Saturday, March 31, 2007

Grandfather Triceratops

Here's a little dinosaur news for you. The remains have been found of a missing link in the triceratops family tree. The newly discovered Albertaceratops nesmoi lived about 78 million years ago and it possesses features shared by both triceratops and close relative the centrosaurs (both members of the ceratopsidae family)-

Its forehead sprouted horns as large as human arms, and its skull was frilled with spikes the size of sharks' teeth.

This odd combination of features suggests that Albertaceratops is the most primitive of the centrosaurs, Ryan explained, dating back to before centrosaurs split with the family that includes Triceratops.

In short it seems to be a kind of grandfather to the horned dinosaurs which followed after it.

Press Limits

The UN can't bring themselves to condemn Iran's kidnapping of 15 British sailors and Marines, but they can condemn something else-

The United Nations top human rights body condemned "defamation" of religion on Friday and, in an apparent reference to the storm over the Prophet cartoons, said press freedom had its limits.

The press is free to do anything it wants apart from say anything vaguely critical of Islam. That's not so much to ask for is it? I mean, it's not as if some journalists aren't already trying hard to do that already- they seem to be quite good at ignoring certain unpalatable facts. So much for freedom of speech.

Most of the press caved over the Mohammed cartoons- though they didn't seem to be too concerned by offending Christians by printing the chocolate Jesus pictures- and now they are reaping the results of their timidity. It hasn't gained them any credence or support- simply led to a desire to impose those limits on them that they've already accepted voluntarily. I guess the UN states who supported this assume that the press has already submitted to them so why not put it in writing. I wonder what will come next?

With the support of China, Russia and Cuba, Moslem and Arab states comfortably won a vote on the 47-state Human Rights Council to express concern at "negative stereotyping" of religions and "attempts to identify Islam with terrorism."

Nevermind, there it is- no more attempts to link Islam with terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. Got that journalists? How ironic that such a statement should come from a "human rights" council- only the proper sort of rights evidently. And what paragons of virtue that sit on this exalted council!

"The resolution is tabled in the expectation that it will compel the international community to acknowledge and address the disturbing phenomena of the defamation of religions, especially Islam," said Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

It will compel. So there you have it- don't say anything bad about Islam. Now you don't just have to fear some member of the Religion of Peace attacking you for it, the UN is on the case too. How long before an international law is passed to limit press freedom? You know, the kind of laws that liberals say that the US should acknowledge. Think that may come back to haunt you?

If the press really did care about freedom of speech- and was willing to stand up for it- there would be calls from all over the world by journalists to reject any limit on the press like this. Why should "especially Islam" be exempt from any kind of criticism?

Einstein's maxim is proved correct yet again.

Mohammed Dawood Sentenced

The first person to be convicted at Guantanamo has been sentenced. Incredibly he will only serve nine months of the seven year sentence- the rest will be suspended. Mohammed Dawood, who the media continue to refer to as David Hicks, is an Australian convert- before receiving Al Qaeda training in Afghanistan and meeting with Osama Bin Laden, he received training from the KLA and fought with Lashkar-e-Toiba.

He was schooled by al-Qa’ida in weapons familiarisation, landmines, tactics, basic explosives, guerilla warfare, ambush, camouflage and surveillance. He then moved up the ladder to urban tactics training and surveillance of the US and British embassies in Kabul.

He was leaving the area, to do who knows what, when 9/11 took place and he returned to Afghanistan to fight for Al Qaeda. That he has been given such an incredibly light sentence is preposterous- he will also be allowed to serve his sentence in an Australian prison before his release. I wonder how much the surveillance program of him will cost once he's out of prison? And how much of Australia's limited intelligence resources will be tied up?

The younger Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner from Adelaide, acknowledged that he trained with al Qaeda, fought U.S. allies in Afghanistan in late 2001 for two hours, and then sold his gun to raise cab fare to flee to Pakistan.

And while the war against Islamist terror continues, the USA continues to release enemy combatants.

"I think that David Hicks is very fortunate. He's getting a second chance," said the tribunals' chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Moe Davis.

He's getting a second chance sure- but to do what? How can we know that he isn't going to return to fighting- as many other Gitmo detainees have? Is there a reason that the US is letting Al Qaeda terrorists free while we're still at war with Al Qaeda? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Secret Spending

Anyone would think that Congress was spending its own money, and not that of the American public. Despite the liberal idea of the corrupt pork barrel spending Republican politician in thrall to big business, it's the Democrats who seem to not want American citizens to see how their hard-earned money is being spent.

The federal agency that tracked pork-barrel spending during the 12 years of the Republican congressional majority has discontinued the practice since Democrats took power, riling lawmakers suspicious of the timing and concerned about the pace of fat being added to bills.

"To me, something doesn't smell right," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. "I just hope no one is pressuring" the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

While not blaming the Democratic leadership, Mr. DeMint added: "I guess if you're looking for a motive, you'd have to look in that direction."

Surely not?

Democrats promised reform and instituted "a moratorium" on all earmarks until the system was cleaned up. Now the appropriations committees are privately accepting pork-barrel requests again. But curiously, the scorekeeper on earmarks, the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service (CRS)--a publicly funded, nonpartisan federal agency--has suddenly announced it will no longer respond to requests from members of Congress on the size, number or background of earmarks. "They claim it'll be transparent, but they're taking away the very data that lets us know what's really happening," says Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. "I'm convinced the appropriations committees are flexing their muscles with CRS."

Those pesky Republicans, wanting pork barrel spending to be out in the open for all to see.

And here's a good question-

"It's not CRS's job to be the watchdog of Congress," Sen. DeMint says the director told him. But CRS is merely being asked to continue providing objective data. If it can't do that, why do taxpayers shell out $100 million a year to employ its 700 researchers?

Exactly- and furthermore, why do they prevent the public- which pays its wages- from seeing those reports?

Indeed, taxpayers can't even access its many fine reports, which are closely held. Despite bipartisan efforts by Sens. John McCain and Pat Leahy to make its research public, CRS implausibly argues that release of its reports will somehow compromise the confidentiality of its contacts with Congress. Mr. Mulhollan has just issued another new directive demanding "prior approval should now be required" before any CRS reports "are distributed to members of the public."

UN Inaction

Tell me again what useful purpose the United Nations serves?

The U.N. Security Council has expressed concern for 15 British marines and sailors being held in Iran and appealed for the early release of the detainees.

The U.N. statement, which fell short of a full condemnation sought by the British government, came as Iran released what it said was a second letter from captured British sailor Faye Turney in which she criticizes British policy in Iraq.

They're "concerned" but they won't even condemn Iran kidnapping the troops of one of the permanent Security Council members? I guess I shouldn't be surprised- after all they did nothing about the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by terrorist group Hezbollah. No, wait, that's not quite right- they didn't do anything for member state Israel but they did send UN troops to protect Hezbollah while they rebuilt their capabilities after last summer's conflict- and they even sent representatives to speak with the terrorists.

