Minutes of a July 1979 meeting with foreign secretary Lord Carrington and home secretary William Whitelaw show Lady Thatcher privately complained that too many Asian immigrants were being allowed into Britain.
Mr Whitelaw entered the debate, suggesting to the prime minister that refugees were a different matter to immigrants in general. He said that according to letters he had received, opinion favoured the accepting of more of the Vietnamese refugees.
Lady Thatcher responded that “in her view all those who wrote letters in this sense should be invited to accept one into their homes," the minutes disclose.
Directly related: There is no such thing as public money.
I hope one day to get to America. ... I was watching an old film on TV the other night called "No Down Payment" a great film, but rather depressing if it is a true reflection of The American Way of Life. However, shortly after that they showed a documentary about Robert Frost the American poet, filmed mainly at his home in Vermont, and that evened the score. I am sure that is nearer the real America.
Like the overwhelming majority of British people, I could not care less for the fate of "British drug smuggler" Akmal Shaikh, executed on Darwinian grounds for attempting to smuggle nine pounds of heroin into mainland China. For historical reasons, the Chinese are a bit touchy on the subject of British heroin smugglers. For more recent historical reaons, the Chinese no longer hesitate to execute a man with a British passport.
We are weak and they are strong, you see.
His family say he suffered from bipolar disorder. They claim he had been delusional and was duped into carrying a suitcase that did not belong to him into China. His daughter has said that drug smugglers in Poland convinced him they would make him a pop star in China.
Mr Shaikh, who used to manage a cab firm in Kentish Town, had denied any wrongdoing. His family said they were ‘deeply saddened, stunned and disappointed’ by the execution, which was carried out in Urumqi.
Mr Shaikh was the first EU national to be executed in China since 1951.
Not only are the Chinese unswayed by Frankfurt School bleating about hegemony (should America's Marxists ever get around to condemning anyone but America, Israel and the West), the Chinese are strangely unmoved by the insanity defense. Perhaps the Chinese are still hypnotized by the illusion of "personal responsibility".
There may be a rule of some kind... you know you are working in a mature medium when videogame writers use a writer as a main character. I gather Alan Wake is a novelist, however, so we are still a step away from using a videogame writer as a videogame protagonist.
Emil Kraaikamp uses a 10″ telescope to capture astonishing images of Mars, Venus and Jupiter.
The fourth cloud to the lower right is actually marking the spot of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. The image inset here is from NASA, showing Olympus Mons up close; but you don’t need to go to Mars to see it.
After all, it can be captured with a ten inch telescope.
First, let me point out something that Ender's Game got right and something it got wrong. What it got right is the essentially three-dimensional nature of space combat, and how that would be fundamentally different from land, sea, and air combat. In principle, yes, your enemy could come at you from any direction at all. In practice, though, the Buggers are going to do no such thing. At least, not until someone invents an FTL drive, and we can actually pop our battle fleets into existence anywhere near our enemies. The marauding space fleets are going to be governed by orbit dynamics – not just of their own ships in orbit around planets and suns, but those planets' orbits.
For all of our fans,
A short history of Martha and the Muffins and the making of the first new album in 18 years, Delicate.
Directed, photographed & edited by James Brylowski/Solid Porcupine
Happy Holidays and all the best in 2010,
from Martha & Mark.
A difficult lesson is in store for the United States. Will she learn from history or will history teach her the same lesson by hard example. This is not an abstract question; it is the future of the West.
In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy.
The only truly global power was in rapid relative decline. Not long before, it had won a pyrrhic victory in a costly colonial war. New great powers were on the rise. An arms race was under way, as was competition for markets and resources in undeveloped areas of the world. Yet people still believed in the durability of the free trade and free capital flows that had nurtured prosperity and, many believed, had also underpinned peace.
Let's pretend this is an unrelated note: "In the week that Britain's high speed rail link closed down because the wrong sort of snow interfered with the engine's electronics, China unveiled the world's fastest train service on one of the coldest days of the year." Click through for inspirational/depressing imagery. I am just as happy the Chinese still believe in scientific, technological and industrial progress. Like we used to.
For the first time in over a hundred years, we get an inside view of how Dunhill manufactures its beautiful leather goods. Never before has Dunhill shown the outside world how the world class craftsman create their products. In this clip we get to see a portion of the film demonstrating the making of Dunhill's Double Document Case.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch, head of the foreign press branch of the IDF Spokesperson Unit, takes a moment to wish the world a happy holiday. Whether you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or Druze - the Israel Defense Force is happy to wish you a joyous new year and a peaceful holiday season!
Christopher Hitchens on what used to be called the Great Game. Britain's game in Afghanistan ended in tragedy leaving leaves today's superpower with the option of farce.
This will continue to get nastier and more corrupt and degrading until we recognize that our long-term ally in Asia is not Pakistan but India. And India is not a country sizzling with self-pity and self-loathing, because it was never one of our colonies or clients. We don't have to send New Delhi 15 different envoys a month, partly to placate and partly to hector, because the relationship with India isn't based on hysteria and envy. Alas, though, we send hardly any envoys at all to the world's largest secular and multicultural democracy, and the country itself gets mentioned only as an afterthought. Nothing will change until this changes.
