a spokesman for San Quentin State Prison.
So a Federal judge makes up a new condition -- totally arbitrary -- about who can pull the switch, basically...and no such person steps forward. It's almost like it was planned that way.

What kind of a world do these pepole want to live in?
"We are unable to have a licensed medical professional come forward to inject the medication intravenously, causing the life to end," he said.
Cowards, every last one of you.
It was unclear when the execution would be carried out, but the delay could last for months because of legal questions surrounding California's method of lethal injection.
...
The American Medical Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the California Medical Association all opposed the anesthesiologists' participation as unethical and unprofessional.
Who is it these noble upholders of virtue are defending?
Morales was condemned in 1983 for killing 17-year-old Terri Winchell, who was attacked with a hammer, stabbed and left to die half-naked in a vineyard.
...
The victim's mother, Barbara Christian, was outraged by the repeated delays.

"I'm totally disillusioned with the justice system. We've been waiting 25 years with the expectancy that he is gonna pay for his crimes," she said. "It feels like we just got punched in the stomach."
It's been 25 years.

Git 'er done!!!

I'd have done it.

And I would have considered it the height of ethics.

Dhimmi Carter

So yesterday at the gym I again was graced with Wolf Blitzer, speaking with Dhimmi Carter, worst President ever!

Carter was rambling on about how we MUST NOT punish the poor Palestinian people by withholding money from known terror organization Hamas, that now rules them.

Whoa!

Why the disconnect?

Didn't these people just elect Hamas as their representatives?

Didn't Carter just certify the election as fair and square, and thus as the very will of the majority of the people?

How are they "innocent" here of association with Hamas???

Some chuckled in schadenfreude that we'd just have to "accept" and "respect" unfortunate outcomes if unfriendly governments are chosen "democratically" via Bush's grand experiment of bringing choices to the Middle East.

That's wrong.

Democratic elections do not confer respect automatically.

What they do confer is moral responsibility.

No more can the dodge be used that the Palestinian people are somehow not responsible for their leadership, and must therefore get our cash aid out or compassion -- filtered through their corrupt leaders, of course, but never mind that.

No, they have spoken, and can now all be collectively punished with a clear conscience.

Indeed, it is a moral imperative that we do so.

Now, to Wolf's credit, he brought up a little snag for Dhimmi Carter's desire to still send aid money -- your taxpayer money! -- to the Hamas terrorist organization.

He read a very clear law that stated no such support in any way could go to designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. To do so would be a Crime.

And Hamas is clearly designated as such by the State Department.

How do we "get around" that law, asked Blitzer?

Dhimmi Carter -- worst President ever! -- explained it would be simple: we should just give the taxpayer money to the U.N., and the U.N. would in turn give it to Hamas.

Actually he said some fantasy about the U.N. "giving it directly to the Palestinian people" and "bypassing" Hamas, but what planet is he from?

Can a President be retroactively impeached?

Pretty please?

I mean, come on, here's an ex-President, talking about how to circumvent our own laws to aid terrorist organizations!

Sedition, anyone?

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Chill Wind

Remember those twits Susan Sarandon and her lifepartner bozoboy?

How they were going on and on about a "chill wind" of censorship and repression from the evil Bushitler regime that was keeping people from speaking out.

All because they were simply disinvited from speaking at a private event.
Sarandon's speaking engagement at a United Way conference on women's leadership was canceled. Then, in a widely publicized dust-up, the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame accused Robbins of putting American troops in danger by criticizing the war effort and withdrew his invitation to Robbins to come to Cooperstown for the 15th anniversary celebration of "Bull Durham.''

"It became so blatantly clear that what was going on was attempted intimidation," says Robbins, having had time to reflect on the backlash and what he thinks motivates those who see his public role as "actor-vist" as a dirty word. "The attacks are meant to make you feel isolated, to prevent others who feel in a similar way from speaking out against the war. My feeling is, when you allow intimidation to prevent you from expressing your opinions, then you might as well just give up your First Amendment rights."
...
Robbins first channeled his anger into an eloquent speech delivered to the National Press Club in April, just three days after the Hall of Fame debacle. He cautioned that a "chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown: If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications."
Oooo! Ramifications!

