Are you a fan of the biting social commentary and masterful irony of Jane Austen?
Ever wish she and Dawn of the Dead creator George A. Romero could have teamed up to bring one of her stories to the big screen?
Well, you'll have to wait a bit for that, but in the meantime, we have the next best thing...
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. <--- That's an Amazon link, btw; for some reason Dorkafork's superhandy dotted line solution is failing me (Update: Ooh look! Linky worky!). I expect it is something simple I am doing wrong. In the meantime, Amazon appears to have a (review?) copy for sale despite the novel having yet to be released.
Hat tip to the Sister of the Flea, who may now incorporate Regency etiquette into her zombie escape plan.
Lauryn Oates on universal values of the kind the left used to espouse. Some of us still do; we just vote differently (in so far as voting changes a damned thing). These days, it seems there is no barbarism the left will not march in protest to defend and no apartheid they will not try to impose on those of us who are still nominally free.
Every year, all over South Asia, hundreds of women have acid sprayed in their faces for committing the offence of going to school, or for going to work, or for merely walking down a street without covering their faces. In Bangladesh alone, an average of 228 women are subjected to such acid attacks every year.
But there is an important and very specific lesson to be learned from the Kandahar incident.
More than a dozen of the young Kandahari women were seriously injured, two of them blinded, and the victims have all defiantly returned to their classes at the Mirwais Mena school. One of the girls who suffered severe eye injuries is 17-year-old Shamsia: “I will go to my school even if they kill me,” Shamsia said. “My message for the enemies is that if they do this 100 times, I am still going to continue my studies.”
The lesson here is that millions of brave Afghan schoolgirls are dedicated to pursuing their studies, in sometimes perilous and hostile circumstances, and their devotion is heartfelt, homegrown and hardy. It has not been “imposed” upon them by the “West.”
Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance. The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.
But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986. As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months.
In world founded on unicorn farts, the sanctimonious have no need of books.
Muslim cleric celebrates the Holocaust on Egyptian TV
Allahpundit begs a few minutes of your time. I see people protesting against Israel, demanding the Jews cede everything for the sake of "peace". Either they have never heard the words of this cleric or they agree with him.
How often do I explicitly ask you to watch an entire clip, especially one this long? I’m asking this time. If Mubarak’s dictatorship ever falls, this is the sort of mentality that will replace it.
The producers of Battlestar Galactica have set a challenge: Design a steampunk Cylon. To the whalebone vats!
Imagine a Cylon Heavy Raider crashes in the 1800s somewhere on Earth. Only a single Centurion survives, and it's heavily damaged. Realizing its only chance at survival is to use the tools available, it repairs itself with the materials of the era.
The contest is not open to residents of Canada, sadly. But do keep me apprised of progress. Thanks too to the Flea-reader who purchased Watchmen. My first Amazon referral! :-)
The colour of the year is mimosa, apparently; that is to say, a champagne-and-orange-juice shade of yellow. I was once assured by a senior figure at Condé Nast that I was taking fashion far too seriously; that editors just make this stuff up. I am increasingly inclined to agree with her.
And to whom should we address our thank you notes for this Year of Mimosa? Hange.
Given my long standing admiration for the house, and an impressive Flea-ish autumn-winter collection, Flea-readers might reasonably have been assumed my fantasy wardrobe for early '09 would be all Jean Paul Gaultier all the time.
Mais non, Alexander McQueen's latest offering - McQueensberry Rules' "Victorian roughnecks and backstreet fighters" - is more Gaultier than Gaultier. As soon as my hypothetical millions arrive, I shall purchase every outfit and ready the battle zeppelin for some aetheric ass-kickery.
It felt like a casting for the Threepenny Opera Monday evening in Milan, where half the models carried shillelaghs and all them bovver’ boots, ready to mix it up with anyone who got in their way on the catwalk, done up like a dingy, backstreet in 19th century London.
Composed of a cast that included several professional boxers, and entitled McQueensberry, in a pun on the Marquis of Queensberry who first codified the rules of boxing, the show was a bare knuckle affair, where our posh toughs had hands wrapped in cotton the better to protect them landing knock out punches.
Great stuff. And whom are we meant to thank for this welcome Victoriania? Barack Obama, of course. Hope and change: Hange.
Dwellers of Annexia - long used to shabby or indifferent Loblaws customer service - may share in the little thrill running down my leg at the thought of their Dupont store shut down with a vermin infestation (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
The Dupont and Christie neighbourhood will be without a Loblaws for the foreseeable future after city health officials shuttered the store Tuesday night for "heavy" vermin infestation.
Arsenic may see to the rats. Not sure there is sufficient pest control to deal with the yuppies...
Letter carriers in Cornwall, Ontario - a small town on the St. Lawrence seaway - had a long standing tradition. As they started their day they would say Merci Seigneur pour la belle journee, "Thank you Lord for the beautiful day." Nice. But no longer.
