MPs have voted for a parliamentary motion condemning the Government’s treatment of the Gurkhas and the Daily Telegraph has campaigned for the veterans to be admitted. With the backing of Labour rebels and the Conservative Party, a Liberal Democrat motion criticising the Government was passed by 267 votes to 246.
The vote is not legally binding, but opposition leaders insisted that ministers must now abandon new rules on admitting Gurkhas and their families introduced last week.
The United States government may have decided Red China is not a major military threat - preferring instead to prepare for small-scale conflicts with non-state actors - and Australia's intelligence services agree.
... a group of senior Defence officials and also by army, navy and air force chiefs [have] argued that Australia's future defence force should be structured primarily for involvement in conventional warfare alongside allies such as the US.
As revealed in The Weekend Australian, these senior officials argued that the rise of China posed the greatest strategic danger to Australia and that this issue should be the driver of defence planning. The new white paper is expected to foreshadow a substantial boost in naval power, including plans for new frigates, air warfare destroyers and 12 new generation submarines to replace the Collins Class fleet from 2025.
Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg will build six Kilo class diesel-electric submarines for delivery to Vietnam, the Russian business daily Kommersant said on Monday.
Note to skeptics in the American defense establishment: These choices do not only reflect a pessimist's assessment of China's intentions, they reflect a realist's assessment of American capability and American will. As Pax Americana recedes, nations will look to their own defenses or look forward to a new Chinese hegemony.
Time to offer the Indians a 25-year lease on Cam Ranh Bay.
After months of suffering through thrown rocks and threats directed at his squadron during numerous calls to the Rosengård neighbourhood in Malmö, local fire chief Henrik Persson said on Tuesday he is stepping down from his post.
“I’m not getting any support from our top management. They don’t listen to our requests for a secure working environment,” Persson told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.
For those of you who thought progressives would be the first to suggest an absurd Swine Flu conspiracy theory; tough luck, the Umma got there first. You have to admit it was a fifty/fifty proposition given the level of science education we are talking about in both communities.
Indonesian Heath Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said on Tuesday the deadly swine flu virus could have been man-made, as she urged calm over its spread around the world. The controversial minister did not elaborate but in the past she has said Western governments could be making and spreading viruses in the developing world to boost pharmaceutical companies' profits.
Embedding has been disabled for Britain's Got Talent so you shall have to click through for Darth Jackson action (worth it for the correct pronunciation of "Birmingham"). Consider the following a place-holder video.
For two centuries they have stood in the heart of England, a landlocked tribute to the brilliance of Admiral Lord Nelson. Planted across three-quarters of a mile of Wiltshire countryside, a series of tree clumps mark the positions of British and French ships during the Battle of the Nile. But despite being one of the largest memorials of its kind in the world, the secret of the Nile Clumps has until now been known only to a few locals and military historians.
Portofino inspired stripes aside, a view of the Hollywood reservoir places the Castillo del Lago high on the list of Flea fantasy real estate purchases. Though I expect it is a bit of a hike to the corner store for milk and the like.
A man who shook Barack Obama's hand in Mexico died the next day from symptoms similar to those of swine flu. The White House insisted the President's health was not in any danger, but he was said to be taking the threat of an epidemic 'very seriously'.
The President's health advisers were already concerned about his visit south of the border after learning the contagious virus first struck in Mexico City on April 13 - three days before Mr Obama flew in to meet government officials. Their alarm grew after learning that Felipe Solis, director of the National Anthropology Museum, had died from pneumonia.
With no disrespect meant to the family of Felipe Solis. Or the Mahdi.
An implicit theme in the Batman chronicles, dating back to the earliest appearance of "Bat-Man" in a 1939 comic strip, is that any human could become the Dark Knight with enough physical training and a penchant for wearing tights.
Yet is it true that a mere mortal could train to become Batman?
Annie Clark has a whimsical way of saying "no comment". "Can I call my hypothetical therapist?" she asks, her eyebrows performing an elaborate little dance of amusement, when I ask whom the dark-edged lyrics from her latest album Actor are directed at.
I suspect if I did approach her fictional shrink for answers, I'd be asked to take a seat and wait in line. First there's her mother, maternal anxiety sharpened by the ambivalent relationship metaphors that pepper the 26-year-old's songs. "My mum often asks, 'Are you OK?' and I go, 'Yeah, I'm just fine,'" she says, though lines such as "I'm spending all my days in the garden-grey pallor of lines across your face" are probably not the best way of allaying parental concern.
We realized the universe is a symphony and the laws of physics are harmonies on a superstring
There was Eru, the One, Who in Arda (Earth) is called Illuvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad...the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void...But when they were come into the Void, Illuvatar said to them: "Behold your music!" And he showed them a vision, giving to them sight were before there was only hearing; and they saw a new World made visible before them, and it was globed amid the Void, and it was sustained therein.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Silmarillion, p. 15
The Taliban - slow learners, but picking up on Frankfurt School critical thinking as they go along - know who to blame for their problems: white women. This has been a sad week for women serving in Canada's armed forces.