As if they had any a priori right to a particular venue, the self-centered immature uselessnesses.

Think they'll have an ounce of honesty or a shred of dignity or a drop of courage to stand up and speak out about this REAL chill wind?

Item:
BBC bosses are ready to AXE a £1million episode of hit drama Spooks in which an al-Qaeda terrorist is shot dead — in case it upsets Muslims.

Filming the assassination plot for the MI5 drama took four weeks.

But actor Shaun Dingwall who plays a renegade Christian gunman, fears he could become a target for fundamentalists if the scene is aired.
Item:
Norway’s Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion, Bjarne Hakon Hanssen, hastily called a press conference at a major government office building in Oslo.

There, to the astonishment of his supporters, Selbekk issued an abject apology for reprinting the cartoons. At his side, accepting his act of contrition on behalf of 46 Muslim organizations and asking that all threats now be withdrawn, was Mohammed Hamdan, head of Norway’s Islamic Council. In attendance were members of the Norwegian cabinet and the largest assemblage of imams in Norway’s history. It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom: the dhimmi prostrating himself before the Muslim leader, and the leader pardoning him – and, for good measure, declaring Selbekk to be henceforth under his protection, as if it were he, Hamdan, and not the Norwegian police, that held in his hands the security of citizens in Norway.

Selbekk, in his prepared remarks, leaned heavily on the usual soothing multicultural language, including the word “understanding.” It was clear that Selbekk had indeed come to an understanding: he understood that if he didn’t relent, he risked physical harm. He also spoke of “respect” – a word that in this context must surely have been understood by the imams to refer not to a volitional regard for a social equal but to the obligatory deference of a repentant infidel.

As for Handam, he noted that “Selbekk has children the same age as my own. I want my children and his children to grow up together, live together in peace, and be friends.” This was rather chilling, given that Selbekk’s family, too, had been under threat.
Item:
Aliye Cetinkaya, a journalist from the Turkish daily Sabah newspaper, who was reporting on the recent protests over the offensive caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, was stoned in Konya for reasons demonstrators said were provocative – as she did not cover her head. Cetinkaya was taken away by male colleagues after stones hit her head and shoulders. The female journalist was attacked for being ‘sexually provocative’ for not wearing a head scarf at the demonstration organised by the Peoples Education Research and Support Group in Konya (He-Da-Der) and entitled ‘Loyalty to the Prophet’.

A group of protestors insisted that Aliye Cetinkaya get off the bus where she was reporting the march, as they claimed she was provoking the crowd. At this moment, somebody started reciting the Koran into a microphone.

Approximately 30 people then started throwing stones at Cetinkaya, seated with her legs dangling from the back of the vehicle and taking notes. They claimed that her clothes and way of sitting was inappropriate while the Koran was being read, and shouted words of abuse at her.

Cetinkaya had to be rescued by her colleagues.
Which is more chilling, Timmy and Susie? A cancelled invitation or the above items of thuggish intimidation using actual violence?

Gonna make a brave, bold play mocking these terrorists like you did the Bush administration?
The play's comic stroke of genius is a masked chorus called "The Cabal," the policy advisers and analysts in the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans" - - with names like Rum-Rum, Pearly White, Woof, Gondola, Cove and Dick. ("I am not the one who named them the Cabal, by the way," Robbins is quick to point out. "Those guys in Washington call themselves that.") They sneer at reports of swelling peace marches, consult their Palm Pilots to find the best date to launch the invasion ("If we don't get this war started soon, we're going to have to compete with the NBA playoffs") and recite a litany of excuses for why none of them ever served in the armed forces -- a feature of the Bush administration that makes Robbins seethe.
No?

Why?

Because maybe you're whiney shallow cowardly self-promoting bitches and preening moral pinheads?
Robbins takes his constitutional right to question very seriously.
Now, THAT's comedy!

Piglet Strikes Back

A Dane writes
I am thinking of a word that keeps popping up whenever the Mohammed cartoons are mentioned.

That word is BUT. A sneaky word. It is used to deny or qualify what one has just said.