To be clear: This is Year Zero stuff. Human rights commissions in Canada have nothing to do with human rights. Human rights commissions in Canada are a calculated assault on tradition. The idea is to erase the small pleasures that define us as human beings such that the ensuing void of soul may be filled up with whatever fashionable lies suit our political and cultural establishments (including our supposed conservative political establishment). I still rage at the thought of the forced imposition of metric and weep for my ancestors at the thought of small businesses in Quebec hounded by the language police. This is why. This is where it starts. This is where we give permission.
It is not that we are barrelling down a very slippery slope (though we are). It is that whole generations have made their way through a "university" education knowing nothing of their country's history, its basic political structure or the principles upon which it was founded and built. They have no formal grasp of basic English grammar. They do not know a word of Latin. They cannot name a single French painter or Italian composer or German philosopher. They are made know nothings. They have no pole star and consequently are at the mercy of whatever flickering lamp of evil is held aloft by some ascetic priest.
If God did not exist still our days would be the better for thanking Him. Now Her Majesty's servants are forbidden from praising the source of Her sovereign power and the justification for our country's constitution. But with Orwell's nightmare made manifest, our bureaucracy is above all that and has made a god of itself.
This has to stop or there will be nothing left of us.
For those of us unwilling to abandon the hard-won wealth that has been left us, perhaps we can use some of the enforced ignorance you mention to our advantage. Particularly the Latin deficit. I.E. These illiterates--these philistines!--forbid me from wishing my fellow postmen "Merci Seigneur pour la belle journée"? I give them, then, Benedicamus Domino!
”Look, the best line about torture I’ve heard came from [retired CIA officer turned war-on-terrorism critic] Milt Beardon,” Damon says. “He said, ‘If a guy knows where a dirty bomb is hidden that’s going to go off in a Marriott, put me in a room with him and I’ll find out. But don’t codify that. Just let me break the law.’
“Which I think is right. You can’t legalize torture. But anybody would do it in that situation. You’d do it to me in that situation; you’d pull out my fingernails if you thought I knew something like that.”
Tempted to link some Bourne dvds or some such at Amazon but even I sometimes recognize where my humour can be wearying.
I have no clue how the story can be told in two hours - and I have heard at least one rumour of a distressing plot change - but but this looks spectacular. If you have never got round to reading Watchmen, now is the time to do so; no matter how good a job they do, you do not want the film adaption interfering with the experience of the real deal.
Rally for Israel, suffer armed assault and turn to the police so they can... tell you to go home. This time it was Malmo, Sweden but it could just as easily have been Toronto or London.
A pro-Israel rally in Malmo, Sweden was torn apart Sunday by pro-Palestinian residents who arrived on the scene with eggs, bottles, and tear gas grenades which they threw at Israel's supporters. Police dispersed the entire crowd.
Much as those armchair revolutionaries of our academic and celebrity establishments wax apoplectic against the misogyny, racism and war crimes of the "Bush regime" but remain silent in the face of men who will actually cut off their heads so too do the police. Canada's police would rather tell peaceful demonstrators to go home than risk confrontation with a mob threatening a child with death in the full light of day on the streets of Toronto.
Because Canadians choose order before justice. Because we defend the weak only when we can give ourselves prizes.
Because we are cowards.
Again: It is not the job of the police to defend your freedom. It is the job of the police to keep public order. The police are not necessarily your friends.
Not enough Weimar for one morning: Don't be too hard on the Pope for reconsidering Richard Williamson; you do not have to be a former member of the Hitler Youth* to gloss over the Holocaust these days. Give it a couple years and this will be the standard line in Canadian universities, unions and anybody at the CBC too cretinous to have moved on to al Jazeera. A new Nazism is metastasising rapidly. This is going to get very ugly.
* Sorry, is it in bad taste to bring that up? For what it is worth, Benedict is still a long step up from Prince Charles. The political, religious and cultural establishments of the West have comprehensively failed our civilization. It is still dark out as I write this. There is no light on the horizon.
Note to the slow witted among my American cousins: You do not serve your President. Your President serves you.
Etc.: I am reminded of my undergrad days and a feminist girlfriend who assured me that Margaret Thatcher had governed as she did because "Margaret Thatcher is not a woman". On this basis, and the fact the world really doesn't run on unicorn farts, I will bet you One Internet that Obama does not make it one hundred days into office before he is denounced for not being black enough. And it is only a matter of time before the left decides the man is "really half-white".
The Timmies always has a line-up. Always. And it's full of Americans and Brits and Romanians and Dutch, as well as a healthy contingent of desert CADPAT uniforms. The only reason there's no queue in this shot is that we arrived before it opened in the morning (I know - that was my first thought too: there's a Tim Horton's somewhere in the world that's not open 24/7? Heresy!). Honestly, the base could support two, especially if they delivered like the Pizza Hut does.
And another report, this one from oh-dark-thirty in which Damian reveals he is not a morning person.