On a related note: If 10% of London's population was Hindu almost nobody would notice, let alone complain.
Having belatedly ginned up a clever play on Eisenhower, the Economist follows its recent article on military applications for consumer products and video-gaming technology with another on much the same topic.
Where consumer technology can be used, it is much cheaper and quicker to do so. The air force’s new supercomputer will cost around one-tenth as much as a conventional supercomputer of equivalent power. Using an iPod to run translation software in Iraq makes much more sense than designing and building a dedicated device. America’s armed forces are also using commercially available green technologies to reduce their demand for fuel.
It was my honour to be part of a discussion where much the same case was made to a naval architect whose job it would be to implement said case (this was more than ten years ago). I paraphrase his reply to the effect that, yes, consumer alternatives to military spec hardware offered potential savings to a military procurement program. The difficulty, he explained, is whether said consumer alternatives to military spec hardware would still work after they have been attacked with an anti-ship missile.
In some cases, one might reply, the consumer alternative could fair better on performance as well as price. Nevertheless, we should all take his point.
But it is no minor snark that leads me to point to an Economist article written, perhaps cynically, to promote a new catch phrase ("Military-consumer complex", please, any hack could do better. What about the "military-pornography complex" [which I just made up]?). It is, rather, the generalized banality of analysis of a once great magazine newspaper.* In a benighted pre-internet age, I used to treasure each issue of the Economist as a precious source of news and analysis of those parts of the world ignored by the Globe and Mail or the CBC. One article every two or three weeks about the exotic politics of Bangladesh or Bolivia gave me the impression of being a participant - or at the very least an observer - of a much larger scene than that afforded by the suburbs of Ottawa.
These days there is no corner of the Earth down to the smallest town with a local newspaper and a website which cannot be discovered and explored on-line. But before the internet the Economist and the BBC World Service on shortwave were my only life lines to the rest of the world. New technology has dropped both into a background of my beloved British tabloids and broadsheets and much the same from anywhere, everywhere else.
Still, it would be nice to look back on the Economist with affection. I just can't. Much as with the BBC, I now look back and wonder at the technocratic leftist cant I once took as my marching orders. They coin a buzz term like "military-consumer complex" and the best they can think to do with it is to suggest Obama look into commercially available green technologies with military applications and - with a heavy heart - I know there is every likelihood Obama will think it is a great idea.
Meanwhile, the crazies sharpen their knives.
* Don't ask me. This is how they used to describe themselves.
Mr Ainsworth, from Twickenham, south-west London, made the original Stormtrooper helmets for the Star Wars film in 1976 as a favour to a costume designer friend. In 2004, he found one of the helmets gathering dust on top of a cupboard and realised he was sitting on a potential goldmine.
He dug out the original moulds from the cellar and began producing them through his company, Shepperton Design Studios, along with suits of Stormtrooper armour which cost up to £1500. They are highly sought after by Star Wars devotees, who wear them to fan conventions.
SpaceWar reports Israel's new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can reach Iran. Good. But that is not the coolest news of Israel the report has to offer.
Meantime, there were reports that Israel's first unmanned stealth naval craft, designated Protector SV but known as the Death Shark, has been deployed in the Gulf region, able to cruise underwater off Iran for long periods.
Operated from a surface ship or a shore base, the 27-foot craft reportedly carries a Close-In Weapons System for detecting and engaging anti-ship missiles and aircraft, as well as torpedoes and electronic jamming gear. It also carries four cameras with the resolution of satellite imaging systems as well as sonar and radar systems that can transmit three-dimensional images to its control base.
I link this BoingBoing piece not so much for its content, interesting as it is, but for the Venn diagram they chose to illustrate it (reproduced above). I think it is not only clever but useful to think with.
As the winter storm charges north, snow continues to fall at a rate of about two inches an hour in the Washington area, crippling major roads and forcing some significant mass transit shutdowns.
In New York City, where snow has been measured in Central Park since 1869, only two storms have produced more than two feet of snow, the most recent occurring in February 2006. Jeffrey Tongue, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Upton, N.Y., said that about a foot and a half could fall in Central Park.
It is the reverse of the Emperor's new clothes. Our farcical version has Emperor Obama wearing snowpants while his courtiers insist global warming means he is really prancing around naked as the day he was born.
(hold for a long beat)
You see how I restrained myself there with that last thing? I could have added "in Kenya" or something else inflammatory but didn't.
I expect anti-war demonstrators in front of the Israeli consulate as soon as... what's that? You say the Israelis can't be blamed? Not even indirectly?
Nothing to see here, move along.
Houthi fighters say Saudi warplanes have fired some 1,011 missiles on the borderline with Yemen where the Shia population is already under heavy state-led and US-aided bombardment.