How many times lately have we not heard people of power, the Opinion Makers and others say that of course we have freedom of speech, BUT.
...
That is why I say: Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech. There is no but.
First they came for the Florentine Boar statue in a park in Derby, of (formerly) "Great" Britain:
A year and a half ago, I mentioned in this space the Florentine Boar, a famous piece of porcine statuary in Derby that the council had decided not to have repaired on the grounds that it would offend Muslims.
Then they came for depictions of the Whinnie-the-Pooh character, Piglet:
Alas, the United Kingdom's descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Tory-controlled) has now announced that, following a complaint by a Muslim employee, all work pictures and knick-knacks of novelty pigs and "pig-related items" will be banned. Among the verboten items is one employee's box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
Then they came for anything squiggly-looking:
Only the other day, Burger King withdrew its ice-cream cones from its British restaurants because Mr Rashad Akhtar of High Wycombe, after a trip to the Park Royal branch, complained that the creamy swirl on the lid resembled the word "Allah" in Arabic script.

It doesn't, not really, not except that in the sense any twirly motif looks vaguely Arabic.
At some point, someone has to put his foot down.

And that foot is me.

Because, as Steyn eloquently explains what should be obvious to any imbecile,
In the long term, these trivial concessions are more significant victories than blowing up infidels on the Tube or in Bali beach restaurants. An act of murder demands at least the pretence of moral seriousness, even from the dopiest appeasers. But small acts of cultural vandalism corrode the fabric of freedom all but unseen.

Is it really a victory for "tolerance" to say that a council worker cannot have a Piglet coffee mug on her desk? And isn't an ability to turn a blind eye to animated piglets the very least the West is entitled to expect from its Muslim citizens? If Islam cannot "co-exist" even with Pooh or the abstract swirl on a Burger King ice-cream, how likely is it that it can co-exist with the more basic principles of a pluralist society? As A A Milne almost said: "They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace/ Her Majesty's Law is replaced by Allah's."

By the way, isn't it grossly offensive to British Wahhabis to have a head of state who is female and uncovered?
So with that, I present to you, Piglet with a squiggly-mark.

Behold, the unstoppable allahpig!

Energy

There's been much talk of "Peak Oil" lately, namely that world oil production has just about reached its maximum and will begin to decline, just as the growing economies of Asia (not to mention our own) need it ever more desperately, leading to declining standards of living and increased conflict as prices skyrocket.

And we ultimately expire, drowned in our own Malthusian wastes.

Well, somehow, we got through "Peak Woodburning" and "Peak Whale Oil".

It should be obvious now that the professional eco-greenies who are blocking exploration and production in the Gulf and Alaska are really anti-modernists who wish our civilization to collapse so they can live out their "harmony with Gaia" fantasies on a simpler -- and vastly depopulated, by the way -- planet.

Because these are the same people who opposed nuclear energy.

Some say they can be traced to the anti-Vietnam war movement -- they had to do something after it was over -- and ultimately to the KGB as a communist-driven plot.

But I digress.

We really have lots of energy alternatives.

There's a good post here at Bernoulli Effect.

Be sure to also read the comments, as the first one is by Yours Truly:
Another interesting point was in Thursday or Friday's [i.e., Feb 2 or 3, 2006] Wall Street Journal: whereas we have lots of coal and nuclear reserves, they can really only be used for electricity generation, and can't be shifted to power cars and trucks, which consume a large part of our oil needs.

But Natural Gas can and should be shifted from electricity production (and heating) to power trucks and buses -- we already have natural gas-powered vehicles. Doing that on a wide scale, and taking up the electricity slack with coal and nuclear, would be a very, very significant reduction in gasoline usage, and it's doable TODAY.
We can also extract oil from North America's vast oil sands -- currently an expensive process, but becoming more affordable. And when done in earnest, economies of scale and engineering advances will make prices fall.

Oil-like substances can also be extracted from coal. Pennsylvania's coal reserves, I believe, are measured in centuries.

And ethanol and methanol can be used more to dilute gasoline and make it go further, as will hybrid-electric vehicles.

The alcohols, however, are not a total solution, as their energy density is much less than that of gasoline, and it takes lots of energy to produce them. Den Beste also wrote on this, perhaps more pessimistically, some time ago.