While Kathy and I may have been only fans of her short lived Bionic Woman reboot, Flea-readers may nevertheless rejoice at the news Michelle Ryan is to be the next Who Companion. For the Easter special, at least.
Michelle Ryan looks set to become the next Doctor Who companion after landing a plum role in the show's Easter special. The former EastEnders actress will appear in Planet of the Dead, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in April. She will play Lady Christina de Souza, who accompanies David Tennant's Doctor on a dangerous bus trip.
She was excellent in Jekyll too, btw. And by excellent, I mean hot as hell.*
* That last link is my first to Amazon.com. I hope not to annoy people with this sort of thing. I am giving some thought as to how best to incorporate my product recommendations into posts. The priority is to avoid sneaky links that look like they lead to something informative or editorial but are actually a form of advertising. That sort of thing irritates me and I expect annoys other people as well.
The telos of a progressive ideology based on racialism, apartheid, wishful thinking and unicorn farts. Also, quite obviously the shape of things to come.
On Wednesday at 8 a.m., Obama made his first phone call to a foreign leader. He called PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. During their conversation, Obama pledged his commitment to Palestinian statehood.
Fatah wasted no time responding to Obama's extraordinary gesture. Wednesday afternoon Abbas convened the PLO's Executive Committee in Ramallah and the body announced that future negotiations with Israel will have to be based new preconditions. As far as the PLO is concerned, with Obama firmly in its corner, it can force Israel to its knees.
The rise-and-fall cycle of inheritance, greed, back-stabbing connivance and eye-for-an-eye warmongering culminates in the blood-and-bone wasteland glimpsed by Cate Blanchett's commanding and capricious Richard II in the first part of Act I. In a moment of sour-sweet reverie about graves, worms and epitaphs, the diminished, cornered ruler talks of writing with "rainy eyes . . . sorrow on the bosom of the earth" and of "the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of a king".
James Gunn discusses the protocols of science fiction*; that is to say, the reading conventions by which readers of science fiction expect to understand works in the genre. These differ from, say, the protocols through which one understands murder mysteries or Shakespeare.
As Gunn points out, James Thurber's "The Macbeth Murder Mystery" represents the paradigm case.** A mystery fan has accidentally picked up Macbeth as her vacation reading material. Lady Macbeth and her husband, she decides, cannot be the guilty parties; much too obvious.
"Oh Macduff did it, all right," said the murder specialist. Hercule Poirot would have got him easily." "How did you figure it out?" I demanded. "Well," she said, "I didn't right away. At first I suspected Banquo. And then, of course, he was the second person killed. That was good right in there, that part. The person you suspect of the first murder should always be the second victim." "Is that so?" I murmured. "Oh, yes," said my informant. "They have to keep surprising you. Well, after the second murder I didn't know who the killer was for a while." "How about Malcolm and Donalbain, the King's sons?" I asked. "As I remember it, they fled right after the first murder. That looks suspicious." "Too suspicious," said the American lady. "Much too suspicious. When they flee, they're never guilty. You can count on that." "I believe," I said, "I'll have a brandy," and I summoned the waiter.
My companion leaned toward me, her eyes bright, her teacup quivering. "Do you know who discovered Duncan's body?" she demanded. I said I was sorry, but I had forgotten. "Macduff discovers it," she said, slipping into the historical present. "Then he comes running downstairs and shouts, 'Confusion has broke open the Lord's anointed temple' and 'Sacrilegious murder has made his masterpiece' and on and on like that." The good lady tapped me on the knee. "All that stuff was rehearsed," she said. "You wouldn't say a lot of stuff like that, offhand, would you--if you had found a body?" She fixed me with a glittering eye. "I--" I began. "You're right!" she said. "You wouldn't! Unless you had practiced it in advance. 'My God, there's a body in here!' is what an innocent man would say." She sat back with a confident glare.
* A fine word whose connotations are ruined in perpetuity by the Tsar's secret service.
** Anthropology's favourite along these lines is Laura Bohannon's "Shakespeare in the Bush" in which Hamlet gets a good re-read.
I can let you know now that I'm over here on what's termed a Regional Media Familiarization Visit, with Jean Laroche of the Journal de Quebec, Ian Shantz of the Barrie Examiner, and Ian Elliot of the Kingston Whig-Standard. It's a good bunch.
To be brutally honest, we’ve been losing the fight for the hearts and minds of Canadians, largely because we’re surrendering the mental and emotional battle to the bad guys.
Think about it. Every time they get an IED victory, it’s splashed all over our news from the moment the casualty is announced at KAF, to the ramp ceremony, to the repatriation ceremony at Trenton, to interviews with friends, colleagues, and family. Canadians feel each death keenly, because we’ve come to value life so much more since the last time we were involved in a prolonged military conflict. We use the event of the hundredth death to reflect on the mission, on the human cost of it. Each time the Taliban gets lucky with an IED, the ripple effects on public opinion in Canada are huge.
