Thursday, 30 November 2006

Global Cooling

Hoping to breathe new life into the scaremongering game, the Russian Academy of Sciences is predicting a new ice age is imminent.

Global warming is so 20th century.

What Could Go Wrong?

How to handle Russia's chronic alcoholism? Introduce "People's Vodka" for the masses.

Note to the Kremlin: The idea is to reduce the drinking.

Apologise for Everything

Tony Blair's expression of "sorrow" over Britain's role in the slave trade has been put into perspective by Sir Peter Tapsel MP (Con), who demanded that the Mr. Blair apologise for King Henry VIII's "disgraceful treatment of his wives".

Stand by for calls to establish a Ministry For Apologising For Everything that Anyone in Britain Has Done Anywhere, Anytime.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Snow Day III

There's still ten degrees of frost outside, the roads have nearly an inch of ice on them and the weather forecast is for another snow storm this afternoon, but I have business in town that I can't put off any longer, so I'll have to make a go of it.

In the words of the immortal Captain Oates, "I am just going outside and may be some time."

Happy Birthday?

It's Fidel Castro's 80th birthday, but the Maximum Leader is too dead ill to attend his own party.

Fourth Estate, Fifth Column

What the reality on the ground is in Iraq is one thing, but as far as the MSM in the United States is concerned, the war is lost. In a moment worthy of Walter Cronkite shafting his own country by calling the American victory in the Tet Offensive in 1968 proof of Communist invincibility, NBC, based on swallowing enemy propaganda whole, decides that the Iraq Campaign is now "civil war" and CBS declares that the only option for the Coalition is to "manage defeat."

That grinding sound you hear is Ernie Pyle spinning in his grave.

Santa's Tardis

The Daleks may never succeed in taking over the universe, but it looks as though Doctor Who is ready to conquer Christmas.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

With Friends Like These...

Our "ally" Pakistan is telling NATO to surrender to the Taleban.

To quote General Count Etienne Cambronne when called upon to lay down his arms at the Battle of Waterloo, "merde."

Splitting the Law

There is an astonishing parallel in the news today with legal scholars cheerfully cooing over how multiculturalism is generating parallel legal systems in Britain-- even going so far as saying (emphasis added),
Some academic lawyers see these alternative legal systems as an inevitable - and welcome - consequence of multiculturalism.
Meanwhile, events on the other side of channel make one wonder is "welcome" is quite the word, as there are now 751 no-go areas in France that the police have effectively given over to the Jihadists.

What is frightening about all of this is that as an archaeologist I've seen exactly this sort of thing before with the Saxon invasion of Britain in the 5th century AD. At first, the Saxons came as settlers who caused little trouble aside from the odd pirate raid, but eventually as their numbers swelled they became less and less deferential toward their hosts and before the native Britons knew what they were about, the "immigrants" revealed themselves as invaders who plunged the land into decades of bloody warfare.

What is old is new, I suppose.

Update: The Telegraph reports that Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks predicts "that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade."

Translation: By 2016, sharia will be the firmly established in Britain.

Snow Day II

Snowed in for a second day. We got another couple of inches of powder with temperatures in the teens and the road looking like a toboggan run-- which is what we used it for this morning.

On down side, we have run out of Chardonnay and are desperately on the lookout for any passing St. Bernards.

Monday, 27 November 2006

Cinema Parables

Four Jills in a Jeep

If Not Now, When? If Not Here, Where?

Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.
Sir Winston Churchill on the Munich accords (1938)

Victor Davis Hanson on the Jihadist War:
All that said, the West is encountering something novel, as it fights its first politically-correct war, in which all the postmodern chickens of the 1980s and 1990s have come home to roost. Thus multiculturalism makes it hard to fight non-Europeans from the former third world, inasmuch as it argued there was not just little distinctively good about the West, but rather the once recognized universal sins of mankind—racism, sexism, class oppression, inequality, patriarchy—were to be seen as exclusively Western.

If you have taught youth for generations that the story of World War II is Hiroshima and the Japanese internment, not Normandy, the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, then how can you expect a nation to fight an enemy without making a mistake? And if dropping the bomb on Japan to stop its daily murdering of thousands in its collapsing empire, and to avoid something that would have made the horrific Battle for Berlin look like a cakewalk is equated with the Holocaust, how can the United States marshal the moral authority to press ahead, secure that its killing of jihadists is a different sort from jihadists killing the innocent or each other?

Add into this dangerous modernist soup moral equivalence, or what we know as “conflict resolution theory.” It postulates that any use of force de facto is equivalent to any other. We see those ripples with this Orwellian notion of “proportionality”, that a democratic Israel must calibrate its response to missiles aimed entirely at its civilians by ensuring none of its own aimed at Hezbollah terrorists and their supporters miss.

Then there is moral relativism and utopian pacifism. The latter is the idea that we have finally reached a sort of end of history, where our maturity and education and bounty have changed the rules of the game, relegating war to the Neanderthals. Relativism is even more pernicious because it is anti-empirical and suspends all moral judgment: Islam is just one of many religions given to excess, not at the heart of the vast majority of killing and fighting now going on in the world at this very hour, from Iraq and Afghanistan to Chechnya to Darfur to the West Bank to Lebanon to the Philippines to Indonesia to India and on and on. A Timothy McVeigh is not much different from an Osama bin Laden; forget the former was solitary and exceptional, the latter with millions of sympathizers and emblematic of an entire global movement. Both by their resort to terror were, presto, relatively the same.

So it is going to be hard, but not impossible, to win this war. Why,then, as readers have complained, my dogged optimism?

For two reasons. One, all these nostrums are theoretical, and anti-empirical. Ultimately as lies, they will be disapproved by the evidence before them. A progressive can call the ACLU all day long, but after 9/11 if he stands in line at an airport gate listening to an imam chanting Allah Akbar as he and his friends board, our liberal friend will begin to worry. And second, our enemies have no intention of relenting. They smell blood and want our carcass, so eventually even the progressive mind will give up the pieties of peace and face the inevitable.
I largely agree with VDH on this, but the key word in all this is "when." The longer it takes for the Left to wake up to the Jihadist threat, the harder it will be to defeat our enemies, the more expensive and bloodier will be our victory, and the larger will be the number of innocents who will suffer. When Hitler rattled his sabre over the Rheinland he could have been crushed by a stern look, but the civilised nations opted for appeasement and got the most destructive war in history as their reward.

Junking Junk

Is the war against "junk" food mere snobbery?

Snow Day

After last night's snow, the local roads were in their typical winter condition here; utterly screwed up. Therefore, it's an unexpected day off at Chez Szondy that started off swimmingly with a snow angel contest and family snowball fight that was notable for Emma's remarkable talent for launching her mitten as well as the snowball.

Carl the Cattle Dog behaved himself and stayed in the yard chasing his tennis ball-- until it was time to go in for breakfast. Then he got it in his little canine head to run off into the woods behind the house, which he knows are off limits, in search of squirrels, other dogs to play with, and unicorns for all I know. This, of course, now means that the neighbours all think I'm mad as a March hare because everyone within a half-mile radius must have heard me crashing through the snow-covered underbrush, rotting timber, brambles and then three other people's gardens like some on-foot steeplechaser while shouting commands, oaths and threats at the dog with increasing anger as we pressed further and further into unexplored territory.

If I didn't know better, I'd suspect that this was revenge for making him take a bath yesterday.

After finally catching Carl and hauling him back by the scruff of the neck, he then spent the next hour hiding under the bed before emerging to do some major sucking up to Daddy.

And it is starting to snow again.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Ever Vigilant

It's snowing heavily at Chez Szondy and Carl the Cattle Dog, who has never seen snow, is staring and growling at it out the window, convinced that it's all part of a squirrel plot.

I'm not entirely sure that he's wrong.

Wrong End of the Telescope

In a classic example of how the West is it's own worst enemy, Tony Blair has expressed "sorrow" at Britain's part in the slave trade, but the BBC notes that he fell short of offering an apology that the BBC some commentators wanted.

In a saner world, Blair would have never have considered particular sorrow at what was once a universal evil and would have literally snorted at the very idea of an apology, preferring to say that he was proud of how Britain lead the fight in abolishing the slave trade throughout the world and would do its best to combat its resurgence-- especially in places like the Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

I am not, however, holding my breath.

Red Nostalgia

The BBC does a From Our Own Correspondent feature on Latvia and the only thing that the Beeb and correspondent Laura Sheeter can find of interest about the country from the front page blurb on is that it's a "former Soviet republic."

That loud ringing noise you're hearing is the clue phone. For some people in the MSM, the collapse of the the Soviet Union is still a melancholy memory, but even the Latvians are getting fed up with this pining for the good old days era of Communist oppression with one commenting,
Why do you refer to us as former Soviet Latvia? It's not who we are any more.
In case anyone hasn't noticed, the USSR was a vile, expansionist police state that died fifteen years ago and good riddance. It's about time for "journalists" to either get over it or start habitually referring to all erstwhile parts of the Empire as "the former British colony" regardless of context.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Shaken, Not Stirred

The new James Bond Film, Casino Royale, (which I've not seen yet, sad to say) has done more than just revitalise the series, it's also saved the legendary Vesper cocktail from fading like a two-day old hangover and has caused the maker of Lillet, a vital ingredient, to be inundated with enquiries.

As a die-hard Bond fan since the age of nine, I know the Vesper well and it was one of my signature drinks during the days when I could afford to stock the bar with something other than bargain-basement Chardonnay and the occasional six-pack of Guinness. It's not a bad little tipple. The Vesper is so strong that it's a bit like drinking lighter fluid, but it's damned impressive-- especially when you plonk it down in front of your guest while saying casually, "You probably couldn't find ten non-squeal killers in France."

The Vesper
  • Three measures of Gordon's gin
  • One measure of vodka
  • Half a measure of Lillet
Shake together until ice-cold. Serve in a deep champagne goblet with a large, thin slice of lemon peel.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving From Ephemeral Isle

In Britain we have Guy Fawkes Day. The American equivalent is Thanksgiving, where a whole turkey is immersed in a deep-fat fryer, which then overflows in a pyrotechnic spectacle that induces severe tics in insurance company executives.

Anyway, I'm off for some quality family time and cranberry sauce. Back on Saturday, but in the meantime, here's a bit of Thanksgiving history.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

The Inevitable

Having placed surveillance cameras at every conceivable location, the government is now mounting them on policemen's helmets.

I'm not kidding.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Keep HP Sauce British!

There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
Sherlock Holmes

Sign the petition. It's time to stand up and be counted!

Going Nuclear

It turns out that the ex-KGB colonel who was nearly assassinated in London wasn't just poisoned with thallium, but with what may be radioactive thallium.

That's like tearing off a man's head and spitting down his neck. I suspect that he must have really cheesed off the wrong people back home.

Update: It was Polonium 210. Not exactly the sort of thing that you find just lying around the potting shed.

Childhood is Now a Crime

In a final push to wipe any vestiges of liberty from the British Isles, the government is planning to remove all rights of parents to their own children in favour of a massive database of the intimate details every child's life, a horde of "super nannies" and like busybodies who will descend en mass at the first whiff of unorthodox behaviour right down to not eating enough vegetables and profiling "babies (?!?) and children who may become a 'menace' or a cost to society in later life."

Ah, childhood! A time of innocence, discovery and being treated like a violent criminal on parole.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Have You Seen This Man?

Having solved all other crimes, police are looking for a gentleman who fits this identikit description in connection with the so-called "Jack the Ripper" Whitechapel murders committed recently-- assuming that "recently" extends back to 1888.

The suspect is described as being between 5 ft 5 ins and 5 ft 7 ins, of stocky build and about 148 years of age. The public are advised to exercise extreme caution in the vicinity of cat food shops, bingo parlours, Zimmer frame suppliers and Depends outlets.

Royal Pain

Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate for the French presidency, has told Britain that they must choose between America and Europe. It's an interesting choice and I sincerely hope that if Madam Royal wins she will give Whitehall so blunt an ultimatum that we can at last give the EU the finger-- especially in the light of her vision of the alternative:
Europe can be relaunched with Germany, Italy and Spain.
Yes, the the Continent lead by three formerly Fascist states with France trailing behind and Britain refusing to surrender. It's 1940 all over again!

Helm Aweather

Things are getting a bit niffy aboard the Type 42 frigate HMS Southampton. Her distillation apparatus has been on the fritz recently, resulting in showers for the crew being a bit less frequent than one would like.

Passing yachtsmen are adviced to keep to windward.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Excuse Me, Can You Break A Carrot?

Argentina is suffering a coin shortage so severe that shopkeepers are resorting to carrots and pasta to make change.

In other news, half the parking meters in Buenos Aires are jammed with spaghetti.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Powys County Council has leapt into action after discovering that Welsh Dragon Sausages do not, in fact, contain any dragon whatsoever.

In other news, there are no dogs in hot dogs.

Burka Ban & Galloping Dhimmitude

The Dutch have finally thrown down the gauntlet to the Jihadists by taking the long overdue step of banning the burka.

Meanwhile, so-called "journalists" are not only submitting to dhimmitude, they are actively enforcing it, as this incident shows (emphasis added):
Something similar happened at this year’s Hay-on-Wye festival, sponsored by the Guardian, where a five-person panel discussed “Are there are any limits to free speech?” One of the Muslim panelists said if anyone offended his religion, he would strike him. A lawyer, Anthony Julius, responded that Jews had lived as minorities under two powerful hegemonies, Christian and Muslim, and had been obliged to learn how to deal nonviolently with offense caused to them by the sacred scriptures of both. He started by referring to an anti-Semitic passage in the New Testament — which passed without comment. But when he began to list the passages in the Koran that denigrate Jews, describing them as monkeys and pigs, the panelists went ballistic. One of them, Madeline Bunting of the Guardian, put her hand over the microphone and said words to the effect, “I am not going to sit here and listen to any criticisms of Muslims.” She was cheered, and not one of the journalists in the audience from right or left uttered a word about free speech — not hate speech, mind you, but free speech of a moderate nature.
This is going to be a long war.

Leave It to Roll-Oh

Robotics crica 1940.

You can laugh, but who's answering your door, smarty?

Friday, 17 November 2006

Big Brother is Watching What You Eat

There's no pleasure on earth that's worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra five years in the geriatric ward of the Sunset Old People's Home, Weston-Super-Mare.
Horace Rumpole

Minitrue Ofcom has announced that it is going to ban advertising of foods that the Party disapproves of "junk foods." The ban includes:
  • All pre-school children's programmes
  • All programmes on mainstream channels aimed at children
  • All cable and satellite children's channels
  • Programmes aimed at young people, such as music shows
  • General entertainment programmes which would appeal to a "higher than average" number of under-16s.
I said that when they started going after smokers that the same rationale would soon be extended to anything else the government wanted to ban as well. Stand by for mandatory health warnings, heavy taxation on anything edible and the pathetic sight of freeborn Englishmen forced to stand out in the rain to eat their contraband beefburgers.

Ah, well. At least they've increased the choco ration. Or so they say.

Update: Spain is ahead of the curve.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Bacon Butty

The BBC reports on the best bacon sandwich in Britain.

At last, a look at the serious issues of the day.

Big Brother is Drawing a Bead on You

Samsung's robosentry. Or, as it's known in Britain, CCTV Camera Mark II.

Sign of the Times

A watch with a built-in Geiger counter.

The frightening thing is that I really want one.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Flood Update

The waters are finally receding and most of the valley is back, but there's rain forecast for the rest of this week, so the local farmers are holding on to their supply of livestock waterwings.

Alien Rain

According to a some more outre scientists, germs from outer space are raining down upon us from the cosmos and there's nothing we can do about it.

Great. I'm already spending a fortune on this lavatory paper that I spread all over the floor and now this!

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

The Ant & the Grasshopper & New Labour

A modern go-ahead fable.

Strange Bedfellows

Christians in Britain get some help in defending Christmas from an unexpected quarter: Muslims.

Brave New World

Mark Steyn on Europe 2026:
Well, my view of Europe in 20 years' time is that you'll be switching on the TV, you'll be looking at scenes of burning and conflagration and riots in the street. You will have a couple of countries that are maybe in civil war, at least on the brink of it.

You will have neofascists' resurgence in some countries and you'll have other countries that have just been painlessly euthanized in which a Muslim political class has effectively got its way without a shot being fired -- and large numbers of people, particularly young people, have left those countries and have moved on to whoever will take them.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Ikea in Space

Sweden's first astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, has been tasked with rewiring the International Space Station.

Nasa is optimistic, though they do admit that Mr. Fuglesang is at something of a disadvantage, as the station did not come as a flat pack and the only tool Mr. Fuglesang knows how to use is an Allen key.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Castro on Ice

The US government believes that Castro's health is deteriorating, which mean that he's gone from dead to really dead.

Holiday News

Fares to the International Space Station have risen to $21 million.

Looks like I'll have to take the shuttle to the spaceport instead of a cab.

Quote of the Day

Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They're slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can't you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid on the the West's pointless self-flagellation in the face of the Jihadists.

Know Thy Enemy

Britain is in danger of "attack at any time."

From whom? Jihadists? North Korea?

No, space aliens-- at least, according to Nick Pope, formerly of the MoD UFO project, who clearly needs to have a little lie down.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Remembrance Day

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

Friday, 10 November 2006

World's Worst Policedog

Must be one of Carl the Cattle Dog's relatives

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Jim Treacher asks the hard questions about the recent American elections:
  • Does this mean Bush is still Hitler? I'm pretty sure Hitler never let his opponents win an election, did he? Unless... this is all part of Rove's plan.
  • A major concern of the last few elections has been that Republicans need to cheat to win, and the problem was going to be even worse with the new Diebold machines. What happened? Did Cheney forget his password again? That darn Cheney, always forgetting his password.
  • What happened to Ned? I thought Lieberman was Public Enemy #1. Now Kos must feel like the kid on Christmas morning who's surrounded by toys... except for the one he really wanted.
  • Does Nancy Pelosi ever wear a fake flower on her lapel that shoots acid? Because that would really be a surprise for Batman when he's hauling her to Commissioner Gordon's office.
  • So the world likes us again, right? No more terrorism? YAY!!!

Well, It's a Start

This just in: BBC reporter not allowed to play with matches.

Flood Update

It's chucking down rain again.

Anyone got a set of plans for an ark?

This is Not Good

Robots think we taste like bacon.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Flood Update

And now we present Lake Snoqualmie, formerly the West Snoqualmie River Valley.

Amazing what a little rain will do.

Rumsfeld Out

The election fallout has already begun. Donald Rumsfeld has been replaced as Secretary of Defense.

This isn't surprising. President Bush is going to have to do some very heavy deal making if he's to keep the war effort going in the face of a hostile congress and press, and Rumsfeld, who I think did a very good job, is too much of a liability. Not only is he hated by the left for unabashedly supporting the war effort, but many at the Pentagon despise him as well for his insistence on fundamental defence reforms that respect no one's sacred cow. In such a situation it was hard enough to keep him in office even with a Republicans Congress, but now that the Democrats are in charge, he'd have all the life expectancy of a tethered duck in a shooting gallery.

Now We Wait

The Democrats have won the American House of Representatives and may control the Senate as well.

American domestic politics aren't of that much interest to me, but this change in party control in the United States has a potentially huge impact on the war that could go one of three four ways:
  1. The democrats stick to their anti-war rhetoric and hand the Jihadists a victory by forcing an American surrender in Iraq.
  2. They indulge in a two-year orgy of political revenge that will see the war effort vanish in a flurry of indictments and investigations that will benefit no one except our enemies.
  3. They try either of the above, but discover their their slim majority results in nothing but gridlock and the war effort grinds to a halt.
  4. They sober up now that they have power and realise that there is a real war on with a real enemy that must be defeated.
I'm hoping for four, but I'm dreading one, two and three.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

High and Dry and Probably Stranded

Yesterday this was a green valley filled with farms. Today, it's a muddy torrent a mile across thanks to days of heavy rains.

Living on a mountain, I thought the last thing I'd have to worry about is a flood. This afternoon, I was proven wrong as the last of the roads across the valley vanished underwater. This wasn't any problem for me, since the road along the valley to my house rides up the hillside, so it's safe from any flood of less than Noachian levels, but when the way to the towns on the east side of the valley were cut off, that left a small army of stranded commuters who decided that the way to handle the situation was to park their cars in the crossroads, which blocked my way home as effectively as the flood itself.

Fortunately, it was early in the afternoon, so I was able to pick my way through by finesse, guile and threats, but my wife, who came home a couple of hours later, was caught up in a horrendous tailback and I had to look for back roads on the computer and then personally scout up and down the valley road so I could warn my wife which ones were flooded out and which ones were't jammed with traffic-- not easy when it's so backed up that even as I write this I can see the collected headlamps on the road to Monroe glowing against the clouds to the North.

We finally all managed to get home in various states of frustration and sogginess, but then I realised that though we were high and relatively dry, our house was at the end of a cul de sac with the only exit down in the valley-- and that's where the power and telephone lines ran from as well. Worse, even though our water came from a local well that was absolutely safe from contamination, all it would take is one bureaucrat with a vague memory of something called e coli and I'd be rigging plastic tarps over the lawn to catch enough rain for a pot of tea. So I've been having a jolly time filling up jugs and the upstairs bath while muttering to myself that we have got to budget for that emergency water drum. Also that I can't put off replenishing our stock of propane and batteries any longer.

Long story short, tomorrow should be very interesting. Either I'll be sitting here in a nice warm house typing away at the computer until it's time to pick up my daughter from school, or a convergence of flood waters, traffic snarls and power outages will see yours truly hiking through the woods to the main road and then hitching twenty miles for supplies before it gets too dark.

At least I'll be able to pass the time indulging in nature studies. The waters have chased all the animals and birds out of the valley and into the hills, so it's a bit like a David Attenborough documentary here. On the whole, though, I think I much preferred it when I used to ride out floods on my boat. At least then an overabundance of water merely meant that it was easier to get out to sea.

If You Oppose Us, You Must Be Mad

In a frightening echo of the late, unlamented Soviet Union, the ever reliable Polly Toynbee has the answer to those who are against the idea of carrying identity cards and having the state watch our every move: You're psychotic.

Big Brother: Love him or... Well, you don't get a choice.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Dying When We Need It Most

Military history at universities is an endangered specie in a hostile environment.
"The prevailing view is that war is bad and we shouldn't study bad things," says Williamson Murray, a former professor who is now at the Institute for Defense Analyses. "Thank goodness cancer specialists don't have that attitude."

Bird 1, Fighter Jet Nil

Fourth Estate as Fifth Column

If the Second World War had been covered by the press like the Iraq campaign is today:

December 1941. Though the press supports America's going to war against Japan after Pearl Harbor, several editorials want to know why we didn't prevent the attack by selling Japan more oil. Others criticize us for going to war with two nations that had never attacked us, Germany and Italy.

October 1942. The New York Times runs an exclusive story about the British effort to decipher German messages at a hidden site at Bletchley Park in England. One op-ed writer criticizes this move, quoting Henry Stimson's statement that gentlemen do not read one another's mail. Because the Bletchley Park code-cracking helped us find German submarines before they attacked, successful U-boat attacks increased once the Germans, knowing of the program, changed their code.

January 1943. After President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill call for the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, several newspapers criticize them for having closed the door to a negotiated settlement. The press quotes several senators complaining that the unconditional surrender policy would harm the peace process.

May 1943. A big-city newspaper reveals the existence of the Manhattan Project and its effort to build atomic weapons. In these stories, several distinguished scientists lament the creation of such a terrible weapon. After Gen. Leslie Groves testifies before a congressional committee, the press lambastes him for wasting money, ignoring scientific opinion, and imperiling the environment by building plants at Hanford and Oak Ridge.

December 1944. The German counterattack against the Allies in the Ardennes yields heavy American losses in the Battle of the Bulge. The press gives splashy coverage to the Democratic National Committee chairman's assertion that the war cannot be won. A member of the House, a former Marine, urges that our troops be sent to Okinawa.

August 1945. After President Truman authorizes dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, many newspapers urge his impeachment.

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Quote of the Day

Only the left would be stupid enough to protest against the weather
Update: Christopher Monckton takes on the Stern Report.

Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Happy Guy Fawkes Day from Ephemeral Isle.


Their complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene when Muslims are victims, as in Bosnia or Kosovo, and always wrong when the Muslims are the oppressors or terrorists, as with the Taliban or in Iraq.

Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement and new demands will continue to be made.
Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, on Muslim double standards.

Time for the Muslim "community" to prove him wrong.

John Simpson: Telepath

John Simpson demonstrates his amazing powers far beyond those of mortal men (emphasis added).
But the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson said that after his tirade, which was clearly deliberate, Saddam Hussein seemed to have a small smile of triumph on his face as he was led away from the courtroom.

"It was as if he was thinking 'I've come here and done what I intended to do,'" our correspondent said.
Ah, yes. Why should a reporter confine himself to piddly little things like facts when he has the ability to read minds?

Next Stop: The Gallows

Saddam Sentenced to Hang

Ides of March

From the BBC:
The Army is hosting its first recruitment drive solely for young British Muslims.
That's the way to handle an unassimilated Muslim population that acts as a hiding place for Jihadists; give them guns and military training through a no-infidels need appply recruiting drive with the object of "promoting diversity" rather than destroying the enemy. The BBC doesn't even bother to bring up the diversity arguement, but merely makes a passing reference to recruiting shortfalls and the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan without mentioning the tiny little detail of who it is we're fighting and why this might explain why only 40 teenagers (at least they didn't call them "youths") have responded.

Will someone please remind the government that this sort of boneheaded PR drive doesn't work unless it's set up along the lines of the 442nd or how the Roman's deployed provincial recruits?

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Roundabout Logic

The days of the traffic light may be numbered. An experiment in Drachten, the Netherlands removed the familiar green, amber and red lights and replaced them with roundabouts. The result was that traffic deaths in the town dropped from three per year to zero.

What's interesting here is not the outcome, but the rationale behind it. Roundabouts were put in not because they are safer, but exactly the opposite. According to Hans Monderman, a traffic planner involved in a Brussels-backed project known as Shared Space,
It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.
In other words, giving drivers personal responsibility for their safety results better decision making than what government regulation can impose.

Having lived in Milton Keynes and having still-green memories of getting lost on its notorious roundabout system, I am not the biggest fan of concrete carousels, but if they can provide a real-life parable about the fruits of liberty, I'm all for them.

Friday, 3 November 2006

The Big Question

From the BBC:
Police flush 2,500 cans of beer
Question is, was it directly or indirectly?

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Crack in the Crystal Ball

The Stern Review: Portent of doom or mountain that brought forth a mouse?

Streaking Tomorrow

Mark Steyn on the future of Europe:

On Sept. 11, 2001, the American mainland was attacked for the first time since the War of 1812. The perpetrators were foreign -- Saudis and Egyptians. Since 9/11, Europe has seen the London Tube bombings, the French riots, Dutch murders of nationalist politicians. The perpetrators are their own citizens -- British subjects, citoyens de la République française. In Linz, Austria, Muslims are demanding that all female teachers, believers or infidels, wear head scarves in class. The Muslim Council of Britain wants Holocaust Day abolished because it focuses "only" on the Nazis' (alleged) Holocaust of the Jews and not the Israelis' ongoing Holocaust of the Palestinians.

How does the state react? In Seville, King Ferdinand III is no longer patron saint of the annual fiesta because his splendid record in fighting for Spanish independence from the Moors was felt to be insensitive to Muslims. In London, a judge agreed to the removal of Jews and Hindus from a trial jury because the Muslim defendant's counsel argued he couldn't get a fair verdict from them. The Church of England is considering removing St. George as the country's patron saint on the grounds that, according to various Anglican clergy, he's too "militaristic" and "offensive to Muslims." They wish to replace him with St. Alban, and replace St. George's cross on the revamped Union Flag, which would instead show St. Alban's cross as a thin yellow streak.

In a few years, as millions of Muslim teenagers are entering their voting booths, some European countries will not be living formally under sharia, but -- as much as parts of Nigeria, they will have reached an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the "tolerance" of pluralist societies. In other Continental countries, things are likely to play out in more traditional fashion, though without a significantly different ending. Wherever one's sympathies lie on Islam's multiple battle fronts the fact is the jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you're not shy about taking on the Israelis and Russians, why wouldn't you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Spaniards?

"Thin yellow streak"; how apt.

No Hurry

The French have removed the security clearance from 70 Muslims (one of whom was a friend of Richard Reid*, who tried blow up an airliner in 2001) at Charles De Gaulle Airport .

Only took them five years to spring into action, but better late than never, I suppose

*And who the BBC refer to as the "so-called British shoe bomber"-- as if that is in dispute.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Breaking News from Minitrue

According to the Surveillance Studies Network, Britain is a surveillance society.

In other news, Miniprod announced that the choco ration is to be increased to 20 grammes per week.

They Didn't Think This One Through

From The Sydney Morning Herald (emphasis added):
Papua New Guinea is threatening to dramatically reduce the money it receives from Canberra, suspend all official visits by Australians or impose onerous travel restrictions, and recall its high commissioner.
Go ahead, tough guy. Do your worst!

Via Tim Blair.

Fools and Their Rubles

From the Telegraph (emphasis added):
Russian trawlers are already being built to exploit the Arctic seas opened up as the sea ice shrinks as a result of global warming, scientists warned yesterday.
Scientists warned? Warned what, exactly? That a country that has backed the wrong horse every time in the past century from the Russo-Japanese War to electing Putin is now betting the farm that the Arctic Ocean is going to be open to fishing soon? That's not a warning; it's running to form.

The Ur Digital Watch

I actually owned one of these. The fun bit was that the mechanism ran so fast that you could see the minute dial turn like something out of The Time Machine.

When Worlds Collide II

It's not only Vegan Week, but November first is also World Vegan Day.

I'll bring the steaks.

Nigel Kneale: RIP

Bernard Quatermass & friend.
The creator of Quatermass has died at the age of 84.

Terrifying invaders from Beyond have lowered their fergnorbs to half mast.