Just don't hold your breath for the Hydrogen Economy, or for any significant impact from wind or solar. They just don't scale.

But we probably won't need them if we shift our electricity to nuclear and coal, and make more use of the alcohols and natural gas in vehicle fueling, as well as exploiting the oil sands.

And of course, there's an outside chance this wild theory might just be right:
The hypothesis of abiogenic petroleum origin (synonyms: abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, inorganic, juvenile, mineral, primordial) holds that petroleum is formed by non-biological processes deep in the earth's crust and mantle. It contradicts the more widely-held view that petroleum is a fossil fuel produced from the remains of ancient living organisms. The constituent precursors of petroleum (mainly methane) are commonplace and it is possible that appropriate conditions exist for hydrocarbons to be formed deep within the earth. This hypothesis dates to the 19th century, when the French chemist Marcellin Berthelot and the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev proposed it, and was revived in the 1950s.

The theory stands in contrast to that of Peak Oil, which presumes a fixed and dwindling supply of oil that was formed through biological processes.
The fact is, we really don't know much about what's going on inside the Earth.

Or even this one:
The existence of cold fusion remains a controversial issue. It has been dismissed by some as an example of pathological science, and an idea that would not go away, long after the majority of scientists in the field dismissed it as wrong. Despite this opposition, a number of researchers continue to work on the basic concept, and have reported improved results over time. While there is little mainstream acceptance of the field today, thousands of peer-reviewed cold fusion papers have been published.
You never know!

At the very least, in a few years, the oil dollars that finance this wave of jihad will dry up.

It's inevitable.

And don't miss this post at The Futurist, which is a very fascinating blog!
Some people say ethanol is the answer. Others say solar. Still others say wind, while yet others say that more sophisticated technology in the car itself and big light-emitting-diodes in the home can reduce oil consumption to the point that it doesn't matter.

Will any one of them revolutionize the world in ten years? Probably not.

The point is, there is not just one thing being worked on to kill the monster of US oil dependency, but many. The monster will be killed by a thousand cuts.

Sinking Ship

To listen to conventional opinion and reporting, you'd think everything attempted by the West, and the U.S. in particular, is a sad, doomed, farcical exercise in futility and waste better performed by the Keystone Kops, whereas our adversaries are disciplined deep-thinking visionaries commanding infallible minions with infinite resources.

Of course they should not -- must not -- be underestimated.

But as this article makes clear, things aren't always so rosy from the other side of the table.

For example:
Until just a week ago estate agents in Tehran were marketing a housing project due to be launched at the end of the year by an Irano-Finnish company. Now, however, agents contacted over the telephone say the project has been “indefinitely postponed”.

The reason?

“Well, you know where the country is headed,” says one Tehran real estate dealer.

Where the country is headed, of course, is toward a possible clash with the United Nations over its alleged plans to build nuclear weapons. The clash could lead to economic and other sanctions or, if the worst comes to worst, military conflict.

The Tehran leadership under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, appears confident that it can take on the UN and win.
...
The truth is that things are not going as well for the Islamic Republic as President Ahmadinejad claims. Here are some facts that he might want to consider:

• Over the past six months an estimated $300 billion, mostly belonging to small or medium investors, has been transferred from Iran to foreign banks, especially in the Gulf states. (The chief justice of the Islamic Republic Mahmoud Shahroudi puts the figure at $700 billion).

• Over 10000 Iranian companies have moved their headquarters from Iran to Dubai, Turkey, Cyprus and even Pakistan.

• At least 10 oil companies, among them British Petroleum (UK), Baker-Hughes (US), Halliburton(US), and Conoco-Phillips(US) have either withdrawn from Iran or are winding down operations, even in the Qeshm and Kish “free zones.”

• Several major Western companies have also started their withdrawal from Iran. These include Baker-Hughes (US), Siemens(Germany), General Electric (US) and Phillips (Holland).

• Some international banks are also winding down their activities in Iran. These include Standard-Charter (UK), ABN-Amro(Holland), Credit Suisse (Switzerland), UBS (Switzerland), and the insurance brokers AON Corps.