But when our side wins, when we find an IED and defeat it, we clam up about it because of OPSEC concerns. So the image the public gets is a skewed one: they’re blowing our boys and girls up with impunity, and we can’t seem to do anything about it.
RTWT and consider his tip jar. Damian is footing the bills for his own inoculations and insurance...
After all - they've both got "large numbers of people gathering at a preordained time in a specific city to express a common set of beliefs and to celebrate a period of renewal." Since Inauguration Day and the Hajj are the only two things on the planet that can be described that way, the analogy and subsequent Teaching Moment is inescapable.
When the Easterlings come for this woman's head and her daughter's hand in "marriage" she will no doubt be reminded of Tolkien's racism and how - but for our culture's prejudice - when might all have got along.
We've faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead
This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house, September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor.
I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke- filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93.
I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son's police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.
As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.
Yet more evidence the Czech Republic veers perilously close to government by the sane as a sculpture is unveiled in Brussels. The occasion: The Czech's turn as holder of the European Union "presidency". Not everyone is happy with the result.
Called "Entropa," the piece is a €373,000 over-sized mosaic map of Europe that relies on stereotypes to depict each country. And a number of countries are furious about it.
"It is preposterous, a disgrace," Betina Joteva, press officer for Bulgaria's permanent representation in Brussels told the euobserver Web site. "It is a humiliation for the Bulgarian nation and an offence to national dignity."
Joteva has, perhaps, reason to be upset. Her country is depicted in the eight-ton sculpture as a Turkish toilet. Many speculated that the reference might be to the centuries Bulgaria spent under Turkish rule.
Romania; a Dracula theme park (win). Holland; flooded over "with only a few minarets poking out above the waves" (fail). Flea-readers will be delighted to learn the UK was omitted from the piece (epic win).
Here is a thought experiment that does not take very much thought. Picture, if you will, Christopher Hitchens facing a spleen-related conundrum. With whom shall he place the blame: his nemesis Hilary Clinton or the man who has appointed her to her new office? (I did tell you that this wouldn't be difficult.) Here's another one: Will we have to watch Hitchens bend himself into ever more improbable pretzel configurations as he justifies his support for The One through the year 2012?
Related: Camille Paglia's contortions call to mind balloon animals rather than pretzels but the overall configuration is nevertheless called to mind. By contrast, this brave new world holds no fears for me regarding my spleen of the campaign. The Obama administration is shaping up to be self-serving and hypocritical - normal, in other words - and I am untroubled by many of his appointments to date. The Devil too can quote Clinton.
Richard Fernandez does a brilliant job of thinking through tactical aspects of the new kind of information warfare underway in Gaza.
There are two basic types of information armor. The first may be termed encryption armor. This conceals the target from enemy view. Hamas encrypt themselves as civilians. Israelis conceal themselves by hiding their physical signatures in basic ways, like staying off the streets or moving in the dark. The NYT report says “to avoid booby traps, the Israelis say, they enter buildings by breaking through side walls, rather than going in the front. Once inside, they move from room to room, battering holes in interior walls to avoid exposure to snipers and suicide bombers dressed as civilians, with explosive belts hidden beneath winter coats.” The Israeli encrypt their movements and intentions by limiting access to the battlefield by foreign journalists.
Hamas knows this as well as anyone and its use of encryption armor has already been described. But it has access to second kind of information armor we may call the taboo. Taboo armor is of a very special kind and it can be totally impenetrable, no matter what physical weapons are available to the IDF. Take the forged, 1 mm thick, case-hardened, diplomatic immunity armor.
Imagine Churchill putting up with this nonsense. He had the French fleet destroyed on the off chance the French decided to side with their new German masters.
Again: Gaza is one front in the war. The war is not an engineering problem. The war is a problem of will. Either we destroy the enemy's willingness to make war - and above discredit his Dark Ages ideology of war - or we allow our better natures to make sacrifice of everything we have ever built and of all our daughters yet unborn. If we could only bring ourselves to strictly observe the Geneva Conventions, strictly observe much older laws regarding piracy and - critically - stop paying the enemy to make against us this whole sordid business could be done with in a matter of months.
This joyous video is from Israel. It has no counterpart in Arabic as it is sung in Gaza. One day, if the Arabs wake up and learn to love their neighbours, they too will be able to produce something fun. They will thank Israel for giving them the freedom to do so.
Or they will be like the French. We have to take what we can get in this life.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears - who is quite clearly a Slitheen - is alarmed by white working class voters turning away from Labour and toward the British National Party, saying they should be allowed to voice their worries "without fear of being branded racist". She might usefully have added, "and without fear of being subject to criminal charges".
In the furore that followed, Frank Field, Labour MP for Liverpool's Birkenhead and joint chairman of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration, agreed that the Government was riding roughshod over the working class at its peril. He predicted that Labour policies on housing would turn local people to Far Right parties in the next general election, echoing a dire warning he gave last year.