It's high time this farce ended and the UN was consigned to the dustbin of history

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tax Freedom Day Soon

Next month, April 30 to be precise, is Tax Freedom Day in the US- that is, it's the day whereby if you worked seven days a week and spent none of the money you earned on anything but taxes, your yearly tax bill would be paid in full. When put in these terms it certainly seems that Bush's tax cuts were a drop in the ocean and that there's a real need for more reductions in taxation. Simply put, the government takes four months worth of your pay check.

Doesn't sound good does it?

It's worse than that in some states and better in others. Alabama and Oklahoma citizens will have paid their taxes by April 12. If you live in New York you have to work all the way through to May 16. If you live in Connecticut, it takes until May 20.

Wrong Turn 2 Trailer

I quite enjoyed the first Wrong Turn movie, another of cinema's variations on the Sawney Bean story. The second seems to be going straight to DVD. Henry Rollins is the only actor I recognise from this one (be sure to check out Feast an absolutely superb horror film he also starred in). This is probably not going to win any awards but it's the kind of horror film that I enjoy- and they can sometimes surprise you by being rather good. Here's hoping!

This is the teaser trailer-

C96 Mauser Reborn?

Michael Bane teased us a while back with vague hints of Taurus making a brand new C96 Broomhandle Mauser. Which would be very cool.

Today he has more-

So here's my question...what if a gun company was willing to build a stainless steel Broomhandle, available in .30 Mauser, the original cartridge, 9mm or...get this....357 SIG?

Would you buy it?

For between $1200-1500? That's the cost of a mid-range Kimber, by way of comparison...

If this appeals to you- and it must do- head on over to his blog to leave comments.

Flight of Fantasy

Time for the Baroness, the bad-girl Cobra operative from GI Joe-

Baroness is a dark, sensual femme fatale whose beauty is matched only by her ruthlessness.

Yeah, it's by Adam Hughes.

US Not No. 1?

Something struck me as odd about this story-

The US has lost its position as the world's primary engine of technology innovation, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

Something about it didn't sit right with me-

Countries were judged on technological advancements in general business, the infrastructure available and the extent to which government policy creates a framework necessary for economic development and increased competitiveness.

Denmark came out on top- a real powerhouse of ideas and innovation!

"Denmark, in particular, has benefited from the very effective government e-leadership, reflected in early liberalisation of the telecommunications sector, a first-rate regulatory environment and large availability of e-government services," said Irene Mia, senior economist at World Economic Forum.

Perhaps the World Economic Forum can list examples of the technological innovations coming from Denmark that trump those coming from the USA? Or are there just more government initiatives?

I did actually click on the link to the WEF site and what they say is quite different from the reports and headlines coming from the BBC and other news outlets-

The Global Information Technology Report has become a valuable and unique benchmarking tool to determine national ICT strengths and weaknesses, and to evaluate progress. It also highlights the continuing importance of ICT application and development for economic growth.

The Report uses the Networked Readiness Index to measure the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments.

The NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess:
- environment for ICT offered by a country or community
- readiness of the community's key stakeholders (individuals, business and governments)
- usage of ICT among these stakeholders.

In short, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC's proclaimed "technological innovation" at all and everything to do with a country's use of information and communication technology. More than a little misleading, isn't it? I guess the media has to embrace any headline that has a little bit of America bashing in it.

BBC Mistake

The BBC has a small link on their news front page for a quiz on the Falklands War. It's accompanied by a small graphic- you'd think that it might be one of the iconic images of the war- perhaps the Royal Marine yomping with a Union Jack tied to the antenna of his radio. But no, this is the BBC we're talking about so they used this image-

You might be forgiven for wondering what I'm on about but to anyone with any knowledge of the British Army or the Falklands War (say someone making a quiz about it) it's obvious that this is not a British soldier- that weapon in silhouette is the very distinctive Steyr AUG, an Austrian firearm that's also used by the Irish Army, but not the British or Argentinian forces involved in the conflict. Seems like such an easy thing to get right, doesn't it?

What bothers me is that if the BBC makes such foolish errors about little things like this, about which I know something and can guard against, what other mistakes are they making about subjects or topics on which I'm not so expert?

As I'm expected to pay the continually rising cost of the TV Licence in Britain to fund the BBC I expect them to, well, do a better job than this.

UPDATE - A commenter tips me off that there is a Steyr AUG link to the islands- the local RM cadets use it. If you follow the link and check out the picture gallery you'll also see the kids yomping with SLRs. Poor wretches- and the MoD thinks that the L85 is too heavy for fully grown servicemen? These cadets could teach them a thing or two. Anyway, my initial point still stands- the anniversary of the Falklands War and the BBC use a modern image of a group not involved in the war to illustrate it.

Lego Banned

No, it's nothing to do with the Mohammed cartoons- this time a school in the United States has banned Lego. Health and safety concerns? Nope, nothing so "logical"- it seems that the Lego bricks were having an unusual effect on the children-

"building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.”

You mean *gasp* kids were learning about the real world? Well, those teachers didn't stand for that-

they banned the Legos and began their program of re-education. “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation,” they write. Hilltop’s new Lego regime, there would be three immutable laws:

- All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.

- Lego people can be saved only by a “team” of kids, not by individuals.

- All structures will be standard sizes.

In short, the children have been indoctrinated with communist ideals. Totally brainwashed by public educators who brag about it in a schools magazine. But it's fairly typical of modern liberal thought- ban what doesn't agree with your beliefs and inflict your own view-point on others. Tolerance, freedom of thought and expression- those are ideals which run counter to today's liberalism, subsumed under the belief that their point of view is the only reasonable one anyone should have. A hop, skip and a jump away from Hitler's National Socialism and Stalin's Communism.

Big hat tip to Frau Budgie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Today's Liberal

I've had my fill of leftist blogs for another year. How's this for a modern, caring, sharing, liberal?

Back in 2004, when Bush seemed to win the Presidential election for the first time, I made a vow. It was that in future years, if I happened to see an elderly homeless person holding out his hat, I would lean down and ask him who he voted for in 2004. If he said "Bush", I planned to step over him and walk on.

So much for tolerance, eh?


Can Americans Reconcile? That's the question over at Huffington Post. It seems a reasonable topic to discuss given the Red-Blue divide but the author of the piece goes on to demonstrate why America is so divided without even realising it.

That division is the result of a cynical cabal's calculated exploitation of 9/11. They tried to exploit a tragedy for selfish ends, to create a generation of hegemonic Republican leadership.

You see? It's all the Republican's fault! No wonder the nation is divided. He goes on to make comparisons to the situation to apartheid-era South Africa, even mentioning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission-

I'm not advocating "show trials" for GOP leaders, overly compliant Democrats, or journalists who manipulate the facts to benefit one party and beat the drums of war. Nor am I naive enough to believe that people will freely confess wrongdoing. Many of them are too emotionally invested in proving they weren't wrong at all. The others believe that the political consequences of an honest admission will be too damaging to their careers.

