Saturday, December 30, 2006
SEASON OF GIVING
Friday, December 29, 2006
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Looks like 2007 will be Saddam-free:
A top Iraqi official says Saddam Hussein will be executed before 6 a.m. Saturday, Baghdad time, that’s tonight at 9 p.m. Central [US] Time.
Which is, I think, 2pm Sydney time. Saddam’s lawyers have attempted a last-minute rope-avoidance gambit:
His attorneys argued that because Hussein also faces a civil lawsuit in Washington, he has rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.
“To protect those rights, defendant Saddam Hussein requests an order of this court providing a stay of his execution until further notice of this court,” attorney Nicholas Gilman wrote.
Nice try. Meanwhile, Europeans are unhappy.
UPDATE II. Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Hassan and former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court Awad Bandar were also executed.
UPDATE III. Not only is Saddam dead, he’s also been ejected from a soccer match: “Before the execution, Saddam was reportedly presented with a red card ...”
UPDATE IV. Saddam was first sentenced to death 48 years ago:
Under his uncle’s influence, Saddam joined the Baath Party, a radical, secular Arab nationalist organization, at age 20. A year later, he fled to Egypt after taking part in an attempt to assassinate the country’s ruler, Gen. Abdul-Karim Qassim, and was sentenced to death in absentia.
UPDATE VI. Dan Lewis:
CNN are such pricks.
They mentioned that footage of the execution will be made available by Al-Arabiya. CNN will be debating the issue internally and being “very sensitive” in the manner in which they show it, probably only showing the lead-up and the aftermath, but not the execution itself.
They were never that sensitive when they showed footage of American soldiers being shot.
UPDATE VII. Jules Crittenden toasts justice and rounds up blog reaction.
UPDATE VIII. Ten News earlier showed footage of ecstatic Sydney Iraqis; one man told the network Saddam had killed 61 members of his family.
UPDATE IX. Kevin Rudd “questions whether the execution of Saddam Hussein will in any way reduce sectarian and political violence in Iraq, which has already brought that country to the brink of civil war.”
UPDATE X. Saddam’s body count.
UPDATE XI. The New York Times:
Ultimately, underneath all the socialist oratory, underneath the Koranic references, the tailored suits and the invocations of Iraq’s glorious history, Mr. Hussein held onto the ethos of a village peasant who believed that the strongman was everything. He was trying to be a tribal leader on a grand scale ...
The entertainment at public events often consisted of outpourings of praise for Mr. Hussein. At the January 2003 inauguration of a recreational lake in Baghdad, poets spouted spontaneous verse and the official translators struggled to keep up with lines like, “We will stimulate ourselves by saying your name, Saddam Hussein, when we say Saddam Hussein, we stimulate ourselves.”
Baghdad’s poets are evidently big Divinyls fans.
UPDATE XII. Scott Wickstein: “Goodbye Saddam Hussain ...”
FUN TIMES AHEAD
Fisk-loving Margo fan Tim Palmer is the new Executive Producer at Media Watch.
SHUT UP, PARIS!
England’s bowling plans for the Fourth Test were revealed this week. And so were other plans; for example, behold Paris Hilton’s plan for the establishment of a polycultural inter-species technological-biological matrix:
1. By implementing a chaos theory-libertarian theology “glimpse thesis” across boundaries defined by Hegel and Kropotkin – in its way, an antithesis of the merged stasis suggested by Santayana, the discredited Vienna Proposal, and post-Darwinian tubal logic – one first seeks to subvert the 14 paradigms at the core of modernist shadow-thought.
2. Post-deconstruction, the elevation of a resolved Marxian position on . . . (continues for 418,000 words)
I am so tired of Paris talking about this.
Long-time reader James B. tells of Vegemite deprivation, and asks our advice:
My wife and I, arriving in Las Vegas today for our honeymoon, managed to get three travel tubes of Vegemite as far as Los Angeles, but no further.
No problems at all with Japanese immigration & customs for our overnight layover in Tokyo, or even with US immigration & customs. (Partly due to my having forgotten I had packed it, and so merrily failing to declare it at every point without the usual twinge of “Maybe I should declare this” showing on my too-honest face.)
However, at the carry-on baggage screening for the domestic leg, the TSA screener decided that Vegemite showed up on the X-Ray as a gel, so bye-bye. (My wife was not sympathetic to my pleas that Snopes had declared that the confiscation of Aussie Yeasty Goodness was an urban legend.)
I don’t suppose you or your readers know of any places in Vegas where Vegemite can be bought? Just asking ...
Over to you, Vegas Vegemiters. Help a couple on their honeymoon.
IMPORTANT VEGEMATIC UPDATE! Las Vegas resident Lance Smith emails:
Please tell your friend that the International Market on the South East corner of Decatur and Tropicana will have Vegemite - and anything else he may want from around the world. Heinz beans for toast? Got ‘em. Rashers of Irish bacon? There also. And darn near everything else.
TYPICAL BEHAVIOUR OF THE LEFT
My husband was a Vietnam conscript in 1966. While he was there his family care packages were routinely burgled by the maritime unions, the postal unions and the “public service” unions at the Defence Dept. The contents were thieved and notes left in place telling him he deserved to die, there was a bullet with his name on it, they knew where his family lived and would destroy their lives ... etc, etc. This to a 20yo young man away from home for the first time, at war in a foreign country he hadn’t even heard of the year previously.
This is typical behaviour of the left. They don’t understand, however, that once you’re in the “band of brothers,” conscript or regular, if you serve together in combat you’re in and you never leave.
Unless you’re a member of the combat-faking left, in which case you never arrive.