Funny how Obama gets a pass on this one. In fact, funny how Obama got involved in the first place. And funny how he is prepared to offer armed support to Sunni muslims over Shiite heretics. Being a life long Christian (ahem), it is not like he has a dog in that fight (dogs are haraam, btw).
Finally it's here! The truly epic review/critique/analysis/film making educational video of the 1999 film "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" There was so much to discuss with this film it had to be long so please don't complain. If you think it's too long then don't watch it. In this opening segment I discuss the major flaw of The Phantom Menace which is the characters and the lack of connection with the audience.
Update 2:49pm: Hello again, everyone. Comments were on the blink over the weekend, have been working again until this morning and now I find I cannot log in to my own blog to leave a pithy remark. I just sent a note to TypePad asking for their assistance but I am not expecting any help from them whatsoever. TypePad is introducing a "New TypePad!" which I suspect is the immediate source of the problem; the system has been sufficiently erratic over the years it is difficult to tell.
I am edging closer to disabling comments altogether. ("Welcome to the Ex-TypePad!")
In the meantime, this publication is provided free of charge (excepting the Amazon and Google eyeball fee), is published entirely at my expense and is the best I can do given my other responsibilities. I would therefore appreciate everyone fucking off about my non-functioning comments unless you have something constructive to suggest or hit my tip jar so I can hire someone to address the problem (excepting Jeff, who is sufficiently witty to entertain on this subject).
The BBC apologizes for hosting an online debate over whether or not Uganda is in the right to consider executing gay men. It is a non-apology: They say they were just asking questions. Crucial questions. Legitimate ones. Etc.
BBC World Service director Peter Horrocks wrote in a blog posted on the broadcaster's Web site Thursday: "We apologize for any offense it caused."
He added however that the program was a legitimate attempt to encourage discussion about a crucial African issue.
The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people
New Marxism: "Most throw cold water on China warming theory but some historical meteorologists suggest that China has prospered during periods when temperatures are higher than normal and that climate change may not be a bad thing after all."
Looking back over the millenniums, these scientists suggest that China has prospered during periods when temperatures are higher than usual. Conversely, they point out, cold spells have accompanied tragedies along the order of barbarian invasions, collapsing dynasties and civil war.
A letter perfect description of this last decade of encoldening.
Key word: Desertification. We are confronting two evils; one would have us live in grass huts, the other a machine for making deserts both physical and spiritual. I prefer dentistry, toilet paper, reason and the rule of law. Call me new fashioned.
Old Marxism: "Network journalists who were quick to see racists, haters and extremists amongst the “tea party” protesters were oblivious to communists in the “climate justice” march in Copenhagen whose cause they trumpeted."
With the ship surrounded by impenetrable ice on all sides, Shackleton decreed that it should become a floating station for the duration of the winter. The stores and cargo were removed from the main hold and the space turned into living quarters, known as "The Ritz".
Even the best Afghan units lack training, discipline and adequate reinforcements. In one new unit in Baghlan Province, soldiers have been found cowering ditches rather than fight. Others routinely steal U.S.-supplied fuel, equipment and weapons. And a few are suspected of collaborating with the Taliban against the Americans.
“I do not feel I am a mentor here,” said Capt. Jason Douthwaite, a logistics officer with the 73rd Troop Command of the Ohio National Guard who has tried to stop rampant pilfering by the Afghan soldiers his unit is training. “I feel like I am an investigating officer. It’s not, ‘Let me teach you your job.’ It’s more like, ‘How much did you steal from the American government today?’”…
A thought: We stop spending billions of dollars on a half-hearted civilizing mission in Afghanistan; either we are in it to win it or we give it up as a bad job and adopt other, properly Draconian measures. Either we change the enemy's culture or the enemy's culture will send jihadis from this generation and the next and the next until the end of days. Which could be sooner than you might think should said jihadis get their hands on proper weaponry.
Niall Ferguson asks, given this last year - and if they had e-mail in the hereafter - which of the great thinkers of the past would be entitled to send us a message with the subject line: "I told you so"? It is a tedious piece but a handy write up if you are after a brief introduction to big names in economics.
It has, for example, been a bad year for Adam Smith (1723-1790) and his "invisible hand," which was supposed to steer the global economy onward and upward to new heights of opulence through the action of individual choice in unfettered markets. By contrast, it has been a good year for Karl Marx (1818-1883), who always maintained that the internal contradictions of capitalism, and particularly its tendency to increase the inequality of the distribution of wealth, would lead to crisis and finally collapse. A special mention is also due to early 20th-century Marxist theorist Rudolf Hilferding (1877-1941), whose Das Finanzkapital foresaw the rise of giant "too big to fail" financial institutions.
Now, I really don’t care if you overeat, smoke like a chimney, hump like a bunny or forget to lock the safety mechanism on your pistol as you jam it in your waistband. Fine by me. And as a laissez-faire social-libertarian live-and-let-live kind of person, I would never under normal circumstances condemn anyone for any of the behaviors listed above. That is: Until the bill for your stupidity shows up in my mailbox. Then suddenly, I’m forced to care about what you do, because I’m being forced to pay for the consequences.
