Monday, January 30, 2006

The Hamas Charter

The Times has very handily provided extracts from Hamas' founding charter. It makes for interesting reading, particularly for those who think that winning the recent elections will make Hamas suddenly become "moderate":

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it"

"Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised."

"Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes."

"Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement."

"It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Muslim generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis."

No More Aid For PA

Condoleeza Rice is ruling out funding for Hamas-

"The United States is not prepared to fund an organization that advocates the destruction of Israel, that advocates violence and that refuses its obligations."

The US will continue to provide US taxpayer's money to Abbas' current government- it will also continue to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian people "many of whom are poor and unemployed" on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps that poverty would be aleviated if the Palestinians stopped the violence and created a stable environment where businesses would actually want to invest?

The PA's current annual budget is $1.6 billion. $1 billion of that comes from overseas donors, with Europe providing more than half that figure. The rest of the billion dollars comes from international donor agencies, Arab and Asian governments and the USA- which gave "$70 million in direct aid to the PA last year". The United States also spent $225 million of it's citizen's money on humanitarian projects through USAID last year- with a further $88 million on refugee assistance.

Just how long have those refugees been there? And how long does it take them to get back on their own feet and stop relying on foreign aid for their survival?

Update - It looks like the EU is going to give Hamas some time to think things over-

"European Union foreign ministers ruled out an immediate cutoff of financial aid to a Hamas-led Palestinian government, saying the movement deserves a chance to give up its armed struggle and embrace peace with Israel."

Take the "Great" out of Great Britain

I had to check to make sure that I hadn't slept in today and it wasn't April 1st when I read this story- a school in London has banned pupils from raising their hands to answer questions in class. That's bad enough - the principle says "children often wave their arms in the air, but when teachers try to involve less adventurous pupils by choosing them instead, it leads to feelings of victimization" - but it gets worse.

Can it get worse than that, you say? Absolutely-

"To spare embarrassment of the students who do not know the answer, the school has incorporated a "phone a friend" system, allowing one child to nominate another to take the question instead."

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I first became aware of the Iraqi WMD story after reading about it on Michelle Malkin's and Clayton Cramer's blogs. If you haven't heard about this- presumably- important story (there was the small matter of a war started over such weapons wasn't there?) I wouldn't be at all surprised. Out of curiosity today I did a search on the BBC news website for "WMDs" and also for the General at the heart of the story "Georges Sada". Neither turned up a result for the story in question.

Not a single mention of the story that a senior Iraqi military figure claims that the WMDs were shipped out of Iraq in civilian airliners to Syria before the war began.

Now perhaps this man's story- he was second-in-command of the Iraqi airforce- will turn out to not be true. Perhaps. But it seems incredible to me that the vast majority of people will not even hear about this story at all because it's being completely ignored by the MSM here in Britain.

As Clayton Cramer notes, 20 tons of chemical weapons agents were brought from Syria to Jordan for an attempted terrorist attack. And the Jerusalem Post also points out that Israel warned that Iraq was smuggling it's WMDs to Syria at the time too.

Could it be that this is being ignored because it might prove that Bush was *gasp* right afterall?

Buy Danish

It seems as if an international boycott is being promoted over the Danish newspaper cartoons of Muhammad

"Artistic representations of the human form are forbidden in Islam, and pictures of Muhammad are especially taboo."

Arla Foods is at the centre of the boycott-

"One Saudi Arabian chain of supermarkets has already removed Arla products from its shelves and called for an official apology."

If you'd like to support the company at this time you can find a list of their products here-



I haven't chimed in yet on Google's policy of standing up to the US government's request for information but submitted to Communist China's demands that searches be censored. Murdoc points out today that Google's "principles" have now changed from-

Google does not censor results for any search term. The order and content of our results are completely automated; we do not manipulate our search results by hand. We believe strongly in allowing the democracy of the web to determine the inclusion and ranking of sites in our search results.


It is Google's policy not to censor search results. However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we may do so. When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a notice on our search results pages. Please note: For some older removals (before March 2005), we may not show a notice at this time.

It looks like their quest for more money trumps their motto of "Don't be evil".
And Google already does censor the internet- in France and Germany Nazi sites are banned.

BTW, I had a quick trawl through some of the lefty blogs and couldn't find a single one that commented on the Google/China scandal. Now, I admittedly didn't take a very large sampling but it seems odd that the Left-wing lovers of free speech have so little to say about censorship on such a massive scale. I guess they're all too busy wishing for an Alito-filibuster.

There's an open letter to Google here. Spread the word.

The Future of the PA?

Clayton Cramer comments on possible events in the ME now that the terrorist group Hamas is in power-

1. Hamas continues its unofficial attacks on Israel.
2. Israel eventually says, "Wait a minute! You guys are the government now! This means war!"
3. Israel invades the Palestine National Authority's areas.
4. Iran tells Israel to withdraw, or get nuked.
5. Israel makes a lot of radioactive glass in Iran.

