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Racial Discrimination Act

Prior to the last Australian election the opposition promised to abolish Section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, the section which suppressed debate on public policy so long as some whiney thin skinned whinger individual felt themselves insulted, humiliated, offended or intimidated on the basis of ethnicity or race.

However, as a result of the level of objection, by people who would never vote for this government anyway, the Prime Minister yesterday announced that this promise would be dropped.

Last night I sent the following email to my local Liberal Party MP:

(more…)

4/8/1914 – 4/8/2014

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the start of the most titanic conflict the World had yet seen. It was a tragedy of unprecedented scale (Apart from maybe the Mongols…) It is a tragedy the sequels of which are still happening like bad movies. The current war in the Near East is a result as was the Second World War as was the rise of Fascism, Communism and Nazism. All three are in one form or another still with us like Japanese knotweed.

When I was a potless student I developed a love of Victorian and early Edwardian literature. Well, it was out of copyright so cheap. Something that shone through to me was the general sense of optimism. Do you know the origin of the phrase, “How the other half live”? At the start of Victoria’s reign half of Britain lived in abject poverty and I mean abject poverty. I don’t mean they had an iPhone 4 not a 5S. By her death it was one in ten. And think of the technology over this rough period of time! Anaesthetics, anti-septics, pasteurisation, sanitation, automobiles, powered flight, telephones, radio, steam turbines, AC power, electric light… The optimism is palpable. I bought and read these books because they were cheap but I fell for them because of that sheer optimism and it seamed hardly ill-construed. In 1900 the country with the fastest rate of GDP growth per capita was Russia. A sensible person might have seen Russia turning into some sort of constitutional monarchy and something like a bigger Canada. It could have happened and imagine that…

It didn’t happen.

Europe was wrecked. Russia is still stuck in a quasi-Tsarist rut, the remains of the Ottoman Empire are largely in a situation of utter chaos and the blood and treasure expended by all over the last hundred years is incalculable. The loss of young European men – especially of the officer class – the potential movers and shakers in the arts, sciences, business, engineering and such was so calamitous that Europe permanently lost the lead to the USA after the Great War. That is not an anti-US statement but what could we (and I mean all of us) have achieved had those millions not died? And it is not just the statement of a middle-class white European male. It is a statement of fact reflecting the social conditions of the time. The emancipation of, say, women was arguably advanced by the war but surely this could have been done in a different manner?

Here is just one example of our loss

Karl Schwarzschild (October 9, 1873 – May 11, 1916) was a German physicist and astronomer. He is also the father of astrophysicist Martin Schwarzschild.

He provided the first exact solution to the Einstein field equations of general relativity, for the limited case of a single spherical non-rotating mass, which he accomplished in 1915, the same year that Einstein first introduced general relativity. The Schwarzschild solution, which makes use of Schwarzschild coordinates and the Schwarzschild metric, leads to a derivation of the Schwarzschild radius, which is the size of the event horizon of a non-rotating black hole.

Schwarzschild accomplished this triumph while serving in the German army during World War I. He died the following year from the autoimmune disease pemphigus, which he developed while at the Russian front.

Asteroid 837 Schwarzschilda is named in his honor.

The Schwarzchild metric is not just the first but remains the most important solution of the Einstein field equations. Trust me. I know this stuff. But don’t take it from me…

I have read your paper with the utmost interest. I had not expected that one could formulate the exact solution of the problem in such a simple way. I liked very much your mathematical treatment of the subject. Next Thursday I shall present the work to the Academy with a few words of explanation.

— Albert Einstein

How many other greats and potential greats were lost? We shall never know. And how many other ordinary folk who would have lived normal productive lives for they matter as much.

OK, I’ll tell you. I live in a parish of roughly 4300 souls. This is probably more than the population in 1914 (it’s prime commuter belt for Manchester and Buxton and such places).

This is the roll-call on this parish’s war memorial for WWI…

To the Everlasting Honour
of the Men of Disley Parish
who gave their lives
in the Great War
1914 – 1919.
This Cross is placed here in Greatful Remembrance.