Not that this sort of argument cuts any ice with the left; if you object to paying for someone else's stupidity, you are immoral and your opinions count for nothing (but they still want your money). Read the whole thing. Trust me, you will want to learn about Dr. Earl Sunderhaus.
Psychologist Dr Peter Lovatt of the University of Hertfordshire believes he has found the secret to the "embarrassing dad dance"; older men are signalling their sexual incompatibility with younger women.
He is mistaken, obviously.
My comment to the Daily Mail:
Dr Lovatt might usefully consider how evolution works before reaching the conclusions he does from the data he has collected. While there may be an evolutionary advantage to young women able to choose the "green apple" over the "brown apple" such an ability would be counter-adaptive to those middle aged "brown apples". In other words, even if young women have evolved to see through the confidence and the awkward dance moves, every middle aged man has evolved to either fool such an adaptation (mate with me despite my age) or to be impressive despite it (see how confident I am).
Despite his background in psychology (mine is in anthropology), Dr Lovatt must realize older men are perfectly capable of fathering children; as a man Dr Lovatt may have noticed older men do not lose interest. Even if the older man is physiologically weaker compared to a young man, his appeal is backed up by the increased status, economic and social power enjoyed by older men, all of interest to a younger woman.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Flea, behold!, an immortal instance of the art of rhetoric.
I think he's such a JERK! I'd like to say other things but we can't go swearing on here. What a moron! I haven't read his books, but what the heck?! He goes dissing Stephanie Meyer- I HAD to read all of her books b/c they were sooo good- and I'm 27- i have a complete life- the fact that he's like 'she writes pg material for hs girls" is such krap! What a donkey! Stephanie is OBVIOUSLY talented. WHo the heck asked for his opinion in the first place and why would he think he's qualified to critique her just b/c he's an author. What a limited mind he has!!! I feel like never picking up one of his dumb books! He is a machovanistic PIG! I had respect for him before b/c he's written so many best selling books but PUHLEASE! He's totally classless. He writes different types of books- why would he even comment on a totally differ type of book? I even went on his website and the way he answers his readers questions- he does it SoOO ARROGANTLY! AND he doesn't even have facebook or myspace or even a section on his website besides stupid Message forums (which I AM NOT GOING TO SIGN UP to just leave him a comment) so that we could leave him a COMMENT about his stupid CRITIQUES because he DOESN'T CARE WHAT THE PUBLIC THINKS (just look at the way he answers his fans' questions)! I could say more nasty things about him, but why even bother wasting my own personal time!
Martin Cohen asks some sensible questions about climate change and public policy. Pity the rational man in an age of post-rationality; surely a thankless existence.
Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality? After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously?
I suppose I'm obligated to say a few words about Tiger Woods. First, let's pretend that Elin Nordegren cheated on Tiger and that Tiger went after Elin with a golf club. Would Elin be viewed as the sole transgressor in the marriage then? Probably not.
Think Morcambe circa 1950 - possibly Blackpool - as a reference for my favourite moment in this season of The X Factor. There is nothing intentionally upleasant about the show, nothing nasty; just a talent competition.
Not the strongest singer on the show, Olly Murs' competitive position has been down to his likability from the start and, I dare say, the fact there is something old fashioned about him, this emphasized in the linked duo performance with Robbie William, a Mancunian man of the people with wide boy appeal. It is all too easy to imagine these two as Tommies, spear carriers on the Elizabethan stage or, for that matter, half-listening to a speech on St. Crispin's Day. I am glad there is something left of England.
Also delighted to see a Christmas tree on stage. Good on you, Simon Cowell.
These days I am only involved in virtual crisis management. Just as well, I shudder to think of all those underemployed social scientists grinding out report after report using hot keys for the word "comprehensiveness" and names involving specialized fonts if this Finnish defense meme spreads (pdf file).
Comprehensiveness is about mindsets. This book presents one possible way to initiate dialogue, compare mindsets and perhaps move towards a Finnish approach. On the other hand, it should be noted that to achieve one single language to cover the whole domain of crisis management may not be feasible – or even preferable, since it would take us eternity to define such a language. What is required is to identify some acceptable common ground for working together. Comprehensiveness is not a goal in itself, but can serve as a powerful means to a prioritised end.
The CIA enters the climatological fray with a study suggesting a "detrimental global climatic change" threatens "the stability of most nations". The fear? Global cooling.*
‘A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems’, written by the CIA for ‘internal planning purposes’ in August 1974, goes a little way towards explaining why some people over a certain age experience a sense of déjà-vu when climate change is mentioned; in the mid-1970s there really was a lot of scientific discussion about global cooling. With the benefit of hindsight, reading it makes one feel wry and embarrassed. So many of the terms bandied about 35 years ago are still being employed by today’s fear-mongers, about the very opposite phenomenon.
* Reflecting the 1974 consensus. And my own vague anxiety.
