Monday, May 30, 2005
"The second major anachronism is the movie’s approach to religion. Most people know that the Crusades were wars of faith. Crusaders underwent extreme hardship, risking their lives and expending enormous amounts of money because of their devotion to Christ, his Church, and his people. Crusader piety also manifested itself in extraordinary devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints, particularly those saints who had lived in the Holy Land. The Kingdom of Heaven, however, performs the delicate operation of stripping religious piety completely out of the Crusades. Balian and his father appear to be agnostics. Other Crusaders, like the Hospitaller, are openly critical of religion. Indeed, all of the good guys in this movie seem to have no devotion to God at all, only a devotion to tolerance. The bad guys, on the other hand, are all religiously devout, which causes them to be either evil (like Guy and Reynald) or mad (like the glassy-eyed preacher who chants, “To kill a Muslim is not murder, it is the path to heaven”). In other words, the medieval world is portrayed in much the same way that Hollywood views America: Smart people either have no religion or do not take it very seriously. The rest are right-wing Christian fanatics."
Go read it all.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Seixon has made an absolutely excellent post on the Galloway incident- take note of all the glowing headlines about Galloway.
At the same time in Italy an author- Oriana Fallaci- is being prosecuted for "defaming Islam".
How soon before CAIR and other Muslim groups begin to start doing the same in the US- despite the 1st Amendment? Not long I suspect, particularly with people like Conyers about.
Want to know what was so dreadful that Fallaci is being prosecuted? With thanks to Dagger in Hand-
1) during the occupation of Montecassino in the 9th century “the Muslims amused themselves by sacrificing each night the virginity of a nun. Do you know where? On the altar of the cathedral.”
2) while occupying Constantinople in 1453, the Turks led by Mohammed II “decapitated even newborns. And extinguished candles with their little heads.”
3) “In a woman the Koran sees above all a womb to give birth.”
4) “In the dream that the sons of Allah have been nurturing for years, the dream of blowing up Giotto’s Tower or the Tower of Pisa or the cupola of St. Peter’s or the Eiffel Tower or Westminster Abbey or the cathedral of Cologne and so on . . .”
5) “…halal butchery is barbarous” just as “shechita butchery is barbarous. That is, the Jewish version which is carried out in the same way and consists of slitting the animals’ throats without dazing them.”
6) France is a country “where Islamic racism, that is the hatred of the infidel-dogs, reigns supreme and is never put on trial, never punished. Where the Muslims declare openly: “We must take advantage of the democratic space that France offers us, we must exploit democracy, that is, make use of it to occupy territory.” Where not a few of them add: “In Europe the Nazi position was not understood. Or not by all. It was judged a vehicle of homicidal folly, when actually Hitler was a great man.”
7) for Muslims “biology is a shameless science because it is occupied with the human body and sex.”
8) “ . . . we will have to resign ourselves to the yoke of a creed that . . . instead of love spreads hatred and instead of liberty slavery.”
9) “a Right and a Left . . . that (in Italy) are both on the side of the enemy (Islam).”
10) the demands of the Islamics with regard to school curricula mean that in literature classes “we will not be allowed to include for example The Divine Comedy . . .nor the Canticle of Creatures nor the Sacred Hymns of Alessandra Manzoni . . .” etc. etc.
11) “ . . . the uncouth wailing of the muezzin . . .”
12) the terrorist attacks of the last twenty years have caused six thousand deaths “to the glory of the Koran. In obedience to its verses.”
13) “Our Jesus of Nazareth . . . they put him in their Danna where he eats like Trimalchio, drinks like a drunkard, screws like a sexual maniac.”
14) “. . . the revolting, reactionary, obtuse, feudal Right is found today only in Islam. It is Islam.”
15) infibulation is “the mutilation that the Muslims force on little girls to prevent them, once they are grown . . . from enjoying the sexual act. It is a female castration that the Muslims practice in twenty-eight countries of Islamic Africa and because of which two million persons die each year from sepsis or loss of blood . . .”
16) the Italians afflicted by atavistic loss of pride “are not offended when Islamic immigrants urinate on their monuments or soil the sacristies of their churches or toss their crucifixes out the window of a hospital.”
17) “. . . Islam is a pond. And a pond is a trough of stagnant water. . . it is never purified . . . it is easily polluted, like a watering hole for livestock of little value. The pond does not love life: It loves death . . .”
18) “ . . .despite the massacres through which the sons of Allah have bloodied us and bloodied themselves for over thirty years, the war that Islam has declared against the West . . . is a cultural war. . .they kill us in order to bend us. To intimidate us . . . Their goal is not to fill cemeteries. Not to destroy our skyscrapers . . . It is to destroy our soul, our ideas. Our feelings and our dreams. It is to subjugate the West once again.”
Compare this report on sermons by preachers who are paid by the Palestinian Authority-
Recent sermons by Mr. Mudeiris include one from April 15, 2005, in which he said that Muslims prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan were forced to convert to Christianity. In his sermon on February 4, 2005, he called for Palestinians to conquer Israel. This year's New Year sermon was devoted to the destruction of America: "America has reached the top and we admit it, but it is headed for a bottomless pit, Allah willing. America, which is being led by its current president, to a bottomless pit. He leads it to death and destruction, Allah willing. America's grave was dug by Bush the day he invaded Afghanistan. Bush prepared this grave on the day he invaded Iraq."...
With Bush's stance on funding to the Palestinian Authority-
"US President George W Bush has pledged $50m in direct aid for the Palestinian Authority, at a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The new aid is part of a $350m package earmarked for the Palestinians."
There's something seriously wrong with this picture- America is essentially paying for preachers to call for the downfall of the United States. Seems to me that the time has come for America to stop giving money- lots and lots of money- to those who hate it. That $350 would surely go at least some of the way to fixing Social Security wouldn't it? As Bush himself said, "You're either with us, or against us."