'Slowly, but determinedly, the white English working class - and I guess, some black Britons, too - are voting against unlimited immigration by embracing the BNP,' he said back then.
Note to Labour: This is not just about housing, it is about a multi-generational sense of entitlement; the idea the white "working" class can lay about with no education, no qualifications and - one hesitates to suggest otherwise - no job and be handed a home at the expense of everyone else. That said, the white "working" class has a point, the fact one in twelve council houses are occupied by "migrants" - whoever they might be - while 1.7 million fester on waiting lists is an abomination. End the occupation, by all means.
The shame of this is not that the white working class are turning to the BNP; give the BNP a few seats and they will be at the trough with any other political party no matter their current line or their Brown Shirt history. The shame is that the white working class is outraged at the perceived loss of their space on deck, not that the ship is sinking. They are outraged to have to wait for housing to be given to them, rather than getting a job, putting money aside and getting a home for themselves. People worry they will be called racist for pointing a finger at the gentleman named Mohammad cutting the queue. They should try suggesting everyone in the queue fend for themselves and see what happens. Our culture is so enervated by cultural Marxism that actual Marxism no longer has a look in with England's proletariat; someone might expect them to, you know, sell their labour.
Or perhaps I am a fool for thinking this way and a dupe of an out-dated conservative ideology (for example, Marxism). I could put my own name on the list, piss about in Thailand for a few years then move into my new flat in glamorous Salford in no time. Throw in a few wives and blood-curdling threats against Christians, Hindus and Jews, and I can expect a free people-mover; never mind the bike.
"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."
The Canadian Forces - arguably more conservative in some respects than their American cousins - have taken an admirable leap of faith and approved an embedded blogger to go to Afghanistan. They could not have made a better choice than Damian from The Torch.
This is a first for a Canadian blogger. A fairly narrow first, but a first nonetheless: bloggers have served, but not really written about it; American bloggers have embedded with Canadian troops; Canadian bloggers have gone over unilaterally. But to the best of my knowledge, a Canadian blogger has never before been invited on a CF-sponsored visit.
While the CF is sponsoring the visit, Damian is still out of pocket for expenses. Follow the link and hit the tip jar if you can.
Hard headed Flea-readers may doubt my convictions regarding all things French as I bring France Appreciation Week @ The Flea to an early close. Au contraire. If anything, my love of France could fill a* book.** For example, how to do justice to Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress in the space of a regularly updated website with dated entries such as this "blog"? Non.
True fact: Pictured above is the flag of France during the Monarchy. Yes, a white flag for the king of France. Paris was a red and blue, hence the tricolour flag since the Revolution. So sayeth the internets and much to good to fact check.
Light posting and tweating for several days. An my apologies for any missed correspondence.
** Should the book prove to have been hollowed out after the fashion of those books one sees in films; the ones used to conceal a flask of whiskey, a Derringer or perhaps clues to the existence of the Matrix.
Ranking Canadian political blogs is, admittedly, a bit train-watchy as a way to spend one's time. Still, much appreciated. Thanks to Robert Jago for Canada’s Top 25 Political Blogs - January, 2009. Putting together such a post much be enormously time consuming and, inevitably, one is not going to please everybody. The comments to the post provide a useful caution as to the reliability of such a ranking process and a reminder that quantity and quality are not necessary the same thing.
I gather Stephen Fry is irresistible to the rare giant kakapo. That second link leads to an environmentally themed documentary on the subject (of kakapos, humping Stephen Fry's leg is another documentary). They are attractive beasts (again, kakapo) though I gather they a bit bit pungent (by contrast to Fry, who I expect smells of veviter and clary sage).
Though I am struck by a civilization prepared to spend millions to defend a flightless parrot but hardly able to lift a quivering finger of protest against the men who want to hack off our hands. I am funny that way.
Lest anyone doubt my sincerity or the ingenuity of the French people, France Appreciation Week @ The Flea provides me with the opportunity to thank the gods for French technology of cookery. Aubecq pots and pans have become a centrepiece of the Man Cave.
Welcome to the 1930s. The difference is that we are now unmanned, disarmed and lack even the faltering moral clarity of our forefathers. Worse still, we lack any excuse they may have had. We can see exactly where this is headed.
An optimistic bent has seized the comments at Rantburg. Some Rantburgians see the Leon Panetta appointment as confirming the operations shift from CIA to DoD. Also, this notable insight from Steve White.
Appointing Panetta makes perfect sense.
For the last eight years the CIA has made war on George Bush. Not just the Plame affair but the various intelligence 'findings' on Iran, the failures in Iraq, etc., all can be explained by understanding that a certain part of CIA has hated Bush (and Republicans) and wanted him out of the White House.
Bambi understands that really, really well, because some of his and his party's fellow travellers are the ones in CIA doing it.
So now that the Lightworker is to be inaugurated, the one thing that can't be allowed is having a part of CIA wage war on him.
Panetta knows squat about intelligence and our enemies.