Much as people who advocate multiculturalism do so because they neither know anything about nor care to learn anything about cultural difference, the people who are most strident about anthropogenic climate change neither know nothing about nor care to learn anything about climate science. "Caring" they can manage; the work of learning, not so much.
Forward this to the slow witted and tell them to stick their absurd Chicken Little fantasies where the sun does not shine. Via.
Related: "Cuba, a model of sustainable development."
Queen Elizabeth II is reportedly set to turn over some part of her her public duties to her grandson, Prince William.
The leak will add to speculation that the Queen believes William, rather than Charles, represents the best long-term interests of the monarchy, and will raise new questions about the timing of William’s long-anticipated engagement to his girlfriend Kate Middleton.
It is bound to lead to new speculation that when the Queen dies, the monarchy could skip a generation, with the Crown bypassing Charles and being handed straight to William, although Royal sources strongly discount this option.
I never cease to be amazed by how little the Bible-believing Protestants, who constitute most of the soldiery in the Christmas wars, know about their own tradition. Under the rule of the Puritan Revolution in the England of Oliver Cromwell (ancestor in many ways of the Pilgrim Fathers) the celebration of Christmas was banned outright. This was for three reasons: the December fiesta was actually the honoring of Paganism in disguise, and a descendant of the old rites of the Winter Solstice. Then, it was also a manifestation of Popery and superstition (the "Christ-Mass"). Finally, it was an excuse for the riff-raff to get drunk and over-indulge in general. Only the last part seems to have truly survived into our present day.
I realize this exhibits bad behaviour, coddling of said bad behaviour and is all over the tubes. Still, as an enthusiast for rhetoric, I believe it merits mention here (nsfw Irish Parliamentary disocurse featured).
The Green Party's Paul Gogarty has released a torrent of abuse at Labour's Emmet Stagg during a Dail Budget debate. Stagg and the Green TD had been exchanging verbal blows in the chamber. But nothing prepared Stagg for the outburst. Gogarty later apologised for his language claiming it was patriotism that had fired him.
The Security Crank ponders just how many times the United States and allied forces killed the Taliban in groups of 30 during 2009.
... how could we possibly have any idea how the war is going, here or anywhere else, when the bad guys seem only to die in groups of 30? The sheer ubiquity of that number in fatality and casualty counts is astounding, to the point where I don’t even pay attention to a story anymore when they use that magic number 30. It is an indicator either of ignorance or deliberate spin… but no matter the case, whenever you see the number 30 used in reference to the Taliban, you should probably close the tab and move onto something else, because you just won’t get a good sense of what happened there.
While you may have heard Brad Pitt has a vampire film project crusading hero film project - Vlad - in the works, you may not have heard the screenplay was written by buddy from Sons of Anarchy.
Yes, Vlad the Impaler, a 15th century badass whose penchant for brutality and fighting at night were meant to strike fear in the heart of the Ottoman Empire and give his outnumbered forces an advantage on their home battlefield, was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And yes, the Vlad screenplay, written by Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam, will be produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Summit Entertainment, the studio behind Twilight. But no, you will not be seeing vampires. In fact, that was a non-negotiable point for Hunnam, who became fascinated with Vlad, a national hero of Romania, when he spent five months traveling the country during downtime filming 2003’s Cold Mountain.
"A short film about the love too miserable to speak its name. Goths Make Better Lovers asks why do Goths always have boyfriends? Goths, so often the victims of wry asides, mild pity or open scorn have much to teach their more colourful bretheren when it comes to affairs of the heart. Because Goths always appear to be in a relationship - and obtusely, these relationships appear to be happier than the non-Goth kind."
But I think the real lesson of this sorry little spectacle has to do with the nature of aristocracy. If you have too much money, too much freedom, too much attention as a young man, you are denied the opportunity for the blunt facts of the world to help you grow out of your stupidity.
Free the prisoners, jail the judges
Free all prisoners everywhere
All they want is truth and justice
All they need is love and care
Just breath-taking in its stupidity. I do not think I am watching a man valorizing his own murderer. I think I am watching a case study in the degeneration of every elite group since the dawn of time (via Five Feet of Fury).
John and his wife Yoko Ono debut the song Attica State on Dec. 16, 1971, with newly-written sheet music in front of him. After the performance, a shout is heard from the balcony and Frost brings down a couple to the front of the stage to confront him over their song.
The couple (typical middle-class, White, Archie-Bunker types that dominated NYC then) rip into Lennon for praising the prisoners.
"Can't people see that beneath these robes I'm just a normal English girl? I'm just Ericka, a harmless pensioner. You wouldn't look twice at me if you saw me wearing so-called Western clothes. I was a hippy once. I was also a big Beatles fan. But I've found religion. It's really important to me."
It all started with Classmates.com, which apparently has 50,000,000 users now. On the top of the pyramid is Facebook and its 300 million users, followed by MySpace’s 263 million. In the middle you have a huge constellation of sites, most of which I just can’t recognise. Trombi? Vampirefreaks? Bigadda? Cafemom? Geni? Itsmy? Qzone? Xanga?