• The US Treasury Department has revived the long forgotten Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) and is investigating 73 European, American, Canadian and Japanese firms that do business in Iran in violation of its provisions. Many of those firms are likely to withdraw from Iran rather than face being shut out of the US market.

• Iran imports nearly 40 percent of the refined petroleum products it needs from other OPEC members, including Iraq and Kuwait.

The imports could stop if the United Nations’ Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran. That would lead to a severe rationing of petrol for private and commercial use at a time that the military’s demand would be on the increase.
(In fact, when I used to play Avalon Hill "bookcase" wargames, it always amazed how, the situation could look quite different when viewing the mapboard and counters from, literally, the "other side of the table." This was a good lesson.)

The Yemeni Fragments

In this clash of symbols, the impact of the Yemeni Fragments deserves to be watched. It could be way bigger in significance than the Dead Sea Scrolls:
IN 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana'a, in Yemen, laborers working in a loft between the structure's inner and outer roofs stumbled across a remarkable gravesite, although they did not realize it at the time. Their ignorance was excusable: mosques do not normally house graves, and this site contained no tombstones, no human remains, no funereal jewelry. It contained nothing more, in fact, than an unappealing mash of old parchment and paper documents -- damaged books and individual pages of Arabic text, fused together by centuries of rain and dampness, gnawed into over the years by rats and insects. Intent on completing the task at hand, the laborers gathered up the manuscripts, pressed them into some twenty potato sacks, and set them aside on the staircase of one of the mosque's minarets, where they were locked away -- and where they would probably have been forgotten once again, were it not for Qadhi Isma'il al-Akwa', then the president of the Yemeni Antiquities Authority, who realized the potential importance of the find.
...
Some of the parchment pages in the Yemeni hoard seemed to date back to the seventh and eighth centuries A.D., or Islam's first two centuries -- they were fragments, in other words, of perhaps the oldest Korans in existence. What's more, some of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text. Such aberrations, though not surprising to textual historians, are troublingly at odds with the orthodox Muslim belief that the Koran as it has reached us today is quite simply the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God.
This aspect cannot be underestimated:
THE first person to spend a significant amount of time examining the Yemeni fragments, in 1981, was Gerd-R. Puin, a specialist in Arabic calligraphy and Koranic paleography based at Saarland University, in Saarbr├╝cken, Germany. Puin, who had been sent by the German government to organize and oversee the restoration project, recognized the antiquity of some of the parchment fragments, and his preliminary inspection also revealed unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography and artistic embellishment. Enticing, too, were the sheets of the scripture written in the rare and early Hijazi Arabic script: pieces of the earliest Korans known to exist, they were also palimpsests -- versions very clearly written over even earlier, washed-off versions. What the Yemeni Korans seemed to suggest, Puin began to feel, was an evolving text rather than simply the Word of God as revealed in its entirety to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century A.D.
...
To date just two scholars have been granted extensive access to the Yemeni fragments: Puin and his colleague H.-C. Graf von Bothmer, an Islamic-art historian also based at Saarland University.
Working quietly for years, maintaining a low profile to avoid having their investigation halted by the Yemeni authorities, the German scholars finally finished their catalog:
Von Bothmer, however, in 1997 finished taking more than 35,000 microfilm pictures of the fragments, and has recently brought the pictures back to Germany. This means that soon Von Bothmer, Puin, and other scholars will finally have a chance to scrutinize the texts and to publish their findings freely -- a prospect that thrills Puin. "So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Koran is just God's unaltered word," he says. "They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Koran has been out of this discussion. The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Koran has a history too. The Sana'a fragments will help us to do this."

Puin is not alone in his enthusiasm. "The impact of the Yemeni manuscripts is still to be felt," says Andrew Rippin, a professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary, who is at the forefront of Koranic studies today. "Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant. Everybody agrees on that. These manuscripts say that the early history of the Koranic text is much more of an open question than many have suspected: the text was less stable, and therefore had less authority, than has always been claimed."
...
"To historicize the Koran would in effect delegitimize the whole historical experience of the Muslim community," says R. Stephen Humphreys, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. "The Koran is the charter for the community, the document that called it into existence. And ideally -- though obviously not always in reality -- Islamic history has been the effort to pursue and work out the commandments of the Koran in human life. If the Koran is a historical document, then the whole Islamic struggle of fourteen centuries is effectively meaningless."
You can say that again!