Ironically, I think it would benefit most of them.

He's very generous- the country is split and so the side that disagrees with him has to repent and make amends. He seems completely oblivious to his own bias.

None of us has been perfect, and I've certainly said things I've regretted later. But I was an outsider acting out of frustration, not an insider manipulating democracy for my own ends. Still, I'd be a hypocrite if I expected others to do more than I'm willing to do.

Of course, but what he's saying is "it'll do them good to admit they were wrong and I was right all along". In fact, he doesn't seem to suggest that there's anything for him to apologise for- he was an outsider so that evidently excuses his actions.

So there you have it, the simple way for America to come together once again- Republicans and conservatives have to admit their mistakes and become liberals and Democrats.

And the comments are quite telling too:

-America has never done anything as evil as apartheid? You've gotta be kidding. I believe you're having a convenient memory lapse.

-I am ready to forgive, and even embrace, anyone who is willing to renounce their godforsaken Conservative beliefs and work hard AGAINST the political right from now on.

That's all it takes--Just coming clean, and giving up the juicy and tempting Evil that Conservatism has become for too many sadly susceptable people.

- america will never reconcile as long as you have orielly,hannity,malkin,LIMBAUGH,coulter

ruling the airwaves with no one challenging there hateful rheteric and lies.witch. means we are a generation away from reconsiliation.
if u disagree with these people the are very evil with their hate talk

-both elizabeth edwards and tony snow deserve the fullest life they can live knowing that they will die of cancer. on the other hand, elizabeth edwards uses it for good and tony snow for evil (if i may be so blunt).

-can america reconcile?

i don't think so. reconciliation involves recognizing when you have committed an atrocity. most of the administration thinks it is committing politics, not torture and violation of our constitutional rights. we do not have the prerequisites for a truth and reconciliation commission. the conservatives--or at least the people who have hijacked our country--would have to acknowledge their own wrongdoing and crimes and be sorry as a precondition for reconciliation.

-Make nice if you want, but until they're out of power and in jail, then karma, cancer, or simple American justice will do. Until then, let's not look for excuses to excuse them.

-Perhaps Tony Snow is, despite his recent activities, a good person. And perhaps the stress of having to tell ridiculously evil lies every day has something to do with his recurrence.

I hope his health improves, but I also hope he never returns to his post as Genial Liar for the Bushpigs.

And that's just on the first page. Pah.


I know of Kirsten Powers only from her appearances at Hot Air- and I occasionally pop over to her blog to have a read; I one wrote a request for a left-wing blog that was free of the hate and bile and paranoid delusions that characterises the modern-day online liberal. Powers' blog fits that bill nicely. Or rather it partly does- as well as the reasonable and polite Powers (with whom I disagree on a lot of things) there's another poster there, Ambitious Heckler. He seems to be posting more often lately and his tone is grating indeed. Here are some examples from the past month or so.

-Driving away the deservedly reviled Cheney might bring the whole country together. Busting him for all the deceit that accompanied the Iraq war would be a message-reinforcing snap, will actually provide some accountability, and could deprive Bush of his evil sitter.

-Cheney is the creepy culmination of a 50-year Republican effort to degrade the vice presidency, with a steady stream of crooks, hatchet men and goofballs.

-The rest of the Dems' '04 field was meh, and Kerry seemed the perfect contrast to the retarded figurehead the Reps were running for "re-election," so I was happy to sign on.

-The planet will not recover from these eight wasted Bush years, and no one was more empowered to prevent the disaster than John Kerry and Al Gore.

- [speaking about Al Gore] Three distinct, but equally annoying (and contrived) personalities caused him to lose three debates, and the election, to the Village Idiot.

-Since WWII, we've had Richard Nixon, a hatchet man as VP who later resigned the presidency in disgrace, the aforementioned "Spiggy" Agnew, who likewise resigned as part of a bribery plea bargain, George "Battling The Wimp Factor" Bush, Dan "Potatoe" Quayle -- any one of whom would still be preferable to the demented fiend who currently holds the job. The only two decent Republican VPs, Ford and Rockefeller, were never elected. Degrading the Vice Presidency -- a signal achievement of the Republican Party.

-the current president's squeaky-clean brain having been long ago boozily scrubbed of all logic and syntax.

It's not the kind of thing I ever expected to find on Powers' blog and it seems entirely at odds with the tone of her own work. Disappointing.

Safety Second

A vote was taken on a provision to prevent passengers who alert authorities to suspicious behaviour from being sued. Quite apart from anything else the six imams taking legal action against the citizens who spoke out against their behaviour should be chilling to people of all political stripes- plainly, the threat of being financially ruined will be enough to silence some people who are alert enough to see something suspicious; and that one person could be all that's standing between a terrorist and another tragedy.

The measure passed by 304 to 121. The names of the 121 Democrats who believe that passengers should have the threat of legal action hanging over them rather than being free to inform authorities about potential terrorist attacks can be found here. If they are your representatives I suggest you ask them why they believe that suing people is more important than keeping American citizens save from terrorist attack.

Police Patrol Time

Bag's Rants points to an interesting article about the British police-

There are 143,000 [police officers]. However out of that only 81,877 of them actually go out on patrol. That is just over 57%. Now out of each of those on patrol it seems that patrol time equates to one hour per shift.

And what do they do when they are out?

Now from experience whenever I see any police they are out with their snazzy new radar equipment clamping down on the real criminals in our society. The drivers.

And we wonder why crime is out of control and the public does not support the police.

I'll second that- I hardly ever see any police out and about. Occasionally you'll see a few wandering through the local shopping centre but apart from that they are rarely seen. The last time I saw a police officer on foot in my local village was last summer. Since the weather worsened however, they haven't been around. An odd coincidence I'm sure.

Blair Dithers

Britain's new tactic on the Iranian kidnapping/hostage situation has moved beyond Blair's firm tone to ridicule. No, really.

By revealing the evidence backing up its claim that British naval personnel held by Iran did not violate Iranian waters, the British government is trying to put the Iranian government on the defensive.

And by revealing that Iran changed its own claim about where the incident took place, the British are also trying to ridicule the Iranian position.

Ridicule? Not so long ago the Navy would have been making haste to the Gulf and we'd be informing the Iranians to hand over those kidnapped Marines and sailors immediately. Not Blair's immediately which is apparently "any time you feel like it" but right the hell now.

The first tactic was to offer Iran an easy way out. The Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett gave the co-ordinates of the British sailors to the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and suggested that there might have been a "mistake".