The internet is, like, big. So's this infographic showing just how crazy huge it is, and what 210 billion emails, 3 million Flickr images, 43 million gigabytes (on phones) sent on an average day really means. It hurts.
Which seems hardly fair given the book's author, characters and settings are almost entirely British (an epic win for the Flea notwithstanding).
Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter by trying on the Sorting Hat™, pulling a Mandrake from its pot in the Herbology vignette, and playing a game of Quidditch™ as you experience elaborate settings such as the Gryffindor™ common room, Hagrid's hut and the Great Hall.
You'll also come upon authentic artifacts from the movies-including Harry's wand and glasses, the Marauders' Map, Professor Dumbledore's robe and more!
The founding texts of the English Constitution – charter, petition, bill of rights – have one theme in common: they create nothing. They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony. In this they guided America’s Revolution, itself a codification of early colonial liberties.
Europe’s Constitution – the Lisbon Treaty, as we know it – began as a sort of Magna Carta. EU leaders agreed at Laeken in 2001 that the Project needed restraining after Danes and Swedes rejected EMU, the Irish rejected Nice, and youth torched Gothenburg in anti-EU riots.
People do not want Europe inveigling its way into "every nook and cranny of life", they said. Needless to say, insiders hijacked the process. A Hegelian monstrosity emerged.
Rusty at The Jawa Report points to David Headley*, charged with conspiracy and terrorism related to the Mumbai massacre and the first American accused of planning a major terror attack abroad.
Think about that. An American involved in international terrorism abroad. That's a big deal and a far cry from our template of what the usual suspects would look like.
Also, lest our neighbors in the Great White North feel left out there's a Canada connection too. Headley's accomplice -- the man who's business Headley used as a front to conduct his terrorist surveillance activities abroad -- is named Tahawar Rana and is a Canadian citizen.
The business which was really a front for terrorism? An immigration service that helped foreigners get US work visas.
Think about the implications of that.
* His advocates in the press will know him as Daood Gilani until he is convicted.
Black Hawk, Corsair 6: Amazing landings in Afghan South
A compilation of three clips showing a UH60 Black Hawk landing on a mountaintop in Zabul, Afghanistan, to insert coalition ground forces Nov. 6. Lt. Col. Carey Wagen and co-pilot Chief Warrant Officer Jesse Ashhurst, both members of 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, or Task Force Pegasus.
Gil Troy publishes an excerpt from testimony he is to give today at the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (via Blazing Catfur).
Here is the double double standard. First, Israel is held to an artificially high standard and denounced disproportionately. Then, key groups violate core ideals in their zeal to denounceIsrael. Gays overlook Muslim homophobia, feminists ignore Arab sexism, liberals forget Israeli libertarianism, to bash Israel. Academics override their professional mission to tell the truth and acknowledge the world's complexity by caricaturing Israel in simplistic terms. When (some, not all!) gay activists, feminists, liberals and academics violate defining values - and their own group interest - to malignIsrael, they are doing what bigots do, leaving the realm of the logical for the pathological.
Add the English people to that list of groups willing to violate their defining values and their own self-interest in a mad rush to denounce Israel and the Jews. We have been possessed by evil.
Jordan has sent several hundred troops from its special operations forces to help the Saudi military with its many Shi'ite units contain the Yemeni Shi'ite rebellion, which has spread deep into the Arab kingdom.
"The Saudis are in a panic mode and don't have the troops or capabilities to stop the Yemeni Shi'ites," an intelligence source said.
The sources said Riyad's need for foreign forces stemmed from a refusal by Shi'ite-dominated Saudi units to fight the Believing Youth. They said this has led to the dismantling of several local security units familiar with the Saudi-Yemeni border.
First off, the author creates a main character which is an empty shell. Her appearance isn't described in detail; that way, any female can slip into it and easily fantasize about being this person. I read 400 pages of that book and barely had any idea of what the main character looked like; as far as I was concerned she was a giant Lego brick. Appearance aside, her personality is portrayed as insecure, fumbling, and awkward - a combination anyone who ever went through puberty can relate to. By creating this "empty shell," the character becomes less of a person and more of something a female reader can put on and wear. Because I forgot her name (I think it was Barbara or Brando or something like that), I'm going to refer to her as "Pants" from here on out.
An excellent point, if one that might be made of many lead characters who were also pants (Luke Skywalker, Seinfeld, Ted from How I Met Your Mother); we have the rest of an ensemble cast to represent Galenic personality types. Read the rest, of course, I only want to emphasize it is the unreality of Edward Cullen that makes it possible for him to be perfect in the eyes of Twilight fans. He is a vampire, he does not exist and consequently he may assume the form of a Platonic ideal; flawless and with no life of his own he is entirely unthreatening.