But also a proud week.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban,” but the spokesman, Haji Muslim Khan, said that Taliban anger was partly caused by the presence of female American soldiers in the region. Mr. Khan said that Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, “should think about Western white women who take up arms and come from 20,000 miles away to fight against us here.”
Given that the circumference of the planet is only about 25,000 miles, it is not clear what route Mr. Khan believes Western forces are taking to get to Pakistan.
That last bit is a bit snarky for the New York Times. Hate speechy, even. They must have forgotten whose side they are on.
The corsairs carry out their evil work because our Westphalian game of pretend gives them sanctuary. For example, we pretend there is a place called Somalia with borders and sovereignty. We pretend sending food and money ennobles us instead of impoverishing them. We pretend Christian charity will be greeted with thanks instead of rape and ransom.
There is another thing our game of pretend is wrong about. It leads us to a sin of omission.
Pirates are easy to spot on the streets of Garowe, the regional capital: their Toyota 4x4s cluster around equally new white-washed mansions on the edge of town. But to approach them, I am warned, is to invite kidnapping or robbery.
Also interesting is a comment on "second order effects" of a Russian occupation of Georgia left by Subotai Bahadur (if such is his real name) at the second post. The (old) European establishment may have something to gain by Russian aggression.
There is no doubt that, despite the pro-Russian posting on the thread about the other side of this coin, that independent Georgia will be gone within a couple of weeks of the commencement of hostilities. Neither Europe nor the United States will intervene in any way to aid Georgia.
The next thing to ponder is what the second order effects will be.
a) the effects on any dependent allies of the United States.
b) the effects on NATO.
c) the effects on the EU, given that Western Europe is dependent on Russian energy already.
d) an especial emphasis on the effects on the “near abroad”. How far are the former Warsaw Pact countries going to go in yielding sovereignty out of fear of Russia and knowing that there will be absolutely no help from the West.
e) economic effects. The EU has never been happy with the free market ways of the Eastern Europeans, viewing their work ethic and belief in less socialism and more capitalism a threat to the hegemony of the EU. Many in the EU would be glad to be rid of the competition. Further, since so much of the European banks’ problems are related to real estate deals in Eastern Europe, their loss to the West could be used to allow a ‘write down’ combined with government bailouts that would mitigate the EU’s problems.
Several days ago, I posted an email claiming to reveal the effects of President Obama's rules of engagement regarding pirates holding an American hostage at sea. Now Information Dissemination offers an analysis of the email, describing it as largely accurate but biased; an "anti-Obama propaganda piece", in fact.
The way I see it, there are two important lessons here.
1. The Navy does not get involved in action at sea very often, and when something does happen, it would appear that people want to talk about (and will give an opinionated slant as part of unofficial accounting). There is going to be a lot of chaff in these early reports, and people need to be skeptical of early reports, particularly when they are completely absent credibility.
2. There is a tendency to attach a political view to any military event in the current hyper partisan environment, but the truth is, anyone who has been around military folks conducting their business knows hyper partisanship is never present. That isn't to say that military folks don't have a political opinion, only that you never see it influence their work. It just isn't part of the professional environment.
The way I see it is that this is to miss the point. It may be mistaken to attach a political view to the actions of the military. It surely is not a mistake to attach a political view to the President's foolish rules of engagement.
Because nothing - not even a second Holocaust, apparently - could be worse than Iran's religious dictatorship being able to say "we refused the opportunity for constructive dialogue." Such is the perverse morality of the West's progressive dictatorships.
Writing for The Australian, Hal Colebatch argues Britain is evolving into "the first modern soft totalitarian state." There is stiff competition in our civilization's race for the bottom, but even Canadian soft power/multi culti/bilingual-newthink is left in the dust by what was once England.
My Mum saw it first. She said the country was unrecognizable in its hysteria over the death of Diana. I was wrong. She was right.
There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.
Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.
The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".
Jack Straw is right about that last bit. Let us pray the English remember it too. It truly is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb.
Gerald Warner recalls it: the day the police clashed with a bunch of wellie-wearing, tweed flat-capped country people and bashed in some heads.
Well, you see, these were people who were standing in the way of Tony's efforts to save the cute little furry woodland creatures from the nasty upper-class English who wanted to shoot them. But really, it was a message sent out to the bastions of traditional British culture. "It's over people. The Britain you knew is no more and this is what will happen to you if you try to bring it back."
Defending the proposition that computer games constitute a literary genre, Quin Parker argues video games are - amongst other things - a form of interactive literature. Scott Esposito (whence the link) elaborates.
It's a widely held belief that if Charles Dickens were alive today, he would be working in television. But quite possibly, he might also be writing cut scenes for adventure games.
Nobody's suggesting that people need degrees to write "thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle". The truth is, games have become enormously complex compared to the days when all you did was jump on mushrooms, collect gold, and blow things up. Different demographics of people are playing computer games, and they don't just demand realistic graphics that push technological boundaries, they want whole worlds and coherent stories.