This is preposterous. We don't negotiate with terrorists and we don't negotiate with hostile governments who enter foreign waters and kidnap our troops- at least, that's the way it should be. Instead of simply demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped troops, the British government decided to suggest that the Iranians had done nothing more than make a mistake. This is insanity- and it displays all too well to Iran Britain's weakness on this issue. Blair seems to be terrified of Iran, his policy is to freeze diplomatic relations when he should be calling on our NATO and EU allies to present a united front against Iran's unprovoked hostility- and preparing our combined military might against them.

No Self-Defence

EU Referendum was essential reading during last summer's Israel-Lebanon conflict and now that Iran has kidnapped 15 British sailors and Marines, it's time to head back over there-

Our sailors and marines - why did they not defend themselves? They were not allowed to ... their rules of engagement did not permit it.

This was raised in Defence Questions today by Ann Winterton MP. She put to the defence minister that "the current rules of engagement that allow no conflict in Iraqi waters with Iranian forces" and thus suggested that "this led directly to 15 of our service personnel being abducted by the Iranians".

Defence minister Adam Ingram was evasive, telling MPs not to speculate. "Let us stand back and understand the sensitivity of the situation," he pleaded. "There is too much speculation about what happened and what did not happen."

But Winterton was not speculating. Directly from extremely angry servicemen recently back from Iraq, she had received information that boarding parties were under rigid instructions that left no room for discretion. Even though faced with Iranian Revolutionary Guards, every one of the Party knew that to fire a weapon (even a warning shot) would have ensured their personal Court Martial.

There are also questions about the location of the HMS Cornwall where the boarding party was based- how is it that the Iranians were able to enter Iraqi waters without its knowledge? And why did it not intervene when the Iranian boats- which apparently greatly outnumbered the British boarding party- began to kidnap those sailors and Marines?

If the ROE are so strict, presumably to keep the peace and not cause an international incident (like the one we have now), then Blair is obliged to do more than simply bluster at Iran; those military personnel were prohibited from defending themselves from a hostile force. The Marines and sailors must be returned unharmed immediately. Anything else is an act of war.

PC vs Mac

The "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" advertising campaign is just arriving in the UK- I saw one of the TV ads for the first time tonight, featuring British comics Mitchell and Webb. Charlie Brooker of The Guardian has a thing or two to say about it all-

I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don't use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui.

Read it all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Test Problems

It's an old story- people are having problems passing a test. Used to be the solutions would involve changing the way subjects are taught or evaluating the ability of the teachers to pass on information. Not any more.

State lawmakers appear on the verge of dumping the math and science sections of the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), and replacing them with a very different kind of test.

The idea is to do something about the fact that so few students pass the math and science sections. But the proposed remedy is generating a lot of concern because it could mean big changes in what students are expected to learn, and how they're tested.

If the math and science portions of the WASL are eliminated, it would be the second time the state has dropped part of the exam. A "listening" section, designed to measure communication skills, was removed without controversy three years ago.

It doesn't just end there though-

The House bill also says the new exams "must rely" on multiple-choice questions, which the WASL doesn't. It has some fill-in-the-bubble items, but among its hallmarks are short-answer and "extended response" items that require students to solve problems, apply what they've learned, or explain how they arrived at an answer.

The horror- asking students to actually demonstrate their ability to do maths rather than use the multiple guesstimate alternative!

Reminds of the police fitness test that some women were having problems passing. Instead of wanting to be treated equally the women complained and- instead of altering the fitness program to improve their ability- the test was substantially changed.

Atwood Knives

Found out about Atwood Knives via an old post on View From The Porch - and am I impressed. Tam might have a folding titanium spork (yeah, I want one too) but Atwood makes some tremendously cool items- small knives, mini-pry bars and tiny bug out blades. Really, if you're a guy (or possess the gadget gene) you'll want to check out this site- and his blog too. I've just spent a pleasant time reading through the archives- there are some amazing pictures of some truly beautiful (and very cool) tools. Now, what do I buy first?

These are micro bug out blades. Atwood also does amazing things with damascus- go check out the site, you won't be disappointed.

Our Customs

Robert Spencer's latest FrontPage piece is on the decision by a German judge to consider the Koran in her ruling on a divorce case. He adds the following-

General Sir Charles James Napier, the British Commander-in-Chief in India from 1849 to 1851. It is said that a Hindu delegation protested against the British prohibition of sati, the practice of burning a widow to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, by telling Napier that it was part of their cultural custom. Napier famously responded:

You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

It seems that spirit is distinctly lacking in present-day Europe.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz is the new action comedy film from Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost- if you liked Spaced or Shaun of the Dead, you'll be sure to love this. They've taken that most American of films- the buddy cop movie- and transplanted it to rural England. And they've done a remarkable job. Pegg plays London's top cop, one so good at his job that he's sent to the counties in order to stop showing the rest of the force up. There he finds himself in a quiet town with virtually no crime- or so it seems. As the story unfolds the British bobbies get tooled up and a massive shoot-out ensues. It's just great fun- when I wasn't laughing I had a great big smile on my face. Hot Fuzz is eminently enjoyable- well paced, well acted, superbly edited and just a pleasure to watch. It does have a few gruesome special effects too- all the more effective because they are quite unexpected.

If you're into guns there's a lot to like about it too. Hot Fuzz features an eclectic mix of firearms; Beretta 92s, a Jericho, a Lee Enfield rifle, an M14, an FN FAL, a bunch of pump action shotguns and even a Steyr-Solothurn MP34 (although my father thinks it might be a Lanchester I'm tending towards the Solothurn designation- I think I might be right on this one).

UPDATE - More on the Steyr/Lanchester debate here.

Trailer here.

H.R. 1022

Anti-gun legislation H.R. 1022, which will do nothing to ban a single actual assault rifle, now has 33 co-sponsors.

Giuliani On Guns 2

If Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican ticket for President in 2008, we're going to see a Democrat in office when the election is over. Just listen to him talk about the New York lawsuit against gun manufacturers. He comes off like some truther with a preposterous conspiracy theory- gun companies deliberately "over produced guns, more than is necessary for hunting or law enforcement, maybe by factors of 3 or 4 to doing that they have to knowingly have made a calculation that they are selling to an illegal market...they produce six or seven times more guns than the legal market actually would demand and therefore they have to know that they are supplying an illegal market...logic is one of my favourite disciplines..." He goes on to blame the crime problems in New York city on lax gun regulations outside of the city.

If he becomes president do you honestly think he won't sign any anti-gun legislation that comes across his desk?

More from him here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Act of War II

Iran hasn't only kidnapped British sailors and Marines in Iraqi waters, they have also attacked US forces well within the Iraqi border.

According to a U.S. Army report out of Iraq obtained by U.S. News, American troops, acting as advisers for Iraqi border guards, were recently surrounded and attacked by a larger unit of Iranian soldiers, well within the border of Iraq.

The report highlights the details: A platoon of Iranian soldiers on the Iraqi side of the border fired rocket-propelled grenades and used small arms against a joint patrol of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers east of Balad Ruz. Four Iraqi Army soldiers, one interpreter, and one Iraqi border policeman remain unaccounted for after the September incident in eastern Diyala, 75 miles east of Baghdad.

During a joint border patrol, both American and Iraqi soldiers saw two Iranian soldiers run from Iraq back across the Iranian border as they approached. The patrol then came upon a single Iranian soldier, on the Iraqi side of the border, who did not flee.

While the joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol was speaking with the soldier, according to the report, the patrol was "approached by a platoon-size element of Iranian soldiers." An Iranian border captain then told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that "if they tried to leave their location, the Iranians would fire upon them." During this conversation with the Iranian captain, Iranian forces began firing and continued when U.S. troops tried to withdraw.

Iraqi and American forces returned fire "to break contact and left the area to report the incident," the report noted. "The Iranian forces continued to fire indirect fire well into Iraq as Coalition Force soldiers withdrew; for reasons unknown at this time, the Iraqi Army forces remained behind."

The US forces withdrew- instead of calling in an airstrike on a foe engaged in an act of unwarranted aggression against them. And this was kept under wraps for what reason?

Iran is becoming an increasingly dangerous opponent and appeasing them seems to be having the expected result- they are growing bolder.

Becoming Radical

A jihadist has a change of heart- and explains the process that takes place when a formerly peaceful Muslim is radicalised.

Butt says one recruiting tool he made wide use of — the one he says started Khan on the path to his suicide mission — was arranged marriages in which parents forced their sons into wedlock. "A lot of the guys I know actually have become radicalized or initially took the first steps … as a result of them being … forced to marry someone they don't want to marry," says Butt. Their refusal to submit to their parents' traditions then drove them toward radical Islamic preachers, who did not care who they married as long as they were Muslims, he adds.

Once recruits showed interest in learning more about Islam, says Butt, the next step was to enrage them by talking about the suffering of Muslims around the world. Then a Koranic rationale for killing innocents would be argued. Taking away the innocence of the potential victims was the next step, says Butt. "[Innocents] become non-innocent and hence combatants and allowed to be targeted."

As we all know some of the major Muslim groups in the West have denounced attacks on innocents- without ever actually saying what they regard as being an innocent.

Act of War

One question- why isn't the entire British fleet massing in the Gulf?

FIFTEEN British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying.

Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”

The warning followed claims by Iranian officials that the British navy personnel had been taken to Tehran, the capital, to explain their “aggressive action” in entering Iranian waters. British officials insist the servicemen were in Iraqi waters when they were held.

Those sailors and Marines should have been handed over immediately- to let Iran get away with this blatant act of aggression again is simply ridiculous.

Take A Stand

Wayne Fincher needs your help. If you're a gun owner in the United States and you value the Second Amendment then please do what you can to aid him. Remember, he was denied the right to plead the Constitution and also to state his case before a jury. If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.

Just for a moment, imagine that Hillary wins in '08 and the Dems have a majority too- do you seriously doubt that they'll try to ban 'some' of the guns that you probably own already, in essence making you a criminal. When that time comes will you hand in your "illegal" guns? If you don't then there's a chance you could end up like Mr. Fincher- arrested and brought before a court which does its utmost to ensure that you don't have the ability to fight your case.

More details at War on Guns and at the Free Wayne Webring.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Snow Patrol

Here's the music video for Snow Patrol - Set Fire To The Third Bar featuring Martha Wainwright. In my opinion Snow Patrol are by far the best of the current crop of British bands.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Translating The Koran

Countdown to outrage- 5...4...3...?

A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose illwill you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

She isn't stopping there either-

In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

It will be interesting to see how this new work is accepted- and what effect the new translation will have. Indeed, will it be used to any extent to challenge the current accepted meaning of that passage? I fear that she has an uphill struggle to convince many Muslim men that they no longer have any justification to beat their wives.

I wonder what CAIR will have to say- there are, after all, a civil rights group- surely they should welcome a new translation which will protect Muslim women's rights? As opposed to the right to beat them.

View From The Porch

Tam made this absolutely classic comment about Jim Zumbo-

On Friday evening, a gunwriter who was apparently tired of his 42-year career put his word processor in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Does blog writing get any better than that? And she's still on top form-

Lord knows I have preferences in firearms. For instance, they allegedly make handguns other than S&W revolvers and $1,000+ custom 1911s, but you'd never know it from looking at my collection. If we were to meet socially, and you were to ask my opinion of the Blastomatic 2000, I'd say something along the lines of "It's a wretched, pulsating ball of f&*k, and it's full of toaster parts. You know who didn't design the Blastomatic? John Moses Browning, that's who. If someone had my mom hanging over a volcano and threatened to cut her loose if I didn't buy one, I'd have to say 'Sorry, mom, but you raised me to have standards.'"

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Looks like Barack Obama has caught a bad case of Kerry-itis. He said it before he didn't say it.

OBAMA: And if George Bush doesn’t listen, then we’re going to make him listen because it’s time for us to bring our young people home.

And then-

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I don’t know anybody who’s been talking about packing up and going home.

If you listen to the video his actual plan for Iraq is to have American troops "over the horizon". Whether this shows his approval for the Okinawa plan of Murtha is not yet clear.

How he calculates that American forces over the horizon from Iraq will help stabilise the country when we're having a damnably hard time doing that while troops are in the country is unexplained.

And just why is it okay to have American troops in Afghanistan where the Taliban and Al Qaeda are possibly coming back to strength? If he sees the need to fight them and stop them there, then why is he proposing exactly the opposite strategy in Iraq?

It makes no sense whatsoever.

Koran As Law

A German judge has made reference to the Koran in deciding a legal case.

He beat her and threatened her with murder. But because husband and wife were both from Morocco, a German divorce court judge saw no cause for alarm. It's a religion thing, she argued.

The Koran seems to have become the basis for a court decision in Frankfurt.

Bear in mind that there are many American liberals/leftists who claim that international law must set a precedent for American law, regardless of the Constitution. And before you read further bear in mind that the husband has not only physically abused his wife but also threatened to kill her.

The judge rejected the application for a speedy divorce by referring to a passage in the Koran that some have controversially interpreted to mean that a husband can beat his wife. [ed- there's nothing controversial about that interpretation] It's a supposed right which is the subject of intense debate among Muslim scholars and clerics alike."The exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565 (of German federal law)," the daily Frankfurter Rundschau quoted the judge's letter as saying. It must be taken into account, the judge argued, that both man and wife have Moroccan backgrounds.

"The husband can beat his wife"

"The right to castigate means for me: the husband can beat his wife," Becker-Rojczyk said, interpreting the judge's verdict.

In short, their religious norms trump local law. And a precedent now exists in German law- if this stands- that men have a right to beat their wives-. We all know how terrible the consequences of stare decisis can be- one bad decision can lead to many more bad decisions.

