Friday, 31 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Your Guess Is As Good As Mine (Vali Racz, Tibor Weigand)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 12/31/2010 10:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 December 2010
That Volcano In Iceland
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From NewScientist:

Green volcano

"Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that closed Europe's airspace and stumped English-speaking newscasters trying to pronounce its name, is estimated to have emitted between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a day. That's less than the grounded flights would have emitted, making it the first carbon-negative volcano."

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Posted on 12/31/2010 10:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Sarkozy's Message For 2011: The Tone Is Right, But He Isn't, As Yet, Nearly Firm Enough
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From Le Monde:

Lors de ses vœux aux Français pour 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy s’est voulu protecteur, protecteur des Français tentés par le Front national et a assuré son intention de maintenir le cap des réformes à l’intention de son électorat traditionnel, vantant notamment la réforme des retraites. Le chef de l’Etat a répondu point par point aux thématiques de Marine Le Pen : protectionnisme, laïcité et sécurité.La fille du fondateur du Front national propose d’abandonner la monnaie unique. « Ne croyez pas, mes chers compatriotes ceux qui proposent que nous sortions de l’euro. L’isolement de la France serait une folie. La fin de l’euro serait la fin de l’Europe », a assuré M. Sarkozy, qui se targue de défendre une Europe qui protège. « J’ai toujours milité pour la préférence communautaire, et je me suis toujours battu pour la protection de notre industrie », a assuré M. Sarkozy. De même sur la République, M. Sarkozy a expliqué que « la loi portant interdiction de la burqa sera appliquée dans l’esprit comme dans la lettre”. Le chef de l’Etat, a ajouté, en direction des immigrés : « le respect dû à la France par ceux que nous accueillons est une exigence ».Enfin, sur la sécurité, M. Sarkozy dit vouloir protéger les Français « de la violence chaque jour plus brutale de la part de délinquants multi-réitérant en ouvrant nos tribunaux correctionnels aux jurés populaires. Ainsi c’est le peuple qui pourra donner son avis sur la sévérité de la réponse à apporter à des comportements qui provoquent l’exaspération du pays ».

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Posted on 12/31/2010 9:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Explosion hits Egypt church, injuries reported
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By Maggie Michael for AP:

CAIRO – An Egyptian security official says an explosion went off in front of a Coptic church, injuring scores of Christian worshippers who were attending a New Year's Eve Mass.

The official says the number of casualties from the blast in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria was not yet clear. The explosion went off from a car parked in front of the Saints Church and a nearby mosque. Ambulances rushed to the area.

The official says that afterwards some Christian worshippers from the Mass clashed with police in anger over the blast. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

The plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt continues, to the indifference of the rest of the world.  If only the Coptics could receive one-hundredth of the attention given to the "Palestinians".

Update: At least 9 dead by the latest figures.

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Posted on 12/31/2010 6:20 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Friday, 31 December 2010
US teen birth rate still far higher than W. Europe
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By Mike Stobbe for AP:

ATLANTA – The rate of teen births in the U.S. is at its lowest level in almost 70 years. Yet, the sobering context is that the teen pregnancy rate is far lower in many other countries. The most convincing explanation is that contraceptive use is much higher among teens in most Western European countries.

Last week, U.S. health officials released new government figures for 2009 showing 39 births per 1,000 girls, ages 15 through 19 — the lowest rate since records have been kept on this issue.

That's close to the teen birth rate for Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria in 2007, the latest numbers available from the World Bank, which collects a variety of data gauging international development.

The teen birth rate for Western Europe and a few other countries is dramatically lower. In the United Kingdom it's 24 per 1,000 girls. In traditionally Catholic Ireland, it's 16 and in Italy it's 5. France's rate is 7 per 1,000. Canada's rate is under 13, Sweden's is under 8, Japan's is about 5, and in the Netherlands it's close to 4.

It is oddly difficult to get accurate data on teen pregnancy in Dar al Islam, but in Nigeria for example, where the population is 50.4% Muslim, the teen birth rate is 103 per 1,000.  And in Niger, where the population is 95% Muslim, the teen birth rate is 233 per 1,000.

Some anti-jihadists would see a high teen birth rate in the U.S. as a positive.  They see the conflict between Islam and Dar al Harb as a breeding contest.  Victory is defined as numerically outbreeding Islam, and the role of government is to encourage and enable ever higher birth rates.  Let the culture with the most members win. 

Jihadis and their apologists triumphantly proclaim that the Muslim woman's womb is their greatest weapon.  Should we take the bait and agree to play their game, as they define the rules?