If anything, Parker is understating the case. Writing for video games is indeed about creating whole worlds and coherent stories, a proposition that goes well beyond a cut scene as the next level loads.
Follow the link for John Crace's counter-argument; he likes to blow things up.
The dragon. A mythological creature? No. It exists -- inside us.
Former Japanese Finance Minister, Shoichi Nakagawa is still on someone's payroll. The government needed someone reliable to float the mother of all balloons; a nuclear armed Japan.
Let us be gracious and assume the Japanese would take a couple days to piece together and deploy their arsenal. They have been sufficiently courteous to pretend they do not have one.
In a speech in Obihiro, Hokkaido, in reference to North Korea's rocket launch earlier this month that many believe was a ballistic missile test, the hawkish lawmaker said: "It is common sense worldwide that in pure military terms, nuclear counters nuclear. ... North Korea has taken a step toward a system whereby it can shoot without prior notice," he said. "We have to discuss countermeasures."
The Japanese are making a simple calculation: How reliable is President Bambi in the face of, for example, the real world? We have our answer.
"Earth-sized planet discovered in galaxy outside our solar system"
Science reporting at the Daily Mail. I wonder how many parsecs past light speed we would have to travel to get there quickly?
Scientists have discovered a planet close in size to Earth in a galaxy outside our solar system. As many as 300 so-called exoplanets - or planets outside our solar system - have been discovered, but most are much larger than Earth. Gliese 581 e is about twice the mass of our planet and orbits a star 20.5 light years away in the constellation Libra.
One of the most awe inspiring things I have ever seen. Godspeed Israel.
On September 4, 2003, in a large ceremony, the Israeli Air Force flew three f-15 jets over the Auschwitz concentration camp in a show of the Jewish people's continued strength and triumph over past adversities.
During the Holocaust (1939-1945) 6 million Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Millions of Jews and other victims of the Nazis were imprisoned, enslaved and murdered at Auschwitz and her sister camps.
This visit was a testament to the world that the saying "never again" is not just a slogan.
Now that fat has been blamed for global farting warming, expect all that self-esteem nonsense to be sent down the Memory Hole. Two legs good and all that.
‘When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler. The heavier our bodies become the harder and more unpleasant it is to move about in them and the more dependent we become on our cars. Staying slim is good for health and for the environment. We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce emissions and slow climate change.’
There is no point sitting in your armchair and shouting at the TV. The only way to get the message across is to take it to the streets. This is a chance to show the Poilce and the council the power of public opinion.
The entire country is behind us.
The next Protest will be held on Sunday 3rd May! Be there!
If I need to buy a TV, I'll definitely buy a Japanese TV. A Chinese TV might explode.
While I am tempted to poke fun at Jackie Chan - call him a racist for his views about the Chinese - the fact is he is saying nothing about China and the Chinese that Canada's ersatz elites believe about Canada and Canadians. Anyway, that thing about interesting times.
Action star Jackie Chan said Saturday he's not sure if a free society is a good thing for China and that he's starting to think "we Chinese need to be controlled."
Chan's comments drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience of business leaders in China's southern island province of Hainan. The 55-year-old Hong Kong actor was participating in a panel at the annual Boao Forum when he was asked to discuss censorship and restrictions on filmmakers in China. He expanded his comments to include society.
"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," Chan said. "I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic." Chan added: "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."
The Indian Ministry of Defence has eliminated the French Rafale from a $10b competition to produce 126 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force; something to do with a "failure to meet qualitative requirements of the contract.
My ass. That will teach you to French.*
The IAF has been maintaining that all six contenders — American F-18 and F-16, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian MiG-35, Swedish Gripen NG and the Rafale — for the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract have met technical requirements.
* See how I used French as a verb there? A verb is a "doing word".
He reminded his audience of how the well-meaning attempt to spread home-ownership in America had been perverted into forms of debt so ill- or unsecured that they had provoked the world financial crisis. He repeated Jesus's parable of the two houses. One was built on "a pile of sand", and so fell when the rain came. The other was built upon a rock. "We must build our house upon a rock," said the President.
The house that Barack wants to build is architecturally grand. It will have five pillars, he announced. The first is that Wall Street will have new rules to reward "drive and innovation, not reckless risk-taking". The last is that "new savings in the federal budget… will bring down the debt for future generations". Sandwiched between these pillars are the other three. Each of these involves "new investments" – education, renewable energy, and health care. This, said Mr Obama, would be the "new foundation".
Five pillars. Got it.
Fun fact: al Qaeda means Foundation. The man obviously thinks the American electorate is completely ignorant of the threat they face. But then, his new office proves him right.
The row follows Whitehall advice to local authorities telling them to display the patriotic flag on St George’s Day this week only if their town hall has more than one flagpole.
If the building has just a single pole, the Union Flag is supposed to be flown. But on St Andrew’s Day, the Scottish Saltire can be flown alone on a single flagpole in Scotland – and Welsh government buildings with only one pole can fly the Welsh Dragon on St David’s Day.