Ellis ARDERN
Robert ARDERN
Reginald C ARNOLD
E Walter ARNOLD
Harry BAND
Oliver BELL
Joseph BENNETT
Robert BENNETT
Harry N BOLD
Herbert BOWDEN
John BRANSON
Charles BRYAN
Wm M BUCHANAN
Harold CARRINGTON
Arthur CHORLTON
G Charles CLAPHAM
Harold DAWSON
Thomas DAWSON
John DEARNALEY
Harry EDGE
Harold ETCHELLS
H Innes FERGUSON
Arthur FORD
Samuel FORD
John FROGGATT
Richard GARLEY
Tom W GARLEY
James R GASKILL
Albert GASKILL
Herbert GOODWIN
Walter GRAHAM
William HAGAN
Percy HALLAM
Fred HARRISON
James A HARRISON
Ernest HAYTHORN
Wm HIGGINBOTTOM
Ernest HILL
Frank HOLYOAKE
William HOWARTH
Louis INGHAM
John JENNISON
Ernest JOHNSON
Harvey JONES
Ernest LEECH
John LIDDELL
James LOGAN
Frank LOMAS
Luke LOMAS
Percy MASSEY
George MIDDLETON
Thomas MIDDLETON
George A MILES
Roy MILLER
William MOORCROFT
Charles MOTTRAM
Ernest MOTTRAM
James MYCOCK
Frank NELSON
Daniel NORMAN
J Joseph NUTTALL
Ernest PIKE
Frederick POTTS
Thomas PRESTWICH
Harold QUARMBY
Charles RHODES
James H RIGBY
Frank ROXBY
Robert ROXBY
Henry SERPELL
Benjamin SHIRT
Stanley SHIRT
Samuel SHIRT
Albert SMITH
Joseph SMITH
John STAFFORD
Henry TAYLOR
James TAYLOR
Wm THOMPSON
William TURNER
Thomas H WALKER
Harry WELCH
Arthur WHITEFORD
George W WHITTLE
Everett WILD
William WILD
George W WILKINSON
Samuel WOOD
Walter WOOD
Charles WOODWARD
John WOODWARD
Charles WYATT
Frederick YATES
Leonard G B YOUNG
Cyril NIELD
Reginald NIELD

We remember them.

I Say It’s Spinach

So this is dedicated to Nick (and the first part of it is meant in the spirit of friendly teasing; no serious criticism intended). It was brought on by his response to the discussion on “Bibi to Obama,” but somehow it got so long and was so far O/T that I thought I really shouldn’t entirely derail that discussion. Hence the new posting. It happened like this….

Nick ended his passionate defense of the Israelis’ contributions to the Global Good by referring to their improvements in computer technology thus:

NickM
August 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Write a program once and… I have more computing power on my lap in this Lenovo S440 Thinkpad than probably existed in 1960 on the planet. The CPU was designed in Israel.

Never one to keep to the subject, I interjected the question,

Nick, one can actually program that sucker?

meaning the Lenovo Thinkpad, that is.

Nick responded to that:

NickM
August 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm

You don’t program a computer, you program a language. I know BASIC (I love BASIC – it’s great for five minute calculations and “sketching ideas”), Pascal, Fortran(!!!) and a few scripting type stuff like Javascript. And of course HTML and CSS but that’s not quite the same thing. I’m quite good in a limited sense – basically mathematics is my thing. I’ve been considering learning to write Android apps. I never could hack Machine Code and whilst I can write basic C, C++ defeated me. I just didn’t get the object-orientated paradigm. Part of the problem with learning C (and it’s descendants such as C++ and C# is the flexibility of syntax which means other folks programs can be unbelievably cryptic).

I adored that response, because I too am a HUGE fan of Fortran. Besides, it offered me an opportunity to issue a correction, a hobby of mine which, surprisingly, some people seem to find tiresome. Ah well, their loss…. :)

So I commenced, and the thing grew, and, well, here we are. Or here I am anyway. You, dear reader, may have gone on to washing your hair, or cleaning the groove in the patio door….

* * *
Nonsense, Mr. Mc[I-forget-the-rest] *g*. You program a computer IN a language. You USE a language to program a computer (in any given particular case). More correctly still, you write a program FOR (or to be RUN ON) a computer IN a language. I trust this clarifies the matter. *haughty sniff*

By the way, one does not write “machine code.” At least, not unless you mean writing in actual hex, or octal, or, to really get right down to it, binary. And it is insulting and fake elitism to talk about “writing code*” or saying something gaggingly sophomoric like “do they ship code on time.” Yes, I’m looking at you, Eric Raymond.

*Toward the end of my “career,” there developed a custom where System Engineers designed the layout of programs, including writing the specs; these were handed off to the “programmers,” who (I guess) drew up flow-charts and indicated where blocks of instructions (i.e. “code,” f’rgod’ssakes) would go, and passed those on to mere “coders,” who wrote out the actual instructions comprising the program. Division of labor, don’tcha see.

The upshot of that was that real programmers, now called “coders,” got a bad name as being the less-than-bright grunts of the data-processing hierarchy. I hope this dreadful faux-efficiency-system dropped dead long ago. Complete modularity in creative endeavors does not work.

But as to the main point. Basic rocks. No it is NOT a “toy”; it comes within hailing distance of Fortran. And Fortran IV-G or IV-H, awesome !!! is the only high-level language worth using professionally. Ahem. At the lower level, Assembler (for the S/360-370) and its cousins in the Assembly Language level, Autocoder for the 1401 and 7070 series, Map for the 7090-7094, so forth are the best of the best.

I LOVED Fortran and Assembly Languages, specifically Fortran IV and Assembler. You could get at the machine! You could tell it step by step exactly what to do, you could make it change its instructions, you could tell it to stop using valuable space for instructions and stick some data in there instead, and vice-versa. You could probably have told it to unplug itself, and then plug itself back in!