Births are a blessing, but only if one is able to sustain one's offspring.  There is no blessing in the high birth - and mortality - rates in Africa, for example.  Assuming that the earth has a carrying capacity (and unless one is a religious cornucopiast, and believes that God will always provide for His children, one has to agree that there is some limit), then an ever-increasing population will eventually lead to population collapse.  The closer we are to that carrying capacity, the less time before we begin to feel the effects, if we are not already.

We are often told that increased Muslim immigration is necessary to offset declining birth rates in North America and Europe.  We need an ever-increasing work force, so the story goes, to maintain our standard of living.  If that were true, then we eventually are guaranteed to reach the maximum population limit.  Then what?

If Muslims want to outbreed the rest of the world, let them.  However, they should do it without aid from the non-Muslim world.  Let Allah provide their food, water, energy, housing, and medical care.  And they should undertake their biological breeding experiment within their own borders.  The non-Muslim world should not be the pressure-relief valve for their overpopulation.

Under those conditions, their high birth rates become not a weapon for the destruction of the infidel, but a weapon of self-destruction.  And possibly a weapon for the destruction of Islam, and a return to sanity for a significant portion of the world's population.

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Posted on 12/31/2010 7:26 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Friday, 31 December 2010
At least four killed in Nigerian capital after army barracks bomb
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A bomb ripped through a military barracks in the Nigerian capital Abuja on New Year's Eve killing four people and wounding a dozen others, in the second such attack in three months, an official said.

"Sixteen victims were brought into the hospital. Four were brought in dead... 12 are quite in a stable condition," the director of medical services with the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Udofia Enefiok, told reporters at a government hospital Friday.

The bomb went off early in the evening at a market inside Abacha barracks, a popular spot for food and drink in the Nigerian capital on New Year's Eve, the military and civil chiefs said.

Deputy Police Commissioner Olusola Amore said three of the dead and six of the wounded were women. Police bomb experts were on the scene, he said. 

President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack which came hours after Christians in Jos buried 16 of the dozens of victims of the Christmas Eve bombings claimed by a radical Islamist sect. "Basking in their nefarious success in Jos on Christmas Eve, they have once again knifed at the heartstrings of a nation decked out in gaiety, celebrating New Year's Eve.

"This is extreme evil. It is wicked," Jonathan's spokesman Ima Niboro said in a statement. "The president... condemns this attack," he added, describing it as a "new and dangerous challenge to our peace and stability". He said the attackers "must be made to pay. No one ... can make this nation ungovernable".

An Islamic sect, calling itself Jama?atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda?Awati Wal Jihad has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve attacks in Jos.

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Posted on 12/31/2010 4:51 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Psalm by Éva Láng
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From Holocaust Poems for our Time, Introduced & Translated from the Hungarian
by Thomas Ország-Land
(January 2011)

 

ÉVA LÁNG, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor (b. 1926), has unleashed a fury of verse of stunning beauty and intensity. Her relentless output is reminiscent of the chanting of the ancient prophets. The work breaks the embarrassed and almost complete silence that has been the response of the world’s poets to the organized, racist murder of six million Jews in the heart of Europe. And it has been largely ignored by literary editors.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 4:06 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
They Came For The Guineas: An Allegory For These Times
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by David Asia (January 2011)


The chicken yard was a fenced, rectangular opening in the middle of the meadow. Inside the yard, in addition to an area for feed and water, a sturdy, wooden shed with a galvanized metal roof served as nighttime roost, shelter from the sometimes overpowering sun, and as protection from the winds that breathed life into the little devils of dust sleeping just below the surface of the soft, yellow powder covering the ground. Beyond the fence, an expanse of open ground buffered the yard from the encircling tree line.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 4:01 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Crowns, Roses and Britannia
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (January 2011)


I touched on the origins and popularity of pub signs called the Crown and/or Rose and Crown in my very first article on pub signs back in 2009.  Since then I have taken quite a lot of photographs of signs of that name which is popular in every county I have had cause to visit.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:57 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Protecting the Public from Gangs: Sheffield in the 1920s
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by David Hamilton (January 2011)


A major problem for decent people living their everyday lives is the take over of towns and cities by violent gangs. This is usually compounded by weakness on the part of the authorities or, as now, fear of offending Political Correctness. This allows the gangs to develop and move into ilicit businesses and corrupt more young followers and harm innocent members of the public. The massive and exteremy violent LA gangs are infamous throughout the world but there is a similar proliferation in England and ignoring them does a lot more harm than dealing with the early manifestations. In Birmingham, England the local authorities have allowed gangs to develop and the consequences are that ordinary members of the public are put in danger.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:50 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Character in American Cinema
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by G. Murphy Donovan (January 2011)


"When I first saw you, I thought you were handsome. Then, of course, you spoke."- Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets

All literature is the search for a better metaphor. If this is true, cinema might be described as a quest for a better image, literally and figuratively. Film and the associated crafts play a large role in the way Americans see themselves and the way others see America. For good or ill, movies are celluloid and digital records of shifting American values and culture.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:47 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
On Settlements, Agreements and Legitimacy: a midnight monograph
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by Michael Zebulon (January 2011)


Not in Our Name, Mr President 

If I “propose” to a lady, it will strain neither comprehension nor credulity to suggest that whatever her response to the overture, it’s certain to be vastly different (even, I daresay, in the present, quaintly confused age) from what it would be, had I “propositioned” her—despite the evident morphological similarity of the two verbs.  By the same token are the nouns, “legality” and “legitimacy”—which likewise share a common root [lex < L.: “law”]—seen, in their turn, to be related.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:41 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Theoretical Foundations of Terrorism
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by Samir Yousif  (January 2011)


Introduction

Due to the success of part one of this paper,* many recommended that I continue writing on similar lines.  Originally, my plan was not toward that end. But soon the theme of part 2 developed itself within my vision. The essence of this part relates to the fact that political Islam cannot but be reactionary and terrorist. Today’s facts, with no doubt, support such a conclusion.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:38 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Suppression of Emotion: A Danger to Modern Societies?
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by Thomas J. Scheff (January 2011)


This essay proposes that suppression of emotions is a key institution in modern societies, and that it underlies the denial of death and both interpersonal and inter-group violence. The thesis begins with a comparison of traditional and modern societies with respect to their treatment of the social-emotional world. Next a relatively minor instance of suppression is considered: wholehearted belief in an afterlife in heaven. The next step in to review a much more serious process: studies that suggest that war and collective conflict, such as terrorism, may be caused by humiliation and vengeance. Finally, some preliminary steps toward change are discussed.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:33 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
The Maestro
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (January 2011)


It started with a Cuban song, Sofrito, recorded by Mongo Santamaria Y Amigas on the Fantasy record label in early 1960s, just after the Cuban revolution. In Spanish Sofrito means “lightly fried” as in an open air restaurant and I suspect the word has something to do with the Cuban male fascination for brown skinned women, not quite black and not quite white.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:29 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
The Religious Left, J.B. Matthews and the Censure of Senator McCarthy
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by Norman Berdichevsky (January 2011)


While the term “Religious Right” is one of the most frequently used terms in the political lexicon, notably since the rise of what is usually referred to as  the Evangelical Churches, the Political Left is alive and well and a strong crutch for the Democratic Party calling for “social justice.” During the first term of the Eisenhower administration, the role of American churches in politics became a major issue and helped precipitate the campaign to defame and censure Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.  more>>>
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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:25 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
The Lord Shall Have Them In Derision
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by Mark Anthony Signorelli (January 2011)



It is glorious for religion to have enemies such as this. - Pascal


Considered in the light of intellectual history, the truly remarkable thing about the reception of Charles Darwin’s work is not the nature or the extent of its apparent theological implications; the remarkable thing is the fact that anyone could believe that it had any real theological implications at all.  That great masses of men would come to consider – with either jubilance or indignation – a theory about how species of organisms change over enormous expanses of time an apt challenge to certain theological positions is certainly one of the perverse wonders of the modern world.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:21 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
The Return Of Obame, Or, Confusion Twice Compounded
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News From West Africa:
 
Gabon : André Mba Obame est de retour
 
L’ancien ministre de l’intérieur se considère comme le vrai président élu du Gabon
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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 31 December 2010
Evil Be Thou My Evil
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by Theodore Dalrymple (January 2011)


Often I read more than one book at a time. When I tire of one I fly to another. This is because the world has always seemed to me so various and so interesting in all its aspects that I have not been able to confine my mind to a single subject or object for very long; therefore I am not, never have been, and never will be the scholar of anything. My mind is magpie-like, attracted by what shines for a moment; I try to persuade myself that this quality of superficiality has its compensations, in breadth of interest, for example.  more>>>

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Posted on 12/31/2010 3:16 PM by NER
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Friday, 31 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Auld Lang Syne
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Watch, and listen, here.

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Posted on 12/31/2010 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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