It's a preposterous decision but one that I can all too readily see a liberal American judge make too. In fact, it doesn't take much effort at all to see the ACLU backing such a decision to defend the "rights" of a Muslim to follow the tenets of their faith and beat their wives.

Police Silence

I wrote at the start of March about the case of an 80 year old woman who was threatened in her home by an attacker with a hammer. She called Thames Valley police and they took 24 hours to respond. When questioned about the incident they responded by saying that they had "more important" calls to deal with.

More important than a potentially fatal hammer attack on an old and defenceless woman? David Codrea searched for what would surely be an interesting news story about these more important crimes but turned up nothing.

I wrote to Thames Valley Police and asked just what those calls were- and if they disputed any of the details of the story that The Sun had written about the incident. Here's their reply-

I write in connection with your request for information dated 28/02/2007 concerning the Sun website report of a hammer attack of an 80 year old woman and calls considered more pressing.

Your request for information has now been considered and I am not obliged to supply the information you have requested.

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires Thames Valley Police, when refusing to provide such information (because the information is exempt) to provide you the applicant with a notice which: (a) states that fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.

The exemptions applicable to the information are:

Section 40 – Personal Data and Section 30 – Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority.

Section 40(2). Information requested consists of Personal Data which relates to a person other than you.

Section 30(1). Ongoing Investigations and the release of any further information could prejudice future investigations/proceedings.

I am unable to make comment on The Sun website article in relation to your request.

In accordance with the Act, this letter represents a Refusal Notice for this particular request.

In other words, they aren't talking. Surprise, surprise.

So, there you have it- British police leaving a defenceless old woman to the mercy of an enraged hammer-wielding attacker. And refusing to tell the public just what was so important that they didn't bother responding for 24 hours.

Burrowing Dinosaur

It seems like an absolute age since there was any dinosaur news.

The discovery of a dinosaur family fossilized in its burrow could make us rethink where the animals lived, how they behaved, and even what wiped them out, say researchers.

The creature has been dubbed
Oryctodromeus cubicularis which translates as "digging runner of the lair". Catchy. It lived some 95 million years ago-

The dinosaur had a broad snout and powerful shoulders well adapted for digging, and sturdy hips that would help it to brace itself as it dug. It could also run on its back legs.

What's interesting is that the ability of the dinosaur to burrow- many of the creatures that did survive the mass extinction 65 million years ago, which ended the rule of the dinosaurs, could burrow. If they were able to survive, why couldn't the burrowing dinosaurs?

Police Investigate Their Own

The question of course has to be asked- what would have happened if the woman in question had tried to defend herself against her attacker? Would she stand accused of the murder of a police officer? Would he have killed her and claimed that a DUI attacked him?

Salt Lake City Police are investigating one of their own – allegations have been made against an officer that he raped a woman while on duty and now a search warrant has been issued.

2 News has a copy of a search warrant asking for blood samples and a photograph of the officer’s torso but no charges have been filed at this time.

“He’s actually on administrative leave and he has been for about three weeks,” says the Assistant Chief of the Salt Lake City Police Terry Fritz.

According to court documents he pulled a woman over for driving under the influence on January 26th.

Then on February 16th she filed a report with the police that after that DUI arrest the officer took her back to her home and forced her to have intercourse with him.

The time has come, has it not, for the police to be issued with cameras which cannot be tampered with and which record all of their on-duty activities? I mean, it's not as if they have anything to hide is it?

Vacant Property

The Only Ones spring into action again using a home that they thought was empty for a training exercise.

They kicked in the door. They busted up the door jam," Allen told KMBC's Maria Antonia. "I want them to stop using people's property as a training tool."

Police said they sometimes use vacant homes for training purposes. Officers said they look for places typical of what they're likely to find in the field.

Capt. Rich Lockhart said that police thought the home at 2845 Park Ave. was vacant when they arrived in January and the owner was not inside.

"What we do know is officers did train in this house. They believed it was a vacant house, went in and did some training," Lockhart said.

Allen said he bought the house a few months ago and is starting to refurbish it. He said he did not give anyone permission to use it.

"I've talked to the previous owner of this house, and he told me they asked him for permission a few months ago and he told them no," Allen said.

So the police were turned down and then went to the property anyway when they thought that the owner who had said 'no' to them had moved out. Sure sounds like a rigorous procedure that enshrines respect for private property to me.

Police said they will investigate the incident if Allen files a claim.

"Basically, a letter outlining what he believes we did to the home, include pictures if he can. We'll look at it talk to officers involved, conduct an investigation, figure out what happened," Lockhart said.

A claim is being filed- it seems pretty obvious what happened; they used private property that did not belong to them without seeking the owner's permission. Evidently without even trying to establish if anyone did own the house.

Political Perks

Politicians award themselves more money. Why am I not surprised?

QUEENSLAND politicians have decided they should continue to be paid after voters turf them out of office.

New rules will entitle defeated or disendorsed state politicians to a "resettlement allowance" to help them make the transition to ordinary citizen.

It is understood the State Government will soon sign off on an allowance that will hand dumped MPs the full pay of a backbencher for two months – about $17,000 before tax.

The lucrative perk will add to the allowances already afforded to former state MPs which include two return flights from their electorate to Brisbane in the two weeks after an election.

Former politicians are also entitled to unlimited rail travel and an annual return flight for themselves and their spouse to their destination of choice in Australia, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea.

It's tough being a politician, isn't it? And can someone tell me exactly why they deserve an annual airline flight? Here's the big shock moment in the story-

It has won universal support from Queensland political leaders of all persuasions.

I'm astonished.

Media Bias

I take it this loathsome creature- and most of the anti-American staff- will be sacked immediately.

Launched in February 2004, Al-Hurra broadcasts three separate feeds: to Europe, Arab nations and one for Iraq. The network is supposed to be a key component of our public diplomacy to the Arab world. Its mission statement calls for it to showcase the American political process, and just as important, report on things that get little attention on other Arabic networks, such as human-rights abuses and government corruption.

That was, until ex-CNN producer Larry Register took over.

Within weeks of becoming news director, Mr. Register put his own stamp on the network. Producers and on-air talent quickly understood that change was underway. Investigations into Arab government wrongdoing or oppression were no longer in vogue, and the ban on turning the airwaves over to terrorists was lifted. For those who had chafed under Mr. Register’s predecessor—who curbed the desire of many on staff to make Al-Hurra more like al-Jazeera—the new era was welcomed warmly.

Time to not only question Register's bias but his patriotism too-

In the past several months, Al-Hurra has aired live speeches from Mr. Nasrallah and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, and it broadcast an interview with an alleged al Qaeda operative who expressed joy that 9/11 rubbed “America’s nose in the dust.”

Does it get any clearer than this?