You sure couldn’t do that with COBOL. COBOL was for people who couldn’t be trusted to go messing about with the machine’s insides. Such things as “peek” and “poke,” even, could not be allowed to Business Types who probaby needed help tying their shoelaces.

I used to try to write COBOL in Fortran, just because of the whole logorrhea business. Thankfully I subsequently worked for an outfit that actually had programmers. Assembler, YUM.

Nick, do not feel like the Lone Ranger. I have messed about a bit with C and follow-ons, and as far as I can tell, the object of so-called OOP languages is to complify, complify, complify. The syntax would seem to defy any vaguely-human logic. Ostensibly these languages were developed so that any fool could read and understand at once any other fool’s program. Tchah! In any case, I was trying to correct an information deficit, as is my Nature, but not trying to put biscuits on the table, so lacking that incentive, in the end I treated the Book as the Koran was not treated by the boorish wardens at Guantánamo, and never looked back. :>))

. . .

Really, there’s nothing mysterious about the basic idea. In assembly languages and the next level of languages, Fortran, COBOL, whatever else qualifies, you have “routines,” which — and this is all as it was denominated in my day, back before the Silurian Epoch — meant the entirety of a program. Some portions of the program were dedicated to particular tasks and were distinct enough from other portions to be little mini-programs — “subroutines” — in their own right.

Somewhere along the way some bright language-designer or programmer (they once upon a time occupied the same physical body, can you imagine!) figured out that some of those subroutines were used often enough that it would be convenient to plunk them down, pre-fabricated, into his program. So he dreamed up a way to “call” the subroutine from within the main program. This little block of instructions that executed the “subroutine call” was incorporated into the main program with a special name or mock op-code of its own. IIRC, which I might not, in Fortran you just wrote “Call so-and-so” and then wrote a list of parameters the called subroutine would use.

Of course, you could get the exact same result by branching to the subroutine in the normal way, provided you knew where everything was (Assembly languages, Fortran). But the Subroutine Call was more elegant in a way, and when it was properly written at the assembly-language level (or IN Fortran FOR Fortran programs) you could use it pre-fab in any program into which it could be compiled. (Assembler subroutines for Assembler programs, Fortran subroutines for Fortran programs, even COBOL subroutines for COBOL programs, etc., though the subroutine itself might not be in the same language.)

Thus were developed Subroutine Libraries, which when you licensed whatever language and its compiler from whomever (by which I imagine I mean, chiefly, IBM) you could get the subroutine library as well, with all its useful pre-fab routines.

Then, some dingbat had the idea of obfuscating the basic logic of the pre-fabbed subroutines system by calling these subroutines “macros.” So now instead of having a subroutine call in a program, you used a “macro,” which as far as I could tell was just the same old thing under a new name.

Macros were used in Assembly languages, like Map and Assembler. I can’t remember if Autocoder had any macros or not. When we got our first Mac, a Mac Plus, it still had macros. In that case at least (and in Excel) one could write one’s own macros. But they were still just subroutines.

Now we have Object-Oriented Programming languages, OOPs. Indeed! In which, I gathered, the idea was to write programs by assembling blocks or “modules” of “code” (read, putting together various sets of subroutines) to accomplish the program’s results.

The syntax would appear to be a nightmare. Why go through all that when you can just haul out the ol’ Fortran, or the appropriate assembly language for the machine-cum-OS.

I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

Israel Confirms Acceptance of 72-Hour Ceasefire

Story in full, from Israel National News.

Hamas has broken the last two ceasefires, shortly after they began. Hard to believe, I know, but there it is.

Utterly beside the point, but I can’t help noticing the sheer artistry of the photo.

Israel Confirms Acceptance of 72-Hour Ceasefire

Cabinet votes to accept 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, beginning Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. local time.

By Elad Benari

First Publish: 8/4/2014, 11:45 PM

Ground offensive in Gaza.img521832
Ground offensive in Gaza
Flash 90


Israel confirmed on Monday night that it has agreed to Egypt’s proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, to begin Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. local time.

The confirmation came after the ministers in the Security-Diplomacy Cabinet held a telephone discussion during which they voted to agree to the ceasefire.

According to Channel 10 News, the ministers also decided that an Israeli delegation, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molho, would make its way to Cairo for talks on a permanent ceasefire.

Earlier Monday, a senior Egyptian official said that both sides had agreed to the ceasefire.

“Egypt’s contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations,” the official told AFP.

Hamas has taken advantage of past temporary ceasefires to continue to fire rockets at Israeli citizens.

On Friday, the group violated a 72-hour ceasefire shortly after it went into effect, killing two IDF soldiers and kidnapping a third, Hadar Goldin, who was declared dead by the IDF on Saturday night.

On Monday, Israel announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire. Hamas took advantage of this ceasefire as well, firing rockets at southern Israel just two hours after it began.