It is not as though this is a particularly new approach to marketing fiction to girls. I spent my undergraduate years being hectored by a variety of harpies in positions of authority power about unrealistic male expectations of women produced by pornography. A bit rich considering Jane Austen and the quivering mess that is the feminist literary canon.* The Twilight franchise only adds a few more volumes to a heap of Lucy Maud Montnography, a genre dedicated to the idealization of imaginary love interests and the generation of unrealistic female expectations of men, not least of which is the denial of biology. Men think about sex pretty much all the time and enjoy pictures of naked women and no progressive utopia will change the fact short of neutering every man alive and turning to a future of genderless English, tofurkey basters and human cloning.
Edward Cullen has no balls. Next they will elect him President.
* Nothing against Jane Austen, you understand. She would have skewered contemporary feminism on a sly rhetorical darning needle.
Christopher Essex, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, replies to Daniel Henninger's Wall Street Journal article on the climate change scandal. False environmental science was created by and for politicians and a public who cannot be bothered to do the work of appreciating actual science.
A milestone in this mess can be said to be when John Houghton of the IPCC said it was the IPCC’s job to “orchestrate” the views of science. Everything that has happened flows as an inevitable consequence of that.
Some important research fields have been “orchestrated” out of existence. Even before Climategate, I have been saying that we have set ourselves back a generation by taking the money from governments with so many strings attached.
Governments leaders wanted something where they could absolve themselves of the responsibility for making informed decisions. They would have to read science stuff otherwise. They ordered up a kind of unnatural scientist that would tell them precisely what they wanted to hear.
But they gave the puppeteers clubs to deal with those of us who remained true. And the perps of Climategate are what they got. All of my colleagues have had to endure these bullies and criminals for a very long time.
You should understand that (real) scientists have had to pay the heaviest price for the creation of these monsters for decades. And they were not created by us.
Update: Rumblings it was the Russian security services who hacked into and released records from the University of East Anglia's climate fraud unit. If so, civilzation owes the Russian security services a debt of gratitude.
Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.
The global climate change hoax is headed for heavy weather; even a French news source is reporting the East Anglia email leak, the general silence of the French media on the subject and - critically - that the news is being reported not by English media - also ignoring the subject - but by the English speaking internet.
That means us, people.
Whether you agree or disagree with the official theory of global warming, this affair (or rather, silence on the subject) once again draws attention to the intellectual terrorism that plagues our countries. It recalls virulent attacks launched against opponents of the official theory and the tactic of systematic denigration to which they were subjected. In 2007, geophysicist Vincent Coutillot, director of the Institute of Geophysics of Paris and a member of the Academy of Sciences, had to face a wave of fierce criticism after he wrote that the responsibility for CO2 on climate change was overestimated relative to the sun. British environment secretary David Milibrand did not hesitate to compare those who deny climate change to modern defenders of the "flat Earth" theory.
For now, the IPCC said it would conduct its own investigation into Climategate. Phil Jones has given up his duties until the conclusion of the investigation. To be continued.
Emphasis in the original.
Related blast from the past: The People's Cube explains the Man-Made Global Warming Wager, a contemporary variation on the classic Pascal's Wager. Diagrams at the link.
Al Gore provides information about man-made Global Warming but not proof for it. Should you believe in this Global Warming? This is where our Wager comes in, providing an analytical process for the masses to evaluate their options:
1. The masses believe in Global Warming and it really exists: we prevent climate change and kill capitalism: our gain is infinite.
2. The masses believe in Global Warming but it doesn't exist: we lose nothing but kill capitalism anyway and claim we saved the planet.
3. The masses don't believe in Global Warming and it doesn't exist: the growth of capitalist prosperity will continue unabated, distracting the masses from the need to fight capitalism. Faith in socialism withers away: our loss is infinite.
4. The masses don't believe in Global Warming, but it exists and arrives to smite the nonbelievers: See #3, plus our beach homes get washed away: our loss is infinite.
From these possibilities, and the principles of Marxist ethics (anything is moral as long as it advances Socialist Revolution) we deduce that it would be better to believe in man-made Global Warming unconditionally.
Italy's culture ministry says it hopes the move will boost tourism to the site, state news agency Ansa reports. Among the ruins visible on the search engine's free mapping service are the town's statues, temples and theatres.
Phil Jones and Michael Mann are two of the most influential figures in the whole “climate change” racket. What these documents reveal is the greatest scientific scandal of our times—and a tragedy. It’s not just their graphs but their battle lines that are drawn all wrong. Science is never “settled,” and certainly not on the basis of predictive models. And any scientist who says it is is no longer a scientist. And the dismissal of “skeptics” throughout the Jones/Mann correspondence is most revealing: a real scientist is always a skeptic.
Paul Thomas Anderson is set to direct The Master featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Master, a "charismatic intellectual" who starts up a new religion in 1952. While Variety is careful to suggest this is not a film about Scientology (or the Mormons?) but "the need to believe in a higher power, the choice of which one to embrace and the point at which a belief system graduates into a religion" New York Magazine is less sanguine, citing Philip Seymour Hoffman's physical resemblance to L. Ron Hubbard - and that Scientology (and not Mormonism) was founded in, for example, 1952.