Having spoken to some SEAL pals here in Virginia Beach yesterday and asking why this thing dragged out for 4 days, I got the following:
1. BHO wouldn't authorize the DEVGRU/NSWC SEAL teams to the scene for 36 hours going against OSC (on scene commander) recommendation.
2. Once they arrived, BHO imposed restrictions on their ROE that they couldn't do anything unless the hostage's life was in "imminent" danger
3. The first time the hostage jumped, the SEALS had the raggies all sighted in, but could not fire due to ROE restriction
4. When the navy RIB came under fire as it approached with supplies, no fire was returned due to ROE restrictions. As the raggies were shooting at the RIB, they were exposed and the SEALS had them all dialed in.
5. BHO specifically denied two rescue plans developed by the Bainbridge CPN and SEAL teams
6. Bainbridge CPN and SEAL team CDR finally decide they have the OpArea and OSC authority to solely determine risk to hostage. 4 hours later, 3 dead raggies
7. BHO immediately claims credit for his "daring and decisive" behaviour. As usual with him, it's BS.
So what is the over/under on our elites figuring out anthropogenic climate change is utter nonsense at some point in the next decade. Recent trends indicate an increase in global stupiding.
East Antarctica is four times the size of west Antarctica and parts of it are cooling. The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research report prepared for last week's meeting of Antarctic Treaty nations in Washington noted the South Pole had shown "significant cooling in recent decades."
Australia Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison said sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years had been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica.
Two RAF Tornado squadrons are to be shut down as a cost saving measure. This will leave eight aircraft to defend British airspace, British sovereignty and by extension British civilization, such as remains.
The move will reportedly cut the number of fighter jets on standby to protect Britain from 25 to 12. However, it is said that at all times, four of these will be undergoing maintenance, leaving only eight on standby at any one time.
"The left" cried conspiracy on the day a Saudi commando raid resulted in the massacre 3000 American and allied citizens. Well, there is a conspiracy at work here: A plan to gut the economy, the technological base and especially the defense of the West; ultimately, the existence of the West itself. Fortunately, the Enemy cannot build aircraft - only steal them - so in the short term we can call this a wash. Unfortunately, the West has other adversaries who excel at building fighter planes. They are watching.
As industrial and construction activity falters world wide, person-hole covers of Toronto are no longer vanishing into the aetheric plane we call China but the Chinese are still buying copper and much else besides.
Nobu Su, head of Taiwan's TMT group, which ships commodities to China, said Beijing is trying to extricate itself from dollar dependency as fast as it can.
"China has woken up. The West is a black hole with all this money being printed. The Chinese are buying raw materials because it is a much better way to use their $1.9 trillion of reserves. They get ten times the impact, and can cover their infrastructure for 50 years. The next industrial revolution is going to be led by hybrid cars, and that needs copper. You can see the subtle way that China is moving into 30 or 40 countries with resources," he said.
The SRB has also been accumulating aluminium, zinc, nickel, and rarer metals such as titanium, indium (thin-film technology), rhodium (catalytic converters) and praseodymium (glass).
Stop trying to get rid of those pennies. Your pocket change might be worth something.
Veterans groups are right to be outraged at a Department of Homeland Security report suggesting returning veterans pose a threat as potential recruits for "right wing extremists". This from a President whose only known friends and associates are domestic terrorists.
Let's face facts: It was a boring show and given the choice between death by hot robots and death by an orc knife brandished by some 7th century dimwit I choose Summer Glau. Now at least she and Lena Headey can get on to their next projects. I can think of, like, fully half a dozen high concept shows off the top of my head (hat tip to Agent Bedhead).
"It's done," maintains a source close to the show. "Everyone has pretty much known for a couple of weeks." Adds a network insider: "Consider it canceled."
Hoping takesies backsies are allowed on this one: Just watched the season finale and it rocked hardcore. More, please.
Saudi police say they are investigating a hoax that has seen people rushing to buy old-fashioned sewing machines for up to $50,000 (£33,500). The Singer sewing machines are said to contain traces of red mercury, a substance that may not exist.
Note how the BBC is hedging its bets on Red Mercury. Just "asking questions" again, I expect.
* And by "Saudis are buying" I mean "we are buying". There isn't a red cent they spend on anything that did not come out of our pockets. Including nineteen one way airplane tickets.
Our moral and intellectual betters have belatedly noticed the French are... how to put this?... French. Not to worry. Give them a generation and they shalll have produced a brilliant hybrid culture combining French manners and Arab restraint.
Paradoxically, what Mr Obama has succeeded in demonstrating to his own nation is that no amount of charm and flattery, no degree of self-abasement and apology for American "arrogance" is going to get any meaningful reciprocity from the Old Europeans (which is to say France and Germany, and the EU which they dominate) who could give lessons in sublime, transcendental arrogance to any American president however urbane and nuanced his message might be.
It is only now America has stopped swaggering that its more erudite, socially acceptable commentators have begun to engage in vitriolic condemnation of European selfishness and irresponsibility in the face of international danger: what is emerging is, in effect, a mirror image of the anti-Americanism which has become commonplace among European intellectuals. And paradoxically, it is precisely the change in presidential tone and approach which has made this possible.
Last month, the Pentagon Warfare Analysis Laboratory hosted a two day, "first-of-its-kind" war game simulating economic attacks on the United States. Would you like to play a game?
Participants described the event as a series of simulated global calamities, including the collapse of North Korea, Russian manipulation of natural gas prices, and increasing tension between China and Taiwan. “They wanted to see who makes loans to help out, what does each team do to get the other countries involved, and who decides to simply let the North Koreans collapse,” said a participant.
There were five teams: The United States, Russia, China, East Asia and “all others.” They were overseen by a “White Cell” group that functioned as referees, who decided the impact of the moves made by each team as they struggled for economic dominance.
At the end of the two days, the Chinese team emerged as the victors of the overall game – largely because the Russian and American teams had made so many moves against each other that they damaged their own standing to the benefit of the Chinese.
The half-brother of President Barack Obama was refused an entry visa to Britain after lying to police officers about an accusation of sexual assault. The deception occurred in November when Samson Obama, who lives in Kenya, was in Britain staying with his mother, who lives in Berkshire.
He was questioned by police about the alleged assault – which he denied – but during the investigation he used a false name and he later received a police caution. When he applied for another visa, hoping to visit Britain last week, he was refused.
The Telegraph offers biographical details about America's new President we somehow missed during his run for office.
Samson is one of President Obama's 11 half brothers and sisters by his father, Barack Obama Senior, who had children by four women.
Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States, is the son of Prince Sultan and a dark-skinned concubine from southern Saudi Arabia.
It ain't sexist if "the left" says it neither. Also, full points to the New York Times for not bothering to read their own copy (can't say that I blame them). This is the very next sentence. Bandar bin Sultan was born in 1949, btw.
But slavery was practiced here too, and was abolished only in 1962.
Beijing may get more population reduction than they bargained for. Marriage and procreation have a civilizing effect on young men, one of the reasons why human society has valued marriage and long-term commitment. By making that unattainable to millions of their subjects, the Chinese autocracy has literally created millions of potential criminals and malcontents that will shortly find themselves launched into society and straitjacketed by a lack of choices.
In a way, it’s an echo of what we see in large societies with plural marriages. It has the same effect; when older men take on multiple wives, it denies many younger men the opportunity to marry and procreate, which gives them less investment in building a community. In those cases, it feeds either wars or radical behavior, as the men have to compete to have any chance at all for marriage and for stability, and some simply choose to opt out entirely.
The good news is we may finally have something for which to thank "the left"; they are the ones who came up with the population bomb/latter-day-eugenics scare in the first place. If only we could convince China to adopt our latest stupid intellectual fad - anthropogenic climate change - we will have convinced the Chinese to destroy themselves rather than our having to resort to pesky force of arms. Now to check if von Clausewitz had anything to say about weaponized credulity as war by other means.
* Who still double spaces between sentences; the man never wrote for a newspaper, bless.
The BBC somewhat belatedly discovers Let The Right One In, a remarkable film including what is perhaps the most convincing vampire ever to feature on the silver screen and soon to be released in the UK. Think J-horror meets Guillermo del Toro in the snow. Not that there is a lot of snow per se, just a lingering feeling of irritation that the shuddering bilingual edifice that is the Canadian film industry cannot produce something as simple and moving as this.
It tells the tale of Oskar, a lonely young boy living on a rundown estate on the outskirts of Stockholm. Bullied and outcast, his life takes a dramatic turn when a mysterious young girl, Eli - soon revealed to be a vampire - moves in next door.
The pair's fledgling relationship is central to the film, which is part arty Euro horror, part coming of age romance. It has picked up a slew of film awards and is already being held up as a masterpiece of the genre.
Which it is. Not to worry, there will soon be a piece of crap Hollywood remake.
The Armorer and friends consider Barack Obama's decision not to visit US war graves at Normandy. It would not do to offend the Germans... Or, I might add, the President's evil constituency at home. The hard core stupid that is the American Ivy League regard Normandy tributes and all such sentiment as empty ritual at best or, at worst, a symbolic enactment of American imperial power.
As to the dead, their sacrifice is the same whether or not we have wit remaining to thank them for it. We will get what we deserve either way.
Or we could just take the oil for ourselves and for the continuance of civilization
Alan Reynolds argues Barack Obama is wrong to blame the United States for the economic downtown. Absolutely. And I would add Obama is wrong to blame the United States no matter the near sexual thrill he and his friends must take from the spectacle of an American President on bended knee before a jumped up cartoon villain satrap.
What really triggered this recession should be obvious, since the same thing happened before every other postwar US recession save one (1960).
In 1983, economist James Hamilton of the University of California at San Diego showed that "all but one of the US recessions since World War Two have been preceded, typically with a lag of around three-fourths of a year, by a dramatic increase in the price of crude petroleum." The years 1946 to 2007 saw 10 dramatic spikes in the price of oil -- each of which was soon followed by recession.
Taking a wasps' nest is more effective than catching the wasps one by one
Between 1820 and 1870 the Royal Navy seized almost 1,600 ships and freed 150,000 slaves. In these more enlightened times, "the left" would accuse the Royal Navy* of war crimes for doing just the same thing.
Because "the left" supports jihad, supports slavery and is against the rule of law. Because "the left" is evil.
(British naval officer, Joseph) Denman had attacked and destroyed slave quarters on the West African coast and had been sued by the Spanish owners for damages. It was British policy to try to destroy the slave trade, but this sometimes ran into legal complications.
The British attorney general, in a gem of delicate legal advice, declared the following year that he "cannot take it upon himself to advise... that the instructions to Her Majesty's naval officers are such as can with perfect legality be carried into execution... [He] is of the opinion that the blockading of rivers, landing and destroying buildings and carrying off of persons held in slavery... cannot be considered as sanctioned by the law of nations."
Denman, a hero of the anti-slave trade campaign, was eventually vindicated and the Royal Navy carried on with its anti-slavery operations.
* For the purposes of this hypothetical, I am assuming the existence of a Royal Navy.
Peter Hitchens relates an introduction to Jeremy Bentham and the ghastly French Declaration of the Rights of Man, the "founding scripture of several gory tyrannies." Not the least of which is Canada under its new constitution; a document which derives its authority from God only to deny Him at its human rights commissions.
It is in England, rather than in France, said Bentham, that the discovery of the rights of man ought naturally to have taken its rise: it is we - we English, that have the better right to it...Our right to this precious discovery, such as it is, of the rights of man, must, I repeat it, have been prior to that of the French. It has been seen how peculiarly rich we are in materials for making it. Right, the substantive right, is the child of law: from real laws come real rights; but from imaginary laws, from laws of nature, fancied and invented by poets, rhetoricians, and dealers in moral and intellectual poisons, come imaginary rights.
... slips are worsening the anti-Obama backlash, which began with the administration's bungled handling of the grotesquely swollen stimulus package. Conservatives seem deliriously drunk with their cartoon picture of Obama, to whom is glibly attributed every pathology in the book. Yes, there were ambiguities about Obama's birth certificate that have never been satisfactorily resolved. And the embargo on Obama's educational records remains troubling. But I am still waiting for hard evidence about the host of other charges that are continually being hammered against him -- from his alleged fidelity to the crypto-tactics of Chicago leftist Saul Alinsky to the questions raised by right-wingers about the production of Obama's two memoirs. Out of respect for the presidency, conservatives need to put up or shut up about these issues.
Nah, I think I will double down instead. Barack Obama is an agent in place for the security services of the communist dictatorship in Cuba. You may laugh. But I am right.
For the Israelis, the war lasted for 34 days. We tend to forget that for Hezbollah, it is infinite.
Counter-insurgency and conventional warfare camps fight it out for the future of the United States military. Their battleground is the contested legacy of Israel's 2006 ground war with Hezbollah - and the world press - in southern Lebanon.
"The Lebanon war has become a bellwether," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. "If you are opposed to transforming the military to fight low-intensity wars, it is your bloody sheet. It's discussed in almost coded communication to indicate which side of the argument you are on."
U.S. military experts were stunned by the destruction that Hezbollah forces, using sophisticated antitank guided missiles, were able to wreak on Israeli armor columns. Unlike the guerrilla forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who employed mostly hit-and-run tactics, the Hezbollah fighters held their ground against Israeli forces in battles that stretched as long as 12 hours. They were able to eavesdrop on Israeli communications and even struck an Israeli ship with a cruise missile.
Sheepdogs herding a flock may be a familiar farmyard scene, but it could soon be confined to the past if bosses at Tesco have their way. The supermarket chain has told its major supplier of lamb to stop using dogs, which it claims cause stress to the animals. It means shepherds at the farm may need to use methods such as beating the ground with sticks and waving their arms to control the flock.
A point of existential importance: This is exactly why the left opposes the military, the police and parental discipline.
We've strayed into a zone with a high magical index
Terry Pratchett was on hand to unveil a Discworld inspired housing development. Sadly, inspiration was limited to street names but slow and steady wins the race.
Wincanton was officially twinned in 2002 with the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork from the novels, becoming the first UK town to link with a fictional place. George Wimpey asked local residents to vote for their favourite road name from a shortlist of 14 suggested by Sir Terry.
Sir Terry said: 'I think it's a lovely idea, even though it makes my head spin to think of the books becoming a little closer to reality.And they are nice names, even though I say it myself. Personally, I'd pay good money to live somewhere called Treacle Mine Road.'
Agreed. Though I would prefer to live on Diagon Alley.
Writing for Armed Forces Journal, professor of operations at the Naval War College Joint Military Operations Department, Milan Vego argues a shortfall of nuclear-powered attack submarines can be mitigated with conventional submarines. Vego offers an outline - and alarming - history of the USN submarine order of battle from its high point under President Reagan to today's skeleton force.
More tellingly, Vego criticizes the Navy's current approach to determining the size of its submarine force: The USN is buying what it can afford rather than buying what it needs to protect the United States. Its projections reflect budgetary rather than military reality.
Determining the proper size and the composition of the Navy and each component of its battle force is not an exact science. Many assumptions regarding current and projected threats and the budgetary sources must be made many years out. In general, the broader framework set by national military and maritime strategy, and in the U.S. context its maritime theater strategies, should dictate the Navy’s size and composition, including its SSN force. However, the Navy first determines its SSN force level based essentially on the budgetary realities, then conducts SSN-force-level studies to validate that decision. This method of determining force level is deeply flawed. The budgetary restraints should come into play only after the desirable force level is determined from analysis of the current and projected military and maritime strategic situation. Budgetary realities almost always create a gap between the desired and affordable force levels. Any mismatch or disconnect should lead either to scaling down the ends or increasing the means; otherwise, the resultant SSN force level might be either too low (most likely) or too high relative to the Navy’s actual requirements.
Israeli Military Industry (IMI) has signed a "whopping" $240-million agreement to build five artillery munition factories in India over a period of three years. Aside from being newsworthy in itself, the linked article offers an interesting observation about military procurement after the credit crunch.
The firm’s CEO Avi Felder said the global economic crisis would change the procurement pattern by the world’s leading militaries, which would switch to upgrading existing weapons platforms on short timetables instead of massive investment in new facilities that would take a long time to develop and deliver.
This could be a problem. It is not as though an Obama administration needs excuses to cut long term weapons development and procurement.
f156: There are so many new designers pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear. Who are your favourites?
RK: Oh there are plenty! I admire the work of Sir Paul Smith, Ozwald Boetang and Hedi Slimane to name a few. London is a fantastic place to be a menswear designer today. There is a lot of talent around and you keep seeing innovative menswear everywhere.
Talking points and, God help us, facts for the first warmenist to spout off at you about the Wilkins Ice Shelf. From the linked comments, not the linked article, mind you. It would be too much to expect the press to know what they are talking about.
The Wilkins ice shelf has for a long time been a favourite of the climate alarmist. Why? Because this tiny bit of ice on the volcanically active Antarctic peninsula is part of the mere 2% of the continent that has actually warmed. This is almost certainly due to oceanic currents and the aforementioned volcanism since it is physically impossible to melt sea ice through atmospheric warming if the temperature remains below zero which it has. The fact that the Antarctic has seen record high levels of sea ice in the past two years (which, funnily enough, was never reported by the mainstream media) and yet we only hear about this speaks volumes about how desperate the warming fantasists are to save their dead theory.
Old Europe seems to be less susceptible to the charms of America's new President than an American public infatuated with its own sense of destiny even as a Novus ordo seclorum collapses into a New Medievalism. But then half the American electorate still thinks the colour of a man's skin is more important than the content of his character - let alone his resume - are will cheerfully call you a racist if you disagree.
"When I was born," (Everything usually leads back to him, you'll notice)... "the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President." (Him again)...
"Few people would have predicted that an American President would one day be permitted to speak to an audience like this in Prague. And few would have imagined that the Czech Republic would become a free nation, a member of NATO, and a leader of a united Europe. Those ideas would have been dismissed as dreams". (Not by Ronald Reagan they wouldn't have been, when most of Obama's Democrat friends thought the then US President's robust approach to the Cold War made him a loony on the loose).
Oddly enough, Saturday Night Live appears to be ahead of the curve.
No reason to suffer on my own. Plus you can help me imagine inventive assassination sequences for Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson as these two mouth breathing morons continue to rape the legacy of Dune. Plus I am now desperate for lunch at the Google cafeteria.
The explanation, such as it is. More panda fashion at the link.
A model presents a creation by Chinese designer Zhao Bandi during a fashion show "China, A Nation of Pandas" in Paris, March 20, 2009. Zhao, a controversial artist who's better known as "Panda Man", is criticized by many online for panda hype.
Somehow, somewhere, I can here the sound of a penny dropping. President Obama can bow to whatever despots he like - be it some Arab satrap or the court of European opinion - but it will not matter a damn to those who are opposed to democracy, opposed to capitalism and opposed to freedom of conscience and expression. What might help is a President who unashamedly believes in those things and refuses to apologize for them to an ungrateful world.
A widely held belief among the liberal intelligentsia, both in the states and in Europe, is that anti-Americanism began under the second President Bush. History tells a different story. Take France, for example. Charles de Gaulle, the most popular political figure in recent French history, staked his presidency on driving a wedge into the American-led NATO alliance during the Cold War’s early years (it was only last month that France finally rejoined NATO’s military command structure). Anti-Americanism goes back to before the founding of the United States; it’s not just a political disposition, but also a theoretical premise based upon deep-seated feelings of historical envy and opposition to capitalism—not to mention cultural snobbery.
Niall Ferguson: Most people who read War and Peace don't read the coda at the end on determinism and contingency in history.
The movement of humanity, arising as it does from innumerable arbitrary human wills, is continuous. To understand the laws of this continuous movement is the aim of history. But to arrive at these laws, resulting from the sum of all those human wills, man's mind postulates arbitrary and disconnected units. The first method of history is to take an arbitrarily selected series of continuous events and examine it apart from others, though there is and can be no beginning to any event, for one event always flows uninterruptedly from another.
The second method is to consider the actions of some one man- a king or a commander- as equivalent to the sum of many individual wills; whereas the sum of individual wills is never expressed by the activity of a single historic personage.
Historical science in its endeavor to draw nearer to truth continually takes smaller and smaller units for examination. But however small the units it takes, we feel that to take any unit disconnected from others, or to assume a beginning of any phenomenon, or to say that the will of many men is expressed by the actions of any one historic personage, is in itself false.
It needs no critical exertion to reduce utterly to dust any deductions drawn from history. It is merely necessary to select some larger or smaller unit as the subject of observation- as criticism has every right to do, seeing that whatever unit history observes must always be arbitrarily selected. Only by taking infinitesimally small units for observation (the differential of history, that is, the individual tendencies of men) and attaining to the art of integrating them (that is, finding the sum of these infinitesimals) can we hope to arrive at the laws of history.
Strategy Page argues alarm at the news of a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile is unwarranted (hat tip to Mr. Salmon). Though I suspect the Chinese are more than capable of emulating a '70s era American missile guidance system so your mileage may vary.
In what has become an annual event over the last few years, there are another batch of rumors out of China that the DF-21 ballistic missile has been equipped with a high-explosive warhead and a guidance system that can find and hit a aircraft carrier at sea. ... The Chinese have long been rumored to have a system like this, but there have been no tests. If the Chinese do succeed in creating a "carrier killer" version of the DF-21, the U.S. Navy can modify its Aegis anti-missile system to protect carriers against such attacks. There are also electronic warfare options, to blind the DF-21 radar. Another problem the Chinese will have is getting a general idea of where the target carrier is before they launch the DF-21. This is not impossible, but can be difficult.
We don't live alone ......We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.
- J.B. Priestley
Afghanistan's two houses of parliament have passed a law limiting the rights of Shia women. The new law explicitly permits rape in marriage.
It denies Afghan Shia women the right to leave their homes except for ‘legitimate’ purposes; forbids them from working or receiving education without their husbands’ express permission; weakens mothers’ rights in the event of a divorce; and makes it impossible for wives to inherit houses and land from their husbands, even if husbands can inherit property from their wives.
It's rude, damaging, unfair and pernicious to say that women's history isn't important and interesting
So claims someone or other in light of David Starkey stating the obvious. And promoting his new television series.
Women historians have feminised history by focusing on the 'soap opera' of key figures' love lives rather than their achievements, David Starkey claims. The TV historian said his female counterparts concentrated on 'big box-office' subjects such as the six wives of Henry VIII instead of major political events of the time.
Dr Starkey, 54, said: 'One of the great problems has been that Henry, in a sense, has been absorbed by his wives. Which is bizarre. But it's what you expect from feminised history, the fact that so many of the writers who write about this are women and so much of their audience is a female audience. Unhappy marriages are big box-office.
And he added: 'If you are to do a proper history of Europe before the last five minutes, it is a history of white males because they were the power players, and to pretend anything else is to falsify.'
The number of foreigners seeking government help to find jobs has climbed in recent months to 11 times the previous year at more than 9,000 people, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
"The program is to respond to a growing social problem," said ministry official Hiroshi Yamashita
Nine thousand in a country of 130 million. It is difficult to imagine what they must make of Canada's thinking on the subject.
That a report translated by naval affairs blog Information Dissemination has got the attention of the U.S. Naval Institute suggests said report is cause for alarm. The Peoples Liberation Army Navy is said to have developed an operational anti-ship ballistic missile "kill system" intended to knock out United States aircraft carriers. If so, so much for American grand strategy and - by extension - Pax Americana.
The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces. The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.
Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.
If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.
Lest this ruin anyone's breakfast, I hasten to remind everyone of China's proven anti-satellite capability. That should put a damper on your first cup of coffee as well.
Interesting fact for our intelligence services: There are many Arab Christians too
Watching old Bond films, I remember what it was like to be enthusiastic about the West. Now I learn of a CIA recruitment drive with the same enthusiasm I reserve for... actually, metaphors fail me here. The walls are left unguarded, the gate is open and barbarians may come and go as they please.
Leon Panetta, the new CIA director, will meet Muslim groups in cities such as Detroit to spearhead personally the new drive to recruit Arabic speakers. He recently lamented the fact that only 13 per cent of CIA officers speak a foreign language, and just 22 per cent come from minorities.
"In order to accomplish our vital intelligence mission we want to market our employment opportunities to speakers of Arabic, Russian, Korean, Pashtu and Urdu," George Little, a CIA spokesman, told The Times.
So naturally they advertise in The Economist and The Washington Post; there is a dweeb quota to fill.