But about office politics and Bambi's enemies? Panetta has no peer.
Where and when there are hot babes, an exponential number of men will show up. If 100 cute girls with voluptuous bodies are protesting for freedom, you can count on a thousand men being there as well.
If sexy babes are involved in a peaceful political movement, it has a far greater chance of succeeding. If there are no good-looking women involved, the odds of a successful (and peaceful) movement fall dramatically.
Where and when alluring women are excluded from demonstrations, you can expect greater chances of strife, rioting, and failure.
I am looking at you, entire Muslim world (via Hot Air, worth a look, seriously. Second look at: Atheism).
I think you have to be Canadian/North Korean to appreciate fully the vomitousness of the following. Note our soldier/nurturers, native pride in a stack of rocks as the pinnacle of pre-contact technological development and the smirking satisfaction we take in our undeveloped, trackless wastes. Note also, the lack of lyrics. Would not want the national broadcaster to risk offending any patriotic Esperanto speakers in the audience.
The powers that be are threatening to have the anthem sung in Hindi at the forthcoming Winter Olympics in and around Vancouver. This is red meat to those who honour and cherish this country's traditions and who would rather see, for example, Indian immigrants singing our anthem in English or GO BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM IF THEY DO NOT LIKE THE WAY WE DO THINGS HERE.
I do not share their ire.
For one thing, the anthem was written in French and adapted (several times) into English; not the other way round. You cannot ask me to get worked up about a French pop song foisted upon the rest of us as a national anthem.
For another thing, the Olympics are an evil farce. Our participation in the event - let alone hosting it - is already a desecration of our history and traditions.
Finally, Canada's real national anthem is The Maple Leaf Forever. They can sing O Canada in Hindi with the lyrics changed to celebrate wife burning as an expression of feminist multiculturalism for all I care.
I quite like the sound of the American Sign Language lyrics. Here is an anthem to sing while invading Pakistan. I am certain Hindi-speaking Canadians could join in with enthusiasm.
Thee Canada Our True Home Country Land-Area
We Show Country Respect, True Support-Love
Proud We Watch Over Canada, Country Grow-Expand
Country True North Strong Free
Their-Thee Canada Country-Land
God Look Down Area Protect Continue Beauty Free
Thee Canada Country-Land
Thee Canada Country-Land
I had wondered if the Beeb would continue the Doctor's decades long journey toward adolescence. For the eleventh Doctor, the answer is yes (that second link is an extended version of the first).
Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take over from David Tennant in Doctor Who - making him the youngest actor to take on the role. At 26, Smith is three years younger than Peter Davison when he signed up to play the fifth Doctor in 1981.
Smith will first appear on TV screens as the 11th Doctor in 2010. He was cast over Christmas and will begin filming for the fifth series of Doctor Who in the summer. Tennant is filming four specials in 2009.
Spot the difference between what this government is doing, and what they would be doing if they were actually building a police state (hat tip to Anonymous). Expect the sound of crickets from "the left".
The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives “a coach and horses” through privacy laws.
The hacking is known as “remote searching”. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone’s PC at his home, office or hotel room. Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.
Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone’s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.
A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he “believes” that it is “proportionate” and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime — defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.
Greg Sheridan points out a blindingly obvious fact that proves to be anything but blindingly obvious to any establishment of the West.
We are at war.
When US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in India this week, all the talk was about "non-state actors" and the challenge they throw up to the international system. The assumption was that the Pakistan-based terrorists responsible for the murders of about 175 people in Mumbai, and the injuries to hundreds more, were non-state actors.
Yet it may be that since the 9/11 attacks in New York, the world has completely misconceived the age of terror. The radical increase in the lethality, range, political consequence and strategic influence of terrorists comes not from their being non-state actors at all. Instead it comes from their being sponsored by states.
Note to India: You are doing it wrong. Enjoy your next massacre. Would that the Jews of Bombay not have to pay for your blinkers.
Lest anyone doubt I was serious in declaring this to be France Appreciation Week @ The Flea. If things go badly, there will still be a country called France - for a time - but it will not be the France we know. And we shall miss her.
I am uncertain of the history and provenance of the following piece. I believe it to be the hymn of the paratroop regiment, by whatever name it is called and no matter how formally they have adopted the song. I would be grateful if a Flea reader better educated in these matters might enlighten us. Whatever it meant to the composer, it is a beautiful piece in itself.
The lyrics: From my limited googling, the writer was Cpt J.E. Lamaze at Saïgon in 1946. Or possibly 1948.
O douce France,
Mon beau pays,
Lieu de mon enfance,
Du bonheur, des chansons et des rires,
Ta souvenance berce ma dolence
D'un chant d'espérance.
Hélas sur cette terre
Ou je suis exilé,
Mon ame est solitaire
Et mon coeur désolé.
J'attend chaque jour
Le moment du retour.
Ici ton cher visage
Eclaire nos destins.