We wonder if, to any degree, the idea for Master was inspired by Anderson's friendship with Jeremy Blake, the visual artist with whom he collaborated on 2002's Punch Drunk Love. As you'll recall, Blake and girlfriend Theresa Duncan took their own lives in 2007 under mysterious circumstances, with Duncan alleging they'd been harassed by Scientologists after the couple's friend Beck told them he was thinking about leaving the religion (Beck, of course, denied this).
The New York Times believe the massacre of September 11, 2001 was an expression of a yearning for social justice. Alienated from their fellow citizens and objectively evil, they are not alone in holding this view. To them, an imperialist forever war - carried out by a slaver ideology, no less - is the moral equivalent of a war to end slavery.
The fact that Jordan is already a “Palestinian” state never seems to register in this newspaper. True, the Jordanians did not want the mainly Palestinian terrorists and massacred and expelled them in 1970; Israel alone is expected to live with them.
But the most troubling article today is one that the distinguished Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author, Tony Hurwitz, wrote. Horwitz compares John Brown the “abolitionist” and “terrorist” to—you guessed it—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the 9/11 hijackers. The title of his piece is “The 9/11 of 1859.”
Moshe Feiglin argues insubordination can save Israel. I believe this is a timely piece not only for Israel and the IDF but for anyone left in the West prepared to say they will under no circumstance submit.
It is a mistake to think that the state works within the boundaries of laws. The public does not obey laws. It obeys rules within the boundaries of a triangle, the first side of which is the law. But the triangle has two other sides: common sense and ethics.
What if the Knesset passed a law requiring drivers to drive in reverse all winter? That would counter the logic side of the triangle. The public's subsequent refusal would be the fault of the government, not of the public.
In other words, the fact that we obey the law is not because of the law itself, but because it is logical enough to warrant our adherence.
The third side of the triangle is ethics. If the government ordered us to drive our elderly and infirm out onto the frozen tundra, as per Eskimo custom, we might agree that it would logically enhance the economy. But nobody would obey, because it would be patently immoral. The party at fault for the insubordination would be the government that enacted the law and not the citizens who refused to obey.
Feiglin is right (and this is something every law abiding conservative needs to think about and take to heart: We have the right to disobey the law. Sometimes we have the duty to disobey the law.
Were Britain an actual democracy in the Swiss sense, we would not be in the EU, for the simple reason that after 1992 we would have had a referendum on membership and we would have voted no. In fact on every single issue under the sun the public are more conservative than the elite.
For example, the reason he United States has capital punishment and Europe doesn’t is not because Europeans are soft, hand-wringing lefties who all have sociology degrees, but because Europe is less democratic. In every opinion poll, the majority of British people have expressed support for capital punishment; even a majority of the Dutch, who we consider the most liberal and decadent people on earth, favour it.
Were Britain an actual democracy we would also still have corporal punishment in schools, Prince Charles would be in charge of the country’s architecture (while Lord Rogers would still be designing loft conversions), and the country would be as diverse as a golf club in the Hebrides.
We need a strong India. Record gold prices, an overseas labour market hit by the Dubai crunch and a whopping 15% inflation rate are not helping.
Despite the brave front put up by the Indian government, the debt crisis that has enveloped Dubai World threatens to hit the struggling Indian overseas labour market that is largely dependent on short-term Middle East job contracts. The latest crisis comes at a time when official estimates have admitted that unemployment rates have spiraled to 30% in the Middle East in the last one year. As a consequence remittances to India are certain to be much lower then last year, 2007-08, $43.5 billion. It is well known that when Dubai sneezes, south India, especially Kerala, catches more than just a cold.
Funny I have not encountered that Middle East jobless figure before. You will be shocked to learn I believe our news media is covering the wrong stories.
I post this not so much for the commentary - which is asinine - but for the selection itself. Feeling vaguely Protestant now.
You're The Bible!
One of the most controversial, misunderstood, and yet powerful
people alive, you spark extensive discourse wherever you go. People think you
hate a whole lot of things, and you probably do, but people forget about your
hatred for shrimp. Mostly, you like to tell stories and then be overwhelmed by
how many different ways people interpret the things you tell them. The older
you are, the less forgiving you become. While few can argue you're trying to
do good, most would say that you've wound up doing a good deal of ill. After
all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe you should just
beget while the begetting's good.
Take the Book Quiz II
at the Blue Pyramid.
Recently voted "Blogger or Pundit most likely to be charged under Hate Crime Laws", has Kathy Shaidle capitulated to identity politics? Or are there designated "victim" groups too terrifying to confront head on?
Most libertarians I've met are twitchy overgrown adolescents who are one step up from Trekkers on the appealing personality scale.
Police believe the hacker obtained password details through a so-called phishing scam where a fake internet page tricks users into handing over their personal information. The hacker can then gain control of the player's character - or avatar - and sell off his or her weapons, skills, equipment and clothing, which can be worth tens of thousands of pounds in the real world.
One RuneScape account was recently sold on eBay for £46,000.