Effectively meaningless.

Let that sink in.

This is because, literally,
as the Encyclopaedia of Islam (1981) points out, "the closest analogue in Christian belief to the role of the Kur'an in Muslim belief is not the Bible, but Christ." If Christ is the Word of God made flesh, the Koran is the Word of God made text, and questioning its sanctity or authority is thus considered an outright attack on Islam -- as Salman Rushdie knows all too well.
Even the "accepted" text is problematic:
The adoption of the doctrine of inimitability was a major turning point in Islamic history, and from the tenth century to this day the mainstream Muslim understanding of the Koran as the literal and uncreated Word of God has remained constant.

GERD-R. Puin speaks with disdain about the traditional willingness, on the part of Muslim and Western scholars, to accept the conventional understanding of the Koran. "The Koran claims for itself that it is 'mubeen,' or 'clear,'" he says. "But if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn't make sense. Many Muslims -- and Orientalists -- will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Koranic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation. If the Koran is not comprehensible -- if it can't even be understood in Arabic -- then it's not translatable. People fear that. And since the Koran claims repeatedly to be clear but obviously is not -- as even speakers of Arabic will tell you -- there is a contradiction. Something else must be going on."
Maybe it doesn't make sense because it's the ravings of a delusional schizophrenic?
To Wansbrough, the Islamic tradition is an example of what is known to biblical scholars as a "salvation history": a theologically and evangelically motivated story of a religion's origins invented late in the day and projected back in time.
...
Wansbrough's arcane theories have been contagious in certain scholarly circles, but many Muslims understandably have found them deeply offensive. S. Parvez Manzoor, for example, has described the Koranic studies of Wansbrough and others as "a naked discourse of power" and "an outburst of psychopathic vandalism."
Psychopathic Vandalism?

Oh, you mean like this?

Solidarity



Buy Danish!

I just got some yummy Havarti cheese.

I think everyone should see the true face of the enemy. These are British and other "Western" muslims.

One would think if any muslims are "moderate", it would be these.

Does this look moderate, in response to some very mild cartoons?











Their efforts at suppressing free speech are spawning efforts like this. That whole blog is worth a look for its political artwork.

In addition, so far, the Danish and Norwegian embassies have been burned in Syria, a Danish mission was burned in Lebanon, and a Roman Catholic priest was murdered in Turkey by a chanting islamazoid.

Further riots have erupted in Indonesia, Pakistan, New Zealand, etc.

Some Danes are marching in response, to "appeal for a peaceful dialogue to resolve a row":



I sure hope that photo caption isn't an accurate description of that march's goals...Dialogue with this barbarian?



Are you mad?

No quarter!

These times call for New Crusaders. This is a clash of ideas, symbols, and gods.

Break out the old Templar banners!



Beau Seant!

Games

Many have commented, lamentingly, how the Iranians seem to be playing a subtle game of chess.

After all, the game was invented, probably, in Persia.

And obviously chess is beyond the capability of the Bush administration, which appears to be playing the far-less-sophisticated checkers.

But I think that may be wrong.

They may be playing chess, but Bush is playing poker.

The world, in its complexity, is not very much like rigidly-constructed chess at all. Modern Game Theory, after all, uses Poker as its archetypical game for human interaction -- not chess!

If Levian is right, Iran may have been suckered into betting all its chips on the seemingly strong Dead Man's Hand, when Bush in fact is holding better cards.

It's a reverse-bluff.

Aren't the maxims of Sun Tzu essentially, "when strong, appear weak; when near, appear far"?

Just how strong is Bush's hand?

He's got a Good Cop, Bad Cop, Worse Cop thing going now:
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel likened Iran's nuclear plans on Saturday to the threat posed by the Nazis in their early days, as top U.S. officials urged a tough line to stop Tehran from making an atomic bomb.
...
SENATORS JOIN ATTACK

U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman applauded Merkel and urged the world to take the Iranians seriously.