Pour garder bon courage,
On pense aux clairs matins
Qui chassaient toujours
L'ombre des mauvais jours.
Roy Boehm, the retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who started the Navy's first SEAL team, has died aged 84.
Even Boehm's cremation urn, which sat near a chest labeled "Davy Jones' Locker," spoke of his attitude toward death. Open the lid, and one would find a miniature ship's cabin, replete with a bunk and a sea bag.
"My ashes are going into the sea bag," Boehm had said in a 1997 interview. "How many people can hardly wait to get where they're going?"
As we enter the year when the last British troops leave Iraq, further evidence is emerging of just what an abject failure Britain’s military intervention in Iraq has been. Despite the bravery of many individual soldiers, the only real success of the Government has been the extent to which it has managed to hide from view how, thanks to its catastrophic misjudgements, this has been the one of the most humiliating chapters in the history of the British Army.
RTWT. And from the comments:
I have nothing but the highest respect for our troops. But i would add to this article by recalling the seizure of our rubber boat by the Iranians. Surely that signalled the end of United kingdom as a world power for all to see.
Greetings, drones of Scientology.
Anonymous hopes you are still having as much fun with this as we are.
Almost a year ago now, Anonymous launched Project Chanology in response to your attempts at internet censorship. What started as just another raid became a full-scale war against the Cult of Scientology. Let us review the year in the spirit of auld lang syne.
Your attempts at dead agenting have repeatedly failed. Your laughable black propaganda has fooled only the unwary, while Anonymous has been widely spreading the truth about your cult's evil, malicious, and suppressive policies. The tactics you refer to as "Fair Game" are now common knowledge within law enforcement agencies worldwide. The treatment of your Sea Organization staff has become infamous, and has earned you the scorn of the entire world. Your subversive fronts have been exposed. Your elite members continue to leak damning documents to the internet. Everyone knows who Xenu is. Scientology has become a joke, and "David Miscavige" is the punchline.
Anonymous has wounded your organization, perhaps mortally. Sales of Dianetics have been cut almost in half this year, and your favorite recruitment tool, the stress test tables, are taken down by your own people at the mere sight of a Guy Fawkes mask. Your own celebrity members refuse to speak your name. Staff block their ears to avoid hearing Scientology doctrine read aloud. Anonymous is at cause. Scientology is, was, and always will be, at effect.
Nothing that you have done has stopped Anonymous. We are inoculating the public - those you contemptuously refer to as "wogs" and "fresh meat" - against the lies of your cult. Your libel litigation is ineffective, for you cannot prove false what is true. Your attempts to censor the facts have failed repeatedly. This is a lesson you have refused to learn. Scientology is powerless in the presence of Anonymous. You fear us because you fear the ubiquity of the truth. You fear for an organization founded on peddling deceit to the uninformed. You fear those you have ensnared will desert you. You should, for knowledge is free.
It is midwinter in East Grinstead. For many Scientologists, that winter has lasted a lifetime. Your orders are set out by L. Ron Hubbard, now long dead. You are bound to and by the tech. You cannot adapt. You cannot learn. The self-proclaimed homo novis is many decades out of date, trapped in the permafrost of your own dogma.
Outside, the world has changed. The habits that once made Scientology a ruthlessly effective organization now condemn you. Your persistence with obsolete, ineffectual practices yields ridicule, not results. You cannot win. Your tech has failed you. Scientology is imploding at its core, and this is evidenced by the increasing levels of desperation seen in your attempts to handle us. It is only a matter of time before humanity is purged of your malign influence.
We are the people you pass on the street. We are your friends, family, sons, daughters, and siblings. We are the person right next to you.
Scientology cannot win a war of information against the internet itself.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us... until you have lost the game.
Related: To what extent are soldiers expected to keep shabbat?
Jewish soldiers are required to observe all the laws of Shabbat. The halacha requires any Jew to perform actions that would be forbidden to others if these are necessary to save a life. Even when it is unclear that a particular action is necessary to save a life, all military operations deemed necessary by those in charge to maintain an adequate level of public security against a hostile threat are permitted and even required.
Prayer for the Welfare of Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces
May He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who keep guard over our country and cities of our Lord from the border with Lebanon to the Egyptian desert and from the Mediterranean Sea to the approach to the Arava, be they on land, air or sea.
May the Almighty deliver us our enemies who arise against us, may the Holy One, blessed be He, preserve them and save them from all sorrow and peril, from danger and ill.
May He send blessing and success in all their endeavors, may He deliver to them those who hate us and crown them with salvation and victory, so that the saying may be fulfilled through them, "For the Lord, your God, who walks with you and to fight your enemies for you and to save you", and let us say, Amen.
Via The Muqata, which has extraordinary updated posts on the IDF operation in Gaza. Also, Solomonia has excellent links to links.
If our civilization is to survive, conservatives must begin their own long march through the institutions. It may take twenty or thirty years to matter much, but imagine twenty or thirty more years of this and then imagine what - if anything - will be left.