The background and photos you will never see in the MSM

Prior to the enlightenment, Some Jews lived in self-contained communities under rabbinical control. Israel Shahak (an Israeli scholar) stated “Prior to the creation of modern Israel, observance of religious law was the most important social reality in the lives of Jews” The religion governed all aspects of the lives of Jews.
The Lurianic Kabbalah dominated Judaism from the 16th to the early 19th century. As with most religions it proposed the absolute superiority of its own soul and body to the non in-group soul and body. But the enlightenment began to impact on the absolute rabbinical dictatorship and undermine it.
As the tenets of Orthodox Judaism came under pressure, the Rabbis feared cultural collapse so they began to look around for an idea to keep secularism at bay.
In 1861 Zvi Hirsch Kalischer published “Quest for Zion” which advocated reclaiming the holy land without waiting for the Messiah. This idea quickly gained traction, albeit it became a nationalist movement to boot. Ironically many of the native Palestinian Jews (who had lived with the Arabs for centuries) opposed this new European movement, realising that a large influx of European Jews would be horribly destabilising. Some local Jews were actually assassinated by local militias for opposing Zionism.
Now it is true that many Jews bought land in the region. Sadly this does not give anyone the right to form their own country (otherwise my house would be the anarchic republic of SAoT).
Now we come to Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism. He was highly critical of assimilated Jews who refused to commit to the idea and move to Palestine. Many of the early emigrees were poor Jews from Eastern Europe, far fewer were from Western Europe. The increasing immigration began to cause problems. These problems were exacerbated by racist crackpots like the chief Rabbi of Palestine between 1920 and 1935 Abraham Kook who said “The difference between a Jewish soul and the soul of non-Jews…is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle” There are a number of fundamentalist Jews in Israel today. As recently as 2009 an Israeli Rabbi published Kings Torah, a manual which provided religious justifications for killing non-Jews. The book states “the justification for killing babies is clear, if they will grow up to harm us”  The Talmudic encyclopaedia states that if a Jew has coitus with a non Jewish female, even if she is a child of three, she must be killed. This is mind-blowing stuff. Muslim fundamentalism is known and rightly condemned. Jewish religious lunacy is largely unknown outside Israel.
In 1895 Herzl wrote “we shall endeavour to expel the poor population across the border”
In 1916 the UK was in trouble in the war with the central powers. They needed Jewish money and influence to get the US into the war. On November 2nd 1917, the Balfour declaration set in motion events that would lead to the creation of modern Israel. As early as 1919 the King-Crane commission recognised that Zionists wanted complete dispossession of the non-Jewish residents of Palestine, (then around 90% of the entire population). Rioting started in 1920. In 1936 Arabs protesting against unrestrained immigration to Palestine by Jews were threatened with martial law by the British. A three year revolt was ultimately crushed by the British army. It is thought that around 5,000 Arabs were killed during this time.
Despite being only 30% of the population in 1947, the creation of Israel gave the Jews 56% of the territory (while owning only 6% of the land at the time).
In December 1947 Plan Dalet was implemented, as the Jewish army began to attack Arab settlements. The massacre at Deir Yassin is particularly vile. Around 500 villages were burned. Since 1946 Palestine has lost 75% of its territory. Funny how no-one ever talks about this when they talk about the 1948 Arab attack.
And here are the modern day results, but hey, this is what civilisation brings you, after all they make Intel chips and are given F-16’s by the Americans. And it’s all the fault of Hamas anyway right?

 

16

 

15

 

14

 

13

If you defend this slaughter, you are truly a monster.  Is it the road to peace?

Bibi to Obama: Don’t Second-Guess Me Again

The way the POS-in-Chief and his people treat P.M. Netanyahu and his country is beyond belief.

First, the short-form; below that, a lengthier piece.

BREAKING NEWS Netanyahu: No More Cease-Fires

By Steven Ahle on August 2, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that Israel will not accept any new ceasefires. Instead, he says that Israel will destroy Hamas ability to fire rockets into Israel at will. Israel has already agreed to 6 ceasefires, all broken by Hamas before they even got started. In the last case, Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier, 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.

Since the latest hostilities have broken out, the Israelis have not only had to battle Hamas, but also the UN and Obama and John Kerry. Obama pressured Israel into agreeing to a 72 hour ceasefire, that Hamas broke within the first hour. They killed two IDF soldiers and captured one.

Netanyahu expressed regret over the death toll in the Israeli/Hamas war. …

The cabinet voted unanimously that they will not even entertain the possibility of a cease fire.

From the New York Post:

Don’t second guess me again: Netanyahu to US

By Associated Press

August 2, 2014 | 5:50am

Don’t second guess me again: Netanyahu to US
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to his countrymen on Monday, warning of a “lengthy campaign” in Gaza.

WASHINGTON — Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel.

Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration “not to ever second guess me again” on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be “trusted” on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks.

The Obama administration on Friday condemned “outrageous” violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a “barbaric” action.

The strong reaction came as top Israeli officials questioned the effort to forge the truce, accusing the U.S. and the United Nations of being naive in assuming the radical Hamas movement would adhere with its terms. The officials also blamed the Gulf state of Qatar for not forcing the militants to comply.

Story continues at source.

Weekend Mentalists – (Mainly) US Edition.

A social media strategist at a Utah language school [A what?] said he was sacked because his boss thought a blog post written on homophones might encourage homosexuality.

Tim Torkildson, a former employee at the Nomen[?!] Global Language Center, said he was asked to leave his job as head of social media because his boss feared the blog entry might give the impression that the school was promoting homosexual behaviour.

Well of course homophones are the new Samsung range that enables anonymous toilet-trading – My Motorola/Google phone only allows hook-ups with fat birds from Stockport. Quite how anyone encourages homosexuality anyway is beyond me. Go on, go on, go on!

But wait! A homophone is not that at all is it? It is a linguistic term meaning two words said the same but mean different things and are spelt differently. English due to the mongrel nature of the lingo is replete with them, “Which witch?”, “We can see the sea from here” and all that. Indeed, “Homo” is of ambiguous meaning, depending on the Laughing or Grief root (or, er… missus) “Man” (as in the clearly pushing bum-fun term “Homo erectus” (I bet there is a movie by that name showing Ugg and Ogg the cave gents getting it on big time – trust me when HD video things* are as dog-cheap as they are and you got the internet every oddness that can be done (and with CGI things that can’t – slashfic with Sauron and Morgoth). Trust me it will exist.

Speaking to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Mr Torkildson said that Mr Woodger told him he ‘could not be trusted’ and the only job he would ever succeed in would be ‘something clerical’.

The blog post has been removed from the language school’s website.

Mr Woodger however denied that he had sacked Mr Torkildson for that reason, saying instead that his blog posts had begun to ‘go off tangents’ and had become confusing and occasionally offensive.

He added that homophones were beyond the understanding of most of the student body.

That from a guy running a language college! Having said that Mr Torkildson does appear to have purloined Cpt. Mainwaring’s syrup.

He’s the one on the left.

*-*-*

Now we all like good customer service

An Oklahoma woman didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone to complain when a product she bought did not meet industry standards.

But perhaps she should have taken a moment to think it through, since the number she called was 911 and the product was crystal meth.

According to police officers in Enid, 54-year-old Lynette Rae Sampson was the model of politeness as she described how the ‘ice’ she had purchased did not meet the purity standards she was used to.

Officer Aaron Barber was greetly[sic] warmly when he arrived at Ms Sampson’s home.

-

‘I’m glad you came,’ she told the officer, before leading him to the kitchen where the crystal meth was stored in a tin on the counter.

The woman was arrested.

‘Once you think you’ve seen it all, something new will surprise you,’ said Captain Jack Morris of Enid Police.

‘It’s sad people who utilise these drugs don’t realise how it affects them and what they can do to you.’

Ms Sampson now faces up to 10 years in jail for possession of the drug and paraphernalia.

*-*-*

Why use public transport and fight for a seat when you already have a fully charged up four wheeler at the ready?

That’s what this gentleman decided to do, apparently disregarding the law.

Mobility scooters are banned from being used on any non-pedestrianised roads – let alone one of the UK’s busiest motorways.

But the OAP was seen on the hard shoulder of the M1 being escorted by a police motorcyclist between Junction 31 near Sheffield and Junction 32 for the M18 interchange.

A passenger in a passing haulier lorry filmed the bizarre occurrence on Britain’s oldest full-length motorway.

- which just goes to show it isn’t just America that produces mentalists.

*Between my wife and me we have seven video takers! Everyone is David Lean these days. Not including webcams.

Top Gun, Bottom Prices…

Ever wanted to re-enact Top Gun scenes with your own privately owned fighter jet, well the RAF have helped two people do just that.

Erm… Well, I have never wanted to be a midget squealing, “Speak to me Goose!” whilst battling with my latent homosexuality during the least realistic dog fight ever committed to celluloid. If that would have been for real and I’d been in a “Mig-28″ Mr Cruise would have taken an early bath.

The military service allowed a 1976 Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 jump-jet and 1988 Panavia Tornado F3 to be auctioned off without a reserve.

The Harrier was sold to a gentleman from Essex for £105,800 while the Tornado was sold at a relative snip at £36,800 to a female pilot.

Wowsers! Now, obviously what 2&8 the Tornado is in is but still that is not an especially pricey sports car! God knows where I would have parked it but it certainly gains the drop on the Current Vauxhall Corsa. Get that up to 80 and it shakes like the Millenium Falcon getting up to light-speed.

Nice to see things what cost millions going for a song though.

The Gazza Strip.

Apparently Twitter users have been confusing the drunkard former England footballer Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne with Gaza the place.

Maybe it is just me and I, like Gazza am from Gateshead, not Gaza but this tickles me.

Fans of former England footballer Paul Gascoigne, popularly known as ‘Gazza’, were left confused and fearing for his future as a Free Gaza campaign took off online.

Tweets with the hashtag #freegaza have been trending on Twitter in response to the violence in the Middle East, with users using their posts to urge Israeli forces to stop their assault on the Gaza Strip. The conflict, which started on July 8, has led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people.

But followers of the troubled player, who has become known for his battles with alcohol and drugs, mistakenly thought that he had been arrested and that the campaign was in support of his freedom.

And…

Pignorance has no end.

Two from “The Daily Beast”

First, from a story on ISIS and like-minded others in Holland, with links at the source:

ISIS’s Black Flags Are Flying in Europe

World News
07.28.14

The symbol of the murderous Islamic State is waving in The Hague. ‘Death to the Jews,’ shout the demonstrators. Yet the Dutch government authorized the protests.

Pro-Hamas, anti_Israel Demonstrators in Holland.1406565178252.cached

“Death to the Jews” chanted the crowd waving the black flags of the Islamic State, or ISIS as it used to be known. They were looking for new supporters for their cause, the creation of a worldwide caliphate answering to the man who now calls himself Ibrahim: a zealot too radical even for Al Qaeda who has stormed through Syria and Iraq carrying out mass executions, crucifying rivals, beheading enemies. But these marchers were not in Syria or Iraq; they were in The Hague in The Netherlands. And their message was one tailored to the disaffected young descendants of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

“We are Moroccans,” went out the cry over a portable loudspeaker. “The French killed the Moroccans but they didn’t kill them all; the grandchildren of the few men left protest against the West, America and the Jews.”

Many of the demonstrators covered their faces with Palestinian scarves or balaclavas. “Anyone who doesn’t jump is a Jew,” someone shouted as the whole group started jumping in a scene that might have been ludicrous if it weren’t for the hateful message. “Death to the Jews!” the crowd shouted in Arabic.

This scene last Thursday came in the wake of an earlier demonstration supposed to defend the Palestinians suffering in Gaza, which turned quickly into a hatefest targeting Israel, with people carrying placards that screamed “Zionism is Nazism.” But while the comingling [sic] of pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic sentiment has become all too common in European protests in recent weeks, that the battle flag of the Islamic State waved in the streets of The Netherlands on July 24 is something new and particularly dangerous.
. . .
In a letter to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote about the concerns of the wider Jewish community when it sees these racist demonstrations espousing the cause of the so-called “Islamic State” that opposes everything about democracy.

[Story continues at source.]

And, in order not to change the subject, from a column by Jesse Rosenfeld, also from The Daily Beast. One of the hundreds of comments is also below.

Israel Is Minting the Next Generation of Hate

07.30.14 Jesse Rosenfeld

The children of Gaza still have dreams for their future. Who do they admire? Anyone who might protect them: a doctor, a journalist, the fighters from Hamas.

GAZA CITY — The bombs continue falling, more and more people are running for their lives with fewer places to go and as the screams from beneath the wreckage of Israel’s assault become more frequent, a generation of Gaza’s children are being shaped by what they see. And yet, as kids often do, they can still surprise you.

Inside a Gaza City UNRWA school that’s been turned into a shelter, children pack the courtyard. Several are kicking a soccer ball around. A blue United Nations flag sits atop the building and the windows below are draped with laundry that spills out onto lines that crisscross the outdoor walkways. The stench of the backed-up toilets combines with the fumes of garbage fermenting in the midday sun. Inside, piled desks covered in sheets in the hallways partition makeshift rooms for the families.

There are now some 200,000 people in Gaza living in conditions like this, and many if not most of them are children. At least half of Gaza’s people—that is, 900,000 of the people here—are under the age of 18.
. . .
For the most part the ones here are under ten years old. None has ever left the narrow and overcrowded 40-kilometer strip of land called Gaza. They cannot remember a world without Israel’s seven-year blockade. They are living through their third war.

Ten-year-old Yasmine al Attar stares at me from under her dark curled bangs. ….

says she admires the Palestinian fighters, led by Hamas, who are, as she understands the situation, trying to repel the Israeli attackers.

But Yasmine isn’t looking for a Muslim warrior’s martyrdom. Like the other children here she’s looking for someone to defend her: doctors, journalists, fighters—and those are the people she wants to be some day. It is an attitude reflected by many of the children who mask their trauma behind unwavering smiles as they bubble with chatter about the devastation they’ve seen.
. . .
Mohammad [al Attar, also 10] says he wants to be a teacher if he has the choice. But, if nothing has changed by the time he grows up, he says, he knows he will fight. There is no malice in his voice. For this 10-year-old there are no childhood fantasies about the romance of war or political delusions about a grand victory. He’s making an honest calculation about the possibilities. “I just want to protect people,” he says.

It is not Hamas propaganda, the school curriculum or even their parents that make these children see a future where continued resistance is the only option for survival. That was an education taught by the Israeli bombs that flattened their homes and by the bread lines across the street from the school.

And here is one of the comments to the second piece:

rinki 4 hours ago

HERE IS WHAT “MINTS THE NEXT GENERATION OF HATE”

Hamas kids show encouraging to kill jews

“This is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement, right here.”

Says a commenter at Instapundit of this. GoPro camera, hula hoop, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Hell, yes.

(Better not embed it in case it autoplays and somebody’s joyless boss or co-worker complains. Compared to some of the videos out there, it’s bloody Songs of Praise, but it probably isn’t entirely SFW.)

Reposted from Glasgow because the Commonwealth Games are, as Usain Bolt so eloquently put it (oh, don’t go denying it, Usain, we all know it’s true), “a bit shit”.

Sometimes they say it better than me…

From Jihad Watch. This is good.

Chloe Valdary concludes this terrific piece by saying, “It is of course your prerogative to continue to utilize platitudes for your cause. You are entirely within your rights to chant words like ‘equality’ ‘justice’ and ‘freedom fighter.’ You can keep using those words for as long as you like. But I do not think you know what they mean.” Indeed. Or maybe they know full well what they mean, and want to confuse and manipulate people into no longer being sure, so they can more easily claim them for themselves.

“To the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Letter From an Angry Black Woman,” by Chloe Valdary, Tablet, July 28, 2014 (thanks to Linda):

The student organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is prominent on many college campuses, preaching a mantra of “Freeing Palestine.” It masquerades as though it were a civil rights group when it is not. Indeed, as an African-American, I am highly insulted that my people’s legacy is being pilfered for such a repugnant agenda. It is thus high time to expose its agenda and lay bare some of the fallacies they peddle.

• If you seek to promulgate the legacy of early Islamic colonialists who raped and pillaged the Middle East, subjugated the indigenous peoples living in the region, and foisted upon them a life of persecution and degradation — you do not get to claim the title of “Freedom Fighter.”

• If you support a racist doctrine of Arab supremacism and wish (as a corollary of that doctrine) to destroy the Jewish state, you do not get to claim that the prejudices you peddle are forms of legitimate “resistance.”

• If your heroes are clerics who sit in Gaza plotting the genocide of a people; who place their children on rooftops in the hopes they will get blown to bits; who heap praises upon their fellow gang members when they succeed in murdering Jewish school boys and bombing places of activity where Jews congregate — you do not get to claim that you are some Apollonian advocate of human virtue. You are not.

• If your activities include grieving over the woefully incompetent performance by Hamas rocketeers and the subsequent millions of Jewish souls who are still alive — whose children were not murdered by their rockets; whose limbs were not torn from them; and whose disembowelment did not come into fruition — you do not get to claim that you stand for justice. You profess to be irreproachable. You are categorically not.

• If your idea of a righteous cause entails targeting and intimidating Jewish students on campus, arrogating their history of exile-and-return and fashioning it in your own likeness you do not get to claim that you do so in the name of civil liberty and freedom of expression.

• You do not get to champion regimes that murder, torture, and persecute their own people, deliberately keep them impoverished, and embezzle billions of dollar from them—and claim you are “pro-Arab.” You are not.

• You do not get to champion a system wherein Jews are barred from purchasing land, travelling in certain areas, and living out such an existence merely because they are Jews — and claim that you are promoting equality for all. You do not get to enable that system by pushing a boycott of Jewish owned businesses, shops, and entities — and then claim that you are “against apartheid.” That is evil.

• You do not get to justify the calculated and deliberate bombings, beatings, and lynchings of Jewish men, women, and children by referring to such heinous occurrences as part of a noble “uprising” of the oppressed—that is racism. It is evil.

• You do not get to pretend as though you and Rosa Parks would have been great buddies in the 1960s. Rosa Parks was a real Freedom Fighter. Rosa Parks was a Zionist….

She shoots. She scores. That is serious back of the net.

Sam Harris in Defense of Israel


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Not a Sam Harris fan, as I dislike and mistrust militant atheists just as much as other militantly religious or anti-religious folk. Particularly when they seem to believe it’s they themselves to whom the phrase “from God’s mouth to your ear” applies.

But this piece by Mr. Harris is an op-ed that by me deserves great praise, particularly as it probably offends most of his natural audience. (Of course, I don’t agree with every word, nor every implication.) And I know why he put in all those parentheticals: It’s to try and cut off at the pass the obvious accusations with which we’re all too familiar.

Audio at source, from which the following are excerpts. The whole is a fair bit longer, and of course better integrated.

July 27, 2014

Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?

gaza

AUDIO TRANSCRIPT [Note: This is a verbatim transcript of a spoken podcast. However, I have added notes like this one to clarify controversial points.—SH]

The question I’ve now received in many forms goes something like this: Why is it that you never criticize Israel? Why is it that you never criticize Judaism? Why is it that you always take the side of the Israelis over that of the Palestinians?

I have criticized both Israel and Judaism. … I’ve kept some sense of proportion. There are something like 15 million Jews on earth at this moment; there are a hundred times as many Muslims. I’ve debated rabbis who, when I have assumed that they believe in a God that can hear our prayers, they stop me mid-sentence and say, “Why would you think that I believe in a God who can hear prayers?” So there are rabbis—conservative rabbis—who believe in a God so elastic as to exclude every concrete claim about Him—and therefore, nearly every concrete demand upon human behavior. And there are millions of Jews, literally millions among the few million who exist, for whom Judaism is very important, and yet they are atheists. They don’t believe in God at all. This is actually a position you can hold in Judaism, but it’s a total non sequitur in Islam or Christianity.

I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [Note: Read this paragraph again.]

Though I just said that I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state, the justification for such a state is rather easy to find. We need look no further than the fact that the rest of the world has shown itself eager to murder the Jews at almost every opportunity. So, if there were going to be a state organized around protecting members of a single religion, it certainly should be a Jewish state.

[Note: It is worth observing, however, that Israel isn’t “Jewish” in the sense that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are “Muslim.” As my friend Jerry Coyne points out, Israel is actually less religious than the U.S., and it guarantees freedom of religion to its citizens. Israel is not a theocracy, and one could easily argue that its Jewish identity is more cultural than religious. ....]

More civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few weeks than militants. That’s not a surprise because Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Occupying it, fighting wars in it, is guaranteed to get woman and children and other noncombatants killed. ….

Whatever terrible things the Israelis have done, it is also true to say that they have used more restraint in their fighting against the Palestinians than we—the Americans, or Western Europeans—have used in any of our wars. They have endured more worldwide public scrutiny than any other society has ever had to while defending itself against aggressors. The Israelis simply are held to a different standard. And the condemnation leveled at them by the rest of the world is completely out of proportion to what they have actually done. [Note: I was not saying that because they are more careful than we have been at our most careless, the Israelis are above criticism. War crimes are war crimes.]

It is clear that Israel is losing the PR war and has been for years now. One of the most galling things for outside observers about the current war in Gaza is the disproportionate loss of life on the Palestinian side. This doesn’t make a lot of moral sense. Israel built bomb shelters to protect its citizens. The Palestinians built tunnels through which they could carry out terror attacks and kidnap Israelis. Should Israel be blamed for successfully protecting its population in a defensive war? I don’t think so.

there is an obvious, undeniable, and hugely consequential moral difference between Israel and her enemies. The Israelis are surrounded by people who have explicitly genocidal intentions towards them. The charter of Hamas is explicitly genocidal. … [Note: Yes, I know that not every Palestinian supports Hamas, but enough do to have brought them to power. Hamas is not a fringe group.]

The discourse in the Muslim world about Jews is utterly shocking. Not only is there Holocaust denial—there’s Holocaust denial that then asserts that we will do it for real if given the chance. The only thing more obnoxious than denying the Holocaust is to say that it should have happened; it didn’t happen, but if we get the chance, we will accomplish it. There are children’s shows that teach five-year-olds about the glories of martyrdom and about the necessity of killing Jews.

And this gets to the heart of the moral difference between Israel and her enemies. And this is something I discussed in The End of Faith. To see this moral difference, you have to ask what each side would do if they had the power to do it.

The truth is that everything you need to know about the moral imbalance between Israel and her enemies can be understood on the topic of human shields. Who uses human shields? Well, Hamas certainly does.

Consider the moral difference between using human shields and being deterred by them. That is the difference we’re talking about. The Israelis and other Western powers are deterred, however imperfectly, by the Muslim use of human shields in these conflicts, as we should be. It is morally abhorrent to kill noncombatants if you can avoid it. It’s certainly abhorrent to shoot through the bodies of children to get at your adversary. But take a moment to reflect on how contemptible this behavior is. And understand how cynical it is. The Muslims are acting on the assumption—the knowledge, in fact—that the infidels with whom they fight, the very people whom their religion does nothing but vilify, will be deterred by their use of Muslim human shields.

There are reports that Israeli soldiers have occasionally put Palestinian civilians in front of them as they’ve advanced into dangerous areas. That’s not the use of human shields we’re talking about. It’s egregious behavior. No doubt it constitutes a war crime. But Imagine the Israelis holding up their own women and children as human shields. Of course, that would be ridiculous. The Palestinians are trying to kill everyone. Killing women and children is part of the plan. Reversing the roles here produces a grotesque Monty Python skit.

If you’re going to talk about the conflict in the Middle East, you have to acknowledge this difference. I don’t think there’s any ethical disparity to be found anywhere that is more shocking or consequential than this.


The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.

Silly Names

I don’t mean intrinsically silly names. I mean combos. I mean Zowie Bowie is silly in both ways but Zowie is an intrinsically silly name.

I guess I first heard of the actress and singer Minnie Driver in the movie Grosse Pointe Blank. Now that is a US movie, set in the US so I assumed she was American and it was just unfortunate naming. The Mini note being the truly iconic motor it is here over there. I was gob-smacked to find out she was English.

Which brings us of course to the former England Rugby player Austin Healey.

This is Austin Healey…

This is an Austin Healey…

Perhaps not quite as iconic as the Mini but a car everyone in this country knows. It’s a smart looking motor I’m sure you’ll agree.

Of course this lunacy is not restricted to out Britannic Isles as such examples as the actor Rip Torn and the terrorist/politician (no longer with us) Abdullah Abdullah testify.

Can you think of any more?

Quote of the Day

There is another name for “disproportionate response”.

It is called “winning”.

NickM of this parish, coming down firmly on the side of the IDF

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