"From the writings of Hitler during the 1930s and Mein Kampf to the polemics of bin Laden in the 1990s, there is ample evidence that sometimes when people write and say that they hate you and ... they want to destroy you, in fact they mean it and will try," he said.

His Republican colleague John McCain said economic sanctions should be imposed on Iran even if that meant bypassing the United Nations. He said military action must also remain an option if Tehran does not bow to international demands to halt its nuclear activities.

Rumsfeld described Iran's Islamic leaders as extremely dangerous and said they could not be permitted to acquire the world's deadliest weapons.

"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Rumsfeld said. "The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran."
Add Bush to those four cards (Merkel, Lieberman, McCain, Rumsfeld), and it's a Royal Straight Flush.

We just need the will to play the cards rather than fold.

A Nice Rant

Once again, someone has said exactly what I'm thinking, better than I could.

I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written rant (warning: and strongly worded) by Banagor:
Mohammed was a Rapist, Child Molester, Murderer, Thief, and Liar
Truly, as their own scriptures demonstrate to anyone who will read them, that Mohammed is somewhere between Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler.

It's indisputable.

I've often in private mentioned that although Manson may have said some pithy things, one would be insane to model a way of life on him.

Satisfyingly, Banagor agrees. I'll give just a taste of it here, but the whole thing is well worth reading:
I don’t go around quoting Charles Manson, and Mohammed makes him look like a candidate for beatification. The only reason that Mohammed wasn’t able to do what Hitler was able to do on such a scale was because Mohammed was a God damned cave man with fleas in his hair and he didn’t have the technical know-how to commit genocide on such a scale - not that he didn’t try, mind you.

What amazes me even more is that some Westerners are angry that we have offended Muslims, as if they truly are worshippers of a “religion of peace”. Isn’t it incredible that every time these “peaceful” Muslims are offended, more people die as a result?
Hitler's manifesto, Mein Kampf, by the way, is one of the most popular books in the Middle East to muslims, and held in great esteem, according to these reflections by a Western teacher of English in the Gulf region:
The call to arms is a clear ringing note in Islam. It is clear to me that in order to remain a valid Muslim one must not only support the concept of Jihad, but to actively engage in the struggle against Dar ul Harb.
...
In 1998 I had a friend of mine who is an Egyptian businessman in Dammam Saudi Arabia. I sometimes visited him and his family for dinner. On the outside he and his family seemed to be like every other family I have known in the West. He has a nice wife with a couple of neat children. They are from Cairo. One day I found myself waiting in their living room while they prepared an especially tasty dinner for me. I love books. I have been an avid reader since before the first grade, so when I find myself in any house I wandered over to the bookshelf to browse through the host’s book collection. The usual geography tomes and books that the children all over the world read were there, but I was shocked when I looked above his collection of business and college books to see two books together. What caught my eye and gave me one of the shocks of my life were back to back on a bookshelf the Koran and Hitler’s’ best selling book Mein Kampf. I was speechless because these two artifacts gave me a window through which I could glimpse their worldview. Everyone knew that Hitler was evil, so therefore his book must be also. The jolting shock came from seeing the great Koran right next to it.
This is the same "Koran", by the way, that we infidels aren't supposed to touch without wearing gloves, as the guards of the terrorists at Gitmo have to do.

An aberration? No:
I noticed these two books in offices and bookshops and in the malls all over the Middle East. I was given a hardback copy of Mein Kampf from an American Caucasian Muslim when he reached the end of his teaching contract in Saudi Arabia. The frequency in which I had seen this book here in the Middle East tells me that this is more than some odd violent Near Easterner’s anti-Semitic attitude, but what had I stumbled on?
...
What I saw concerning Hitler and his book was disturbing enough, but what I keep hearing from my students and co-workers here is even worse! I wished you could have been a fly on my classroom wall this semester, for this is what you would have head one day when Hitler’s name came up:

“ I love Hitler teacher” “Hitler was a great man!” “ Are you German?” “ I have a picture of Hitler in my heart.” “The Jews have no place in this world” “They will kill us all, so therefore we must kill them.” “We should be happy concerning the deaths in the West.” “I have a picture of Osama on my cell phone!”