It seems that long, pointed kitchen knives are used in stabbings and according to some chefs questioned about their use, none of them are "essential". At the moment the government does not plan to pursue this ban, it's merely being called for by a group of doctors, but the Association of Chief Police Officers is also in favour of the ban. There is a possibility that this will head towards Parliament but I personally can't see it- but only because of the massive disruption this would cause to shops all over the country that sell such items, plus the companies that manufacture them.
Having said that, this is the UK- and as we become more and more "European-ised", anything is possible.
I wonder what these doctors would have to say about my two-handed machete?
Hat tip to Head's Bunker.
Can you think of anyone you'd like to see running in slow motion along the beach?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented, pointing out that the ruling "all but ignores the serious security issues facing our courts.''
I guess that Scalia and Thomas possess a smidgen more commonsense than the other High Court judges in wanting to prevent a murderer with nothing to lose trying to harm anyone else. Looks like it'll take the deaths of a few more lower court judges, cops, court staff and perhaps innocent bystanders before a different ruling is passed.
"stabbed his mother from the back, headbutted her and then stabbed her nine more times, eventually cutting her throat."
The young man in question had apparently become more and more unstable for a period of eighteen months before the attack.
He has been harassed for six months since refusing to sell the teenage girls cigarettes. A man linked to the group of girls has already attacked the shopkeeper and left him with a broken cheekbone and jaw.
Police say, "This behaviour will not be tolerated." Of course not.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Laura Bush, wife of the notorious war criminal George Bush, tried to put the best face on her embarrassing visit to occupied Palestine over the weekend as she arrived in Cairo.
In the current context, one we are asked to believe Laura Bush’s “weekend visit to Jerusalem holy sites” obviates, the violence is facilitated by the Israeli state with ample assistance of the United States, currently led (thanks to bogus elections) by Laura’s warm and fuzzy mass murdering husband. It apparently disturbs Mrs. Bush that she cannot “come to the Holy Land in peace,” that is to say a Holy Land effectively controlled by Israel, with docile Palestinians, Stepford Palestinians who have accepted their role as the “hewers of wood and drawers of water” (as dictated by the Hebrew bible), a rather unreasonable assumption, to say the least, considering the historical struggle of people against tyranny and occupation down through the millennium.
As my Other Half said when she read this piece, "who is this dick?"
I think that says it quite nicely.
Ian Paisley, the often bluff and outspoken leader of the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), has today stated that he will not serve as first minister here with a Sinn Fein deputy. Part of the peace deal was that the majority elected party would not rule as in most every other country, but that regardless of the votes, power would be shared.
"I don't see it because I don't trust them and the people don't trust them," Mr. Paisley said.
"Mr Adams said today that the IRA would never be disbanded - so if that is his view, then that is it."
If Sinn Fein/IRA is committed to peaceful progress then why the need for an armed terrorist organisation at all?
Sounds crazy? Maybe, but this could be the start of an immortal age for mankind, though it will be evolution guided not by nature but by technology. The implications are pretty wild- if you did decide to become uploaded (and for the sake of argument we'll say theat the process to scan your brain is destructive- that is, you cease to exist as "wetware" ) for a start you could create back-up "minds" so that if you were killed, a new you could be brought back online. Add in some sort of wireless connection to continually back up your experiences and your new "you" could have every memory right up to and including your death.
But that's just the start. With an uploaded mind there is also the opportunity to have an inorganic body- a robot if you will. Need to do two or three things at once- do a back-up, put it in a spare robot body and send it off. When the tasks are completed simply download all the copies' memories/experiences back into the master.
Or how about becoming "fast"- an uploaded mind will be able to run as fast as the fastest computer hardware, it's not going to be limited by the speed of a human brain, so it's conceivable that an uploaded mind could run two, three or ten times faster than a "normal". It would make it virtually impossible for the two to interact- by the time the normal finishes a sentence, the upload has done the Times crossword, updated his daily blog and read half a book- but it means too that the speed of development will increase too. This will not happen in isolation either, so scientists and doctors doing reasearch will probably have access to virtual labs. The time taken to develop, say, a vaccine, could be halved. What it might taken one person, eating, sleeping, attending meetings, just plain living, a year to do, it could take a fast upload mere days.
It's an awesome possibility. The future just might be more fantastical than you can imagine.
"Rita O’Hare... Sinn Fein’s senior lobbyist in the US since 1998, was denied her “special” visa to reenter the United States after a recent trip to Ireland. O’Hare, who is reported to be a fugitive from British authorities because she jumped bail in Northern Ireland there more than 30 years ago while awaiting trial for attempted murder of British soldiers."
This most certainly wouldn't have happened on Clinton's watch but it seems that the Bush administration is taking terrorism- of all brands- seriously. For years people like myself in Northern Ireland have been appalled by Sinn Fein/IRA's highly publicised money-raising trips to the US, where it seems the situation here is completely misunderstood. The IRA are not "freedom fighters"- Nationalists in Northern Ireland have the freedom to vote, freedom of religion, even the freedom to obtain a passport from the Republic of Ireland. They also have the freedom to campaign peacefully to obtain whatever political goals they so desire. Instead they chose to mount a campaign of terror against the people of Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Targeting soldiers, police - just like Zarqawi and his bunch of murderers- and innocent civilians. Right now, the "peace process" here has come to a standstill because the IRA refuse to disarm (now what do they need AKs, RPGs and tons of explosives for?)- instead the threat of a return to violence hangs over the talks here, with all politicians knowing that Sinn Fein/IRA will resort to violence if their demands are not met. And so far, they've gotten everything they want- they've even been allowed to not take their oath of office as MPs, but still receive the pay and benefits of that office. A devolved government did run here for a short time, but that came to an end when it was determined that Sinn Fein/IRA were using it as a cover for spying on the other elected members.
The Sunday Times reported that the IRA is still recruiting youths to the organisation and training them in the use of guns, bombs and terror tactics. They are still an active terrorist organisation. Luckily for the voters of Britain, the report which identified this activity was not released until after the election- despite being completed in April. So here we have a situation in which, for example, an armed terrorist group is permitted to take part in "peace talks" despite their refusal to disarm (which was the original condition for talks to take place), despite their still carrying out surveillance on serving police officers and in which one of their members was appointed Minister for Education (self-admitted IRA member Martin McGuiness). No wonder the Ulster Unionist Party- the champions of the peace process for Unionists here- was thrashed in the elections just passed. They lost the majority of their seats and even their leader failed to be elected- instead the DUP, headed by the no-nonsense Ian Paisley, has rocketed forward to become the dominant party.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
First of all Chrenkoff has a great piece from a soldier on the "press support" the mission in Iraq is receiving. Sums it up pretty well.
Next up, LGF has a superb piece from Marine colonel Bob Chase on his experiences in Operation Matador. As Charles says, pay attention to the segment about the NBC interview. Chase gives a great answer.
Finally, another cracker from Mark Steyn on the "hoodie culture" of Britain.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
I'm sure that if the USMC adopted this as their next recruitment poster they'd be inundated with offers.
"We think this is the first democratic assembly that has ever been held in Cuba," said organizer and former political prisoner Marta Beatriz Roque of the rare public display of opposition.
A videotaped message of support from President Bush- who congratulated attendees on their courage and efforts to build democracy- was also played to the democracy-campaigners. The Assembly to Promote Civil Society was scheduled to begin on the date that, until the 1959 Revolution that put Castro in power, was Cuba's Independence Day.
Strangely there were no signs of support for this struggling democratic movement from Hollywood. Though 160 actors, writers and artisits from America and Europe put pen to paper to show their support for tyrant Castro, none seem willing to actually support a movement for freedom.
"If you believe in freedom, if you believe in justice, if you believe in democracy, you have no choice but to support Fidel Castro!" Harry Belafonte once said, but there seems to be no sign of freedom or democracy in Cuba, where a dictator has been in power for 46 years.
Danny Glover was also notable for his absence.
Well, The Times has gone one better and discovered who originally made the scream that has appeared in more than 114 movies, up to and including Revenge of the Sith- it's Sheb Wooley, a character actor and novelty singer- best known for the song Purple People Eater- who sadly passed away in 2003, apparently unaware that it was his scream which has featured in all the Star Wars movies, the Indiana Jones Trilogy, SinCity, two of the Lord of the Rings movies, Toy Story, and Reservoir Dogs to name but a few.
A British policeman said the language was offensive and unpleasant in the extreme. But police overlooked that and the fact that more than a few of the young men in the crowd covered their faces, technically a violation of British law, according to the police.
The language was much more than offensive and unpleasant as I'll show- in fact an incitement to murder just might cover it. Despite this, and the illegal masks, I can find no record whatsoever of any arrests. Sterling police work, no doubt aided by government instructions not to do anything that might resemble their job.
Shouting, "Down, down USA; down, down USA," the protesters called for the killing of Americans, the death of the U.S. president, the death of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the bombing of Britain, and the annihilation of the U.S. capital: "Nuke, nuke Washington; Nuke, nuke Washington! Bomb, bomb the Pentagon."
Some of the militant Islamic rhetoric smacked of incitement to commit murder, CNN's Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers reported. "Death, death Tony Blair; death, death Tony Blair. Death, death George Bush," the protesters chanted.
"The only language we speak today is the language of jihad," said one protester.
That sounds to me like grounds for arresting some of these "protesters".
Holding their Qurans high, they called for death and mayhem, praising the destruction of New York's twin towers on September 11, 2001, and saying the White House is next.
Before they broke up, the protesters joined in meditation, and then they all prayed.
So here we have a prime example of the Religion of Peace in action- calling for mass murder and then praying.
Friday, May 20, 2005
The US could improve its image among Muslims if it listened more, adopted a humbler tone and emphasised its aid programmes.
Yes, the US has to be more humble to gain acceptance from the Muslim world. But that's not all-
"What Muslims say they want from America is respect, understood as consultation and non-intervention, and development aid in which they, not Americans, define their needs."
In other words, be humble to Muslims, ask them what to do but don't get involved and keep giving them money to do with what they will.
Now, that's not too much is it?
Of course it turns out that these incidents have been reported by the Army and those involved have already received their punishment. According to the story:
"At least three soldiers were investigated and reprimanded for handling detainees outside of authorized military parameters, according to the documents."
Seems like a bit of a non-story, given that these events took place in 2003 and as recently as February 2004 (when a soldier taunted a detainee with a Star of David). That's not important to the MSM- what is important is that this adds fuel to their "fake but accurate" meme about the Newsweek Koran story. The fact that the Army took steps to reprimand the men involved in these incidents is not the point of the story, in fact, it's hard to see what purpose is served by publishing this story. As Murdoc has been saying recently, this all looks distinctly unpatriotic. The incidents involved pretending to kill prisoners. They do not involve actual abuse- other than some taunting, let's not forget.
Once more the media makes no effort to juxtapose these trivial incidents with the brutal beheadings carried out by the jihadis, nor does it praise the Army for dealing with the perpetrators.
Charles Kennedy- leader of the Liberal Democrats- had this to say:
Thank you for your recent email regarding your concerns about my nominating Jenny Tonge for a peerage in the Dissolution Honours List.
I have noted your comments, and I can assure you that this nomination certainly does not mean that the Liberal Democrats are supporters of terrorism nor that our policies have changed. This particular honours list is specifically designed to reward retiring MPs for their public service and, as a long serving Liberal Democrat MP, it is entirely fitting that Jenny should be put forward for such an honour.
In other words, regardless of Jenny Tonge's approval of terrorist activity, she served her time as an MP and now she is going to be rewarded. I'd just like to note here that Tonge's peerage- she's now a Baroness- has received no recognition in the British press whatsoever. In fact, I first heard of it via LGF and the Jerusalem Post. I have replied to Mr. Kennedy with the following message:
"Dear Mr. Kennedy,
First of all I would like to thank you for responding to my enquiry. I understand that the list is designed to reward MPs but the point I’d like to make is that I do not believe that Jenny Tonge should be rewarded. As you yourself said, "There can be no formal role for someone who has given voice to such a view." "The correct decision was quite simply if you are in an elected position of responsibility then even to convey the perception that somehow there is an ethical defence to be made of somebody who wants to be a suicide bomber is simply not acceptable."
As a Baroness in the House of Lords, won’t Jenny Tonge be in a position of responsibility? When our country is engaged in a war on terror (a war in which British troops and Britain as a whole faces grave risks from terrorist attack) is it right and just that a former MP be rewarded with a peerage when she is a supporter of terrorism? It is astonishing that at this critical time in our history that she could remain a part of our political process- with your backing. I have not heard Jenny Tonge apologise for her comments or to announce that she is opposed in any way whatsoever to Palestinian terrorist attacks. Given that the primary victims of Palestinian suicide bombers are civilians- men, women and children- I believe that there is no place for Tonge in any part of the British political process. Awarding her a peerage on the basis of past work regardless of her publicly expressed support of terrorism is simply not acceptable. Can you explain why this woman deserves to be rewarded? Don’t her views exclude her for the workings of our Parliamentary system? Surely your previous statement on the matter was correct but it cannot stand alongside her current position."
I for one am interested in what he has to say.
A spokesman for the group said-
"Jundallah does not belong to anyone and we don't receive money from any group. Our group, which was established recently, has vowed to avenge the blood of all Palestinians and Muslims who have fallen victim to Israel and the US."
"Our people will not remain idle in the face of American crimes in Muslim countries. It is forbidden to shed the blood of Muslims and it is our duty to respond. The blood of Muslims is not cheap."
He then went on to accuse the US of (thanks Newsweek) desecrating the Koran and of killing Muslims in Iraq. He did not mention the many Iraqi Muslims being murdered by Islamic terrorists in the country.
"Soon everyone will see operations [against the US] that would make all the Muslims delighted."
So Al Qaeda finds a new, safe place to begin operating from to try and push Israel's borders back even further. At the same time they will be able to plan and mount operations against American interests in the region, no doubt with no hassles from the PA. Seems to me that it's time that America cut off the billions of dollars of aid that the Palestinians have been getting for too long- the cash is merely going to be used against the US in one way or another.
A letter from Zarqawi to Bin Laden more than a year ago, intercepted by Kurdish intelligence and since then well-authenticated, spoke of Shiism as a repulsive heresy and the ignition of a Sunni-Shiite civil war as the best and easiest way to thwart the Crusader-Zionist coalition. The actions since then have precisely followed the design, but the design has been forgotten by the journal of record.
Islamic terrorists might hate America, Christians and Jews (and other assorted infidels) but it's easy to forget that there are internal power struggles within Islam too. As the terrorist attacks continue in Iraq and the victims become more and more often Iraqis themselves, it's worth bearing in mind that this is no accident. Zarqawi knows exactly what he's doing and this recent spate of attacks- primarily on Iraqi police and civilians- is quite deliberate. While he signals to the world that scholars have approved Muslims being killed so long as infidels are dying too, it's important to note that if some Shi'ites die, Zarqawi is not in the least bit concerned. His jihad will continue regardless of who gets in the way. A civil war springing up between the factions in Iraq could also aid him, as more Sunni terrorists might come to join the fight. Even if they do not, his goal of wrecking the "vile heresy" of democracy in Iraq will be furthered.
Time to add Eject! Eject! Eject! to my links.
Now go read!
Things aren't quite that bad in Britain yet but the general tactic of the Muslim community of demanding more and more concessions is ensuring that things are heading in the same direction. No calls for them to adapt to our culture and way of life- simply demands that we accede to them. Blair's proposed hate speech law didn't make it, but no doubt another attempt will be made to secure a similar bill during his current term. Of course, CAIR is playing a similar game in the States, demanding more "protections" for Muslims. Small steps towards the Caliphate.
One of the proposed uses for the robots, asides from the military, is for border security. It sure could use some help.
To read the entire source article requires subscription, but there is a small excerpt at the link.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
What could George Lucas have been thinking?
Amira Al-Ajouri was in a relationship with an Egyptian man without her family's knowledge. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, her father agreed to her marriage and she travelled to Egypt. However, when she returned home to Jordan for the birth, her brothers murdered her and her unborn child to "get rid of the shame". Amira was twenty five. There's some confusion as to the age of her unborn child- a police official originally said she was eight months pregnant with a baby boy- but the charge sheet listed her as only three months pregnant.
Judge Mohammed Abu-Dalbouh, who sentenced the two men, did so not to make an example of them but because the murder of a pregnant woman by stabbing that they carried out "lacked the factor of the act of fury". Obviously, if they had committed the murder in a more enraged manner, they would have received a more lenient sentence.
According to Jordanian figures, an average of twenty women a year are murdered in "honour killings", sometimes for nothing more than dating. Jordan's Queen Rania is trying to have sentences made harsher and she has made available legal, medical and social support and a help line for abused women in the country. Even so, conservative lawmakers are opposed to stiffening the laws because they believe it will lead to an increase in "vice".
"There can be no formal role for someone who has given voice to such a view."
"The correct decision was quite simply if you are in an elected position of responsibility then even to convey the perception that somehow there is an ethical defence to be made of somebody who wants to be a suicide bomber is simply not acceptable."
Despite this, Kennedy still nominated Tonge for the upper House. Do the LibDems now condone Palestinian suicide bombers?
Hey, what about John Kerry's super-secret plan that he promised before the election? Surely he wasn't lying about that was he?
"The killing of infidels by any method including martyrdom operations has been sanctified by many scholars even if it meant killing innocent Muslims. This legality has been agreed upon ... so as not to disrupt Jihad."
He goes on to state:
"Protecting religion is more important than protecting (Muslim) lives, honour or wealth. The shedding of Muslim blood ... is allowed in order to avoid the greater evil of disrupting jihad. God knows that we were careful not to kill Muslims and we have called off many operations in the past to avoid losses ... but we cannot kill infidels without killing some Muslims. It is unavoidable."
So it's all right then- he can go on killing Iraqi civilians, including young children, because he's carrying out a jihad against the infidels. So say the scholars of Islam. Thus far there have been no refutations from Muslim scholars anywhere.
Kevin points out that in an effort to combat these squads of thugs severe efforts are being taken- such as banning wearing hoodies- a ban which some would like to see extended to city centres. Drastic steps indeed- thugs are attacking and in some cases killing people, so let's...wait for it...stop them wearing hooded tops.
Gee, I wonder if that will work? Hey, Mr. Blair- are hoodies the cause of crime?
Strangely there's no mention of more police on patrol or actually, you know, prosecuting people for breaking the law. Perhaps that's too radical a notion.
BTW, no comments Kevin? What gives?
Word too of a possible Wolverine spin-off.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
When the IDF fired on the mortar crew they destroyed the rocket launcher and Hamas reported that a man was critically injured while conducting a "holy mission."
Hamas also stated that this reaction to their own attack was "a dangerous Israeli escalation." Hamas would obviously prefer that the IDF did not respond to months of mortar attacks.
The New York Times informs us that Hamas has "generally been observing the truce". How they are observing a truce by firing rockets and mortars at civilians is not discussed in detail.
Picture this- the droid army is attacking- Yoda uses the Force to smash tanks and landing craft into one another, a wave of fighters zooms in so Yoda Force-lifts dozens of shielded Droideka into the air to destroy them. Mace Windu leaps onto the back of a droid fighter and grabs a fistful of wires, piloting it around to destroy fighters with his lightsabre. The action is BIG, everything you always dreamed that the Jedi were capable of and more when you were a kid. On the basis of these couple episodes, I've got my order in for the DVD collection. If you like Star Wars even a little bit, go and check this out- I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
You can watch some episodes online here.
No word yet on who or why. It could be nothing, a prank or stunt. Then again, there's the scary possibility- dry run for a real chemical attack on the London underground. Let's hope it was the former.
On a related note, I've been subjected to CS gas- when I was in the Marines we had to check out NBC suits by going into a room filled with the stuff. After a time we had to remove our masks and answer questions from the instructors, stupid stuff to stop us holding our breath. It's certainly not pleasant at all, but we did discover that one member of our troop was immune to the stuff- we came out in pairs spluttering and coughing to collapse on the ground gasping for fresh air. This guy sauntered out singing that seventies tune "Macho Man".
Previously in the case of the Stegosaurs, it's been claimed that the plates and spikes were defensive, or that they were for sexual display at mating time, or even that they were a cooling mechanism for the creatures. In the latter case, the evidence put forward to support it was that the plates contained large blood vessels- in fact, it turns out that these vessels are dead ends- there was no way the blood could cool as it passed through the plate and then return to the body. It was also noted that modern species with antlers possess similarly large blood vessels- these are required for the growth of the antler. As regards their use for sexual display, researchers found that there was no sexual dimorphism- that is, the shape of the plates does not change between the sexes, probably ruling out their use in this manner.
The idea now is that stegosaur plates were merely for species identification. The comparison is with the many modern species of antelope in Africa which have different shaped horns- they serve the purpose of differentiating one species from another. It seems like a very mundane explanation but it's also quite plausible- though it must be noted that when it comes to dinosaurs, theories are not always long lasted or by any means certain- in fact, this battle of ideas is one of the most intriguing things about this area of study. Species identification they may be for, but it seems odd to me that pachycephalosaurs, triceratops and hadrosaurs are included in the lead-in- especially since none of these are mentioned in the article.
The dome-heads of pachycephs are very thick- a two foot long head topped with eight inches of solid bone- with neck muscles designed to lock the head at right angles to the body. This is surely not "species identification", as these features were most likely used for "butting" in mating contests (think deer locking antlers) and for defence against predators.
Triceratops had a very sturdy skull- seven feet long, four feet wide and solidly constructed. Their horns could grow up to four feet in length and their frill was essentially armour covered with tough, horny skin and tipped with small horn-covered spikes. This obviously lends itself to defence and offence and appears to be a case of overkill for mere species identification. As for the duck-billed hadrosaurs, their elaborate crests contained hollowed structures which seem perfectly suited for use as resonating chambers- no doubt these could be used to make a variety of calls with which to attract a mate. Again, more than simple species identification.
Perhaps that's a good thing- that every time the Twin Towers are seen is a reminder that they were destroyed, along with all those lives. In the same way, seeing Freedom Tower there would also be a constant reminder. And a lot of people seem to need reminding about that awful day.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
When Tonge made her comments there was an obvious uproar. In stating that she might become a suicide bomber, she did not merely mean that she might blow herself up for a cause- as more than one critic has pointed out, the term "homicide bomber" is a more apt description- she was advocating killing Israelis. And more often than not, the victims of these attacks are Israeli civilians, women and children. In essence then, what Jenny Tonge was saying is that if she were a Palestinian, she too might murder Israeli citizens.
Charles Kennedy said- "Her recent remarks about suicide bombers are completely unacceptable. They are not compatible with Liberal Democrat party policies and principles. There can be no justification, under any circumstances for taking innocent lives through terrorism."
Despite this statement, Kennedy now supports Tonge for her new position. As I said, I emailed the Liberal Democrats about this issue (on May 11th). I have received no reply and so today I sent them another email to question them on the matter. Their reply will be posted here if/when I receive it.
In the first, a schoolteacher with no criminal record at all was harassed by yobs for two years. Finally she snapped and fired an air pistol at their feet. She was sentenced to six months in prison, and after serving one month was released, the rest of her sentence to be suspended. She has just learned that she has been sacked from her 25 year job teaching those with special needs. For those in the know, the Walther CP88 she used is a CO2 powered air gun. It fires a .177" pellet at around 400fps.
In the second, a man named Phil Carroll was left in a critical condition by three teenagers after confronting them when they threw a stone at his car. The 48 year old was subjected to brain surgery following the attack which police have described as "totally unprovoked". His neighbours said that a "gang of 20 teenagers in baseball caps and hooded jackets had terrorised residents, drinking alcohol and insulting passers-by."
It seems like the only choices left to the people of Britain when confronted by these thugs is either prison or the hospital.
Al-Reuters tells us that "Ahmad's cause has been taken up within Britain's 1.8 million strong Muslim community" and that "the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella group representing some 400 British Muslim associations, said it deplored the court decision."
Ahmad may or may not be innocent, a court will decide that, but it'd be good of the Muslim community in Britain to not automatically support someone accused of having terrorist ties- aren't they supposed to be against terrorism? If so, why are so many of these 1.8 million Muslims championing a man who may be funding terrorists? Is it because they're Islamic terrorists? Is it because Muslims in Britain really aren't opposed to terrorism of the Islamic flavour?
"Qazi Hussain Ahmed, head of a hardline six-party Islamic alliance in Pakistan, said Newsweek's retraction was unlikely to cool tempers in the Muslim world."Of course not- why let a little thing like the truth get in the way of some good old fashioned America bashing?
Hasn't the MSM been telling us for months now about their "checks and balances"- time we saw some severance pay 'checks', I think.
“I am going to accuse them of being involved in a huge diversion from the real issues in Iraq, which are the theft of billions of dollars worth of Iraq’s wealth by the United States of America and its corporations, and the deaths of more than 100,000 people in Iraq, the destruction of the country, the opening of the doors to Islamic extremism of the al-Qaeda variety, tremendous crimes they have committed in Iraq."
He also describes the committee of seven Republicans and six Democrats as: "a group of Christian fundamentalist and Zionist activists under the chairmanship of a neocon George Bush who is pro-war." I'm sure that the Democrats in particular will be happy to have been described in such a way.
I expect that these Americans will not take any nonsense from Galloway. As Senator Coleman says, “I’m not going to debate George Galloway. The evidence speaks for itself. It is what it is, unless he has some explanation. I will be interested in his explanation of why his name is listed on all these Iraqi documents."
Galloway has also been told that he will be giving testimony under oath. According to the article, a" committee spokesman noted pointedly that the penalty for lying to Congress is five years’ imprisonment."
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Monday, May 16, 2005
I didn't get to see much of the show about the list but I did catch some good stuff from R. Lee Ermey on filming Full Metal Jacket. I'm glad he wasn't my DI! Kubrick's wife (I believe) spoke in a short excerpt and said that Kubrik believed that the training the Marines went through was "dehumanising- they were no longer human" (paraphrased). Even the Channel 4 blurb about the movie contains that line- "Dehumanised and turned into killing machines". Is that what the Left really thinks about the troops? Perhaps this is why they 'support' them so much.
Though she was sacked by LibDem leader Charles Kennedy for the remarks (after a storm of public protest) he was the one responsible for nominating her for the upper House. I contacted the Liberal Democrat Party with the following message-
I understand that Jenny Tonge has been nominated for the House of Lords by Charles Kennedy, despite being sacked from her frontbench role for her disgraceful comments regarding Palestinian suicide bombers. At the time Kennedy commented-
“Her recent remarks about suicide bombers are completely unacceptable. They are not compatible with Liberal Democrat party policies and principles. There can be no justification, under any circumstances for taking innocent lives through terrorism."
What exactly has changed since Kennedy made these remarks? Are Tonge’s comments now in line with LibDem party policy? Are the Liberal Democrats now supporters of terrorism? I cannot see how Charles Kennedy can reconcile his previous statement with this nomination- either her views were entirely unacceptable and not compatible with party policy or sacking her was simply a matter of political expedience and he actually agrees with her position. I for one would like to know how the Liberal Democrat party explains this. "
So far, they have not responded.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
The blood of those killed is on the hands of Michael Isikoff and John Barry. As is the tarnished reputation of the United States. Thank goodness for all those checks and balances that the MSM has been telling us make them better than bloggers. It seems that these journalists took so much time to check their information that their anonymous source is "no longer...sure that these concerns (the mishandling of the Koran) had surfaced in the SouthCom report". According to Newsweek,
U.S. military investigators had found evidence that American guards at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had committed infractions in trying to get terror suspects to talk, including in one case flushing a Qur'an down a toilet. Their (Isikoff and Barry) information came from a knowledgeable U.S. government source, and before deciding whether to publish it we approached two separate Defense Department officials for comment. One declined to give us a response; the other challenged another aspect of the story but did not dispute the Qur'an charge. Although other major news organizations had aired charges of Qur'an desecration based only on the testimony of detainees, we believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence.
This would be the same source who is "no longer sure". Great job of verifying a story. And now sixteen people are dead and the Muslim world has yet another reason to hate America. I wonder if the Afghan clerics and the Muslim world which was so outraged about this will still be so keen to protest now that they know that Americans had nothing to do with this- it was one of their own.
Of course, Newsweek doesn't quite understand "why the protest and rioting over Qur'an desecration spread throughout the Islamic region"- it came as "something of a surprise". Gee, is it something to do with the Afghan economy? How they explain protests in Gaza and Indonesia with that one is not mentioned. They seem entirely clueless that the Muslims view the Koran as the word of God and thus is inviolable. Or perhaps they are simply trying to cast a better light on their guilt in the matter- "but guv'nor, we didn't know anyone would get hurt".
Of course, they simply do not issue an apology- even now they are contacting former detainees in order to find "evidence" that something did happen. One fake story didn't stick and so they'll speak to the jihadis to get another. I wonder if they'll bother to verify the next story?
Perhaps this is just the start of something bigger but I really cannot see how the basic teachings of Islam can be moderated. Christianity is often cited as causing many wars, bloodshed, etc but the basic teaching of Jesus is one of forgiveness, of turning the other cheek. According to Christ it will be the "meek that shall inherit the Earth".
The Koran on the other hand has no such basis in peace- despite what Muslim leaders might tell the media. In fact, the message of the Koran seems totally in opposition to a modern, free society. Take these quotes from the Koran-
Qur’an 9:29 “Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission.”
Qur’an 8:39 “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah.”
Qur’an 9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”
Now, the problem with modernising Islam is that these passages, and others proclaiming the inherent goodness of jihad, of fighting for Allah, cannot simply be ignored- this is the holy word of God for Muslims and they cannot pick and choose what they want. Just look at the deaths caused by rumours of a Koran being flushed down a toilet- this is a book which is taken deadly seriously. How exactly can Islam be moderate or modern when the message contained within it is anything but?
"Which one?" I asked.
"That one, next to that man," she replied.
"That one" was Hilary Clinton. "That man" was Teresa Kerry.
The most hyped episode of the new Doctor Who series, as the Doctor faces off against his most famous enemy. Sadly, it's also a crushing disappointment. Here we have the Doctor's archnemesis- the merciless, evil Daleks whose chant of "Exterminate" tells you absolutely everything you need to know about them. The Daleks work because they are unquestionably the badguys- there's no two ways about it- it's the age-old good vs evil tale, it's timeless. Only with Dalek the creators have decided not only to give us the last Dalek- yeah, thanks for killing off one of science fiction's most well-known 'characters'- but they feed us a poor, desolate Dalek, all alone in the universe. Boo f**king hoo. In our wonderful liberal, handwringing times the Doctor doesn't even get to have a straightforward battle. Sure the Dalek is pretty deadly, he can levitate and he gets to kill dozens of people, but in the end all we're left with is seeing the poor disgusting creature as the show tries to get us to feel pity for the wretched mass-murderer. Aw, lonely Dalek, isn't it sad? Odd that all those security guards, scientists, etc are killed by the Dalek but no one tries to evoke pity for them.
Now, after watching this episode I checked out Mindrobber, expecting them to pummel this episode but instead they give it a glowing "this is practically art", "it's so deep", "wow, post-modern Daleks", review. I cannot disagree more. What is telling from their piece however is despite praise from the likes of The Guardian, the public at large found this to be most disappointing. Strange that- these guys come along and give us the exact opposite of what we wanted, why would anyone be disappointed? This episode might have many "subtleties" and work on levels too "multitudinous" to cover, but that's not what people want- perhaps the people surprised by this are the same ones who don't understand why Kingdom of Heaven which essentially paints the West as the bad guys is flopping. Mmm, tricky one. Daleks are supposed to be the scourge of the universe and everyone understands that- evil must be defeated, good must be seen to triumph. We don't want mass murdering aliens to think, "hmm, maybe there's more to life" for for everyone to say- "hey, let's just forget about all those people you just killed, you must be sad." Damn it, this was such a huge let down. What makes it even worse is that limp lettuce Brit actor Bruno Langley is now along for the ride. Argh.
Shame on the BBC for this trash.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
The story begins with Rose and the Doctor back in present day London and we get to see the effects on Rose's family and friends of her travelling with the Doctor- though they've only been away a few days a year has passed on Earth- once again the TARDIS proves to be not quite accurate enough. This family drama segment is played quite well and it doesn't distract from the main plotline- involving an alien ship crashing through Big Ben and into the Thames River. London is in a panic and we get a few scenes of news reporters following the story- as the Doctor and Rose are forced to watch on TV. It soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems- as a body is pulled from the craft we learn that the Prime Minister and cabinet cannot be reached or found- an obscure MP finds himself catapulted to power in No. 10 and it's here that much of the action takes place.
I don't want to spoil much more of the story but too much of this episode remains rooted in pathetic schoolboy humour- again the sense is that this was an episode aimed at kid's TV, not prime time viewing on a Saturday evening. There's simply too much juvenile material in this to really enjoy it- and once more the scenes which don't involve talking heads aren't directed too well either. For a double header episode it sure isn't done very well at all- in fact, given the material and the childish way it was handled, this would have been better served as a single episode. Now, if it had been executed properly- and the direction and the writing would have needed an awful lot of work- this could have been a fantastic three or four parter. The core concept- alien infiltration at the highest levels of power- is superb, and it could have made for a suspensful, intriguing and exciting episode. This two parter just falls flat though. The final section could have been claustrophobic and scary, like something out of Aliens, but the creators of the show don't seem to understand horror or science fiction elements at all.
One other complaint- and this is not just limited to Doctor Who but most shows/films made now- is that when a special effect needs to be done, film-makers too often turn to CGI first- there are a few instances in this show when traditional effects would have been more believeable and would have given a greater sense of danger- if CGI isn't a 100% convincing then we know the actor is running away from nothing- and what's scary about that? Very disappointing indeed. Oh, I almost forgot- without giving away the actual plot, when you do discover what the aliens are up to, and remember these are aliens with interstellar craft at their disposal, you have to think- well, why did they need to do all that, couldn't they just have done it themselves? It makes the whole two episodes seem completely pointless. The writers on this show really have to improve, and start thinking about what they're scribbling.