NEW OVERLORDS WELCOMED
The Independent, usually dismissive of fundy types, reveals a new respect for fundamentalist religion:
From the accompanying article:
Mr Nawab, 28, is from Plaistow and works on the London Underground. He is a British-born Indian and, until recently, lived what he described as a Western lifestyle, staying out late with his friends, and often missing prayers.
No longer. For he is among a massive wave of young British pilgrims arriving here, motivated in part by an increasing sense of alienation in their homeland. He began the five-day Islamic pilgrimage of Haj yesterday, and at least 23,000 more Muslims from Britain joined him. They are part of a new, disenchanted generation who are rediscovering their religious identity. It is a spiritual journey ...
Crowds hundreds of thousands strong filtered out of the Grand Mosque in Mecca towards the desert valley, chanting Labbaik Allah Humma Labbaik - “Here I am O Lord” - and raising their hands to heaven. It was a remarkable sight ...
The piece closes with “incidents of Islamophobia” in the UK.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
“I HOPE HER BROTHER DIES”
More support for the troops from the lovable Left.
The way things are looking, celebrations for Castro’s death will happen first:
Ken Livingstone is planning a “massive festival” across London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution.
The event, to be staged in 2009, will involve street parties, sports venues and some of London’s leading museums as well as the closure of Trafalgar Square ...
Speaking at a recent public meeting at Central Hall, Westminster, Mr Livingstone said: “We’ve got the backing of the Cuban government for a massive festival to celebrate 50 years of justice in Cuba.”
Interesting that he defers to a foreign government. Poodle. Meanwhile:
The 300th birthday of Great Britain is to pass next year without any major celebrations.
VEIL GANGS OPERATING
The Daily Telegraph’s Luke McIlveen, last week:
If bank robbers had half a clue – and most do not – they would discard the uniform balaclava or motorcycle helmet and embrace the burqa.
It seems the Muslim garment, through which only the eyes can be seen, is the best legal form of identity concealment around.
And the latest news from India:
The Jewellers’ Association of Maharashtra has now asked the police to bar customers wearing veils from entering shops.
“There is a rise in the number of robberies in which veiled customers were involved. In a year, eight to nine such incidents are reported. There is a possibility of two to three veiled gangs operating in the city,” Fatechand Ranka, president of the Jewellers’ Association in Pune was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
“Due to the veils, these customers cannot be identified by us or police. So we have taken a decision not to allow veiled customers in the shops. And for that, the Association has sought permission in a letter to the state home ministry, state police chief and city police commissioner,” he added.
UPDATE. England is ahead of the curve. This from 2004:
An armed gang wearing burka headdresses escaped with jewellery after a raid on a shop in Halifax.
The three raiders - whose faces were covered by the religious gowns - entered the jewellers in Queen’s Road, Pellon, at 1100 GMT on Monday, asked
to view some gems and then produced a gun …
At least two of the raiders, who fled in a car, are believed to be male.
(Via UK commentators)
Email is arriving. Oh, yes. No problem with that. But reply emails are simply hanging around in the “out” rather than “sent” file, genially chatting amongst themselves about the cricket and what-not.
Repairs are underway. Meanwhile, apologies to anyone expecting replies lately; this problem dates back to the 23rd.
EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY QUOTE SEASON CONTINUES VI
Media Matters for America present what they call “the offensive, the senseless, the bigoted, the inaccurate; a year in right wing-nuttery.”
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Research-minded lefty Rex Ringschott states quite categorically:
A 40-year-old VW Beetle produces far fewer pollutants per kilometre than a modern Ferrari.
Rex—I’m guessing he isn’t a car guy, or a guy who pays much attention to legislative and technical change—bases his finding on this simple observation: a 1966 VW Beetle uses less fuel than a 2006 Ferrari. Less fuel used, less pollutants produced; why, it’s just that obvious!
We could bat Rex around for hours with complex talk of catalytic converters, fuel injection, combustion chamber improvements, variable valve timing, and other technological advances that make modern fast cars cleaner than slow old cars, but it’s easier to point out that in 1977 Volkswagen stopped selling the Beetle in America because it didn’t meet then-current US emissions standards.
That was nearly 30 years ago. Those standards have since become massively more strict, especially in California—where you can buy a Ferrari today. You think ’66 Beetles are clean, Rex? Try selling them as a new model in Los Angeles. Should be quite a market, considering how non-polluting they are.
A chilling crime in Ohio:
A pair of 18-year-olds were arrested for using screwdrivers to stab an inflatable 12-foot-tall Frosty the Snowman. “Why me?” asked Frosty’s owner, Matt Williquette. “And why Frosty?”
Queenslanders are asking the same question:
Unusually chilly weather in Queensland during the traditionally white-hot Christmas period has been “breaking more records than the Test cricket”, the weather bureau said today ...
The maximum temperature at Brisbane’s airport today plunged to 19.1C, dropping below the previous record low of 20.2C in 1960 and well below the average high 20s.
The city’s centre reached a maximum temperature of only 19.2C – not even a degree higher than the 18.8C recorded in 1888.
Emerald, in central Queensland, broke a 100-year record, with the mercury reaching a maximum of only 16.7C, compared to 18.3C in 1907.
The temptation is to giggle indulgently. However, the Great Colding of ‘06 also inspires terror:
Cloudy, cool conditions have brought a promising start to this year’s Woodford Folk Festival on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Magma. We need magma.
VANISHING ISLAND LATEST
Aaron at Free Will emails: “I did a little research into the issue of the sinking Sundarbans and discovered something interesting: There’s a temple near Lohachara, the temple to the sage Kapil Muni, that’s been moved repeatedly because of encroaching seas. Apparently it’s been going on for centuries.”