A new £4.7m primary school in Sheffield is facing criticism for dropping the word "school" from its title after governors decided the term had "negative connotations".
The headteacher of Sheffield's Watercliffe Meadow, Linda Kingdon, said the south Yorkshire school, which is due to open on Monday, will instead be called a "place for learning".
"We decided from an early stage we didn't want to use the word 'school'," she told local newspaper the Sheffield Star. "This is Watercliffe Meadow, a place for learning. One reason was many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school.
The jihadis had better get a move on. At this rate, there will be not much left of Byzantium to plunder.
Interconnected like Gaia: Glastonbury residents afraid of WiFi, counter with orgone generators.
They live in a country of near-universal literacy. They have been provided with more opportunity for education than the majority of people alive today and the vast majority of people who have ever lived. The internet gives them access to more information than has been or ever will be stored in libraries. And still: dumber than a box of rocks.
I would be grateful if there is a Flea-reader who owns the soundtrack for a mid 1990s BBC television series called "The Choir". I gather much of it was filmed at Gloucester Cathedral; I am trying to find the rendition of Panis Angelicus as heard in the series.
My email link is in the sidebar immediately under the words "Flea Got Mail".
Eskimo legend: "Perhaps, they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy."
The first words I ever heard: King Richard II, Act 2 scene 1, attributed to John of Gaunt.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
House Ravenclaw related: This map of Hogwarts and its surround should come in handy for prospective students of witchcraft and wizardry.
For comparison: J.K. Rowling's own sketch. As much as one defers to the author in these matters, I think it makes some sense for the Hogwarts Express to pull in toward Hogsmeade. Otherwise the townspeople would have an almighty trek to the station. But then there is always floo powder, I suppose.
Goottirock is Finnish for goth (rock). Potentially handy information should you find yourself in Finland.
Goth Sofi Oksanen, whose first book is called Stalinin lehmät, Stalin's Cows, lives in Helsinki. She brings new aspects to defining goths: "In my own gothness, I would stress the meaning of fetishism and feminism ."
From a young age, Oksanen has favoured purple and black, medieval conserts in addition to other music--and traditional goth aesthetics. She is equally attracted to PVC, seamed pantyhose and tattoos. To Oksanen, being a goth is fetishism which she implements in herself, and which fascinates in others.
She perceives gothism as a more feminine style and other genres of rock, and that is why she connects with it:
"Goth aesthetics is appealing because it doesn't attempt to minimise the signs of women's femininity, and thus it doesn't conflict with my political conviction. Part of my own feminist manifesto was for years not to wear trousers. I focused on skirts and high heels as a protest against your society becoming overtly masculine."
The IDF has a blog. Loving the spokesperson angle, though I cannot imagine it will score points with anyone who would strongly prefer the term to spokesman.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit is the Israel Defense Forces’ professional body responsible for media and public relations in Israel and around the world. This is our new site that will help us bring our message to the world.
We will be using this site to post official announcements and photographs and generally to make information easily accessible to those who are interested.
Barry Rubin explains the Gaza War. His explanation takes one sentence, the rest of his article making an interesting and informative gloss.
But why, more than one reporter from highly reputable publications has asked me, is Israel attacking Gaza now? At first, I was astonished. Then I answered: because Hamas canceled the ceasefire and started massive rocket firings at Israel.
Correct to a point. Hamas' ceasefire meant firing rockets at Israeli children at only 40% of the rate they do when on an open war footing. Furthermore, I can only wish for a world where Israel attacks Gaza. Having invented accuracy, every Western military power now engages in the sort of futile pinprick war the left would have you believe amounts to carpet bombing; in Israel's case, going so far as to robo-dial targets so as to ask occupants if they would be so kind as to leave their mosques and hospitals before the munitions arrive.
My most important reservation with the piece concerns Rubin's claim the "real conflict" lies between Iran-Syria and Egypt-Saudi Arabia. I believe the real conflict is between an axis of cowards-fools who believe there is no psychotic who cannot be appeased either through bribery or artificially inflated self-esteem and that vanishingly small minority in the West who believe revenge is a dish best served immediately. There is no war between Israel and the Muslim world; Israel could eradicate Muslim "civilization" by the end of today. The war is between Israel and its own liberal delusions.
My personal experience is that practically all of the "radical" academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with the secure tenured position as their ultimate professional goal (a surprising number of them even play on the stock market). If there is a thing they are genuinely horrified of, it is a radical shattering of the (relatively) safe life environment of the "symbolic classes" in the developed Western societies. Their excessive Politically Correct zeal when dealing with sexism, racism, Third World sweatshops, etc., is thus ultimately a defense against their own innermost identification, a kind of compulsive ritual whose hidden logic is: "Let's talk as much as possible about the necessity of a radical change to make sure that nothing will really change!"
Also prominent in the symbolic classes: Lawyers. An adjunct law prof as President counts as a twofer.