The grenade was detonated at the end of the school day as the pupils left the school to return home.
It seems like the atrocities carried out at the Beslan school were not entirely an isolated incident- Muslim terrorists are prepared to attack and kill children. Remember the car bomb attack on a Stryker in Mosul when it was surrounded by children?
I don't hear of any Muslims anywhere in the world protesting these despicable acts of cowardice.
Religion of Peace my ass.
As you may know there have been protests across the Muslim world about alleged desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. Newsweek's anonymous source said that copies of the Koran were placed on toilet seats and in at least one case actually flushed down the toilet. In Afghanistan nine people were killed on Friday and there were anti-American protests in countries as far apart as Indonesia and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has indicated its "deep indignation" and has called for a quick investigation into the matter.
"Muslims consider the Koran the literal word of God, treating each book with deep reverence... In Afghanistan and Pakistan, desecration of the Koran is punishable by death."
What many of the reports on this matter have failed to mention- no anti-American media bias surely- is that according to the US's top military officer, General Richard Myers, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet incident. He did note a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Quran and putting them in a toilet to stop it up as a protest. But not where the US did it."
So let's recap- terrorist bombs kill innocent Muslims in Iraq almost every day, civilians are brutally beheaded and the Muslim world says not a word- but when the Koran is "defiled" they raise such a stink that people die. I wonder if they'll apologise if it does turn out that the Newsweek report is entirely bogus and the perpetrator of this anti-Koran crime turns out not to be an American but a Muslim?
Friday, May 13, 2005
According to the Washington Times (and despite denials from the border patrol chief this information has also reached Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus) "U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers".
It seems like the Bush administration is doing everything it can to subvert the safety of the nation's borders and right now a whole bunch of people- be they drug dealers, wannabe illegal immigrants or terrorists- now know that there is essentially a hole in the border through which they can safely pass.
According to the Border Patrol themselves while the Minutemen were in place the number of illegal aliens arrested dropped from five hundred a day to fifteen. Now that they have been ordered not to apprehend any more aliens that means that five hundred or maybe even more aliens crossing the border every day. In a week that works out at three thousand five hundred. In a month that's fifteen thousand.
Looks to me like someone knows that the Minutemen were effective- proving that someone was not doing the job assigned to them. Heads should roll and border security moved right to the top of the agenda.
Hat tip to Blog for Bush for the story.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
This excerpt is just one example of how that country is rapidly becoming something altogether different-
"In Husby, a Stockholm suburb, gangs of immigrant youngsters are harassing other visitors who come to use the swimming pool. A Swedish school class was attacked and robbed by a large group of teenage boys shouting "Swedish bastards! (Svennejävlar) You don't belong here!" The police in Husby are aware of the problem, but say it is an integration problem that the police can't solve alone. In another case, some twenty youths armed with iron rods and chains smashed the Hjulsta school in Stockholm. They also threatened and attacked several of the pupils. Neither the students nor the teachers dare testify to the police about the incident. Their fears are well-founded, as threats against witnesses in Swedish court cases have quadrupled between 2000 and 2003."
There's much, much more. It all makes for similarly depressing reading.
Thankfully this man was caught and these items seized but this only happened because a customs agent checked the package which had originally been sent to the US from Taiwan. The badges were so realistic that nine out of ten would have passed close scrutiny.
When I read about this I'm always left to think- okay, they caught this package, but how many have slipped through? Maybe if he'd been buying a smaller lot- say twenty badges- customs agents wouldn't have searched the package. How many fake but realistic IDs are out there? How many more NYPD uniforms are in private apartments, waiting to be used for....what? Was this part of a terrorist plot? Again, my advice to one and all is be alert.
According to Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - the story of Kingdom of Heaven is "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations". I think I'll take my history lesson from a leading scholar than from Hollywood any day. Also, one of the main criticisms of the film is the coalition of Muslims, Christians and Jews portrayed in the film. No such group ever existed. To read all about it, go check out zombie's page.
The Times has a pretty good background piece on the oil-for-food scandal here.
Galloway has not only aligned himself with the Hussein regime, he has been pro-Arab since a 1977 visit to Beirut when he stated- "I made a pledge . . . to devote the rest of my life to the Palestinian and Arab cause, whatever the consequences for my own political future". When he met with Saddam Hussein in 1994 he said, "I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know we are with you until victory, until Jerusalem. (emphasis mine) That kind of makes his assertion that he was pro-Iraqi people and not pro-Saddam pretty much a lie. The BBC bio leaves out the "until Jerusalem" part of the quote and is remarkably favourable to Galloway, painting him as a bit of a rebel. This is the man who described the fall of the Soviet Empire as the biggest catastrophe of his life, who describes Ché Guevara as his ultimate hero and receives boxes of Havanas finest Cohiba cigars from his friend Fidel Castro. So totalitarian dictators and terrorists are okay in his book.
That Galloway has again been accused of receiving payments from Iraq, one of only two European ministers named, would seem to indicate pretty strongly that something is afoot. Particularly when he is accused by former Iraqi ministers themselves, Tariq Aziz among them.
Galloway has of course claimed that Hussein was still the real leader of Iraq and that his trial was a "sham", conducted by "stooges, collaborators, hand-picked by the military occupation of Iraq". Seems like he really likes free elections in Iraq doesn't he? He also claimed that "Iraq is not a free country. There is a government that has been put in power in Baghdad by the Americans."
He also claimed that the accusations levelled at him were from a "lickspittle Republican committee, acting on the wishes of George Bush." Strange then that the committee is question is made of up both Democrats and Republicans? As they say, methinks the lady doth protest too much.