“Why was Hitler a great man?” I asked them after outburst like this one. One of my very nicest students I have ever had blurted out; “He cooked Jews in the oven teacher!” I am not a Jew, but inside I was physically sick that day. There have been many such days in my time here among the Arabs in the Gulf region. The above statements were made by the best of the best among their brightest students, and they are not alone, for I hear the same sort of language from intellectuals, professionals, and Medical doctors!
So what does all this say about people -- Muslims -- who by definition CHOOSE to follow Mohammed's Nazi-ish ideology?

Being muslim is not an ethnicity.

It is a declaration of a belief-system.

And of subservience to one of the most evil men in history.

It is a choice. And choices have consequences.

Why aren't they ashamed to be associated with this "man"?

Why don't they distance themselves from it?

Wouldn't you?

Iran Endgame?

A fascinating analysis at Asia Times by Paul Levian about what likely will happen to Iran:
Judging from the rather frantic behind-the-scenes efforts of Russia and China in Iran, they seem to appreciate that the Iranian leadership is in for a big and probably deadly surprise. The Bush administration has not only handled its Iran dossier much more skillfully than Iraq, but also managed to set up Iran for a war it can neither win nor fight to a draw.
Whether consciously set up this way or not, Levian's thesis is that the MSM has deluded Iran into overplaying its hand.

This is so deliciously ironic!

This strategic deception might rank as one of the greatest all-time mis-directions, all the moreso since the agents of the propaganda -- the MSM -- actually believe the message they are sending:
If the Iranian leaders think they can deter an attack because the US is bogged down in Iraq they are already between the jaws of a well-set trap...Iranian leaders seem to accept at face value the US moans over its overstretched military forces and the demoralization of US forces in Iraq.

Certainly, Iranian misconceptions are helped mightily by the defeatism of the Western debate about such a war. "No good options" has become something like the consensus view...
It would be even stranger to think this came about in an entirely unplanned manner.

One almost sees the Hand of Providence.

Be that as it may, Levian knows our forces are extremely capable.

He puts a new interpretation on the strange comments by Chirac lately about France possibly using nuclear weapons against a terrorist state:
In particular, the widely but wrongly discounted nuclear belligerence of President Jacques Chirac last month implied that France was ready to accept the US use of nuclear weapons in a war against Iran if they saw fit to do so.
Using tactical nuclear weapons, I believe, has always been part of our military doctrine to substitute when forces are stretched thin.

Why else would we have them?

He lays out a scenario that I heartily endorse:
An initial Israeli air attack against some Iranian nuclear targets, command and control targets and Shahab missile sites. Iran retaliates with its remaining missiles, tries to close the Gulf, attacks US naval assets and American and British forces in Iraq. If Iranian missiles have chemical warheads (in fact or presumed), the US will immediately use nuclear weapons to destroy the Iranian military and industrial infrastructure. If not, an air campaign of up to two weeks will prepare the ground campaign for the occupation of the Iranian oil and gas fields.

Mass mobilization in Iraq against US-British forces will be at most a nuisance - easily suppressed by the ruthless employment of massive firepower. And Israel will use the opportunity to deal with Syria and South Lebanon, and possibly with its Palestinian problem.
If this is true, our planners aren't the dunderheads we often take them to be.

I particular like how he calls for the same kind of Punitive Expedition format that I have long advocated:
The character of this war will be completely different from the Iraq war. No show-casing of democracy, no "nation-building", no journalists, no Red Cross - but the kind of war the United States would have fought in North Vietnam if it had not had to reckon with the Soviet Union and China.
And just who is this analyst?
Paul Levian is a former German intelligence officer.
I hope he's right.

Little Testimony

Ha. These AP stringers are really funny. It's amazing how we have just opened the floodgates to enemy propaganda and consider it news:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - After four months and 26 witnesses, prosecutors in the Saddam Hussein trial have offered little credible testimony directly linking the former leader to the killings and torture for which he's charged.
Little testimony!

Yeah. The security forces operated independently of an authoritarian dictator and tyrant. Right. No direct links between Hussein and his deathsquads.

The byline: By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer