Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ridgebacks, Schnoodles and Photography


Many years ago when I first started hiking seriously I looked for a camera that would take any sort of photo I wanted but would still be light enough for a hike.  In aerospace, at least at the time, it seemed I could find an expert on almost anything and I found one who was purported to be an expert on photography and cameras.  He advised me to get an Olympus 35RC; which I did.  I still have it and it still takes gorgeous photos, but it uses film.

When I sought a good digital camera that had some of the same attributes as the 35RC I got an HP R717 – a fortuitous choice.  It didn’t have the flexibility of the 35RC but its “landscape” setting suited most hiking days.  The photo above was taken with the R717.  The format is too small to really examine the photo, but perhaps you can get an idea of it.  Ginger on the left is looking gorgeously wise and Sage on the right very intense.  One can see mountains reflected in the lake. 

I got a little case that fit on my belt and I could whip the R717 out in no time, or walk along with the strap around my wrist ready to catch my Ridgeback girls in dramatic poses, or the clouds through the trees.HPIM3682

Again, I am almost ashamed to present this in this small format, but if one could see it on my 22 inch Samsun computer screen one would I’m sure find it impressive.  HPIM4040

Here is one I especially like.  The girls are walking together, leaving tracks on the sandy river bottom with forever stretching out before them.

But then Susan got Duffy.  I won’t show any photos of him because he doesn’t photograph well, at least not with my R717.  He is a jet-black Schnoodle who is little larger than a dust mop – well he has grown since his dust-mop days.  Perhaps he is 14 pounds now.  He is Susan’s dog but he insists on going along when we go on a walk or hike.  Not only can I not let him loose so that I can take pictures of him with the girls, I fear to let him loose at all.  We have seen coyotes and feral dogs down there.  The girls chase them, but they might chase Duffy.

Furthermore, Duffy who was 6 months old yesterday occasionally lurches against his leash causing me to jiggle my camera if I happen to be trying to photograph something at the time.  My R717 still took excellent photos, but it was five years old and had no anti-shake capabilities.  So I bought what I thought was the modern equivalent, a Canon SD1400 IS.  But unfortunately none of the automatic settings would permit me to take photos that matched those of the R717. 

The SD1400 reminds me a bit of my old 35RC.  It had a built in light meter.  I could activate that to get that information and them use it to set the aperture and shutter speed manually.  While the SD1400 does have a light meter, it merely tells me what aperture and shutter speed it sees and it won’t let me set them automatically, at least not so far as I’ve seen.  I can set the ISO and I’ve been playing with that, and I could play with the white balance more than I have, but I have yet to produce a photo of the quality of my old 35RC or my newer R717. 

I suspect I shall eventually figure out how to take decent photos at the river with the SD1400, but having to guess at what Canon’s symbols mean makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t have gotten an SLR.  My old Olympus 35RC had most of the settings of an SLR but packaged them into a Rangefinder.  Perhaps the SD1400 will end up seeming like that to me, but it doesn’t yet. 

The reason I never considered an SLR before was because as a hiker I was concerned about weight and SLRs were heavier than rangefinders.  But SLRs have gotten lighter and my hikes have gotten shorter; so I’m starting to think about one.

Another thing, I had discussed in earlier notes my plans to get a smaller dog next time – not as small as Susan’s Schnoodle, but perhaps an Airedale or a Standard Schnauzer, but trying to get a good shot of Duffy is causing me to revise my thinking.  I get positive pleasure out of seeing Sage strike a dramatic pose at the river, e.g. HPIM4377

But I doubt that I could get such shots following a dust-mop, even a dust-mop as large as an Airedale.  An Airedale lover will be quick to tell me I can get him clipped before taking him to the river, but I wouldn’t do that.  I’d get him clipped every six weeks or so, and in between he’d look like a dust-mop.

My reason for considering a smaller dog was that I was 76 last month and it would seem that it might be wise to get a smaller dog.  Ridgebacks need to be boosted in to the back seat of my Jeep, and if we are out walking on leash and a cat runs in front of them, they will forget themselves and try to chase after it, even though I have the other end of their leashes.  However, I just met my new doctor.  He checked me over and said, “you do a lot of walking, lift weights, don’t have arthritis, have a strong heart and lungs, you could go back to work.”

I was startled and said, “I doubt that.  I’ve gotten in the habit of taking naps in the middle of the day.” 

He said, “but you could go back to work if you wanted to.”  Again, I was puzzled by why he would say that.  Did he have patients looking for reasons not to go to work?  Was that his standard for judging good health?  I don’t know, but his opinion suggested that perhaps I needn’t give up on the idea of getting another Ridgeback next time.  I shall probably be able to boost one into my Jeep for several years to come.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Bell Curve redivivus

Someone responded to my note with the following:

On 11/26/10 10:01 PM, Billy Blogblather wrote:

Assumptions [made by the authors of the Bell Curve]

Much of the criticism of The Bell Curve has focused on potential flaws in the basic assumptions made at the beginning of the book. William J. Matthews and Stephen Jay Gould list four basic assumptions of The Bell Curve:

  1. Intelligence must be reducible to a single number.
  2. Intelligence must be capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.
  3. Intelligence must be primarily genetically based.
  4. Intelligence must be essentially immutable.

According to Gould, if any of these premises are false, then their entire argument disintegrates (Gould, 1994).  Similarly, in "Science" in the service of Racism, C. Loring Brace writes that The Bell Curve makes six basic assumptions at the beginning of the book:

  1. Human Cognitive ability is a single general entity, depictable as a single number.
  2. Cognitive ability has a heritability of between 40 and 80 percent and is therefore primarily genetically based.
  3. IQ is essentially immutable, fixed over the course of a life span.
  4. IQ tests measure how "smart" or "intelligent" people are and are capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.
  5. IQ tests can measure this accurately.
  6. IQ tests are not biased with regard to race ethnic group or socioeconomic status.

Brace proceeds to argue that there are faults in every one of these assumptions."

Lawrence replies (I believe to the foregoing), but in any case, he dismisses them with
'Yeah, yeah. I read the criticisms at the time, but unlike most of the critics, I also read the book.'
Is it your claim that Stephen J. Gould and C. Loring Brace didn't read the book?

LAWRENCE RESPONDS: As to whether these critics have read The Bell Curve, I think they have read at least to page 23, for on pages 22 and 23 are the assumptions they denigrate. But when I read what Herrnstein and Murray wrote I can hardly recognize it in the critics’ rephrasing. Here is what Herrnstein and Murray actually wrote:

"Here are six conclusions regarding tests of cognitive ability, drawn from the classical tradition, that are by now beyond significant technical dispute:

1. There is such a thing as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.

2. All standardized tests of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.

3. IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent or smart in ordinary language.

4. IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person's life.

5. Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.

6. Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent.

We can see that Brace is a bit closer to what Herrnstein and Murray actually wrote, but why change it? What Herrnstein & Murray wrote sounds reasonable. What Brace wrote sounds less so, and what Matthews and Gould wrote sounds even less so. In any case drawing conclusions about the entire book based on the first 24 pages inclines me to think no, they didn't read the entire book, but that's just a guess.

FBI foils bombing of Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony

The above article, written by Liz Robbins, was published in the New York Times and entitled "Oregon Teen Arrested in Plot to Bomb Holiday Event."

I was first struck by the NYT emphasis on his being a "teenager." Good grief, he was 19. When I was 19 I was a corporal in the Marine Corps stationed in Korea -- or perhaps I had already returned from Korea and was stationed at Camp Pendleton as a rifle instructor -- I can't recall precisely. Can't a person who is 19 be a man? Does his being a "teen-ager" ameliorate his murderous intentions in some way? I suspect his lawyer will use the term "teen-ager" quite a lot in his defense. One can only hope that the prosecuting attorney will call him a morally responsible man deserving of the "maximum sentence of life in prison."

After reading quite a lot about British permissiveness in the treatment of their Islamic criminals, it is refreshing to read of our FBI doing it the right way. Mr. Mohamud sought to engage in some spectacular form of terrorism; so someone in the FBI took on the guise of the contact Mohamud was looking for. Well done FBI!

However, I suspect that Mohamud's defense attorney will claim that Mohamud was tricked or set up by the FBI and would not have gone as far as he did without the complicity of the FBI. Hopefully the FBI will have their proverbial ducks in a row and be able to show that the desire to blow something up came entirely from Mr. Mohamud and not from them.

But I also wonder whether Leftist-Liberals reading this article won't feel a little sorry for Mr. Mohamud: Heck, he never had a chance. The FBI was all over him before he really got going with his plans. He wasn't treated fairly. He should have been treated fairly. Also, he didn't actually do anything or hurt anyone. How can they send him to jail for life unless he actually hurts someone?

Perhaps a Leftist-Liberal will struggle with those thoughts and back away from them, but they will, I suspect, cross his mind, for he hasn't supported the ACLU all these years for nothing. He knows how to excuse crime: Sure Mr. Mohamud may have told the FBI "I want whoever is attending that event to leave, either dead or injured," but those are only words, and words are protected by the First Amendment. As to the bomb components, they weren't actually a bomb, just parts. You can't count those, and the mere dialing of his phone? How can that be a crime? Since he didn't actually kill anyone, he should go free.

I certainly hope he doesn't go free. Maybe in the past the police couldn't arrest anyone until after they had committed a crime, but these are more perilous times. Can we really afford to let the Mohamuds living amongst us in the U.S. and Britain to commit their crimes? Surely we need the means of arresting and convicting our Mohamuds without being fair and allowing them a chance to do their worst. The article makes it sound as though we do have the means. Let us hope so.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More on bigoted Muslim cab drivers

Blogblather writes:

Lawrence: "Would I be profiling if I guessed that this cab-driver was Muslim? Europe News has the subheading, "No Tolerance for Intolerance -- No Apology for Being Free." A bold statement, that, but why not draw attention to the roots of this cab-driver's intolerance, that is Islam?"
Blogblather: "Profiling"?  I don't think so.  More like expressing your bigotry.  You have no idea what the man's nationality or religion is or of the circumstances at the time of the incident.  You're so eaten up with hostility for Muslims that you probably think Sarah Palin is a Muslim.  She's not.  She's a Republican.  That's worse.
LAWRENCE COMMENTS: Blogblather doesn't seem to have read all the way to the end of my notes or he would have found evidence that the cabbie really was a Muslim. I wasn't making that up. And the treatment by this cabby isn't an isolated incident. But before we get into other incidents here is another report on the subject cabby: This is an article published in Britain: The salient portion reads, "In recent years, there have been reports of Muslim drivers refusing the blind due to their doctrine's assertion that dogs are unclean.

"However, the DDA does not consider this an excuse....

"The Muslim revulsion for dogs comes from Muhammad: "Ibn Mughaffal reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) ordered killing of the dogs, and then said: What about them, i. e. about other dogs? and then granted concession (to keep) the dog for hunting and the dog for (the security) of the herd, and said: When the dog licks the utensil, wash it seven times, and rub it with earth the eighth time." -- Sahih Muslim 551

"Here again, even in the West, non-Muslims must accommodate Muslim mores -- never the other way around."

Here is a broader discussion of the problem by an Australian publication:

"Daniel Pipes has written extensively about Muslims’ problems with seeing-eye dogs, who must by law be allowed into premises. Yet Muslim taxi drivers consistently refuse to allow guide dogs into their cars. (see also )

"Sarah Eady was upset when she was told her guide dog would have to ride in the boot.Picture: Justin Lloyd Read more:

"In July 1997 a New Orleans taxi driver, Mahmoud Awad, got so incensed at his passenger, Sandi Dewdney, trying to bring a dog into the cab that he physically yanked her out of it by the arm while yelling "No dog, No dog, Get out, get out." He harmed her broken wrist. To this, CAIR replied by pointing out that "the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual purity needed for prayer" and left it to the scholars of Islam to decide whether a guide dog should be allowed in a cab. The judge, after researching Islamic attitudes and finding no support for the driver's claims, called his behavior "a total disgrace.

"In Melbourne, where about 20% of the city's 10,000 taxi drivers are Muslims, the Herald Sun reported :

"Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to carry blind passengers with their guide dogs. At least 20 dog-aided blind people have lodged discrimination complaints with the Victorian Taxi Directorate.

"Victorian Taxi Association spokesman Neil Sach said the association had appealed to the mufti of Melbourne to give religious approval for Muslim cabbies to carry guide dogs. One Muslim driver, Imran, said yesterday the guide dog issue was difficult for him. "I don't refuse to take people, but it's hard for me because my religion tells me I should not go near dogs," he said. (source)

"Despite their legal obligations to allow guide dogs, Muslims will often flout the law:

"A LEGALLY blind woman was refused entry to a taxi unless she put her guide dog in the boot. About 35 per cent of all people with guide dogs have been refused entry to a taxi in the past 12 months, despite hefty fines for cabbies who fail to comply.

"Sydney woman Sarah Eady was at Central Railway's taxi rank when a driver refused to let her five-year-old guide dog Ally into the front seat.

"'I opened the door and he said 'Can you sit in the back with the dog' and I told him the dog was trained to sit in the front,' she said.

"'He said he didn't want the dog in the front and then he asked me to put Ally in the boot.' Ms Eady said she was often refused entry to taxis because of her dog.

"However, the latest incident was particularly frustrating because it flew in the face of a recent Guide Dogs NSW awareness campaign that specifically targeted cabbies.

"Advertisements featuring the slogan 'Any dog can chase a car, ours can catch a cab' have been placed on the back of taxis throughout Sydney.

"Muslim taxi drivers regularly refuse to carry blind passengers with guide dogs - including Australia's Human Rights Commissioner - with many citing religious reasons, or other excuses like allergies. Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind and reliant on his guide dog Jordie, is a regular Sydney cab user and said he was refused service on average once a month.

"One way to resolve this dilemma is to pander to Islamic sensibilities and use other animals as guides, as in Dearborn, USA:

"Seeing-eye dogs are a nonstarter among many Muslims who consider the animals unclean, but a horse the size of a dog just might work.

"'This is a really awesome little horse," Mona Ramouni said, as she put Cali, a 3-year-old miniature horse, through her paces and rode the bus to work with her.

"Ramouni, a proofreader of textbooks in Braille, wanted more independence, but a traditional guide dog wasn't an option. She's an observant Sunni Muslim and respects her Jordanian-born parents' aversion to having a dog in the home

"The answer is Cali, who stands about 2 1/2 feet tall and weighs about 125 pounds.

While most Muslims believe dogs can violate ritual purity, horses are seen as "regal animals," says Dawud Walid, executive director of the CAIR's Michigan chapter.

…Since Ramouni had never used a dog, she had to learn how to control a guide animal. She was partially successful at training a pet dwarf bunny named Baylea — "she does come when I call her," Ramouni says — and has worked hard with Cali.

"It's made (Ramouni) so much more empowered," said fellow proofreader Kelli Finger. She said Cali has gotten along well with the guide dogs in the office, including her own 9-year-old black Labrador. (source)

"Hmm, I can foresee problems here, when CAIR complain that the office guide dogs are contaminating Ramouni, so she must be provided with her own office – at the firm’s expense, of course! Remember, once you start pandering, the demands never stop.

"However, I’m impressed that she could train a pet dwarf bunny. This opens up endless possibilities for guide animals. Maybe we can use those with a true Aussie flavour – a seeing eye wombat maybe!

"DOGS Victoria provides Therapy Dogs, where volunteers visit aged care homes:

"Ramouni, a textbook proofreader, wanted more independence, but a traditional guide dog wasn't an option. She's an observant Sunni Muslim and respects her Jordanian-born parents' aversion to having a dog in the home where she lives along with three of her six siblings.

"These visits by the therapy dogs and their handlers are making people’s lives a little brighter with visits from many diverse breeds including Rottweiler, Labrador, Great Dane, Borzoi, Corgi, Kelpie and Keeshond.

"All of the dogs are tested for their suitability to deal with many of the unexpected things that they will encounter in their visits. Things that they will not normally come across in everyday life like, wheelchairs, walking frames, walking sticks and hospital equipment. They must also be sensitive to the ways of the elderly and infirmed.

"Organiser Nicki Abell wanted to share those benefits with even more people.

"Clinton the Mastiff visits psychiatric patients in Berwick…

"Wellington the Collie (Rough), visits dialysis patients in Cranbourne."

FURTHER COMMENT: Billy Blogblather obviously has a prejudice against those who won't accept the Leftist-Liberal idealistic party line about Fundamentalist Islam. As for me, my prejudice is against immigrants who move into a Western society and won't accept or at least be tolerant of its customs. What gall someone must have to move into a foreign nation and insist that it accept his standards and customs. If he can't accept a foreign nation's standards -- or at least be tolerant of them -- then he should stay in his home country. What, his nation is too poor to pay him a living wage? That should tell him something right there, but that is his problem and he shouldn't heap his problems upon a host nation.

Re: Are Muslims lowering the intelligence of German society?

Billy Blogblather writes,

Lawrence: " Goodhart bemoans the fact that Sarrazin muddied the water of his otherwise good book with pseudo-eugenics. And yet Sarrazin is doing something very like what Herrnstein and Murray did in their 1994 book The Bell Curve. People were outraged and just about everyone denounced the book, but their arguments were valid and almost immediately changes were made to the American Welfare system, during the Clinton administration, no less."

Blogblather: Their arguments were valid? Says who? You? Others take issue.

From Wiki:

Melvin Konner, professor of anthropology and associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Emory University, called Bell Curve a "deliberate assault on efforts to improve the school performance of African-Americans":

"This book presented strong evidence that genes play a role in intelligence but linked it to the unsupported claim that genes explain the small but consistent black-white difference in IQ. The juxtaposition of good argument with a bad one seemed politically motivated, and persuasive refutations soon appeared. Actually, African-Americans have excelled in virtually every enriched environment they have been placed in, most of which they were previously barred from, and this in only the first decade or two of improved but still not equal opportunity. It is likely that the real curves for the two races will one day be superimposable on each other, but this may require decades of change and different environments for different people. Claims about genetic potential are meaningless except in light of this requirement.


"Much of the criticism of The Bell Curve has focused on potential flaws in the basic assumptions made at the beginning of the book. William J. Matthews and Stephen Jay Gould list four basic assumptions of The Bell Curve:

1. Intelligence must be reducible to a single number.

2. Intelligence must be capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.

3. Intelligence must be primarily genetically based.

4. Intelligence must be essentially immutable.

According to Gould, if any of these premises are false, then their entire argument disintegrates (Gould, 1994). Similarly, in "Science" in the service of Racism, C. Loring Brace writes that The Bell Curve makes six basic assumptions at the beginning of the book:

1. Human Cognitive ability is a single general entity, depictable as a single number.

2. Cognitive ability has a heritability of between 40 and 80 percent and is therefore primarily genetically based.

3. IQ is essentially immutable, fixed over the course of a life span.

4. IQ tests measure how "smart" or "intelligent" people are and are capable of rank ordering people in a linear order.

5. IQ tests can measure this accurately.

6. IQ tests are not biased with regard to race ethnic group or socioeconomic status.

Brace proceeds to argue that there are faults in every one of these assumptions."

I'm surprised that you would resort to such a scurrilous study to support your xenophobia. Just come out and say you don't like these people. They're different. They scare you. And at least then we wouldn't have to wade through this all phony science garbage to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Lawrence responds:

Yeah, yeah. I read the criticisms at the time, but unlike most of the critics, I also read the book. The authors argue that intelligence isn't entirely or even largely a function of environment as a Liberal prejudice would have it, but that probably 50% of intelligence is a function of heredity.  But they don’t insist on a number.  There argument would have validity if only 25% of intelligence was based upon heredity.  They don't distinguish between black and white (as those who haven’t read their book assume). They distinguished between the dumb and the smart. They offer evidence; so if you pay those whose intelligence is subnormal to have extra children (through welfare) then you are lowering the overall intelligence level of society by some number.  They don’t say what that number is. (This is what Sarrazin is saying about German society as well. Quit paying those with subnormal IQs to have more children.) As we know, shortly after the publication of The Bell Curve, the recommendations for an overhaul of the welfare system were begun -- in accordance with the recommendations of the authors of The Bell Curve, during the Clinton administration. You quote Wikipedia. Here is another Wikipedia quote:

"In 1994, libertarian author Charles Murray suggested that welfare causes dependency. He argued that as welfare benefits increased, the number of recipients also increased; this behavior, he said, was rational: there is little reason to work if one can receive benefits for a long period of time without having to work.[8] The later work of Charles Murray, Richard J. Herrnstein, and others suggested possible merit to the theory of a dysgenic effect,[ however, the data are not entirely clear. Right or wrong, this argument was among the stepping stones leading to the modification of AFDC toward TANF.

"Reform: In 1996, President Bill Clinton negotiated with the Republican-controlled Congress to pass the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which drastically restructured the program. Among other changes, a lifetime limit of five years was imposed for the receipt of benefits, and the newly-limited nature of the replacement program was reinforced by calling AFDC's successor Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Many Americans continue to refer to TANF as "welfare" or AFDC.

British cab-driver refuses ride to blind couple

The following is from Europe News:

Blind couple's anger as taxi refuses guide dog

Staffordshire Newsletter 26 November 2010

A BLIND couple were “disgusted” to be turned away by a Stafford taxi driver because of their award-winning guide dog. Doreen and Ernest Dix were refused entry to a cab parked at the pick-up point behind Stafford market last week.

The Great Haywood pensioners claim the driver did not want Blake, the current West Midlands guide dog of the year, in his cab.

This contravenes the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 and can land offenders a £1,000 fine unless they certify they have a dog allergy.

Mrs Dix, 71, said this was the first time her golden retriever-labrador cross had been rejected from a taxi.

She said: “I can barely see, but saw the driver wave his hands and say ‘no, no, no’ as we approached his cab (...)

COMMENT: Would I be profiling if I guessed that this cab-driver was Muslim? Europe News has the subheading, "No Tolerance for Intolerance -- No Apology for Being Free." A bold statement, that, but why not draw attention to the roots of this cab-driver's intolerance, that is Islam?

Here is the Staffordshire Newsletter. ( ) They don't boast of having "no tolerance for intolerance." Instead they make sense of the cabby's intolerance:

Blind couple’s anger as taxi refuses guide dog

"A BLIND couple were “disgusted” to be turned away by a Stafford taxi driver because of their award-winning guide dog.

"APPLALLED . . . Ernest Dix and his guide dog Blake were refused access to a taxi.Doreen and Ernest Dix were refused entry to a cab parked at the pick-up point behind Stafford market last week.

"The Great Haywood pensioners claim the driver did not want Blake, the current West Midlands guide dog of the year, in his cab.

"This contravenes the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 and can land offenders a £1,000 fine unless they certify they have a dog allergy.

"Mrs Dix, 71, said this was the first time her golden retriever-labrador cross had been rejected from a taxi.

"She said: 'I can barely see, but saw the driver wave his hands and say ‘no, no, no’ as we approached his cab.

“We were both very upset and were made to feel really small, but just got the next taxi in the end. “We’re moving to Stafford soon and this is a very poor start indeed.” Eight-two-year-old Mr Dix, whose eyesight is worse than his wife’s, was “appalled” by the driver’s behaviour.

"He said: 'I’ve been registered blind for 28 years and have never been discriminated against by a taxi driver before this.

“'If he isn’t willing to pick up certain people, then he shouldn’t be in a queue of taxis earmarked for shoppers.

“The driver we eventually used agreed it was appalling it made me feel like a second-class citizen.” Seven-year-old Blake won his award last year in recognition of loyal service to his owners.

"Mrs Dix told the Newsletter how clever Blake is.

"She said: 'If you get off the bus and say ‘take us to the bank’, he’ll guide you straight there.

“'He then knows to wait in the queue until a cashier calls you over. He’s as good as gold.' In recent years, there have been reports of Muslim drivers refusing the blind due to their doctrine’s assertion that dogs are unclean.

"However, the DDA does not consider this an excuse.

"Mr and Mrs Dix do not know the name of the driver or firm involved."

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: No of course they don't. They're blind -- and so are the British authorities that have the power to find out who this (these) driver(s) is (are). I say, send them all back to Afghanistan so they can spend all their time shooting at NATO forces.

Are Muslims lowering the intelligence of German society?

The above is an article written by David Goodhart from the British Journal Prospect entitled "The Challenge of German Liberalism." It is a review of Thilo Sarrazin's Germany Abolishes Itself: How we are putting our country at risk.

Here are some highlights from Goodhart's article: "Nowhere in Europe is the gap between public opinion and published opinion as wide as in Germany. And nowhere has public policy been more influenced by a 1960s generation, post-national, society-is-to-blame kind of liberalism. Yet this “official” liberalism has never reflected the way people live and think, even in the German chattering classes. When I lived in the country, 20 years ago, it felt far more socially conservative than the similar circles I had come from in London.

"Another difference that struck me was the invisibility of the Turks and the other big minorities living in Germany, compared with the relative visibility of Britain’s minorities. I later worked out why this was. There was what Peter Schneider calls an 'unholy alliance' between left and right to pretend that Germany did not have an integration issue—especially amongst its Turkish, middle eastern and north African minorities. By 1990, there were more than 2m Turks living in Germany, many of them second and third generation. Yet the Christian Democratic right still refused to accept that some of the “guest workers” who had arrived in the 1950s and 1960s had come to stay—and rejected the idea that Germany was an “immigration country.” This meant that they put no effort or money into turning Turks into Germans. As for the anti-national left, the idea that the exotic Turks should be forced to learn the language of the SS was equally abhorrent. So the mainly Muslim minorities were left alone in their parallel worlds.

"Things have got a lot better in the last 20 years. In 1999, the then Social Democrat government made it easier to become a German citizen and about 30 per cent of Turks now have full citizenship. Turks and other “New Germans” are more visible in political and public life. The flag waving at the 2006 World Cup in Germany seemed to herald a national “normalisation” and the multicoloured football team at the 2010 World Cup revealed a fully multi-racial land (although they continued to play German, not multicultural, football)."

"But Sarrazin is more interested in the failure of the Muslim background Turks and north Africans—about half of Germany’s ethnic minority population (which altogether is now about 15 per cent of the total). And he describes the failure in shocking and pitiless detail. The poor German spoken by third-generation immigrants, the abysmal performance in school (72 per cent of Turks living in Germany, aged 20 to 64, have no qualifications at all), the high crime rates, the fact that they take far more out of the welfare state than they put in (only 33 per cent of Muslim Germans live mainly from their labours). According to Christopher Caldwell . . . the number of foreign-born residents rose from 3m to 8m between 1971 and 2000, but the number of employed foreigners stayed the same at 2m."

"The fact that Muslim migrants perform poorly in the context of German society does not, however, support the outlandish claim that they are inherently stupider than Germans or other minorities. Sarrazin does not quite say this but he does assert that their poor performance is dragging down the country’s average ability level—something that could probably be said of most of Europe’s immigrant groups from poor countries, at least for a generation or two. But Sarrazin digs deeper into the intelligence story. He is fascinated by group IQ levels and includes a long discourse on the above-average IQ results for modern Jews—a product, he argues, of the ancient selection pressures on a persecuted minority which resulted in larger families for those who performed well in the trade, finance and intellectual pursuits that Jews were restricted to. Given that intelligence is at least 50 per cent inherited, Sarrazin claims that over many generations a cultural trait can thus become biologically “fixed” in a population."

"It is a shame that an otherwise powerful and overdue argument about integration should be too easily reducible to a racist slogan: “The Turks are making us stupid.” Germany’s dismal failure to integrate something like 7 per cent of its population is clear enough without requiring a detour into intelligence theory. And the message from this book is hardly going to inspire Turks to become better citizens of Germany: already 58 per cent feel they are not welcome in the country.

"Sarrazin’s policy solutions are relatively mainstream, echoing some of the new Labour reforms in Britain: tighter control of immigration and language tests for newcomers; steps towards compulsory citizenship for long-term residents; a sharp focus on teaching German at immigrant-dominated schools. Sarrazin is also concerned at how the welfare system creates alienation, saps initiative and prevents the workplace integration that countries like America are famous for, and so he recommends probationary periods before immigrants are entitled to benefit. The government is already acting on some of these points."

COMMENT: If you go to the Prospect web site you can hear an interview by Philip Dodd on Radio 3's Nightwave. It is the last interview -- after Michael Holroyd, Bridget Riley, and Garry Trudeau. In his article and in the interview, Goodhart bemoans the fact that Sarrazin muddied the water of his otherwise good book with pseudo-eugenics. And yet Sarrazin is doing something very like what Herrnstein and Murray did in their 1994 book The Bell Curve. People were outraged and just about everyone denounced the book, but their arguments were valid and almost immediately changes were made to the American Welfare system, during the Clinton administration, no less. Notice that in the penultimate paragraph of Goodhart's article, he writes that "Sarrazin's policy solutions are relatively mainstream . . . The government is already acting on some of these points"

Sarrazin has already been denounced. He even lost his job, but his arguments are valid and the government is acting upon them. So you see, Liberals and Leftists aren't all bad. They will denounce arguments from Hernstein, Murray, and Sarrazin, but if they are valid and enough people clamor their agreement, they will act upon them. Of course they won't withdraw their denouncements of Herrnstein, Murray and Sarrazin. That would be asking too much. Those denouncements stand.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

British cab driver fights for Taliban in Afghanistan

The above article was written by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Jon Boone for the Thursday 25 November edition of the It is entitled "UK-based Taliban spend months fighting Nato forces in Afghanistan." It is subtitled "Taliban fighter reveals he lives for most of year in London and heads to Afghanistan for combat."

Here are some highlights: "British-based men of Afghan origin are spending months at a time in Afghanistan fighting Nato forces before returning to the UK, the Guardian has learned. They also send money to the Taliban.

"A Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan last month told the Guardian he lived most of the time in east London, but came to Afghanistan for three months of the year for combat.

"'I work as a minicab driver,' said the man, who has the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander. "I make good money there [in the UK], you know. But these people are my friends and my family and it's my duty to come to fight the jihad with them."

"There are many people like me in London," he added. ‘We collect money for the jihad all year and come and fight if we can.’

"Intelligence officials have long suspected that British Muslims travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan each year to train with extremist groups."

"Last year it was reported that RAF spy planes operating in Helmand in southern Afghanistan had detected strong Yorkshire and Birmingham accents on fighters using radios and telephones. They apparently spoke the main Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, but lapsed into English when they were lost for the right words. The threat was deemed sufficiently serious that spy planes have patrolled British skies in the hope of picking up the same voice signatures of the fighters after their return to the UK."

COMMENT: I'm reminded of the Greeks who fought only in good weather. When the weather turned bad they went home. That there are British Muslims fighting against NATO forces in Afghanistan seems beyond doubt, but is anyone in Britain doing anything about it?

It seems clear that NATO forces are going to fight whomever is fighting them and if one of them happens to be a minicab driver from East London, so be it. But why isn't anyone in Britain doing anything about it?

Some military forces seem curious. They heard Yorkshire and Birmingham accents from Afghan fighters using radios and telephones, but what they are doing about it seems ludicrous. They are spying on voices from Yorkshire and Birmingham, during the non-fighting season presumably, to see if they can hear those same voices. Presumably their voice-print technology will permit them to do that, but is a voice-print sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant; or is this just a matter of intellectual curiosity.

Why aren't you Brits worried about a situation in which you breed or at least harbor enemies? Why not change your laws a bit so that known enemies can be shipped back to wherever they came from. The mini-cab driver the Guardian interviewed said he was a mid-level Taliban commander and made "good money" in the UK, "you know. But these people are my friends and my family and it's my duty to come to fight the jihad with them." Fair enough, O Taliban fighter, but it ought to be the duty of the British, some of whom you are fighting against in Afghanistan, to object to your behavior and at a very minimum ship you back to the people you are loyal to.

British officials ought have that same level of loyalty to their own people. They should ferret out these enemies they are harboring, revoke their citizenship and send them back to Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Britain surrenders to Islamic Radicals This is an article from Hudson New York written by A. Millar.

Here are some highlights from the article: "Britain's "elites" seem not to notice Islamism, but prefer to believe that if those protesting against Islamism could be silenced, the problem of radical Islam would disappear. It was this mindset that saw parliament introducing a religious hate speech law, aimed at silencing criticism of Islam and Islamism, in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings. Britain's establishment, in other words, has busied itself clearing a very large space in which the Islamists can operate."

Further down Millar writes, "Much of Europe is now openly, if reluctantly, acknowledging the problems wrought by political multiculturalism, not least of all how it has facilitated the rise of Islamic radicalism in European states.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that multiculturalism has 'utterly failed.' However, Britain's 'elite' – the government, media, and various protest groups – still insist on turning a blind eye to the new fascism. Rather than face down those calling for the destruction of Western civilization, their knee-jerk reaction appears to be to appease them.

"Those who do speak up against Islamism are smeared. Some prominent anti-Islamist spokespeople claim also to have been threatened with arrest. With Britain's establishment afraid to mention Islamism, Islam's extremist radical adherents seem to have it easy in comparison to anti-Islamists.

"Imagine what the group of Islamist radicals, calling itself Muslims Against Crusades, must have thought a few days ago. In Britain (as in Canada, New Zealand, and some other countries) it is a tradition to wear a poppy on November 11, to commemorate "Poppy Day," or what the Americans call "Armistice Day." The emblem comes from the poem In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) of the Canadian army, when Flanders had been the site of continual warfare during World War I, and Lt. McCrae had invoked the poppies that grew wild in its fields to suggest the scale of the fatalities there. The poppy, with its red petals, and black center, is also reminiscent of a wound by a gunshot, and, as such, is worn with a certain mixture of pride and humility.

"About 50 members of Muslims Against Crusades [MAC] turned up in central London carrying the black flag of Islam and banners reading "Islam will dominate," "democracy go to Hell," and "Allah is our protector; you have no protector." They had come to burn a large poppy, a couple of feet square, and to disrupt the two minutes of silence for Britain's fallen soldiers.

"The members of MAC began by shouting "Allahu Akbar," and continued to chant "British soldiers burn in Hell" throughout the two minutes. Over a loudspeaker, the leader of the organized mob gibed: "your dead are in fire, and our dead are in paradise." The group later posted a video of their disturbance."

"The day after Poppy Day, apparently a Conservative Party councilor, Gareth Compton, in Birmingham was arrested for posting on Twitter what he later described as an "ill-conceived attempt at humor," asking for a Muslim journalist to be stoned: "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing really." If his "humor" is anything to go by, the councilor is crass, reckless, and stupid, and should, at the very least, be reprimanded by his party; but did his "tweet" sink to the level of a crime?"

"With the British authorities arresting those protesting against Islamism – the ideology of promoting installing a Muslim Caliphate under sharia law, with or without terrorism, in Britain, the US, and around the globe – perhaps they might look at this group with a s little more seriousness. The government acknowledges that terrorism is a "Tier One" threat to the UK. Yet, the general, cultural surrender to political correctness, and to the raising of the black flag of Islam, gives the impression that the nation's "elites" have raised the white one."

COMMENT: I spent a lot of time recently reading about the Second World War and of how well the UK and the US cooperated in defeating Hitler in Western Europe. Year after year it seems that the UK and the US are in agreement on most foreign policy issues, and yet internally the UK seems as soft on Islamism as the rest of Western Europe. What arguments can they produce to justify their behavior? Islamists have vowed to destroy the West or see it converted to Islam. Don't the officials in the UK believe that? Read any of these articles and you will see that the Islamists, the Islamic Fundamentalists or any of the other names for their religious-political beliefs have been consistent. Is it really okay for Muslims to shout "British soldiers burn in Hell." If you argue this is nothing more than respect for free speech then why lock up Gareth Compton? In the absence of any coherent argument, or any argument built from credible assumptions, I must conclude that you in Britain are thoroughly screwed up.

This isn't to say that we in the U.S. aren't screwed up as well, but your caving in to Islamism at the expense of your National Interest seems a bit more intense than over here. We have a serious grass-roots element that opposes Radical Islam's plans for us. If it can elect a sufficient number of like-minded representatives and senators in office, we might get things turned around. If so it may in the future be tougher for Radical Islam to get its way in the U.S., but what hope do you in the UK have? The waves are crashing on a dangerous shore. Can't you hear them?

British students taught how to chop of hands

One would think that we all know about the dangers of madrassas, the means of turning Muslim children into Fundamentalists. But apparently this isn't well known in Britain, or if it is they don't care, or if they care they don't feel they can do anything about it in such a Politically Correct region as Europe.

The following is from the 11-22-10 issue of "The Australian": "PUPILS at Islamic schools across Britain are being taught how to chop off a criminal's hand and that Jews are conspiring to take over the world, a BBC investigation has found.

"Up to 5000 pupils aged between six and 18 are being taught Sharia law punishments using "weekend-school" text-books which claim those who do not believe in Islam will be subjected to "hellfire" in death.

"A text book for 15-year-olds advises: 'For thieves their hands will be cut off for a first offence, and their foot for a subsequent offence.'

"'The specified punishment of the thief is cutting off his right hand at the wrist. Then it is cauterised to prevent him from bleeding to death,' it added.

Young pupils are warned that the punishment for engaging in homosexual acts is death by stoning, burning with fire or throwing off a cliff and that the 'main goal' of the Jews is to 'have control over the world and its resources.'

"The schools are part of the "Saudi Students Clubs and Schools in the UK and Ireland" organisation. The BBC investigation claimed that one school in London is owned by the Saudi government.

Education Minister Michael Gove told the BBC program: "I have no desire or wish to intervene in the decisions that the Saudi government makes in its own education system.

"But I'm clear that we cannot have anti-Semitic material of any kind being used in English schools. Ofsted (Britain's education watchdog) will be reporting to me shortly."

COMMENT: Does the Education Minister Michael Gove want to eliminate this teaching of Sharia Law? Does he want to stop the teaching in British schools of how best to chop a person's hand off or whether to stone a homosexual to death? One would think that if Michael Gove were rational and sensitive after the pattern of traditional Liberalism that he would want to get that sort of stuff stopped forth with, but not so. His only concern is the anti-semitism. He doesn't want to get in the way of the Saudi's teaching Sharia Law in British schools.

This is just one more data point, my British friends. If the only difference between madrassas in Pakistan and those in the UK have to do with anti-semitism then your boat has drifted just a little closer toward destruction. Don't all your citizens have to obey the law of the land? Apparently not, but they used to. Doesn't it bother you that you are giving Muslims extralegal rights?

Do you want to beat your wife? Become a Muslim and you can get away with it. (see )

Do you want to have more than one wife? Become a Muslim and you can do it. (see )

Do you want an underaged wife? Become a Muslim and you can have one (see ).

And do you want to advocate the brutalities of Sharia Law in British Schools? Sure, no problem. Just don't mention the Jews and no one is going to interfere with you.

British children threaten patriotic classmate

Could you read that subject title without asking "were these children Muslim"? Of course they were Muslim, at least five of them were. The article doesn't explain why the "white girl" who was not Muslim was involved, other than that she was in "the gang."

Who is this kid who was threatened? " A 13-year-old boy who penned an online Remembrance Day tribute to Britain’s fallen soldiers was subjected to a vicious hate campaign by fellow pupils.

"A gang of 12-year-old pupils made up of five Muslim boys and one non-Muslim girl made death threats to Darius Gill involving knives and knuckle-dusters because of his support for British troops.

"One member of the gang also posted a picture of himself holding a rifle and threatened to hijack a plane.

" The campaign was backed by more pupils belonging to a self-styled ‘Muslim Defence League’ celebrating British deaths in Afghanistan.

"The abuse was so serious that police are now investigating.

"On November 11, Darius – whose father is Asian – wrote on Facebook: ‘RIP to all the lads who never made it home.’

"He also posted two pictures showing British troops on Armistice Day.

"He was then branded ‘racist’ and two of the accused pupils began a flurry of online messages to each other setting out what they were going to do to him.

" One wrote to Darius on Facebook criticising him for failing to acknowledge the dead ­Muslim soldiers in the Middle East.

"Darius explained that Remembrance Day honoured British troops and pointed out that he was paying tribute to his great-great uncle, who died aged only 17 on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

"The students attend the 1,250-pupil Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry. Muslim pupils make up 65 per cent of the school, which caters for children aged 11-18.

"The main six pupils, none of whom can be named for legal reasons, have now been suspended and may be expelled over their chilling threats.

"One of the online messages – which were littered with spelling mistakes – read: ‘Fight on Monday gonna be heavy knuckle dusters and knifes hopefully I don’t die.’

" Another pupil added: ‘ill bang [attack] him ma slef [myself] am a terrorist.’

" One pupil’s Facebook profile is full of chilling references to Islamic fundamentalism and shows a ­picture of him posing with an AK47 rifle.

"He also penned a terrifying poem about hijacking a plane.

"On November 12, he wrote: ‘You better watch what the **** flies outta ya mouth. Or I’ma hijack a plane and fly it into your house.

"‘Burn your apartment with your family tied to the couch. And slit your throat, so when you scream, only blood comes out.’"

COMMENT: Are the police or is the school going to put a cap on Islam? Are you kidding? Of course not. The problem isn't with these Muslim children. The article says that what these kids have been doing and saying "is appalling and extremely upsetting to Darius" but whether they were equally appalling and upsetting to the school, the article doesn't say.

So if the problem isn't these Muslim Children, their threats or their actions, what is the cause of the problem? . . . [drum roll to give the clowns enough time to appear] Facebook. "Sidney Stringer Academy’s principal, Wendy Thomas, said Facebook was an increasing concern for schools. She said the children have been told to remove the comments from the site. . . ‘Facebook is a big concern for schools and we urge all parents to monitor what their children say on the site. As soon as the school was notified about the comments on Monday we interviewed the pupils."

You loopy Brits are a kick in the pants, aren't you? We wouldn't do anything that dumb in the U.S. -- at least not for a couple of more years.

British pig removed from toy set to avoid offending Muslims

"A mother who bought the Early Learning Centre's (ELC) HappyLand Goosefeather Farm for her daughter's first birthday contacted the store after finding that the pig was missing . . . 'So I emailed ELC and the response that I had makes my blood boil...(The ELC wrote) 'Previously the pig was part of the Goosefeather farm however due to customer feedback and religious reasons this is no longer part of the farm."'

"Caroline added: "This is political correctness gone loopy. On what basis did they remove it?

"This is as bad as no more 'baa baa black sheep' or other such things. Stuff like this is just insipid, it worms its way into every aspect of our lives and we just let it happen. Surely if someone has issue with a toy that they don't agree with, then don't buy it!"

"A mother called Chouli responded: "Does it have a disclaimer on it, though? 'Pig sold seperately (sic)'? Perhaps they keep a stash of them in the back somewhere in brown paper bags?"

"What are the store[s] going to do next? Ban the Peppa Pig cartoon? Stop selling books with pigs in? This is a multi-cultural country."

"The ELC later said it had decided to reinstate the pig."

"Any customers who have bought Goosefeather Farm in the last few months will be able to order a pig free of charge to complete their set via our website in the coming weeks."

COMMENT: Yesterday I posted a note on an article that advocated making Islam the official religion of Britain ( ). No doubt the author, calling himself Melanchthon, had his tongue in his cheek when he wrote it, but there was bitterness involved. He described Christianity as being driven almost out of existence in Britain while at the same time British officials and other leaders bend over backwards to cater to Muslims and their religion. Why not just go all the way, he suggests, and make Islam the official British religion. That way Christianity would have minority status and end up with more rights than it has now. His article falls flat as a joke because there is too much sense in it.

However, it is unlikely that Britain will follow his suggestion and vote Islam in as its official state religion. No European nation is likely to do that, but while they won't formally make such a declaration they are all drifting in that direction. The Political Correctness that favors Islam is out there and its influence is strong. ELC wasn't officially ordered by anyone to remove the pig from its toy set but it felt the unofficial influence of Political Correctness. It wanted to do "what was right and what was sensitive" so it removed the pig. When Caroline and perhaps others made a fuss, they put the pig back in, but the freedom to have pigs in toy sets as well as other freedoms are being eroded.

Why not be honest about it? Declare Islam the official religion. Britain is heading in that direction anyway, as a sailboat will drift toward the shore when no one tends its rudder. Why drift, why not take responsibility for your direction, O ye British? Be brave, be brash, and state clearly that you favor Islam and the heck with Christians who disagrees with you. Better that than the wishy-washiness of putting the pig back in the set when someone squeals.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Should Islam become Britain’s State Religion?

The Centre-Right in Britain is almost certainly different from what the Center-Right would be considered in the U.S., but here is a Centre-Righter suggesting that Islam be accepted as the State Religion in Britain. He calls himself Melancthon which would seem to make him a Lutheran.

One thinks of Swift's "A Modest Proposal." One of Melancthon's claims is that Christians, who would be a minority under an Islamic Britain, would have more rights than they do now.

But, more positively, with the present European drift, some European nation has to be the first to declare itself an Islamic state. Why not Britain?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Germany expecting attacks from British terrorists

I know, I know; there are so many Islamist terror attacks that they get boring, but I notice that ". . . two Brits were said to be at the center" of this one.

I wonder if these two brits were among those who received early release from British jails:

Or if not whether they were radicalized in British jails: "The Royal United Services Institute has suggested that as many as 800 Muslims have been radicalised behind bars and could present a security threat on release over the next decade. Terrorists who were eligible to be freed over the past two years included Abu Bakr Mansha, jailed for plotting to kill a British soldier, and Khalid Khaliq, an associate of the July 7 bombers who was jailed for possessing documents useful for terrorism."

Given this British philosophy, I think they should reconsider the Pit Bull Terrier. They've banned this perfectly good dog along with some other very fine breeds, the Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Braziliero. I am outraged by this British inconsistency. Why not lock these dogs up for a few years in dog years -- probably 3 or 4 months -- and then release them back into society. They probably all have much better records than the Islamic Terrorists they are releasing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

British free known terrorists

Dangerous terrorists have been or are in the process of being released from prison back into British society, but not to worry, "Probation officers have been issued with a 'menu' of restrictions that can be placed on terrorists freed on licence. The curbs are understood to include orders to have contact with only Government-approved imams, not to visit certain mosques, not to associate with anyone with a criminal record and not to use computers."

Why release these individuals who by any rational definition would be considered enemies of the state? If a state is too squeamish to execute such people it should at least keep them locked up, but the British like continental Europe and even Russia is still striving to deal with this asymmetric Islamic warfare against Non-Muslims as a police matter. We in the U.S. sort of learned that was a bad idea. Under Blind Sheik Omar an attempt was made to blow up the World Trade Center. That attempt failed and we treated it as the British are presently treating such matters as a violation of law to be handled by the Justice System. A few years later a more competent group of Muslims did manage to blow out the World Trade Center. It was impossible to treat that attack as a mere violation of law; so we threw our weight around in a military manner for awhile.

Interestingly, our military response to 9-11 may end up being no more effective than Britain's treating Terrorists as normal criminals. We have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq but inasmuch as there is no hope or even plans for converting them into Liberal Democracies, the most we can hope for is to turn them into normal Muslim nations -- and "normal Muslim nations" all seem to hate the West; so once we leave Iraq and Afghanistan there is a real likelihood that new anti-Western attacks will originate from them -- much as the British can be assured that their released Terrorists have not been rehabilitated and will be looking for new ways to pay back the nation that has graciously taken them in and given them welfare entitlements beyond the dreams of the people who still live wherever it is they came from.

Obama Security-Dog's name outrages Muslims

From Redif News,

"Muslims in Mumbai are up in arms against a United States military sniffer dog allegedly with name tag of 'Khan' that has landed in the city as part of President Barack Obama security arrangements.

"On Tuesday, the German Shepherd arrived in the Mumbai airport from a Hercules C130 transport plane. The German Shepherd allegedly had a tag around its neck which read 'MWD Khan.' MWD stands for Military Working Dog. Khan is alleged to be the name of the dog.

"Angry Muslims in the city and the state are threatening to protest this 'insult' to the community.

"The issue became a rage when a tabloid had reported the incident and quoted veteran actor Raza Murad objecting to the dog being named 'Khan.'

"Though noted lyricist Javed Akhtar had been quoted to ignore the issue and focus on welcoming the VIP guest.

"Maharashtra Samajwadi Party leader MLA Abu Asim Azmi also threatened to undertake a protest. He said that the US deliberately wants to incite the Muslims through such acts and the party would stage a protest on the issue.

"Prominent Muslim religious heads have expressed anger and dismay on the information of a US dog being named 'Khan.' Maulana Syed Athar Ali said that it is a known fact that Muslims detest pigs and dogs.

"'To name a dog a Muslim name by US security agencies is to deliberately incite the Muslim community. We would be meeting soon and devise a strategy to protest and seek apology from the US,' said Maulana Athar Ali."

COMMENT: Europeans with their desire to accommodate themselves to all things Muslim are more used to the following sort of things than we Americans are, but we'd better get used to it . . . unless enough of us retain the old Conservative ability to tell them to "stuff it."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Coyotes, Rabbits and Western self-loathing

The other day I posted, entitled "Europe, World War II, Suicide, and Jason Bourne." Some Leftists responded to this note, but they were only interested in my comments on suicide. The implications for Europe and whether there still exists a residual negative effect from World War II and whether Europeans feel less secure from not having an effective military didn't interest them -- at least not enough to cause them to comment. These Leftists were interested in whether Europeans might be committing suicide at a greater rate than Americans. It galled them to think this might be true.

They didn't care so much about the larger suicide, the one that Bat Yeor, Oriana Fallaci, Mark Steyn, Claire Berlinski and a host of others bemoan, the so-called slow suicide of European nations -- that is, the unwillingness of Europeans to produce a sufficient number of children to replace the elderly who are dying off. The Leftists preferred discussing the matter of Europeans literally killing themselves now, rather than whether European nations might dwindle out of existence later on. The idea that any European might be driven "by perceptions of cultural malaise" to commit suicide, was, to quote Billy Blogblather "just silly."

Blogblather has engaged in "fashionable self-loathing guilt over supposed Western crimes like racism, imperialism, and colonialism" (to quote Thornton again) so he can hardly object to that assessment. As to praising one's own European culture as preliminary to inducing immigrants to integrate, "how can it be presented as an attractive alternative [to the culture the immigrant has left] and its unique goods celebrated when its public face is one of decadence and trivial pleasure, and when its own intellectuals are eager to voice their hatred of its achievements?"

Biologists tell us that every species has a survival strategy. Coyotes are very good at catching rabbits, but rabbits procreate so abundantly that it doesn't matter. Both survival strategies are excellent. Coyotes will never run out of rabbits to eat, but neither will they be able to eat rabbits out of existence. As to the human survival strategy, we know quite a lot about what has worked in the past. We band together in tribes or larger groups and fight against rival groups. The best fighters survive. The poorest fighters die off. We also have strong beliefs in our religion. If we lose faith in our religion we die off (witness the Roman complaints addressed in Augustine's City of God), we die off. Our hugely complex Liberal Democracies, if we thought about them in this traditional survival-strategy sense, could be considered a great success. We have defeated most of our enemies and seem to have the potential for defeating the rest of them, but our "intellectuals are eager to voice their hatred" of Liberal Democracy's achievements.

The current Western malaise is no new thing. Our Specie's history is replete with examples of tribes, city states and nations deciding they weren't going "to war no more." The Romans regularly decided that internal matters were more important than preparing themselves to defend against a threatening neighbor and paid dearly for their unpreparedness. In modern times France is an example of a nation that largely turned away from war in the face of a seriously threatening enemy. They had a larger army than Germany, but their will to defend themselves didn't match the will of the Germans to conquer them. Has France learned anything from their failure? It doesn't seem so. They have done their best to infect the rest of Europe with their pessimistic philosophies.

[Returning to Thornton] "Of course, for Muslim immigrant children, their attraction to Western popular culture, freedom, pleasure, and material affluence creates a division within their souls, leaving them riven with guilt and doubt. But this wound can be spectacularly healed through martyrdom in the path of Jihad: 'By means of suicide bombing,' Dalrymple concludes, 'the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.'

"Yet in the face of this threat, Europe for the most part has chosen the road of appeasement, like the Europeans of Raspail's novel seemingly content to watch their magnificent civilization evolve into Eurabia, a culture in which Islam and its religious law, sharia, will more and more displace the Judeo-Christian and classical goods of the West -- individual rights and autonomy, democracy, independent thought, everything that has delivered freedom and prosperity to millions of people."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Inaccuracy of officially reported suicide statistics in Europe

Whether one obtains greater accuracy by invoking a European or non-European source for European suicide statistics is interesting. Who has the most to gain by misrepresenting these statistics? Thornton used a non-European source. It is apparently well known that accurate suicide statistics are difficult to obtain. Witness this UK problem:

"Br J Psychiatry. 1975 Apr;126:301-8.

Suicide in Dublin: I. The under-reporting of suicide and the consequences for national statistics.

McCarthy PD, Walsh D.


This study of suicide in Dublin during 1964-1968 from coroners' records was undertaken to estimate the discrepancy between coroners' verdicts, the national suicide statistics compiled from them and the clinical assessment of probability of suicide by psychiatrists examining the same records. The large difference in numbers of suicides deriving from the two approaches has considerable implications for national suicide statistics, and these have been briefly considered. From the findings presented we believe that we are justified in concluding that: (a) there are real differences in national suicide rates, at least between Ireland, England and Wales, and Scotland, and (b) the Irish suicide rate is low, though not as low as official statistics suggest, and (c) the discrepancy between official and "true" suicide rates in Ireland is greater than in England and Wales and in Scotland.

PMID: 1156735 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

See also,


Suicide is underreported for a number of reasons and the reliability of the official rates is subject to error from variation in defining and reporting cases-the kind of inaccuracies encountered when ascertaining cases in studies of mortality from any cause. . . .

I admit to being opposed to the EU Project. I have said as much in previous notes. It didn't surprise me to read Thornton's reference. It would surprise me to learn that this situation is as rosy as official European statistics indicate. 

Interestingly, refusing to have children is a form of national suicide. It is more difficult to hide the accuracy of that statistic.

Europe, World War II, Suicide and Jason Bourne

In taking a small break from Atkinson's The Day of Battle, The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, I resumed reading Bruce Thornton's Decline and Fall, Europe's Slow-Motion Suicide, and ran across the following, ". . . a recent poll . . . reports that in France, 29 percent of those polled felt optimistic about the future, while in Germany only 15 percent did so. Meanwhile in . . . Iraq, 69 percent were optimistic that things will [improve]. Likewise a 2003 Harris poll found that while 57 percent of Americans are satisfied with their lives, only 14 percent of the French, 17 percent of the Germans, and 16 percent of the Italians are. Suicide rates are equally revealing: in many European countries, suicide is the second leading cause of death, after accidents, and France's suicide rate is about twice that of the United States', as are Belgium's, Luxembourg's, Finland's Austria's, and Switzerland. Rates of emigration from Europe to America, even as hardly any Americans immigrate to Europe, also suggests that the 'European Dream' is not so attractive to many of those who live it."

The first thought I had was that it may not be a good thing for the U.S. to emulate Europe's Utopian ideals too closely. Perhaps it is Europe's paternalistic policies that have turned Europeans into something like Nietzsche's "last man," "men without chests," and left them hopeless.

My second thought had to do with the association of World War II and the present European despair. We in America seem to be convinced that Post-Traumatic stress, for Americans, is far more prevalent than was believed in the past. Perhaps that is true of Europeans as well. If any continent is entitled to the Post-Traumatic Stress syndrome it is Europe. Most of the Europeans who actually fought or suffered during World War II are dead now, but their children and grandchildren are living, and the sins (at least some sins) of the fathers are still visited upon the children of the third and fourth generations. Perhaps what Europe has touted and writers like Robert Kagan have ridiculed, European Utopia, is actually a form of escape, an ideal created to permit these children to cope with their fathers' sin.

Robert Kagan in his Of Paradise and Power, America and Europe in the New World Order scoffed at Europe's pretensions. Their belief that they could handle all their problems with diplomacy and "soft power" failed miserably in the former Yugoslavia. Much to their chagrin they had to request "obsolete" America to get them out of that trouble. Also, their pretense of adhering to a higher international law was seen to be threadbare during the build up to the resumption of the Iraq war. France's commitment to Iraq had nothing to do with international law. Thornton writes, "In the same deal that sold the nuclear reactor [destroyed by Israel] to Iraq, France sold another $1.5 billion worth of weapons, including the Mirage F1, France's most advanced jet fighter at the time, along with an air-defense system, surface-to-air missiles and advanced electronics. This was just the beginning of French arms sales to Iraq, which reached $20 billion worth of the most sophisticated weaponry, including 'thousands of HOT and Milan anti-tank missiles, Roland 2 air defense systems, and Gazelle helicopters.' As Kenneth Timmerman notes, 'Iraq was in effect subsidizing the French Defense Ministry.'"

These matters have been discussed elsewhere and there is no need to spend too much time with them here, but it is worth noting that those most responsible for the fostering of the "ideal" of a European Utopia, were conducting business as usual when it came to their own national interests. France, at least France under Chirac, wanted his nation to lead Europe into competition with the United States. While America may have been the "last man standing" after the Cold War, Chirac didn't want the U.S. to remain standing alone for long. He wanted a united Europe, led by France, to stand opposite the U.S. in world affairs. That desire may have inspired Chirac to "remain in bed" with Saddam Hussein longer than the U.S., Eastern Europe, and many nations of Western Europe thought was seemly. Chirac is gone and so is Saddam Hussein, but this "sin," perhaps, is still being visited upon succeeding generations of French children, for if the "ideal" of a European Utopia was a failure if not a sham, then where does that leave the ordinary European? Perhaps he is being cared for paternalistically by European governments, but for what, a high suicide rate?

Several years ago, a nephew, Sean, brought me a box of books from a relative on his mother's side who committed suicide. This relative wasn't someone he knew. The report was that he was a strange man who spent a lot of time playing war games, and the books I "inherited" bore that out. Sean assumed I would appreciate these books because I was interested in history, but these weren't the sort of books I normally read. They had to do with details of European, primarily German, battlefields, weaponry and uniforms. The few books that actually dealt with history were superficial and he probably bought them because of their photographs. Each time I run across one of his books I wonder about him a little. Did he play his war games with others? Did he belong to a war-game club? And did any of this, these war games, contribute to his suicide?

This fellow would have committed suicide before the failure of the European Utopia was quite as apparent as it is today; so I can imagine, if he was something of a war-monger, that the idea that Europe may have done away with war would have left him despondent. If there was no hope for a future threat from a Hitler or of heroics from such generals as Patton and Montgomery, then what was the point of continuing to play these games? But if he had held on a bit longer, he would have learned that history hasn't quite ended, and while the two-part Iraq War wouldn't have challenged his war-gaming skills, it would at least have held out hope for him. Future European Wars weren't entirely out of the question.

Which causes me to wonder whether I have this European ennui all wrong. Perhaps Europeans aren't depressed and suicidal because their Utopia isn't working. Perhaps they are depressed because of their diminished "chests," to borrow Nietzsche's term. Modern sociologists fervently believe that the human genome is as malleable as the canine's and that they can turn man, through clever sociological means, into a peace-loving creature. There is, unfortunately, no more evidence to support that belief than there is for a belief in the European Utopia. Nations may be at peace with each other from time to time, but this doesn't mean that they have given up war. War is still one of the arrows in the quiver of any successful state. That it seems to be missing from the European quiver might incline some unreconstructed Europeans to feel less rather than more secure. That is, a confidence in a nation's ability to defend its citizens probably contributes to a citizenry's feelings that it is safe.

The U.S. took care of Europe's security during the Cold War, but who takes care of it now? Eastern Europeans never quite embraced Western Europe's Utopian ideas and those nations have neither forgotten Russia's threat nor that the U.S. is still capable of confronting Russia if need be. Western Europe is still convinced, at least officially, that soft power works, but that idea probably sits precariously in the minds of Europeans who were raised on stories of World War II violence. It is all well and good to disarm Europe's people, but who is going to disarm Europe's enemies?

But, some Europeans may argue, Europe has no enemies. How well, I wonder, does such an idea sit in the psyches of the "third and the fourth generations" of those who sinned in World Wars I and II? I'm reminded of the movie, The Bourne Identity, in which Jason Bourne has lost his memory. Bits and pieces come back to him and eventually he learns that he was an assassin for the government. "You do remember, don't you Jason," his former boss yells at him, and at that moment Jason does remember. His reaction is to grab his former boss and yell back he doesn't want to do it anymore. He then rather inconsistently threatens his boss with violence if he should send anyone after him. In Europe's case only the mildest threats are possible. If any foreign nation comes after Europe in some way, then they will use "soft power" against it -- trade restrictions primarily, I suppose.

The marginally recovered Jason Bourne is no longer an assassin, but he does fight against those who try to kill him, and he is very good at it. But at the end of the third movie, after he has defeated or exposed all his known enemies, he is still on the run. He doesn't know that there is anyone coming after him, but he intends to stay "on the run," because man is a warlike creature and there will always be someone, eventually, to come.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anglo-American-Westernism and Courage

Two years ago I read the first volume of Rick Atkinson's "Liberation Trilogy," An Army at Dawn, The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. I just started his second volume, The Day of Battle, The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. In his Prologue he discusses the events leading up to the agreement between Britain and America, committing them, ultimately, to a cross-channel invasion of France -- "Overlord."

In May 1943 the British and Americans seemed at loggerheads about what to do next. The Americans wanted to take the war to Germany immediately; which is what Stalin had been begging for. The British, on the other hand wanted to first attack the "soft underbelly," Italy. What difference would it make to Stalin whether the invasion began in Italy instead of in France -- as long as it forced Germany to pull some of its divisions out of Russia?

The Americans got what they wanted: a commitment to a cross-channel invasion in 54 months. The British got what they wanted, an immediate attack against the "soft underbelly" in Italy.

"Perhaps the greatest achievement of the men meeting at Trident was not sketching of big arrows on a map but rather the affirmation of their humanity. This was their true common language: the shared values of decency and dignity, of tolerance and respect. Despite the petty bickering and intellectual fencing, a fraternity bound them on the basis of who they were, what they believed, and why they fought. It could be glimpsed, like one of Brooke's beautiful birds, in Churchill's gentle draping of a blanket on Roosevelt's shoulders; and in their grim determination to wage war without liking it."

"During a British embassy luncheon on May 22, Churchill, fortified with whiskey, declared that he expected 'England and the United States to run the world. . . . Why be apologetic about Anglo-Saxon superiority?' The bemused vice president, Henry A. Wallace, accused the prime minister of advocating 'Anglo-Saxondom uber Alles,' Churchill waved away the charge. 'We Anglo-Saxons . . . are the only ones who really know how to run the show.'"

COMMENT: Previously, I read about the Battle of Delium in Hanson's Ripples of Battle. Socrates fought as a hoplite in that battle, which the Athenians lost. He distinguished himself by not fleeing in panic as most of the Athenians did. Instead he conducted a fighting-retreat while protecting Alcibiades and Laches. Plato, in his dialogue Laches has Socrates discuss the meaning of "courage." But since "courage" is a virtue, Socrates thought that this "virtue" should be defined first. Since no one seemed up to the task, Socrates declared that he couldn't define it either. I liked Socrates a lot better when I was an undergraduate. Now he annoys me. Everyone at the dialogue agreed that Socrates was courageous at Delium, but when Socrates moved the discussion over into the definition of terms, everyone admits that they can't define "courage." And yet they have, I want to tell them: See Socrates! He was courageous at "Delium." If they used history rather than philosophy, they would have a good working definition of courage. This is how traditions are built. This is how our Anglo-American tradition was built. This is why Atkinson can write and be understood by all except the most obdurate Leftists and Philosophers. We have shared values of "decency and dignity, of tolerance and respect" and we know what those abstract words mean because we have fleshed them out during the hundreds of years of our history.

Leftism and some schools of philosophy see little of value in our history. A word must be turned into a principle applicable to all people everywhere to have any value. Nonsense! We can't answer for all people everywhere, but we can have an idea of who we are and how we arrived at what we hold dear. "Courage" can't be defined or explained unless one can do it philosophically; some schools of philosophy would have us believe. Nonsense! We do not learn as the philosophers pretend. We learn by example. Look at what Socrates did at Delium: that is courage. That is how we learn. We as a species knew about courage before we had a word for it. "Courage" is a word describing something we know, not something that needs to be defined before we can know it.

It is possible to read of the events at the Trident conference in May of 1943 and conclude that the British and Americans didn't get along, but the disagreements they had about how to conduct the war didn't destroy the affection and respect they had for one another. Brothers with similar histories can disagree in ways that those with dissimilar histories cannot. This is another mistake that Leftists make -- to assume that all humanity shares the same values. It does not. Germany and Japan did not share Anglo-American values during World War II. The USSR didn't share them during the Cold War, and Radical Islam doesn't share them today. Leftists in Britain and America, and the Leftist leaders in Europe operate as though they don't know that. They keep trying to make their theory about a commonly-shared humanity -- meaning a humanity that shares Western virtues as valid for Islam. That hasn't worked, and it won't work. Leftists and some schools of philosophy can produce arguments about why it ought to work, but history and our relative traditions will demonstrate to the commonsensical amongst us that it won't.

Leftists love to pick out evils in our Anglo-American history in order to deflate it, but our history is one of trial and error. We learn from our mistakes. Sure, we once committed the sins the Left likes to describe, but do we still commit those sins? One must almost move into theology to deal with certain of these Leftist accusations. There were, and still are Christian schools of belief that argue that "an unforgiveable sin" can be committed. Traditional Christianity, however, teaches that if one repents and turns from that sin, whatever it is, it will be forgiven. Only a sin that is persisted in will be held against a person.

Willful ignorance is a sin the Left persists in. They should get some of their French philosophers to help them with their error (if such were possible). The facts are available. They can be understood if faced directly. Perhaps Socrates modesty prevented him from defining "courage" to his friends, but what excuse can the Left produce to excuse their sin?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Lost election, EU Eloi and Iwo Jima

One recalls that Kerry was touted as a European at heart, and more recently that Obama could have been elected as the leader of the EU had he chosen to live there, but, I want to console my Democratic brethren: the EU ideals are probably flawed.

In Decline and Fall, Europe's Slow-Motion Suicide, Bruce Thornton compares European ideals with those of the Eloi: ". . . enthusiastic descriptions of EUtopia remind one of H.G. Wells's Eloi, the 'very beautiful and graceful creatures' whom the Time Traveler from Wells's 1895 novel The Time Machine encounters in his visit to the year 802,701 A.D. The delicate, youthful, vegetarian Eloi live in a seeming paradise, a garden world without work or conflict or government: 'They spent all their time in playing gently, in bathing in the river, in making love in a half-playful fashion, in eating fruit and sleeping.'

"At first glance, the Eloi appear to be the culmination of human evolution beyond primitivism and deprivation, a cheering vision of human progress and our destined utopia of pleasure and leisure. But on closer inspection, certain features are troubling. The Eloi are tiny, only four feet tall, soft and hairless, 'indescribably frail,' like a 'beautiful kind of consumptive.' They have the intellectual level of a five-year old and are 'indolent and easily fatigued.' Worse, they are hedonistic narcissists, casually watching one of their fellows drown without interrupting their play. The Time Traveler realizes that rather than the culmination of human evolution, the Eloi represent the devolution of the human race, now 'decayed to a mere beautiful futility.'

"This realization is sharpened to horror when the Time Traveler learns of the Morlocks, 'bleached obscene, nocturnal Things' that live underground in anti-like collectives and feed on the effete Eloi like 'fatted cattle.' . . . ."

While I am a great admirer of almost anything Japanese, I don't admire what they had made of themselves as we entered World War II. They can be compared to the Morlocks to a large degree: [The following is from page 339 of Manchester's Goodbye Darkness] "The defenders' CO, Tadamichi Kuribayashi -- Holland Smith called him Hirohito's 'most redoubtable' commander -- had been among the first to conclude the banzai charges, once so effective in Japan's earlier wars with Russia and China, were futile against American firepower. Tokyo had warned him that he could expect no reinforcements. He replied that he didn't need them; the air attacks on Iwo had tipped off the coming invasion, and transports had beefed up his garrison to twenty-one thousand men, led by Japanese Marines. Kuribayashi turned his men into supermoles, excavating the hard konhake rock. They built 750 major defense installations sheltering guns, and blockhouses with five-foot concrete walls, strengthened, in some instances, with fifty feet of earthen cover overhead. Under Suribachi alone lay a four-story galley and a hospital cave. Southward from the volcano lay interweaving iron belts of defense. Altogether there were thirteen thousand yards of tunnels and five thousand cave entrances and pillboxes -- a thousand on Suribachi alone."


Pause for a moment and recall the glowing descriptions of European utopia by Jeremy Rifkin: A "'bold new experiment in living' has arisen in Europe, and . . . Europeans are 'leading the way into the new era.' This 'European Dream' . . . 'emphasizes community relationships over individual autonomy, cultural diversity over assimilation, quality of life over the accumulation of wealth, sustainable development over unlimited material growth, deep play over unrelenting toil, universal human rights and the rights of nature over property rights, and global cooperation over the unilateral exercise of power."

Imagine groups of these EU Eloi watching the Marines on D-Day on Iwo Jima: "The moment they hit the shore they were in trouble. The steep-pitched beach sucked hundreds of men seaward in its backwash. Mines blew up Sherman tanks. Infantrymen found it impossible to dig foxholes in the powdery volcanic ash; the sides kept caving in. The invaders were taking heavy mortar and artillery fire. Steel sleeted down on them like the lash of a desert storm. By dusk 2,420 of the 30,000 men in the beachhead were dead or wounded. The perimeter was only four thousand yards long, seven hundred yards deep in the north and a thousand yards in the south. It resembled Dore's illustrations of the Inferno. Essential cargo -- ammo, rations, water -- was piled up in sprawling chaos. And gore, flesh, and bones were lying all about. The deaths on Iwo were extraordinarily violent. There seemed to be no clean wounds; just fragments of corpses. It reminded one battalion medical officer of a Bellevue dissecting room. Often the only way to distinguish between Japanese and Marine dead was by the legs; Marines wore canvas leggings and the Nips khaki puttees. Otherwise identification was completely impossible. You tripped over strings of viscera fifteen feet long, over bodies which had been cut in half at the waist. Legs and arms, and heads bearing only necks, lay fifty feet from the closest torsos. As night fell the beachhead reeked with the stench of burning flesh. . . ."

After that, it got worse. "The price of the little island had been 25,851 Marines, including 19 battalion commanders. Battle casualties in the rifle regiments had come to 60 percent in the Third Marine division and 75 percent in the Fourth and Fifth divisions. But they had done the job. On March 4 the first crippled B-29 had wobbled into a crash landing on Airfield No. 1. Three weeks later, with the battle still rain in the northern pockets of the isle, Superfortresses began regular runs from Iwo's three fields to Tokyo. Before V-J Day, 2,251 B-29s, carrying 24,761 crewmen, had made successful landings on Iwo's airstrips. One Air Corps pilot who made three of them told a Time reporter: 'Whenever I land on this island, I thank God and the men who fought for it.'"

The Eloi, like Jeremy Rifkin and the EUtopian advocates, would have been horrified to watch the Marines on Iwo Jima. Surely, they would tell themselves, there would be some way to reason with those Japanese. History tells us that there wasn't. The Eloi wouldn't even have tried. They would much rather be eaten.