Flight of Fantasy

Time for another image to break up all this text- this time Frank Cho's doing the honours with this Phantom Lady sketch. The character was one of the first examples of "good girl" art in comics and a cover depicting her even appeared in Seduction of the Innocent, the tome that criticised the corrupting effects of comics on the youth of the 1950s. Goodness knows what they would make of the world of today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Solution

Global warming will apparently lead to increased sea levels as the ice caps melt.


A REVOLUTIONARY technology that uses sunlight and sea water to produce an unlimited supply of clean, hydrogen fuel could be developed within a decade, Sydney researchers say.

Leigh Sheppard, of the University of NSW, estimated that 1.6 million of the solar devices, installed on rooftops, would be able to produce enough hydrogen gas to supply Australia's entire energy needs. While other energy options under discussion, such as nuclear power, produce harmful wastes, the only by-products of this solar hydrogen technology would be oxygen and fresh water, Dr Sheppard said.

Funnily enough it also takes care of the pesky problem of not enough drinking water that the enviro-nuts are worried about.

Problems solved. Next!

Drunken Rage

It looks like drunken cops assaulting barmaids isn't confined to Britain- this time it's one of Chicago's "finest"- delivering a brutal attack on a defenceless woman.

I urge you all to watch the video of the attack to see the barbarity he displayed- and then ask yourselves what kind of man is prepared to do such a thing, drunk or not.

This time it was caught on tape but imagine that it hadn't been- an investigation has been launched into the threats and intimidation that were issued by someone "connected with the case". Someone trying to cover up for his brother officer?

The Only Ones in action.

This Is Our Enemy

These are the people we are fighting against. These are the people that the anti-war crowd want to surrender to, to give up Iraq to. The people that Hillary Clinton will not raise a hand to stop when they begin to slaughter yet more innocents if she is President.

A U.S. general on Tuesday said Iraqi insurgents used children in a suicide attack this weekend, raising worries that the insurgency has adopted a new tactic to get through security checkpoints with bombs.

Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said adults in a vehicle with two children in the backseat were allowed through a Baghdad checkpoint. The adults then abandoned the vehicle and detonated it with the children still inside, he said.

We have seen Islamist violence deliberately committed against children time and again- car bombs detonated by crowds of kids clustered around American vehicles in Iraq, the mass murder of school children at Beslan, suicide bombers in Israel, the disgusting murder of pregnant Tali Hatuel and her young children. The list goes on and on.

I am disgusted that some people in the West want to appease and surrender to these monsters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Counting Knives

Here we go again- first it was alarm over Britain's gun culture and now a teenager has been stabbed, time to have a go at knife culture.

The Home Secretary admitted yesterday that the Government does not know enough about the scale of knife violence and ordered police forces to start collecting statistics on the use of knives in crime.

Mr Reid told the Commons that from next month, data on "serious or violent" offences involving knives would be recorded separately to give a "more detailed understanding of the prevalence of the problem". Currently, few forces follow Scotland Yard in separately recording "knife-enabled" crime.

Of course, what we need are statistics- that will help cut crime! I've been so foolish all this time thinking that what we needed to do was put the police back on the beat and actually lock violent criminals away in prison for significant periods of time. I stand corrected.

Groping and Biting

It seems that there is a limit to the behaviour that the Only Ones can engage in without being taken to task.

AN UNDERCOVER officer who bragged about being “like 007” grabbed a barmaid’s boobs at a strip club.

Boozed-up agent Dominic Headley, 32, also sank his teeth into an off-duty cop’s chest.

Headley, who works for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, spent the night drinking and eyeing up naked girls. He bragged about his undercover role, saying: “I’m a bit like James Bond, 007.”

But he lost his rag when staff at The Queen Anne in Vauxhall, south London, put his bag behind the bar.

He stormed the serving area — grabbing and holding on to terrified barmaid Tina Courtney’s breasts. When an off-duty cop came over to calm Headley he tried to bite a chunk out of his chest and drew blood.

Earlier, Headley — whose work involves tracking down Britain’s biggest gangsters — tried to start a fight with customers over a game of pool.

Headley admitted assault at Inner London Crown Court and was fined £750. He faces a disciplinary investigation and is likely to be sacked.

Let's hope so. I must say though that some of his "only ones" mojo must be working- I seriously doubt that if a civilian had bitten and drawn blood from an off-duty cop and assaulted a barmaid that they would have merely be fined.

Our "Leaders"

The phrase inmates running the asylum doesn't quite cover this- more a case of blithering idiots being put in a position of power far, far beyond their meagre mental capacity.

A Labour politician has crafted a bill aimed at the nuisance of mini-moto bikes- the bill is, like most other government legislation, vaguely worded and, despite far-encompassing consequences, it has made it past two readings with large majorities in favour. As becomes apparent the politicians had no idea whatsoever about the details of the law they were in favour of creating.

The Bill is drafted in such a way that it covers all motorcycles. In simple terms, it insists that every motorcycle should comply with the Road Traffic Act (RTA).

There is absolutely no exemption, and the DVLA in Swansea insists that a registration mark can only be issued to an RTA-compliant vehicle. So whether it is Valentino Rossi's 2007 MotoGP Yamaha or a classic racer, an Edwardian museum exhibit or a gold-plated custom show bike, the proposals mean it will have to be fitted with number plates and made RTA-compliant or face confiscation and destruction.

In other words, an attempt to legislate mini-moto bikes actually affects all motorcycles-

The Bill as it stands would therefore kill British motorcycle racing at a stroke. It is impossible to make most racing bikes RTA-compliant (consider the aerodynamic consequences of fitting a number plate to a 200mph MotoGP machine) and it would be an offence to race any that was not registered. Custom and classic events would be equally devastated and museums would be liable to prosecution if they displayed any bike that did not carry a DVLA registration. What's more, the Bill makes no mention of compensation for confiscation. One can only imagine the reaction of someone who has a £100,000 racing bike in the garage if the authorities try to remove it.

Sounds about right- taking the private property of citizens without any compensation. The solution would seem to be simple to all but the congenitally stupid-

The political parties are in disarray about what to do with this ill-conceived and poorly thought-out piece of legislation. Mr Stringer himself seems confused and bemused by the reaction. His response to my questions was to ask whether I was "pig ignorant" about parliamentary procedure, then terminate the conversation.

Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dem spokesman on transport and MP for Orkney and Shetland, was willing to listen but equally confused. This is particularly worrying because the Lib Dems are the main supporters of the Bill. Mr Carmichael feels that a system of exemptions would be the way forward. This is topsy-turvy, given that the exemptions would have to cover everything except illegally used mini-motos.

Yet again it's up to the actions of people outside of the political process to point out the ghastly errors that the politicians were making-

only when I repeatedly pressed the Conservatives this week did transport spokesman Chris Grayling declare that they would oppose it at third reading: "It is certainly far too wide-ranging," he said, "and while there is a case for strong action against mini-motos, this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

That's putting it mildly. Such a shame that on the first two readings they didn't know what the law they were voting for actually said.

Electronic Warfare

LGF reports on advice for jihadis to wage psychological warfare on "weak-minded" Americans via web forums.

“There is no doubt, my brothers, that raiding American forums is among the most important means of obtaining victory in the fierce media war... and of influencing the views of the weak-minded American who pays his taxes so they will go to the infidel American army. This American is an idiot and does not [even] know where Iraq is... [It is therefore] mandatory for every electronic mujahid [to engage in this raiding].”

Now that we've established that let's move on-

“You should enter into debate or respond only if it is extremely necessary... Your concern should [only] be introducing topics which... will cause [them to feel] frustration and anger towards their government..., which will... render them hostile to Bush... and his Republican Party and make them feel they must vote to bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible.”

So let's get this straight, this is advice to "electronic jihadis" engaged in the media front of the jihad- and their self-professed aim is to weaken support for George Bush and the Republicans. That's an important clarification- as is their stated aim of having the troops brought home from Iraq ASAP. These aren't peace activists who "support the troops but not the mission" and nor are they Democrat campaigners- they are the enemy of America; and they are urging their fighters to wage propaganda war on Americans in an effort to weaken support for the war effort.

In other words, muster support for the Democrats and their cut and run strategy. Their tactic of surrender in Iraq.

In a sane world elected politicians who found the enemies of America parroting their very own policies would quickly rush to re-evaluate those policies. They would, in fact, make every effort to see to it that the enemies of America and Democrats in Congress did not hold identical views on what the outcome of the war in Iraq should be. That they do is deeply troubling- America is at war with a bloodthirsty enemy that revels in mass murder; and the Democrats are giving them exactly what they want.

Are they so blinded by hatred of Bush and their own insatiable lust for power that they can't see that they have sided with the enemy on this issue?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Oppressing Women

Come on liberals, you champions of freedom and women's equality, speak out about this-

In another regional case, the judges had to decide whether a class excursion was mandatory for a Muslim girl. In their ruling of 2002, they parroted the language of a fatwa issued two years previously. The former chairman of the Islamic Religious Community in Hesse had stipulated that a Muslim woman not accompanied by a mahram, a male blood relative, must not stray more than 50 miles from her home - because this is the distance a caravan of camels can travel in 24 hours.

Camels are something of an anomaly on the German autobahn these days. Sympathetic judges nonetheless recommended sending the 15-year-old brother along as a mahram. Given her fear of losing her headscarf or violating other religious laws, the schoolgirl’s condition, they argued, was comparable to that of a “partially mentally handicapped person.” She therefore needed somebody to accompany her; otherwise, she should not be forced to take part in the trip, they reasoned.

Let me just recap for you- a Muslim girl was equated to a mentally handicapped person simply because of her gender- and her religion; she was considered unfit to go on a school trip without being accompanied by a male relative. And this was the conclusion made by a secular German court in thrall to political correctness.

Where are the feminists and liberals on issues like this?

Waxman's Words

I took exception to the behaviour of Democrat Henry Waxman while "questioning" a witness about the Plame affair. Commenter crotalus pointed out that Waxman was at least honest about his opposition to gun control. Here's what he had to say-

"If someone is so fearful that they are going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have weapons at all."

And while we're at it here are some other gun control quotes-

"Banning guns addresses a fundamental right of all Americans to feel safe." ~~Senator Diane Feinstein, 1993

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them....'Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in', I would have done it." ~~Senator Feinstein, 1995

"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA: ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the state." ~~Heinrich Himmler

And compare that to what Rep Carolyn McCarthy (author of the new AWB H.R. 1022) has to say- "You want an assault rifle? Join the Army!"

I wonder if she's aware that she's echoing Himmler?

"One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers [read communist party] and the disarming of the bourgeoisie." ~~V.I. Lenin, Collected Works

"I don't think everybody has a right to a weapon which can be used to kill innocent people and maybe threaten the life of a president of the United States." ~~Henry Waxman

"Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms." ~~V.I. Lenin

"We are going to hammer guns on the anvil of relentless legislative strategy! We are going to beat guns into submission!" ~~Chuck Schumer

"If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves." ~~Stalin, 1927

"I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun. I also believe that every new handgun sale or or transfer should be listed in a national registry, such as Chuck [Senator Schumer] is proposing." ~~Hillary Clinton, 2000

And let's leave the final word to one of the most famous Democrats of all, one that the current crop of politicians claim to look up to-

"...By calling attention to a well-regulated militia for the security of the Nation, and the right of each citizen to keep and bear arms, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fear of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the Second Amendment, will ever be an important danger to our Nation, the Amendment remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationship, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important. --- President John F. Kennedy

Escape From New York

Just a quick head's up on this one- a remake of John Carpenter's classic Escape From New York is already in pre-production. Word is that Gerard Butler is to take on the Snake Plissken role.

Those are some mighty big boots to fill. I can't picture anyone but Kurt Russell in that role.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hussein and Terror

This is one of the most stupid and insulting things that I think I've ever heard anyone say.

Donald Trump states, "Saddam Hussein, whether they liked him or didn't like him, he hated terrorists. He'd shoot and kill terrorists."

Gee, Don, didn't you know that al-Zarqawi fled to Iraq for medical attention when Saddam was in power. Strangely enough, Saddam Hussein didn't have him shot. Or what about Abu Nidal? You know, the guy called the world's most dangerous terrorist in pre-9/11 days- the one who was working out of an Iraqi government office when Christopher Hitchens interviewed him. Nor did Saddam Hussein have any problems with Palestinian suicide bombers- in fact, rather than have then shot, he actually paid their families $25,000. One of the people funded by Hussein blew up a bus in Israel, killing a 14 year old American girl, Abigail Litle. Want to tell her that Hussein hated terrorists Trump?

Or how about Abu Abbas, mastermind of the Achille Lauro hijacking and subsequent murder of wheelchair-bound 69 year old American Leon Klinghoffer? Abbas was allowed to leave Italy because he had an Iraqi passport (though he was born in Israel) and he was sheltered by the Hussein regime.

Website Hussein and Terror has more - including 1993 WTC bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin. Six were killed and over a thousand injured by the bomb he helped make. Hiding in Hussein's Iraq, he received a government salary. So much for that hatred of terrorists, right?

I guess Trump hasn't learned not to talk about matters on which he has no knowledge whatsoever. It's simply shameful and an insult to the families of the many Americans (not to mention all the other nationalities) who were killed by terrorists with ties to Saddam Hussein's regime.

UPDATE - See too Regime of Terror "a comprehensive and analytical historical resource focusing on a number of issues relating to terrorism and Saddam Hussein’s regime". Much more information there on links between the Hussein regime and terrorism- well worth looking back through the archives too. A recent post quotes Democrat Senator Chris Carney, a former intelligence and terrorism advisor at the Pentagon-

Saddam had links to every terrorist group in the region. I still think there were links to Al Qaeda.”