It'll be interesting to see if the US and the rest of the Western world pulls its funding to the PA too if these attacks on Israel continues. I can see no reason why they would not- the PA no longer has the excuse of saying that Hamas is nothing to do with them.

I wonder how long it will be before the next attack on Israel?

Update: Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch also has his opinions on such aid.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

This is Modern Britain

A small hamlet is to have its mail-to-the-door delivery ended after a visit by a Royal Mail health and safety inspector. The mail has been delivered there for as long as living memory- but not any more.

The inspector's report "identifies three potential ways a postman would be killed if he tried to bring a sack of letters up the slope. The grassy pastures hide 23 hazards capable of inflicting major injury, six that could cause serious injury and two risking minor injury."

There are no details in the report of the number of postmen killed, maimed or otherwise injured delivering to what must surely be one of the most hazardous areas in the United Kingdom. Funnily enough though, the hamlet lies on the Brecon Beacons National Park path and as such entices thousands of ramblers to stroll along its route every year. Again, the health and safety report makes no mention of what percentage of these adrenalin-addicted, thrill-seeking hikers are horribly wounded negotiating the route.

The Royal Mail defended its decision by saying "What looks like a quite pleasant country walk could be a lethal stroll for a postman on a dark winter morning."


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Biased BBC

I was just in the car and I happened to hear a little bit of the Radio 1 news. They were talking about the Palestinian Prime minister offering his resignation due to the success of Hamas in the elections. Of that group they said, "They have carried out some suicide bombings but they do build schools and hospitals."

I guess that makes up for the indiscriminate mass slaughter of innocent people then?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oleg Volk

Thanks to MadOgre I found this site- run by a chap called Oleg Volk. There are a good number of excellent images on display there, I suggest you check it out. This was only one of many which caught my eye.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Winchester Update

It looks like the Winchester brand will live on- but only their modern rifle lines are to be continued, and they will no longer be made on American soil. The New Haven factory looks like it will be closed- though it is up for sale it seems unlikely that the Winchester name will be sold along with it. The traditional Winchester lever action will no longer be made.

I know that Marlin make exceptional lever action rifles, along with many other companies, but it seems to me that this is the death of a real American icon.

What's the point of Winchester without their lever action line up?

Hat tip to Survival Blog.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Flight of Fancy

Been a while since I posted any images so here's one for you- a Shanna sketch by Adam Hughes. The rifle is incredibly malformed- not at all like AH!'s usual work- but it's a small criticism.

Today's Must Read

I can't possibly top what the superlative Michelle Malkin has written on the case of Haleigh Poutre so I won't even try. It's an important story and I strongly urge you all to read the article. Here's hoping that Haleigh, whose life thus far seems to have been one filled with far too much suffering, makes progress.

"A day after the state's highest court ruled that the Department of Social Services could withdraw life support from a brain-damaged girl, the agency said yesterday that Haleigh Poutre might be
emerging from her vegetative state."

Invasion of Privacy

It seems that in the process of resurrecting an anti-pornography law, the Bush adminsitration has subpoenaed Google for "a broad range of material from its databases". This includes "1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period." If the government wants to see what's on the internet can't they just go look for themselves? Can't they go to Yahoo's Buzz page and see what the top searches are?

The law in question is the 1998 Child Online Protection Act which "would have required adults to use access codes or other ways of registering before they could see objectionable material online".

I don't quite see how this could possibly be enforced given that adult sites which didn't require any sort of registration could be based overseas and outside of US jurisdiction. Also to prove you're an adult what sort of information will be required? And who will run these registration sites? Who is that information going to go to? I sure don't want the government poking its nose into what I do on the internet, but nor do I want a private firm having access to my details or what I do either.
I don't even like allowing cookies onto my system if I can help it- can you imagine the flood of spam this initiative might cause? Not to mention the risks of identity theft. I also don't see why the Federal government should be getting involved in this in the first place- surely it's up to parents to regulate their children's activities? I for one will not be letting my children have free and unfettered access to the internet when they're old enough to use it.

And just who exactly is to say what is "objectionable"? That's a pretty broad term and a lot of sites which don't usually carry adult material may occasionally link to or have an image which may be "NSFW". Are these sites supposed to register all their users or just stop doing what they do?

The original Act, it must be pointed out, was signed into law by Clinton (before being struck down by the Supreme Court) so this is not an example of Bush's desire to create some sort of Christian theocracy. Just in case that's what you Moonbats out there were thinking. This is an example however of how the Evil Party and the Stupid Party can both get things wrong. You'd think that they'd have more pressing concerns on their hands right now anyway- the WOT, Social Security Reform, Energy Independence, reforming the education system. I think there are too many people in Washington with too much time on their hands.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The End of Winchester?

This is disheartening news - CNN reports that Winchester may be going out of business if a buyer cannot be found for their firearms factory in New Haven. The city is trying to find a buyer before the closing date of March 31.

"The company has been plagued by slumping firearm sales. More than 19,000 people worked there during World War II, but the plant employs fewer than 200 now."

This comes as fairly surprising news to me- I'd always thought of Winchester as being one of the biggest manufacturers in the States.

Let's hope the name survives this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Are Non-Black People Banned?

I'm fairly sure that if a white mayor said that the city he was rebuilding had to remain dominated
by whites there would be a colossal indignation over those remarks. If a black mayor says it there doesn't seem to be much of a problem.

Mayor Ray Nagin on Monday called for the rebuilding of a "chocolate New Orleans" that maintains the city's black majority, saying, "You can't have New Orleans no other way."

Must Read

If there's an award for fisking the work of clueless journalists, then I reckon Kevin over at Smallest Minoroty should win it. His latest dissection "Apparently Along with the Chocolate Rivers come Rainbow Skies and Gumdrop Smiles, too!" is a must read:

So, would you please explain how, if "the availability of handguns is murderous," the addition of at least sixteen million handguns - an increase of about twenty-five percent - resulted in a reduction
in homicides nationally - of over 42%?

Unless, of course, your premise is entirely in error.

Nah, couldn't be. You're a journalist.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Kettlebell Update

As some long time readers may know I am a big fan of kettlebell training. For those of you who aren't familiar, a kettlebell resembles a cannonball with a handle on top. A Russian device, the kettlebell is used in a unique form of strength training involving predominantly ballistic movements. I first got interested because I suffer from a bad back- an injury some years ago has developed into arthritis. I've tried all sorts of things to try and help myself (Western medical technology having progressed only so far as "take these painkillers"). Thus far, only kettlebell training is helping.

I started off in Christmas 2004 with a 16kg (35lbs) KB. I quickly found it to be an effective and enjoyable alternative to lifting weights and doing cardio. Unfortunately my health deteriorated somewhat during 2005 and I had to give up virtually all physical activity- until around October. And as I started to feel a little better I started back to work with the KB. In the space of a little over a month I dropped about a stone in weight. Fast results- and bear in mind that I have to take it relatively easy while training.

Just before December was out I decided to switch up to my 32kg (70lbs) KB. There are intermediate weights available but I was on a pretty tight budget when I bought them and my male ego demanded I go for the bigger weight. It's only when you heft a cast iron ball weighing 70lbs in one hand that you realise just how heavy it really is!

Anyway, this is a seriously heavy item and I wasn't strong enough to lift it straight away so I began by doing small sets of two-handed swings and butt-to-ground squats with the KB. After a week of this my strength had developed enough for me to add the one-handed clean to the routine. In the past few days I've added one-handed swings too. It's not a big workout- I'm doing sets of between 3 and 5 reps and between two and five sets of each exercise.

Since the beginning of January I've dropped 2% bodyfat and added 5lbs of muscle- not bad going for a guy with a knackered back. Within the week I hope to add the snatch or the clean and jerk.

Kettlebell is by far the most effective form of exercise I've ever done- and if I can do it, anyone can.

Who watches the watchers?

A correspondent over at War on Guns has come up with this excellent suggestion-

I propose making law enforcement officers wear cameras that can record audio and video while on duty. This would cut down on them screwing around, possible corruption, excessive force, etc. There'd be penalties if they deliberately tampered with it. At the end of each day they have to turn in the cameras. If there's any complaints against them, the video is reviewed by a civilian panel on that particular day on the incident that a complaint was received about.

As he points out we're continually fed the line- we shouldn't worry about Big Brother-style surveillance if we've got nothing to hide. Right? Surely the upstanding citizens who police us have nothing to hide either? Why on earth could they possibly object to such a sensible, reasonable suggestion? It's not like they have anything to hide is it?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Green House Gas Culprit

It looks like a significant contributor to global warming...sorry...climate change is not *gasp* caused by humans- it's those pesky plants. They produce between 10 and 30% of the methane found in the atmosphere every year. Live plants emit between 10 and 100 times more than dead ones.

I guess that means that we'll have to restart all those deforestation programs now?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Avian Flu

Well it looks like we might be looking at the beginnings of a major outbreak. According Frau Budgie's blog today, 50 people are currently infected in Turkey. This would make an excellent time for those of you who are NOT prepared for hard times to start. If the flu does spread then your best option is to quarantine yourself- cut down on all unnecessary contact with other people. One way of doing this is to stock up on food now- canned goods, freeze dried meals, rations, whatever will last. This will also safeguard any any possible food shortages caused by a massive pandemic and government imposed quarantines on goods and people entering and exiting their countries.

Hopefully, this will be contained. If it isn't, then it will pay to be prepared.